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A few weeks ago, we traveled down to North Carolina to attend the annual High Point Furniture Market. Every year, we look forward to seeing what new colors and concepts the companies have in store for this coming year. Even more exciting is finding a new designer that leaves you in complete shock and amazement; you cannot wait to tell everyone about and this year that exuberant moment became reality. We had the unexpected pleasure of stumbling upon by far the most unique and sophisticated showroom we have ever seen in all of the years of attending market.

Climbing up alluring stained wood stairs, leading into a dimly lit hallway, we came upon a showroom unlike any of the others. Over the soft mellow music playing in the background, it felt as if you could hear the sound of exquisite diamonds shimmering in the wind. The presentation and ambiance of the showcase was so outstandingly brilliant it begged for you to stay.

Nick Alain, owner of Luna Bella and Nick Alain Inc., is without a doubt, one of the most talented designers because of his eclectic style and eye for detail. From extensive traveling and experiences around the world, Nick finds his inspiration for his works of art. Taking industrial and mechanical pieces, Nick reinvents them using a delicate and feminine approach. It is easily seen throughout all of his work his keen eye for weaving together distinct colors, proportions and mediums. Nick Alain has successfully established himself as a leader in the world of design with his articulate line of custom furniture, clocks, and lighting.

This type of design is so inventive and unlike any other that words simply cannot describe; only pictures can illustrate the truly magical vision behind Nick Alain’s remarkable creations.

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Everyday we hear that more and more people are interested in having an urban look and in turn, becoming more efficient with how they utilize their living space. Thinking more economically, people have thought of innovative ideas for making a small space feel bigger. From designing small studio apartments, to a fully utilized Micro-home, there are several ways to make your space, no matter how small it may be, feel like home. There are several elements that are crucial to consider when designing a small space; the scale of your furniture, the arrangement of your pieces, and the colors of your various pieces and assets.

Fit To Scale

In a compact area it is obviously imperative to use smaller pieces of furniture to keep your space functional and clutter free.  By using rectangular or circular tables, your space will flow easier and feel more welcoming. A great asset I utilize when confronted with a small space is mirrors; especially by incorporating floor to ceiling mirrors or creating a wall of different sized mirrors. You can see an example of this design on a property I worked on, pictured below.

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Using elongated pieces such as a tall floor lamp or mural are fantastic ways of opening your room up by making it feel much larger.

Positioning

You want to be able to breathe and walk about freely in your home. In addition, you want to create a space that your guests will feel comfortable in  so they do not feel like they are walking through a maze of furniture. You want your home to be open and inviting; a task that is easily done by  keeping furniture away from the entryway. Remove any obstacles that would prevent an easy flow of traffic into your home. In a smaller space this is sometimes hard to do, but it is also important that you keep the rooms balanced with the amount of furniture displayed.

 

Next, it is wise to take a look at the flooring. Generally speaking, it is best to use the same color and material throughout your entire home. Doing so will help to keep your space unified and balanced. Also, when arranging furniture in a tiny space, people tend to push everything to the walls to try and create a clear space in the center of the room. However, doing this actually acts against them, creating impractical empty space and making the room feel confined by surrounding it with furniture.

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Here is another idea for you, BUILD UP! Many new designers are going vertical with their designs that feature building furniture up on the walls instead of outward to leave you with more free space to utilize for other things in your home.

COLOR

The color scheme that you use in a room can make all the difference when trying to make a small space appear larger to the eye. Utilizing neutral colors is a way you can make the room feel spacious and inviting. Many designers believe that using bright colors in a compact space will make the space feel cramped and cluttered. A simple “pop” of color here and there, be with a pillow or artwork, can transform a boring white and beige room into a fun and warm space your guests will want to be in.

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CLEVER TRANSFORMATIONS

The topic of multi-purpose design has sparked designers to transform ordinary furniture pieces to make them into something more. Combining the functionality of one piece to another, you create something that is serves a dual-purpose, and will give more possibilities for the space around you.

