Thursday
Oct262017

Kudos to Laurie Gorelick Interiors

October has been a good month for Laurie Gorelick Interiors and we are expecially proud.

Our room at the 2017 Junior League of Boston Showhouse has gotten a lot of praise.  We appeared online in Wicked Local and in Boston's South Shore newspaper, The Patriot Ledger.

Inmod, a pioneer in e-commerce retailing of modern furnishings, launched its Design Excellence and Achievement Awards and Laurie Gorelick Interiors made the inaugural cut among 50 renowned national interior design firms.  In its announcement, Inmod stated:

The Inmod DEA Award winners are designers of the highest level of professionalism whose commitment to the field of interior design and to modern design in particular is exemplary. You are being recognized by the design community not only for your inspiring creations, but also, and more importantly, for your dedication to your clients. The Inmod DEA Award winner is a passionate visionary who can transform interior space into an iconic expression of modern elegance, class, and livability.

It is with our utmost pleasure that we recognize you with this distinction as one of our 2017 DEA award winners. We are proud to honor you as an exemplary professional who exceed expectations and reflect the best of modern interior design and we are humbled to call you our colleague. You inspire not only your clients, but also us here at Inmod as we seek to offer the best collection of modern designs to meet the confident and creative standards of professionals like yourself.

Houzz.com, the largest online marketplace for residential design ideas and professionals, recognized two rooms we completed in separate articles, "Trending Now: The Top 10 New Mudrooms on Houzz," and "Trending Now: Top 10 Living Room Photos on Houzz."

Last, but certainly not least, Laurie Gorelick Interiors, was recognized by Modenus, a leading digital resource for design professionals and design enthusiasts, as one of the top 100 design influencers.  There were nearly 200 nominations, and we are thrilled, in this day and age of social media marketing, to be voted into the top 100.

Tuesday
Oct032017

The One That Got Away

It's T minus 2 days until the opening of the 2017 Junior League of Boston Designer Show House, and I finished my space one day in advance of the deadline.  That was a minor miracle considering the painting and wallpapering had been completed just two weeks before.  (Note to self for next show house (if I even do another): employ a painter that does interiors work in the summertime no matter what the weather.  A string of good weather and my painter's exterior jobs delayed my job for two critical weeks raising my anxiety level to the nth degree!)

As you may recall, to participate in the show house, designers must submit room proposals complete with palettes of materials and finishes.  To increase the chances of being selected, the Junior League recommends submitting more than one proposal.  I had submitted two proposals: the one that was selected -- for a home office/study/sitting room -- and another for a baby girl's nursery.  I love my nursery design and wanted to execute it badly.  But . . . the Junior League had other plans for me.

My concept for the nursery sprung from a wallpaper I had seen in an L.A. salon a year and a half ago.  It was an exploded floral design in various values and chromas of charcoal, pink and ‘au courant’ blush.  I searched for the source of this breathtaking wallpaper and discovered it's by Ellie Cashman, an American artist living in the Netherlands.  Her wallpaper designs are inspired by the still life paintings of the Dutch masters.  Coincidently, I recently saw that this wallpaper is cladding the storefront windows of Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York City!

Ellie Cashman’s Dark Floral Wallpaper

For the crib, I selected a lucite crib by Nursery Works.  Its transparency would allow the bold wall treatment to remain center stage.  But its novel design still made a statement.

I planned for an elegant tufted ottoman in crushed blush velvet as a focal point in the center of the room.  Centered underneath would be a hide rug in shades of silver, stone and aluminum.  A contemporary Sputnik chandelier in crystal and polished nickel would illuminate the room, amping up the drama.  I completed the design with a raffia-covered dresser for texture and simple window treatments in a two-sided fabric pulled back to reveal the reverse side with braid trim.

    

 

        

 

 

 

Pregnant with a baby girl?  This could be yours!

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Tuesday
Aug152017

Diary of a Show House Designer -- Take 2

Five years ago, in the early stages of the blog, I chronicled my experience as a designer in the 2012 Junior League of Boston Show House.  Since then, there's been another Junior League Show House.   At that time, in 2016, participating in a show house was not an option: I neither had the will nor the capital to make it work.  But a year has passed, and when the Junior League announced that they were sponsoring a 2017 show house, I wanted in again. 

There's something about doing a show house that is intoxicating for me.  I get a huge adrenaline rush from it.  Coming up with a design, delivering a proposal, managing the project and making sure it gets done to my highest standards, all in an unbelievable short time frame -- it's exhilarating.  The anxiety is palpable, but so worth it, making the invitation to preview this year's site, when it arrived in my inbox, irresistible.

