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Sarah's office

My friend Sarah wrote in requesting some help.  The photo on the left is of her existing office:

First I'd like to say that I think she's done a really nice job in here and it's just about there.  I think it only needs a couple things.

Her number one question and issue was regarding lighting.  It is (in her words) nonexistent.  Also, she think it needs something else, like a mirror.  I think this mirror idea is the perfect solution to add some decoration to the room and make it feel larger as well.  As far as the lighting is concerned you have a couple options.

Since the J-box is off center, it might not be a great idea to hang a light from it.  Unless it's right over the desk, it will look strange.  Track lighting would be awkward with the deer head.  If the j-box can be relocated to the center, a nice large pendant would be great in there.

Here is what it could look like:

Another lighting option is a floor lamp that extends over the desk.  With this option you wouldn't have to worry about relocating the j-box.

Here is where the mirrors and lamps are from:

And here are a couple lower priced options for lighting:

Ikea 365+ Brasa

Architect satin steel floor lamp

Jumbo Architect Floor Lamp

And another way to go:
Crystal Pendant

Jonathan Adler event


new pendants from Jonathan Adler

These are some awesome new ceramic pendants from the very talented designer, Jonathan Adler.  Both $195 - a great price for such a well designed, high quality piece.


Eames Elephant

If I had a small child to buy this for, I would do so in a second.  In the true style of Charles + Ray Eames, this molded plastic elephant is the perfect chair/toy/accessory for little ones.  A classic design that is sure to grow with them, it comes in a bunch of bright  colors including gray, pink, lime, red, and white. 


Nelson Lamps

Designed by George Nelson in 1947, these light fixtures are some of my absolute favorites.  Made of a steel wire frame and translucent plastic, they look excellent everywhere, especially over dining tables and in living rooms. 

They also work really well clustered in groupings of various sizes.  The prices range depending on the sizes, but start around $270 and go up from there.  Here are a few images of my favorites. 

They are available at a lot of places, including Room & Board, and Hive Modern.


New York Apartments

If you live in New York City, chances are you have a small apartment.  You're lucky if you have a living room and a bedroom as opposed to a studio.  Figuring out how to arrange your furniture is especially tricky because space is so limited.  Here are a few general tips:
  • Keep it minimal.  Don't overcrowd with a lot of furniture.
  • Multipurpose pieces.  Each pieces should serve more than one function because space is at a premium.  The dining table could act as a desk for example.  Use a laptop to avoid requiring a desk for a large desktop configuration.
  • Use small-scale furniture.  This will make the space feel larger.
  • Be clever with storage.  Build shelving near the ceiling for infrequently-used books.  This could run along the perimeter of the room, creating a nice library-type effect.  Bowls, vases, etc., could go up there too. 
  • Select furniture that has storage.  A coffee table that holds things is a good option.  Maximizing on the amount of your items that are stored in something will decrease the feeling of clutter.
  • Be creative with what is considered "furniture."  In my New York apartment, I used a great-looking curtain as a headboard.  I mounted it to the wall above the bed, and defined the bedroom space with it.  It took up virtually no room, and was a good looking solution.  Paint could also accomplish this.
  • Make sure circulation is free and easy.  Don't have pieces blocking your path, because that will make the room feel more cramped.


how to coordinate textiles

If you have a room with two different upholstered pieces in it, it's important for their textiles to coordinate .  For example, you may already have a sofa with one upholstery and be looking to get a lounge chair with a different upholstery.  If they are different designs, they should have different upholstery.

One good way to do this is to look closely at the sofa fabric.  Is it one uniform color or does it have  multiple colors in it?  If it has multiple colors, an easy way to coordinate with it is to choose another fabric that is the same color as one of the threads.

If the sofa fabric is one uniform color, do not try to match it.  You will never succeed in matching it exactly and it will look off.  Besides, it should be different to create visual interest and contract.  Choose a fabric that has a blend of colors, one of which is the color of the sofa.

Another thing to consider is warm tones and cool tones.  For two pieces that will be adjacent to each other, choose textiles that are in the same family (such as two browns - both warn tones) or perhaps two grays (both cools), or choose two colors that are adjacent on the color wheel (a red and an orange, for example).

(photo courtesy of Knoll Textiles)

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