A Gem of a Rug Destination by Kieara Crisp

orient-wall-sign

My plan was to do my next blog  on a store that was completely opposite to the places I visited before. Consequently, Centro, the center for the Gucci and Louis Vutton brands of the home furnishing world located in the Central West End, was my original destination.  Literally 30 seconds before arriving I was sidetracked by Buddha; he was sitting calmly on the middle of a table facing me as though he was patiently awaiting my arrival. A skylight located above him directed soft natural light around him and a gorgeous 9 x 12 oriental rug hanging directly behind him.

aamu01
I find most oriental rugs to be too distracting for my taste, but this one was different; negative space was a part of the design and not just the outcome of left over space from the motifs.The colors on this rug had a distinct hue to them that made it appear bright and alive without demanding attention. From my experience, rug shops are suppose to be large warehouses with huge piles lying everywhere. This store is only a tenth of the size of a small warehouse and uses half of the space and prime real estate to display only five rugs.

Intrigued, I walked into the store and was instantly welcomed by a yorkshire terrier. After I was cleared entrance, I was allowed to go behind Buddha and interviewed again, this time by a  standard poodle, while another one watched sleepily on a pile of rugs. Note your second interview will not go by as smoothly as the first since the poodle is still a ‘baby’ but you will be saved by Greg Halbert the owner. Mr. Halbert is the reason I am now in love with blogging. Talking to someone with so much passion, love, and knowledge fills you with the same emotions, even if you do not feel the same about the subject. His emotions were contagious!

hazara01
Halbert’s rugs are collectables you could use in your space for decades, without loosing any value because they are ‘bullet proof’. They are made the exact way rugs were made 2,500 years ago. With yarn and dyes, rugs made by hand and natural materials. It takes up to six months to complete one rug. Halbert says they are an investment unlike synthetic rugs which do not increase in value over time and will not last as long. All of Halbert’s rugs come from a closed market. This means the designers and artisans of these rugs have total control over what they create; they send him a picture of what they made and the price.

Halbert told me a story about the Ford Granada that was built in the 1970’s to look like a Mercedes to compare his rugs to most of the rugs on the market. His simple question afterwards was, which car do you think people are still driving around today? If you appreciate art, craftsmanship,  and beauty, I highly encourage a visit. That is if your not allergic to  dogs and are not afraid of a standard poodle constantly showing you love and affection. ( that is, after winning his approval).

For more information, please visit…

www.halbertrugs.com

the holiday season: a celebration of light by juliana schafer

Every year, between November and January, there are many aesthetics that come to mind. For some, it is the colors red and green, for others a well decorated tree, but probably the most powerful thing is the presence of light. A certain romantic atmosphere of twinkling lights that appeal more to our hearts rather than our critical minds.

 In looking at different displays, I was inspired by some creative ones such as this north pole scene in Japan featured below.

 It is a time of year when everybody is designer, carefully conscious of whether their exterior lighting expresses the things they wish to experience this season: beauty, joy, and peace. But even though one house may be decorated more sensibly than another, you still have to admit that it is the collective displaying of lights that is essential to producing a truly magical effect.

It occurred to me that holiday lighting is the single most symbolic expression of unity during the holiday season. So as we wrap up 2011 and head into the new year, let us remember to continue appreciating light the way we do around the holidays. Let us become inspired to guide it, filter it, and produce it in ways that are meaningful to us.

 

 

From White Box to WOW by Kimberly Reuther

Most of us love, or at least appreciate, architectural moldings and finishing touches in our homes.  However, not everyone’s home is “born” with these elements.  I am often asked how to decorate a room that looks like a white box.  Bare walls, no moulding, basically a square.  While seemingly uninspired to some, for designers this is a wonderful challenge.  We get to create!

Here are my ideas to help differentiate your space from every other “white box” on your block!

– First, you could experiment with adding simple elements such as a picture ledge.

These can be installed at various heights depending on it’s desired function.  In this instance, we did the shelf along one wall above the headboard and the pictures and objects are within reach to change out regularly.

In the second photo, the ledge was installed higher up on all 4 walls as a purely decorative element.  This is great in a contemporary home that doesn’t have crown moulding.  Make sure you allow enough space for a mirror or TV to hang on the wall.

– Another idea is to add really special elements that don’t make you miss the architectural details.  These uniquely beautiful pendants make a statement all on their own.

