Tried and True Design Elements

Over the years, I have noticed definite solid design decisions that are always in style. There are some elements in particular, that stand the test of time and become classic must haves for almost any home. As I have been getting completed designs photographed or even when I talk to clients about potential new projects, I have found some recurring topics and accessories discussed time and time again. I have rounded up some of my favorites for you today!

Warm Gray Walls

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Whether they have a tinge of green or blue coming through, a soft gray base wall color is a great jumping off point in a space. It allows the colors and patterns to come through in the accessories or also allows the showstopper to be in the ceiling color or the lighting.

Gourd Table Lamps

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Oh my goodness, my love for gourd lamps runs deep! I have even been known to use this style of lamp in more than one room in a design project. I love oversized table lamps with large shades. This style allows you to bring either a neutral or bold base color to the lamp. It also has a nice sculptural shape to it, which helps to bring interest and dimension to a room.

Patterned Rugs

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{There’s another gourd lamp!!} Patterned rugs are a great way to bring an artistic touch to a room. It can bring color and texture to the mix, while also reinforcing your color palette. In this loft space I designed, the blue plaid rug brought in more of the favorite color and also softened the room and design.

Built In Shelving

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Design by Studio McGee

Whether this is achieved with a furniture piece or actually built in to the home, the look of custom shelving always takes your room to the next level. I am currently {and always, for that matter} loving the look of white built ins with either a color or grasscloth added to the back of the unit. #beauty

What design elements do you love and feel will always work, even through ever changing design trends?!?

Why This Works & Bridge Street Segment

Welcome back to another installment of Why This Works… a weekly series where I show a designed space and dissect the details, to explain why the designer chose what he/she chose and why it works! Today’s space is a project I designed last year for a local client. I speak about it often on this blog, because it was such a fun project to work on. This project is also near and dear because I love the true talent that shines through in Sarah Heppell’s photography skills! She truly made this space shine with these after photos. As you may already know, I named this project Vintage Gem, because of the gorgeous architecture of the apartment and the details they left in tact during the renovation of the building. Also, my client loves a mix of vintage and new, so the name was a great fit. In past blog posts, I never truly dissected the details of this space and explained why certain pieces were chosen and why. So let’s do that here, today!

 

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Amber B Design, Photos by Sarah Heppell

When I walked into this space for the first time, I was immediately struck with the gorgeous brick walls and stunning high ceilings. It is a compact space with a combined living and ding area, but the high ceilings and architectural details make up for that. I wanted to compliment those details and not compete, by selecting light and neutral furnishings that allowed the apartment’s details to be the main focal point. The furniture and accessories were the supporting cast. Another trick I like to use is to select a few large, oversized accessories, as opposed to several small pieces. It’s a great visual trick that allows your eye to be drawn up to appreciate the room, giving the illusion of more square footage. When I installed the large blue table lamps and floral art work on the buffet, your eye was brought up instead of down and the space appeared larger. You could admire the brick more, even though we added pieces in front of it. Also, the dramatic wall clock was added behind the sectional. Upon first glance, it’s massive size could appear too large for some. But this clock instantly pushed the walls back and made the room feel bigger. I like to tell clients that if an accessory piece appears too big, it’s probably just right. It can take time to train your eye to like larger accessories. Luckily, my client was right on board and also thought the space felt bigger. In this room, I also wanted to use a mix of different wood stains and metal finishes. Especially with this vintage style, our goal was to create a space that looked as if it had been collected over time and not to match too much. So, the light stained buffet is near the dark stained dining table. Brass candle sticks on the buffet are near a bronze side table and pewter base coffee table. My trick for mixing metals, is to stay within the same ‘shine’ family. In this room, I wouldn’t have brought in a shiny chrome. All of the metals are buffed and matte, which is why they can work together. I like to separate the mattes from the shiny. And last but not least, I like to add various textures and fabrics into a space to create a layered depth. The jute, natural fiber area rug is paired with a leather chair, linen sofa and cotton pillow covers. That will add layers and depth to a space, making it feel warm and collected.

So that’s a little sneak peek into why I chose what I did for this space! I was thrilled to be able to talk about this design today with Sistina Giordano from Bridge Street. She is always wonderful to chat with and it was a fun segment. To see the video clip, visit HERE!! Thank you so much to Sistina and the entire News Channel 9 team for having me!

Add Some Flowers!

