Creating a “true” 21st Learning Environment

Happy New Year All!

Lately I’ve been ruminating about what it takes to create learning environments. It seems that for years we’ve equipped our schools and libraries with sterile, functional, and cost-effective room configurations that simply lacked imagination, were boring, and drab at best. All of the while we’ve demanded that our students and readers ‘use their imaginations’ and ‘stretch their minds’ in these inhospitable rooms. Over the weekend, I found a great classroom that I feel is stepping into the realm of imagination and represents what I think is a true learning environment. Your thoughts?

130730_vs_011This image is courtesy of contract magazine. It features VS America furniture and was designed by David Stubbs for Clark County School District. The first thing I like about this room is the colors. Gone are the industrial pink and green paints, brown desks, and aged metal legs of old, in are lime green and primary blue, and white desktops acting as canvases. Blue is associated with the sky and sea and symbolizes trust, wisdom, confidence, and intelligence among other things. It’s been proven to have beneficial effects on the body and mind. It’s calming and induces tranquility. Green on the other hand symbolizes growth and is strongly connected to emotional correspondence and safety. These bright colors are grounded with a warm white field color and grey blend carpet tiles with an engaging geometric pattern. Given this color palette, how can an imagination not soar in such an environment?  Next, the furniture and its curvilinear shapes and nested tables SCREAM “think outside of the box”! To me, this space is very uplifting. What do you think?


Tri Tone Kitchen Has Style


Tri Tone Kitchen

This simple and classic Elkay-Design-Craft kitchen caught my eye this morning curtesy of Kitchen & Bath Business. While I’m known for my very modern designs, the combination of cool and serene colors with the delicate cabinet embellishments made me take a second look. As KB&B stated, “The Barcelona features clean, simple lines, while the Valencia has a solid-wood raised center panel and bridges the gap between transitional and traditional design.” I would love to specify these Barcelona & Valencia cabinets for a custom kitchen project.

Art Hanging – Arakawa Hanging Systems

If you’ve got a plethora of art that you’d like to group (salon style) together and you cannot measure or nail straight (like me) you have two choices; hire a professional picture/art hanger (do a google search, you’ll find one or two in your town–your art gallery or framer can recommend someone, too), or you can use one of these handy systems from Arakawa.

In addition to wall-mounting art, the company also offers ceiling mounting and they even have a product designed for Cathedral or shed roofs.

So says the company’s website:

“Arakawa rails make hanging artwork a snap. Wall rails such as our CRE and CRJ are the most common choices, and all you need is the rail clip, cable and hook (or other midway gripper) and you are ready to hang your art. Our products are designed to be minimal and unobtrusive, so that you can show off your artwork, not the hardware that hangs it.”

In this installation, the home owners used the CRB1800-a ceiling and floor railing to hang their eclectic art collection salon style.  The cables, BS1R rail clip and BS23BRSET rail tensioner go unnoticed and the artwork remains the primary focus.

According to my discussions with the company, something like this would cost about $800 in materials (based on a 10′ ceiling) plus, you guessed it, installation. But hey, since most of your work is done for you, all you need to do is attach art clips to the back of your pictures and then fasten these to the cables…easy peesy lemon squeezy, as we say in the industry!

Art Hanging – Arakawa Hanging Systems.

Scottsdale Modern Remodel: Sneak Peek

This amazing family has moved into their newly remodeled Scottsdale home, a project I worked on while at F4 Designs, and we’re almost ready to take our professional photos. In the meanwhile, I couldn’t resist sharing…the kitchen turned out amazingly (as did the rest of the house)!

Services provided: space planning, paint, floor and wall tile selections, wood flooring selection, custom kitchen and bath design, lighting design, fixture selection, construction document administration, client presentations and management.

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Trending Now: Coastal

Not to be confused with Beach Style, Coastal reflects key choices of modern art, ocean elements, wovens and glass. Mix in leather for a high-low style.


Similar trunk baskets are available at Napa Home & Garden. Pillows are by Square Feathers, table is Oggetti, area rug is by Capel, sofa is Massoud, lighting is Troy Lighting, and table lights are by Barbara Cosgrove.

Eclectic Taste? Design an Eclectic Dining Room!

Like Antiques? Does your design style run toward Modern and Contemporary, and a little shabby chic? Are you a little bit traditional? Don’t want to mix some of one with another? Just Do it!

The best rooms designed today are not all about one theme, they cross over and bring in elements from several design styles to create a unique room that’s comfortable and suits your needs.

Here’s a dining room that mixes a trestle table with leather and upholstered chairs, a bench, limestone flooring, modern art, lighting from Restoration Hardware, and natural wood on the walls and barn door. The kitchen, seen through the doorway, is totally modern and compact.

So go ahead! Embrace several design styles to make your home your own!