Monday, May 18, 2015

Interior Design: Fiddle Leaf Figs and Beyond

Our team had a blast reading Lonny's latest blog post  entitledPoint/Counterpoint: Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees.
It's common for designers to disagree on the appropriate use of foliage.
Some can't handle the "foliage overload" while some appreciate the loose, earthy versatility that trees and loose branches offer a design.
Personally, we're foliage fans at MFI and we've used our fair share of fiddle leaf fig trees and branches.
And to be honest, it's a design element that we don't see going anywhere anytime soon.
With that being said, we are incredibly thankful that there are enough beautiful trees on this Earth to keep things interesting, and we see a new trend in foliage popping up in designs across the country that we feel is worth sharing:

Olive trees were considered holy in ancient Greece, olive branches are often used to depict peace, its fruit can be eaten (yum!) and used to make olive oil (double yum!), and its very hard wood is used to make furniture.
We know these multitasking trees are a common sight in Tuscan-inspired spaces, but we are here to declare that olive trees and branches work just as beautifully within other design styles.
Enjoy the beauty and get ready to put your local garden center on speed-dial:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Wall Gallery!

We've got 3 more days until Mother's Day and, we don't know about you, but we're always trying to come up with ingenious ways to celebrate the most precious women in our lives.
Here's a thoughtful suggestion:
Frame a collection of special items (this could include photos of trips you've taken together, childhood artwork or a special heirloom worth protecting) and help your mom create a gallery wall!

Not a designer?
Not a worry!
We teamed up with our friends at Modernize and came up with the 5 tips you need to nail it!
(pun intended)

5 Tips for Creating Perfect Gallery Walls
Whether you want to show off family portraits, original artwork, album covers, or pictures of your pooch, a gallery wall is a chic and appealing way to personalize your home. Even if you lack an experienced eye for design, a little bit of research and a solid plan will guarantee you the wall gallery of your dreams!
1. Choose Meaningful Pieces
Creating a gallery wall isn’t like hanging curtains. While other pieces in your home reflect your taste, a gallery wall has the unique ability to tell your story. You could simply hang any painting or photo that makes sense aesthetically, but digging a little deeper allows for a truly stunning display. Consider using a photo or drawing of your favorite travel locale, a screen-printed quote that lends encouragement on trying days, or a candid family photo that has a meaningful story.
2. Mix It Up
via Architectural Digest

Don’t feel limited to a specific color scheme, or even to a visual medium in general. For instance, if your focal piece is a sketch, you don’t need other sketches to make it feel at home. While complementary pieces offer a clean, straightforward look, a mixture of mediums and hues tends to be more dynamic.
3. Plan It Out
via HouseUpdated
While experienced designers may nail a gallery wall on the first try, you will likely need to map it out before you pick up your hammer. Sketch out a few different arrangements or, if you already have the pieces you want framed and ready, lay everything out on the floor. Measure the wall space and make sure that the lowest-hanging pieces will not end up crowded by furniture that stands below. To simplify the process, place your anchor pieces first and then arrange the other pieces around those.
4. Use Frames to Make a Statement
via Modernize
You may be tempted to focus all of your energy on selecting and arranging your meaningful pieces of art, but don’t forget to pay attention to your frames. Selecting the right frames for your space can ensure anintriguing wall arrangement. If you’re going for a fresh, clean look, choose smooth frames that blend in without attracting too much attention. If you are looking to have some fun, you can (and should) experiment with texture, size, and color. Try incorporating vintage filigree or distressed wooden frames, or you can go with no frame at all!
5. Be Open Minded
via DrivenByDecor
Create your gallery wall by your rules. If you want to throw in three-dimensional objects, go for it! You can create a tight theme or go with no theme at all. If you think you’re going to want to add to your gallery later, leave some open space for pieces that inspire you.
At the end of the day, a gallery wall should be very personal;
an elegant display of items that make you feel at home.

(Written by Hannah West)

For more design tips and trends, do yourself a favor and drop by Modernize.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Designs in Bloom: Enhance Your Space with Flowers

“I am in awe of flowers.
Not because of their colors,
but because even though they
have dirt in their roots, they still grow.
They still bloom.”
- D. Antoinette Foy
Skim through any luxury interior design magazine and you will get a glimpse
into some of the most impeccably-designed homes in our nation.
What you will also see are flowers.
Lots and lots of flowers.
You may not notice them at first and they may not play a statement role in the design,
but they are present and they are incredibly important.

In fact, on the morning of an install day, you are guaranteed to find a member of the MFI team at Central Market or Southern Floral Company hand selecting the perfect arrangements for our client's home.
Because flowers are incredibly powerful.
They have the ability to infuse color, warmth, and texture into any space, but, most importantly, they have the power to bring increased peace and happiness to anyone who sees them.
In fact, studies have proven that flowers can positively affect a person's mood and can increase creativity and productivity, and, let's be honest, who couldn't use more of that?

Fun Fact: Along with other interior design elements, floral arrangements go through "trends". This means that the arrangements you see in a home design feature from the 80's or 90's will often be quite different from what you see today, and we think that's just awesome!

Regardless of trends, whether you prefer your floral arrangements tall and dramatic or short and simple,
you can find something that works for you and your home.
And with Mother's Day a few short days away, this might be the perfect time to experiment with your botanical style!
Need help?
Here are a few MFI floral faves that we welcome you to share with any loved ones who may need inspiration:
Bold and beautiful!
Traditional beauties:
Pops of green and pink breathe life into this neutral space.
We love the use of branches -
They make a bold statement, they are easy to care for, and they last forever!
Don't be afraid to have a little fun - let your arrangement steal the show!

We love creatively repurposed vases!
If you ask us Southern gals, nothing beats the tried-and-true beauty of a hydrangea.
This leafy green arrangement beautifully connects the indoor space to the landscaped area outdoors.
Even amidst busy shelves full of books, this arrangement captivates!
This entire room seems to revolve around the delightful beauty of flowers.
These arrangements add color and interest.
The branches lend an almost architectural detail to this minimalist space.
Ahhhhh - happy is...starting your day with flowers.

Play with shades that will complement your space's color scheme.

Choose flowers that highlight a specific color in your design and keep changing it up!
Who needs art?
Combine your loves:
Mix earthy green branches with a more traditional arrangement of colorful flowers
and your space conquers all!
We love how these flowers quickly attract the eye
while paying homage to the room's purple velvet chair.

 "Just living is not enough.
One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
- Hans Christian Anderson

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Let's Take This Outside: Outdoor Spaces that Wow

(Kidding...sort of...)

We live in the South which means that much of our year is spent outdoors.
Yes, wine is usually included, but that's not all we do on our beloved porches and patios.
We read, visit with friends, celebrate milestones, and contemplate how to solve the world's greatest issues.

That's quite a lot to accomplish and in order to make it all happen, you need an outdoor space designed to impress.

Check out this design concept we've been working on for one of our Houston-area clients:

Rich with comfort and texture and interesting details, this space will be perfect for entertaining!
Obviously, different needs exist for different regions (how big are your mosquitoes because in Houston we've likely got you beat), but a few solid points remain the same:
1.The space doesn't have to be huge to be impressive.
2. You don't have to have a green thumb to make it beautiful - sure, trees and vines count as landscape!
3.  Outdoor fabrics have become insanely handsome so your indoor style can finally marry your outdoor style. Have fun being creative!
Here are a few outdoor spaces that make us want to immediately shut down our computers and head outside on this spring-tastic Houston day: