New Year, New Service!

HappyNewYear.jpg

First of all, we hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season and we wish you all the best for the year to come! May 2017 be full of love, happiness, laughter and creativity (things we dearly value here at Maison KoduZen!).

We are also very excited to announce a new service: e-design

We have been providing e-design already for a few months as we wanted to test the waters and make sure it was an efficient process to follow and it is - so here you go! Powered by Laurel & Wolf, we discovered delivering e-design services via their platform was easy, delivered a great user experience and streamlined the communication process a great deal!

Who can use e-design?

EVERYONE: whether you have a small project, or a big one - whether you are located in New York and do not wish to have in-person meetings (or do not have time), or you are living elsewhere in the US or in the world, you can now book us for your design project from the comfort of your home!

What is the process?

Upon clicking the link here to work with us, you will be prompted to enter details about your project: room dimensions, photos, who we are designing for, style preferences etc.

Then Aurélie at Maison KoduZen will be notified and will post within 48 hours a concept board for your review. The platform will offer you to comment on the overall board or on specific items so you can say what you like and what you don't. Depending on your feedback, Aurélie will keep what you like for the final package or will offer alternatives for you to choose from. Thie back-and-forth process takes about 10 days per room (and typically 2-3 concept boards are presented during that time period).

 Typical e-design project workflow

Typical e-design project workflow

Once the design period is over, Aurélie will put together the 'Final Design Package' which includes a rendering of your room, a floor plan, set up instructions and a shopping list. You will then be able to get assistance from the Laurel & Wolf team for ordering your items (or order them on your own). Et voilà! 

 Example of e-design rendering

Example of e-design rendering

We are very excited about this new service and hope that it will help us contribute to make your homes happier and more beautiful in 2017! 

Here is our extended e-design portfolio and here (again) the link for the actual booking.

Happy New Year!

7 Tips to Style Your Interior Like a Parisian

Paris je t'aime

Being French, I often hear about the style French people naturally have (that I find funny as not EVERY French person has style, to be honest). My personal explanation on this is the fact that as a culture, Frenchies search for beauty everywhere: walk into a supermarket and you will notice how beautiful even water bottles are. So let's face it: when beauty is everywhere you look at growing up, I think you naturally develop a sense of aesthetic for the rest of your life. 

Then you get the chance to live in Paris, one of those few cities in the world that benefits from a special aura: its streets and monuments appear in so many movies that everyone has been at least once (in reality or in their dreams). And again: everywhere you look, it is simply beautiful - which is probably why designers of all disciplines gravitate towards that city for inspiration. In term of interior design, due to its architecture and light, one can easily recognize a Parisian apartment from a New York one: ornate plaster work with all white walls and herringbone floors - and this is often why people feel they cannot even try to achieve this look. This is where I think people get it wrong: below is a list of what I think can contribute to achieving a Parisian chic in New York City:

1- Wall color: Paris is a very dense and compact city which means a lot of apartment are pretty dark, to begin with. Plus, gray sky and rain are actually pretty common compared to New York City, that's why most Parisian apartments are painted white to capture as much light as possible. Painting fully white in New York means your space will easily look washed out (see our color consultation story here). The solution? Add an undertone to your white paint to mute a little bit the light of your walls while keeping the chic of a Parisian interior. 

2- Moldings, trims and nooks: let's be honest on this one: if your apartment is brand new, adding fake roses on your ceiling will just look like what it is: fake. So do not even bother. Instead, consider what the New York architecture has on offer: former tenement buildings, pre-wars or brownstones offer fantastic moldings on walls, even woodwork that can not be found anywhere else. I have noticed New Yorkers tend to view nooks as wasted storage space - if you belong to that category of people, think again: how you would view those nooks should they be in your hotel room in Paris? You would most likely think there are charming and cute, deserving to be displayed to everyone. Apply the same rule to your own interior and use them to show off something you like.

