Posts Tagged ‘Art and color in Interiors’

Designer Guidelines on Functional Window Seats

Posted on: March 14th, 2011 by Tom Karl

Who doesn’t dream of taking their shoes off, wrapping themselves in a cozy throw, leaning against a bunch of pillows and reading a good book on a window seat? It is a classical image, and one that I find young and old still enjoy.

The Window Seat is a very useful design feature that can add great beauty and character to any room. On the practical side, a hinged top can turn them into additional storage (for linens, blankets, pillows, etc.) and in many rooms, they provide additional seating that could not otherwise be achieved. Often times I find that they are the only option for breakfast nooks in my remodeling work.

Another one of their virtues is that they can work as an “anchoring” element for the otherwise uninteresting window, giving it an additional function and providing the visual base it might have lacked before. And as I always say, “they come in all colors,” and I’m not just referring to the actual hues, but also to the infinite design possibilities I find when I use them in my work.

They can be a subtle and understated corner, where lightly patterned shades come down to a crisp white windowsill; next, the seat cushion and pillows present a delicate palette with peaceful patterns.

29-2011 ASID Excellence Award Winning-Scottsdale Elegance-Window Seat

In contrast, this next image shows their traditional English and French versions which display an abundance of patterns, textures, and rich tailoring details.

One more tip: These lovely seats can also function as an additional bedroom! It only takes a little length and depth to turn them into a daybeds and voila: you have another bed in any room!


Ernesto Garcia, ASID Sheds New Light on Floral Patterns

Posted on: March 13th, 2011 by Tom Karl

Sometimes floral patterns have no place in an interior, it all depends on the style of a room or a client’s preference. However, a well-selected floral motif can bring great interest and dynamism to a space. Whether it is a contemporary or a traditional interior, the use of floral patterns can be crucial to its successful completion.

Remember: “Everything in moderation.”

12-2011 ASID Excellence Award Winning-Scottsdale Elegance-Family Room

In this picture, the feel of the room is very classic and serene. The palette is very understated, stone and mauve tones exist with pale celery, off-white and dark brown accents. Solids or tone-on-tone patterns have been used in the furnishings that carry the most weight: sofa and chairs. The sofa pillows display more textures or geometric patterns but it is the drapery at the edge of the room that introduces the lively note with its large-scale and delicate floral pattern. In this case, I chose to use the floral pattern on the draperies because another solid would have made this room dull and uninteresting.

These draperies keep this room from fading into solid walls and gives the physical boundary of the windows more excitement. In other words it’s all a matter of “geography,” where to place the stroke of pattern that will give life to a room, particularly if view is not that interesting and needs a bit more emphasis.

Designer Tip: If you do want to use more than one floral pattern in the room, my recommendation is that you select fabrics with large, medium, and small scale patterns to avoid competition between the fabrics.

Lounge Chairs & Chaise Longues

Posted on: March 13th, 2011 by Tom Karl

 “And what do we put in this corner?”

Now that you’ve moved in and made your poor husband move the furniture until his back went out, you’re dumbfounded with the empty space in the corner of the room. Worry no more Madame chaise lounge can rescue you from your dilemma. I have yet to find a room where a chaise “longue” (French for long chair) couldn’t successfully answer that question (with maybe a few exceptions).

They are perfect for master bathrooms; provided that the size of the room allows it: What better place to lounge with a magazine and a drink after a bubble bath?

13-Eclectic Condo Design-Living Room Lounging Corner

What about Bedrooms? Of course.  Libraries? Splendid. Living Rooms? Perfect.


This doesn’t mean you can just plop a long chair anywhere! You’ll still have to harmonize its fabrics and style with those of the rest of the room because we all know how faux pas it would be to put an elegant Victorian chaise next to a sleek Le Corbusier sofa.

For those of you who follow Mad Men, here’s the design flaw: Betty Draper’s new fainting couch (a close cousin of the chaise lounge) placed in front of the fireplace, in her 50’s Modern living room stuck out a bit from the rest of her home. All I am saying is that you can have a little bit more latitude to work with and that you can be a bit more conscious with the selection.

P.S. Don’t forget that indispensable accessory called a throw! 

Designer Tips for Multifunctional Guest Bedrooms

Posted on: May 7th, 2010 by Tom Karl

Depending on the scale of your home, it’s very likely that your spare bedrooms will need to serve functions other than just sleeping quarters for your guests. More and more we see them double as home offices, dens, dance studios, music rooms, or art studios. If you have ever been one of those unfortunate guests that has to sleep in one of those insufferable sleeper-sofas, the sort where the middle bar is located right under your lower back, you know all too well there is no comfortable position to catch your Z’s.

I have one word that will create happy guests and family lounging: Daybed

These are perfect for multi-functional rooms because they have several functions too! Most of the frames you’ll find in stores have a headboard, or some sort of frame around three sides of the mattress. With the proper pillows, this can easily replace that uncomfortable sleeper sofa. When sleepy guests arrive, add a blanket and you’ve got a traditional bed!

If you’re looking for a simpler solution a twin mattress and a box spring, the right assortment of pillows, bed skirt and a bedspread sized to completely cover the mattress can also do the trick efficiently and elegantly.

If you’re lucky, you can find a daybed with a trundle bed, or pull-out bed, underneath and double your sleeping spaces without taking up more space in your home office. 

Sweet Dreams!

Designer Views on Contemporary Art and Southwest Style

Posted on: July 26th, 2009 by Tom Karl

10-2012 ASID 1st Place-Design Under 3,500 sqFt-Contemporary Condo Design-Family Room

In addition to providing Interior Design services, I also work as an Art Consultant, helping my clients put together entire art collections. A good percentage of my projects are either traditional or eclectic in style, and my clients are often concerned with how a contemporary piece of art will fit in their traditional interiors.

Regarding art, this is my philosophy: “If you love it buy it! I will find a way to integrate into your home.” The most important thing in these cases is to create a harmonious dialogue between the old and the new. 

One of my clients wanted her art collection to be featured in every room of her home. This particular project was a delightful challenge to fit each piece into my overall designs.

12.Desert Style- Master Bedroom

For the above image, I used the following guidelines to put together this bedroom:

First address scale. You want to make sure that the existing furniture serves as an “anchor” for the new piece, you don’t want your new painting or sculpture to overwhelm its surroundings. Notice how I paired the smaller geometric pieces and used the larger image to the right of the bed. This balances the art’s weight evenly across the room while letting each image shine for itself.

The next thing to keep in mind is the color palette of the new piece. Try to find some color association, unless you want the new piece to completely stand out (which is a fair objective, I must say) from the rest of your belongings. In this room, the overall color scheme is a light lilac color, so each of the pieces of art in this bedroom have a similar hue or purple tone to tie every inch together.

Finally, if the new piece of art isn’t abstract, make sure the subject is suitable to the room. You might not want to wake up to the view of a still life of vegetables every morning. The abstracts and still-lives are perfect for quieter places in a home, whereas brighter landscapes and detailed images work well in public seating areas and social spaces.