Tag: home design

Saturday Style Diary

2017 has been a whirlwind; the past two months alone, I have doubled my client roster!!  I have been a busy bee with lots of really exciting design projects ranging from a kitchen showroom, media room, a few family rooms, tons of kids’ rooms, a couple of formal living rooms and so much more!! I can’t wait to share my finished projects with you.

One of my favorite things about being a designer is that (for obvious reasons) no two projects are alike.  Interior Design is a study in psychology, sociology, economics and fine arts.  Each project is different and stretches me in ways that always leaves me feeling like a better version of myself by the end of it.   I enjoy getting to know each of my clients and hearing about their lives, as well as what role they would like me to play in the design of their home.

I always begin asking about how my clients want their space to feel.  I have learned that asking clients this question, as opposed to how they want their space to look, allows me to lead the design process by instinct.  Since clients often have trouble articulating how their space should look (hence, my role in the process), this is the best place to start.  I strive to find unique ways to achieve the clients’ dream room.  I love when a client says “I never would have chosen any of this, but this is EXACTLY how I wanted this room to look!”

With all of the diverse projects I’ve been working on, I thought I’d share a quick post on things that I am loving right now.

  1.  White Painted Rooms

Gray has completely taken over the market the last few years.  It is EVERYWHERE!! I love gray; it is a great neutral. However, it has been overused and is beginning to lose the characteristics that initially attracted us to it.  In addition, when everything and everyone is using gray it begins to suck the life out of a space.

I have been really loving white-painted rooms.  White rooms need not translate into boring spaces.  Quite the contrary; a space with white walls can be very dramatic.  Painting walls in white lets you control where the focal points are and orchestrate what elements you want to showcase and what elements you might want to hide.  It is no secret that art galleries favor white paint to draw focus to each piece of art.  It is the same for interiors.  An heirloom piece is so much more impactful when showcased in a white room.

Bright white paint with blue undertones is perfect for a modern room; white paint with pink or yellow undertones is more suitable for a rustic interior; and white with gray undertones is perfect for a transitional space.

I love the clean and sophisticated backdrop that a white-painted room provides.  However, white is a very fickle color. Hands down, it is the hardest paint color to pick because of all of the undertones.  When done right, it feels fresh, calm and allows all of the right elements to shine.  When done wrong, it feels cold, boring and sterile.

Below are rooms where white is done beautifully:

2.  Antiqued Mirrors

Antiqued mirrors are the easiest way to add interest and patina to a room.  This element immediately elevates any room or piece it adorns.  Adding an antique finish is not cheap, but the visual payout is HUGE!!!

There are so many antique finishes to choose from; they can range from blue, black, brown and gold.  Choose the finish that best conveys the look you are going for, or that shares the same color palette as the rest of the room.

I have backed bookcases, added to cabinets and used them in a myriad of decorative ways.  I can not say enough about antique mirrors; I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this finish!!

3.  Lucite

This is the finish that I get the most initial push back on from clients, and the one they ALWAYS love once they take the leap.  This is also a finish that looks horrid when done poorly.  The key is in the material used, which usually coincides with the price.  Thin, cloudy lucite looks cheap.  Look for lucite that is thick (usually heavy) and crystal clear.  The beauty of lucite is that it takes up no visual space; therefore, it is the perfect piece to put in small spaces or if you want to highlight a beautiful area rug or wallpaper.  There is MAJOR impact in this transparent material!

4.  Matte Black

I have been loving this material for months now (see my post here).  There is something really rich about this color.  I have always felt that every room needs some black.   Black is a neutral.  Whereas some neutrals move the eyes through a room, black serves to ground a space and stops the eyes “dead in their tracks”.  There is something so incredibly chic about black; the matte finish adds a more current feel to this versatile color.   I always compare black elements with black eyeliner.  Like black eyeliner, black serves to outline spaces and creates a portal through which one’s focus is guided.  This is the reason I love to paint the moldings for doorways and windows in black.

5.  Overdyed Area Rugs

Like gray, geometric rugs have been overdone.  I still use them when the space warrants it, but I am loving the depth that overdyed rugs lend to a room.  I also love the juxtaposition and tension that an overdyed rug creates in a modern space.  The saturation in the dye, as well as its absence, adds a really interesting layer in a room.

I hope this post has served to enlighten and inspire you to try some of the elements I’ve listed here.  What makes design so fun, is for the most part, things are easy and inexpensive to change.  If you don’t like the paint, then repaint; if you don’t like a piece, return it.  Design should not be stressful.

Our home is a reflection of who we are or who we would like to become.  It is within those walls that we dare to be all that we truly are.  Have fun. Be bold. Stay curious.

I would love to hear what you think of some of these trends.  Let me know which, if any, you have tried and loved.

XO

Laurie


The 3 Places Designers Shop (Frequently), But Don’t Want You To Know!

