Thursday, February 25, 2010

Motion sensors save energy and $$$$$$$!

by Darlene Jurow
Did you know that wasted lighting can account for 50% of a home’s total energy usage? Lights left on when rooms are unoccupied are an expensive energy drain. Fortunately, Lutron has come to the rescue. No more shouting at family members,”turn off the lights”! Lutron’s Maestro wireless occupancy sensors automate the switching and dimming and are wireless. They will turn off the lights automatically at a pre-set length of time (say…3 minutes). And, if you are in the shower and decide to shampoo twice and the sensor flips off, don’t panic. Simply change the location of the sensor or the length of the pre-set timer (after you dry off!) No wires…. No construction….no hassle. What a convenience. No need to break into walls to install wires in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry or even a walk-in closet. By the way, the Lutron sensors help you comply with the most current building codes. Lutron’s gotcha covered!

 Here are the components for the Maestro wireless occupancy sensor.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What to Look For In An Interior Designer

By Shannon Kirby

We are often asked what we think you should look for in selecting someone to restyle your home.  We have been on many interviews and this is what we have gleaned from them.

Do Your Research 
The nine of us recommend that you check the designer thoroughly from their website, their references, and/or from friends' recommendations. Verify their credentials and talk to the references. Find out their talents and consider their strengths and weaknesses.

Understand the Difference Between a Designer and a Decorator
There is a difference between a designer and a decorator.  A decorator may have a "flair" for design but does not have the formal training and is not versed on the standards and norms of remodeling a space.  They are not aware of the codes that need to be followed for the safety of everyone. A designer, on the other hand, is trained in all areas of construction, building codes and working with the trades.  A professional membership in an organization such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) insures you are hiring someone with the credentials, knowledge, resources, experience and creativity to make your house into a dream home.  We, as professional interior designers, have those credentials.

Are You In Sync?
A designer's portfolio is a good tool to identify their talent and start a conversation about your design tastes and your project. The portfolio should reflect your tastes, not just the designer's own personal style.  The only style that really counts is yours.

We are strong believers that the personalities of the client and designer should be in sync.  This is the person you are trusting to design your space and they will be a part of your life for a period of time.  You must feel you can talk to them about your wants, concerns and desires openly.

Clearly Know Your Budget
Make sure you have a realistic view of how much the project will cost. Ask about fees, markups, and any other hidden costs such as sales tax and freight. If you don't know what things cost, discuss this up front with the designer, who will have a wide range of experience with different types of  budgets and projects and can help you determine the cost of the project. It is also important to share the goals for the project in terms of the scope of the work.

Ask For a Contract
The contract should clearly define who is involved, the scope of the work, how services are priced,  when payments are due and the responsibilities of all parties.  The scope is important because we often come in to interview for one job and it moves to other areas without finishing the first. And, as for responsibilities, you as the client are responsible for hiring all labor.

Team Work
You and your designer are a team in the process and it is a process that doesn't happen overnight.  Open communication, clearly defined goals and knowing your budget will ensure a glorious outcome.  We want you to be thrilled when we close the door at the end of the project.

Bamboo Tutorial

by Jan Gunn 

Bamboo – This Grass is Green

Bamboo is the fastest growing wood-like plant in the world (botanically, bamboo is a grass, not a tree). It grows one third faster than the fastest growing tree. Some species can grow up to a meter per day -- one can almost watch it grow.

Because it grows so quickly and is easy to regenerate -- either naturally or through replanting -- bamboo is considered the ultimate “rapidly renewable” resource.

Let the Bamboo Buyer Beware!

In the 1990’s, bamboo flooring was considered a novel environmental product and was offered by only a few pioneers. Today, it is a major commodity. There are literally millions of square feet of bamboo flooring flooding into North American ports every month from mills across Eastern and Southeastern Asia.

Some of these bamboo flooring mills are top-notch facilities with excellent quality control and responsible sourcing and labor practices, but others are fly-by night-operations that lack the resources and commitment to produce quality products and see to the safety and health of their workers.

The quality of bamboo flooring is only as good as the quality of the manufacturing and sourcing process. Northern species of bamboo are harder and denser than Southern species; timber bamboo that is harvested at six or seven years of age will perform much better than younger bamboo harvested on shorter rotations; how the bamboo is dried and processed affects product quality; the quality of the adhesives used to glue up the bamboo strips and the quality of the finish used in pre-finished products go a long way to determining whether the product wears well or poorly over time.

Designers who specify bamboo develop relationships with their suppliers. These days cheap bamboo flooring is easy to find, but it is unlikely to hold up in high-traffic applications or to satisfy discerning clients. There is no substitute for expert knowledge in the process of qualifying a supplier. That expertise comes through diligently auditing the quality of bamboo-suppliers' products as installed, especially after some real-world use.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trends from Design San Francisco 2010...Easy to Sea

by innerspace

At Design San Francisco 2010, the trends were easy to sea...
Sea shell pave...
Pallas chandelier
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

Or sea shell mosaic...

Papyri octagonal side table | Black capiz shell mosaic top+Iron base | Antique bronze finish
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere 

Stylish coral branches...
Kiki coral sconce | White gloss powdercoat finish
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Or coral branch applique...
Pompidou mirror | Red coral
Available at de Sousa Hughes

 Faux coral...

Strand mirror | Cast stone coral | Clear or Antiqued mirror glass
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

Or real coral, either natural...
Large cup coral | Natural
Available at Sloan Miyasato

Or bleached...
Large cup coral | Bleached white
Available at Sloan Miyasato

And sea kelp, cast in golden bronze!
Gualala lamp | Cast bronze from sea kelp | Natural linen shade
Available at de Sousa Hughes

What design trends do you sea?

