California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“The Elements and Principles of Interior Design… PART I: The Elements”

above via LONNY
Interior design, architecture and art are visual fields and the language we use to describe them is often subjective.

But there is terminology used in the professions of architecture and design and there are explanations as to why a space appeals to you. It’s not only a matter of personal taste or the styles you’ve been exposed to, though that has a lot to do with it too. It’s also because it employs principles and elements of design that we as individuals are naturally attracted to, somewhat like the attraction we feel towards water and fire.

According to college design textbook “Inside Today’s Home” by LuAnn Nissen, the elements of design are space, form, line, texture, light and color while the principles of design are balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial), rhythm (repetition, progression, transition and contrast), emphasis, scale/proportion and harmony (unity and variety). These terms provide designers with a vocabulary for various elements of design, as well as an explanation as to how and why the elements work together.
Space- An interior space is created simply by putting walls together to form an enclosure but there are appealing and unappealing enclosures. An architect or designer controls and improves a space by using certain design elements to achieve a sense of spaciousness, or the opposite of spaciousness: intimacy.
There are many ways to increase the feeling of spaciousness in a space such as keeping furniture and accessories to a minimum; using small scale furniture and textile patterns; selecting colors that are cool and light with little or no contrast; placing furniture close to and paralleling walls; use of windows; and using mirrors to create reflected space.

To create feelings of intimacy or “coziness”, you can subdivide the space by placing furnishings perpendicular to the walls to form “room dividers”; use warm, dark colors; and choose varying heights of furniture to obstruct the views around the room.
Form and shape- Forms and shapes fall into three basic categories: rectilinear, angled or curved lines that become the geometric shapes of the square, triangle, circle, or in solid form, the cube, pyramid, sphere, cone and cylinder. In design, these shapes serve as the basis for buildings as well as the products that go in them. Not every shape can be identified as one of these shapes obviously, but every shape contains at least one of these basic elements.
Line- In design, line usually describes the outline of a shape or space but it also attributes to our perceptions of masculinity, femininity, playfulness, or austerity depending on the line’s direction, angularity or amount of curve.
Vertical lines evoke feelings of formality and aspirations. Horizontal lines are restful and informal and are often used in contemporary designs; diagonal lines are active and dynamic and suggest upward or downward movement; small curved lines are playful; and wide, horizontal curves suggest gentle, relaxed movement. Line is seen in the lofty height of a vaulted entrance, or the low and restful, horizontal surface of a bed.
Texture- Smooth or rough, texture describes the tactile feel or appearance of the surface of an object like stone, mohair or chenille fabrics, or a woven basket. Texture can be ornamental; it can absorb or amplify sound; and is a factor in the maintenance of an object. The shiny surface of a glass table is easier to clean but shows every little smudge. The rough surface of a stone hearth shows little dirt but is harder to clean.
Light- Light is important to our physical and psychological responses. It affects our mood and can change the appearance of our surroundings. The style of your home’s architecture will play a part in the amount of indoor light you have. Spanish Revival style is known for romantic, nuanced light play. Modern architecture with its wide expanses of glass brings the outdoors inside. Each has a prominent place in design but aging is a factor in all of us. If you are planning your forever home, plan one with plenty of natural light.
The amount of natural light a home has is subject to design trends. Today’s homeowner seems to prefer a light filled home. Skylights and solar tubes have been a boon to many dark and dreary interiors.
Color- Color is a powerful design tool. The various theories about color are based on art, science and psychology. To accurately describe a color you would refer to the terms hue, the actual name of the color; value, the lightness or darkness of a color; and intensity, how pure versus how muted or grayed the color is.
There are primary hues, secondary hues and tertiary hues. Primary hues are colors that can’t be mixed. They are primary red, yellow and blue. Secondary hues are mixtures of primary colors: orange, green, and violet. Tertiary hues are mixtures of secondary hues. Combinations of harmonious colors include monochromatic, which is based on various values and intensities of one hue; analogous, which is based on two or more hues that are next to one another on the color wheel; and complementary, which is based on colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel.
Reaction to color is highly subjective. Each comes with its own personality and/or stigma attached. For instance, yellow can be sunny for some of us, or signify cowardice for others. Pink is a pretty, feminine color that some love and other’s find cloying. Black can be classy or morose. White can be pristine and bright or overly sterile. Red can be vibrant and classic or it can be cheap and gauche. The affect depends on the context in which the color is used, what it’s placed next to, and the individual’s emotion towards it. And sometimes it’s based on effective branding, such as the green of a Starbuck’s logo or the orange packaging of luxury brand Hermes’.
above via CITY SAGE blog
Next post…If the elements are the tools or “raw ingredients” of interior design, the principles are the recipe. In two weeks from today, Part Two: The Principles of Design.
above via SUNSET LANE blog
above via

above via HABITUALLYCHIC.BlogSpot 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Bespoke Design Presentation: A Look at Interior Design Schemes, Visual Aids, and Scopes of Work

How do designers and their clients discuss aesthetics? What type of visual aids do they use so clients can see what is being planned for them? How do they know what style you will like if you don’t know yourself? How do you develop a feasible budget and scope of work? How do designers know which of your existing furnishings to keep, what to re-purpose, and what to discard? How do they work around the furnishings you already have?
By the end of this post you’ll have a good idea how professionals create design schemes for their clientele, how to visualize your home’s potential, and how a budget and scope of work drives the project’s viability, whatever its size.
Before discussing aesthetics and budgets with a client, we talk about lifestyle and function. What type of lifestyle do you lead? Do you have children, pets or grandchildren? Do you have special physical needs? Do you entertain? Do you enjoy a formal lifestyle, a casual one, or something in between? What do you love about your home? What really bothers you? Are you working around something special such as a great view, antiques or art work? Is the home located in the city or country? What is the style of the architecture? The answers to these questions are important because they give us our basic perimeters.