The internet has completely changed the landscape of design on so many levels.  Being able to hunt for the perfect piece from dozens of retailers in one sitting has allowed us to expand our reach, and thus our vision as both consumers and designers, tremendously.  We are no longer limited by geography.

While at the Salon today, I was chatting up my stylist about the parallels of fashion, hair and home (see my posts here and here on this connection).  She was lamenting about how she was ready to redo her home and how hard it is to find good quality furniture.  I have this conversation (or some variation) on a weekly basis.  To which, I usually ask: “when was the last time you bought a sofa?”  The reply is always within the past 5-7 years.  My point being, we are such a disposable society that we no longer keep or pass down heirloom furniture.  We should not look for furniture that could survive a nuclear war, or that our kids will want 20 years from now.  Most of us will go through 2-4 major style changes throughout our adult life; therefore, it is just fiscally prudent to save on furniture and decorative items for your home.  The most successful and interesting design is ALWAYS done with a high/low mix.

In this powder room below, I used a wall paper that is insanely expensive, but the mirror is from PB Teen, and the agate art I actually made for about $60.

Below are the three stores designers can be found on a weekly basis:

  1.  IKEA – If I had a dollar for every time someone turned up his or her nose at the thought of purchasing anything from IKEA, I would be a rich, happy girl lounging poolside with my bestie (my beverage butler 🙂 While I don’t advocate outfitting one’s entire home in IKEA, there are undeniably stylish pieces and décor staples that I go back to over and over again.  I need to do an entire blog post on all of the IKEA hacks I’ve done that ALWAYS end in “I can’t believe that is from IKEA”.   The key to successfully using IKEA furniture is the way in which it is assembled.  Each piece has to be reinforced with screws, and the dowels (most pieces come with) must be glued in. This retailer is a great resource and should not be overlooked.  Here are some of my favorite pieces from this retailer.

The modern classic Tulip table, need I say more?

Pedestal table, DWR Pedestal table

This rug is ICONIC; so much so, that other companies knock off this design, repeatedly!!  It is also one of the most pinned rugs on pinterest!

$300 for an 8 x 12

IKEA Stockholm Rug

I have used the Besta Storage buffet (shown below) more times than I can count.  I’ve painted this piece (gray, black and left it white), added beautiful hardware and voila!…a really nice piece for an entryway, dining room or family room!

Besta Storage, brass pull

I LOVE this rug for a kid’s room!!!  Its color scheme is very versatile.

The other things I love to get at IKEA are towels, faux succulents and art.

towels, succulent, art

2.  ZARA HOME – We all know and love Zara’s clothing store.  I have two pairs of jeans I wear on repeat (seen here and here) both are from this retailer.  This fashion powerhouse defies all that we think we know about fashion.  This brand is known world wide and dictates almost every trend we see each season.  However, most people don’t know that they have a home division as well.  Zara Home has a very minimalist vibe that is big on style, but not on price.  Below are some great staples from this retailer.

decorative coral, WS Home Coral

Love this starburst mirror!  We have seen this classic shape done in metal many times, but this style done in a completely mirrored surface is a unique interpretation.  The beveled “rays” add a high end detail.  At this price, this mirror is a must have.

mirror

Some other great stapes: cabinet knobs, accent table, hotel bedding and stool.

Mother of Pearl knobs,Marble accent table, Hotel banded bedding, hammered stool

3.  World Market – You are guaranteed to find something at World Market.  It is extremely trend driven, so this is a great source if you want to update your home with on trend pieces.    I love their selection of outdoor furniture.  Outdoor furniture can be very expensive, and even if it’s kept covered, it still looks worn and faded after a few years.  World Market’s price point lets you get good looking furniture that you don’t have to feel bad about replacing in a few years. Below are some pieces that are a great find!

The French bistro chair is always a classic and can be used indoors or outdoors.  Serena and Lily has cornered the market on this chair; however, this piece from WM looks likes a pretty good dupe to me.

World Market Bistro Chair, Serena and Lily Bistro Chair

Sectional sofa, Stool, Adirondack chair, Wicker chair

Interior Design is really about creating a space that captures the spirit of those who inhabit it, while respecting the identity of the space itself.  I love the quote by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.  If you adhere to this, you will never go wrong.

I would love to hear about your secret sources, or the stores that you know will always have what you need.  Also, let me know what you want to read more about!

Happy Weekend!!!

XO

Laurie


The Home Design Trends That Will Be OVER In 2017

Every few years a major paradigm shift occurs in design;  2017 will be one of those years.  There are so many factors that foster these shifts.  See my post here from the beginning of the year where I delve into some of these reasons.  For the past few years design has favored a neutral palette, organic elements and open concept living.  A cleaner more minimalist style has been the trend.  Less will still be more in 2017;  I don’t think we will ever go back to the “let me cover/fill every surface in my home” again. However, 2017 will bring new materials, richer colors and a more personal approach to designing one’s home.