 Typical Parisian apartment for  Elle Décoration

Typical Parisian apartment for Elle Décoration

3- Floor: very few apartments in New York offer herringbone floors and honestly, nice parquet floors can be noisy - that is why Parisian tend to cover it with rugs, which can help you too, achieve a more Parisian look. Go for Persian or Morrocan rugs (lovely selection by Apartment Therapy here) that grow old really well and work with each and every style. 

4- Using iron: as charming as there are, let's be frank: Parisian balconies are useless. But the iron work around it is so special that it does not matter. Same goes for the elevator door in the hallway: you can barely fit in with your grocery shopping but they add an incredible je-ne-sais-quoi. In New York City, you have fire escape but forget about the metal work quality: I would not step on most of them (especially as I have no idea how to actually reach the bottom... Jump?). Instead, our recommendation is to get some little iron accents in your interior: cute little chairs in your kitchen (like the ice-cream parlor ones you can easily find in the US), small accent tables - possibilities are endless.

5- Antiques, vintage pieces, and modern mix: before the era of mass-consumerism started, French people used to invest in very expensive furniture that future generations eventually inherited. That is why the general style of Parisian apartments is often a mix and match of styles, combining family heirlooms with brand new, modern stuff. Students in France do not necessarily rush to Ikea when they move to University: they often collect and re-purpose stuff given by family members and this is where their story with design begins (if not before). If you have not inherited from anyone, flea markets are a great opportunity to search for antiques and vintage stuff and build your own collection (if you do not already know it, check out the Brooklyn Flea Market). Do not try to get things to match (like wooden shades for instance): get one item in dark wood, another in light wood, a nice golden frame - you get the idea.

6- Exhibit your books: probably due to the fact books are pretty cheap in France, books and bookshelves are frequently the starting point of room designs. Even small apartment owners or renters figure out storage solution that gives easy access to their collection: in living rooms, bedrooms, entryways - in each or all areas depending on how many books you own. French paperbacks often come with white spines which also facilitates arranging them (but does not offer the color arrangement possibility that was so trendy last year). So go on, show off your books!

 French literature for an all white library - check it out  here .

French literature for an all white library - check it out here.

7- Freshness: this one is more of a concept than an actual thing. France is known for the baguette and people often buy their own every day (you can buy only one half) - which means there is always something fresh in the kitchen on a daily basis. I know it would be difficult for New Yorkers to pick up that habit - especially if it involves making a big detour to get one. Instead, I would recommend trying to grow your own herbs on your kitchen counter - if you do not have green thumbs, getting flowers on Thursdays or Fridays so you can enjoy the scent and beautiful sight of fresh flowers when coming home on the weekend. It will give your interior a renewed fresh touch at all times - and pick red roses can be viewed as a subliminal message from the city of Love. <3

 

Lastly, if you need help adding touches of Paris in your home, do contact us to discuss.

Small Change for Big Impact: the Art of Rug Flipping

carpet-flipping

Quick post today as we know everyone is wrapping up everything before going away to celebrate or getting their home ready to host parties. So this post is about a quick trick (it literally takes 10 minutes) to make your home feel like new, for FREE (as all your money is basically under the tree now, right?): rug flipping.

We all know that at times, a small change can have a big impact. Considering how large area rugs tend to be, they often set the tone of a space pretty dramatically and changing them can make a big difference. If you happen to have a wide variety of rugs throughout your home, swapping them out between areas can be an excellent idea to get the feeling of change in various rooms. But if you live in a small space (like most New Yorkers), you probably do not have the luxury to own several area rugs, so flipping it upside down should do the trick. Have you ever noticed how pretty the weaving patterns at the back of a rug can be? In term of texture, it will often be rougher than the top side but it will bring an interesting new texture to your area as well as a more natural - and somewhat distressed (think ABC Home) - look. All of this, for FREE. 

