What happened to HGTV?

This topic has probably been beat to death all over the internet, but it’s still bothering me…so again I ask, what happened to HGTV???  Remember when there were actually designers and design shows on HGTV?  Remember when it was just Candice Olson, her “hunky” carpenter Paul and Chico the electrician???  I used to love how she would talk through all of her decisions and lead you to the end result.  Now her show is so overdone and full of useless fluff that I can barely sit through it (although, she still does fabulous work – the woman is gifted).  Oh, and I LOVED Jane Lockhart and the color wheel…sigh…now it’s Property Brothers, Love it or List it and House Hunters all day, every day.  Seriously?

Ratings, budget, blah blah blah – I get the “why”, but do they really think that variations of the same 3 shows 24/7 will help?

All that aside, their most heinous crime in my opinion is not actually giving the Design Stars their promised show (besides David).  I read that Kim’s show got cancelled due to a hate campaign by Todd’s followers (2nd place runner up who eventually got his own show, but now even he’s gone too).  And Antonio had a show for a season or 2.  I can’t remember the blond’s name who won the next season, but I saw maybe one episode, and after that…nothing?  What happened to Danielle 2 seasons ago?  I’ll be shocked if there’s actually a show for last season’s winner.

HGTV, is it really that much more expensive to follow a designer around than a real estate agent?

I owe, in part, what I’m doing today to those early shows on HGTV, so it pains me to see the direction the station is going in.  But likely with the internet, it won’t matter someday soon.  My father teaches video production..maybe I’ll shoot my own youtube design show :-).

 

 

 

Advertisements

Citrus Contemporary Final Result

This was probably one of my easiest projects because my client had many good pieces for me to work with, including a beautiful Karastan rug, a neutral sofa in great condition, side tables, side chairs and several art pieces.  Sounds great, right?  So what was the problem?  As I mentioned in my first post on this project, almost everything in the space was the exact same color.  She’d done what many homeowners do when faced with choosing color:  she over-beiged.

Here is a look at the room before:

"Before" shot of the room

“Before” shot of the room

BEFORE_diningarea

 

The beige bridge artwork and fun but also beige monkey console table blend into the beige wall.  The wood tones of the furniture blend into the floor because they are the same.  The sofa is swallowed by the wall and rug, and did you even notice that there’s a fireplace?

The plan was to liven things up a bit with a splash of citrus:

citrus_contemp_concept

And if you missed my previous post, here is another look at the designs:

render4_fireplace2

I lightened the walls to brighten the space overall, then darkened the fireplace mantel to add contrast and make it more of a focal point.  I replaced her dining set with a set in an espresso finish to again provide contrast, anchored the space with an area rug in a similar color palette, and proposed a dramatic light fixture.

render3_dining2

I moved the sofa off of the far wall and put the fun monkey console table behind it.  I kept her side tables but added a new bright yellow one, and a carved tribal coffee table.

render2_accentwall

Here’s how it all turned out:

Citrus Contemporary Living Room by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

Amazing what a difference a few pillows can make, and I love how well the tables all work together.

Citrus Contemporary Living Room Makeover by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

I moved her bridge artwork to the side wall, and now that the walls are lighter, they’re much more noticeable:

Citrus Contemporary Living Room Makeover by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

I love this light fixture so much, I’m getting one for my own house.  Simple yet dramatic.

Citrus Contemporary Dining Room Makeover by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

Citrus Contemporary Dining Room Makeover by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

A new buffet provides additional storage, and allowed me to add more light and artwork to the space:

Citrus Contemporary Dining Room Makeover by Black Cat Interiors

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography

Kid Friendly Family Room

I was recently contacted by a family in Wisconsin about designing a kid-friendly family room.  They’re ‘do-it-yourselfers’, ready to put in the effort to makeover their basement but acknowledge that they lack the creative vision to put the space together themselves.  Here is where online interior design comes in (since I’m nowhere near Wisconsin :-)).

