Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

On March 2, millions of viewers will tune in to the 86th Academy Awards ceremony, some hoping to see their favorite actor or actress win an award, others mainly interested in the gorgeous ball gowns and handsome tuxes. Unfortunately, however, viewers miss the most captivating part of the night – the Governors Ball. While beautiful people, designer dresses and stunning jewelry make up most of the eye-candy during the awards ceremony, it’s the custom-designed light fixtures that steal the show at the Oscars after party.

Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

You’ve been to parties, and maybe even a fancy gala or two, but nothing quite compares to the Governors Ball. Only 1,500 people are invited, many of them the Oscar winners, nominees and show presenters. As you’ve probably already guessed (just from the guest list alone), the Governors Ball is no ordinary after party and a couple of hanging lights would never do it justice.

Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

The Governors Ball is an event for the best of the best, and the party’s decor, therefore, has to rise to the occasion. For the past 24 years, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto has been in charge of decorating the Governors Ball and along with her Sequoia Productions team has been breaking new ground in lighting and design.

Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

Photo credit: Daily Life

Just to give you an example of her incredible work, at last year’s 2013 Governors Ball, Cecchetto had a 120-foot chandelier custom-made specifically for the big night. It was an elliptical, six-tiered chandelier with 18,000 LED points of light that changed colors throughout the evening – talk about extreme mood lighting. The chandelier was so big that it actually broke the Guinness Book of World Records for largest chandelier and covered 25 percent of the ballroom!

Mood lighting at its finest: Inside the Governors Ball and its impressive lighting display

Nadine Froger Photography

That was last year and we can’t wait to see what Cecchetto and her team does next! The transcendent wonder of nature will be this year’s theme, and it has been said that the ball will feature lush vertical gardens where the guests can mingle under the stars.

By Wendy Weinert

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?


Biomimicry. The concept has been sort of a hot topic for designers in recent years, but rarely is it discussed or even heard of by consumers. So let’s change that. Biomimicry might be a discipline used in design but it affects consumers too and can dramatically change our future.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Bellacor Number: 844244

First of all, what is biomimicry? In basic terms, it is a discipline that focuses on bringing nature inside and using nature as a way of solving human design challenges. You may have noticed the recent trend of nature-inspired products. For example, a chandelier made out of wood or a jute rug created from plant fibers. Well you see, biomimicry relies on the assumption that in the past, nature has already found solutions to many of the problems we as humans are trying to solve. All you have to do is study nature to find the answers.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?


Biomimicry is not simply looking at nature and being inspired for a new fabric print, light fixture or table design. It’s much, much more than that. In biomimicry, nature is used not only as inspiration for a product’s aesthetic form, but for its construction, development and process as well.

This might all sound very scientific and a bit confusing, but it’s simpler than you think. In fact, you have actually used products designed following biomimicry without even knowing it. Velcro, for example, is a product of biomimicry. George de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro, came up with the idea after observing the burrs stuck on his dog’s fur and his own clothing. By studying and copying nature, Mestral was able to develop a successful product that is still used today.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?


Now that you better understand what biomimicry is and how it’s used in design, why should you care? Well, because finding answers by looking to nature can help designers develop more intelligent and sustainable products, meaning consumers too can benefit from biomimicry. You might even be benefiting from biomimicry right now in your own home! By observing and mimicking the internal structure of a firefly’s lit-up abdomen, researchers have been able to create more efficient LED light bulbs, therefore lowering the cost for consumers who use them.

A sustainable environment is better for everyone, so keep your eyes out for products that were inspired by nature and help biomimicry take on today’s environmental challenges.

By Wendy Weinert

Smart Furnishing Tips for Small Spaces

Getting the most use out of your small living space can be a daunting task. Smart styling requires finding versatile pieces and using them cleverly. Below are a few furnishing tips that will take your space from cramped to comfortable!

Tip 1: Buy transformational pieces. Maximizing your furniture’s functionality is key when working with limited space. Purchase pieces that can be used every day and adjusted appropriately for entertaining or events. For example, an adjustable bar table is the perfect size and height for everyday use as a kitchen or dining table. When entertaining, hydraulically lift the table to a perfect standing or barstool height.


Photo credit: Lumisource

Bonus Tip: If you chose to pair your adjustable table with multiple sets of seating, opt for options that easily stow away. The Fuji Stacker series, for instance, is available in multiple heights and stacks for easy and compact storage.

300D_chair_Fuji Super Single_Lifestyle_6.5x10_COPYRIGHT

Photo Credit: Lumisource

Tip 2: Employ double duty furniture. Chances are that a living space with limited room is also short on storage. Purchase pieces of furniture with built-in storage solutions. Try something like this Linx Coffee Table, which houses a lower shelf perfect for storing knick-knacks below a fully functional tabletop.