One word of caution though - especially if your rug is very soft to begin with: it may slide on a smooth wooden floor if you have nothing to maintain it in its place, so be sure to also flip your rug pad so that it does not get slippery (especially for kids).

A few last words: we sent yesterday our last newsletter of the year, wishing everyone a beautiful, blissful and peaceful Holiday Season. So enter your email address below to subscribe and receive monthly news on our projects, trends and discounts in 2017. 

Lastly, you can see on the bottom right corner of the screen a little pop up, inviting you to schedule a FREE 30-min call with us (and we can cover A LOT of ground in 30 minutes) so we can help you solve your design challenges. This offer will expire on Dec 31st so feel free to go and schedule some time (even in January or February if you like) so we can connect!

Have a wonderful Holiday!

2017 Color(s) of the Year

Color of the year 2017

At the end of each year, a few firms, specialized in the color business reveal what will be the 'Color of the year' for the year ahead. Most of those big reveals took place in the last few weeks and I wanted to give you a quick recap of what came out and what to expect in 2017.

But first, a little recap over the process: the general procedure is gathering a team of color experts to look into the colors trends of the year coming to a close, assess the colors that appear repetitively alongside the current trendy one and predict which will be hot next. So the result is more of a continuity than a ground-breaking new color reveal. Each firm comes up with a different color than its competitors as observation is not an exact science and each team is very different from place to place.

Then the impact: we carefully follow each year the grand reveal and let's be honest, the impact is not that significant, for two main reasons:

  • Each artistic or design discipline that could potentially make use of the color of the year has its own life cycle, rhythm and little world it evolves in: painting, photography, fashion, web design, interior design, industrial design and so on. Besides, while some colors such as bright pink can easily make it to a fashion show, it is more difficult to let it in an interior (or not).
  • By December, large brands have already locked their campaigns and design strategies for the New Year and might not change it all just because Pantone decided green was the new hot color.
Colors of the year 2017

Speaking of Pantone, their grand reveal remains, from what I have observed along the years, THE big event in term of color of the year, and probably the most commented on. Interestingly enough, looking into their previous colors of the year, none of those colors really tinted the actual 365 days it was supposed to. That is perhaps why this year, Pantone's team's choice seems to be more of a political coup than an actual trend observed in 2016 with Greenery. This color is supposed to help us to take a 'take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate', according to the brand's website. While those healthy values seems to be catching the health trend a little late, I think we can all appreciate the freshness of the message after a rather rocky 2016. On a very personal note, green remains my favorite color of all times and its versatility is proven every day, in every interior: we all have plants at home, most of them green and it always plays nicely with all color schemes. 

A little note on the other colors suggested for 2017 - although less commented on: Benjamin Moore's bold and rich Shadow sparks our interest again after last year's disappointing choice of Simple White. As an accent wall or in accessories, we can clearly see Shadow find its place at home. Sherwin Williams remains in the neutral tones with Poised Taupe (last year was Alabaster so nothing too funky again) - and AkzoNobel in Europe bets on Denim Drift and its blue variations, a rather interesting pick after last year's gold tones that we can all appreciate for its versatile nature.

In conclusion: like any other trends' announcement, following the Color of the Year's reveal is an interesting adventure in between holiday parties. Even if it may not transform the design world for the upcoming year, it surely is an inspiration for us all and puts on our radar, colors we may have forgotten about. It also reminds us of the power of colors and the role they play in our lives. After a few years during which the 'all white' concept was trendy, we are very happy at Maison KoduZen to see that colors are getting again the attention they deserve. Beyond trends, color schemes should reflect your tastes, your identity and they can help you, room by room, to create a unique atmosphere. 

If you want some help with a color scheme and define your own color of the year for 2017, get in touch

Shopping List for the Design Lover

Santa Claus Gift of Giving

A quick post today to give you some insight on what to get for the design lovers around you. We are obviously not very objective here, but we think having a design lover in your life should actually make Christmas shopping rather easy. Why? Because...  

