October 20, 2010

Green Living: J’aimerais un morceau vert de Paris!

Posted in art, decorating style, Green Interior Design, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Luxury for the home, Uncategorized at 8:15 am by luxuryforthehome

By:  Lauren Ballas – LEED AP

J’adore Paris!  I have been inspired by the city of love as it’s the hot spot for these vertical gardens.  They add artistic detail and eco-friendly intentions to any bland wall in a city.  The art form can make cities healthy, enjoyable and greener places!!!  I will be traveling to Paris, France the week before Christmas this year and can’t wait to keep my eye out for the vertical beauties!

The Musee de Quai Branly in Paris, France...Vertical Garden

On a smaller scale, with living wall art and sculptures you can enjoy the same effect in your own home.  It doubles as an air purifier and artwork!  My travels have inspired me to find different works of “living art” to go with your homes style!

Living Wall Art

Nature through and through!

The attention to detail in this piece is so enticing!  The color is subtle and the texture sooo rich.  Hang in the most popular room of the house so everyone can enjoy!

Living Wall Art

The Forest Floor!

The layers of plants are fun, flirty and fantastic in this living wall art!  It can give your home the forest floor effect and add natural color and depth to any kitchen or bathroom wall.

Vertical Moss Sculpture

Mimicking Nature with Sophistication!

I have been living in Sweden and visit the forest quite often.  I go specifically for the fresh air and scenery!  This sculpture has all the elements of a Swedish forest combined.  The forests are something out of a fairytale and so is this piece.

Just one of Sweden's forests!

Yes that’s me…The LEEDing Lady! I am living my own fairytale and enjoying all nature has to offer.

Concrete Moss Bust

When in Rome…

This living sculpture reminds me of my travel to Rome, Italy!  If you love traveling as much as I do, this piece would the perfect “green” addition to your home.

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October 18, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Bathrooms

Posted in Bathroom, Houston, Houston decoration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Luxury for the home, Luxury interior design, Master Bathroom, remodeling, Uncategorized at 9:29 am by luxuryforthehome

by Ali Adams

Do you ever walk into your bathroom and wish it were bigger and of course prettier?  I do almost on a daily basis.  Normally it is when I am standing behind my husband waiting to get in front of the sink.  I keep thinking I can figure out how to get a double vanity in there, but in reality I think we will probably move before I ever get there.  So when we do move guess what will be my main focus?  The Master Bath.

There are so many master bathrooms that I love and here are some that I think have some really great ideas.

1. Even though it is not a master bath I think this bath has lots of character.  This would have been awesome when I was a teenager!

 

Bathroom Collections - new Mimo print collections from Laufen

 

 

2.  This bathroom has such great natural light, I would love getting dressed in here.

 

Contemporary Bath by Velvet Hammerschmidt Design

 

 

3.  This one is so elegant and spacious!  I can just imagine myself soaking in the tub with a nice glass of wine.  I love the wood paneling, it is so unique for a bath.

 

Elegant Contemporary Bath by Joseph Pubilones Interiors, Inc

 

 

4.  This bath looks and feels fit for a princess with the dressing table and all.  I think anyone would enjoy spending their mornings in here.

 

Traditional Master Bath by Suzanne Furst Interiors

 

October is National Kitchen & Bath Month, call Luxury For The Home to create the master bath you have always wanted.

281-701-2461

 

 

October 14, 2010

Living Life Well- Fun Kitchen Hardware

Posted in accessories, defining your luxury, Design Ideas, Design inspiration, Hardware, Houston, Houston decoration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Kitchen design, Kitchen Hardware, Luxury for the home, Uncategorized at 10:14 am by luxuryforthehome

by Ali Adams

Do you ever look at your kitchen and just think it is kind of boring?  The easiest and most cost efficient way to revitalize your kitchen is to replace your hardware.  You can go from super elegant to way quirky.  I tend to be a little on the quirky side and as a matter of fact the last house I owned had forks and knives as the hardware which were always great conversation starters at all gatherings.