One company that has opened my eyes with their innovative designs is Resource Furniture. This company came up with a number of ideas for transforming the traditional Murphy bed into a piece that is very conscience of every square foot in your home. During the day, it acts as a spacious desk, inviting table, comfy sofa or even a shelving unit. At night however, this piece converts into a comfortable bed. What a genius way of saving space and money!

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Another new way of thinking is that of the ever increasingly popular, modular design. This type of design is characterized by using standardized units that can be broken apart and built back up again, in order to be able to reuse space and transform space into a different look easily and at any time. Also, these units act as storage space to cut down on clutter, which is the #1 thing you do not want to have in a small space. Having a dinner party but you don’t have enough space to fit a full-size dining table? Ecosystems’ “Bada Table” is a perfect solution to all of your worries. This table transforms to fit all of your needs, from a dining table to a comfortable sofa.

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The kitchen is no longer just a hub for preparing your daily meals. Rather, the kitchen has almost transformed into a multi-dimensional space for cooking, conversing, and even socializing. In fact, in 2015 the kitchen seems to be taking on a rather unique set of trends. Let’s take a look at 3 of the kitchen’s hottest trends of the year!

1: Industrial Lighting

kitchen design trends 2015 Don’t keep your party in the dark! Your kitchen will need to be properly lit in order to host the perfect get-together. As a natural place of conversation and mingling, the kitchen is a great space to enhance with industrial level lighting. So what are some good options for your modern kitchen lighting? Why not consider some of the following concepts?

  • stainless steel
  • wire caging instead of sconces
  • clear glass and or old-fashioned style bulbs
  • copper or brass fixtures

2: High Efficiency Pull out Drawers

kitchen design trends 2015 High efficiency kitchens are all the rage – but we are not talking about power saving appliances! Rather, we are talking about the need for easy and convenient access to all your kitchen supplies. There is no better way to accomplish this than with a pull-out pantry. Pull-out pantry shelves will allow you to not only search for the proper ingredient, but it will also make the once arduous task basically painless.  Pull-out shelves should be the next thing that you upgrade in your kitchen as it will enable you to quickly see everything at once. Why not make 2015 the year that you remove this extra stress in your kitchen and install a set of pull-out shelves to your pantry?

3: Smart Kitchens

kitchen design trends 2015 smart kitchens It seems that everything is evolving to be driven by computer chips and connected to the cloud. Smartphones have in many ways revolutionized almost every facet of our lives; and is now reaching into our kitchens with a variety of applications and Bluetooth powered devices. For instance, consider the Anova Precision Cooker – this device will connect to your smartphone and allow you to search for the hottest recipes, and best of all, it is fully integrated to suggest proper food preparations and tips. You may also want to consider the addition of a charging station within the design of your new modern kitchen. In an effort to keep your counters free of clutter, it may be wise to get clever with outlets hidden within your drawers. In 2015, it is best to embrace technology and the many benefits that it can provide.

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Don’t deal with clutter! Organize your kitchen!
What is it about the kitchen that makes that room the unofficial drop off point for so many random items? And why is it often the home of the ill-fated junk drawer? Have no fear – we’re going to give you four simple kitchen organization ideas.

1: Waste Not, Want Not.

kitchen organizing tips

The irony here is that the suggestion is to throw away everything you don’t need out of all of your cupboards. Mostly this is about cleaning up and making space for dishes you actually use as well as placing them in more convenient locations.
But to really achieve this new Zen in the kitchen, you’ll need to clean out all cupboards and drawers and evaluate what is being kept and what is being tossed. But don’t just throw it out, if it’s usable, donate it. This includes on canned goods you’ve not yet opened.
After you’ve cleaned out everything (and actually cleaned) the cupboards and drawers, assess where you want everything. Maybe you’ll put everything right back where they were at, maybe you’ll swap things around. Functionality in a kitchen is the key.

