Thursday, February 10, 2011

2011 Color of the Year is Honeysuckle!

Last year's Pantone color of the year was turquoise because of its calming effect (much-needed after a tumultuous 2009). This year, the color institute has forecasted a way more vibrant color: Honeysuckle! This is a reddish-pink shade, something in between fuchsia and pink. Most people who know me know that I love everything pink, so it is not a surprise that I am pretty happy about this selection! According to Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman, “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues."
I am sure many of you are looking at this color and thinking how am I ever going to be able to use this in my house? Believe me there are many opportunities. This color does not just have to be an accent color you can make it the main attraction if you dare. More subtle opportunities are on pillows, bead spreads, tabletop accessories and even on cabinet pulls. Seeing that it is such an upbeat and vibrant color you can use it sparingly and still make a big splash. If you are a bit more daring I would even suggest painting an entry vestibule, bathroom or even a family room honeysuckle.
Some great Honeysuckle paint colors are rhubarb and sultan’s palace by Benjamin Moore. The color works really well with shades of grey, chocolate brown and wedgewood blue.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Simple Decorating Tips for the Holidays

With all of the entertaining that goes on over the holidays it can be a busy and stressful time for many people. Everyone wants their house to look festive but might not have the time or ideas on how to do this. I have put together a bunch of pictures and some tips on how to make your home look festive and inviting.
1. Everyone knows I love flowers and am the first person to display them on a table. If you are entertaining more than once over the holidays and don’t want to have to keep buying fresh flowers you can use a non- floral center piece such as a bowl of crab apples, a ginger bread house or ornaments in a glass bowl. These are all elements that will last over time and will look great and are not too expensive for your table.
2. Don’t overdue color on your table. Try to stick to two or three colors. I would suggest using neutral linens with two accent colors on the table or visa versa using colored linens with neutral elements in the center piece.
3. Fresh greens are a wonderful holiday decoration. They have a wonderful scent that is not too strong and are easy to work with. You can wrap it around a banister with Christmas lights or add some bows for color.
4. Some of the best table settings are right in your back yard. I love skinny branches with berries, pine cones, leaves and fruit. I have attached many pictures of how you can utilize these items.
5. Lastly I suggest you keep it simple and streamlined. If you decide that you want to use gourds and small apples on your small table then don’t use twigs and leaves too. If you over clutter a table or a mantle it will just look busy and not festive.
Take a look at the photo album below. There are tons of great ideas for wreaths, center pieces, decorations and much more. Enjoy the decorating for the holidays!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Some Staging Tips

Are you trying to sell your home, apartment or condo? Here are some simple ways to stage yourself and hopefully help you sell at the price you are looking for!
1. Remove the Photos:
People can be very photogenic, but many clients are distracted by portraits of the sellers, and miss out on key selling points of the home. Try displaying art without people in it. No matter how nice the display, personal photos are just that: too personal. I was recently in a loft in Denver which was covered in artwork and it was very vibrant artwork. It had been on the market for over a year! Though it might be your taste it might not be the taste of the buyer. Try to tone down your walls.
2. Accentuate the Positive:
Most sellers usually know what they like best about their home. It's usually what they saw that made them want to buy, or it's something that they added to make the home particularly special. Whether it is a staircase, a view or even just a room, do something to make the buyers notice that space as well.
3. Smells Like Home:
Something as simple as a strong sent can turn a buyer away. Things to stay away from are strong scented candles, cigarette scents and stuffy mildew smells. Try baking or setting a fire the night before you are to have an open house. It will make the space feel homey and natural rather than overwhelming.
4. Clean Up:
If you are selling your house, cleaning is a no-brainer. And clutter will kill you. Get a head start on packing, and begin boxing up extras that are taking up space on your mantel, table surfaces, etc. Clutter makes a house look smaller, and if you have a small house, it makes it feel claustrophobic.
5. Painting:
A coat or two of paint is always a good investment. If you decide to make the effort, consider flat paint in areas for resting and relaxing. You can add some colors, but neutral is always best. Satin paint is great for common areas and places where there is a bit more action taking place.
6. Pet-Proof:
If you have pets, especially indoor pets, make sure that during your listing period, you are particularly careful about cleaning up after them. Some buyers may have allergies so you want all pet hair, toys, crates etc. hidden or put in storage.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Different Styles for Everyone

It can be very confusing when someone asks you what your interior “style” is. Some people know that they are 100% traditional or contemporary but for the rest of you who can’t be quite so clear there is some ambiguity in determining what exactly it is your like. To make it easy for you I thought I would put together a glossary of what a handful of different styles are and it will hopefully help you narrow down what it is your prefer.
Contemporary: Contemporary style encompasses a range of styles developed late in the 20th century. Pieces feature softened and rounded lines, as opposed to the stark lines seen in modern design. Interiors contain neutral elements and bold color and focus on the basics of line, shape and form. Contemporary interiors feature tone-on-tone color palettes which are predominantly brown, taupe, cream and pure white. Accent colors can be found on one wall, on a rug or artwork.
Traditional: Traditional furnishings roots come from England in the 18th century, the French countryside, or even the exotic lands of the East. There are a variety of traditional styles and some of the most popular styles today are 18th-century English, 19th-century neoclassic, French country, and British Colonial revival. The colors you will see most are peach and green tones which are balanced with aubergine and tan for a slightly floral but unfussy palette. The colors are enhanced with bronze accents and warm wood tones for an inviting, comforting interior. On window treatments you will see a lot of swags with fringe and tassels. Two items you will almost always find in a traditional interior are chandeliers and oil paints.
Transitional: Transitional style is a marriage of traditional and contemporary furniture, finishes, materials and fabrics bringing a classic, timeless design. Furniture lines are simple yet sophisticated featuring either straight lines or rounded profiles. Fabric can range from graphic patterns on overstuffed sofas to textures on sleek wood frames. Accessories are limited in transitional interior. You might see potted orchids or glass vases. Most importantly you select items that blend with the interiors and do not call too much attention.
A few other styles worth mentioning but are not as frequently used as the three mentioned above are French country and cottage. French country furniture is left in their natural state with a handcrafted flair. Chairs feature caning for the backs and seats instead of heavy upholstery. Typical colors used in French country are deep and rich: Mediterranean blue, sunny yellow, terra-cotta red and green. Natural materials like stone and terra-cotta are used abundantly, in addition to wire and wrought iron. Cottage is a colorful, comfortable look characterized by painted and/or decorated furniture with graceful lines, textural elements like baskets, beadboard walls and natural fiber rugs and window shades, weathered finishes and colors taken straight from a lush flower garden.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Countertop is Best for You?

