8 - 19 - 2010
Our favorite thing to design and build is a kitchen. My husband loves to cook – I love to watch him cook…and we truly believe the kitchen is the heart of the home…it really is the “living room” in your house. Over the years, we have designed and built many kitchens – and there is a definite logic and theme to our madness.
The floor plan…or the layout of the kitchen always comes first. Anders is a stickler for the “working triangle”. As a cook he realizes that this is a “must-have”. The position and layout of the refrigerator, the cooking area and a sink need to result an efficient work area that has everything within a few steps and arms-length. We try and avoid hard-to-reach upper cabinets and load the kitchen island up with lots of storage and more appliances.
The right tools also make a huge difference in the overall satisfaction of the kitchen space. There are dozens of next-generation appliances available today that make cooking faster and easier. Our favorites include the Turbo Chef oven, a Salamander grill, and a steam oven. Full freezers and unique refrigerator configurations have also become mainstream in availability – 2 dishwashers are a must! Pull-out pantries near the refrigerator are extremely efficient and easy-to-use.
Exquisite details bring it all together – this is our sweet-spot – we love integrating and utilizing architectural elements into the cabinetry that we build. Whether its old hand carved trim, ornate wooden panels or antique European over-door carvings, we always try and integrate these touches into the design of the kitchen – we call the end result kitchen furniture.
Exceptional finishes are the icing on the cake. We like to implement a multi-layer and multi-dimensional finish. The finishes need to flow but don’t need to match….color is key here and my passion to execute.
Other details that complete the picture…beautiful and unique lighting, hardware not found in a “catalog”, counter tops that don’t look builder’s grade or like the commodity item that have become. In the end, accessories only add to the over-all picture - pottery is a favorite to incorporate, a plant on the window sill, art on walls covered in subway tile.
Here you see various old carved and architectural antiques at work.
A Swedish color palette is soft and flows from one piece to the next.
This is one of the most beautiful kitchens we have designed and built.
We designed this large china cabinet around the beautiful antique leaded glass windows and the beautiful carved architectural element - Bead board paneling incorporated into the cabinet offers the perfect spot for art
This piece was specifically designed to house a TV in the kitchen,We used several different carvings to create this
This kitchen was designed in conjunction with an addition to this client’s home -the counter top fabricated from exotic natural quartz is truly incredible!
This is one of the most interesting and beautiful floors we have installed.
Terracotta – stars and crosses as individual tiles are put together to create this beautiful pattern
This is where you see the client’s personality shining through. She found these beautiful antique tiles on a buying trip to Round Top and we arranged them in such a way to almost look like a patchwork quilt.
A favorite kitchen dripping with personality and highly functional
Lots of antiques and found elements at work here.
This floor is also very interesting – carerra marble framed w/absolute black granite
Interesting details and harmonizing colors create this beautiful yet functional kitchen
Look at the refrigerator – this was our first implementation of antique mirror on the front
The legs of the island were built using found piano legs
We repainted the kitchen table and chairs – and my client found this wonderful vintage grain sack linen used to reupholster some Parson’s chairs.
More Swedish colors – and French street sign used in backsplash behind the cooktop
As you see, we really do like these French street signs – they are getting harder to find.
Here’s my little kitchen
I used an old lawyer’s book case as primary storage for our dishes
It is incredibly functional and I love seeing into the doors.
We put our antique Swedish apothecary in our kitchen – it holds everything!
This kitchen was designed for a client who lives in a house replicated from an old monastery
This kitchen sits in the middle of a beautiful home – with a decidedly San Antonio / Mediterranean influence.
I named this room the “French Laundry” – it’s dynamite – very multi-purpose!
Hopefully your kitchen is the heart of your home – your living room – and says a lot about you and your lifestyle!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
7 - 01 - 2010
As a design / build team, my husband and I are tasked with nearly every project we do to design bathroom spaces that are highly functional and test the senses in beauty and uniqueness. Whether it’s new construction or a renovation, bathrooms come second only to the kitchen in importance to a home’s value.
We began re-purposing old European sideboards and buffets years ago as bathroom vanities for master and powder baths. We were always trying to replicate the look of an old beautiful antique so we just started using them. At first, this concept gave our trim carpenters and plumbers fits, as they couldn’t understand what we were trying to accomplish. They only saw that we were about to destroy a beautiful antique. Today we have mastered the techniques needed to quickly take an old table or French or English buffet and make it a wonderful vanity….complete with a marble or granite counter top, a sink and beautiful faucets with running water, and yes storage space underneath.
What makes a bathroom functional?
We start with a great shower space and size – as beautiful as free-standing tubs are – what we all use every day is a shower. The shower needs to be large, have multiple shower or spray heads and always, always an adjustable slider bar for one of the shower heads. The showers needs to have plenty of “out-of-site” shelves and niches for all the bath products we use today. Benches to sit on and a shelf for shaving legs is a must.
Tank-less Hot Water Heaters – never ending hot water for showers and the soaking tub.
A separate water closet for the toilet is preferred when space permits. Vanities and mirrors need to be designed in such a way to allow for comfortable and adequate functionality of the space. Makeup vanities or tables are a luxury we like to add.
