February 15, 2014 §
Take a look at your lamps. Have they been on the same side tables for more than 20 years? 30 even? (okay that’s scary) Listen up. One of the easiest and cheapest updates you can do for your house is to exchange the old lighting for something fresh, colorful, and uplifting.
New lamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some with colored glass, some with clear. Some have updated metals, some are made to look old. But all have crisp shades with a nice clean barrel shape. (Traditional lamps are still, well, traditional. They will never go out of style. But you know what kind of outdated lamps I mean. Check out your grandmother’s family room, decorated circa 1968. Now you get it.)
You do not have to spend a lot of money. You can shop at a fancy lighting store or Target and get an updated look.
And while you’re looking at lighting, check out your ceiling fixtures. For a few bills at a home improvement store, you can switch out the old brass candelabra flush-mount fixture for something MUCH more current. The change will transform the house — you will see it in a whole new … (wait for it) … LIGHT.
(Lamp from Bellacor: Number 541835)
January 29, 2014 §
Those 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!
January 24, 2014 §
Gold and brass are finally officially back. The cheerful, dressed-up metal color has been scorned and ostracized for years, it seems, with homeowners rushing to change out everything from drawer knobs to door hinges. Well, hold up.
Over the past couple of years, we have watched brass trickle back into design (you knew it would) but have been waiting for the main stream to catch on. Now we’re seeing a mix-and-match approach that seems to fit everybody’s home style.
In this kitchen by architect William Hefner (http://www.williamhefner.com/) we see dramatic gold accents along with the other metals (chrome sink and wrought iron light fixtures). What I’m sensing, as with fashion, is that you can pick your accent metal like you pick your hem length. If it works for you, then go for it. We love that approach as it allows you to update your home without having to replace everything in it all at once. Casual acceptance of materials seems way more sensible than dictating that “Metal X” (whatever that turns out to be) is totally OUT.
Hurray for sensible design.
January 22, 2014 §
Designers are adding pops of color to the previous year’s light neutral color palette and in the most unexpected places. Look up for an opportunity to add color to your white kitchen. Pull some of that ceiling color down into the room with dishes, placemats, and other accessories. And create “flow” between rooms by adding a touch of your ceiling color to the adjoining room.
Color trends like this year’s fuschia are fun when you can add the color with inexpensive pillows or a single upholstered chair (http://www.worldmarket.com/product/fuchsia-nina-chair.do). Keeping the base of the room neutral lets you change your color palette when fresh new opportunities arise. Or with the seasons.
January 18, 2014 §
This update, to state the obvious, is the easiest project short of rolling paint on a wall. So easy that many of you will skip over this post or roll your eyes that I’m even mentioning it. But just in case you are still looking at stained seat covers on your kitchen chairs, you have no more excuses.
- Turn the chair upside down.
- Take your handy-dandy screwdriver (yes, you should have your own) and twist out the 4 screws.
- Next, go to your local fabric store and pick out a nice pattern and color that will look good in your room.
- Buy 1 1/2 yards (of a 50-54″-wide) fabric. If you’re at JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts, go to the “Home Dec” section so the fabric is sturdy enough to hold up. You don’t want quilting cotton — too flimsy.
- Lay the fabric upside down on a large table or the floor. Place your seat upside down on the fabric and cut out the new seat cover, leaving at least a 2-3″ margin after you lift the fabric up to cover the sides of the seat. Cut the fabric. (Don’t stress about the cutting — the edges are not going to show.)
- Next. If you don’t already have a staple gun (sigh), you need one. So many uses.
- Pull the fabric taut over the seat and put one staple in the center front underside of the seat.
- Turn the seat around and pull the fabric taut again putting one staple in the center back underside of the seat. Repeat with the sides, making sure the fabric pattern is straight (turn the seat over and check).
- Then pulling the fabric taut, staple the fabric onto the seat, moving toward the corners. Fold the corner pieces and staple underneath.
- Trim the fabric excess. Turn the seat over. Place it back on the chair and put the screws back in.
January 17, 2014 §
Tip 1: Make the Master Bedroom a cozy nest.
Remove outdated window treatments.
Dress the bed to look welcoming.
Add art above the headboard.
Make sure there is adequate lighting.
Tip 2: Clear the path to the room’s focal point.
Take away unnecessary furniture.
Remove dark window valances.
Rearrange furniture to feature focal area.
Tip 3: Remove styling that dates the house.
