Author Archives: Desiré Greene

About Desiré Greene

Desiré is a designer, blogger, and lover of all things glamorous. Though primarily a self-taught decorator, Desiré studied at The Art Institute, where she honed a distinct aesthetic largely influenced by the Modern Glamour movement, the theme of her popular design blog, Sukio. Not only is she considered a "closet fashionista," discreetly stashing handbags and shoes whenever possible, but, as an MIT graduate, she’s also an undercover nerd. Fashion, nerdom, and several years as a Washingtonian have combined to shape her unique perspective on interior design.

Kitchen Inspiration: 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel

Stainless steel, such a familiar material yet, with the exception of sinks and appliances, remains underutilized in the kitchen. My guess is that most envision the industrial look of a chef’s kitchen, with its racks of pots, pans, and utensils all arranged to maximize efficiency rather than aesthetics. Yes, it can be a sterile material, but when used in the right way, it can be quite sexy too—chic even! Here are three ways to work with stainless steel so your kitchen feels like home and not your local diner.


1. Industrial Eclectic: Keep it casual with eclectic touches


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Architectural Digest

If you do prefer a slightly more industrial look, mix in eclectic accessories and unexpected materials to add warmth. The kitchen above incorporates contemporary artwork and zig-zag bar stools. The wood floor also adds to its homey feel.


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Beppe Brancato via Flodeau

While this kitchen includes industrial features like exposed ductwork and concrete floors, its eclectic grouping of cabinets and shelving add whimsy. It’s a great idea for DIYers!


2. Material Mix: Use steel accents with wood or vice versa


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Architectural Digest

For a space with sophisticated appeal, try mixing wood and stainless steel in unexpected ways. The above kitchen may be my favorite example of this pairing. A stainless steel breakfast bar provides a sleek focalpoint amidst richly-stained oak cabinetry.


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Architectural Digest

This kitchen balances stainless steel cabinetry with walnut shelving. Although these shelves are custom made, a similar look can be achieved with store-bought options.


3. White Balance: In small spaces, temper steel’s industrial edge with white


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Home & Delicious

To ensure stainless steel doesn’t overwhelm your space, counter it with white. You can see it used here for the cabinets, appliances, and backsplash of this small kitchen. However, the space still feels open and airy thanks to bare, white walls in lieu of upper cabinets.


Kitchen Inspiration- 3 Ways to Work with Stainless Steel on the Interior CollectiveImage: Elle Décor

Similarly, the designer of this kitchen opted for white walls over cabinetry. A custom-made island adds more lightness to the space.


These are just a few examples of stainless steel’s endless possibilities. Which use is your favorite?

Loft Style: 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass

Image: Ellenberg Fraser via Yellow Trace

Loft living may not be for everyone, but it does yield some great design tricks that work in any home. Inspired by old factories, steel windows have become a signature feature of loft apartments and a growing trend for those who love the look. From entire walls of glass to interior doors, here are five ways to work this popular trend:


1. Enclose a Room


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Fancy

The first two images demonstrate how steel and glass can be used to wall off entire rooms. This design solution is especially useful when sound control, not privacy, is the ultimate goal. Both examples use interior, steel windows to enclose workspaces.


2. Create a Partition


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Morten Koldby

If a room needs partial separation, steel windows work well in defining space while remaining visually unobtrusive. In the home above, interior windows frame a doorway leading from the living room to the hallway and dining area.


3. Add to Doorways


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Lonny Magazine

Use steel and glass interior doors to keep light flowing between spaces. As with our second example, this design option may help with noise reduction, but isn’t the best choice where privacy is a priority.


4. Maintain Privacy


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Seventeen Doors

If you’d like to maintain a room’s privacy and also let in light, try pairing steel windows with a half wall. For maximum privacy, use a taller wall while incorporating interior windows along the top for a transom-like effect.


5. Define Sleeping Quarters


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Elle Decoration UK via Turbulences Déco

Although an open concept may work well for living, dining, and kitchen spaces, most would prefer that private areas, such as the bedroom, be more clearly defined. These two bedrooms show the potential of steel windows to delineate rooms but maintain an open feel.


