Monday, August 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Kitchens

It is always interesting to me to see how different two similar spaces can look. I wanted to share with you this wonderful restoration of an Edwardian Duplex in San Francisco by Marsh and Clark Design. By altering the choices of cabinets, furniture and lighting these nearly identical kitchens each become unique spaces. Designer, Stephanie Marsh Fillbrandt created the first kitchen in a more formal tone with ebony cabinets, marble backsplash and marble counters.
The second kitchen in lighter tones has a more relaxed look. Notice that the space and layout are almost the same but the feel is very different.
This first unit lacked a formal dining room. In this case, it was important to have the dining area and the kitchen itself, take on a more formal atmosphere. The lighting and furniture choices are more dressy and sophisticated. Notice the upholstered chairs, chandelier and pendant lights, all would be equally at home in a dining room.
I love the contrast of the white marble against the dark cabinets. Also notice the steel counter stools. I love the sleek contemporary feeling of this space.
The other unit had a formal dining room, so the kitchen was designed to have a more relaxed, informal feeling. By choosing warmer wood tones and wall colors you immediately can see this space has a completely different feeling than the kitchen above. It is interesting to note that the backsplash and counters are the same marble as the kitchen above.
Rattan and wood chairs, small pendant lights and textured shade chandelier give the kitchen a more warm and relaxed feeling. Here you peek into the dining area. The side area of this kitchen doubles as a wet bar for the dining room. This is a wonderful example of changing wood tones, lighting and furnishings and transforming two almost identical kitchens into two very different spaces. Click here to see more wonderful projects from Marsh and Clark Design.

Finally, after a short hiatus to spend more time this summer focusing on my family, bi-weekly posts at Willow Decor will begin again in September. Recharged, refreshed and more inspired than ever! Exciting things lie ahead!! Glad to be back!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Decorating with Giant Clam Shells

(Julia Cumes for the Boston Globe)
We just returned from a wonderful trip to Sanibel Island in Florida. Like so many visitors to Sanibel our family got bitten by the "Shell Collecting" bug and we spent much of our time roaming the beautiful beaches hunting for shells. I am a big fan of using natural materials in decorating, especially shells, and one of my favorites items is the giant clam shell.
When I returned home I looked through my files and found that over the years I had several images of the giant clam shell. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites. The photo above is vignette from the John Derian's summer home on Cape Cod. I love the unexpected texture the shell brings to this simple, rustic antique table.
Perhaps the most obvious way to use a giant clam shell is on a table top. It lends itself well as a vessel for planting or housing a collection of fruit or decorative balls. I really love the example above. I find the contrast of the soft, willowy arrangement very striking against the rough coarseness of the exterior of the shell.
(Elle Decor)
Above is lovely living room of Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos. You can see the giant clam shell in the fireplace.
(Elle Decor)
Here the shot is restyled and you can see a better view of the shell. I especially like the bold color of the back of the bookcases. It provides a wonderful contrast for the other shells which are displayed.
(coastal style living)
These next two bathrooms are designed by Barry Dixon and they are fabulous of examples of using the giant clam shell in the bath. The glass shower creates almost a terrarium like display for the shell and provides a fabulous natural element.
(coastal style living)
Barry Dixon again uses a giant clam shell and fills it with natural sea sponges. I love how the placement of the shell softens the lines of the tub. The chandelier and screen are also beautiful additions.
(Jupiter Granite)
I love to see the shells used in more unique ways like the sink above. I adore this!! Someday I hope to add a bathroom at the beach house with a giant clam shell as a sink. This particular one was beautifully executed.
(House Beautiful)
Here is a more opulent example of using a giant clam shell as a sink. This bathroom, with it's mother of pearl tiles, is located in Southampton, NY. You can read more about this amazing home here.
Finally here is wonderful vignette located on the back wall of the pool house of Antiquarian, Michael Trapp, via Joni at Cote de Texas. The giant shell adds a wonderful burst of white against the spectacular stone walls. This home is really extraordinary. You can read more about it here.

Our Sanibel vacation inspired me add more shells to our beach home decor. We came home with a suitcase filled with our beautiful finds. I am anxious to get them sorted and displayed. More to come!! Hope you all are enjoying the summer!!!