It is January 2019, and yes, I am just starting to blog. Well, actually I did one about 5 years ago and realized it is not my forte- and it still isn't, but I have things to share. So, I guess this is a re-start. Know for sure, this will be a sporadic- because how on earth could there be something of interest to share every day, or every week. The world is shouting: "Social Media, Social media."....." put yourself out there and make yourself heard." Really? I just want to hunker down and quietly solve your Design Problems... as in a whole room, a whole floor, or a whole house.
I want to live my life and enjoy things and cherish people- not as a stressed, fast paced adventure. Its about "delighting" in every little morsel of life. Ssshhhhh... let's go have some fun and give people wonderful homes.
Why am I telling you this? Because I know so many Designers who are frazzled trying to keep up with the Blog World and Social Media World. They hire people to give fabulous service to their customers. Me? Well I like the hands on approach, and I want to be the one to give you the fabulous room.
ME: I like to enjoy my coffee, take classes, meet people, go out in nature, learn new things and share with you and, REALLY take my time to help people.
Remember: Enjoy the Journey - it isnot a Race. And I love the book The Road Less Traveled.
What does a bored Interior Designer do during Crazy times?
Takes lots of walks. And as I took a walk in the neighborhood this morning, I noticed a lot of homes in need of exterior color consultation. So, to keep my creative juices going, I’m going to post pictures of them and let you see my suggestions. ( no it’s not an invasion of privacy, have you seen the pictures of your home on google maps?)
As I was walking around, I was feeling a little weird taking pictures. Of course wouldn't you know, when I got home, there was a neighborhood alert about some man driving up to homes and taking pictures (in a nearby neighborhood)....they even got the license plate number.
I will later post about gray. I have seen some terrible gray homes. You've got to be careful with your gray's, sometimes can look purple and taupe's can sometimes turn pink.
Also as I post, please realize that monitors read colors different, I know what my naked eye sees, so I'll be working with what I see.
←I love this house! It is so regal. It is not standing up straight... it looks down-trodden and sad. This is one of those homes that gray is not always the best solution.
When painting the exterior of a home, the important thing to remember: what are the things that won't be changed. On this house, it is the stone, probably roof, and the window color.
If the stucco color changed to the suggested color, then the house would boldly, stand up like a soldier in a more regal way.
Wow, I was SO busy today, I almost forgot to post a house picture. Had a little time between the rain and pulled some weeds. Plus, can’t wait to make some Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (gluten free). Unplanned and ironically, I have almost everything (substituting cocoa nibs for chocolate chips and monk fruit for coconut sugar). Ok, ‘nuff about me and onto serious matters.
I love this house. Again, there are many beautiful houses in this neighborhood (1200 homes), some are projecting that beauty and some wish they were projecting it. I DO understand that many people have some degree of color blindness and may not see what I see. And, I also understand that for some people it just does not matter. They are just glad they were able to get paint onto the house… from the markdown area. That is perfectly fine, unless the house is across the street from you! I am lucky to have beautiful houses across the street! I wonder what they think of my house? I’ll post it in the future. When I pull in my driveway, it makes me smile (I think my ADD is getting the best of me today!)
Back on task: The house is beautiful, the entry looks like a dark cave. And who can see those white shutters. Novel idea, but the windows are missing their mascara. The storm doors and front doors are clashing. You CAN paint a storm door, and if you have one, it should be painted to match the front door. You just need to do a little more prep work.
The roof is an unusual color, and I doubt they want to change that out. So, I am working with that. I would like the entry in a lighter color. On the after picture, I added some soft colors to open up it up. Also, some soft yellows could be added. I would prefer natural stained shutters to really highlight the front of the house. And, that is a wrap (rap) for today.
Decorating ideas for kids in Quarantine
Ok, putting my recommendations into action from yesterday! Being creative during stressful times is definitely a de-stressor; changing your focus from fear to fun will have everyone in a better mood. So here is a fun decorating project to do with your kids.
Most kids have a favorite shirt that they have outgrown, but love. Instead of giving them away, let your child have their cherished shirt with them forever made into a pillow! I have used pictures of plain shirts that kids have painted. That works, too.
