Condo Design Tips from an Award Winning Designer!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Fall is already here! Where did the summer go?? I’m sure many of you miss the hot sunny days and warm evenings with late sunsets. The good news is that this fall has great colors trends to enjoy!

Each season, Pantone surveys the designers of New York Fashion Week to identify the most directional colors. Pantone fashion color report fall 2011 comes in handy when looking for latest color trends to inspire you when decorating your condo. Interestingly put together, the report is divided into women’s colors and men’s colors.

I’ve been saying this all along... “you don’t know what colors to choose for your space? take a look in your closet!”
I noticed that this fall colors are somewhat very similar with last year's trends ( with few tones variations). To me, it’s not so much about the trends as it is about using your favourite colors and creating a timeless design for your space, however being current in how your dress and how you live is one of my interests :)

So ladies, the image to the right has your colors...and gentlemen, the image to the left has more colors than you expect :) looks like honeysuckle and orchid hush are not for you :) but I can certainly see ‘raspberry wine and cadet’ being used in both feminine and masculine spaces. It all depends where does the color go and how much of it are you using?

Just so you have an idea of how fashion designers came up with the color trends. ‘Taking cues from the great masters, sepia tones of old Hollywood, Chinese opera, cityscapes and countryside, designers are paying close attention to texture, contrast and color for fall 2011 – pairing menswear with feminine twists, warm prints with cool metals, incorporating both old and new influences, and creating an intriguing balance between colors.
Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette.

Each color has been described by different designers. I want to talk about some of my favorite designs and show you different ways you could translate a ‘fashion look’ into an ‘interior décor look’.

1. Bamboo- ‘a surprising fall hue, brings a warm, exotic flavor to the season. Like a filtered sunset on the waning days of fall, Bamboo is a standout yellow with a subtle green undertone.’ I personally never go wrong when choosing something designed by Kenneth Cole. As described by him: ‘prominent colors: Layers of spicy colors including Terracotta, Red Apple, Fire Orange and Saffron signature color. Saffron Yellow — it is our standout color of the season”.

This is one of my favorite colors and after is our buzzbuzz color! :) How would I design with this color? With bright yellow tones you can either have a very bold approach or you sprinkle the color in form of accents throughout the room/space like in the Andels Hotel in Berlin. 

Color Yellow is meant to be bold and powerful, to add zest to a mix of neutral color tones. Think of using this color either in accent furniture, accessories and depending on how strong the color tone is, you can make yellow stand out in every small or large condo space.
Haymarket Hotel in London is a great example of how yellow tones are so easy to incorporate in a monochromatic space.

And if you're up for a bold approach, Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica is a superb example of a true infusion of color yellow.

2. Emberglow. Peter Som’s inspiration was “Menswear fabrics with a feminine twist — this collection is about everyday elegance”. I have to say that this is a color tone I underestimated in the past. The coral tone works well with dark rich tones of brown, dark charcoal grays and even with white when the two are paired in the right proportion.

This color’s softness allow you to use it as much or as little as you like. If you have a small space designed with mostly neutral colors (especially deep tones), even a splash of coral like throw pillows and artwork, could make a big difference.

3. Honeysuckle- the color of 2011! It has been used quite a bit lately with tones variations from lighter to richer, almost close to fuchsia and purples. Again, as it could be quite a strong color on the eye, perhaps it is best to be kept as visual accents like having an oversized upholstered headboard.
If you think of many condo spaces which are long and narrow, bringing this color throughout the length of the space would be for sure an easy way to make a statement.
As you can see in the image of May Fair Hotel in London, this color is not necessarily just for ultra modern spaces, in fact in works wonderful when creating more of an eclectic space. As it pairs really well with tones of taupe and even stone & wood textures, I would recommend to look at the space and think of accent chairs and accessories that could bring life into a neutral space.

4. Phlox. When working with tones of purple, not only you have the opportunity to create a “small space big drama” or a “large space with intense hues”, but you can also create strong focal points in key areas of your condo space. I love how the rooms of Hotel Stein in Salzburg have been decorated with matching bed throw and window coverings, very impactful!
When paired with rich, dark neutrals you can make a big statement, however this color tones can become quite interesting when paired with other colors within the same area, like in the Spicers Hotel (left image) or in this great penthouse at The Joule Hotel in Dallas.

