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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Great Wall

When a building gives you a large wall with extremely high ceilings (21 feet), creativity will fill the space.  Luckily, my client had taken a trip to Istanbul and to my surprise had returned with numerous finds.  One being the most detailed textile with an ideal size for hanging in this space.  The textile was created as a duvet cover and measures equivalent for a king bed at 90"x108".  It was a rather unexpected purchase that lends itself perfectly to hang and display the fine stitchery art.

After a few talking points on the hanging strategy, I had my trusty and extremely skilled work room assist.  With the shortest side being the hanging point, the end needed an exterior pocket and was sewn with a coordinating, durable woven fabric.  While the pocket doesn't show from the front it is important to blend fabrics in case there is a future use.  Inside the pocket fits a piece of lumber which was sanded and prime painted to avoid splinters and snags along the fabric.  The lumber will be the wall mounting bar for anchor hardware.  On the opposite end, a solid iron rod was cut exactly to size and placed inside as a light weight for the textile.   After all the details were made and the ladder was in place, the wall hanging makes the journey up the wall for display.  

The sewn back pocket with inner lumber.

The ladder with rubber bumpers raised up to position.

The mounting screws are pre drilled. 
The wood 'T' stick will come in handy.

The guys tie the draping fabric together to prep for the lift.

With all tools handy, Edward slowly walks up the ladder.

Now the handy 'T' stick comes into play as support.

Closer view of the support.

The side screws with anchors are put in place.

After the hardware is mounted, the pocket sides get sewn closed.
Hand sewing on a ladder...very detailed.

The wall hanging looks wonderful and ready for the
rest of the room to be transformed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vanity or Vanity

van·i·ty [van-i-tee]  – noun
  1. excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc
  2. an instance or display of this quality or feeling; something about which one is vain.
  3. a wide, counterlike shelf containing a wash basin often with shelves or drawers underneath.
  4. a cabinet built below or around a bathroom sink, primarily to hide exposed pipes.

Of course, I will use the word as it relates to the bath area.  A vanity can be in multiple options for its intended purpose of hosing the sink.  It's the modern wash stand, so toss out the pitcher and bowl for plumbing and instant water.  I always try to push the bar a little when designing a bathroom.  It is an area you will use everyday (unless the powder room - will cover that room one day) in your residence.  There is a real need for the space to be well thought out to yield function and longevity.  At the same time, planning can also become overwhelmed with decisions that put you back to basics.  Keep interest with a vanity so the space is not sterile or you may as well use commercial wall sink and post a "restroom" sign on the door.

When you consider the sink bowl being integrated into counters, there are wall mounted or floor cabinets.  Each are sometimes personal preference, but require behind the scenes work as far as position, plumbing and flooring.  I'm not recommending a favorite, but bathroom room can be elevated up just by thinking of the object you may overlook (literally) each day.  I enjoy a various styles and it depends on the space, style, budget and what makes practical sense.  One trendy innovation that I have never used and shall never after a personal experience (Vienna 2009) is the vessel sink.  It is in no way appropriate for a daily used bathroom.  I take on projects and would not even consider a project where someone insisted to use a vessel in the master bath.

Ok, back to the positive notes with finds, projects and styles to show you....

Try recycling furniture or find a 'new' old piece over a weekend.  A skilled carpenter, like mine, can retrofit the base cabinet to support an undermount sink with a new counter.  You could use a wide dresser to create dual sinks. Consider having the furniture sprayed in lacquer for new and waterproof finish.   

Tradition with a twist that yields a custom focal point with integrated counter.

Modern style with pure function.  Well planned to hide plumbing.

Keep in mind that if you are planning to remodel a bathroom, walls may be moved or shifted.  This allows you to decide and select the perfect vanity and have walls put back around it.   If you find that 44" dresser and your space is 42", it's worth the retrofit so you don't think back to the "wish I had".


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Paper art

Yes, paper art for the walls.   Wallpaper has been produced for centuries and one may think it had ups and downs in residential design.  Most people equate wallpaper with a bad flash back to those interesting designs of the 60's and 70's.............aren't these a bit scary?  

If you review further back in time to see the use of paper (inspired bywoven tapestries) and add in the most modern production methods of today, wallpaper is an exceptional art.   Besides, if you are going to paper a wall why go with something boring?

I'm a big fan of wallpaper and thanks to a huge array of designs it can be used in so many ways or locations without stealing the focus of a room.   The art of selecting the wall or ceiling and the correct paper style is something I will keep up my sleeve to keep my day job.

With wallpaper in mind, I wanted to just share a few specialty papers that in the right location can without question enhance a room.   Of course you can use subtle strie, texture, botanical or stripes, but I wanted to show you a few bolder selections below produced by Cole and Son.

