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Color Theory: Complimentary Color Schemes

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Most of us are familiar with the color wheel from elementary school art classes. While learning our colors is elementary enough, the study and implementation of color theory is not. It plays a huge role in design practice. A good designer understands how colors affect and play off of one another, even how they affect our mental state, and utilizes that when practicing design.

Complimentary colors, when used together in color schemes, are especially pleasing to the eye. Complimentary colors are the combination of any 2 colors opposite each other on the color wheel. The most commonly known combinations are with the primary colors: Red – green, blue – orange, and yellow – purple. These colors are the strongest contrast to one another and so when used together they really vibrate against one another, as well as, create a feeling of balance.

When using color combinations in an interior space, its great to accent with complimentary colors. Also there are natural elements that you can pull in that resemble colors from the color wheel, which are great for using as these accents. For example, using copper (orange) with blue, using gold (yellow) with purple, and using plants (green) with red. Having a hard time envisioning this?! These interior spaces with complimentary color schemes are sure to please the eye. After all, how are eyes see and perceive color is a science!

Blue – Orange

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Purple – Yellow

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Red – Green

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Trend Alert: Copper Cosmetics

Something about copper keeps it synonymous with “cozy.” Maybe it’s the colors, those earthy shades of brown and orange. Maybe it’s the way the metal catches and scatters light. Whatever the case may be, adding a touch of copper to your home can bring warmth and comfort in a way that no other material accomplishes.

In terms of adaptability, copper is hard to beat. It can be finished in metallic, matte or gloss and paired with complimentary woods, stones and glasses to create modern-urban, vintage, industrial and eclectic spaces. Contrast is key. Placed next to white and grey fixtures, copper can add that final detail you might need to finish a room. 
If there’s one room copper shines best in, it’s the kitchen. Matching copper fixtures used to contrast dark, solid colors popular in kitchen areas is  a sure-fire way to add flair and character to a room where steel, brass or marble might go unnoticed. For the most eye-catching copper design possible, go with a shade of blue; because copper is a warm orange and blue is orange’s complimentary color. The two look amazing together and copper’s natural varnish makes it turquoise as time goes on.

Copper is also a popular choice for free-standing bath tubs. If you’re looking for a material to use for both your tub and your plumbing hardware, look no further. 

Industry Ed with Richard: Kitchen & Bath Guideline Series – Tubs

In this post we will discuss the NKBA Kitchen and Bathroom Planning Guidelines, by first stating the guidelines and then pointing out their importance and giving insight on solutions and practices based on my industry experience. Find out more about NKBA here.

This is a follow-up on last month’s blog entry. Last month, we showed you showers. This week, we’re tackling tubs!

TUBS

NKBA Guidelines

  • The wall area above a tub should be covered in a waterproof material to a height of not less than 72″ above the finished floor.
  • The tub controls should be accessible from both inside and outside the tub and be located between the rim of the bathtub and 33″ above the floor. 
    • Tub controls must be operable with one hand and not require tight grasping.
    • Controls must be on an end wall of the bathtub, between the rim and grab bar and between the open side of the bathtub and the midpoint of the width of the tub. 
  • A permanent tub seat should be at least 15″ deep and positioned at the head end of the bathtub. The top of the seat should be between 17″ and 19″ above the bathroom floor.

