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7 posts from October 2010

October 29, 2010

Behind the Scenes: 2Michaels at Kips Bay Show House

For most of us, redoing a room in our house can take months (even years!) from the time we start thinking about it until we're working on the finishing touches.  Imagine compressing that process down to just over a month, and having only two weeks to get all the work done.  Now think about doing that knowing the project will come under the scrutiny of your peers and the international press!  Last week, we visited the Kips Bay Show House in New York and shared with you some of the incredible rooms on display there. One of our favorites was by the twin-sister team of Joan and Jayne Michaels, co-owners of 2Michaels, and we asked them to tell us some of what went into making the room, their inspirations, and the people they worked with.  There were more than a few speed bumps along the way but, with the help of trusted colleagues, everything came out spectacularly.


photo from Kips Bay Facebook page


photo courtesy of 2Michaels

The wall, ceiling, and trim colors


The photograph from Sam Samore, hung on the wall of their room,
inspired the color palette.

We looked through books and old magazines for inspiration.  Joan found a project in House and Garden from 1991.  It was a meditation room, simple, quiet and timeless.  Jayne found a project from a 1987 House and Garden that had a similar feel.  We took the two inspirations and began our search for furniture.

"We tested about 20 colors before choosing the finals--for the molding, walls, ceiling.  We usually test a lot of colors, but this time we tried even more than usual--because of the lighting and because it was such a small room.  We wanted it to feel airy and light, so it was more difficult,"  Joan explained.

The sisters painted 4' x 8' Foamcore boards from Janovic Plaza and held them up in the space to see how the colors looked in different areas of the room.  They started out with a gray color to make the white fireplace really pop, but it was too dark and didn't give them the light feeling they wanted.

"We decided on a yellowish-green, and we tested quite a few.  Then we remembered that a friend of ours had Mellowed Ivory on her dining room walls that we loved.  It was the perfect color for the room."


Trim is Timid White, ceiling is Sugar Cookie.


The fireplace


Left: Antti Lovag's house for Pierre Cardin in Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France. 
Right: Stephen Antonson's fireplace at Kips Bay.

"The room is tiny," said Joan.  "Our inspirations were Brancusi, a Pierre Cardin house, and Georges Jouve, the ceramicist.  We gave artist Stephen Antonson some pictures as inspiration for the fireplace, and he got it immediately.  At first, we thought his design was too small and were concerned we had no time to change it.  But Stephen is so calm.  He said, 'Just let it sing.  It is what it is' . . . and, sure enough, it was the perfect scale, everything worked out."


The lighting


Left: Lindsey Adelman's nest ceiling fixture. 
Right: Last-minute Agostini branch lamp.

"The light fixture was actually very fun.  We had Lindsey Adelman create a custom fixture for us, and she came up with a kind of nest concept.  The hand-blown glass was a creamy yellow color--beautiful when we were picking out the glass samples, but it gave off more of a yellow light, which changed the colors in the room.  So we had to counteract it by introducing more white light," said Jayne.

The tree-branch light in the corner was the last pick of the room.  The team had only one day left, but found this Agostini lamp with 150 watt bulbs, enough to balance the color from the ceiling fixture and give an accurate paint color.

"A lot of what you do is about solving problems.  It's all very exciting--what do you do when something isn't exactly working.  Fortunately, plan B worked perfectly.  It wasn’t what we had intended but sometimes plan B is better than plan A."


The Buddha


Left: "Our first idea for the Buddha was a 'floating' Buddha à la Roger Vivier . . .
I couldn't get the image out of my mind . . . but none of the Buddha's we found came
close to the image, so we had to rethink the idea . . ." said Jayne. 
Right: Long-Bin Chen’s Buddha tower.

The team wanted some type of Buddha in the niche, but didn't want to have something typical, expected.  Joan spent a week researching Buddhas--traditional, reconstructed, etc.  "I came across Long-Bin Chen's work and I fell in love . . . It was glorious--finding it a week before, exactly what I wanted, something a little offbeat . . . it turned out the piece was the perfect scale for the niche."

Color-wise, Jayne originally wanted an orange in the niche because it would be very dramatic, and feel very Fall.  Again, the color didn't give them the mood they wanted when they tested it.

By chance, they met a decorative painter working on another room in the house, and told him about their struggles.  He suggested they try a more bronze-y hue.  He custom mixed a color using two different greens and golds.  Surprisingly, it's not a metallic.  (He did put a little bit of Benjamin Moore gold metallic around the edges of the niche to give it a little bit of a glow.)

"It's an ancient color and a modern color, which is an interesting juxtaposition. Ancient/Modern--exactly what we wanted," said Jayne.

