Friday, December 3, 2010

The Wow Factor in a Box

Getting into a gift mode headset, it's that time of year when I take a look at our knobs from a different perspective.

In many ways, this is how our knobs and finials have metamorphosed into Genie jars and bottle stoppers. I always like to say they make a great gift or treat for yourself. But since this is the holiday season, I throw my focus on expanding and embellishing our table top collections.

Particularly the bottle stoppers have got some new looks and there's  plenty of bling, color and architecture for those who love our designs.

Of course we like to be in keeping with the cyber holiday shopping spirit. So we tossed in some bargains that can be found on our web specials. 

For those who want some help making a decision, I always suggest choosing the jeweled stoppers for the girls.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Makeover Marvels

I was talking to a customer yesterday who told me she used our knobs to spruce up a dresser that she bought from Target. It's no surprise that people use our hardware to revamp ordinary furniture.

I was reminded of one of my first customers, back in 1993. He owned a hip furniture store in Palo Alto stocked with contemporary imports; a lot of smooth black veneers and clean lines. The cabinet knobs were merely a simple 1" cylinder in a matte silver finish.

I was amazed at how he used our knobs to create his own edgy style. He paired each one of the cylinders with one of our large Showstopper knobs to create an asymmetrical design scheme on cabinet doors and drawers. Got the picture? I wish I had one. It was pretty risky but I loved the originality.

Then there are the artists that make magic with old furniture pieces. Restoration projects can be quite industrious very often requiring stripping, sanding, patching and you name it - all the preparation that's needed to get the surface "paint ready".

Granted it's a lot of work. But you can see the results are undeniably rewarding. Here I thought I would share some of the makeovers from some of our professional customers. Love their knob picks!

It's hard to imagine what this bedroom dresser looked like in a previous life. Tennessee artist Suzanne Fitch takes a fanciful direction, showing her passion for pattern and detail. Our periwinkle Iris knobs, 1 1/2" and 2" diameter are a perfect choice for this beauty.
I can really appreciate the thought that goes into mapping color placement and pattern.  Suzanne did a spectacular job on this console table.
Cara and Anne Marie from Twice Lovely in Arizona chose to focus on metallic patinas for this cabinet. Even the hinges have a nice paint finish. They selected our Nu Duo knobs (1 1/2" diameter) from our web specials. The colors are right in sync with the flowers and vines.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

For the Love of a Bargain

Bargain shopping on the web has been around as long as the internet itself. Discount shopping sites, auction sites, budget shopping blogs, the digital universe is teeming with lures for the thrifty shopper.

I used to think of a coupon as an ad to clip from the Sunday paper, something to be used at the grocery or drug store. But web shopping has given the word "coupon" a much broader scope associated with a whole new cache of goods and goodies.  Merchandise, events, services... just about anything can be had on the web for a discount.

So I figured it's time to jump on the band wagon. The newest addition to our site is a mere little box at the check out that asks for a coupon code. Now that we have this capability to extend timely offers with attractive discounts, there's no doubt our next newsletter will have a surprise coupon code in the contents. You never know, we may even want to throw in a contest. This stuff can be fun!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Switch Plate Color Switch

As a designer, one of the joys about working with color combinations is that the possibilities are infinite. I'm not just referring to paint. Changing a metal or crystal color can also dramatically affect the look of the piece whether it be a knob, a finial or a switch plate. Since all of our products are made right here on our premises, custom color requests are easy to oblige.

It's always a nice surprise to see our designs wearing new color schemes. So I thought I would use this post to share some of the combos we've done with our switchplates.

Black is a popular "color" in a designer's world and we like to use it for extra drama. The architecture of the switch cover really pops when you put it with black.

Stepping outside of the rainbow for a moment, silver is a big decorating color and there are all different hues from pewter to platinum. This blank bloomer wall plate is stunning with both silver paint and metal details.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finail? Finial? Is that your final answer?

Like a dowel screw, or an elbow bracket, a finial is one of those seldom used words that belongs to the decorating or hardware genre. You probably don't  know the meaning or sometimes even the pronunciation unless you've had the occasion to use it. Many people think of a finial as something that sits on top of a lamp (this is true) and few realize it's also a "drapery knob". When it comes to decorative window hardware, the vocabulary is rich with layman terms that can baffle the average person. So I thought I would address some of the basics to help our customers understand the terminology and to help them make good decorating decisions.

The finial is the piece that attaches to the end of the drapery rod. Ours have an inserted wood threaded screw that works with wooden rods. However you can easily remove the screw and replace it with one that is threaded for a metal pole.  When choosing the finial, there are a few things to consider. Think about the size and how it will fit the space.  Is it a large wall? Tight corner? You also want to think about the drape. Heavy materials may work best with a  large finial while light sheers may call for something smaller or more delicate. And finally think about  how the light hits the space.  Many of our finial designs have crystals or crystal cabochons that refract light and create a very pretty effect.

