Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Edwardian bedrooms recreated in contemporary interior design colours

Recreated Edwardian Bedrooms with Contemporary Interior Design Colours
The interior design in bedrooms during the Edwardian era often had floral stripe wall papers in green, blue and pink. In Australia the range of wallpapers for interior design were available from Coles & Son. The Rose du Barri a floral stripe patterns in shades of green, blue and pink were popular. Also popular were the Cole’s Moirés. Radford Furnishings are the sole distributors of Coles and Son wallpapers to the design trade in Australia.

A fascinating site on the history of wallpaper is the Wallpaper History Society website There is a great video called Wallpaper That Moves
Interior decorators during the Edwardian era painted walls in the bedroom pink beige or apricot or milkshake or arctic blue. Magnolia was often used on the mouldings as was green with the cornice and ceiling painted white. The joinery in the bedrooms could also be painted a light bronze green or grey green or pale cream or grey green. Sometimes these surfaces were French polished or varnished. The chart below shows some British Standard colours used during this era.

The interior design project The Edwardian house I am working on was built in the 1920s. So some of the colours used during the 1920s could have been used. The 1920s interior colours tended to be stronger than those used during the Edwardian era. Shell pink, salmon pink, light cream and mushroom were popular for the body of the walls in the bedrooms. Ceilings and joinery were painted white. Sometimes joinery was just oiled or varnished in a redwood colour. The chart below shows some of the British Standard colours used in during 1920s.

You can see from the images of the bedrooms the house has decorative features from the 1920s. The architraves and skirting boards are still deep as in the previous eras but have plainer profiles .The fireplaces of the 1920s were as in this house simple in style with rectangular openings, small tiles and timber mantels and surrounds. The Edwardian fireplace tended to have arched opening and were more decorative. The doors used in this house are also in the later 1920 style with fewer panels and a high lock rails.

The paint colours I have selected for the bedrooms are modern versions of some of the traditional colours. The colours in the house at the moment are very dark and much duller than the photographs of the interiors indicate. I wonder if an interior decorator was called in and selected the colours. The colours really belong in a Victorian style home.

The skirting boards and joinery in the bedrooms will be painted Dulux Antique White USA. The ceilings are in very good condition and have informed my colour choices.  The walls in bedroom one will be painted in Dulux Garlic Suede a soft green picking up the lightest green in the fireplace tiles. Bedroom two will be painted in a pink beige colour called Tree Less. The blue cupboard doors will be repainted in the Tree Less colour. Bedroom three will be painted in Manila at half strength similar to Buttermilk BS 4052 and bedroom four will been painted in Great Star a soft green grey.

Although I have selected fabrics for the window treatments, curtains, pelmets and blinds the final selections will be made later as will the other furnishings. Well I hope you have gleaned some useful information on the colours used in bedrooms during the Edwardian and 1920s eras and this will help you with your interior decorating.
Interior Designers often find they have to work with the colours already present in a home. In this home the ceilings in most rooms are highly decorative and are painted in the soft muted colours of the era. The fireplace tiles, the timber floors and wall panels and the stained glass windows have all had to be considered. As always the client’s desires have also been taken into account.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Edwardian Bathroom Recreated in Contemporary Style

The bathrooms of the Edwardian era were usually simple affairs. Walls were tiled with small white rectangular tiles laid in a brick like pattern. Sometimes feature, border capping or pencil tiles were used. Decorative borders in flat strips or of candy twist, egg and dart designs were popular. Patterned feature tiles varied from classic, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and floral motifs  Floor tiles were often white mosaic tiles, with feature tiles of black. You can see an example of this in the photograph of the house I am working on below. 

Tessellated tiles were another option for the floor.The colours and patterns used varied from check board black and white designs, to octagon shaped tiles and designs to patterns with names like Chelsea. Wealthy home owners also used marble on the floor and walls.