What WILL be OVER are:

Moroccan Prints: 

This print has had a pretty good run.  This pattern was able to cross style boundaries popping up in traditional, modern and everything in between.  I love this print, it is a soft geometric that lends itself to many applications.  The problem is that it was WAY TOO OVERDONE!  We now have Moroccan print fatigue.  I can’t bear to use this fabric anymore.

If you are not ready to let this pattern go, try an ikat version of this print for a more updated look.

Image via Etsy

Image via Etsy

 

Chevron:

This pattern dating back to the 60’s re-emerged in the more modern realm of design a few years ago.  It has since crept into every sect of the design world.  The traditional version of this pattern will be zigzagging itself out of decor next year.  Like its Moroccan print soul-sister, it too has been over used.

 

If you REALLY love Chevron, below is an updated version that looks more current.

The new Chevron -Image via Residents Understood

The new Chevron -Image via Residents Understood

If you have either of these prints in your home, I wouldn’t toss them.  However, I would not recommend purchasing anything new (especially upholstered or custom pieces) in these prints.

 

We are going to see a lot more new textures than new patterns in the upcoming year.  Some other trends that will be HUGE in 2017 are:

  1. Marble

Beside the obvious marble counter top, marble is now popping up in decor elements and decorative object and lamps.

marble tray (20%off use code MERRY), Lamp, Bookends

2.  Cork

This organic material will be HUGE for 2017!  Everything from entire cork walls, to cork flooring.

Cork Wallpaper, Drum Lighting,

3.  Jewel Tones

Cream, blush and gray monopolized much of 2016.  2017 will make way for deeper richer colors such as amethyst and sapphire. However, I think emerald-green will be the star in the new year.  I predict there will be rich colors done in rich textures such as velvet, tweed and linen.  If these rich tones make you nervous, try starting with one richly colored piece while keeping everything else more neutral.

I am loving this emerald-green sofa from Anthropologie.

 

sofa, arched headboard, dining chair

4.  Nailheads

I love this metal detail!  It elevates everything it adorns, making ordinary pieces look special.  EVERYTHING looks better with nailheads…..no exceptions!!!

This side table from Better Homes and Garden is a major steal!

side table, Chest, mirror

I am looking forward to what the new year will bring.  In future posts, I will discuss some of the other major design movements and trends that are emerging.  Let me know what topics you would like to hear more about, or post any feedback on this topic.

XO

Laurie


5 Things To Buy In Multiples

Since going to Paris last year, I am obsessed with the Parisian concept of the capsule wardrobe (read about it here).  Parisians believe in buying the best you can afford, but only buying what you need.  When I was in Paris I saw very simple (yet very chic) clothing that was well made and fit beautifully.  Don’t get me wrong, Parisian women love to dress on trend; however, they are not slaves to trends and would never be caught dead following more than a few trends each season.  A Parisian acquaintance of mine revealed that women in Paris view simplicity and minimalism as “tres Chic”.  Conversely, Americans believe that luxury is acquiring as much as we possibly can.  I admit, I fell prey to this way of thinking as well.  My shoes were crammed on my shelves, I could barely fit one more hanger in my closet and I could go at least two months without repeating an outfit. This past year I have done a complete 180. I finally realized that true luxury is in owning a few beautifully crafted items that are current with timeless appeal.

As seen in my post on the home-fashion connection (read here), Parisians feel the same about their homes as they do about fashion.  The key is selecting and showcasing pieces in a refined and restrained way . Their minimalist mentality regarding their home results in a home that is equally as chic as their outfits.  In a typical Parisian home you will find a few well made pieces of furniture, gorgeous fabrics and a few chic, well placed accessories or art.  As with my wardrobe, I have also seen the value of fiercely editing my home.

Below is a REAL Parisian apartment that my husband and I will be renting when we go back to Paris this Summer.  Although it is not professionally designed, it illustrates the chic, minimal and well edited design philosophy of Parisians.

paris apartment

 

So, with this concept in mind why did I title this post “5 Things To Buy In Multiples”? Because, while there is beauty and freedom in a well edited home, there is also a need for functionality.  Spending time enjoying the company of our friends and loved ones is the truest extravagance.  Therefore, there are things that help one in creating a beautiful environment, thus enhancing those special moments.  My short list of items will undoubtedly make life more pleasurable and functional when entertaining those we love.

Here is my list:

  1. Stools/Ottomans:  I love any item that has multiple uses. Stools and ottomans are as beautiful as they are functional.  They can be used as seating or a landing place for a cocktail or small plate.  They are easy to store away when not in use, or artfully arranged to form a chic conversation area.

