Posts Tagged ‘Erin Ryder’
Accessible design is something our industry tends to struggle with expecially during these trying times sans a few of our favorite retailers, and budget-friendly makeovers generally end up inspired by the pages of catalogs. Kristian Cunningham, HGTV’s Design on a Dime host and Rachel Ray show regular, lent some of her expertise to us about how design updates do not have to break the bank, and fresh ideas are easier thank you think.
LoftLife: Give us some background. How did you get into interior design? And more importantly, how did you become so handy?
Kristian Cunningham: I knew from the time I was a young girl that I wanted to be a designer- never wanted to do anything else. So after school, I moved to LA and started out assisting several designers and running showrooms- freelance drafting at night to make extra cash- until I landed my dream job at a small firm. And then the TV thing happened very accidentally.
On the day I found out that I had the Design on a Dime job, my new boss said, “and you sew, right?” I told her, “of course I do”, and headed to Sears that night to buy a sewing machine. A pillow for my debut DOD install was the first thing I’d sewn since high school Home Ec, (I was still trying to figure out how to thread the bobbin at 3 in the morning!) and after that it was sink or swim. I encourage people to learn as they go along because that’s exactly how I did it. First week on the job, I had the boys show me how to use a chop saw and by the next I was making projects that incorporated miter cuts. Same thing with the table saw, pneumatic nailer and so on. Four years later, I had a garage outfitted so well that the neighborhood fathers came to me to borrow tools! And I’m still learning…
LL: Design on a Dime has never been more relevant than it is right now. People are spending less money and more time at home. What are the easiest, budget friendly changes you can make on a dime?
KC: I’ve said it a million times, but the biggest bang for your buck will always be paint. It may take you a weekend, but a space can be entirely transformed for under $100. And don’t underestimate the power of rethinking and rearranging the things you already have. After we live with our spaces for awhile, we stop seeing the possibilities, so getting a fresh perspective from another set of eyes can do wonders. Ask a friend who’s taste jives with yours to come over and make some suggestions- I always call on my “partner in design”, Ruth. We go to brunch and then back to each other’s houses to “play”, as our guys like to call it. By the time the boys get back from the beach, the spaces look completely different and neither one of us had to spend a dime.
LL: What are some of the most common design dilemma’s you come across?
KC: I get a lot of emails and makeover requests from folks who are trying to figure out how to get the most use out of every square inch of their homes- whether it’s creating more storage or carving out a home office. Sourcing the right multifunctional pieces and creating a good space plan can be life changing for people who feel they’ve outgrown their spaces.
I also get a lot of cries for help from people who are fully aware that they’ve overdone it- whether it’s a theme or a color, or just room after room of the same wood tone. Sometimes, my job is to just be an editor, and to help people reign it all back in.
LL: DIY-K (Do It Yourself – Kinda) is our take on the DIY movement, as many of us are not as good with tools as we’d like to be. What are some tips and tricks to fake it till your skills make it?
I like the kinda part!, and it’s more relevant now than ever. I think that design enthusiasts have been inspired by the DIY movement over recent years (thanks to the plethora of super design shows ; ), shelter mags, and design websites!), and the current economic environment is forcing those who were hesitant to jump in, to be more proactive in getting things done themselves. Luckily, there’s info available online for everything from fixing a leaky toilet to building a table. For people who aren’t familiar enough with power tools to feel comfortable taking on projects that involve them, barter! Find a friend or coworker who’s got skills and figure out a service that you can trade-heck, they might even do it for pizza and a six pack! While you have someone with know-how right there in your home, take the opportunity to watch and learn- ask questions!
Most people don’t start out with a garage full of tools (and people who live in the city wouldn’t have a place to put ‘em anyhow!), but you can rent just about anything from Lowe’s or Home Depot for a small fee, and it’s a great way to kind of “test drive” different tools before taking the plunge and investing in them. Just be sure to have someone there with you ANYTIME you’re running power tools. You gotta respect those beasts! And take a breather when you’re frustrated.
LL: Now that you’re programmed to design on a budget, what do you consider the most well worth decorating splurges?
KC: Good white sheets. I still make every attempt to buy them on clearance, mind you, but I value my sleep time immensely and it’s worth every penny to wake up deliriously happy thanks to delicious bedding. The white part is important- it’s classic and bleachable, which is imperative if you make a habit of eating in bed and sleeping in mascara. I do both, thank you very much.
And good hardware. You can make a junky piece look bespoke, or a builder’s special kitchen look custom with the right hardware. When the details look high-end, the rest of the space seems to get elevated by association. Oh, and good lampshades! You can spend a jillion dollars getting everything just right, but a cheap white shade can ruin a room. It’s the details, I tell ya.
LL: What are your favorite projects you’ve had the opportunity to work on?
KC: Designing a pop-up restaurant for an event that President Bill Clinton co-hosted with Rachael Ray was incredibly exciting, and last year I made over center field at Minute Maid Stadium (home of the Houston Astros) into a wedding venue where 40 couples simultaneously married. Both of these projects were installed and broken down in less than 24 hrs! I also participated in Hollywood Life Magazine’s “Young Hollywood Home” at the PDC last year, and designed and installed the “Gibson Lounge”. I was loaned 3 Les Paul’s, a piano and these sick vintage amps to create a space where musicians could perform and an audience could get liquored up and relax. This space was one of my personal favorites, and was able to live for a whopping 3 weeks before being disassembled- new coffered, wallpapered ceiling and all
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked side by side with some of the most talented, committed and fun contractors and tradesmen on the planet. Every project, in every city, has brought me new friends- whether it’s a Habitat for Humanity build or a TV makeover. I love the comradery that forms on a jobsite so, after hundreds of ‘em, I still cry at the end of every single project. Picking a favorite would be like having to pick a favorite kid!
LL: Aside from your work on HGTV and Rachel Ray, any other exciting news we can share?
KC: I recently joined the team at Raymour & Flanigan as their resident designer, where I’ll be providing tips and advising customers about their product. I’ll also be appearing as a judge on HGTV’s $250,000 Challenge, a new design competition premiering May 31st, as well as a few more exciting projects in development ; )
Battery Park City is fast becoming the green-residence mecca of New York, thanks to a slew of new eco-friendly developments, including The Visionaire. The building is scheduled for U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum LEED Certification, the nations highest – making it not only the greenest luxury building in not only NYC, but the country. We had the chance to take a look at their model apartment, designed by Cheryl Eisen of the Interior Marketing Group with furniture by the Duval Group, and featuring artwork by Bettina Werner “The Salt Queen.”
“We share a message that living green does not mean you have to sacrifice high-end design and livability,” said Russell Albanese, president of The Albanese Organization. “At The Visionaire, our homes offer high-end finishes and the latest in sustainable technologies.”
The Visionaire is the third green Battery Park City development from The Albanese Organization and architect Rafael Pelli of Pelli Clark Pelli Architects. The sustainable interiors at The Visionaire include kitchens that showcase river-washed absolute granite countertops, art glass backsplashes and rift-cut oak wood flooring. Master baths feature rich limestone floors and countertops, glass mosaic tiled walls, Waterworks deep soaking tubs with limestone decks and separate glass-enclosed showers for a personal spa-like sanctuary. Amenities include two rooftop gardens; fitness center and spa; an indoor pool and Jacuzzi; a screening lounge with fireplace and dining area; and a children’
s playroom with a 12-foot salt water reef aquarium.
Photography by Linden Hass
Interior designer Rona Landman celebrated the launch of her new furniture line, INSPIRED, with a private preview last Wednesday at Lampworks. The collection, which consists of 40 pieces, draws inspiration from various designers including Karl Springer and Vladimir Kagan and features materials in the vein of mid-century trends.
Functionality and style are incorporated with exotic woods, metals and parchment finishes. One signature piece is a set of three nesting tables reminiscent of neo-classic style. The curved dark wood legs and exterior frame of each table showcase a burled Maple inset.
For the more modern home, a pair of circular silver metal end tables is an updated take on Campaign style furniture. They feature four legs in a bamboo motif and a circular banded top that showcases a vibrant blue platform. A rectangular zebra cushioned stool, set on graceful curving gold-toned metal supports on each end, would fit both classic and contemporary designs, while a goat hair bench would satisfy a more unique taste.
Custom sizing is available on a number of pieces along with a variety of finishes. Custom pieces carry an unusually fast lead-time of about eight weeks.
The evening paid tribute to Furnish a Future, NYC’s only free furniture bank for formerly homeless families and individuals transitioning out of the NYC shelter system. Select styles from the INSPIRED line will be displayed at Lampworks through August.
Interior designer Lisa Jackson stumbled into design by accident, but it’s clear this is her calling. Clients like Renee Zellweger, Vera Wang and Tory Burch have turned to Jackson for her simple and timeless design. Widely known for unique pieces picked up during trips around the globe, Jackson has an eye for rare antiques and fine art compiled everywhere from auction houses to flea markets.
