Resolutions & Decor Dreaming.  A Designer’s Bucket List of Dream Projects.

First, I need to apologize for missing last month’s blog “Stained Glass, Tales of Color” that was supposed to be published. You see, a week before Christmas, when my blog would have come out, I suffered a technological apocalypse.  My laptop experienced a quick and spontaneous demise.  It turned on once briefly giving me a glimmer of hope but alas it was just enough to quickly harvest files onto a jump drive and then it glowed no more. When I logged onto my blog to complete it for the month on another laptop, I realized it was completely unsaved and was truly lost. I will address the topic again at a later date as it’s already written in my mind, but right now with the help of a new laptop, it’s time for the next scheduled topic of resolutions and decor dreams.


As the hurried pace of the holidays slows and the decorations come down, the focus shifts to the new year before us.  Many people set resolutions; goals or dreams for themselves for the upcoming year.  Most designers have a secret list of project types they would love to do in their professional lifetime.  As a designer, I’ve taken that approach and created a bucket list of projects I aspire to be involved with at some point, may it be this year or in the future.

As an introduction on why these items are on my list, I like places that drip with ambiance.  To make a place memorable and enjoyable, they have to exude character and have a good vibe.  A restaurant for example, has to have a combination of good food and service, plus great atmosphere to bring repeat clients.  If you have one of these food or drink venue related projects, call me today! I would clear my schedule for you…

  1. Wine Bar
  2. Moroccan Restaurant
  3. French Bistro/Bakery
  4. English Pub/Old World Tavern
  5. Jazz Club

Now, here are some pretty pictures, let’s all dream together.

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My design resolutions aren’t all food related.  If you have one of these commercial or residential projects I will still excitedly clear my schedule for you…

  1. Modern Office
  2. Mid Century Modern House
  3. Studio Apartment
  4. Tiny House
  5. Restored Cottage
  6. Whimsical Preschool
  7. Surf Shack

officewhite

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Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog!  Set your 2018 goals high and make them happen.  Whether you want to renovate, redecorate, or just rejuvenate, contact my studio, I’d be happy to help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.”

 

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Minimalism & Interiors; Part 2

Welcome Back!

This is part two of my ongoing series regarding minimalism and living simply.  This month I discuss minimalism and interiors.  As I mentioned in my previous month’s blog Minimalism & Living Simply:

“Any style of interior can be minimalist by simply not getting lost in the details and decor.”

Often times in the glossy decor magazines the rooms are filled to the hilt with accessories.  I’ve always felt that when designing an interior that the room needs space to breath and the eye needs a place to  rest.  This is where minimalism shines.

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Simple & Functional Kitchen
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Simple Bedroom
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Minimal & Modern Office Layout
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Rustic & Natural, Minimal Decoration
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Urban & Simple Minimalist Apartment

See? All different styles of interiors, but they’re ALL minimalist in nature.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, father of modern architecture is credited with the famous design phrase “Less is more.” however after delving in further, I found the phrase, under the same context, first appeared in a line of “Andrea del Sarto, The Faultless Painter”, a poem by Robert Browning.  Regardless of who said it first, the statement remains the same.  Less IS more.

To reiterate my minimalist point even more, this month’s blog even mimics my mantra when approaching minimalism in interiors. Don’t get lost in the details.  If you are developing a minimalist approach to a room, I invite you to share it with me via my contact page.  I would love to see what my readers are doing or work with you on a project!


Next month we step away from minimalism and into the DIY world of kitchen renovations.  If you want your kitchen project finished in time for the Holiday season, you must start now.  You can do it, but let me help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in September: “10 steps to a budget friendly, DIY kitchen renovation.

 

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Minimalism & Living Simply; Part 1

Introduction

This isn’t a one and done blog topic but rather an introduction to a new, more satisfying lifestyle for those seeking simplicity.  Are you downsizing or leaping excitedly into a tiny house or cottage?  Maybe your cluttered or full rooms make you feel overwhelmed, like they’re taking over?  Or, do you enjoy looking at bare counter tops, sleek furniture, and tidy rooms?  The beauty of minimalism and living simply is that you get to define it by how it makes sense for you and your lifestyle.  Most likely you know where you fall on the minimalist spectrum as it covers furniture design, home decor and design, fashion, lifestyle and personal processions.  Terms like simple, streamline, uncluttered, pure, serene, calm, bare, and essentials, will resonate with you and you’ll strive to enact these principles into your life.  Welcome and keep reading!

