Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Light and the Body

I always wondered why the weather would have an effect on my mood. When I wake up to sunshine, I feel energetic and cheerful, but on a dark dreary day, I feel very lazy and sluggish. Our moods vary in response to natural light, which is uplifting and therapeutic. This is why adequate lighting is an important aspect of a design. "A well designed lighting plan makes use of high levels of illumination to enhance energy and emotion and will provide low, subtle lighting to encourage relaxation and a mellow feeling" ("Interiors: an Introduction").

Effects on the mind and body

Large areas of bright light stimulate a physical and emotional surge of energy, which may cause fatigue after long periods of exposure. The mind becomes very bored and can sometimes cause a feeling of illness.
Moderate to low levels of light give an "inviting, cozy, intimate feeling". This type of lighting is accomplished with the use of dimmer switches and can often be found in restaurants. It also helps establish perimeter of a room and produces a sense of security.
 Colored light can also have an effect of a person. Warm white lights are welcoming and uplifting. Cool colored lights (blue, green, purple) produce a calm, restful environment, but can become "unfriendly, cold, and depressing" after prolonged exposure. Bright colors (red, orange, yellow) produce eyestrain, which leads to a feeling of physical exhaustion as the mind struggles with coping with the intensity ("Interiors: an Introduction").

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a great example of how lighting can affect our mind and body. This disorder occurs when winter approaches and disappears as spring begins. The symptoms are as follows: lethargy, irritability, increased desire to sleep and eat.

Glare, an excessive light that causes irritation and fatigue, can also have negative effects on the mind and body. Dark areas surrounding lighted areas can cause eyestrain, fatigue, and even depression, as peripheral vision constantly has to deal with the drastic dark-bright contrast. We encounter glare every day, as we watch television or while we are driving, but there are a few ways to reduce glare.
  1. Window treatments, such as shades or blinds, block the light that comes from the sun.
  2. To reduce glare from artificial lighting, a person can lower their wattage usage, use a cool-beam lamp (type of light that is designed to redirect its heat away from the light beam), adjust the direction of the lighting source, or use baffles (a device such as a board or grid that deflects light, either to direct it or to prevent glare).

In one of my previous post "Making Theory a Reality", I talked about light and how it affects all the other elements of design, but I hope this post shed some light on the effects it has on the mind and body.

Work Cited

Nielsen, Karla, and David Taylor. Interiors: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2011. 109-111. Print.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

American Society of Interior Design

Throughout my blogging experience during the past few months, I have grown as a member of the Interior Design Community. The bloggers within this community have shared great ideas, innovative products, and amazing designs. Then it hit me. In the fall of last year, I was introduced to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). This is a huge community that is committed to the field. 

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is a community of people - designers, industry representatives, educators, and students - committed to Interior Design. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building and outreach, we strive to advance the Interior Design profession, and in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people's lives.
Founded in 1975, ASID is the oldest and largest professional organization for Interior Designers. There are 16,000 practicing Interior Designers that work in all areas of commercial and residential design. ASID industry partners include more than 2,200 member firms with 6,500 individual representatives (ASID).


There are many benefits in becoming an ASID member. As a member, you are able access to the ASID Job Bank, a listing of employment opprotunities for designers. This list can be used by designers seeking work or by employees seeking designers. Also as a member, you are connected to other ASID members through a member-only website. This site includes chat rooms, forums, online directories, and message boards (ASID).

Student Chapters

There are currently 7,500 student ASID members.  ASID has more then 250 student chapters at various colleges, universities, and design schools with 2-year and 4-year programs throughout the U.S, as well as "virtual" chapters throughout online institutions. 

