The Nature of Design

With what seems to be a never ending January in St. Louis I find myself desperate for sunshine on my skin, blooms on the trees and the chirping sounds of birds and crickets. As humans we have an innate connection to nature. We also spend, on average, 90% of our lives indoors with little to no connection to it. World populations are increasingly moving from rural to urban centers. With that comes more steel and concrete and less green spaces. So how do we fill the void while making a positive impact on our surroundings? That is where Biophilic Design comes in. It is the practice of incorporating nature in to our built environments and will continue to gain popularity as sustainability practices and urbanization trends build.

EFFECTS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN

Research has shown that biophilic design reduces stress, promotes well-being, improves the ability to concentrate, boosts our creativity and expedites healing. Exhaustive research has been completed on the effects and applications of biophilic design. With all of the positive impacts it makes you wonder why more people aren’t embracing the principles in their own spaces. When you think about it more thought goes in to the habitats at our zoos than goes into creating our built environments.  For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on a few ways to introduce the benefits of biophilic design in your home and office setting.

INCORPORATING BIOPHILIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Visual Connection to Naturea view of natural elements.group of potted indoor plants

Material Connection to Natureincorporating the use of materials and elements found in nature.natural fiber placemat

Presence of Water refers the ability to see, touch or hear the sound of water.indoor water feature

We would love to hear from you. Let us know how you are embracing nature in your space. Better yet, show us!

2018 Interior Trends

The trend forecast is always a bit tricky for me. I am not a designer that necessarily puts a lot of stock in the latest design trends. Actually, I don’t even have a specific design style I subscribe to. While trends are a great way to introduce consumers to products and materials they may not have had previous exposure to, at the end of the day your home should be an environment that reflects who you are and how you live. In years past I have turned to furniture and accessory markets, manufacturers websites, online publications and local showrooms to see what is on the design horizon. This year I am going to mix it up. My 2018 Interior Trend forecast is based on what I am experiencing with my clients in the St Louis Metro area.

LIGHTING

Lighting plays a major role in every project. In fact, one of the first considerations in the architectural design process is determining how the residence will be situated on the site, taking into consideration the orientation of the residence in relationship to the sun path. In addition to this natural lighting there are 3 main types of artificial lighting categories that should be incorporated. Check out our blog post A Well Lit Interior for more information on the different layers of lighting necessary for a properly illuminated space.

2 Trends In Lighting –

One is the embracing of LED technologies. I have to admit even I was intimidated by the ever-changing world of LED technology. We experienced such a rapid evolution in LED that just when you thought you knew what you were talking about the next greatest advancement had happened. I think we have finally begun to realize the potential and capabilities of LED and as a result have found the way to shape the conversation around the technology. Here are just a few of the ways LED is changing the lighting industry and our interiors.

LED tape lighting on stairs

Architecture by Srote & Co Architects

The other direction I see is maximizing the use of recessed lighting throughout a residence as the ambient source of light, and choosing your moments for a statement fixture. Areas that used to be a traditional location for a flush mount or pendant are now replaced with a recessed can light and sconces have become common place in bathrooms in lieu of the expected light bar.

MIXING FINISHES

One of the most often asked questions I get during the interior selection process is in regard to matching metal finishes. Do my door knobs need to match my plumbing fixtures? Should my plumbing and lighting fixtures be the same finish? It really depends on your aesthetic and the metals being considered. This bathroom is a perfect illustration of mixing gone right!vanity featuring mixed metal finishes

STATEMENT MIRRORS

Statement mirrors are a great way to add personality to any space and come in all sizes and price points. Besides the obvious function they provide, mirrors are a great way to expand spaces and break up the use of art in an area. The variety of frame styles and materials really allow you to make a statement without overpowering a space. Wayfair and Home Goods are two of my go-to resources when looking for readily available options. If you are not in a hurry Uttermost and Arteriors are great resources to explore.decorative accent mirror

2nd floor Laundry Room

I can’t believe it took us so long to realize that in a typical 1-1/2 story or 2 story home the majority of the laundry comes from the 2nd level. Why we spent years dragging all of it up and down the stairs is beyond me. In this scenario, the mudroom on the main level becomes dedicated to cubbies for storage and a planning zone with a stackable washer and dryer located in the owner’s suite. Laundry rooms are similar to formal powder rooms in that there are no rules when it comes to decorating them. It does not have to flow or communicate with the rest of the home so it is a fun place to take a risk. While laundry may not be the most exciting task doing it in one of these rooms sure would make it more enjoyable.