What makes a bathroom beautiful?
The most important element is the design you achieve with the use of tile and stone. Today’s combinations, size, color and texture of tile and stone are literally unlimited…so designing a beautiful shower today has never been easier. We like to mix the size and shapes of the stone we use…we want people to walk into the bathroom and feel compelled to touch the material because it is so interesting.
The finish of the fixtures is another important element. Fixtures help define the personality of the room – from traditional, European or contemporary – the choice you make will definitely help put your stamp on the room. We love to use polished nickel it has a warm luster and classic look that never goes out of style.
Frame-less glass enclosures for the shower add beauty and function to the shower. We love to use arched doors and sometimes put a design etched into the glass on the door for added interest.
Mirrors and lighting are critical to the overall feel – we try and find unique mirrors and sconces that harmonize together to give a unique design and ‘wow’ factor. One of our favorite treatments is to hang an antique or reproduction mirror on a mirror along with the sconces. This treatment is much more beautiful and interesting that just hanging up a mirror and having the sconces coming out of the wall. We always hang a chandelier over the tub preferably with the tub being in a niche or alcove in the room – this brings a lot of elegance to the space.
Freestanding soaking tubs will make a statement in any bathroom. Again, today’s options on tubs are limitless and this is another element that dictates the style and feel of the bathroom design.
Finally, little details like the art, rugs, towel hooks, and trays to keep things organized all add up and provide the finishing touches to the space. We created dozens of bathrooms from large master spa-like areas to the tiniest bathroom you can squeeze into – but we still follow these principals and it always works for us.
Details – here you see them at work…these elements add to the beauty of this wonderful bathroom.
In this bathroom we used an old Swedish buffet as the vanity, and Michelangelo marble in the shower - we found a vessel sink in the same marble. Antique Swedish iron sconces from A. Tyner Antiques, and two large framed black ammonites play off of the black in the Michelangelo marble.
We like to incorporate “head knocker” cabinets into our bathrooms and water closets…who doesn’t need the storage – and we always make it a design statement at the same time. And tile…how about this fabulous light green onyx cut into subway tile….this is a wow!
This is an example of a vanity designed and built as an old dresser. We added our furniture finish to it, with special hardware and polished nickel faucet this area makes a classic statement.
We love to use subway tile – and we love to use carerra marble cut into subway tile! This beautiful powder bathroom has all of the design elements….beautiful vanity, vessel sink, gorgeous mirror and light fixture….timeless elegance.
This large master bathroom has it all – we had enough space to incorporate a special niche created from antique columns. This tub by Waterworks is everyone’s favorite! I kept the palette soft and Swedish!
And remember even the tiniest bathroom can be fabulous – use every inch – and don’t miss one single detail – they all add up!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
6 - 12 - 2010
Whenever anyone sees an intaglio there is an immediate curiosity invariably followed by the question “what are these?” The history of these is so interesting and unique as they were truly an international phenomenon during the grand tours to Europe by Americans between the 18th and 19th centuries before photography. Wealthy travelers had them carved for them and bought them as keepsakes to take back to America – most typically they portray Greek, Roman, and mythological figures.
I have always been fond of simple elements that can be framed and displayed in a series. Whether it’s a collection of butterflies, insects, sea shells, or intaglios; a collection of anything can be made more important and provide dramatic wall art when framed, matted and hung symmetrically usually the more the better!
Intaglios are definitely a favorite because they are so unusual and hard-to-find. When framed they will adapt beautifully in any interior design – from contemporary to Country French, Swedish and English interiors alike.
This is a perfect example of simple elegance – 4 framed intaglios hung between two gorgeous antique Swedish lamps. They are the perfect choice hung above this Swedish table – the shell boxes have just the right shape and texture sitting below the plaster intaglios as another collection.
I love to hang art on the styles of bookcases and built-in cabinetry. I often hang art on the back wall of a cabinet – but look how these beautiful intaglios are showcased on this built-in book case. Whatever the art – when hung in a similar fashion somehow adds importance to the art and the visual impact is stronger than the same art hung on a wall.
Visual interest is heightened when art is stacked or hung against a mirror. This client had a huge fireplace with a mirror sitting on the mantle. The simple introduction of an antique intaglio, resting on the mantle in front of the mirror added so much more interest than the mirror sitting on the mantel alone.
This special collection of rare intaglios was used as a focal point in a small but important area in a formal living room. The colors of the mats and frames were the same so the simplicity allows you to focus on the beautiful groupings of white intaglios.
The intaglio art available through Swedish Dekor is truly special. Our hand-picked collections of beautiful plaster intaglios are matted against Italian silk mats and are framed in an antique gold or silver finished frame by Larson-Juhl. They are an outstanding piece of art hung individually or as the beginning of your next collection as a grouping.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
6 - 07 - 2010
There is something very special about vintage Swedish herbariums – they are irresistible! Of course they have been used for decades, but by only a few who understood what they are. I first really started paying attention to them on our buying trips where antique dealers like A. Tyner Antiques would bring scores of them to shows like Marburger Farms at Round Top, Texas. We bought several for a client’s home – we weren’t exactly sure where we would use them – we just knew we wanted to incorporate them – and would find a perfect place to display them. We bought 16 – each of them unique and from the early 1900’s. As the months that we were completing their renovation went by, I would walk through their home and imagine where we would place them; in the end we put them over a long French pastry table of carerra marble in the master bedroom. We hung those 4 across and 4 high – it was a spectacular display – and I think about it all the time – this definitely created a soft “wow”! I had Swedish herbarium envy – I wanted some for myself.
