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!

What were those designers thinking? The Hampton Designer Show House

Before I was in the design business I would visit show houses and look at the rooms simply from a personal perspective. If the room happened to be decorated according to my taste and done up with colors I liked I would declare it a hit. If it was anything else, I would immediately dismiss it as ugly. I was quite the critic!

Now that I am educated to the design process and I have friends who participate in show houses, I look at the rooms with a totally different perspective. Such was the case at last weeks Hampton Designer Showhouse. Some of the rooms were simply beautiful and appealed to the masses. They were decorated in soft soothing colors with tasteful accessories that were appropriate to the Hampton location.

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Some of the other rooms were very well done they just happen not to be my taste. Ironically it is those rooms that I give the most thought and attention to. I try to guess what the designer was thinking. I want to know what their inspiration was for the room. There are so many moving parts and decisions that go into creating a show house and sometimes the designer has to use what is available even if it’s not their first choice. I learned this when I participated in the One Room Challenge which was a virtual type of show house.

So no matter if I was a fan or not, I studied the rooms and here are a few of the common threads I observed within all the rooms of the Hampton Show House.

TEXTURE: This was my number one observation. Rich luxurious textures were a major theme within the house. I keep hearing opulence in interior design is making a comeback and many of the show rooms proved this to be true.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Giant over scale chunky throws were in many of the rooms adding luxurious layered texture as well as thick textured carpets, fur, grass cloth covered walls and sumptuous fabrics. This room, designed by Melanie Turner, was my favorite room in the house. The fabric she chose for the window treatments was riddled with holes which added even more texture to her all white room.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

pillows

Get out your giant knitting needles and get to work!

How cool are those giant cable knit pillows against the faux bois wallpaper?

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

The master bedroom designed by Mabley Handler was a sumptuous retreat filled with luxurious textiles as well as a shiny silver dresser, sleek leather chairs and textural grass cloth clad walls. Notice too the statement chandelier which looked like a wedding cake. The layers hanging down are fabric. I loved this room and had to use restraint because I wanted to touch everything, lay on the bed and roll around on the rug.

The black and white bedroom below designed by Elsa R. Soyars was interesting. Not only was it filled with lot’s of different textures like the sculpted rug, a velvet bench with a fur throw, linen and silks, it also featured a black macrame hammock directly next to the bed. This was one of those instances where I would have loved to ask the designer her thought process on the hammock (as well as her placement of a life size deer on the opposite side of the room).

Elsa R. Soyars

Elsa R. Soyars

STATEMENT LIGHTING:Big statement lighting is nothing new but this show house had some very unusual pieces.

Notice the big chunky macrame table skirt adding even more texture to the mostly all white room. Speaking of white rooms…the majority of the walls in the show house were either painted white or covered with grass cloth.

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Another primarily white room with a chunky throw, pillows, a thick textured carpet and a geometric statement chandelier.

Statement lighting was in every single room including a powder room so small I couldn’t get a photo of much more than the light and a tiny glimpse of the ceiling and wallpaper.

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

LACK OF BRIGHT COLOR AND PATTERNS: With the exception of the powder room above and the master bathroom (below) there was very little color or pattern in the house. I would say the master bathroom though had plenty of both color and pattern for the whole house!

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

I will leave you with my final image of the kitchen. Just like the proverbial wedding gown at the end of the fashion show, the kitchen is the room that set the tone for the whole house. White, bright, beautiful and a wonderful mixture of textures.

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

So there you have it. My take on the 2016 Hampton Designer Show House. I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Photo: You HAVE to see this ceiling.

This past week I went with a friend to the Hampton Designer Show House  and made it just under the wire before it closes (Sunday if you’re planning on going). I always love to visit a prominent show house because it’s fun to see what the big name designers are doing and what I can take inspiration from. As usual, I take lots of photos (with my iPhone of course) and then study them to see what design tips or trends I can pass on to you.

Here is one room I was definitely wowed by. The dining room, designed by the Mendleson Group, had the most impressive ceiling details and it’s like nothing I have seen before.

Mendelson Group: Linda Holt Photo

Mendelson Group: Linda Holt Photo

There are so many layers of textures and different materials that it took me awhile to take it all in. The outside perimeter of the ceiling is wallpapered with gray grass cloth, then there is dark gray paint between two thin pieces of white trim. Moving next toward the center is a layer of what looks like gravel. I assume it is some type of wallpaper because I saw one thin seam.

Ceiling detail: Linda Holt Photo

Ceiling detail: Linda Holt Photo

Then more white painted wood trim and at the very center is a gold leather octagon shaped medallion. I could not stop looking up. It was really spectacular and was the perfect stage for the ginkgo shaped gold chandelier hanging below.

Painted and wallpapered ceilings have been trending for awhile now but this elaborate treatment took the fifth wall to a whole other level. I thought it was spectacular and a perfect wow factor for the dining room of a five million dollar home. Yup, that’s right…it’s for sale for five million and it’s not even on the water.

What do you think?

Sad to say goodbye to Summer but looking forward to cooler temps and the beauty of Fall. Have a fabulous long weekend my US friends and please be safe!

 

Is this new fabric trend fabulous or hideous?

Recently while in at the Design Center I saw another designer with her client flipping through the newly introduced fabrics. I heard the client say, “EWW… that is hideous, who on earth would want that in their house”? I was obviously curious what fabric had repulsed her so as soon as they left I went to check it out. It’s either a love it or hate it fabric pattern but I am seeing more and more of it so I am declaring it an official trend. It is street art or graffiti printed fabric.

