Posts tagged ‘Design’

August 8, 2012

Wabi Sabi Wednesday

by heatherkp


I love the principals behind Wabi Sabi!  Do you know about it?  Check it out if you don’t but essentially it’s a Japanese philosophy and way of life that embraces the imperfections, the bumps, bruises and “character” that we (as people and our “stuff”) acquire along life’s path.  I recently read a short article that questioned why we don’t apply this philosophy to physical selves. I am very interested in embracing wabi sabi in more aspects of my life and my self.

This is opposite of BOTOX folks, it’s about the wrinkles, the scars and the “patina” that makes us more beautiful!

“[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”-Richard R. Powell

Here are some examples of objects in my home that posses the essential qualities that I consider as wabi sabi.  The are all beautiful but imperfect and I consider them more beautiful because of their imperfections.

My all time favorite broom!  I grew up using one similar (hold over from the days we spent in Asia) and my mom also uses hers from the Philippines (it’s as old as I am!).  It’s crooked and funky looking but it works great and I love the shape.

I made this little pot in ceramics in college and it’s a lesson in what not to do with glazes but I love the crackles and drips.

This is a piece of an African strip cloth I got from a family member and I’ve proudly had it displayed ever since even though a whole strip is missing, it’s unfinished and totally crooked yet I find it completely beautiful.

This Moroccan (I think) foot stool came from my husband’s family and we had ongoing household battles of weather to use it or not.  As you can see it has been scratched (by our beloved kitties) all around the edges and this is why my husband didn’t want it used but now that they are not with us I love the reminder of them ever present on this piece.  The ceramic vase and lamp base also exhibit qualities of the imperfect wabi sabi aesthetic.

I thought many times about painting this slightly rusted magazine rack but I’m so glad I didn’t.

And this dish was rescued from the ceramics department trash because someone didn’t think it was good enough but I love the color, shape and all it’s imprefections it just as it is!

What do you have in your home that defines wabi sabi?  Is this a definition of beauty that you could cultivate further?

March 5, 2012

Makeover Monday: Home office remodel

by heatherkp

This was a fun project that I started about a month ago.  This client recently began working from a home office and although the design of the room and built in desk are quite beautiful there were some issues with functionality.  The clients punch list was part design and remodel and part organization and efficiency.  At our first meeting I took an assessment that included the following:

  • Purchase a new larger monitor (which wouldn’t fit on the original desk top)
  • Re-arrange & relocate artwork
  • Rebuild or bring in a new/different desk
  • Purchase paper shredder
  • Eliminate clutter and create more desktop space
  • Keyboard tray/desktop had no room for use of mouse
  • More leg room
  • TV viewing in room -better positioned seating
  • Crowded (too much clutter)
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Space to store supplies
  • Storage for important archival documents
  • Implement/redesign filing system

Desk area before

Office before

Upon my return last week we discussed this “Punch list” and the client had made some decisions with some close advisement of family, myself and a contractor (in this case my husband who had done previous work for this client).  They purchased a new computer, all in one printer and shredder, we redesigned the desk and had it remodeled to fit their needs exactly and re-arranged furniture and implemented new storage/filing solutions.  Some furniture and other items were removed from the room or stored away, we brought in a second desk, relocated the sofa and additional seating opposite the TV and added lighting (on artwork, in the bookshelf/desk and an additional lamp).  We sorted through paperwork and created storage for archival documents, cleared out unneeded papers and equipment, installed a binder filing system (more on this type of system to follow in a separate post) and used existing storage and furniture to store items needed in the office.

Office in progress

As usual for any organizing project there came a point mid way through where the room looked worse than when we began.  In the photo above you can see the papers, boxes and clutter floating homeless in the room but at this point the furniture had been re-arranged to fit their needs and the desk was in the midst of being remodeled.  This project was done in about 4-5 days.  Part of the fun of this was that my husband and I worked as a team and he did the remodeling, lighting installation assisted with installation of all the new technology (computer, relocating phones/modems, printer etc).  In fact we worked so well together that we are thinking of trying more projects as a team in the future.  The results speak for them self (I think:)

Office-second desk with printer after

Desk after

Office desk after

Office after

It’s not every project that comes together so quickly and efficiently.  We had a successful week and I’ll be following up (as I always do with my clients) to be sure that the new space and systems we installed are working well.  I’m not only proud of how beautiful this room is (which I certainly can’t take total credit for!) but also how well it will now function but customizing and thinking through all this clients needs. 

Great Design is all about Form + Function!

Do you balance form and function as you design your spaces or do you lean more heavily towards one or the other?

