Monday, February 19, 2018

Pink Isn't Just for Girls

Pink has come a long way. No longer the girly-girl color of the past, pink has stepped into the sophisticated world of the fashion runway, business offices, and edgy new restaurants. Which means it can be used in any room in the house - as long as you choose the right pink and pair it with other colors and furnishings to give a WOW factor.

House Beautiful
Often considered a bedroom color (if it is considered at all), it works well in living rooms with vintage furniture, where it can look like a red that has faded over time.

Architectural Digest
But don't throw it out of the bedroom yet. Paired with straight lines in both furniture and fabric prints, it brings a softness to the room. And it doesn't hurt that it flatters many skin tones.

Afraid of being overwhelmed? Then use it as an accent color. Picking up the pink from a piece of art and using it in pillows or other accessories can certainly make a statement.

The bottom line? Don't be afraid of pink, especially when you use it in all new ways. You may just be surprised!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Wallpaper? Really?

I have long resisted using wallpaper. I tend to discourage my clients from using wallpaper. Not a good idea, I know, because it really is their choice. But I have seen so many issues in removing it - or worse yet, leaving it up even though it's way past it's prime because the removal is so tricky. And expensive. And generally a mess.

But I have come to realize those days are over. Wallpaper is back. But not in a paper-all-the-walls-in-cabbage-roses kind of way. Geometric prints are big. So is making your own digitally. Metallics and natural fabrics are in. And it's being used more for a statement instead of an overpowering design scheme.

If you are a little nervous or want to use it but in a smaller way, try using a pretty solid but with texture on an accent wall. It adds just a bit more interest than paint would.

Or if you're ready for some drama, save it for a smaller space like a powder room. You can have lots of fun but no one lives with it for very long because they aren't in the room for long.

Still not sure? Wallpaper the back of a bookshelf. Use it on a piece of furniture. Give your books a dramatic lift with wallpaper bookcovers.

Think creatively! With today's amazing choices, there are so many ways to use wallpaper for a brand new look. But without all of the problems of the "old" days.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Eco-Friendly HolidayWrapping

For me, decorating for the holidays is also about the gift wrapping. I celebrate Christmas, complete with the tree and the beautiful presents underneath. But I also know the gift wrapping is temporary, often ending up in landfills after the holidays. And as a lover of eco-friendly redesign, I really do my best to make sure that happens as little as possible. But without sacrificing beauty. So here are a few of my favorite ideas . . .

Wrap your gifts in something useful. For the "paper" use a dishtowel, handtowels, a pretty antique handkerchief. Something that will be used again or cherished for its beauty. Use craft paper decorated with stamps. Get the kids involved as a fun craft project. Go one step further and make your own potato stamps. (Follow this link from HGTV to find out how.) Use pages from books or magazines you no longer want such as coloring books, maps, or old picture books.

When it comes to the "bows", use nature instead. Dried berries, evergreens, leaves, and pinecones all make beautiful decorations. Use leftover fabric trim instead of ribbon. In fact, bows can be made from all kinds of material you may have on hand. Try headbands, yarn, string, pipe cleaners. Get your creative juices going!

Granted, these ideas aren't completely eco-friendly. There will still be "remains". But in the process you'll be finding new uses for old things - and having fun doing it!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

FUNctional Home Offices

More and more of us are working from home offices, at least part of the week. And while this may seem a strange time of year to write a post about home offices (isn't everyone focused on the holidays?), year-end is a great time to spend a little time and energy getting ready for the new one. And having an office that works for you - and that you also love - is a great goal.

Country Living
As any good designer knows, you have to start with function. Otherwise the pretty part doesn't matter. And in a home office that means a work space large enough to accommodate your work, a comfortable chair, effective storage systems, and good lighting. But as long as all of these function as you need them to, bring on the pretty!

Make it your "style". Prefer a shabby chic look, surrounded by things that inspire you? Do it! Prefer a more industrial look? Make it yours!  Prefer something more traditional? Who says you can't have it!
William Sonoma

Just a few added suggestions. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a beautiful window view, make sure what you see every time
you look up is something that makes you smile, inspires you, or motivates. Beautiful artwork, photos of loves ones, your favorite cartoon - you choose.