– Just because you don’t live in a loft doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the look.  This home is in the middle of a brand new development outside of San Jose.  No lofts for thousands of miles.  The brick wall adds a much needed urban element to the space.

– A basement is really an extension of your home and offers much needed entertaining space.  Boring white walls and extra high window sills left this vast lower level feeling lifeless even after the furnishings arrived.  My solution was to add beadboard paneling up to the windows on 2 major walls.  We painted it a rich caramel color which tied into the color scheme and immediately warmed the whole room.  Topped off with a picture ledge full of personal accessories and this room has been transformed into an inviting family space.

– Another area to consider is the coffered ceiling.  More often than not, the builder stops with just the soffits that step up.  Adding in crown moulding and even painting an accent color will make such a finished statement to the room.

Some of these projects you could tackle in a weekend, others require a professional.  With the right amount of imagination, you too can be proud of your home’s unique appeal!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at www.kimberlyreuther.com.

The Right Stripes by Kimberly Reuther

How do you feel about stripes?  I personally think a room isn’t complete without a stripe fabric, rug, etc.  Stripes are a fundamental part of design. They can change the look of a piece of furniture or a room by being bold or subtle.  Stripes can be edgy, playful, modern or sophisticated depending on the size, color and placement.

So, which ones are right for you?  I’ve compiled a group of beautiful spaces using stripes to their advantage.  See if this helps you narrow down your options!

A well-tailored room gains energy from the striped rug.

This bold cabana stripe awning is the perfect backdrop to the colorful furniture and lush plants.

Wide horizontal stripes along with moulding accents blend beautifully with the baroque elements in this room.

This playroom screams enthusiasm partly due to the varied colorful stripes on the wall.

I love how this traditional room is transformed by a bold color palette and the vibrant striped rug.

This sofa from Crate & Barrel is like a men's suit, handsome and timeless.

This is not your grandmother's sofa. Reupholstering an antique in a modern stripe is the perfect juxtaposition.

Skinny stripes form a soft balancing backdrop for a room that is full of collected pieces.

Another great example of a bold stripe on a traditional piece of furniture.

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at www.kimberlyreuther.com.

Style Defined: Tropical by Kimberly Reuther

As we approach the heat of the summer months, I am inspired by the tropics where it is warm all year round.  The ocean is near, palm trees are in abundance and daily life is about staying cool.  The vacation-inspired vibe is envious and actually pretty accessible in your own home.  Here a few photos and tips to help you achieve your own oasis!

1.  Crisp white color palettes are always refreshing and fairly easy to achieve.  Using a semi-gloss paint on walls and floors is more reflective and easier to keep clean.  White linen slipcovers and gauzy drapery panels evoke the casual, relaxed atmosphere of the tropics.

2.  MIxing bold, bright colors and multiple patterns are easy ways to create the drama and intensity of the sun.  Saturate your walls or floors with an intense hue derived from the sea or refinish multiple picture frames for a quick colorful collage.

3.  Incorporating natural and organic elements into your design will create a sense of harmony.  Sisal or seagrass make perfect rugs in high traffic areas.  Palm trees and tropical flowers are increasingly popular indoors even as far inland as Missouri.  If nothing else, create your tropical retreat in an outdoor area which can be put away during winter months.

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at www.kimberlyreuther.com.

Working With An Interior Designer by Victoria Dreste

Gone are the days of the interior designer who comes sweeping into your home declaring everything hideous and demanding the removal of everything you own.

Today a designer is more likely to meet with you, ask questions about your likes and listen carefully to what you have to say, helping you to discover your personal style.

If you are the kind of person who finds it difficult to communicate what you like but are definite about what you do not like, good. That is a great place to start.

Your sofa doesn’t have to look like every other sofa you see. Furniture, area rugs and window treatments can all be produced to exact specifications. A professional will design and customize your home to define and achieve your style.

Working with a designer gives you the opportunity to purchase from sources that are specific to designers and architects. This bedroom has fabrics and wall coverings from Osborne & Little.

This gorgeous bedroom was customized with the client’s collection of framed botanicals. I also love the rustic beams with the sophisticated chandelier.

This living room setting includes furniture with custom finishes. Selecting specific finishes allows you to design the exact look you want for your home. 

In this sitting room new furniture is mixed with vintage to create a slightly bohemian style.

A mix of furniture and fabrics create a chic dining style. 

