Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nest Request - Fear of Color

Today we reach into the mailbag to answer one of my most common questions: “What color should I paint my wall? Should I just stick with the safe white or off-white? I am looking for a contemporary design style that I won’t get bored of.”

Not surprisingly, the answer to this varies by person. There are actually quite a few people who prefer a bright, colorful room through furniture and accessories and/or bright colors on every wall. Most people, though, fear bright walls and go too far in the opposite direction, leaving all of their walls empty and white. If you are one of the latter, here are a few ideas that will cheer up your room while keeping it contemporary and fresh.

The first example, seen below, showcases all white walls, but adds natural accents like a drift wood chandelier, stone accent table, and granite fireplace to mesh the bright and airy outdoors with the organic, architectural room.

The next example is a decidedly more eclectic look. This style is for someone searching for a little excitement without overdoing it. While the main walls remain neutral, color on accent walls adds a pop to the room. To mitigate this effect, the opposing white walls and neutral accessories tone down the colors and instead introduce focal points (see 10% Theory of Design post regarding focal points) on the architecture.

The final example is a transitional look with all beige walls and bright white molding. By incorporating over-sized furniture and a plethora of textured items, these simple beige walls can transition to any style you want. This also makes changing styles a simple affair.

*Images by Benjamin Moore
*Discount is applied to the standard hourly rate related to the design of one (1) room only, may not be combined with any other offers, and is subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes.

The key theme here is to use pops of color deliberately and strategically, adding warmth to engender a finished look to your room.

Please feel free to email me directly with questions specific to your situation and – who knows – you might be featured in an upcoming column and receive a 10% discount* on your next room!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

EMC2 Interiors wants to wish all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season. May it be full of good friends, good food, and good holiday decor!

Martha Stewart

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Draperies FACT and FICTION

Today I wish to dispel some rumors on draperies. There are many misconceptions, even among supposed experts. Test yourself below and see how much you really know:

FACT OR FICTION: When using panels for draperies, they only need to go to the window sill.
Fiction. Never ever end the panels of draperies at the bottom of the window unless it is for shutters, roman/balloon shades, or blinds. The rule of thumb: when measuring for draperies the bottom of the panels should touch the floor, touch the top of the baseboard, or billow on the floor.

FACT OR FICTION: Window coverings can make a room seem bigger.
Fact. In fact, a great and oft used way of making your ceilings appear taller is to extend your drapery panels from the top of the crown molding to the bottom of the floor. To hide drapery rods, use a valance or cornice board that matches the stain of the crown molding, or simply upholster to match the panels.

FACT OR FICTION: For window coverings, blinds are the only cheap alternative to draperies.
Fiction. Draperies don’t have to be more expensive. An economical way to have custom looking draperies for a fraction of the cost is to buy pre-manufactured panels along with a few yards of patterned or complimentary colored fabric. Then have a seamstress attach the new fabric to the bottom of the existing panels to give it a custom look!

So how did you do? As you can see, draperies can be a cost effective way to add a lot to a room. There is some risk to overspend and undercut your results if not done right, so here are a few points to follow as you embark to liven up your windows:

1) If your window gets a lot of sunlight, use fabric that has a significant amount of UV protection such as Polyester, Linen, Cotton, Chilewich, and Rayon. While nice, fabrics such as Acetate, Olefin, Nylon, Wool, and Silk have very poor sunlight resistance and the colors will fade rapidly unless protected.

2) If installing draperies in a house with children, make sure to protect the pull cords. Many manufacturers make hidden cords for this reason.

3) Use lining on the exterior side of the fabric to be consistent with your windows. You don’t want a random assortment of colors coming from every window of your house! Depending on your goal of luminosity, there are many different linings to be considered. For example, you should use blackout for bedrooms and media rooms, and sheer lining for kitchens and living rooms. Fabric lining can block anywhere from 5% to 100% so adjust your lining choice by the function of the room.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The 10% Theory of Design

I’ve seen it way too many times: you finally get to redesigning a room and putting in all the hard work to get it done 90% of the way, yet stop short of the finishing touches that can make a good room great. Believe it or not, all of the hard design and construction work can be severely diminished without these last few steps.

In fact, I see this novice mistake all too often. Someone purchases an already assembled room from a retail store and think their room will end up exactly like the magazine! But that’s like wearing a ball gown with no jewelry, something small, yet critical, is missing.

It’s completely disheartening to see this from a designer’s standpoint, when a few quick rules of thumb, when properly applied, can make all the difference:


Having fabrics and accessories that are plain weaves make your rooms look flat and boring. An easy way to give your room a pop is with varied textures and patterns. With all the amazing fabrics out there - crewel, mohair, shag, metallic threads, you name it - it’s a shame to buy a plain woven pillow that gets lost on a sofa.

Rule 2: Mix and Match Different Styles and colors

Eclectic rooms consist of a variety of different timepieces and styles to give the room a “drop kick” of something visually stimulating. One of the biggest mistakes is picking furniture all of the same stain and style. No one wants their home to look like an Oak furniture store. If you have Contemporary taste, try adding a Tahitian red chest with your dark furniture and glass tables. If you are more traditional, add a large distressed coffee table and vintage accessories. Don’t worry about styles matching; the variety is what makes the room interesting!!

Rule 3: Collections as Focal Pieces

Most rooms have a few natural focal points, usually a decorative item(s) or an architectural design. Designing one or more of these correctly can make the feel of the room. A very simple and creative way to make a focal point (a good one that is) are putting collections of items together. This can be done even on a low budget. All too often people buy knick knacks and just place them on shelves, making the focus look tired and jumbled. Instead, consider putting a more coherent collection of items together, such as antique picture frames on the wall, or an ensemble of 8 to 12 different height glass candlestick holders on a dining room table.

Boiling it down: When you’re decorating a space, paying attention to the last few details ensures stunning results.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome to EMC2 Interiors!!

We are happy to announce that EMC2 Interiors now has a blog!! Check back weekly for exciting posts about new trends, inspirational images, NYC design events, being creative in harsh economic times and a bunch of other topics we think you'll be interested in!!!