interior decorating

"SCENT"SORY Appeal

Often times when thinking about interior decorating, many people focus on the visual aspect of a room. They see a picture and implement the idea in their space, but feel that something may still be missing. One of the important things to remember is that a room should appeal to ALL the senses. So the one I would like to speak about in this post is SCENT! 

Veranda House Hotel

Photo by Rachel Reider Interiors

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Search contemporary bedroom pictures

Smells can evoke many emotions, memories, and lift a mood. Think about your significant other's perfume or cologne. Or a favorite candle or hand lotion you used during a special occasion. A waft of any of these will send you down memory lane! So that's why it's important that you consider using scent in your home. It will create a feeling of season, evoke memory, and add light and warmth to any room making it feel cozy especially during these colder winter months. 

M/I Homes of Chicago: Sheffield Square Grant Park - Dearborn Model

Photo by M/I Homes

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Look for transitional living room pictures

So here are a few tips when incorporating scent into your home: 

1- Make it Seasonal

Consider using the current season for inspiration. During the winter months use candles that smell like vanilla, cinnamon, or other related baking spices. If you're looking for something more earthy you can try some of the balsam, pine, sandlewood, or the classic patchouli and neroli.  In the spring & summer - don't forget fresh flowers!

2- Flow between Rooms

Just like paint colors should flow from room to room, it's also important scents do the same. You don't want a situation of a fresh bright summer scent jarring with one of those warm earthy winter smells. Keep the blends subtle and discreet - they don't have to be the same scent but just compliment each other! 

3- Color & decor

Many candles available today come in a variety of colors and styles. Try to find something that blends with your existing home or holiday decor. This way it will work double duty as an accessory, not just an item that looks like it's being used to mask smell. If you're working with flowers add colors and vases to compliment the decor as well.  

4- Safety 

Of course if you are using candles to enhance the scent in your home, it's important to follow common sense safety rules. I always recommend to keep candles in a very visible place so you don't forget to blow them out when you leave the room. Also keep them in a safe place where they won't get accidently knocked over when lit. 

5- Candle alternatives

One of my absolute favorite alternatives to candles are the reed diffusers. They come in so many scents now and can safely be tucked into any small space.  I love these because they work hard and you don't have to worry about the safety concerns with candles. You can buy a few diffusers at the same time, following tip #2 above, making sure they relate to each other. Then once they run out in a few months you can purchase a set of new ones in a seasonal scent set! 

Master Bath Vanity
Dining Room
Elegant Morris County Home
80-Hour Vertical Beeswax Candle With Hurricaine Glass
Aviary Owl Candle, Sky

transitional candles

I hope you enjoyed these tips and they inspire you. Do you currently use scent in your home, and if so how do you like to implement? 

Cheers, 

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GREENERY

It's that time of year again! Pantone has just announced their color of 2017 which is called Greenery. It is nice to see some spring colored leafy green this time of year as everything up here in the north turns a cold gray. Brrr...

(image source)

Wondering how to incorporate this green into your existing home decor for a fresh look? Check out this room photo below for some inspiration, it looks great mixed with rich blues and wood tones. 

(image source)

Artwork and some green ferns are always an easy update! 

What do you think of the new color of 2017? 

Cheers, 

 

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This Room Two Ways

Hello! Earlier this morning I presented the room below in two ways. The first way was "decorating" it, meaning that we added personalized color through accessories & artwork. The second was "staging" it, which is essentially undecorating and neutralizing the space also through accessories. In either case the furniture and placement stayed the same. I think this quick example demonstrates how easy it is to update a space with accessories! 

 

FURNITURE IN PLACE

1- Personalized Colors & Accessories including a family photo gallery wall

2- Neutralized color & accessories for staging - depersonalize by removing family photos

 

Imagine you are buying a home and flipping through tons of photos, which one would you be inclinced to like?

Would love to know! 

 

Cheers, 

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Another Decorating Tip That's Cheaper (and less stressful) then repainting

 

Buckinghamshire Residence by LLI Design.

 

Updating accessories! Of course the "cheaper" part of the subject line only holds true if you aren't spending a lot on accessories. But what is important to know here is that sometimes paint colors just don't look right in a room. People may even repaint a different shade and still not be happy with the results. The problem here is with the accessories, or lack there of.

 

J. Hirsch Interior Design Portfolio

 

One key element of design is to make each decision look intentional. For example, if you are going to mix a warm color with cool color it needs to look intentional. How to do that? Find a piece of artwork that has both tones in it so it looks intentional. 

