Balancing Color, Pattern, and Neutral

August 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

wm-james-carriere-martha-angus-katie-mccaffrey-breakfast-nook-0917Breakfast Nook

There is so much to love about this breakfast nook (designed by Martha Angus and Katie McCaffrey), I’m going to dive right in.

What’s to Love?

-The light gray walls. By staying with a light cool neutral on the wall color, you allow the pops of warm vibrant color to do just that: pop.

-The simple breakfast nook construction in the same wall color. What happens? The banquette disappears making the room look bigger and less chopped up.

-The wood floor. No doubt it carries throughout the public space making the whole house feel open and unified.

-The table from Paris (yeah, I know). The point is that the table is a unique piece and it’s not only functional but a conversation piece and a memory back to a really nice trip.

-The black and white print. Sure, you can add a vibrant picture there, but the neutral wall hanging allows the colors to take center stage. And they do.

-The yellow leather cushion. It’s yellow but in a fabric that’s easy to wipe up. Essential.

-And those pillows! In colors that coordinate with each other but refuse to look matchy-matchy. (And you just know that the rest of the house pulls colors from that lovely summer palette.)

Take Home Message:

If you want to show off color (or many colors), don’t overdo it. Leave spots empty and devoid of pattern for the eye to rest. And pick a palette of colors (5 is a good number) that you can carry throughout the house in various ways — wall color, furniture, art. The result will be a home that is balanced, unified, has flow from room to room, and that makes you happy every time you open the door.

 

 

Luscious Paint Colors: Warm Brown

April 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

IMG_5286What is more welcoming in a home than rich warm color when you open the door. There are no rules that say your walls have to be a shade of white.

If you would like to add rich color like this Warm Apple Crisp (Benjamin Moore 1091) to your home, here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure you have adequate light to show off the true hue. Natural light is best with big open windows that allow the depth of the color to show without making the room into a cave.
  2. Contrast the walls with white — trim work, furniture, accessories — so that the wall color “pops.”
  3. Pick an accent color from the opposite side of the color wheel to add interest. Since brown is a darker version of orange, blue is its opposite on the color wheel. There is something so fresh about that combination. Insert your accent color with art and accessories like the big, light blue egg on the shelf.
  4. When choosing colors for one room, consider adjoining rooms. Colors should flow from room to room so this warm brown wall color in the entryway was plucked from the adjoining kitchen cabinetryIMG_5350 thereby connecting the two rooms and making the house feel bigger and more pulled together.
  5. Add cute dog for cozy family feel.

Brown is a wonderful color for making a large space feel more intimate or a small space feel warmer, and it is a great way to bring out the depth of color in the woods in your room. Try it!

Green Decorating: The Soothing Hue

March 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

St. Patrick’s Day brings us to thoughts of green. Whether it’s kelly green or any of the variations thereof, green is a versatile, natural hue that brings life and comfort to any room. It is particularly nice in rooms where you spend time revitalizing  your mind and body.

Waking up in a green room warms a cold, white, snowy day and cools a hot, humid summer morning. It can bring the color of lush plants and trees to a city skyline view. And it can calm an agitated, overextended lifestyle at the end of another hectic day.

Green can be either warm (yellow-green) or cool (blue-green), and both pair beautifully with white. Coordinating accent colors can add energy (the complementary reds and pinks, opposites to green on the color wheel) or quiet blending (the analogous yellows and blues on either side of green on the color wheel).

I highly recommend adding green, even a mixture of greens, to your home to quiet and soothe your soul. Wherever you need a few moments of ahhhhhhh.

Paint colors above: Top left to right: Waterscape  SW 6470, Topiary Tint SW 6449, Honeydew SW 6428, Breaktime SW 6463. Bottom left to right: BM Guilford Green HC-116, Palisades Park BM 439, High Park BM 467, Dartsmouth Green BM 691.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Got Personality? Show It

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

What does your room say about you? Designer Jeffery Bilhuber (House Beautiful, Feb 2016) infused a boatload of personality and let us know a few other things as well. What this room shouts to me:gallery-living-room-1

  • Forget about symmetry. Mismatched end tables are way more interesting than a set.
  • Go ahead and mix woods. We acquire furniture from our parents, we find treasures at a flea market, and sometimes pieces have sentimental value. Use them — even if they don’t “match” your decor.
  • Add your favorite color to the room. And if you don’t have a favorite, use several. If you keep the colors at the same “hue value” (lightness or darkness of a color), they mix well together.
  • Function is important. Don’t forget that you need to set your wine glass down.
  • Forget matchy-matchy. This designer has taken that declaration over the top by using two different window shade colors. Bold and impetuous design choice there, but again, the room screams,”I want to be different.” And I applaud that.
  • Let color speak in the room by creating a neutral backdrop from which the color can “pop.” Here, the light gray walls and the neutral woven rug give the eye a rest.
  • Flowers and the little accessory details finish the room. Without them the room can look cold and staged (too many, of course, and you have a clutter zone).
  • Texture matters. That sofa looks so soft. Adding warmth and texture with pillows can warm up anything, even leather.

Bottom line: You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t just follow the design trends. Let your room reflect who you are and what you love.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

In a Teen’s Bedroom, It’s Just Paint

February 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

In a Teen's Bedroom, It's Just PaintLetting your child express herself in her bedroom is a wonderful way to uncork inner creativity. You may bristle at the color scheme and opt to keep the door closed most of the time, but allowing your child to have a room of his or her own design is so important to creative development.

In this room, the young client chose a Pottery Barn Teen bed cover as her inspiration piece. After we selected a new wall color together (a soft purple — and a departure from the previous bubblegum pink), we brought in white accessories and a purple polka dot rug.

I mentioned that sometimes it’s fun to get a little crazy with the closet doors in the bedroom because they present a blank white canvas just begging for color. So guess what … hey, it’s just paint!

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