Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Perfectly simple rural black-white-brown dining room

This is so perfectly simple.

Or, this is so simple that perhaps it makes you think that you can do it too. And maybe that shows how well done it is.

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Dining room;  Pantelerria, Italy.  Flavio Albanese. Interior photo via Elle Decor.

The demarcation created by the horizontal line along the walls lowers the very high ceiling.

The white on the lower part allows the focus to be on the outdoor, while the choice of brown paint, and the imperfect line together with the imperfect finish on the upper part of the walls creates a wonderful connection with the beautiful imperfections of the outdoor wall of stones peaking through the door.

More horizontals in the chairs contribute to the same effect of keeping the eyes low and establishing a link with the stack of the outdoor stones, while the door and the table with their rounded lines introduce variety in form and shape.

The series of small paintings - one single word on an entirely black background set in a narrow gold frame - are a great detail that contributes to the whole feeling of silence and simplicity, yet their narrow gold frames add a subtle urban touch.

The table setting has the right note: rural, simple, basic frayed placemats, and pottery tableware.

***
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Monday, January 28, 2013

My Style

In putting together this outfit I started with a skirt in a classic black-and-white houndstooth pattern.

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Like in the previous times (outfits) when I wore this skirt I wanted to give a spin to this classic pattern.
I wanted the end result / look not to look classic or formal so I created quite a few contrasts.

This time I combined the classic black-and-white pattern skirt with no less than a bright blue sequin top.

To give some robustness to the sequin top I layered it over a black silk sleeveless top. I payed attention both pieces to have round necklines so these lines won't create a visual conflict.

Then I layered the sequin top under a black silk sweater, so just the right amount / not too much of the blue sequins peaks out from underneath the sweater.

Accessories & Shoes:
A wide black leather belt with a large silver buckle defines the waist line, and together with a man's watch that I wear on my wrist toughen the sequins look.

A very fine silver necklace with a delicate silver and black stones pendant and a pearl bracelet create contrast with the belt and the watch keeping the outfit in the same area of playing with the opposites - fine-glamorous versus classic-robust.

Black tights and black suede shoes with rounded toe complete my outfit.

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***

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Style

In putting together this outfit I started with a sparkly black-and-silver evening dress.

The necklace is my own design.

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I wanted to give a twist to this dress and to wear it in a casual way.

Counter-intuitive though, I added even more glitter: I chose a gold lace jacket, and a gold-silver leather belt.
However, in spite of its gold-and-lace combination the jacket has a very casual feeling with its rolled up sleeves and zipper, and the wide leather belt - in this context - toughens the look.

I kept the jacket open, and tie with the belt.

Accessories & Shoes:
- a wood (with some glossy accents) necklace of my own design, 
- a black-and-brown small cross-body bag, 
- and a pair of black booties wrap up the outfit in the relaxed feeling I aimed for, and finish up the look.

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***

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rustic sophisticated dining area in Aspen, Colorado. Did you know that these two words can coexist so well?

Light-filled, restrained color palette, warm textures, excellent proportions, and a wonderful, sophisticated blend of contrasts: expansive wood ceiling, chunky wood beams, strong iron chandeliers, elegant chairs ...

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Dining area; Aspen, Colorado, USA. Stephen Sills. Interior photo via Architectural Digest.

The two massive chandeliers:
- act as an excellent unifying element between the kitchen and the dining areas;
- they are also visually strong enough to balance the impact of the wood gabled ceiling and the presence of heavy ceiling beams.

The very large, massive dining table surrounded by no less than twelve chairs:
- makes a great statement;
- it also has excellent proportions to play with this expansive space, ceiling, the beams and the chandeliers.

A polished, elegant in a robust, relaxed, no fuss manner interior.

Rustic and sophisticated perfectly coexist in here.

***
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How much the details matter

In contrast with my previous/yesterday's post where I presented an interior where any form of detail was lacking, have a look at the wonderful details in this image.

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Interior photo via Traditional Home

While the color palette is similar with the yesterday's interior (neutral), have a look at what a difference the presence of pattern / the details make in here.

Can you imagine how bland, dull, boring this neutral room would be if all these fabrics / textures were plain?
Without this excellent mix of patterns the room would be nothing more than beige curtains, beige decorative pillows, beige canopy - a flat, drab mass of beige textures.

Always pay attention to the details. A successful design invariably lays in the details.

***
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Black, white, and grey open space in Serbia. Does this space look depressing?

First I thought that these images are a mistake.
I thought that these are black and white photos, only to realize - to my dismay - that no, these are the real photos of a real interior.

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I feel it's very sad to be surrounded by a mass of black-white-grey.  The space feels so cold, so terribly uninviting, dreadful.