Piant it a color that works for you and your work. If you are high energy and need to slow down a bit when you're in your office, a soothing blue/gray might be the color for you. Need more energy when you're in your office so you don't go for that afternoon nap? What about a hot pink? Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. This is your space, your working environment, and it should reflect you. And make going to work every day a whole lot more fun.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Making Summer Last

I love autumn. I really do. The crispness of the days. The beautiful golden light. The leaves turning. Fires in the fireplace. But . . . I miss my screened in porch. I sit there every morning before jumping into my day. It helps ground me and prepares me for the busyness ahead. I end most evenings out there, no matter how late. Just a brief touching base with the quiet and the night helps me relax.

But that becomes difficult when it gets really chilly. Sure the fire pit is nice, but not in the morning. And it requires some work, so it's not good for a few minutes of quick evening relaxation. So I started thinking of ways to make summer last - at least on my porch.

Of course I start with throws and blankets. Not the kind I use in summer for a chilly evening, but something more serious. And in fall patterns and colors. Fall sometimes requires wrapping up. just ask my cat.

And then a friend suggested a patio heater. What a concept! For not a lot of money I can warm the porch well into autumn. There are tall styles, tabletop styles, hanging ones, lamp lookalikes, ones that make a design statement . . . I had no idea! They come in sleek metal, stainless steel, wicker, bronze. My porch is small, so I think a small table top model will do. I'm thinking something like this, although the cute wicker one might work. Or the one looking like a pharmacy lamp.

Now all I have to do is add mums and decorative kale in place of the annuals, maybe a pumpkin or two for interest and I'm good to go well into the fall.

Hmmm.....wouldn't watching the snow fall from here be nice? I wonder how expensive glass over the screens would be?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I Need a Paint Color By Tomorrow!

Okay, I may not have had a client need it quite that quickly. But I will say I have had any number of clients who call on Monday and say the painter is coming Thursday and ask my availability. And that's a problem for a number of reasons . . .

Selecting a paint color can be very tricky. First, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. When I visit a client I bring fan decks for Classic Colors, Preview Colors, and Aura, along with eight rings of 2x8 Preview samples in a case that looks like this - only much bigger. All in all there are over 3500 colors to choose from. So although my job as a designer is to narrow those choices for my clients (hopefully to three), it might take just a little bit of time.

Once the color selections have been made (always in the room to be painted), clients need to see larger samples in the room - and in different locations. So I order large (8x8) paper samples that then must be put on white poster board so that the white shows around the edges. Those poster board samples are placed around the room in strategic places: the darkest wall, the lightest wall, the place where your eye goes when you enter the room from each entry - and anywhere else that is important. This usually involves placing 5-8 sample boards around the room. Then the clients need to look at the boards at all times of the day and night. Seeing the boards in direct daylight, under artificial light, on cloudy days, and at all times of the day and night (because the lighting will be different). This process generally takes at least several days. And to show why, here are three photos of three different rooms all painted in Benjamin Moore's Powell Buff.

At this point the clients may have a color selected. It's taken a lot longer than a day - or three. But the really good news? The chances are very good it's the right color. And that makes everyone happy. Except perhaps for the painter, who was looking to get paid repainting.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Flea Market Style

I think there used to be a magazine by that name . . . maybe there still is. But rather than sharing the best flea markets or how to spot the best flea market finds, the "style" I'm referring to is the actual shopping style you use . . . the one that makes sure you come home with only those things that are truly important to you.

And of course flea market time is upon us. So (surprise, surprise) I have a few suggestions . . .

First, if at all possible make a list of things you are interested in buying. Want to add to your collection of Fiesta ware? Write down specifics - color, type, style - that will enable you to focus on what you want. And not come home with duplicates or something that just doesn't work.

If it's not a specific item you need, but something of a certain color or shape or size for a specific place, then be open. But if you find something that's close but just not quite right, pass it by. You really won't be happy with it.

Have a budget. Know just how much you are willing to spend. And stick to it!

Don't get distracted by that one shiny object. If you see something you must have, walk away from it. Sure, there's a chance it might not be there when you get back. But step away anyhow and really think about it. Does buying this piece mean your budget is gone? Make sure you're okay with that. Do you have a place for it? If
not, can you find a place for it? Will you use it? (I'm sorry but I'm not sold on the idea that if you love it you'll find a home for it. I've worked in too many homes that have too much stuff or stuff that just doesn't work.) If it's still calling your name, buy it. But still stick with your budget. And make sure you find the perfect place for it in your home.

Oh yeah . . . and just have fun! Enjoy the weather, the food vendors, chatting with the vendors. Flea markets are a fabulous way to spend a summer day!