Never Underestimate the Power of Great Natural Beauty

"Never underestimate the power of great natural beauty to bring you inspiration, peace of mind, and clarity of thought.
In nature, you find yourself." 
Wayne Dyer

Wishing you a Happy Weekend 

eric piasecki photography2 eric piasecki com

image photos by Kjersti-Berg_dreaming days

Top 2 photos Eric Piasecki, Bottom Left unknown, Bottom Right Kjersti Berg

Patricia Gray writes about emerging trends, her inspirations, "What's HOT" in the world of Design, as well as sneak peaks of her work. 

Beige is Magic - Albert Hadley

"Beige is atmosphere. It's bisque, it's ivory, it's cream, it's stone, it's toast, it's cappuccino. It's, well, it's magic." Albert Hadley

Enjoy the slide show!!




Patricia Gray writes about 'WHAT'S HOT 'in the world of Interior Design, new and emerging trends, modern design,
architecture, and travel, as well as how your surroundings can influence the world around you.
© Patricia Gray Interior Design Blog, 2009


Architects Have Great Tools!

Architects have many great tools that they can work with.  And under skilled hands they can be a great benefit to their clients.  One such tool is a software program called Google Sketchup.  Sketchup is a 3d modeling program that is surprisingly easy to use.  The images you see below are of a house designed by Ron Brenner Architects in Stillwater, Minnesota.  The images represent a series of color studies that were performed with Sketchup.  The basic design had already been completed and we were now at the stage of finalizing materials and colors for the roofing, walls, windows.  The top image is pretty much where we ended up and the images below represent the various intermittent studies.

Pretty cool huh?  It is a great way to visualize your end product.  For more sketchup examples you can see the plans at 

I will miss domino

: : just read the sad news on d*sponge that domino is closing down. it was my favorite interior design magazine, and the only one I subscribed to. is this yet another sign of our economy going downhill or is it a sign of the digital times where newspapers, books and magazines all struggle to stay alive? I can't imagine a world without books, newspapers and magazines!

every now and then, more and more frequently now, am I reminded of our terrible economy. I try constantly to distract myself from all the gloomy news, and pretend like things are the same. but then I hear of a friend who's lost her job, or see a favorite store that's closed much worse will it get before it gets better?


: : .shepard fairey. a wonderful and very influential street artist. you've probably seen his famous obama illustration. he is currently decorating the streets of Boston with pieces from his new exhibit at the ICA {Boston Institute for contemporary art}. I found two on my way to work the other morning, and sadly discovered this morning that one of them had been painted over with white paint. the middle photo is my own, the rest you can find .here.

Architects are Sexy!

I ran across this totally factual article the other day.  Could not resist posting the link.

Top 10 Green Things to Do! When building your new home.

In my real job (non-blogging) I am finding that more and more people are interested in building a more environmentally responsible and healthy home.  Leaving political discussions and arguments about “climate change” behind (I don’t like being preached to and I don’t like preaching), I believe there are many common sense reasons to build a “Green” home.  Here are two pretty good ones:

  • Save you money $$$ in the long run
  • Reduce your stress level – improve your quality of life

If you want to build a Green Home there is an abundant amount of information available to you.  But start investigating Green and you begin to realize there can be a daunting number of decisions to make – and they all impact your construction budget in some way.  Building Green can start to look incredibly complicated and expensive - and neither of these notions is inherently “Green”.  Well it does not have to work that way.

So what I want to do, starting with this posting is to help you simplify things.  I am starting out with a top 10 list of green things to do.  This will give us some focus for more detailed discussions to follow.  Those discussions will provide more detail on my top 10 list.  So here goes.

Top 10 Green Things to do! – When building your new home.

