Posts Tagged ‘ cohesion ’

Creating a Bedroom/Home Office that Really Works…

Soho Loft Project

Soho Loft Project

In today’s world, especially in our urban centers the use of minimally sized spaces for multi-function is at an all-time high. We live in smaller areas, and our work is sometimes done  at home not at an outside office. There is an increasing consideration for a home office to be incorporated in the design process. Clients with a minimum of space come to me asking how to create that home office as a shared space in a master bedroom for example.

My job as a  designer is to configure not only the best possible physical layout of the space but also the best psychological perception of the space by the client. Sleep and work are juxtaposed in the same scenario so the Client’s view on which area is designated for what function becomes crucial.

Clients ask “what are the items to consider when creating a useful bedroom/office?” Here are some tips to remember when your space is at a minimum but your creative vision is wide.

I think that customization is important, having a custom desk fitted to the client’s specifications and needs. A desk facing out is ideal, so when you arrive “at the office” you have a different vantage point, such as a city view… this can separate work from rest and psychologically propels you into your work mode.

Appropriate lighting is always on the top of the list in any home but in the bedroom/home office it is essential. How can your office lighting be integrated so that the workspace is well lit and the sleep space has its own ambiance as well? Overhead work lights above the desk are great and bedside lamps for the sleep area can work well so that the delineation of work and sleep is clear.

Personalization is also an important detail. Create the work environment you feel is most productive and arrange computer, files and stationery accordingly so that your work day has its own world apart from where you rest. Storage space that can be hidden is great so that when the work day is done, you do not see the tools of your productive day and can fully decompress and sleep.

A private door or curtain that can create a separation can really help to delineate the functions of one room divided for two purposes. Create the worlds you live in, by thoughtfully dividing the space into work and productive mode and rest mode. By clearly separating the areas, you will not be tempted to get up and do work in the middle of the night or when overtired or stressed because you see your work area and are compelled to do more work.

Having a schedule of work within the bedroom is important. Treating your workspace like an offsite office  helps to enable the harmony between relaxation and productivity to  be achieved.

 

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Green Spaces that Work… Beyond Concept to Functionality

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There have been many trends in Architecture and lifestyle, but I think the “green” trend has inhabited every aspect of our lives. In its concept, “Green” living refers to… “a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of green living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.” As defined by Wikipedia. This concept has permeated the zeitgeist and made positive strides in health and well-being. Green living has affected how we live, shop, eat and exercise and in Architecture it has affected how residential and commercial construction is designed.

From reducing our carbon footprint, saving energy, consuming less, eating well and living in a less excessive style, everyone can benefit from a green lifestyle. In designing a  home, office or commercial space, what materials will we use and how will we heat, cool and light spaces? In a true green space, the ultimate goal is reducing energy consumption, reducing cost and maintaining and supporting the environment.

How does the designer take aspects of making a green home or office from the drafting table to reality? There are many aspects to include in this equation: geography, space, building codes, and how to make the space as green as it can be within certain guidelines. Lighting, heating and cooling, and energy sources come into play as well as plant based design to incorporate within areas of a home or office, to create energy and improve air quality and even create a food source.

Materials that aid in this concept are another major component of a green space. Using recycled materials, natural materials that are sustainable and durable are important. A truly green space considers every alternative to wasteful and high cost materials and strives to create a new and more affordable yet still high quality design.

Building codes and regulations also should be included within the design plan, in an urban environment especially. There are many regulations put in place long before sustainable homes or workspaces became popular, so the designer must adjust to these rules. How will the designer incorporate these new ideas into an old framework of codes and regulations? For example, the Client wants a “living” wall, of plants or an indoor vertical garden for a food source or air quality source, will their building allow this and how will it be maintained. These types of new features must be studied and researched and the designer must be sure that not only can it be installed but that it can also be maintained by the client.

I think that in the flurry of excitement around having a “green” space, sometimes the functionality factor can be neglected. When designing this type of home or office, it is more imperative that the research, development and execution of these new features be more examined and that the proper experts are involved in the installation of these green features. “Green” is not just a trend, when done successfully the Client’s daily life is improved and their home or office can truly be economically more sound and their well-being improved.

 

 

 

 

 

T.R.U.S.T.Talking/Rapport /Understanding/Service/Trust

Architect-Drawings

T.R.U.S.T is a  simple acronym I created to understand some important steps in selecting an Architect/Designer for a project. Whether it be commercial, retail or residential there are principles that can apply to all. This can be very helpful when Clients are new to the process of  working with a professional and choosing seems daunting.

