Friday, June 15, 2012

Brilliant Color

No doubt cleaner and more calm interiors are all the norm now.  This current attitude for today's interiors can be manipulated by a talented designer to create either a more casual environment or a more sophisticated environment.  It all depends upon the furnishings, textures and a few well chosen accents.  One such accent is artwork.  Artwork can inspire, add emotion and most certainly can add brilliant color.

Color can transform any interior into a vibrant dynamic space.  This Master Bedroom, recently completed by Schelfe and Associates, has on overall calm and pleasant feeling to the room and with the addition of a few well chosen pieces of art, the room comes to life! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Design Center Opens!

A few weeks ago the new offices and Design Center for Homes by Dickerson opened.  Schelfe and Associates was proud to be a part of this project by providing the creative design direction for the new offices and design center.  Homes by Dickerson, one of the Triangle's premier home builders, continues to lead the industry throughout the Triangle.  The new design center will offer future homeowners a one-stop shop for selecting; cabinets, lighting, plumbing, tile and all the necessary items to make their home truly unique!

The design center has a variety of displays for bath fixtures, hardware, lighting and flooring.  The design center also features four full size kitchen displays which provides future homeowners a clear vision of what they can expect when they use Homes by Dickerson to build their dream home!

The new offices for Homes by Dickerson and the new Homes by Dickerson Design Center is:
7201 Creedmoor Road, #147, Raleigh, NC 27613.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Truth about design...

Recently a colleague and fellow Interior Designer sent me a link to a Blog Post that he had read and thought it might be of interest to me as well.  The post was from internationally known Interior Designer Thomas O'Brien.  Thomas O'Brien and his firm Aero Studios has been designing interiors and home goods for years, in fact you can find some of his product at your local Target.  The post sent to me hit the nail on the head on what design really is and much more importantly what it is not. 

I welcome you to read the following post from Thomas O'Brien:

"In truth I have been hearing from customers, friends, and bloggers for many months about the need to stay current, connected, and focused on social media especially. This is how it is today, I am assured. Technology is the essential way of reaching clients and serving our design community. People search for goods and shop online. Everyone expects access to everything, anyone can post an opinion, and we are all part of a modern social mindset that shares, exchanges, and reacts to information instantly and changes direction like a flock of starlings through the internet. We need to be wired to be seen, much less to be counted. We are not tapping into the audience that is waiting for us in this space. If only I would be a designer who would post more on Facebook or Twitter, or bundle my goods on more design websites, or renew my own website, or even appear on TV, the argument goes, we would grow, expand, evolve with the times…survive.
I am honored that customers want to visit us online. I know that many of you, both in the trade and the public, would like to be able to buy our goods here. I agree that we can do better with the functionality and flexibility of our website. It’s always been my aim to have a very welcoming and useful web address that is as special to visit as Aero itself is. And new, big changes are being considered as I write. There will be a shop at some point, maybe a long time from now, maybe sooner. We are working on it.
 But, I will also say that I resist the pressure to join the online worlds of commerce and commentary because, in principle, they are counter to what my store and business are about. Gracious customer relationships in person still matter, particularly in the sale of luxury and design goods. And the problem is as much about how clients are using design and designers today as it is a matter of our outreach. I use the internet as much as anyone for information, but immediacy and information will never be the same thing as ideas and service. Convenience is not a substitute for craft. Still this is the trend, and it is unsettling.

I was interviewed recently by prospective clients for a new project, and their approach unfortunately was just what I’m hearing when I speak to other designers and visitors in the store. What is the discount? Can you match the price of this sale website? Can you show me ten or twenty more coffee tables, sofas, carpets? These are the things being asked of so many designers I know, in fact all throughout our community. We are essentially expected now to be resourcers or agents, where clients feel they can come to simply research shoppable furniture and objects before buying the furnishings themselves. I see so many people and businesses struggle these days because everyone is concerned with getting a deal first and foremost. Clients are making this mistake with their designers. In essence they miss the point, because what we do as designers is not clickable. It is the presence of a thought process beyond the consumerism of an object, full of detail, trial, layers, and interrelationships, that you can’t isolate on even the most striking app or screen.

The designer’s job today is to coax interest back toward the understanding that sourcing alone is not design. I am reminded of a recent interview by Jeffrey Bilhuber in House Beautiful that I liked very much and have referred to again and again, in which he talks about his role as a decorator: If someone comes to ask for a pink lamp, he explains, his job is to say, what about this antique blue and white Delft lamp in this pink room? Design is about the big picture. A point of view. We are here to make 1+1 = 3. The interview made me stop and think again that design can be about budgets and collaboration, but it must also be about originating new perspectives for our clients.

