Evolution of an Organic Design

It’s funny how things work out.  I sent a quick note to Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art yesterday, just to let her know I had posted about her new fabric releases, and what did I get back in reply?  A terrific break down of the creative process that she had started writing as a guest post for TIR a while back, but never sent.  I’m so happy my little email reminded her, because it’s a really interesting post that I’m happy to be sharing with you.  Enjoy! – RH

People often ask me where the inspiration for my designs come from.  In my previous life, when I worked for a design house, they would send us out “trend shopping” the goal of which was to be inspired by what we saw at stores…. often high-end boutiques.  Trend shopping was my least favorite part of my job.  I know many people (primarily women) would love to be given a company credit card and told to “get inspired” but I always found this task to be rather soul-less.  What’s the joy in creating your own version of what has already been done?

Now that I am my own art director, I make it a habit to go “trend hiking” on a weekly basis.  I always bring along my camera instead of a VISA and look for new inspiration in the natural world around me.  Designs such as Fields of Honey are a direct result of such adventures.

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It’s Been Fun

This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.

Thank you for following along with me this week.  I’ve enjoyed the change in blog scenery and I hope that you’ve gotten some benefit, or a least a laugh, out of the deal.  Before I go, I wanted to leave you with some inspiring images of antique furniture on the high market.

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Opening {Sustainable} Shoppe

This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.

Several months ago my husband and I decided to open a store.  Between the two of us we have years of design, construction, and professional buying experience (and we like to think we also have pretty good taste) and it’s been a dream of ours to make that into a business.  So here we are, in the midst of making that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited.  But it’s not as simple as that.  You see, both of us have that pesky need to feel good about what we are doing.  Yes, that’s right.  We like to go to sleep with a clean conscience.  So in creating a business based on consumerism, we had a couple hurdles to jump.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a heck of a lot easier nowadays.  Numerous organizations, driven by people like us (even better than us, I would say) have created a mass exodus of consumers and companies who care.  When you go online these days, a simple google search will produce results for a ‘green’ version of almost anything you can think of.  This too has its drawbacks, but you get what I’m saying.

So our goal as people and as a company is to add good to the world wherever we can.  As people that idea is a little bit more clear, but what does that mean for a company?  Glad you asked.  Here are some basic principles for building a ‘green’ business. Read the rest of this entry »

Flea Market Finds

This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.

We spend a lot of time scouring flea markets for objets d’art to put in our store.  When we first started going it was a bit confusing.  Everything we saw either seemed to have endless potential or was just a bunch of old crap.  We really had no idea what we were looking for.  But then we began to ‘hone our craft’ and suddenly things were a lot clearer.  I honestly don’t know how that happened.  It was like we showed up one day and just knew…

But for the sake of having something relevant to say, I’m going to focus on the part after we just knew.  Here are some pointers for finding great deals at a flea market:

1. Give a moment to anything that grabs your attention.  After a while things start to blur and you feel like you’ve seen it before (if you frequent the markets you probably have seen it before) but if it makes you turn your head, go take a look.  It may be a shiny gem hidden in the rubble.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Love Old Stuff

This week’s delightful guest blogger is Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.

To preface tomorrow’s post on finding cool things at flea markets I thought I would share my reasons for spending so much time shopping for “old stuff”‘.

Really, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.  The quality of things made by hand is almost always greater than mass-production.  And while we can get artisan made goods these days, the comparative price is vastly different.  Today handcrafted products are at a premium – you have to pay to make up for the fact that they could have used a machine and made 10 times as many in the same amount of time.  In days past, people were paid a lot less for their work because they required a lot less to live comfortably.  These days it basically comes down to price vs quality.  A balance is good, but I usually vote quality. Read the rest of this entry »

Defining Home

We’d like to welcome this week’s delightful guest blogger, Linsi Brownson of Inspired Design Daily.  Linsi is a practicing interior designer in Southern California, and seems to have as much energy and drive for sustainable design as two normal people.  We’re really happy to have her here!

photo credit: http://melindapatrick.com/

As an Interior Designer it’s pretty much my job to help clients define what home means to them.  When you put aside the finishes, colors and budget, what a residential designer really does is create a living space where clients are happy to spend their time.  But what exactly does that mean?  Well, it’s personal.  This is part of what I love about meeting clients.  So many lives are touched as a designer, so many relationships built.  And when a project goes well it leaves us designers with a happy feeling in our gut (likewise, if it doesn’t go well…you get the idea).  We are very attached to our projects and to our clients.  But I digress… Read the rest of this entry »

Reuse As A Kitchen Design Philosophy – Part 2

This weeks terrific guest blogger is award winning kitchen and bath designer Susan Serra, of Susan Serra Associates.

