Friday’s Photo: Is it wall art or wallpaper?

While visiting the London design shows in September, I discovered so many inspiring and innovative products. One product that caught my attention was this 3D art form from King Kong Design based in Barcelona Spain.

King Kong Design merges traditional manual paper folding techniques with the latest in digital technology to produce objects in a variety of design fields, mainly architecture, furniture and lighting.

moduuli

King Kong Design: Linda Holt Photo

The design above is called MODUULI and can be used as 3D wallpaper or wall art. It was created from individual modules folded in to shape from Canson paper.

Depending on the designer’s vision and the budget, MODUULI can be used as a single piece of decorative art or used to cover an entire wall. Everything is custom to size, color combinations and applications.

I thought it was fabulous. What do you think?

Four fabric trends from the London design shows

As a decorator one of the things I like most about design is choosing fabric. I think most designers do because it’s one of the fun parts of design. Fabrics can be the inspiration and starting point for the whole project.

While I was in London with DesignHounds we attended four different design shows and invariably it was the fabrics that caught my eye. Some of it was really unique, some of it was traditional but with fresh colors and some of it was just plain “out there”.

Here is a sampling of four trends I saw at the London design shows.

  1. COLOR: Rich saturated color was on display at many of the booths and I noted Orange is still going strong.
Backhausen: Linda Holt Photo

Backhausen: Linda Holt Photo

Bluebellgray (show below) displayed brightly colored water color fabric and you can purchase their bedding through Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Bluebell Gray

Bluebellgray

2. Graffiti inspired fabric has been trending for awhile now as I wrote about here  and I saw plenty of it at the London shows. One of the largest displays was Blackpop.

black-pop-2-red-decorex

Blackpop is a UK company that creates “fabric and furniture that punk up the rich tapestry of the past to create opulent richly figured patterns”.

Blackpop: Linda Holt Photo

Blackpop: Linda Holt Photo

Although the designs are contemporary the fabrics are traditional opulent velvet.

This settee from Dare studio reminded me of an artist’s drop cloth.

Dare studio: Linda Holt Photo

Dare studio: Linda Holt Photo

Below is one more example from Arley House of digitally printed graffiti inspired  fabrics.

Arley House: Linda Holt Photo

Arley House: Linda Holt Photo

3. Kaleidoscope inspired. Besides graffiti inspired fabrics I saw a several booths with kaleidoscope inspired fabrics. Printed on soft velvet the colorful fabric below is from up and coming textile designer Ewelina Mlynarek for Designers Atelier.

I have memories of owning a kaleidoscope as a kid and this fabric drew me right in.

kaleidoscope-summer-design

The designer told me the fabric was indeed based on a Victorian kaleidoscope.  Here it is below shown on a chair.

kaleidoscope-chair

Linda Holt Photo

More kaleidoscope inspired fabric was spotted at Ana Romero. This one almost has a kaleidoscope meets snake skin vibe.

Ana Romero: Linda Holt Photo

Ana Romero

4. Traditional fabrics in updated colorways. After seeing all the wild statement fabrics it was refreshing to come upon the fabric company Moon. Established in 1837, their traditional Scottish wool plaids and tartans were displayed in updated and fresh colorways.

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

Moon: Linda Holt Photo

4. Technology. At the London shows I spoke with several designers who use the computer to aid in the creation their fabric designs. One designer has taken computer aid a step farther and has the computer determine the design!

BeatWoven is a fabric company that creates fabric based on a computer program that translates and then weaves musical notes directly into the fabric.

BeatWoven fabrics :Linda Holt Photo

BeatWoven fabrics :Linda Holt Photo

Each of the fabrics is woven from a different symphony or song. The fabric below is Tchaikovsky’s composed works from The Royal Ballet’s  “Sleeping Beauty”.

1-pasdedeuxthesleepingbeautytchaikovsky

and this one below was created by translating Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2

8-rachcushions-2b

Pretty cool…right? Imagine how perfect this fabric would be for a musician or music lover.

No matter what your taste in fabrics, there really was something for everyone at the shows. Which one is your favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new range from Tecnogas is the solution for small kitchens

One of the many perks of being a design blogger is that I get to learn about and then share with my readers new products for the home that have either just been released or are about to be released. While in London with Designhounds I had the opportunity to meet and find out about a brand that has only recently entered the US and Canadian market. Tecnogas Superiore is a family owned Italian company, founded in 1952, that specializes is ranges, hoods and wall ovens.

While they are currently the “new kid on the block”, they are positioning themselves to be some serious competition with other US and European luxury brands.

There are actually many things that excite me about this brand but first and foremost is that they addressed the issue of small (or tiny) kitchen spaces. With the current trend of downsizing and the move to small urban spaces, Tecnogas Superiore has introduced a new 24″ gas range. Can you imagine? You still have the functionality and look of a professional gas range but it is only 24″ wide!