Loft Style- 5 Ways to Delineate Space with Steel and Glass on the Interior CollectiveImage: Planete Deco

Thanks to modern manufacturing, steel windows can be installed just about anywhere. Other uses include shower stalls, and of course, exterior windows.


What are some of your favorite examples?

Why Eat Out When You Can Dine In: Kitchens for Family Mealtime

Image: Caesarstone US

Kitchen remodels can be a challenge, but they also offer great opportunity: a chance to create a fully-customized experience from the grout color to the draw pulls. Not only can design decisions reflect your current lifestyle, but it can inspire new habits as well. Example: Do you want to eat together more as a family? Why not create a fun and functional atmosphere that transforms those thoughts into action! Here are some inspiring kitchens to get the family together.


Try the Old Standby


Why Eat Out When You Can Dine In: Kitchens for Family Mealtime on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caesarstone US

A simple island with breakfast bar adds workspace as well as a great eating area. It also tends to become a hangout spot as meals are prepared, perfect for additional quality time with the family.


Squeeze in a Table


Why Eat Out When You Can Dine In: Kitchens for Family Mealtime on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caesarstone US

If you have the space and prefer a less permanent solution, squeeze in a dining table and chairs to keep the family close but out of the cook’s way. A solution like the one above creates a more cohesive feel by using the same material, Caesarstone’s Blizzard, on the counters and dining table.


Combine the Best of Both Worlds


Why Eat Out When You Can Dine In: Kitchens for Family Mealtime on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caesarstone US

This twist on a traditional island combines our two previous examples. Its circular addition feels more like formal dining but with the kitchen island fun factor. It also offers a counterpoint to the space’s linear edges. You can replicate this look via a custom build, or with a bar height table. Either way, be sure to hang a chandelier for added intimacy.


Get Creative


Why Eat Out When You Can Dine In: Kitchens for Family Mealtime on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caesarstone US

This eating area is especially unique, a glass tabletop set at an angle to the kitchen’s main island. If every room needs a conversation piece, this would be it! Both functional and sculptural, this setting is sure to give your home-cooking a sophisticated air.


Whether an island, dining table, or a creative mix of both, dine-in kitchens can recreate a restaurant ambiance for any meal with the family. Which approach suits you best?

Year of the Horse: A Contemporary Approach to Equestrian Design

Happy New Year! It may be a month into 2014, but Chinese New Year celebrations are just beginning. Of the many ways to mark the occasion (Lion dance, anyone?), perhaps a room redo is in order—one inspired by this year’s sign under the Chinese Zodiac. Welcome the Year of the Horse into your living space with these contemporary decorative accents.


Contemporary Sculpture


Year of the HorseImage: Jonathan Adler

For many, equestrian design is synonymous with grand English estates, rustic country homes, or Ralph Lauren ad campaigns. The style may lean traditional, but a few well-chosen pieces can add an equestrian flair to the most contemporary of homes. Take, for example, Jonathan Adler’s interpretation of the classic prancing horse sculpture: while it may reference motifs of the “Tang Dynasty or 19th-Century England,” this sculpture works well within a modern aesthetic.


Year of the HorseImage: Atmosphere Interior Design

Another equine option is a gleaming white, horse head sculpture. Place it atop the coffee table or a pedestal for a striking addition to your living space.


Year of the HorseImage: Lonny Magazine

Contemporary Artwork


Year of the HorseImage: Yatzer

If you’re more of a 2-D art lover, try a painting or print of this year’s sign. I love this horse photograph by Steven Klein, featured in the Paris home of Patrick Gilles & Dorothée Boissier. The image’s scale, perspective, and method of display bring a contemporary sensibility to a 19th-century apartment.


Year of the HorseImage: Lonny

Two more examples include artwork at Julia Buckingham’s showroom (above), and perhaps one of my favorite vignettes of all time, a stunning image of a horse’s mane set against the gray shades of a sophisticated bedroom.


Year of the HorseImage: Douglas Friedman

Whether sculpture, artwork, modern or traditional, the Year of the Horse can inspire myriad decorating possibilities. Which is your favorite?

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips To Do Now And Try Later

Image: Caesarstone US

Eco-design can be overwhelming at times—so many products to choose and decisions to make. But it’s important to remember that small steps can be taken today while you plan for bigger investments tomorrow. Here are some design tips that you can implement right now, or plan for later.