Ther biggest benefit to becoming an ASID member is the building of new relationships with other members. These people have the same interest and career goals. They learn from each other, help one another, and grow together. I learned in my previous Interior Design class that it is all about networking, because you never know how can help you in the long run.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Art of Feng Shui

"Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is an ancient Chinese art whose name translates from the Chinese as “wind and water”. Feng Shui is a lyrical phrase that poetically evokes the heart of this ancient practice." -Spiritual Feng Shui

The ancient art and science of Feng Shui was developed over 3,000 years ago in China ("What is Feng Shui?").  It is believed that practicing this ancient art will promote a great balance of energy and assure good health. Wind and water (two of nature's elements) are the driving forces of Feng Shui practices and techniques, filling ones' space with positive energy ("What is Feng Shui?"). In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health (good Feng Shui brings good fortune). If one doesn't practice good Feng Shui however, it is considered to be bad luck ("What is Feng Shui?").

 "Feng shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy."
Feng Shui was born out of thereligion and "philosophical system" of Taoism. Established in China, thisreligion/philosophy revolved around the worship of nature ("Tao and Chi"). Whenever the followers of Taoism would get stressed out from life,they would retreat back to nature, giving them time to rest and heal ("Taoand Chi"). During this time, they would consume themselves with theirhobbies in efforts to lift their spirits and relieve their stress. "Thispractice also instilled in the Chinese a very positive approach to life itself,for their health, well-being and vitality" ("Tao and Chi").

Chi (or Ch'i) is the most important component in Feng Shui, Chi encompasses everything and holds together all the different aspects and factors involved in Feng Shui. Chi cannot be seen, heard or felt, it does not register upon any of our senses. It's the virtual energy and force that flows all around. A house situated on a particular site with healthy environment will be subject to highly positive and beneficial Chi, it will help to produce a prosperous life or business environment. Feng Shui is basically the arrangement of environment to enable us to benefit from the good effects of Chi. There are three main conditions of Chi:
  • Sheng (beneficial) Chi: links to a good Feng Shui
  • Si (unhealthy) Chi: links to a bad Feng Shui
  • Sha (harmful) Chi: links to a killing Feng Shui  
Below is a short video I found demonstrating how to practice good Feng Shui. With three different enrtyways, Feng Shui expert, Laura Morris, shows how to create a balance of energy and harmony that will bring peace, prosperity, and good health.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Working Triangle

"Starting in 1944 the University of Illinois conducted a number of studies of kitchen design and developed the fundamental design principles that are still very much in use. These days the National Kitchen & Bath Association updates and publishes these basic design standards." -Star Craft Custom Builders

In my last post "Kitchen Come-Up!", I talked about the significance of the kitchen in homes and how some folks take their kitchens for granted now a days. Pointing out some kitchen designs that stood out to me, I discussed why I liked these kitchens. I pointed out the aesthetics and functionality of these kitchens, but in this post I'd like to go more in-depth on what makes great kitchen design. Particularly, I want to talk about "The Working Triangle," a fundamental design principle, and its significance in the kitchen.

Ergonomics: The study of efficiency in working environments.

Ergonomics plays a big role in "The Working Triangle" in that it helps us maintain the functionality of our kitchens and helps run them more smoothly and efficiently. This concept revolves around the placement of the refrigerator zone (food storage), the cooking zone (range and ovens), and the sink/cleanup zone. When these areas are places in the correct locations, this "triangle" can be very effective. According to the DIY Network, more trips are made within this "triangle" than in any other area of the kitchen.

According to the authors of the book "Interiors: An Introduction," the total walking distance among the three work zones should not be fewer than 12 feet because the kitchen will feel too crowded, causing frustration. Also, it should not be more than 26 feet because the zones will be too spaced out, causing exhaustion. Some kitchens may need two work triangles depending on how many people cook in the household. Along with the three major work zones (refrigerator, cooking, and sink/cleanup), there are other zones that add convenience and are considered essential to modern kitchen designs. These zones include:

· additional food storage zones
· various specialized food preparation zones
· a second cooking zone or a quick-cooking zone
· a second cleanup/sink zone
· tableware storage zone
· serving and service storage zone
· cleaning supplies storage zones

     Examples of "The Working Triangle"
                                                         Picture from

There are many different variations to this concept, but as an Interior Designer, it's his/or her job to give the client what is suitable for their needs and wants. The main purpose of this "triangle" is to increase efficiency. There are many sources that can help someone plan out their future kitchen design. "The Thirty-One Kitchen Design Rules, Illustrated" gives an in-depth list of guidelines that can help with many home improvement projects, including how to achieve "The Working Triangle".