300D_table_Linx 2

Photo Source: Lumisource

Tip 3: Use mirrors and reflective surfaces. Create an optical illusion of depth by hanging a mirror in a cramped space. Reflective surfaces open up spaces, expanding a sense of size with extended views and light. Try an artful approach, like the Helio Mirror, to eliminate the need for additional artwork.


Photo Credit: Lumisource

by Wendy Weinert

5 common interior design mistakes to avoid so you can look like a decorating pro


Modern dining room

You may not be an interior designer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t style you home like a pro! Even rookie decorators can fool guests into thinking that they’re experts. Whether you’re remodeling an entire room or simply updating its look, avoid these five common interior design mistakes:

Traditional living room

1.  Lack of variety

Catalogs are to be used for inspiration, but some homeowners like to think of them as a step-by-step guide book for decorating. Even if you have a favorite furniture store, don’t be afraid to search elsewhere. Mixing and matching furniture from different places will help give your home personality.

Sofa in living room

2. No focal point

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt that something was missing? More than likely, the room just needed a focal point. Focal points give your space a sense of purpose and order. Depending on your space, a focal point could be an architectural feature, or it could be a statement piece of furniture you’ve selected.

brown sofas in living room

3. Bad furniture setup

Areas like the living room are meant to encourage conversation and flow. If all of your furniture is pushed up against the wall, your space tends to come off as less inviting. Group furniture like sofas and chairs together in order to create a more intimate setting and make sure to leave room for movement.

4. Poor lighting

No matter how good you are at picking out furniture, it is crucial for a room to have good lighting as well. Don’t just install one overhead light fixture and call it good. Use multiple light sources in every room to create a well-lit space that is never too bright or too jarring.

5. Overcrowded space

It’s hard to let go of a piece of furniture that you love, but sometimes you simply don’t have the room! Trying to squeeze too much furniture in a small space will give your room a cluttered look. Although removing a chair or table might be difficult, you’ll be happy once the room feels less crowded.

By avoiding these five mistakes, you can improve the look and style of your space. Soon enough, friends and family might even start coming to you for decorating advice!

By Wendy Weinert

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Have you considered why you choose one color or style over another? Well, your personality might be to blame. As humans, we do it all the time – we make design choices that reflect our personality traits without even realizing it. And, hey, that’s OK. After all, we’re always looking for ways to express ourselves and not all of us can paint or write poems. So why not use your personality to your advantage? Even a smaller decision like a bathroom sink or faucet finish can be narrowed down by considering your character traits.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Bellacor Number: 354899

Bold: polished brass finish, copper

You’re not afraid to stand out and be heard, so why not show off your daring side with a sink to match? A polished brass faucet or a copper sink both create a striking look that will make your sink instantly stand out and become the main attraction of any room.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality


Easy going and low-maintenance: polished silver, white porcelain

When styling your home, you just want to find something that works and looks good without spending hours looking through different options. Polished silver and white porcelain are popular choices for low-maintenance home owners because they are durable, easy to clean and easy to match.

Choose a bathroom sink and faucet finish to match your personality

Bellacor Number: 630155

Very organized and dependable: vitreous china, black matte finish

To-do lists keep you sane and a clean room makes you feel calm. Your friends and family members might tease you for always being organized, but they’re secretly jealous that your home always looks so put-together. If you’re a bit of a clean-freak, then vitreous china sinks and black matte faucets make an excellent choice because they are easy to clean and do not show water spots or fingerprints.

Quiet and sometimes shy: brushed nickel finish

If you rarely make yourself the center of attention and would rather not fill your home with “statement pieces,” then you might consider using a brushed nickel faucet finish. These faucets will blend together well with your existing décor.

Choose a faucet or sink material that matches your personality or mix it up and surprise people. You might be quiet at large parties, but that doesn’t have to stop you from making bold design choices!

By Wendy Weinert

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

You may have decorated your space with stylish furniture and stunning artwork, but a bad lighting plan can make your beautiful home feel unwelcoming or harsh. Lighting should be stylish, functional, flattering and convenient all at the same time – and just relying on a ceiling light/fan combo isn’t going to cut it.

Illuminate your home and achieve the look you want with these five expert lighting tips.

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

1. Don’t rely on just one light source: All rooms can benefit from multiple light sources. Use a combination of direct and indirect lighting to create a well-lit room without it feeling too harsh. And of course, don’t forget about the lamps! They are excellent solutions when you need task lighting and can be used in tight spaces. There are even cordless options available now that let you light up an area without outlets.

