Tips on How to Style Accessories for Any Room

Accessories are the key to rounding out a space. It is a critical piece to create a “well lived in” feeling and to personalizes a room. Accessories are much like a great pair of heels or chunky cuff bracelet to punch up a look. We are forever on the search for great accessories and have a private Pinterest board devoted to special finds we stumble on in our research in designing a home.

The happy combination of accessories is size, texture and layering. Key to any well styled accessory book shelf or coffee table is:

  1. 4-5 small to medium solid shapes.

  2. Open and woven shapes, such as small sculptures, baskets, etc.

  3. No glass vases. Solid colors create better silhouettes. Mix of the color and shapes, unless you are going for an intentional all white look. It will feel more organic and natural if they are different sizes and shapes.

  4. Personal items, such as a clients collection of vintage coins or memories from travels.

  5. Coffee table books and varied sizes of decorative storage boxes. These make great opportunities to create height.

Check out a couple of our current obsessions.

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Truth about Restoration Hardware’s Cloud Sofa

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Endless times have clients requested the cloud sofa. While the 100% down feather filled cushion wrapped in your “custom” choice of upholstery sounds lovely on paper, it does function as lovely in real life. Clients are often drawn towards the modern and relaxed look of the cloud. While there is nothing wrong with modernity and a relaxed setting, this sofa creates a lot of stress due to its construction. 

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

The first, simpler issue is that the oversized frame makes it difficult to install in homes - you need to double check your door widths to ensure it will fit in your home. 

Taller clients, or those that like to cuddle up and watch movies on their sofa, are often attracted to the oversized depth of the sofa. Deep cushions are actually one of the things RH is famous for. While you may think the cloud is  cuddly and wraps you like a hug, your grandmother or great aunt might think different. Comparable to a bean bag chair, this sofa sits very low to the ground and is very hard to get out of.

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

Its 100% down feather cushion fill does not help with this either. Each time you sit on it, the feathers relax and compress, similar to your down feather bedding. Only issue is that since there are so many feathers needed to fill it, its own weight compresses it down and doesn’t allow it to fluff back up after you sit up. As a result, each sofa cushion should be regularly fulled after every use to ensure it keeps its fluff. If that wasn’t annoying enough, try lifting one of those cushions yourself. If you don’t believe how much these feathers can weigh, stop by an RH near you and try for yourself. You are NOT going to want to lift that daily. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

This blog post isn’t meant to bash Restoration Hardware. I simply believe you have the right to know these things that sales associates won’t share with people willing to spend $14K on a sofa. 

Since I am being honest with you, I should tell you that 100% linen upholstery on this sofa is also a nightmare. Since the sofa does not bounce back once you sit in it, the fabric stays depressed and wrinkles with every touch. Not to mention, linen is also a stain magnet for children. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

To summarize, remember that bigger is not always better. Remember to check your cushion fill to ensure you have the appropriate balance of synthetic materials and down. It should be noted that the exact percentage will be different based off of personal preferences. And always bring home a sample of fabric before you agree to custom terms of agreement. Rub it on your dog to see how much hair it collects, let your two year old play with it for an afternoon and see how hard it is to clean - you will not regret it. 

5 Tips to Custom Furniture and Millwork

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Often for whom this is their first time working with an Interior Designer freak out at the idea of custom furniture. They want to see in front of them exactly what they are paying for, before they pay for it. This is often not the case in our practice. Nearly all of the millwork (cabinets and built ins) we design are custom. This means combinations of designs, colors, and patterns never done before. By nature, you will not be able to understand its full glory until completion. If you are working with a good and transparent designer, she/he will take the appropriate measures to ensure you have all the tools necessary to feel comfortable with your investment. 

To create peace of mind for our clients at JTD, I have come up with a 5 step system to ensure you are happy with your purchase. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

  1. Adequate drawings

Not every interior designer has experience with construction drawings or details. It is important that no matter how creative your designer is that they are able to successfully communicate their design intent in these drawings. This will maintain total control of the design and limit the amount of miscommunications and damage control later. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

2. Renderings

Some more complex or large installations should be conveyed in 3D or color 2D renderings. This will help you start to imagine how form and function are working together in your piece. Some designers who do not offer this as a service should be able to outsource it or complete themselves at an additional service fee. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

3. Samples

If your designer does not provide you with samples for all materials, they are not doing their job. You should see all finish materials for metal, woods, and upholstery. It is custom that they do not show you building materials that are not visible in the finished product though. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

4. Contractor’s portfolio

For those who are hesitant to pay for an additional service or contractor for their custom piece, it helps to review their existing portfolio. You can see their craftsmanship and previous experience this was to create peace of mind. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

5. Trust your designer

At the end of the day, they know what they are doing. Designers have a muscle in their brain that allows them to envision spaces and forms without any external support. Many people without this muscle struggle to trust. If you have never worked with this designer before, or have never worked with a designer before, it is ok to ask about their experience with custom furniture. Ask to see some of their other work. This will not only allow you to see their capabilities, but the level of originality and practicality of their custom designs. 

