Color Inspiration is Everywhere

February 19, 2018 § 2 Comments

 

While scrolling through the interwebs today I bumped into this tweet from Architectural Digest  highlighting 20 cute items from Walmart. Okay, that I had to see. And I have to agree — there are lots of really “super cute things” that I had not noticed while shopping for cheap soap dispensers.

But the item that caught my eye and sent me off to color dreamland was a gorgeous ribbed glass bowl in the most deliciously subtle tones of green. It reminded me of the Farrow & Ball color palette — you know — those paint colors that look like velvet in shades and tones that no other paint company seems to match. There’s something about them (trade secrets, I suspect) that gives a room or a piece of furniture a hue that whispers sophistication. Not one of them will show up in a Crayola box.

 

 

 

CookingAppleGreen

Cooking Apple Green No. 32

There are two obvious things that distinguish Farrow & Ball from other more mainstream paint lines: the number of colors (way fewer) and the price (way more). And although many home projects and palettes of colors might not be worth the extra expense because the subtle tonal difference or undertone might not be noticed, I find that the blues and greens in Farrow & Ball are far superior for their soft, sophisticated richness.

Maybe it’s the largess of their English roots (Farrow & Ball is located in the United Kingdom). Or maybe it’s the fewer number of perfect colors (only 132) so that every color decision is a successful one. Or the fact that the company has maintained its original formulation. Or maybe it’s the mystique. But whatever it is … I love it.

farrowandball-paint

What makes F&B different

Regardless of the paint line you prefer, keep your eyes open for color inspirations. They are everywhere — even Walmart.

Behold: The Gloom of Gray is Lifting

December 12, 2017 § 3 Comments

Thank goodness we’re finally moving away from gray, gray, and even more gray. (If you just repainted from Linen White to Silver Shadow, don’t panic though — it will be okay!) As we move into a new neutral trend (yes, Black), here’s some good advice. Don’t jump on it.

What sometimes happens with trends is that people go overboard with them. They think, aha Gray Trend, I must do everything gray! I have been in so many houses that are all gray on the interior. But in New England, where it’s gray much of the time anyway, those interiors are looking pretty dreary.

The goal should NOT be to create a room that looks like it was decorated in a particular period. The goal should be to create a room that is, as the color maven Maria Killam is known to say, “Classic and Timeless.” http://www.mariakillam.com/whats-next-grey-trend/

How do you achieve that? By mixing stuff up. Here are three basic rules:

  1. Keep the walls a light neutral. There are wonderful shades of whites out there, and most of them don’t read like spackling paste so don’t be afraid to go light. You won’t have to repaint every couple of years if that trendy color you love goes stale. Compromise? Paint only one wall, the focal wall, that trendy color.
  2. Keep the large, expensive furniture pieces, like the sofa, plain (remember plaid? No. Go with no pattern or just a texture so that the sofa stays timeless. Color is okay, but make sure you love it!) If you have a well-made sofa that you do not want to replace, you can opt for a slipcover (custom is best — but regardless, make sure the cushions have individual covers.)
  3. THEN mix things up. Add color in the rug, pillows, art, accessories, and other decorative and personal stuff of life that will make your room feel like it’s yours and not a designer’s.

And of course, let me mention the elephant in the room: inherited pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix your styles to incorporate family heirlooms. You will either have an objet d’art with a story behind it or a cozy room with treasures that remind you of home. Either way, do not be a slave to a particular decorating style just because an inherited piece “doesn’t go.” Embrace it!

Now let’s amp up the color for 2018, shall we?!

 

 

 

 

From Grays to Happy

May 2, 2017 § 1 Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray has been the wall color of choice for public spaces in the home for a number of years now, and don’t get me wrong, gray is a wonderful neutral to replace the beiges of the previous trend. But you have to admit, gray is not for everybody. And if you live in a dark home with small windows and low ceilings, painting the walls gray might have been a real downer.

Never fear! Color to the rescue! Here are a few ways to make sure your gray room escapes the wrath of a couple of gallons of primer and a roller:

-Make all trim white. That is the best way to keep the gray clear and crisp.

-Make the ceiling bright ultra white. That will reflect the maximum amount of light back into the room.

-Add bright clear color. Bedding, accessories, a rug, and accent furniture (for example, as we see above in the room from Williams Sonoma Home) will help the gray perform its duty as a neutral backdrop instead of becoming the storm cloud in the room.

Add sparkle. Whether it’s a silver lamp, a crystal chandelier, or some new gold in a brass picture frame, adding metal and glass will provide the finishing touch to the room. Reflective finishes bounce light — like jewelry!

So if your gray walls are bringing you down, don’t despair. Add Color. (You knew I’d say that.)

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing Paint Colors From Room to Room

January 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageCreate flow throughout your home by sharing colors between rooms. In this luscious red Venetian plaster dining room, the red is shared with the living room pillows across the hall. Just enough to draw your eye over there and pull the two spaces together.

Paint colors in nearby rooms “speak” to each other because they are adjacent on the color wheel. Red and yellow are separated by a neutral with a slight green undertone, adding a punch of contrast to the hallway.

Layering colors between rooms that you can see from one location and “cross-pollinating” the colors with pillows, accessories, and artwork will create a flow that will make your home appear bigger, less chopped-up, and more thoughtfully planned for optimal warmth.

(Interior design: Marcy Masterson)

Bring Your Summer Vacation Home: How to Achieve the Cottage Style

August 18, 2008 § Leave a comment

If you own a cottage or rent one somewhere, you know what the cottage style is all about: old painted furniture, vintage fabrics, mixes of woods and different styles of furniture. It’s all about care-free and comfortable living because that’s what vacations are for.

To bring that feeling and more importantly the lifestyle home with you, all you need is a relaxed attitude about your furnishings. Instead of upholstered furniture that warrants surveillance when your children and their friends are around (say nothing of the pets), just invest in some washable custom slipcovers. White is actually best since you can always bleach out the jelly stains if necessary. Cover the expensive sofa and chairs and just feel your blood pressure lowering. You’re relaxing already. And who says wicker is just for porches. A good coat of spray paint will freshen up even the most weather-beaten wicker and make it presentable for your living room.

If you haven’t inherited a cellar full of old furniture that would be perfect for your new relaxed cottage look, then let the furniture hunt begin. Plan what you need, of course, to avoid coming home with impulse purchases, but start the search for the perfect old coffee table, end table, console, buffet, china hutch, whatever you need to create your cottage lifestyle. Visit consignment stores, yard sales, thrift shops, and flea markets. The point is: If you like the piece and it fits, then buy it. If it fits and you don’t like the look, buy it anyway and paint it.

Cottages are typically dumping grounds for old furniture that’s replaced in the permanent home. And to make the furniture look better, it’s often painted. Time and wear rough up the edges on these cottage relics, but you can recreate the look with paint and some sandpaper. You don’t want things to match. Furniture and other items are acquired over time, sometimes decades, so if the piece has a function, it works.

The best part about the cottage style is how comfortable your guests will be when they visit you. No pretense. No uncomfortable questions about where to sit. Your home will feel warm and inviting to everyone.

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