 

Cozy Living Room

 

Then repeat it. Pick up both colors in pillows, throw blankets, vases, etc. 

 

Parkwood Road Residence Living Room 2

 

I believe that you can make almost any color scheme work with carefully placed design elements and accessories. 

 

tineke triggs

 

I think that a decorator's job is an important one for finishing a room. You can have the best architectural layout, best tradespeople install, and highest quality furniture purchased. But accessories and carefully chosen colors really make a room sing. It adds personality and liveliness and that 'wow' factor everyone is looking for. 

 

Honore-Transitional Dining Room
 

 

If you need ideas on how to make this happen in a room of yours, I'd be honored to help!

Cheers, 

Refresh Your home with this easy decorating tip that is cheaper than painting, and here's how

Are you ready for the answer? What decorating DIY could possibly be cheaper than painting?? 

Rearrange your furniture.
Yes - it's that simple! 

It's been a long winter (it always is) and it's easy to get stir crazy and want to make some major changes in your home. Especially if you've been living in your home for awhile you may be ready for a drastic change. All you need to get started is a few ideas and some furniture sliders, then viola! Instant makeover. 

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During the process you may find that you don't need some furniture anymore, or may want to borrow other pieces from another room. Try things you've never done before - have you tried your sofa on a different wall? Layered in front of the picture window? Across from the window? Perpendicular? You get the idea! 

 

Local Room Makeovers

 

Even if you're not ready to rearrange, it's important to keep this in mind when you are purchasing new furniture because you want the most versatile pieces that allow for several room configurations. The best combination for this is a sofa and 2 upholstered chairs. The configurations are so versatile in any space with this combination. 

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The best part about this rearranging makeover? You can try it out and if you don't like it put it back the way it was! No harm done ;) 

So what do you think? Are you going to rearrange your room today? 

Cheers!

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Green with Envy

Happy St. Patrick's Day all! Sorry it's been awhile since my last post - every week zooms by and I realize I haven't yet written a blog post! It's amazing how time flies now with a little one... 

As I was drafting my monthly email newsletter I searched for a green room to share for some St. Patrick's Day love. It was hard to decide which one though - some were soft and subtle, others were vibrant and geometric, and others still were neutral with just a few pops of green. Since it was so hard to pick just one here I will share all the "green rooms" that grabbed my interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you had to pick just one, which would be your favorite? 

Slainte!

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Pantone Color(s) of the Year

Well, this morning Pantone announced their color(s) of the year for 2016 and all I can keep thinking is that they seem to have suffered from decision paralysis and couldn't pick just one! It is an unprecedented move by the industry's color authority so we'll see how it plays out. I understand what they are saying about the colors working together to provide balance, harmony etc. but it's a tough line to walk as a single recommendation.

It's also fun to see what everyone else thinks of the announcement. I am seeing lots of references to Steven's Universe & Sailor Moon (never watched either of them), birth announcements (baby blue and pink anyone? lol), and my other general observance that I thought ombre was on the way out... 

 

So for this post I am going to totally ignore the "serenity" blue aspect of the color and instead focus on the "Rose Quartz" which is a pretty blush pink. THAT color I have been seeing more of and I would like to take a look at it in different aspects of interior decorating as a subtle trend. 

First a look at "Rose Quartz", the stone

So as the name references this is what natural Rose Quartz looks like. It's a beautiful soft pink that reminds me a bit of Himalayan rock salt. The history and meaning of the stone itself is related to the heart and "unconditional love." 

(source)

Rose Quartz is a pink coloured crystal believed to have heart-healing properties. It encourages healthy self-love, and can bestow compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. Rose Quartz is also soothing, calming and reduces stress and tension.

"Rose quartz" as paint

I attended a Sherwin Williams color forecast earlier this fall and also saw lots of blush colors as part of their forecast. I'm going to say that the closest of these is the "charming pink" on right since it has a similar clarity of color that the stone shares. But the muted blush pinks work really beautifully with subtle grays to warm up the color palette. 

(Sherwin Williams)

"Rose Gold" metal

Yes... even METAL is going pink! Now I'm not suggesting that everyone replace their faucets and light fixtures with rose gold but in the right application it's a nice option and welcome change to the standard "silver" or "chrome" options. First brass was making a comeback in the warm metal options, and now rose gold is here! 