Vanities were often timber cabinets with white sinks or white wash basins on legs. Baths and sinks were usually white porcelain or enameled cast iron. White toilets with timber seats and cisterns were situation in a separate room.

Showers were attached to the bath with a semi circular surround. Or placed on a flat porcelain or marble basin and surrounded with a water proof curtain. A huge shower rose and semi circular pierced piping allowed the water to shower the body. Heated towel rails were popular features of the Edwardian bathroom. 

The wall above the tiling, the cornice, ceiling and joinery were usually painted white. Sometimes a dado placed about 2100mm from the floor was used and painted in the BS381 107 colour called strong blue or harbor blue.      

There are a number of sources of items from the Edwardian period for example the Edwardian Tile company if you visit you will find numerous tiles available.

The client of the Edwardian home I am working on wanted to honor the integrity of the house but wanted a contemporary look. He has already selected a modern free standing bath. I suggested using the lead light stained glassed windows (see image above) as a starting point and presented some ideas on sample boards.

The bathroom is very small so I suggested using white wall tiles. However instead of using the small rectangular tiles similar to the ones used during the Edwardian era using a much larger version would give a contemporary look. The addition of a horizontally placed line of feature wall tiles as illustrated on the sample boards was another suggestion. Using some 10mm aluminum trims powered coated in colours to match the stained glass colours is another and/or option.

I also suggested painting the very high ceiling darker. The walls above the tiles, the architraves, doors and other architectural features will be painted white to match the wall tiles. The aim of the white colour scheme is to make the rooms appear bigger. This bathroom is not open plan like many modern bathrooms. There is a separated toilet, sink room and the bathroom has a bath, shower and vanity (see floor plan and elevations above).   

Both sink cabinets will be custom made. The doors will be white and the bench top in a colour to match one of the suggested colours schemes presented on the sample boards. This will add another horizontal line of colour overcoming the verticality of the room.   

We (that is the architect and I) spent some time consulting with the client and I presented the client with a number of sample boards to help him visualise the different colour options for the room and help him make decisions. There is another bathroom and one of the suggested colour schemes will be used for that room.

Well that’s all for this week. The creative Edwardian buzz continues…..
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Edwardian, Federation and/or Queen Anne instead of Art Deco

caerleon, sydneyImage via Wikipedia
As I explained in my last blog I am working on an Edwardian restoration. On my first visit on site I realised my creative buzzing about Art Deco may need to be revised. Although built in the 1920s the house was Edwardian with features from other eras. On my second visit I noted numerous variations. 

The house above is Caerleon found in Belleve Hill Sydney. Many consider it one of the best examples of  the Queen Anne style built in Australia.  

The Edwardian style a term used by some really denotes a time in history in the early 1900s. The style was influenced by the Queen Anne style popular in England from about 1700 to 1720. It was an unpretentious era with warm colours, restrained ornament and a sense of spaciousness. Furniture was designed in simple curving shapes with little carving. The cabriole leg is a feature of the era. Indian prints and crewel prints were popular and the scallop shell was one of the main motifs.

A style of architecture popular in Australia during the early 1900s was the Federation Style. Last year I did a blog on the Australian Federation Style. So if you are interested please refer back to that blog for more information.

Some Edwardian Exterior Features
  • Walls are usually of red faced brick
  • Slate with terracotta edging or marselles terracotta tiles was used on the roof
  • In country areas corrugated iron roofing was used and painted Tile Red
  • The broken roofline has many gables
  • Faced red brick chimney stacks with brick corbels and motifs and terracotta chimney pot with hat
  • Shades of green or cream to buff were the most popular outdoor colour schemes
  • Mid buff and beige was also a common colour combination during this era
  • Deep Indian Red was used on window sills
  • The front door often had many panels painted in red oxide or forrest green with asymmetrical sidelights
  • Double Hung leadlight windows have colourful stained glass in Art Nouveau patterns
  • The window sashes were often painted cream
  • Gutters and down pipes were painted in darker colours
  • Veranda floors were either cement render or encaustic tiles
  • Veranda brackets were usually painted off white