Here are a few that I love:

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Serena and Lily Moroccan Pouf

Pottery Barn Vince Stool, West Elm Cross Based Ottoman, Christopher Knight Rosalynn Ottoman, Serena & Lily Moroccan Pouf

2.  Picture frames:  Unless it is a showstopping piece, groupings always look better than a singular piece of art.  Therefore, using the same (or similar) frames creates a stylish and unified look. Read my post here on how to hang art.  The frames below are the ones I use most frequently for my clients. These frames are well priced, have professional quality mattes and are easy to hang.

Here are some of my favorites:

West Elm Mirrored Frames,  WS Home Gold Metal Frames,  Pottery Barn Black Wood Gallery Frames

3. Throw pillows:  Surprise, surprise 🙂 There is no faster, easier and least expensive way to update one’s home than with throw pillows.  The key is variation.  Choose at least three pillows of various sizes, textures and patterns for your grouping. This is the perfect time to update your home with fun, bright accent pillows.

Here are some that I am loving right now:

Z Gallerie Modena Pillow,  Coco Cozy embroidered pillow, Lulu & Georgia Melia Pillow

4.  Lanterns:  Lanterns are such a fun way to make a statement.  They can be grouped together to create a dramatic centerpiece or scattered around to create mood lighting.  My favorite way to use lanterns is to place them along the edge of either indoor or outdoor stairs to illuminate the stairs in a dramatic fashion.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pottery Barn Malta Lantern, Wayfair Iron Lantern, Pier 1 Bay Harbor Lantern

5.  Throw blanket:  Throw blankets add a well placed pop of color and pattern.  The flat weave throws also make perfect table covers.  I love to drape it in the center of the table and let the ends of the table show.

Here are a few gorgeous throws:

Jonathan Adler Greek Key Throw, Serena & Lily Brahms Mount Throw, Dot & Bo Lattice Throw

I hope this post helps you to reevaluate the way you think about decorating your home.  I truly believe that design is an art and one’s home is the canvas.  Challenge yourself to start editing out the things in your home that no longer serve you.

As  William Morris stated:

Have nothing in your house

that you do not know to be useful,

or believe to be beautiful. 

XO

Laurie


8 Design Words You are Probably Saying WRONG!!!

Design is a global medium of artistic expression; therefore, it is no wonder some of its terms can be a linguistic challenge.   There are more than a few words we have all mumbled through in hopes of sounding in the know.  It is also no surprise that most of these words derive from one the chicest countries in the world.  Below, are some commonly mispronounced design terms:

Sette – (French) pronounced SET-TEA.  Commonly mispronounced Set-tay  A long seat with back and arms that is made for more than one person.

BERGERE– (French) BUR-ZHAIR  The mispronunciations are too great to list.  An armchair with exposed wooden framing and upholstered back and seat.  Bergère chairs became popular in 17th century France among nobility.

Bergere Chair in a modern print - Image from One Kings Lane

Bergere Chair in a modern print – Image from One Kings Lane

ARMOIRE– (French) ARM-WAAR.  Commonly mispronounced Arm-Wah  A tall wardrobe or move-able cabinet that dates back as far as the 16th century. Today, armoires fulfill a variety of storage needs.

FAUX BOIS– (French) FOH-BWAH Imitation of wood or wood grain.  The literal translation is “fake wood”.

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

FOYER – (French) FOY-YAY.  Commonly mispronounced Foy-yer  The front entrance hall in a home or building.

My Foyer

My Foyer

IKAT– (Indonesian) EE-KAHT. Commonly mispronounced Eye-kat  A fabric in which the yarns have been tie-dyed before weaving.

NICHE – (French) NEESH.  Commonly mispronounced Nitch.  A recess in a wall, commonly used for displaying decorative objects.

Image via Decorpad

Image via Decorpad

CHAISE LOUNGE (French) SHEZ-LAWNG.  Commonly mispronounced Shayz-lounge.  An upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the outstretched legs. The literal translation is “long chair.”

 

Horchow Maddox Chaise Lounge

 

I hope to have helped save you from any raised eyebrows at your next party (because really, who does not talk about design at parties 🙂   Now, you can confidently converse on all things design related.

Let me know what design terms you find commonly mispronounced, or any words you may have questions about.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Designer Decor for LESS! – HUGE Savings on Designer Knock Offs!

You have slaved over putting together a room in your house.  You are almost done.  You find the PERFECT piece that will be the finishing touch to your room.  However, that perfect piece is a lot more than you wanted to spend, and will put you over your budget!  You have been patiently waiting for it to go on sale.  What to do?  Find the PERFECT replica, for MUCH less!

I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of time and effort to search for replicas.  However, it is all worth it when you find that perfect piece!  Here are some amazing designer knock offs that give you that high end designer look, for a fraction of the price.

I have always loved the Parson Table.  This design was designed by Jean-Michel Frank in the 1930’s.  It is as relevant today as it was then.  This is truly a modern classic! In my original post, Pier 1 had a great table for under $500!  Sadly, this is no longer available.  Here is another great alternative from Zinc Door.

