Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

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

Lighting

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.


The 10 Best Home Office Design Tips for Maximum Style & Productivity

Here are 10 Tips for maximizing Style and Productivity in your Home Office -- Scroll down to go more in-depth or Pin This Image to your Pinterest Profile to Read Later:  1. Get Your Office Organized You're ready to overhaul your home office with cohesive decor and a mixture of built-in storage solutions but before you start anything, you'll want to go as paper-free as possible. Sign up for e-payments online, scan and digitize your documents, digitize your signature, etc. Then we can begin thinking about what's left and what will realistically be added to your paper stash to design optimal storage solutions for your home office.   2. Choose an Inspiring Color Palette Some may prefer splashes of Color for character so not too distracting, but we had fun with these clients who wanted a bright, bold wallpaper to keep them inspired all day long.  Color seems to be a hang-up in the design process for lots of clients. It highlights our primal fear of change in such a silly way. We wrote abut why and how to overcome it, along with answering all the FAQs we get about choosing paint colors last week here.  3. Pay Attention to Flow & Frequency Seating  is the key for comfort in a home office. You’ll be spending a lot of time time in office chairs so choose desk and lounge seating that you can comfortably adjust positions in all day long. That's the key to a really good chair: When you initially sit down, you don't need to be comfortable right away-- you need to be able to adjust positions and sink in comfortably over time.   4. Vary Lighting Types Rely first on your natural light since it's easiest on the eyes, then put any additional lighting like task lighting or chandeliers on dimmers so it’s easier to transition from day to night. Consider getting a screen protector for laptops or televisions. Lighting seems to be another area in which clients are overwhelmed. If you want to learn more about choosing lighting for every room in your home, this is a great source.  5. Hide Electric Cables This one is pretty self-explanatory: Nothing ruins a beautiful room quite like our 21st century techno-comforts, but you want to hide electric cables and stow unsightly printers away with some chic built-In cabinetry or up against walls, behind larger furniture pieces like consoles and media cabinets.   6. Float Your Desk One of the biggest mistakes we see homeowners make again and again is pushing all their furniture up against the wall. Give your home office a designer touch by floating your desk in the middle of the space. This also places the desk in a Godfather-esque position of power and is great for the overall chi (good flow) of the space. It is an office, after all, your desk should take front and center. 7. Accent with Mirrored Surfaces Integrate some shimmer to bounce light: mirrors, metallics, mixed metals. We love mixing metals to give a space texture, luxe, and a lived in feel all in one. Because of the bounce, you won't need to use as many light sources at once.    8. Accessorize with Art This point, again, ties into the frequency with which you'll be utilizing the space: Include art you want to look at all day long! In the case of this particular home office, the art was already part of the client's personal collection, which was the perfect jumping off point to help us personalize her home office.   9. Face Your View How your home office seating placement functions is two-fold: firstly, you're likely spending a lot of time at your desk, so you'll want a relaxing view. Facing windows always helps! By the same token, you don't want visitors to be distracted, so the placement of extra seating is directional and will tell them where to look. It also better optimizes the feng shui of the space, by facing windows. 10. Go Green! In the vein of going green, be sure to include some fresh flowers or plants throughout the space. Plants help improve the air quality of the space they occupy and they don't have to be high maintenance. We wrote an in-depth guide to indoor plants, if you're afraid of always killing them, which you can access here. 


5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Update Your Mid-Century Modern Home

Midcentury modern style is trending and it isn't actually that hard to achieve in your own home! From updating the space with a fresh coat of paint to choosing the perfect piece of budget-friendly art, Lori transformed a ranch-style home into the quintessential midcentury modern. Take the house tour in the video below and scroll down to read our 5 budget-friendly tips for updating your midcentury modern home: 1. Transform Your Midcentury Home with Poppy Colors: Paint is always going to be the least expensive way to quickly transform a space! Pair a pop of color with a calming neutral. Vibrant reds, oranges, or lime greens callback to the heyday of mid-century modern, when the Brady Bunch was all the rage, but don’t go overboard. Offset powerful colors with neutrals. In this case, we combined orange with a modern grey.   2. Update Your Midcentury Modern Home by Emphasizing Height: Midcentury Modern homes are often single-story, but living in a single-story home doesn’t mean you can’t have height--You just have to emphasize it! Oftentimes the original architecture in these homes comes complete with beams. These homes have great bones, so you just have to figure out how to highlight the height. Consider creating a playful wall-mural to draw the eye upward. Cityscapes are always a good idea! 3. Make Old New Again: As LEED-certified designers, our firm places a heavy emphasis on sustainability and green interior design. A great way to do that is by using what you already have and giving it a new life: Midcentury Modern homes are a great place to work in these repurposed pieces. In this home, we repurposed a vintage rug on an ottoman for a super retro vibe! 4. Update Your Fireplace: Play with the design of your fireplace. In this home, the fireplace was original to the home, we just gave the brick an updated, modern paint job to emphasize it’s style! 5. Art: A little abstract art can go a LONG way to completely transform a space! With so many budget-friendly art resources, giving up-and-coming artists a platform online, there’s no reason you can’t start a stunning art collection of your own.