The examples of colours shown are from British Standards (BS) 2660 and BS318. Australian colours are taken from these standards when working on heritage or traditional buildings. This is a small sample only. Other colours used (besides those listed above) include Red Oxide BS318 446, Pale Cream BS4052, Opaline Green BS318 275 and Terracotta BS318 444.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sample Board's New Site & Creative Buzzing

Sample Board Online ended the year of 2010 with the launch of a new improved brilliant website renamed Sample Board Roz and the team have designed an awesome digital mood board editor for the creative industries.

The basic creator is free and the advanced creator is only $9.99 per month. The Sample Board site has been extended to include the design disciplines of Graphic and Web, Fashion and Textiles, Wedding Planning and Landscaping as well as Interior Design. This is what the new site looks like. Awesome !

The Creative Buzzing blog replaces the old Sample Board Online blog. The aim is still the same to promote the brilliant Sample Board website and design. As we start the new year of 2011 I make a new start too. I lost control of 2010 in October. The reasons are numerous. We had a three week holiday, we again considered putting our house on the market and moving interstate and I had health issues to deal with. I am sorry to say I let Roz at Sample Board down.

But I am now back on tract and hope to redeem myself with Roz. I plan to try to stay within my limitations this year. I will now limit my blog posts to one a week and plan to write one article a month. I do love to write but I must limit my time on the computer. Maybe you are like I am; once I start to research and write I get lost and can be at the computer for hours then suffer later. 

Sometime this week I will write a blog about the Edwardian era. I am consulting with an architect on the renovation and extension of an Edwardian house. When he first offered me the job saying the house was built in the 1920 I assumed the house would have been built in the Art Deco style. When I visited the house I discovered it was built in the Edwardian style. So I have been on a voyage of rediscovery into the Edwardian era. I thought I would share my journey and findings with you.     

If you haven’t visited the new Sample Board website I invite you to do so. It’s brilliant and great fun. Maybe it will help you start the year with a creative buzz. I hope you have a wonderful, blessed, creative and successful 2011.   

‘There are two kinds of failurers: 
those who thought and never did 
and those who did and never thought’
Lawrence. J Peter

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Retro 1970's Interior Design

There is a great trend toward retro styles at the moment. I read an article a few weeks ago about the popularity of Art Deco with young Melbournians. They are snapping up any Art Deco style houses on sale. They love the geometric forms of the era. 

Many icon’s of the 1970’s are also trendy. The bedroom above is in 1970's style. The Shag Pile carpets and rugs of the 1970’s are again popular. You can find an article on retro 1970’s interior design by following this link

For those of you who have followed the link for the article you will find as promised some images of 1970’s retro style.

The proust armchair designed by Alessandro Mendini and originally produced by studio alchimia in 1978. The image below is from Unica HOME website if you follow this link you can find out more about this chair and buy it online

You can find wallpaper by Babara Hulanicki at 

 A replica of the Marilyn lip sofa is available from the Matt Blatt 

If you are interested in finding out more about Frank Gehry’s cardboard 'Wiggle' chair you will find an image and information at the Power House Museum website

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Design for Life: Starck finds his British protégé

Ilsa the college lecturer in 3D design from Liverpool wins a place on Starck’s team. Her walking aid Flo for the elderly impressed the judges. In this the last episode of the program Design for Life Mike and Ilsa had to finalise their designs and work on an advertising campaign for the products.

Advertising posters needs

  • Product name

  • Logo

  • Tag line

  • Images

They both met with an advertising team. Advertising is all about letting people know the product exists and promoting the benefits of the product. Mike and Ilsa are instructed to design a poster. They need to have a product name, logo and tag line.  

Advertising is all about letting people know
Ilsa appeared to be all over the place. She continued in her style of complicating everything. She confused the advertising team by changing direction a number of times. Ilsa found it hard to stay focused on the project.  

