Archive for redesign

Graffiti Knitting – an interior craft gone exterior

It began last winter with me knitting a scarf for my youngest daughter. A friend had knit a scarf with pomp-a-doodle yarn and said it wasn’t that difficult to do and it actually didn’t even take that long to knit with this particular type of yarn. Fast and economical fashion – count me in. And so it began – it started with that scarf, then two more pom pom scarves this holiday season for my other daughter and her college room mate, then a cowl for myself (again with the pom pom yarn), then creating a scarf with the pom pom yarn mixed with a fringe yarn, and the latest, a scarf with a “ruffle” yarn. I can’t seem to stop and I have only created neck attire!

I posted the images of my creations on Facebook and inquired if there was a way to somehow connect my new hobby with my blog postings. Several friends weighed in with interesting thoughts-

Kate: Are you working with eco-friendly yarns (non-toxic dyes, natural fibers, etc), which would give you a link to “green” material choices for interiors — or maybe there’s a fun way to use knitted pieces as a design element? Or maybe there’s a metaphor in the whole process of knitting — you untangle a mess of yarn, and turn a single strand of wool into a unified piece (like working with disparate design elements and turning them into a pleasing and unified room design)?

Donna: Have you seen Norah Gaughan’s book Knitting Nature? Very “green” and fascinating way to design- reminds me of Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space on home design.

I liked both of these suggestions, but it was Leah’s reply that captured my attention: Check this out- I just saw an article on it recently. I’m not entirely sure as to how it would tie in, but it did pop in to my mind… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_bombing.

According to Wikipedia: Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.

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How cool. Yarn bombers target anything they find from sleeves on parking meters, trees, statues, to cars and buses. Like most graffiti artists, this group of knitters often tag in the middle of the night. Some troupes wear crocheted masks while they work, and although it is technically illegal, the police have yet to make any knitter arrests.

In researching images for this blog, I discovered an artist that goes by the name OLEK (Agata Oleksiak) born in Poland living in NYC. ​”Crochet came to me as a result of being totally broke. I had to make a costume in NYC and I had no cash for a sewing machine. I used any materials I could possibly find…I even cut my sheets into strips to make pieces. Being resourceful is in my blood as you can see. Crochet is for poor people…that’s why you can find it in almost any culture across the globe.”

I was fascinated to see how much art Olek has produced in recent years. I have LIKED her Facebook page, bookmarked her website (http://www.agataolek.com/), and I look forward to seeing her work in person in the near future.

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          Olek creating The Cube

Some of Olek’s work both in galleries as well as on the street:

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I am not sure if I connected urban knitting with green interior design, (other than showing some interiors covered in knit and crochet slipcovers), but I did share an art form that is gaining in popularity and world recognition. Hopefully, you have seen something unique and inspiring and find it as interesting as I have. If you have any knitting/crocheting queries, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com. I will try my best to be of assistance.

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Great Resources: magazines to the internet

It started with my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens back in the late 60’s early 70’s. Thumbing through them after she had finished looking at that month’s issue. Cutting out the pages of things I had liked and anticipating applying the ideas in my first apartment. I would make collages with images based on color. Pages of things of various shades of blues, greens and of course – purples. I never really liked oranges, yellows or reds – back then…

After I had graduated from design school and moved to Massachusetts, I began receiving my own issues of Better Homes and Garden each month in the mail. I then added Metropolitan Home and Architectural Digest. Martha Stewart came and went and as I glance over at the bookcase in my office now: stacks of Home, Domino (2005-2009) and House and Garden date back to 2006. The largest collection is Natural Home from May 2007 to this month’s issue. I also have an IKEA brochure for each year dating back to 2006.

lmk interiors, ltd. bookcase            lmk interiors, ltd. close up magazines

I love turning the pages and looking through old as well as contemporary issues. It offers inspiration for layouts, color palettes and overall design that I can share with clients. The only difference now is that I can view most of the magazines I have mentioned on the internet. I only subscribe to one magazine: Natural Home and Garden.

Several of these magazines are no longer published nor do they have websites, but I did want to share a few that I enjoy viewing. On any of these sites you can type in green interior design, eco-friendly design or sustainable design in the search window and find a wealth of ideas.

Metropolitan Home ceased publication in 2009, but a website with all of the archived issues and new inspirations can be found at http://www.elledecor.com/. The plus: there are so many categories to find a multitude of ideas; the negative: one can get lost on the website for HOURS! I find this to be true on most of the following websites. My advice is to limit your searches to an hour at a time.

http://www.bhg.com/ (Better Home and Gardens)http://www.architecturaldigest.com/                     http://www.marthastewart.com/                             http://www.traditionalhome.com/                               http://www.housebeautiful.com/                                        http://www.dwell.com/                                                 http://www.realsimple.com/ (I do look at this at the checkout register in the grocery store when they have an issue on the stands)http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/

                          Natural Home and Garden magazine issues

As I have shared, my Natural Home and Garden magazine is my largest collection. Mainly because it offers a wealth of information on green design. It showcases renovations and new construction as well as providing information on sustainable and recycled products for use in the home as building materials and purposeful  and decorative products. I enjoy using their website, but I still love turning the pages and dog-earring things I like and might use on my next project!