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Question

I was asked recently how does someone live minimally when their spouse wants to hoard and keep everything?  This situation is a common frustration among couples.  Luckily, the solution is simple: start with your own stuff.  This will help relieve some of your burden and lighten your load.  Hopefully, along the way, your spouse will join you in your efforts.

Purge

In two of my previous blogs Making room in your rooms and Evolving rooms and flexible spaces.  I discuss how to clear out the clutter.  For those who are ready to start really simplifying its time to purge the surplus from your home or business.  Below is an outline of categories I’ve cultivated to reference when starting to reduce:

  1. Clothes, shoes, coats, & seasonal gear
  2. Bags & luggage
  3. Furniture & decor
  4. Bedding & linens
  5. Pans & baking dishes
  6. Pantry & refrigerator
  7. Tupperware & food storage
  8. Cleaning supplies
  9. Toiletries & medicine
  10. Office & desk
  11. Bills, mementos, & mail
  12. Books & media
  13. Electronics, gadgets, & small appliances
  14. Junk drawer & tool box
  15. Holiday decorations
  16. Toys & sporting goods
  17. Car & gardening supplies

Spend time clearing and reducing items from these categories until you only have your desired and used items.  Some categories may be very easy while others may require more time.  Once you’ve exhausted this list, you should feel emotionally and physically lighter.  Arrange a charity to pick up your items, sell them, or pass them along to someone you know, just free yourself. minimalism, living simply, meditation, stacking stones, serenity, calmness

Maintain

Now, its time to start putting in place some principles that maintain your newly found freedom.  What may seem like discipline will quickly come routine.  Additional resources are abundant on this topic.  Two that I am familiar with and follow are the Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and becoming minimalist  by Joshua Becker.  If you want to learn more in depth on the living minimally then these three gentlemen are a great go to resource.

A few principles that are constant throughout any minimalist reading deal with the accumulation of new things once you’ve purged the old.

  1. 1 in 1 out Rule. If you bring something into the home then an old thing needs to go.  Example, if you buy new shoes, then toss out the old ones.
  2. Stop Leisure Buying.  Going shopping at the local mall used to be a common Saturday activity.  People have accumulated a vast amount of clothes that they rarely or no longer wear.  The too tight designer jeans bought on clearance, the leather boots that make your feet hurt, the wet suit you bought for that one vacation,  and the wool ski sweaters that make you itch, its time for them all to go.  Now, with the help of online shopping, the impulse of casually browsing is reduced. Only shop when you need something.
  3. Getting Unusable Gifts.  Receiving a gift from a loved one is wonderful, if you can use it or want it.  However, if its not your style or useful to you, thank them, keep it for a while you’re comfortable with and then pass it along.
  4. Keeping Nostalgic Items.  This one is very difficult.  Some people want to keep everything because of its meaning.  Ask yourself “If I get rid of this item, did that event/person change?” You still have your memories, the situation still occurred.  Baby clothes for example, keep the “coming home” outfit and your favorite onesie and then pass along the rest.  Teens’ sport/activity t-shirts are another nostalgic category.  Memory quilts are popular options for sentimental clothes and then can be actively used again.  If you or someone you know doesn’t sew then there are companies online that will make the quilt for you, simply mail the clothes to them and six weeks later, your memory quilt is ready.  Children’s drawings and artwork is another tug at the heartstrings.  Every year, purge out the ones you and your child don’t really care for, take a photo of them and toss them.  Keep only the ones that you cherish and frame them or place them in a memento box.
  5. Saving for “One Day If…”  It makes financial sense for children’s clothes to be kept for younger siblings but if you’re hoarding things in the garage and your basement is bursting, its time to reevaluate.  “You might need that one day” is a slippery slope.  Use it today, plan for tomorrow, but never keep for what if.  Your house is a home to live in not a closet to store stuff.
  6. Traveling Light.  I’ve heard this from so many seasoned travelers, travel light.  Once you start this practice, you’ll never want to travel burdened with big suitcases again.  People who travel heavy need to have a lot of options and feel completely prepared for any situation and don’t make outfit decisions before they leave.  Check the weather for your trip, make outfit choices that mix and match and leave the rest at home.  If you have access to a sink or bathtub, then you can do laundry.  When I studied abroad for four months in college, I packed one week of warm weather clothes, one week’s worth of cold weather clothes, and travel sized toiletries to cover the first few days there.  All of my clothes layered with each other.  I had space in my luggage for my art supplies, souvenirs and items that I bought there during the four months.  For a regular vacation, a small 19″ carry-on and a backpack will work for you just fine, you’ll see.
  7. Capsule Wardrobe/Uniform.  Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs made wearing the same thing everyday trendy.  Their wardrobe of a gray tshirt and black turtle neck respectively, with jeans became their signature looks.  Who would dare comment to these two successful gents if they wore the same shirt yesterday?  They’re tech icons and they rock the “uniform” idea.  A capsule wardrobe (~30 items) is much easier for many people to get on board with and adopt.  I’ve even read about seasonal capsule wardrobes, however I feel that idea is stretching the concept beyond its intent.  The idea of a capsule wardrobe harks back to the 1900’s where people simply didn’t own a lot of clothes.  Instead, they owned only what they loved, choosing quality over quantity and maintained them. Don’t fear judgement as you embrace your freedom and lighter lifestyle.  A minimalist wardrobe will simply be another aspect to your lifestyle and extension of your beliefs. Your coworkers will see your tidy workstation and your friends will see your uncluttered home, then understand your capsule wardrobe as completely logical.
  8. Minimalism & Interiors.  I’ll continue this blog next month to cover minimalism and interiors in depth as many people have a preconceived notion that minimalism has to mean modern, not necessarily so.  Any style of interior can be minimalist by simply not getting lost in the details and decor.  Tune in next month for a more in depth discussion.

