Danielle Clockel Posts

The Joy of Designing in a (Very) Small, Shared Space.

By: Danielle Clockel

Ah, New York: big city, small apartments. I moved to Brooklyn in July with my significant other, which meant combining two apartments’ worth of belongings into one little 450 square foot studio. By now we’ve all read the tips and tricks to overcoming small space challenges, but not enough is said about the fun of making it all work. Here’s what I enjoyed most about making our tiny apartment our authentic home.

Gaining big love for little plants. Tragically, I had to rehome several of my larger plants to friends before I made the move to Brooklyn, knowing I wouldn’t have the space for them. However, tending to my menagerie of petite plants (most hardy succulents) and seeing them thrive in their new environment has given me new appreciation for their special details — red edged leaves, propagation progress, and even some tiny new babies popping up from the mother plant. Additional benefit: they help hide some of the cords from my better half’s MANY electronic devices.

Creating a diverse color palette to invigorate the space. Blues, teals, reds, and purples speckle our tiny studio. Against crisp white walls, this bold scheme brings the apartment to life. He thought there was no way to mix floral print with a concert poster — he was wrong.

Creating vignettes to turn clutter into meaningful displays. One shelving unit for all my books and cameras meant each level needed to look good, and not like I had to cram it all in there. So I played around with stacking, grouping, and placement to turn each shelf into its own little display. Have a few of my treasures still somehow ended up on my partner’s own bookshelf? Maybe, maybe not.

I’ve lived in studio apartments for over half of my adult life, but our fifth floor charmer is definitely the smallest. It took even a seasoned pro such as myself a little time to figure out just how to bring two separate households of belongings together in a space the size of some people’s kitchens. But through it all, these were the parts of the process that brought me the most joy, and I believe they can inspire any size dwelling.

The High End Ikea Life

By: The Balance Design Team

We love to mix things up in pretty much every way — patterns, styles, colors, and even price range. There’s room for every level of budget in our designs, and we’re here to show you how to mix your finally-got-that-raise purchase with your I’m-not-spending-more-than-$100-on-that staples. We thought it would be fun to show you how our designers pair a cool Ikea piece with some medium and high end items and create a complete designer look.

Shelby’s pick:

You have to admire the classic clean look of IKEA’s Hilver table — perfect for a desk. Pairing this piece with a mustard desk chair from Chairish and matching art print by Eva Magill Oliver creates a mid century vibe for an office space in a small ranch home. I love the teal/rose/white color combination on the wall in the above photo (courtesy of The Old Piggery) and a simple woven teal rug to balance out the pops of yellow. And how about that stunning silhouette on the CB2 brass desk lamp? A hanging Hoya plant finishes off the space and gives it the playful touch it deserves!

 

Melody’s pick:

Don’t let the style of one piece dictate the aesthetic of the whole room — mix things up to get a real global feel! I saw this modern woven pendant light from IKEA and instantly thought to pair it with a comfy shaggy rug. Of course you also need equally comfortable seating, and the rich rust cushion of this Anthropologie carved daybed brings out the pop of color in the CB2 rug. Deep teals and bright blues are perfect accents to such a warm tone, and the combination of a bold pouf from Etsy and intensely saturated grasscloth are just the thing this room needs. The cherry on top of this easy-going, worldly look is a fringed hanging planter from World Market. Get cozy!

 

Danielle’s pick:

What’s in a name? Sometimes nothing! Let the quality of materials speak for themselves rather than the brand name of the item. Here I’ve paired stunning sterling silver flatware from Tiffany & Co. and engraved Saks Fifth Avenue stoneware canape plate with a classic 100% linen tea towel from (ready for this?) IKEA. I love the combination of these vintage bentwood chairs with caned seats and an affordable-yet-durable French garden inspired rug. A brutalist end table made of charred, 100-year-old reclaimed wood from collapsed barns in Transylvania and inkblot-style wallpaper from Schumacher add the right amount of grit and edge to ground this delicate room. Plus, the table provides the perfect perch for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Delightful!

The moral of this story is: look for the hidden gems. Whether it’s a simple desk, a funky pendant, or a classic textile, you never know when a super special piece might jump out at you from the least expected places, even at Ikea.

Color Palette: Bamboo Green

By: Danielle Clockel

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

In honor of founder Stephanie’s birthday this week, it’s an all-green color scheme! A monochrome color palette can be more diverse than you might think, and for this one we drew inspiration from the many hues of the bamboo plant.

1. Benjamin Moore Hunter Green 2041-10
2. Farrow & Ball Arsenic No. 214
3. Benjamin Moore Lime Green 2026-10
4. Benjamin Moore Chic Lime 396
5. Benjamin Moore Yellow Green 2033-10
6. Sherwin Williams Tame Teal SW 6757
7. Sherwin Williams Mint Condition SW 6743
8. Sherwin Williams Shamrock SW 6454
9. Benjamin Moore Timson Green CW-470

5 Ways to Use Neon in Your Home

By: Danielle Clockel

Neon — brighter than bright, boldest of all hues. How can you harness such a powerful color spectrum in your space? Behold:

Photo courtesy of Lonny.

As dreamy, soft mood lighting. Go for pinks and cyans shrouded by gauzy panels.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

As a way to completely transform vintage furniture. A simple-yet-impactful paint job will do, but bonus points if you can use actual lighting!

Photo courtesy of wallpaper.com.

As standout grout. This frames your gorgeous tile choice and creates a vibrant modern grid pattern.

Photo courtesy of Curated Interior.

As a surprise interior accent color. Paint your built-in shelving, your closets, the inside of your cabinets — whatever, go crazy!

Photo courtesy of SF Girl.

As a way to make the smallest, simplest elements suddenly very cool. Boring knobs? Better now.

Whether you incorporate just a little or whole lot, neon colors add life and cheer to a space. And who couldn’t use a little of that each day, right?

Before and After: A Grant Park Transformation

By: Shelby Adamson

A recent renovation project of ours in the historic Grant Park neighborhood has us beaming with pride. The owners brought us in to update their home’s basic “quick flip” builder look into something clean, modern, and perfect for displaying art as well as entertaining guests. To achieve this, we focused on the kitchen and living room.

Before…

After!

We refreshed the walls and cabinets in Benjamin Moore White Dove, which allowed the backsplash tile to really steal the show (more on that in a bit). For the all important countertops, we chose a quartz with a cement look, which allows our clients to cook and entertain without the worry of staining. As an added bonus, we extended the peninsula to accommodate more seating.

Before…

After!

Okay. About this tile. It’s definitely one of our favorite aspects of this project. We accentuated the geometric form with a navy grout to really make each piece pop off the wall. We’re obsessed! The deep sink with industrial stainless black faucet completes the modernization of the space, creating a beautiful kitchen that’s a thrill to cook in.

Before…

After!

While we loved the idea of a living room mantle for this home, the existing one was a bit ill-fitting and didn’t really add any warmth or wow-factor. Our client loved the look of walnut wood cladding, so we chose a similarly beautiful poplar wood and stained it walnut for cost efficiency (with no sacrifice on style). We worked with the asymmetry of the room by adding a cozy reading nook to the left of the fireplace, and storage to the right.

Before…

After!

The rest of the living room is layered with geometric rugs, a rich, warm cognac leather sofa, latticed coffee table, and modern arc reading lamp. It’s updated, inviting, and super comfy — a welcoming sight when you walk through the front door.

Our clients now have a space that is perfect for their guests, whether they’re congregating in the kitchen to cook a delicious meal or lounging in the living room with a craft cocktail. And those clean, soft white walls are the perfect base to showcase their art collection.