Work Cited:
Nielsen, Karla, and David Taylor. Interiors: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2011. 146-147. Print.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitchen Come-up!

No one can argue the fact that the kitchen has served as an important space for many Americans over time. Families and friends come together over food. There's nothing better than enjoying a home cooked meal with the ones that you love. In today's society however, more people tend to eat out or stop at fast food restaurants out of convenience. Americans strive for convenience and want to be able to multitask. Why slave over a stove after a long day at work when one can grab a pizza on their way home from work? Why sit at a table and enjoy a home cooked breakfast when one can stop at McDonald's and grab a steak, egg, and cheese bagel on their way to work?

Americans used to value their kitchens. Now they use them sporadically, and during Thanksgiving. I honestly can't even say that with a straight face though. Companies know that Americans want convenience, and that they will pay the extra money to cut down their time. Working at a grocery store, I know that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for us. Although I work there, it surprises me every year how people spend hundreds of dollars for someone else to prepare their Thanksgiving meals. Half of the experience is preparing the meal with loved ones.

Comparing today's kitchen to this kitchen from the 1950's, there's no doubt that the kitchen has gone through changes throughout the years. 

Regardless if people are remodeling their kitchens to show them off or to actually cook in them, I am fascinated with the many different kitchen designs. Here are a few designs I found on the site Adorable Home and fell in love with.

This kitchen I imagine belongs to a nature lover. The combination of the earthy shade of green, woodenaccents, brick backsplashes, and the orchid sitting on the table, provides an organic type of look. Each piece in this kitchen harmonizes with one another. The simplicity of the monochromatic color scheme balances out all the textures and visual patterns.

I can't even imagine this kitchen being cooked in. The shiny "candy apple" red cabinetry give me this "look, but don't touch" type of vibe. Although the shade of red is bold and vibrant, the kitchen is still  simplistic with its white countertops, stainless steel appliances, and matching backsplashes.

I love this kitchen because it is clean, simple, and to the point. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a kitchen that someone can actually cook in. A person wouldn't be scared to get messy in this kitchen because it's not over the top and lavished. The combination of the white cabinetry, black countertops, stainless steel appliances, and natural light creeping in through the window, makes this a traditional kitchen, and one that families would want to cook together in.
Random Fact: Believe it or not, but the kitchen and food preparation are parts of American history. There is even an exhibit in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Even the late and great Julia Child's kitchen is on display at the exhibit!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not JUST a Chair!

Chairs are used every day without a second glance. Students use them at school to sit at their desk and learn. Some people sit in an office chair from 9am to 5pm five days a week. The public uses chairs at the library, movie theaters, restaurants, and so on. The chair, an object that I'd say people take for granted, is very necessary to our everyday schedules. Personally, I find it easier to put my shoes on sitting down, or eating a meal sitting down, or even doing my homework sitting down. Sitting in this swivel desk chair writing this post, I wonder who created the first chair. According to the author of the article "Who Invented the Chair?",
 Some accounts say that the Egyptians invented the chair because archaeologists found chairs in Egytpian tombs.  Others point out that the Sumerians must have been the inventors because there is a 4,500 year old statue of the goddess Inanna showing her sitting on a throne-like chair.
With a world full of chairs, it's hard to imagine a world without them. I can only imagine the publics' reaction to the first ever chair. Luckily, Ryan Bowen's short video can show this reaction better than I can describe.


