Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Big as Texas" Artwork

I am so excited about my recent art purchase.  On a Thursday afternoon in December, I wandered into Dreamweavers in Downtown Little Rock during lunch.  I took a co-worker along to see the selection that Dreamweavers offers.  When we walked in, I hadn't noticed the artwork at the entrance of the building.  When we got ready to leave, something made me turn around and it was instance love!  But, I didn't immediately purchase the painting.  I fell into the trap that most people do, "I already have artwork on that wall and I don't know what to do with what I already have."  I thought about that painting for the remainder of the day.  The next day, I decided that I had to have it.  So, when my boss released us for the day, I went straight to Dreamweavers and was hoping that no one else had purchased the painting.  It was my lucky day. The painting was still hanging at the entrance of the store.  I told the man at the counter, "I've come to purchase the painting!"  It took two attempts to get it home.




The best part of my purchase is that the painting was priced at $179!!!  I think it is either an acrylic or oil-based painting.  It measures 57 inches wide by 70 inches long.  You can't buy a frame this size for $179.

My rule about purchasing artwork is that you should always purchase artwork that you love, if it's within your budget.  


Christmas 2012

I haven't been keeping up with my posts lately.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday.  Since it is Christmas season for 2012, I wanted to share this year's tree.  As always, my 18 year old great-nephew, Ka'Run, decorated my tree.  I told him I wanted it in red and gold and to use the netting this year.  I told him I didn't think this was his prettiest tree he had decorated for me, but I still appreciate his efforts!  


This year I added sweater pillows I purchased at Target for a fall/winter look for my sofa.  I paired the pillows with the red reindeer pillows from Pier 1 purchased last year.  

I found the cutest candle jewelry at Pier 1.  I've seen candle jewelry at Kirkland's, but this was the first Christmas-themed candle jewelry I had seen.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Good Example of Mixing Patterns

I wanted to share this picture of a sofa with accessory pillows.  I love mixing patterns.  I think it makes a space look more interesting than just using a solid and a pattern.  You have to be careful when mixing patterns.  A rule of thumb to follow is to make sure your patterns have a common color.  In this example, blue is the common color.  Pair a smaller pattern with a bold pattern that have common colors.  All of the patterns in this picture are different, but it works.  If this is too much pattern for you, then feel free to use a solid color.  You could place a sold blue pillow on each end of this sofa and add the patterned pillows in front. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall is Here!!!

It's my favorite season of the year!  I get so excited when fall finally arrives.  I love the hues of fall--the reds, oranges, yellows, browns.  As with clothing, I prepare my house for fall.  The front door and porch have been decorated for fall, pillows on the sofas and chairs in the living room have been changed to fall colors, and I have changed the comforter in my bedroom to darker hues.

I need a new look for my front door for fall.  I've had this same look at my house for 7 years.  Next year will be time to change it up.  But for now, this will have to do for the fall of 2012.



Now this is what I would like for my front door to look like at fall.  This is the front door of Chris Olsen's house.  For those who don't know Chris Olsen, he is the owner of Botanica Gardens in Little Rock.  Chris has the most fabulous house and grounds.


I found sweater pillows at Target to place on my living room sofa.  Nothing says fall like a sweater.  The bolster pillow was in the chair in my bedroom.  The shaggy gold pillows are from Dreamweavers.  I purchased them for $5 a pillow, so I couldn't resist.




Monday, August 27, 2012

The Proper Scale for Accessories

This has to be my top decorating pet peeve--accessories that are too small for the space they are in.  Everybody is guilty of this--even me.  To quote Maya Angelou, "When we know better we do better".  

When selecting accessories for your space, you need to consider the type and size/scale of your furniture.  Tiny artwork and lamps that are too small are typical mistakes that a lot of people make when decorating a space.  For example, notice the lamps I used to have on my nightstand.  The lamps were clearly too small to be paired with my night tables and bed.  The size of the furniture suggested that I needed lamps with a more substantial base. (Notice that I purchased a new bed since the one shown in this photo.  That's another story and blog post!). 



