What about Art?

As a designer, one of the enjoyable parts of my work is encouraging clients to include a budget for art in their renovations. Sometimes, we may forget or even take for granted the amount of art that surrounds us every day; art in the public sphere such as museums, corporate board rooms or sculptures in a park. It may also be in our private spaces as photographs, children’s drawings attached to the refrigerator or an antique quilt you bought at a flea market.

Art is a very powerful entity. It has influenced the design of the cars we drive, our cell phones and the plates from which we ate breakfast this morning. Art is in everything we see even though we might not think about it right away. It too is a part of our collective culture and a key element in finishing our homes and offices with pieces that articulates to us on a variety of levels. I’m not speaking of obligatory art…that which is placed on a wall to take up space or impress a visitor. I mean the rhythm and harmony of the way furniture is placed in a room and how collectables and artifacts are displayed in that space. Art belongs in our homes and where we work because it’s beautiful. There are no alternative reasons for having art other than for its beauty and the way it makes us feel. However, it isn’t a bad thing if it fits well in a room, enhances the mood and the overall symmetry too.

So speaking of taking your breath away, I want to share someone amazing with you today. Not only is she among the most talented artists I personally know, she is a wonderful human being that lights up a room when she enters.

Shula Singer Arbel is a Los Angeles artist working in acrylic and mixed media. Her work is an exuberant fusion of abstract and representational images; a flattening of form mixed with painterly surfaces. Using bold colors and patterns, she is constantly exploring new territory in her work, evoking the imagination and creating multiple meanings for the viewer. Using a variety of techniques and materials, she creates rich, multi-layered images that evoke landscapes and cityscapes. She has been studying and making art throughout her life, winning accolades and awards along the way.

You_&_Me_(warm)_30x24___2013 Jardin_de_Joi_#9___2013Atitlan__2013__40x30New_Dawn_in_the_City_of_Angels__40x30__2014

1. You & Me (warm), 30″x24″ acrylic on canvas
2. Jardin de Joi #9, 24″x18″ acrylic on canvas
3. New Dawn in the City of Angles, 40″x30″ acrylic on canvas
4. Atitlan, 40″x30″ acrylic on canvas
5. City of Angels #2, 48″x36″ acrylic on canvas
6. Jardin de Joi #5, 24″x36 acrylic on canvas

We have several of Shula’s pieces in our personal collection as do a few of my clients. Her work is an inspiring addition to any space and she is available for commissioned pieces for your home or place of work. For additional information about Shula or to see more of her artwork, visit her at: www.shulasingerarbel.com. She is available by appointment and may be contacted in her studio.


Welcome to what I hope is the new and improved website for Elle Ryan Design.  I wish I could keep up with photos of my great clients and their beautiful homes, gardens and offices but a girl has to do her day job too, right?  The plan is to blog more regularly about all things design related…that could include current or past projects, new trends on the marketplace, hot products or just random things of beauty!


I want to start with lighting….and more specifically…what are we going to do now that incandescent bulbs are going the way of the past?  If you haven’t heard, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.  Back in 2007, the federal government (in its spare time) deemed the generic light bulb with its yellowed, warm glow to be the enemy of energy conservation.  As lighting industry standards were rewritten, the first phase began in 2012 as we said good-bye to 100-watt bulbs.  Last year, 75-watt bulbs and as of the first of this new year, the 40 and 60-watt are now a thing of the past as well.  Gone means no longer manufactured in the United States.  They can still be bought in stores as long as they can be found but the shelves have filled up quickly with more energy saving options that will replace them.

So…what are these options and how can we tell what will work best in our environments?  I will spend the next few blog posts talking about the options and how you can still have the kind of lighting you desire with less heat and ultimately more savings in your pocket.

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Honestly, technology is an amazing thing and with lighting sources, it is no exception.  Only a few years ago, the price for alternative lamping was pretty steep but prices have fallen quite well for CFLs, LEDs and halogen sources.  Even the incandescent bulbs that are around are more efficient and not quite as warm in a space.  The good news is that our own homes and offices will benefit from this technology in more ways that one! Next…we’ll discuss the difference between the three main other options discussed above.  In the mean time, if you aren’t in the room, turn off the light!