Democratization of design is real and it is modern, as more people become empowered to choose handsome things to live with. I am aligned with this reality in my business, where I can focus on my own store and the products I design, as well as the wonderful partner companies I work with. But I will still resist a certain kind of interior consumer. I will say no to my team, who will argue that every job is a good job. I will insist on creating work that is about an idea, not just a price. It is not in my nature or my company’s interest to try to cast my net to reach everyone, everywhere.

Aero is a studio, first and foremost concerned with design and with making things – a set of very good, real things that can be taken home and enjoyed in an individual way. I have built and maintained a special New York store to hold many of these things. Aero has lasted through many neighborhood changes and trends and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. There is only one of this place in the world, which is its own rarity these days.

I hope that Aero delivers what more and more people crave today – a true neighborhood haven, a quality establishment, a place to return to and to rediscover each season. This is, interestingly, the gold standard in restaurant culture, and an approach I wish more stores could follow. In New York I have been going for years to CafĂ© Luxembourg uptown, in my neighborhood: a gem, a survivor, and still a place unknown outside a certain cognoscenti. There is an authenticity to it that I find in all the stores and haunts I love. I want Aero at 20 years to be known this way, even around the world, as a special and unique place that is still here to be found.

In a time when stores are closing left and right, we do survive and we find our way. There is still a reason to see goods in person, to judge their material, their craft, their three-dimensional presence. Real connection in a real and individual store or gallery is the necessary counterbalance to the world of virtual socializing and shopping. And real contact will always be the best way to experience design. My friend Bunny Williams emphasizes the difference between looking at a picture of a table and actually standing in front of that table, able to touch it and talk to someone who knows its history. All of this creates the substance and soul for us around the things we acquire. This is why I came to New York to go to art school, why I work in this field. I still value the knowledge of the dealers, artisans, and scholars I work with, and I try to pass on that knowledge. They are the human element. The presence of someone’s original idea and hand remains vital, and relevant.

As I reflect on our 20th anniversary, I’ve begun to look back on what has made Aero thrive and grow over the years. I believe our longevity comes at least in part from our truly local nature, and our intentionally quiet profile. We are still a place to be discovered. I believe there is ever-increasing value in that today. Design here is not about fulfillment and speed. It is about crafting a world of ideas and tailoring them for those of you who have come to find us.

This is the subject of my next book, as it happens – a survey back to the beginnings of Aero, and of the particular world we have been able to create there. I still believe in the art of the physical book, the handwritten note, the yearly holiday card, the independent store. I think others do, too. It is not nostalgia; it is a bet on what is lasting even as technology changes the delivery. Blogs may compete with magazines, and iPads and Kindles may draw an increasing number of readers, and the balance is rapidly shifting, but you still need the writer, the photographer, the editor. So it is in our industry. You still need the designer, the architect, the merchant.

In sifting through years of material for the book, I see for certain that we have continued to change and evolve, but in the sense of always testing our own design instincts. We have never followed the crowd. I opened Aero far downtown in Soho; I focused on a store when others focused on interiors. I have never been driven to do what others have done beside me. My challenge has always been to find a different way. And sometimes the new way is to be found in a reappraisal of the most honest, beautiful old ingredients. It’s what we do with those ingredients that becomes the intriguing next chapter.
So, I invite you to watch our progress here. We may surprise you. I am not beyond the irony of this essay itself being communicated and perhaps shared online. But more, I would ask you to unplug and go out into your neighborhood to your favorite shops. Come down to Soho, if you haven’t been or haven’t visited us in a while, to see what is both old and new at Aero. Call the store and enjoy a conversation with an interested, knowledgeable staff member. We are having our annual winter sale starting on February 17, and as the kick-off to our anniversary year, it will be full of very special objects.

I recently received a fine printed catalog from one of my favorite antique silver dealers, SJ Shrubsole, located on 57th Street here in New York. In the introduction, the proprietor, Eric Shrubsole, tells a charming story about his parents. His mother would visit his father’s shop in London on occasion, and “from her perch of serene ignorance” she would claim surprise that he still had this or that old thing, orphaned and unsold. His father would answer in exasperation that yes, he still had this thing, and that thing, and that thing, and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have a business anymore. Many decades later their son concludes, “My point is that inventory is the proof of a great dealer. We buy what we love; we wait for someone to love it as much as we do.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Work in Progress...

Today Schelfe and Associates began the installation of the furnishings for the new offices and Design Center for 
Homes by Dickerson! 

The team at S&A designed the new Offices and the Design Center for Homes by Dickerson which included designing the layout, millwork, lighting as well as selecting the finishes and furniture.  The Design Center will allow homeowners  to come to a central location to select cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures and all the various items needed to make their new home truly unique and spectacular.  Homes by Dickerson remains one of the premier builders in the Triangle.