I searched for lamps and came across these at a local furniture store in Little Rock.  I was hesitant to purchase the lamps at first because I thought they were too modern for my traditional bedroom.  On the advice of a friend who is a decorator, I decided to purchase the lamps and I am glad I did.  Here is how my beside tables look with lamps that are better scaled for the room:



The lamps have a larger, more substantial base.  Also, the lampshades are larger.  The other lamps had a more delicate base and also were done in a shiny brass finish.  It was definitely time for more updated lamps.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Next Project--for Me!

I have never liked the color of my cabinets.  After almost 7 years, the paint is starting to chip, despite the fact that they are painted in an oil-based paint.  Also, they get dirty and I am constantly wiping them down.  I thought about taking on refinishing the cabinets myself, but I know that it would be a lot of work and I want to ensure that the finished product looks professional.  I called this company by the name of "Angelfish".  Angelfish does nothing but faux finishes.  The company does awesome work.  Angelfish has done residential and commercial work all over the U.S.  Check out the website at:

http://www.angelfishstudios.net

I want you to see cabinets that Angelfish did in a house in Chenal Valley.  The owner (Tracy Rivers) came by my house this morning and I pulled up her website.  She directed me to this photo.  I thought that Angelfish just added the gold/bronze on the decorative parts.  No, Angelfish made cabinets that were white like mine look like this:  
Isn't this awesome!!  Tracy is going to do sample finishes for me so I can tell her how I want them to proceed.  Tracy said that Angelfish can add small knicks in the cabinets to give them an aged looked.  They will paint the cabinets a brown color using oil-based paint and then go over the brown with a glaze.  I am very excited about this look for my kitchen.  I can't wait for Angelfish to transform my kitchen cabinets.  I am also going to have Angelfish change/transform the vanity in my master bath.  I am also thinking about having them to do a Venetian plaster in my dining room.  Wouldn't that look fabulous with my chocolate walls?  So many ideas--so little money!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Foyer

My neighbort's condo has a small foyer.  His foyer actually has more wall space than mine.  Since I had just finished painting the stripes in the living room, I suggested that the foyer should be painted red.  The foyer sets the tone for the condo.  It lets those who enter know that this space has personality.  I didn't like the idea of walking into a taupe foyer and then having the color from the stripes smack you in the face.  So, I used the same paint that was used for the stripes and painted the foyer a solid red.  He loved it and I actually think that his fiancĂ© likes it, too!  They have not selected artwork for the foyer yet.




Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Striped Walls Are Done!

On Saturday, I painted fireplace wall in the living room of my neighbor's condo.  I started at 10:00 am and finished up by 5:00 pm.  I have a little clean-up to do to make the stripes a little more crisp.  I used the Frog Tape, but because of the wall texture, it's hard to get a tight seal.  My neighbor is very pleased with how it turned out.  The stripes definitely added the color that Jeremy was desiring for this space.  I think it looks good.  Most people I showed the stripes to either loved them or hated them.  I like to do things outside the box, and this look is definitely outside the box.  My neighbor liked it, so that's the important thing.  Take a look:
Before

Before


After



After
I will help my neighbors find artwork, new lamps, rug, pillows, and other accessories to complete the room.  Over the next weekend, I will paint the foyer the same color as the stripe.  Check back to see this transformation.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Decorating Tip

I subscribe to several decorating magazines and website.  I love nothing more than to have a new edition of Traditional Home, Elle Decor, or House Beautiful waiting in my mailbox.  In the June issue of House Beautiful, a designer provided what I would call a basic decorating tip:


"Never push furniture up against the walls. By pulling your seating arrangement in, you warm up a space & create flow." -Betsy Burnham -- House Beautiful

This is so true.  I find myself pulling sofas and chairs away from the walls of my friends' homes.  Even though my living room is small, I still maintain at least 6 inches of wall space between the wall and the back of my sofa.  I think the room pulls you in when the furniture is not pressed up against the walls.  Try this out for yourself and see if it doesn't make your space more inviting.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bring Magic to Boring Taupe/Beige Walls

