Monday, February 27, 2012

Color Scheme

Every room has one.  A great space has a well-thought-out color scheme.  But where do we start?
The most logical place to being is by selecting an area rug you want for the space.  Because of size and budget restrictions, there are far less choices of rugs than there are of paint and fabric.  Building a room from the floor up is the easiest way to create a color scheme.

If you aren’t incorporating a rug, there are some choices for your starting point.  Many people use inspiration pieces to guide them.  An inspiration piece can be anything from a photo in a magazine to a fabric that you are dying to use in the room.  I’ve even seen people get inspired by nature- their personal garden, the colors of the Kansas plain, or their favorite vacation spot.  Most recently, one client used a family heirloom painting as her inspiration piece for the colors on the first floor of her home.  All have different color palettes that can be used to create a beautiful space.  

The color wheel is another helpful tool.  If you are clueless about colors that work well together, go back to your elementary school art class.  Remember what the teacher taught us:
-Complimentary colors- colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel (ie- blue & orange)
-Analogous colors- colors that appear side by side each other on the color wheel (ie-yellow-orange, yellow, and green)
-Monochromatic – using various shades of the same color (ie-plum, violet and lavender)

There are a variety of ways to create a color scheme for your space.  Which one will work best for you??

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guest interview with Chuck Stover of CertaPro Painters

Spring is a mere 26 days away and with the change of season comes the desire to change the look of our space.  One of the easiest changes to make is paint!  I sat down with Chuck Stover of CertaPro Painters and picked his brain on all things paint-related.  I have had Chuck's crew paint my personal home as well as a number of my client's homes and offices.  Here are the great insights he had to share:

-What colors are your customers using the most on the interior of their home?
        I also see a good number of soft to medium greens, blues, and yellows. These allow for the most flexibility in furniture, window treatments, and resale. 

-What colors are the most popular for the exterior (doors, shutters, house color)?
        I see more clay or earth tones than anything else for soffits and windows.  Doors and shutters tend to be the contrasting colors.  Most popular are black, Keeneland Green, and burgundy.

-Tell me about low and no VOC paints.  What exactly are the benefits?
        Low and no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) are becoming the norm.  All paint companies are formulating new products to be low or no VOC.  The advantages are low odor, less chemical release (fumes) during application and drying, and generally more environmentally friendly (from both a manufacturing and consumer perspective).  The first zero VOC products were designed for hospital and nursing home use.  Now, there are products formulated for more everyday home use (Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Zero VOC, Benjamin Moore UltraSpec, and Porter SpeedHide).  Zero VOC products are great if there are children, pregnant women, or persons with sensitivity to odors.

-What’s your take on painting brick?
        I think that painting brick can give a unique look to a home.  People might want a new look, might be tired of a dated brick, or desire to seal and paint over cracks or other blemishes.  The first time brick is painted, a masonry primer and two coats of finish paint are required, and it is a somewhat slower process to ensure all surface areas are sealed.  

- Is there an optimal time of year for painting exteriors? What about interiors?
        Traditionally, spring, summer, and early fall are the optimal times for exterior painting.  However, exterior painting can be done as long as the temperature does not reach freezing.  My rule of thumb is no painting below 40 degrees and only if it will not freeze the night after painting.  There are exterior products (such as Sherwin-Williams Resilience) that are designed to set and dry quickly.  Interior projects can be done any time.  From a contractors perspective, I need interior work during the winter (especially between mid-November and mid-January) and am generally very willing to offer discounts during this time.

-What is your favorite type of painting project to do?
        My favorite type of project is one where the homeowner is excited about the project, is not afraid of color, and is engaged in the process.

- How often do you recommend painting a room?
        I don't think there is a hard and fast rule for this.  I would say to paint a room as often as you think it needs it (to clean it up from dirt/damage or to redecorate with a new color).

-There are a variety of paint finishes available, how does someone select which one is right for their space?
        Finishes go from flat to matte to eggshell to satin to semigloss to gloss.  A flat sheen gives the best look and hides more blemishes, but is the least washable.  A satin finish shows more blemishes (especially with a tall wall with a lot of light), but is more washable.  I'm not a fan of either, nor am I a fan of putting semi-gloss on a wall.  I tend to use an eggshell finish more that any other.  A matte finish in a high quality product is also very washable.  Semigloss or gloss is best for trim.

-What are your thoughts when it comes to painting ceilings a color vs white?
        I see a fairly even mix in the homes I go in.  If you have a lot of nice crown molding, painting a color on the ceiling will make that molding stand out more than a white ceiling.  I see ceilings that are painted the same color as the walls, but the most popular look is a ceiling color that is a shade or two lighter that the wall finish, especially if the wall color is medium to dark.  It is important to remember that the same color will look different on the ceiling vs. the wall due to the way the light hits each surface.  That is another reason that a couple of shades lighter might look better.  When painting a room, I consider the ceiling to be the "fifth wall" from a decorating standpoint.  Even if the ceiling is white, I recommend painting it when painting the rest of the room.  It will give a fresher look and enhance the wall color.