Pictured clockwise from bottom left: Sunflower finial, J finial Isabella, J tieback Birdie, and small Tiki knob.

Our finials range from 4-8" in projection. If you prefer something smaller, many of our 2" diameter knobs measure 1 3/4" at the base and can be converted to a finial by adding a dowel screw. If you're scratching your head about the dowel screw, here's a picture that shows it with one end threaded for metal (to go into the knob) and the other end threaded for wood (to go into the rod).

Now let's examine how the finial fits the rod. (Right image). We list the diameter of the finial at the widest part to give our customers a feeling for the size of the piece. However the measurement at the base of the finial is smaller, and designed to extend or flare a little beyond our rods 1 3/4" and 1 3/8" diameters.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Replacing your Switch Plates? Do a Double Take!

Oh, once there was a time, when switch plates were easy to understand; small openings for toggle switches, roundish openings for outlet covers and the fancy thingamagig was a round dimmer knob.

But that was a while ago. Now we're all wired for contemporary lifestyles and choosing switch plates requires some thought. Fortunately the electrical industry has made it a little less complicated because all switch plate designs have to comply with industry stardards. But you still have to take a good look at what's on your wall. Especially take note of your outlet covers.

There's more than one kind of receptacle for plugs and you want to be sure you're ordering the right configuration. I mention this only because it seems to be a common mistake that we notice with our customers.

Bloomer Ivy single duplex outlet cover

We use the terms decora or rocker to define our wall plates with wide openings. Although typically it may be a push switch, this wide size also fits all kinds of outlets, lighting controls, telephone devices and you name it. It's definitely the most popular configuration of today.

Coral glass single decora switch cover

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fabric Swatches and Paint samples

So what's all the fuss about custom? And what does it really mean when we say we specialize in custom made products? We toss this term around a lot because it so much represents the heart of who we are and what we do.

This is the advantage of being the modern day atelier with a virtual workshop and a web store. Yes, we make our products from scratch as they say. This gives us the flexibility to oblige requests for a specific color scheme. But how do we assure the customer that we can deliver a furniture piece that truly matches their decor?
The first step starts here. The customer sent us fabric swatches and filled us in with missing details about the room, such as buttercup walls and grassy green carpet

This is the Barcelona dresser that we created for her. Sure would love to see a pic of how it looks in it's final destination!

Addressing the comfortability factor is a huge part of the process and this is where all the little snippets from the room come into play. Upholstery and drapery fabrics, wall coverings, carpet, floor tiles and a good discussion about the room itself, are all the details that are taken into account when we create a custom color scheme and map out color placement.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Second Helpings

Since we're creating hand made products, there's bound to be some bloopers that come out of our workshop now and then. This is when our mistakes become bargain hunter delights. There's always a better deal on irregular merchandise and there's a lot of hot picks in our seconds inventory.

As you can appreciate, we exercise tight quality control when we're filling our orders and never would we let a flawed knob jump into a box.

So what characterizes a flaw?

We put them in two categories; the invisible (only noticeable to us in our workplace) and the visible (a slight defect that doesn't take away form the beauty of the piece). It's the lucky customer who nabs the irregular with the invisible flaw.

This may be a knob, pull, finial or even a lamp, where the color is a shade off or the size is off by a hair. Sometimes these lovelies end up on our web specials. But a singular piece without a match will more than likely go into our irregulars bin.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Furniture Facelift

Our knobs and pulls are the icing on the cake when it comes to giving old furniture a face lift. I don't think I can say it any better than the Style Struggler in her blog Dressing Up Dressers.

Decorative hardware is a key ingredient for style makeovers and it's not just about restoring a weathered desk or dresser. Even if you're not out scouting the flea markets, just take a look around the house.

Surely you will find a tired or old fashioned furniture piece that can benefit from a sweet knob pick me up. This bedroom dresser gets the glam treatment with our 2.5 in. diameter mini knobs and 5 in. orbit pulls in alabaster

And it doesn't have to be old either. Maybe it's just a mundane piece that's calling out for something special. This kitchen utility cart is wearing our 4 in. Bundle Tiki pull.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Did you say Purple and Turquoise for 2010?

I'm loving this color forecast that's a subject of this blog from 2 savvy designers. I've been watching these 2 colors slowly inch their way together since 2008 when we received an order for an 8 piece bedroom set from a customer in Arizona.

