25 October 2007

My Design: Original Content Week


A shot of the living room looking towards the family room. Across from this arrangement is another seating group comprised of a tufted sofa and two more chairs.


In honor of Decorno's proposal that design bloggers celebrate "Original Content Week," I've dug into my archives and pulled out these shots of a highrise apartment that I worked on last year. My client is a single woman in her 80s with reddish brown hair and olive skin tones. Working around her coloring, I came up with the scheme of sage greens, terracottas, and caramels for her new space. My client looks wonderful in her condo because the colors blend with her complexion rather than fight it. This was the first time I had considered complexion in thinking up a color scheme and it is something I have continued to do. It was a real eureka moment in my design life and I highly recommend trying out the premise.

My client plays cards and lots of it and one of the most important aspects to get right were all the gaming tables. So, poker with the men, (and the ladies) takes place on the round, wooden dining table. We purchased a heavy, fold-up topper, backed with felt to cover the table when the chips are flying. Next, I purchased a smaller game table to seat four for a game of bridge. This worked beautifully until it was discovered that the mirror was reflecting the cards, so I designed a temporary cover out of the pillow fabric that is placed over the mirror when the bridge ladies come. I kid you not. Lastly, a larger game table that seats six was placed in the den to handle card games for between 4 and 8 players or to serve lunch on at all the games. Obviously, this is a woman who loves to entertain. Working on this assignment was challenging and took up the better part of a year. My client and I didn't know each other when we started, but by the end of the project we had become close friends, despite our 30 something years age difference.



A closeup shot of the living room, with it's sage and terracotta tones. I designed all upholstery here and in the family room and had it fabricated at Custom Creations in Houston.


A close up of the dining room. The light fixture is a beauty: a highly patinaed antique brass fixture from Belgium. The fixture was purchased at Brown, a unique lighting shop whose proprietor lived in Belgium for several years. Now back in Houston, she returns there several times a year for inventory. The light fixture is a stand out in the room - it's patina actually picks up the wall's color.

This is the family room with caramel tones featured in the wall color, the Rose Tarlow fabrics, the drapery, and in the geometric patterned sisal rug. The brass and crystal light fixture is from Circa Lighting. The two brass lighting fixtures on opposite sides of the large space play off each other: though one is contemporary and the other antique, they complement each other. The set of prints are black and white drawings of Galveston, Texas that I had framed to cover the alcove space above the sofa. Janus et cie chairs surround the mid sized game table.

Another view of the family room. I designed the bookcases to form an alcove around the sofa to create some architectural interest and to house the smalls collected over a lifetime. The red table to the right is actually an oriental drum, purchased from Area, a local store.


42 comments:

  1. Nice job Joni. I particularily like the bookcase alcove you created and the geometric carpet. It looks very cosy and liveable. Which is not an easy thing to accomplish.

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  2. Lovely. The layout of the Galveston sketches in the alcove, the terracotta porcelain lamp, the mirrored coffee table--the whole look is so elegant in a very unstuffy way.

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  3. oh, you always have my favorites- Rose Tarlow, Belgium, and the bookcases I love all in one post. Too much! :) You did such a lovely job. And your passion for design is just contagious! I wish you lived near me!!

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  4. PERFECTION!!!!! Just gorgeous Joni!!!

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  5. I could just run in there and flop on the sofa and stay the weekend...reading, sipping, dreaming. I love it!

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  6. Joni this is a fantastic space!! You are truly talented!!

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  7. wondefulness ~ it's very inviting and i really like your sense of styling, patterns, and layering. and isn't it just the icing on the cake when you make new friends from clients? truly that's the best way for a design job to go, in my opinion. and it's the best sign of a job really well done. congrats!

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  8. I love what you did with the space! It is beautiful and elegant, yet inviting at the same time. I love the symmetry of the frames on the wall.

    Thanks for the nice comments on my blog, La Dolce Vita. To answer your question, my husband is an executive for Visual Comfort, the company that designs and manufactures all the lighting for Ralph Lauren, Pottery Barn Williams Sonoma Home,etc. Their own retail company is Circa Lighting and he oversaw some of the pieces Gwyneth chose for her home. He has also helped with a few movies, the Sex and the City movie being one of them. :)

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  9. Love, love, love that room(s). Elegant, timeless, appropriate.

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  10. What a really lovely room -- beautiful but still comfortable!
    Mary

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  11. Wonderful job ..Such a timeless decoration ..Very CHIC

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  12. I love it! It sounds beyond perfect for you client, so elegant and comfortable, I love the color scheme!

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  13. A really charming livable space! Excellent balance of style and function -- you actually have comfy places to sit AND a table for a drink! LOL! I do have a similar (much less pedigreed) chandelier in my dining room (in bright brass -- but perhaps I'll re-finish it!)

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  14. Great job, Joni! It looks so warm and inviting.

