Friday, April 29, 2011

At Bay

As a kid, I wanted to move to a house with a bay window in my bedroom.  For some reason I thought this was the end-all-be-all of bedroom features.  As far as I was concerned, it didn't even have to have a closet- just a bay window with a window seat.  After all, I was as obsessed with storage and effieciency then as I am now, so the window seat was non-negotiable.  We never moved to a house with a bay window but I did spend a lot of time with my realtor grandfather in houses that had one, so that sufficed. 

Many other people fantasize about having bay windows in their home but once they get one, they just aren't sure what to do with it.  Do we put curtains up?  Do we need a window seat?  Do we just leave it alone?? All of these questions end up leading to frustration.  Here are a few photos of bay windows done well.
                  Kitchen seating

Open and airy reading nook

Seating & storage

For every individual style there is a solution to the bay window dilemma.  It really isn't as difficult as it may seem.  I hope these ideas provide some bay window inspiration!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have a seat, take a load off your feet!

This small but mighty chair can seat a full grown adult comfortably. It is the perfect answer to a narrow balcony or small patio space.  Four of these cuties could make a great conversation area.  The openness of the metal lattice work keeps the chairs from being visually overwhelming.  The unique shape and color options could liven up even the most boring of decks.

Happy sitting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let them eat cake...

...or pie, or steak, or green beans or whatever they want on these fabulous plates!  I am madly in love with all the new melamine dishware that has come out this season.  I got a glimpse into the trend in a back issue of Better Homes & Gardens.  Then I spotted it in abundance at my visit to America's Mart in March.  Once back home, I started seeing it pop up on the shelves of Target, HomeGoods and local boutiques.  If you don't know what melamine is, it is a type of plastic that is stiff and unbreakable.  It has always been great for children to use or to take out on picnics or to tailgate parties.  Until recently, the selection of pattern and color has been limited to solid colors and maybe the occasional stripe or sports team logo.  NOW, the design options are fabulous!  When I first saw some of these plates I thought they were ceramic plates because the colors and patterns were so unique.  Imagine my surprise when I picked one up and discovered it was light-weight and plastic.  

These dishes are something the whole family can eat on without worry that one might get dropped on the floor and shattered.  Some of them are even gorgeous enough to replace the good china when guests come over.  I wouldn't be surprised if brides start registering for these as their everyday dishes because they are too cute to pass up.  See what I mean:
America's Mart display 

 French Bull plate grouping

Monogrammed plate from Janice's Invites

Can't you see Easter lunch being eaten off of these beauties?!?!  Happy table-setting!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's all in what you do

I love hearing people say they are making upgrades to their homes.  An especially popular upgrade over the past couple of years is anything energy efficient.  It is also a huge buzz word right now and like any good buzz word, some people don't understand exactly what that means. According to the website for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the true definition of energy efficiency (as it relates to homes) is: "using less energy to provide the same service".  Energy efficiency can come in the shape of a window or door, new appliances, lightbulbs or a water heater.

When people purchase these products, the assumption is that they will work miracles on the electric bill, the water bill, etc.  Not the case if they aren't used properly.  I was reading an article in March's issue of Builder magazine yesterday that illustrates my point perfectly.  It read:
"...if home buyers select the most energy- efficient HVAC system, choose compact fluorescent lighting, and buy the highest-rated water heater, they will still need to use these products correctly in order to gain maximum benefit.  Unfortunately, many consumers are not mindful of the fact that how and when they use the products affects the desired results."

The savings are all dependent upon what you do with these products.  Like is the case with many things in life, our behavior dictates the end result. If your lights stay on all day long everyday, those CFLs aren't going to help your electric bill.  Energy efficiency is a combination of wise purchases and small behavior changes.  It was always instilled in me as a child that when you leave a room, you turn out the light, so this isn't as hard for me to adopt as it might be for others.  On the other hand, I am the world's worst about turning on the shower so it can warm up and then I brush my teeth and leave the shower running for too long before I finally get in.  Thus wasting a good amount of hot water. For others this may not be an issue. 

Don't get me wrong, these upgrades are a great thing!  My goal is just to educate people a little deeper so that they may be prepared for the changes that have to occur to reap the benefits of their new purchases.

Happy energy saving!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Polka Dots, Checks & Stripes...YIKES!

Do you remember this song?  It was a silly tune on one of the kid’s stations (Disney or Nickelodeon, etc) when I was growing up.  The music video showed a girl who made very bold fashion choices.  She mixed a polka dot skirt with striped leggings and a checkered shirt.  The video chronicled the baffled reactions she received from her parents, classmates and people driving down the street.  No one understood her choice of clothing. 

While mixing bold patterns in fashion may be risky, in home fashion it is quite the norm.  In almost every space I decorate, I use a mix of patterns to achieve a visual interest and balance in the room. If we use a floral on the drapes, and a stripe on the chairs then we will tone things down with a solid or mini print on the sofa.  Here are some great photos to demonstrate how various patterns can work together in a room:
If you look closely to the picture above, you'll see a striped piano bench, a floral tablecloth, a tone on tone print chair and solid window treatments.
Here you'll find a great print on the chairs, a mini print on the sofa and pillows in solid fabric and a stripe.
Doesn't this feel cozy?! There is a check and a floral used on the drapery panels, the same floral paired with a solid for the sofa, a stripe on the chair and an additional geometric pattern on the throw pillows.
Striped drapery panels, floral bedding and several solid chairs create a tranquil master bedroom retreat!

See how wonderful a space can look when you combine patterns?  Happy combining!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Taking Care of Business

Even though money may be a little tighter, people are wisely investing in quality furniture pieces for their office space.  CPAs are willingly paying for ergonomic desk chairs so they don’t have stiff backs after putting in long hours through tax season.  Doctors offices are ditching the old stiff armed chairs and opting for sleek, armless seating in their place so that patients of all sizes may sit in them.  Insurance agencies are saying “goodbye” to the utilitarian metal desks with overhead storage and bringing in warm toned wood work spaces that welcome their patrons.  Businesses recognize that these upgrades are necessary that for the good of their employees and for the sake of their clients.

Business owners who have had the same mundane office furniture for 10+ years will really find the benefit in updating in 2011!  Did you know there is a tax incentive offered this year that includes office furniture?!  Check out all the details here .  What better time to give that office space a facelift?! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alternative Splashing

We all have come to know and love tile as our dependable kitchen backsplashes.  For those who are a little bored with this option, who want to jazz it up, who need a more cost effective solution, or who just can’t make up their mind about what to do…here are some fun ideas!

Beadboard, clean and fresh but never boring!

Plate grouping , something temporary that you can switch out each season or leave up year-round.  

Tin Ceiling Tiles, an unexpected application of these tiles that serves as a conversation piece for those tapas parties you host.  

Faux Painted Tile, the patterns and colors are limitless with an artist’s palette at your service.

Happy (back)splashing!