Remember that minimalism is a lifestyle, a practice, and a way of life that alters the way you see your possessions and environment.  Set them free and they will set you free.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in August: “Minimalism & Interiors

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TINY Housing Alternatives

Beyond single family homes, apartments, condos, and downtown lofts there are many housing alternatives for those who desire something different.  Cottages, cabins, houseboats, dome homes, earth homes, and even communal living are all decades old concepts but are still a niche market.  However, within this niche market there is a growing movement raging on called Tiny Homes. Occurring world wide, tiny homes (commonly defined as being less than 500 sf) are offering incredibly sensible solutions to a diverse population for many reasons.  The main factors driving this trend are:

  • Those looking to buy are priced out of the market to shoulder the crippling and heavy mortgage burden, however still desire the high demand locations.
  • Those wanting to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint, live off grid, or live a sustainable lifestyle more in tune with nature.
  • Those yearning for a simpler life with less stress by reducing the required upkeep of a larger home, limiting the consumerism ideals of wanting and buying more, or living minimally with only necessities and truly desired items.
  • Those desiring to travel and need a home base to return to at the end of a journey.  Many tiny homes are mounted on trailers for this reason, thus the owners can then take their home with them on road trips.cottage, tiny house movement, tiny homes, tiny house designers in MA, tiny home designers in Medway, MA, interior designers in Medway, MA

Whatever the reason is, many of these tiny homes are simply beautiful!  When the concept of a home is streamlined to the basics the finesse of a well thought out design occurs due to spatial necessity.  Still utilizing standard building materials of stud walls, insulation, shingles, double pane windows, skylights, wood floors, tile and so forth these homes can hold their own in style and craft way better when comparing to its cousin the RV, built of plastic, laminates and vinyl.  However, due to the small size of these buildings, creativity is also needed in working with current building codes.

Many of these homes are mounted on trailers for this reason but then cannot be considered homes. Being mounted on trailers, many tiny homes average 8 ft wide by 24 ft long, and 13.5 ft tall due to DOT road regulations.  To maximize interior space within these confines, many work out to be 150 sf-200 sf with the addition of loft spaces.  Placing these homes permanently on a plot of land is another hurdle they face.  In many municipalities they can only be classified as secondary dwellings or auxiliary spaces.  This means they cannot be the primary residence of the land owner and have to locate on someone else’s backyard.  Additional workarounds often have to be considered such as skirting the trailer wheels from sight, proper utility hookups, waste water management and so forth.  However, those who are fortunate enough to be able to locate their tiny homes on open land without zoning restriction and completely off grid are living large!  The lifestyle freedom these tiny homes bring is phenomenal and the views from their windows can be breathtaking.

