Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

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

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Essentials for the Perfect Guest Room

How to Create the Perfect Guest Room Your guest room should be homier than a hotel room, but still less personal than the rest of your home. Here’s how to achieve the perfect balance! These are the elements you need to create the perfect guest room or guest house so that visitors feel right at home. With these guest room essentials, they may never want to leave! Welcome Housekeeping Upon entry, you’ll want your guests to feel right at home. So you’ll want to take care of housekeeping items that let your guests know where they can find everything: Consider including some form of a placard with important instructions (ie: how to use the TV, where to find extra pillows and towels, and, of course, include the coveted wifi password!). Guest Room Amenities Save your guests late-night or early-morning trips to the kitchen by including a coffee station and/or small mini wet bar: We recommend including a coffee/tea maker with some local brew and teas, or a basket or mini fridge stocked with local bottles of wine or beer. Decorate your mini-bar with something living (a little green goes a long way!) and something that smells good -- we love a space with a signature scent! So consider including a pillow mist or some luxurious scented candles. Guest Room Bedding Keep a closet or bed-foot storage stocked with easily accessible, extra pillows and blankets in neutral colors that are always welcoming and easily washed. The bed may be the one area where it’s always a good idea to take note from your favorite hotel suite, complete with: Multiple high thread-count flat sheets, with a light blanket sandwiched between them Plenty of cozy, down feather-filled pillows! (Shams, pillows, and throw pillows) A plush duvet and blankets Lounge Seating in Your Guest Bedroom Creating a lounge-like atmosphere akin to that of a hotel room: Consider including poufs or small cocktail tables with cozy seating or benches or trunks that can function as seating, tabletop, and storage. Decorate with coffee table books and magazine/city guides that pertain to activities to do around town! This is also a good place to include a catch-all for keys or jewelry, and an additional phone and computer charging station. Guest Room Closet & Laundry In the closet, you’ll want to include an empty set of hangers, laundry baskets or a hamper, and for added hotel vibes, a luggage rack (like this super styling one from Dunes and Duchess)! Guest Bathroom Include travel-sized toiletries or bubble baths and oils for an added luxe element, and extra toilet paper and towels rolled in a basket for easy access.


Lori Dennis Selected to Participate in the Elite High Point Design Bloggers Tour 2017!

 Welcome to High Point Market This October, I’m headed to High Point Market to join an elite group of 10 style-spotting professionals on the Design Bloggers Tour in partnership with Esteem Media! What does that mean, exactly? What is High Point Market? Think of High Point as the fashion week of the home furnishings industry! It’s the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world: 11.5 million square feet of showspace, 75,000 attendees, and 2000+ exhibitors. High Point brings together retail buyers, interior designers, architects, and others in the home furnishings industry from over 100 different countries. The best part about this design bloggers tour is that it allows me to bring you on a virtual furniture-sourcing trip with me so you, too, can get a peek behind the scenes with me and the other designers! We’ll be covering all the hot spots at High Point Market, featuring the most innovative interior styles, shapes, colors, and materials defining the current state of design.   Sounds Great! Who Else is On This Awesome Tour? From interior designers, to product designers, bloggers and editors, this tour is packed with awesome points of view from across the country: Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist, www.thedecorologist.com Cecillia Cannon, Home with Keki, www.homewithkeki.com Brittany Chinaglia, The Vintage Rug Shop, www.thevintagerugshop.com/blog Deborah von Donop, dvd Design, www.dvdinteriordesign.com Cheryl Kees Clendenon, In Detail Interiors, www.indetailinteriors.com/stories Courtney, French Country Cottage, www.frenchcountrycottage.net Jana Platina Phipps, Trim Queen, www.trimqueen.com/trim-queen-chronicles Ann Sage, annsage.com, www.annesage.com Sarah Walker, The Curated House, www.thecuratedhouse.com/journal   Lori Dennis, Lori Dennis, Inc., www.loridennis.com/greenblog (me!)


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. 


