Thank you West Elm…

Just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to West Elm for sharing the room I designed on there blog!! I use there products all the time and I’m thrilled that they have selected to feature my work!!
Check it out here. I’ve added a few more pictures of that room for you to check out below…

Shirry Dolgin on West Elm blog
Shirry Dolgin on West Elm blog

View of the fireplace, designed by Shirry Dolgin
View into the kitchen, designed by Shirry dolgin
View of dining room, designed by Shirry Dolgin
View of living room, designed by Shirry Dolgin

Guest blog post: Five essentials for a modern living room…

Today we have the pleasure of a lovely guest blog post. Enjoy!

Simple. Sleek. Stylish. These three words are the descriptive pillars of modern design, and when it comes to designing a living room, they serve as invaluable style guidelines. Above all else, modern design balances its use of space with a straightforward style focused on functionality, straight lines and solid colors. If you’ve been dreaming of transforming your out-of-date family den into a modern living room, start with these five essential elements:

Designer Couch
It is essential to choose furniture built with clean, straight lines; heavier patterns tend to be trendier and fall out of style quickly, whereas simplicity is timeless. Modern designs incorporate sleek materials like hard plastics, glass, metal, or recycled products. It balances open space with functionality, creating visual interest with understated pieces. Depending on the size of the room, a couch usually offers the best choice for formal seating. It needs to be functional without any ornamental features, but definitely comfortable enough for residents and guests to sit on as well. When possible, try to open up space with the furniture positioning; try facing the couch towards a window, a fireplace, or – best of all – opposite other seating. Placing too much furniture in a small space will detract from the cleanliness of modern design; the room should not appear too full or overdone. Keep it simple and avoid any bulky furnishings. Consider looking for European designer couches, because these almost always possess modernist designs.

Functional Coffee Table
A coffee table is essential in a modern living room. A functional coffee table serves multiple purposes. It’s a hot spot for friends to gather for cocktails or games on a weekend, as well as an office area for working on at home. Like the other furniture, the coffee table should combine clean lines with a low, streamlined look. From a two-tiered designer glass table to hard plastic storage bins topped with a heavy piece of tempered glass, a functional coffee table can reflect your personal sense of style.

Luxurious Area Rug
A rug is often one of the only accessories to use a soft texture or a patterned design in a modern living room setting. Hints of the rug’s pattern or color often reappear in artwork or another artistic accessory to give the room a cohesive look. This serves an important purpose, as the placement and color of the perfect rug can pull the key elements together. The rug is often positioned in front of the couch or under the coffee table. The size of an area rug is important; it needs to be large enough to place under the front edge of the couch and extend just beyond the chairs on the other side of the coffee table.

Minimalist Chairs
If space allows, place two small chairs directly across from the couch for the purpose of additional seating. Coordinate or contrast the solid color of the couch with the chairs, or – if you’re feeling ambitious – opt to use an abstract or geometric pattern. Look for straight clean lines for these extra pieces, as minimalistic chairs are an unmistakable element of modern interior design. Extra seating can also reflect your personal taste and creativity; if you have carpentry or furnishing skills, try to repurpose another item – like a small stool – to serve as a seat. You can use your imagination to think of items to use for making extra seats, just remember to keep it functional and streamlined.

Chic Accessories
Just the right amount of accessories is essential in modern design. Use accessories sparingly to accent colors and designs in the room. Artwork on walls should be large, but still small enough that they refrain from “taking over” the room. Choose an abstract piece reflecting a hint of color or pattern found in the area rug. Avoid filling up the wall; one large piece on either side of a window is all you need to add visual appeal. A few solid pillows can also splash color in the room as long as you are careful to keep the look simple.

Focusing on these five essential elements can help you create the modern living room of your dreams. Just clear out the room, paint the walls a solid color and start designing! You can find all kinds of great design sites on line. Browse through some modern furniture sites and check out couches and chairs to get an idea for your own modern living room.

Latest project update: Little details which can make a big difference…

I’m sharing some pictures of a project I worked on in which I used a lot of small details to change the atmosphere of an entire space. It wasn’t a complete makeover, but more like a “freshen up” for my client. My challenge was to find ways to update the room with pieces that could keep the traditional atmosphere, while adding a small hint of contemporary detail.