One’s To Watch

I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us! I have a few developing trends on my radar and am looking forward to seeing how much momentum they gain over the next 12 months. Our homes and the products we use in them continue to adapt and change to accommodate our fast paced lifestyles. With a renewed focus on health and well-being we are already seeing steam technology for cooking gaining popularity in our kitchen designs and the amazing health benefits it provides undeniable. Yoga and Pilates rooms, massage rooms, home gyms and saunas are becoming common place in our custom residences. We will see if it makes the list next year. Stay tuned!

Are you all ready incorporating any of these in your interior? We would love to see your space. If not, which one are you likely to try in 2018?

2017 Color of the Year Forecasts

What a difference a year makes! Every year the leading paint companies release their color trend predictions for the upcoming year. Last year we saw a white from both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, a blush pink and purple from Pantone and an aloe green from PPG. While none were exactly the same they all had a light fresh quality about them. This year, all bets are off!

PANTONE’S COLOR OF THE YEAR

REFRESHING. REVITALIZING. NEW BEGINNINGSlight shining through trees

Greenery is described as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.”

SHERWIN-WILLIAMS COLOR OF THE YEAR

MODERN. CLASSIC. NEUTRALwood bark on a tree

Poised Taupe is an earthen brown combined with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.

BENJAMIN MOORE COLOR OF THE YEAR

MYSTERIOUS. PASSIONATE. ALLUSIVE.purple ink

Benjamin Moore Creative Director, Ellen O’Neill, described Shadow as sophisticated, provocative and poetic, it can bring energy to a space or harmony and a moment of respite.

PPG COLOR OF THE YEAR

DEPTH. LUXURY. PAMPERING.evening sunset

Violet Verbena is a moody purple with a chameleon-like presence that adapts to surrounding environments and complements a variety of design aesthetics, from playful rooms to tranquil spaces.

We would love to know you thoughts on the 2017 color forecasts. Which do you love? How will you use it?

For inspiration on how to incorporate these colors in your interiors check out our 2017 Color Trends Board on Pinterest.

Sherwin Williams 2017 Color Forecast

Every year I look forward to Sherwin-Williams ColorMix, hosted in St. Louis, at KDR Designer Showroom. This event is the official unveiling of the projected color trends for the upcoming year. I was so inspired by the presentation I thought it would be fun to share the 4 palettes with you.

NOIR

It’s among our most precious commodities: night. We’re craving a refuge from urban streetlights and glowing screens, space to turn our gaze inward and recharge the spirit. Mindful melancholy is fueling a new romanticism marked by medieval patterns, revived customs and bittersweet beauty. The Dutch masters knew the secret: dark hues set a dramatic stage for sensuous luster. This palette is rich with vine-ripened fruits, Nordic blues, moody neutrals and golden yellows.

HOLISTIC

Sustainable design and radical transparency are the new standards. As our daily transactions move further into the cloud, acquiring experiences is becoming preferable to buying more things. “Doing good” is the new looking good, and it’s taking the form of “voluntourism,” healing retreats and eco-travel. We’re in pursuit of an elusive ideal: a fair luxury. The roads of this journey are lined with arctic neutrals, blush rose and wild browns.

INTREPID

The virtual and the real are blurring in the form of seamless commerce and “office anywhere” collaboration. Impatient for social and political change, we’re reinventing ourselves first. Identity has never been more fluid. “You do you” is the mantra of a generation primed for self-expression, cheered on by their own #squad and tossing aside old categories. There’s a feisty energy to our present moment, arriving in fiery tones and vibrant, kimono colors.

