Is Your House an EXtrovert? Paint It

February 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

In the next town over, there’s a purple house. And when I say purple, I mean PURple, but not just the front door as we see in the row house above, but also the siding, the trim, the doors, the shutters, and even the concrete foundation. The whole house is purple. (I would show you a photo of the house, but I don’t want to embarrass it.) The result is a house that draws everyone’s attention and not in a good way.

On the other hand, if your house is already an extrovert — one that has character and interesting features you want to show off in all their glory, then go ahead and use paint. This article from This Old House presents ideas for how to bring out the personality in your older home and shows not only colors that grab attention but also where to put them and which ones go beautifully together.

There are lots of ways to use color. This beachy turquoise, perfect for a cottage style home in a coastal community, uses one hue — a medium tone for the siding and a darker value for the shutters and door. White trim completes the cottagey look. The result is a house that displays its positive features without overdoing the palette. This strategy is especially good for a small house.

Dark colors are trending now, and this gray-brown ranch is a good example. But instead of keeping the whole house a quiet, conventional wallflower, the homeowner displays its cheerful personality with tangerine shutters, front door and striped awning. The white trim makes the colors “pop,” as we say, and you have a real looker!

Speaking of citrus, look how this bungalow shows off its architectural features with Juicy Fruit colors and — wait a minute — a lovely deep grape purple foundation. Now that works!

My favorite color combination, though, and perfect for this restored Italianate house, is terra cotta siding; a darker value for the window muntins, eave corbels, and column accents; a rich natural wood front door (and rocking chairs — nice touch); and cream gingerbread trim.

These are only a few ideas for how to embellish your older home with color. Spring outdoor projects are coming for many of us, and one of us at least has house color on her mind. Ha!

Think color, my Color Friends! And stay cozy.

 

 

 

Creating Colorful Curb Appeal

January 23, 2018 § 2 Comments

Need curb appeal?? Well, this remarkable ranch re-do will show you how some strategic changes to the front of a rather ho-hum house can make a huge impact, and if you’re planning on selling anytime soon, pay attention. There are some quick easy fixes that may apply to you.

Here is the Before shot: faded vinyl siding, old aluminum windows, dated storm door, dirty white shutters, old iron stair railing, and tree overgrowth. Have you seen a million houses like this one? Yup. Me too. Not exactly a head-turner.

Laurel LaBauve at SoPo Cottage addressed the front facade with a new porch portico. Adding dimension to the front face of the ranch made a huge difference and created a cottage style instantly. She could have stopped there, but onward to new windows (fresh, white, two-over-two) that brought more light into the house and gave it a cute, vintage, styled look. Excellent choice!

Next up? The vinyl siding. Why does the after vinyl look so terrific? Laurel revealed her secret: something called Vinyl Renu, a product that, Laurel reports, brings new life to the color and sheen and is supposed to last 10 years! I’m in! What a difference. If your house has vinyl siding and it needs a refresh, here’s the stuff.

Switching the shutters to black board-and-batten was another great cottagey move. If they’re vinyl, you fooled me. Note: Leaving the brand new windows bare with no shutters would not have been a bad thing. A little more contemporary. But the contrast of the black with the light blue siding and white trim is sharp, and the house looks finished.

Then there’s the front door color. Yellow. One of my faves as it sings Happy House as you walk up the front steps. And the coordinating flowers in the new window boxes (also a cottage style fun-to-have) pull the whole look together. (If you need color help, let me know!)

Even if there is no budget for major changes, here are a few easy fixes that will still make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Take-aways for home sellers:

  1. Trim the trees back so that the house is free of branches and there’s a clear view of the house from the approach. Pay attention to the landscaping, weeding, and overgrown bushes. It’s amazing what a little green thumb elbow grease will do.
  2. Rev up the vinyl siding with Vinyl Renu to give the color a fresh look.
  3. Add shutters if there’s room and particularly if the house is a light color. Black will give the house a dressed-up and polished curb appeal.
  4. Add coordinating accessories like porch lighting and a mailbox.
  5. Paint the front door a warm contrasting color and tie in the landscape (annuals, flowering shrubs) and any outdoor accessories like Adirondack chairs or deck furniture.

Click here to see how the INside was transformed. Bravo! Laurel, you are quite an inspiration.

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.

Making a House Color Splash

March 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

I have driven past this house for years and every time, I do a double take. Situated next toIMG_4763 a busy roadway, there is nowhere to stop, get out of the car, and snap a decent photo. But that does not deter me.

The red brick wall is not part of the yard. And who cares about it anyway. It is the roof color and the coordinating front door in a spectacular (guessing here) Starry Night Blue (BM 2067-20) that grabs our attention. The rest of the trim is a quiet brown taken right from the brick. We don’t even notice the window trim at all, and that’s the point.

starrynightblue

The roof looks like Vermont Mottled Purple slate, but honestly I have no idea. All I can say is that this house creates, in its traditional neighborhood, a huge House Color Splash. Kudos! And I cannot wait to drive by again.

Don’t forget about the roof color when you are planning your exterior color scheme. It is absolutely fine to keep it neutral, but if you have the personality to withstand the gawking passersby if you decide to add color to the roof, then go for it. Just remember to tie it into the rest of the house with shutters and/or front door to match. I will thank you.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Not-So-New Kitchen Flooring Ideas

June 2, 2014 § 2 Comments

ImageKitchen floors always pose a challenge. Do we continue the not-always-practical hardwoods throughout or do we interrupt the flow with a more indestructible surface alternative? In this kitchen by Designer Sarah Richardson, she used a linoleum tile to create a colorful and durable floor to complement the light pastel blue and white palette. What we do not see is the adjoining room and how the two areas are connected.

Here is my rule of thumb:

If you have a small house, continue the hardwood floors throughout the downstairs public areas (living room, dining room, family room if there is one, and kitchen). That way, the house will appear larger and less chopped up into individual rooms.

If you have an old house (or a large one) with distinct room divisions, go ahead and select an alternative flooring that offers color or durability (although carrying the hardwood throughout is okay too). I recommend using the color palette to pull the public areas together so in Sarah’s case, the adjoining room would have some light blue in it. Mixing and matching within the color palette will create the feeling of a larger, more pulled-together house — even if the rooms are boxy and divided by walls and small doors.

Just like there are more options than granite and Formica for your kitchen counter top, there are now numerous exciting alternatives to wood and tile on your kitchen floor.

 

 

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