Palm Wallpaper- Lake Forest Sunroom

After 5 years in NYC transplanted to LA and then migrated to Chicago, this client was craving the sunny, relaxed vibe of Southern California they left behind. The inspiration was to feel as though the outside came in for tea. The space is a central hub of activity of kids and mom play dates., were the family continually gathers. We included a bright palm wallpaper, pop of black and white pattern and boho rug to tie the room together.

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5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Early in our lives have we all overpaid for a sofa that barely lasted 5 years. We all felt the cushions start to cave in after a year in our favorite spot… its heart breaking to waste the money. As designers, we have been trained in this knowledge to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck in both aesthetics and quality. To help ensure your sofa will withstand the test of life, I have curated a list of 5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer.

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

  1. Quality Framing

Be sure to look at the materials and reviews. If you are working with a designer like us, you can be sure we are considering these things when we source for you. That cannot be said for all decorators though so be sure to as blatantly. 

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2. Cushion Fill 

Not all sofa cushion fills are made equally. If you read one of my recent posts, you will see my review of RH’s Cloud Sofa. Though harsh, it was true. Some cushion fills require much more maintenance while others synthetic blend of fibers are self sufficient. Not to say that poly blend it better though - once you find a compression in the cushion, it is not repairable. You will continue to develop a sink hole till you replace the cushion. This is why it is important to find a balance of the two. I prefer a down feather wrapped poly core with more feathers than synthetic fibers. For everyone the ratio of soft to firm will vary with preference though. 

Budapestair by Paola Navone

Budapestair by Paola Navone

3. Check the Upholstery

Faux leathers will age the fastest and the worst in my opinion. Once you form cracks or minor holes from regular use, there is no going back. The second worst is linen. I love linen to death - I love the way the fabric softens with age, the relaxed and welcoming texture it provides… But I do not have kids yet. One drop of mustard, coffee, tea, or red wine and it is game over. There are several fabric lines, like Perennials, who are creating linen look-alikes that feel and appear to have the same texture, but are far more durable. You will find these synthetic blends are farm more stain resistant, resistant to fading, and easier to clean. 

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

4. Rotate Your Cushions

Some cushions are made reversible so that you can flip them over should there be an issue with the upholstery on one side. This is also helpful to do for maintaining the rate of age. If you are able to rotate the cushions, you will be able to stop the one cushion that gets sat on the most from getting trashed before the rest of them. 

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

5. Ask the Manufacturer

Many furniture manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their products. Even if there is something outside of your warranty, like your dog urinates on your sofa, many offer replacement parts at a fraction of the cost. It is always worth checking with them first before trashing your perfectly good sofa and purchasing new. 

Design Details: Contrast Piping

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Many of you may remember Jen’s previous post with her Hope for Autism submission. If you didn’t see it, I want to remind you to check it out, here. I bring it up because Jen and I are obsessed with contrast piping. It is such a simple, uncommon, and genius way to add character to furniture. Whether it is a simple color palette or something gold and colorful, we believe it is one of the easiest ways to turn an “eh” piece of furniture into a “WOW” piece. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Applications

  1. To emphasize form

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

2. To give depth

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

3. To by playful

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

4. To be different

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

5. Cause why not?!

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Ottomans To Make you Kick Your Feet Up

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Some people have those rooms where you better not get caught with your feet on the table - we encourage COMFORT at JTD. If you can't live in your home, then your home isn't right for you. Ottomans are essential for kicking up your feet and settling in after a long day. Not only are they very practical, but can be beautiful accessories. Take a look at a few of our favorites for getting cozy this fall!

ECC

ECC

The best part about ottomans is that in small spaces, they can double as an extra seat! Here are a few sturdy stools we love for their functionality and looks!

For more inspiration, go to our Pinterest page: Ottomans + Stools

Loft Living- Adams St Install

We are so excited about our recent install- we can barely contain ourselves. The space previously was a dated space stuck in 90's, with rounded walls and random suspension cable tracks lights. We gutted the loft, including every bathroom, ripped out the old gym style railing with a fresh clean modern version and replaced a curved wall leading into the master bedroom with a open concept steel and glass wall- punctuated by a dramatic white curtain.

We still have yet to professionally shoot the space. Stay tuned that is slated for end of August!

 

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Accent Pillow Trends

We can not say enough how much we love the addition of accent pillows in a space. Accent pillows add warmth, character, personality, humor, drama and an opportunity to refresh the space quickly.  I am not one for seasonally themed pillows but a refresh to my living room, guest bedroom or master can completely change the tone and design direction. We love good pillows and are constantly on the hunt for a fresh selection. Scroll down for a few of our favorite spots to shop. I also often image a perfect pillow, color way or pattern that I can not find, so we source the fabric and have them made. It only take about 1.5 yards of material and a trip to your local dry cleaner to get a custom pillow made!

Our top places to shop for pillows.

