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

 

 

 

Celebrating Authentically

November 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

wreathAfter years of using fake greenery around and on my front door in a futile attempt to make holiday decorating easy and inexpensive (true confessions — you’ve heard of the cobbler’s children having no shoes?), well my big, beautifully-adorned-with-more-fakery wreath fell apart onto the closet floor.

That single event made quite an impact, literally and figuratively, of course. I am SO fed up with fake everything: plastic wreaths, plastic lights, plastic balls, plastic blow-up Santas, plastic reindeer in the yard. For me this year, after quite a year, I am settling down to a visually simple, quiet, authentic holiday season.

I don’t mind others’ decorations at all — the lights, the colors, the flashing sleigh on the roof, and everything else that makes children’s jaws drop in sheer delight — don’t get me wrong. But I guess with the kids all out of the house, I don’t feel the need to create a spectacle. And it’s okay.

For those of you who share my desire for a simpler holiday, I’m here to say that it’s okay. A few special ornaments or treasures from past years displayed among some fresh greens on the dining room table or mantle can provide the essence of the season without the hassle and the clean-up on January 2. For those who adore the season of color and lights, go for it. The rest of us will appreciate all you do to make our neighborhoods sparkly and special.

ribbonedSo today I am going out to buy a big plain evergreen bough wreath. Then, I’ll tie a big light blue floral ribbon on it and hang it on the front door. Then I’ll snip some pine from the backyard and stick the branches in my big blue pot on the front porch. Maybe even put a spotlight on the door so the house looks welcoming at night. And with that done, I can focus on making the holiday special and memorable for my family and … for me.

(wreath: LLBean)

What Color to Paint Your Big House

February 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Building a new house or a large addition but beginning to worry that it might look too big in your neighborhood? Maybe a lot of people don’t worry about their neighbors, but some people do. If you think your house might appear overly large-scaled, then avoid painting it white. The contrast against the setting makes white stand out even more than other light colors.

To bring the house down to scale and accent the architecture at the same time, consider a dark color like a dark charcoal or dark green for the siding. Dark trim, of course, will camouflage the house even more, whereas white trim will highlight windows, doors, and roof trim.

Your choice — but becoming the McMansion in the modest neighborhood will not endear yourself to your neighbors. And my how they talk…

Fair warning.

Warm Your Soul with Color

January 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

ImageThose of us with light airy neutral homes are feeling the chill this winter. Whether it’s the frigid temperatures outside or the cabin fever inside, the light, low-contrasting palette we enjoy so much of the year for its calm and cool comfort just isn’t cutting it.

A recent trip to a home goods store had me craving color. On two separate occasions, my eye scoured the store’s palette of spring selections and landed on the same warm vibrant coral. I had to have it. First the pillow. And next time, two towels (for me only, I might add).

Color makes us feel good. Color cheers us up and calms us down. And the right color can make our homes feel cozy and welcoming any time of year. Welcome home, my new coral accents. And if the temps don’t rise soon, I’ll be off to the paint store for a gallon of, you guessed it, coral.

Stay warm, my friends!

That Huge TV is so Ugly — What to do

January 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

ImageElectronics have plagued designers and esthetically driven homeowners since the demise of the TV console with doors. We’re now learning to embrace the large shiny black rectangle.

If you are trying to disguise your elephant in the living room, blend it. A black cabinet and other black accessories will help to camouflage the electronic “stuff of life” better than a white or light-colored cabinet will. See how the TV pops out of the white cabinet? And the bigger the TV, or course, the bigger the pop!

Try camouflage in your home office as well. Dark charcoal gray is another wonderful color for blending printers and monitors and other less-than-attractive devices so necessary to our everyday existence. Computers and TVs (etc.) are functional. We don’t necessarily want to see them.

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Black Brings It

March 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Who says black is not a house color? Certainly not me.  Black is to houses what a little black dress is to a stylish woman. A great way to show your stuff.

Black is both dramatic and neutral. It attracts attention and shies away from it. Black blends with almost any environment, yet it makes all other features stand out, like the crisp white windows on this house. Since the trim on the rest of the house is also black, the white windows and window trim take center stage. The natural cedar roof creates warmth and texture. And the bronze gutters look like jewelry.

Another feature that stands out is the rock wall. The backdrop of black allows the depth of color on the rock wall to come forward — much more effectively than if the house were another more typical earth tone.

The mix of siding materials adds an additional layer of texture. The tall board and batten siding on the high gabled section makes a tower of that end of the house. The shakes on the rest bring it on home.

Yes, black maintains its reputation as the color of sophistication. Even for siding.

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