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!
January 4, 2018 § Leave a comment
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!
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.
March 26, 2017 § 2 Comments
What makes a living room dreamy? Here’s what works for me.
- A fireplace mantel that can anchor a beautiful inspirational piece of art. This one, “Wild Orange Sherbet” by J.P. Prior, does it for me. Even the name makes me happy.
- A big comfy sofa. I’ve always wanted a curved sofa (this one from Arhaus) as it invites conversation. People tend to sit down and talk with each other instead of staring at the TV (which, you might note, is absent from my dream living room).
- Neutral major pieces. I chose Taft Pewter for the upholstery color because it goes beautifully with the stone around the fireplace, and the color won’t grow tiring. Even if pillows come and go with new color trends, the sofa’s soft, sophisticated neutrality will endure.
- A rug that will further define the conversation area
and be cozy underfoot.
This neutral coordinates with the sofa and doesn’t detract from the focal point of the room.
- An ottoman is
an absolute must as it beckons you to put your feet up and relax. With a tray on top, an ottoman serves as a hard surface for drinks and snacks.
- A pair of perky chairs (opposite the sofa) to round out the conversation area and yell “Surprise!” when somebody enters the room. Everybody needs at least one chair in their favorite color.
- Pillows that pull the whole color palette together and come in different sizes and textures and may be swapped out seasonally if you like.
- Finally, a pretty paint color that provides a backdrop for the room but does not compete with anything for attention. For this room, I chose Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray, OC23.
The whole idea of my Dream Living Room is to set a happy, relaxed tone for the house in a classic and timeless style that won’t look too dated when the next big trend comes along. Keeping the bones of the room classic (hardwoods, architectural details) and the expensive pieces timeless (sofa and large furniture) allows you to play with chairs and accessories and art and have fun.
Create a dream living room in your home. Ahhhh… I like dreaming.
Sources: Art (“Wild Orange Sherbet” by J.P. Prior). Mantel (MantelCraft). Sofa (Arhaus.com for other living room inspirations). Rug (Arhaus.com). Ottoman (Arhaus.com). Armchair (Dot&Bo). Pillows: Yellow (Fine Art America), Damask (Wayfair), Lumbar Pillow (Pier 1 Imports). Paint: Benjamin Moore, Classic Gray OC23.