Monday, August 18, 2014


     I have heard the "word" and seen it written in print, Charcoal or DARK Gray is the NEW BLACK?  Fashion Design influences the Interior Design trends. The Pantone of the year first appears in Paris, London and Italy making it's way into all aspects of the clothing industry.  The Interior Design industry is about six months behind.  

     Trending is subjective. Above all else, ones own preference should dictate what colors are used when designing a room or the entire home.  In the Interior Design world, gray may be replacing black as a popular alternative to use for paint, fabric and other textiles it will never trump black.  Black is a standard, classic, timeless color.  Black velvet wing chairs, an ottoman or laquered furniture pieces will never go out of style. I have observed black trimmed doors and windows popping up in all styles of design from traditional to contemporary.  It is indeed so classic it does have staying power.  Gray is also classic yet defining an entire room with gray trim will not stand the test of time.  

     I suggested my client paint the doors in his foyer as well as the railing a color just shy of black.  A dark, graphite gray.  It is beautiful.  It was the right shade of gray.  This brings me to my main point. Black is black.  The many shades of gray can lead to confusion and costly mistakes.  Stick with the classic black and add gray in small amounts.  The result, a interior space well defined and standing the test of the trending times.  

     Here are some examples of classic black used in design as well as shades of gray.  Can you tell the difference?  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Conversation ... A Design Plan and THE GOLDEN MEAN

     Every home I have designed has one ingredient in common, each room is having a conversation with the other.  They relate, not literally, to each other yet have different characteristics.  Like people each room can have unique identifiers.  Ultimately the whole home will flow seamlessly through transition and repetition.  You may ask, what is she talking about or how does that happen?  Answer:  I am a designer, I have a gift and education to execute a beautiful design plan for you and your family.  I have an eye on design and share my observations on this blog.  This can assist you as well.  

     Early in my life I was aware something within me sought to reorder the spaces surrounding me.  I never understood what I possessed until a design class at the university four years ago. I learned about a mathematical ratio or proportions. The golden mean or the golden ratio.  The Greeks identified these proportions to be the most aesthetically pleasing and harmonious to the human eye.  Bringing a sense of balance by using the 3, 5 or 7 rule creates asymmetrical balance, flow and ultimately beauty to a design.  This is not something I have been told one can necessarily be taught in the school of design, one is born with it.  So, I finally knew why I rearranged, edited, added and critiqued rooms, buildings, homes and entire neighborhoods wherever I happened to be. I possess the GOLDEN MEAN.

The timeline from Wikipedia:

Timeline according to Priya Hemenway:[17]
Phidias (490–430 BC) made the Parthenon statues that seem to embody the golden ratio.
Plato (427–347 BC), in his Timaeus, describes five possible regular solids (the Platonic solids: the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron), some of which are related to the golden ratio.[18]
Euclid (c. 325–c. 265 BC), in his Elements, gave the first recorded definition of the golden ratio, which he called, as translated into English, "extreme and mean ratio" 

A fireplace designed with the ratio in mind. This was challenging, the client likes symmetry.  By using geometry we achieved a one of a kind, two sided fireplace
with the correct proportions.
     Throughout history this ratio is used in many ways, design and architecture are two of them.  A home in Great Falls, Virginia  I designed two years ago is a perfect example of the application of the golden mean.  Photos of my clients beautiful home just after it was finished are below. I have taken photos since then but, we are still working on the last 10%, the furniture and decor.  More photos to come when the home is completed. 

The balance and flow in this home is achieved through the use of color, texture and shape.  The black accents throughout the home work well in the overall design plan.
A black stain was used to achieve the dark stairway appearance.  The two gray colors show the layering of paint colors to achieve a conversation between the spaces.

The powder room in a light teal green.  We added a little bling here and there with lighting.

A Ralph Lauren Metallic Gray paint was used in this cove ceiling. Again, the repetition continues the conversation between room and floors.  This is the master suite.

The dream kitchen with arabesque tile backsplash. The dark grout highlights the tile pattern and ties in the color as part of the overall design scheme.

The two sided fireplace separates the sunroom from the family room.

The layering of three colors of gray paint on the walls along with the repetition of black accents achieves
the golden mean.

Warm up indoors or out with a two sided fireplace.

Harmony and balance.

The shower goes high tech and GLAM!
A view into the en suite.

The main floor guest suite.  The same color palette is used throughout the main level.  Benjamin Moore, Dior Gray was the jumping off point for the main level.  By layering the darker and lighter shade of Gray I designed a home where each room flows seamlessly into the next.  This highlight the architectural details and achieves the golden ratio.  Three colors of Gray were used.

One of my favorite photos.  Why?  It is an example of the design details used throughout the home.  Arched doorways were not on the plan.  Collaborating the Custom Builder, TriCrest Homes, made this project the success it is.  I asked to arch the doorways and he made it happen.

The ceiling shape reflects the shape of the tub.

The walk in closet. A custom made island with a black chandelier continue the flow throughout the home.  Details including the paint and fixtures are consistent throughout the home.

The Master Bath.  Repetition, a combination of textures, shape and color make this space stunning.

The children's cubby. A great use of space.

The front of the home post construction.

Phase One of the outdoor living area. Phase two is completed, Phase three will begin soon.

More photos to come soon... And remember, always use 3, 5 or 7... when arranging a vignette, never two or four.  Why?
The answer lies in the secret of the golden mean.

Thanks for reading, Dorothy