Featured: Storage Solutions Magazine!

 

Earlier this week, we received some fun news that our Coast House project we completed in early 2012 was featured in Storage Solutions Magazine.  It's always fun to look back on our past projects, we can't help feeling nostalgic about them.  So go pick yourself up a copy and have a lovely weekend everyone!

-C&B

Architectural and Interior Design:  Kaemingk Design

Styling and Decor:  Shannon Quimby

Photos:  Steve Cridland

 

The Art of Mixing Metals

 

Remember sometime in the not so distant past when someone came up with the idea that every single piece of hardware should match in a home?  Yeah, we get the idea...matching is good.  To us though, matching versus cohesiveness take on completely different meanings.  We like cohesive.  We like interest.  We like authenticity.  You get the drill.  Our thoughts are this, when you match every piece of hardware in your home, that authentic look is immediately lost.  Matching also creates a predictable look that can read as bland, and in some cases, boring.  In other situations, matching can take on the opposite effect, resulting in a garish look that overwhelms.  So our opinion is...mix the metals people!  Here are some excellent examples of some spaces killing the mixed metal game!

We believe design is less about the "rules" and more about having an open mind.  

Tip:  First and foremost, have no fear and have an open mind...don't be scared to experiment!

Belgians are the masters of mixing materials...so when it comes to mixing metals, they are the forerunners.  

Tip:  Be unconventional in the mix.  We love how Benoit Viaene chose to incorporate this polished bronze sink paired with a blackened tap.

Another master of the mix, Studio Piet Boon makes a statement with their metal usage.

Tip:  In a neutral or tonal space, make the metals the focal point.  We love how the brushed nickel taps act as a neutral while the blackened steel mirrors and lights add contrast.

Well, of course we had to include ourselves in this post, we LOVE mixing metals!

Tip:  Don't just limit yourself to two different metal types, add another to the mix!  Here we are using three different metals, brass, aged zinc and blackened steel and they all play together nicely.

Yeah, we did.  We included the piece de resistance to our theory...and another example of our love for a healthy patina, but we will save that conversation for later!

Tip:  Treat your metals like you would paint.  Mostly, metals play as neutrals, so why not use them to cover a surface?  We love this usage of aged brass and zinc...jaw dropping!

~C&B

 

Our Most Dramatic Before and Afters: Part One

 

As some of you know, we are no strangers to the most dilapidated, nasty houses out there.  In fact, we are drawn to them.  We can't help it, it is in our blood to walk down the street, stop in our tracks and gawk at the ugliest house; dreaming up solutions to make it dreamy.  So we thought it would be appropriate to share our most dramatic transformations over the years.  Take a look at the magic!

One of our most popular houses, the exterior transformation of Tabor takes the cake.  This house sat on the market for months before we decided to set foot inside.  I know.  Even we didn't want to look at it!  It was ugly and forgettable.  Once we had the chance to tour Tabor, our opinions changed.  The inside was charming and we couldn't beat the location.  So we got to work.  First things first, take off all the cheap awnings.  We then proceeded to simplify the roofline and give the house some much needed street presence.  We deliberated on color and decided on this moody, edgy charcoal brown...it was the perfect choice.  The final touch was to add a little character back with the reclaimed wood entry awning and aged brass lanterns.  It is now our version of a modernized Tudor/Storybook home and we still adore it!

While not as dilapidated as the rest of the homes we have worked on, Emerson's transformation was dramatic in a different way.  The previous owner had done a quick clean up and reno of the house before putting it on the market and although it was clean and relatively new, there was a lot of room for improvement.  Case in point, the kitchen that we turned into a built-in dining room.  The original layout of Emerson was...interesting, so in order to improve it we swapped the locations of the original kitchen and dining room with each other.  The space for the original dining room was large, so why not make that the kitchen and utilize the space the original kitchen was crammed into to make a cozy built-in dining area?  No brainer to us!  Since the space was around 7X10 we knew we had to get creative.  We had the idea to completely customize the space and build it into the existing room, creating an oversized built-in dining nook.  Don't let the pictures fool you...the space is larger than it looks and can seat up to 10 if two chairs were pulled to the head of the table.  To create that cozy nook vibe, we had the room clad in reclaimed fir, which was also used for the built-in benches.  A custom hand made zinc table completed the look and infused the space with the warmth and character is was lacking originally.  This is one of our all time favorite rooms we have created.

