Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Everyone Needs a Little Space

Most people will read the title of this post and assume it means we all need more space in our homes. They would be wrong. What I really mean is everyone needs a “little” space.

In the age of McMansions, open floor plans, and two story ceiling heights, interior design seems to scream bigger is better. Bigger isn’t bad, but we all need smaller, more intimate spaces too. It’s in the smaller spaces that we feel safe and find comfort. These are the places where we can curl up and get lost in a good book or sit with a friend and catch up on life.

This room is a great example of the perfect “little” space. It is only 7 feet wide and 12 feet deep. My clients wanted to use the room for reading, conversation, and to display their daughter’s photography. It is one of my favorite rooms in their house, and my client said it is the place she and her daughter go to when they want to just sit and talk.
A little space doesn’t have to be a separate room in your home. It can be an area in a room meant for one or two people. It can be a comfy chair and ottoman in the corner, a banquette in a kitchen, or a desk in a wall niche.

If you don’t already have one, I hope you create your own perfect “little” space.

Friday, August 29, 2014

An attic renovation

I stopped by a client’s house today to drop off some accessories and took this quick iphone photo. This guest bedroom and sitting room are in the attic space above a garage. I designed the space this summer and for the renovation we added hardwood floors, wainscoting, new paint, and new rugs/furniture.
I love how it turned out and wanted to point out a few things in case anyone might be doing some painting, room arranging, or design day-dreaming over the holiday weekend.
Rooms with angled ceilings can have a lot of character, IF you paint them the right way. I love all the angles in this space. It’s not your typical “rectangular box” room. In a space like this, most people paint the little strip of flat ceiling white. Don’t do this! It just creates a long white stripe down the center of the room. By having the wall color wrap all the way around, the ceiling seems higher, the angles look softer, and instead of a tiny white ceiling jumping out at you, the furnishings are the stars of the space.
In some rooms the best place for the bed is in front of the window. This concept can scare people, as if doing this breaks some kind of interior design law. I promise you there is no law against having the bed in front of a window. The gables and window in this bedroom draw your eye to the bed and make it the focal point of the room. I chose an upholstered headboard that is a few shades lighter than the wall color, and it is low enough to only cover a few inches of the window.
I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bathroom redos on a budget

In my last blog post, I showed a photo of the blue kitchen door from a recent project for the daughter of one of my clients. This pink bathroom and this blue bathroom are from that same project, and we wanted to update them on a budget.
Pink bathroom BEFORE:
Pink bathroom AFTER:


 Blue bathroom BEFORE:
Blue Bathroom AFTER:

What we did:

Not all bathroom renovations require a complete gut job. Removing/replacing the wall and floor tile would have been a major expense. Instead, we reglazed the wall tile in a glossy white to make the spaces seem larger and lighter. It neutralized the “pink” and “blue” of the bathrooms.
The walls and ceilings were painted a medium gray, and we added new light fixtures, mirrors, and window treatments. In the pink bathroom, we replaced the old, damaged pedestal sink with a cabinet sink to give more storage and add some contrast to the room with the dark stained finish.
I hung the window treatments close the ceiling to add height to the rooms. The window treatment fabrics have pink/blue in them so that the floor tile color ties back into the room, but in a subtle way.
I used FLOR carpet tiles as bath rugs. These are my new favorite bathroom rugs…you can create any size and shape you want, they have a rubber back so they won’t slip, and they come in great patterns and colors…way more interesting than your standard bath rug.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Power of Paint -- Part 2

Here is another example of what a little bit of paint can do for a room.