I got a call last week from a my neighbor's son who has purchased his very first home.  He wanted help with his living room.  He likes the color red and it was his desire to have the walls on each side of his fireplace painted red.  He called me over because he wanted my opinion on this.  His goal was to lighten up the room.  He also wanted a "wow" factor.  There is a double window that faces the front of the condo and it provides the only light for the living room, kitchen, and dining area.  Here is what his living room looks like in its present state:


As you can see, it's a nice room but it needs a little help.  Typical for new construction, most builders paint the interiors of homes in the taupe family.  It's a great neutral color.  I would say that 99% of people who build or buy new homes live with the taupe walls.  People, don't be afraid of color! I studied the space for a few minutes and gave him my opinion on painting the walls next to the fireplace in red.  Painting the walls red will make the space even darker than it currently is.  Also, I don't think that solid red walls will give him the look he wants for the space.  Yes, it will add color, but it doesn't say, "Wow!"  So, here is what I proposed for the space:


"WOW!!"
I decided to do a mock-up of the space with red stripes.  The stripes add the color that he wants in his space and it also adds the "wow" factor.  It also keeps the room from being too dark.  I presented my proposal to Jeremy and his fiancĂ© and I hope that he allows me to transform his space. 

I am also on the hunt for artwork and other accessories (pillows) to finish out the space.  I did offer a suggestion to him to have the components moved off the fireplace mantel.  There is too much going on with the fireplace mantel with the cable-box and other items.  I would like to see him get two matching chests to go on the both sides of the fireplace.  He could have the wires installed in back of the walls which would give the fireplace a cleaner look.  Here is what I envision the space would look like with matching cabinets:




Hopefully I will get the OK to get started on the stripes.  Check back in a week or two and see the magic come into reality!






Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Art of Tablescaping

Tablescaping is placing accessories on a table top to provide interest (and sometimes function).  I'll admit that I have a lot of decorative accessories in my home in which their only purpose is to look good.  A few items are functional, but most are there to look good.  On my coffee table, I have a few decorating books and several decorating magazines (Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, At Home in Arkansas, and HGTV Magazine).  There is also an art piece I purchased a few years ago (glass knot), and something I would love to get rid of --a metal bowl with wicker balls.  I just haven't found anything more interesting to replace it with yet.

Tablescaping should be done in 3's--have a minimum of three items on your table top.  A single piece would look lost (and lonely) on the table by itself.  Here is a picture of one of the end tables in my living room with just the lamp on it:



Now here is what the end table looks like with a few accessories placed on it.  I actually do use the candle and candle snuffer on occasion and I have read all of the books beneath the plant.  So, there is some function to the accessories.


I actually have more than three things on my table top, but as a grouping, I see the item as 3's:  plant and books, candle and snuffer, and vase. 

All the table tops in my home have been tablescaped.  I think it adds interest to a room and provides a point of conversation.  So, if you have an empty table top or one that lacks interest, consider purchasing new accessories to add some WOW!! to your table. 

Staging vs Decorating

I've had several people ask me what is the difference between staging a room and decorating a room.  To most people, there is no difference.  But, if you are considering selling your home, there are differences between staging and decorating.  There are people who are certified stagers and their services are invaluable for people who are selling their homes.


So, what's the difference?  Decorating a room or home lets the homeowner express their individual style (or the style of your decorator).  When you decorate, you may have unusual pieces of furniture and art, paint colors that are very bright or bold, and lots of family photos on display.  A decorated home should fit the personality of the homeowner.  Most importantly, we all live in our homes, and often our spaces may not always look like the pages from a magazine.

If you are thinking about putting your house on the market, have someone, who does not live in your home on a daily basis, to come over and provide an honest assessment of your space.  This person's perspective of your home will probably be different than yours.  Be open to their opinions and thoughts about your space.

