Tag Archives: Interior design

The 4 Most Unique Fabrics That Work

The right fabrics make all the difference.

Miami is a beautiful city, but it can be a tricky one when it comes to home décor. The heat and humidity can make finding the right fabrics for your home a tough choice. But have no fear; there are fabrics that work with the weather, and will give your home that luxurious feel. Here’s what works for your Miami home.

Yes, cotton; it’s not just for your clothes and your sheets, it’s also for upholstery. Cotton is ideal because it can fit into any budget, be dyed to fit any design scheme, and best of all, it breathes. In a climate such as Miami, your home furniture needs to use breathable upholstery in order to be comfortable; otherwise, you get that awkward, sticky feeling that we’re a little too familiar with thanks to visiting Grandma on a hot day. That said, get upholstery with a high thread count for a soft, luxe feeling, and use it for furniture that sees moderate use or less.

Hemp has, for far too long, been the province of crunchy-granola types and burnouts. It’s time to take this fabric back and use it where it belongs as the luxurious natural fiber of choice for your furniture. Hemp is not only breathable and soft, it can take quite a lot of abuse. Hemp fibers are tougher than even the brattiest child or the most ill-behaved pet. Like cotton, it takes to dyes and patterns extremely well. Use hemp for furniture that sees a lot of use; it won’t wear out and will give you plenty of time.

If you want comfort and breathability, linen is going to be your fabric of choice. Remember, true linen is made from fibers from the flax plant; any other kind of “linen” is not true linen. It’s referred to as such largely thanks to the weaving method used, but won’t offer the same freshness. Linen is actually best used not for upholstery but for curtains, pillows, and other accents. It wrinkles and stains more easily than some fabrics. It can also take some of the humidity out of the air because it absorbs liquids well, which is just another reason to keep it out of the reach of red wines and sodas.


Leather has always meant luxury.

Finally, there’s the classic upholstery choice of leather. It may seem odd to say that leather is the best choice for a humid, warm climate like Miami, but it does have a few advantages. First of all, if you air-condition your home, leather releases its heat quickly and effectively, making your leather furniture cool and comfortable to the touch. Secondly, well treated leather can withstand a lot of damage and brush off spills and accidents without staining. Finally, it’s easy to clean; you can buy wipes from leather furniture stores that can easily clean the sofa. Of course, it’s luxurious; leather is considered the best kind of upholstery for a reason.

There are other fabrics, but these are the best you’ll find for home décor in the Miami area. Factor them into your design and you’ll find they give you the pop your home needs.

Photo credits: The Miami Story, stewf


How to Integrate Home Design and Technology

Taste and forethought lets you put speakers anywhere.

If you want the very best in speakers mixed with the highest end of home design, it’s going to take some work. But don’t despair. You don’t have to choose between your Roche Bobois seating and your sleek, stylish speakers. There are all sorts of options to bring your taste for the best in both together without it clashing.

Hide Them In Plain Sight
One of the simplest methods to have your speakers fit in with your décor is to blend their designs. For example, you might place your front facing speakers in a fresco or wall design that’s patterned around your speaker’s baffles, or you might simply have a contractor create some nooks on either side of your flat screen or your stereo so the speakers recess into the wall and only draw attention when you want them to. You can even build screens or shutters across these alcoves so, when not in use, your speakers are protected.

This gives you an added advantage of being able to tuck wires into areas specifically designed for them, letting you access them when needed and hide them when not. It will depend, however, on whether you can carve out a section of the wall; speak to a contractor about whether this is possible. Also, you’ll need to place your speakers carefully to avoid acoustics problems.

Create a Specific Environment
Another way, especially if you have room, to blend things is to create a specific environment where your audio equipment helps to dictate the design. This has its advantages; you can construct a more discreet sound system for the larger house to entertain guests and for day-to-day use, and even tie it to your equipment so you have total control of the playlist during parties. When you truly want to enjoy your music, you have an oasis of sound built specifically for your gear with better acoustics, soundproofing, and defense against power surges and other threats to your equipment. 

You will, however, need to speak with a contractor about how feasible this is in your home, and soundproofing is practically a must.