  1. Hire an Architect or a very competent designer that understands “Green” (and is not a jerk) – They will be able to assist you with all the following items and help you in sorting out priorities.
  2. Hire a Builder who is committed to your Green house (and isn’t a jerk).  In the end you will be much more successful if your entire team is on the same page.
  3. Build close to your work and / or close to community services.  A short commute means less stress, less gas money and more time for your fam.  That’s good isn’t it?
  4. Build a “just the right size” house – The classic “Goldilocks”.  Size and surface area significantly impact heating, cooling and maintenance costs – not to mention construction cost.  So don’t build too big.  But don’t build it too small either or it might not be functional and that’s not green.
  5. Build a home with quality.  Remember the 3 little pigs?  A quality home lasts longer, costs less to maintain and definitely holds up better when the big bad wolf is blowing.  Ok, that’s enough of the kid stories. 
  6. Build a thermally efficient home.  Warm is good.  Believe me, I am writing this on a 20 degree below zero day in Minnesota.  I have relatives in Phoenix that say Cool is good!  Thermally efficient also means less money from your pocket to the local Utility.
  7. Use an energy efficient Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) system. You don’t have to spend many dollars here to reap some good $$$ savings.
  8. Develop a landscape plan that reduces erosion and water use. Who wants to spend the entire weekend mowing and watering?  I’d rather be playing Guitar Hero, or Twittering or something.
  9. Consider your homes building product and material choices.If it smells bad don’t use it.  You are going to be married to that floor for a long time.
  10. Install energy efficient appliances and electrical (lighting) systems.  Once again small investment for good gains.

So that’s my Top 10 Green Things to Do list.  You may notice that I don’t specifically mention solar panels, photo-voltaics or geo-thermal systems.  Well those items might be a great addition to an overall sustainable building plan, but the initial costs are high and the payback is longer.  I’ll discuss more in future postings.

By the way, if you want to buy a “green” house plan that you can build.  You might start at Simply Elegant Home Designs.  All of the plans in their portfolio have been designed keeping many of the green principals listed above in mind.

Yellow - Mimosa's Debut?

Beauty is as ....1

Yellow tulips speak to me of Spring and the promise of sunshine.
What could be more optimistic than that?

Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industry has selected 'Mimosa', a warm, engaging yellow, as the Color of the Year for 2009. It was selected for the view that the world is in a time of economic and political change and for the fact that yellow more than any other color represents optimism, hope and reassurance.

"The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance," explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation."

While all the above testaments to the effects of yellow on the psyche are so true, yellow is a color that is a tried and true favourite and has been used abundantly throughout the annals of time. Although I don't subscribe to the fickle market trends of color ......thank-you very much Pantone for your re-packaging and re-marketing of the color Yellow and for giving it it's year of fame!!


Sunset in Morocco taken by my girlfriend Ann on her desert safari expedition 2007.

Venice Day 1 013

Yellow lanterns on the Island of Giudecca for the famous Rendentore fireworks celebration 2008

parish hadley reception via Peak of Chicalbert-hadley-nymag from designpublic

Albert Hadley was using yellow in his designs in the 80's

david hicks1

David Hicks (left) used yellow in the 70's

image DSC01027

Conran has introduced a yellow velvet for this sofa (left) just in time to catch the yellow wave.
A yellow ottoman at the showroom of Dennis & Leen in Los Angeles that I was attracted to on a visit in 2008 (right)

Nate Berkusimage
Yellow tufted ottomans (left Nate Berkus, right KWID)

ekb interiors2

Yellow toss cushions and trim on draperies add a lively spark to these rooms. EKB Interiors

Elle Decor 2007 Laird Residence Bilhuber Designer1

Jeffery Bilhuber's famous library using the iconic yellow of the National Geographic magazines

Western Interiors AugSept08 via katididTobi Fairley

Yellow in large scale abstract artwork

House Beautiful Nov 2007


Yellow wall coverings KWID


Framed wall paper panels by the fabulous Maison 21


Bold & graphic yellow stripes in this bathroom


Yellow for draperies

fabric and trim tie back drapery

Fabric and trim from my files for a Master Bedroom I designed in the 90's

Steve Gambrel Clarence House Silk elle decor nov 07

Clarence House Silk draperies

Domino image

Yellow Bedding

ekb interiorssoane co uk1

Yellow paint for walls. Benjamin Moore's St Elmo's Fire is a great yellow with just a touch of green in it.

Benjamin Moore's St. Elmo's fire yellow has a hint of green via Washington Post Sept 11Design Within Reach AC Chair


Yellow slipcovered dining chairs Vicente Wolf


Yellow lamps were starting to show up in abundance in 2008

JanShowersMichael Devine1

Jan Showers lamp (left) Michael Devine fabric (right)

kentonnelson com

One of my favourite pieces of artwork by Kenton Nelson

View as a slide show below............

What do you think? Is yellow a color you will want to introduce into your home in 2009, or will you be content to let others use it?

Click here to read a post I did on the color Yellow February 2008

Patricia Gray writes about emerging trends, her inspirations, and "What's HOT" in the world of Design, as well as sneak peaks of her work..
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