Healthy Abode: Spa Bath – Part 3 by Melanie Holden

Happy New Year! Let’s pick up where we left off for the final installment of spa baths.

Shades of orange and peach are warming tones that increase energy levels and inspirational thought. Orange is a color of fun and friendliness and is best used in activity or creative areas. It stimulates the pulse rate and appetite and is known to energize the thyroid and respiratory system. Orange happens to be one of my personal favorite colors and can look great in a bathroom, but its probably best reserved for other areas of the home.

Then there ís sexy, powerful red.

This passionate color stimulates and excites the vitality of the body and mind. Shades of red promote alertness, strength, courage, sensuality, and sexuality. Transversely, rage, anger, and revenge are the polar values of this commanding color. Red can increase circulation and the pulse rate, raising blood pressure and breathing rates. All of those factors, both good and bad, make red a color that you probably will not want saturating your bathroom. If itís red that you absolutely must have, utilizing a softer shade of magenta, rose, or coral may be more appropriate.

Splashes of red may also be more desirable than complete saturation for an ideal spa bath.

What about white for your spa bathroom, you ask? White contains the entire light spectrum in perfect balance and consequently influences all the systems of the body. Crisp white neutrals are absolutely brilliant in a bathroom! Most of you probably already have white plumbing fixtures, so itís easy build off of those elements. White can encourage creativity while it simultaneously strengthens and nurtures the soul. It generally feels fresh, pure, efficient, and clean and is easy to incorporate into various decors, whether traditional, eclectic, or modern. When in doubt as to what color to use, you can seldom go wrong with white.

How about the non-color color, black? Really? Black for a bathroom? Many people shy away from black, thinking that it would be too dark for a smaller space like a bathroom. To the contrary, dark colors can sometimes make a space feel larger when used correctly. Black neutrals feel wonderfully masculine and glamorous when done appropriately.

Black is a protective color that has calming effects ñ especially to more sensitive individuals. It is most effective when used in conjunction with shades of white and should be used in combination with other colors. Of course, too much black can cause undesirable feelings like depression, fear, suspicion, and paranoia, so take care to use it in moderation.

Finally, letís talk brown. Some of you may be thinking, yuck, why would I want brown in my spa bathroom? Keep in mind that brown can come from a variety of sources, not just limited to the wall color. Most wood tones are brown, so it can be incorporated with a lovely wood vanity, your mirror frame, or even a teak or bamboo bath mat.

However, I am absolutely not opposed to brown walls, especially when used in conjunction with complementary clean, white bath fixtures and other accents. Brown neutrals can feel earthy and organic, which is very beneficial in creating a nature-inspired bathroom. Brown is a valuable healing color because it calms, stabilizes, and grounds emotions. Brown can help you rediscover your center. It even is known to calm hyperactive children!

I know there are about a million other colors that we could get into, but Iím already pushing my luck with the length of this commentary. Plus, most of those other colors are shades and variations of the colors that I discussed above. Whichever color direction you choose to use in your spa bathroom, remember that color is personal and it should benefit the wellbeing of your body and soul. Choose colors that complement your skin tone in the area where you apply make-up, and choose colors that generally make you feel good. Combined with good lighting, color can be all that you need to create your ideal home spa sanctuary.

Style Defined: Modern Glamour by Kimberly Reuther

If you are like me, you’ve become accustomed to a certain amount of “bling” in your life.  From sparkly cocktail rings to sequined pumps, the dazzling effect gets us through the dreary winter days.  As is the cycle with fashion and design, this has spawned the return of a pre-depression era design trend.  Glamour and luxurious goods were mainstays of the post-war 20’s both in fashion and homes.  This time around, we are opting for glamour with a modern twist.  This is such a beautiful design style and done right can look timeless, not trendy.  I could talk for hours but I will entice you with a few photos instead!

1.  Texture: First and foremost to achieve modern glamour, you have to pay attention to textures.  Luxurious velvets, satin, silk, fur all play an important role in evoking the glamourous feeling.  However, be sure you are balancing these appropriately.  You wouldn’t go out dressed head to toe in satin and sequins…well maybe you would but only on New Year’s Eve!


Bedroom Inspiration

Notice the warmth of the floors compared to all the velvet, satin and gilded textures in this room from Traditional Home.

2.  Pattern & Contrast: Bold patterns can contrast off solid pieces to add interest.  You can also use intense color accents or the combination of black and white which is always pleasing and equally dramatic.

Bathroom Inspiration

Here is a bathroom from House Beautiful which demonstrates this contrast nicely; also note the metallic square pouf!

