Thursday, December 14, 2006

Judy Sturm Redecorates A Loft

When last we wrote about Judy Sturm, she had just completed a year in a guest house while creating a little piece of Italy in a 1950s-era clapboard house in the heart of Portland Heights.

Today, Carolyn Donohoe Marieb has written about Judy Sturm, owner of Judy Sturm Design Studio, in the latest Homes & Gardens section of The Oregonian. Sturm has just moved into a chic one-bedroom loft in the heart of the Pearl District she has decorated.
When she started planning changes, she took into account what would work well for everyday living and entertaining. Judy's approach was to establish distinct areas, defined by carpets, which flow from one to the other. The result: Her L-shaped main room successfully plays the role of kitchen, dining room, living room, office and TV den.

Judy didn't stop there; she made numerous visually appealing, party-friendly alterations. For instance, in the Old World kitchen she designed -- she likens it to a kitchen in an upscale Italian apartment -- Judy removed a large, square island. In its place, she positioned a pair of Italian chests, forming a long, slim island that occupies little real estate yet serves as both an extra kitchen work surface and a dining buffet.
How to make a loft inviting

Judy Sturm offers some tips for creating a loft that works well for everyday living and entertaining:

Establish distinct areas within the open space. Because most lofts have few rooms, Sturm advocates creating areas defined by carpets or a screening element, such as floor-to-ceiling curtains (much like those installed in Pearl restaurant Bluehour). In her loft, Sturm has strategically placed area rugs and furniture groupings within the open, L-shaped space. This way, she says, "During a gathering, people can be together, yet doing different things -- like a good beach house."

Opt for fewer, larger furnishings. Resist the temptation to decorate with small furnishings. Slightly oversize furniture, and less of it, can make a smaller place appear more spacious.

Consider architectural embellishments to soften the hard edges. Sturm's goal was to moderate the industrial look of her loft. She added details you'd expect to find in a traditional house, such as tall baseboards, a concrete-and-plaster faux fireplace and a built-in bookshelf capped with substantial crown molding. Well-chosen elements, such as midnight-blue silk drapes and a romantic chandelier of rock crystal and beaded iron, complete the eclectic interior.

Make sure you have extra seating handy. Sturm has accomplished this with her whimsical grouping of suspended dining chairs, but you can simply use folding chairs that tuck away in a closet. One tip: Choose narrow chairs so you can fit more around the table. Sturm says it's perfectly fine, and sometimes adds to the fun, if guests have to crowd in, bumping elbows.

Have fun. Whether decorating for the holidays or the other days in the year, feel free to inject some humor. "You've got to take chances or it's boring," Sturm says.
Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery


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