With the guidance of an interior designer you can have a home that is your personal style.

You can see more of Vicki’s work here.

Going ‘smart’ by Jamie Briesemeister

Smart phone, smart home, smart… appliances?  Yes – even those.

Our life is filled with ‘smart’ technology that enables people to interact with each other, the home, the office – the world – like never before.  It’s extended into our mobile phones – creating mini-computers we use to text, check email, browse Facebook, bank online, and sometimes… on occassion, to make a phone call.  It’s in our homes – connecting the systems we interact with daily to simplify the way we live.

Now, ‘smart’ technology is being embedded in our appliances: refrigerators, ovens, washers/dryers, and more… all to enhance our life, conserve energy, and save money.  Here are a few feature benefits of having a ‘smart’ appliance.

1. Pro-active service from your appliance manufacturer.  Many manufacturers will be able to remotely monitor your appliance, notice if it is not performing as expected, and call you to schedule a service visit – even before the appliance stops working.  That’s service!

Connected 'smart' appliances

Network-connected, or 'smart' appliances, provide better manufacturer service.

2. Energy costs vary throughout the course of a day.  Connected appliances will be able to display your usage options so you can use the device at the time of day that makes sense for your family.  Adjust simple features (such as a heating element) to lower energy costs and see it reflected on the screen before you hit ‘wash’.

Appliance energy manager

As energy costs vary throughout the day, 'smart' appliances can guide your use habits for optimized savings.

3. Tired of throwing away rotten food?  No more worries – or old food – as some refrigerators will be outfitted with the ability to manage your food freshness.

Food management

A display panel acts as a map to find your specialty produce when you need it.

4. Have a busy house where the refrigerator door gets left open throughout the day?  Ever forget to turn off the oven after you were done baking?  Not only is this a waste of energy every time it happens – it’s a danger for children and pets.  Smart appliances will be able to send you an email, text message, ‘ping’ your in-ceiling speakers, and more – to inform you about the status of your kitchen – before it becomes a problem.

Busy family fridge

As people come and go, the doors may get left open. Smart appliances can notify you to shut the door (text, email, etc.) - unfortunately, they do not (yet) shut themselves.

5. As part of an automated home, smart appliances can display information on the same remotes, iPhone/iPad, or touchscreen that you use to control the music or lighting in your home.  That’s smart – and convenient!

Smart Kitchen

The heart of the home is a great location to go 'smart' - new construction or existing.

Smart appliances are a relatively new concept, with new technology, and many people may still be hesitant to jump on board.  In this case, while in the planning stages for a kitchen design or in a current remodel – consider the need for connected appliances for future use.  A simple and inexpensive consideration for your electric systems contractor would be to run a category 5e or 6 (cat5e / cat6) cable to your appliance locations.

This way, while your appliance may not be ‘smart’ now, at least YOU are as you plan for future needs.

To read more of Jamie’s work, click here to visit her website!

the cover-up by andrea beckman

When I recently moved into my new apartment I absolutely loved everything except for two things….

1. My extremely short bathroom sink.

2. The brick facade above my fireplace!

Now, I’m a huge fan of exposed brick and will take it wherever I can, but this…this is not your beautiful brick.  This my friends is z-brick!  For those who don’t know, z-brick is a type of wall covering.  A thin brick facing that in this case was applied over plaster.  This may not be a catastrophe to many but it becomes a slightly bigger challenge when you are renting!  As most renters know you are usually pretty limited in what you can and can’t alter.

before...bad, bad, bad!

Challenge: How to completely change the look of the z-brick wall, with out really changing it?

Solution: Build a relatively light weight structure to cover the undesirable with something desirable!   Key: Do not permanently alter or attach to the undesirable.  I chose to use wallpaper as my desirable.  With so many amazing wallpaper designs to chose from I knew I could find something to create the look I wanted.

I should probably mention..the fireplace itself was not and is not bad, in fact it’s wonderful!  It still has the original decorative tile and cast iron surround/cover that is exquisite!  It has so much detail and gives off this romantic ‘secret garden like’ vibe that you can’t help but love.  OK, so maybe I’m the only one who sees it that way but in any case it’s beautiful.  I actually felt that I owed it to the fireplace to some how rid it of the dreary facade that had been placed upon it and breathe new life into it.

cast iron cover

Step 1.

