There are more types of lighting available than ever today, from both stylistic and functional points of view. When considering which style, material or illumination source to use, remember that good lighting is an absolutely essential ingredient in the look, feel and function of a room.
If your taste in interiors leans toward the traditional, don’t let that stop you from using modern light fixtures. A strategically placed table, floor, wall or pendant lamp can completely transform a room, and an unexpectedly modern piece of lighting in a traditional setting can transform the entire space. Here are some tips for how to make it work.
6. Add a dash of modern whimsy. Drum-shade pendant lights with a bright and playful foliage pattern add a fresh, whimsical touch to this all-white traditional kitchen
8. Introduce structure to a relaxed space. A modern rectilinear pendant lamp with exposed framework provides a structural element to contrast the relaxed feel of this eclectically traditional bedroom.
Check out Houzz.com for more articles and idea books by Jason Lees as well as designs by your local Contemporary Design Group store!
A home without a television is like a castle in the clouds — it exists only in fairy tales. And that’s only a slight overstatement. The Nielsen Company reports that 96.7 percent of U.S. homes have television sets. In my experience, over the course of hundreds of home construction projects, I can’t recall a single instance in which one of our clients designed a home without the television’s location in mind.
This reality creates design challenges as home designers consider room orientation with the competing possible focal points of exterior views, fireplaces and televisions. Today we will look at one critical factor to consider when locating your television: height. It’s not the only thing you should think about, to be sure, but if you place your television too high in relation to its space and intended use, you might end up with regrets and, quite literally, a pain in your neck.
The General Rule
The are many issues to consider when contemplating your television viewing experience, including the size and quality of your television, and the distance from the television to the primary viewing location.
But for one characteristic, there is a simple and concrete rule: The ideal center of the screen should be at the eye level of the viewer.
So the factors that come into play when you‘re considering only the ideal height at which to place the television include the height of the typical viewer and the size of the television.
You can measure your television and do the math, but the optimum center of a television intended primarily for viewers seated on a couch is typically about 42 inches above the floor.
Historically, a general rule for optimum viewing distance from the television is 2.5 times the diagonal length of screen. Keep in mind, though, that there are different opinions on that rule, and some now recommend a TV that is larger relative to the space in a room. With newer, high-definition televisions, some recommend an optimum viewing distance of 1.5 times the diagonal television length.
For a television intended primarily for viewers seated on a sofa that is 12 feet (144 inches) away from the television, either a 55- or 60-inch television can work in the space (144 inches ÷ 2.5 = 57.6 inches), but you can certainly find examples where 65- to 70-inch televisions are used in the same circumstance.
Let’s say you select a 60-inch television. A 60-inch television is about 32 inches high,meaning the center of the screen will be at 16 inches from the bottom of the television. Most sofa seating heights are close to 18 inches above the floor, and eye level for an adult seated in a relaxed manner is about 24 inches above the seat.
That puts the optimum, center-of-television height for a typical seated viewer at 42 inches (18 inches + 24 inches). So that 60-inch television should be installed with the bottom of the screen at 26 inches above the floor.
If a television set over a fireplace serves as your family’s primary television, lowering the screen as much as possible can become paramount. One of the advantages of linear fireplaces that perhaps has played into their growing popularity is that the finish height can be lower than that of traditional shapes.
In the space seen here, we were able to keep the television relatively low by using a linear fireplace without a hearth or mantel. The television is not set at an ideal viewing height (the height of the center is about 5 feet), but by eschewing a hearth and mantel, we achieved a well-thought-out height that was acceptable to our client.
Different Heights for Different Circumstances
The space seen here allows for two televisions — one perfectly located for movies and daily viewing, and another located high over the bar, which is good for those standing while playing pool or casually watching the game while enjoying a drink.
In circumstances where a television is located over a bar, or in a bonus room with a pool table and other entertainment features, the ideal viewing height is less cut and dried.
All conceivable viewing perspectives need to be considered and thought through. The optimum height from the perspective of one seated at the bar might be too low for those standing around the pool table, trying to look over the heads of viewers seated at the bar. It is for this reason that you typically see televisions in commercial bars and restaurants located near the ceiling — they need to be easily viewable from many perspectives.
In this room it is clear that the television’s optimum viewing height from the sofa was not a priority of design, though availability of the television was.