 

 

Rose Gold Technology

Oh and incase you weren't sure about the metals above, check out the rose gold iPhone option available here ;) 

(apple iphone)

 

Ok so now are some other simple ways of adding this hue into your home decor...

Furniture

A nice pink accent piece would be a fun addition to a room! Either paired with high contrast dark colors or keeping light and airy with other light neutrals. 

 

 

 

 

Window treatments

 

 

Accessories & Decor

 

 

Artwork

 

 

 

So after seeing a few examples of the Rose Quartz / blush pink in context what do you think? What do you think of Pantone's announcement in general? Would love to know, leave a comment below! 

Cheers!

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Getting Things Done - a PSA

Every week when I think about a potential blog post there are so many ideas that come to mind sometimes it's hard to choose. One of those recurring thoughts is to share a very valuable "life resource" with you. I follow many blogs & podcasts and a few months ago through the "Beyond the To Do List" podcast I learned about a little book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.  Actually, I kept hearing the reference "GTD" and the "GTD system" that finally I just HAD to look it up.

This book isan extremely valuable resource not just for getting things done, but for streamlining your work process and get things off your mind. I figured getting back to work after having our first baby would be the perfect time for me to learn more about it. So I went to the library and devoured it within a few weeks. (I only had to renew it once - c'mon I had a 4 month old at the time!) I kept laughing at the irony of me reading about "getting things done" instead of actually just getting things done... but I knew this would transform my habits and so I wanted to learn about it before getting back into the swing of things. 

The tips & methods he details for processing information have been insanely helpful. One of the things I often felt when things got busy was that there were so many "moving parts" it was hard to keep track of the loose ends. His tips for "closing the loops" in our minds have been so valuable I've really felt inspired to adopt this system for both my design projects and my personal life. So now I feel that I should return the favor and tell everyone about it! How did I not know about this sooner?!?

So here is a link to the book and website, and below are a few of my favorite parts of the GTD system. 
gettingthingsdone.com 

 

1- Email processing

(source)

I love his tips for creating @Action, @WaitingFor, Read/Review and Reference folders. They really help keep things organized and make sure I am not forgetting anything. I am still working towards an empty inbox but I've enjoyed processing my emails with his tips. And since I use Gmail for work, it's easy for me to tag emails directly from my sent mail so I don't forget to follow up with people I've contacted! 

 

2- Master Project List

(source) 

Here's where my "too many moving parts" problem was solved. I don't know if working from home made this worse but I had this perpetual thought pattern every time I walked through the house of all the things we needed to get done. Then I'd look at my emails, open design projects and always try to assess what needed to get done next. It was becoming a perpetual mess! By having a master project list I am able to keep an inventory of every single aspect of my life, both work and personal so I can assess the use of my time holistically. If we're planning an event at home, it takes actual time from my life and I need to take actionable steps to achieve it just like a would I client project. Which leads me to the next favorite...

 

3- Action Items

(source) 

Splitting up a task or job by actionable items might sound like a no brainer, or maybe even a waste of time for those smaller tasks, but his idea of breaking things up by Action (emails, calls, errands, agendas, etc) has been a really helpful way for me to manage my to-do's. I'm still slowly adapting to this because I used to always organize my lists by job and it feels weird to separate them. But ultimately I do agree this makes a lot of sense and will be beneficial to view all my to-do's holistically. 

 

So what do you think?

Have you already heard about GTD? Have you been using the system, or like me wish you had discovered it sooner? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I hope you found this post helpful. 

 

Cheers, 

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Transform a Room with Color & Simple Styling

Well hello there! I have returned from maternity leave and it's so good to be back! I started back gradually over the summer and now that it's September I am back up to speed again. This is the first post on my blog since returning and I am excited to keep up with my social media again. 

So what is my first post going to be about? Well, I have been working on a few projects involving window treatments and have become really excited with Smith & Noble's before & afters. I first discovered them on my ipad over the summer and was totally mesmerized with sliding the bar back and forth to see the transformation. I should say that I had a few "extra minutes" to look through all of them because I was holding my little babe for long stretches of time ;) 

What I really like about these is that they not only show window treatments but also pillows and throws. The furniture remains exactly the same but it shows how powerful color & accessories are in transforming a room. i would love to show you a few of my favorites and what I like about each one. So let's get on with it shall we?

Bedroom Transformation

You can see how the blue livens up this simple bedroom and the mix of solids and pattern also adds interest. They added a table lamp next to the bed. All of this is very simple but adds so much sensory experience to the room.

