Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring: Less of This, More of That

In spring my decorating changes just a little bit. Okay, maybe a lot . . . but there are definitely some easy changes I (and anyone) can make that signify the changing of the seasons.

Start with less soft texture. The cuddly throws, pillows, and quilts go, to be replaced with smoother, lighter fabrics.

More (brighter) colors. The dark and cozy colors of the winter are replaced with turquoise, orange, yellows - whatever bright colors you love.

Less "stuff". Remove rugs, take out a piece or two of furniture, remove some accessories, and lighten the mantel.


Pier 1
More plants and flowers. Use in place of the inside accessories as well as outside on porches and decks.

Less formality. Take away the dining room centerpiece, the pretty candles in crystal holders, and the dressy cocktail table decorations.

More casual entertaining. Keep colorful melamine dishes ready for impromptu dinners outside. Light the night with candles in hurricanes and fresh cut flowers from the garden.

It's time to relax . . . loosen your schedule and your lifestyle. Enjoy the ease the warm weather brings!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The In Between Times

This time of year is always a bit difficult for me decorating-wise. It's not like the fall, when I want to bring in lots of coziness. Or late spring when it's all about decorating the porch and patio. I'm a little tired of being inside so decorating the house for this in between time doesn't interest me. Instead this becomes my planning time. Dreaming time. And it's all about the books.

If you're at all like me, you might enjoy a bit of inspiration yourself. As a fan of the old Domino magazine, I really enjoy Domino: The Book of Decorating. While it's not quite as much fun, I love some of the quirky, fun, and often inexpensive tips that are so reminiscent of the magazine.

If you're looking for how-to's like hanging artwork or picking the right sized rug, Vern Yip's Design Wise does it in spades. This is a good place to start if you want the look you want but you want it to be the right size, shape, color . . . it's information and inspiration filled.

Books about organizing are huge! Not only is it the time of year, but it also seems to be a subject many people are drawn to now. I must admit I'm not big on organizing books because it's generally more than I will ever do. I'm pretty organized and clutter-free but putting food in beautifully labeled containers instead of those garish grocery store packages is just more than I'm willing to do. Still I have enjoyed a couple of magazine articles. Both from March 2018, Good Housekeeping (I know, I know . . . I don't buy it but it comes unsolicited in my mail) and House Beautiful have very good articles on organizing. The advice comes from a variety of sources, several of which I pursued on their own. Most of the advice wasn't canned or typical.

And finally, I just had to throw in a celebrity book. I admit I haven't read it, but I am intrigued, although the reviews are mixed. The House That Pinterest Built by Diane Keaton is definitely on my list. I really love her sense of style and am curious about her new home. Of course it may be that kitchen from Something's Gotta Give that really makes me want to read it.

I'll let you know.


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.
Domino

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.

BHG
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 . . .

HGTV
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.

HGTV
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?