1. Etsy 2. Lulu & Georgia 3. Burke Decor 4. Wayfair 5. Furbish Home 6. Kudd Krig Home

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Color Palette Inspiration- Camel and Blush Pink

We love starting a new project with fabric and wallpaper selection. Opening a package of freshly sent samples is the best mail at the office. We love sourcing fresh prints and colors from new lines that are typically a small business run by an artist putting their ideas into print and paper. 

A couple of our new favorites are St. Frank, Skinny Laminx, Imogen Heath, Adelene- Simple Cloth. Check out a couple inspiration boards we are working on for upcoming projects. 

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Deep Colored Walls- Powder Room, Family Room, Library... Oh My!

California can have it's light, breezy SoCal vibe with all white walls and boho splashed in. Fresh exciting, bold things are happening with deep, dark colored walls. Paint or wallpaper are all in.

 

Think of London library vibe.

 

Shake of the norm. No wall is permanent. Be brave and go for it.

xo, Jen

Jen Talbot Design
Jen Talbot Design
Jen Talbot Design
Jen Talbot Design

Best Up & Coming Artists

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Finding affordable, art can be hard.. it's expensive! To find affordable art that is original, is even harder. This is one of the main reasons why I love to embrace new, up and coming artists. Often these artists have not only a fresh, new look, but more reasonable prices too. It's a natural blend from my background in art installation, and I'm always on the hunt for the talented and promising artists.  Here is a quick list of a couple of my current favorite up and coming artists. 

Fate #2 by  Carson Ellis

Fate #2 by Carson Ellis

Awakenings #4 By  SARINA DIAKOS

Awakenings #4 By SARINA DIAKOS

Small Works #37 By  Ky Anderson

Small Works #37 By Ky Anderson

Untitled 2.16 by  Elizabeth Thiaucourt

Untitled 2.16 by Elizabeth Thiaucourt

The Decision by  Kai Samuels Davis

The Decision by Kai Samuels Davis

Plug-In Pendants and Sconces -The Go To Problem Solvers

Author: Sydney Piwowar

You hear me talk about lighting all the time and how it is key to give any space a particular mood. In reality, it has a much more practical application required for everyday life. We need good lighting for tasks such as work, getting dressed, make up, shaving, cooking, etc. Getting good lighting can be hard though because not every house has electrical wired from every wall and ceiling. You can try to add in all the lamps you want, but sometimes it's just not enough. You need light either hanging from the ceiling or jetting out from a wall to give light on a particular angle. Now if you don't have electrical hardwired and don't have the budget to open up your walls, many lighting companies offer plug in options to allow you to hang light at your desired location, and plug it in at the closest power source. Yes, wow! Best idea ever!

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Except.. for years they didn't have any that were particularly aesthetically pleasing. Lately, I have found that lighting designers have caught up with this huge need within the design community and have created new and beautiful plug in options to not only fix your lighting needs, but add beautiful features to your room.  

Seems too good to be true.. So whats the catch? Well, for those looking to add pendants, who wants a cord hanging in the middle of their room? No one.  Room & Board has developed a product to fix this issue though! The ingenious solution is called the Tandem Ceiling Mount for Pendants. It allows you to connect your desired lighting fixture to the ceiling mount, then provides clips to connect the 20 foot long cord to the wall to keep it in place and clean. 

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Another company called Little Bishop has mastered the art of "swag" lighting. They have developed a product geared to replace the impractical metal hook often used to hang pendants on. What I love about their pendant posts is that they are all finished in a bright white undercoat which can be either left as is, or easily painted to match your space. How amazing is that!

I have rounded up a few of our favorite plug in designs below to help inspire you to fix your lighting needs!

DIY Fringe Plug in Chandelier by  Jungalow

DIY Fringe Plug in Chandelier by Jungalow

DIY Rope Wrapped Pendant by  Vintage Revivals

DIY Rope Wrapped Pendant by Vintage Revivals

Fall Color Inspiration: The Anti-Gray

Author: Sydney Piwowar

For those of you who are inspired by the seasons and the changing of colors, like me, you are probably trying to figure out the best way to bring these fall and winter colors into your home. I'm not talking about tacky turkey napkins and paper gourds I'm talking those beautiful autumn shades of burnt umber, cadmium yellow and deep reds. 

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I love Brian Paquette Interior's application of the deep and bold coral colored door juxtaposed by the darker ceiling. It is the perfect balance of visual texture.

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Embrace the warmth and rich tones of fall, all year with warmer textile colors choices. There are other neutral color options other than gray, that are classic and will stand up over time. I love this example of a burnt ocher used by Tempelton Architecture

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Be bold! Paint is just paint. It is not like a bad hair cut that will take months to grow out. If you don't like the paint color- paint over it. But it’s important to have fun and take risks in your space, as Fernandez & True Interiors did here in the 2012 Atlanta Show house.  Of course we can not change our furniture to match the season like we do our wardrobe, however, if you are craving to add something new, check out your local antique stores for a special piece that can temporarily freshen up the color palette. 

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Every space should be an extension of that person. We have different facets of ourselves; likes, interests and passions. Your home can become an exploration of those layers. I love this office designed by Steven Gambrel that seems to visually explaining that person. This space is so well composed, I can almost imagine the story and background of this person.