Overall view of the living and dining room.

Above is a picture of the living room, looking towards the dining room. I selected a beautiful pendant light fixture to glow above the dining area as well as added two tall floor lamps with white scrolled bases to flank the large white sofa. This adds balance and height to the sofa area. You may also notice the contemporary blue artwork in the dining area. The colors of these beautiful pieces added to the accents in the living area, but gave it a modern touch.

On the sofa I have decorative cushions to match the color in the rug’s design. This added some more balance to the room as it added another layer off my accent color. I carefully chose dining chairs which matched both the white sofa and the brown chairs. They have lovely linen upholstery with beautiful nail head details and diamond tufting. This accentuated the traditional elements of the space and makes the dining area look more elegant. Lots of flowers and candles throughout the room add a gentle touch, and give the room a fresh feel.

Details of the coffee table and area rug.

One of my favorite pieces was the oval glass coffee table I used in the living area. Not only is it a very fluid shape to move around, but I also love it because of the mirror at the base which reflects light and adds to the glow of the room. I sprinkled it with candles and flowers to give it a casual, natural feeling. I feel that books often make a good selection of table top items, because they can provide guests with something to look at while you might be busy.

View from the dining area

In this picture you can see the small details which I’ve included on the dining room table. I used white plates to set the dining area and then one small blue plate to coordinate the two main colors in the room. I used different flowers for the centerpiece and added a mix of porcelain china to give the table some variety and more natural colors. I used a white runner down the center table to give the table a clean, pristine feel. Above is the gorgeous light fixture which has details of hanging crystal. The drapes are a softer gray with contemporary lines framing each window, adding height to the space, and create the continuity between this elegant living and dining area.

What goes around comes around…

We’re all familiar with that saying “what goes around comes around”-which is fitting for fashion, design, architecture, transportation and furniture. A lot of furniture styles from previous decades are now being revamped and modernized to fit today’s markets and tastes. Designers are referring to ideas from a long time ago and are figuring out how to fit old designs with a new taste.

Designs like the ‘Barcelona chair’ and the ‘Klismos chair’ are now starting to be reused and revamped to fit the taste of today’s market. Designers claim that as much as clients love to look at the modern styles and designs of furniture, sometimes those particular pieces might not fit the space it was intended to be used for. Older designs such as the Barcelona chair and the Klismos chair fit the taste of some clients better because of the traditional shape, which might fit the client’s purpose and use for the piece of furniture better.

The Barcelona chair was designed in 1929 by Mies van der Rohe. The chair is an icon of modernism, and the design was inspired by folding chairs of ancient times.

This Barcelona chair looks elegant and sleek in black.

This barcelona chair looks clean cut in white, with the matching ottoman.

The Klismos chair has a traditional shape to it, with a rounded back rest. The Klismos chair had a very simple and traditional look to it, which has been modified throughout time to fit current tastes and preferences of today’s market. The Klismos chair is an ancient Greek chair (Klismos signifies an armchair-but no specific description of it). Here are some pictures of an original, traditional Klismos chair, and then modified versions of the Klismos chair.

This is a original Klismos chair, with the original shape.
Through time, designers have altered certain aspects of the chair's original design.
Designers have managed to keep the traditional idea of the Klismos chair, and incorporate new and more modern ideas to improve the design to fit today's market.

Dashing Doggy Beds

Our dogs are our best friends, so we would naturally want them to live in comfort. Some of us don’t know what it’s like to sleep without our dogs while others make sure that their dogs have their very own personal doggy beds. Now, doggy beds come in all different styles, sizes, shapes and colors…so why just settle for a simple, massively sized pillow for our dogs to lounge on when they can literally have their own “bed” or “sofa”?

These days, a lot of clients request their interior designers incorporate an area into the space being designed for the dog to be comfortable. Sometimes, the dog’s area to lounge looks exactly like the rest of the furniture in the space, and sometimes the dog’s bed is completely unique. There are lots of different design ideas available for you to choose from when it comes to finding a bed for your best friend.