They sent me dimensions and photos of their existing space…

roomphoto1 roomphoto3 roomphoto4…along with a wish list and inspiration photos, indicating colors and styles that they prefer:

inspiration2 inspiration3 inspiration6

I pulled the color palette directly from the inspiration photos, loving the light and airy feel of blues and greens with a splash of yellow:

kidfriendly_concept-1

What I think they struggled most with however, was a floor plan and how to work all of their various wishlist items into one space.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Wishlist Item 1 – TV Viewing Area & Board Game Storage:  I started with this and worked backwards, adding birch tree wallpaper to the far wall to make it a focal point, and a sectional for comfortable seating.  The oversized beach prints pull in the aqua accent color, and the overall palette is light and airy which helps to banish the typical basement, underground feel.

(Also note the new laminate – but gorgeous – rustic hardwood flooring.  Laminate gets a bad rap sometimes, but it’s great for basement spaces because it’ll withstand the elements and other hardships.)

render10_accentwall

2. Wishlist Item 2 – Craft & Game Area:  Area rugs are great for defining spaces, so I added another one to anchor the craft and game space.  The ceilings are too low for a fabulous chandelier (one of my favorite things to add to a space), so I added a fabulous floor lamp instead.  I love the apple green chairs here because it’s a fun, energetic color and anyone can attain this look by spray painting chairs any color they prefer.

render11_tvwall

3. Wishlist Item 3 – Treadmill:   Not aesthetically pleasing, but necessary, so I tucked this off into the corner near the awkward overhang that could serve no other purpose otherwise anyway (their budget did not support custom carpentry to add storage here).

render12_treadmill

4. Wishlist Item 4 – Photo Collage:  I love photo collages, likely because they’re so easy to do and have such an impact.  My clients wanted an area to proudly display their child’s artwork and easily change it out with newer masterpieces, so I included this at the base of the stairs – pretty much the first thing anyone will see coming into the space.

render13_photocollage

I included these items on my own, hoping to add additional value as a designer:

  • Chalkboard paint – yes, kids, you can now draw on the walls!
  • Cubbies and storage boxes – storage for all of those toys, and yes, functional can also look good
  • Mirror and lamps – basements need all the light they can get, and mirrors help reflect light and bounce it around the room
  • Curtains – I tied all of the different areas in the space together by using the same curtains on all of the windows

render14_chalkboard

5. Wishlist Item 5 – Lighting Plan:  How do you light a basement?  Like this.  I won’t bore you with the details but I’m happy to answer questions if you’d like more information.

render15_lightplan

Here’s an aerial view of the space:

 

render16_full

I sent these renderings along with a Pinterest Board identifying all of the items I’d included in the design, and now they are off creating their Kid Friendly Family space.  I’m excited to see the final results!

 

 

 

Zen Inspired Final Result

Awhile ago I began a project for a client who wanted a Japanese, Zen-inspired design for her high-rise condo with blue and red accent colors.  Here is the space we began with:

LivingRoomB4

A big leather couch and matching chair overpowered the space, and beyond the muted red and indigo in the area rug, there was almost no color.  There was also the “hodgepodge” feel that results when pieces in a space aren’t tied together.

And here was the dining room:

diningroomB4

As I mentioned in the design phase, I was challenged with:

  • Seating for 6 in a small space, without using a sectional
  • A Tokonoma wall (Not sure what this is? I had to research it too)
  • Use of their existing area rug
  • Use of their existing art work
  • Reupholstery of 2 of their existing chairs
  • A neutral backdrop with indigo and red accents
  • A wall-mounted TV
  • A wall-mounted electric fireplace
  • Better display for the pottery collection
  • And oh yes, did I mention that the pottery has a Southwestern feel????

I began with the concept board below which they loved.  The main idea was to bring order to the space, add Japanese accents, and incorporate her color choices through accessories.  I’m not usually a fan of red and/or navy but I do like how this turned out:

concept  Following approval of the concept board, I proposed this design:

render2

The biggest proposed change was building out a portion of the focal wall which would create an inset where I could add shelving.  I proposed mounting the TV on the buildout above a new mantel, and an electric fireplace requested by the client below the mantel.  Sconces on either side of the TV add a bit of Asian flare while also allowing me to remove some of the lamps that were cluttering the space.  I continued the shelving onto the window wall, reinforcing the clean lines often seen in Zen designs and made a feature of the client’s Southwestern pottery.  I replaced the oversized leather couch with a low profile loveseat, and the leather chair with 2 accent chairs.  I proposed reupholstering the existing swivel chairs in a navy fabric, and arranging the furniture in a clean, symmetrical layout (very Zen).