You know the fleece tie blankets that people have been making for years? Same procedure, just less ties to do.
After cutting out 2 pieces of the shirt (hopefully front and back) for the size you want- square, circle, rectangle, triangle- there are no rules here… then you begin clip the pieces that will be tied together. Be sure to cut both pieces at the same time so you have equal numbers to tie together
Take a look at the picture for cutting the corners. Then tie away. Leave about 4”-5” for the stuffing.
Ut oh, many people don’t have stuffing sitting around their home (of course, I do, because I love to sew J ). Ok, brain-storming time. Yes, you can always order online. Or, cut up an old pillow you no longer like. Or, I’m sure they didn’t have stuffing in the olden days…. How about stuffing the pillow with old pieces of clothing, rags, …no rules here , just be creative! Then finish the pillow by tying the remainder of the pieces together where the stuffing opening was.
They will be sooooo proud of their interior decorating skills!
And now for the adults: A shirt that has out-grown you or under-grown you… it could also have buttons (just be sure to button it up) can be used for you to have a fun pillow.
Remember during this lemon period, have some lemonade!
Decorating Your home when you are quarantined
Not to be sinister during these crazy times, but many have placed decorating their home on the back burner. Wow, who expected the possibility of being quarantined in one’s home? Not me!
What can you do? Make a game of it! Rearrange some of your furniture, rearrange your accessories and change your artwork around. If you have children, let them help. Definitely remove pieces that you are not in love with from your space. Surround yourself with only things that make you smile.
Stumped by this process? I can help you. I have completed multiple Virtual Decorating of rooms for clients after they moved out of state. It does take more time and work on both of our parts- but I’m sure we all have a little more time on our homes. Please check out my Virtual Design Page for a complete understanding of how Virtual Decorating (E-Design) works if you need help.
We’ve been given Lemons, now let’s make Lemonade… maybe with a big splash of Vodka?
Remodeling a Small Master Bathroom
Carey’s husband first contacted me in December 2017 after getting my name from a friend I had helped in 2014. We talked on the phone and decided to wait until after the holidays. Then I emailed him in January 2018. I didn’t hear back. Some people would be more persistent, I believe things happen when people are ready… and pushing someone into a Design Consultation when they’re not ready is the last thing I want to do.
So Carey contacted me this time. They have 2 baths and a kitchen to remodel. They have been back and forth on what to use and how it will look. She knows what she likes, just couldn’t put it together. She only wanted to work on the Master Bath when I met with her. I am flexible, and we can work on all 3 rooms or just one. In just 2 hours she now has a plan. And she emailed me to meet next week to put together a plan for the other bathroom. That’s one happy customer!
Note: it is a very small master bath. She needed more storage. So the space between the studs will be used for skinny cabinets. Window treatments will not look good in there, we are frosting the bottom window for privacy (plus there is no neighbor window looking into the bathroom)
A Fire Hazard is lurking in your Home….. when was the last time you cleaned your vent from the back of your dryer?
Not to scare you, but there are over 20,000 house fires a year from dryers. And the electric dryers are more dangerous than the electric dryers. You need to add this to your schedule of safety measures to do when the time changes.
Why Is Lint Dangerous?
Lint’s small, dry fibers collect in dryer vents and filters, restricting your dryer’s airflow and creating a fire hazard. In 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) developed a report entitled, “A Report on Electric and Gas Clothes Dryers” to help identify the cause of lint fires. In that report, the USCPC determined that of the 15,000 fires studied in one year, electric dryers were over 2.5 times more likely to be the cause of the fire than gas dryers. YIKES!
Warning Signs you have Lint Buildup
Clothes take longer to dry. There is reduced air flow, so your clothes could be wet after a full drying cycle.
The dryer itself gets hot. The link blocks the air flow, and can warm the outside of the dryer to dangerously high temperatures.
Um, here’s a big hint: A burning smell. Lint can ignite inside your dryer, lint filter or dryer vent. If you smell burning, turn off your dryer and disconnect it and pull out the vent (the one that connects to the outside from the back of the dryer.