Hiding speakers can be done in walls, furniture, even floors and ceilings.

Another method is automation. Speakers, monitors, and other audio-visual gear can be hidden behind discreet panels and screens that open at the click of a button. It’s especially useful if your taste in gear means most other methods won’t work, and we won’t pretend it’s not a lot of fun. It is, however, relatively expensive and depending on what’s possible may limit your choice of components.

Custom Work
The most direct option, of course, is to simply build your speakers to match your décor. Remember, it’s not the outside of the enclosure, per se, that matters, but the acoustics on the inside and the tolerances your drivers are engineered to that gives you those rich tones and perfect fidelity you want out of your music. That said, it is recommended that you contact the speaker manufacturer directly about custom enclosures; they may offer options you might not be aware of, and there may be engineering factors at play.

You may even be able, depending on the manufacturer, be able to paint or decorate the enclosures, but check carefully before deciding to do so. This may affect the sound.

No matter how you choose to pair your speakers and your décor, know that you don’t have to compromise on either. You can have the very best of both. You just have to think carefully as you integrate them.

Photo credits: Adomadom, mkosut


How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

Think interior design and home automation technology are mutually exclusive? Think again. While home automation is a relatively new home addition concept, if planned properly, it can work hand in hand with and even enhance a home’s design. Check out these automation options that work well with modern design.

Home automation may seem futuristic but it’s very accessible and very cool.

Automated Lighting
Imagine being able to set the lighting ambiance of any room in your home with the simple touch of a button. Many exciting automation devices are making this possible and often at a very reasonable price. Some automation systems are available as smartphone applications while others come with their own high tech controllers. Whether you crave soft lighting for the evening’s dinner party or prefer bright lights for easy reading, automated lighting systems simplify the task of setting just the right mood.

Automated lighting blends well with modern design by highlighting certain parts of a room, such as an abstract painting, while dimming the lighting in other areas. Certain lighting systems can even turn on the lights when a person enters the room and turn them off when occupants leave, thus drastically improving a home’s energy efficiency. Enhance the appeal of a room’s furniture, artwork and other elements all with an automated device or app.

Improved Efficiency
As environmental awareness continues to increase, most modern home designs now incorporate increased efficiency. From furniture made out of reclaimed wood to energy efficient light bulbs, new design trends are capturing the essence of efficiency. Now, home automation systems are complementing that efficiency.

Just a few examples of automated systems that increase efficiency include intuitive and programmable thermostats, automated blinds and more. Imagine having an intuitive system that automatically turns off the AC and draws the blinds each morning and turns the AC back on each evening before you return home, all without you even having to think about it. More advanced systems even adjust a home’s HVAC system based on the month’s energy consumption.

Intuitive Home Entertainment
Are you hosting a party this evening but are running late at work? No problem. Set the mood to complement your home’s modern design by turning on the music, adjusting the television and more, all from a distance.

Many automated home devices allow you to set specific moods based on the evening’s plans. For example, you could create a mood for movie nights that will instantly adjust your home entertainment system, draw the blinds, adjust the temperature and dim the lighting, and it’s all done by touching one button. These features of home automation are all about simplicity and convenience and perfectly accent similar trends in modern home design.

Tired of paying too much for utilities each month? Find the solution in home automation.

Home automation may be a fairly new concept, but it’s already making a big splash in the home design world. From automatically setting a room’s lighting with the touch of a button to controlling your stereo system from anywhere in the home, there are many ways to complement and enhance your home’s design with automation technology.

Photo credit: Advanced Telemetry


4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

Recently, One Cornwall Terrace, located opposite Regent’s Park, became Britain’s most expensive home after selling for an astounding 80 million, and that was 20 million under the original asking price. The property sold with ease, largely because of the complete home automation system, but was it worth the price tag? Here are four reasons why the answer is a resounding, “Yes”.

How would you like to call this swanky mansion home?

Impressive Automation
Imagine being able to control your entire home’s lighting with a touch of a button. One Cornwall Terrace features iPad-controlled lighting. With 21,000 square feet and seven bedrooms, saying that this lighting automation offers convenience is quite an understatement. Yet, the property’s automation doesn’t stop with the lighting. 