Although this television might not be perfectly situated for enjoying a movie trilogy (the height of this television’s center looks to be about 6 feet from the floor), the stunning views out the rear windows and the modern-style fireplace surround create an inviting space suitable for contemplation or entertaining conversation.
For televisions that are not intended to be a focal point, their size and location may not be the critical factors. When a space’s primary function is not related to the TV, such as in the kitchen, the space’s primary design function should dictate the details.
But for your primary movie-watching television, the importance of height cannot be overstated. This should be considered closely along with optimum viewing distance away from the television — which, again, is 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal length of the screen. The center-of-television height with the eye level of seated viewers in mind, also again, is approximately 42 inches from the floor.
In the End, It’s Your Home
The optimum television viewing height does not need to be the overriding factor as you design your primary viewing area, but you absolutely should understand what the optimum viewing height is: the viewer’s eyes to the dead center of the television.
With that understanding, you can weigh the importance of a good television viewing height with other factors, such as the design style of your space.
It’s a choice you will have to make, unless you happen to be one of the rare few living without a television in that castle in a cloud.
Check out Houzz.com for more articles and idea books by Matt Clawson as well as designs by your local Contemporary Design Group store!
Fluffy Towels are just the Beginning
To help guests staying the night feel welcome, today’s hosts and hostesses with the most, emulate world-class hoteliers and innkeepers in the thoughtful details. Offer a selection of fluffy towels, soaps and other toiletries in the bath, and empty space in either a closet or drawer (preferably both) for guests to stow clothing and other personal items. High thread-count sheets and cloud-like pillows are, of course, de rigueur. Those who truly expect to be remembered as a five-star establishment though had better investigate the American Leather sleeper, known among true connoisseurs as the ultimate overnight accommodation, not only for its exceptionally good-looking, patent-pending design that provides comfortable seating, but because it is actually exceptionally comfortable to sleep on as well.
“American Leather Comfort Sleepers are easy to open and offer a wonderful mattress, in three sizes all the way up to king, and they are also available in sectionals, as well as sofas,” reports a Contemporary Design Group specialist. “I know, because of the six designers on my team, four of us have purchased them for our own homes!”
Contemporary Design Group retailers offer three exclusive contemporary designs that you won't find anywhere else. Check them out here!
If the color gray brings to mind childhood memories of staring out a window on a dismal day waiting for the sun to return, dotty elders, bankers’ suits, or some vague, intermediate area, it may be time for a new appraisal. In home furnishings at least, gray has broken free of its dreary associations and shot to No. 1 with a bullet. Gray—in all its shades—is hot!
“Dark gray, mid-gray, light gray, if it’s gray, it’s topping the charts,” relates one color expert, a comment echoed by Contemporary Design Group members across the board.
In upholstery, where trend forecasters report that rounded, curvy silhouettes are getting more attention than designs with sharp angles or square corners, gray is now considered the “new neutral.” In wood furnishings, where walnut is ruling the day, gray-toned woods appear to be gathering momen- tum. And, in metal finishes, the most in-demand looks span silvery gray shades like brushed chrome, steel and platinum.
We Gotcha Covered
Gray or not, neutral upholstery continues to hold sway in Contemporary Design Group member showrooms across the country. “Neutral fabric—grey, black, brown, khaki, beige, ivory and even some navy and greens—make the clean lines of a contemporary sofa or sectional frame stand out; you can really see the design. It’s just an easier read,” says one designer. “Then, we like to pop it with color.”
In fact, design experts suggest starting with a neutral base in an investment piece like a sofa or sectional and then layering in color with pillows, accessories, artwork and accent chairs, can be a smart and cost-effective way to remain on fashion’s leading edge. Then, as trends come and go, whether the “it” shade is purple (Pantone’s anointed color this year is Radiant Orchid), fuchsia, egg- plant, blue, turquoise, aqua, teal, green, red, yellow, or- ange or pink, or you are simply in the mood for a change, updating your look is quick and easy.
An even smarter move for many shoppers now is opting for something in the relatively new class of high-performance fabrics. With brand names like Sunbrella, Crypton, Brisa and Ultrasuede, and durable, high-tech constructions like microfiber, easy-care performance fabrics guard against stains and wear, look great and feel just as good. Accidents happen, and performance fabrics are a boon for open- plan spaces where food and drinks are consumed, and for those sharing spaces with children and pets.