Here are some pictures of some of the fun and unique pet beds that are currently available.

Liking the “Lichen”

Sometimes, it can be difficult having plants in a room if there is not enough access to light, water, air and space. To make matters worse, if you did put a plant in a space like that, the chances of the plan survivng aren’t very great…

There’s a fun, new alternative to solve your problems when it comes to plant placement. Hangable sections of “lichen” (more commonly known as Reindeer Moss) are becoming more commonly used in home decorating. This particular type of lichen doesn’t need any air, water, light, care or maintaining which makes it even more appealling in some cases. This lichen is called . The plant comes mounted into a resin base that is ready to hang.

What makes this “Moss Tile” even more appealling is that it comes in various colors, which can expand your options for colors and textures for the room. Moss Tile is also available in the following colors:
Wasabi (a lighter shade of green)
Liquirizia (a darker shade of gray)
Menta (a slightly darker tone of green, not forest green)
Cumino (a mix of orange and burnt orange)
Green Pepper (a shade of lighter green with the occasional spot of a darker green)
Zafferano (a lighter shade of orange, closer to a darker shade of yellow)
Paprika (a fun, brighter pink)
Cassis (a pretty combination of a navy blue and a violet)
Malva (a lighter, softer purple)
Red Pepper (a lighter, more vibrant mix of red and a darker pink)

If you wish to make your own Moss Tile, you can buy some Reindeer Moss and plywood to craft your own.

Do You Love Your Bedroom?

Guest Post By: Nancy Del Santo
Interior Designer Secrets For Creating Your Dream Master Suite
Founder ~ AskDecor

Your master bedroom should be one of the BEST rooms in your house. Too often, it’s an after thought. Change that today with these 4 interior designer secrets and fall in love with your master bedroom.

1. When you walk into the room, your eyes should immediately focus on a gorgeous bed.
To make a grand statement, we try to have the bed facing you when you enter the room. Don’t be afraid of windows. We’ve put beds in front of windows and we’ve camouflaged poorly placed windows with a “wall of fabric” when necessary to achieve this goal.
Once we have the bed placed in the room, it’s time to have fun selecting a wonderful headboard, bed frame or canopy. Which one for you? Look at pictures in magazines and online to see if you prefer wood, fabric, metal, or a painted finish. Remember that you’ll have the bed a long time so buy once, buy better, and buy a more classic style.

2. Your bedding should feel luxurious.
There are some wonderful companies that make fabulous bedding. Rather than look at thread count, we recommend that you do the touch test.
Along with luxurious sheets, add some color and texture to your bed. We like to do this with a custom-made bed skirt, beautiful pillows, and a fabulous throw or duvet cover for the bed. Typically, we mix patterns and textures to make each of these items interesting.

3. The colors in your master bedroom should make you look fabulous.
Look to your wardrobe and recall when you get compliments. Which makeup hues look best on you?
Paint the walls a restful color that compliments your skin tone. Or find great wallpaper that does the same.
Be aware that bold, energetic colors may keep you awake at night. If you love these colors, consider introducing them in smaller ways in your bedroom or in grey tinted tones that are more restful versions of the colors you love.
Install lighting throughout the room to enhance the colors. Install dimmers to help create mood lighting.
Mix up the type of lighting in your master bedroom. If you have the ceiling height, consider a chandelier. It is an instant mood enhancer. You can also consider using pendants over your nightstands or over a seating area.

4. No matter how small you master bedroom might be, create the illusion of space.
Consider putting drawers inside your closets or having built-ins made to maximize storage without cluttering the room with furniture.
Size your nightstands to what is appropriate to the room. If your room is really small, float the nightstands off the floor.
Personalize your room with things that are important to you but get rid of all that extra stuff that makes a room feel cluttered. Remember, this is your retreat from the world. Don’t let a messy stack of papers detract from the spa-like feeling you are trying to inspire.

About the author:
Nancy Del Santo is founder of AskDecor, an interior design firm offering online programs to help you create your perfect home. Go to and sign up for our free guide showing the best online shopping for your home.