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

 

 

 

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.

Why “Fixer Upper Style” is a Thing

March 28, 2017 § Leave a comment

MagnoliaWhat is it about the latest home decorating craze that has us all rushing out to buy accessories that look like they belong in a barn? Well lots of things, it turns out. But first of all, in case your TV is not permanently fixed on HGTV, here’s what I’m talking about.

“Fixer Upper,” the smash HGTV show featuring the lovely designer Joanna Gaines and her cute, goofy, muscled, builder husband Chip, has transformed the design aesthetic in much of the country from Pottery Barn chic to We-All-Want-to-Move-to-Waco fabulous. What Chip and Joanna do with ugly fixer-uppers is remarkable. Here’s a Before & After example of the French Country episode exterior:

Fixer-Upper-French-Country-Episode before

Fixer-Upper-French-Country-Episode-after

The interior style is relaxed with a simple black, white, gray, and cream color palette, reclaimed wood pieces, including “ship lap” (horizontal wide-plank panelling) on the walls, and lots of textures and accessories that Joanna acquires from the “antiques and junk” shops of rural Texas and her own Silos full of treasures at Magnolia Market. She is a master at accessorizing a room to give what others have described as that Modern Farmhouse aesthetic — lived-in yet chic, folksy yet uncluttered. What she does is truly an art — really!

BP_HFXUP303H_living-room_AFTER_194792_647412-1196046.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960

HGTV, Joanna Gaines

Why is this style so popular now??

  • We love Chip and Joanna. They radiate love for each other and their four cute children. It’s fun to watch them at home and, like a soap opera, the show is such a refreshing antidote to the routines of our own daily lives.
  • The style reminds us of Grandma. Many of the items Joanna finds and uses in her designs are old antiques and treasures we might remember from visiting our grandparents out on the farm. It’s refreshing to travel back to those simpler days.
  • The color palette is relaxing. With the over-stimulation of our lives, it’s calming to see whites and woods and neutrals that don’t generate an emotional response. We need downtime in our lives and this style seems to create it.
BP_HFXUP205H_Purks_dining-room_detail_474488-1044036.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.853

HGTV, Joanna Gaines

  • The style starts from scratch. The show guts houses and creates new spaces. There’s something cathartic about the idea of tearing down walls, donating all the old furniture, and starting with a clean slate. It says something about our group needs as a culture.
  • What’s old is new again. Even though the bones of the rooms are new and updated, the look appears old and recycled. Scratches and dents don’t matter in this style. They add character. And how relaxing is it to think that your kids can sit at a table without coasters under the glasses.
  • Things have a reason for being there. Joanna’s design uses lots of accessories but the rooms don’t appear cluttered. That is the work of a skilled artist. It’s hard to accessorize mindfully without overdoing.

Tips:  If you want to incorporate the Fixer Upper style into your decor,

  • Start with the kitchen as it can accommodate extra accessories without appearing overdone.
  • Stay authentic. The reason Joanna’s style works is she uses actual old pieces she finds.
  • Shop antique and consignment stores to find accessories that fit the style, and don’t forget to look in Grandpa’s old barn. Lots of stuff in there, I bet.
  • Do what you love. Make your space a happy one to come home to. That means way more than following a particular trend.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Color Inspirations to Paint

February 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

Walking into a pottery shop is like immersing yourself in a box of crayons, all pristine and unbroken with endless possibilities of combinations.

bluedishesThis set of dazzling bowls caught my eye. Mesmerizing is how I’d describe them with an array of blues from turquoise to cornflower. (The dishes are mine now.)

Whatever the inspiration, there is a paint project waiting. In my mind’s eye driving home, I see these dishes in a dining room painted any one of the colors with crisp white trim. Maybe even a shiny white bead board around the wainscoting to bring out the hues in the room. I can also see any one of these colors on the walls in a kitchen with white cabinets and a white subway tile backsplash. Or maybe one of these colors for the backsplash! (Head is spinning with ideas.)

Accent walls give us a way to add a small amount of color drama to the focal area of a room without painting everything. Especially nice in open-floor-plan spaces where walls may incorporate several rooms. How about one of these rich hues for your front door? Spring painting is right around the corner. (Ben Moore’s Calypso Blue, Bermuda Blue, and Deep Mulberry)

Let the color in front of you and surrounding you inspire you. Wrap yourself up in it. Do something for yourself and create a happy house. It’s just paint!

 

 

 

Make You Happy — Consignment Love

January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

A home stager’s life can be unsettling.Dishes Furniture comes and goes, from storage unit to my own living room and then off to somebody’s vacant home and then back again two months later. My husband jokes that he has to turn the light on before he enters a room or he might trip over an ottoman that wasn’t there a few minutes ago.

And as a stager, I often un-decorate a home to make it more appealing (or at least not unappealing) to a wide swath of potential buyers. Family photos? Gone. Floral drapes? Too busy. Oriental rugs? Too taste-specific. So life is full of light neutral walls, white window panels, generic art, plain slipcovers, and sisal rugs. Everything looks good at the end in a Pottery Barn kind of way, but I am growing tired of meh.

Enter my favorite consignment store. And inspiration.

Finally I am going to buy something other than white plates and Parson’s chairs. And for me. These French blue dishes with gently scalloped edges and little raised dots around the rim are totally taste-specific. Mine. DRChairsAnd the chairs with their cane backs, girly curves, and cream leather seats are too old-fashioned for today’s young buyers. They would spray-paint them white! Not me.

I have found love, and these items will stay in my home. I can come home every night and expect to see them there, not in somebody’s 1800s farmhouse kitchen with a For Sale sign in the front yard.

My point to all this? Surround yourself with what makes YOU happy. Don’t let your job take over your home. Have a sacred space that’s your own. Hang onto things that mean something to you and make you feel good. All that! And more this New Year.

 

 

 

 

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