This gold and marble cocktail table is of perfect size and proportion.  The geometric detail adds a lot of visual interest.  The table from Overstock is a great find!

I LOVE mirrored furniture.  It reflects light beautifully, and adds just the right amount of sparkle to a room.  This piece would look great in a dining room or bedroom.

 

Below are nickel plated console tables.  Glass tables are a great way to add furniture without taking up a lot of visual space.  Great for smaller spaces.

There is something very chic about Zinc.  It has a great looking patina that looks rustic, yet refined.  This could serve as a console or desk.  Add a lamp with a shiny finish, and your are good to go!

Unless a throw is made of cashmere or fur, it should not cost $300.  I’m sorry, but that is absurd!  This cotton throw from target is a great find and comes in many other colors.  Since a lot of designers farm out their production to factories overseas, there is a good chance this was even made in the same factory.

This is a really stylish headboard.  The nail head detail adds a lot of interest and gives it a special look.  With the $1200 you save, you could buy some high thread count sheets and a nice duvet 🙂

I am a sucker for interesting looking accessories.  These metal spheres add so much interest and style.  Add them to a bookcase, inside your kitchen glass cabinets or on top of a stack of books on your cocktail table.

I could spend all day posting these design hacks!  There are so many great deals to be found.  There are some things I feel are worth the price and are truly an investment (a great sofa is one of these things), and somethings that are worth taking the time to find a cheaper alternative.  We no longer buy heirloom furniture.  Most of us do not want to have our furniture for 40 years, to later pass on to our children.  Therefore, we are not looking to spend a small fortune on each piece.

My philosophy always (whether it is furniture, clothes, shoes or purses) is to buy the best you can afford.  But, be selective.  In my opinion, I would rather invest in great kitchen cabinetry that is crafted of superior material and will withstand the wear and tear of many years of use, than on a $15,000 dining room set that I will be sick of in 5 years.  The best rooms are the rooms with a few high end pieces and a few design hacks. I’m warning you though, the hunt becomes just as fun and addictive as the savings!!

Hope you enjoyed this post on designer replicas.  Let me know if you have found any great knockoffs that you want to share.

xo Laurie


No Fail Paint Color Pairings (Part 2-Warm Colors)

While temperatures dip below freezing in the Northeast, writing a post on warm paint color palettes could not have come at a better time!  Dreaming of sun, sand and all things warm is a nice respite from this frigid weather.  This might be my longest post yet; so, buckle up, Babydolls!

I find that warm colors are more tricky to work with and harder to pair with other warm colors.  The undertones of warm colors vary so greatly making it difficult to find other colors that marry well with them.  That being said, there are a few tips I like to use when pairing these colors together.  But first, let’s start with some color palettes and pictures that illustrate these palettes before I launch into my tips. As a caveat, most computer screens and the screens of hand-held devices are all calibrated very differently.  This great effects the way these colors are viewed.  Please take paint chips home or buy paint samples to try out in the space you are looking to use them (viewing them during both the day and night) to ensure the color is right for you.

The colors below are colors we all know and love with a few updates.  Those who follow fashion know that when trends emerge from past trends, they are always tweaked to make them more current; paint colors are no different.

As I stated in my last post on this topic, try to use a dark, medium and light colors in each room adding a pop of color for interest and depth.  The palette I highlighted below features Springfield Tan, Yosemite Sand, Rustic Taupe, Nightfall and Cork.  A nice combination to use might be to have Springfield Tan on the walls, Yosemite Sand on the ceiling (this would look amazing), Rustic Taupe and Nightfall as your accent color and Cork as your pop.

The room below features sand colored walls with white trimmed box molding and pops of yellow and black.  Unless you have a high threshold for color and contrast, it is a good idea to limit your pop of yellow to accent and accessories that can easily be swapped out.  Yellow is one of the hardest colors to work with; therefore, when it comes to yellow, muted is best.  In my opinion, pastel yellow only belongs in a nursery.

2016 Warm Paint Colors

 

Image via Houzz

Here is a palette using a medium tone beige, a deep brown, cream and cherry red as an accent color.  I love this bright, almost pink pop of red.  This is a beautiful and more current red than was used 10 years ago. It is bright and saturated, yet still refined.  In designing a room using these colors, I would use the medium color, Baja Dunes on the walls; the dark and light color, Fallen timber and muslin, as accents and Rose Parade as the pop of color.  The dining room below is a very dramatic use of these colors.  This designer chose to paint the walls a very deep shade of brown, with white moldings, trim and mirror.  The pop of cherry red is used only on the upholstery, area rug and wall decor.

Image via Houzz – Tobi Fairley Interior Design

image

The deep brown (almost black) walls looks so rich with this shade of cherry red!