Less is more when you’re trying to attract young buyers.
Remove rugs to show off tile or hardwood floors.
Reorient furniture to add space.
January 16, 2014 §
1) Are you planning to put your house on the market anytime soon?
2) Are you a collector?
If you answered YES to both questions, then I’m here to help.
Whether it’s a massive book collection in the living room, a rock collection in the study, or a porcelain collection in the corner curio cabinet, the very first step in preparing your home for the market is to
You may think your treasures are carefully tucked away on high shelves away from onlookers, but collections, plain and simple, represent clutter and add to the perceived age of the house. Collections also draw the eye of the potential buyers away from the architectural features of the house (what you want them to see) and focus the buyer’s attention on your hobbies. What they most likely will remember about your house will be the collections and not the house.
Another even more practical reason to box up your collections is so that nothing will get broken. Potential buyers and their children wander through your house unaccompanied during an Open House, and a toy car collection will stimulate lots of interest, but not the good kind.
You do not have to strip the shelves completely bare. Empty shelves do not sell houses any better than over-stuffed ones. You can keep some books and larger accessories. As a rule of thumb, shelves should be about 2/5ths full. In other words, if you have a bookshelf with 5 shelves, 3 of them should be emptied and the remainder of the items redistributed. If you empty the entire bookshelf, then remove it from the room completely.
Hope that gets you started. Happy Selling!
January 15, 2014 §
So often I am called to a freshly painted room and asked to help the homeowners find a rug and window treatments to go with the new wall color. As much as I appreciate the homeowners’ enthusiasm for tackling the paint project first, it makes finishing the room much harder to start with the paint.
If you’re planning a room re-do and anticipate purchasing new furniture, window treatments, and a rug, here’s the most efficient order of purchases:
- Pick the biggest-ticket item first, perhaps the new upholstered or leather sectional sofa.
- Then pick the other furniture, like upholstered chairs and a leather ottoman.
- Then pick the rug. There are fewer options at that point, but the rug will introduce additional colors into the palette and you can bring those other colors into the room with art and accessories.
- Then if you want fabric window treatments, pick the fabric next that will complement the other elements.
- After ALL those decisions are made, THEN it’s time to pick the wall color.
There is a multitude of paint colors, shades, and tones from which to choose, but the paint decision will actually present itself more clearly once all the other major decisions are made. And the paint color will then pull the whole room together.
If your furniture and rugs are neutral, you can find your color inspiration from almost anywhere, including in this case, a hand-painted platter. From that inspiration piece, we pulled in a striped fabric to cover some rattan chairs, and pulled the soft, gray-green paint color out at the end to complement the blues.
January 16, 2013 §
When it comes to furniture placement, some rooms just will not cooperate. With bay windows, bow windows, niches, dormers, and other odd architectural challenges, where on earth do you put your sofa? One solution is to forget the sofa altogether and replace it with a circular arrangement of very comfortable chairs, either all matching for a formal look or all mismatched for a casual eclectic look.
Either way, the arrangement gives you an instant, inviting seating area where you can sit down with others and have a cup of coffee or read the paper. In this photo, the designers put a round coffee table for holding popcorn, drinks, books, and just about anything else. But as you know, I’m a big fan of the big overstuffed ottoman– what I consider to be the perfect piece of versatile furniture– so that would be my choice for the center.
If you simply cannot figure out where to place your living room sofa, consider moving it to the family room or wherever the TV is. Replace the sofa/loveseat/chair concept with four comfy upholstered chairs. You’ll love the change.
January 9, 2013 §
Sometimes the “bones” of an old house fall under the category of “What were they thinking?” You could say that about this brick fireplace with its random placement of dark bricks and the outdated brass enclosure. But not to worry. Your family room is not doomed to the styles of 1972 — you have options. One of the best ones is to paint the brick as shown in the after photo (from Southern Living Magazine’s Makeovers).
The homeowners covered the offensive brick with a flat, textured paint in the green wall color. They painted the hearth in a natural stone color. Then they added two bookshelves for a built-in look and painted them the same green. The new fireplace insert in a bronze color blends nicely. A narrower mantel and corbels painted cream pop off the green — art finishes the focal point.
The overall result is a fireplace wall with emphasis on everything but the original dated fireplace. When faced with old brick or other outdated hardscape in your home, consider painting it for an almost instant update without the expense of covering it or replacing it. This makeover was a huge success. No more ugly brick.