Do Now: Buy a Stylish Recycling Bin


Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips to Do Now and Try Later on the Interior CollectiveImage: Houzz

If you don’t have a recycling bin, run, don’t walk, to your nearest home goods retailer. It’s an absolute must for every kitchen and may be one of the easiest green design choices. Try a decorative option like this wicker hamper in lieu of a traditional plastic bin. You may be likely to use it even more!


Do Now: Replace Every Bulb with CFLs or LEDs


Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips to Do Now and Try Later on the Interior CollectiveImage: Houzz

Low-energy lighting solutions not only help the environment, but save you money as well. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs are by far the most popular choice and are extraordinarily easy to find. Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are even more eco-friendly and now manufactured to fit standard fixtures. So, make a pledge to replace every kitchen light with its high-efficiency counterpart.


Try Later: Use Eco-Friendly Countertops


Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips to Do Now and Try Later on the Interior CollectiveImage: Caesarstone US

For your next remodel, consider green materials for kitchen countertops. Options are so plentiful that you may stumble across one without even knowing it. For example, Caesarstone Chocolate Truffle is made from recycled content. Long-lasting and eco-friendly, these countertops are worth the investment.


Try Later: Tile the Backsplash with Recycled Glass


Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips to Do Now and Try Later on the Interior CollectiveImage: Houzz

Another feature worthy of investment is the backsplash. Recycled glass tile is a great option, ranging in both size and color. Think beyond the classic mosaic pattern and try a subway motif like this backsplash using Savoy by Ann Sacks. A recycled product that is both green AND gorgeous.


A new countertop and backsplash may be years away, but these “Do Now” solutions will help pave the way to a greener kitchen. What are your easy, eco-design tips?

Dine to Design: A Taste of French Country Style

Images: (left) Food52.com (right) House Beautiful

Our interior design preferences can be influenced by so many things, not just websites and shelter magazines but also more personal experiences—a childhood home, sentimental objects, the places we go, and even the foods we eat. In fact, smell and taste play a key role in experiential memory, which is why a favorite food or dining experience can elicit such emotion. Does a hot bowl of French onion soup evoke happy thoughts of your trip to the French countryside? It may be a great starting point for your next kitchen design!


The Inspiration: Classic French Onion Soup


Dine to Design: A Taste of French Country Style on the Interior CollectiveImage: Food52.com

It may seem strange, but food inspiration and kitchen design can go hand in hand. Why not create an environment in the same spirit as the very foods that bring such pleasure? For example, take the warm and comfy feelings induced by a steaming bowl of French Onion soup (Get the recipe). Aside from onions, it’s rife with classic ingredients—good wine, meat, bread, and cheese. What could be more French?! Similarly, a few classic design elements can translate that mood in a great kitchen.


The Design: A French Country Kitchen


Dine to Design: A Taste of French Country Style on the Interior CollectiveImage: House Beautiful

This Savannah, Georgia kitchen is the perfect example of how to mix the charm of the French countryside with modern amenities to create a high-functioning-yet-cozy space. Designed by Mary Jo Bochner, it features French antiques, second-hand finds, new accessories, and killer appliances. An old farmhouse-table-turned-island and open shelves also lend to the kitchen’s Old World flair.


Dine to Design: A Taste of French Country Style on the Interior CollectiveImage: House Beautiful

Another statement piece is the solid Carrera marble sink. Its color complements the kitchen’s various countertops, which include honed Belgian bluestone and aged butcher block. The nearby antique étagères were the starting point of the design and provide additional storage. Overall, the space is open, airy, and très French!


Dine to Design: A Taste of French Country Style on the Interior CollectiveImage: House Beautiful

Is there a particular food encounter that gives you happy feelings all over? Put it in your design! What would your favorite dish look like?

A Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen Renovation

Image: House 2 Home Design & Build

The phrase “Scandinavian design” may conjure thoughts of lightly colored wood (pine, perhaps), cozy textiles, and the occasional accessory with a handmade ere, colorful pop, or traditional print. While all of these elements can be found in Scandinavian design, this kitchen renovation by House 2 Home Design & Build (H2H) proves that inspiration doesn’t necessarily mean literal translation.


