Monday, October 24, 2011

Brick House

I am partial to brick homes.  I love the rich look the deep red colors bring to the exterior of a traditional house.  I think the whitewashed brick shade gives a house a casual feel that is so inviting.   If you had asked me a few years ago about painting brick, I would have said “don’t do it!”.  However, I’ve changed my tune. 

It is becoming a frequent occurrence for a home to not be entirely brick.  In an effort to save money, many homeowners use brick on the front of the house but are placing siding along the sides and back.  Others may use brick for the first floor and siding for the second floor.  (NOTE- I am not referring to the well-designed Charleston style homes that tastefully use shakes and brick together.)  Due to this mix & match trend, I think painting the brick is a great idea.  

A home can look awkward to have tan siding and red brick paired together.  An effective solution is to paint both the brick and the siding so the color of the house is unified.  Using a continuous color makes the structure look larger, as well.  One of my favorite shades for the exterior is Sherwin Williams’ Ruskin Room Green (0042).  Coating a home with this color and placing tan, black or even red shutters on it is gorgeous!  Another popular option is painting a house a warm tan (like Sherwin Williams Camelback 6122) and using black shutters.  Paint allows for a major transformation in the look of a house at a significantly smaller price than making structural changes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A litlle bit of Monica in my life....

My husband jokingly (or so he says) calls me Lizzy Limits.  I freaked out one time because we passed an Amish horse & buggy on a two lane road with a double yellow line.  I emphatically explained that the double yellow line indicates it is dangerous to pass at that time.  Through his tears of laughter, he assured me that we would be fine.  He was right.  But I still didn’t like breaking the rule.

Because of my Type- A tendencies, I have been compared to Monica Geller many times in my life. I like to follow the rules (illustrated by my previous story).  I love to make lists and gather great satisfaction from checking items off of those lists.  And I tend to be a little overzealous when it comes to tidiness in my home.   I have sets of coasters strategically placed about our house. I like to preserve the beauty of the furniture we have and don’t want to find sticky Mountain Dew residue rings on the furniture. When we have a drink in the living room, the cup does not rest on the wood or glass top of a table, it settles on top of a stylish coaster.  Coasters are inexpensive, but do a lot to protect the items in your home.  Brightly colored coaster with family photos can make it exciting for kids.  They will want to use the coaster and it will create a good habit in them.  If you want to support your favorite sports team, get logo-ed coasters.  Stores offer fancy marble ones or inexpensive rubber ones.  For all the other Monicas out there- you can even find coasters for the drink holders in your car (I have some!).  There is a coaster for every style, and price range.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leaf Plans

Growing up we had two giant oak trees in our yard- one in the front of the house and one directly behind.  We never had a shortage of leaves to rake.  My friends and I liked to get creative and see what formations we could make.   One day we came up with the idea of creating a floor plan out of the fallen leaves.  We mimicked the concept of a bird’s eye view builder plan and used the whole yard to create our massive house.  We were very thorough leaving openings to act as doorways (you can’t just walk through walls, of course).  For authenticity, I spray-painted the image of a front door on the trunk of the oak tree in the backyard.  At the time, I didn’t know that spray paint wouldn’t wash off the next time it rained.  We spent hours in the yard after school changing the color of our bathroom, choosing where the sofa sat in the living room and lying on our beds made from leaves reading our favorite books.  Our imaginations ran wild.

My love for creating beautiful homes, runs deep.  Memories like this one are why I love Fall so much.  It is the season that seemed to influence me more than any other when it comes to designing.  

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bonkers for Burlap

Hitting the scene hot and heavy has been burlap. Everywhere I look, I see burlap throw pillows, tableclothes, bulletin boards and signs. If you flip open a Ballard Designs catalog there are pages devoted to products made from this fine fabric. If you search for burlap items on Pinterest, a world of photos show up. I have always loved the visual texture provided by this natural fiber. It brings such rustic beauty to a dinner table when placed with fine china.  You can shred it into pieces and tie it off to make a welcoming wreath for your front door.  People are getting very creative with their application and I couldn't be more excited! 

One of my favorite items I have found is burlap ribbon.  It is available in an assortment of colors and widths perfect for a Fall wreath or your Christmas tree. The beauty of burlap is that it can be used for indoor or outdoor decoration.  One friend is using shiny gold mesh and turquoise burlap in her tree to create not only a gorgeous color palette, but an interesting mix of textures and finishes. I encourage you to be creative when experimenting with burlap. You never know what you might come up with!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Southern-ize It!

On a call with a new client the other day she said to me, “All my friends have these beautiful Southern homes.  I just don’t know how to do that. Can you help me?”  I knew exactly what she was referring to- a sense of warmth and beauty that overtakes you as soon as you walk in the door.  It’s hard to put your finger on and everyone views it a little differently.  What does having a Southern home mean to you?? 

