But I Love Grandma’s Furniture

January 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

Furniture that has been in the family for generations (or as long as you can remember, at least) carries memories of sitting around Grandma’s dining room table during holiday dinners and enjoying family and food and all that goes with that. So of course you accept Grandma’s dining room set when presented. Okay, now what.

Designer Stephanie Lees shows us how to marry traditional (whether inherited or acquired some other way) and modern styling. Yes, the two can co-exist nicely together.

Color is the most obvious creative solution. The navy grasscloth walls in that dining room contrast elegantly with the traditional white wainscoting beneath the chair rail. Camouflaged there is a white lacquer cabinet that showcases more family treasures that frame out the modern artwork above.

The green curtain panels in an unfussy simple treatment dress the windows with a pop of color that is carried over to the back of the traditional wingback chair.  Wingbacks –whether old or new — are classic. But the modern fabric placement takes what might have been a studious, grownup, wingback chair and made it playful. Those bamboo side chairs — if not your grandmother’s then just like them — can be recovered very DIY with new coordinating fabric by unscrewing the seats, stapling fabric onto the seat bottoms, and screwing the seats back onto the chair. Instant update.

Another key update that sets a modern tone to the room is the contemporary rug, again keeping with the blue & white palette but staying clear of any traditional rug design. Random color placement in the rug keeps the room from looking too formal, and it is key to pulling off this style marriage.

But just short of replacing whatever shiny, old, yellow-brass light fixture might have hung from the ceiling before with a new contemporary brushed nickel version (gasp!), the designer opted for a vintage Italian chandelier in crystal. Dramatic, classic, and oh so stylish.

You’ve given us lots to think about, Stephanie, as we incorporate inherited pieces into our own homes. Thanks for the inspiration!

@StyleatHome, @YourColorCoach, stephanieleesdesign

 

 

 

Random Clutter Collecting

January 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

DenWall2018Life — as in home life — does not always have to be clutter-free and artfully arranged. Who actually lives that way anyway…. Sometimes you just need a place to put stuff and if it’s random and eclectic, so be it. I have treasures from my childhood bedroom, purses of my mom’s, hats, glasses, books, and some things I use for staging. But all of it is stuff I like to look at and don’t want to shut away in boxes.

If I wanted to take the time to create a lovely geometric piece of artwork, I could, I suppose. But I simply loaded up the cubes with random items. The wall reminds me of things I’ve worn, places I have been, people no longer around, and  how crazy my life is. The white sofa is a restful break from the clutter, and my husband likes to read the paper and drink his coffee there. I would never have predicted that.

Unless you’re selling your home in the near future and really do have to clear the clutter, don’t stress about a few little trinkets here and there. Group them if you want to remember them a certain way or display your collections.

Random can work! Look at this wall.

Grouping by color gets you closer to artistic order — truly a pleasure to behold for the color OCD in many of us.

Then there’s this. (Whattt??)

Embrace your stuff. Celebrate  it. Display it. Love it. Happy Collecting!

Peach Makes a Splashy Comeback

January 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

Don’t we all love HGTV! It’s such a wonderful antidote from mind-numbing news shows. So it’s not a big surprise that again this year we wander through the fantasy of winning the HGTV Dream Home — this one on the coast of Washington State. Here’s the gallery.

What strikes me most is the wall color in the Guest Bedroom. Peach! It’s been so long since we have seen this color on the cutting edge, and I have to say, Welcome Back! Although many will call this color pink, and you know who you are, it’s on the orange side of the “pink” hue giving it a warmer feel than the bluer-pink, which can be quite chilly.

Peach, this one by Sherwin Williams, is not your clear tropical hue. Its calm sophisticated undertone makes it perfect for an adult bedroom as long as it’s paired with contrast that will give the room some weight, and pardon the expression, masculine vibe.

In this case the designer, Brian Patrick Flynn, chose navy blue to anchor the room not only with a beautiful upholstered headboard but also with art and accessories. He pulls in nautical elements to remind the homeowner, as if they need a reminder, that they can probably see that gorgeous color palette out their bedroom window as the sun sets over Puget Sound.

If you’re not into as much white as the designer has infused into this bedroom, you might add more wood tones in the furniture, much as he did with a dresser on the opposite side of the room. Adding wood elements will balance the light and airy peach, but truly the navy gives the room its updated palette.

Peach can also be introduced into a gray palette in your own home without harkening back to the 1980s. Like yellow, peach is a warm balance to a lot of heavy gray, a trend we are exiting. See this other post for what to do if you feel a bit stuck with too much gray.

In the mean time, welcome back to Peach. We’ll see how long you stick around this time!

 

 

 

Escape from the Blues

January 4, 2018 § Leave a comment

HorseshoeBayBermuda

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

This is a perfect January day in New England. We are completely snowed in, and nothing is more relaxing than hunkering down in a cozy house as the wind howls outside and the snow banks pile up around us. I love winter!

But that doesn’t mean I like the wintery gray, the limited daylight, and the bitter cold that comes with it. The longer winter goes, the more I yearn for an escape to somewhere warm — even if it’s only in my imagination.

Enter the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year for 2018.

It is an opulent teal that conjures up the ocean and all the warmth of summer at the beach. If a midwinter break in Bermuda is not on your calendar, there are other ways to escape the winter cold — visually. Here are some:

Plan Your Spring Projects. It’s never too early to think about Spring projects, and painting your front door is a doable one. Remember to tie the color in with other accessories and furniture around the yard.