Trends from Design San Francisco 2010...Branching Out

by innerspace

Design San Francisco 2010 was branching out with new trends...
Tree leaves...
Photo by manya tan
Tree-like tree sconce | Sterling silver plated finish
Available at de Sousa Hughes
Mark Alexander
Macao embroidered fabric | Linen+Polyester | Moss
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Mark Alexander
Macao embroidered fabric | Linen+Polyester | Nettle
Available at de Sousa Hughes

And tree branches...
Forest side chair+bar stool+arm chair | Powder coated aluminum | Available in 9 colors
Available at Janus et Cie
Strider table lamp | Cast brass base | Ivory linen shade
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

And tree roots...
Root table lamp | Ivory linen shade
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

Kailash coffee table | Cast bronze | Mirror polished top
Available at de Sousa Hughes

And tree trunks...
Tree trunk table base | Indoor|Outdoor black resin base | Beveled edge glass top (not included)
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Duette table | Walnut base | Live edge Oregon walnut top
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Y base slab console table | Polished bronze base | Live edge walnut slab top
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Are you ready to branch out?

Trends from Design San Francisco 2010...Naturally

by innerspace

Trend inspiration came naturally at Design San Francisco 2010... 
Light stone or metallic colors,
And weathered oak wood finishes,
Accented with organic materials...
Dupuis table | Oak | Antiqued distressed desert white painted finish
Small Timaeus lamp | Cast stone | Han grey finish | Natural linen shade
Moragas bed | Walnut | Mink finish
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

For color, think neutral or natural, metal or stone...
Silvery pewter or golden bronze...  
Platform bed | Rattan+walnut | Medium walnut finish
Available at McGuire

Seville tile fabric | Linen | Dusk+Flax
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Seville tile fabric | Linen | Pewter+Sand
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Limestone, pebble, or sand...
Bamboo bed | Iron | Silver leaf finish
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere
Anis embroidered fabric | Linen+Viscose | Natural
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Anis embroidered fabric | Linen+Viscose | French blue
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Anis embroidered fabric | Linen+Viscose | Ash
Available at de Sousa Hughes

For finishes, think weathered oak painted in light colors...
Distressed or crackled...
Rift oak | Antique distressed arctic white painted finish 
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

Brushed or cerused... 
Oak | Antiqued distressed desert white painted finish
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

For decorative accents, think organic materials...
Like petrified wood...
Gepetto table top | Cast stone | Gold colorway+Simple pedestal table base without bands | Iron | Forged finish
Available at Kneedler | Fauchere

One of a kind tables | Petrified palm top (left) | Petrified wood top (right) | Cast bronze base
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Or minerals...
Utah selenite slab | Black marble base
Available at Sloan Miyasato

Empire chandelier | White turquoise+Agate
Available at de Sousa Hughes

Or fossils and stone...
Taos lamp | Polished half ammonite fossil | Polished nickel+Black marble base | Black linen shade
Available at Sloan Miyasato

Laurasia lamp | Rough whole ammonite fossil | Base cast bronze from sea kelp | Natural linen shade
Available at de Sousa Hughes

What design trends seem like a natural to you?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

From Design San Francisco 2010...Meet the Guest Speakers

by innerspace

Want to meet some more icons of the interior design industry?  

At Design San Francisco 2010, all you needed to do was socialize with the guest speakers---renowned interior designers, furniture designers, and textile designers---at the product launches, and receptions that followed their presentations!

During his presentation 'Doing it Right: 21st Century Style', furniture designer Dakota Jackson explored how, by redefining early 20th century modernism, which he considers the base of 21st century design, he invents new products for today's environment. His furniture, including Calypso, his latest collection, is available at the de Sousa Hughes showroom.

'I design each piece considering the awkward moment between indecision and acceptance.'
Dakota Jackson

Dakota Jackson | Calypso Side Chair

Dakota Hackson | Doubleback Chair

Dakota Jackson | [the iconic] Library Armchair
Mark Boone's presentation 'Change Comes Naturally---Organic Forms Take Hold on the California Coast', showcased homes in Big Sur, CA and la Jolla, CA that London Boone, his interior design partnership, transformed into organic, oceanfront oases.  Both projects feature custom furniture, as well as furniture from Mimi London, the furniture line that was founded by his partner and is available at the Sloan Miyasato showroom.

'Much of what Mimi [London] and I do is either organic or naturally inspired.'
Mark Boone

Mark Boone | Living Room
photo Mary E. Nichols

Mimi London | Favorite Lounge Chair

Mark Boone | Living Room
photo Mary E. Nichols

Mimi London | Canyon Cocktail Tables

During his presentation about 'Thoughtful Design: Evolution vs. Revolution', interior designer Terry Hunziker discussed the importance of design as a long term investment, using past and present images of his projects to show how, even with periodic changes, good design has longevity.  Often, his projects feature custom furniture that inspires his furniture designs for Sutherland, available at the Shears & Window showroom.

'It's not about a lot of change---it's about getting it right the first time!'
Terry Hunziker


Terry Hunziker | Living Room | Then and Now

Terry Hunziker | Living Room

 Terry Hunziker | Sutherland | Hugo Lounge Chair and Ottoman

Interior designer Suzanne Tucker, a protege of Michael Taylor, recently published her first book, Rooms to Remember.  During her presentation 'Everything Old is New Again' at Shears & Window, she introduced Suzanne Tucker Home, her new textile collection that was inspired by 18th and 19th century documentary textiles and reinterpreted for contemporary interiors. 

'We are always looking for something that's going to make a room sing in a different way...'
Suzanne Tucker


Suzanne Tucker Home | Aurora | Olive

Suzanne Tucker Home | Fleur de Plume | Nutmeg

Suzanne Tucker Home | Grenade | Godiva

What's your style?  Modern or natural, timeless or traditional?