Here are a few that I think would really spice up a kitchen.  I especially like the the Kitchen ID Series from Notting Hill.  They would  really make life easier when instructing my husband in the kitchen!

 

Notting Hill: Kitchen ID Series

 

Atlas Homewares: Beaded Knobs, Image Copyrighted by Atlashomewares.com

 

Soko Studio: Manhandles

 

Kitchen hardware can make a huge statement.

Call Luxury For The Home to help you make a statement in your kitchen to live life well.

281-701-2461

October 13, 2010

Living Green: Your Style with a Side of “Green”

Posted in Design Case Study, Green Interior Design, Luxury for the home, Uncategorized at 9:07 am by luxuryforthehome

By: Lauren Ballas – LEED AP

A green home isn’t a mud hut with a chimney in the middle and it certainly doesn’t have to be the sterile type of modern design that we are seeing everywhere.  I am going to show you 3 case studies of LEED residences that don’t require you to compromise your style.  These studies should give you a taste of what a “green” home should entail!

#1 Rosewood Hills – Columbia, South Carolina  

Affordable homes that come in your style!

We all ask the question…will I be able to afford a green home?  This project is just one of many that focus on affordable LEED for Homes housing!  Pricing starts in the $170’s.  The developers included efficient irrigation, use of low VOC products, dual flush toilets, and high efficiency windows.  Even better, they integrated a program that educates the homeowners on how to operate and maintain their green homes! 

Rosewood Hills, South Carolina - LEED Gold Residences

Rosewood Hills Interiors, South Carolina – LEED Gold Residences

Above: Just look at these green homes!  At first glance, you wouldn’t believe they were Gold Certified LEED Homes.  The details are simple, yet highlight the ever so timeless colonial style!

#2 REAL Model Home – St. Petersburg, Florida

The builders’ goal was to show that a home of any style could be truly green!

Most of the green features in this home were designed around the climate, which I am sure those of us living in Houston can appreciate!  The design maximizes the natural light while minimizing the passive solar heating and additionally allows for natural ventilation.  The steady airflow reduces the need for air-conditioning and heating!  This strong and efficient home was built to withstand extreme weather and the insulation is even a soy-based formula!

REAL Model Home, Florida - LEED Gold Residence

REAL Model Home Interior, Florida – LEED Gold Residence

 Above: This beauty radiates an open seaside design with a hint of contemporary.  It’s the perfect place to feel safe, enjoy the warmth, and soak in the healthy environment…inside and out.

#3 Villa Trieste – Las Vegas, Nevada

As green as you can be!

Even though Pulte Homes had ambitions for Platinum, they did not have any intentions of giving up the wants and needs of homebuyers!  Technology permits these homes to have added energy efficiency which ends up reducing energy use by 55%.  The recycling program reduces construction waste by 75% and contributes to the affordability of the home!

Villa Trieste, Nevada - LEED Platinum Residence

Villa Trieste Interior View of the Study, Nevada - LEED Platinum Residence

Above: This Mediterranean style home doesn’t scream green at all.  The muted blues and browns give the home an open, cool, and calming effect.  Comfort and taste go hand in hand with greening your life!

The options for “green building” are endless; however, all you have to do is make smart choices and decide on what is important for your home.  Just remember, you don’t have to compromise “your style” in order gain a little “green”!

September 16, 2010

Living Life Well – Simplify

Posted in defining your luxury, Design inspiration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Luxury for the home, Luxury interior design at 4:42 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler

Today I wanted to share  a bit of my design philosophy with you. This philosophy guides my choices and designs for my life and my clients. It helps to create an environment to help you live your life well.

My most important principle is simplicity. Simplicity is difficult to achieve in the complex world of more. It, like anything else needs attention to flourish.  And just like achieving balance, sometimes simplicity is about making adjustments.

So what is the first thing we like to do for our clients?  Edit, that is reduce the amount of things.  If an object does not have a purpose, or doesn’t illicit a positive (not neutral) response from you, then it really doesn’t belong in your home.  It should bring you happiness, remind you of a fond memory or make life easier for you.

Enjoy these simple rooms.

