fireplace

Habitat Q&A Recap

Last month I hosted a "Design Dilemma" Q&A session at the Habitat Restore and was happy to help people with those burning design questions on their minds. I helped with several furniture floorplan questions, which I LOVE doing because it creates a world of difference in a home and how you use the space. I also fielded a few DIY questions related to updating furniture & kitchen cabinets. Below are a few other questions with pictures to demonstrate a solution. 

Q- What type of curtains can I put in a two-story bay window? 

A- I love the look of straight curtain panels hung on either side of the window and on the inside of each corner. Floor to ceiling this look pulls the room together and adds softness while not competing with the view or being overly complicated. I pulled up an image I had saved to my Pinterest board and she loved it!

For the link click here and check out some of my other window treatment ideas on my pinterest board here: http://www.pinterest.com/innovatemyplace/window-treatments/

Q: The brick fireplace in my home is too orange and doesn't match my style. Can I paint it?

A: Yes, try a whitewash! While painting is a good option for some homes I have been recommending a whitewash look instead. This takes out the orange/red undertones in the brick and neutralizes them while still showing variations in each brick. This works particularly well with the gray trend that's been going on the past few years. This DIY project is as simple as watering down latex paint and "washing' it on and letting it soak in. Blot off drippy areas, and you can customize how much you want covered.

(pinterest link)

Q: My dining room has a built-in cabinet in one corner, and the room is feeling off balance. Can I paint the inside the same as the wall color?

A: This was a great question because balance is so important in a room. My first suggestion would be to add another tall object in the opposite corner, another built-in with more storage that matched the other would be best. If that won't fit then try adding a corner shelf of even a tall plant. The second part of this answer is to try "painting out" the entire built-in. This is a great trick to use in small spaces to make everything seamless and blend in while adding subtle details and of course storage. 

  

(pinterest link)

What questions & design dilemmas are on your mind? 

Cheers, 

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Mantle Styling

During this unrelenting winter I've gotten a bit of fireplace envy. It's been fun looking at some fireplaces online (like this post) and thinking about how to style them. There are so many ways to accentuate this focal point that there really is no wrong way to do it. In a previous post I explained some key elements of a vignette, or decorative way to arrange accessories together. When styling a fireplace mantle many of the same tips hold true. So now if you're looking for some ideas of what to use, here are some fun options! 

1. Mirrors

This is one of my favorite design tricks, not only do mirrors reflect the light in the room and make it feel bigger, but if you angle the mirror back you can catch your chandelier / light fixture in the view which adds a dynamic element.

2. Family Portraits

This is a classic item for above a fireplace. You could hang one large portrait flanked with sconces for symmetry, or could lean a few different sized portraits for a more relaxed feel. 

Warm up by the Fire

Brr.... it's so sold here! We keep getting more and more snow, 2 snow days and a delay so far this week. I am feeling so ready for spring. In the meantime I just keep thinking warm thoughts and admiring some beautiful fireplace designs. If you have a fireplace and are looking for some inspiration to update yours, here are some ideas! These will focus mostly on different fireplace surrounds and in the next few weeks I'll talk about how to style the mantle ;) 

Classic Brick:

Brick is a timeless, versatile, and modest fireplace material. It can be whitewashed to soften the look and still show texture, or just painted an opaque color for a solid modern look. 

(source) 

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Tile:

Tile is another popular choice that is just as versatile plus it's extremely customizable. It can be used to add subtle patterns such as the herringbone or diamond, or it can add a splash of color that ties into the rest of the room. 

 

 

 

(source)

Creative Solutions for Necessary Evils

My car was in and out of the shop this past week and I've finally gotten it back, horray! It was challenging to coordinate two different schedules around one car, and there is limited public transit for travel within NJ. NJ to NYC - no problem. Eastbound travel within New Jersey - not so easy. Anyway I'd be just as happy to not own a car but alas I still need one! That got me thinking about all the necessary evils that we deal with, my car being one of them, and there are certainly plenty in the decorating world! 

Here are the top 4 necessary evils that came to mind right away:
- Incorporating a TV into a room plan
- Designing around floor & wall vents for HVAC
- Plugs and wires for connecting our digital world
- Cash (always a necessary evil!)

What other necessary evils do you find hindering the way your rooms work? I'll address each of those above and I'll start with the TV. I think this is something we all deal with and there are many ways to make it work!

#1 - The TV is Bossy

Necessary: for entertaining, watching TV & movies with friends and family

Evil: When living rooms are bossed around by the TV it results in uncomfortable room arrangements.

With new technology and flat screens there are many options you can use to incorporate the massive black screen successfully into your decor :)

For Wall Mounted Screens...

I love the idea of using artwork to hide the screen when not in use. There are many variations on this idea: you can lift a painting, slide to one side, or my favorite is splitting the artwork and sliding to each side for a balanced look. If you choose a more abstract artwork it would look just as good open as it does closed.

Lowe's: I love this simple DIY video from Lowe's, click here for the link.

Or if you look around I'm sure you could find a decorative box with accordion doors that open, similar to this one at Horchow that is sold out. 

Horchow

Or try incorporating the screen into a gallery wall. I think this one works particularly well because all the frames and matting are black so it relates to the TV. In addition the wall is painted a medium gray and the unit below is also black. Very cohesive.

via Decorating Files blog

Projectors

Good Design Takes Planning

As with pretty much everything else in life the best results are achieved when there is a "big picture" goal and a plan to follow. Sometimes decorating can feel like a daunting task when you don't have all the pieces yet, or don't know what to do with the pieces you already have. You may know what kind of look you want but find it hard to achieve the desired result because of various limitations. These limitations can be anything from trying to find furniture you love in the right size, waiting for the budget to allow for such purchases, or waiting to inherit a piece promised from a friend or family. The list goes on and on and it can be so frustrating!

This room needs help! Picture from Houzz dilemmas

This room also needs help! Houzz dilemma


But don't give up! It will all come together in good time. Designing a home takes a lot of time and patience, and allowing for things to evolve over time. I just finished reading "The Business of Design" by Keith Granet and I pulled a quote from him that really resonated with me: "A house is a product, a home is a process."  Isn't that so true?


Traditional Living Room
by Toronto Interior Designer Jane Lockhart Interior Design


Contemporary Living Room
by Orlando Photographer Studio KW Photography

Sometimes all you need to get started is a good plan! The design plans I provide as part of my consultation help to define the "big picture" for the space AND help to prioritize each step of the process so you know when to buy things and in what order. It's your own personal check list! Having a design plan saves frustration, keeps you organized, and helps your budget stays on track.