Staging a home is all about editing.  What I mean by editing is removing or relocating items in a room to maximize the spaciousness or to make the room look less cluttered.  Here are a few general rules about editing your rooms:


  • Remove family photos so that perspective homeowners can visualize themselves in your home and not focus on your family photos.  Also, I think this is a good thing to do for you and your family's safety.
  • Remove any special pieces of furniture or art that you don't want anything to happen to while your house is being shown by a realtor.
  • If you have gone a little crazy on paint colors for your rooms, now would be a good time to think about changing those colors to a more neutral tone.  A lot of people lack the imagination to visualize what your space could look like with a different color.
  • Keep your accessories to a minimum.  You are trying to make your home look larger.  Sometimes accessories can weigh a room down.
  • If your upholstered pieces of furniture are a little worn consider slip covers, purchasing new pieces to take to the new home, or rent furniture while your house is listed.
  • You may need to remove some larger pieces of furniture to open up your space.  Sectional sofas are nice to lounge on, but they can often make a room look very small if the piece is too large for the space.  Consider breaking up the sectional or swapping it out for a standard sofa.
  • Try to keep your home as neutral as possible.  It's okay to add pops of color with pillows and some accessories, but again, keep the accessories to a minimum  





Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out with then old--in with the new!

I purchased a new rug for my living room two weeks ago.  I had a sisal rug in my living room when I purchased new furniture back in 2006.  I was going through my tone-on-tone look:  the walls were taupe, furniture was taupe, and the rug was taupe.  I liked it at first, but somewhere along the way I decided that I needed more color in the room.  So, I decided to paint the room last summer, which made a tremendous change.  I also played around with my accessory pillows.  The one thing that I had not considered was changing the rug. My living room is decorated transitional style--a cross between traditional and contemporary.  When I started looking for a new rug, I initially wanted to find a transitional style rug and stay away from the traditional look.  I fell in love with a rug at my new favorite rug place (Aladdin Rugs), but the rug was too small.  I needed an 8 x 10 ft rug and this rug came in 5 x 8 ft.  I was told that I may have to wait 6 months before the rug that I fell in love with to come in the 8 x 10 ft size.  Those who know me know that I am not a patient woman.


Two weeks ago, I drove to the Home Goods Store in Hot Springs, AR.  I wasn't sure if I would find a rug to take home, but amazingly I did.  And, the price was fantastic.  I purchased an 8 x 10 ft, 100% hand-tied wool rug for $299!!!  This price is ridiculous.  Rugs this size typically retail between $799 and $2,000.  I did good--LOL!!!  I did, however, compromise on the style.  My new rug is traditional, but I'm not disappointed.  The rug has all of the colors that are in my room:  tan, green, brown, red.  Decor style is not any different than clothing style:  trends come and go but traditional is always in style.  


Here is what my living room looked like with the sisal rug:


  
Now this is what the space looks like with the new rug:




I wanted a rug with color and I didn't want the rug to scream at you when you walked into the living room.  I think I achieved my goal.


Rugs ground a room and keep the furniture from having the appearance of floating in the room.  A rug completes the look of your space.  It's like finding the right pair of shoes to complete your outfit.  If you have been thinking about a rug for your space, be sure to check out Home Goods.  If you live in the Little Rock, AR area, there is a Home Goods Store in Conway (inside of TJ Maxx) and the store in Hot Springs, AR.  Home Goods doesn't have a lot of rugs, but you may get lucky and find the rug you want.  Also, another good place to purchase rugs in the Little Rock area is Aladdin Rugs on JFK in North Little Rock.  This store has a lot of rugs, and 8 x 10 ft 100% wool rugs are priced between $499 and $599.


Be sure to select the right size rug for your space.  I've seen way too many spaces where the rug is only big enough to fit under the coffee table.  The rug should fit underneath your furniture, but it doesn't need to go entirely under your furniture.  A good rule of thumb is to have approximately 2 ft of floor showing around the edges of the rug.  But, this may vary depending on the room size.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making Your Bedroom a Sanctuary

For me, one of the prettiest rooms in a home is the master bedroom.  There is nothing more beautiful than a bed with nice linens and pillows (but not too many pillows!).  Back in my teen years and early 20s, I would love to go to the bedding department at Dillard's just to see how the beds would be displayed.  I know this is weird.  Most women go straight to the shoe department, but not me.  Even now, I will go to the home or household accessory department before I go to the clothing and shoes.  I've always wanted my bed to look like the beds displayed in Dillard's.

