This monthly feature focuses on local interior designers and their ideas for choosing color schemes, furniture, art and an overall design style or scheme. Today we focus on Anne Fortini, who has specialized in residential, commercial and model home design for 40 years. She owns Fortini Home, a San Luis Obispo home furnishing showroom and design studio, with her son and daughter-in-law.
Interior designer Anne Fortini has worked on her share of quaint cottages and Tuscan estates. But with today’s open floor plans and the integration of technology into everyday life, modern homes are gaining ground.
“Not hard-core modern, but I am seeing a warm touch to modern, such as clean lines mixed with textures, and much more eclectic versions of modern,” she said.
New interpretations make this made-for-magazine style significantly more attainable, affordable and practical for everyday living.
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Because modern design emphasizes minimalism, the backdrop for furniture and accessories becomes as important as the décor itself. While not everybody is up for a major remodel, there are moderate overhauls that go a long way.
If you are able to invest in new flooring, a modern take on tile is to use 18-by-18 inch or even 24-by-24 inch tiles, which are less “busy” than smaller tiles and can make a small room seem larger. Running tile or wood flooring on the diagonal also offers a modern twist.
A key component of modern design is shine, as in glass, metal and other reflective surfaces. One of Fortini’s quick tricks is to paint the ceiling with a gloss or semi-gloss paint, but leave the wall paint flat. You can also change cabinet hardware to simple chrome or brushed nickel versions. Change out traditional lighting fixtures for can or pin lights with chrome reflectors. A mirror, hung in a new or repurposed metal frame, is another way to amp up shine.
Clutter spoils the modern aesthetic, especially an excess of accessories. Keep décor spare and carefully consider each item in your space. That means that even utilitarian items such as lamps, storage bins and bath towels should mesh with your design scheme and be pleasing to the eye.
Fortini has three primary rules for creating a modern composition: symmetry, scale, and repetition. Scale refers to using a few large-scale pieces rather than clusters of small items. Repetition of a motif pulls together the overall look and reinforces a mood. The repetition of curves, for instance, is embracing and soothing. Repeated diagonal lines or stripes, on the other hand, suggest movement and are more energetic.
These principles also translate to outdoor spaces. Two large, symmetrical pots flanking the front door would be modern, whereas a more random composition of smaller pots would not.
The “less is more” principle is budget-friendly in itself, but Fortini finds other ways to save on modern accessories. She has outfitted art niches in high-end custom homes with items from T.J. Maxx and World Market. She has framed pieces of beautiful fabric or wallpaper and hung them as art.
Furniture is generally clean-lined and simple. For instance, a typical modern sofa has wide arms, thick cushions, no welt detailing and fairly deep cushions. Fortini advises to leave a little space around furniture and to avoid overcrowding a room.
Colors tend to be neutral, like white, taupe, gray, beige or cream, combined with bold accents. Trendy accent colors include turquoise, lime green and orange. Patterns are kept to a minimum, except for simple or geometric patterns such as stripes.
“Stripes on fabrics become more modern and appear restful when they are turned horizontal instead of vertical,” Fortini advised.
To add warmth and a friendly touch to the minimalist look, Fortini brings in texture through wood and tactile fabrics like chenille, velvet and mohair. Over a tile or concrete floor, she’ll place a sisal rug. Or she will take a piece of broadloom shag carpet cut to the desired size and shape, and have the edges finished to create an inexpensive area rug. She encourages clients to have fun and express themselves with interesting shapes such as circles or other geometrics, or vibrant accent colors. That’s the beauty of modern design, she noted: once the clutter is cleared, it allows space for your creativity and personality to shine through.
Reach Rebecca Juretic at firstname.lastname@example.org