Friday, January 11, 2013


This week all of the Access to Design designers were given a task of coming up with a design axiom formulated after a letter from the alphabet. I was given "H", Rick has to deal with "Q". The full alphabet will be published on 200 Lex's website: There are then plans to film each of us in a showroom at the New York Design Center presenting our design tip. Can't wait for that part.
Here's my tip:
H is for Height, the forgotten dimension in many design schemes. We all tend to start out looking down on our schemes and floor plans, deciding where we want walls, how we want to move through our spaces, and where we want to place our favorite chair. It's that third dimension that many people find it difficult to come to terms with. That's why a living room ends up looking unfinished and drab because the height of the sofa is the same as the height of the tv console, and that beautiful club chair you just had to have all seem to end at about waist height.
In making a room look complete you have to address the vertical elements making sure you've added variety and keep your eye lifted up rather than cast down. Break up the walls with floor lamps giving the wall a vertical break. Use window treatments to draw the eyes up and soften a harsh stark one-dimensional wall.
Add a tall piece of furniture like a hutch or an armoire to give added storage and a relief from the monotony of a furniture plan bogged down with elements all tethered to a plan that doesn't reach for the ceiling but ends about a third of the way up the wall. Don't forget height when planning out any living space. It can stretch a room from humdrum to totally satisfying.

I have always contended that good design doesn't depend on money, at least not money alone.   I've spent a career matching "the proverbial Gap T-shirts with Armani suits "or the decorating equivalent to that fashion trick employed by many even the ever stylish Sharon Stone in order to create beautiful spaces while trying to stay on budget.  The trick here is to watch the quality quotient.  Finish is usually the first give-away of a poor quality item.  Wood should look like wood, stone should look like stone, and you get the idea.  These days construction doesn't have to be flimsy to make something for a lesser price and veneers are used throughout the industry whether high or low.  Just pay attention to how they are cut, glued up and used.  MDF is not a four-letter word but particleboard is.  Structure is important.  Chairs, sofas and benches should support people of substantial size and tables should never wobble. This week's light fixtures have the feel of expensive jewelry. One is the equivalent of real diamonds and the other may be a bit more like paste but the look is hard to distinguish.
The Mother Chandelier from designer Baran Baylar at Hudson Furniture. $25,000 in nickel, $29,000 in bronze
36W x 60H
Arteriors the Yale 4L iron cascading chain chandelier $1134
15W x 57H

We weren't even aware that we were being considered for this award but it was a wonderful little surprise in my email from the people at Design Shuffle. We were selected as one of 10 winners in the Mid-West region based on popular votes by the Design Shuffle community and industry
Here's a link to the award post:
Thanks Design Shuffle!

Ansel Adams, photographer
Represented by Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA

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