Chuck Stover is owner of CertaPro Painters of Central Kentucky, a residential and commercial painting business.  CertaPro offers painting, carpentry services, drywall repairs, and faux finishing. 

Prior to joining CertaPro in 2010, Chuck had a 25 year career with The Sherwin-Williams Co., primarily in supply chain and manufacturing.  Most recently Chuck was Director of Global Distribution, responsible for development & implementation of distribution/transportation strategy for the Automotive Division’s distribution service centers in Europe & the Americas.  Prior to that, he was Director of Manufacturing, responsible for operation of the Automotive Division’s paint & resin manufacturing plants and distribution service center. 

Chuck holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Alabama.

Chuck lives in Richmond with his wife Cynthia and children Charlie (14) and Gillian (10).   You can reach him by phone (859) 582.6359

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Shot of Whimsy

There’s a cute local coffee shop near my house where I will often meet colleagues and friends for morning meetings.  Adjacent to said shop is a store I adore!  Street Scene offers vintage furniture, accessories, jewelry, clothes and more specifically from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  I walk in their door and feel like I am on the set of MadMen.  I am in love with the silhouettes of all the dresses.  The scale of the furniture is divine.  I really can’t say enough positive things about this place!  

The last time I popped in, I ran across this beauty.  This chandelier might as well had “Liz” written on the price tag.  I was instantly enamored.  I mean, everything about this fixture was perfect for me- it’s pink!, simple clean lines, and its functional.  No, I didn’t buy it (and believe me it took a lot of will power to get out the door empty-handed).  I realized at the moment I had no specific use for it and no proper way to store it until I did.  But drift with me through a brain storm.  Wouldn’t this chandelier make a dainty edition to a whimsical home office?  A little girl would feel so princess-esque with this light suspended from her bedroom ceiling.  Or we could go with more conventional thinking and hang it above a dining table to serve as a shot of color in a gray, black and white damask themed dining room.  There are so many creative and fun ways to incorporate this fixture into a space.

Being the frugalista that I am, after I came up with all the places I could place this light I then started to think how I could create this light without spending very much.  Just last night I was in a home that had outdated brass light fixtures.  The couple moving into the home wanted something more youthful and fun but needed to prioritize which lights to replace first due to budgetary constraints.  What if instead of replacing the fixture, they bought some spray paint and gave the lights a face lift?  This is going to be my next personal project- find a light and give it new life with a different finish.  I’ll take lots of photos and share the process with you once it’s complete.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How do you dress a door?

“What can I do to dress up my doors?”  That’s a question I am asked a lot.  People have trouble with knowing what type of treatment they can use on a functioning door.  Sliding doors are easy because no treatment will obstruct the opening and closing of the door.  A swinging door is a completely different story.  Most doors remain bare because of the confusion people feel.    

Depending on the issue that needs to be addressed, there are a few options.  Light control, privacy, and the desire to complete the look of a room are the top reasons people want to dress their doors.  One treatment style that does a great job of covering all these needs is a roman shade.  The shade can be made from any fabric to compliment the decor of a room and sewn to a size that custom fits a door without obstructing it's function.  I recently had two clients who wanted roman shades, but for very different reasons.  One client needed them to offer another layer of insulation to the house.  Their single paned windows were allowing cold winter air to seep in and the shade acted as an energy efficient barrier.  The other client felt her home looked bare without window treatments and she desired something that would give her more privacy at night.  Both were pleased with how this treatment solved their issues.

Monday, February 13, 2012

All Things Love

Ah Valentine’s Day is upon us.  In honor of tomorrow’s holiday centered around all things love I thought I would highlight things I love.  Specifically, the 5 things I love most in my house.  

5 Window Seat- It serves as additional storage which the anti-clutter part of me adores.  I also love that it gives a purpose to the bump-out in the wall.  The fun patterns and textures on the pillows help to tie the area in to the rest of the room.

4 My damask print pillow-  When we first moved here over two years ago I volunteered to host a New Year’s Eve party.  Keep in mind, we moved in mid- December.  I had all the furniture taken care of and was trying to bring in new accessories for the finishing touch.  As soon as I laid eyes on this pillow I knew it was perfect for one of our living room sofas!  I have always been drawn to damask patterns and this pillow uses it in a modern way.

3 Pewter “T”- I picked this piece while on vacation in Myrtle Beach a few years back.  I’m of the school of thought that anything to represent your initials is a must-have.  This accessory can double as a bookend or just something decorative.

2 Glasstop table-  I’m a huge fan of glass tables.  When you can see through a furniture piece it creates the illusion of invisibility thus making the space feel larger.  I love a room to be full and complete but hate when it feels cramped.  Using a glass table keeps the cramped feeling at bay. 

