Throw a summer fete on your newly decked out patio!

It’s been some time since our last blog post. What better topic to discuss than getting your patio or deck ready for Memorial Day! It’s just around the corner.

Here are a few of our favorite furniture pieces to spruce up your outdoor oasis…

The Canasta by B&B Italia:

 

The Source Relaxer and Footstool by Gloster.  www.gloster.com

 

The Elements collection by Manutti: http://www.manutti.com

 

 

The Madison Collection by ThosBaker.  www.Thosbaker.com
German-engineered, premium synthetic Skai® leather over top-grade reticulated foam.  Powder-coated aluminum subframe and 304-grade stainless steel legs.
Roma Collection by Frontgate.  www.frontgate.com
I love the Roma Canopy Chair.  It plays homage to classicism.
Roma Canopy Chair with Cushions

Looking for sophisticated modular furniture.  Look no more.  The Cloud collection by Frontgate.  The epitome of outdoor sophistication.

 

Cloud Armless Center Chair

 

Love the look but not the price?  Look at CB2’s Casbah collection.  www.cb2.com

 

 

Need something a little more timeless.  Look at the Directoire Collection by Suzanne Kasler.  www.ballarddesigns.com

 

 

The days are longer, which means more time spent outdoors. Add a stylish heat lamp to keep the fun going past happy hour, serve refreshing cocktails on an eco-friendly teak cart, or invite guests to kick-back in a comfortable hammock.

 

http://www.firesideaccessories.com

 

Trinity Hammocks

 

And, finally Memorial Day means the start of a new season, so refresh the patio with colorful, summer-ready textiles. Place a printed trellis rug outdoors to warm the space and add plenty of easy-to-clean pillows and blankets for an inviting vibe.

 

 

Host Tip:  Whether you are hosting an afternoon pool party, a barbecue or a croquet match, set up a bar where people can serve themselves.  Instead of playing the bartender, you can enjoy the guests and your own party.

Party Planning Tips

If you are anything like me, you know parties, both as an enthusiastic hostess and as an appreciative guest.  Great parties are like great opera performances.  People talk about them for years, so why not share some tips to best inspire others.

I recently read Jamee Gregory’s book, “New York Parties, Private Views”.  Armed with a can-do attitude, Gregory put together a high-octane compendium of 15 brunches, lunches and dinners given by top-tier hosts.  But just because the pages are filled with all the right people living it up in all the right places (fashion designers Tory Burch and Michael Kors, Evelyn Lauder, among others) don’t think the book is all unattainable glamour.

My take away from the book is that life is not perfect, so don’t expect a party to be entirely flawless.  Experienced hosts just roll with the punches, and the book is packed with their smart tips and stylish solutions.  Fearful of mixing chic and cheap?  Lauder has no problem combining Baccarat crystal with Crate & Barrel dishware, and neither should you.  Weak cooking skills?  Kors orders in from a favorite restaurant.

Now, since we are not all leading fashion designers with their budgets, here are a few tips for hosting a stress-free fabulous party:

Simple Planning.  Planning a party shouldn’t be stressful or intimidating.  After all, aren’t you excited to host your friends, family and colleagues?  Stay organized by starting early.  Start your cleaning well in advance and make a list of grocery items you need from the menu you created.

Simple Décor.  No need to over-do it on the decorations, unless you are planning a themed party.  If it’s a simple cocktail affair, keep décor to a minimum with candles and fresh flowers.

Photo courtesy of SecretGarden

Stay Relaxed.  Leave yourself an hour before guests arrive to freshen up, slip into something party-ready and light some candles for added ambiance.  This creates a welcoming atmosphere from the moment you open the door with a big smile and cocktail in hand, of course.

So, whether you are staging a country breakfast, a dress up tea party or a cocktail party, the best tip I can give you is that it’s the spirit of the get together that counts.  A party, is a gift you make for your friends!

(photo courtesy of ifoodtv)

New England Renewal

Hello World!

What’s the secret to staying happy, healthy, and vibrant?  Some would say it’s being flexible in attitude and remaining physically active.  For others, it’s laughing often, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, and loving fully.  The wise believe it’s important to ensure that every moment of your life is spent doing things that you actually enjoy.  Wonderful advice that we can all certainly begin to heed a little more as each day, week, month, and year passes.

Personally, I believe that the secret to feeding the soul is a combination of all of the above, continually nourishing the body, mind, and spirit while staying centered in life.  As a retreat designer, I find personal joy in researching other retreat spaces.  I just came across a New England Retreat, the Mayflower Inn.

The Mayflower Inn’s spa is a luxurious retreat in Connecticut.  Sign up and your individual spa advisor will telephone to assess your interests and begin customizing your stay.  Whether you prefer morning walks or canoeing, Pilates or flower arranging, founders Adriana Mnuchin and Lisa Hedley ensure that personalization is the key to your five-day experience.  Expect tailored treatments, a physical well-being plan, and plenty of nurturing to encourage spiritual awareness.  Slip into the seasonally scented Thermal Sanctuary, a fantasia of healing colors (indigo for clarity, gold for energy, green for balance), scented warm mist, and soothing music before indulging in a facial, mud wrap or a red flower ritual.  In case you need more inspiration to visit, specialty weeks include yoga immersion, couples retreats, and memoir writing.