2: Floating Kitchen Shelves

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What better way to save space than by using all of the open real estate that exists upon your kitchen walls?
Keep your countertops clear of clutter and save that precious cabinetry location by mounting eye-appealing floating kitchen shelves. There is an abundance of shelving designs to match any kitchen décor, making this approach not only useful, but easy to implement.
Just look at the elegance that this method brings to our sample kitchen. The space is now free of unsightly clutter, and the kitchen looks sharper than ever.

3: Partition off Cabinet Space

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Let’s face it; keeping your counters clear is not always an easy task! Trying to keep your pots, pans, cooking sheets, and baking trays in a cabinet oftentimes just leads to a haphazard game of Tetris – how do all of these pieces fit together in such a limited amount of space? Finding the right part will usually consist of a lengthy search through an awkward pile until the right utensil is found.

However, this does not need to be the case any longer. Why not utilize this vertical and horizontal space that a kitchen cabinet organically provides? Create your own space by developing compartments within your cabinets, individualized for each unique utensil. Doing so is easier than it looks, and the removal of clutter will have you breathing a sigh of relief.

4: Managing your Plastic Containers

plastic container kitchen organizing

If you are like me then you are always hosting dinner parties and sending guests home with any left-overs. Due to this frequent occurrence, I always keep a plethora of plastic containers in my kitchen. However, what I never expected was the clutter nightmare that these containers would cause!
In an almost supernatural way, there always seems to be lids or containers that just do not pair up! An easy fix to this problem is to simply declutter and to find a better way of organizing. First off, go through and match up all lids with their respective containers. If there are any mismatches, recycle them and cut your losses. Only keep ones that match up!
Next, simply invest in some plastic tubs. As you can see in the picture above, these tubs have created a much more slightly way of keeping your plastic dishware organized. Using a label maker will also go a long way here. Try to keep all of your pieces in their respective place of organization.

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Not all of us are lucky enough to have a sunset view as spectacular as this one in our own backyard, but I can certainly help you create the same serenity and comfort in your own backyard. I love using flowers, finding the perfect planters to put them in,  and finding the right patio furniture to fit your style and needs. I can help you create a lovely backyard patio that customizes your outdoor space.

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I love this teak and mercury glass table for outdoor use. It is totally weather durable and unexpectedly beautiful for an outdoor furniture piece. I apply a thin coat of polyurethane on my own teak outdoor furniture every year, and they are still as beautiful as when I first received them.

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This outdoor area is stunning on its own with the beautiful stonework as a backdrop to the dining space. All that was needed was a table and some simple chairs to make this space elegant and inviting. A simple basket of grasses was added as a centerpiece. This dining ensemble looks interior, but it’s not! Don’t be afraid of light colors in outdoor fabrics as they come clean easily.

Looking for a Parisian cafe look? This look can easily be duplicated with a few supplies you can find at your local craft store. Using solar powered lights, I strung them on my table umbrella using clips to secure on the edges and hid the solar panel on top of the umbrella so it was out of sight. For the tabletop I added Mason jars with battery operated lights on timers. We filled each Mason jar with sand to hide the wires and now each evening without effort we have a beautifully lit back patio. Again, I am not afraid to use white outdoor fabric on the chairs. When it rains the fabric dries quickly and they still look great.

I spend hours gardening in the summer. I love to experiment growing different flowers in my yard and pairing them with beautiful pots and planters to fit any style I desire. There are ways to make your backyard flowers have a masculine feel, feminine feel or a mix. All are beautiful, it comes down to personal taste.

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This gorgeous assortment of flowers is versatile and can be placed in so many different places and has mass appeal. This could go on a table, at a front door, or just about anywhere. The Sweet Potato Vines, Mandevilla, and Trailing Petunias all lend to its feminine and whimsical look.

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We can get two completely different looks with the same Boxwood just by changing the planter. This first planter has a very masculine feel with the iron material and straight sharp lines.

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This second grouping of boxwoods is similar, yet instead we have a more feminine, rustic and urban feel just by changing the planter.