We spoke with the designer about Lucca & Co., a furniture, antique and tabletop company, which she acquired in 2007.
LoftLife: We hear you’ve just returned from some great trips, and that travel plays a large role in how you source a majority of your furniture and other pieces. Where are your favorite travel destinations for antiques?
Lisa Jackson: There are of course the tried and true small towns in Italy… Belgium – especially Brussels, Antwerp and the surrounding countryside.
My current romance is with Mykonos. I fell in love last summer, it made my heart flutter. First off, everything is white, my favorite color, and not to mention it’s an island that is all about chic and natural yet is also refined. Very fab and cool! Wildly inspirational…
LL: What are the challenges when balancing between antiques with modern?
LJ: Its all about keeping interiors modern and spare. So we sprinkle antiques in to add warmth and integrity. They provide a sense of history, and lineage. They add an uniqueness that is imperative. I exercise restraint for the most part. The overall distinctive modernity I am looking for is lost. I shutter from clutter!
LL: Tell us about the most interesting or unique space you’ve worked on to date.
LJ: We have worked on everything from the Blackstone Group offices in London to Rene Zellweger’s country house. Of course also NY lofts and beach houses in the Hamptons too. We love it all.
LL: A lot of your work features a neutral color scheme. Why the absence of color, or have we just not seen it?
LJ: I love to use strong color in accessories: pillows, throws, glass and ceramic objects. Most importantly, I use masses of fresh flowers to make the room come alive – deep purples, coral, acid green, saffron. I always use lots and lots of the same type and color grouped together. Think of bright groups of flowers set against a pale beige or grey background . . . sublime!
LL: Classic design and comfort seem to remain key themes. What interests or overall themes influence your design sensibility?
LJ: I am a modernist at heart. That’s the consistent aesthetic thread. I keep it refined and sophisticated in an informal way. Lifestyle means everything… I want all our interiors to reflect this. Never sacrifice style and luxe. The idea is to melt into the furniture. Put your feet up and wait for the uncertain and unexpected to unfold or get lucky with some good conversation and a cocktail.
LL: Lucca & Co. is a full lifestyle brand, including books, jewelry and gifts. How do you see all of these pieces fitting together?
LJ: Its all in the edit. There’s no ruffles or rushing around here. No pretense. Just clean and simple design of the finest quality. Table top items include 17th century classic glass styles from Sweden and Italian hand thrown ceramic dishes. Indian jewelry and books about modern design that all express the same voice.
LL: Coming from a business background and somewhat falling into interior design, what were the biggest surprises you came across in the industry you were not expecting?
LJ: Holy cow . . . all the heavy lifting! This is a very physically demanding business and I am always running around looking for the newest and coolest stuff for the shop, not to mention moving furniture or hauling pillows and objects for styling. I admit, I do have a great staff that helps a lot.
LL: What have you not had the opportunity to design yet that you’d like to do?
LJ: Carpet and textile designs are a passion. I have a million ideas which I am working on as we speak!
For more information about Lisa’s interior design work, visit Jackson Aaron.
Posted by Erin Ryder
Last night we went to DWR’s Upper West Side studio to see the results of the Nathan Thomas Design Challenge. DWR partnered with Housing Works and tasked Nathan with creating a warm and welcoming personal work space using items up for auction with the thrift shop.
Using his signature skills in altering designs, a DWR dining table turned into a geometrically eye-pleasing lucite topped desk, and a plain wall bearing chalkboard paint was transformed into a chalk mural accented by the phrase “Trust Me” in neon, resonating with today’s environment, or lack thereof. A personal favorite was the hand painted wine bottles leftover from gatherings at the designer’s apartment that he had jazzed up with a raw zipper and white poppies. Other great pieces included the hot pink duct taped antique mannequins and the over-sized brown medicine jars with single banana leafs placed in them.
Check out DWR’s Workspace Sale here.
For more on Nathan Thomas, visit his website Nathan Thomas Studios.
Read our interview with Nathan Thomas here.
Posted by Erin Ryder
From the start of this season’s Top Design, one designer stuck out as the obvious front-runner to us. With stints at Alexandra Champalimaud & Associates and NathanEgan Interiors, New York-based designer Nathan Thomas displayed an approach to design that would enhance any loft. Following a well-deserved win on the Bravo series, he has now launched his own eponymous design firm, Nathan Thomas Studios.
We had the opportunity to ask this season’s Top Design winner a few questions about his artistic sensibility.
LoftLife: First things first: Season One’s finale was a loft challenge and you were tasked with a nondescript townhouse. Which kind of space do you prefer to work with?