 

Family Room Transformation

This large window and sliding door combination looks great with a dual layer window treatment. In addition they've replaced some of the green accessories with a simple white orchid and throw pillow. Same furniture but wow - look at the difference! 

 

Living Room Transformation

Another dual layer window treatment - blinds with patterned panels on each side. The addition of sunflowers in a vase and throw pillows really pull the room together.  Please also note that the curtain rod is hung as high as possible and the curtains are brushing the floor. Full length curtains really keep the windows looking tall! 

Living Room 2

Talk about framing a view! The curtains really draw attention to the windows, and the throw pillows and blanket repeat the colors and introduce new pattern.  This is also a great example of how a neutral couch and wall color isn't a recipe for boring! Accessories are an easy way to upgrade and change a space.

Kitchen

Again here is a simple upgrade with a valance, and the color is repeated in the flowers and bowl of fruit. Also note how this curtain makes the window seem taller? If you look at the original window and notice how low it is, then notice that the top of the valance is lined up with the top of the cabinets. Viola! Tall window magic.

Dining Room

Bay windows can be tricky, and while I'd say about 90% of the time in general it's best to let as much light in as possible. But sometimes it's good to break that rule and go for cozy drama and have fun! Curtains carve out space in an otherwise large room, especially if there is a lot of other natural light available. This looks fabulous, plus all the accessories on the table really pull it all together. 

Contemporary Loft Space

Even in really contemporary loft spaces (maybe especially in these spaces) curtains can really add a soft touch without taking away from the space. The sheer curtains shown below emphasize the height of the room, let light filter in, and soften the hard edges in this space.

 

So what do you think of these transformations? Do you see the potential for a color & accessory makeover in your home?? This is the fun part that really adds a lot of personality to a home, is easy to update, and makes a room feel complete. 

Thanks for reading! As I mentioned earlier all Before & Afters are compliments of Smith & Noble! You can take a look at all of the transformations and play with the slider from the link below. 

www.smithandnoble.com/beforeandafter

 

Cheers!

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Useful or Beautiful - Part 3

Now that you've read how to purge & declutter, and how to smartly reduce what you bring home, I would like to share a few design tips on creating a beautiful space using what you already have.

1- Create a plan!

This is the most important step, and the first I do when I meet with a new client. Brainstorming all our ideas and coming up with an organized master plan for the room will keep your goals on track. It's important to understand how you currently use the room, and how you want to use it going forward.This information will guide any decisions you make going forward.

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2- Inspire Yourself

Sometimes it's hard to see new potential for the same old pieces in the same old room. That's one of the biggest benefits a decorator can bring to your job is a fresh new perspective! To start getting some ideas you can look on Pinterest or Houzz for other rooms that inspire you. Then look for a common theme in them, are you drawn to neutral colored rooms? Bold colored accents? Mid century style?

 

3- Try something new

After the purge, some inspiration, and a plan you will start to see your things in an all new way. Try new things with your existing pieces. It could be as simple as rearranging the furniture to create a better seating area. Or maybe you found an easy DIY idea that will help you repurpose that old side table, chair, or accessory.

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4- Fill in the gaps

Once you're set up the foundation for the room using what you already had, you'll have a better sense of what you need. Check back with your plan to see what your other goals were. How many were accomplished with what you already had? And how many need to be filled in with new purchases? If you head out shopping bring your design plan with you to keep you on track.

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5- Rotate accessories

If you have a lot of accessories you want to keep but they aren't working together, I would recommend rotating them seasonally. Keep out lightweight linens and fresh bright colors for the spring, and store your heavy blankets, curtains, pillows, carpet, and darker colored accessories for the winter.

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6- Enjoy!

Show yourself and your new space some gratitude. It may not be magazine perfect, but nothing really is. Enjoy the change you've made in your home, the new freedom from clutter, and the well planned decor you have in your home. Maybe you can even celebrate by hosting a party to show it off!

(source)

 

I hope this mini series has helped inspire you to redecorate a room in you home.

Cheers,

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Useful or Beautiful - Part 1

I'm sure you may be familiar with this quote from the well known textile designer William Morris:

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."


(photo credit Morris & Co)

Ahh... doesn't that sound so simple? When we think about our homes it's easy to get caught up in our consumer culture, or the latest trend and before we know it we have accumulated a mass quantity of things we don't use, or don't even like that much but hold onto anyway. Since spring officially starts tomorrow now is a great time for a little spring cleaning & a good declutter.