Yes, those photos are taken from the same location.  The upper floor in this particular home was extremely chopped up and not functional.  The two rooms before posed and interesting problem, they were both tiny, interestingly shaped and on separate levels!  This home was built by a ship Capitan so those original spaces and layouts make a little more sense?  Who knows?  Anyway, the potential of these two odd rooms excited us and we decided to incorporate their oddness into our design concept.  Our thoughts: simplify the two spaces by taking out that wall in the middle and combine them into one.   However, we did not want to over simplify the space.  We chose to keep the connected rooms on separate levels by adding a set of stairs.  Since the upstairs desperately needed a bathroom, a bathroom it became.  Since we wanted to keep the space more traditional, we opted for classic white subway tile with the octagon and square tile as the flooring.  Brass hardware and a salvaged antique skirted tub also contributed to the traditional aesthetic.  We opted for darker walls and grout to add a little drama to the space and dramatic it is!

One of our all time favorite houses, Morrison wasn't the ugliest or the most dilapidated of the bunch...it was simply out-dated.  Although we spent a good amount of time time fixing the bad renos it had endured over the years, the house was an amazing project in need of some smart design decisions to bring it back to life.  From the beginning, we spent a large amount of time researching Victorian homes since there were a lot of layout changes that needed to be made.  One obvious change that immediately went into effect was opening the wall underneath the stairway...true to an original Victorian layout.  From there, we had to relocate the kitchen back to it's original spot which had been moved elsewhere sometime in the past.  However, one of the most simple, but dramatic transformations this house endured was giving that staircase a new coat of paint.  We chose a charcoal color to modernize the look of the stairs, painting them all one color...something we have been known to do a time or two!  The before/afters are simply stunning and proof that a simple coat of paint can completely change a space.

There you have it!  A handful of our most dramatic transformations over the years.  Since there is a whole lot more where that came from, we decided to make this a multiple part series.  Transformations...they are kinda our thing!  More to come!

~C&B

 

OBSESSIONS: Plaster staircases

 

Plaster.  Oak.  Steel.  Three of our all-time favorite elements in a home.  Add them to a dreamy and architectural staircase, and amazing things are bound to happen.  More typical in European design, the use of plaster is gaining popularity here in the states and we love that.  When added to something as architectural as a staircase, plaster has a way of simplifying something that can be quite complex to the eye.  Let's not confuse simplicity with plain or boring though, because plaster has depth and texture it adds to the mix.  That depth creates a livable, touchable, surface that in most cases, needs nothing more added to it.  Applied to the walls of a staircase and mixed with wood and steel, the space becomes nothing less than a work of art.  Here is a small collection of some of our long time and even more recent favorite plaster staircases.  We look forward to creating some of our own!  Enjoy! 

-C&B

Design: Vincent Van Duysen

Design: Vincent Van Duysen

Design: Benoit Viaene

Design: Benoit Viaene

Design: Axel Vervoordt

Design: Axel Vervoordt

Design: Leigh Hezig

Design: Leigh Hezig

Design: Benoit Viaene

Design: Benoit Viaene

Design: More Design

Design: More Design

 

Our Thoughts on Shower Curtains.

 
Design: Kaemingk Design

Design: Kaemingk Design

We  are constantly receiving feedback and questions regarding the shower curtains we have used in our past designs.  We are huge fans of curtains and in most cases, prefer them over other options.  Here is a look into our thought process on why...

Design: AD Office

Design: AD Office

The number one reason we choose curtains over doors is they are super versatile.  Depending on the space or one's mood, they can be pulled all the way open, left partially or completely shut---all evoking different vibes for the bathroom.  If the room is on the smaller side, being able to pull the drapes open and out of the way can make the space feel larger, where glass doors can create an invisible barrier and virtually close the space in.  Plus, curtains are easy to switch in and out as styles change.  For our curtains, we tend to pick fabrics that are classic, neutral and authentic so they stand the test of time and don't need to be changed out often.

Design: Kaemingk Design

Design: Kaemingk Design

This leads us into our next reason behind choosing curtains.  They are completely customizable.  Yes, doors are customizable too...but hear us out first.  We love customizing our curtains and rods and will do it every time we use a curtain.  Let's start with the curtain rod.  Rods are often neglected and rarely thought of as a design feature for a shower, but we beg to differ.  It all starts with the rod for us.  Don't blame us, we are hardware junkies!  There are various materials to make rods from and so many ways at customizing them for each particular shower that the possibilities are endless when it comes to the finished product.  Our thoughts are this, when someone is spending time in their bathroom or in their shower, we want them to look up, notice and love those details instead of them being "just there".  It makes a huge difference.  The same goes for curtains, they can literally be made from thousands of different fabrics, customized through texture, weight and print...endless possibilities that completely change the vibe in a bathroom.

Design: Atheorem

Design: Atheorem

Our final reason on why we typically choose curtains for our bathrooms is the extra "layer" they add to the design.  Bathrooms are covered in hard materials, it's no secret but when a curtain is added to the mix, it softens the whole room considerably.  Adding something soft to a rather, hard atmosphere let's the space breathe...it adds that "lived in" dimension while remaining stylish.  We believe that in some cases adding a luxurious curtain to a shower can make all the difference in transforming a bathroom.

~C&B