Shelby Adamson Posts

Wanderlust: Las Vegas

By: Shelby Adamson

Recently an incredibly dear friend of mine invited me to her fabulous wedding in Las Vegas. To be honest, if it were not for this event I really would have no reason to take a trip to Sin City. For me, whatever happens in Vegas can stay in Vegas. I don’t gamble, I prefer a dive bar to a club filled with house music, and I would rather go to the real Paris or Venice than see the American versions in the middle of a desert. All that being said, here is my “skeptic’s highlight” of the city.

Image courtesy of Spoiled Splendid.

Upon arrival, I was immediately impressed with the canyons surrounding the city. I’m a Florida girl, and the expanse of desert was a beautiful sight to behold. My first stop along the strip was the Bellagio, a large hotel with a casino and shops on the main expanse of the first floor. High end shopping, Michelin star restaurants, and intricate interior details showed that no expense was spared here. After grabbing a cocktail and walking around, I have to say my favorite part was watching the fountain show that occurs every 15 minutes in front of the hotel. The fountains are paired with music (my favorite was the Pink Panther theme) and it is quite magical to watch.

Image courtesy of Cosmopolitan Las Vegas.

Yet another stop along the strip was the modern Cosmo Hotel, home to the Chandelier Bar. Pro tip: order the Verbena cocktail — it isn’t on the menu, but you will be so happy you did. This lemon verbena and ginger infused margarita is garnished with a Sichuan flower. Eat the flower before drinking the cocktail; your mouth will tingle and then go numb, but your taste buds will be heightened due to the alkaloid ingredient in the flower spilanthol. It’s a very unique and Alice in Wonderland type of experience!

Image courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler.

The details that go into each hotel really are impressive. If you know me,  you know I love to look up, and the Venetian had me marveling at its incredible ceiling. After popping into an oxygen bar and watching the gondola’s float along the indoor canal I made sure to get my fill of this ceiling before leaving.

Image courtesy of Shelby Adamson.

The dizzying lights, the sounds of the casinos, and the smell of cigarette smoke can be a bit overwhelming. So when I had a chance to hike Red Rock Canyon with a friend, I was eager to get some fresh air (this type of outing is much more my vibe). We were lucky to have a guide take us into the canyon and hike up the cliff, and learned about the common misconceptions that the desert is barren. On the way up, we were able to see all of the beautiful flora native to Nevada. The patterns in the sandstone truly were a work of art, and the peace and calm of the desert was exactly what we needed after the overstimulation of the Vegas strip. Ultimately we hiked to an elevation of 600 feet and looked over the beautiful splendor that is the desert.

My honest opinion about Las Vegas is that it is somewhat of a Walt Disney World for adults. I personally would prefer to visit other continents, hike Glacier National Park, see foreign sights. But overall I had a really great time in Las Vegas, and I was incredibly honored to be able to witness my friends beautiful nuptials.

Elements of a Photoshoot

By: Shelby Adamson

Many of us find ourselves opening up a magazine to peruse the beautiful photos and think, “why doesn’t my home look like this?” Well, coming from a team of designers that do this on a daily basis, there is a lot of work that goes into these productions to get the perfect shot!

When scheduling a photoshoot, there are a few key aspects to consider. First is the time of day. The ideal time to photograph is when the sun is overhead, allowing for good lighting and avoiding harsh sun rays that tend to hit in the later afternoon.

Courtesy of Tracy Cox for Balance Design.

Then we scout the room — take a few test shots to review later and determine what needs to be added and removed from the space. (We typically pull out anything that feels too large or doesn’t compliment or enhance the space). Sometimes a beloved piece of furniture is incredibly comfortable, but appears too visually bulky through the lens of the camera. Finally, a color scheme is determined with pillows, accessories, textural pieces, and most importantly plants! Flowers and foliage are a designer’s best friend, whether we’re going for leafy, tall, full, soft, or angular — the greenery really amps up the attitude of the room.

Courtesy of Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

On the day of the photo shoot, the initial shot is reviewed on a computer screen to see how different factors affect the image: shallow vs deep depth of field, varying levels of lighting, vertical vs horizontal orientation, etc. The hardest part of this process is removing yourself from the physical environment and focusing solely on the image onscreen to determine what visually works, what does not, and what needs to be rearranged. Many pieces that appear “perfect” in a photograph have actually been maneuvered into strange positions to have the correct proportions (thanks, lens distortion!). Multiple shots are taken in various angles and orientations, as well as full room and vignettes to spotlight the designer’s favorite details.