The ultimate goal is to pull a room together and make a few really special pieces stand out. In order to do that we need to reduce the excess clutter and simplify the surroundings! Here are a few tricks I find helpful to make the purge, and strategies to stay on top of it.

step 1: the purge

WHAT:

Define what it is that you like, don't like, or don't use. What are your goals for the room - Do you need a cohesive color scheme? Large scale artwork to offset smaller items?  Updated furniture?  Then decide what you have that doesn't work towards your main goal and put it aside. 

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WHERE:

Start with one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. Pare things down to what you need and like (useful or beautiful) and see if you can repurpose an item in another room. Eventually work your way through the entire house until you have a clean slate.

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WHEN:

Ideally you'll look to purge all the time. Whenever you look at something and think it should be replaced, updated, don't like it anymore etc - put it aside. Our tastes change and evolve every few years, so it's good to keep updating frequently so our home evolve with our tastes, instead of putting things off until it feels overwhelming. Doing it often and in small doses won't feel so emotionally & physically draining either. Consider purging with each change of the season - did you use all winter decor this past season or can you purge some of it?

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HOW:

Pick a method below or try a combo to see what works best for you. A big part of purging is how you feel about the stuff you're getting rid of. If you can rationalize letting things go you'll be much better at staying on top of purging!

1- Keep an ongoing donation box in your home. (my favorite)

Designate a basket or box in a small corner of your home. As soon as you grab something from your closet that doesn't fit well, or you just don't love anymore put it in there!! Same with any serving dishes in your kitchen, decorations, surplus office supplies, technology, toys, etc. The goal of this is to "temporarily" get rid of it. For many this is a much easier decision to make because it's not final. If you need to just "grab that shirt" in a pinch you can since it's still in your house. But most likely you will gradually keep adding to that donation box and then forget what you've even put in there. Then in a few months it's one step closer to the door and it's time to make a donation!

2- Donate while it's still good!

Nobody gets excited about buying anything second hand that is damaged. The trick to making a great donation is to get rid of things BEFORE they are destroyed. As you start loosing interest in an item don't feel bad about getting rid of it - someone else will appreciate it that much more!

3- Sell or consign

So you spent quite a bit on that side chair and kind of regret it? Try selling it on your own through a resource like Craigslist or Ebay. Or try finding a consignment store in the area to help you do it and share a bit of profit. This is a win-win because people love to buy nice items for a fraction of the price and the seller gets to recoup some of the cost! When I sell an item on Craigslist for example I try to research what a "new" similar item would sell for, then offer mine for about half price.

4- If you're sentimental

Take a photo of your beloved object so you can always remember it. Most times it's just the memory of who gifted the item, rather than the actual item itself that brings you joy. So snap that photo of how you used it in your home, archive it on your computer, then share with joy with someone else!

If you're looking for a creative way to document some of your items check out this website:
www.ThingsOrganizedNeatly.com

(source)

 

I hope you found this post to be helpful! This is Part 1 of 3 so check back soon for more tips on keeping your objects from owning you! Also if you're interested in some local resources drop me a line - I'd be happy to share what I found helpful in the area!

 

Cheers!

     

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Recession Renovations

Recession Renovations

On average an interior design trend has a lifespan of about 10 years before people get bored and are ready for change. There are the early adapters, those that act on it mid-wave, and then those who catch the tail end. Trends also tend to begin on the coasts and then filter inland, which means that there may be a few year delay on a trend catching on or ending nationally.

With that being said... who doesn't love gray? It's everywhere right now and has been for the past 6+ years.  It's so easy to match, is modern, and can be used with warm or cool toned interiors.  Anyone who has done a recent kitchen or bath renovation has most likely installed gray and white toned vanity, counters, backsplash, etc. And gray matched with white subway tiles is a classic look that can go either industrial chic or Scandinavian minimal.  Gray used in a living space is modern and can create a soothing monochromatic color palette. Below are three examples I pulled from the front page of Pinterest today.

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But I've often wondered what all this grayness will look like in a few years and I've dubbed it  "recession renovations". Yes, the fact that we've been slowly digging ourselves out of the worst economy some of us have ever seen had taken it's toll and left home buyers to either put projects on hold, or make super "safe" decorating decisions. I don't think it's any coincidence that people find using gray a safe, yet trendy choice. 

