Eastcoastdesigns's Blog

Boston area, interior designer, Diana James shares ideas, style trends and her inspirations for improving the world one room at a time.

What’s in your box? October 6, 2010

Filed under: design,Uncategorized — eastcoastdesigns @ 8:50 pm

The Designer and her sister, circa 1973

On rainy days during the mid 1970’s  my little sister would lure me into playing Barbie’s with her.  She knew how to dangle the hope of creation in front of me,  but only on the condition that I would play dolls with her afterward. My mind would instantly fill with the endless possibilities of furnishing a new space and how I would use that fantastic sequin fabric and the remnant of faux fur as window treatments and an area rug in Barbie’s NYC skyscraper apartment.  I would contemplate just long enough for her to beg me sufficiently, fulfilling my duty as the oldest sister, until I would slowly nod in agreement and pull out  “The Box”.

“The Box”  was a slated wood crate  festooned with a faded label of oranges slapped along its sides.  Its proportion large enough to store my ever growing collection of design resources while still fitting underneath my twin bed.  I collected odds and ends that rotated depending upon which treasures caught my eye. I employed its contents to fashion mini havens for my sister’s dolls while quenching my need to get lost in creation.   Each item in the box served various roles depending upon my vision.  There were items which  I designed and built myself,  as well as those which were bits and pieces found.  Of course, by the time my mini-masterpieces were complete there was no need to play with the dolls.  Without being remotely interested in getting involved with the drama of the characters, much to my sister’s chagrin, I became the life style architect, producing a series of living spaces that spanned the entire floor of my sister’s bedroom.

So now I craft living spaces for people who are much more involved then Ken or Barbie ever were, but the process and goals are the similar: assess the structure, improve, edit and ultimately create living spaces that reflect the life style of the occupants.  Instead of just my imagination and an ancient orange crate from which my inspirations come, I  have the internet, magazines, travel and life experiences that provide the spark of inspiration which transforms my vision into functional living spaces.

As I write this blog I will include people, experiences, resources, ideas and images which I find inspiring. Feel free to let me know what inspires you too. What’s in your box?


The Power of Negative Space October 4, 2010

New England Home

Robin Grassi revels in simplicity

Think of the negative space on your walls, in your room, on a table as breathing room for your “stuff”. The eye needs to rest. As is the case in music, the ear needs a pause so that the melody can be heard and appreciated.

People love to collect stuff and I am guilty as charged. I absolutely love collecting and displaying photographs of my family and friends in beautiful frames grouped together on every flat surface that my tiny beach front bungalow will allow. If given free rein, my home would be over run with a documentary of photographs displayed from every notable event I’ve ever attended and each of the precious milestones of my children’s lives.  Needless to say, there is only so much space to be had and displaying only the most important pieces of any collection requires restraint.  Which I freely admit can be a painful exercise, but also well worth the energy.

Clutter Bugs and Pack Rats take note: here are a few basic elements to help stay focused on the importance of maintaining negative space, giving your beloved objects d’art the breathing space they crave and deserve.

1. “Opposites Attract” Dark frames against a white wall will make art pop. Opposite colors on the color wheel create energy and contrast. The white spaces in between the dark frames is a resting place for the eye and highlights the significance of each piece.

2. “Slightly Askew” A grouping of objects placed slightly off-center, encourages the eye to travel to the objects,  anticipating what is to come. Think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and how the 4 beat pauses in between suspend the  “Ta, da, ta, da’s”  making the melody dynamic, instead of listening to the constant beat of a drum roll.

3. “Star Quality”  Let the drama queens of your collection shine. When an accessory, piece of furniture or art evoke lively conversation or the piece is so stunning that you can’t keep your eyes off of it, pull that star into the limelight and give it room to stretch beyond its boundary.  Let your most important pieces take center stage.