Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Interior DecBROrator ~ Don't Keep Up with the Jones's!

Kicking off 2010 for our guys side of home design is Mel from Washington, DC. Contractor and owner of Georgetown Development Corporation, Mel likes to add unique details to his designs. Take it away, Mel!

As a contractor I get to help all types of people create and build their dreams. Whether its a custom home or renovating a simple bathroom, one thing is always the same, the client almost never chooses items they really want. Instead, they play it safe in their materials and furniture selections. And guys, I have to say, we are the WORST when it comes to making decisions and taking chances in design. Don’t get me wrong, the leg lamp from “A Christmas Story” sitting in the center of your dining room table that you found on the street for free, may very well be considered art by one of the ladies from “The Jersey Shore”, but my guess is if you are reading the posts from this site you want to change.

I am not saying you need to go out and get all new everything. Work with what you have and what your budget will allow, but be creative. The best places I have found to get the creative juices flowing are restaurants, bars, and hotels. One of my favorites is Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Every time a new one opens I go, not for the food (although it is good) but for ideas. Clyde’s in Rockville, MD has a lodge theme. There are old duck decoys, and antique hunting gear on the walls, shelves with vintage photos, and canoes on the ceiling. The Clyde’s in Georgetown has model airplanes hanging from the ceiling, vintage magazine covers framed on the walls, and WWII cartoon prints in the men’s bathroom. I cannot tell you how many times over the years people have tried to steal these prints because of how unique they are. People love this stuff and there is no reason you can’t incorporate it into your home. All it takes is a little thought on your part to come up with a theme and then some searching at flea markets or if your lazy, Ebay.

Here are a few unique items I incorporated into my place.

We have a side staircase with several large banisters and I wanted to come up with something different to add some wow. On a trip to New York I stopped off to grab a cigar at Nat Shermans, and while I was inside I noticed a bucket of antique lawn bowling balls for sale. Each one had its own story and character like their former owner’s initials or a crest engraved on the top. They were all cool, but they were also about $90 each. So as soon as I got back home I jumped on Ebay and within six months I had more than enough for the project for a couple hundred bucks.

We also had an area at the base of our stairwell that needed something. While on a trip to Nantucket I spotted an old 1920’s re-furbished gas pump. I have always loved these. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had found my piece for the space. (2010 Goal - become a better photographer)

One of my clients is an avid collector of just about anything. She travels all over the world and when she spots something she likes, she will buy it, use it or store it until the right use comes up. We just completed her home and here are a few of the items that we incorporated.

This is an old meat or cheese hanger we installed above her prep sink.

This is a great piece of furniture she found that we converted into one of her bathroom vanities and installed a copper counter top.

In the wine cellar we installed a toy cabinet from her current home that her son had outgrown. Now it is an adult’s toy cabinet. By being able to re-use the piece they saved thousands in new wine racks.

The owner is not a big fan of drywall, so for their office and dining room we installed Cypress boards instead. This is a fairly inexpensive detail to do and I can guarantee everyone will be talking about it.

...So guys, just get out there and you will start to come up with your own cool ideas and if you liked any of mine please use them. Always remember if your design sucks you can always change it! In closing, here is one more I found today. While I would love to say I built this one I did not, but it is definitely going in the idea book for the future. It also hopefully shows you that no idea is to big or small.


Anonymous said...

What a fabulous post!

Sarah Jones said...

Mel, Loved this post. I espeically like that you are encouraging people to start pulling pieces now for spaces they want to create. I can't tell you how many friends have said, "Well, I love that, but don't want to buy anything till I buy my place." At the same time, folks will come over and compliment things I have in my place. Little do they know I had many of those pieces stored away in the closet of my rental for the day I bought a place. So by the time I moved in, I didn't have to worry about filling an empty space and buying everything all at once. Again, loved the post, and the unique features of your designs.