As the economy is improving though, people are feeling more optimistic and are willing to embrace change and even a little more risk. Optimism is often expressed through color and it seems designers and homeowners alike are getting ready to embrace color again this year! No more drab outlook, no more drab interiors.

"Oh great" you say?  You just installed a gray "whatever"....  Hey, it's no problem at all! Gray is a great neutral base and will help transition your home into the next phase with color. You can start adding layers of color to bring the room to life with accessories that are always easy to change out. If you're about to embark on a renovation or new purchase and have always loved color - now is your free pass to indulge!

 


Like this kitchen above - POP! Look at how cheery that orange is against a gray & white background.

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This gray couch provides a great base for jewel toned accessories like rug, pillow, & lighting.

A Timeless Pattern for 2015

Herringbone is definitely making a statement in the design scene lately. This classic & timeless pattern has slowly been gathering speed over the years and is showing up in places everywhere from the bathroom to bedroom! While this pattern is making it's statement, another familiar is fading into the background: Chevron.

Chevron has been the hyper trend of the past few years and has been applied to everything from curtains to mugs. It has been used so much that many designers are steering away from Chevron patterns going forward. If you're about to make a purchase you might want to keep that in mind!

When you compare Herringbone to Chevron they book look zig-zaggy so you may be wondering what's the big difference? Chevron is typically being used as a high contrast simple zig zag pattern where the individual pieces meet at an angle. Herringbone has a more intentional pattern repeat and creates a broken zig zag. The pattern looks well defined and geometric, and when translated from a weave to a dimensional object each piece intersects at 90 degree angles, as shown below. (image source)

The herringbone pattern originates from a type of fabric weave used in traditional men's blazers and suits. (image source)

Below you can see a close up of the pattern, which is nicely described as the following:

Herringbone describes a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern . It is distinguished from a plain chevron by the break at reversal, which makes it resemble a broken zigzag. The pattern is called herringbone because it resembles the skeleton of a herring fish

(image & quote source)

 

Here are a few ways that herringbone is making a classic and beautiful comeback in interiors.

 

 

 
 

 

Navy Blue Rooms

I've always loved the color blue, and have found navy blue in particular to be a versatile chameleon. I don't think there is a color that doesn't go with navy! There are times when I've even thought "navy is the new black" but have refrained from making such statements. Navy has been hot for a few years now and it looks classic mixed with white, like all those ginger jars we see in decor magazines today.

Then I read an article from the Wall Street Journal (Top 5 Interior Design Trends for 2015) discussing how moody blues are on trend, and so I thought it would be fun to show a few combinations of navy with other colors for some inspiration. I focused mostly on painted navy rooms, although adding navy accents through furniture and accessories is another great way to infuse a smaller dose of this blue. So without further adieu let's see some pictures!

Navy with Neutrals (moody blues)

 

Navy & White (classic & crisp)

 

 

Navy & Hot Pink (hot hot!)

 

Navy & Green/Yellow (crisp & clean)

 

Baby, It's cold outside!

Brrr... it's been pretty cold here in New Jersey! Right now it's 7 degrees, and it might get up to almost 30 by the afternoon. Although it's miserably cold, the winter is a great time to hibernate and catch up on some good books and movies indoors. And while you're inside all cozy under a blanket your eyes may wander over to that blank wall you've been meaning to decorate.... now would be the perfect time for that indoor project!

Need some inspiration? There are many options for filling your walls with art. You can choose a single piece of art or large photo that you took. Another option is to create a gallery wall. The variety of gallery walls have just exploded over the years and there are many ways to create one. So below I've outline a few of my favorites with some examples of each.

The Cohesive Gallery Wall

This style gallery wall creates a clean looking aesthetic, which makes it a good fit for traditional AND contemporary interiors. By simplifying the color palette and using similar frames you can create a uniform look. You can then create a grid with the frames for a geometric look, or can mix and match frame sizes for some variety.

(source)

 

 

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(source: design*sponge)

THE ECLECTIC GALLERY WALL

Can't commit to just one color scheme, have to much artwork you'd like to use, or jut aren't a matchy-matchy person? Then try creating an eclectic gallery wall. Start by laying out all the pieces you'd like to use on the floor and move pieces around until they fit well together and the artwork complements others surround it. Keep in mind frame size and artwork color, you want to mix and match so the overall gallery will look well balanced.

(source: Emily Henderson)

(source)

(source: Samantha Gluck Interiors)

KIDS ARTWORK

Do you have a little artist at home? You can showcase their artwork and make it feel special by using frames like these below.

