It’s difficult to pick a favorite project, but one project that stands out is a recent lake house, perhaps because it’s spring. And with summer just around the corner, wouldn’t it be wonderful to plan to spend time at the lake? Carson Looney of Looney Ricks Kiss was the architect, and the style of the house has a relaxed modern farmhouse feel. I think people really respond to this fresh style because it can still be comfortable and familiar.
The kitchen is a great example of this contrast. The familiar materials are anything but formal. Reclaimed beams frame the opening to the kitchen, and the unfinished wood detail is echoed in the range hood sheathed in old barnwood. The walls are informal horizontal shiplap-style boards, and the cabinets are white Shaker style.
In contrast to these familiar materials is the elegant design. The window treatments are a simple Roman shade, but we’ve added a bold pattern which works well with the white backdrop. The barnwood range hood has a modern appearance, and its simply applied trim is just right. The sheen of the marble counter tops, the sparkle of the large-scale pendants,and the tailored fit of the upholstered bar stools add some stylish contrast to the rustic elements.
What really makes me consider this one of my favorites is that we’ve managed to give our clients a space that works well for them. They spend a lot of time at the lake, and this house is a home for them. They also love to entertain large groups here, and with plenty of great space, the house works perfectly.
Asking to pick my favorite project is like asking which one of your children is your favorite. My clients are like my family and I could never choose one over the other. Over the last 20 years we have collaborated on lots of fantastic projects that I’m proud of, but, I did have a somewhat recent project not too long ago that I worked on solely for the purpose of being creative-and it’s a favorite I can share.
I participated in Art by Design, a fundraising show for ArtsMemphis that invites interior designers to produce vignettes from their imaginations. It was so entertaining and a wonderful opportunity to be uninhibited and wildly inventive. Playing with patterns and colors that reflect what’s going on inside my mind and to amplify it all for the show was so enjoyable. Having the freedom to mix furniture and accents from different decades and origins is something I do a lot with my clients; but for Art by Design, there were no rules.
I had a new geometric patterned cowhide rug with a 1960s marble and brass coffee table paired with a yellow snakeskin console and a 1980s Japan secretary. Suspended from the ceiling was an 1880s black and gold chandelier along with a modern art piece with citrine colors hung on metallic wallpaper. And, I added a bright neon tiger to the mix as well. All of it worked and it was some of the most fun I’ve had. I’m looking forward to another fantastic Art by Design this year and I’m sure it will be a new favorite project.
“When the image is new the world is new.” Gaston Bachelard poignantly captures in these few words the experience of clever and inspiring design. A well-designed space is essentially a poetic moment when a creative dreamer takes a “motionless shell” and transforms it into a shelter that lures the viewer leaving an indelible impression. As a designer, all my projects give me license for clever creativity and an opportunity to design “new” and hopefully inspiring spaces.
My challenge was to create a wellcurated space that uniquely represented their mission of experiencing Exclusively crafted journeys around the globe.Allyson James
One of my favorite projects was the office space for the luxury brand Thirdhome based in Brentwood, TN. Thirdhome is a premier, luxury property and travel club that offers its members the opportunity to travel, taste, live and see the world through its 10,000 luxury properties in 94 countries. My challenge was to create a well-curated space that uniquely represented their mission of experiencing exclusively crafted journeys around the globe.
My initial inspiration came from the concept of Google’s office complex with its colorful schematics and simple organic spaces. I designed a conference room with a radiused wall of glass that exposed large images of their global properties with bright orange translucent acrylic barn doors. I used accents of orange and turquoise, representative of their brand colors, on selected accented walls, and stadium seating concepts for their collaborative spaces. For the main walls, I painted gallery white to create a drop cloth for images of their luxury properties. Drywall with sheets of oak veneer on low partitioned walls were used to fashion custom cubicle spaces that were warm and inviting. This project was a collaborative effort with the very forward thinking CEO Wade Shealy whose unique and inspiring “new image” for luxury travel gave license to making this one of my favorite design experiences.
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