  • The design world bursts with new things ALL the time.
  • From the kitchen to the bedroom, every room offers endless possibilities.
  • Design lovers like when EVERY object in their home is special in one way or another so even a cotton swab holder can work (yes, we selected one for the Secret Santa out there).

To help you even further in the quest for the perfect gift, we have put below our shopping list: everything has been released pretty recently so if your friend already has it, they cannot possibly blame you for having purchases something out of fashion...

Of course, if your friend is after design services, do not hesitate to contact us and get him/her a Maison KoduZen gift card!

Happy shopping!

Christmas shopping selection

Vendors' list (from top left to bottom right):

Ambiente Lamp by Daniel Pouzet at MoMA store

Book darts by Shinola

Warhol Soup Cans Salt & Pepper at MoMA store

Love you Forever padlock at Flying Tiger

Your Guide to a Stylish Home by Domino

Leather Wrist Ruler at CB2

Cloud catcher at MoMA store

Woodstock wind chime on Amazon

Leather carrier by Beach People

Treat of the Trade: How to Make your Holiday Decor Magazine-Worthy?

Christmas-tree-ideas

Amongst all the expression renamed in the USA with 'Holiday' rather than 'Christmas' in the USA, I came across the other day its only exception: the Christmas Tree. But after 7 years in New York, I have noticed that this nomenclature does not really matter: even people who do not celebrate Christmas tend to have somewhat some glitter added to their interior one way or another during the festive season. 

Whether 2016 was a great year for you or rather chaotic, decorating for the Holiday is an occasion to ornate our homes with joyful things before bidding farewell to the ending year and welcoming a new one. So for this season: tree or no tree, I wanted to give you some ideas for making your home more festive: traditions from across the world, personal ideas, trends we have observed so you can start thinking about what look you want to create for your home this Holiday season (those ideas can pretty much work in any interior, with any styles).

  • Idea #1: Decorate with colors: this one is the rather traditional approach and gives the most elaborate results in term of design: traditional red and gold, colors matching your interior, unexpected color combinations. Possibilities are endless and decorations are abundant for you to gather. 
  • Idea #2: Decorate with a visual theme: flowers, animals, stars, figurines: pick one theme and find some decorations illustrating it.
 Animal decors by  West Elm  (currently on sale)

Animal decors by West Elm (currently on sale)

  • Idea #3: Decorate with a concept: following the natural living trend, decorate 'green' by making all your decorations yourself (your kids will love it) or decide on a material for your decorations you will stick to (we strongly recommend avoiding plastic for obvious reasons). If you lack ideas, check out other countries Christmas decoration traditions: did you know in Romania, Christmas trees decorations are made of goodies to eat? This opens up  a great deal of possibilities!
  • Idea #4: Decorate with memorabilia: this one is a very personal approach with beautiful results in their authenticity: use lovely vintage portraits of family members, place in toys your kids no longer play with, or souvenirs from places you have visited (this is my personal way to decorate). Virtually anything can be used to decorate a tree and this is a great opportunity to use and display things you might no longer see on a daily basis.
 Left and center: handmade decorations ( source ) - right: family portraits.

Left and center: handmade decorations (source) - right: family portraits.

Lastly, as promised, some tips to make it magazine-worthy. In the same way you design a room, there are a few details to think of, that greatly contribute to make a Holiday decor look very polished. Review and make decisions on those prior purchasing your decorations and you should be all set!

  • Tip #1: Placement: think about where you will have decorations: on a tree, a fireplace, outdoors, a centerpiece on your table, everywhere? If the latter, ensure you remain consistent and stick to your theme throughout so it looks 'put together'. While you are at it, think on how this will be spread across your home and how it will fit in your day-to-day activities.
  • Tip #2: Density: consider the density of your decorations: if you are going to place decorations everywhere in your home, you may want to decorate more lightly. If you decorate only your tree, you can ornate each branch with something.
  • Tip #3: Texture: think about textures: fluffy/furry, transparent, solid, shiny... While we often think of textures as things to touch, they play a great role in the visual ensemble of your decor. It should often reflect textures you already have in your interior to subtly blend - but nothing mandatory!
  • Tip #4: Scale: If you have a massive fireplace, then a mini-tree will look even smaller - similarly, if your tree is very big, use rather large decorations, otherwise they will look insignificant. As for your interior: use different scale to create a harmonious mixture. Be careful not to use items of a similar scale throughout: in that case, going with obviously different scale is best.

