Archive | November 2012

Bring Out Your Buried Treasures

Do you have personal or family treasured items that you’re not exactly sure how to incorporate into your home design?

A good rule of thumb is to group like things together. So let’s say you collect plates, Lladro figurines, specialty mugs, etc. You would not want these strewn about your home, but grouped and artfully displayed so they make the greatest impact.  In addition, you may have something treasured from a family member that you might like to display but are not sure where or how to do this.

Case in point:  I was at a client’s home and we were discussing how to treat an important wall that was like a crossroad to the foyer, kitchen and family room. We were brainstorming, and then she showed me a drawer that was filled full of some very old copper molds and some oversized copper keys that were handed down from her grandfather.  As it turns out, her color scheme was plum and terracotta tones, so the copper worked in nicely.  I had them framed with a shadowbox-like effect on soft toned velvet with gold framing.  They have hung on this wall for the past 15 years.  Later she found some old Victorian greeting cards from her grandmother and we did a small grouping in her bedroom. 

I myself found that my husband had a collection of German steins passed down from his father that he kept packed away in a box; so I grouped them on our bookshelf along with other personal memorabilia. This made him very happy.  I am not found of clutter; however, I do think family treasures can add ambience and character to a home. Bookshelves are a great place to put things that are meaningful, as well as hallway walls  that lead to bedrooms. They are a great place for old family photos as well as treasured items. 

Do you need more accessories?  Before you rush out on a shopping spree, check and see what might be lurking about in those old attic boxes or perhaps something stuffed away in a drawer.  You might stumble upon a treasure!

A collection of framed copper molds and keys on display






A treasured stein collection – out of the storage box, and now on display






Design Mixology

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what is the best way to mix styles of furnishings in a tasteful way?” Let’s face it, over the years we all can inherit a treasured family item, or merge with a partner that has collected various pieces of furniture and in some cases, we truly prefer a collected unexpected design.

As you walk through a home, you might ask yourself, “why does this space feel so good to be in?” Many times it is the combination of just enough repetition versus contrast to integrate rooms, and also remain interesting. This principle can apply to my theory of design mixology.  Color placement can be key in integrating space, while style choice can work as a contrast.  Case in point – perhaps you have a sleek neutral contemporary-styled sofa in your living room, strewn with solid and print pillows that are turquoise and orange.  In the adjacent dining room are your French dining chairs that you inherited from your grandmother.  You are considering spraying the chairs in a lacquered orange finish. Repetition was accomplished with repeating the color orange for the French-styled dining chairs contrasted with the contemporary sofa in the living room, creating an interesting mix.

Often I’m challenged with helping people downsize, where my client has to choose which items not only can fit in the new space, but also work well within the design concept.  Shown in the photos is this very example. A client purchased a home less than half the size of her existing residence.  The new waterfront home was more casual, reflective of a contemporary cottage in style.  We carefully selected some of her existing Asian pieces to use as accents, and added transitional upholstery along with traditional painted wood pieces with a cottage flair.  This contrast in styles was pulled together with carefully chosen color placement, an interesting collection of modern art, and an occasional botanical.

Creating your own mix of furnishings can keep your home fresh, with a livable feel and a one-of-a-kind look.

A transitional sofa, with a straight simple arm, is mixed with a gray reclaimed barnwood chest. To the left is an Asian armoire. In the background you can see the traditional kitchen dining ensemble with the table top finish mirroring the color of the adjacent TV. This same chamois gold color is also found in the top right portion of the modern art piece in the foreground.

The walls are featured in a chamois gold color found elsewhere in various rooms. Black and ivory colors are placed carefully throughout the entire first floor. Note the transitional banquettes mixed with the traditional painted chairs.

Chamois gold repeated on painted end table. Traditional plaid wing chairs with a modern painting above. Red is used as an accent color.