Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wallpaper = Granny…

Or does it???  When I ask people what comes to mind when I say “wallpaper”, it isn’t good. The negative reaction is usually the result of an image popping into their mind- an image of their grandmother’s orange and yellow floral kitchen walls from the 60’s. Very Brady Bunch inspired.  Something like this…. 
Quite frankly, I’d have the same reaction, too, if that was my only experience with the stuff.  I can happily say that the design world has departed from the heavy florals of the 1960’s (thank goodness!) and wallcovering has followed suit.  I used a textured vinyl covering in a University housing project just last year and the result was dynamo! 

Depending on your personal style preferences, you can find gorgeous metallic damask prints,

nubby grasscloth,
clean floral designs,

 two toned stripes...

I could keep going and going Energizer- bunny -style, but you get the picture. Wallcovering also gets a bad wrap for being defiant when applied to or removed from walls.  The truth is that when applied correctly by a professional, there is usually no trouble at all.  

Everything has an appropriate place and purpose.  And wallpaper may not always fit the bill, but when it does, don’t be afraid to explore the options.  You just might be surprised with what you find!

Happy Wallpapering!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Forget the camera, all the action is in lights right now!  The past few years have been all about economic hard times and the growth of the green movement.  As a result I’m seeing people go back to basics.  Simpler decor , clean lines and natural textures are becoming very dominant preferences of my clients in an effort to use resources wisely & to be green (or at least appear to be green).  Look at these funky fixtures from one of our vendors….

Halo Chandelier: A bare-bones light fixture that is mesmerizingly beautiful.   Imagine hanging this above your breakfast nook table to brighten up your mornings. 

Workshop Cage Lights: A pair of these would be a perfect compliment to a bar area or island overhang in a kitchen.

Clear glass Pendants: The clear glass creates a weightless & nearly invisible silhouette for the light. A cluster of these could be a divine illumination in a home office! 

The industrial nature of these fixtures don’t mean that they are only suited for a warehouse loft or a basement sublet.  Combining these lights with a rich, warm & inviting space compliments the design of the space instead of competing with it.  Whatever your personal style, natural and rustic have their place.

Happy lighting!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elephants & Artichokes

What do elephants & artichokes have to do with each other???  I’ll tell you.  Home accessories!  Elephants and artichokes are popping up all over home accessory stores.  I love it because they are so unexpected and they lend a new level of interest to a space.  Once upon a time you would only find elephant motifs in a home with Moroccan flair.  And it’s safe to say the predictable place to find an artichoke would be in the veggie drawer at the bottom of a culinary expert’s Frigidaire.  Well gone are those days.  Anything goes!   Here are some items I saw during my adventures around town and at market in Atlanta.  

These pieces could adorn a bookshelf, be a gorgeous tabletop centerpiece, OR light up your space.  You can use a little or a lot of them to accessorize your space.

Happy accessorizing!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patio Season: Think Before You Buy

Last summer, my husband and I had been using cute little citronella candles out on our deck at night.  We had a couple days of rain so when the rain stopped, I went outside and turned the candles over to drain out the water.  Then I had a flash of brilliance- why not leave them turned over all the time so rain doesn’t puddle up inside?!   I was pretty proud of that idea.  A week passed before we went back out there and one evening I was setting up to blog and watch the sunset from our deck.  When I took all my supplies outside, I noticed the tile table appeared to be wet (which was weird considering our never- ending wave of 90 degree days).  I ran my hand over it to discover it was candle wax.  My flash of brilliance came back to bite me!  Somehow, when turning over those candles, I forgot we receive direct afternoon sun on our deck.  The brightside of this story is that the tile table is now adequately wax-sealed.   

The purpose of sharing this with you is to remind you the importance of really thinking things through when it comes to your outdoor spaces!  Spring is coming (I think) and then Summer after that (hopefully).  The retailers are stocking their showrooms with patio table sets.  The catalogs are enticing you with poolside lounge chairs.  Before you give in to their advances think about your personal patio/backyard/pool deck.  What do you need?  What do you want?  Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself before you make your purchase:

1.       How much sun does the patio get? Those cherry red cushions look ah-may-zing in the store but what happens when they spend day in and day out under the merciless sun?  Are you okay with them fading to brown? 

2.       When rain showers hit, are the cushions going to be left on the chairs?  Are you okay with purchasing new ones each year if these rot out? If not, do you have a place to shelter them from the wet weather?

3.       How will the materials used to make your furniture weather (wicker, metal, fabric, wood, etc). Opting for a cheap metal over the more expensive wrought iron may seem like a good idea now, but you may feel differently in July when your rocker is rusted and squeaky.

4.       How much space do you have?  Remember to measure the area so you know for certain that your new pieces will be accommodated.

Taking just a couple extra minutes to ask these questions could save you some disappointments later in the season!