5. Cedar. This is one of those colors you either love or you kind of avoid. For some reason this color never made it to one of my condo designs, but if I would have to use it I would mix it with a lot of white and contrasting dark greys/browns.

I find that green looks very fresh when paired with white, the level of the contrast depends on the exact tone of green. One of my favourite designs incorporating green in a very successful way is (again)  Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. It’s eclectic design approach was thought through and the level of detailing is impressive. The big design lesson here is that when using a bold color tone, create a playful and interesting background for it.

How do you do that? You combine neutral color tones and mix them in different patterns and textures. Try it with a corner in an area of your condo and create a grouping of few accessories, once you learn how to do it you can venture into large furniture items.

6. Deep teal. Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney’s inspiration (left image): "Being in the country recently got me thinking about more exotic forms of nature — so for fall, solid colors are juxtaposed with unexpected animal skins, microscopic skin prints and distorted takes on classic animal prints while Nanette Lepore inspiration (right image) is:" Celestial heights twinkling in soft focus from our view on terra firma — we are reacting to the effects of global warming with softer colors and lighter fabrics."

Interesting to see how the same color could take on two completely different looks. The first one is definitely very deep and very dramatic, dark tones of teal could be quite powerful. From the same Viceroy hotel, this image of an outdoor seating area shows how deep the teal color especially when contrasting with white.

7. Coffee liqueur. Elie Tahari’s inspiration: “We are having a cinematic moment inspired by the old Hollywood cinema and Black and White films. This is also close to one of the colors he would add to the Pantone Fashion + Home Color System- A rich Dark Brown with cool undertones that I would name Vanilla Bean”.

We’ve seen a lot of brown in design- not sure how brown is a trend as to me it is a timeless and neutral color. However, I see interior spaces taking on an interesting approach of mixing different tones of brown with textures of polished metal surfaces or distressed wood.
Both The Brown Hotel in Tel Aviv (right image) and Templar Hotel in Toronto (left image)  are good examples of how brown can be timeless and yet look trendy every year.
Color brown works really well with yellow as you can see in the lobby of The Brown Hotel as well as with white and blue (remember few years ago when this color combination was almost obsessive for many designers? :) like in the W hotel in Montreal.

8. Nougat Designers. MACKAGE talk about prominent colors- “All-time classics like Midnight Black and Bloody Merlot give adramatic effect; we also use earth tones such as Dusty Camel,Cognac and Neutral Taupe with Creamy White for a hint of brightness; Cool Spruce adds a strong accent to our collection.”

This color tone is a classic! Do you agree? While many designs tend to become “beige on beige with beige accents” and be too monotone, I have designed monochromatic & vibrant spaces by adding different textures especially by using wallpaper mixed with contemporary lights fixtures and/or contrasting furniture. 
Large scale patterns will help in stepping away from visual monotony.

9. Quarry. Victor de Souza inspiration comes from “ mixing of couture with men’s tailored fashion, the contrast of strength and softness”.
This color tone could also be used for either more masculine and feminine designs.

When paired with white as the majority of ‘color’ in any room, it brings a very fresh appeal to the space and tends to look more feminine. This was one of the most requested color over the past two years by my private clients. 
However if you bring dark tones of charcoal & black and dramatic patterns, the design would go towards more of a masculine look like in one of the rooms of the Hotel Bassamo in Paris.

10. Orchide hush. This is again another color that didn’t make it yet in my condo design portfolio. It is a very soft color hue and it would definitely be a perfect color for a young girl’s room or a nursery. Used in different tones variations, it could be an easy to use color especially for spaces with a lot of black & white contrasting textures and patterns.

Crosby Hotel in New York is a great example of how just a bit of this color used in the pattern of ther upholstered headboard, bed throw pillows and the upholstered bench could literally change the look of the room. Think of replacing this color with any of the vibrant colors from above and you have a different look and feel of the space.

If you want to be constantly in tune with the latest color trends, look at your space right now and think of small changes you can make today to incorporate your favorite color of the year. It is not that difficult, and if you use the right approach you could end up with a space you will love so much that you won’t care if this year’s color will stay trendy or not. It’s all about how that color makes you feel in that space.

Enhanced by Zemanta