Learn it! Posts

Design Inspiration: Paris Fashion Week

By: The Balance Design Team

The runways of Paris are an inspiration to many in terms of fashion, but to us they’re so much more. The stunning looks at the recent Paris Fashion Week have motivated us to step up our interior design styles in so many ways! Let’s dive in.

Casual Sophistication

Photos courtesy of Vogue and Nate Berkus.

Rich texture, bright colors, global vibe, slouchy yet sophisticated style — don’t you just love it when things look effortless? Get your home in the same spirit by incorporating bold upholstery, natural materials like wood or leather, and comfy-casual-classic pieces like a cozy throw. So easygoing and unpretentious, yet speaks volumes.

Darkly Sheer Embroidery

Photos courtesy of Vogue, The Jungalow, and Pinterest.

We love sheers, and we love embroidery, but something about too much of either one can feel like overkill. Pair them together, however, and you have an ultra sophisticated yet eclectic look for your outfit or your home. Sheer tiered panels alongside funky embroidered pillows are the household equivalent of gauzy ruffled skirts with a structured, embroidered jacket. We’re especially loving this concept in a dark ground with vivid accents — it adds that bit of edge to an otherwise soft look.

Basics Reinvented

Photos courtesy of Elle and Coroflot.

A chair is a chair, a shirt is a shirt…how many different ways can you alter the fundamentals? Fashion week always gets us inspired to rethink the basics, like solid clothing or the humble chair.  The tone on tone compliments, rich texture, soft fabric made crisp with pleats, and reimagined silhouette of this Valentino look makes it a work of art. Similarly, the gorgeous wood tone, visual movement, and unprecedented silhouette of this chair elevates a common item to a sculptural level.

Mixed Metallics

Photos courtesy of Vogue and Our Fifth House.

Keeping different metallic finishes separated is officially a thing of the past. This look from Miu Miu expertly mixes a gorgeous, sparkling white gown (with contrasting black sheers) with gold AND silver pieces — not to mention denim shoes (gasp!). Similarly, the possibilities are limitless when accessorizing your home. Check out these mixed gold/glossy black frames decorating a plain white wall. When it comes to taking standalone elements and arranging them into a stunning ensemble, sometimes it’s best to mix it all up.

Warm Industrial

Photos courtesy of Vogue and N. Beckstedt Studios.

In Jonathan Anderson’s ready-to-wear collection, we see rich leathers used as both surface and adornment, creating a look that is stunning yet practical. This warm, modernist style carries over into contemporary interiors through modern industrial architecture infused with warmth. A sense of ease is created by integrating organic materials and vintage pieces, resulting in a timeless yet approachable living space.

Glitter Goals

Photos courtesy of Vogue and KC Homes & Style.

Glitter is making a comeback! And no, we don’t mean the awful Mariah Carey movie circa 2001. Gone are the slinky, barely-there mini dresses — make way for long-lined elegance and glamour. The same goes for interior design; what was once almost solely associated with childhood arts and crafts has blossomed into the refined older sister. Sparkle accents done right can bring glamour and sophistication to spaces big and small.

As you can see, you don’t always have to commit to a complete overhaul to change things up. Sometimes getting creative and playing with your accessories and accent pieces can alter the mood and style of a room (or an outfit!).

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!

 

Tried and True Colors We Believe In

By: Melody Richardson

Color trends come and go, but within these fads emerge some classic shades that withstand the test of time (and style). Here are five paint colors we have found easy to translate into any space. They are classic, inviting, and incredibly beautiful.

Benjamin Moore White Dove 0C-17


We used this inviting white to bring cleanliness and warmth to this kitchen renovation. Some whites come off as sterile and cold. Instead, this bright shade is begging you to come host a dinner for two…or 20.

Sherwin Williams Unusual Gray SW 7059

Unusual Gray is an enigma. Does it have green in it? What about blue? Changes in lighting allow this neutral gray to transition with the day. We use it in a variety of spaces. Here it stands as the backdrop to a bold and chipper work of art in an open concept kitchen.

Farrow and Ball Studio Green No. 93

One of our absolute favorite colors to bring drama into a room is Studio Green. We love it so much we used it in the Cashiers designer showhouse this year! This versatile green-black is an experience in itself. Appearing differently depending on its surroundings, Studio Green lends itself to virtually any style.

Farrow and Ball Hague Blue No. 30

Hague Blue is the new and improved navy of all of our nautical dreams.This vivid and sophisticated blue is a statement wherever its used. A favorite for making a built-in the focal point of the space, this blue pairs well with warm and cool tones. So good, it should be considered a neutral.

Farrow and Ball Salon Drab No. 290

Salon Drab is anything but. This lovely mushroom shade evokes visions of tailored menswear and refined earth tones. Used here, it brings together a fireplace and built-ins and really grounds the space. Salon Drab gives intrigue to relatively neutral color palettes.

These colors stir up a range of feelings and give life to spaces that may otherwise be underwhelming. We have fallen in love with their versatility and beauty, and we believe they make all the difference. Whether you prefer clean and neutral or bright and bold, at the end of the day, choose whatever color makes you feel at home.

4 Design Books to Inspire You

By: The Balance Design Team

There’s something about a beautiful, hardcover design book that all the internet browsing in the world just can’t compare to. If you’re on the same page (ha ha ha) as us, we think you’ll enjoy this list of some of our favorite inspirational sources!

If you love color, pattern making, and rugs, Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro will inspire you to paint, mix color, and just create! As designers and entrepreneurs, finding space in our lives to be creative is essential. This time spent unplugging and pondering art and design is sacred, and this book takes us there.

Noted father/son architect duo Eliel and Eero Saarinen are most famously known for their neo-futuristic music halls, Finnish train stations, the Washington Dulles airport, and the St. Louis arch (just to name a few). Saarinen Houses is a fascinating look into their lesser known ventures designing and decorating houses all over the world with their signature style. It’s a classic study on mid-century modernism, rife with inspiration for newer generations of designers.

Nomad Deluxe is the perfect book if you’re looking to connect with the essence of the author and the subjects. Through gorgeous travel photography, this book links people and cultures on a deeper level, which we find helps guide our design process in a more meaningful way.

The Little Book of Cacti and Other Succulents may not be your typical “design book” (because it’s a plant book), but that’s what’s so inspiring about it. There are well known succulents as well as rare cacti with shapes, colors, and textures you’ve probably never seen before. It’s a welcome reminder that beauty comes in an infinite amount of forms, and that not fitting into the mold is something to be celebrated — not feared.

We think online resources for creative inspiration (like Pinterest and Instagram) are fantastic tools, and ones that we use every day! However, there is a deep joy in the tactile experience of holding a beautifully curated design book in your hands and leisurely flipping through the pages. It really is an art form all its own, and being able to proudly display the author’s work on your shelf or coffee table is a privilege.

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.