Happy Holiday Season!

Every time I check in I cannot believe how fast time is flying!! This week was Hanukkah and tonight is Christmas Eve already! So what have I been up to? It's been a busy season getting ready for the holidays and helping people decorate their homes. Now it's time to kick back and relax (after we clean the house, prep dinner, and deliver dozens of cookies!).  Our neighbors benefit from my cookie cooking obsession - I don't normally bake desserts during the year since it's just the 2 of us at home, so I indulge during the holidays :)  

Every year I make the same few favorites and I've gotten my system down pretty well by now. Then I try adding a few new ones in to keep it interesting.  Here is a snapshot of this years cookies! Some photos are my own and others are from the recipe website. (links below!)

COOKIES

 

1- Peppermint Bark |  2-  Gingersnaps  |  3- Coffee Bon Bons

4- Rolo Cookies  |   5- Uncle Richie Cookies  |  6- Maraschino Cherry Almond Cookies

7- Triple Chocolate Chunk  |  8- No Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Truffles  |  9- Sea Salt & PB Turtle Cookies

10- Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies

GUEST ROOM

Let's see, what else have I been up to? I was interviewed for an article in our local paper! I gave a few tips for creating a nice comfortable guest room for the holidays and my picture was used for the entire article! Below is my picture and a link to the article. 

Article Link (pg 2): http://www.njherald.com/link/721023/hello-holidays

UGLY SWEATERS

I went to an "ugly sweater" party this year for a networking event and was excited to find not only what I thought was an ugly sweater, but an ugly sweater vest!! Then I found an equally ugly turtleneck to wear underneath and bam! I was ready for the party. Much to my disappointment though.... so many people actually told me that it looked cute!! CUTE PEOPLE!!! I was like - uh, seriously?? As the designer in your network I am wearing this to an UGLY SWEATER party - and you actually think it's cute?? Oh boy... So now I ask YOU - Is this ugly or cute?!? Be honest!

 

Well that's all for now! Let me know if you make any of the cookies I shared, and I'm curious to know your thoughts on this sweater vest! I will check in again before the year's end... which is next week already! In the meantime I wish you all the very best of the holiday season!!!

Cheers!

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A Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are getting ready to enjoy some time with family and friends this holiday weekend. Whether you are traveling out of town, or are running around preparing the big feast I wish you the best!

Wherever you sit this holiday season you are likely to encounter a beautiful table setting. Or if you are hosting you may want to create one. There are so many beautiful ideas out there, but just where does everything actually go? I mean the basic details such as: Does the fork go on the left or right of the plate?

(source)

Or as a guest if you all gather around a table filled with glasses, silverware and bread plates, which water glass is yours?

At last here is a cheat sheet that easily explains it all! No more wondering how to set, or which to use! I used to waitress so I am very familiar with the "proper" way to set a table. Another tip I can give is to start from "the outside in" meaning, your dessert fork will be closest to the plate, and your salad/app fork is furthest. Enjoy!

(Pinterest link)

Cheers!

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A Map Chair DIY

So I finally had a chance (and the motivation) to work on this little side project I had in mind for awhile. I inherited these imitation Arne Jacobson Ant Chairs awhile back and wanted to do something fun with them. They were a little scratched up so I thought of painting patterns, doing a collage, or something else altogether. Then I thought it would be really fun to apply an antique map across the entire surface!

So I started shopping around and saw this nice old world map in blue on AllPosters.com. It was something a little different looking and I loved the colors together. It almost looks like a wood texture underneath the print which was a nice effect.

My motivation was to complete this chair in time for the Habitat Green Event held last month. I thought it would be a fun addition to my booth as a little before & after project and I only had 3 days to work on it!

So when the poster arrived I laid it out on the table to relax the curl from shipping.

Then I gathered my first round of supplies including: a brayer, Mod Podge, and brush

Now to be honest, I'd never used Mod Podge before, but it seemed like a simple yet strong adhesive to use. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to use it, then I felt ready to give it a try. First I began to gob it all over the surface of the chair and spread it around with a paint brush. Then I very carefully laid the map across the surface and rolled the brayer across the surface to get out any air bubbles.

As it turns out, while I was in the middle of this time sensitive part a very large UPS delivery came to our house and due to the sheer size and weight of it, the UPS delivery man came to the side door, knocked, and offered to bring it in. I was very appreciate of his kindness, and my guard-dog Lab absolutely loves the UPS man so he was going nuts, got a few treats, and wanted to go for a ride.