Feiss Stelle Oil Rubbed Bronze Two-Light Semi-Flush

Bellacor Number: 546327

2. Choose the right overhead light for your space: Different overhead lights work better in some rooms than others. For example, flush-mount fixtures are best in kitchens and bathrooms because they emit a bright light to illuminate the whole room. Pendant fixtures are best in rooms with ceilings nine feet or higher, while recessed lights can be used in rooms with low ceilings.

5 expert lighting tips to enhance and complete the look of your home

3. Consider size and placement: This is especially important when dealing with pendant lights. Chandeliers or any pendant light should be hung up 36 to 48 inches above tables and, if used in the dining room, be sure the fixture is 1/2 to 3/4 the width of the table.

4. Install dimmers: We’ve mentioned this before and we’ll say it again: dimmers are a great addition to anyone’s home because they allow you to change a room’s atmosphere at an instant. If you’re throwing a party, you don’t have to install new fixtures or change up your lighting plan. Just lower the dimmer switch to create mood lighting instead!

light bulb infographic


5. Use energy-efficient bulbs: Energy-efficient light bulbs are not only better for the environment, but they actually save you money in the long run. While the purchase price of these bulbs is typically more expensive, they last a lot longer so you won’t have to buy replacements as often.

Don’t let your home suffer from bad lighting. Follow these lighting tips and enhance your home’s beautiful interior design.

By Wendy Weinert

Advice from a Designer: How to Solve Accent Lighting Dilemmas

As an interior design consultant, I am frequently challenged with space planning the ‘occasionally awkward room’. Let’s face it -if it was easy, I’d be out of a job!

Placement of windows, flooring, stairs, hallways, doorways, and, something as simple as an electrical outlet, can dictate how a room is laid out. Home dwellers want and need lighting options other than fixed overhead lighting. Accent lighting helps to set different moods in a room. This is achieved by using table lamps and floor lamps, often described as the jewelry of a room.

We all know that the magazines retouch the plugs and cords out of photos anyway, much like they retouch the appearance of supermodels. Something as simple as a misplaced $1.99 outlet can take the design of your dream room to a cramped menagerie of furniture pushed against a wall. The result leaves you wondering why your room doesn’t look like it came out of a style magazine! This lighting problem scenario can leave everyone, including the designer, frustrated with the outcome.

ModernLamp Cordless lamp

ModernLamp Cordless lamp

Challenged with this same lighting dilemma of unsightly cords and restrictive plugs, I proposed the idea of battery operated lighting to my husband. He also happens to be a home furnishings product designer. After two adventurous years in the making, we have a solution for this lighting problem. We have created a patent pending design for rechargeable table lamps that look like traditional lamps except these lamps are truly portable! No more flowers and large plants to fill the void where a table lamp should reside, these lamps can be placed anywhere. No more dangerous cords running under rugs (can you imagine cutting through a 2 thousand dollar woven rug?!), or wrapping/hiding cords around table legs. Rechargeable, cordless lighting is finally here to provide simple solutions to lighting dilemmas in homes everywhere.

About Carrie Fitzwater:
Carrie is an interior design consultant and cofounder/co-owner of Modern Lantern, Cordless Lighting Solutions. When she isn’t solving problems through design and messing up Quickbooks, she loves to spoil her two lil dogs while trying not to over spoil her husband and two grown children/men.

Want to follow Carrie and Modern Lantern on social? You can find them here:
Twitter: @ModernLantern

Yes – you can decorate with pink even if you’re an adult

amanti art

Pink is a great color to use in home decor because it can help create a calm and soothing environment. So why is it that we rarely see people decorate their home with pink? Sure, a person might use a nice flower arrangement, but rarely do you see pink furniture or décor unless it is in the bedroom. The color has gotten a bad rap in interior design and is often thought as being too girly or immature. But you can prove everyone wrong and show just how stylish pink can be with these various items.

The Pillow Collection Rennice Ikat Dots Pillow Fuchsia

Bellacor Number: 837424

Throw pillows

If you’re still a little hesitant to incorporate pink into your home’s interior design, start off small with pink throw pillows in the living room. Even this small change can make a huge impact to the room’s overall look.

Lush Decor Ruffle Pink Shower Curtain

Bellacor Number: 840225

Curtains or rugs

When paired with a neutral wall color, a pink curtain, rug, or combination of both, can have a dramatic effect. The stark, contrasting colors will give your space a sharp appearance that in no way resembles a five-year-old girl’s room.

pink accent chair

Accent chairs

Pink accent chairs are a great way to add a pop of color in a room that needs an extra touch of pizazz. If you have a kitchen counter or a home bar, you might also consider using pink bar stools, which is a way more fun alternative than the typical brown counter stools.