In another project, I used 12 botanicals over a fabulous French sideboard that we refinished in one of my favorite colors from Farrow & Ball Paint called Mouse’s Back with antiqued silver leaf accents. This room was filled with lovely French and Swedish antiques and beautiful upholstered pieces using various Vervain Fabrics. This home has very high ceilings so finding a single piece of art that would be the room’s focal point was challenging. By using the botanical art in a large grouping I was able to achieve a very high impact – but the soft colors of the vintage herbariums kept the wall very simple and incredibly elegant and worked beautifully with both the French and Swedish pieces in her home.
I have a client who asked me to design a room around her collection of botanicals. Their “keeping room” was formerly a little stuffy for this active family, so as we renovated her home we modified her interior to be more casual by introducing some Swedish antiques and collectibles into the updated design. We refinished and reupholstered most of her furniture using a much lighter and softer color palette and had fun changing the personality of the room from stuffy English to casual Swedish. In this setting, I used 8 Swedish botanicals hung in perfect alignment over a Swedish bench purchased from Leslie Taylor Home in Dallas and flanked on either side by two wonderful antique Swedish lamps. This room was transformed into a much more inviting and casual space.
Botanicals always seem to look just right wherever I use them. They are lovely in a guest bedroom – here I hung 5 herbariums in a single row where there was a very long wall but tight space didn’t allow placement of any furniture on it. The display of the botanical art was the perfect solution for the décor of this room – it added much needed interest but didn’t disrupt the calm effect I was trying to achieve for this space
We completely remodeled a home for one of our clients, and it turned out to be one of my very favorites. We did the entire home in a casual family-friendly Swedish / eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories, and the result was really quite special. You always get a better result when you are able to have every room in a home play off of the rooms surrounding it. In this home, we created an open floor plan that lives large and happy due to a unified color scheme and by repeating the finishes from room to room. We refinished several pieces of their furniture and as the lighter colors came into the interior – the use of the antique Swedish herbariums really created a cohesive and “just right” look. Here they are hung as a focal point in the great room of this home.
Below is a casual family room located in the center of the home, while the room is used to watch TV in – it still needed to flow with the rest of the home’s interior so I used 8 botanicals aligned over the light green velvet sofa – it was just the right touch in this room and says “Swedish Style” is alive in this room too!
Look how the antique Swedish herbariums bring elegance to this special master bedroom.
The vintage Swedish herbariums offered through Swedish Dekor are truly special. Each one-of-a-kind pressed flower or herb botanical from Sweden, has its’ original hand-written Scandinavian description. We found the perfect frame and they are matted in linen. People who understand what these are use adjectives like “fabulous” when they see them….where will you put yours? Send your photos!
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -
This home was inspired by the collections and integration of architectural elements and beautiful pieces inspired by various periods in history. Even though some of the antiques were not Swedish, they have been refinished using the beautiful soft Gustavian colors that flow harmoniously from piece to piece and from room to room.
One of the challenges in this small home was the complete lack of separate entryway into the home – you walk directly into the formal living room. I decided to make the coat closet more impactful than normal since it was on a wall in the living room of the home. I used a beautiful carved door from Peru and had it finished with a light gray glaze and highlights of Farrow & Ball Old White paint. Above the door is an old overdoor element from France – again I tied it together with the same finishes. So what was once a small door on an important wall in this living room became a focal point, a conversation piece, and a beautiful element of the interior design. The antique Mora clock from Sweden looks right at home next to this door. I love the simplicity of the clock next to the ornate heavily carved door.
You can see how the door has become a beautiful backdrop for this room.
In small homes every wall counts, and the wall below was directly next to the front door of the home. I used an important and large piece to both extend the room visually and to help balance the weight of the room. This was a large armoire from Bausman, but I had it refinished and distressed in the Swedish palette – this particular piece is done in a base coat of Light Gray, with accents of color in Lamp Room Gray, Bone and Silver leaf…the grays are from Farrow & Ball.
I love to incorporate Chinese blue and white export jars – the top of this armoire is the perfect home for this large and varied collection of these jars.
On the wall opposite the front door I hung a gorgeous Swedish antique mirror over a console table. The console table from A. Tyner Antiques is a favorite piece. The placement of a long (17’) Oushak runner from the front door to this console table really provides a visual separation without walls – so you walk into the house and down the runner before walking directly into the living room.
Angie and Hugh Tyner of A. Tyner Antiques are great people and have one of the best collections of Swedish furnishings and collectibles in the world. Their wonderful home which is featured in the new book Swedish Country Interiors by Rhonda Eleish & Edie Van Breems is filled with beautiful elements from their travels around the world.
Happy Gardening -
All My Best -