Recruit some one to help because you may need a hand.  I often select my father for such projects.  He doesn’t always have a choice so this works out well!

constructing the frame

We first built a frame out of 1 x 2’s and made it the exact size of the chimney chase wall.  I decided to build this at my parents house so that I could make use of my fathers tools and lending hand.  However,  this did raise an issue with transportation.  Due to it’s large dimensions, the only way to transport the unit was by constructing it in two sections and hinging it down the center so that we could fit it in their van.

constructing the frame

Step 2.

We attached wafer board to the face of the frame and along the sides to cover the return of the chase wall.  We chose to use wafer board because it is cheap, relatively light weight and substantial enough for the intended use.

step 2

Once that was built and eventually transported to my apartment, we placed the unit directly around the chase.  It actually stood in place by itself but for additional support we tacked a nail at the top and bottom of each side, along the return.  I did not intend on hanging much weight from it, as my goals was to have nothing screwed and nothing anchored to the wall!

unit placed around chase

Step 3.

Once in place we filled in any gaps or imperfections with spackle and smoothed the surface by applying a backing paper.  The only reason this project required spackle was to help conceal an error on our part (or mine)…oops!

backing paper applied and it already looks better!

Step 4.

We then hung the wall paper and this is where things got a little ugly for us.  Our main problem was that we were running low on glue and ended up diluting it a bit too much!  This caused the glue to dry very quickly and parts of the paper would dry before we were able to line up the design and the seams.  Despite our personal challenges in this area, overall the project was pretty simple.

dad smoothing the paper

The final result….

the cover-up complete!

There are other things I could have done using this same concept but I chose to wallpaper.  I was looking for something dramatic and graphic that complimented the already existing elements of the fireplace itself.  I like how the motifs in the paper tie in so nicely with that of the tile and the scrolls in the cast iron cover.  All of the motifs look up but then scroll back down (in both the paper and decorative tile)…it’s this beautiful medley that gracefully takes your eye all the way up and all the way back down again.

wallpaper close up

mantel close up

With a little patience and precision this can easily be done, and you can create the look you want!  Where there’s a will there’s a way to always bloom where you’re planted….bad z-brick and all!

the cover-up!

 

Kitchen Tours Exclusive Sneak Peek by Victoria Dreste

As the online sponsor of the Junior League’s Kitchen Tours, we are able to give you a sneak peak into some of the homes on the tour!  Here’s Vicki’s perspective on this amazing kitchen renovation!

Jenny and Todd Rausch are renovating a one hundred year old house.  The house, located in a historic area of Kirkwood, sat empty for three years. When they purchased the house Jenny was pregnant (with twins). The strong odors (stench) from the house kept her from seeing much of it before they made the purchase.

Rausch Kitchen In Progress

The renovations began, the twins were born. Their first Kirkwood home sold quickly leaving the Rausch family without a St. Louis home.  So Todd, Jenny, daughter Ellie, and the twins, Jack and Maggie began shuffling between a relative’s home in south county and their summer cottage in Illinois.

The kitchen and sunroom are part of the first phase of renovations.  Since Jenny and Todd are the owners of Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath, the kitchen is a very important part of the home. It is the heart and soul.

 

View into Sunroom

The kitchen has been designed for an active family. Because there wasn’t a single wall large enough to accommodate the refrigerator innovative design and clever planning prevailed. There are two smaller refrigerators flanking a doorway. Each one is enclosed with the same wood panels as the surrounding cabinets.

Two Refrigerators

Great attention to detail is found in the kitchen. The panels on the island have the distinctive linen fold pattern.  The linen fold detail was originally used in larger homes to designate space used to hold the households linens. The beautiful folded linen is a lovely, unique detail on the kitchen island. The perimeter cabinets and wood work have a custom time worn finish that adds character and charm.

 

Island with Linen Fold Pattern

The floor in the kitchen and sunroom is a limestone laid in a herringbone pattern. The look is reminiscent of a French country terrace.  The soapstone counters, limestone floor, custom finishes, linen fold detail, on demand water heat and historical location all add to the ambiance and functionality of this extremely well designed kitchen.  The home, the kitchen is amazing.

 

Cabinet Detail

You can view the  Great Day St louis segments featuring the Rausch home here.

Check out more of Vicki’s work and view her portfolio here.

Don’t forget to order tickets to the kitchen tours on April 2nd!  Click here for more info.

 

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.

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