I travel a lot with job so when I come home at the end of the week, I don't like to come home to a space that is cluttered or in disarray.  I don't spend a lot of time in my bedroom--I sleep there and occasionally watch TV.  I never eat in my bedroom (wasn't allowed as a child and I still hold on to that).  I don't work in my bedroom.  Some people have a home office or have carved out a space to put a desk so they can work in their bedroom.  Desks are fine for kids who often do their homework in their bedrooms, but not so much for adults.  Sometimes this is unavoidable if you live in a small space, but try to avoid working in your bedroom if possible.  It can create stress and you don't need that if you're trying to sleep.  I only lay in my bed when I go to sleep.  I make my bed up every morning because I love the look of a made-up bed.  When people see my bedroom, the first comment out of their mouth is, "it's obvious that you don't sleep in this room."  I think I get this comment because my bedroom is clutter-free.  My dresser top only has decorative items on it.  My nightstands have a lamp, alarm clock, 1 or 2 books, and decorative accessories.  

I have friends whose bedrooms are so cluttered I don't know how they sleep there.  I see treadmills, exercise bikes, clutter on the dresser and nightstands, baskets of clothes, shoes in the floor, clothes hanging on door knobs and from the top of the doors, on the bed, etc....  Get the picture?  Bedrooms like this are clearly not a sanctuary.

So, what does it take to make your bedroom a sanctuary?  Here are my recommendations/suggestions for improving your space:
  • Your bed should have at least a headboard--and a footboard is even nicer.  I know a lot of people who only have a mattress and boxspring.  That's just sad.  Headboards can be purchased for under $300 or you can be creative and make your own.
  • Nice bed linens and comforter or bedspread.  This is a must-have.  Comforter sets can be purchased fairly cheap from Target if you don't want to plunk down $200-$300 or more.
  • Remove items from your room that traditionally don't belong in a bedroom, i.e., treadmills, exercise bikes, and other clutter.  You'll be surprised at how much larger your bedroom will look with all of the extra stuff removed.
  • Remove clutter from the dresser and nightstands.  Find decorative accessories at local discount stores to decorate these spaces.  I was at a Home Goods Store recently and this store has a lot of nice glassware that would look great as a decorative accessory.
  • Make sure your window treatments are nice--either wood blinds, shutters, or drapery (if you like drapery).  Some comforter sets have matching drapery.  If not, you can purchase panels in a color that is in the comforter set.  I had custom draperies made a few years ago for my bedroom.  I picked a fabric color that I could live with for a few years and would go with many different colors when I change out my comforter.
  • A fresh coat of paint goes a long way.  You may want to consider a change in color.  It can change the mood of the room.
  • This will be hard for many, but make your bed up everyday!  My mother trained all of her children to do this when we were younger.  I think me and my oldest brother still make our beds everyday and he only does it because he's married and his wife makes him.
I am posting a video of my bedroom.  I want you to see what my bedroom looks like all the time.

video




So if your bedroom is not a sanctuary, a few easy steps can turn it into one!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picking the Right Paint Finish

I get a lot of questions about paint finishes.  Flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, high-gloss and oil-based finishes can perplex a lot of people.  How do you know what finish to apply to your walls?

Let's go through each finish one at a time.

FlatFlat paint has no enamel in it.  There is no sheen to this finish.  A flat finish is typically what you find on most walls in homes.  It is also best for ceilings.  Flat paint is not scrubbable.  If you have children and pets, you want to stay away from flat paint.  A flat finish is not suitable for baths and kitchens; it can easily water stain.  I used a flat finish on my living room walls and the dark color looks velvety at night.