My last palette using warm colors features a color that a lot of people are afraid of: Orange.  I can understand one’s hesitation to use this color.  When searching through Designer portfolios for images using orange, I found more badly designed rooms using this color, than I did of rooms that used orange successfully.  I have a few tips just for this color alone.  When using the right shade of orange, in the right places, this color can add a fun pop or add a warm, comforting vibe to your space.   The palette below features a crisp white, White Dove; a light beige, Manchester Tan; a rich brown, Brown Horse and a saturated orange, Pumpkin Spice.

Tips for using orange:  Use orange in a space that gets a lot of natural light.  I would also suggest limiting this color to one wall.  Orange is a secondary color, it is a blend of red and yellow.  Choose an orange that has more red than yellow in it.  Therefore, I would opt for a medium to deep shade of orange over a lighter shade of this color. In addition, when incorporating metals with orange, I would suggest using gold over silver.

The rooms below use this color as an accent color to add depth to the space.  They both limit this color to strategically placed pops of orange.  The first room uses a deep dramatic brown for the wall color, adding a deep orange throw at the bottom of the bed and orange Hermes boxes on the nightstands.  The second room uses a lighter wall color with orange as the accent on the rug and upholstery.  Most importantly, the designers of both rooms kept the intensity of the orange (deep and rich for the first, rich and bright for the second), consistent with the other colors in the room.

 

image

Image via Houzz-Gary McBournie Inc.

 

Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz

 

Below are my pairings for those of you who like things a little bolder 🙂  These palettes are deep and dramatic.  There is much less variation in the intensity of the colors used in these spaces.  This palette features Sherwin Williams paints.

Bold Color Pairing-Sherwin Williams

 

Image via Houzz- Salins Group

Image via Houzz – Leigh Olive Mowry-Olive Interiors

 

Image via Pinterest – Blogspot

In the image below, I love how this designer created drama using the same color intensity for all colors.  Although this room is too dramatic for most people, it is really well done!  Green is a versatile color in that it plays well with both silver and gold.

Image via Pinterest – Studio M Interiors

This last room illustrates a classic black, white and red palette.  This palette will never go out of style.  However, this is a fresh interpretation that I love.  Most elements in this room are kept light and bright.  The use of black on the window grills adds a dramatic and upscale element.  It is as though this designer used kohl eyeliner to line the “eyes” of this room.  The designer showed restraint in leaving the window treatments simple to highlight this feature.  The red chairs are a perfect use of dramatic symmetry.  I am loving this dining room right down to the blown glass orb chandelier!

 

Image via Houzz-Spinnaker Development

Image via Houzz-Spinnaker Development

Ok, here are a few tips on warm paint pairings:

  1.  According to House Beautiful, warm colors are best used in south and east facing rooms.  South and east facing light is warm and will enhance warm paint colors.   To determine what direction your room faces, you can download a compass app on your phone.  Be sure to keep your phone (or compass) flat for most accurate results.
  2. As a general rule of thumb, gold is the best metals to use when accessorizing rooms using warm colors.
  3. Be cognizant of the type of light you are using in a room with warm paint.  Florescent light bulbs (never recommended) emit a very blue green light and will completely change the way your paint looks at night.  Incandescent light (most light bulbs) If you have nothing better to do, you can click here for more info on this topic 🙂

I will wrap this post up by expressing my deep appreciation for all of your kind, enthusiastic and supportive feedback. I appreciate each and every comment and private message I have received. This blog is a labor of love, and it is my hope that I am able to lessen the frustration and challenges that arise in home design.  Your feedback is immensely helpful and lets me know what you are interested in reading about.  Keep the suggestions coming 🙂

xo Laurie


How to make your home look more expensive!

It is no secret that one’s home is a symbol of status.  Whether it is accurate or not, we assume one’s bank account is in direct relation to one’s home.   Who of us has not walked into someone’s grand or super stylish home and wondered “what do they do for a living?”.  Or conversely, assumed that one was of modest means after visiting that person’s home.

For most, one’s home is one’s biggest financial investment.  We are all hoping for a large payout when the time comes that we are ready to sell.  Therefore, we look to do things to increase the value of our home.  Whether you are looking to sell in the near future, or just want to elevate the look of your home, here are 5 things you can do to make your home look more expensive.  (As a side note, I will almost never post “20 things” for anything.  I am not a big fan of laundry lists.  Personally, I do not want to do 20 things, no matter what the topic is.  I favor tasks that feel achievable; hence, my list of 5 🙂

  1.  Add Art to every room on your first floor (powder room included).  Showcasing a gallery or a single piece of art gives the impression of a cultured and refined owner.  You need not spend a fortune; Minted is one of my favorite sites that carries reasonably priced framed art.  Keep the style of the art consistent throughout the house.  Although it is possible to successfully mix things like photography and abstract art, it is not for the novice.   For a really high end look, choose ONE piece to showcase in each room.  I like to make this piece LARGE, as shown below.  There can be other art in the room, but one piece should hold the spotlight.