24" gas range from Tecnogas Superiore

24″ gas range from Tecnogas Superiore

Not only is the size perfect for small spaces but the range is as beautiful as you would expect from an Italian company. One feature to note is that oven door has a “panorama” window so you can easily see what is going on inside (good for baking those temperamental desserts when you don’t want to be opening the door during cooking). When desired the glass easily pops out for cleaning. There are also  24″ matching ventilation hoods. Looks like a win win to me!

Of course if space is not an issue Tecnogas Superiore has 36″-48″ ranges in a beautiful selection of finishes and styles. This chocolate brown and gold one just about knocked my socks off!

Tecnogas Superiore 36 range

Tecnogas Superiore 36 range

I also love this white and gold one.

Tecnogas Superore 36" range in White

Tecnogas Superore 36″ range in White

Possibly my favorite range in the group is this 48″ red model. I would LOVE to design a kitchen around this beauty.

48" range from Tecnogas Superiore

48″ range from Tecnogas Superiore

Of course I am drawn to the look and color but this stove has features any serious cook would flip over. According to the company’s website:

“It is the first range that combines the precision of gas burners with the convenience and efficiency of induction, and the luxury of an easy clean electric griddle, combined with large capacity main and auxiliary gas ovens in one 48″ free standing unit.” 

It seems like a cooking trifecta to me, gas, electric and induction all in one unit! Although I didn’t get to see any of the ranges in person you can be sure I will be checking them out next January while at KBIS.

Tecnogas also has equally beautiful hoods like this white one which matches the white range above.

Tecnogas Superiore 36" hood

Tecnogas Superiore 36″ hood

Or this alternate style in red.

Tecnogas Superiore 36" hood

Tecnogas Superiore 36″ hood

Aren’t they beautiful?

I want to say a huge thank you to Tecnogas Superiore for not only introducing me to their products but for hosting our DesignHounds London five star dinner. It was such a treat!

Tecnogas Superiore London dinner

Tecnogas Superiore London dinner

So designers and kitchen remodelers, be sure to keep Tecnogas Superiore on your radar because I predict they will be causing quite a stir in the luxury range market and giving the other “big guys” some serious competition.

 

 

 

 

Fromental: High end couture for the walls

While in London with DesignHounds, I had the pleasure of getting up close and personal with Fromental wallpaper. In case you haven’t heard of it, Fromental is pretty much the gold standard for exquisite, luxury wall paper.It is high end couture for the walls.  Hand printed, painted and the top of the line is hand embroidered as well. Obviously it’s not for everyone due to the expense but for those with the budget and the right space it is truly jaw dropping.

While the DesignHounds toured the showroom, everyone was “oohing” and “ahhing” over the large sample panels. It really was a treat to see the artistry that goes into creating such exquisite paper. Here are a few of my iPhone photos from the show room.

Fromental embroidered wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental embroidered wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Can you imagine the skill and patience it requires to hand embroider wallpaper? It was mind boggling to me. Here is a close up of one of the birds.

Fromental detail:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental detail:Linda Holt Photo

Look at the detail in those tiny embroidered flowers.

Frometal :Linda Holt Photo

Frometal :Linda Holt Photo

The orange branches and flowers on a charcoal background was so striking. It almost seemed to be glowing from within.

Fromental embroider wallpaper:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental embroider wallpaper:Linda Holt Photo

A slightly more “affordable” option is to skip the embroidery and choose the hand painted only papers.

Fromental hand painted wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental hand painted wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Still as beautiful and because it is all custom the designer can specify any colors and pretty much any pattern they can dream up.

Fromental hand painted paper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental hand painted paper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental is known for their exquisite chinoiserie wallpapers but they have many other designs and options as well.

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

A similar wallpaper to the one shown above was applied to a door in the showroom. I thought that was such a great application. It had a big impact and since you would not need very much it would be something us “normal folks” could do. Here is a close up.

Fromental applied to a door:Linda Holt Photo

Fromental applied to a door:Linda Holt Photo

Below is a new design I saw last week while at the Boston Design Center. The iconic chinoiserie pattern but in a fresh blue colorway.

Fromental panel:linda Holt Photo

Fromental panel: Linda Holt Photo

After visiting the Fromental showroom the DesignHounds visited the Goring Hotel in London where Fromental was commissioned to create a very special wallpaper for the lobby. It was not what I had expected and was thoroughly charmed!

Goring lobby: Photo from Fromental website

Goring lobby: Photo from Fromental website

The owners of Fromental treated us to champagne while explaining the design concept behind the mural paper. The website sums it up better than my memory.