Living Room by John Willey as featured by House Beautiful.

Master Bedroom created by Woodson+Rummerfield as featured in Rue Magazine. This may be my new favorite online magazine!

Living Room by designers Michael and Alexandra Misczynski, as featured in Veranda.

Creating simplicity out of chaos is an art, and one we are very well versed in.  Contact me at 281-701-2461 to experience simplicity at its best.

Your Home. Your Style. Your Luxury.

September 15, 2010

Living Green: Chill Out and Get Clean

Posted in Houston Interior Designer, Kitchen Appliances, Kitchen Remodels, Kitchen Renovations, Luxury for the home at 7:30 am by luxuryforthehome

“Living Green” is a growing interest and topic that seems to be on everyone’s list.  I have an interest in it and I am currently working toward a ReGreen Remodeling Certificate.  There is a lot of confusion around what is green, but I’ve found a fair amount of it to be common sense, especially when remodeling or updating your home’s interiors are concerned.

One of the easiest choices to make comes with the upgrading of appliances when they need it, or when redesigning the space.  Above all, strive to purchase an Energy Star appliance.  Not sure which one’s qualify?  Check out this link from the Energy Star – there are 40 categories of products just for your home!

The Main Appliances…

Dishwasher – I have to tell you, that I think there is only one dishwasher to have. There are so many options out there and many of them are fantastic. However, as you can read in my previous blog post, I had an affinity for a particular model in my clients’ kitchens.  After living with it in my own house, I can’t say enough about it.  We are so happy with it, we show it off to our guests. The ASKO dishwashers rate well for energy usage, capacity and water usage.

Refrigerator/Freezer – The kitchen appliance with the largest visual impact is your refrigerator, so be mindful about finishes and style when you are selecting this piece. While we do want consistency of finish and handles on our appliances, many refrigerators have a panel ready option, should your choice of refrigeration clash with other appliances. I am a firm believer in the Sub Zero refrigerators, primarily because they just do a really outstanding job of refrigeration (and freezing of course) and they last for a really long time. Previous blog post But there are many other products coming on the market that offer some interesting innovations.

Innovation in Refrigeration:

Norcool Freestanding Corner Refrigerator

Usually small kitchens had some limitations, but this model really tries to give a big bang for the buck.  Also, since this is a bit different for many people, it does have the option of being fully integrated, or panel ready.

GE Custom Cool

Refrigeration that allows for customization is a great energy saver for you.  I love this full extension drawer from GE that has Express Chill, Express Thaw and Select Temperature settings.  I know that would come in handy for our kitchen.

Miele Super Cool

Miele’s Super Cool feature efficiently cools the internal temperature  after the door has been open.  All these innovations and more can give you some luxurious for today, while still reducing your impact on resources.

Making your kitchen work for your today and tomorrow requires the expertise of knowing your options.  At Luxury For The Home, we bring that expertise to you. Saving you time, so that all you need to do is enjoy your kitchen.  Call us  at 281-701-2461 to bring our expertise to you.

March 9, 2010

Luxury: The Hunt for Beauty in Composting

Posted in Design Ideas, Design inspiration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designers, Houston Intertior Design Blog, Kitchen design, Luxury for the home at 11:23 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

We all hear, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”  Today I have some ideas on the recycle concept.  I’ve spoken to you about the new focus for us this year, incorporating more environmentally friendly products and practices into our life, like eating less processed foods (which is hard for a busy family of 4!)  So, less processed foods means an increase in our organic waste.  Since we are also planting a huge amount of vegetables this year, wouldn’t it be nice to have some compost to feed those garden beds?

With that in mind, I’ve been searching for compost pails for the kitchen.  Not too surprising, there isn’t a plethora to choose from.  I, of course, want ones that have charcoal filters, but if it is going to sit on my counter, I’d like it to be attractive too.  Here are three that offer some style for you.

The mega stainless steel compost pail from Williams Sonoma, represents the most prevalent style available.  It does come in a 1 gallon capacity and the extra-large 1-1/2 gallon capacity. Not a bad choice if you’re cooking for an army!