Happy patio season!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Switzerland is not Beige

I’m not really going to talk about the country of Switzerland here.  But I do want to chat about what Switzerland is….neutral.  This is a buzzword in home décor and is often a misused word.  Everybody says, “the house should be neutral if you want it to sell”; “neutral colors are so soothing”; etc.  Neutral is a great thing, but somewhere along the way, neutral wrongly started to equal beige.  My goal today is to help you understand that neutral is a whole lot more than beige! 

Some of the BEST neutral paint tones are blues and greens.  This year’s most popular shade of paint happens to be a smoky lavender hue and it is NEUTRAL!

These definitions of neutral describe best my point: 1. matching well with many or most other colors or shades, 2. inoffensive.  House Beautiful published a great go-to list for neutrals in last year’s edition of 500+ Favorite Paint Colors, here’s a sampling of that list:

C2 Paint Sorcerer
Benjamin Moore Mesquite
Benjamin Moore Horizon
Sherwin Williams Determined Orange
Benjamin Moore Glass Slipper
Benjamin Moore Wenge
Pratt & Lambert Deep Jungle
Benjamin Moore Peace and Happiness

Some of these are a little bolder than others but they still neutralize a space and work well with a slew of others colors.  Happy neutralizing!

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Guest blogger: Preston Martin, Realtor Extraordinaire

 Here's some great bits of advice from Preston Martin.  Enjoy!

"As an active, full-time Realtor, I have the opportunity to walk through 30 to 40 homes in this area almost every week, whether previewing for current or future clients, or “cold” with the buyer in tow.  After years in the business, the “Big Three” of property value still ring true: Price, Location, and Condition.  Since you can’t change the location, condition (cleanliness, color choices, clutter, repair/maintenance issues, landscaping, and staging) is something that the homeowner can affect that directly increases not only the perceived value of their home, but the opportunity that a reasonable offer is actually made, and made in a timely manner.  Let’s talk about staging as a way to enhance perceived value.

After a buyer has decided that the curb appeal of a property is acceptable, how a home is arranged and decorated is the single most important emotional impression that determines whether a buyer will make an offer, and influences the amount of the final offer made. In my experience, confirmed with many agents over the years, buyers determine within 2-3 minutes after walking in the front door whether a home appeals to them enough to make that 1st offer.  If a home is bright, nicely decorated, without clutter, flows well, and is eye-appealing, the emotional response from a buyer is immediate and positive.  Realtors call homes like this an “easy sell.”

Although I have a good eye for what appeals to a buyer, I am always pleasantly surprised after hiring a professional designer or trained staging professional to recreate a room, or an entire house.  Starting at under $200, some designers offer a simple consult that offers suggestions for specific arrangement of existing furniture and accents, wall color choices (since many need to paint a room anyway), and additions and subtractions of décor from existing rooms.  I have also hired designers to start from scratch, from flooring and wall colors, furnishings and total design of the house or condo, for maximum impact.  Don’t think this is only for higher-end homes.  The least expensive property I have hired a designer to stage top to bottom sold for under $130,000.  Bang for the buck in fewer mortgage payments (a quicker sale) and final sales price makes adding a designer to your sales team a smart investment in a housing market flooded with homes “exactly like yours”, only that they “feel”  larger, or brighter or more open……. and have SOLD signs in the front lawn."

Preston Martin has been a Realtor for the past eight years, licensed both in Kentucky and Florida.  Although now specializing in single-family residential property in Central Kentucky, Preston acted as project/sales manager for several apartment-to- condominium conversion projects while living in Orlando, Florida.  He personally buys, rehabilitates, and re-sells one or two homes every year, “just for the fun and experience”.  He is a member of the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of Realtors Million Dollar Club, and currently associated with RE/MAX Elite Realty in Lexington, Kentucky.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All Things Sisal

Are you wondering the heck sisal is?  Here is the official definition: an agave that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards.  I am obsessed with all things texture. Some of my favorite things are roped baskets, nubby rugs and woven wallcoverings.  So I’m sharing my sisal obsession with you.  Here are some photos of unique items that add an extra dimension to any space:

Sisal lamp 

Seagrass rug 

Woven baskets 

Grasscloth wallcovering 

Bulletin board; Ballard Designs

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Colors & Their Meanings

Joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer

Peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence

Nature, environment, healthy, good luck, renewal, youth, vigor, spring

Timid, romantic, feminine, affection, gentleness, intimacy, universal color of love

When I read about these colors, images of daffodils, soft grass, hydrangeas & tulips flood my mind.  I think of the babbling brook that has come to life because the freezing temperatures are over.  When these changes begin happening outside, we usually start making changes inside our homes as well: a fresh coat of paint, new throw pillows or maybe even a remodel of the kitchen that stifled your creativity all winter.  Whatever your project, color it YOU!