Street art fabric from Pierre Frey

Street art fabric by Toxic for Pierre Frey

 I laughed to myself because about five years ago I had plans to create this exact same thing. I spent a week in Barcelona and was fascinated by all the graffiti in the city. Truth be told, I became obsessed with it (we don’t have much graffiti in Boston). In my eyes some of it was masterful works of art. The colors and patterns were amazing. Once back home I sent off some of my graffiti images to custom fabric printer Spoonflower and had a few samples made. I had planned to make pillows but life got busy and I dropped the ball and never went forward. Plus, there was a question of copyright issues with the street artists and it began to become complicated.

So to see “my idea” a reality was somewhat thrilling. High end fabric house Pierre Frey has partnered with world renown graffiti artist Toxic to design their street art fabrics.

Graffiti artist Toxic

Graffiti artist Toxic for Pierre Frey

Pierre Frey graffiti fabric

Pierre Frey graffiti fabric by Toxic

Romo fabrics has partnered with another artist named Kirby. They had a pillow on display in the showroom.

Kirby Design for Romo fabrics

Kirby Design for Romo fabric

Kirby’s designs are much less “gritty” than Toxic’s with the use of bright happy colors.

Kirby Design for Romo

Kirby Design for Romo

Duralee has introduced their version and although it is a bit less graffiti like it has that random paint spatter feeling.

Duralee

Duralee

This one below is actually paint splatters.

Duralee

Duralee

This trend is not just seen on fabrics. Walls are also showing up sporting large coverings of graffiti as well.

Webster and Co. Boston Design Center

Webster and Co. Boston Design Center

Even fashion is embracing the street art look.

Graffiti leggings from Etsy

Graffiti leggings from Etsy

So before you dismiss this trend, keep an open mind and let me share where I think this street art look would look fabulous, and where I think it would be hideous.

FABULOUS!

A hip loft with either a graffiti accent wall or drapery..fabulous!

A graffiti pillow or two in a teen’s room or a young child’s room depending on the pattern…fabulous!

A graffiti wall papered powder room…fabulous!

A play room or basement with an accent wall… fabulous!

A wallpapered ceiling  in the right room…fabulous!

A “statement” chair…fabulous!

HIDEOUS!

All four walls covered (unless it’s a small powder room)…way too much!

A country home..the look is much too urban

A traditional suburban home…same as country home

Leggings (unless you are under twenty and adorable).

SO…I would love to hear from you…fabulous or hideous?

Oh, and just in case you are curious, here are a few of my graffiti images from five years ago in Barcelona.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

Some would obviously transfer better to fabric than others but the dream is still out there. Too bad someone beat me to it!

 

 

 

If white subway tile is so popular why are the stores filled with this?

If you were brand new to the design world and looked at any of the shelter magazines, Pinterest or Houzz, you would think that white subway tiles must be the only available option. They are everywhere! Since I am currently working on both a kitchen and bath remodel it came as no big surprise that both my clients requested white subway tiles….really??

I get it, subway tiles are timeless and it is doubtful you will regret installing them when the current trends change. Remember those earthy busy accent tiles of the 90’s? Looking back, I cringe when I think of the small fortune I paid for hand made fruit accent tiles in my kitchen of that same era. The fact is, no one wants a dated tile look in a few years, because let’s face it, tiling is expensive.

So why is it then when I walk into the tile store to grab a few samples I am greeted with this?

There are so many beautiful tiles on display yet not a single white subway tile in sight. I approach a salesperson and for some reason I feel like I need to whisper, “I’m looking for white subway tiles”. It’s like walking into Baskin Robbins 54 favors and asking for vanilla.

Tiles by Design Danvers

Tile by Design Danvers

For someone like myself, who LOVES color and pattern I am in heaven. That is until my practical brain says “yes, but these beauties will be dated before they are even paid off”.

The choices today for tiles is so overwhelming that I can understand why the average homeowner simply defaults to white. It’s sooo tempting though to fall in love with something other than boring subway tiles.

Tiles by Design Danvers

Tile by Design Danvers

They are all just so pretty!

Tile By Design Danvers

Tile By Design Danvers

Textured and faceted tiles seem to be newly trending

Tile By Design danvers

Tile By Design Danvers

and smaller mosaic tiles seem to be making a comeback.

Tile By Design Danvers

Tile By Design Danvers

Oh my gosh…those colors!!

Tile By Design Danvers

Tile By Design Danvers

These are a fun twist on the vintage “penny tiles”

Tile Showcase Boston

Tile Showcase Boston

and these tiles by Walker Zanger debuted two years ago at KBIS and wrote I about them here.

Tile By Design Danvers

Tile By Design Danvers

I did ask the sales person what he was seeing as far as sales and not surprisingly he told me “the huge overwhelming majority of sales are standard white subway tiles”. So….can you guess what I left the tile store with?

I would love to hear what you think..subway tile or would you go for the trendy?

On an unrelated note, I was nominated for an AMARA Best US interior Design Blog award. I’ve never been nominated for anything blog related before so I am pretty excited. The voting is super easy and I would be so grateful if you voted for me. This is the link.

 

Friday’s Photo: Sleeping with the family

One of my favorite things about going to High Point Market and visiting the different show rooms is seeing how the rooms are styled. The designers are so creative and I always see something unexpected and unique. Continuing last Friday’s Photo theme of wall murals I spotted this idea at Universal Furniture.

wallpaper family portraits

portrait wallpaper at Universal Furniture

I know it’s not for everyone but I thought it was a cute idea for a child’s room. It would be hard to feel lonely when the family is watching over while you sleep. Having the actual wallpaper made would be a huge commitment but another idea would be to cover the wall with either cork board or foam core. Then using adhesive spray (for the foam core) or pins (for the cork board) attach the images. When the fun had run it’s course just remove the foam core or cork board and the walls are back to the origional state.

Have a good weekend!

Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »

Subscribe to my blog

Browse by Category