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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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albers

One of the many colorful Albers prints I am inheriting from Alexis.

While I haven't been the most avid art collector over the years, Alexis has loaned to me her collection of Josef Albers prints. Each one is an abstract composition, part of the Homage to the Square series, which will bring much-needed color into my apartment and fill up the shared wall between the powder room and library.

blankwallKSapt

It's hard to get a full shot of the wall between the powder room and library, since the hallway is so narrow.

I am thinking about hanging each of the flat colored squares in a simple display, not unlike my inspiration shots. The first one I took while traveling with Martha in the south of France this summer at the Miro museum. The other one is a tear sheet I saved from Dale Chihuly's home in the Pacific Northwest. I am leaning towards the Miro-inspired image that has a space between each picture.  What do you think?

wall_southoffrance

One of my inspiration walls, at the Miro Museum in the South of France.

chihuly

This wall of Native American photography in Chihuly's home is stunning.

Reader Question: Making a Home in a Small Space

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Last week, Michael in Chicago suggested that I write a post about making a home in a small space, as he has recently downsized to a smaller apartment. Although I have moved into a larger space, I still have the mindset that strategy is everything - and I am certain that giving up space does not equate to sacrificing style and comfort. I think the following tips can apply to all living spaces, not just small ones:

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I love how this designer uses the height of a room to her advantage (from http://robynclarke.com)

1 I love how this designer uses the height of a room to her advantage (from http://robynclarke.com)

These built-in shelves surrounding the door frames are such a smart and useful design. I would love to try something like this in my new apartment - perhaps in the guest room/office space. (from apartmenttherapy.com)

2 These built-in shelves surrounding the door frames are such a smart and useful design. I would love to try something like this in my new apartment - perhaps in the guest room/office space. (from apartmenttherapy.com)

1.) Get Organized. When you live in a small space, organization is imperative. Built-in storage is a great way to take advantage of floor space, and it often feel less obtrusive than free standing storage units

2.) See the Corners. I think one of the most common misconceptions is that pushing furniture into the corners of a room will maximize living space. This couldn't be more wrong! Pull items away from the corners to prevent your space from feeling claustrophobic and mount lighting and shelves on walls to prevent clutter on the floor.

3.) Invest in Area Rugs - they make a room feel larger and help to designate the different functions of a single space, especially in one-room studios. I browsed the MS Rug Collection from Safavieh this weekend and found several designs that I'd love to have for my living room.

image from New York Magazine

image of a NYC loft from New York Magazine

4.) Mirrors. Use them strategically and to your advantage. They create an illusion of more space and bring more light into a room. I will probably use them in every room of my apartment, especially in the hallways to prevent them from looking too dark and cramped.

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I love the use of several antique mirrors in this bathroom (image from MSL Special Issue 2007)

1 I love the use of several antique mirrors in this bathroom (image from MSL Special Issue 2007)

Walls lined with floor-to-ceiling windows open up small spaces, like this foyer (image from MSL, February 2008)

2 Walls lined with floor-to-ceiling windows open up small spaces, like this foyer (image from MSL, February 2008)

5.) Multitask. Allow for everything – furniture, appliances, rooms – to have multiple functions. For instance, a large table can act as a desk during the day and a dining room table at night, or a console can pull double-duty as a work station. When unoccupied, the guest quarters in my apartment will function as a library and home office.

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David Hicks: A Life of Design

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British interior designer, David Hicks, has been a lifelong inspiration to me.

1 British interior designer, David Hicks, has been a lifelong inspiration to me.

Hicks was a style icon and design legend. He shocked the world of decorating in the 50s and 60s with his fearless use of color, bold patterns in textiles and carpeting, and mixing of antique and modern furniture.

2 Hicks was a style icon and design legend. He shocked the world of decorating in the 50s and 60s with his fearless use of color, bold patterns in textiles and carpeting, and mixing of antique and modern furniture.

One of Hicks' watercolors.  Whereas I collect tear sheets, take photographs and jot notes, Hicks would paint his inspiration.

3 One of Hicks' watercolors. Whereas I collect tear sheets, take photographs and jot notes, Hicks would paint his inspiration.

Some more of his watercolors.  I love the seaside theme.

4 Some more of his watercolors. I love the seaside theme.

I like the use of space in this entrance hallway - with a wall full of frames, it doubles as an art gallery. Definitely something I will consider for my own entrance hall.

5 I like the use of space in this entrance hallway - with a wall full of frames, it doubles as an art gallery. Definitely something I will consider for my own entrance hall.

Something on the left side of this room caught my eye.

6 Something on the left side of this room caught my eye.

This statue reminds me of the two beautiful figures I brought back from my trip to China.

7 This statue reminds me of the two beautiful figures I brought back from my trip to China.

And I thought that I liked mirrors! This room puts my 250-pound Desiron mirror to shame.

8 And I thought that I liked mirrors! This room puts my 250-pound Desiron mirror to shame.

This bathroom design is very reminiscent of the master bath in my new apartment. Like this structure, my sink has a lot of unused space underneath. I'm thinking about turning it into storage.

9 This bathroom design is very reminiscent of the master bath in my new apartment. Like this structure, my sink has a lot of unused space underneath. I'm thinking about turning it into storage.

Every host needs a bar and I plan on setting one up in either my living or dining room. I love the marble top on of this table - it's exquisite.

10 Every host needs a bar and I plan on setting one up in either my living or dining room. I love the marble top on of this table - it's exquisite.

The process of remodeling and decorating my new apartment has brought to mind a lot of different designers whom I admire. Their work encourages me to devour books, films, photographs, music, tear sheets - anything I can get my hands on for inspiration in creating a new space for myself.

Someone who has always been a muse of mine is David Hicks, the extroverted British designer whose career took off in 1950s through 70s. Hicks was the king of mismatched style before anyone else - he mixed antique with modern and did it with good taste and acumen. He was a true decorating trailblazer. If you want a dose of Hicks' design touch in your life, look towards his trademarks of mixing contemporary pieces with traditional, layering patterns on top of each other, and use of his classic "H" logo. Though I have a long way to go until my renovation is complete, this book makes me realize just how much of an influence he's had over my design aesthetic. I hope you enjoy the images from this wonderful new book as much as I do. Have a great weekend!