Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

A blog about luxury and green living by top interior designer Lori Dennis

Kitchens

The 10 Commandments of Designing Small Spaces

One surefire way to open up your small space is to op’t for a bright, light color palette, but we love color so much and break that rule all the time and, when done correctly, can still achieve the same desired results: Another option is to op’t for a monochromatic palette, whether light or dark. Or, if you simply cannot help yourself from including prints and patterns (we’re guilty!), a small space is perhaps a good place to get more matchy matchy with your walls, floors, and furniture, so everything blends.


Smart Luxury: The Best Technology for a Sustainable Home

Why Luxury Hotels Are Our Ultimate Smart Home Inspiration

Let’s set the scene: You walk into a luxurious hotel room… Engulfed in the ambiance, the room is an experience a designer has crafted, specifically for you. Every detail has been thought of and executed to perfection: There’s no work for you to do. It’s time to relax. You’re on vacation. Your favorite music is playing, the lighting is just right, perfectly soothing. The drapes are either open or closed, dependent upon the time of day, and move automatically, no drawstrings in the way. This is true luxury: a living space that’s comfortable and easily functional and adaptable. Why Luxury Hotels Are Our Ultimate Smart Home Inspiration We get so many requests to make homes ‘hotel-like,’ but what does that mean, really? Is it an aesthetic? What makes hotel rooms such distinct living spaces? Hotels specialize in creating these relaxing escapes by utilizing cutting-edge technology. That’s why luxurious hotel rooms are our ultimate smart home inspiration! And now, with increased accessibility to technology, there’s no reason you can’t apply the same principles to your home to increase the style, safety, and functionality of your home for greater ease. Smart homes support the senses: keeping your music at a comfortable level, keeping garage doors and appliances quiet and keeping ugly tech out of sight, maintaining comfortable temperatures and moving things with ease. Security: Access Control in Your Smart Home From cameras, camera doorbells and alarm systems to FOB access, and garage door safety, home security is one of our biggest requests when talking to clients about a smart home. So this is always a good *safe* (pun intended) place to start with implementing smart home technology. And while we tend to think of lighting in terms of decoration, it’s another smart technology to implement in your homes in terms of safety and security, especially outdoors. You’ll want plenty of lighting around pools & spas on timers, and you’ll want landscapes to be well lit as well for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Consider implementing a feature walls, or safety paths. Put lighting on sensors and timers for a hands-off approach. Smart Home Audio / Visual Luxury is complete, customizable control: You want to be able to control surround sound, TVs, and outdoor music with the push of a button. Build AV controls into walls: Utilize iPads to control security cameras or speakers for music. Sometimes this even serves a practical function: One of our clients would blast mariachi music outside when she wanted her husband to come in from his man cave and come to bed! Drapery for Your Smart Home Living & Bedrooms Now let’s move indoors...No More pulling on chains or having unsightly hanging strings or rods that break or are dangerous to kids. Drapery is now electronically controllable, which is both an aesthetic luxury that gets pesky hanging strings out of the way and is a great step in childproofing a home without compromising the home’s design. Keeping It Cool Smart thermostats that learn what temperature you like your home can read the outside temperature and adjust accordingly. And smart window shades (controlled electronically, of course) also help cool your home, keeping cooling costs down. Lutron Integration System for Lighting and Automation Smart Home Kitchen Appliances From touch-screen refrigerators that maintain your family’s grocery list and can grow produce inside them to smart ovens that self heat and clean when you need them to, no room is the house has seen such a vast impact in smart home technology as the kitchen. Household names like Samsung and up-and-coming brands like Everblume and Urban Cultivator are truly changing the game when it comes to efficiency in the kitchen with smart-phone controlled appliances. Shower & Tub Systems for a Smart Home Bathroom Just like cars with a preset button for each user, smart shower systems get to knows you best! Smart shower systems can also involve color and sound therapy; setting the temp, water flow, lighting, and sound to cultivate the most relaxing spa-like experience. Our favorite smart shower tech is from Kohler! Plumbing in Your Smart House Smart toilets have been all the rage for a while -- among our favorite products is the Toto Neorest 2-in-1 with heated seats, night lights, auto-flush, auto-lift. And since our firm focuses heavily on sustainability, our favorite feature is its capacity to conserve water. The controls are wall-mounted next to toilet. Small remotes for toilet and shower media make implementing smart technology in the bathroom easy breezy! Other Smart Controls Acting as your digital personal assistant or house manager, smart systems like the Amazon Echo, Wink Hub, or Google Home can do everything from controlling lighting, playing your favorite music, or sync all of your personal devices. Pick one that works for you AND is stylish (or cover it with something decorative.). Other smart systems to consider implementing for maximum efficiency and security are washers & dryers, sprinklers, and garage doors. HGTV 2017 Smart Home| Photo By: Brian Rozar/Auto Imaging Inc Raising Your Home’s IQ Without Letting Technology Run Your Life Achieving smart-home status is like getting rid of clutter and organizing a room: it takes a bit of time in the initial set up, but feels SO GOOD once it's done and is working for you. Think about the placement of Smart Home Support Systems so they're not an eyesore or placed in the middle of a beautiful focal wall. You don’t want large speakers on a beautiful wall designed with expensive finishes. Don't let modern technology and support ruin the beauty of the room with cords all over the place. Hide technology accordingly so your space can be designed in any style, modern or more traditional, regardless of whether or not it’s high tech. This will make your space more functional and create an environment that is easier to unplug in when you need to.