August 18, 2011

Of my own design…

by heatherkp

I spotted the news from a friend that Spoonflower is having a free sample day today.  I’ve toyed with the idea of printing up some of my designs from time to time but I never did because I don’t know what I’d “do” with them.  The “free” part made it pretty easy to decide to just go ahead and do it.  I already have designs that are print ready in my archive collection, so why not see how one comes out?

I choose to sample this design and it will be fun to see what comes of this.  The free sample give away also has an option to donate $5 (or more) to Heifer International, which is one of my favorite charities.  This is ongoing for the rest of tonight until 12 EST tomorrow so hurry and get your sample while making a donation (optional) to a great organization.


February 28, 2011

Motif Monday::Ironwork and Stonework

by heatherkp

Today being the last day of February I’m going to say farewell to all the French related posts.  This has been such a fun theme for the month and I think I’ll be re-visiting some of my other travels in the future and sharing them here.  For today I want to leave you with just a little more inspiration…actually I think I’ve saved the best for last and I hope you’ll agree!  Today, I’ve got Ironwork and Stonework for you and LOTS of it!  Decorative Ironwork is one thing France is famous for and it’s everywhere.  On doors, windows, railings, gates, signs and balconies to name the most abundant sources.  Based on these images alone I know I could come up with several new design collections and artwork.  I’m really inspired to do so.

French Stone and Ironwork Details

There were some seriously WICKED looking Iron gates in Avignon!

French Ironwork

… loads of simple geometric designs on a lot of windows and I especially liked the ones that had the simple wavy lines.  I love how the ironwork creates a pattern layer over the windows and shutters in some places.

Whimsical and Floral French Ironwork

There were also a lot of shops that had custom ironwork signs and I wish we would adopt this practice more in the US.  Consigning an ironwork sign establishes a serious level of commitment to your business don’t you think?

Scrols and Decorative French IronworksAnd finally a there were scrolls of all varieties and florals, foilage, figures and crests.

I hope these will inspire you to create something fabulously French~Oh, la la!

February 21, 2011

Motif Monday::High Art vs. Street Art

by heatherkp

Another Monday full of Motif’s for your inspired use!  Today I’m sharing images from what I’m calling High Art, murals on the ceilings and walls in cathedrals and other ancient buildings.  We visited the beautiful Saint-Martin Church in Saint-Remy-de-Provence that had a lot of great motifs on the walls and ceiling, quite deteriorated but lovely colors and timeless motifs.  This particular cathedral is famous for it’s organ and attracts some of the worlds most renowned organists for the annual festival.  This town is also famous because it’s the hometown of Nostradamus and right outside of town is the Saint Paul de Mausole hospital where Van Gogh spent time painting some of his most famous works of art.

The incredible gilded mural with the ship and peacock above right is from the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica.  This hilltop cathedral overlooks both the city of Marseilles and the French riviera.  The inside is spectacular.  Do some searches of your own on both of these churches for other images of the details.  My photography is just a stepping stone for you to use to find other images and inspiration from these venues.

Another inspiring subject found all over France that caught my attention was Street art or Graffiti.  It came in all shapes, colors and locations and often it was quite unexpected.  I think it was the juxtaposition of the ancient buildings with these modern images and text that made for such intriguing subject matter.

Where do you find motif’s that inspire your work?  Is it historic or modern interpretations that catch your eye the most?

February 8, 2011

Textile Tuesday::Provencal

by heatherkp

While I was in Provence of course I was keeping my eyes open for Textiles.  I love the way the French incorporate their more traditional textiles into their contemporary lifestyle.There were lacy curtains in almost all the residential home windows.  Don’t you just love this cap?  I didn’t see anyone wearing them but I wonder if anyone still does.  This cap was just hanging on an exterior door knob.

I’m always amazed with the laundry hanging in most foreign countries.  I personally hang most of my laundry but it France, Italy and many other countries there are apparatus built into daily lifestyle to make it easier to just hang laundry right out your windows, Love that!

There seems to be a huge market for the more traditional Provencal textiles with embroidery and traditional motifs.  I wonder if it’s strictly a tourist market or if the local’s use these in their every day life.

This little fabric bucket is adorable, love the way they incorporate subtle hearts into so many of their textiles.

This window just caught my eye probably because of the layers of the sheer fabric and the lovely blue iron grates over top.

This last photo is from Marseilles and the knot work on this ship rope is just truly impressive!

Do you like traditional French Provencal Textiles such as linens, lace, embroidery and traditional French Provencal motifs?