Through Facebook I have found some great websites (blogs) that keep me posted with innovative products and design ideas as well. By subscribing to them, I get their posts on my news feed and can click for the latest informative tidbit.

http://inhabitat.com/                                                      http://groovygreenlivin.com/                                   http://www.hipmomsgogreen.com/                     http://www.GoGreenWebDirectory.com/

I enjoy sharing these sites with you. If you have any questions, you can always contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or (978)335-1140.

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Transforming the High School Teacher’s Lounge

                             before: Hamilton Wenham Teacher's Lounge

Would I be interested in helping to update the high school teacher’s lounge? That was the initial email regarding the “surprise” make over that a group of parents wanted to provide to show the teachers/staff how much they appreciated the work they provided for their children and within the community. I received this email on November 17, with the intention to execute the transformation over the Christmas holiday break (December 27 – 30). Basically, one month to raise funds, make selections/specifications, order/purchase and install during the busiest time of the year: between Thanksgiving and New Years. Naturally, I said I would love to help in any way I could. I have two children currently in the high school as well as a graduate, so I figured this was a volunteer effort that was within my comfort zone.

before: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge             before: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge

A small group of us met with the principal to clarify any conditions that we needed to be made aware of and any restrictions. He informed us that we needed to use low VOC paint and that was about it. I thought it would be a great opportunity to also bring in a recycled flooring option that I have specified, FLOR carpet tiles. After assessing the situation, my thoughts were to:

  • paint the walls, trim and bookcase (Sherwin Williams: Harmony)
  • stain doors and cabinetry woodwork
  • remove the existing carpet and install FLOR carpet tiles
  • reupholster the chairs surrounding the large conference table and make upholstered seats for the wood chairs
  • purchase new sofa and loveseat (since the existing ones were hand-me-downs that were falling apart)
  • purchase new end tables
  • purchase new table lamps
  • accessorize the wall unit shelves

An initial email went out to as many families as all of us knew sharing our intent and asking for donations of money towards the cause as well as time to volunteer to implement the design. We were stunned by the response within the first few days. As I had begun making selections and pricing out the costs, it looked like the donations would cover most of the expenses. I would pass my design discounts on where possible to help us reach our projected budget goals. I was able to do this on the paints/stains, FLOR carpet tiles, fabric for upholstering and labor costs for reupholstering and even on the tables from Bed, Bath and Beyond when a woman handed me a 20% discount coupon while in the check out line when she heard what the tables were going to be used for. The table lamps were donated by Timeless Interiors.

With everything specified and ordered before Christmas, we planned the schedule of installation. The carpet tile had been delivered to the custodial room and were being hidden under blankets. I had picked up the fabric yardage and was storing that along with the lamps at my office. I spent Christmas weekend assembling the end tables. The plan was that on Monday, the carpet would be ripped out and the walls and woodwork would be prepped for paint/stain (to be the messiest day of the week), Tuesday we would paint/stain, Wednesday we would install the carpet tiles, and Thursday we would have the sofa/loveseat picked up at Jordan’s and delivered and do final clean up and accessorizing.     

Well- Mother Nature decided to throw a rather intense snow storm that Sunday into Monday – so the whole schedule was thrown out the window and we came in Tuesday to do our best to make it all come together with whatever volunteers showed up. The first issue that day was that the carpet was glued down for so many years – it took two very strong teenage boys along with some strong Dads to pull most of it up. There was an 8’x 8’ patch that would not budge. Luckily, the custodian walked in and mentioned a flooring company the school uses and perhaps they could help us out. Wednesday morning, Paul Ritchie of Paul Ritchie Flooring in Beverly and crew showed up to remove the remaining carpet patch and INSTALL the carpet tiles for us. I had intended to spend the day, along with volunteers doing this task. I am forever grateful that professionals did it!

during: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge             during: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge

Everything was coming together beautifully. A few on-the-spot decisions regarding paint vs. stain when the old wood would not stop absorbing the stain and it wasn’t looking any better than when we started. Apply paint!

I ran to Christmas Tree Shop on Thursday to see what I could find for adding some colorful accessories (on a strict budget!) to put on the shelves. As soon as I walked in, I hit the jack pot. $70 for all the decorative pieces of glass, ceramics and metal baskets. Sofa/Loveseat delivered Friday morning along with a handful of volunteers to move in all of the other furnishings. Chairs will be reupholstered in the coming weeks. (My upholsterer was on vacation.) Coffee table will get a crackle/antique finish applied in the coming weeks as well. Otherwise, we were able to make this transformation happen on time and within budget.

The added bonus: Monday morning, when the teachers returned from vacation – they entered their lounge in awe. I received wonderful emails and phone calls throughout the day expressing their gratitude for the time and money donated to this project. They said, “This gesture of kindness has improved morale, fostered collegiality and provided a space that is comfortable, welcoming and professional.”

after: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge                            after: Hamilton Wenham High School Teacher's Lounge

                             after: Hamilton Wenham Teacher's Lounge

A rather nice way to end 2010. Here’s to a new year of rewarding projects. Always feel free to contact me at lmk interiors, ltd.

 design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or (978)335-1140

Happy New year!

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