Courtesy of Christina Wedge for Balance Design.

After the photoshoot is over, the photographer processes the many (many) files and layers multiple photos of the same room to optimize exposures, which ensures that certain areas are highlighted, others are complimented, and the rest fall away. Once the editing process is complete, the designer and photographer review the finished photos to determine any additional tweaks and edits.

Courtesy of Christina Wedge for Balance Design.

Finally, favorite shots are chosen and the final product is a beautiful, layered, and labor intensive work of love!

 

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle’s Cashiers Showhouse

By: Shelby Adamson

We are incredibly honored to be chosen to design the dining room at this year’s Cashiers designer show house by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle Magazine! The Cashiers Historical Society hosts this event each year as its largest annual fundraiser. This year’s home is a Mediterranean style villa situated on 42 acres, graciously donated by Terry and Brenda Beye.

The dining room boasts 15 feet high ceilings and an Ouroboros inlaid into the stone floor by the homeowner herself. We embraced these serpents and gave the room a dramatic feel while incorporating the beautiful scenic landscape. We almost immediately decided to paint the walls Studio Green by Farrow & Ball (kindly donated by Verde Home), a sultry and moody black-green that makes the room feel cozy and comfortable. We really took advantage of the high ceilings (and brought the outdoors in) by flanking Steve McKenzie’s gorgeous black and white triptych painting with a pair of sculptural Japanese snowbell trees.

To complement the inlaid stone serpents and give a nod to the mosaic’s eastern feel, we adorned the grand table with coral and white ginger jars (loaned to us by our friends at Trinity Mercantile & Design) and flanked them with two jade foo dogs. The result is a dining experience that embodies a Mediterranean courtyard, where one feels that they are enjoying a meal alfresco in a dramatic space that tantalizes all of the senses.

Intuitive Design

By: Shelby Adamson

Many people ask us how we design such individually authentic interiors. In addition to asking lots of questions and creating idea books, there is also the process of intuitive design. Each design, like each client, is unique. At the first meeting, we assess the client’s habits as well as goals for the space. How will it flow? What feelings do they want it to evoke? Should it be bright and warm? Dark and moody? Modern with a curated collection from personal travels? Or a nod to traditional filled with family heirlooms, yet updated with some key pieces?

Photo courtesy of Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

After this initial meeting we get the nitty gritty details. We sit in the room to see how the light filters in and determine how often the space will be utilized (and by how many people/pets). We note any existing pieces in the home that can help to build a collection, and let the bones of the building speak to us.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Clockel for Balance Design.

Then it’s time to review the client’s wishlist, and have them explain what they love about each item on there. This is where we really listen and pay attention, because if we truly hear what they have to say, we are better able to intuitively create a functional space that they love. It’s what we call our “design filter”: creating something with our personal touch, but that still says something about the client. In this part of the process we really develop that “sixth sense,” and live inside clients’ heads to create the perfect space for them.

Photo courtesy of Christina Wedge for Balance Design.

It is honestly the most rewarding experience to create a beautiful showpiece of a room for a client, and at the end of the day feel their absolute joy for the new life breathed into their home. Nothing pleases us more than to know we’ve helped them cherish their space.

Timeless Design: An Oak Grove Kitchen

By: Shelby Adamson Pawlak

We recently had the opportunity to design a kitchen remodel for an endearing young family in Atlanta’s Oak Grove neighborhood. To accommodate their growing size, they needed storage and workspace, and quality materials to build it all. Our goal was to create such a space in their sprawling ranch home without it feeling compartmentalized, with a timeless style that would delight them for years to come.

A quartz countertop with minimal surface movement is beautiful, yet still durable for any food and beverage spills. A natural stone, Carrara Bella marble, creates a timeless backsplash without taking over the budget. As a contrast to these lighter accents, we painted the cabinetry a daring, chalky black.

We had some fun mixing metal finishes, choosing matte black for the faucet and brushed brass for the hardware and light fixtures.

But the piece de resistance is definitely the shelving suspended from the ceiling. This creates more dining space without sacrificing storage, and holds its own as a beautiful feature to display china and pottery. Its design is clean, delicate, and just the right touch of ornate.

This family deserved style, and we nudged them just enough to think outside the box and not be afraid of something unexpected and different. Functionality was key, but we’re also proud of the unique touches that make their kitchen a showpiece of their home.