This year's show house will be at the William Flagg Homer House in Belmont, Massachusetts, a lovely suburb just 7 miles northwest of Boston.  Built in 1853, the house was previously owned by William Flagg Homer and his wife Adeline Wellington, uncle and aunt of American landscape painter, Winslow Homer.  It is currently owned by the Belmont Women's Club.  Architecturally, it's Victorian: a combination of Italianate and Second Empire styles.

The William Flagg Homer House, site of the 2017 Junior League of Boston Designer Show House

Designers were invited to preview the house in June.  The preview is always nerve-wracking for me.  I walk through the site waiting for a space to "speak to me."  In each space, I'm evaluating the existing condition of the space (to figure out if it's going to cost me an arm and a leg to rehab), the amount of light the space gets, possible functions and furniture configurations.  I automatically rule out spaces I've done in previous show houses (bathroom, butler's pantry) and spaces that have too many restrictions (like not being able to paint woodwork).  It's hard to put your design stamp on something you can't change a lot.  I come away from the preview with three spaces in mind: 1) a teeny space, not bigger than a walk-in closet, but with a huge window facing Boston; 2) a bedroom with two windows, two closets and a built-in sink; and 3) another bedroom with two windows, two closets, and about 200 square feet of space.  I'm very aware that other designers are vying for the same spaces.

We're encouraged to submit as many as three room proposals: the more proposals you submit, the better your odds for being awarded a space.  I spend a couple of sleepless nights brainstorming how I'm going to design each of the three spaces.  At this stage of any design project, we do what's called precedent research: looking at similar spaces to get design ideas.  I comb Instagram for inspiration.  I come away with three concepts: 1) design the teeny space as a nursery (it's just the right amount of space for a crib and changing table/dresser); 2) design the bedroom with the built-in sink as an explosive toile-decked bedroom; and 3) design the other bedroom as a sitting room/office.  Yeah, I've done a sitting room/office before (in 2012), but it's more fun for me to design than a bedroom.

The nursery and sitting/room office come together like magic.  But I struggle with the explosive toile-decked bedroom.  After a day at the Boston Design Center, I haven't found the right toile to satisfy my instincts.  And the layout of the space, specifically where the windows and closets are situated, make me realize that it will be challenging to fit a bed in the space as a focal point.  I abandon this plan and focus on my proposals for the nursery and sitting room/office.

I'll feature the design that didn't get picked in my next post.  Stay tuned.

Thursday
Jun152017

Touchless Kitchen Faucets -- American Standard's Beale Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

In March, I wrote about putting my current status as an empty-nester in perspective and preparing to downsize.  It's very topical among my baby-boomer peers right now.  (I welcome recommendations of where I should move.  Feel free to leave yours (California, excepted.))

I've undertaken some of the preparations I discussed to get ready to sell my house, among them replacing my old kitchen faucet.  This is what my old faucet looked like:

 

You can see that it had a brass finish that had actually peeled off.  What do you expect from a builder-grade faucet after 21 years?  Just in time, American Standard offered me their Beale Pull-Down faucet with Selectronic Hands-Free Technology, and I jumped at the chance to try out a new-fangled touch-free faucet.

Because my old faucet had an eight-inch spread with a separate hose attachment (requiring 4 holes in the sink), I needed to get a new sink to accommodate the Beale faucet (which only requires a single opening).  No big deal because my old enamel sink could also stand to be replaced.

 

Here's the sink after the plumber started dismantling it.

Because I also didn't want to replace my countertops (which, I confess, could stand replacing, but I'll leave that to the next owner), I opted for a similar over-mount enamel sink with the same dimensions.  It was no problem for the plumber to remove the old sink, install the new sink and reconnect my existing garbage disposal.  The faucet was easy to install; however, there was a glitch with installing the solenoid device which enables the hands-free operation of the faucet.

 

Here's Andre, my favorite plumber, installing the battery pack for the faucet.

If you're thinking of a hands-free faucet, I'd recommend using a plumber experienced with the installation.  At least with the Beale, the solenoid installation can be confounding.  That seems to be a shared experience due to confusion with separate arrows on the device for flow and installation.  It’s easy to install the solenoid backwards since one of the arrows, the one that applies to installation, says “up” and when installed correctly, points down.  Go figure.