This room is one of my favorites that illustrates this tip:

Blog Post More Expensive2.  Add molding!  This is a tip we’ve all heard.  However, most times it is crown molding that is the focus.  I completely agree with this; however, the base molding seems to be the ugly step sister of molding and therefore, is rarely mentioned.  A truly high end home usually showcases 4″-6″ base moldings.  If you want your home to look more expensive, beef up those base moldings!  I also like adding an extra piece of molding at the top to create an even more custom look.

I love the way the picture below uses the extra piece of molding at the top of the base molding; it is the details that gives this a truly special appearance.

Image via Houzz - Bruce Johnson & Associates

Image via Houzz – Bruce Johnson & Associates

3.  Use inside mount window treatments.  Inside mount window treatments are usually associated with custom treatments……cha-ching!!!!!  Those of us who have installed custom window treatments know that it is easy to spend $2000 per window.  (In another post, I will give you my tips for major window treatment design hacks to save you big $).  Using inside mount treatments will undoubtedly give your home a more high end appearance.

The pictures below are from The Shade Store and start at $345.  The Shade Store is a great resource.  Their designer collaborations with Dwell, DVF, Robert Allen and Jeffery Alan Marks make it so you can get designer fabrics at a steeply discounted price.  The fabric alone would cost this amount at designer showrooms.

4.  Pull some furniture away from the walls.  In addition to this, remove a couple pieces of furniture from each room.  Floating the furniture gives the illusion that the room is larger than it is.  High end homes do not have furniture crammed into a room.  Quite the opposite; they usually have much less furniture than the space can hold.  This also gives a more open and stylish appearance.

I love the way this room feels like there is room to breathe. The room is a good size, but looks even larger because all of the furniture is floating and not anchored to any wall.

Interior via Martha O'Hara Interior Design

Interior via Martha O’Hara Interior Design

5.  Update your light fixtures (especially your ceiling mount fixtures, change them out to semi-flush mounts).  The parallels in fashion and interior design are endless.  You can elevate a dress from Banana Republic with a few nice pieces of jewelry.  The same principle holds true for your home.  Choose lighting that is interesting.  Make a statement with crystals or laser cut metals.

Here are a few that I like from Shades of Light and Lamps Plus:

 

 

We will return to our normal programming, and continue with our paint pairings using warm colors for our next post!   Hope you enjoyed this interruption!  Let me know what you think, or if you can add to this topic in any way.

xo Laurie


Tackling Tween Boys!

Tween boys (and Men) are pretty superficial in the sense that there is not a lot of depth in their hobbies and interests.   Their needs are fairly easy to meet.  Most conversations vacillate between sports, food & the ability to burp the alphabet.  One usually does not need to wonder what subtext lies beneath their words. My husband insists that all of these reason are exactly why Men are happier than Women.  I disagree (this is for another post 🙂

When boys are young, the colors used are mostly pastel blue, yellow and green.  The palette I use for tween boys is muted and warm with lots of gray and black undertones.  Also, the hues are richer in color than the ones I use for tween girls.  Tween boys rooms can be just as much fun to create as girls rooms; however, the SAME themes keep emerging; sports, superheros (I amazed by this theme’s longevity) & sports again!! I love the rock & roll theme, the surfer theme and the campy man cave theme (what guy doesn’t love a gilded deer head hanging on his wall?)

Since sports themes are by far the most requested, I created a baseball theme for this post.  Ok, I would like to first state: For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE DO NOT PAINT YOUR SON’S WALLS IN HIS FAVORITE TEAM’S COLORS!!!! I know it sounds like a good idea, but it is not.  These colors might look good on a uniform, but they do not look good on walls.  It is very easy to incorporate team colors in a variety of ways that will let all those who enter know what team your son is a fan of.  The key is to use paint to establish the base, and then add colors and accessories to establish the theme.  Below, I listed my favorite color schemes for tween boys rooms.  I listed the main paint color, a coordinating accent wall color, ceiling and trim color and any other applicable accent colors (either used through paint or accessories).

Below, I created a baseball themed room.  The palette is gray, navy & white with brown and red accents.  Since the colors are muted in the room I added a lot of texture to add depth.  I added a chenille rug, faux fur throw pillow, distressed leather desk and accent chair, knit pouf and galvanized metal on the locker style desk and night table.  The brown is repeated on the vintage bats hung over the bed, the distressed leather chairs & the hardwood floors.  The red accents are picked up in the locker, pouf, pendant lights, throw pillow, art and bedding. The striped euro shams (I repeat stripes on the throw pillow) and zig zag drapes added much-needed pattern. I framed the Yankees and MLB logos to add some “art”, and I added the decal between the vintage bats. I am a huge fan of decals (any more than two is serious overkill).  This is such a fun and easy way to add team spirit without the commitment.  When you are done with it, just peel it off.