3.  Sparkle:  A lady needs plenty of mirrors to reflect her best self!  Glamour wouldn’t exist without reflective surfaces, shiny objects and shimmery fabrics.  Pick wisely, know when to say when.  It is often advised to eliminate one piece of jewelry before leaving the house.  Use this as a guide when adding “bling” in your home.


Dining Room Inspiration

This photo from a design blog is a great example of the appropriate amount of sparkle; keep your focus on one main element and you can’t go wrong.

4.  Balance:  Glamour begs for over the top tufting, ruffles, curves and modern prefers sleek lines, understated textures.  Keeping them in balance will ensure a timeless look to your space.

Living Room Inspiration

The different lines and textures complement each other in this photo from Horchow.

5.  Expect the unexpected: Make sure you are incorporating interesting elements throughout the space.  Use white patent leather on a traditional wing chair, add in a pop of bold color or show off your collections of diamond studded skulls.  Whatever makes you happy and defies convention is sure to be a conversation starter.


Living Room Inspiration

This image from Les Choses de Marie illustrates my point.

6.  Final touches:  Indulge in your fantasy of lounging in a beautiful robe while your husband mixes you the perfect dry martini.  Include a chaise lounge and/or a mobile bar to remind yourself to relax and enjoy life even as chaos surrounds you…maybe this is just my fantasy!

Chaise Lounge

This sleek yet comfortable chaise lounge from Williams Sonoma Home fits the bill perfectly!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  View the post here. To see more of Kimberly’s work, visit her residential design website here.

we love…interior designer Melanie Holden

Melanie Holden, LEED AP of Holden Design Group

Q. What made you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?
A. I always knew that whatever career path I took in life I wanted to thoroughly enjoy it. Too many people dread the daily grind, and I wanted to do something that I could look forward to and would provide a variety of experiences from day to day. Growing up, I always loved to assist my parents with our various home remodeling projects. I frequently rearranged the furniture not only in my own bedroom, but throughout the entire house. Not to mention that my dollhouse was in a constant state of remodel. Trips to the furniture or paint stores were always a highlight, and I could spend hours at the fabric shops, fawning over the endless assortment of fabrics with their colors and textures. Interior design was a natural choice!

Q. What sets you apart from other design professionals?
A. I understand that my clients are the ones living and working within the spaces I design, not me. No matter how creative the vision, if it is not practical or appealing to my clients, they will not be happy living with it. I never force a design solution on anyone if they are not comfortable with it. I strive to view each project from my clients’ perspectives, gain a comprehensive understanding of their lifestyles, and then design around their daily rituals, adjusting my design focus to enhance their personal styles.

Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. Everything around me. Inspiration lives in nature, a sunrise, my friends, my pets, my niece’s and nephew’s artwork, the open road, the built environment, the Internet, fashion, and books, just to name a few sources. Of all those inspirational elements, I especially favor the fluid, renewing inspiration that nature provides. I hike and scuba dive, and I often incorporate the colors and textures I see while on those adventures into my work.

Q. What do you love about your own home?

A. I love my home’s character and the connection with the past. It was built in 1904, and new houses are just not constructed with the craftsmanship and attention to detail like that anymore – unless you have an amazing budget to pay for it, that is. The original wood flooring and trim are absolutely stunning. The iron door hinges on the solid five-panel doors are ornately carved with sweet floral patterns. The clawfoot tub is a haven from the bustle of the outside world, and a plethora of windows invite natural light into every room. A home should nurture its occupants, and I feel a sense of its nurturing environment each and every time I walk through the door. I adore historic architecture and don’t think I could ever live in a new home!

Q. Do you have a signature piece that you like to incorporate into your designs?

My signature is the incorporation of texture and color in every space that I design. Every room needs lots of it, whether subtle or bold. Fabrics, wall treatments, lighting, and flooring are all excellent sources for textural and colorful elements. Layers of texture and color, combined with good lighting allow a space to come alive.

Q. What is your favorite item to help clients select?
A. This is a difficult one to narrow down because I thoroughly enjoy pulling everything together as a whole. Generally, a room is inspired by one particular feature, whether a piece of art from the client’s existing collection, an amazing piece of furniture, or a unique light fixture. I love building upon that single element and creating a unified space. If I absolutely must pick a single favorite item to select, it would have to be fabric – again, because of the texture and color…

Q. Favorite piece of advice to give your clients?
A. Don’t skimp on quality. It is preferrable to have fewer, but better things that can be kept forever and passed down through the generations.

Q. What’s the first thing you notice when walking into a new space?
The atmosphere created by the lighting and colors within the space.

Thank you Melanie for all your great insight!  You can see more of Melanie’s work here.

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