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  15. The Rose Tarlow is perfect here! I love the balance of textures and colors. Cozy glamour :)

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  16. Gorgeous!!! Such a beautiful palette. I love the concept of designing for the clients appearance in the home. I've never heard anyone explain it that way before. Brilliant.

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  17. Beautiful! Love the b&w drawings of Galveston framed above the couch. So smart to design it to compliment her appearance. Well done!

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  18. What a design challenge to accommodate all of that seating (needed for the client's entertaining) into a highrise apartment space. You did a wonderful job!

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  19. I am touched most by how closely you worked with her to make her place AND HER look beautiful. What I want to know now is how I get invited to one of her bridge games?

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  20. Very elegant,yet warm and inviting! Pefection!!!!! Thanks for sharing some of your work :o)
    ~Des

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  21. I went tp Parsons in NY and my professors always encouraged "Debate"...how come design blogs do not promote engagement and encourage points of views,etc.? it always seems to be the same comments.

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  22. To Anonymous: There have been some debates on the design blogosphere - the Domino spread, the Gwennie spread come to mind immediately - but you are right, there is not enough debate. There are a few anonymous posters who do stir things up, but they don't come here that often! feel free to leave bad comments if you want. I can take it.
    Joni

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  23. Thanks y'all so much!!! I really love all your comments and have tried to reply via email to thank you personally. It's always a little hard (a lot!) to put my designs out there for inspection. They aren't reflective of my personal design loves, just what my clients love, so it's hard to show the world sometimes. But you have been so supportive that you made me feel good about it, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

    Joni

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  24. My, what a harmonious design. I am sure your client finds much to enjoy in living with her new decor.

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  25. One does not have to have negative comments, but constructive comments....There always seems to be something you learn from each job....you might make a sofa arm a little higher, tape on a skirt.etc. That is the kind of talk I like to hear......what did you learn?
    And remember in design there are many many ways to do it. What were your ideas and how did you make that final decision? That's all.

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  27. Hi Joni...I had an early appointment at the Dr, last Thurday and otherwise busy until today. I look forward to reading the comments.

    I love this room and could live here very comfortably! This is my kind of room!

    Pat

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  28. Bravo! See that is what design is about...how you got there....and it does look great .....and most people do not understand the reality of it all...so my hat's off to you for sharing it...please do more of it.

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  29. It is interesting to hear your thought process. I hope you'll show us more of your design work. You are very talented!

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  31. Oh, my, I missed out on all the fun here! I love this apartment, I think you did a fabulous job. And I am especially impressed that you took so much time and care to make it a place the woman would love. That is the secret to a great designer, I think, not designing rooms that you love, but ones that the owner feels is an extension of themselves. It is hard to get inside someone's head and pull their ideas out of them to make it a reality. But you did it! Using her complexion is genius too.

    And I enjoyed the comments here too, I am always second guessing my decisions so I am glad I am not alone in that.

    Thanks for the great post Joni. Sorry I was late in getting here.

    Melissa

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  32. loved loved loved hearing the thought process.........really nice

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  33. Hi Joni! Been out of touch for a while. You have alot of talent and I am glad to hear about how you got from point A to point B! It's true that alot of projects involve editing and using a client's own things. You did it wonderfully! :)

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  34. i enjoyed seeeing your work. and i must say i love to hear about the process. i am impressed by the amount of available seating while it still looks cosy enough for one or two. i hope you will share more projects and include the details.
    i guess it is weird to show everyone something that does not necessarily reflect your own taste - but really my own home doesn't truly reflect my taste. i can't begin to afford it!! i just enjoy it in the pretend house in my head.

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  35. Hi Joni,

    I really love your style, it is traditional with out being old.

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  36. Love it Joni!!! So glad you shared more of you designs with us. These rooms are amazing! I esp love the carpet in the family room, is that sisel?

    Great post!

    ~Kate

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  37. What a beautiful combination of rooms. I particularly like the family room, so cosy and confortable, and yet so chic! Very very classy!

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  38. Enjoyed reading your blog and looking at all the pictures. The idea of designing according to a client's coloring is very appealing and a source for other artistic ideas, I would think. The project in the high rise is so appealing. I especially like the grouping of the Galveston drawings, probably because I just love Galveston.
    Cecelia
    artist, writer, and mother to another Joni
    http://cecelia-throughmyeyes.blogspot.com/

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  39. My partner in crime and I have one of their chandeliers hanging in our shop...oh the tears are flowin now!

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  40. oh lovely. I read that tip about designing around complexions from someone's book ( I can no longer recall) and have never forgotten it when designing a space for myself. I love that you've applied it to your clients as well.

    Lovely spaces, Joni! She must have been overjoyed with the results!

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  41. See, this is why you charge. LOL! I love the way you flipped the centered frames to play on the vertical rather than the horizontal sight line above the sofa. The fabric choices are stunning, and I won't even begin to talk about how great that little mirrored table is in the living room. Not as wonderful or as coveted as your den coffee table, but none-the-less, still lovely.

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