Eggshell:  Eggshell is a flat paint with a some enamel added to the mixture.  There is a slight sheen to this paint.  Eggshell can be used on all walls in your home.  An eggshell finish would be okay in baths and kitchens because this finish can be scrubbed without damaging the paint.

Satin and Semi-gloss:  For some paint manufacturers, satin and semi-gloss finishes are interchangeable.  A satin or semi-gloss finish has more enamel in it and you can definitely see a sheen in the finish. A satin or semi-gloss finish works well in baths and kitchens.  For a more dramatic look, you can paint a formal dining room and powder bath in satin or semi-gloss.  Using a satin or semi-gloss finish with a dark color brings light to the color. This is a very durable finish and clean be easily cleaned.  My neighbor used the same color of paint in her dining room that I painted my living room in but, she purchased the color in a satin finish.  The color looks totally different in her house than mine.  Because her finish has a sheen, the light bounces off the color.

High-gloss:  A high-gloss finish contains a lot of enamel.  It has a very high sheen.  It can be used on walls, but I do not recommend it for most rooms.  A high-gloss finish can add a lot of drama to a room.  Can you imagine a formal dining room painted in red or eggplant in a high-gloss finish?  A word of caution--your sheet rock needs to be practically perfect to use this finish.  
A high-gloss sheen will show all the imperfections in the sheet rock.  In California, high-gloss is used to paint woodwork instead of an oil-based finish.  Oil-based paints have been banned in California due to the chemicals in it.  Most green builders use high-gloss instead of oil-based paint--its better for the environment.


Oil-basedOil-based paints are typically used to paint woodwork (cabinets and trim).  The paint can come in a low-sheet or high-sheen.  It should never be used on walls.  It is a very sturdy paint.  One word of caution--oil-based paints are not water soluble.  Oil-based paint also has a very strong smell.  If you are going to paint a lot of woodwork in your home, you will want to purchase a respirator.  You will need mineral spirits to clean brushes.


The paint that I like to use is Behr.  Home Depot sells this brand.  It is a California-based paint.  I like Behr paint because it covers well.  Behr offers a paint with primer in it.  This provides ultimate coverage.  I have used this paint to cover dark walls and it works fantastic.  I like Sherwin William colors, but I take the Sherwin Williams paint swatch and let Home Depot mix it in Behr.


When I do a tone-on-tone stripe effect, I use a flat finish and a satin or semi-gloss finish for the stripes.  The result is subtle, but it adds a dimension to the walls.


I hope you find this helpful and will consider this for your next paint job!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Powder Room

My house was not supposed to have a powder room.  It was intended to be a 4 bedroom 2 bath home.  Fortunately I met with my builder before she broke ground on the house and I asked her if a powder bath could be added to the plan.  Thankfully, it could.  My mother lives with me and I didn't want my guests to use her bathroom.  I'm funny about that.  I don't like people using my private spaces.

I knew that I didn't want taupe walls in my powder bath.  I wanted this space to make people want to spend time in this room.  It is very small.  In fact, this space was originally the closet for my study.  In 2005, faux painting was really popular and I had learned to sponge paint and rag paint.  I rag painted my master bath in my previous home and I also did a friend's powder bath and it looks fantastic.  If you are fortunate enough to have a powder bath, you should seriously consider going all out on the decorating and accessories.  So, this is what the space currently looks like now.  I want to redecorate the space.  I have in mind an eggplant color with a tone-on-tone harlequin pattern.  I can envision the space painted in this color.  It would be very dramatic.  I am showing the space in a video.  It is too small to photograph so I thought a video would work better.

video


Stay tuned for the transformation of this space!

One of My Favorite Rooms

This is the study in my neighbor's house.  This is the only room in her house in which she needed to purchase furniture.

 


The space is not furnished like a traditional study with a desk and book cases.  She likes to read and she wanted a room in her home where she could cozy up on a sofa and read.  This space has french doors so she can close the doors for total privacy. 



