Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bringing the WOW factor

After undergoing a complete remodeling of their first floor done by DRD Home Services and Avant Architects, the clients were ready for the final stage of their project and decided to contact the NFM Designer Elena Kerwin to finalize this part.

On her first visit to the home Kerwin was pleased with the architectural fixtures which were already impressive but she decided it to take it to the next level. The clients request for furnishings were that the house should be comfortably liveable but extremely chic.

The next time that they met, Kerwin presented the project: The color skin will be the juxtaposition of silver-gold, dark brown for accents and the contrast of textures and materials rather than color to bring the refine look of classic but modern.

For the two story breathtaking entry way she had the perfect piece the Omni console table with sculpture and geometrical lines to balance the brown columns-display cabinet. This was the perfect introductory piece for their formal living-seating room. The space was grounded with some pieces from the European furniture designer Kelly Hoppen. Hancock and Moore cotemporary cow hide pillows and crocodile type leather ottoman are the contrasting pieces that make this a stunning room. The formal dining room was finished with gold tone velvet upholstered chairs. For the kitchen we selected a real unique-funky very comfortable swivel bar stools with vintage leather and sable finish in addition to a Modern Classic table and chairs from the Omni collection with a contemporary pattern. The great room has a comfortable leather sectional, leather recliner and accent ottomans-benches. Finally the wow factor came with artsy look like table lamps and big accessory pieces in gold-silver tones.

The result is an elegant, luxury and timeless classic but beautiful, practical and comfortable home.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Before & After

A Lake House History
At the beginning of the remodeling process some times we neglect taking or saving the original pictures. We just concentrate on things like how to solve design issues or how to achieve the wildest client’s expectations.
Being a designer ergo visualizer implies that we know how everything will look at the end therefore the “end result”  is not as surprising for us designers or does not bring for us the WOW factor but for our good trusting clients: the final result, so much expected, must give them a big WOW effect, as well as their covetous friends.
Some designers usually do not like to show the original pictures of the project because it simply does not look good which is a well known designerish term.
Almost all my projects that had been published do not show the before pictures. I said to my self the traditional "Oh the magazine does not have so much space to put this ode pictures but some times inside we thought Oh my this was a really designers challenge piece of art."
Having  said that, I press my self to show my Before & After pictures of one of my first remodeling projects. The change was stunning; the clients were extremely satisfied and proud of their new style. We got many WOWS from many covetous relatives and friends then we knew that the “End result” was A plus for everybody.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Architectural Digest March 2009: Article additions

After publishing one of my projects in this past March 2009 issue of the Famous Worldwide Magazine: “The Architectural Digest” (page 68), I have received many e-mails from friends, clients and fellow ASID designers asking for more details about this project. Therefore, I have put together this article and added some pictures that my clients, the house owners, and I thought couldn’t be a better choice for the magazine.

This magnificent Residence is located in one of the best neighborhoods of Calgary, Canada and has wonderful view from the backyard that overlooks the center of the city. Every detail was carefully mastered by many professionals and the owners of the house: Gary Swanson and Colena Manning. When I met Gary and Colena the construction was in the final stage and they needed to defined the style and select the furniture for the House.

We decided to approach this by steps knowing that this process will probably take many years but knowing that the final result would give us a nice sample “Of the Art of Design”.

The style chosen was what we now call French Country Revival or New European Classic: rich bright colors, textures and different materials. One interesting anecdote was convincing the owners of the use or a zebra rug. I showed them many of my classics catalogs as well as the Karges catalog showing many rooms with their classic furniture surrounded with a vintage Zebra rug. Finally, we settled for a faux zebra rug for the second floor hall way.

The majority of the furniture was made by Century Furniture mainly because all the furniture needed to be shipped to Canada which has some restrictions for imported furniture. I think Century Furniture is fabulous. I had a great connection with the factory; therefore I knew in advance that they will accommodate any of our particular requests. The fabrics are by Stroheim & Roman, Pindler& Pindler, Brunschwig & Fills and Newport Mansion.

The final touches were the accessories and window treatments. This made a perfect frame for what was done before. In the living room I particularly love the Friedman Brothers classic gold leaf mirror that sets above the classic French style sofa giving the perfect balance to this impressive piece of furniture. The two barrel type chairs sitting in from the picture window sets the perfect stage for the breath-taking views. In the kitchen-dining room, the selection of the Oscar de la Renta butterfly table was the best solution. This table opens from the center and increases its radius for bigger parties without losing any of its opulent style.

We are still adding some little touches every once in a while. I remember once a client of mine asked me; when is a project done? Really, I do not have that answer. A project is done when we feel that there is nothing else to add….