I remember at the time how I was impressed with the fashion forward color palette selection. Not your typical Arizona sunset hues, but beautiful shades of mauve, periwinkle and orchid with a teal-ish turquoise, something you might expect to see at the trend setting Maison et Objet furniture show in Paris.

Take a look at the media cabinet from this collection.

Although purple lovers have been discovering our line for years, the choice for green complements have always leaned more toward the celadon green family. But we've noticed a taste for bluish greens is becoming more popular in everything from knobs to window hardware, switch plates and furniture.

Turquoise and purple color palettes are becoming the choice for trend setting decor throughout the home.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Teacups...Teddy Bears...and Textbooks - Display It!

In the 12 years that we've been producing custom painted furniture we've had some unusual requests from our customers. This is how our Contessa jewelry armoire was born and how many of our furniture pieces were developed. But I'm surprised that up until this past year, we have never received any inquires for display cases such as a bookcase or hutch. Maybe it's because people associate our designs with our infamous knobs and drawerless cabinets do not come to mind.

But where there's a will there's a way as they say. Although open shelving doesn't provide a spot for a cabinet knob, you can be sure I would find a way to introduce a signature piece to the design. In both the bookcase and the hutch,  the architecture incorporates a platform in each corner to house our grandest finials. Standing 12 inches high, these bejeweled sculptures remind me of little sentries, proudly guarding the contents of the shelves. bookcase.jpgIt's a 180 degree views for architectural embellishments--Isabellla finials can be viewed from the front or the side on the Mirage bookcase.

But what I especially like about these 2 new furniture pieces is their versatility. Designed to sit atop our Jitterbug desk, the hutch can be adapted to rest on our Bolero dresser and you can move it from the home office to the dining room. The bookcase can easily be customized in height and width to feel comfortable in any room. And most important, you don't have to feel compelled to fill up the shelves. This bookcase is pretty spectacular. Let the beautiful colorful finishes create an aura around your treasures. Make it special!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Designing with Knobs and Pulls - Get a Scheme Going!

It's easy to see that our knobs and pulls are little works of art. So naturally I like to think of the cabinet door or drawer as the canvas or frame that surrounds it. For a simple or delicate look you can opt for a small knob within a large space or you can be bold and go the dramatic route and use a large knob or pull on a small drawer. So much depends upon the style of the room or the furniture piece.  Is it formal, casual, playful, colorful?  What kind of attitude or personality are you courting?  There's no doubt that both size and placement of your decorative hardware are key in affecting the look you're trying to achieve.  To give you an idea of some of your options, I've selected some photos of our asymmetrical Eel pulls to show the various ways they'e positioned on cabinets and furniture.

For balance and symmetry our 4 in. Eel Iris pulls are paired with a right and left curve on these kitchen cabinet doors. Drawers have matching Nu Iris knobs 1.5 in.diameter.

In this bathroom , our 4 in. Eel Lily pulls are placed in the center paneling of the drawers. Matching Nu Lily knobs 1.5 in. diameter are positioned on the door frame.  Although the colors are subtle, int this case the hardware has a bold effect.

On our Bolero dresser, our 4 in. Eel Lily pulls zigzag down the bank of drawers. Matching Nu Lily knobs 1.5 in. diameter are placed on the cabinet door moldings. For extra drama, we selected a contrasting color scheme for the hardware.

Placed vertically on our Bolero dresser, the right and left curve of our 4 in. Eel pulls emphasize and flow with the direction of the artwork. Once again, choice of contrasting hardware colors is deliberate and effective.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Missing Vocabulary

When I think about our times at the NY gift show, I like to recall a common reaction from buyers as they approached our booth. First there would be the curious, Ooh what's this? Then I'd watch their eyes scan for the signage where they would see our company name and location. Then the comment "Ohhhhh whaddya know, they're from California of course" So what does this mean? I've had plenty of time to think about it over the years and I've come up with a theory. Obviously designs from the west coast have a recognizable style or look that these buyers identify; untraditional, unexpected, over the top and trend setting. But a good solid finite description seems to be lacking. This brings me to the subject of this post.-

I' ve been trying to find the right words to describe our look for awhile. Even the designers, editors, and other professionals, etc , have not pinpointed some choice words to describe our style. Funky tends to be used for lack of a better word and whimsical seems to be the choice word for any indulgent use of color. We need some new descriptive words in the home furnishing industry. Yes we have art deco, or antique, paris flea market, post modern and so forth. But I think we need a California label, an umbrella that will encompass the uniqueness that California designers contribute to the mix. We are obviously not from a particular school of thought or movement. Could it be the magnificent vistas, plentiful sunshine or proximity to the far east and Mexico that affects our creations?