It's funny how a chair was once something so simple and was used for functional purposes. Now manufacturers are not only making chairs to be functional, but also to serve as art work. The chair below I wouldn't consider fashionable, but it looks very comfortable. Art is a form of expression and at times conveys beauty. I'm sure there are those out there who would appreciate the sight of this chair in their home, maybe a gamer perhaps?
I love animal print. Would I have a chair like this one in my home? Probably not, but this chair would fit someone's sassy personality and home. I can see this chair in a teenage girl's bedroom, or maybe a single young lady's apartment. It's a very fun and flirtatious chair, but elaborate chairs like this one do not fit in just any space.
The chair below is fairly simple compared to the one above. The designer of this chair, I think, was going more for functionality over flare. The designer wasn't trying to catch your eye with elaborate prints and bright colors, but with the fact that this chair is a 2-for-1. Not only can one sit down, but they can read, write, or do homework without being next to a side table with a lamp on it. This chair with the built in over light is a brilliant idea when it comes to functioning purposes. I wonder how it was constructed though. Did a heat resistant fabric have to be used? If the bulb went out, would it be easy to replace? I wonder how much this chair cost to produce and how much it's going for in department stores.

Here's another 2-for-1 piece. This chair serves as both a chair and a table. I think it's amazing how a chair was meant to be sat in, but over time the chair has evolved. Imaginations have gone wild. Designers are taking more risk. Notice the many variations of the chair in this blog post and in the real world (in stores, online, etc.). New and innovative creations are being made every day, and a chair is not just a chair anymore.
The chair featured in this video is a very simple chair and easy to assemble.

"Proceeds will be spent securing time on CNC machines, buying the raw materials, producing packaging and delivering your stool to you. We want to make low-volume local production runs efficient by spending time finding the closest machine to you, maximizing sustainability and getting your stool to you as quickly as possible." -Kickstarter

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Designer vs. Decorator

You're probably thinking to yourself “what is the difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator??" It's all about the qualifications. When I think of a Designer, I think of someone who is fully rounded and educated when it comes to all aspects of design (sustainability, maintenance, accessibility, programming needs, reflected ceiling plans, etc.). A decorator on the other hand, I find are the people who don't have the education and background, but take up decorating more as a hobby. Any person can call themselves an Interior Decorator, but only those who qualify (have a four year degree, years of experience, and passed the licensing exam) can call themselves Interior Designers.
Step 1: Education
To become a licensed Interior Designer in the state of Virginia, you must graduate from a four year accredited degree programs. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) "assures the public that interior design education prepares students to be responsible, well-informed, skilled professionals who make beautiful, safe, and comfortable spaces that also respect the earth and its resources." CIDA sets the standard for these accredited institutions.
Step 2: Experience
After graduation, you must obtain at least two years of formal training with in the Interior Design Field.
Step 3: Examination
After four years of education and two years of experience, you are eligible to take the licensing exam. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) administers the exam. If you pass the exam, by law, you can call yourself an Interior Designer. This means you have acquired the standard knowledge of what it entails to be an Interior Designer. 
This is the NCIDQ's view on the difference between Interior Design and Decorating:
 Many people use the terms "interior design" and "interior decorating" interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants' quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.

The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.

Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered—documenting their formal education and training—and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.

Trisha Wilson

Trisha Wilson and the Firm
Trisha Wilson is the CEO and President of the internationally acclaimed design firm Wilson Associates. As one of the most successful interior-architectural design firms in the world, their client list includes over twenty of the world's top 100 billionaires (Wilson Associates). Her firm, established in 1971, has designed over "one million guestrooms in thousands of hotels worldwide" (Wilson Associates). "The firm's brand was built around creating interiors for hotels, restaurants, clubs, casinos, and high end residential properties" (Wilson Associates). The luxurious and elegant commercial design work of Wilson Associates, as well as their ability to design to the market, has landed them one of the top hospitality firms in the world. They create "custom interiors for each client" by listening to what the client wants, as well as learning about that country's culture and surroundings.