So... by the time I got back to the chair the Mod Podge was starting to adhere and I couldn't really adjust the map or roll out any other bubbles. In general I'm very happy with how it came out, but there is one section in the back where there is a complex curve and it didn't adhere perfectly.

So now that the map has been applied to the chair it was time to very carefully cut the map to the shape of the chair. I just used a simple xacto knife with a fresh blade and followed along the edge.

 

Creepy Artwork!

Just in time for Halloween this week I thought I'd share some really cool, yet strangely bizarre, and possibly even creepy artwork! I stumbled upon these at the Habitat Restore and couldn't believe how intricate they were. They are 3 exotic beetles with gears and tiny mechanism inside, and each is preserved carefully inside a glass bell jar. It was pretty amazing to see the high level of detail that went into each piece!

My photo definitely doesn't do this creature any justice! The creator of these Frankenstein pieces is Mike Libby of Insect Lab Studio, and he smartly put his signature on the bottom of these pieces. So curiosity takes me on an adventure through his website to see what other creations he has made - and I find them all amazing and beautiful. I could see these in an office or science classroom!

So now here are some better images of these really unique pieces of art.

Dynastidae: Eupatorus Gracilicornis
(aka Rhino Beetle)

Lucanidae: Cyclomattus Elephas
(aka: Stag Beetle)

Cetonidae: Torynorhinna Flammae
(aka Flower beetle)

And in case you're wondering, YES THEY ARE REAL BUGS!!! I have no idea how he is able to handle them without them crumbling to a million dried dust particles. But somehow he manages to install the gears into each and every one of them. And he doesn't stop at beetles... oh no! Check out these other beautifully mechanical insects.

Papilionidae: Papilio Ulysses
(aka Swallowtail butterfly)

Odonata: Anax Junius
(aka Dragonfly)

Wasp (no latin name!)

1st Dibs on This Habitat Collection

Well it's been a busy few weeks but I am excited to say that I can finally share some pictures and links for a staging job I recently worked on. Someone had contacted me about staging a home that was completely vacant. I offered a few options, one of which was to stage with inventory and furniture from the Habitat Restore. They chose that option and the fun began!

First I met them at the house for a staging consultation. That's when I walk around and asses the space, make recommendations, then decide what type of furniture and layouts would work best for each room. Every home is different, and here we focused on these 3 impact rooms: living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Empty home before staging

The day before staging I walked the Restore floor and found pieces that worked together and fit my plan. That was a good practice in my "use what you have" training and philosophy. Whatever was available on the floor at that moment was what I could use. No time to make changes, order anything else, or shop around. I used only what was available - good thing the Restore has a lot of great pieces!

The day of staging I met the movers at the Restore to help coordinate the furniture pick-up. I worked with a team from Junk-A-Haulics, and they were fantastic! Everything was packed and unpacked quickly and very carefully. You can see them in action here :)


Junk-A-Haulics in action

Then the fun part for me really began - rearranging the furniture and adding decorative touches through accessories. Once everything was in place the transformation was complete! It's amazing what a difference furniture makes in showing a home. Many home buyers have a hard time imagining themselves and their furniture in a space, so staging helps potential home buyers see the scale of a room with furniture, and suggestions how they can use it.

Ta da! Same house after staging.

The best part of using Habitat Restore for staging is that all these pieces of furniture are available for sale, so make sure to read through to the bottom! Here are some more before and after photos:

Living room before

living room after

living room after

living room after staging

Dining room before

Dining room after

Fireplace before

Fireplace after

Foyer before

Foyer after

And while I don't have any "before" pictures of the kitchen or front porch I wanted to show the "afters" anyway!

Kitchen after

Kitchen after with butcher block cart in previously empty space.

Countertop staging

Front porch after staging

Ok, so now that you've seen what items I used from the Restore I am excited to say you can have first dibs to buy these items!! They have been listed for sale on ebay so you can buy any of them right now. We have it set up so you can use paypal online or pay at the store when you pick up. The only catch?? These items won't be back at the Restore until Tue Oct 21st. So that's it! See something you like? Take a look at the listing here!

http://www.ebay.com/usr/morrisrestore973

And make sure you click "see all items" for a full list. Act quick - the beautiful dining table and coffee table have already been sold!

Any questions send me an email or call, just click the contact link below for information.

Cheers!

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