Let me explain. With its clean lines and neutral colors, the space undoubtedly incorporates principles of Scandinavian design. However, it’s tempered by transitional and contemporary details to create a high-end style kitchen with modern appeal. Titled “Modern Envy,” here are some of the projects most notable features:


Two-Tone, Slab-Door Cabinetry


A Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen Renovation on the Interior CollectiveImage: House 2 Home Design & Build

H2H thought outside of the design box with their use of, not one, but two cabinet finishes—the uppers revealing their natural wood grain in opposition to the lower cabinets’ solid finish. The cabinetry also incorporates the slab door fronts of Scandinavian design… simple yet functional.


High-Contrast Countertops


A Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen Renovation on the Interior CollectiveImage: House 2 Home Design & Build

For work surfaces, H2H selected Caesarstone’s Linen, its natural and finely textured appearance offers a warm and organic look. The lightly-colored countertops provide a high-contrast element to the kitchen’s rich cabinetry (H2H’s favorite aspect of the design) and helps reflect light throughout the space.


Non-Traditional Tile Work


A Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen Renovation on the Interior CollectiveImage: House 2 Home Design & Build

Another unique feature of the kitchen is the tile work—large tiles with multi-colored glass accents run vertically from counters to ceiling. The layout is consistent with the clean, geometric lines of Scandinavian design but with a modern twist. The tile accents also provide a bit of color while maintaining the room’s neutral palette.


If you’re looking to incorporate a design style without matching it one-for-one, look to its basic principles for inspiration. Would H2H’s interpretation of Scandinavian design work in your kitchen?

Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway

Image: The Selby

With Fashion Week just around the corner (It begins on February 6th), now may be the perfect time to reflect on runway trends that seamlessly translate into interior design. When it comes to colors, the Pantone Fashion Color Report provides a palette of popular hues from last year’s runway. Its selection of pastels, neutrals, and brights offers fashionable inspiration for your next decorating project.


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior CollectiveImage: Pantone

Placid Blue and Violet Tulip


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior Collective

Image: David Collins via Sukio

This room by David Collins shows the sophisticated possibilities of pairing Placid Blue and Violet Tulip. With their color report, Pantone invites us to reimagine blue as a versatile neutral—perfect for a wall color or a large upholstered piece. Meanwhile, Violet Tulip offers a happy, “nostalgic” accent.


Freesia and Paloma


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior CollectiveImage: Domino Magazine

Freesia and Paloma may be one of my favorite combinations. After all, you can never go wrong with gray, and a bright “blazing yellow” like Freesia will give a room impact. Decorator Matthew Sudock used a similar color as both artwork and headboard in this modern bedroom.


Celosia and Sand


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior CollectiveImage: NY Times

Pantone refers to Celosia as a “sophisticated orange” because it’s bright and optimistic without looking like a popsicle. Designer Sheila Bridges tempered a similar hue, Orange Blossom by Benjamin Moore, with Sand-y accents in her apartment’s front hall.


Hemlock


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior CollectiveImage: Elle Décor

Like Placid Blue, Pantone recommends using Hemlock, a “summery ornamental green,” as either a background or accent color. Here, it provides a chic canvas for statement pieces like a custom brass staircase.


Radiant Orchid and the Rest


Color Inspiration From Spring’s Pantone Runway on the Interior CollectiveImage: The Selby

Of course, I must mention 2014’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. It’s much deeper than I previously thought, more similar to this painting of Shakespeare than the settee beneath. Other colors in Pantone’s spring palette include Cayenne Red and Dazzling Blue, which, along with Radiant Orchid, rate as the three favorites in Pantone’s online survey.


From tranquil to spicy to scintillating to carefree, there’s an option for every mood and personality. Which color from Pantone’s report would work in your home?

Rethink Red: Update Your Dining with the Latest ‘It’ Colors

Image: Traditional Home

Lately, I’ve been seeing green—not in money, but as a beautiful spectrum of paint colors ranging from deep jewel-tones to those with hints of blue. Perhaps, this is mere nostalgia for 2013’s Color of the Year. I do so love Emerald Green and its many glamorous applications. But it is a future trend, not a past forecast, that is piquing my curiosity. Greens and teals are popping up on dining room walls as a luxe alternative to red. Long considered the perfect shade for dining, it may be time for red to make way for the latest ‘it’ color.


