A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wood Tables Warm Up a Space

A home tour that ran a few weeks ago in DesignSponge really caught my eye. It featured the home of designer Michael Freimuth, who has a cool rustic-meets-vintage-modern space in Brooklyn. In particular, I loved the way he used a real tree stump as a side table.
(photography by Bob Martus and Jessica Weit)

In the sneak peek, Michael said, "I’ve been hauling this tree stump with me for the last decade; it’s the best part of moving. It probably weighs close to 100 lbs and enjoys rolling down streets, stairs and traveling cross-country (it’s originally from a park in my hometown of Chicago)."

Since we're not lucky enough to have found our own beloved stump, I started looking for alternatives -- and there are quite a few good ones out there.
These Teak Trunks from VivaTerra are beautiful -- and on sale for $319 for the set.
VivaTerra also offers the favorite Twisty Stool -- also on sale now if you buy a set of two.
West Elm offers this appropriately-titled Natural Tree Stump Side table, for $199.

And for a slightly different twist on the cut wood theme, try the Timber Side Tables from CB2 -- $169 for a set of three. 
Whatever your decor style, a touch of raw wood will add warmth and ground your space. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Reasons to Use White

This week we once again visited the SF Benjamin Moore showroom, where we were treated to a presentation about the power of white in interior design. It may seem strange for Benjamin Moore, which is known for its vibrant color selection, to be promoting white. It also may seem a little strange for us, self-professed color-lovers, to get excited about white. But we learned from the experts on the panel (Linda O'Keeffe, author of Brilliant: White in Design, designer Jay Jeffers, and designer Elizabeth Martin) that there are plenty of reasons to love white in your decorating scheme.

1. White is timeless. White walls, white sofas, white rugs -- they always look modern, and they never go in and out of style.
(from Brilliant: White in Design, photographed by Carlos Domenech)

2. Everything looks good against white. Think of bright green lettuce or red peppers on a white plate, or a colorful Jackson Pollack painting hanging on a white wall. And, as Linda pointed out, "almost every person looks great in a crisp white shirt." White provides a background that showcases everything around it. It certainly makes these macarons pop!
(from Brilliant: White in Design, photographed by Carlos Rodriguez)

3. White is not distracting. When a rug, or a vase, or a computer is white, you can really see the form of the piece itself. Your eyes take in the curves, angles or texture, instead of being distracted by the color. Check out the different texture layers in this all-white room:
(from Brilliant: White in Design, photographed by Barbel Miebach)

4. White is expansive. It is definitely true that white walls open up a space. White allows you to think, and to imagine what else might be possible. It is the perfect canvas for enjoying variations in light and shadow, as seen in the photo below.
(from Brilliant: White in Design, photographed by Undine Prohl)

5. White is flexible. When you use white, you don't have to worry about if other colors will complement or clash. White plays well with every other color in the rainbow.

Of course, there are some challenges in working with white. Elizabeth cautioned that stark, bright, glacier whites are difficult to use in real life. It's best to stick with slightly off-whites with either warm or cool tints. It's important to paint samples of your chosen hue on your walls and watch how it responds to different light throughout the day -- you might find that the white you love during the day turns lavender at night.

Anyway you look at it, as Linda said, "White is as much at home on a picket fence as a spaceship." We couldn't agree more, and we look forward to working more white into our projects.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going Green

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (which is tomorrow), this post is all about green -- the color of grass, trees, four-leaf clovers . . . and one of our very favorite decorating colors.

We're not shy when it comes to painting rooms a lovely shade of green . . . whether it's just one wall, as we did in this bedroom for a recent Style to Sell house:

(Benjamin Moore Split Pea, 2146-30)

Or an entire dining room, this one for a Berkeley client:
(Benjamin Moore Pear Green, 2028-40)

This month's House Beautiful also focuses on green, and we loved this collage of great green items they put together:
And in Chicago, they take their love of green even farther this time of year . . .

(image via Mavea Inspired Water blog)

May the luck of the Irish be with you this weekend! Go out and get yourself some green!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Color at the Flea Market!

Bay Area decorators, collectors (and shoppers) hit the jackpot last weekend -- the Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale was on Saturday, and Sunday was the monthly Alameda Flea Market. We scored some great stuff at both events . . . and most of it was, of course, colorful.

We are always on the lookout for unusual lighting fixtures, and the Alameda Flea did not disappoint. Jill picked up two cheerful vintage orange table lamps -- $100 for the pair.

She also scored this groovy wooden multi-layered spherical lamp for just $175 -- a great investment for such a unique item.
We loved (but resisted) these bright glass and ceramic plates and trays.
Of course, the color wasn't limited to just home decor items. Jill picked up two vintage purses in the season's hottest fashion color -- bright yellow -- for less than $20 each.
At the White Elephant sale, we found two vibrant paintings that we've already hung in our space. 

Flea markets and rummage sales are excellent places to find unique art, and much of it is very affordable. It doesn't matter if you have no idea who the artist is; in fact, it's fun to imagine who might have created each piece, and when. Feel free to mix up high art and vintage "anonymous" finds on your walls -- as long as you love it, it doesn't matter.

What treasures and deals have you discovered at the flea market lately? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Design in a Snap!

We just completed a quick interior refresh for a lovely client who wanted to bring more color to her living space. This is an "after" picture . . . .
The "before" pictures are very tasteful as well. Her home was remodeled two years ago, saturated with browns, beiges and off whites -- as seen in the next four photos.

In preparation for spring, she asked us to refresh the rooms with brighter colors. We used her new doormat as our color inspiration:
We set out to find accessories in these key colors -- chartreuse and aqua blue. We visited Lotus Bleu in San Francisco and discovered just the right pillows, plus a throw and a basket. Then we added ceramics and glass accessories from West Elm in complimentary whites, blues and greens. Here are the results . . .

 We also incorporated some items she already had to create new displays for her dining room table and for the window shelf in front of her sink.
This is a fun and quick way for us to work with clients -- bringing a burst of energy to their rooms at a reasonable rate.