York Wallcoverings Girl Power White Background and Purple and Green 2 Paris Wallpaper

Bellacor Number: 828977

Wallpaper and paint

Even your walls can be pink! It’s important not to overdo it, however, because even if you love pink, you’ll cringe walking into an all-bright pink room. Try painting or using wallpaper on only one wall. You can also paint just the ceiling and leave the walls white.

Uttermost Pink Flamingo Pink Framed Art

Bellacor Number: 1208202


Got a bare wall that could use a little love? Hang up a picture or piece of art that you really like and has pink as the dominating color. Adding pink with artwork is also a great idea if you like to change up your interior design often and don’t want to be stuck always trying to match pink furniture.

If you love pink, then let it show! Decorating with pink will give your space a unique appeal that others will soon want in their own home.

By Wendy Weinert

Six heart-themed decor you can use all year round

Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to get inspired by love and fill your home with heart-shaped décor. But you shouldn’t have to put these items away in boxes once the season is over! The perfect heart-themed décor in your home can be displayed all year long! Here are sixideas to get you started.


Acorn Manufacturing Smooth Iron Black Hand Forged Split Heart Hook

Bellacor Number: 146641

1. Split heart hook: Sure, a heart-shaped balloon is nice for a couple of days, but then it deflates and is usually just thrown away. This heart-shaped hook is a great way to stay organized, while adding a little love in your home all year round.

Cheung's Metal Heart Shaped Hanging - Welcome

Bellacor Number: 881133

2. Heart-shaped “Welcome” sign: Welcome all to your home who walk through your front door! This heart-shaped sign will help you create a welcoming environment no matter what season it is.

Kalalou Iron Wire Twenty-Four Heart Photo/Card Holder

Bellacor Number: 712550

3. Heart photo/card holder: Forget about the typical picture frames. This photo/card holder provides a more unique way for you to display memorable pictures or cards from loved ones. Just be sure to leave some of the squares open so guests can see the cute heart design!

Yosemite Home Decor The Healing Heart II 24 x 24 Acrylic Painting Reproduction

Bellacor Number: 674460

4. Healing heart painting: While most Valentine’s Day décor is made to be bright red or pink, this gorgeous piece of artwork is painted in metallic tones for a more natural look. Hang it up in the bedroom or even your living room. The neutral colors will fit in well with your existing décor and with any season.

Santangelo Lighting & Design Hand-Painted Bronze Heart Chandelier

Bellacor Number: 469867

5. Heart chandelier: It’s the little details that make one light fixture stand out from another. This bronze chandelier features an elegant heart design that will add a touch of romance to your space. Hang this chandelier up in the dining room for a more intimate atmosphere.

Cheung's Share My Life and Hearts, Wall Decor

Bellacor Number: 881165

6. Share my heart wall décor: Everyone gets chocolate and flowers for Valentine’s Day. Do something different this year and let the beautiful message featured on this hanging wall décor express your feelings instead.


Heart designs shouldn’t be limited to just Valentine’s Day. Add a little love in your home with heart-themed décor that looks great all year long.

By Wendy Weinert

Outdoor showers – are they right for you?

Outdoor showers are becoming more and more popular these days, and when the temperature is nice it’s not uncommon for people to bathe in their backyard rather than their bathroom. Outdoor showers are a great way to take your daily routine to the next level and turn it into an exciting and pleasant experience. Even with a busy schedule, an outdoor shower allows you a little time each day to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful blue sky.


Photo Credit: Home Bunch

If you give the idea a chance, you might just realize that an outdoor shower is right for you.

Outdoor showers aren’t just a luxurious addition to one’s home. They are practical too! If you have a pool, live by a beach or spend a lot of time gardening, an outdoor shower allows you to clean up before entering your home. Just do a quick rinse to get the sand, dirt or chlorine off and you’ll prevent tracking in dirt or carrying unpleasant smells with you indoors.

Living room by the beach

Photo Credit:

Once you’ve made the decision to install an outdoor shower, carefully consider its location for an optimal experience. Even if you’re the perfect candidate for an outdoor shower, the wrong location can quickly make you regret the decision. Keep the shower away from shaded areas and make sure it gets direct sunlight. Not only will the sun enhance your shower experience but it will also help prevent scum from forming by keeping the walls and floor drier.

Enclosed outdoor shower

Photo Credit: Remodelista

Privacy is obviously another factor you will want to consider. Depending on your setup and how you plan to use the shower, you might add an enclosure. If there are windows that allow people to look straight down onto the shower, a louvered roof will keep people from being able to see into the shower, without blocking out the sunlight.

Ready to change up your daily routine? Consider moving your shower outside and enjoy an exciting new experience!

By Wendy Weinert