Wilson graduated from the University Of Texas School Of Architecture with a degree in Interior Design. After graduation, she worked at a department store selling mattresses. Then she worked for Dallas architect Harry Hover designing church glass stained windows (Evans).
In 1997 she established The Wilson Foundation, which is dedicated to addressing the needs of disadvantaged and underserved children in South Africa. She focuses on the Limpopo Province, a rural area devastated by "extreme poverty, unemployment, substandard education, and an HIV/AIDS pandemic" (Wilson Associates). The foundation has given over $3.5 million to this community to support healthcare, education, and youth development.

Photography courtesy of Wilson Associates

Be sure to check out the full portfolio of Wilson Associates and this brief video of Trisha's latest achievement!

Cited Work:
Evans, Mary. "The Amazing Rise of Trisha Wilson’s Interior-Architectural-Design Firm." dmagazine. D Magazine Partners, 13 Feburary 2008. Web.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's about Beauty, Inspiration, and Creativity.

I think there is a lot of money in the Interior Design industry. Heavy weights such as HGTV (Home and Garden Television), IKEA, and even Lowes and Home Depot, are dedicated to inspiring us and helping us with our home improvement wants and needs. When I travel, I find myself always wishing that I could live in a place that looks just like the nice hotels I would stay in. These heavy weights give me hope. With a vision, a little help, and hard work, any space can be transformed into a masterpiece.
Beautiful Master Bathroom from HGTV.
HGTV is a great source to help any person get inspired. Along with their television shows, you can also go onto their website and browse by room, style, or color, to get a little inspiration. They have sections dedicated to gardening tips, do-it-yourself projects; you can browse through photos, or even get up to date with episodes on the tube that you missed the night before. It has a little bit for everyone, and that’s why I love it.

I actually used to love the show “Clean House” on the style network. For those who haven’t seen it, it is a home makeover show. The house would show up at a family’s home with a clean-up crew and a renovation crew and get to work.  The clean-up crew would unclutter the home, host a yard sale, and then use the money to give the family their dream home. The show was just so inspiring to me. NO matter how much of a wreck your home may be or how cluttered it is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Interior Design fascinates me because it’s all about beauty and creativity. Turning something ordinary into something extraordinary is magical to me. It’s the same feeling you get when you see a woman go from “plain Jane” to a sassy sophisticated lady.  Her confidence skyrockets, and to see that kind of change in a person is life changing and gratifying. It’s funny how a fresh coat of paint or a new centerpiece on your dining room table can transform a space. Let your imagination run wild. Get creative, get inspired, and have fun. Happy Decorating!

Ps. YouTube is also a fabulous source for DIY home improvement projects! Check out these videos!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Psychology of Color

Color, as mentioned in my earlier blog post (Making Theory a Reality), is the most emotional element of design. There are so many different colors, shades, and intensities. The paint color chosen for a room is the foundation, followed by the d├ęcor you want to place in the space. Color schemes can be read in many different ways. Colors have the power to make us feel various ways. For example, a bright yellow will make me feel cheerful, or lavender purple will make me feel relaxed.  I realize that there are so many choices to choose from when it comes to paint, but if you can identify what mood you want to portray or what feeling you want that room to have, it will make your decision a bit easier.
“Color Scheme (Noun):
An arrangement or pattern of colors or colored objects conceived of as forming an integrated whole: the color scheme of a living room.” – 
There are many different types of color schemes. The picture below shows a monochromatic room, the predominant color being purple. There are splashes of white here and there, but whites, browns, blacks, and greys are not considered to be colors.  

According to HGTV, if the color scheme in the room is right, it will enhance your feelings of health and wellbeing, make your space feel larger or cozier and intimate, and it will illuminate dark areas and energize static areas. The right color depends on the person. The psychology of color is a big trend right now. When choosing a color, you must consider these questions:

          "1. Where is the room?
           2. How many windows are there and which direction do they face?
           3. Is there landscaping outside that will have an effect on the colors in the room?
           4. Who will use the room, and what will they do there? Is it private or community space?
           5. Will it be a sociable and active place, or a peaceful place? How do I want it to feel?" -HGTV

You can also make color schemes with just primary colors (red, yellow, blue), secondary colors (orange, purple, green), complementary colors (yellow and purple), or even just warm colors (red, orange, yellow). With all the colors and intensity variations, the possibilities are endless.