The property’s high-tech security gates are also automated with a number plate recognition system. The system undoubtedly increases the owner’s sense of security and simplifies the task of allowing visitors in and out of the massive property. These features of automation and others are becoming increasingly important for property owners because of the convenience they provide and also for the increase they bring in property values. 

The notion that location is everything still rings true and was certainly an influencing factor in the selling price of One Cornwall Terrace. Sitting just opposite of Regent’s Park, the property is an impeccable status symbol and will remain a hot topic of conversation throughout the UK even after the selling dust has settled. 

A property’s design influences everything from the comfort it brings an owner to which features can be included in a renovation. As far as swanky features and endless space, One Cornwall Terrace has it all. The mansion boasts seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, nine reception rooms and an impressive catering kitchen with marble and limestone-lined halls in between each room. The property’s sports complex includes a gym and a swimming pool while the exterior features a 40-meter long landscaped garden. 

Each area of the mansion is impeccably designed and the layout offers an attractive and convenient flow from kitchen to sports complex and beyond. This design blended with the mansion’s modern automation features make the property a true one-of-a-kind.

One of the most interesting features of One Cornwall Terrace is its history. Originally built in the 1820s by architect Decimus Burton and overseen by John Nash, the mansion features notable architectural elements including a neo-classical Stucco elevation with Corinthian pilasters. The property’s two-story bay is outfitted by columns that resemble the Greek goddess Artemis. It was the official residence in London of the New Zealand High Commissioner from the 1950s to the 1970s and, recently, underwent an extensive overhaul before being placed on the market. 

How much would you pay for a mansion like One Cornwall Terrace?

Sure, not everyone can purchase a swanky property like One Cornwall Terrace that is 336 times more expensive than the average UK home. However, regardless of your budget, ensuring the property you do purchase is worth the price is easy by assessing such factors as in-home automation, design and more.

Photo credit: Elliot Brown


Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

If you ask a group of interior decorators what colors are not compatible with each other, you may be surprised to find out that many designers believe that all colors are meant to go together, but the shades, hues, intensity, saturation and amount of color needs to be tweaked for the best results.

Color Wheel

The color wheel is a way to assess the compatibility and contrast of one color to another. Primary colors are blue, yellow and red. The colors between the primary colors are called secondary colors and are made by mixing combinations of blue, yellow and red together.

Secondary colors

Mix red with yellow, and you create orange. Mix yellow and blue together, and you get green. Red and blue mixed creates purple. Therefore, orange, green and purple are considered secondary colors.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are primary and secondary colors that are mixed together. The six tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Colors in Context

Colors look different depending upon the colors they are near. For example, a red square stands out on a white background but is hardly noticed on a brown background. The same shade of lavender will look reddish on a blue background and bluish on a purple background. Colors change drastically depending upon the colors around them.

Color harmony

Color harmony is the midpoint between too many colors that may cause over stimulation and not enough color that is boring and uninteresting to the eye. Harmony is achieved by both trial and error, and by following some basic rules of color theory.

Paint Chips and Fabric Swatches

There is a reason interior designers collect a variety of paint chips and fabric swatches in the process of renovating or redoing a living space. Even the trained eye of an interior designer may not be able to select the perfect color without trying out some combinations.

Color Theories

Yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange are three colors that sit side by side on a 12-part color wheel. Any three colors next to each other are called analogous colors and usually are pleasant to the eye.

Complementary colors, those colors opposite each other on the color wheel, also are deemed universally compatible.


Some designers believe that if you follow nature’s palate of colors, it doesn’t matter what colors are placed next to each other. Designers will often use a picture taken from nature as an inspiration for color hue, saturation and intensity.


Top 6 Interior Design Trends of 2013

Interior Design Trends of 2013

Design trends for 2013 invite everyone to get comfortable.

Interior design trends for 2013 are all about simple yet bold statements, raw materials, and leaning toward sophisticated, masculine lines throughout the home and not just in the man cave.

The idea isn’t to overwhelm your space with every new trend, but to incorporate a few ideas with your own perennial decor.

Beautiful wood grain doesn’t need ornamentation.