The white in this context doesn't feel bright, it feels oppressing.

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All the textures - steel, glass, metal, concrete, brick, leather, plastic - lack any warmth.

One of the reasons this interior fails is its lack of variety and contrast: besides that there is no variety and contrast in color, there is no variety and contrast in texture (there are only cold textures as I just said).
Nor there is any form of unifying repetition, there is no pattern.

The lonely cactus against a bare concrete column actually says more than a thousand words about this room that looks like a deserted space.

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Open Space - Living & Dining area; Serbia. ArhitekturaBudjevac. Interior photos via Freshome.

And, a head sculpture placed directly on the floor in an insignificant position tucked against the wall, between a gap in the sheers - it's just desolate.

Also, this space shows, too well unfortunately, that a space full of natural light doesn't equal, and it doesn't automatically translate into a warm place.

***


My Style

In putting together this outfit I used layers on a grey-green - pink - red color combination.

The necklace is my own design.

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I layered a fitted grey-green ruffle-collar vest over a grey-green bubble dress in the same texture.

Accessories:
I wanted to invigorate the grey colors of the dress and the vest, so I layered on top a long necklace of my own design in contrasting colors (pink - red - light purple).

Shoes:
I choose a pair of light pink round-toe slingback shoes.

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My own necklace design

***

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Own House - The Library/Tea Room, as work in progress

This is our Library/Tea room, the way it looks at the moment - as work in progress.

Not too much is happening in here at the moment - this time I wanted to show you the space from this very incipient phase, so you can really see how it will evolve / what it's going to morph into.

This is not a completely enclosed space (meaning that it doesn't have walls or doors on all sides) as you can see in the photos.

I call this space 'Tea room' because with the outdoor area that opens in front of it it's simply a great pleasure to have a chat over a tea/coffee in here.

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.
View from the hall and courtyard.

The red shades and the chandelier came with the house. They won't stay.

There are two bookcases at the moment. The third bookcase is on the way.

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.

As you notice there is a collection of decorative mirrors hanging on the wall in this niche.
I hung them because I am absolutely sure that I want to keep the mirror collection in this spot - being a niche it's a little darker so the mirrors visually expand the space and bring more light in here.

In the empty space below the mirrors I am going to place a slim desk/console table. 

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.

As I said earlier this space is not enclosed, and in this photo you can see the openness together with a view to the courtyard. 

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.

As I said earlier this space is not enclosed, and in this photo you see the openness together with a view to the courtyard.

Because it's such an open space I wanted to give it a sense of enclosure.
The palms I chose to place on each side act like a demarcation, a visual boundary.

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.

View to the courtyard.

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The Library/Tea room in our own house as work in progress.
View to the courtyard.

In the background: the sequence of spaces continues with the master bedroom.

***

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Style

In putting together this outfit I used layers, and I played with textures, long-short lengths, and with slim-loose shapes on a yellow - yellow-green - gold and black-and-white color palette.

The necklace is my own design.
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Layers & Play of textures and lengths: 
I wear a (short) gold faux fur bolero over a (long and fitted) bright yellow satin shirt.
To temper the effect of yellow I layered a green scarf on top, yet the green scarf has yellow undertones that relates it to the color of the other two upper pieces.

Play of volumes: 
On the bottom I brought volume by wearing a black and white paneled skirt.
The very small checkered pattern and the wide lace border of the skirt bring pattern to the outfit.

Accessories:
I finished the outfit by adding more pattern and interest via a long white and silver glass-based pearls and metal pendant necklace of my own design, and a small black-and-white leather bag.


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My own necklace design

You can see me wearing the same gold faux fur bolero in a different combination here.

****

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Family room in magenta and grey. How wild things have gone in here?

Wild. Showy. Flashy. Over the top. Fierce. Dramatic. Gaudy. Flamboyant ...

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Family room; Los Angeles, USA. Kelly Wearstler. Interior photo via Architectural Digest.


It looks like everything that could go wrong went wrong in this room. 
The eclecticism in here is a brave enterprise but totally unsuccessful. 

A sofa in velvet magenta tiger print is flashy enough on its own, no need to be combined with many additional patterns and elements having completely different styles to demand attention. It becomes gaudy.

From the top to the bottom, this room is mere a jumble of textures, patterns, periods and styles, contrasts:
- classic coffered ceiling;
- walls paneled with a repeating pyramid motif and a layered zig-zag border at the top;
- magenta tiger-striped velvet sofa;
- large orange abstract art above the magenta tiger-striped sofa;
- rug in a large multicolored graphic pattern;
- leather and chrome chairs;
- brass with gleaming tops coffee and accent tables;
- very large art contrasting in size with the two tiny pieces of art on the additional wall ...