Photos courtesy of Mayflower Inn.

Take a little time out to just be….re-center yourself and perhaps get away for the weekend to the Mayflower Inn and indulge your body and your senses.

Stop by and see what’s new at http://www.delia-designs.com

Tina

The Spa Nursery Retreat

The Spa Nursery

Even before your new baby arrives, his or her nursery will become one of the most important rooms in the home.  Within its walls an infant is nurtured, parents provide love and care and families gather to enjoy their little ones.  Most parents want their nursery to be the perfect place for their baby to sleep and grow, the setting of baby’s future childhood memories.  Whatever design decisions you make, your furnishing and décor accessories should complement the main element of your baby’s room, your love and care.  I encourage you to think about the nursery being a place of refuse for you also.  A place where you can go to feel at peace;  a space in the home that is tranquil and serene.  This is the place where you will nurture yourself and your new little one quite a bit during the first year.  The design elements and furnishings that create this special space should be planned with much thought and love for both you and baby.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep function in mind.

Determine at the forefront how you will utilize the space.  Will baby sleep in the space immediately?  Will baby nap in the space?  Will changing take place here?  Now think of the furniture that will be involved with each of these activities. Try to act out in your mind how you will use your furniture and accessories to accomplish these tasks, and how the placement of the furniture will make it go as smoothly and the least awkward as possible.  A quick example of function and furniture placement:   It may be best to group the crib and a chair close together, as it makes it easy to grab baby in the middle of the night and sit down to feed.

2.  Consider heating, cooling, natural light and ventilation.

Keep in mind whether or not you need to install some safe heating.  Does cold air come in through windows?  Will you need to block out light for daytime napping?

3.  Use non-toxic materials which are kind to the environment as well as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and natural fibers.

Every new mom wants to create a beautiful little space for her precious new baby. She paints, carpets, and buys new things. These things contain can harmful chemicals, many of them known to be carcinogenic. When you sleep at night you are breathing in the off-gassing of these poisons. What is toxic to you is about 15 times more toxic to your baby’s tiny body.

I urge you to buy No-Voc (Volatile Organic Compounds) Paint. When these VOCs off-gas, they may cause a variety of health problems like nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and more serious illnesses including heart, lung or kidney damage and even cancer.

Another tip is to buy used whenever possible. Besides being gentler on the planet, these items have already off-gassed. Yard sales, thrift stores craigslist and E-bay are great sources for gently used baby items. (the exception to this would be crib mattresses, as these are found to be more toxic in each subsequent use due to more body fluids mixing with the poison chemicals and creating toxic fumes)

4.  Add personality with lighting.

Lighting sets the mood for any room.  It is especially important in the nursery.  Effective lighting can have a dramatic effect on the perception of space and interaction within it. Often an afterthought, lighting should be considered from the beginning when the nursery space is being planned.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • task lighting,
  • accent lighting and
  • ambient or general lighting.

A well lit nursery will have a pleasing and effective combination of each type.

Task lighting in the nursery is designed to help you perform specific tasks such as reading or changing diapers.  A good choice for task lighting is the stand alone lamp.  It’s a good choice because it’s light and portable.

Accent lighting is designed to add drama and focus attention within a room. By spot lighting items such as paintings, you can highlight your nursery’s  best features.

Ambient lighting provides a room with overall illumination. Ambient lighting serves the same function as sunlight, allowing you to see and walk about safely.

Remember to fit dimmer switches for each type of lighting to help create a soothing effect.

5.  Colorful touches.

Take a cue from nature.  Choose colors that reflect nature in muted shades like sand, pale blues and sages and even dove gray.  Newborns can only see black, white and gray.  As their sight develops, it’s best to introduce them to softer tones. When painting with different colors, choose similar tones. This will enhance the harmony in the space, whereas too-different colors can have an incoherent and hence unsettling effect.

From crib bedding and accent pillows to window treatments & upholstered chairs , fabrics add the finishing touch to the nursery.  Chenile and velvet are cozy, comfortable and help create a special resting place for you and baby when used with extra soft cottons.

6.  Furniture

A must for this space is a good arm chair for breast feeding and later story telling and even later still, lounging on in a teenage kind of way.  It doesn’t need to be a special breast feeding chair, just make sure it’s comfortable, has good back support and low arms.

Other essential furniture items include: a baby changing table, a night stand or table, a nursery hamper and a clock if you are planning to breastfeed.