I endorse the concept of reuse so very much that I want to provide more ideas on the topic of designing a kitchen with a reuse philosophy. Let’s go through some creative uses for items which might be cast off otherwise.

Furniture – I’ve used a sofa in two of my kitchens for seating at the dining table, both of which had been recently put out of use elsewhere in the home. The sofa must be elevated to be at the correct dining height. A new use for a sofa which may not fit elsewhere due to a recent move can add great comfort in the kitchen. I will never not have a sofa in my dining area; comfort in the kitchen is a requirement for me. And, of course, it does not have to be a sofa. Oftentimes, there is room for an upholstered chair of some sort in a lovely nook. Refinishing family heirloom dining furniture and chairs is a great way to keep green. I used my mother’s mid century Danish modern dining table in my breakfast room for some years and felt warm and fuzzy every time I looked at it, also admiring its authenticity. Read the rest of this entry »

Reuse As A Kitchen Design Philosophy – Part 1

We are so pleased to welcome this weeks guest blogger, award winning kitchen and bath designer Susan Serra, of Susan Serra Associates.

I am honored to be a guest blogger for The Interior Revolution, and the area of design that I specialize in is kitchen design. I am especially excited to talk about greening one’s kitchen because there are just so many interesting and innovative ways to create a green kitchen. Today, I’d like to focus on the philosophy of reuse.

I have personal experience designing an entirely new kitchen with a (mostly) reuse philosophy. Reuse, to me, by definition, means thinking creatively, first and foremost. You tap into a part of your brain that may be programmed by default to “buy new”. That IS how most of us are programmed! You change that preprogrammed channel to “reuse”, you open yourself bit by bit to finding useful AND creative solutions for your kitchen design, and miraculously, the solutions appear! Read the rest of this entry »

Seat Weaving Demystified

This weeks guest blogger is David Johnson of Sidecar Furniture.   An accomplished craftsman, David is also a member of LA Box Collective, a select group of professional Los Angeles based furniture makers, committed to environmentally conscious design and production.

I’m just fascinated by woven chair seats.  Years ago I got this book, The Caner’s Handbook, and started working my way through all of the patterns.  To make a long story short, I eventually worked for the author of that book, Jim Widess, at his shop in Berkeley, The Caning Shop.  I helped them with repairing chair frames and they taught me new weaving patterns.

Now a big part of my business is repairing chairs with woven seats and I sometimes struggle with communicating with clients about their chairs because the terms used for weaving patterns and materials are obscure.  Most people refer to any woven seat as caned and this often leads to confusion so I’m here to clear the air on some of the more common weaving patterns and materials.

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Eco Friendly Furniture Finishes

This weeks guest blogger is David Johnson of Sidecar Furniture.   An accomplished craftsman, David is also a member of LA Box Collective, a select group of professional Los Angeles based furniture makers, committed to environmentally conscious design and production.

A green finish that meets today’s standards set by petroleum-based finishes can be a bit of a conundrum.  Mainstream furniture and cabinets are normally sprayed with nitrocellulose lacquers, varnishes, and the like.  Icky and stinky as they are they really protect the wood by basically coating it with a layer of plastic.

A few years back, water based polyurethane finished came out as a green alternative but, like anything new, they were slow to be accepted.  There were complaints that they were hard to work with and the color was off but the manufacturers listened and solved these problems while at the same time making these water based finishes even more safe for the environment.  A finish that I’ve wanted to try is Vermont Coatings Poly Whey, available locally in Southern California at Livingreen.  Polyurethane finishes do require some work to apply nicely so they add some cost to a project

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