1 Striped Foyer- I spent hours thinking over what to do in this area.  The problem with a decorator trying to select something for herself is she knows too much.  There were so many ideas I had for the walls- I toyed with changing the paint to a bold color, adding a grasscloth wallcovering, putting in a dramatic rug.  Ultimately I was inspired by a photo I found online that showcased a wall painted in a similar striped pattern.  I chose to leave the base color the same since that’s what ran into the living room.  I used an off-white and charcoal gray to keep the color scheme sharp but modern.  I love walking in the door each day and being enveloped in these bold stripes.  Now if I could find time to paint a portrait of Mr. Wendel (my dog) to hang on the wall, the space would be complete!

What do you love about your space?  Make a list, then celebrate those things.  Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easy ways to make a space feel larger

You wouldn’t normally think adding something to a space would make it feel larger, but that is just what hanging drapery panels can do.  Most windows do not go floor to ceiling in a room, thus leaving wall space above and below the window frame.  Our tendency is to take a drapery rod and mount it on or directly above the frame.  In that same line of thought, we usually only draw the rod out far enough for the finials to stop at the side edges of the window.  What we are left with are window treatments hung tightly around the window and a lot of wall space to spare.  Mounting a rod this way can dwarf not only your window, but the whole room , as well.  

When I hang window treatments, I take the rod all the way up to the crown molding (if there is no molding, go to the ceiling line).  This adds dramatic height and plays up the vertical space in the room.  When hanging stationary panels on windows greater than 3ft in width, I recommend foregoing the long rod spanning the window width and instead using two short ones on each end.  This is an especially helpful tip if you are using store-bought panels because it creates a sense of fullness.  Even for custom made draperies, two small rods looks stunning on a window and the rods appear more substantial.  To create the illusion a window is wider than it is, place the rods out to the side of the window frame so that only a portion of the panel is overlapping the window.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Underground Railroad Quilt

Last week I had the privilege of hearing a great speaker.  Kathy Kenimer shared a presentation about the Underground Railroad quilt at the Professional Women’s Forum luncheon.  I’ve heard the story of the Underground Railroad all my life, but never from this perspective.  Kathy explained that quilt squares were the form of communication to the slaves as they were fleeing.  A particular square hanging on a clothes line or in the window would act as a sign to get ready to leave, signal whether it was safe to stop there for the night, or to identify where the slave was to go next.  Before that luncheon, I had no idea the role these fabric creations played in history.  

Kathy was dynamic and engaging throughout her time at the podium.  She related elements of the quilt back to life and shared inspirational thoughts with the group.  Being as February is Black History month, the topic was appropriate, but the story was so intriguing and inspiring it could fit any time of the year. If you have an organization that brings in speakers I highly recommend Kathy and this topic!  Shoot me an email if you would like her contact information.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Get Organized!

I asked Chris Hall of Bluegrass Go2Girl to share some organizational tips for your office.  She is the queen of helping people de-clutter, create a system and stay organized.  Here's the great advice she had to offer:

There has been quite the clamor this first month of 2012 of customers looking to get organized. They are specifically looking to get their office/work space streamlined. These clients understand the importance of getting on “top” of their clutter at the beginning of the New Year. This one task will help them with productivity and stress reduction for the entire year.

The first step and probably the most important one is to get everything OUT of the office space that is not necessary to your daily work tasks. This can often be problematic due to space constraints. Lack of space is quite often the reason for the clutter to begin with. If lack of square footage is your problem it becomes even more important to have a clean, orderly system to work from. Once you determine what needs to be out of your office separating into shred, toss and store piles is the next step. Containers for your “store pile” are often determined by where the information is being stored. I am and have always been a huge fan of the banker box. They are inexpensive easily stacked and labeled. However if moister is potentially an issue you may want to consider plastic containers which you can find at most office supply and discount stores.

Once you have cleared your work space out the next step is to create a system to help you maintain a clean space. Each business is different as far as what information they need to keep for their own daily operational functions and tax purposes. I like to keep it as simple as possible for referencing and for end of the year collection. This is where color coding can be helpful. In my business the personal and business information never co-mingle but if space is of a premium different colored hanging file folders help to separate business from personal. For further simplicity I have sub-folders within my hanging folders, i.e. expenses hanging file folder, sub-folders gas, meals, printing etc. If the system is set up at the beginning of the year it makes it simple to follow and nearly effortless at the end of the year. If your business does a lot of credit card sales you may need 12 folders for each month so it is easy to reference a receipt and again a much easier process at the end of the year.

The biggest problem most people have is not having a plan for success. If you can implement a system now at the beginning of the year and take ownership you will be amazed at the lack of clutter and the inevitable end of the year scramble to put together your information for tax purposes. You and your CPA will be grateful for the early planning to streamline your business and your life.

Chris Hall can be reached through or by phone at 859.230.2298