How to Eliminate Lint Buildup
There are specialty “brushes” that have long, flexible handles that you can purchase. Purchase the kit and clean twice a year, as you are changing the time on your clocks.
Pull your dryer away from the wall and look for aluminum piping. Many dryer vents are connected to the wall and dryer by metal ring clamps. You will find clamps around the vent pipe that just take a flathead screwdriver to loosen. Once loosened, then use your handy-dandy brush to clean the wall portion, the pipe itself and the connecting hole in the dryer. You may have to repeat this a couple of times. Reconnect everything and run the dryer for about 10-15 minutes. This should force out little pieces of lint that will be left behind.
Not a fan of doing your own maintenance? There are companies that can do it for you.
OH MY- she called today, and I went to redecorate her Great Room!
Trust me, that doesn't happen often. I had taken the day off, so I could paint my pella back doors and trim (I have only been in my home for, gulp, 18 years... see, I'm just like everyone!)
So we scheduled the appointment for 3 hours later. She got me with some paint on my arms and I told her I would dress casual, oh well. When I arrived, I discovered:
A) she had been up all night researching how to decorate a room.
B) every time she walks in the furniture store where she is going to buy the furniture, all the sales people run and hide and pretend they are busy. It's because she is afraid to pull the trigger. In fact, they asked her not to come to the store today because they have a big client coming in...oops!
C) she had already had a designer in who pooh-poohed everything she wanted to accomplished and left her even more confused.
D) her out-of-college daughters were giving her advice. A sister-in-law was giving her advice. But, they were giving her advice based on what they liked. Not what she wanted. Other people want to be helpful, and any time you ask for an opinion, you may not like it. sooo... I told her to quit asking others, and let's focus to get this accomplished.
Because she knew a couple of people on my testimonials, and she trusted these people, so she reached out to me frantic and wanted to schedule me the same day. Rare, that I could fit someone in, but I did (I really had some errands I needed to do)
Well, within 2 hours, we came up with a plan for her traditional style home. We made it more eclectic to feel more modern.
What is holding you back from having a room you love? Procrastination, just like everyone.
This is Why copying Pinterest or Houzz or a Friend's Paint Color RARELY works....
Most people do not understand why, when they have analyzed and re-analyzed, and even copied a known color - that it doesn't work in their room
Lighting is key. How many windows to you have in the room? What directions does the room face. People don't realize this will affect the final outcome of their paint selection.
The type of lightbulbs and the color of these lightbulbs will also affect color outcome.
What most people don't realize that each directional wall will appear different during the same time of day. Our eyes adjust, so most don't see this.
As well, the colors will change through-out the day based on sun position and clouds. And You thought this would be an easy to just paint a room.
The picture to the left is courtesy of Benjamin Moore:
As seen here, bright midday sun will wash out most pale hues (top); that same hue will be flattered by softer, indirect illumination (lower left), while artificial light will add a warm glow to the wall color (lower right).
Decorating for the Single Guy
Last week, I worked with a nice gentleman, who had recently gone through a divorce. I don't ask questions - it's none of my business. He had explained over the phone that he only had about half of the furniture. I was hired to help him transform 5 rooms so they would feel warm and inviting, yet reflect his joys and passions.. YES, a home should reflect you...you know, put a smile on your face when you enter a room. I like to say a room should feel like you're cuddled with your favorite animal or person, or if you're not fond of those things, then feel like you are wrapped in the softest cashmere blanket (only if you're not allergic to wool and it's not summer time). I am only going to share one of the rooms. If you want to see the Design Boards for the rest of the rooms, just contact me.
As I looked around, he had many of the basics, in most of the rooms. When I began asking about favorite colors, hobbies, what's not working right now... and of course a whole lot more questions..... well, I found out he loves to fish. The only indication this passion was few fishing poles near the front door. This home was not reflecting his style. NOTE: Your home should be a reflection of who you are. And make you smile- is your home doing this? Here's what we did:
The first room we transformed was the Great room. He had a beautiful area rug in navy and gray, and a gray sofa and chair. He had a fabulous masculine, ornate trunk that he used as his coffee table. The furniture was way off- balance. We rearranged the furniture and area rug to make the room more inviting. End tables, lamps and artwork is what he needed to complete this room.
