Monday, December 5, 2011

The Art of Walls....

In a simpler time, walls were white and practical, serving a function of privacy and shelter.  Early designers began decorating walls with color, plaster effects and artwork.  the machine age emerged and many designers revolted and returned to simpler and more functional décor with bare walls and handcrafted furniture.   However many continued to decorate with flare and accessories.  
While a lot can be said for a simple white wall, even more will be said about a wall adorned with stunning wallpaper, groupings of photographs, artwork, or mirrors.   We all have a simple black party dress that we can wear to many different occasions. however, it is the jewelry, purse and accessories that make us the talk of the town.  The same goes for your walls.   Don’t play it safe….think outside the box and have a little fun with it.  For an eco-friendly and unique way to bring your walls to life, check out wall flats at www.inhabit  These 3D wall tiles are easy to install and can be painted to match any decor.  They are a very reasonable price point for the incredible impact that they have on a space.

This is a generation where anything goes and anything works.  Make your walls come alive with the brilliance of metal wall art, ornate mirrors, ceramic flowers, jewels and wall stickers.  These unexpected works of art will bring elegance, depth and a sense of life to any space.   Be unique and creative.  If you love it, show it off.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Color for Dummies...

There are so many things to consider when choosing and combining colors…from tone, to shade, to tint.  The number of different shades of white to choose from is overwhelming.  You can no longer simply ask for white paint.  Here’s where it becomes complicated…just because two colors are in the red family, doesn’t mean they go with each other.  Without getting too technical…even colors that are complimentary to each other on the color wheel such as red and green, don’t always blend well together.  It all depends on their shade, tint and tone.
Once you have found the right color, you now have to consider the accent pieces and the adjacent rooms.  It is much more pleasing to the eye to have a harmonious flow of color throughout your space.  Even the accent pieces that are designed to be focal points in a room still need to compliment the rest of the space.     
Benjamin Moore has come up with a foolproof way of combining colors.  They call it the Affinity Collection and it consists of 144 colors that will all work beautifully together.  You can quite literally take any of the colors in this collection and combine them to create a spectacular space.  Visit your local Benjamin Moore dealer and check out this new collection of colors and be your own Interior Decorator.
Benjamin Moore Affinity Collection

Don’t be afraid of color and trying new things, just be selective in what you choose.   And remember next time you ask for white paint, you better know which white you want!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pining For Accessories.....

The sun was shining and the air was crisp as we hiked through the trails at Canatara Park. The kids ran ahead into the woods and emerged with huge, perfectly shaped pinecones.  With my designer mind, I began envisioning these lovely pieces of nature on my coffee table, my mantle and my Christmas wreath.  The trees had obviously discarded these wonderful pinecones so that they could adorn our homes with their natural style.  So it began, the gathering of all the pinecones that we could find.
“To pine or not to pine…. that is the question”.  Now, what do I do with this hoard of pinecones laying on the floor of my living room?  I ask this hypothetically because I already have a plan.
Firstly, I will add them to my Christmas wreath on the front door to give it a little character and some rustic elegance.
Secondly, I will take some out to the garage, pull out a can of spray paint and give them a splash of color.  They will look amazing in a decorative bowl on my coffee table.  In the spirit of the holiday season, perhaps I can spray them gold or silver and sprinkle them with glitter.   I can even mix them with some scented potpourri, or some decorative festive balls and other accessories.  They will make a beautiful centerpiece on the dining room table.
Finally, I suppose since the kids did all the hard work gathering up these decorative beauties, I should allow them a little reward as well.  This afternoon we will break out the school glue, some sparkles and craft supplies. Then they can decorate pinecones to dress our Christmas tree with this holiday season.
The pining is over…I have accessorized the entire home for the holidays with a simple walk in the park, my kids hard work in gathering pinecones and my creative designer imagination.  (Not to mention a great way to get the family out for some exercise and to tire out the little ones!!)

Happy Trails!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Something "New".....