A REALLY, REALLY important element that I add to ALL sports themed room are vintage accessories.  This is the element that keeps this room looking stylish and well done!!!  I can not stress this enough. It is the juxtaposition of the new and old that makes this look successful.  The internet has a vast selection of vintage accessories.  Although I couldn’t fit it in this frame, I added gray wire cubby type shelving on the left for storage (they are from Land of Nod) to add to the vintage vibe.  As I stated in my last post, I really like to add visual tension in the rooms I design.  I did this here by adding the single red locker and the zigzag drapes (which is an unexpected pattern to use in this themed room).

Tween Boy's Room

Tween Boy’s Room

So here are a few tips on successfully creating a themed tween boys room:

  1. Keep colors muted.  You can create interest by painting accent walls or painting the ceiling (which looks amazing in boy’s rooms)
  2. Try not to match every piece of furniture.  I used the galvanized locker style on the desk and night table.  I would NOT also use a locker style dresser.  I would have used a painted gray dresser that coordinated with the bed.
  3. Play with texture.  Texture is more interesting to the eye than color.
  4. Add an unexpected pattern as I did with the zigzag drapes.
  5. Add cubby type storage.  Boys will shove things on or under anything they can.  Cubbies (hopefully) keep things off the floor.

The nice thing about this design is that should he decide he doesn’t want a sports theme anymore, you take the wall decor down and the bedding and this can easily be a skater ,ski, or man cave theme.  Also, your son can take the desk, night table & locker to college, and only the bedding and wall decor need to be swapped out to make this a great guest room.

Kids rooms are so fun to create!!  Let me know what themes you would like me to create, and I will post on it.  Message me if you would like to know where I got these pieces.

XO Laurie


The ART of Hanging Art!

Creating a unique and visually appealing gallery to display one’s art and photos can be a challenge.  The options are almost unlimited.  One can mix art with photos (this is a stunning look, although tough for a novice to pull off).  One can also mix frames to lend an eclectic, carefree vibe.  Another option is adding decorative elements to your gallery to add an interesting and layered look.

Here are a few guidelines I use when hanging art and photos:

  1. I use repetition and symmetry A LOT when creating galleries.  One’s eye searches for patterns, as well as matching elements.  If you look closely at the galleries I created below, I repeat images multiple times in most displays.
  2. Lay out your art on the floor and play with the arrangement.  Finalize the arrangement before you put even one nail in the wall.
  3. Art hung in odd numbers usually looks more appealing (there are a few galleries I created below that use even numbers of hangings.  However, when you are just starting out arranging and hanging art, I would stick with odd numbers.)
  4. Stay within the borders of the sofa or table which you are hanging the art over.  Although it is not wrong per say, to expand beyond the borders, it will look more refined and deliberate if you use the length of your sofa or table as your guide.
  5. While designing, I create horizontal and vertical grids in my head to ensure spaces are balanced.  I do the same while hanging photos and art.  Make sure that the space above, below and between each picture is the same distance apart (I use 4″ as a rule of thumb).  A lot of times I line up the top edges, bottom edges or both of the frames’ edges to create an border.
  6. USE THE LINES OF THE SOFA TO CREATE A GRID IN WHICH TO HANG YOUR ART!!!  The picture that lies in the center of the arrangement should either be centered over the center cushion of the sofa, or the center line of the sofa should bisect the photo that lies over it.
  7. I LOVE to layer and stack frames on top of each other.  This is the ultimate way to add dimension, interest and a truly custom look to your gallery.  This layout requires A LOT of patience and meticulous measuring……..basically, don’t drink and hang!
  8. Hang art lower than you think it should be hung! If you have to tilt your head up to look at the picture, it is hung too high! A good rule of thumb is to have the center of the photo at about 58-60″ above the floor.

Below, I showcase a few variations to give some inspiration on hanging your gallery.  As a tip, West Elm has great frames.  They are super stylish and are easy to work with.  The frames come with a paper template that you can tape to the wall to adjust and play around with.

image

Building a gallery around a beautiful mirror is an easy and classic way to display art. Adding mirrored stars between art and photos adds a lot of visual interest to the second and fourth gallery.

The use of a grid in all three layouts makes these displays stand out. In the first and third display I lined up the edges of the tops and bottoms of each frame. In the second display I lined up the top of the frames to create structure. Because this layout is the most "organic" of the groupings, I relayed heavily on repetition of both the size of the frames and the images displayed.

The use of a grid in all three layouts makes these displays stand out. In the first and third displays,I lined up the edges of the tops and bottoms of each frame. In the second display, I lined up the top of the frames to create structure. Because this layout is the most “organic” of the groupings, I relied  heavily on repetition of both the size of the frames, and the images displayed.

Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear what tips you have for displaying your photos.

xo Laurie