Here’s Your Cue
Shoppers seeking inspiration and information about what may be trending in contemporary design have more sources than ever for great ideas and style cues.
Websites like Pinterest and Houzz, the Twitter feeds of celebrity and professional designers, as well as other home furnishings experts, home-related cable channels like HGTV, shelter magazines and publications, and of course, the imaginatively merchandised, trend-setting and ever-changing showrooms of Contemporary Design Group member stores.
In addition to the fashions in your closet, look around at the places you love most. The combination of colors in nature are fantastic and places you gravitate to may hold clues to your favorite palettes. Personal taste dictates what’s going to work well and what you will value in the long term. As one standout design talent notes, “You are the one who will live with it, so go with your gut instinct!”
Contemporary Design Group has annouced the winner of the first annual Edward Haimsohn Design Award. The winning design was the Corridor Media cabinet, designed by Matthew Weatherly for BDI. The award was accepted by Bill Becker, CEO and Design Director of BDI at the Contemporary Design Group annual conference in Coral Gable, FL.
The Corridor Media cabinet features hardwood louvered front doors that allow remote control signals to pass through them while closed. The design also provides flowthrough ventilation for components such as DVD players and stereo receivers.Other features include a drawer and concealed shelf that provide space for a sound bar and media storage, and hidden wheels that make it easier to move the console. In addition to the hardwood doors, key materials include a micro-etched, shatterproof glass top, black steel legs and rubberpadded steel shelf pins that minimize vibrations.
There were over 30 entries for consideration in this year’s competition and 11 final nominees. A panel of judges, consisting of CDG retailer members, evaluated nominees on originality, creativity, consumer appeal, use of materials, functionality, and manufacturing execution. A complete list and description of nominees is available at www.contemporarydesign.com/award
The award is named after CDG's co-founder, Edward Haimsohn, who was well known for his strong eye for design and attention to quality. As co-founder of the Contemporary Design Group, Edward had the foresight to help create an organization of like-minded retailers who appreciated design and who saw home furnishings as much more than just a product to sell. The members of Contemporary Design Group continue on in the spirit of constructive collaboration, teamwork, and partnership between retailers and manufacturers in the contemporary home furnishings category. Today, Edward Haimsohn is retired and is living in San Diego, CA.
CDG is currently accepting designs for consideration in 2015. To learn more about entry criteria, or to submit a design, visit www.contemporarydesign.com/award
an excerpt from Home Furnishings Business Monthly (8/22/14) Evolution Theory by Powell Slaughter
Contents Interiors in Tucson, AZ. --A focus on full design service, strong partnerships—social and business wise in the community and a search for products nobody else carries has.
Owners Carol Bell, president, and Tamara Scott-Anderson, vice president, built on a strong foundation after acquiring the store 13 years ago, and developed it from a furniture store into a soup-to-nuts design center for contemporary and traditional southwest home owners.
The new owners formed a business plan, found financing and started building their staff in a very short amount of time. The new showroom opened with new owners in March 2002. “We were fortunate to buy an established business with a good reputation,” Bell said. In addition to a good name locally, Bell and Scott-Anderson benefited from years of networking in the Contemporary Design Group, of which Contents Interiors was an early member. The partners have divvied up responsibilities: Bell is chief buyer and runs the business side of the operation; Scott-Anderson is lead designer and manages the showroom floor and a staff of five design professionals.
While Bell and Scott-Anderson bought an established business, they had their own ideas of where they wanted to take it. They expanded on selling quality home furnishing to include more interior design services. Contents Interiors is one of the few local retail interior design/furniture showrooms in Tucson to hold an Arizona Contractors license; and is licensed and bonded to do non-structural interior design work both residentially and commercially. “When Carol and I took over we decided we wanted to offer more services and products—window coverings, wall-to-wall carpeting or tile," Scott-Anderson said. “We got our contractors license. … That’s one of the things that makes us different from a lot of other stores. … I can help pick out lighting, plumbing and other fixtures, and work with another licensed contractor (for installation). ”The partners also set aside part of the showroom to showcase resources and work on projects in a 400-square-foot design resource center.