Here is the before shot:


And here is the after shot:


 One of my clients asked me to help their daughter with the design of her first home. The kitchen had been recently updated, but all the white cabinets and door did not give much character to the space. Adding a pop of color to the back door livens up the space in an unexpected way.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Thomas Jefferson: Author of the Declaration of Independence, President, and Interior Designer

My family and I spent last week in Virginia, and one of our stops was Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. If you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. Monticello and its surroundings are absolutely beautiful.  http://www.monticello.org
Jefferson was not only a founding father of our country, author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third President, but he was also the architect and founder of the University of Virginia, a philosopher, scientist, inventor, and spoke five languages. I am amazed at all his accomplishments, and that he still found the time to oversee the design of his home down to the smallest detail.  
My daughters and I found it interesting that he chose a pink silk fabric and tassels for his bedding. We learned pink was popular with men in Jefferson’s day because it denoted wealth. Many wealthy men wore pink and used the color in their bedrooms. Goes to show you color trends have been around for centuries.
Another design choice Jefferson made was to use alcove beds. He saw them when he was in France and incorporated them into the bedrooms at Monticello. Jefferson felt like putting a bed in the center of the room used up valuable floor space. I have to agree with him! There are times when putting the bed in the “usual” place takes up so much room that there is little space left for anything else.

For one of my design projects in Florida, I placed twin beds against perpendicular walls to create the look of a sectional. It allowed space for a TV on open shelving, and the room now functions as a den as well as a bedroom.
Jefferson’s entrance hall displayed Indian artifacts, natural history specimens such as antlers and bones, maps, paintings, and busts of men he admired. When visitors walked into the entrance hall, they would immediately see Jefferson’s passions and interests.

Jefferson showcased what was important to him in his home, and I think that is a wonderful example to follow. Display what you love…incorporate it into your home’s design. It could be maps of your favorite places, photos of your family, seashells from trips to the beach, or any type of collection you may have. These are the things that give life to your home’s design and make it special.
I have clients who are avid bird-watchers. We were designing their dining room and looked for a wallcovering that had birds in it. We couldn’t find one we loved, so I found a wallcovering that had all the right colors, vines, and butterflies. We then brought in an artist who painted my client’s favorite birds onto the wallcovering. It was a subtle but fun way to bring their personality and interests into the design of the room, and their home was featured in Atlanta Magazine Home.

I’ll bet you never thought of Thomas Jefferson as an interior designer, but he was quite the Renaissance man. The next time you are working on the design of your home, don’t go to Pinterest for inspiration.  Ask yourself, “What would Jefferson do?”

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Power of Paint

I am currently working on a design project that demonstrates what a little bit of paint can do for a room.
Here is the before shot:
And here is the after shot:

This mantel practically disappeared when it was painted white.  It blended in with the white tile and white trim, and the detailed carving was lost in all that white. Painting the mantel several shades darker than the wall color makes the mantel really pop and become the focal point it needs to be in the space. I had the walls painted a pale gray that makes the room lighter and is a much fresher look than the original paint color. When selecting paint for a space, ask yourself what you want to highlight in the room. Some architectural details need to be painted a different color from the trim so they stand out. It could be the ceiling, the doors, or in this case the mantel.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The perfect accessory is right outside your door.

This is the time of year when a lot of people entertain. From graduation parties, engagement parties, baby showers, end-of-school dinners, even just having friends over to enjoy the beautiful weather, so many people are opening up their homes and looking for ways to spruce up their interiors.

I think one of the best ways to add color and interest to a room is with flowers. There was a time when all the questions involving a flower arrangement put me into a state of panic. Did I want to go to the expense of having a florist create an arrangement for me? What should I order? Should I try to run to the local grocery store and attempt to make something myself?

Over the last several years, I finally realized the best flower arrangement I can find is right in my own yard. Don’t get me wrong, I still break out into a cold sweat when the ladies in my garden club have a meeting that involves creating a flower arrangement.  These women know what they are doing, and pull all kinds of flowers together to create absolute masterpieces. I am not in their league, and I don’t pretend to know what I am doing. Instead of creating masterpieces I have to rely on simple, basic arrangements that generally involve one type of flower and one type of greenery.

These pictures are of my living room, and all the flowers and greenery are from my own yard. I literally put all of these together in about 15 minutes. There is nothing elaborate about these pieces, and anyone can create them. I used day lilies, magnolia leaves, hydrangea blooms, azalea leaves, cast iron plant leaves, and shells we have collected over the years.
The next time you are thinking of adding to your home’s landscape design, ask yourself what types of plants would not only look great in your yard, but also work well inside your home.