interior designer

Learn to hand render like the pros! by Kevin Twitty

Have you ever seen a hand rendered design and thought, "WOW, how do they do that?" or, "I'll never be able to hand render like that." I am an interior designer and I also have those same thoughts. In college I had to learn the skills of hand rendering, however, with such a fast paced world, it was one of the skills I let slip. 

I recently reconnected with a friend from university, Shannin Williams, and she absolutely  amazed me. Shannin has fine tuned her hand rendering skills since our time as Lumberjacks at SFA in Nacogdoches, TX.  "My goal is to help you learn the basic techniques of hand rendering and sketching and apply those to your client presentation boards in a creative way so you can sell your design proposal." Shannin says. I love how she inspired me to get back to the basics by putting pen to paper and immerse myself into my designs on another level. Here are some of the tips she gave me for sharpening my hand rendering skills that will help you too.

Sannin Williams hand rendering interior design

Tip 1 - Use good quality paper.

Using good quality paper can change the way the final rendering can look. I’ve used several types of marker paper and I discovered the ones I like the most. If I want my hand rendering to have a softer look I use Bienfang Lightweight drawing paper. This paper allows the marker to bleed perfectly for me. If I want a sharper look with defined strokes and marks and no bleeding I use x-press it blending card. Others I use are Canson pro layout marker paper, and Borden& Riley #234 bleedproof paper. I suggest trying a variety of papers until you find the one you like and achieve the look your aiming for. See more of my favorite tools in the link here

Canson marker pro rendering

Tip 2- Use a straight edge when you hand render or draw. 

I always use a triangle that has an inking edge when I draft floor plans or hand render. The purpose is to keep your marker lines straight. I like seeing crisp, straight lines in my illustrations. A crooked line makes me nuts which is why I own several adjustable triangles in different sizes. My favorite is the Staedtler Mars 8” adjustable triangle. I even keep a smaller one in my purse when I travel along with a sketchbook, pen, and pencil. 

Sketches of architectural and design rendering tools

Tip 3 - Use good quality markers. 

I use Copic Sketch markers due to the 380 + colors they offer. I also like Copic Sketch markers because you can refill them and change the tips when they get bad. Buying a $6 marker seems outrageous but I look at it as an investment since I have the ability to refill them when needed. That beats buying a whole new marker like you would with other brands. If you want to start with a set of markers I recommend purchasing any of the Copic Sketch cool, toner, neutral, and warm gray markers first. You can achieve a lot of colors with a range of grays. And don’t be afraid to layer and mix your marker colors to create a new color. 

Markers and Ink rendering

 

Tip 4 - Define your own style of hand rendering. 

There are several architectural illustrators out there that have different hand rendering techniques. I have learned from them all and developed my own rendering style that portrays the look I want to achieve. My style includes a loose and quick mark that is not perfect allowing my final hand rendering to be natural and not forced. It took me months of practice to achieve the style I wanted and I recommend you doing the same. Your style of hand rendering needs to stand out amongst others to get gain attention. 

Hand rendered interior design. Tropical boho style design.
Hand rendered entry design by Shannin Williams
Hand rendering interior architecture and design

To see more of my work visit my website at www.shanninwilliams.com or follow me on instagram @shannin_williams. If you want to practice hand rendering jump on my website and sign up for my mailing list and download your free line drawing or you can see try out my hand rendering course here.

Shannin Williams Interior Designer

Incorporating old finds into your design by Kevin Twitty

Designing with vintage finds and antique heirlooms are a great way to add interest into your home. It is such a treat when you walk into someone's home and see a unique piece of furniture, one of a kind vintage art, or upcycled accessory.

One of my best friends and fellow designer, April Williams, is an expert in hunting down pre-loved finds and bringing new life to them, so I asked her to guest blog about the questions she asks herself before incorporating fabulous finds into her design. Here are the questions April asks when incorporating old finds into your design.

Does it bring you joy?

Do you feel happy or at least have fond memories when you look at or hold the piece?!  You should—if not, get rid of that thing.  There’s no reason to keep it otherwise.  If it’s been passed down in your family and you no longer, or maybe never did, enjoy this “thing” then offer it up to the rest of the family.  If there aren’t any takers, that lets you know it’s surely okay to let it go. 

This piece of gravel art was always hanging in my grandmother's house, made in the 60's by my great-grandmother. I loved it then and even more now. 

 

 

Does it add Character?

If you feel your space is a bit lackluster and boring, try adding a little character.  It’ll make your environment much more inviting and so stagnant, as if you’ve walked into one store and purchased everything at once.  This is a pet peeve of mine in regard to design; your home should not be a collection of items that personalize and enhance, not just fill, the voids. Incorporate you and your history into the design. 

Reupholstered tufted sofa before and after

My style is more eclectic than most, so it’s no surprise that I wanted a classic tufted velvet sofa.  I knew I wanted a camelback sofa, so I searched high and low, then found an old inverted camelback (even better!) for only $250! As you can see in the before picture, it needed some love, so I found upholstery services in the area that would allow me to customize it to my desire.   Better yet, a dear friend got me a sweet discount on some high durability faux velvet. I ordered the fabric and some new spindle legs, and watched my dream come to life. This show stopper added so much character to my home. 

Is it unique?

If it’s just a random, on-trend item, consider finding something more special that will stand the test of time—think classic.  Trends come and go and come again, so if you like the idea of what you’re considering purchasing, maybe look for a vintage or antique one instead.  The hunt is one of my favorite parts of finding special décor.  Take time to drop into a few estate sales or a trip to a flea market; you never know what you may find!  Even Etsy or Ebay will do, just look for something that strikes you—the item should evoke emotion.