The first letter is “T” for Talking: If a Client is considering a renovation or new construction for a home or commercial space, they can ask friends and colleagues if they have experience working with Architect/Designers and if that experience was successful. Talk about what the aim is and ask them if they have any connections that can help you in your search. Most Architect/Designer selections are made through a word of mouth referral. Talk to people who have gone through the experience and have a space to show for it.

The second letter is “R” for Rapport: In any endeavor between a client and a professional, a good working rapport is crucial. After doing research either through referrals or online searches and professional sites, make an appointment to speak with the potential Architect/Designer of your dream space. This first impression will give some important information and help to understand if there is potential for a good Client/Designer rapport. Without good rapport, questions can be unheard and ideas and challenges unsolved.

The third letter is “U” for Understanding: The ability for an Architect/Designer to understand the needs of their Client is everything. It is with the Client’s wish list and questions that the Architect/Designer can envision your space and have it reflect the personality and lifestyle of the Client. Understanding each other is elementary in the design process. How communication is received and given can determine your project’s success.

The fourth letter is “S” for Service: What can the designer provide as far as design services and client services? Are they the right fit for the Client’s needs? The level of service that an Architect/Designer gives to their clients can be seen in the way they ask questions and how they react to challenges and strengths in the space. Former Client testimonials  can also help with this decision if they are right for the Client’s specific wishes.

The fifth letter is the most important and is the acronym itself, “T” for Trust: A Client must trust in the Architect/Designer that they hire, that comes from  feeling that the goals of the project are being met and that  any questions are given the time to be answered and also have solutions and ideas offered. With this trust, the Client can have that sense of peace and comfort that they may seek,  as with any endeavor working with a professional, trust is integral to success. Knowing that the Architect/Designer can take the project through to fruition, deliver quality results, provide updates and work within a designated budget is everything.

I hope this simple tool, Talking.Rapport.Understanding.Service.Trust can help to keep in mind how to select the right Architect/Designer for your project and illustrate some beneficial aspects which will serve a Client in the long run.

Remember a key to a successful project in addition to hiring a talented professional Architect/Designer, is that the Client also does their homework, before hiring the Architect/Designer, to give the most information possible and during the process of the work to respond in a timely manner and contribute to the smooth sailing of the project.

 

http://www.orastudionyc.com

Summer Escapism…. Creating a Nook at Home…

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In this age of technology and a sometimes unnatural attachment to smart phones, computers, and social media, there are times when we need a break…Summer is the season to “escape” whether it be to go on holiday, a weekend trip, or basking in some at home escaping… what is now called a “staycation”. A peaceful nook devoid of electronic devices can be a perfect escape from the reality of this techno-centric society. Homes with nooks and places to reflect will become more popular in the coming years, this tech free zone will be on client’s wish lists. We will seek to create havens of calm and tranquility, whether it’s a bedroom or a retreat we can escape to, for reading, thinking, napping or quiet conversation.  

In the image presented is a small but bright room in our Lexington Avenue Project. While there is a workspace, there is a calming environment, a comfortable sofa, whimsical carpet and a fantastic city view. The client wanted to create a guest space but also a  fully functional quiet corner for anyone who needed some serenity. With a simple and clean design, there is no sensory overload, just a relaxing atmosphere for contemplation. City living is energetic, dynamic, bustling and fast paced. Urban dwellers especially in NYC, are fully aware that the pace is fast and that sometimes solitude and peace are the best therapy.  

Summer is all about taking a breath, and this is reflected in design, creating those simple, minimal spaces that are transporting, that can alter our emotional moods and create well-being. A summer bloom on the custom desk brings that element of nature inside and a living element to the space. The carpet is soft and warms the room and the pattern is fun and graphic without it being overwhelming.

If you feel like changing your home décor and adding freshness for the summer season, creating this type of room in the home will add that peaceful oasis Maybe by having this tech free zone, you will be inspired to read that book you have had for months sitting unread, write a note to a dear friend, or create some art, or sleep, something which is so good for the body. A cozy nook  in the home is essential. Our home is our sanctuary, our respite from the outside world, and creating that zen feeling within can only be beneficial to our minds and body.

http://www.orastudionyc.com

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Color Balance

Lexington Avenue NYCBalance is a key word that illustrates what my design philosophy is. It is by definition: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. In design, this is the equal distribution of visual content or weight. Our sense of balance is innate, so when elements of design are not balanced, we are instinctively made uncomfortable and feel this sense of instability. Balance can come from layout, furnishing, volume, structure, and lighting

In this month’s blog I want to focus on color balance, and how to identify what tones and hues work well together to create design harmony.

Determining the right color scheme for your space starts with how the space is lit, if there is a lot of natural light in, or not. Is there is enough artificial light or does the lighting need to be redesigned. Without light there is no color, there is a void. Choosing a color scheme is not only related to the color of the material per se but how the color is read in that specific space with its own specific light.

The feeling of being in the space is dependent on the placement of color throughout. When thinking about how to use color in a home or commercial space I think about how those colors will be seen as a whole. I first choose an atmosphere that I want to create, how they will complement each other creating calm, productive energy, or comfort.

Color can be bold and create a strong juxtaposition or soft and monochromatic to create calm and fluidity. It can also be a strong pop of color that draws the eye to a certain structural detail, piece of furniture, artwork or object. It is all about the space as whole, with the elements working well together to create that desired feeling. Color can determine mood, it can alter thinking and establish inner centeredness and peace.

Determining what colors work well together comes from the designer’s expertise and vision. It is our job to understand the big picture to see beyond the singular notion of design elements and realize their potential to work together to create this harmony. It is also our job to work with the Client who may have a color preference that has a visual appeal for them or is a trend of the moment, but that might not work well in their specific space. There is a lot of psychology of color to take into consideration when choosing a palette and making the Client aware and to have them understand this psychology (See our Blog Archive: https://orastudio.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/the-science-of-color-part-1/ )

Creating a successful color palette is a science, it is an important element in the design process and whether it is multi-color patterns carefully matched and placed together, a neutral color palette, monochromatic scheme or strong accents of color, this requires an eye for symmetry and visual appeal. The mark of a good designer is their perception of this balance and cohesion.

 

 

The Blueprint of Design …Combining the Technical, Creative and the Psychological to Achieve Success

IMG_1262Giusi Re Touch- GiusiBeing an Architect and  Interior Designer is not for the faint of heart. Design incorporates technical, creative, and psychological skill. It is with the harmony of these aspects that a good Designer flourishes.

The Technical: Studying Design and Architecture is a calling and a commitment to intense study and practice. It commands great passion and talent involving mathematics, geometry, science, art and creative inspiration. It is the combination of these elements that make a Designer of merit. There is also the need to keep up with design trends and adapting those trends to your particular style. In the profession of Interior Design, this is beneficial in creating Projects that are successful and having happy Clients.

The Creative: An  Architect/Interior Designer is an artist, a visionary, someone who strives to innovate in their chosen industry. Following a creative path is not easy; it comes with challenges and bumps along the way. Sometimes an intensely creative person suffers because their mind works in such a different way and so quickly. Sometimes this creative spirit is stalled, this is the creative resistance. Focusing too much on always having to produce can be stressful therefore stifling the freedom of creativity. It is the ability to manage the creativity in a business format that helps the designer through tough challenges.

The Psychological: An  Architect/Interior Designer deals with Clients, whether it is a family or an individual, a corporation or an organization. This requires diplomacy and highly evolved social skills. In dealing with Clients, a Designer must know, especially in Residential Design, the Design process is very personal. To be in someone’s home and make changes to improve their quality of life is deeply rewarding. Establishing the trust between Client and Designer is necessary.

Being an Architect/Designer is a courageous  profession. The Designer is an artist, a therapist, a problem solver, a knowledgeable source, and an innovator. What sets apart a good designer is the  balance in these skills.

 

The Power of a Contemporary Dining Area…

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In Contemporary Design, the balance of form and function holds great importance. Finding the balance can come from mixing colors and textures, different materials and keeping the shape of functional items proportional and unique. A Contemporary Dining Area contains clean lines and the aesthetic beauty comes from the shape of the furniture, and  high quality materials.

This image is from our Project at 58th Street NYC, this is a high rise modern building with spectacular panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan. The views are also an element in the design of this Dining Area. Everything chosen has great symbiosis with other elements in the space. We begin with flooring in a light tone then work with that color palette.

A Modern Dining Table of lacquer and chrome in a neutral complementary color enhance the simple unfettered beauty of the floor and white walls. The chairs in velvet bring the softness, the tactile element that a Client can appreciate in an area of their home as important as the Dining Table.

Whatever style of design, the Dining area holds precedent because it is there where the emotion of the home is displayed and the hospitality shown to family and friends. Whether Contemporary or Traditional in Design the space has to flow and the emotion and feeling is the same, comfort.

The layout in this space became crucial, how can we place the table so that all seated can have a clear view of NYC especially at night when it is at its most magical. The fireplace is in perfect range in regards to the table to create atmosphere if the Client wishes, giving options is always good.

The neutral palette of the table and chairs also works with the Living Space that is adjacent; this is an open floorplan so the layout and placement of elements is crucial for overall harmony.

In such a luxurious space, there is a call for a special Dining Area, to provide a place to dine, and entertain to make the house a home and to create a chic ambiance to enjoy.