I absolutely love this blog because it talks about the color wheel, color theory, and breaks down the various color schemes. If you are interested in learning more about color schemes or are redecoration and trying to come up with a color scheme, check this blog out! The author even provides pictures of color wheels to help identify which scheme she is talking about. Also, I found this neat tool online that can further help you decide on a color scheme. Happy decorating!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

GO Green GO!

Sustainability is an important topic in the world, but also to interior designers. A designer needs to be informed on this topic to better serve their client. Not only does a designer want to give a client their dream home or space, but the design also has to be “green”, meaning it has to be useful and serve a purpose. In the words of the US Environmental Protection Agency,
“Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”
As a designer, we look for substitutions that will be sustainable. Notice when you use a public restroom. Many places have gotten rid of the paper towel dispensers and have converted to the hand dryers. That wasn’t just for style, or because it was cool and technology savvy, but to serve a greater purpose. They were created to cut down the use of paper needed to be used just for drying our hands. The more paper we use, the more trees that need to be cut down to supply that paper. This is an effort to protect our environment.
Solar panels on top of roof coverting sunlight into electricity.

“Sustainable design principles include minimizing non-renewable energy, using environmentally preferable products, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and optimizing operational and maintenance practices.” –US General Services Administration
There are many acts and organizations that strive for sustainability, including the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Executive Order 13514, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“a green building certification system as a tool for evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable design”) also known as LEED.
Windmills used to convert wind into other sources of power.

There are also many things we can do as individuals to “go green”, such as recycling, reducing the amount of water and electricity we generate, and not driving our cars if possible to reduce air pollutants, just to name a few. Also, we can reuse or donate items that are still useful. The items that go to the dump just get incinerated, and all of that smoke and pollution goes into the air we breathe. It’s something to think about next time you are waiting for a friend in the car with it running, or letting the water run when you’re brushing your teeth. Check out these short podcast that can help us make our world a better place. Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Interiors Inside Out

Today I will be analyzing a room from head to toe using the terms we have discussed in the past couple weeks. I will break the room into bits, incorporating the principles and elements of design, to explain what is going on in this space. Art is what you feel from it. It's what you read in a piece, and this is my opinion about this space. Not just what I like and what I don't like, but a more in-depth analyze on why I think the space works.

I found this kitchen on Denise McGaha Interiors company site. This company provides luxurious interiors and on the site you can find a gallery of their work, testimonials, magazines they have been featured in, and so much more. You should check the site out sometime. They do some beautiful work. Today I will give you a little taste of what they can deliver as designers.

The simplicity of this kitchen gives it elegance. I love bold colors, and in this space the designer puts an emphasis on the oven by using the color yellow (Elements of Design). The brightness of the yellow and the dullness of the cabinetry, walls, and appliances create a beautiful contrast. Your eye moves around the kitchen and ends up on the oven. I also like how the designer puts a splash of yellow here and there so the yellow oven doesn't look out of place. The back splash also caught my eye. It brings everything together, giving this kitchen a great sense of harmony (Principles of Design). The designer used an interesting pattern, combining different shades of yellows and blues. The pattern almost looks as if it could be touched, creating visual texture. The designer uses a combination of light sources to brighten up this space. As you can see, there are pendent lights providing artificial light over the island, lighting under the upper cabinets, and looking at various highlights around the kitchen, I can tell there is a window allowing natural light in as well. From what I can see, there is a balanced amount of negative and positive space. There are no spots of the room that look empty, yet there are none that look too "busy". It seems like everything has a place.

I enjoy how the designer brings a little nature into the space like my inspiration Frank Lloyd Wright did in many of his works. You see flowers, potted plants, and vegetables on the counters and island. Even the use of yellow reminds me of the outdoors (the warm yellow sun). Like I said, I like the color scheme of this kitchen. The bright yellow gives me a sense of joyfulness. It is very welcoming and cheerful. I'd enjoy spending time in this kitchen. And the distribution of color is also on point. The neutrality of the grey tones the brightness of the yellow down, and the blue accents in the back splash provide a great little accent to the space.

There's no Architecture without the letters A-R-T.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright is one of my inspirations to become an interior designer. The way he turned architecture into art work was revolutionary. Wright lived to be 91 years old, and throughout his life he had designed over 1,100 buildings, residential and commercial. Last semester, my professor had us go to the Pope-Leighey House (located in Mount Vernon) and write a five page paper on it. I wondered how I would write a five page paper on a house, but when I got there, I realized how easy it would be to write this paper. The house was beautiful, yet unique. I had never seen a home like this. He was known for his “organic architecture” ("Biography."). Wright loved the outdoors and felt that we should be connected with nature. The Pope-Leighey home was built out of wood, and there were many full-length window and clerestory windows that let in an abundance of natural light and also served as ventilation. The space was also very small, only 1,200 square feet, but he made the space appear larger through many tricks. The many windows connecting us with the outside made the space feel open. The ceiling was very low, but he used compression and release to make the rooms feel bigger. The hallways would be very low and narrow, but then the room you enter would open up because it’s not as narrow and the ceiling isn’t as low as in the hallway. I could talk about the Pope-Leighey house for days, but to see it in person is an amazing experience. 

    Picture of the Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria, VA. Plan a visit sometime!
Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his “organic architecture” as well as his concept of the “Usonian” style home. He believed that everyone deserved to live in a nice home, regardless of income. He was very resourceful when it came to building homes. He used locally available materials and unpainted/unstained wood to cut down on the cost to build homes ("Biography."). He also was known for solar hearing, natural cooling, and carports. Many of his residential homes were secluded in rural areas to give the family living there a sense of security. 

Wright used many of the principles and elements of design to achieve his great works. He made it a point for his creations to harmonize with the outdoors. He put a great emphasis of his love of nature with his large windows that allotted an abundance of natural light. Wright also used lines to create different illusions. The Pope-Leighey House is a great example of that. His use of horizontal lines made the home appear larger than what it is. He also emphasized the beauty in nature with the natural unstained wood. You can see this theme throughout many of his works.

Wright’s “Prairie School” style was also very popular. A good example of this style would be the Pope-Leighey house. It was a single story home with “low pitched roofs and low rows of casement windows” ("Biography."). He always made it a point to emphasis the beauty in nature. Other celebrated works of his include, but aren’t limited to, “Taliesin Fellowship”, “Fallingwaters Residence”, and the “Guggenheim Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art”.  


Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois (1893). Wright's first example of his "organic architecture style using "horizontal emphasis and expansion and open interior space".  Picture from here.                                                      

Taliensin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Picture from here.


 Fallingwaters in rural Southwestern PA; exterior and interior (1935). Constructed on top of a waterfall. Picture from here.

You can see harmony in this interior. The color scheme is very neutral. Again, Wright emphasizes his love of nature. Notice the pile of wood laying off to the side, as well as the fire place, brick wall, the rocks embedded in the floor, etc. You also can see various forms, like the cubes and the shere, and he also creates a balance on the shelf with the two cubes. This space makes me feel like I'm in a fancy log cabin. It gives me a sense of serenity and peace.


  Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Last work of Wright before his death in 1959. Picture from here.

Work Cited:
"Frank Lloyd Wright." Biography. A E Networks, n.d. Web. 31 Jan 2013. <>.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Making Theory a Reality

For those following, last week  I explained what the Principles of Design were and their importance to a potential space. This week I will talk about the Elements of the Design, which “embodies the Principles of Design and transforms theory into reality.” (Nielson, 55) Without the Elements of Design, it would be impossible to execute the six Principles of Design (scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis, and harmony).