Wall decor can be that unexpected touch in a room. I like using old frames in lieu of new.

Wall decor can be that unexpected touch in a room. I like using old frames in lieu of new.

Does it have a story? 

Maybe it’s an heirloom or something you bought at a garage sale, but you got to hear about its life before you owned it and the story intrigued you.  If so, it will likely be a great conversational item that company will enjoy learning about, too. 

3.jpg

I have wanted one of these tables for several years now, but was certainly not willing to pay the hefty price.  However, I stopped at an estate sale on my way out of town (like I had room to be hauling extra stuff around) a few weekends ago, and scored HUGE.  Do you hear me, huge?!  These bad boys are way out of my price range, but this particular day, I found one originally marked $300, it had been slashed to $150, but everything was an additional 50% off so I grabbed it and didn’t think twice about spending a mere $75 bucks when the one you see above would run you $2,800 on 1st Dibs. The lady that had owned it was a world traveler and brought it home from Pakistan. I loved the story behind this table, and, not to mention, it is unique, has character, and brings me joy!

Is it functional?

Always consider the functionality of the item.  Will it serve a purpose or will is simply be beautiful and fill an empty space?  Will it have an immediate home when you take it into your house?  Will you actually use and enjoy it?  These are few things to consider when debating adding to the place you love and spend your quality time.

Upcycled mason jars used as flower vases

And lastly, upcycling can be as simple as using an item differently than its original intended use, like the old Mason jar as a vase above. Not to mention, flowers always add a special touch to any room. 

April Wiliams, RID, NCIDQ

About the author: April is a Registered Interior Designer in the great State of Texas, mother to a volleyball loving, soccer playing, country dancing teenager, and she dabbles in wire wrapping jewelry in her spare time.  She’s got a thing for giving old stuff new life!  Follow her on IG at aprilchiree83 for more design, upcycling, and DIYs.

TREND ALERT: Is open shelving in a kitchen design in or out? by Kevin Twitty

Design is so fluid and everyone has an opinion about what is in and what is out, including myself. For me, I feel like it is very important to read design magazines and watch home design and renovations shows to keep up to date on what my clients are seeing because this is what they being told they need to do in their own homes. 

One of the trends I have been seeing a lot of lately on the renovation shows is doing open shelving for all of the uppers in a kitchen. Is this a good idea? 

Even though this is a cute curated open shelving kitchen, is it practical or just pretty?

Even though this is a cute curated open shelving kitchen, is it practical or just pretty?

My opinion is NO, DON'T DO IT! I honestly feel like this is the worst recent trend, and I would advise my client's against it. 

I feel like the open concept shelving with the perfectly aligned cups and bowls next to fresh potted greenery on top of a curated stack of cookbooks looks fabulous on TV and magazine photos, but it is not practical nor is it realistic for everyday use. I don't know about you, but I value every square inch of my cabinet space and am very glad I can hide as much away as I can.  Another thing to remember with open shelving...more dusting (my least favorite thing to do) and they tend to get cluttered looking very quickly. 

Cluttered open concept kitchen.

Cluttered open concept kitchen.

Can you imagine dusting all of this?

Can you imagine dusting all of this?

Charming or chaotic?

Charming or chaotic?

So why are so many design and remodel shows pushing this trend? Easy, it's cheaper than traditional closed cabinetry and when you are in the business of buying fixer uppers for cheap, remodeling, and selling for a profit, it is simple to see why flippers are doing this to save costs. 

I will say I am not 100% against any open shelves in the cooking area. I think open shelving can be done properly in small doses to create a nice design aesthetic. Here are some great examples of how they have been used in a tasteful way that makes sense. 

The open shelving around the kitchen sink works great in this design. Because the sink is in the corner of the kitchen, the open shelves allow for a less boxed in feel.

The open shelving around the kitchen sink works great in this design. Because the sink is in the corner of the kitchen, the open shelves allow for a less boxed in feel.

This design has used open shelving at the end of the kitchen to leave the space feeling open without sacrificing a lot cabinet space. I like the blend of closed and open shelving here.

This design has used open shelving at the end of the kitchen to leave the space feeling open without sacrificing a lot cabinet space. I like the blend of closed and open shelving here.

The coffee bar/butler's pantry is a prefect place to have open shelving. It is one area that makes absolute sense for this type of design impact.

The coffee bar/butler's pantry is a prefect place to have open shelving. It is one area that makes absolute sense for this type of design impact.

Remember, this is just my personal opinion. If you are gung-ho about putting up a wall of open shelving around your kitchen, by all means, go for it, because the most important thing to remember when designing is you have to be comfortable and happy in your home. 

The ultimate open kitchen! :-)

The ultimate open kitchen! :-)

Walkthrough of a Glamorous Mid Century High-rise by Kevin Twitty

There is a real resurgence of downtown living. People are wanting the ease of walking out of their front door and having everything at their fingertips, which is one of the reason why we moved to Portland, Oregon. To celebrate this shift in lifestyle preferences, I wanted to revisit a project of mine from a few years back.

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Potty Mouth by Kevin Twitty

As I was enjoying coffee with a client of mine, we both started laughing about the realization that we talk about toilets entirely too much! Since branching out on my own, the number of remodels and new builds  I have been working on has skyrocketed and with that comes a lot of decisions on the perfect throne for their bathrooms. 

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