Mike decides he wants his product (dining setting for the visually impaired) to appeal to the general public as well as the blind. The advertising team like his product name ‘Stable’. He explains Starck was unimpressed with the name. They convince him to use the name as it sums up in a word the main features of his design. He also has to redesign six items. Starck wants his intelligent design to be elegant. 

Comments on design

  • Design touches us in our daily life

  • Design is about solutions to problems

  • Design is not easy

  • Great design requires work work work…

  • Designers need to think bigger

Ilsa and Mike present the advertising posters to Starck. He is impressed with both. Ilsa had selected an image of Charlie Chaplin as part of her image. Starck thought she should find a modern image. Mike did very well considering he had to design six items. Starck was impressed with his design particularly the knife. Ilsa impressed Starck with the sculptural design of the Flo mobility aid for the elderly. He said it was the most beautiful object he had seen in a long time.

The budding product designers had impressed. Starck considered both joining his team. In the end Ilsa won because her design was ambitious and completely new. She won the six month placement with Starck’s company in Paris.  

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Decoration of House Continues

In chapter two of her book ‘The Decoration of Houses’ Edith Wharton encourages designers to consider the purpose of the room to be decorated. The tastes and habits of the people who will occupy the space also need to be taken into account.

Wharton stresses the importance of individuality as a priority of the time (late 1800’s). She believes people should have their homes decorated in a way that will allow them to be comfortable in their own way.

“It seems easier to most people to arrange a room like some else's than to analyze and express their own needs” Edith points out people can also be caught up in the traditions of the past. These unconscious tendencies need to be put aside. Comfort and convenience should be the main consideration she states.

When decorating a room consider:
  • The purpose of the room
  • The tastes and habits of the occupants
  • Convenience
  • Needs
  • Individuality
  • Design principles
However Edith does caution the reader against going the other to extreme and discarding things because they are old fashioned. Using the Golden Mean as a guide will make it easier to furnish rooms. The Golden Mean sometimes referred to as the Golden Section is a measurement used by the Ancient Greeks.

They believed using the measurements in building and design create perfect proportion. The ratio used 0.618 to 10. A rough example is to use 1/3 of 10 =3.3, 3.3 x 2 = 6.6 which works out around 2/3rds. The what some call the perfect number is thought to have been used in various buildings, The Parthenon,  Taj Mahal and the Great Mosque of Kairouan. If you visit this link you will find information on the replica of Parthenon in Nashville

“… to penetrate the mystery of house furnishing it is only necessary to analyze one satisfactory room and notice, wherein its charm lies” 

The era in which Edith was writing this book was a time of great change. The new rich middle classes had money to spend. They wanted to appear cultured and accepted by the old moneyed families. To achieve this they used cheaper imitations of past styles. The higher classes held on to the traditions of the past. It was against this trend Edith spoke out.

New decorating styles were emerging; Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movements. Edith appears to have wanted to bring balance. A lot of what Edith had to say is still relevant today. Are people still following fashion trends at the expense of comfort, individuality and good design?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Edith Wharton's view of the upholsterer and the architect

In the introduction of her book ‘The Decoration of Houses’ Edith Wharton sets out to sell the need for such a book. She goes back to the middle ages and explains interior decoration had to be portable because people lived in tents and castles.

When people became settled she explains architectural ornament (with what we now recognize as classical motifs, proportion and design) became part of the interior decoration of rooms. Unfortunately over the centuries architects have come to believe mouldings, architraves and cornices are insignificant detail.

At the time Edith was writing this book in the late 1890’s she argued architects now hurried over this detailing and had handed over the decoration and furnishing of rooms to the upholsterer.

The poor upholsterer is accused of being ignorant and using unscientific methods. With the result Edith states boldly home decoration is seen as a black art. There has been no study or publication on house decoration as a branch of architecture in England or America for over 50 years she states. 