above via VERANDA
Aesthetics: Designing a scheme around a client’s preferences is much more challenging than making choices unilaterally, but better designers work this way. They know the client will be much happier if their preferences have been listened to and respected. If you have something really special to work around, such as an antique settee, a favorite color, or a favorite oil painting, using them as starting points eases some of the decision making. Identifying the client’s preferences comes largely from determining what they currently love about their home, what they dislike about it, and from finding things (like furniture and fabrics) to tie everything together visually.
With newly constructed homes, finding the client’s aesthetic is a little more challenging. The best results come from going over Pinterest boards or shelter magazine images that the client loves, and understanding the local culture and geography (such as building a home in the city vs. on a cattle ranch). I like to take an artful approach in blending the client’s style, architecture, and geography into something very personal to the client.
Visual Aids: A designer helps a client visualize a proposed design scheme with drafted floor plans, over size fabric swatches, flooring samples, pictures of furniture and paint chips. Viewing the proposed fabrics and colors in the chosen space will give you a strong sense of your home’s potential. The samples should make a strong visual statement.
Concept or color boards, such as the ones used in commercial and hospitality design are helpful too but they are time consuming to produce and require a client who has a large, financially vested project.
above KIT KEMP
Scope of Work/Budget: No one likes to provide a designer with a budget. We understand your discomfort. We are consumers too. But if you go into a car dealership looking for a Mercedes and a salesman educates you on all the wonderful benefits of a Volkswagen or Rolls Royce, both your time has been wasted. It is best to first determine an overall scope of work and budget. You can always break it up into phases if it’s more financially feasible.
In a recent living room project I was given an unusually small budget. The client requested new window coverings, two sofas, and four chairs but the budget wouldn’t allow us to purchase all new furniture. My first two plans proposed new window coverings, new throw pillows, and recovering the existing sofa and chairs in new fabrics. My last plan allowed for the same but with recovering chairs and purchasing a new sofa. One plan actually came in under budget, another plan at budget, and yet another plan just 2% over budget. These three design schemes couldn’t have been accomplished without a budget and scope of work.
Getting two or three budgetary plans is a win-win situation for clients and designers because it gives the client a lot of control on how the money is spent and gives the designer the perimeters we need to create something really special within the constraints of that budget. A small budget isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many designers enjoy the challenges and restraints of unusual projects.
above via ANNECHOVIE.BlogSpot
What to Keep, What to Re-Purpose and What to Discard: Making these three decisions may sound difficult but I really enjoy this part of the process. I believe utilizing furniture from different eras makes a project more unique. Less cookie cutter. Nothing is more boring than everything being purchased from one place in time. That’s one of the reasons I love including vintage or antique pieces in all of my projects. A home will evolve better and take on a timeless appearance if you furnish it with a blend of era’s and styles. It requires an artistic flair to pull it off but if you have the knack for visualizing things, do give this a try.
above via
In choosing furniture to keep, re-purpose and discard you first decide which things you absolutely love. If it has an important appellation or sentimental value, it should be placed so it’s appreciated often. Keep and place first, all the pieces you love the most. Second, re-purpose the remaining pieces by placing them in less important areas like guest rooms and the den. Third, whatever is leftover (the least favored, least valuable pieces) can be consigned or given to a younger sibling or child at college.
Working around the furnishings you already have: You’ve determined your lifestyle, your personal aesthetics, developed a design scheme and budget, and prioritized your existing furnishings. Now is the fun part—taking your scheme to fruition. The proposed floor plans, furniture and fabric combinations should complement your existing furnishings in such a way that they are strikingly beautiful together, yet cozy and livable. They should coordinate with each other but not be predictable and quick to date like a mail order furniture catalog. The overall scheme should resonate with you. It should be appropriate to your architecture and surroundings.
above via BELGIANPEARLS.Blogspot
Bespoke Design Presentations: In addition to two in-home consultations and taking measurements, each custom design scheme takes a full day of shopping for fabrics and furniture—usually at a to-the-trade design center (I love the San Francisco Design Center); drafting floor plans by hand or on a CAD program; creating professional quality, “branded” visual aids; choosing paint and carpet; and many hours of figuring estimates for each of the proposed schemes. Most designers will provide two design schemes for a set price. The design industry is purportedly changing some of their methods of charging for their time. We are now seeing set prices for clearly delineated services (packaged services); less markup on furniture and other product; and more consultation time.  
above via ELLE DECOR
Glossary of Terms
To-the-Trade- a design industry term meaning products available to designers, decorators, and architects for purchase at special pricing allowing retail mark-up.
CAD- computer aided drafting for producing home plans, kitchens and bathrooms, furniture lay-outs, elevation views and three dimensional renderings.
Design center- There are “design centers” in most major cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. In recent years they’ve opened up to the general public although most showrooms will not sell to anyone without a license.
Scope of work- the overall plan to rebuild, refurbish, and/or replace components in a project; works hand in hand with a budget to set the project’s perimeters.
Bespoke- dealing with custom tailored products and services.

above via


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