Celebrating Authentically

November 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

wreathAfter years of using fake greenery around and on my front door in a futile attempt to make holiday decorating easy and inexpensive (true confessions — you’ve heard of the cobbler’s children having no shoes?), well my big, beautifully-adorned-with-more-fakery wreath fell apart onto the closet floor.

That single event made quite an impact, literally and figuratively, of course. I am SO fed up with fake everything: plastic wreaths, plastic lights, plastic balls, plastic blow-up Santas, plastic reindeer in the yard. For me this year, after quite a year, I am settling down to a visually simple, quiet, authentic holiday season.

I don’t mind others’ decorations at all — the lights, the colors, the flashing sleigh on the roof, and everything else that makes children’s jaws drop in sheer delight — don’t get me wrong. But I guess with the kids all out of the house, I don’t feel the need to create a spectacle. And it’s okay.

For those of you who share my desire for a simpler holiday, I’m here to say that it’s okay. A few special ornaments or treasures from past years displayed among some fresh greens on the dining room table or mantle can provide the essence of the season without the hassle and the clean-up on January 2. For those who adore the season of color and lights, go for it. The rest of us will appreciate all you do to make our neighborhoods sparkly and special.

ribbonedSo today I am going out to buy a big plain evergreen bough wreath. Then, I’ll tie a big light blue floral ribbon on it and hang it on the front door. Then I’ll snip some pine from the backyard and stick the branches in my big blue pot on the front porch. Maybe even put a spotlight on the door so the house looks welcoming at night. And with that done, I can focus on making the holiday special and memorable for my family and … for me.

(wreath: LLBean)

Adding POPS of Color — Orange

October 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

OrangeTree.jpgIs there any color happier than orange? Okay, full disclosure. Orange — that special red-orange that you see on maple trees in the Fall in New England — is my favorite color. I don’t wear it, but I love looking at it.

Fall is a wonderful time to add a touch of orange to your home. Go all in with a peppery accent wall in a guest bedroom. Or go easy with a few orange candles on the mantle. I like to switch out my light blue throw pillows on the sofa for orange this time of year. Keeping my sofa neutral lets me do that, and on that first chilly October day, orange pillows warm the room instantly.
peppery
What goes with orange? If you want energy, blue (like SW Indigo).indigosw Just look at the sky in the photo and how those two complementary colors work off each other. If you want a bit more calm in the room, use a warm gray as a back drop, like the fence in the photo (and SW Dorian Gray).

doriangrayswAnother way to add orange without switching out your furniture and paint color is to introduce a large framed photo of Fall colors. I like to stick with the season we’re in so the photo would come down in the winter and be replaced by a cozy winter scene. Seasonal changes keep the room looking vibrant and fresh.

If all those ideas and colors are still over the top, there’s always squash soup and pumpkin-spice muffins. Sometimes a little color on the dinner table is all you need to enjoy the autumn season.

Stay cozy, my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

Torn Between Two Paint Hues

September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gray Owl

Gray Owl, Ben Moore

As a home stager, I suggest a lot of paint colors as I help to prepare homes for the real estate market. And by and large, grays are what sells these days. Young buyers grew up with Linen White and seem now to cringe at wall colors with a yellow base. But is gray right for your house?

If you live in an area where the weather is cloudy for much of the time or your house is nestled in the shade, then a gray interior is only going to make your visual life grayer. If you want a fresh gray interior, here’s my advice:

  • Make sure you have tons of natural light — big windows with as much light as you can get streaming in the window. That will allow you to see the gray as a distinct, intentional color and not as a shadow of a different color. You know how white and other colors can appear gray in the corners of a room? That’s what I’m talking about. You’ve chosen Gray. So show it off.
  • Add white for trim — that will make the gray pop and will avoid any semblance of dinginess. For Pete’s sake, you don’t want your house to look dirty.
  • Add some warm color — pillows, a chair, artwork. Just for contrast and to add some warmth when needed. Yellow looks spectacular with gray.
  • Pick a warm gray if you live in a cold climate or your room faces North.
  • Pick a cool gray for a warmer climate or a room facing South. The color of the light and the season will influence how your room looks. If the room looks cold, chances are that it will feel cold in there too.
  • Add wood texture to warm the room. A hardwood floor and other natural wood tones in the room will look sensational against a backdrop of gray.
Linen White

Linen White

If gray is not for you but you want to get away from the Linen White look from decades past, try one of these halfway gray paint colors. They are warm but not too yellow and will move you in the gray direction without making your house too cool. Now let’s get painting!

Gray Mist

Gray Mist (BM)

Maritime White

Maritime White (BM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SW Color of the Year 2017

September 2, 2016 § 2 Comments

poised taupe SW 6039OKay then! If you hang around long enough…(as they say…)

Taupe is back. The color we’ve spent the last decade ridding our houses of is now Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year for 2017. Poised Taupe is the color — SW 6039 — and you have to love the description:

“Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.” — Anytime somebody celebrates imperfections, I’m in!