Lots of Natural Woodgrain
Focus on the grain of the wood instead of design details. The wood’s unique pattern becomes art instead of just a construction material. Exotic species such as tigerwood don’t need elaborate details to stand out. 

Wood is nothing new, so you’ve got to look at it a new way. A custom paneled wall might be out of your budget, but a single 4 x 8 sheet of furniture-grade plywood isn’t. Wrap the raw edge with veneer and seal the whole thing with shellac, and it becomes art for a large, bare wall. 

Really Green Walls
Pantone named Emerald Green the color of the year for 2013, but green walls aren’t just about paint. Living panels bring in the year’s hottest color while acting as a natural air filter and humidifier. Think of it as a vertical garden. 

For about $30, you can buy wall garden foundation panel, which looks like a wall cubby system. The planter sections are slanted so the dirt won’t slide out. Any plant with a shallow root system works. Imagine an herb garden on the kitchen wall or ivy in a bathroom. As plants grow and fill in, they blend into a contiguous, green wall.

Updated for a modern home, authentic vintage appliances work as well as new.

Comfortable, Warm Kitchens
Vintage meets modern in a warm, inviting kitchen where friends and family want to gather. Mix materials instead of aiming for a sleek, uniform room.

A new AGA cookstove has the right look, but the $9,000 price tag puts it far from reach for the average homeowner. Find a vintage stove from the 40s or 50s for a few hundred dollars, invest in a professional overhaul and you’ve got the genuine article.

Funky details like multicolor glass tile countertops, mixed cabinets and floors that look well worn make your kitchen feel less like an art show and more like a place to mingle.

A coat of paint is all you need to give a cupboard a big splash of color.

Daring Colors Spice Things Up
Color is the thing. Bold reds, greens, blues and yellows are everywhere from carpets to walls and furnishings. If your’e not ready for a fuchsia lacquer wall, add a few chunks of color to liven things up. 

Fire engine red on a filing cabinet, sunny yellow on a pair of nightstands or a dining room hutch that’s robin’s egg blue: paint is your friend when it comes to adding a lilt of color. 

More Focus on Masculine
Men spend more time at home now than in recent history, and the design trends for 2013 show it. “Masculine” isn’t easy to define, but designers are leaning toward simple, sophisticated furnishings such as leather club chairs and oversizes sofas with clean lines.

Substantial pieces that stand up to wear aren’t confined to bachelor pads. Think chunky end tables, large mirrors with thick, simple frames and a sofa that isn’t just for looks. 

Feel-Good, Sumptuous Textiles
Forget about choosing between attractive and durable. Layers of sumptuous textures that you want to touch means homes are more comfy and less for show. 

A thick wool rug feels warm and lovely underfoot, and a microfiber duvet makes bedtime delicious. Look for easy care fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning and upholstery that you aren’t afraid to use. 

Simplicity is the key for 2013. Overdone, contrived decor where no one feels comfortable gives way to lived-in, luxurious spaces that make home feel like the best place on earth.


5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets

5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets

Hiring a designer for a one-time consultation helps avoid costly mistakes.

Glossy magazine pages brimming with the latest interior design masterpieces are both dreamy and depressing when you’re on a budget. Designing a comfortable, well-appointed home doesn’t require a wealthy benefactor, but it just takes a few tricks and a careful eye.

Here are 5 tips for working within a budget to create a living space that you’re happy to come home to.

Create a Sample Board to Avoid Mistakes
Something that seems great in your head might simply look weird in your living room, but a sample board helps you picture it clearer and avoid expensive mistakes. 

Take inspirational clippings from magazines and tack them to black (not white) poster board. Add swatches of fabric, paint chips, carpet and anything else until you get the right look.

Laminate flooring is a DIY job and it covers up ugly, old vinyl. 

Paint Floors Instead of Refinishing
Worn wood floors degrade the look of some rooms, although they can work to your advantage in a rustic or cottage setting. If the expense and labor of refinishing wood floors finds you thinking about carpet, rethink and consider paint. 

Painted wood floors are classic, easy to clean and stand up to heavy traffic. Apply bonding primer first, then several coats of floor paint. Seal the floor with urethane for a long-wearing finish.