My Case for Greens and Teals as the Perfect Dining Room Color


Update Your Dining with the Latest It Colors on the Interior CollectiveImages: Kristen McGinnis Design

It all started with my trip to the 2013 Kips Bay Show House on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There among 5,640 square feet of design magic, I became enamored by the second-floor dining room, a mix of traditional architecture, decadence, and the avant-garde. Aside from the room’s perfect perch overlooking a glass-enclosed atrium (which filled both spaces with the most beautiful sunlight), the wall color, and its application, were absolutely flawless. High-gloss lacquered teal covered both walls and trim with a mirror-like finish. “This,” I thought, “is the perfect dining color.”


Update Your Dining with the Latest 'It' Colors on the Interior CollectiveImage: AD Design File

Months later, I stumbled upon a Greenwich, Connecticut home whose dining space reminded me of that space at Kips Bay. This time, teal had been replaced by a deep green. Though a slightly different shade, the overall vibe felt the same and the high-gloss was just as spectacular.


Update Your Dining with the Latest 'It' Colors on the Interior CollectiveImage: Traditional Home

Here are two more traditional applications. Again, lacquered teal walls provide a dramatic backdrop for dining. Isn’t the color fantastic?


Update Your Dining with the Latest 'It' Colors on the Interior CollectiveImages: House Beautiful

Rethink Red and Get the Look


If you love the look as much as I, grab a brush, but don’t forget these design tips. First, stick with less saturated tones to add impact that doesn’t overwhelm. Next, high gloss undoubtedly brings more drama and interest to a space. For the best outcome, a professional painter is highly recommended. Finally, paint over everything—walls AND trim—to create a modern backdrop that accommodates any style.


Which dining room color do you prefer? Traditional red or these modern alternatives?

Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap

Image: Garland of Grace

I love wrapping paper! No, seriously. I love wrapping paper. In fact, I’ve probably had the closest you can get to a giftwrap apprenticeship. Years ago, I worked at a stationery store where creating fabulous packages was part of the job description. The store’s manager was a set designer, illustrator, and generally artsy guy. He could whip up a beautiful bow in seconds, turning the most mundane gift into something spectacular.


Though my training was largely in traditional methods—perfectly creased paper bound with a bow—it’s always fun to experiment! And the holidays present a perfect time to think outside the box (pun intended). Here are five unconventional ideas to help your gifts stand out from the crowd.


1. Non-Traditional Patterned Paper


Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap on the Interior CollectiveImage: One Kings Lane

Perhaps the easiest approach is to simply ignore the rules and wrap with paper that you truly love, no matter the palette or pattern. Red and green, blue and silver, stars and snowflakes… Yes, traditional themes can be fun, but why not venture outside the norm?


2. Reusable Wrapping Cloth


Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap on the Interior CollectiveImage: The Souvenir Society

Okay. So now that we’re thinking beyond the status quo, ditch paper altogether with reusable wrapping cloth. It essentially becomes an extra gift that keeps on giving! Try premade cloths, like the one above, or create your own with unfinished fabric or a fabulous scarf.


3. Fashion-Inspired DIY


Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap on the Interior CollectiveImage: The Artful Desperado

If you follow me here on the Interior Collective, you already know that I love anything fashion-inspired. This giftwrap idea by the Artful Desperado uses various fabrics and trimmings to recreate fashionable motifs. It’s as if he’s designing each package, not simply wrapping it. What could be better?


4. Brown Packing Paper and Just About Anything


Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap on the Interior CollectiveImage: Garland of Grace

Brown packing paper is truly a win-win. Not only is it incredibly cost effective, but it’s a great foundation for oodles of giftwrap ideas. I once used brown paper, twine, and holly leaves from my neighbor’s yard. Lesson learned: holly leaves hurt! I recommend of sprig of greenery like the above.


5. Chalkboard-Inspired Doodles


Express Yourself with Unconventional Gift Wrap on the Interior CollectiveImage: Going Home to Roost

This last idea combines two my favorite things: gift wrap and doodling. Who needs ribbon or doodads when you can draw on everything? I love the chalkboard theme above, but of course, it works with any plain paper.


How are you wrapping your gifts this year?