But here’s what you should know about taupe. It can change radically with the light and the time of day. What looks a little brown can turn pink, purple, or green depending not only on the time of day but also on the lightbulb. Just so you know. Taupe can have a pink undertone as well that clashes horribly with the orange of a red oak hardwood floor. Another caution. But paired with white like its fan deck sibling Gauzy White SW 6035, a silver metal (not gold or brass), hardwood with a gray undertone, and fabrics in other light neutrals with a pink undertone like Cultured Pearl SW 6028, and you truly have a soft, restful combination that harkens back to those glorious. taupe-filled 50s. That’s 1950s!

Personally, I’m going to ride this one out, but I can appreciate how we’re moving from the grays into the taupes (without the yellow undertone of a previous color swing). Like I tell my clients, just because it’s the Color of the Year does not mean it’s perfect for your house. If you are considering taupe, make sure you have a lot of natural light coming in the window and (hopefully) some modern furnishings, shiny metals and glass. Try to avoid pairing with cherry wood. If you have concerns, talk to me!

Meanwhile, let’s get painting.

Where to Splash Your Kitchen Color

June 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

WhiteKitchenEdgyWhite kitchens are, again, all the rage, but what keeps a white kitchen from becoming too cold and uninteresting? You guessed it. Color.

What I love about this white kitchen from Traditional Home is the strategic placement of color where it will 1) have the biggest impact; and 2) be inexpensive to change over time.

Where to put the color?

Backsplash. Since the cabinetry and counter tops are white, the backsplash is a logical place for applying a splash of color. Plus, since it’s a relatively small area in the kitchen, you can be bold with your tile choices knowing that replacing the backsplash when styles change down the road will not break the bank.

Furniture. Splashy citron breakfast bar chairs give the neutral kitchen a modern vitality that pairs very well with the traditional cabinetry. The chairs keep the traditional cabinet design and the timeless marble counter top from being too stuffy. And because there are just two chairs, theoretically you could switch them out seasonally if you wanted to and change the look of the kitchen completely.

Accessories. Always a place to introduce color, the accessories like dishes and canisters and placemats and other easily switched-out items add splashes of color all over the kitchen and are temporary. Again, you’re not locked into a color scheme that will go out of favor in a year or two. Bringing in new accessories in a new color palette will freshen up the kitchen at practically no expense.

No wonder white is such a popular color for the kitchen. It is timeless, and it goes with every decor and season. Plus by adding color in places where new color can be infused without redoing the entire kitchen, you’ve added longevity to your original white kitchen design. Smart thinking!

Here’s the link:  http://www.traditionalhome.com/kitchens/design-ideas-white-kitchens?page=0

 

 

Making Sense of Color Coding

June 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

closetcolorOrganizing your clothes and accessories by color makes a lot of sense to me. You pick out your clothes by what colors you want to wear. Am I right? So going straight to the color of the day seems efficient and not only that, beautiful too. Opening the door to see a well-ordered, color-coded closet gives me joy just thinking about it.

On the other hand, I think color-coding can go a teeny bit overboard. And you’re hearing that from a home stager who lives for color and yes, making order out of chaos. But when I see a bookshelf that has been color-coded, it screams STAGED to me instead of a more sensible, and efficient, order of books by either title, subject matter, or author. How would you ever find a book if you have to remember what color it is?Library of an Interaction Designer (Juhan Sonin) / 20100423.7D.0

Having said that, I do like to group books by size on the shelves so they’re not all over the place. Bookshelves tend to look so busy in a room that some taming of the clutter helps.

If you’re organizing your bookshelves, consider breaking up the books by inserting objects you’ve collected, stacking some of the books, and even deleting a bunch of books by donating them to a book drop. If you cannot part with your books, put up floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and organize the books so you can find them again. Like a library.

Just my thought for the day. Happy Organizing!

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Color? Blue&Green

May 13, 2016 § 2 Comments

2044-62-CorinnaWhen I was in college, back in the style-challenged ’70s, my response to “What’s your favorite color?” was always “blueANDgreen.” They came as a set for me, and even the vintage floral fabrics of that decadeWaverly70sprint still have a nostalgic, times-were-great-back-then appeal.

So I am thrilled to see the combination back around, especially for the summer. Talk about bringing the outside in… is there anything more appealing than the yellow-green shades of Hosta together with the cool watery turquoise blues? The combo works for me.

hostaSo as I do every year at this time, I put away all my hot-looking accessories including my red and cream striped window treatments, art with spicey oranges and reds, and all the red pillows on the sofa, and I replace them with the cool-palette colors that remind me of summers at the lake and carefree times. Summer is here! water

(Living room photo: Bassett Furniture)