Edith encourages home decorators to become skilled by studying the architects of old. She firmly states “…..  architectural proportion – incontradistinction to the modern view of house decoration was a part of architecture in all it’s values……”    

As I read this introduction I could feel her frustration. Edith had fallen in love with Italy and lived in France. During this writing project she consulted 25 French books, 20 English books, six Italian books and four German books. Wow she obviously thought research very important. I am finding the book ‘The Decoration of Houses’ fascinating.      

Monday, August 23, 2010

Design for Life: design prototypes, branding and design presentation tips

Enjoyed Starck’s Design for Life series of program so much. Philippe continued his search for a new generation of design talent. He states his aim as; ‘to encourage designers to design with the aim of helping their society to a better life’.

This week four designs were turned into prototypes. Before a product can be considered for this stage of the design process a company would need to really believe in the possibility of success. Creating a prototype is big investment in a design idea.

The company selected to create the prototypes have worked with Starck for twenty years. John Philippe has developed many of Starck’s famous designs. The students were sent off to improve their design ideas. Jess was instructed to find a material suitable for her self defense glove. She was instructed to make the glove look good/ fashionable.

Ilsa needs to turn her mobility aid idea into a workable design. Trevor’s child’s stool needs to be developed further to become less complicated. Mike’s dining setting for the visually impaired needs to be more stylish. The students are encouraged to find solutions to design problems. Ilsa works on the function and safety of the aid. She visits a group of ladies looking for the main points of function. 

Trevor must simplify his design to survive in the competition. He works on a mechanism with a pushdown clink in moving motion to be moved using the hand. Mike spends his time working on  creating a stylish design of his setting.

Think like designers, designers find solutions

Starck wants the last detail considered in each design. The students need to work and think like designers. Designers find solutions. Designers need to hold onto their design ideals. 

The students are required to create a brand. Great branding creates a promise, then an experience, then a memory. This is a brilliant way of explaining the ideals of branding a product or service.  

Aim of Branding

  • To creates a promise

  • Then an experience

  • Then a memory

Market research is a vital activity needed to develop a brand. Students need to find a name, logo and develop some graphic designs to promote their product. 

Presentation of Branding Ideas

Ilsa presents her ideas in a complicated fashion and takes too long. This means her ideas are not clearly expressed. Mike reveals his branding ideas quickly with little detail. His branding ideas are not positively received. Jess also gives a very short presentation the name she has selected considered no good. 

Trevor’s name for his product ‘Move Me’ is well received and his colour selections thought to be intelligent.
The way the students presented their ideas could have been greatly improved. At this stage Ilsa’s brilliant design could be scraped. If the competition was determined by this she could well lose her place. Trevor gets the most positive feedback. This indicates the importance of design presentation. 

Tips to help you present your design ideas

It is so important to be able to successful sell your design ideas. Listed below are some tips to help you present your ideas successfully.

  • Use short point form statements not long sentences

  • Do not use the words I, me or my. When you use the words I, me or my it tends to indicate a personal opinion. You are presenting a professional well thought out design solution not a personal preference.

  • Use clear uncomplicated visuals. Create visuals that can be viewed easily and interrupted without  needing to be explain. They need to be self explanatory.  

  • Believe in your ideas

  • Present your ideas with confidence and passion

  • Be prepared for questions

  • Clear concise presentations can sell your design ideas 

The prototypes are revealed

What an exciting moment for these budding product designers. Ilsa’s mobility aid is stunning and very well received. She appears to be the clear winner. Jess and Trevor are criticised because they have not evolved as designers. Mike wins a place in the final. He achieves this on the basis of his helping people design idea not on his presentation or the prototype.   

Can’t wait to see who wins

Ralph Lauren said 

"I am not looking like Armani today 
and somebody else tomorrow.
I look like Ralph Lauren. 
And my goal is to constantly move in fashion 
and move in style without giving up what I am."