7.  Listen carefully.

Make sure the room is equipped with music playing capacity.  The right soothing melodies can help melt away the stress and help you feel more removed and can also drown out other household sounds.  This is all very important when caring for a new baby.  It can be a stressful time learning how to care for an infant for the first time, even second.  So, take some steps to minimize that and sooth and calm the nerves with music.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this.  People spend time at spas in order to feel better when they leave than they did when they arrive.  Whether the point of the visit is getting a much needed massage to reduce tension or getting a facial or nails done, all spa visits leave you feeling relaxed and happy.  Reinvent this experience in the nursery to ensure that you have a tranquil retreat for taking care of both yourself and baby.  As always if you need any help designing your spa nursery retreat, consider Delia Designs first.  -Tina

Courtesy of London’s Chic Shack

Achieving successful Spa/Salon design

Whether you are designing or laying out a new space or already have an existing spa/salon, now is the time to take a first look at your business and learn how the interior design of the space can help you grow.  I’ve come up with my top 5 tips to achieving successful design.

  1.  Signage:
  • The only way new clients know you exist is if something attracts their attention and they see you.
  • The way to demonstrate who you are from the exterior is of utmost importance.  In essence, you need to make your windows talk.
  • Decide what your company is about.  If it is beauty, fashion and hair, show that.
  • You need to talk to the street.  Perhaps put a big beauty image in the window, an image that speaks to the “lifestyle” you are portraying.  Tell your prospects through imagery that if they come to you, this is the life they can have.
  • Keep in mind, the actual sign should be clear and legible.  It should be one of the high contrast so that it can be read from a distance.  An important thing to remember is to include spa or salon at the end.  If you don’t do this, no one will know what you are.
  1. Greeting the Client:
  • If at all possible, don’t put the reception desk directly in front or beside the entrance.  It’s important for you to create some space for the client to walk in and start browsing the retail area.  Allow them to feel the energy, hear the music and see people at work.  Let your clients see what they are going to experience, allow them to take control and make their choices.
  1. Reception:
  • Once you have moved your reception desk to a non-threatening position, make a great impression at it.  The receptionist should be well positioned to welcome clients and thank them as they leave.  If the manager sites up front, he or she can also endorse the effectiveness of any recommended products if the client has questions.
  • Remember, the receptionist desk should be a tool to draw customers into the heart of the salon, not stop them short at the front door.
  1. Lighting:
  • You should start and finish in incandescent lighting.  A warm temperature bulb is the most flattering on the complexion and compliments most salon interiors. What is important, especially in salons is to create levels of lighting.
  • The lighting should flatter the complexion and compliment the interior.
  • The lighting should be positioned to eliminate shadows.  How your client looks in the salon chair is crucial in the salon environment.  If the client feels good about your appearance, it reinforces a positive experience for repeat business and increased revenues.  The easiest way to help eliminate shadows on the face is to position wall lighting on either side of the mirror to directly light the complexion.
  • Regarding the work stations.  The front and overhead are where you will get your lighting from.  The wall lighting is for direct illumination on the face to flatter the complexion.  The overhead lighting should be properly designed to help perform all required tasks for hair styling and color application.  Separate task lighting should not be required if the overhead lighting is properly configured.
  1. Color:
  • Color determines the entire visual mood of your space.
  • Use colors that are warm as all color bounces and if you use cool colors, your clients will not look their best.
  • Color is closest to your clients, especially in salons should be in a warm skin tone.  The closer your walls are to skin tone, the better your clients will look.

Hyatt Spas Worldwide

Qua Baths

Diamond Spas

Decorating the Designer Christmas Tree

Elaborately adorned Christmas trees are often the focal point of homes during the holiday season, and decorating the tree is a family tradition for many. From the Christmas tree skirt all the way to the topper, make sure your Christmas tree is one of the best this season by learning a few designer tips on how to achieve a more lush, dramatic Christmas tree. The secret happens to be in the layers.  Once you’ve chosen the perfect Christmas tree the fun can begin!

1.   First, the Lights.

  • The sparkle and shine of the tree comes primarily from the lights you put on your tree.  Faceted glass bulbs will refract more light and appear brighter.  Small twinkle lights also have impact when you layer several strands and pair them with ornaments having reflective surfaces.
  • To illuminate the tree from the inside out, string lights around the trunk and the branches.  Starting at the base of the trunk and working up, wrap the lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back.
  • Definitely don’t skimp on lights!  A good rule of thumb is, for every vertical foot of tree, use a strand of 100 lights.

2.  Second, the Garland.

  • There are no firm rules when draping garlands on a tree as long as you don’t create the sausage effect, with branches bulging between tightly – cinched garlands).  Start at the top, stringing less garland, and work your way down, increasing the amount of garland.
  • Thick ribbons or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.  The trick is to avoid the busy look,  for every vertical foot, use about two strands at most.

3.  Third, the Ornaments.

  • To showcase your ornaments, start with the most important ones, the ones that have special significance to you and your family.  Then hang the largest ornaments, spacing them evenly apart.  Fill in around them with medium and small sizes, balancing the overall look.
  • Finish with specialty shapes.  For interesting variety, include all shapes.  Create depth by hanging some ornaments closer to the trunk.

4.  Forth, the Skirt.

  • The tree skirt is the finishing touch to your designer tree.  It helps you to hide the base of the tree in a fashionable way.  It also creates the backdrop for special packages from Santa.

15 Beautiful Christmas Tree Decoration