2Michaels: www.2michaelsdesign.com

Stephen Antonson: www.stephenantonson.com

Lindsey Adelman: www.lindseyadelman.com

October 27, 2010

Twitter Party With Debbie Wiener and Benjamin Moore

Is your home slobproof?  Debbie Wiener thinks every home should be livable and well designed at the same time.  I love that!  So, we're teaming up to talk color, design, and how to create beautiful spaces that make sense for everyday life on Thursday, October 28 at 3pm EST!

Check out Debbie's book with "real-life" design solutions.

Meet me and Debbie on Twitter on Thursday, October 28 at 3pm EST by following #benmooreslobproof.  We're taking on questions and ideas on color, design, and everyday dilemmas.  

Share your best and worst decor stories and tell us what you've learned along the way.  We're looking for you to tell us your favorite colors from Benjamin Moore and how you've used them, too!

RSVP so you can be included in the chance to win some great prizes like the House Beautiful 500 Favorite Paint Colors bookazine and Slobproof giveaways from Debbie!  All you have to do is "like" Debbie's Facebook Page and leave a comment with your Twitter handle to be eligible to win!

October 21, 2010

Inside the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House

After some complicated real estate developments that delayed its opening for six months, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House opened its doors over this past weekend, and Benjamin Moore was there to enjoy (and partially sponsor) the event.

The installation is an annual showcase that began in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, whose mission is "to improve and enhance the quality of life for all young people, with special emphasis on those who need us most between ages 6-18."  (It has raised over $16 million dollars since its inception).  This year it takes place in a 10,000 square foot, six-story, 17-room townhouse on the Upper East Side.  Pretty swell, right?!  Each room, or sometimes set of rooms, is done by a different interior decorator.

Below are pictures of a few of our favorite spaces that, of course, make wonderful use of paint!  While you might not live in a $28 million dollar house near Park Avenue, we think you can take away some great color ideas for your own place.



photos courtesy of 2Michaels

Doesn't this room make you feel completely relaxed with its warm tones and curvy furniture?  That's appropriate, because it's a meditation room (done in a very contemporary way) by 2Michaels Design, which consists of twin sisters Jayne and Joan Michaels.  The walls are a soothing pale green, with a nook (for a stack of Buddha heads carved from phone books) lined in metallic gold.  Furnishings are in earth tones and wood to complete the organic vibe.  Create a room like this and you'll be breathing more deeply in no time.

Next week, we'll be talking to Jayne and Joan about their experiences doing a room in the show house, with behind-the-scenes photos and all the mayhem involved in undertaking such a project.  Stay tuned!


photo courtesy of Jennifer Post

Black and white can be very hard-edged, but here the combo looks relaxed in this spa treatment room by Jennifer Post.  Walls are bright and matte, which both reflects and diffuses the sunlight streaming in.  Trim is pale gray and floors are stained jet black, which gives the room the feeling of being really, really large.  (Okay, this room actually is quite large, but it looks even bigger than it is).  It has a crisp, tailored feel yet isn't at all uptight.  Now what time is my massage?


photo courtesy of Brett Beldock

Your home office looks just like this, right? Well, it ought to!  If you're going to spend all day somewhere, it should be energetic and reflect your personality.  Here, somewhat busy wallpaper is given a few relatively restful moments in a persimmon lacquer.  It's a nice touch that "work" elements--shelves, cabinets--are solid (indicating focus) and the rest is patterned (for inspiration).


photo courtesy of Cluuman & Kravis

Pulling off something like this takes real talent, so we were very impressed with this formal dining room (this is just a corner detail) by Cluuman & Kravis.  The walls are a complex finish of grey and gold which, up close, is a bit free form and rustic but, when you pull back, is utterly elegant.  This type of finish requires either a professional painter or a strong sense of daring.  (More than I have, I'm afraid!)


photo courtesy of Coffinier Ku

Talk about a Bubble Bath (which is what this room is called, by the way).  It's interesting in that nearly all of the color is on the ceiling.  (The trim is white, the wall and floor tiles a warm off-white).  But what a great way to have a great colorful moment but still have the room be very pale, neutral, and modern feeling.  If you're feeling your inner Michelangelo, buy a few sample pots of paint and create your own masterpiece on the ceiling.


photo courtesy of Sherrill Canet

Finally, here's an amazing living room by Sherrill Canet.  Although the walls look like expensive paper, they're actually made with alternating bands of matte and high-gloss blue paint.  This kind of statement painting really gets us excited, as you can imagine!  And it's not that difficult, although you have to be very patient and careful about applying your tape! 

If you're in New York in the next couple of weeks, definitely check out the show house.  Here are the details:

2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House
Thursday, October 14th-Thursday, November 11th
Location: 106 East 71st Street, New York
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 11 am-5pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8pm Sunday: noon-5pm
Admission: $30, which includes the Journal and Source Book.  Group Admission is $25 per person for groups of 20 people or more.  No entry 1/2 hour before closing.  Children under 6 (including infants) and pets are not admitted. 