Stainless Steel Compost Crock – Williams Sonoma

This green glazed ceramic would work perfect in any traditional kitchen, especially with a French or Tuscan flair.  This crock is so attractive, your guests wouldn’t guess it’s true purpose.

https://i0.wp.com/demandware.edgesuite.net/aabf_prd/on/demandware.static/Sites-Gardeners-Site/Sites-GSC_Products/default/v1268059206375/Products/36-480.jpg

Green Stoneware Compost Crock from The Gardeners Supply

I LOVE the last version.  The bamboo crock is made from a renewable source (another eco-philosophy) and is an attractive addition to any transitional or modern kitchen.  This may be the choice for me.

Bamboo Compost Crock from The Gardeners Supply

What is your favorite one?  Have you found one that works and brings luxury to your kitchen – Share with me!

Luxury For The Home believes that true luxury is not about ostentation or expense.  It is about simplicity. Sanctuary. Comfort.  It’s the beauty that happens when everything, including you, has its own ideal space.

Are you ready to bring luxury into your home?  For more ideas sign up for our newsletter, or to schedule a consultation, please call 281-701-2461.

February 17, 2010

The Luxury of a Greener Future

Posted in Cabinets, clean design, glass tile, houston interior design, Houston Interior Designer, Kitchen design, Luxury for the home, master bathroom remodeling, New construction home tips, Uncategorized tagged at 2:55 pm by luxuryforthehome

by Leslie Hassler, Houston Interior Designer

I’ll be the first to admit it.  Green design hasn’t been the biggest focus for me.  Most of my conversations with other professionals based outside of Texas go a little like this –

” Well, we are really excited about the work we are doing within the green movement.  Is there a lot of interest in green design in Houston?”

Me: ” Umm, not really.  We incorporate low-VOC type products, but we don’t get asked about green design very often.”

So because I am like you, when I don’t have the direct need for information, I don’t seek it out.  But something has changed for me this year.  It seems that more and more of our family and friends have been diagnosed with a variety of ailments and cancers.  So in the back of my head, I’ve been thinking more about organic and unprocessed foods.  In fact, I have 5 vegetable (small ones) beds in my yard so that we can grow some of our own vegetables this summer. But I also have thought about our exposure to the multitude of chemicals in our lives, and how we might live a bit cleaner.

But perhaps one event that has lit a fire in my soul was a seminar I went to at New Living, at 6111 Kirby.

New Living

New Living at 6111 Kirby Dr, near Rice Village

So what makes this business different?  Number 1 – the people, Number 2 – the concept & Number 3 – the resources.

Let’s face it we all have a fair amount on our plates, so when someone is trying to make it easier for you, you take notice.  According to New Living’s website:

New Living is more than just a store. The idea behind what we are doing is to make the green building and green living movement accessible and affordable for everyone. We want New Living to be a community store that encourages new thinking, ideas, and helps foster a local green economy. We are open and look forward to the opportunity to listen and grow with Houston’s emerging green community.”

I’d have to say they are on track to fulfill that mission. The space has several work spaces, a great display system that explains the products, their eco-benefits and the investment level they require.  But more than that, they have prices across the spectrum, enabling you & me to find a product that also fits our budget.  The team at New Living has worked hard to also develop partnerships with installers who understand the products and their installation methods.

Let’s look at some of the products you can find here –

Solid Woven Bamboo

Solid Woven Bamboo - Sahara, available through New Living

Doesn’t look like the bamboo you are used to? You’re right.  This is bamboo strands pressed together to create a softer look.  I love the versatility of this product.   I love bamboo floors anyways, but they create a linear, almost modern or contemporary feel; where as this is a product I could use for a variety of styles and homes.