My Experience

  • The trend now is freestanding tubs. These are tubs that don’t require a wall or deck to attach to. They are great for fitting full-sized tubs in smaller spaces.
    • The most sought-after is the “clawfoot” design, but there are limitless styles that work with any aesthetic.
    • An important choice you have to make is where to mount the plumbing.
      • Many freestanding tubs have a rim thick enough to mount plumbing directly to the tub.
      • Other tubs require you mount plumbing to the floor.
      • Most people mount plumbing at the back end of the tub, but this requires you bend to switch it on or off. 
      • In my experience, the best place to mount plumbing is on either side of the tub.
  • Another way to save space is to use a shower/tub combination. For that, you need an alcove tub.
    • Alcove tubs are designed to catch water and fit between three walls, so they are perfect for the shower/tub combo.
  • Deck tubs are also popular. These are tubs that mount to a surrounding deck, giving you that “sunken” look.
    • A common mistake with deck tubs is placing the tub too far back in the deck. Keep in mind, the farther back the tub is, the farther you have to stretch to get in or out.
  • There’s this misconception people have that installing a grab bar in a shower or tub makes a bathroom look like a hospital bathroom. I couldn’t disagree more. Grab bars are easy to install, convenient and do not detract from the appearance of a bathroom. Furthermore, having a grab bar is infinitely safer than not having one.
    • Plus, most plumbing lines can give you grab bars that match the look of your towel racks and other hardware.
  •  There are a lot of options for waterproofing a shower or tub area. 
  • Regarding floors, the industry is moving away from traditional rubber slip guards and toward engineered flooring. 
  • Likewise, we are seeing less whirlpool and jet tubs.
    • As opposed to soaker tubs, whirlpools and jets store water when switched off and can easily be contaminated.
Here are a few tubs to give you inspiration:

Trend Alert: Acrylic Accents

Nothing says “modern” like the look and feel of acrylic (A.K.A. Lucite or Plexiglass). The clear simplicity of the material invokes a sense of science fiction, like a scene from Blade Runner or Back to the Future Part II. This has allowed it to stay in popular design ever since its introduction in the 1930s. However, acrylic’s inherent versatility allows it to work with any design style, not just modern.

In visual terms, clear acrylic can work with any color scheme. In rooms dominated by colorful patterns, acrylic accents are great because they don’t take up any extra visual space.

Acrylic is almost impossible to break on accident, making it perfect for shelving and storage. As a plus, it’s easy to clean. Keep in mind. you might be tempted to use a glass cleaner like Windex, you should stick to using only plastic cleaner and microfiber cloth on acrylic surfaces. Keeping acrylic clean will also compel you to keep what’s on or in it nice and organized (or fashionably unorganized).

Industry Ed with Richard: Kitchen & Bath Guideline Series – Showers

In this post we will discuss the NKBA Kitchen and Bathroom Planning Guidelines, by first stating the guidelines and then pointing out their importance and giving insight on solutions and practices based on my industry experience. Find out more about NKBA here.

Showers

NKBA Guidelines

  • The minimum interior shower size is 30″ x 30″ or 900 square inches, in which a disc of 30″ in diameter must fit. 
  • The shower controls should be accessible from both inside and outside the shower spray and be located between 38″ and 48″ above the floor depending on the user’s height. 
  • Grab bars should be placed at 33″ to 36″ above the floor and must be 1.25″ to 2″ in diameter and extend 1.5″ from the wall.

My Experience

  • If you’re including a seat, your shower should be at least 54″ x 36″. 
    • Having a seat is a good idea if you want to sit down or scrub your legs easily. 
  • If you want room for two shower heads, your shower dimensions should be at least 60″ x 36″.
    • Generally, your shower heads should be about 72″ A.F.F. (above the finished floor), depending on your height. 
  • Handheld shower heads are great if you don’t want to get your hair wet or if you have trouble cleaning those hard-to-reach places.
    • Handheld shower heads are also great for, if anything, cleaning your shower.
  • The biggest challenge when designing a shower is water consumption. Tankless water heaters can help, but it’s important to discuss with your plumber. 
  • Shower doors should extend to about 80″ – 84″ A.F.F.
    • Doorless showers are becoming more popular, but it’s important to keep shower head placement in mind so that water doesn’t leak out into the room. 
      • You want at least 2.5′ of space between the threshold and the main shower area.
      • Keep in mind that your valve can be placed apart from your shower head, allowing for valves near the entrance with the head a safe distance away. 
  • Curbless showers look fantastic and are great for accessibility. For more info on curbless showers, check out our previous blog post. 

Simple yet Impressive: Simple Cabinet Door Styles that make an Impression

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Going simple never means compromising the quality of design. In fact, simplicity is a strong trait of the, continually rising in popularity, transitional style, which pairs traditional and contemporary styles together. With the transitional style we have seen a real shift from the more traditional and ornate cabinet door styles to doors that are a little more simple. A simpler door style is more versatile. As design trends come and go, the cabinets will withstand the changes. And the plus side? Less intricacies equals less nooks and crannies to scrub clean! Here are some simple door styles that make the best impressions!