When it comes to the floor, Contents creates a lot to look at. “People tell us we don’t look like a lot of furniture stores,” Bell said. “We’ll change things out: One year we focused on ‘contemporary Southwest.’ “We have what we call our ‘Tucson traditional,’ It’s a hacienda feel with a touch of Tuscan. The front of the store is where we keep the contemporary and softer traditional looks. We do a lot of what we call ‘organic contemporary’ with reclaimed woods.”
Contents web site is very useful in giving shoppers a sense of what they need to look for in the showroom through an online “style test.” The detailed quiz helps customers drill down to which lifestyle sections in the store are most simpatico with their sensibilities. From general styles of casual, contemporary, traditional, eclectic and southwestern, the shopper’s responses steer her toward the store’s “contemporary,” “comfortable desert living” or “Tucson traditional” settings. “People can go to the site and pick their look,” Bell said. “They can take the test and feel confident saying ‘I’m Tucson traditional.’”
The key is creating an impressive visual display of products customers might not see anywhere else in the market while avoiding clutter. “It’s packed full of accessories and artwork,” Scott-Anderson said. “We have at least three items on each table; and we showcase local artists on a regular basis. We have an art show of Arizona artists, and the ones who sell, we’ll show year round.” “It’s our way of staying in touch with the local arts scene, and it’s good business,” Bell added. “The showroom always looks fresh. If something doesn’t move, the artist always is ready to trade out for a different work. We also have a strong stock in production art work as well.”
What else makes Contents Interiors different from other home furnishings retailers in the Tucson market? Contents Interiors’ “Master Plan,” sort of a house call on steroids, is big differentiator for the store. “It’s not just a house call, we do an extensive interview to pin down likes and dislikes, the customer’s goals for the home,” Scott-Anderson said. “We have a graphic artist who produces floor plans to scale with rugs and furniture included, and we deliver that in a formal presentation.“We’re about being professional designers and giving people a program they’ll be happy with, that fits their home, and avoids buying mistakes.”
For the most part, Bell and Scott-Anderson, find advantages in running a women-owned business. Still, furniture remains a boys’ club in some ways. Scott-Anderson believes that two women bosses create a different—in many ways better—culture in the store. “I believe we’ve built a company that’s like a family,” she said. “Of our 10 employees, half have been with us for eight years or longer. “I believe it’s helped create a nurturing environment for our employees.”
IIf you're in the Tucson, AZ area--make sure to stop in and check out Contents Interiors at 3401 E. Ft. Lowell in the Ft. Lowell Furniture District. www.contentsinteriors.com
Read the full article at: http://furniturecore.com/hfbusiness/CurrentIssue/CurrentIssueModule/ArticleId/11371/evolution-theory.aspx#sthash.bHfcXCaL.dpuf
By Samantha Schoech for Houzz.com
It's true that everything rolls around again. I sometimes wore my mother's old poodle skirts when I was in high school and, well, we've all seen the Flashdance look on today's middle schoolers.
There are some things that become symbols of an era's misguided choices, a shorthand for bad style. Avocado appliances immediately bring to mind '70s suburbia. And not in a good way. But even those things that end up as the butt of jokes about decor delusions can make a comeback. And even things you were happy to see go (forever, you thought) can have a rebirth that makes them beautiful. In the '80s Eichlers were considered cheap and boxy. Now they are vintage treasures selling for millions.
Here are seven design throwbacks that have made a triumphant return.
You might not go wall to wall in green shag anymore, but a long-fiber shag is definitely in. This grass-green area rug is a stylish nod to the abomination of the '70s. A beautifully textured neutral shag is warm, stylish and modern in this room. No Brady Bunch here.
Not too long ago wood paneling was an automatic rip-down. It was dark and dated and screamed "1970s rec room." Not so fast. Wood-paneled accent walls are back. But this time they are lighter, often horizontal and real. A modern horizontal wood accent wall.
What was once an obsolete piece of technology is now a retro design statement.
Flocked wallpaper used to be the provenance of Elvis, Vegas and brothels. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Today's fresh and often ironic designs have brought it back. And really, what's so wrong about a little velvety texture on the walls? A flocked damask. This would look amazing on an accent wall in a modern bedroom.
Remember the rattan fan-back chair? Well, it's back. And so are other groovy wicker and rattan iterations, like these swinging chairs.