These planters flanked outside an entry door have a bit of both masculine and feminine features. Although the planters are dark and the same shape as the masculine boxwoods above, the wainscoting and trim on the edges soften its appeal. The arrangement focuses mostly on a mixture of soft greens with a subtle pop of peach to bring out its femininity.

Beautiful flower pot framing house entrance
Lastly, I love to see hummingbirds sipping the nectar from my flowers. To create your own backyard feast for these tiny and beautiful birds, look for flowers that have rich, bright colors and long and tapered shapes that can accommodate their long bills. Geraniums, Petunias, Sage, Bird of Paradise and Zinnia are all good bets. Happy Summer!

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going a step further than the typical Photo Gallery Wall.

The odds are pretty good that you have a blank wall somewhere in your home that is just begging to be decorated.  A collage wall can create a fun visual experience that can really stamp your individual personality to your home.  Sure, we can all throw some family pictures on our wall Pottery Barn style, but what we are talking about goes a little deeper into expanding your creativity into different spaces. We also are not just using family photos, but throwing in some different objects to really make the collage wall unique to you and your family.

Options!  there are so many, but where does one start?  A collage wall can be created just about anywhere; over the sofa, in a bathroom, going up a stairwell, even a wall that leads to behind a door.  Here are some of our favorite looks for adding creativity and personality in what would ordinarily be a blank space.

Blogpic1The bathroom is a great and unexpected place to really pack a punch of personality into your home.  In the above picture, we took a classic bathroom and filled it with a collage of witty and sarcastic phrases.  The black and white themed “word wall” fills out the end wall of the bathroom that could have been easily ignored.

We made a bold impact in this compact bathroom with a large vintage Glamour Magazine cover between the sink and toilet.  Adding a fun fleur de lis mirror, another piece of geometricartwork over the toilet, and a book over the towel rack rounds out this bathroom collage wall:

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Filling a large wall with mirrors is another way to add bold, fresh design.  This wall of mirrors works so beautifully with the deep dramatic wall color against the glossy white frame of the quatrefoil mirrors.  The feminine shape of the mirrors and the placement on the wall becomes a work of art all on its own:

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This over the sofa display is the perfect usage of symmetry and balance with the six port hole mirrors.  This works because it fills the space over the sofa perfectly.  This is a simple and easy way to create a clean and organized look:

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We love the crisp black and white balance this collage wall has to offer.  They stepped out of the box by using other objects besides frames to create this look.  An oversized letter “O” and a shelving bracket turned to its side add more dimension to this collage. The masculine and feminine mix of items balance each other out beautifully.  The scale adds an element of surprise and the red detailing really pops against the black and white design:

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These next two photos are a simple way to add that pop of visual interest to a blank wall over the sofa.  Partnering well with the neutral and natural decor of the room, we used six different frames with black and white art and positioned them in an irregular but balanced pattern:

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In this living room we used one large mirror over the sofa and placed another grouping of pictures hung vertically to the side.  The offset matting of these framed pictures brings its own creativity to the simplicity of it all.  The wire canister structure on the side table rounds out the grouping well:

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These next two photos show that thinking outside the box can create a fun usage of unexpected items to add to your collage wall.  Mix up the wall by adding some natural components.  We used a beautiful Birch Tree branch, added a wooden block, and even affixed a book right into the mix.  We also took a square wooden candle holder and turned it to create a diamond shape.  The usage of different items gives your wall its own look and shows your creativity and personality:

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We also love this totally unique wall of rotary phones. This dark wall is the perfect backdrop to show these vintage phones in a fun way.  The different colors and the offset height of how they are hung make it really fun and interesting:

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Great holiday design can be had at any stage of life. Whether you have an abundance of boxes overflowing with ornaments or you are in the beginning stages of building your collection in your first home. Any life stage can be led to achieve great holiday design with a little know-how and some inspiration. We just completed a Christmas tree makeover for a young family that desired a second Christmas tree in the foyer. The goal was to make this home have an impressive Christmas presence once you entered the front door.