In the dining room, I proposed adding a Japanese style pendant, reupholstering the chairs in red fabric and a new area rug.

dining_render

And….drum roll please…after months and months, here is the finished space…

"Zen Inspired Living Room by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Weiringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

And the dining room (note the new kitchen pendants):

"Zen Inspired Dining Room by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

I love the new China cabinet that also has wine storage, and the reupholstered dining chairs look fantastic:

"Zen Inspired Living & Dining Room by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

As I mentioned previously, a Tokonoma wall was specifically requested:

"Tokonoma Wall by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

Close-up of the reupholstered chair, my client’s pottery collection and great view of the Seattle Space Needle (yes folks, that’s real – not PhotoShopped):

"Zen Inspired Design by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

In the foyer, I added a new Asian-inspired console table:

"Zen Inspired Design by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

…and a bamboo mat to help protect their brand new hardwood floors:

"Zen Inspired Design by Black Cat Interiors"

Photos courtesy of Doug Wieringa Photography: http://photography.dougwieringa.com

We’re all very pleased with how the project turned out.  What do you think?

 

 

Citrus Contemporary Designs

I presented designs last week and received approval, so we’re ready to begin the process of making over the space.  It isn’t the worst space I’ve seen by any means, it’s just a bit bland because of the overuse of the exact same color:  beige.  Even in monochromatic schemes, you’d want to vary the shades within the same tone, but as you can see in the photo of the room as it is now, all of the beiges are the same:

"Before" shot of the room

“Before” shot of the room

Notice how the couch is the same color as the wall, which is the same as the blinds and the lamp shade and the rug, and the dining table is the same wood tone as the floor and the media cabinet and, well…you get the point.  Sometimes when this happens, clients will me that they don’t like any of the pieces even though they liked them individually before getting them home and into the room.  The pieces themselves are actually really nice (I love the rug) – the problem is tying them together.  I’m confident however, that when all is said and done, she will love all of these pieces again.

Here is my proposed design:

render2_accentwall

As I mentioned during the concept phase, I’ll punch up the beige with splashes of citrus. I’m also proposing a textural wallpaper on the window wall to add interest.  I’ll lighten the walls to vary the shades within the same tone, and darken the fireplace mantel (I bet you didn’t even notice the fireplace in the above “before” picture, did you?) to tie into the rug, and so that the tiles stand out a bit more.  We’ll replace the dining set with one that has an espresso finish for contrast, and add a unique light fixture as a statement piece.

Here’s another “before” shot from the opposite end of the room, looking back towards the dining area.  This really shows how similar all of the wood tones are.

BEFORE_diningarea

And here’s the proposed design:

render3_dining2

 

render4_fireplace2

We’ll move the large cabinet over to the right wall and put a buffet in its place that will allow us to add more lighting and a mirror.  The dining area will be anchored with an area rug that ties into the color palette and existing rug without matching it completely.  With the TV mounted over the fireplace, we’ll place the media cabinet under the window, and we’ll move the fun monkey table (currently between the dining area and the fireplace) behind the couch, which is also being moved so that it’s perpendicular to the focal wall.

With the designs signed off on, I’m ready to shop!

The Beauty of Online Interior Design

I was contacted last week by a couple who’d just bought a home and went furniture shopping but were hesitant to purchase anything without knowing how the pieces would look together in the space.  I was provided with links to all of the potential pieces, a floor plan and pictures of the room and asked if I could put it all together along with a little bit of design guidance.

Yes, I absolutely can. Ah, the beauty of interior design.

After reviewing the links to all of the potential pieces, I put together a concept board to ensure I was headed in the right direction (the couch, table & chairs and sideboard were chosen by the client, I added the rest):

concept-1

 

This was approved with flying colors, which isn’t surprising since the client had already chosen a good chunk of the pieces.  But I did have to glean their preference for modern, clean lines, then tie the palette together with a few choice accessories.

Following approval, I developed the 3D model and sent renders showing their selected pieces and how I would style the space.

render_full1 render2_diningroom render3_diningroom render4_diningroom

 

These too were very well received, and now after having seen how great the pieces can look in the space, the clients are ready to purchase – and have an interior design “roadmap” to follow when the pieces arrive.