That is all we can recommend for this Holiday season. Feel free to share your pictures so we can admire what you made of our suggestions!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving /// Black Friday Favorites

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We all hope at Maison KoduZen that you are having a jolly time with families and friends - enjoying the turkey, tofurkey, no-turkey and other pies and goodies that made their way to your table on this great day! 

As we all know, the tradition requires that we all get over our food coma tomorrow by doing some shopping and help stores get their numbers back into Black (a guilt-free way to look at it!). 

When it comes to decoration and furnishing, we wanted to give you our tips and items we are obsessed about these days - all rather contemporary/Scandinavian we must admit. Some of our sources clearly display how much of a discount we can expect tomorrow while some others remain unclear. Either way, check them out and don't forget that contacting us tomorrow to work with us will get you a 10% discount (using the code: BLACK)!!!

 Happy Black Friday!

Black Friday selection

Vendors' list: 

Sofa: Savile Mariner by CB2

Chair: Adelaide by Bo Concept

Lunge chair: Flag Halyard by Rove concept

Table: Glossy by Antonio Citterio and Oliver Löw for Kartell

Dresser: Shale by Blue Dot

Carpet tile: Modern Mix by Flor

Color of the Month: Yellow

yellow-roses

During the fall season, the obvious colors that come to mind are the reds, oranges and gold tones you can observe in nature. Orange obviously gets a lot of credit as it is one of the colors of Halloween and of the many pumpkins, squashes and alike that will invade our plates for Thanksgiving.

But how about a change and go with yellow for once? How about brightening up your interior for Thanksgiving festivities as we are heading towards the shortest days of the year? Especially as with yellow, you can set the tone for the gold and glitters that December will bring along. Yellow is also a very earthy color that tends to make people smile so whether you spend Thanksgiving with your family or with friends, this cannot do any harm! 

As per orange, yellow has MANY variations - and given it is one of the most versatile colors of all (add a little bit of ANY other color and you will compromise its tint, shade or tone), possibilities are endless. If your interior is mostly black and white, you can easily go for a neutral/buttery shade, if you have a cool palette, go for a lemony yellow, or if you like warm colors in general, go for the dandelion, butterscotch options so it blends well with your interior. 

yellow variations

For those avert to big changes or not big yellow lovers, you can also think of something small, or not too permanent - which is the great thing about decorating for festivities!

Flowers, napkins, vases, candles, bowls filled with lemons (more on making centerpieces with fruits coming soon), or cute little bowls for nibbles: below is a selection of our favorites for the upcoming festivities as well as their vendors.

Have fun! 

yellow-selection

Vendors' list:

Napkins by Birthday Direct: great choice of stripes of all shapes and forms.

Bowls by Vintage American Pottery

Flowers by Rosehip in Brooklyn, NY

Hyde Pierced Vase by Donny Osmond for All Modern

Candles by Wasila (currently out of stock), otherwise, a good option for simple candles: Flying Tiger.

For more ideas, you can also check out our Pinterest board on Yellow here!

One small note: from a Feng Shui prospective, dried or fake flowers are stagnant energy so better opt for fresh, real flowers. More tips on Feng shui coming soon!

The art of measuring - Part II - Bed sizes

bedsizes

For anyone who has recently moved or may move to the North America from Europe in the near future, there is something rather interesting about shopping for beds:

  1. The offering in term of sizes is much larger (and we did not list in the graph above the California King Size which is essentially narrower but longer than the regular King size),
  2. The sizes differ greatly depending on what side of the Atlantic you come from (or the British Channel actually as the UK has its own set of sizes too).

