photography 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.

Wanderlust: Turkey

By Melody Richardson

As a Turkish-American child, I remember splashing in crystal clear waters, enjoying spectacular food, and absorbing the fast paced culture of Turkey every other summer throughout my childhood. The country has always held a special place in my heart. My mother is from Izmir, a small town on the southwestern coast, but spent her teenage years in Istanbul, making both cities a home away from home for me. After the passing of my mother, my younger brother and I decided to make an annual visit. Despite having spent so much time there growing up, viewing Turkey through unaccompanied adult eyes gave me a completely different experience. This time I went off the beaten path, exploring islands, and smaller historical neighborhoods, while still finding time for our favorite places. 

When in Istanbul, we stayed with our Aunt in Kadıköy, a local neighborhood. Each day we gazed out from her balcony, across the water, to the Princes Islands. This time we were fortunate enough to visit those islands. We knew after a one to two hour hike to the top we would be greeted by a 200 year old church and beautiful views. We did not, however, expect to be met by wild horses! As we took in the beauty, we fed the horses figs and olives from the surrounding trees. The Princes Islands are often visited by locals for a day trip, and I have every intention of going back each and every time. 

After a few days in Istanbul, we travelled to nearby Izmir to visit my grandmother. Izmir has been dubbed Ataturk’s City and has a giant stone monument in his honor. Another thing it’s is famous for is the Karşıyaka Bostanlı Bazaar which is only a 5 minute walk from my Grandmother’s house- we never miss it! It is definitely not the ideal environment for the claustrophobic, but very rewarding if you dont mind a little hustle and bustle. The bazaar is always busy with vendors and customers bargaining for goods. From fresh fish and vegetables to handmade jewelry and traditional Turkish towels, you can find just about anything. I always end up bringing an extra luggage to fill up with treasures to bring back home. After a long day of bartering, a nice ride around the bay on the Bostanlı Ferry at sunset is a relaxing way to take in a once in a lifetime view. 

The final leg of the trip we ventured back to Istanbul to visit with our uncle and explore the more touristy areas of Taksim and Karaköy. I always like to visit these neighborhoods because of the incredible combination of new and old, foreign and local. There are modern, trendy shops and buildings alongside centuries old palaces, mosques, and architecture– including the second oldest underground transit system, inaugurated in 1875. You can see Turkish people and foreigners alike bustling through the areas visiting the shops and cafes. 

Being in that environment is an experience impossible to find in the United States, that I highly recommend to all that are able. Coming home to Turkey makes me feel closer to my mother, closer to my family, and closer to the culture that I so deeply adore.

Turkey is a magical place with incredible people, sights, and history. It truly is my happy place. If you get the opportunity to go, please don’t hesitate to contact me for information and tips. I’d love to share, give recommendation and wish you: İyi yolculuklar! (Have a wonderful trip!)

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!

 

Spring Collection 2018: Bright and Bold!

By: The Balance Design Team

Join us as we unveil our new featured artists Crysta Luke and Emily Grant, and introduce our spring/summer collection.

We are thrilled to show the dynamic abstract art of Crysta Luke, some oversized and some petite — all fabulous!


We are also excited to introduce newcomer Emily Grant, showcasing her luscious and moody still life photography.


Join us Thursday May 24, 7-9pm for Latin inspired cocktails and tapas! See you there!

Color Palette: Summer Lake

By: Danielle Clockel

Photo courtesy of Erin McCown.

Is there anything more nostalgic of childhood summers than a lake? Cool waters, lush trees, and maybe a canoe or two. Where’s the tire swing? We wanna jump in!

From left to right:
1. Farrow & Ball Vardo No.228
2. Sherwin Williams Pineapple Cream 1668
3. Benjamin Moore Dunmore Green
4. Farrow & Ball London Clay No. 244
5. Sherwin Williams Dignity Blue 6804