Paint the Fifth Wall. Don’t overlook the ceiling when you’re adding color. Since cool colors recede visually, painting the ceiling a medium teal blue will raise it — like rolling a Utah sky onto your porch.

Splash Color Under Foot. Now I’m making it too easy. Add a gorgeous rug and transform your space instantly. There’s something about the combination of blues and greens that soothes and comforts us all. And a rug adds not just color but texture.

Dive into the Pool. Ceramics, art, dishes, pillows, collectibles, throws, lamps… the options for accessories are endless. Be sure when you add a color to your room that you put it in at least three locations to move the eye around the room and create flow.

Enjoy your staycation! With some daydreaming, a little shopping, and a tad bit of rearranging there at home, you can lift your spirits toward Spring and feel warm and cozy at the same time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Behold: The Gloom of Gray is Lifting

December 12, 2017 § 3 Comments

Thank goodness we’re finally moving away from gray, gray, and even more gray. (If you just repainted from Linen White to Silver Shadow, don’t panic though — it will be okay!) As we move into a new neutral trend (yes, Black), here’s some good advice. Don’t jump on it.

What sometimes happens with trends is that people go overboard with them. They think, aha Gray Trend, I must do everything gray! I have been in so many houses that are all gray on the interior. But in New England, where it’s gray much of the time anyway, those interiors are looking pretty dreary.

The goal should NOT be to create a room that looks like it was decorated in a particular period. The goal should be to create a room that is, as the color maven Maria Killam is known to say, “Classic and Timeless.” http://www.mariakillam.com/whats-next-grey-trend/

How do you achieve that? By mixing stuff up. Here are three basic rules:

  1. Keep the walls a light neutral. There are wonderful shades of whites out there, and most of them don’t read like spackling paste so don’t be afraid to go light. You won’t have to repaint every couple of years if that trendy color you love goes stale. Compromise? Paint only one wall, the focal wall, that trendy color.
  2. Keep the large, expensive furniture pieces, like the sofa, plain (remember plaid? No. Go with no pattern or just a texture so that the sofa stays timeless. Color is okay, but make sure you love it!) If you have a well-made sofa that you do not want to replace, you can opt for a slipcover (custom is best — but regardless, make sure the cushions have individual covers.)
  3. THEN mix things up. Add color in the rug, pillows, art, accessories, and other decorative and personal stuff of life that will make your room feel like it’s yours and not a designer’s.

And of course, let me mention the elephant in the room: inherited pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix your styles to incorporate family heirlooms. You will either have an objet d’art with a story behind it or a cozy room with treasures that remind you of home. Either way, do not be a slave to a particular decorating style just because an inherited piece “doesn’t go.” Embrace it!

Now let’s amp up the color for 2018, shall we?!

 

 

 

 

Orange Twist to the Red Revival

September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments

Apples, pumpkins, falling leaves — there’s something about Autumn in New England that, despite our recent warm temperatures, makes us cozy up to the changing seasons. Maybe that’s why some of us live here.

My newest door color obsession is a revival of the orangey red of another decade, and that may signal the end of the light, neutral, blue and even light lemon yellow door color trend I’ve focused on for the past several years. This red, Million Dollar Red (Benjamin Moore 2003-10) is as perfect on a traditional white colonial as it is on a black modern home. There is no mistaking where the door is — it screams Welcome!

What I love most about it is its “orangeyness.” Orange is a happy color no matter what. So a red on the orange side (versus pink) says this is a happy home. The color also has an updated, contemporary feel as opposed to the more traditional burgundy red (also great, of course, but more serious and refined).

Adding an orangey red as an accent color on the interior is also a great way to torque up the energy. Try it on the back of a white bookshelf, or on a pouf ottoman in the family room, or even on a focal wall in the front entry. A little bit of red warms up a room a lot. So before painting an entire room red, make sure you want to amp up the temperature in there. Using red on items that can be removed in the hot summer makes sense to me: pillows, bedding, throws, and art. Then I look forward to my seasonal exchange when I swap out the cool blue accessories for red.

Enjoy Autumn… whatever it means to you and wherever you are. And love how the color orangey red makes you feel. Warm and Happy.

Something Old Makes Something New

August 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

How do you incorporate antiques and inherited treasures into your decor without creating your grandmother’s house (with all due respect to our grandmothers)? Here are some tips:

-Add  contemporary lighting like the drum shade chandelier and standing lamp in the photo (from Rejuvenation) to your traditional decor. You will be amazed what new lighting will do to your room.

-Reupholster treasured furniture pieces in classic, solid fabrics that will keep the pieces timeless from this point forward. Patterns tend to come and go over the decades, and you can date a piece instantly by upholstering it in a trendy fabric. And then you’re stuck with it after the trend is long gone.

-Layer rugs to feature one that is too small to stand on its own in a conversation area.

-Dress windows simply to avoid visual clutter from too much pattern.

-Keep the overall feeling calm in the room. Too many patterns lead to visual clutter, something our grandmothers tended to accumulate over the decades.

-Or add a crazy patterned accent piece to a neutral room. No sense in being TOO serious about our decorating.

-Show legs. Letting the furniture pieces show their legs allows for “air” around each piece and a feeling of lightness in the room. Skirts on all the pieces can weigh them down and make them look dated. (Investigate removing the skirt from an old chair or sofa. I did it and what a difference!)

-For accessories? Cluster them. Avoid scattering them all over the horizontal surfaces. Instead, feature them together on a shelf or display cabinet. That way you’ve contained the clutter while calling attention to the collection as a whole.

Cherish your heritage furniture pieces or your finds from a consignment shop. Embrace them. Love them. And show them off in a fresh new way.