Somewhere along the way the accumulation of things leading to this variety should have been stopped.

****
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Library in the bathroom. Is this an association that works?

We definitely live in an era of multitasking spaces. 
However, some associations work while some simply don't.

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Bathroom / Library. Interior photo via Traditional Home.

Although I personally don't like or enjoy to read in the tub - I don't like to have strong light while bathing, I don't like to constantly have to wipe my hands off in order to flip the pages or to have to keep my hands above the water and therefore to get cold, I don't like to expose the book to the steam that damages the paper, ..., some people relax while reading in the bathtub, as suggested in the image above.

But, to go as far as having a real library in the bathroom it's a quite different thing, and I find it at least strange.
Of course, one explanation behind creating such an intriguing space might be something like 'the client wanted it'. 
However, 'the client wanted it' translates - in some cases - in nothing more than the designer acts like a mere executant.
And the fact that the space might have the best venting option that helps with the humidity in a space prone to moisture doesn't mean much either.
Just take the book / the magazine with you while you soak in the tub, and put it away on a shelf outside the bathroom once you are done. You expose the paper to enough moisture while reading it in the tub.

The mural adorning the wall it's a luxurious, not too common, and interesting (unexpected) choice.
It's luxurious to commission a mural in an intimate space like a bathroom, a space that theoretically won't be seen by many.
It's interesting and unexpected to have an active scene depicted instead of a more (expected) serene scene. 
But the mural enhances the space beautifully.

***
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Living Room - (The first) Makeover, as work in progress

I was wondering what my first post on the new year should be about.
Well, actually it came very easily.
We got home from Europe on Tuesday evening, and because of the jet lag (ten hours difference) I could hardly sleep at all the first couple of nights.
So, on the second night, being wide awake and under a very creative impulse I suppose, I started moving the furniture around.

Here is the result - the first makeover of our living room, as work in progress.

Although I kept most of the initial furniture pieces the room has now a different color scheme that includes a bright red hue, and it has a completely different feeling too.

So, here is what I did:
- I rearranged the furniture with the sofa facing the French doors that open to the outdoors;
- I took out the rectangular oriental design rug, and replaced it with a round shaggy rug that we had in another room;
- I replaced the two brown leather and wood chairs with a playful bright red lip bean bag chair that we had in another room. I layered the chair with a white sheep skin;
- I repeated the red color - in the two bolster pillows on the sofa, and in the red ottoman;
- I brought in a new table lamp that we had in another room, and placed it on the console table next to the sofa to bring some mood light to this corner of the room also.
I layered the console table with another sheep skin;
- I took out / added a few decorative accessories;
- there is no art hanging on the walls, and now you understand why I don't want to make holes in the walls - not yet.
And actually I very much consider having a picture rail molding installed in order to allow for an easy changing display which I know that is going to happen quite often.

What look do you like more - the initial look, or this one?

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

At right - French doors that open to the outdoor

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

In the background - the entryway, and the stairs leading to the upper floor.

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

In the background - the entryway, and the stairs leading to the upper floor.

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(The first) makeover of our living room as work in progress.

In the background - the entryway, and the stairs leading to the upper floor.

What look do you like more - the initial look, or this one?

***

Monday, January 7, 2013

Going back to my beautiful hometown, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

We come back to my hometown often, every year / year and a half.
It was first time in the past few years when we came during the winter.
And it was a real winter - very cold, and a lot of snow!

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Parcul Central, the main park in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Parcul Central, the main park in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Parcul Central, the main park in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
On Eroilor Street, one of the main streets in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Walking on the central historic streets in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Having lunch in a charming bistro in Muzeului Square

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Getting ready for ice-skating in Unirii Square, one of the main squares in my hometown

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
My husband and our daughter ice-skating in Unirii Square

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Unirii Square

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Creche in Unirii Square

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
My husband and our daughter in Avram Iancu Square

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Snow play in my parents' yard

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Feeling the soft snow! in my parents' yard

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
The fresh snow is so beautiful but the yard has to be cleaned - my husband at work (snow shoveling) in my parents' yard

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Around the Christmas tree in my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Around the Christmas tree in my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
Walking the hills around my parents' house

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
A stop at my highschool, 'Emil Racovita'

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
A stop at my highschool, 'Emil Racovita'

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
A stop at my highschool, 'Emil Racovita'

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania 
In front of the Piarist Church where my husband and I got married over eight years ago

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania
The Piarist Church, one of the city's notable edifices, where my husband and I got married over eight years ago

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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Cluj-Napoca, Romania

And now, after a six-week vacation with tens of unique, and wonderful experiences it's time for us to get back to the US ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

MAY WE ALL HAVE A PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS YEAR.

***