October 20, 2010

San Francisco Treats-- The Culinarium at the Design Center

It's a feast for the eyes at the San Francisco Design Center (SFDC) this week.  Tuesday, they kicked off the event with a panel discussion that celebrates my 3 of my favorite things-- Design, Food, and Fashion-- with San Francisco Magazine's style director Elizabeth Varnell, food and wine editor Jan Newberry, and contributing design editor Diane Doran Saeks.

SFDC Culinarium 
 See all the details for the Culinarium here.

The event was is already in full swing with a full scale kitchen designed by Christopher Peacock for House Beautiful, the official media sponsor of the SFDC Culinarium.  Chef Tyler Florence's cooking demonstration was followed by his book signing for this book just published and released this month.  It's a conversation on the fun and social side of gathering for a meal with those you want to spend time with.

Tyler Florence 
Chef Tyler Florence talks at the kitchen exhibit in San Francisco

If you can get there, the rest of the event promises to be just as enticing.  A few highlights:  Chef Tanya Holland for World Market and Chef Lea McIntosh of Nesting Newbies will demonstrate on Wednesday, Newell Turner will be on hand to talk about the "The Kitchen: The New American Living Room", and I'll be there on Thursday talking about the Social Palette:  How trends, social media, and palates influence Color.

The event ends with "The Art of the Cocktail" hosted by bartenders from Perry's and a serious happy hour.  You can purchase tickets for one or three days here.

Hope to see you there!  Oh and a little treat from Chef Tyler Florence's book in case this post made your mouth water just a bit:

  Chocolate Tart 

Tyler Florence recipe 
Recipe via here.  Let me know how it turns out!

October 13, 2010

Master Bedroom Makeover: A Customized Color and Pattern Story Part II

On Monday, I shared the beginnings of my Master Bedroom makeover project.  Three simple steps with a few moving parts-- Gorgeous bedding from DwellStudios and awesome paint and color from Benjamin Moore!  Some would say new color, new bedding...you're done.  I prefer to personalize it just a little bit more.  My design goal was to create a contemporary take on traditional Indian design. 

Here's what I did to give my room a touch of drama and even more color.

 Step Four: Personalize it in your own way and use what you have when you can.

Turquoise Smoke Color 

The color combination of my custom turquoise and Smoked Oyster on the walls, and White Blush on the ceiling set the stage.  To layer a touch of pattern into the design, I searched for a stencil pattern that would remind me of beautiful Indian sari fabrics.  For color, I used what I had sitting around.  I love re-purposing what I already have-- it's economical, it's not wasteful, and it actually is a great design trick.  Using a few of the same colors throughout your house in varying proportions helps to create that "flow" so many of us are after.  

So, the leftover Natura paint from my dining room project in Autumn Cover 2170-30, a bold orange, is used in the tiniest of proportions with a stencil, but adds that pop while tying in nicely to my other room.  For the stencil, I also used the custom turquoise from this room makeover in Aura (incredible coverage), a 2oz. Color Sample, and a little bit of Benjamin Moore's Pearlescent Tint Glaze!


It took me a while to find the perfect stencil pattern, but this one was worth waiting for.  You can see a glimpse of the color scheme I began to create here.  This stencil is known as a two layer stencil.  I brushed on Autumn Cover first, used a paper towel to dab on a bit of Benjamin Moore's Metallic Pearlescent Tint Glaze and let it dry.


After the first layer dried, I placed the patterned part of the stencil over it and added more of the Metallic Pearlescent Tint Glaze and a few colors on top to define the shapes in a fun color combination.  It's usually a good idea to try out the pattern and colors onto a spare sketch sheet, canvas,poster board, etc.

DSC_0214This picture shows how I reversed the effect, too.  Some with an Autumn Cover base, some with a Veil Cream base.  The variety worked for our space to add a little shimmer and surprise.

My palette:

Turquoise Smoke Color

Accent Colors

(Note that Veil Cream is a Pearlescent Tint- a glaze that is transluscent and adds shimmer when layered over and under other opaque colors)


BEFORE: A room that was comfortable, but boring for my taste.
Bedroom Before 1 

AFTER: A room that embraces color, texture, and pattern in a modern interpretation of Indian inspired design.
Bedroom After Dwell Benjamin Moore a

An overall view of the bed shows off those incredible peacocks!


I found this cool little pouf to add lots of color and texture into an otherwise boring corner in my room.  My little one loves just jumping all over it.

DSC_0206  DSC_0201 
The turquoise creates contrast against photos we framed with white matting.  Little handmade indian ornamental elephants hang from my doorknobs.  Elephants with trunks up and facing the door are meant to be good luck!

I specifically used the same pattern but in reverse color order over the two nightstands on my side and my husband's side to symbolize the balance we create together.

 DSC_0205  DSC_0464
Detail of a stencil & proof that everyone loves lounging in the DwellStudio bedding and soaking in the Benjamin Moore colors of the room!