She already had the chairs and piano.  I like the chairs--they are a little modern.  Everything else in the room is new.  All of her furniture is very traditional, and I thought it would be fun to mix it up a little and go modern.  The was accomplished by the artwork and rug.  I saw this rug and I loved the colors in it and I wasn't sure if she would like it.  She loved it!!  She surprised me when I found out that she loves color.  Once I knew this, I decided her study would be the perfect place to display color.  I have to tell you that the table and bowl are pieces that she found and thought they would look good in the space.  She spray painted the bowl red.  I had envisioned a red leather ottoman for this space but we could not find one locally.  I love the pops of red in this room.  This is one of my favorite rooms in her house.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Helping a Decorating-Challenged Friend Decorate Her New Home

In August 2011, my former neighbor moved and built a new home.  I was sad to lose a neighbor, but excited about the opportunity to decorate her new home.  My neighbor downsized her home--she went from 2,600 sf to 2,100 sf.  Amazingly, she was able to bring everything from the old home to the new home.  The new home had the same number of rooms, but the secondary bedrooms, formal dining room, and living room were smaller than her previous home.

My neighbor was the best type of client:  she let me have total control over decorating her home!  First of all, she has beautiful furniture.  She purchased new furniture for her study because her old furniture was Victorian.  She also needed new/updated artwork.  Fortunately for me, my neighbor doesn't enjoy shopping for furniture and accessories.  But, I do!  Secondly, her builder constructed a beautiful home with a lot of nice architectural features--coffered ceilings, crown molding, hand scraped hardwood floors, 11 and 12 ft ceilings.  So, having nice furniture and a home with good bones is icing on the cake. 


Here is a photo of what her living room looked like totally empty.  Notice the coffered ceiling.




Now check out what I accomplished by placing her furniture, artwork, and accessories in the room:




The sofa needs a few colorful accessory pillows to make it pop.






Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

How many of you have furniture in your home that you are tired of looking at, but you don't really want to replace it just yet?  I'm sure that a lot of us have sat back and looked at furniture in our homes and imagined what it would look like with new fabric, or if a new coat of paint would spruce it up.  I faced this dilemma last summer.  The table and chairs in my breakfast nook were purchased in 2002.  The furniture is hand-painted with fruit accents.  It has a french country look to it.  At the time I loved the furniture.  Over the past few years, I was tired of the fruit but I didn't want to purchase new furniture for my breakfast nook.  So, one day while sitting in my kitchen I imagined what the table chairs would look like if I painted them.  I decided that I needed more color in my breakfast nook.  My walls are Latte (taupe) and the furniture has a brownish/dark taupe coloring to it.  It sort of blended into the walls.  Also, the seat covers were off-white.

To paint the chairs, I used a kit designed to refinish cabinets--Rustoleum Cabinet Restoration.  The kit can also be used on furniture.  Below is a picture of one of the dining chairs before the paint and the new seat cover:


This is what the chair looked like after a two and a half day process of prepping the furniture, painting two coats, applying a glaze, then applying a top coat.


Here is a before photo of what the breakfast nook looked like before the chairs were painted and the seat cushions recovered:


Now here is the after with all the chairs painted:


By painting just the chairs and changing the fabric on the seats, I added a nice pop of color to my breakfast nook.  I also changed out the artwork and accessories on the buffet and table.  I decided not to add any paint to the table.  Sometimes it's good to get away from the matchy-matchy look.  I think it adds more interest too a room.

With a little bit of time and effort, you can easily transform a space from boring and dull to wow!!

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to everyone!!  It is my hope and prayer that 2012 will be a great year for everyone.  How are those New Year's resolutions going?  I don't call mine resolutions--I call them life changers.  I have implemented several things that I hope will change my life.  I just signed up for an interior design course.  I have wanted to do this for some time but was hesistant to make the comittment.  I am hoping that I will learn lots of great design tips that will make me a better designer and also ideas I can share with my blog readers.  I encourage everyone to make a decorative change to a room or furniture piece(s) in their home for 2012.  And please, share those changes with me through this blog or via e-mail.  I will be happy to answer questions or provide my thoughts on your project.  Here's to a great 2012!