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Jason Ball Interiors


Glass as a Design Element

As interior designers, the JBi team is constantly looking for ways to push our own boundaries and bring fresh ideas to the table with our clients. I was recently asked by a client what I thought of doing a stair railing out of glass. It wasn't that I hadn't seen it done before or was opposed to the idea, I just didn't think she would like it. This simple conversation reminded me on the importance of looking out for ways to use standard materials in new and different ways from what we expect. Glass is one of those materials we use in a multitude of ways on a regular basis - shower enclosures, windows and doors, glass tile. But what does it look like when we use this material in an application beyond the unexpected? Well, that's what this post is all about. I went searching for examples of glass used in expected and unexpected ways. The comparison shows how we can take the use of this material and elevate it beyond the norm.

Shower Enclosures. We all know the frameless shower enclosure. Beautifully radiant 3/8" glass with polished edges paired with simply elegant hardware creates a stunning shower stall. But what if we took the use of glass to the edge and created the entire bathroom inside a glass room? This use allows us to "carve" out a bathroom of a room without making the room feel smaller. The glass keeps the room visually open and allows for transference of light throughout the space.


Photograph by Elad Gonen and Zeev Beech

Doors, windows and walls, oh my! This will sound silly, but we all know about the use of glass in doors and windows. Yes, the first picture below pushes the boundary slightly by using a set of windows as an entire wall. But, glass is rarely used as internal walls in a building (see previous bathroom example too). In an open space, glass walls can be used as room dividers to maintain the openness, but also provide a little extra privacy and feeling of division between specific use areas.

Design by thirdstone, inc

Design by Morlen Sinoway Atelier

Stair railings and steps. The house on which we're working (mentioned above) will be a contemporary home with glass used in some interesting and different ways. It feels like a natural extension then to use glass as the stair railings. We're going to combine the glass with metal posts and handrail. The next natural extension would be to take the glass from the railings and use it as the actual steps. The open glass steps keeps what would otherwise be an imposing architectural feature light and airy.

Design by Manchester Architects Inc

Design by AR Design Studio Ltd

Glass backsplash. Besides shower enclosures, glass tile is probably the other most common use of glass. Mosaics or larger format tiles are used in bathrooms and as kitchen splashes to create a range of different looks - contemporary to traditional. The beauty of glass in this form is its flexibility. Recently though I've started seeing glass backsplashes take on a slightly different form as back-painted sheet glass. This look is super contemporary and easy to clean, an appealing benefit on both fronts.

Design by Exquisite Kitchen Design

Design by Navo Design Studio

What is your favorite way to use glass in your home? We'd love to hear from you.

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential and commercial clients throughout Oregon and Washington, and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.



Working with Contrast

Last week's post was about the use of balance in design (read here). This week we're tackling the idea of concept. I chose to follow proportion with contrast because getting the latter correct is dependent on the former. When first starting design of a space, the interior designers at JBi start with either color, style or texture as our origin for the "look & feel." As the design begins to solidify, we start thinking about ways in which to bring interest to the space. The use of contrast is one of our favorites. Contrast comes in many different forms - contrast in colors, materials, styles, textures, etc. The trick to getting it just right is balance and proportion. If one design element is used too sparingly it won't have the desired effect in the space. If it's used to much, then it might over power the other elements in the room. Here are the principles we use when working with the different types of contrast.

Use restraint for real impact. When working in one particular style, you might only need one statement piece in the contrasting style. The design of this dining room started with the modern Italian table, chairs and contemporary chandelier. To balance the "slickness" we brought in an artistic, handcrafted piece with a global aesthetic. Perfectly in balance, the two styles fight each other for attention, but without overpowering each other. The conflict is what makes it interesting.

Dining room by JASON BALL interiors

Play with different textures to create a special moment. In this living room vignette, we created an interesting juxtaposition between the stone candle wall and refined fabric used on the chaise. This one corner on the room has its own distinct feel even compared to the rest of the room. But that was intentional.

Living room design by JASON BALL interiors

In this example, the large stone fireplace is the only "hard" surface in the room, toned down by all the furnishings, wood and soft architectural features.

Design by Jan Gleysteen Architects Inc.

High contrast colors are toned down using mid values. Obviously the highest possible contrast would be black and white, so let's use that as our example. If you're going to take on the color contrast concept, it's important to balance out the extremes with tones in the mid values. These "mid values" might be other colors or true combinations of your extremes. For instance, in the first picture, notice the use of grays, and black and white fabrics. It is these mid values that create a bridge between the extremes. In the second picture, it is the granite that bridges the gap between the white and brown cabinetry.

Photograph by Lisa Petrole Photography

Design by Jane Lockhart Interior Design

What is your favorite type of contrast? Let us know how you've brought contrast into your home.




Designer's Notebook: Playing With Scale

For interior designers, the idea of scale is one of the most important guiding principles of great design. Whether having a consistent and appropriate scale throughout a design, or mixing scale up to create something truly unique, when it's done right, you'll know it. Scale is simply the size of an object or design element (e.g., pattern on a fabric or wall covering). Since scale is an intangible aspect of the design, it's important to understand the principles that guide the proper use of scale. Here is how the designers at JBi use scale on a daily basis in designing our clients' homes.

Space and scale go hand in hand. When designing a room, designers often begin with understanding the size and volume of a room. It might be a really large room with high ceilings (overall large volume) or maybe a smaller room with standard ceiling heights. We take into account the way the space feels as direct reflection of number of windows, openings to other rooms, etc. Understanding the volume of a space is important in selecting the appropriately sized furnishings, lighting and accessories to fit the room. Under-scaled furniture in a large room or really large furniture in a small room would both feel awkward. When done right, like the following examples, the room feels just right.