Terrifying Toxins We’re Eliminating from Our Homes

Tips to Make Your Home Healthier and Happier

With our firm’s focus on Green Living, we get a lot of requests to help create not just beautiful, but healthy homes.


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.


The Future of Design: Trending Towards Sustainability

What Does the Future of Design Look Like? Fully-immersive, hands-on experiences like Virtual Reality and 3D-printing are making design much more accessible. As the general public becomes more sophisticated in their aesthetic preferences and understanding of the necessity for quality products, there is a trend towards sustainability and customization. And with more millennials entering the workforce, cities are booming and telecommuting is on the rise, which has many wondering if workspaces and offices will eventually disappear entirely.   SohoWorks Coworking Space in London Having recently spoken on a panel about the Future of the Workplace at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, we'll argue that office spaces aren't going to cease to exist just yet. But one thing is for sure: the line between work and personal life continues to blur and the future of design is going to be dependent upon our ability to adapt accordingly. So what creates structure in a structure-less environment? What does the future look like? Enter more multi-disciplinary home offices, coworking spaces, multi-use and modular, community-centric environments--spaces that are economically and environmentally conscious. These are the design trends shaping the future of a brighter, more sustainable future: The Future is Bright! Sustainability, modern design, and minimalism all share an aesthetic connection. The materials we use and the colors we source them in are often dependent upon environmental necessity. And when predicting design trends, it’s often a good idea to look towards the automobile industry. Take popular color trends, for example: the car industry is worlds ahead of many others in color technology, in creating colors that can withstand weather and last a long time, which is why you might have noticed an increase in bright green cars (outer-borough New York taxis, or on zippy sports cars, for example); or perhaps you’ve noticed more crimson-red colored vehicles that don’t fade into a tomato-red in the sun like older models would (And both Greenery and Marsala-Red were recent selections for Pantone’s Color of the Year).    Brighter colors are also historically used in traffic control, in and around cars for safety purposes (Think Stop signs and car blinkers, crossing guard vests, etc.)  Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a lot of bright blue! YInMN (Yes, you read that jumble of letters correctly)-- the most recent shade of blue to be discovered in 200 years has been synthetically crafted in a lab and has recently become available for commercial use. The Future is Vertical! As a response to advancements in medicine and globalisation, populations are increasing and living longer, which means more vertical building to account for everyone. We’re losing horizontal outdoor spaces: less backyards, less gardens, but as a response we’re seeing a movement towards lots of plants indoors, and vertical wall gardens Lagranja Design Coworking Space in Spain Vertical wall gardens are a wonderful way in which people can grow their own produce or just improve the air quality in congested cities.  As the line between indoors and out is blurred, vertical gardens seamlessly bring the outdoors in. Tesla's solar roof panels have recently become available as well, making it easier than ever to harness solar energy in a sustainable fashion. With a focus on the aesthetic design, Tesla's tiles also make it more incentivizing for home owners to harness the power of the sun. The Future is Flexible! As a culture we’ve become accustomed to fast-fashion and instant-delivery; knock-off products that may look great initially, but are ultimately unsustainable. As a response; however, the general public becomes more aware of the process of creating products and services, we’re beginning to see more of a push back and demand for authenticity. The compromise of the cultural demand for instantaneous delivery, customization, and quality that is economical sound cultivates in the form of technologies like 3D-printing. Take a look at the time lapse below of an entire home that was printed in 24 hours:         Right now there are still limitations: manufacturing 3D-printed products with multiple materials at a time is still being developed, which does mean mixed materials will be out as a trend for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, this will result in more monochromatic, "futuristic," minimalist aesthetics overall, and will generate less waste by using only the exact amount of a material necessary. This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader #DesignForFuture


We Asked, You Answered: What’s In Your Dream Bathroom?