Cole & Son was founded in 1873 by John Perry, son of a Cambridgeshire vicar, the company - then called John Perry Ltd.   Today, the Cole & Son archive consists of approximately 1,800 block print designs, 350 screenprint designs and a huge quantity of original drawings and wallpapers, representing all the styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Amongst these are some of the most important historic wallpaper designs in the world. Coles is now the prime source for entirely authentic period wallpapers printed by the original method and has provided wallpapers for many historic houses, including Buckingham Palace and the White House.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Redesign of the past

As you can imagine, inspiration for design is found in many forms.  I have seen my share of things that make me pause, stare and think.  The most intriguing works can be center stage of a city in architecture.  Living in DC, we have numerous buildings of high significance and are pure eye pleasers for both historic relevants and/or architecture.   If you combine the both, you have my blog worthy find...a historic hotel built in 1923.

When one thinks of a hotel you seldom think of a local attraction for residents.  They are rarely or infrequently visited by the people passing every day and place low interest in the view of the building from a street corner.  If you live in a city, why visit a local hotel one may ask.  Even if that is the case, you really should take time to enjoy the public spaces of these hidden treasures.   

I met a (local) friend for drinks and the location, you guessed it, a hotel.  This turned out to be a 'field trip' of sorts for me as I was excited about the location suggested.   After my own anticipation to see a place I visited and enjoyed 3 years prior to renovations.  It was now finally time to step inside the reborn historic hotel, The Jefferson.  

The expected beauty and ambiance was all in place from the grand crafted entrance to the intimate, well appointed interior.   Marble, mouldings and artwork, oh my!  It is a feast for the eyes and the craftsmenship rejuvenates the building.   This was/is worth a visit to see the transformation or experience it for the first time.   Whether it's the Quill bar, the Plume restaurant or the Greenhouse for breakfast.   You will have time to enjoy the exquisite surroundings and take a step into history (with all modern day convenience and signature cocktail in hand).


The Jefferson hotel had closed its doors in Spring 2007 to undertake the largest transformation in its history, only to welcome back guests and patrons in August 2009 with much praise.  In most cities, grand hotels were former apartment residences converted mostly due to economic principals. This Beaux Arts design building by Jules Henri de Sibour had it's early residents and today continues to welcome back guests to stay the night or catch up with a friend.

As I share this post, I will steer you to more info available on the 'net'.  So look it up you history seekers,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who Knú ?

Heard of Knú?   It is a terrific green furniture design and fabrication company which offers not only sustainable but very cool contemporary pieces.  They've been around since mid 1990's and have been committed to protecting our natural resources by using only sustainably harvested wood products and manufacturing furniture in an energy efficient facility that offsets 100% of its carbon emissions.

If you think that is green products are sometimes limiting, Knú offers a variety of custom woodgrain finishes to personally craft your furniture.  Eco friendly with options!

So the primary piece I am debating on is the privacy screen below.

Material: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified multi-ply birch
whenever possible. Low-VOC catalyzed varnish. Six color options.   Specs: 62"h x 64"w

It is so well designed and the sleek style would mix with almost any room.  I can see this bending to a variety of surroundings or vibe you have going on.   Since it is over five feet in height, it can stand alone, fill that empty corner or block that work stack after hours.  With so many veneer choices, it's a process in decision making.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What a Shelf Needs

A year ago I took notice to the now popular slim book shelving.  It's a brilliant solution for a small space and offers a variety of uses over just books.   How about mixing it up a bit.  Typically they are powder coated or lacquer finished which makes for water resistance, so a great bathroom towel storage solution.  Other uses might be for small storage boxes (those papers and items you can never find), CDs (for those still owning) or display items like photo frames would create a good mix.   I have used for a closet project... folded t-shirts fit so nicely and the stack is manageable (I do wonder if those shirts are still folded as neatly as the original day).

Check out these practical options (Italian design offered in different finish depending on the store):

Italian-designed and manufactured this turns traditional library storage on end.
Ten shelves hold stacks of books horizontally to occupy a minimum of floor space.

The alternative library stack. Layer books and novels on their sides. 
Italian Bruno Rainaldi design in lightweight laser-cut steel with
silver powdercoat adds literati edge to a room.
For those that noted the other product designer, this is also Bruno Rainaldi design.  
It is created from steel sheeting with a lacquer finish.  
Design Within Reach is also offering a deal when purchasing two! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I am finally here!

Greetings Friends!

With our well known weather issues in Washington, DC, I have decided to take on the previously postponed task of initiating a blog. Yes, while I usually have a forward vision I'm just not up to speed on writing.  Ironically, they usually do go hand in hand.  As I welcome you to my future snap shot of things that are inspiring, interesting and what I find, I hope you will add me to your reading circle.  You can always visit my website for Bright Design Group to learn more of what I do as a day job.  

It may have gone unrecognized but many years ago the world of art and design collided with interiors to produce some stunning objects. So, it is no long correct to think that money buys the best of design. While naturally there are elements in any space which will require you to fork over some bucks for craftsmanship and heirloom longevity, the basis of interesting objects can be found in so many numerous places.  Some of these I will share along my blogging path while some of my favorite haunts need to remain quiet (so I don’t get the masses in my way while shopping).

With this inaugural posting, I again welcome you and invite you back.   Now, you must remain patient as I stir around what to post and add. I will provide a feast for the eyes and information in a different format then probably expected.

Live defined,

Jim Bright