As you can see on the graph above (which is pretty accurate), there is actually no equivalent at all, so if you get the chance to get your furniture shipped over, make sure to take with you a couple of sheet sets (if not the full set, at least a few fitted sheets that are always the problem) that will fit your mattress nicely.

For those who forget, or do not know ahead of time, here are our recommendations should you have trouble: go with the size above the one you have (see table below). It may look flimsy on either side (or only one side if you decide to shove all the excess fabric under one side of your mattress only) and it may not look perfectly square but you will not get the unpleasant surprise of taking sheets out of their pack to realize it is one inch too short (which is very frustrating).

If your mattress is not very thick (I am thinking of a day bed, a sofa bed or a thin mattress you keep for guests), the size under should work well (I am thinking of a twin size sheet that is typically 1 inch too short for a 1 person European bed) and the temporary nature of guests beds makes that... Typically they do not sleep on that bed too long. But we do not recommend at all this approach for your own bed where you sleep every day: being woken up by a sheet that comes off regularly of the corner of your mattress (especially if that corner if the one right next to your face) is REALLY unpleasant. 

bed sizes

One last little tip: stores often refer to bed linens as 'European' to qualify the quality of the fabric, not the actual size. The only item considered 'European' size-wise is the square-shaped pillow and its corresponding pillow case (also called sham). 

Good night! 

The art of measuring - Part I - Imperial vs Metric

For all our fellow European expats: a first post about the imperial vs. metric system and how to live with it (as ultimately, yes, if you live in the US, you will have soon or later to deal with it). 

Unless you make all your purchases at Ikea (where all measurements are given in both systems and the imperial measurements displayed seem to compete for the oddest fraction of an inch), you will have to figure how it works OR measure and convert everything all the time, at home, in stores, etc. So here are our tips to make the best of it:

1/ Get your ducks in a row and have an idea of the equivalences (see the table below).

equivalent imperial vs metric

Our trick is to think in reverse: do not start with a inch but with a yard, which is about 1 meter long (easy to remember). 1 foot if then 1/3 of a yard (consequently about 1/3 of a meter), and then 1 inch is a 1/12 of a foot, about 2.5cm (yes, you have to learn this one). Divide a square foot by 10 and you have its equivalent in square meters. That was easy!

2/ Get accustomed with what is measured with which unit, which is a very doubting task, regardless of the system you are using (ask Americans about metric and they will tell you it ain't easy either): what is measured in inches vs. feet? So here is a simple rule: the majority of furniture stores on and offline will give you measurements of their items in inches EXCEPT rugs. For one simple reason: walls' length and height are typically measured in feet (as there are bigger), that is why, rugs' dimensions, supposed to cover entire surfaces will most likely come in feet so that you can easily evaluate whether this will fit your room or not (one odd thing here: windows are also typically measured in feet but window treatments always come in inches. Go figure...). So here is a tip: if you go furniture shopping, have the measurements of your wall in inches so you can assess how a bed, table etc will fit in. If you go for a rug, have your measurements ready in feet.

Yards are used mostly for measuring and selling fabrics: a store will sell you a minimum of 1 yard for instance. However, the width of the roll of fabric will be given in inches (little help here: 36 inches = 1 yard).

3/ Last trick: make friends with the imperial system by thinking on how easy it is to divide 12 by 2, 3, 4 or 6. Similarly to a pack of eggs that you buy in Europe or in the US by 12. 12 is a friendlier number to divide items in general and pretty handy for interior design.

We agree it might not be the best choice for precise measurements but it surely will help you when purchasing items and dealing with furniture retailers in the US.

Little bonus: while we are at it: a single apostrophe is for feet and the double apostrophe '' is for inches (we cannot figure the logic in here either by the way).