When I think Southern, I think about the symbol of the pineapple, delicious smells of homemade meals wafting out of the kitchen, and furniture pieces with a story. I also think of Southern hospitality and how a home should support that.  A Southern home should feel complete but not overdone. Be beautiful but not stuffy.  It should envelope you while within its walls, but not suffocate you.  A Southern home should be just like a Southern woman- perfectly put together while making it look effortless.   

So that is the mission I am charged with for my client: Southern-izing her home.  We are beginning to tackle the house room by room until we have that effortless, inviting space she wants to show off to her friends.  
Does your home evoke your idea of Southern? If so, cheers to you! If not, happy Southern-izing!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best Dressed

I love all things fashion.  In college I studied Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles which offered an emphasis on fashion while still being very applicable to the interior design world I am in now.  In my opinion dressing a room is very similar to dressing yourself.  There are a few key pieces that you must have to be on point.  

The Rug-  A rug in a room is like good undergarments on a lady.  That is your foundation for a good room.  Your outfit would be ruined if you had on a super-cute dress but didn’t wear seamless undies.  Or imagine how awful a shirt would look if (not to be too crass) your bra were too small.    We are appalled by this, but everyday people buy rugs that are too small for their space.  Don’t skimp on size!

Quality furniture- Trendy is fun, but it can be costly to keep up.  If we only buy clothing that is the latest trend, we would be shopping and spending a lot.  Our best bet is to find quality pieces that will stand the test of time that we can update with trendier accessories.  The same is true with furniture.  By selecting some classic upholstered pieces we set ourselves up to bring in trends through other elements in the room.  This helps us to avoid being unhappy with our sofa when newer models come into the stores.  

Glitz & Glam- Everyone has their preferred level of WOW! when it comes to accessories.  With some people, you can’t put enough diamonds on them.  With others,  a simple pair of stud earrings and their wedding ring is all they choose to wear.  I, myself, fall somewhere in the middle.  I think accessories are where you can afford to play around with trends and get a little funky.  Accessories in the home are not all that different from those we wear in fashion.  We have pillows, window treatments, candlesticks, finials, etc to layer upon the furniture just like we have bracelets, necklaces, belts, scarves and leggings to create a layered outfit on ourselves. 

Conversation pieces- I use my shoes as conversation pieces.  When the sky is dark and dreary but I am wearing a black & gray ensemble, I throw in bright yellow shoes for cheer.  I rarely select a plain shoe.  I’m gazing into my closet now and don’t see one pair that doesn’t have an oversized buckle, a fun texture or sheen, or a bold color to it.  The same should hold true for your art.  Select pieces that catch your eye and lead you around the room.  Think about what has meaning to you, what makes you feel comfortable and what might strike up conversation with your guests.  Those are the pieces you want on your walls.  Don’t feel like you have to put the same thing up all over.  Not every pair of shoes you have goes with every outfit, and your artwork won’t naturally fit in every room.  Mix it up with mirrors, painting, photos and framed prints.  

Think about some of these things and how you’ve dressed your house.  Does it really reflect you? 

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Didn't Start The Fire (he did)

About this time last year, the hubs and I were at his family reunion.  When the sun set, the party moved to the back of his parents farm for a bonfire.  This was definitely not your run-of-the-mill fire.  My father-in-law set aside a massive pile of brush and hubs didn’t hesitate to torch it.  Being the city girl that I am, I was pretty concerned that Smoky the Bear might show up and haul us off for setting the whole county on fire.  But despite me having Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” stuck in my head for the next couple days, everything ended up being just fine and everyone enjoyed watching the flames dance throughout the night.

Since the weather has turned a little crisper and the leaves are starting to change here in KY, I have found myself wanting to sit in front of a fire.  Our home does not have a fireplace, so periodically we will switch on the TV and go to the Insight channel that provides an image of moving flames and the crackling noise you would hear from a real fire.  I know it’s not nearly the same thing, but it feels pretty close when I curl up on the couch and read.

Beyond warmth, I think we can get so much benefit out of fireplaces.  Their mantles provide the perfect spot to display prized possessions.  At Christmas, our stocking can be hung there awaiting Santa’s goodies.  A raised hearth provides a stage for the child in your family who loves to entertain.  (I speak from experience on that one.  As a child would always stand on the hearth to sing and dance for my aunts, uncles and grandparents.)  If your fireplace doesn’t work or you choose not to operate it, you have the opportunity to fill it will beautiful decor (like this photo I found on Pinterest).  The pumpkins spilling out create the perfect Fall ambience!  

Whether it houses a fire on a chilly night, your family portrait or your seasonal decor, be creative with enjoying your fireplace and all that it offers.