Installation aside, I'm very happy with my new faucet.  I opted for the stainless steel finish which looks like brushed nickel (the faucet also comes in polished chrome).  It's easy to use, multi-functional and certainly is a vast improvement over what I had.

 

Click on the picture below to view my video debut featuring the benefits of my new Beale Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet.

Sunday
Jun042017

What Price Wellness?

Last Thursday (June 1, 2017), I listened to Donald Trump announce that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.  I'm trying to keep this blog a politics-free zone . . . so I won't say anything more about that here.  I mention it to bring up the environmental challenges we all face, even in our own homes.  What price would you be willing to pay to ensure that your own home environment didn't make you sick, but rather promoted wellness?

I was part of a group of designers, design bloggers and wellness professionals who, as #DesignHounds, entertained this question two weeks ago in conjunction with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City.  What if it's not your diet, or your sedentary lifestyle, or stress that is making you sick, but your furniture?  Seriously, that's not a ridiculous question.

In modern times, we faced the major realization that our interior environments could make us sick when Legionnaire's Disease broke out at an American Legion convention at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976.  The culprit was a bacterium naturally found in fresh water, but which can become a contaminant when found in man-made water systems.  This outbreak made us acutely aware of how vulnerable we are not only to external air quality but to interior air quality as well.

In addition to air quality, these aspects of our interior environments impact our well being:

  • exposure to light
  • water quality
  • sleep quality
  • ergonomics and comfort
  • acoustics and noise disruption

It seems a no-brainer that if you could incorporate furnishings and materials in your home that could enhance your health and vitality, you would, right?  But most people don't.  Simply because they cost more.

You can improve your interior environment (and, in turn, the exterior environment) with some simple fixes:

  1. Use a zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) wall paint that absorbs and reduces VOCs.  Sherwin Williams Harmony latex paint is one example.  Not only does it reduce VOCs, but it prevents build-up of mold and mildew.
  2. Avoid buying furniture and cabinets made with conventional particleboard, plywood and medium density fiberboard (MDF) which may contain formaldehyde-based adhesives.  Choose furnishings made with certified-sustainable hardwoods or formaldehyde-free particleboard, plywood and MDF.
  3. Avoid synthetic carpets and rugs, synthetic padding and glue-down installations.  Choose wool or other natural fibers for carpet.
  4. Avoid furniture and mattresses made with foam.  Foam produces harmful VOCs.
  5. Incorporate dynamic lighting systems.  Dynamic lighting provides the appropriate light levels for the specific environment and its intended uses.  It also matches light levels to our natural circadian rhythms, for example, by dimming lights as daylight wanes and sleep approaches.
  6. Reduce ambient noise by installing sound-absorbing materials (rugs and carpet, draperies, even bookshelves with books) and insulation.  Update appliances with newer energy-efficient models that make less noise.  Install double-pane windows and storm windows.  Replace hollow-core doors with solid wood doors.
  7. For ergonomics, avoid furniture that causes slouching and poor posture.  A good tip -- measure the distance from the small of your back to the inside of your knee.  Chairs and sofas that have a seat depth greater than that measurement will lead to slouching and cause back and neck strain.

Now, consider adding features that promote wellness.  It's long been considered a feature of luxury bathrooms to incorporate a steam shower.  It's not just for the in-home spa experience.  It's for good health.  A steam shower promotes respiratory health, improves our appearance by hydrating the skin, removes body toxins, increases circulation, reduces stress and encourages relaxation, boosts metabolism, and increases flexibility, among other health benefits.  Adding aromatherapy, chromatherapy and music to a steam shower augments the health benefits.  If you amortize the cost of a steam shower over the time you'll live in your home, it could cost just a few dollars a day . . . less than the cost of your daily coffee habit.  Wouldn't that be worth the price for your health and well being?

I've written before about Mr.Steam, an industrial leader in the manufacture of steam boilers and in the promotion of health and wellness through steam showers.  Since my previous post about Mr.Steam, the company has added some attractive features to its product line that enhance the health and wellness benefits of its products.  It has introduced a Linear SteamHead (left) that lies flush to the shower wall, is quieter and reduces the pooling of condensate.  Mr. Steam has added aromatherapy to the steam shower experience with AromaSteam SteamHeads.  Chromatherapy is available with Mr.Steam's ChromaSteam system which introduces a spectrum of colors through waterproof LED modules for the steam shower.  And, to ensure that your experience lasts even after you step out of the shower, Mr.Steam has introduced a line of attractive towel warmers.

If health and wellness is important to you, wouldn't it be worth making your home a place that supports that aim?