The foyer: updated light fixtures, a gallery wall of his travels going up the stairs. And, painted black spindles.
The dining room: had a gorgeous ten foot table and plenty of chairs. His ornate hutch needed to move from the living room into this room. A new chandelier, area rug, a couple of mirrors and drapes
The kitchen: needed a new countertop and a backsplash to lighten up the space. Plus a new shape for the island. And with the new shape of the Island, there was now room for bar stools. Plus a new table and chandelier.
The Living Room: had a beautiful red area rug, just waiting for all new furniture. This is his reading room, so a complete plan based on his lifestyle was created.
Yes, In 6 hours...
What's your excuse for not having a home you love? Many women believe because their friends can decorate, they should be able. Do you have friends that are doctors and can operate... think because they can do it, you should be able to do it, too? Honey, you were not blessed with the Decorating gene.
What does this room need to become a well decorated room?
This is the home of a client who's items looked good but she said felt uninviting. We used what she had and added to her existing items to make the room feel more inviting and cozy. As you can see, everything she owns is beautiful, we just needed to create a space where she wanted to go and be.
First and foremost the proportions to the furniture are out of scale to this large room. The round ottoman/coffee table needs to be larger. I would add an oval ottoman.
Next, the mirrors on the wall are spread too far apart and there should be more of them that are larger. We are not placing pictures on this wall because it would compete with the fireplace picture that is stunning (just to the right of this picture)
We needed to add 2 chairs in turquoise and a table in between those chairs.
The end tables feel too short in scale, and too small. We used those in another room.
The lamp bases are too skinny. Something with a beefier base would work beautifully.
Have you Prepared to Move into your New Home?
Too many times, I receive frantic calls from someone who has just moved into a new home and didn't plan at all. They thought they could wing it since they decorated their last house. But it doesn't work that way. Yep, they were caught up the creek....and no paddle.
So Make a Plan. I actually do a "to-scale" layout with the furniture, artwork, lamps, and area rugs you want to re-use. As well, I can select paint colors, flooring, and additional pieces for you if needed.
Plan for an easy move!
Why do people Struggle with Decorating their Home?
Over the last few days I have worked with several clients who have lived in their homes for a number of years and cannot believe how good their home looks AFTER I HELPED THEM! Yes, just using what they already have in their home. And, only additing color or a few additional items.
I often hear: “I thought you were going to have me get rid of everything.” Why would I have you get rid of things you love? Are you going to get rid of the animals you love? The children you love? The clothes you love? Of course not!
Most people buy what they love, they just don’t know how to work things into a room.
And, somewhere along the road, people have been brain-washed to think they have to have a home that looks like everyone else’s home. Are you wearing the same clothes as all of your friends? Dressing your kids like everyone else? Of course not!
Why is it I can decorate your room using your things and you struggle with this? Because I understand a room is a living thing- there MUST BE FLOW, rhythm, repetition, balance, space to breath and a place to feel cozy. When furniture is not properly arrange, it feels horrible and you don’t want to go into the room.
I hear at almost every Consultation: “I would never have thought of that.” Nope, because I.THINK.OUTSIDE.OF.THE.BOX. (or, as some clients who have gotten to know me say: you have no box!)
Everyone deserves a well-designed room, and YOU are everyone! Stop the madness!
PS: Client 1 is a repeat client. We work on 1 room at a time and every time she is blown away (she can’t figure out how to put a review on google-so you can read her experience). Actually, this is our 3rd time meeting AND this time, it was her husband who asked her to get me over to help them with their Dining Room. Yes, it was unbalanced and uninviting... and it was transformed.