Call it wasabi green if you want, but we know the truth. Avocado is back. Avocado green and yellow in a guest room — very throwback and very modern.
Again, what was once a rec room staple is now a living room feature. I can see why: They're so easy to move and so squishily comfy. A white sheepskin beanbag in a modern eclectic Eichler. Very chic.
Which retro trends are you excited to see making a comeback?
Check out Houzz.com for more idea books by Samantha Schoech as well as designs by your local Contemporary Design Group store!
By Jennifer Ott, Jennifer Ott Interior Design for Houzz.com
Rather than tie itself to one top color of the year for 2014 as Pantone, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and Pittsburgh Paints have done, Behr has offered up a whole slew of them. There are 20 colors featured in four collections: Seaside Harmony, a crisp and modern palette of cool blues and greens combined with soft warm neutrals; Urban Alternative, a palette of deep, dramatic and sophisticated hues; Grand Reign, a classic palette that has old-world charm; and Natural Avocation, a fun mix of superbold hues. I’ve assembled a few of my favorites below, along with images and tips for how to work them into your own home.
Ocean Liner is from Behr’s Seaside Harmony collection. It’s a fetching turquoise that has a hint of gray, which gives it a subdued quality.
In this image from Behr, you can see that although Ocean Liner is quite vibrant, it has a slightly muted quality that allows it to be featured on all four walls in a room without overwhelming the space with color.
I would pair this watery blue with other hues from nature — a soft sunshine yellow and a fresh, herbaceous green. Any of these hues would be terrific on the walls or ceiling, with the other two colors used as accents.
New Shoot is from the Natural Avocation collection and is an intense grass-green hue. There’s nothing muted about this high-impact shade, so you might want to use it sparingly as an accent only. New Shoot might be too intense to use on all four walls, but it’s a fun accent color, as shown here on the coffee table.
New Shoot requires some neutral hues to tone it down, unless you are going for a supercolorful space. But neutral doesn’t have to mean white, beige or gray. A deep, dark, toned-down blue or a supersoft sage are good choices. The grounding neutrals provide a nice backdrop to the more assertive bold green.
If Ocean Liner and New Shoot are too bold for you, check out some of the interesting neutral hues from Behr’s Urban Alternative line. Increasingly I’m hearing from homeowners who want to move away from expected shades of white, cream and beige and toward more complex neutrals that have a mix of brown and gray. Film Fest and Offbeat are two such neutral hues that straddle the line between warm and cool neutrals.
These warm-cool hybrids really vary throughout the day. In the cooler morning light they will appear more gray, but will take on a richer, warmer tone in the warmer afternoon light. The best thing about using a neutral background hue in a room is that you can add accents of any other color you like. Or use a variety of neutral hues, as shown here, for a layered look that’s visually interesting without hitting you over the head with color.
Neutral does not have to mean boring. Mix up your muted hues by playing with contrast. Consider a light warm or cool neutral as a base, such as Offbeat or Twilight Gray, and then add a darker neutral, such as Film Fest. This will give you swaths of varying soft colors, which will offer a bit more punch than sticking with one neutral throughout the entire space.
This beautiful saturated hue is my favorite of the Grand Reign colors. Imperial Jewel is a deep garnet that will add a nice dash of drama.
Imperial Jewel works well with a variety of design styles, from the traditional office space shown here to transitional or contemporary interiors. For a more traditional look, pair it with warm neutrals and dark wood tones. For a more modern look pair, it with gray, white and/or black.
Here are Film Fest and Offbeat again, but this time the two neutral hues are paired with the deep, dramatic Imperial Jewel. If you want to keep your space light and open, use Offbeat as the primary color, with accents of the other two hues. For more drama use one of the darker colors for your walls or ceiling, but consider balancing the dark colors with plenty of light — natural and artificial, unless you are going for a supercozy and intimate space.
When it comes to fireboxes, homeowners seem to be gravitating to fire ribbons — gas flames that are wide but shallow, appearing literally as ribbons of fire. The look is contemporary but minimalist, with no faux logs. Instead flames rise from rock, sand or glass. The idea isn’t to provide the illusion of a wood-burning fireplace, just to add the warmth and beauty of a flickering flame.
Contemporary Design Group is a national association of independent contemporary furniture retailers.
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