3form Ecoresin Panels - Capiz Shell

New Living also carries the “Organic” line of ecoresin panels from 3form USA.  Just to be confusing, I am showing a style from the “Play” line because it was just too beautiful not to show.  The resin panels are comprised of recycled materials, along with other materials such as shells and grasses.  The uses for me extend past walls and cabinet doors, I can see end tables, backlit desks, coffee tables…oh the creativity that this product sparks.  As a side note, I just figured out that 3form also manufacturer the Wovin Wall, a lovely focus I spotted at the new STRATA Restaurant in Vintage Park

Bear Grass Light

Bear Grass Light, Organic Series by 3form USA, available through New Living

I am intrigued by how many Texas-based recycled products New Living has pulled together.  Not only is there a locally-produced cabinet line, but there is also a locally-produced countertops.  In fact, some of the recycled glass  in these countertops has been collected from the Houston area.  I find that many of my clients are interested in concrete countertops for their outdoor kitchens – this would be a great product to install for them.

Recycled Countertops

Recycled Countertops by Texstone, available through New Living

So, I’m excited to say the least and am looking for opportunities to bring these new ideas into my home and your home. How important will the green movement be to you this year?

Luxury For The Home believes that true luxury is not about ostentation or expense.  It is about simplicity. Sanctuary. Comfort.  It’s the beauty that happens when everything, including you, has its own ideal space.

Are you ready to bring luxury into your home?  For more ideas sign up for our newsletter, or to schedule a consultation, please call 281-701-2461.

January 4, 2010

The Luxury of the Art Salon: How to Hang Your Art – Part 2

Posted in defining your luxury, Design Ideas, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, How To Hang Art, Luxury for the home, Luxury interior design, Uncategorized at 3:13 pm by luxuryforthehome

by Leslie Hassler, Allied ASID; AKBD

In our first segment of “How to Hang Your Art” we focused on ways to hang your art as a part of composition.  A very effective technique, to say the least.  But my most favorite technique for hanging art is in the style one of the great Paris Salons.  Apartment Therapy gave a great history of salons (check out the historical illustrations).  If you want a truly technical way to hang art in this style, check out ArtEmerging.com.  (Who said design isn’t about math?)

But while I researched this idea a bit for you, it seems that this style of hanging art is hitting a resurgence of popularity.  There are several manners of organizing your art that can tell a story or even provoke a response from the viewer, afterall wasn’t that the intent of many of the artists that submitted art to the Paris Salons?

If you collect your art along a theme of subject or technique, consider organizing your art in a manner that tells a story, or shows the evolution of a subject, artist or technique over time.  But, perhaps a more thought-provoking way to look at your organization would be a study of contrasts.  Done well, the contrasts do more to highlight each individual piece as it stands so closely to its neighbors.

Salon Style Art Example

Salon style of hanging art of Houston home by interior designer Michael J. Siller. Architectural Digest 2007.

In this first example, the art has a bit of an ethnic feel, showcasing Native American, Egyptian and African art.  The consistency of form and color help create a cohesive display of art.  I especially love the contrast of the ethnic art against such a formal traditional interior.

Salon Style of Hanging Art

Ralph Lauren's Bedford NY Home. Architectural Digest 2004.

In this lovely blue living room, the composition and compression of space between the paintings and photography works superbly.  All the “guidelines” I’ve talked about, consistency of frame, similar subjects, composition; are followed here.  The reason this really works is because the guidelines are loosely followed, and mixed with an artistic interpretation of the guidelines.  This example of salon style is subtle and invites you in to study each piece.

This last example shows yet another way to interpret the salon style of organizing your art.  I love that this example is a small, cozy space with a library feel.  Most of us feel that we need large walls to use this style of hanging art, but this shows you can accomplish it is small areas as well.

Gallery Art Example

Salon style example in a small area by designer Anthony Browne. Architectural Digest, September 2002.

I love how the art wraps itself up the staircase, and is in every nook possible. I even love the portrait displayed in the bookcase.  The composition again is successful because of the invitation to sit, study and enjoy the art.

That is what you are doing when you hang your art.  You are conveying parts of yourself to visitors in your home.  How ever you display your art – you want to make it invitational to contemplation and enjoyment.  Consider the salon style of hanging your art as a way to bring luxury into your home.