How to Choose Paint Colors for Your Home

Answering questions like: Why is it so hard to choose a paint color?

Why is it so hard to choose a paint color? Oftentimes clients have no problem choosing furnishings, tiles, throw pillows, and home accessories, but become paralyzed by fear when it comes to choosing a paint color. Change is scary and painting an entire wall a different color is a lot of change. Because paint covers so much square footage and can be time-consuming to repaint, people are terrified to get it wrong. We want to make choosing a paint stress-free by answering all of the common questions we get about paint: How to choose a palette for my home? Start with selecting a color that you love that's already in the room. Perhaps a secondary color from a rug or a piece of art, is a good jumping off point. There are also apps that let you take a pic of the room and it will paint the walls. (Like the Benjamin Moore Design Your Own Room App) Or find an inspiration image that you love and select colors from there. An inspiration image can give you a good idea of how the room will look when it's completely painted. What are the differences in paint finishes? How to Choose An Interior Paint Sheen? Flat- Flat finishes are easy to repaint and hide blemishes well. Consider flat finishes for low-traffic areas, interior walls, and ceilings. Eggshell- A good finish for an elegant look, but still hides blemishes on the wall well. Eggshell finishes are beautiful in moderate traffic rooms like living rooms. Satin- Satin finishes are beautiful, but you must have a near perfect wall surface because blemishes show. That said, satin finishes are great in rooms like kitchens or bathrooms with some exposure to moisture. Glossy and Semi-Gloss - Gloss is for high-sheen effect, perfect for cabinetry and trim. The surface must be blemish free, but a glossy paint is durable and will hold up well over time. Applying a gloss finish takes many thin layers of paint to get correct coverage. Lacquer Finish- Lacquer finishes require 10 or more layers to get a thick, glossy finish. The application is time consuming, but the end product is stunning. Are there any colors I should avoid? What mistakes do homeowners make in choosing paint colors? Color is specific to each person, so there's no color to avoid. However if you're going for something bold, test out an 4x4 patch on the wall to make sure you really like it-- the lighting in a room can affect how similarly or differently you view the paint compared to the swatch you saw at the store. In any event, a good rule of thumb is to give yourself 3 days to adjust to the new color.  You might hate it at first and then fall in love. What colors work best for reselling my home? What colors are best to paint rentals?   Whites and neutrals (light light greys, creams) are the best. These colors have broad appeal and work in virtually every space. White and neutrals are also great for rentals, for the same reasons. It’s also a good idea to use an in-stock, popular color for touch ups. White/Light colors are the best because you don't need a primer when you repaint.   Where do color trends come from? Do they matter? Paint companies, color trend companies, blogs and magazines all have their opinions about trends, but paint is personal and you should select what you love. Realize your opinion of what you love, however; is being affected by the trends in the aforementioned with the imagery they put out in print and social media. What types of paint to avoid/toxic paints? Go for Zero VOC if possible, but at least Low VOC. Avoid paints with formaldehyde. Acrylic or water-based paint is great, unless it lists toxic chemicals such as cadmium, cobalt, magnesium, chromium, and, of course, lead.