This rooms feels like it all works because all the furniture, art and accessories are in the same scale, and fit perfectly with the room's size.

Design by Dresser Homes

The larger volume of this room allows for a larger sectional and larger scale pattern on the area rug. Again, the scale of design elements fit the room's scale.

Design by Jordan Iverson Signature Homes

Scale becomes a design element with tweaked. I've always been a firm believer that really good design should stir something in the soul. This is often best accomplished by throwing in something unexpected in the room. When scale comes into play, an oversized light fixture or exaggerated fabric pattern can cause surprise and delight in the viewer, and create a special moment in the room.

The volume of this space (out rather than up) allows for the use of this over-sized ceiling fixture creating an almost architectural feature in the room.

Design by Ira Frazin Architect

The scale of these pendant lights, end chairs and mirror all play well with one another in this higher-ceiling dining room.

Design by Nicole Hollis

The scale of the art adds an interesting texture in this kitchen space beyond the clean, contemporary surfaces.

Design by WL Interiors

This extra large floor lamp adds an almost whimsical and modern touch to this otherwise traditional living room.

Design by Julianne Kelly

All in all, scale, and the way you use scale in any design, can have one of the biggest impacts on the way a room feels. Don't be afraid to play with scale in unexpected ways. You might just surprise yourself and create something that becomes a showcase in your home.



Do You Know Your Arches?

The interior designers at JBi are currently working on the design and decoration of a new home in West Linn, Oregon. As with any design project, we begin with a particular part of the design to help lead the process. In other projects, it might be that a piece of existing furniture or light fixture or piece of artwork. In this case, however, we're starting with the main architectural features, specifically the arches throughout the home. So, this gave us an opportunity to learn about all the various types of arches we could work with in the design. While there are numerous types of arches, they can all generally be categorized into the following main categories - round-headed (Roman, Syrian) - #1 and #2; flat or straight - #13; Gothic - #7, #8, #9; Tudor - #12; and Moorish - #5, #6. All arches are some variation on these main types.

Various Types of Arches

Round-headed: Both the Roman and Syrian arches are defined as having a semi-circle top portion. The main difference between the two types is how they're constructed. Roman arches (probably the most common type) is a semi-circle that rests on top of two posts or columns, whereas the Syrian is comprised of segments of stone all the way around the arch.

Design by Summerour Architects

Design by Vanguard Studios Inc.

Gothic arches are characterized by a higher crest and a point in the middle of the arch. Take a tour of cathedrals across Europe and you'll see an abundance of Gothic arches. I absolutely love the modern interpretation of the second picture.

Design by Tuthill Architecture

Design by Murphy and Company Design

Tudor style, often called a flattened gothic arch may or may not have a point in the middle. Defining characteristic is the eased curve from the vertical sides to the arched section.

Design by JASON BALL interiors

Moorish arches are wildly different than the other types. It's easy to notice this type of arch. The "legs" of the arch are closer together than the width of the actual arch portion.

Photo by Ken Hayden

Which one of these is your favorite arch type? I'm a little impartial to the Gothic or Tudor styles.

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.





Before & After - Remodeling A Traditional Home


We all love the Before & After pics of projects. They show what is possible with a space. The story of this one is simple. A couple with school-aged children contacting JASON BALL interiors to update their new home - what they are considering their dream home. The project included completely remodeling the kitchen, opening up a wall between the kitchen and family room for a great room feel, redoing a fireplace in the family room, and new furniture in the living and dining rooms. Because the home is more traditional in nature, we wanted to keep the large brush strokes also more traditional. Contemporary touches were brought in through wall coverings, lighting, fabrics and accessories. The resulting design aesthetic is a perfect marriage of the two styles. Living room - As you can see from the "before" picture, there is nothing structurally wrong with the living room. All it really needed was a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings. The JBi team brought in a nice mix of transitional and contemporary styles for a more collected feel. Accessories range from Phoenician glass pieces to found architectural objects. The mix adds age where appropriate. Fabrics used throughout are neutral based but with bold patterns and textures. The two chairs have an elegant gate work fabric for the outside of the pieces with a mink-colored velvet on the inside for true comfort. A couple of contemporary lights flank the seating area and fireplace.



Dining room - While the "before" picture is set up for staging the home, it is again clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with the space. The JBi designers presented to the clients a bold wall covering for added drama in the space. The black, silver and taupe wall covering from Wolf-Gordon added the necessary drama and provided a perfect backdrop to the clients' colorful art trio. The overall styling is clean, simple and again focuses on the broad strokes of color and texture. An antique granite trough on the table brings in a hard stone element to balance out the softness of the space. There's one small detail to make note of. If you look carefully in the doorway that leads to the kitchen, you'll see another door. That small half-bath was directly off the dining room (a very awkward location). To help improve the flow of the spaces, we converted the bathroom to a wine closet, with access from the kitchen. We also changed the door leading into the kitchen to just an opening with the appropriate millwork to fit the rest of the home.



Kitchen - More so than the other rooms, the kitchen of this home had some more serious deficiencies. The layout of the kitchen cut it off from the rest of the room and felt under-sized given the home's grandness. The design team focused on two main elements: flow and style. We wanted to the space to feel contemporary, but with an old-world aesthetic. A beautifully set herringbone floor, traditional backsplash pattern and "stucco" treatment on the range hood canopy all add to the design. By opening up the space, we were able to bring in a nice-sized kitchen table for family meals. Besides the flow within the room, we also opened up the space between the kitchen and the adjoining family room. This small architectural change creates more of a "great room" feel, but without completely changing the traditional flow of the home.





More than anything, these clients wanted their new home to be a reflection of their personal styles, molded by international travel and importance of family, while respecting the traditional nature of the home. Goal accomplished!

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.