“Classical, idiosyncratic and quintessentially British, Fromental’s scenic portrays an Arcadian landscape enlivened with an anthropomorphised menagerie of wild and exotic beasts, some of which represent members of the Goring family past and present. Entertaining portrayals include Goring founder OR with second in line OG as walruses in bejewelled splendour; the family’s favourite pet pigs engaged in the Battle of Trafalgar, as well as legally trained Goring MD David Morgan-Hewitt as a gorilla in a judge’s wig.”

Within the wallpaper are allegorical animals that all have special meaning which the staff will gladly explain to curious visitors. It was such fun to walk around trying to find as many hidden animals as possible.

Details from Goring Hotel Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Details from Goring Hotel Fromental wallpaper: Linda Holt Photo

Then if all this fabulousness was not enough, the DesignHounds headed over to The Dorchester Hotel to the China Tang restaurant. Besides being treated to an amazing five star meal, the restaurant is covered in…you guessed it, Fromental wallpaper.

China Tang at the Dorchester: Photo from Fromental website

China Tang at the Dorchester: Photo from Fromental website

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of these beautiful papers as much as I did.

 

 

 

Antiquing Diva style with my iPhone.

Hi everyone! I’m back from my Design Hounds London trip. If you have been considering going on a Design Hound trip I would urge you to jump at the next chance. Veronika Miller and her team gave our group the experience of a lifetime. I have so much to share about all the cool things I saw during London Design Week at the shows and showrooms as well as lessons learned from my iPhone only trip (no DSLR for the first time ever).

Today I want to share my iphone photos from antiquing with the gracious team from the Antiques Diva. In case you are unfamiliar, Toma Clark Haines, AKA the Antiques Diva, is Europe’s largest antique touring company. Our group of design hounds traveled to Lewes to spend the morning at the shop of  Martin D. Johnson Antiquesand Fountaindecorative.com. I knew we were in for a treat when we arrived and were greeted with champagne and this gloriously set table. Antique blue and white china, silver coffee pots filled with hydrangea, cloth napkins with silver rings, all set upon a zinc topped table. Even though the Diva herself was not there we felt her presence.

Luncheon table from The Antique Diva

Linda Holt Photo

Besides the picture perfect table, our hosts put out a beautiful spread of food along with more champagne.

Luncheon while Antiquing with in Lewes with team from The Antique Diva

Luncheon while Antiquing with in Lewes with team from The Antique Diva

Here is our London Design Hounds group (less a few who stayed behind sightseeing) and fabulous hosts.

The Antique Diva luncheon

The Antique Diva luncheon

iPhone Photo Note* This is a lighting situation that is almost impossible to get right. The image was so heavily backlit that even with editing this was the best image I could get. Supplemental flash was what the situation called for but since I only had my iPhone and this was just a quick candid shot, obviously that wasn’t possible.

The best part of the day for me besides the lunch (and champagne) were the photo opportunities in the shop. I didn’t touch or style anything yet everywhere I turned was beauty and another great photo to be taken.

The Antique Diva

Linda Holt Photo

As a photographer I am always looking for interesting arrangements, color combinations or pretty vignettes. This shop had plenty of all. Just look at the patina and colors in this photo below.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

These mustard yellow confit pots caught my eye against the deep gray blue background of the cabinet.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

I  love every single thing in the photo below.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

This bust is wonderful too. Don’t you love her swagged top?

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

What could be a better photo opp than a curated arrangement of chairs and stools?

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

How about angel wings?

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

These well weathered garden hares were calling my name and as tempting as it was to buy them, I will always have a photo remembrance. After all, isn’t that one of the best things about photography.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

I also want to share that besides the abundance of great decorative antiques, the prices were less than half (at least) of what they would have sold for in the states. If you have a project that calls for antiques it is well worth antiquing with the The Antiques Diva. The savings will pay for your trip and then some! Plus, the Antiques Diva associates could not be nicer.

A huge thank you to The Antiques Diva and our hosts for the day, Gail, Martin, Paul, Kiel, and Stuart.

Friday’s Photo: Going to London without my security blanket

To say I am excited today is an understatement. On Saturday I will be traveling to London for a week as a  DesignHound to attend design shows, visit design showrooms and do a little antiquing with Toma Clark Haines, aka  The Antiques Diva.

Besides being immersed in design, I will be a typical American tourist and plan to take in as many sights as possible. You know, the Palace, Big Ben, that huge Ferris Wheel and all the iconic tourist spots one goes to see when in London. So, obviously I will be taking photos. Lots and lots of photos. This trip is going to be different though because for the first time ever, I have decided to leave my heavy DSLR equipment at home.