Just when we thought spring weather was around the corner over here, it started snowing today! It doesn’t show any sign of letting up, so I thought it would be fun to bring spring inside. The best way I know how to do that, is with a vase of fresh flowers. Flowers instantly warm up a room, any time of year. I am always drawn to the flower section of our grocery store, because I know what an impact they make to any room in your home. When I had our home and Project Vintage Gem photographed, I added some fresh flowers to most of the spaces. Boy did that make a difference! That and the wonderful photography talents of Sarah Heppell. :) So, here’s a round up of rooms that bring that spring time vibe, even if it’s freezing cold where you are!!

Our Home

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{hydrangeas and tulips are always my go to flowers of choice!!}

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Amber B Design, Photos by Sarah Heppell

So if you are in need of some spring or you just want a cheerful change, add some fresh flowers today!!

 

A Look Back at 2015

Before I head out to begin 2016, I wanted to look back at the fun, exciting and adventurous year that was 2015. Why not look back and evaluate the past, so you can move forward to better the future?!? So please don’t mind my little self indulgence, while I reflect on the highlights from this past year. :)

 

I completed Project Vintage Gem… one of the coolest projects I was able to be a part of and one of the most amazing design experiences to date!

 

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all of the amazing photography skills are by Sarah Heppell Photography

I took the plunge and had my web site redesigned and rebranded! That was one of best decisions I have made for this little business. I feel that this new design truly reflects me and where I want to go with Amber B Design. Britt Douglas knocked it out of the park and gave me a web presence that I could have never dreamed of!

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To better enhance the new web site, I enlisted the help of talented local Photographer, Sarah Heppell, to photograph our home and take some head shots. Sarah is such a true talent and I can’t wait to work with her again in the new year!

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Amber B Design at Home

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I am also still working on e-design projects and have been having fun completing rooms remotely!

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I had the privilege of working again with Britt Douglas and this time, helping to design her master bedroom for the One Room Challenge.

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To read more about Britt’s ORC journey, visit HERE

And just last month, I was able to make my live TV debut on Syracuse’s Bridge Street, to discuss simple ways to jazz up your home this holiday season!

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To read that post and see the complete source list, go HERE

All of these fun experiences would not have been possible without my wonderful family with me, every step of the way! They are my everything and I am so thankful for their support. Here’s to a wonderful 2016 with them by my side! Also, a big thank you to all of you, for your readership and for the positive feedback you always give. You’re the best! Thank you for letting me indulge a bit in this past year’s memories. This blog is a bit of a journal for me and it helps to reflect, before I move ahead into the future. Amber B Design has some fun projects in store for the new year and I am excited to share them all with you, here!

Have a Happy, Healthy New Year and I hope to see you back here soon! 

Creating an Eclectic, yet Pulled Together Design

I have always said that I appreciate so many different design styles and believe they can exist together. Mid century can work with bohemian, traditional can work with modern, etc. A space can have a few different styles together and as long as they are carried by a common thread, they work. I try to use art, area rugs or pillow fabrics to pull a color scheme together and have it make sense. Then, the colors found in those accessories can be sprinkled around the room.

 

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This space above, in the home of Mandy Kellogg Rye, has a blend of modern, traditional, coastal and bohemian and works so well! The ice skating art work pulls together the reds and blues to make it all look cohesive.

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This dining room, above, was designed by Lindsay Speace and is anything but predictable. That’s what I love so much about it! This modern light fixture, in a traditional space, takes it to another level! The white chairs bring a coastal vibe and help to brighten up the space. Large scale items, like this pendant, always makes a room dramatic and stops you in your tracks.

So if you don’t have one particular style, that’s ok! I think it’s more fun to mix it up and find things that truly speak to you and how you live. When you do that, you really feel at home. And if you want to bring a color into a space but don’t already have it in there, bring an art piece or accessory in with all of the colors, to help tie it together and make sense. A good rule of thumb, is if a color can be replicated at least three times in a room, it becomes meaningful to that design.

In other news, I am over the moon thrilled to be featured on the Ballard Designs instagram page! Project Vintage Gem was featured in a flipagram, where they showed six different images from the project. Thank you so much, Ballard! It was definitely a pinch me moment!!

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Have a great day!