Thursday, March 12, 2009

European Revival

The Dream Home

Jennifer and Michael Digaetano fell in love, decided to get married and build their dream home. They found the perfect place on West Shores with lake view and a private beach.
Two years later, after many disappointments, the house was not even close to be finished. We met at the end of December, 2007 and their deadline was the end of April, 2008. After interviewing the couple and hearing their needs and desires, I explained to them that the style that they wanted was a Modern European Country or European Revival. They asked me, “ Elena, do you think that all of this could be done in this short period of time?” I assured them that working together, three of us on the same page, we will make things easy and possible.
After we defined the style of the house as French country meets Tuscan style; I re-designed all the cabinets to give them the classic French touch but with the warm and cozy Tuscan feeling. All the cherry cabinets, including the kitchen ones, were faux painted in light cream ivory with some gold tones to achieve the clean, but classic feeling of a modern European Ch√Ęteau. This set the basics for the scheme of colors in the entire house including tile, stone, granite, columns, furniture and window treatments.

The result was spectacular, everything in the house was one hundred percent custom made. The medallion and the impressive Lantern by Fine Art in the foyer set the feeling of what follows in this magnificent house, with impressive stone fire places, marble floors, custom wrought iron rails and two story faux painted, gold-accented columns. The kitchen, great room and formal dining room are refined but cozy and give one the feeling of a perfect Dream Home .

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Designing a Life Style

Design it is not only about what do you want to project; Design is part of your life; it is your style ...It's how you live or want to live...,
You could be romantic and classic:

Timeless, classic you love Renoir and Vivaldi.

Your life is a perfect symphony and you know that beauty and balance comes with perfection, perfection comes with time...Perfection last forever.

You could be modern and classic:

Fun and adventurous you really know what you want.

You are sleek and modern but you know timeless is forever .... and forever is your time.

The books you read, the music that you love...Your colors and textures, the way that you see life, feel free to express who you really are....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Modern Classic-Going back to the basics

Going Back to the Basics

Susan Heim, a partner of “On a Whim”, had done it all. With her natural artistic sensitivity and because of the nature of her job, she had access to the latest in design and fashion. She traveled to different accessories markets and read many magazines like The Architectural Digest and Florida House.

Then she came to her plateau. She did not know what to do with her living room, the first space that everyone would see coming into her home. She wanted something different -modern yet stylish. She wanted a different palette of color, neither the classical earth tones nor the bright contemporary tones. She felt trapped.

What will I do next? She consulted with one of her friends, a representative of different lines of fine accessories, a woman of very discerning taste in fashion, Kerry Line. Kerry recommended that Susan contact me, Elena Kerwin, an international designer, an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers .

When I first met Susan at the Design Gallery, I immediately became interested in the project because Susan was up to date with current furniture trends in USA. She wanted something new and trendy. However , she wanted something that would last but she did not want something such as a classic English style. She asked me what should we do next. I went for a house call to gather more information about Susan; her lifestyle; her family and her home. I took many pictures of what she had. She wanted to incorporate some of her art work and pictures of her daughters as well as some accessories that she already had.

After this, I called to many of my friends, designers in Europe. I asked them what is coming in fashion and furniture trends . An architect friend in Paris gave me the latest in couture and fashion; basic colors off whites, blacks and a lot of grey mixed with metallics and different textures. A friend in Italy sent me some pictures of one of Giorgio Armani‘s houses in the Caribbean. It showed a lot of grey,-a sleek and fashionable look. Finally, one of my designer friends in London sent me the Armani casa web site, a brand new store just opened in London.
With all of this couture line, I told Susan we must go back to the basics. We will do a clean, sleek couture design, - a new European version of classic contemporary furniture called “modern classic”.

We selected a very sleek stylish Century sofa in off white with refined details and fresh fine form. We added texture with some faux zebra print pillows, added warm light with a couple of copper pillows. I reassured Susan that these pillows will be the striking point because I wanted to blend the copper that she had in her fireplace with her impressive copper entry . To complement the look , we chose a couple of very couture Armani – like Weiman chairs in a shimmery sleek silver color with a super fashion organic pattern.

We completed the upholstered part with a very comfortable yet polished classic, masculine-look chair and ottoman in a dark textured grey color for her husband to go with all the other pieces.
We also selected an oversized, yet refined looking, black cocktail table from Drexel Heritage. At that point, Susan asked me if the sofa and accent chairs have dark brown wood color, shouldn’t the cocktail table be brown too? Definitely not, I told her, the balance is in perfect contrast of colors. We do not want to do something so boring.

The rest was a combination of artistic touches. We incorporated some metallic tables that Susan already had. A very sophisticated, yet sober, grey rug with a black frame. Susan was not sure that she needed a rug. I remarked again that this would be a perfect frame for her livingroom. We added three black leather stools that had very shiny silver nail trim to contrast the cherry wood panel of the bar. The stools blended really well with the bar but one would notice the shiny silver nail making a smooth, striking contrast.

Finally, we complemented her art work with some stylish accessories like a table lamp from Drexel between the two accent chairs. A copper square metal piece in the cocktail table was added bringing some deepness to her black bases and some wooden boxes from the Walt Disney collection by Drexel completed the final look. A pair of tall wooden, hand carved, espresso bases were placed in the bar window to balance the height of the window.

I knew that when Susan was admiring the picture of her three daughters on the wall that her house was complete.

Elena U Kerwin, Allied Member ASID,