My usual gear when I travel

My usual gear when I travel

Immediately after I made the decision I started having second thoughts, “maybe I should take it just in case”, but finally I decided no,  I am going solo with my iPhone. I have done a lot of traveling this past year and my heavy camera and lenses have become both a burden and a security blanket. I lug it around thinking I will use it but nine times out of ten I just shoot with my iPhone.

SO…next week is a big challenge for me. I am going to practice what I have been blogging about, that the iPhone camera (in most cases) can be just as good as my heavy more professional DSLR camera.

I hope you will follow along as I post on Instagram and Facebook. You will know that all my photos are from my iPhone…for better or worse! Also, be sure to follow all the fabulous finds from our group by using the hashtag #DesignHounds

Wish me luck! I hope I don’t have regrets because who knows when I will get to London again.

How to take better interior photos

Ideally, once a design project is complete a professional photographer is hired to photograph. However, what if the budget doesn’t allow for a professional or the room is not of the quality to make it worth the expense? Sometimes we just need to get the best shots possible on our own. If you have been following my iPhone photography tips then you already know some helpful camera tips but what else do you need to know when taking your own room photos?

Here are seven tips to get better interior room photos

1. Determine the best time of day to photograph. Professional architectural photographers often visit the site before the shoot to determine the best time of day to shoot. Ideal they want to shoot when the natural light coming through the windows is bright but indirect. Neither the pros nor you want to have to deal with harsh streaks of sunlight or “hot spots” streaming across furniture or the floor. On the other hand, for rooms that face north or into dark woods, try and steer clear of photographing on dark dreary days.  North facing rooms should be photographed when the outside ambient light is at the brightest.

2. Think and ask questions before you take a single shot. Before a professional even sets up their equipment they will walk around the space to be photographed and study the room. They want to determine what the photo should convey. They want to know what is the focus of the room? Is it an architectural feature? Is it the view? Is it the use of color or materials? All of these questions will determine where they choose to set up the camera. They don’t just walk in and start shooting willy nilly and you should not do that either.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

3. Turn off the camera flash. The on-camera flash is not your friend and should never be used in interior photography. If the room is too dark to get a photo without using the camera flash then a tripod is required. The tripod will allow for a longer exposure while keeping the image in focus. The pros will bring additional lighting but use it only when necessary and never…ever… do they use on-camera flash.

4. Turn off the room lights. This one is a little subjective because sometimes a specific light (like a chandelier) can add a touch of ambiance that warms up the room. However, having said that, I work with some of the top architectural photographers in Boston when we shoot the featured homes for the magazine I work for. They always turn off the room lights. The problem is, artificial lights are different temperatures and causes discoloration and can be very distracting in the final photo. They also can cause hot spots on the wall as well as harsh reflections.

Hampton Show House 2014

Hampton Show House 2014  Linda Holt Photo

The image above was taken at a show house where all the lights are on all day. Had this been a client’s house I would have turned off the two table lamps that are casting a bright amber colored light that distracts from the photo.

5. Take photos from different angles. Where you position the camera can make or break a photo. Too far back and the room can look busy or cluttered with too much to look at. If the camera angle is too high or too low the furniture might look distorted. The best advice if you are a novice is to try different angles and camera positions and try your best to keep the camera level. Be sure to photograph room vignettes and areas of the room that are well styled as they add to the overall story of the room.

Hampton show house 2014 room vignette

Hampton show house 2014 room vignette Linda Holt Photo

6. Use the longest lens you can. I have seen some really distorted images, especially with small rooms where designers have resorted to using a super wide angle lens to get the shot. The professionals I know use a 50mm or longer and will only use a wider lens as a last resort.

7. Use an editing app to make final corrections. All pros use some kind of editing program. If you are a DSLR photographer then you most likely use Photoshop, Gimp or something similar. If you are using the iphone as I do, then Snapseed and VSCO are my go to editing apps. Both of these will allow you to crop and to get the lighting, contrast and colors how you want. More advanced options such as fixing architectural lines, removing ugly cords and switches, or tweaking just one small part of the image is also very easy once you take the time to learn the app’s functions.

The image on the left was snapped with my iphone during High Point Market while walking by one of the show room windows. I don’t know if I even stopped walking because I simply wanted to remember the wallpaper and didn’t give any thought to the photo composition. The image on the left is exactly how my iphone exposed the shot. The image on the right is the same image edited using the Snapseed app. I cropped in tighter, lightened the image and then boosted the contrast just a bit. It took of all of maybe 60 seconds but what a difference…right?

Before and after editing

Before and after editing Linda Holt Photo

No matter if you are a seasoned professional or an amateur with a cell phone camera, almost all photos can be improved through editing.

One final note: For those of you that think your iPhone is no match for a professional with a DSLR you will want to read this post. The iPhone vs the Canon 5D DSLR

I hope these tips are helpful!

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