If you’re ready to bring luxury into your home, we’d love to be your interior designer.  Call Leslie at 281-701-2461 to schedule an appointment.

November 2, 2009

The Luxury of Composition: How to Hang Your Art – Part 1

Posted in Architecture, art, Design inspiration, houston interior design, Houston Interior Design Blog, Houston Interior Designer, How To Hang Art, Luxury for the home, Uncategorized at 3:07 pm by luxuryforthehome

By Leslie Hassler
We are well on our art journey, this week we are going to be talking about how to hang your art in a series of articles. 
But first, let’s answer one of life’s more popular design questions -“I’ve always heard that your should hang art at eye-level.  My spouse and I argue about what that means.” Answer: Eye level is loosely defined at 66″ off the floor. Generally, the center of your art or composition of art should be around 66″ off the floor.  But this is a rule that is to be followed in a specific instances.  If you and your spouse argue about is eye-level at 60″ or at 70″, my suggestion would be to split the difference and hang your art at 65″ – a compromise. 
 
Whew, ok now with that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about instances that the “eye-level” rule of thumb may not work for you.  The first technique of hanging art is by grouping or composition.  This means you have several (two or more) pieces of art that relate to each other.  By hanging in a grouping, you are going to hang the pieces with consistent spacing between the pieces.  This can be as small as 1″, but as great as 4″.  The overall purpose of this technique is to create a larger read on the display of the art.  The grouping does tend to be geometric in shape, generally in squares, rectangles, rows, columns, circles, but as you will see, it can be a bit abstract as well.
Botanical Art

Example 1 - Hanging Art as a Grouping. http://www.designholeonline.com by Interior Designer Jennifer Mitchell

 The first example shows the grid shape to the art display, even with the sprinkling of the candle sconces, the grouping is very uniform but interesting.  Botanicals, Architecture, and Audubon prints make great subject matter for this large of a display.  As a side note, notice that all the fabrics lack a pattern that would compete with the pattern created by the artwork.

Example 2 - Grouping

Example 2 - Grouping - non structured from http://www.designholeonline.com by Interior Designer Jennifer Mitchell

 I really liked this photo for an example of how to treat multiple sizes of art and still hang the art as a grouping.  This was very skillfully done and I feel sure that it took a fair amount of time to achieve the look.  If you find yourself with inconsistent sized artwork and want to hang the art as a group, I would either grab some brown kraft paper, or a handful of paper bags.  For each piece of art, cut a piece of paper the same size and shape. Label the paper for the piece of art that it represents, and tape the paper cutouts with blue painters tape on the wall.  This technique does take time, but allows you to individually move the pieces around until you have created a pleasing composition.  Before you pull the pieces of the wall, either take a picture, or lightly mark your walls with a pencil so that you can recreate what you mocked up.

Example 2 - Grouping

Example 3, Grouping Art, by designer Jeff Woosley, as appeared on Southern Accents website.

 This example from www.southernaccents.com, shows the vertical columns of art hung very tightly together.  Although the picture doesn’t show above the mirror, I’d guess there is something there, whether art or a decorative accessory.  With the artwork extending past the mirror, there would need to be a piece to balance the composition.

Example 3 - Grouping

Example 4 Grouping, by Shannon Bowers, Veranda.com

 This grouping of rosette tiles shows how you can group art around architectural details of your home.  The positioning of the tiles, help to accent the stair case, as well as create a secondary grouping with the furniture.  When you are also grouping your art to a piece of furniture, you are going to do raise the art composition up from the furniture, by at least 6″ as shown above, or have the piece sitting on the furniture as seen below.

Example 4 - Greystone Show House

Examples 5-7 Groupings, by Interior Designer Windsor Smith, Veranda.com

 I fell in love with this photo because there are so many examples of grouping shown at once.  The first is the mirror with the furniture.  This could be done with a painting, as well as a mirror.  The second is the gold framed artwork to the right of the mirror and the third is in the reflection of the mirror, where we see two frames position tightly together.  The repetition in this room adds strength to the overall composition, helping everything work seamlessly.

Next Topic: Hanging Art as a Statement

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