March 29, 2011

Find your haven at home...

A sunny place to relax and refresh.    Photo:  Eric Roth

"A room of one's own"... "an escape hatch"... "a tiny retreat under the eaves"...  many ways to describe a space carved out somewhere in your home where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind, and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

Reclaimed wood desk is complemented by vintage factory stool, artist easel, tin pail with rolls of antique wallpaper, seagrass basket with vintage wallpaper printing cylinders (very cool!), wire gym locker for holding fabric swatches, a birds nest display under the glass cloche, and a linen-covered nail-head bench I scored from West Elm.   Nautical sconces and mercury lamp with netting overlay complete the look.  Photo:  Eric Roth

This sunny loft was the perfect spot to create such a space.  The finished attic houses exercise equipment at one end, and an area for creativity at the other.  It's quiet, with windows on three sides.  As you sit at the desk, perched on the tall stool, views of the treetops and town inspire fresh ideas.    I think I may never come down.  :)  And if you ask me whether it is better to finish a basement or an attic, I will vote attic every time.   Dark and dank vs. sunny and breezy.  Which would you choose?

Nail-head Bench - West Elm
Stool and Accessories - Nesting On Main
Art - Grand Battement by me
Floor Paint - ECOS Organic Floor Paint

March 26, 2011

How to use Nautical Charts to Map out a Feature Wall

Home Office of The Concord Green Healthy Home.  Design by Lisa Kauffman Tharp.  Photo:  Eric Roth.

Nautically-inspired interior design is a wonderful way to connect your home with nature.  It can veer into the land of cliche however, so one has to execute carefully.   For this Office space, I actually pull from several thematic territories - nautical, barn and flight (with that gorgeous antique propeller) - but it works because each element is quietly adding to the overall beauty of the space without calling too much theme-y attention to itself.

Of course, the nautical chart wall is one of the principle elements that pulls the room together.   I have always loved nautical charts for their muted tan and aqua colors, and ability to conjure up daydreams of sailing the seas.  (Hmm, perhaps I wouldn't get much work done at that desk.)

Here is how you can recreate this look:

1.   Plan.   Select a focal point wall (or get crazy and cover the entire room).  Measure to calculate the square footage of chart material needed.
2.  Source and prep chart material.  Expired edition charts are easier to find at reasonable prices in large quantity.  Trim up to the colored areas with an exacto knife and straight edge.
3. Layout.  Spread out the trimmed charts on the floor to make sure the design is pleasing.  Pay attention to the balance between colors and white space.  Don't be afraid to cut and piece different charts together to make the design more interesting.
4.  Tack up charts (and paste, if desired).   Using push pins, tack up the trimmed charts to the wall.  I used clear pins and smoothed the charts tightly as I covered the wall, trimming for a perfect fit as I went along.  I planned the tacking as a prep-step prior to pasting the charts with homemade wallpaper paste, but it looked so good that I didn't need to go the extra step.  If you do want to paste them to the wall, here is a great non-toxic recipe for wallpaper paste.  Be sure to test first, to make sure the colors will not run.
Barn Doors: I designed the tall sliding barn doors to provide ultimate flexibility between the Office space and the adjacent Dining Room / Library.  When all four doors are slid to the side wall, the two spaces feel like one larger space.  When closed, the Office has privacy, while still sharing light and views through the upper glass.  

Nautical Charts - Maryland Nautical Sales
Barn Doors - Design by Lisa Kauffman Tharp.  Built by Circle B / Barn Depot.
Propeller and pillow - Nesting On Main
Chair - Arhaus
Custom Drapery Panels - Acorn Interiors
Art and Model Sailboat - Powers Gallery

March 21, 2011

Indoor Green: Healthy Plants and Flowers bring the Outdoors In

 Photo:  Courtesy of Copper Penny Flowers

Nothing connects our interiors to the outside world better than plants and freshly cut flowers.  There are even great choices for minimizing water use, and for those who suffer from allergies.  Check out these beauties from Copper Penny Flowers.

 Seedums, such as these "Hens and Chicks" add fresh succulent beauty, and require very little water.     Photo:  Kauffman Tharp Design
Orchids are not only beautiful, they are rated a 1 for "Best" on the OPALS allergy rating scale.  Photo:  Kauffman Tharp Design

Jennifer Eaton, owner of Copper Penny Flowers, can provide beautiful plant selections based on your own Healthy House goals.  Here, she makes sure that everything looks perfect for the recent television and print shoots.
A big thank you to Jennifer for the gorgeous finishing touches!


March 8, 2011

Add Architectural Dimension with Built-In Furniture

Photo: Kauffman Tharp Design
3-D isn't just for hit Hollywood movies these days.  Adding dimension to walls can completely transform a room.  By framing this triple window with a window seat and pair of bookshelves, we add inviting seating, not to mention lots of open and closed storage.  These improvements even repair proportion issues in the space.
BEFORE: Notice the wider space to the right of the triple window, leaving the room lacking in symmetry.
SOLUTION: Custom-built pair of matching bookcases by Bostonwood will establish much needed symmetry around the triple window.  Installation by Aedi Construction.            

IN PROGRESS: Next, we added a window seat, also crafted by Bostonwood, finished with non-toxic Mythic Paint.  Tons of storage hides under the lift-up lid.

AFTER: Seat cushion, window treatments (all by Acorn Interiors), comfy pillows and sconces help to create a cozy place for relaxing.
Bostonwood is a great choice for custom furniture and built-ins because they offer:
  • Local craftsmanship
  • Sustainably grown local woods, such as eastern white pine 
  • Solid wood will not off-gas toxic fumes like composite furniture
  • Option to buy unfinished, or finish with non-toxic paints or stains from ECOS or Mythic
  • Reasonable pricing
  • In-home measuring service included
Nick at Bostonwood will happily sketch up your piece before it goes into production.
    Ahhhhh.  Finished, and enjoying the sunset views...
    All photos in this post: Kauffman Tharp Design.

      March 1, 2011

      Sneak Peek: Living Room Test Photos

      Photo:  Lisa Kauffman Tharp
      Above, is the first of many test photographs I took for shoot week.   Far superior professional pictures from Eric Roth to soon follow.

      The living room design epitomizes my aesthetic vision for the entire home... natural and organic elements, artistic connections with nature, reclaimed materials in the woods of the tables, and spare sculptural lines that are softened by natural fabrics of linen, cotton and silk.
      Photo: Lisa Kauffman Tharp

      Custom window treatments and window seat cushion by Acorn Interiors.
      Custom bookcases and window seat - Bostonwood.
       "Poem for Nauset Afternoon" oil painting by Teri Malo - Powers Gallery.
      Verellen sofa and Oly Hanna chairs - Hudson of Wellesley.
      Vintage glass pie display (used as a side table) and other accessories - Nesting on Main.
      X-Brace Console Chest - Interim Furnishings.
      French chimney piece on low table - Encores Antiques.
      Hens and Chicks succulents by Copper Penny Flowers.
      Fabrics - Kravet.

      A special thanks to the folks at Aedi Construction for all of the last minute installations to make the home camera-ready.  Thank you as well to ZeroEnergy Design for their productive efforts to publicize the project.  I am so pleased that we can share this experience so that others might shortcut right to better, healthier design.
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