Design Tips

Linda Shears used an oversized art piece to anchor this mantel setting. Photo by Beth Singer
Linda Shears used an oversized art piece to anchor this mantel setting. Photo by Beth Singer

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mantel Décor

The holidays are right around the corner and many of us will be adorning our fireplace mantels with seasonal favorites. But the holidays aren’t the only opportunity to dress up this key focal point in many homes. We asked a few of the area’s top designers to share their tips for creating a stunning mantel.

“A fireplace is a strong architectural focal point. A mantel crowns the fireplace and the way it is decorated has dramatic impact in any room. In many of today’s homes, flat-screen televisions now hang above the mantel. For my clients’ family room, their television rests within a custom built-in unit across from the sofa. So, we had the advantage of allowing an oversize piece of art anchor the setting and help the fireplace achieve its love of being the center of attention. To balance the statement art, we kept the accessories bold and simple – two oversized wood finials and a massive candlestick rest upon the mantel. The asymmetric placement takes a cue from the cozy informal décor of the room. Well-placed recessed lighting highlights the mantel and draws the eye toward it and its design elements, as do the window treatments that frame the fireplace. Although not shown in the photo above, my clients love to decorate for the various holidays throughout the year. The mantel is enhanced seasonally in fun ways to showcase the clients’ cyclic collections.”
 – Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

"This traditional mantel was accessorized with a collection of heavily textured bisque ceramic pottery – it's always my goal to have a design theme when placing accessories on a mantel."
 – Amy Weinstein, AMW Design Studio

“As seen in both mantel designs above, less is more. A very traditional mantel and a contemporary mantel have similarities by repeating an object. Candleholders in the traditional space flank the artwork, which allows the fine details of the millwork to be the focal point. The contemporary space repeats the metal weights, which highlight the artwork by not competing with the height of the mantel and ceiling. Throughout the seasons these objects can be replaced with ornaments, pumpkins, or floral vases.” – Margaret Skinner, Margeaux Interiors

“Try to be surprising when designing a mantel. As seen in the photo above with the tall red artwork, we used pairs but off-set them to the side. We also prefer to incorporate art when possible. Try leaning a picture or overlapping pictures for a layered look. Don’t be afraid to be bold, and try to use a texture that you find somewhere else in the room. If you like symmetry, try throwing in a piece that looks the same in mass but maybe doesn’t exactly match.” – Dan Davis and Paul Johnson, Dan Davis Design

Amy Weinstein’s home underwent a massive renovation to create the ultimate live-work space.
Amy Weinstein’s home underwent a massive renovation to create the ultimate live-work space.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Total Transformations

MDC’s “Total Transformations” Home Tour was a great success, so we thought it appropriate to highlight some of the dramatic transformations that were on display during the tour, as well as several additional renovations completed by the area’s top designers.

The home of interior designer Amy Weinstein was built in 1959 as a Colonial but was remodeled in 2016 with a modern farm-style exterior and a classic midcentury interior. A 900-square-foot addition was built onto the back. The extensive interior renovation included opening up walls, relocating the kitchen, as well as adding a home office and second bathroom. The home has all new mechanical systems, interior finishes, and built-ins. Amy Weinstein, AMW Design Studio

“This is a master bathroom of a Grosse Pointe residence. The bathroom was in very bad repair and needed a complete overhaul. One of the biggest challenges was a sunk-in tub with long glass block windows on either side of it. We redesigned the bathroom to have a rounded tub in the back of the suite and added a large regular window. We used obscured glass on the window to avoid having to install any type of window treatment. We wanted to maintain a very clean, spa look. For some added drama, we used an oversized mirror and two crystal sconces behind the tub deck and a crystal chandelier in the center of the room. We also chose a very subtle marble that we ran all the way up to the ceiling around the entire room where the tub is. In the area where the vanity is we opted for a subtle but fun wallpaper that would pop a little off the white cabinets.” Ann-Marie Anton, It’s Personal Design

