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DIGEST DESIGN XI: What I Learned From Frida Ramstedt

December 3, 2020

I was recently introduced to Frida Ramstedt on Schneider Electric’s “Home of the Future” podcast. 


With no photos and lots of equations like the 60/30/10 +S color formula, the 5-7 rule for lighting, and the 2:8 storage principle, it’s a wonder I ever bought the book. So glad I did.

(Photo by: trendenser.se)

“Furnish for how you would like to live, not for what you want people to think,” says Ramstedt in The Interior Design Handbook. With wonderful tips on creating an harmonious home, this Swedish styling guru believes in thinking about how we decorate, rather than focusing on what we decorate with.


General rules of thumb include the golden ratio and the golden spiral, the proper size for a coffee table in relation to your sofa, the optimal height to hang lighting fixtures, proper dimensions for adequate bathroom swing, and much more.

(Photo by: trendenser.se)

Here are some of my favorites: 


The red thread concept comes from Greek mythology when Theseus found his way out of Minotaur’s labyrinth by following the red thread given to him by Ariadne. Don’t ‘lose the thread.’ Look for anything that ties a room together. Create a subtle thematic bridge with color, materials, or details. 


Use the golden ratio to divide your spaces into thirds both horizontally and vertically rather than halves to create balance and harmony. Furniture designs like Arne Jabobsen’s Egg Chair and the nautilus shell are examples of golden ratio and golden spiral proportions.


Three-point thinking is a way of positioning objects so that their outlines form a triangle. 


Paint that is gloss is more forgiving, semi-gloss, or matte is easier to keep clean. Ramstedt explains what works best in different scenarios. 


When designing a room for children, get down on your knees to work from a child’s perspective. And remember to make room for adults. You don’t want to read to them in a cramped space.


Camouflage the black hole of the TV by painting the wall a darker color.


Coffee tables should not be more than two-thirds of the total length of the sofa.

(Photo by: trendenser.se)

Make sure your hall closet has the right dimensions to accommodate thick outerwear. 


Sculptural lamps with naked incandescent lights work best as decorative lights or dim cozy lighting - not for everyday lighting above a dining area. What’s needed is a suspended light over the table so you can see properly without being dazzled or disturbed by shadows. 

Remember that the best lighting is not primarily created to be in the center and be visible, but for other things around it to be seen better.

(Photo by: trendenser.se)

Compare interior design to clothes and fashion. If you're buying new shoes or underwear, you know your size. Become acquainted with the dimensions and distances that are compatible with our bodies. That’s especially true for sofas where your back should rest against the sofa and your feet reach the floor.


Mea culpa on that one. 

(Photo by: amazon.com)

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Ode to Surf Ponchos and Magical Thinking

November 12, 2020

It's been a tough year. On the positive side, here's what I've learned and the permanent changes I've made:

1. Pay attention to how I truly feel.

About people, about how I spend my time and money, and about what I eat and drink. Shouldn't take a pandemic and mandated social distancing, but it helps. Clarity is the gift of isolation. I vow to be more discerning in my associations and stay true to my best nature.

2. Tap into my creativity more.

Art. Make it. Experience it. Started painting again, and recently bought Donald Robertson's Magical Thinking, aptly named to inspire. And it does.

(Photo by: drawbertson.com)

3.  Support local businesses more

New all-time favorite room fragrance recently discovered at Le Labo: Calone 17. First I got the candle but now using the room spray.

(Photo by: lelabofragrances.com)

Must-have luxury is fresh flowers and Ultra Violet always makes me want to plan a wedding. 

(Photo by: ultravioletflowersdc.com)

All my favorite Georgetown restaurants offer take-out and/or delivery. 

4. Remain grateful for, well, just about everything. 

Fortunate to have an indoor pool and fitness center in my condominium so I'm working out and swimming daily.

(Photo by: Cathedral West Condominiums)

Minimalist me doesn't like to to take a tote and a towel to the pool so I happily discovered Surf Ponchos! Who knew?! Terry, hooded with pockets for keys, cap and phone. In the gym, ditto. Found sweat towels with zippered pockets! To complete my new shelter-in-place wardrobe, cute pool slides. 

(Photo by: versace.com)

Added protein collagen peptides to my smoothies, and almost totally eliminated meat from my diet.

For obvious reasons, reducing alcohol consumption I'm saving for 2021!

(Photo by: ruinart.com)

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The Art of Tom Meyer Now at Addison/Ripley

November 4, 2020

Visit Addison/Ripley Fine Art through December 5, 2020 to experience Tom Myer’s “Seeing in the Dark” exhibition.

(Photo by: Tom Meyer)

Unofficial exhibition curator and friend, Chris Murray wrote about Meyer’s work: “Tom Meyer has been referred to as an ‘outsider’ artist.  He is indeed a self-taught painter. Working primarily with acrylic on canvas or board, Meyer’s paintings originate from impulses within his soul.  The cast of characters that inhabit his paintings give an account of his inner life and his imagination. They tell a story with his themes, “of redemption, forgiveness, acceptance, rejection and love,” as he has described it.

(Photo by: Tom Meyer)

Outsider artists offer a pure glimpse of unedited inspiration. Meyer is no exception. His work is equal parts benign and disturbing. Ghosts, devils, aliens and demons flirt with everyday objects, animated trees and animals fierce and household. The houses are domestic and slightly ominous. The larger paintings suggest complex narratives while the smaller ones are portraits or, in some cases, a catalogue of Jungian seeming symbols. 

(Photo by: Tom Meyer)

“I don’t paint things, I paint ideas,” says Meyer. His work is informed and inspired by a variety of ideas, from current events to ancient philosophy, part of a creative tradition with roots that include early American folk art. 

(Photo by: Tom Meyer)

Meyer has created a personal universe with his paintings, as many outsider artists have done. This exhibition is a dazzling display of that universe.

(Photo by: Tom Meyer)

Special thanks to Chris Murray of Govinda Gallery for the introduction to Tom Meyer and for his invaluable curatorial expertise.


Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 1:00 am - 5:00 pm, by appointment.


Addison/Ripley Fine Art is located at 1670 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Tel: 202.338.5180

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