Current Inspiration #12
As we transition from the spring season of renewal into the slow days of summer, we are feeling particularly reflective on our own growth and harnessing that into what comes next for us! For some time now, our focus has continued to be fueled by our ever-growing passion for greener design practices. So it's no surprise that our latest edition of current inspiration is comprised of healthier materials and brands for interiors, the intentionality with which we design, the expansion and growth of our professional knowledge and certification, and why taking the time to slow down and enjoy unique experiences are some of the things that are essential for maintaining wellness and balance in life.
The tiles of our dreams
There's so much to say about our favorite handcrafted tile company: B Corp certified, environmentally focused (headed towards Zero Waste), sustainable practices (vertical integration!!) and the list goes on. From a pure design perspective, the handmade nature of these tiles ensures that each piece is unique and reflects slight variations, offering a very organic and natural look. Not only do we love everything about the diverse product offerings (ceramic, glass, handpainted tile and glazed brick with practically unlimited options of colors, shapes and patterns), but the foundation and building blocks of the company are truly something that align with our own personal and professional ethos. As designers, we have endless options to choose from in our vendors and suppliers. However, our chosen partnerships are rooted in common ethics and a purpose-driven mission. Fireclay is a company that prides itself on sustainable, transparent, diverse, equitable and inclusive practices. And they are our first choice for the majority of our tile needs!
The no-islander life
“You have to have this” they all say. But do you really? This common phrase is one we hear all too often in the design world. Trends, mainstream publications, Pinterest algorithms and influencers all try to lead us through a similar funnel which results in the same copy-paste look. One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to designing a space. Each person is unique, which means that their space should be designed with the same approach of crafting something that fits their lifestyle.
A notion we love to continue to challenge is the idea that the kitchen island is absolutely necessary. It comes in different shapes and sizes, but for some reason, most American homes have one and deem it necessary. In our kitchen design process, this component does not have an automatic presence. We like to go back to our clients lifestyle and needs in order to assess and determine the most optimal floor plan. For example, sometimes, a traditional farm-inspired table is simply a better and more versatile option.
In a recent project, we swapped out the concept of an oversized 9'x7' island for a hybrid solution: a slimmer prep station option inspired by a piece of furniture found in a home somewhere in the English countryside, with a modular table extension, providing additional prep space and dining space!
Next time, we will tell you our thoughts on backsplash. Spoiler alert, don't let anyone tell you that "you have to have it.”
A healthier future
Something that we are placing on the forefront of our business practice more so than ever before — crafting healthy interiors for our clients. What does this mean and why should you care? First and foremost, new data tells us that we spend more than 90% of our lives indoors, and that for the first time, indoor air pollutants are between 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. This says a lot about the impact that our indoor environment has on our health. We should all be intentional about the products that we select for our interiors, but we should also be educated on the chemicals and components that these products are composed of. As with many things, it gets really complicated. But that's where the certifications that we are seeking out are invaluable for our clients that truly care about the chemistry of their homes (Healthy Materials Advocate Certificate thanks to Parsons School of Design and The New School and members of the GFDA alliance, to name a few). Things that we all should be thinking of starts with simple questions like: Is that new paint you choose actually really toxic? What about that new sofa you purchased with fancy performance fabric…will it continue to off-gas that magical property that makes it resistant to everything?
Our answer is to begin with a simplified materials palette and build from there! There's so much we all can do to build healthier interiors, and it all starts with awareness and seeking out the knowledge (or the experts) who can help guide the process.
A Maggiore favorite
It’s one of those places where you feel like you are in a dream. And we happened to discover it in the most serendipitous way. Last summer during our European travels, we unexpectedly had a change of plans that led us to a long weekend in Italy by Lake Maggiore. We were seeking out an exceptional dining experience to celebrate an anniversary. What we could have never imagined was the pure magic that constitutes Villa Pizzini, one of our favorite restaurants/experiences to this day. Perfectly nestled above the gorgeous city of Stresa, within the grounds of a national park, sits this small and quaint restaurant serving the ultimate forest-to-table cuisine. Everything you consume here is either foraged, cultivated or sourced in the surrounding environment. The “degustazone menù” is the ultimate experience, where you must allow yourself to be embraced by the remarkably hospitable owners, Ivan and Sabina. This lovely couple shares hosting-and-menu-creation talent and offers the most delicious and inventive foods paired with the most unforgettable wines and liquors. Some memorable highlights of this dinner were a porcini & morel mushroom risotto (that will bring you to tears) and a glass of Le Piane, Boca 2016 - a Novara red wine grown on historic volcanic soil that cultivates the richest of forest fruits, violets and tobacco flavors. Make it a point to be in the area on your next trip to Italy; we know we will!
Villa Pizzini - Mottarone cima 3, 28838 Stresa VB, Italy