Also, it was a fun addition to their traditional family room tree adorned with nostalgic ornaments from decades past and those sweet homemade ornaments the kids bring home from school. Read along to see how we took a pre-lit artificial tree and made it look spectacular with the following tricks and tips. Good Lighting-Although the tree was already pre-lit, we added extra strings of lights to really make it shiny and bright and fill in any dark spots. Since this tree was placed in the center of the foyer it had to be visually appealing on all sides which calls for a lot of ornaments and lights. The extra white lights and a couple strands of multi colored lights with larger more playful looking bulbs were used to fill the all around space, and gave the tree more color and light. Clusters of ornaments- We used clusters of ball ornaments to create a bold impact to decorate the tree.

First, we took several groups of green glass ornaments and wired three together with green pipe cleaners and secured them to the branches. Using the green colored bulbs created fullness in areas where the tree was uneven and gave the illusion of a fuller tree. We continued to cluster different colors, textures and finishes of ornaments together and placed them on the tree in a zig zag pattern working from the top down. All sizes of ornaments were used. We also picked up wooden Santa Claus and snowmen “tree fillers” that could be placed in the branches and used to fill the space of the tree as the name implies. To add a pop of color and texture we stuck branches of red berries all around the tree from the top to the bottom spreading them out evenly.

Beautiful Presents- Don’t forget about all the wonderful presents under the tree. Beautifully wrapped presents not only create a beautiful look under your tree, but also make your gift recipients feel very special. We used a unique spool of ribbon made of burlap and rhinestones and tied it around these gift boxes. We then added other special touches including evergreen branches and red berries to unify the tree and presents. Another way to embellish the gifts is to take last years leftover greeting cards and cut out the holiday design and glue over the wrapping paper. These additonal elements add depth and uniqueness to the presents. So don’t feel overwhelmed this holiday season. Using these simple tips will help you create a masterpiece all of your friends will be asking you about.

From new to old, big to small, every tree deserves to have that special touch. Be merry and most of all, have fun!!

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Creating a kitchen space that feels warm and comforting is the ultimate goal. The kitchen is the heartbeat of a home and where we always tend to gather. Creating that cozy feel can be accomplished in many ways.

Lighting is key to create the overall feel of the room. Windows are the best
way to let natural light flood the room. The addition of a beautiful chandelier or a couple drum pendants over the island or table fill the room to create a beautiful custom look. Make note to use soft over cool lightbulbs and stay away from the standard small glass pendants.

Fabric can also make a big impact on the warmth of a room. Using upholstered chairs and stools as opposed to wood and leather, will soften the overall look against all the hard surfaces that are naturally used in a kitchen. If space allows, a dedicated sitting area with a love seat or chairs brings with it a lot of charm and invites your guests to feel welcome and comfortable. Choosing the right countertop is also important to create that warm cozy feel. A granite pattern with movement in it creates more warmth than a speckled redundant pattern.

Love is in the details. Truly make your kitchen space your own by adding some unique accents. A bowl full of fruit or a vase filled with freshly cut flowers is a sure bet to add liveliness to the space. Scour flea markets and antique shops for unique items like a reclaimed dough bowl. Adding elements of sand, pages from an antique book and candles to the bowl brings visual interest to a countertop or table. Further, you can isolate a specific area of the kitchen and use more decorative hardware in that area.

Using all these components of lighting, upholstery, and accents in harmony create that loving and inviting kitchen you have been dreaming of.

 

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Effortless. Classic. Timeless. Maximize the natural lighting, whether you have tons or just one window. Choose warm neutrals to create an inviting and sophisticated space. Choose cool neutrals for a chic and peaceful space. Once you have your base decided…then you can move on to the fun part. Accessorizing is key! You can change the mood of an entire room by accessorizing. Throw pillows. Window panels. Artwork. Clocks. Lamps. Table adornments. Little changes here and there have an overall massive impact on your space. Get creative and have fun!

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The graceful and charming Simone bed is a total knock-out! The classic French style is sophisticated and somehow still laissez-faire. An excellent bed from Hickory Chair.

Simone Bedroom LifeStyle

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