Thrift stores turn up the most unexpected treasures, and older pieces are usually made well. 

Shop Estate Sales and Thrift Stores
High-quality furnishings usually come with equally high price tags, but you’ll replace a cheap sofa a lot sooner than a good one. 

The best finds on solid, well-made furnishings are at estate sales, thrift stores and even flea markets. Learn to look past quirky or outdated upholstery to appreciate the overall design and construction. Upholstery is replaceable, and you can learn to do that at home or hire it out.

Solid wood furnishings with a scratches and wear are also worth bringing home. Refinishing wood is a simple, although messy, job. With some sandpaper, stain and sealer or paint you can make a sturdy old dresser look stunning.

Sew your Own Draperies
As with furniture, cheap draperies won’t do anything to boost the look of your home. Instead of buying pre-made, inexpensive drapes, bring out the sewing machine and make your own. 

Upholstery fabric sold by the yard lets you choose from a wide range of colors, patterns and fabrics. Simple, elegant drapes are nothing more than rectangles of fabric with a muslin liner sewn into the back side. With drapery clips, you don’t even need a casing across the top. Snap the clips across the top edge of the drapes and slide the clips onto the rod. 

Filling in the Gaps
If the budget is almost gone but the room still looks sparse, it’s time to bring in some extras. 

Plants add life to any room, and the bigger the better. Green, growing things placed anywhere you have a vacancy makes the space feel fuller without the overcrowded sensation of too much furniture.

A few oversized, square pillows do more to upgrade a simple sofa than numerous little decorative cushions.

Mirrors become instant focal points reflecting light and drawing attention with interesting frames. Instead of buying a mirror, find a large picture frame at a thrift store or flea market and have a mirror cut to fit.

If the room still looks wrong, take a photograph. When something looks off but you can’t put your finger on it, seeing the space on a computer monitor lets you step back more objectively and figure out the problem.

A tight decor budget doesn’t mean you’re relegated to discount stores and cheap imitations. Being thrifty and clever make your home look like no one else’s, and you’ll have money left over for a great bottle of wine.


Press release: ThinkSpace Blends Home Decor with Home Automation

ThinkSpace Blends Home Decor with Home Automation
New Firm Seamlessly Assimilates Latest, High-Tech Touches with Interior Design

Miami, Fla., June 14, 2013 – Sherman Allan Martin of Miami has announced the launch of a new interior design firm that merges contemporary design concepts with the latest in home automation technology. Services are designed to appeal to custom home builders and homeowners who want their home to not only look beautiful and inviting, but to also function flawlessly in terms of temperature control, media use, and lighting.

Until recently, home automation has been thought of as an “add-on” and has been largely divorced from interior design. However, advances in home automation technology now allow it to be fully integrated with interior design elements. Today’s homeowner does not want to compromise on style for the sake of energy efficiency and automation, nor vice versa. ThinkSpace allows those who are renovating or building new to seamlessly integrate home automation with whatever interior design style they favor.

Homeowners don’t want a jumble of wiring to detract from their home media experience, and they want to take every practical step to make their homes energy efficient, smart, and accommodating to their lifestyles. ThinkSpace addresses these needs comprehensively through custom synthesis of technology and design, with every detail of the home and its functions orchestrated flawlessly.

“Imagine arriving home at the end of the day to a home that is the ideal temperature, lit exactly how you want it, and ready for you to relax and enjoy. That home is no longer science fiction, but reality,” said Sherman Allan Martin, founder of ThinkSpace.

Smart home technology includes custom lighting, thermostat control, and integration of high-tech security and digital access technology. Advances in technology, including wireless technology, allow leading-edge hardware to be installed without compromising on aesthetics of spaces. 

“ThinkSpace offers services that make homes more energy efficient without compromising on comfort or style, and that’s what today’s homeowner wants,” said Martin.

ThinkSpace is located in Miami and offers custom integration of smart home technology and interior design.


1200 Brickell Ave.
Suite 1950
Miami, FL 33131
Phone 305.396.9070
Fax 305.396.9027
Mobile 305.741.0855