 

 

Newest Project – Citrus Contemporary

I was called in on my newest project because my client had done what a lot of homeowners do, she over-beiged.  Beige walls, beige couch, beige blinds, beige rug.  Now she hates the space.

I understand why people do this.  Beige is the perfect color between white (that can sometimes feel barren and un-lived in, depending on how it’s used) and real color that can be so scary.  Not to detract from beige…when used correctly, it can be quite beautiful – I actually really do like the color.  However, in this case (as is often the case), it’s too much, and it turned her space into a boring, bland, sea of  beige :-(.

Since some of the major pieces are beige and have to stay, I’m going to work with it, but I’ll freshen it up with an injection of citrus – yellows and poppies (her favorite colors) and a bit of white.

citrus_contemp_concept

Zen Inspired Approval

I was extremely nervous about showing the concept and design, mostly because I wasn’t sure I could achieve everything the clients were requesting while maintaining a clean, minimal Zen aesthetic. I was tasked with:

  • Seating for 6 in a small space, without using a sectional
  • A Tokonoma wall (Not sure what this is? I had to research it too)
  • Use of their existing area rug
  • Use of their existing art work
  • Reupholstery of 2 of their existing chairs
  • A neutral backdrop with indigo and red accents
  • A wall-mounted TV
  • A wall-mounted electric fireplace
  • Better display for the pottery collection
  • And oh yes, did I mention that the pottery has a Southwestern feel????

I felt pretty good about the concept board, but didn’t post the 3D model thinking it would likely undergo significant revising.  However, the clients were happy with it, approved it on the spot and promptly asked if I would also start work on their office space.

Since approved, I will show the design :-).  But first, here’s a “before” shot: LivingRoomB4 And here’s my proposed design.  Note that though the fireplace is electric and doesn’t need it, we’ll build out the wall to both serve as a focal point, and create an area on either side of it where shelves can be installed. render2 Their existing chairs will be re-upholstered in a blue fabric and we’ll add 2 accent chairs opposite them so there’s seating for 6. The clients didn’t want Shoji screens but the straight lines and dark wood of the shelves and mantel help create the same feel. Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 9.32.36 PM I used red in small doses but in fun, Asian-inspired fabrics.  Though not shown here, their dining room chairs will also be recovered in a red, exotic fabric. The blue scroll on the wall on the right is the Tokonoma wall.  I’ll highlight it by painting part of the wall behind it the same darker tan that will be used in the insets on either side of the fireplace.   Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 9.44.24 PM   The Southwestern pots will sit proudly on floating shelves on the window wall.  Note that the carpet is being replaced with dark hardwood floors throughout the entire space. And now, the fun begins!

Radiant Orchid Dining Room

I was inspired by Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid when I designed the dining room attached to the Sapphire Media room.  It also happens to be one of my favorite colors and since I’ve been banned from using it in my own home, I was extremely excited to splash it all over someone else’s 🙂

Here’s where we started – pretty much a blank canvas:

BEFORE_diningroom

And here’s what I proposed:

DiningRoomRender_1

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 2.03.28 PM

The room has been painted, we ordered carpet tiles, and chose this interesting triple light pendant:

trilampNow we are working on wall art.  Inspired by Radiant Orchid and the clients’ request to bring nature in, I couldn’t help but choose purple flowers as the subject.  Originally, I proposed the series shown in the middle of the concept below:

GroverDiningConcept

They love the first 2, but think the 3rd looks like “worms” 🙂  So I’ve been working on a replacement option, and I have to say that I could look at purple flower photography all day long.  Here are my favorites so far:

Iris lotus purpleswirlpetal stemflower Any of these will look stunning once framed and up on the walls.

Zen Inspired Project

Tomorrow I’m presenting the concept board and preliminary designs for my Zen Inspired project.  I am nervous about this one, as it was quite a challenge to meet all of the asks of the clients while maintaining the clean, minimal aesthetic that is Zen.  After pushing through the creative block that I always seem to face at the start of these projects, I was finally able to put together a design that I’m happy with.  Hopefully, the clients will be happy too.  Wish me luck!

concept