Client 2 is a first time client. She called because her husband hated the living room and said "it feels like old people live here. She thought we were going to have to move the grand piano to the dining room and swap rooms. Nope! Just poor furniture layout PLUS lots of fun things for other areas of the home to transform the 2 rooms with a more up-to-date feel. Yes, I ventured into other rooms to switch things up to look more cohesive. She was dumbfounded with the experience- couldn't believe the transformation.
Client 3: A kitchen remodel had just taken place, and the couple was getting ready to order new furniture for the adjoining Greatroom. They wanted to do it right. OOOPS… they had the wrong furniture layout plus, she loved the furniture they owned, but need more seating. If they kept the (expensive) furniture, then the paint color was wrong in the kitchen. When I explained (educated) them on how things should be arranged, they completely understood. They received a plan working with their existing furniture and a plan for purchase of new furniture. Her comment was: “I wish we would have hired you before starting all of this remodeling!”
Paint or Purchase furniture first?
This is not a “which came first type scenario: Chicken or the Egg.” There IS a definite order for decorating a room.
I hear too many times: “We just moved into a new house and want to freshen it up.” My question to them: “do you have the furniture you wish to use for this home?” Many times, I hear: “No, but we are just painting white.” Not to confuse things, but there are yellow whites, green whites, gray whites, pink whites…. Whites can clash with what you have.
You get the idea. Let alone color colors (lol- non-white colors), of which there are yellow undertones, gray undertones, pink undertones, and more.
I prefer to create a plan (called a Design Plan) for the entire room to make sure everything is cohesive and flows with everything in the room and surrounding rooms. You can’t always find fabrics that you love and match to your paint colors. BUT, you can ALWAYS color-match paint with your fabric colors selections.
It sounds counter intuitive to many people, but paint after your fabrics have been selected.
What size Rug?
One of the biggest decorating mistakes I encounter when Redesigning a Room is the WRONG SIZE RUG. So if you ask me: "what size?" I can't just throw out a number, because there is no standard number for a room. It is relative to the room size and furniture placement. Pictures are better than words...here you go. You are welcome!
Dark Floors Could be a disaster!! Read before you purchase...
Dark floors really show scratches and footprints and dust bunnies. This could be a very costly decorating mistake if you are an OCD clean-nik!
I Love them. Don’t get me wrong, they are gorgeous! And, if you, like many households, ask people to remove their shoes, the oils from feet will show up all over the floor. Animals can be detrimental to these beautiful floors; scratches and fur stand out. Shiny surfaces are worse than matte finishes with all of these situations. Are the dark floors a must have? Provide people with slippers that don’t slip. I would never recommend getting rid of any animal .
Make the right decision the first time with the help of an award-winning Designer! Call today and do your decorating right, the first time.
I heard you're supposed to hang artwork at eye-level." I hear this all the time when I help people decorate their home.
And most times, the artwork is hung too high (because the one hanging it is usually the taller person!). So before anyone in your household hangs any pictures, have them read this to avoid mistakes!!
Let me ask this question: Do you want to sit in a comfortable chair, and strain your neck to see a beautiful picture that is at someone's standing eye-level? Of course not!
Also realize that sometimes the artwork you wish to hang may not be large enough for the space. Things to consider: the relationship to what the art is above (if above anything), the wall size and ceiling height. Am I making you crazy yet? Are there any rules? Heck no, except the ones people make up to blow smoke and think they are the experts.
Now I will drive you crazy: It is a feeling about how high to hang something. That is why before hanging anything, trace the artwork onto brown paper and tape the paper to the wall. If you don't make decisions easily, wait 2 days. This is how you avoid hanging artwork too high. NOTE: the tall and short adults in the home must agree. If they don't, the shorter person always wins!
Accessorizing a Room
WOW! You just went on a shopping trip and hit the mother lode of decorating accessories. Now what?
Do you know how to accessorize a room? Odd numbers? Even numbers? Like items? Different items?
Most of the time people over-think and over-analyze when decorating.
Here's a simple tip:
Do you want an item to stand out? Position it in a prominent place by itself.
Do you want it to blend in and add impact with what you have? Position the item with décor objects that have something in common. AND, making sure you have odd numbers.