“This former seldom-used living room, with its mauve and blue décor circa 1980s Miami Vice, was transformed into a sophisticated music room. As a child, the homeowner took years of piano lessons, and as an adult, she renewed her interest and began taking instruction again. Practicing on a simple keyboard, she dreamed of graduating to her own baby grand piano, which is now the featured item in this space. To keep the setting warm and intimate, the ceiling of the room was coffered and bronzed in a faux finish. The walls were given a two-toned color wash. A settee and accent chairs welcome guests and bring the room full circle for an evening of music. Across the hall in the dining room, the timeless travertine dining table was the only original piece retained. We used Sherwin-Williams #7583 Wild Current on the walls to help transform a very dated space into this eclectic and sophisticated dining area. Dining rooms are spaces where bold dramatic wall colors work very well as backdrops. In particular, a classic rich deep red sparks the appetite and stimulates conversation. It creates warmth and sets the stage for meal celebrations with family and friends.”
 Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

“My client’s home that was featured on the MDC Home Tour was a complete renovation with the expansion of several rooms to improve functionality and flow. I employed bold wall colors to enhance the elaborate millwork. Traditional furnishings with modern and contemporary fabric motifs were also specified to give the home an updated, 21st century appeal. However, in some cases, antiques were mixed in with the new additions; for example the wheat sconces in the foyer and the late 19th-century bergeres that were reupholstered in white patent leather. The additional home pictured above was for clients in Davisburg. In the living room, a warmer paint color was chosen to give this space some personality. New furnishings give the room structure and functionality while the ceiling fan was swapped out for a dazzling chandelier to produce more ambient light. Accessories play a big role in giving this living room that finishing touch. In the master en suite, elaborate wall moldings, judicious use of wallcovering (on the ceiling in this situation), new furnishings, lighting, and fabrics were the key to this transformation.”
Corey Damen Jenkins, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates

Click here to see photos from all the homes that were featured on MDC’s “Total Transformations” Home Tour.

This teenage girl's room designed by Toby Sneider was inspired by her fashionable wardrobe. Photo by Beth Singer
This teenage girl's room designed by Toby Sneider was inspired by her fashionable wardrobe. Photo by Beth Singer

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fashion in Design

The fashion industry has historically influenced interior design. Although fashion was once reliably the forecast leader ahead of design, today’s climate is different, with design sometimes setting the trends. Here are some examples of what we’re seeing this fall.

“In designing a teenage girl's room, my inspiration was her own fashionable attire which is a mixture of feminine, modern, and vintage clothing. I used feminine touches of ruffles and pastel colors along with vintage designs in the iron bed, nightstands, and wallcovering. Modern touches were incorporated in the clean-lined sofa and custom dresser (not shown). The mannequin displays the client's creative side in designing and sewing many of her own clothes.” – Toby Sneider, Sneider Custom Interiors

“According to W magazine and many other sources, this year PLAID is a must have! We just completed a house and used touches of plaid throughout. We are seeing some great colorful plaids in the fabric showrooms. Plaid proves to be a fun and unexpected pattern to throw into an eclectic mix. And with the new colorways, plaid can fit into almost any space, whether it is quietly subdued or wonderfully dramatic. We are currently using it in a new project as well that is just getting off the ground.” – Dan Davis, Dan Davis Design

“Back in black! This women's staple is the design trend of 2017-18. Paired with green, pink, or any other color on the wheel, we are all right at home. Today's robust economy is reflected in our apparel and home. Contrast equals daring, let's do this!” – Dawn Jacobs, Artichoke Interiors

“Just as a lady adorns herself with jewelry for a night out on the town, designers have the opportunity to dress their clients’ homes with decorative drapery or cabinet hardware. Often, the hardware can incorporate crystals or decorative accents that can take a project from ordinary to extraordinary. A great example of this is Evolutions from JF Fabrics, a collection of crystal drapery hardware made with Swarovski elements.” – Meagan Argenti, Room Service Interior Design

Fashion designers themselves are increasingly introducing their own home furnishing collaborations, many of which are available through MDC showrooms. Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, and Diane von Furstenberg all have collections available through Kravet, and The Ghiordes Knot offers a collection of rugs made by the Italian fashion house Missoni. Most recently, Schumacher teamed up with Vogue Living to offer a collection of fabrics and wallcoverings that bring the world of fashion home.