Bathroom Design Trends

Sparing no expense, what would be in your dream bathroom? Last week, we asked our followers that very question and got some amazing responses we just had to share! Read on for the top amenities our followers want in their dream bathroom makeover


How to Decorate Your Outdoor Party like a Designer

Decorating and Designing Your Party
More fun, less stress: That’s Our Party-Planning motto. For some, decorating for a party and planning a get together is a huge hassle, but we hope to alleviate that stress by giving you three areas to focus on: comfort, drinks, and ambiance! With minimal effort, you can elevate your outdoor party to the next level. Including some essential furniture pieces, festive cocktails, and aromatic flowers, will add the necessary touches to make it effortless and fun for the whole party.


How 3-D Printing is the Wave of the Future for Interior Design and Architecture

Let's Demystify 3-D Print Technology & How it Impacts the Design Build Community There is exciting news for all you design lovers out there. 3-D Printing is becoming more accessible, more affordable and faster than ever. Still not sure how the process works and can't seem to wrap your head around it? Check out this video above to give you a visual understand of the process. Let's start with the basics. 3-D Printing is a 35 year old additive (key word!) manufacturing process that builds material layer upon layer, and is controlled by a computer. Currently we can print material using wood, plastic, metal, glass and organic material (food and organs!  Yes you heard that right!). This is technology that's going to impact our industry as much as the industrial revolution. A Rococo table, is being 3-D printed using contemporary materials and colors.  A great way to make the old new again. 3-D Design and Printing is here and only getting bigger. In 1995, it was a $295 Million Dollar Industry. In 2014, it grew to a 4.1 Billion Dollar Industry. By 2020, it's projected to be a 21.3 Billion Dollar Industry. According to Ben Uglow of Morgan Standley These are number you can't ignore. There are some titans in the industry who are creating innovative pieces of furniture in a way that is forward thinking and environmentally conscious. Dirk van der Kooij is printing furniture that is Cradle to Cradle using 100% recycled plastic, printing locally and with less environmental impact.  Check out more of his work here. Bram Geenen has streamlined the process to be more efficient using a thin expensive carbon fiber skin that is printed on top of 3-D material without waste. Check his work out here. Lilian van Daal is inspired by nature and Biomimicry.  With her designs, she is changing the shape and feel of furniture being built with 3-D printing so that it's hard where it needs to be (legs for support) and soft in other areas (like the seat and back). There are Still Challenges This isn't a magic box.  You need tools or you need help. Inexperienced designers will need education or an engineer to build the CAD models to then manipulate and customize designs in scale, proportion, material, etc. They haven't perfected the process of the conception to finished product. This is still expensive technology at this phase in the game.  Printers run anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000. How Can You Design Your Own Line?   What's exciting to me about all this is that there is NO barrier to entry.  Currently, if a designer wants to develop their own collection of furniture, they have to work with existing powerful brands who hold the magic key.  As 3-D printers become more accessible, designers can soon create their own line whenever they want, or print one-offs.  It will be like a Kinko's for the design build industry.  This is nearly impossible with expensive traditional manufacturing.  When you design your own piece, it's highly customizable where you can easily change the color, dimension and entire concept. Now Watch This! If you printing furniture blew your mind, check out an entire HOUSE (above). This home was built in 24 hours and only cost $10,000! So Where Are We Going? To the moon, Alice! You heard me.  Norman Foster + Partners has completed a project with robotic arms that will be sent to the moon to 3-D print homes made of moon dust! And now, the sexiest scientist I've ever seen, Neri Oxman.  Neri is a material scientist at MIT and is printing wearable skin embedded with organisms to help humans survive in interplanetary travel. It's crazy! Check out her TED Talk here. Story of Provenance If you've read this far in my blog, that tells me you're interested.  Great!  So now you can participate in the conversation and join the community which is your opportunity to be a part of a new story. In printing your own designs, you can create an emotional connection and customization in your work to share with your clients about being at the forefront of the industry.  That's quite impressive! Because of all this, I've joined the Board at Print the Future which will be the next wave of printing ideas on demand.  We've set up a Pop-Up shop in NYC during the month of March 2017 so you can see the printer with your own eyes. I am incredibly inspired and can't wait to see what the future holds!