Monthly Archives: February 2013

Design Inspiration: The Movies

After watching the Oscars last night, I have movies on my mind.  So, for today, I will pose a question.  What do the following movies have in common:  Father of the Bride, Something’s Gotta Give, The Parent Trap, The Holiday and It’s Complicated?  First, I will give you a hint:  the kitchen above is from the set of It’s Complicated, and the kitchen below played the starring role in Something’s Gotta Give.  By now you may have guessed that all were written and/or directed by the talented Nancy Meyers.

There is a quality about the spaces, especially the kitchens, in Nancy Meyer’s films that resonates with people.  Perhaps it’s their cozy and inviting atmospheres that draw people in.  Or maybe it’s the beautiful elements so carefully selected that together result in an unforgettable space.  While most of Meyer’s kitchen sets have high-end materials, they still appear to be lived in, not simply show pieces.  But there’s something about her interiors that people simply can’t get out of their minds.  Ask any designer and they will likely recall a client who longed for a design element seen in a Meyers film.  When interviewed by Elle Décor for the July/August 2012 issue, Meyers revealed that her set design is such an important part of her movies that she treats it almost like another character.  When asked about the often-copied kitchen from Something’s Gotta Give, she thoughtfully responded:  “It’s the story mixed with the decor that makes people like it so much…When I think of somebody’s house, I think of the kitchen.” 

Set designer Beth Rubino and interior designer James Radin are often on hand to advise Meyers and to execute her vision for these glorious spaces, and clearly that’s a winning combination.  For me, the most memorable Nancy Meyers design is Meryl Streep’s bakery in It’s Complicated, shown above.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Nancy Meyers movie, so when I read that she has several projects going on, I was excited that we might soon see some more of her fabulous interiors on the big screen.  Upcoming movies include The Chelsea, directed by Meyers and written by her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, and The Intern, written and directed by Meyers and starring Tina Fey.  Hopefully one of these projects will feature another gorgeous kitchen that will inspire us all!

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Summer Obsession: The Outdoor Shower

Indulge me…yes, it’s February, and if you live in the greater Metropolitan area, the temperature is in the 20s…but today I’m thinking about summer.  This morning I was flipping through the current issue of Coastal Living, and I came across a piece on one of my favorite little luxuries of summer – the outdoor shower.  I realize that this is one of those pleasures that some people enjoy and others simply cannot understand.  I am clearly in the former group, and if I had my way (and if I had a home at the beach), I would take every summer shower outdoors – yes, even on warm rainy days!  There’s just something about the feeling of the steam being lifted up and away by a gentle breeze on a warm summer day that makes me smile. 

Several summers ago my family rented a house with an outdoor shower – in previous summers I had to rely on the kindness of good friends, who allowed me to use their outdoor showers.  Yes, I admit, I’m a bit obsessed.  I would literally walk down the street in our cozy little neighborhood in my robe, with a tote bag filled with shampoo, body wash and a towel, just to take an outdoor shower.  So, at first during that summer with my own outdoor shower, my husband and I were the only ones to use it.  My boys thought I was crazy to traipse outside in my robe to take a shower – who would ever do that?  Yet, as summer progressed, I noticed that one by one, they each gave it a try.  And once they tried the outdoor shower, they were hooked, and they never went back inside!  Imagine how clean our bathroom was.  

The writers at Coastal Living gave some great tips if you plan to build your own outdoor shower.

  • Carefully select your materials.  Consider pressure-treated wood or a synthetic decking material for their durability and ability to withstand the elements.
  • Try to mimic the style of your home when constructing your outdoor shower so it looks like it belongs.  Pay attention to architectural details, especially if it’s a stand-alone shower away from the house.
  • Mount plenty of hooks for wet bathing suits and towels.
  • Be sure to consider all local building codes, including those for drainage.
  • Consider adding a bench if you have the room. 

So, while summer may seem far off, it’s never too soon to start dreaming about warm days ahead, and those little summer pleasures that put a smile on your face.  And if you’ve never tried an outdoor shower, why not throw caution to the wind this summer and give it a try — you just might become a believer like me!


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Does the Word “Unique” Describe Your Bathroom?

My last post was all about making your kitchen unique, so how about your bathroom?  I was inspired to write today’s post after I saw a photo of this beautiful bathroom, found in “Colorado Homes and Lifestyles” 2010 Home of the Year.  This image proves that bathrooms don’t need to be sterile or cold.  On the contrary, they can be cozy and inviting, and representative of your own personal style.  Designer Andrea Schumacher of O Interior Design used her clients’ love of travel as inspiration for the space, and Moroccan-themed tiles from Waterworks set the tone.  Elements such as the wooden linen closet, and the herringbone-patterned walnut floor topped with an oriental rug contribute to the warmth and character that exude from this bathroom.  As in any space, carefully selected elements that reflect your own personal style can make any space in your home unique.   

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Make your kitchen uniquely…you!


Adding character and personality to your kitchen is really part of the fun of design.  For me, I would rather my kitchen not look like everyone else’s..I want it to be a true reflection of my personal style.  So, while I have traditional cabinets with a white painted finish, I thought that it would be fun to add a pop of color with some funky light fixtures.  I visited the home of a family friend who had had pendants made by a glass blower in Rhode Island, and when I saw them I knew instantly that they would be the perfect addition to my kitchen.  When I met Eben Horton, owner of The Glass Station, he showed me how the glass shades would be made and then told me that I could pick any color combination that I wanted.  The shape that we selected with the wavy edge would be just the right complement to my angular cabinets and countertops, and the blue & green color, edged with just a bit of red, made them the perfect accompaniment to my white kitchen.  

I am a believer that a kitchen can be both functional and beautiful.  Today we live in our kitchens — they are the central gathering place, and the hub of activity in our homes.  Why not make them beautiful?  We all know that great design comes from taking some risks.  Did I know exactly how my glass shades would turn out?  No.  But did I trust the artist who made them?  Absolutely!  And while my little illustration doesn’t do justice to these glass shades, I can assure you that they are beautiful and fun, while adding character and personality to my kitchen, making it uniquely…me!

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SieMatic — so sleek!

On a trip to pick up my son at school, I decided to stop at a cabinet showroom that I have passed many times along the way.  In addition to their own custom cabinet line,  they carried several styles of cabinets from other manufacturers, one of which was SieMatic.  The SieMatic kitchen was a new addition to the showroom floor, and as such, its installation was not yet complete.  The saleswoman assisting me was clearly excited to show me the new cabinet line, as it was completely different from anything else on the showroom floor.  I was instantly drawn to the clean lines of the cabinets, the sleek hardware and the whisper-quiet doors and drawers.  I was amazed at how many color options they offered  — 1,950 mat and gloss lacquer colors in all!  Full disclosure:  I didn’t know much at all about this German cabinet manufacturer, but in their words, they’ve been building “first-class kitchen furniture — and nothing else — since 1929,” so I was intrigued.  The saleswoman gave me SieMatic’s catalog titled “Interior Design for Kitchens,” and inside I found this beautiful kitchen.  The combination of classic and contemporary is exemplified in this kitchen representing their BeauxArts collection.  The refrigerator, for example, is hidden in the collection’s “Chinese Wedding Cabinet.”  And if you look closely, you will notice that the marble backsplash behind the Wolf range has a sliding section which opens to reveal storage shelves, and the microwave is built right into the marble side wall.  Clever indeed.
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