Nathan Thomas: In comparing both finale spaces, the loft of Season One and the townhouse of Season Two, I would have to say that the loft speaks to me more in a designer’s vocabulary versus a townhouse. I find the architecture of cast iron or old warehouse with soaring windows to be full of personality and possibility.
The bones of a real loft space are historical, and conjure up ideas of modernity and sophistication. I tend to view architecture of the late 19th century and its prospects of re-purpose as so relevant today. Although I was very happy with outcome of my town home in the finale, I feel I only achieved that by channeling an idea of a more architectural spirit. It was a builder’s home, void of character and personality. This is the true test of a designer/decorator, however. The ability to look beyond what may be a dull and vacant space and transform that into something special and unique.
LL: Your artwork tends to be such a striking focal point. What draws you to a piece? When do you work it into the design process, at the beginning or the end?
NT: When decorating interior spaces, whether they be commercial, residential, private, or public, artwork plays such a crucial role in the outcome and total package. I have always been deeply connected to art and have never felt like a room should be designed around art. Rather, the art is the piece de la resistance, the bonus, the firework!
LL: How did your philosophy surrounding artwork play itself out on the show?
NT: During the filming of this show, I shopped my artwork prior to finishing a space. What I tried to do was really search out the personality of work – look for pieces that spoke volumes to me and that I knew would have great visual impact. As you saw in my townhouse, I incorporated both kinetic sculptures and paintings, plus a painting that I actually created!
LL: Which designers have you admired or have inspired you along the way?
NT: Good question! I draw inspiration in so many ways. Fashion designers are also a huge part of my “sketchbook.” I have always looked to the classic houses of Hermès, Balenciaga, and YSL for strong ideas and classic elements but enjoy the cutting edge viewpoint of Viktor & Rolf and Comme des Garçons.
Fashion and Interiors are an intermingled industry. I find interior designers and decorators are constantly drawing cues from the fashion world. However, the classic interiors of Mario Buatta and Larry Laszlo are also wonderful springboards for any designer to look to for inspiration. Their interiors are graceful, well thought out, and memorable.
LL: What are your favorite online sources of design inspiration?
NT: I have recently been introduced to Design*Sponge. Fantastic site full of ideas, resources, and inspiration.
(Above: Loud art packs a punch in this office project from Nathan’s previous firm, NathanEgan Interiors)
LL: Any exciting projects we can expect from you next, as well as with the launch of Nathan Thomas Studios?
NT: Absolutely! Stay tuned for some new work to be posted on my website. I am finishing a great salon called DELUXE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s a very young, hip, fashionable space with a lot of attitude and personality. The space is loft-like with some great details. I commissioned an artist to do a very large over-scaled wall painting that reads very “street” inspired. Also, I am launching a line of custom upholstered chairs that are growing in popularity and will be more readily available soon. I am working on decorating an apartment on lower Fifth Ave for an important fashion executive. It’s been tons of fun through use of color and repurposing old furniture. Stay tuned to the website Nathan Thomas Studios as it is ever expanding.
For a recap of the whole season, check out Bravo’s Top Design here.
Posted by Erin Ryder
The celebration of our second issue continued on with Aqua, where LoftLife hosted a party on Friday, October 10th following the anniversary party with Space Modern (even more photos still to come!). Guests gathered on the roof and took in the view of midtown Atlanta while sipping on cocktails from Partida Tequila and the Taste Network, served by the Liquid Chefs. The building was a fitting setting as it is also home to football star Gibril Wilson, who was featured in the magazine.
20 Tenth Street
Atlanta, GA 30309
Posted by Erin Ryder
A few weeks ago LoftLife partnered with DWR in Atlanta for “Lofts Within Reach” to celebrate our Winter issue. Four panelists and a studio full of loft dwellers talked about the distinguishing characteristics of a loft and intown living. Guests discussed the upcoming Castleberry Hill Loft Tour (CastleberryHill.org) , in the Landmark Historic District on the southwest edge of downtown, where former warehouses have found new lives as live/work lofts, cutting edge art galleries, shops and restaurants – with the best of each on display this past weekend (more photos to come).
Speakers tackled the design challenges of open plan living, offering ideas on storage solutions in addition to discussing the current multi-use furniture choices that are readily available. The event was genuinely educational amidst an energetic atmosphere that spread from speaker to participant.
Bottom line: we can’t get enough! Which is why this event marks the beginning of a new LoftLife community series that we plan to continue on a regular basis.
Posted by Erin Ryder