Project Vintage Gem – The Reveal Part 4

Welcome back to the final installment of Project Vintage Gem! Today, it’s all about the foyer. My client has a pretty small foyer and we wanted to make it as functional as possible. We wanted to add storage, a place to sit down and a spot for the litter box. You may be worried when you hear that a litter box is going in the main foyer, but no fear… it came out pretty cool and blends right in with the vintage/rustic charm we wanted for her home. Let’s get right to the pictures! It was a tough space to photograph, because of the lack of natural light and compact size. But yet again, Sarah Heppell worked her photography magic!

Heading to the foyer from the living room…

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For a quick before and after, here is how the space was when we began…

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I actually forgot the electric box was on that wall! We strategically hung the mirror there, to cover it up!

After

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After photos by Sarah Heppell

A huge credit goes to my client for finding the custom litter box cover on etsy! It really works with the home’s design aesthetic. We always need functional design too, right?!? Thank you all for your encouraging and sweet feedback from this project. It was truly amazing to work on and I am so thankful to my client for allowing me to share this journey on the blog.

Project Vintage Gem – The Reveal Part 3

Welcome back to the third installment of the Project Vintage Gem reveals! Today is Master bedroom day. For this space, the only thing that stayed was the bed. Everything is new, including all of the bedding. Thanks again to my friend Nicole, for helping me get this space ready on photo shoot day. And thank you to Sarah Heppell, for these amazing after photos. Here we go…

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Here are before pictures of the space, the first day we met…

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And now…

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All after photos by Sarah Heppell

Tomorrow, I’ll take a break from the reveals for Why This Works series and then I’ll finish off reveal week with the foyer!

Project Vintage Gem – The Reveal Part 2

And here we are, ready for Part 2 of the reveal for Project Vintage Gem! Thank you all so much, for your kind words about this project on facebook, instagram and here on this blog. Your encouragement means more to me than you know! Today’s reveal will be the living room portion of the great room. Thanks again to my dear friend Nicole, for helping me style this space up on photo shoot day! And just like Part 1, all of the after pictures are by the very talented Sarah Heppell Photography. Lets get right to the pictures…

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Here is where we started with this space, at our first meeting…

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And now…

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After photos by Sarah Heppell

Next up after today, will be the Master Bedroom portion of this project!

 

Project Vintage Gem – The Reveal Part 1

I am so thrilled to be here today, showing you the reveal of #projectvintagegem. You may have seen that hashtag around for quite a while, if you have been following along on instagram {AmberBDesign}. I began working with my client in January, when she asked me for help with her combined living/dining room, master bedroom and foyer. She needed to start fresh and we only kept the dining table, bar stools and bed. The rest is all new! Today’s reveal will be the dining room and the rest of the week will show her gorgeous apartment, one space at a time. She lives in a renovated early 1900’s building with loads of character. The builder decided to leave the exposed brick walls, plumbing pipes and tall ceilings. They added the soft and neutral gray walls, dark wood stained floors and stylish kitchen finishes to bring a modern, yet rustic vibe to these apartments. So let’s get right to it! A huge thank you to my great friend, Nicole, for helping me style the place on photo shoot day. She helped make the day so much fun! The amazing after photography shots are all by the very talented Sarah Heppell Photography. She shows this space in its best possible form. Enjoy!

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And here is a before photo of this same space…

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Here are some more after photos…

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The building’s landlord was thrilled that this apartment has been designed and is now being photographed, that he wanted to stop by and take a look…

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{Deep in design conversation, in this photo}

And then one last full shot of this side of the room, again…

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All after photos by Sarah Heppell

Throughout this week, I will show the living room side, the master bedroom and finally, finish with the foyer. This project has been so much fun and rewarding. I love being able to look back at where we began!

More Updates on #projectvintagegem !!

I am excited to show you even more recent updates over at #projectvintagegem. We have busy plugging away, installing items as they arrive and making this house into a home. It is such an amazing feat, getting to see a home from start to finish. When my client moved in, she was starting with a blank slate. Over the several months we have worked together, we have seen her style unfold into a place where she now feels at home. To start back from the beginning for this project, visit HERE. Here are the most recent updates…

In the master bedroom, the rug has arrived, along with the stump side table and new art…

The dresser mirror was also installed last week…


And the sconces are up on either side of the bed…


On the way into the foyer, you can see the new map art, as well as the wine rack vignette…


And the new leather swivel chair arrived in the living room…


Once the sectional and a few other accessories are in place, we will have a full reveal of this home, along with professionally photographed pictures! That part will be so exciting. And I know my client will finally breath a sigh of relief after all of her furniture arrives! She has been so patient through this process.

Thank you to my client for allowing me to share these pictures!