It’s always nice to have something “new” in our lives, whether it’s a new friend, a new favorite restaurant, a new purse, or a new kitchen.  Yes, most of us dream of having a brand new kitchen and then we quickly wake to realize a money tree didn’t grow out back while we were asleep.  Let me tell you a little secret, you don’t need a money tree or even a hundred bucks to make your kitchen look “new”.  However, you better be prepared to put in a few days labor and a whole bucket of elbow grease.  
If you think you have the time and patience to undertake painting your kitchen cabinets, then all you need next is a vision and a can of paint……
1. First you will need to choose your paint.   Remember to use paint with a little bit of sheen to it.  This way you will have the durability and scrubability that a kitchen needs. You will need to use a roller as well as a brush to get into all the grooves of the doors. 
2. That was the fun part, now starts the work.  You will need to remove all of the cabinet doors as well as the hardware and have a nice large area to lay everything out in. 
3. Now, give everything a very thorough clean with TSP or a similar product.  Paint will not stick to areas that have grease build up.
4. Next, if you are changing the hardware and handles, which I highly recommend, you can fill any holes that the old hardware has left behind with paintable wood filler.
5. You will now need to give everything a light sanding with 100 or 120 grit sandpaper.   Don’t forget to wipe away all the dust before you begin painting.
6. Now apply a coat of primer. A little tip: If you are using a darker paint, try tinting the primer.  You will probably need one less coat of paint and over time if you do get any dings in the cupboards, they won’t be quite so obvious.  Primer can be pretty stinky, so choose the type wisely and think about wearing a mask.
7. When the primer has fully dried on both sides of the doors, you can begin the first coat of paint.  Apply as many coats as is needed, allowing it to dry fully in between coats.  You will need patience and restraint for this part.  Waiting is half the battle in this job.
8. When everything is dry, you can drill for your hardware, install your handles and put the doors back on the cabinets. Remember that the paint, although dry to the touch, will need a few weeks to fully cure, so you should be very careful with your cabinets in the meantime.
For an extra wow factor, think about changing the countertops in the kitchen as well.  This is not as cheap a task, however, it can be the piece de resistance.  There are a variety of countertop options ranging in cost.  Check out some of the amazing new laminate samples at your local kitchen retailer or hardware store.  You will be amazed at how stunning the laminate can be and even more amazed by the price.

If your kitchen is beyond repair and simply doesn’t function the way it should, then you may need a little bit more help than a can of paint can provide.  Check out Casey’s Creative Kitchens or William Standen Co. and have a designer plan your dream kitchen.  You will be amazed at what they can do with your space.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Feather Your Nest....

The peacock is a treasured bird symbolizing the true beauty of nature and color.  The way the light reflects off the often five foot long tail feathers, to reveal the metallic shades of blue and green, is an optical wonder.  At the end of the mating season, the male peacock can shed up to one hundred and fifty of these stunning feathers, only to grow them back.  We reap the benefits of this every year when they are sold for home décor, jewelry and more.  Even Christmas decorations have begun to appear adorned with peacock feathers and accessories in various shades of blue and more vibrant greens.  Combined with yellow it is easy to keep this color palette feeling warm and inviting.  Combined with Chrome and white accents you can achieve a more elegant and sophisticated interior.
Visit your local Bou Clair retailer to find some unique home décor items and perhaps get ready for a blue Christmas this year.  Also, check out Behr’s “Peacock Tail” paint and start thinking about an accent wall in your home.  Remember, it’s only one wall.  What do you have to lose?
Feather your nest this winter with the beauty and class of The Peacock and all its magnificent colors.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Have A Seat.....

Chairs.  They are a place that we sit to enjoy a good meal, good conversation or a morning coffee.  they are where we spend hours a day at work, and they are where we wind down at home after a long day.  A chair exemplifies all of the elements of design.  it needs to function with the utmost comfort, have durability, be aesthetically pleasing, and it must work with a multitude of other elements in a space.
Every designer has a trademark, something that they believe every room needs.  I believe that every room needs a great chair.  It can be either the focal point of the room or simply a beautiful accent piece that compliments the other elements in the space.   Throughout history, we can see the trends in interior design through the different styles of chairs.  From the clean wooden lines of mission style chairs, to the more elaborate, ornate details of The Victorian chair, and into the engineering wonders of the cantilevered Barcelona chair, we have watched chairs literally shape, design and pave the way for a vast array of interior styles.   
In Today’s society we see chairs being used as pieces of art with color, shape and form taken from every style of décor.  It is not uncommon to see an old carved wing back chair with a contemporary fabric and a glossy white paint job.  With the popularity of refinishing furniture and re-upholstering older pieces, it is easy to combine any chair into any design.  It can be as dominant or subtle as you choose, but don’t be afraid to fill an empty corner with a place to take the weight off your feet and ultimately, a place to rest your soul. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Into Orange

I remember our house when I was a teenager, with the rusty orange shag carpet throughout.  My parents couldn’t wait to tear it out for a light grey, low pile carpet that went with everything.   The idea of trends and styles coming full circle rings so true.  What I wouldn’t give for a stunning rust colored shag rug in my dining room today.  In the spirit of fall and the beautiful colors that it brings, let’s celebrate orange.  The current trends in interiors are bringing the outside in and the inside out; so break out the oranges…in every shade, tint and tone.  Whether it’s in your paint, throw pillows, accessories or a beautiful shag area rug, invite orange into your home this fall.  Accessories are easy to switch out as you tire of them or as the trends change.  You may want to start simple with a flower arrangement or throw pillows and you might just find yourself at the hardware store tomorrow buying a gallon of orange paint.   Pair your orange with yellows, reds and browns.  You will be amazed at the warmth and comfort that it brings to your home.