The new Design Center includes four display kiosks which will feature selections for tile, marble & granite, plumbing fixtures, carpet samples and cabinets and hardware.  The center also includes four full size kitchen vignettes designed with different cabinets and finishes showcasing Homes by Dickerson's variety and quality of selections.

In addition to the Design Center the new location includes the offices for the entire staff of Homes by Dickerson.  This new facility will allow HBD to continue providing their customers the high quality of service and attention to detail HBD is known for.  

Marlene, with Schelfe and Associates, in action setting up the Design Center!  The new offices and Design Center of Homes by Dickerson is located at 
7201 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh NC 27613
Suite 147

Friday, December 23, 2011

Work In Progress...

Schelfe and Associates is well into design implementation of a luxury penthouse condominium.  This project located at the top floor of a high-end luxury condominium in Raleigh, North Carolina, is schduled to be completed in February 2012.  

Working closely with the Owner, Schelfe and Associates has crafted a new 4 bedroom home within the exisitng 3,000 square feet of space.  This new home will feature a kitchen with bamboo cabinets, quartz stone countertops and a contemporary marble backsplash.  New deep stained hardwoods floors will be installed throughout and accented with stained Sapele hardwood doors. 
demolition phase...

work under progress...
The interior for this new home will showcase a warm and contemporary sleek look.  A color palate of khaki and cream tones accented by deep chocolate and gold tones will provide the background colors.  Additional accents of crimson red will be highlighted throughout the home.

design inspiration ideas...

Check back in a few weeks to see the next
"Work In Progress"...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Glass Stairs, all the rage!

OK so I am sure everyone is asking why build a staircase totally out of glass?  We'll because they can!!!  And of course because it is truly remarkable...

Not for the faint of heart or those who do not like to look down, a glass staircase can make an unbelievable statement to an interior.  Visions of floating on air or suspended by light come to mind.  Not too long ago the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History re-opened after a 180 million dollar renovation.  The international design firm firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merill led the design work and one of the crown jewels for the new museum is the all glass staircase in the central lobby.  I had the fortune of being one of the first to check it out and to walk the planks when it opened.
No matter how great a photograph can be, experiencing the real deal for yourself is the way to go.  Next time you're in the Washington area check out the National Museum of American History. 

Maybe not so new to the scene but what a way to say WOW... Well over 20 years ago at the Carre D’art museum in Nimes, France the glass staircase made its debut.  No I have not been there yet but rest assure it's on my bucket list!

Design and the human spirit can stretch our imagination to new heights in ways we have yet to even experience.  Hooray for innovation, the human spirit and the need to explore how we interact within our world!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Washington Post "House Calls"

Recently The Washington Post came knocking on the door of Schelfe and Associates.  Tim Schelfe was asked to provide a design vignette for a weekly column in the Washington Post called "House Calls".  House Calls has been a popular column for the Post in which homeowners contact the Post asking for serious design help on a home project.  The designer would then work with the existing space, provide design ideas and provide the creative direction to get the project done.  The designer is also challenged to work with a moderate fixed budget and the selections need to be sourced locally and available for purchase directly by the homeowner.

Tim's challenge was to redesign a Family Room.
The Before...  

The After...

Tim created a less cluttered contemporary style for the new look of this Family Room, including adding a creamy white sectional, a circular cocktail table with a polished chrome base and matching wood stained consoles flanking the fireplace wall.  Accents of crimson red and burnt orange add color and detail to the room!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A punch of color!

How do you add a splash of color to a room without changing the entire room?  Well in this case we did it with the draperies!  The owner of this traditional style Dining Room needed window coverings that would bring together the colors from the area rug, dining chairs seats and the wall color.  Also the drapery design needed to reflect the quality and traditional style previously established for the home. 


A printed fabric with a coral color background was choosen as the body for the drapery.  The fabric has a soft green garland design accented with aviary details in gold, green and pale blue.  The draperies are further accented with a tassle fringe which helps define the edge of the panels and adds dimension to the overall design.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Homes by Dickerson, Design Center!

Over the past several months Schelfe and Associates has been busy completing the design and details for the new Homes by Dickerson  Design Center.  Homes by Dickerson is recognized as one of the premier builders of fine custom homes in the region.  This new Design Center will allow their team of dedicated professionals to meet with Homeowners and guide them through the design and construction process.  The Design Center will feature several completed Kitchen vignettes, displays for Lighting and Plumbing fixtures, selections for tile, stone and carpet and several meeting areas where customers can spread out their design plans and make all the necessary selections to make their home turly their own!  

Schelfe and Associates worked with the team at Homes by Dickerson to design the plan, details and specifications for the new Design Center.  This new space will reflect the quality and attention to detail that Homes by Dickerson is known for.  Although only in the rough framing stage the Design Center will be open soon!  Keep checking back with us to see the latest updates!