UNBOUNDED

Global immigration is redefining borderlands, national identity and our sense of coexistence. We’re all citizens of the world now. Brands are becoming more purpose-driven, communities more connected. Design is adapting to more diverse populations. Overconsumption is, well, over. We’re more likely to invest in the best we can afford — crafted and customized — and then keep it forever. Global consciousness is a mural painted in earthy mustards, ocean blues, corals and mud.

Visit Srote & Co on Pinterest to view our boards dedicated to each palette.

A Well Lit Interior

Lighting is one of the most important considerations in your home. It sets the scene for experiences and emotional responses. When done incorrectly it can lead to eye-strain, fatigue, headaches and stress. When done correctly it can facilitate daily tasks, highlight architectural features in your home, expand spaces or create an intimate environment. There are 3 main types of lighting that should be considered in every environment – Ambient, Task and Accent. Lets break down these layers and show you some of our favorite examples of how to accomplish them in your home.

GENERALLY SPEAKING

Ambient Lighting is commonly referred to as general lighting. As the base layer of lighting it provides a blanket of overall illumination in a space, and is essential to any lighting plan. Its main function is to provide adequate lighting for visibility and safety to navigate throughout an area. In some cases it serves as the only light source, such as a laundry room or closet. Examples include recessed and track lighting, wall sconces and chandeliers.living room and breakfast room inteirors

THE TASK AT HAND

Task Lighting is a smaller, more concentrated light used to illuminate specific areas where a more intensive and directed light source is required. Island pendants, undercabinet lighting and a well placed desk lamp are the most common applications of task lighting. LED lighting on stairs

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVES

Accent Lighting is used to highlight a specific object. It evokes feelings of meaning, creates drama and conveys importance of the object it illuminates. Most commonly it washes light over artwork and sculptures, bookcase displays and highlights architectural features in a home.paneled library with accent lighting

Hopefully this will shed some light on one of the most commonly overlooked aspect of interiors. We would love to see how you have incorporated lighting in your own spaces. Feel free to share!

Decorating with the 5 Elements of Feng Shui

Life is all about balance. From the foods we eat to our work and personal lives we are constantly searching for that perfect balance. We are spending more time than ever indoors – roughly 90%. Because of this our environments and the effects they have on us are more important than ever. As a designer, I intuitively work with the 5 elements of feng shui when pairing textiles, colors, shapes, textures and furnishings, on a daily basis. Here is a brief introduction to the elements and how you can incorporate them into your environments to create a sense of harmony and balance.

EARTH ELEMENT – REPRESENTS STABILITY AND NOURISHMENT

stacks of clay pots on an outdoor tableIncorporating the earth element into your space is said to bring about peace, stability and protection to you and your relationships. Decorating with square shapes and layering tones of beige, sandy and pale yellow tones are a simple way to introduce the earth element. Terracotta pots and stone sculptures also add a nice touch.

METAL ELEMENT – REPRESENTS PURITY AND PRECISION

metal multi-light pendant fixtureAn energetic metal element helps facilitate focus, precision and a strong sense of clarity. Metal is the easiest element to introduce regardless of your particular design style. Picture frames, decorative metal accents, round shapes and the use of metallics, grays and whites are expressive of this element.

WATER ELEMENT – REPRESENTS EASE, ABUNDANCE AND INNER WORK

water element representing balanceThe water element creates a positive sense of calm, purity and relaxation to any space. Mirrors are the most common expression of water in decor. Accessories and textiles with shades of blue and black will also bring this element in to your space.

WOOD ELEMENT – REPRESENTS GROWTH, EXPANSION AND VITALITY

wood cutting board on wood backgroundWood is considered to be a healing element that brings about vibrancy in health & growth and decisiveness in action. Consider floating wood shelves, branches mixed in with your florals or adding a houseplant. Rectangular shapes and decorating with greens and browns will also give this element presence.

FIRE ELEMENT – REPRESENTS HIGH ENERGY AND PASSION

candles and string lights in a windowThe fire element, when balanced correctly, will bring activity and energy to your life and your career. Fire is best used in moderation. Misuse of this element will cause over stimulation and a sense of anxiety. Fireplaces and candles are the obvious way to introduce the fire element. Triangle shaped decor and well placed accents in bold reds, oranges, yellows, pinks and purples are also indicative of fire.