Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Moving Outside For Summer

It's my favorite thing about summer . . . moving outside. Eating, cooking, socializing, reading. It all happens outside. And I love every minute of it!

As a designer, one of my favorite things is making the outside look and function much like the inside. And it's so easy! Whether it's an open porch, a screened-in porch, or a patio, bring your own style and flair to make it look and function just as you do on the inside. 
That means make the seating open and inviting to conversation. Make sure it's arranged to take in the focal point/view. Have plenty of tables. Add a throw rug for color, pattern, and texture. If there's a wall, hang something on it. Accessorize with pillows and plants.

And don't forget the lighting! If electricity is available, add lamps or a ceiling fixture. Otherwise, candles are perfect. 

Need a little privacy? Add curtains. Or a curtain of plants. 

Bottom line? Have fun! Get creative with everything. Need a table? Add a top to a bird bath. Color shy indoors? Now's your time to go crazy! Don't hesitate to mix and match furnishings and accessories. Tag sale finds can find a great new life with a coat of paint. Just don't take too long making it yours. Summer doesn't last forever. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring Colors . . . And They Aren't Pastels!

I'm happy to say the colors for spring 2019 aren't pastels. Not that pastels aren't lovely. It's just that it's nice to see emboldened palettes for a change. Maybe because the dreary weather has seemed to hang around for so long in the northeast, I'd like spring to be vibrant! Filled with energy! And what better way to do that than colors that aren't shy.

If you decorate with spring flowers as your inspiration, you can't help but be bold. Think the golden yellow of daffodils and forsythia, the deep purple of hyacinths, the reds, oranges, deep pinks, and yellows of tulips. And the trees! Have you ever seen such a riot of colors?
House Beautiful

So don't be afraid to go bold. Re-do a room, like this colorful bedroom in shades of lavendar with a touch of yellow and blue. Bring it all together with a gorgeous wallpaper of hummingbirds and you've made a bold, colorful statement.

If an entire room feels like too much, keep it simple with accessories. Change a piece of artwork to something colorful, bring in a pillow or two to complement, and voila - instant spring. Even something simple like flowers and a pretty bottle will do the trick.

Not sure we know what we're talking about? Then neither does the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report. Look at their "empowering" predictions for spring 2019. Not much shy about those colors!

So think about it . . . maybe it's time to add just a little bit of play - and power - to your home!

Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Colors of Winter

We so often think of winter as being rather colorless. Everything is gray or white or brown. But driving a few days ago after a snow storm I realized how beautiful the colors of winter really are. The white of the snow has so many variations (read undertones) that are truly gorgeous. There are blues and grays depending on the light and the shadows. Just like the icicles on the cliffs by the side of the highway. Or hanging from the porch eaves. And the sky! Not only are there blues and smoky grays but the intense pinks of a winter sunset. And the yellows of the sunrise. And these are just for starters!

And I realized that not only is winter landscape filled with beautiful colors,
they are colors that are perfect . . . for summer! We bring in warm reds and golds in the winter to warm our homes. The opposite works in the summer. The blues and grays of winter keep us cool in the summer. And because the winter sky is cooler than the summer sky (read undertones), even those warmer colors are cooler in winter - and perfect for summer.

And to keep the rooms from feeling too cool, as well as to bring in the beautiful colors of spring and summer accent in true yellows of summer sun, oranges of spring poppies, the greens of grass and trees. Then relax in your comfortable, inviting, cool space!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Keep It Simple. . . and Soft

If you're like me, once the holiday decorations go down, the house looks a little bare. I used to feel a bit sad about that, finding the space just a little too cold and empty. But in recent years I have figured out how simple it is to add a little warmth and softness to my rooms, while keeping it simple.

That certainly doesn't mean stark. To warm the open spaces I use a lot of texture. Soft pillows and throws warm both the room and me on cold winter nights. Soft rugs underfoot make a big difference. But take it even a step or two further and wrap glass vases in something soft. And what a great use for an old sweater! (They may beautiful pillows as well.)

Lighting is important to me as well. For the holidays I have lights everywhere. On the tree, the mantel, the roping down the stairs. Some of that has to stay during the winter months, just in slightly different places. I love the battery operated small strands of lights that fit perfectly in vases instead of candles. They go anywhere - tabletop or mantel. And something to reflect the lights is important. Mirrors of course, but also metallic accessories are beautiful.

And if the starkness of the landscape really does give you the winter blues, force bulbs inside. You can stay with clean white like narcisus. I love how this beautiful mantel works for the holidays as well as into the winter. If it still feels a little much, remove the ornaments. The lights, the flowers, and the softness of the fabrics will easily carry you into spring. If you prefer a little more color, daffodils are a nice substitute. Or go all out with a beautiful amaryllis.

Bottom line for me, the softness of simple lighting, the coziness of warm fabrics, and the beauty of simple, natural surroundings make a beautiful post-holiday home. Time for a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Happy New Year!