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As I mention on my website, my design studio is also the combination of the hobbies that keep me up at night.  One of my guilty pleasures is watching tiny house videos on YouTube.  As a designer, I analyze the homes’ level of craftsmanship, layout efficiency, and sustainable practices/environmental considerations.  My favorite video producer by far is Bryce Langston and his “Living Big in a Tiny House”  project based in New Zealand.   With many kiwi residents either priced out of the expensive Auckland housing market or have fallen victim to the massive earthquakes in Christchurch, tiny homes are becoming a fast trend and valid housing solution.  With his friendly interview style and genuine interest in tiny homes, Bryce’s videos showcase different tiny homes all over New Zealand.  The additional scenic aerial drone shots are breathtaking and just add to the videos’ charm.  He also includes construction tutorials from his own tiny house building project that are very informative and supportive of those looking to build their own homes.  I can’t wait to see how his tiny house ends up and look forward to viewing his new videos this year.  He’s currently interviewing in Japan and is coming to the USA this spring to learn more about the American tiny home trend.  Learn more about Bryce and his living big project at http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/

There is also a subset within Tiny Homes called Micro Homes.  These differ slightly as they usually average under 100 sf!  These are super stripped down and answer the requirements of absolute basic living.  Extremely portable, these homes have also offered some larger cities solutions with helping the homeless find transitional housing for example.  Watching YouTube videos on this topic, names start to repeat and those in the Tiny House community refer to each other for design assistance or inspiration.  One such name is Dee Williams. Found at https://padtinyhouses.com/, she has downsized her 80 sf micro home to a new vardo gypsy wagon style under 60 sf.  She’s truly a minimalist and revered in the tiny/micro community.

While my design specialty is historic preservation and renovations, I have always enjoyed making floor plans more efficient, analyzing every nook and cranny for unused space, and removing unneeded open space.  My internship back in college was even analyzing the spatial efficiency of a hospital of 3 million sf to see if they were maximizing their space utilization. Buildings are priced out per square foot, so I like to make sure every one of them is used effectively.  Designing a large building is easy but many times the functional space remains the same and circulation space (walking around) is what increases. Many daily activities occur in spaces less than 100 sf and human interactions occur within 10 sf. Shrinking that large building down and still maintaining all functions becomes the challenge, where the creativity begins! Hence, why I love studying tiny homes.

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The American dream used to be buy a large chunk of land, build a big impressive house and feel satisfied saying “I’ve made it, I’m a success.”  However, I feel that idea is shifting. With land prices soaring, the environmental impact becoming more evident, and lifestyles becoming much more mobile, that dream has new ideas.  Cities are being more gentle with natural resources with recycling programs and encouraging water conservation with many states facing droughts.  Solar panel installations are becoming  increasingly popular and hybrid/high efficient cars are now common place.  Businesses too are downsizing, people are now working remotely or on location, thus reducing the amount of office space the company needs to lease.  Now, with the tiny house movement, cities have a new option to create affordable housing that can also be a lighter burden, if they choose to accept them into their zoning.  I’ve recently read that tiny homes are becoming an appendix to the International Residential Code for 2018.  Its still in the review and adoption process by the International Code Council, but the induction is finally here.   Many building officials currently don’t know how to approve Tiny Homes as they’re in no mans land for building codes. Yes, restrictions will then occur for the DIY’ers but only through code regulations will municipalities be able to bring main stream acceptance. Then, tiny homes could exist on their own yard screaming “I’ve made it, I’m a success!”

house-sketch

The idea of home is many things to many people.  At the end of the day however, all you need is protection from the elements, a cozy place to rest and cuddle with a loved one, a way to prepare nourishing food, and a facility to refresh.  How you define those is what makes your home truly yours, whether its big, tiny, or somewhere in the middle.  Go find your tribe, the home and community for you is out there.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Check out my previous blogs regarding making homes multi task here and how to declutter your life here.

Join in March: “Beyond the Beige Box; creating curb appeal and exterior detail.”