Space can be positive (filled) or negative (open). Different spaces give us different feelings. Small spaces, for instance, make us feel protected and secure, while large spaces give us the feeling of freedom.

Notice the open space in this room. This is a great example of negative space.
Picture from here.

A triangle, rectangle, and a hexagon are all examples of  Shape. Shape is two dimensional, “often seen as a geometric figure” (Nielson, 64). Form is a three dimensional shape, such as a cube, sphere, or cone.

                “The key to selecting  forms is to balance them against the proportion and  scale of the    architecture for the desired psychological effect or feeling and to select each form to complement     other near by forms.” -Nielson
2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes. Picture from here. 

 Mass is the “relative solidity of a form”. For example, lets say you  have a couch and a futon with the same dimensions. The couch is old and sturdy , but very comfortable because of the thick cushioning.  The futon is the same length and width, but has a metal frame, with metal arms and a removable cushion. Even though both pieces have the same dimensions, the couch has greater visual mass. Many designers use the technique of “massing” to balance out larger pieces of furniture or “architectural components,“ such as a window or a fireplace, with another part of the room. This creates unification, or harmony (Nielson, 64).

Notice the use of massing, or grouping, to create balance in this space.
Picture from here.

Lines are important for creating a particular mood in a room. They also create effects such as increased height, width, or impression of movement. Lines can be straight, angular, or curved.

                “The Psychology Effects of  Straight Lines…..
                -Horizontal: weighty, secure, restful, repose
                -Vertical: imposing, lofty, solid, formal, restrained

                The Psychology Effects of Angular Lines…..
                -Diagonal: action, movement, interest, angular stability
                -Zigzag: exciting, lively, rhythmic movement

                The Psychology Effects of Curved Lines…
                -Curved or Circular: soft, humanizing, repetitive tempo, graceful
                -Flowing: gentle movement , growth, linear development
                -Tightly Curved or Busy: playful activity, zest, lively visual stimulation” (Nielson, 66)

Architect Frank Llyod Wright used horizontal lines to make this house appear larger than what it really is.
Picture found here. 

Texture can be smooth (formal) or rough (casual). A smooth surface reads “cold and unwelcoming”, and a rough surface reads as “harsh and irritating”. Pattern can be read as “visual” texture.

                “A balance and variety of texture is necessary within a unified theme in order to achieve harmony.” (Nielson, 67)

This sample of wood grain is an example of a pattern that can also be view as visual texture or actual texture.
Picture from here.

Light is probably the most important elements of design because it affects all the other elements. It can affect the appearance of a space, making it look larger or smaller. It can affect the form or shape of furnishings in a room. It can alter the way we read patterns and texture, as well as the identity of  a color of the wall. Light can be natural (from the sun) or artificial (from a lamp).
This room uses the natural light from the sun.
Picture from here.

Color is probably the most emotional and personal element of design. Colors, or hues, give us different emotions. Warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellow) are stimulating. They read as friendly, cozy, and inviting, while cool colors (blues, greens, and violets) are calming and give us the feeling of restraint, dignity, and formality. The value of a hue refers to it’s lightness or darkness. The color pink is just a lighter version of red, and burgundy is a darker version of red. Lighter colors open up a space, while darker colors make a space feel smaller.
This hot pink kitchen is bright, bubbly, and fun. This space looks very welcoming and exciting all because of the paint choice. Picture from here.

Now that we got through the basic language of design, we can get rolling into the good stuff.  I can talk about the emphasis of a vase full of roses on a dining room table or Frank Llyod Wright’s use of  horizontal lines to make a space appear larger and know that you will understand what I am talking about.  There is a lot to take in consideration when creating a space for someone. I hope you have realized that after learning the principles and elements of design. Until next time folks! Happy Designing!

Work Cited

Nielsen, Karla, and David Taylor. Interiors: An Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, 2011. 55-67. Print.