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Trend Alert: Low-lying Beds



These days it seems like beds are at an all time low. Many mattresses no longer require a boxspring, and some modern bed frames rest only a few inches above the floor. Some consider this trend inconvenient – who wants to squat that low just to get in and out of bed? Others see it as an innovative and sometimes necessary design choice. 
For rooms with lower ceilings, a lower bed is an obvious choice, but even in a room with a higher ceiling, lowering the bed is a simple and stylish way to free up some wall space for decoration. 

In terms of practicality, lower bed frames can be used for extra storage space and even upgraded to house power outlets and USB ports. 
Whether for convenience or aesthetic, low beds are catching on. If you choose to feature a low bed in your bedroom, make sure the rest of your furniture fits proportionally.

Trend Alert: Texture in Marbling

Marbling is the art of printing multi-colored swirled or stone-like patterns on paper or fabric. The patterns are formed by first floating the colors on the surface of a liquid, and then laying the paper or fabric onto the colors to absorb them. (It is not at all the same art as faux marbre, or faux finishes, which involves painting a marble-like finish directly onto walls, columns, or furniture.) 

We love the wallpaper shown above that mimics this same ancient marbling technique.  We are seeing this texturing being applied to all sorts of home decor items such as bowls, plates, planters, rugs, wall surfaces, etc and have even seen this trend show up in fashion!

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Here is a youtube video that shows the intricate process of marbling.

Here are a few examples of paper marbling translated into interior design decor:

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And our designers’ picks:


Inspiring Backyards: Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Backyard

We are in the midst of spring and the warm weather brings us outdoors more and more, and so the backyard projects begin! The outdoor projects are as satisfying as unwinding in that outdoor space. Or is it, the projects make the unwind time more satisfying? Well, to get you started, here are some inspiring backyards that will give you lots of ideas for sprucing up your backyard!

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Rugs are a great way to make your outdoor space feel more like a comfy interior, but a great way to get the look of a rug without the maintenance is to paint the concrete!
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Love the built in seating!

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Orient your seating under a large back yard tree. The tree creates a canopy for shade.

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Are you seeing a trend here…? Look at all the string lights. Its great to have a layering of lighting (see our past blog on outdoor lighting), like chandeliers, garden lighting, and even strings lights.

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Check out these great swing ideas!

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PLANTERS! Not only should you have some fixed flower beds, but add pots and planters, this adds some depth to the space.

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Slat walls are perfect for creating barriers as well as bringing in a vertical element to your space. AND you can hang lights or grow plants on them!

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History Lesson: Jean-Michel Frank

Artists inevitably take inspiration from the world around them, and it’s hard to imagine a richer environment than Paris in the 1930s, when Jean-Michel Frank was the most celebrated decorator and designer of the era. His projects were often to decorate rooms with Picassos and Braques hanging on the walls, and his circles included everyone from Parisian artists to socialites, Man Ray to the Rockefellers.

But Frank’s style is hard to describe. He’s known as a minimalist, but it’s his layer of maximalism that makes his work so interesting and complex. He was understated and restrained in the shapes of furniture he designed, but often dressed them in opulent materials: ornate mica screens, bronze doors, lamps made of quartz, as well as the shagreen-covered vanity and cubic sheepskin club chair he created for Hermès. Frank’s favorite color was white, which he made appear both spare and rich. And he’s credited with designing one of the most iconic minimalist pieces of furniture in history—the Parsons table—but would often cover the tables with the most luxe finishes.



Despite his keen eye for design and quality, Frank found the elements of daily life key to any space, and believed “perfect taste” to be a recipe for a soulless room.

A distant cousin of the famed diarist Anne Frank, he fled France around 1940 to escape Nazi occupation, and worked and traveled in South America and the United States. Sadly, he committed suicide by jumping from a Manhattan building in 1941, at the age of 46. But his work is still celebrated in museums today, and you can buy reproductions of some of his most iconic furniture pieces designed for Hermès.