We expect a lot from our countertops. They need to be durable yet easy to care for, stylish and timeless-looking. There are a number of factors to consider in your decision. Some surfaces, such as engineered stone and stainless steel, are sturdy and practically maintenance-free. Others, such as Carrara marble, are as elegant as it gets but trickier to care for. Budget and the style of your home also play a large role in the decision making ie. butcher block looks great in a country kitchen but may not work in a modern space. The good news is that there are more choices than ever to select from. Since there are so many types of countertops I narrowed it down to what are my favorites. In addition to the (4) below you can choose from metal, plastic laminate, recycled materials and concrete. I can understand why making a decision can be so difficult but hopefully this abbreviated guide will help you out in the future.

It’s no secret that natural stone has become the new countertop material of choice. But there is more to selecting a stone countertop than considering color and vein pattern. Granite and marble are the most popular options, but are very different when it comes to durability. Granite is extremely dense and wears well. Years after it is installed it will still look like new. Marble is a different story because it’s much more porous. Most manufacturers recommend using a sealer, but even then acids such as citrus juice, vinegar, and wine can etch the surface. Some people actually really like the patina look of marble. To reduce the appearance of etching (stains), you can get a dull, honed finish rather than a polished finish when buying marble. Prices vary widely depending on the material chosen, but most basic stones run from about $90 to $130 per square foot, installed.

Engineered Stone
Engineered stone countertops such as CaesarStone, Zodiaq, and Silestone combine natural quartz with a resin binder to make extremely hard and durable countertop. They have many of the same characteristics as granite and are nonporous, scratch resistant, and heat resistant. They also require next to no maintenance and will look new for years. Engineered stone also offers great consistency of color and detail, both across a single piece and from countertop to countertop. Engineered stone countertops typically cost about $60 to $80 per square foot, installed.

Solid Surface
One of the big advantages of solid-surface countertops like Corian and Wilsonart is their versatility. Made from acrylic and other plastics, they can be easily shaped and routed, and individual pieces can be seamlessly bonded together. It also is available in tons of colors and patterns. Solid-surface countertops are also nonporous and require no sealer, so they’re really easy to keep up If you get a scratch all you have to do is have it buffed out. Solid surfacing ranges from about $40 to $80 per square foot, installed.

Wood countertops have stood the test of time and remain a favorite option for homeowners looking to add a little warmth to the kitchen. When selecting a wood counter top the two things you need to consider are the type of wood and the orientation of the wood. Maintenance requirements vary widely for the different types. For end-grain countertops that will be used as food prep surfaces, a monthly coating of mineral oil is recommended. Other wood counters can be sealed and given a hard waterproof finish with polyurethane. The average wood countertop costs about $120 to $150 per square foot.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Love of Wallpaper

If you are one of the many people who think wallpaper is a thing of the past you are terribly wrong. As a designer, I still cannot think of a better way to complete a small space than using one of the amazing textured or patterned papers that are on the market today. I noticed recently that ads for homes on the market actually advertise that all wallpaper has been removed and that walls have a fresh coat of paint, most likely Benjamin Moore Navajo white. In some cases I can agree with them (old outdated and overly ornate paper), but generally speaking I think wallpaper gets a bad reputation. With the vast array of choices out there, there’s no reason why you can’t find great wallpaper that you’ll love so much you will have it up for many years to come.
I love using wallpapers, especially in powder rooms and dining rooms or feature walls. From natural woven textures to papers that shimmer because they contain tiny glass beads throughout, how could you not find that more exciting than paint?! Trust me, there’s something out there to suit everyone. Some of my favorite vendors to check out are: Osborne and Little, Schumacher, Thibaut and Nina Cambell.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Flowers

The crocuses and tulips are blooming and it is time to brighten up your homes with these Spring Flowers. After a long winter of snow and frigid temperatures there is no better way to bring the warmth and sunshine into our homes than with cut flowers.

According to Home and Garden these are the most used cut spring flowers to use this season:

• Pussy willow (Salix discolor), yellow tulips, and blue hyacinths. Dynamic yellow and blue flowers mixed with a touch of the fuzzies boldly herald the arrival of warmer days.
• Bridal wreath and lilac is Soft and sweet. This white-and-purple duo is deliciously fragrant, too.
• Chinese forget-me-not yellow Heliopsis, and white fever few. Petite blue, yellow, and white posies that will make you smile.

If you are lucky enough to have a yard and pick your own flowers that is wonderful but if not I suggest hitting up farmers markets. They typically have good prices and the flowers are fresh. Another great spot for fresh flowers is Whole Foods. Remember that arrangements can be simple and understated. You don’t need to over do the arrangements with too many types of flowers or scents. I have included some great vases for you to use as inspirations. Happy Spring!