Tips

The White Interior: Timeless or Trendy?

There has been one trend dominating the industry in the last few years – white interiors. Just open any social media site and you will see a whitewash of rooms with painted trim, all-white cabinets, and the ever-so-trendy Scandinavian-inspired room that is drenched in white from floor to ceiling. In 2016, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams even named white tones as their colors of the year. Since then, homeowners and renovators have used white paint as a panacea. Moved into an old home with a lot of woodwork? Paint it white for a fresh look. What a small space to look bigger?  Wash the walls in white paint. Building a new home? Make sure your kitchens are all white so it doesn’t look dated.  

With the white dominating images from online and in design magazines, it begs the question: Are white interiors timeless or trendy?

When I meet with design clients, there tends to be two distinct camps. The first is the client that embraces whitewashing and the second are the wood-purists that would never dream of painting good solid wood cabinets. Neither of these approaches are wrong. Good design is about creating a balance between all visual elements. Just like how we inject a curved line to break up the visual rhythm of rectangular rooms for a more dynamic design, designers use color contrast for a larger visual impact. A well-designed home mixes wood tones, paint colors, and material in order to feel more luxe and unique to the homeowner.

In my opinion, white is timelessly chic and endlessly adaptable. It transcends style. The color lends itself well to all design aesthetics – from airy coastal interiors to glossy modern architecture and Scandinavian minimalism.

With white being so versatile, the question then becomes how to use it. If you want a more historical or traditional look then keep with stained wood millwork and bring in a warm-tone white on the walls to brighten up the room. For a coastal or contemporary look, go with white on the millwork and walls and then mix in more weathered materials to add warmth and texture to the space.

While shades of white are ever-so present in our day-to-day, for most of history white pigments were incredibly difficult to create and were therefore rarely used. We have British interior designer, Syrie Maugham to thank for popularizing rooms decorated entirely in shades of white. In 1927, she introduced her all-white room at her townhouse in London. Harper’s Bazaar described the room thus: “White walls, white satin curtains, white-flowered chairs, white lilies and the light softened by a white velvet lampshade, all give that modern feeling, which in conjunction with old furniture, is so attractive.”

Today, the goal is to use white strategically in order to maximize light and highlight artwork and furnishings. Luckily there are great products out there to help inject a bit of white into your home without having to get out your paint roller. Most cabinets companies carry at least one shade of bright white and one antiqued white so you can get that dream white kitchen but still have a factory finish cabinet for durability. One thing I am convinced of is that the white kitchen is here to stay for years to come. To bring home the look, many companies carry in-stock painted doors and mouldings that range from more traditional Colonial base to Mid-Century Modern 2-step casing.

The possibilities are endless! If you need a little direction, then we are here to help. We can help determine what your house needs in terms of stained or painted wood and then pick out the perfect color. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation with our expert designers.

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Note: this blog post is a part of a series of articles that JZID has written in coordination with Western Building Products. You can see this article published on their website, as well.



Wallpapers We Love

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great Easter and Passover weekend. I just got back from Pittsburgh from visiting my in-laws and checking in on their remodel that we've been working on. The star of the project has been the addition of some stunning wallpaper from Voutsa. It really turned out amazing! These koi fish brighten up my day - even during a typical Pittsburgh overcast. Check out our Instagram for a few more detail shots from the Pittsburgh project. 

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The right wallpaper adds so much to a space and we've been installing a lot of it. Wallpaper can get a bad wrap - a lot of people associate it with a over-designed country B&B's and think that it is impossible to get off. This design feature has been trending for a few years now so there are a ton of pattern and texture options to select from. And if the wall is primed right and the paper installed correctly then it shouldn't be impossible to later remove.

We've been loving wallpaper so much lately that we have installed it in a few Client's homes already and will be adding it to a few more designs in the next few months. Here is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of projects we've featured wallpaper. 

Elm grove makeover

This Client had recently bought a home in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. The overall house is very traditional but the homeowner is on the younger side and has a young family, so we wanted to add touches of whimsy to livened up the home. This powder room is on the first floor by the front entry and really gives any visitors an idea of the spirit of the family. The fun wallpaper we chose is called Guadeloupe from Thibaut. This wallpaper has so much character and feels so natural with the rest of the house. I'd love to install it in the other colorways! 

Cambridge Drive makeover

This is one of our most dramatic makeovers. Our Client's powder room featured both light blue paint and "pool liner" blue wall tile... it was a lot of look that just didn't fit the elegant feel of the rest of the home. What you can't see in the photo is that these walls are super high - like 12' high - and it has a skylight window shining down into the room. With the walls being so tall, we added 42" tall wainscoting and then wallpapered the top in Martello, Grey from Thibaut. This wallpaper is both graphically geometric and elegant. 

I love when Clients step out of their comfort zone and try new designs. Here are a few wallpapers that we would love to feature -  

Birds on Gray  by Voutsa

Birds on Gray by Voutsa

Nani in Poni  by Paper Mills

Nani in Poni by Paper Mills

Feather Grass  by Farrow & Ball

Feather Grass by Farrow & Ball

Nira in Grey  by Thibaut

Nira in Grey by Thibaut

Chameleon in Teal  by Thibaut

We keep finding new wallpapers to love everyday. Contact us if you'd like to see what wallpaper we have in mind for your home. 

Comment below your favorite wallpaper! I'd love to see what you've had your eyes on.

Design Trends that Cut into Your Sleep Time

A few of times a year I am bombarded with blogs, Instagram posts, and magazine features about trends for bedrooms. The titles are always something like "New Year, New Bedroom" or "New Trends for Dreamy Bedrooms" or "Bedrooms of your Dreams in 2018"... and they almost always feature something a bit out of the box (think minimal beds and all mirrored walls). Changing trends can add fun and sophistication to the bedroom, but there are some bedroom trends worth skipping because they affect the quality of your sleep. The bedroom should be your sanctuary where you leave the rest of the world behind, but it’s hard to do that if the very room you love is working against you. To help you out, Tuck Sleep Foundation sent me a list of few trends you might want to avoid to get the best sleep possible. 

Multi-Use Room

In most areas of the house, multi-functional spaces are a great way to maximize usage and make every inch count. The bedroom is a different story. As tempting as it may be to put your home office in the corner of your bedroom, avoid it if at all possible. The reason--it sends your brain the wrong message. Your mind and body have to be able to relax, and if you’re drawn to a computer screen where emails await you, that’s not going to happen. If you cannot avoid having a multi-use space, divide the areas as much as possible. Visible barriers or even a change of paint colors will help your brain create the mental space it needs to shut down for the day. 

Bright Color Palettes

Color impacts your mind and body. Reds, oranges, and other bold colors subtly affect your mood and make you feel more awake. The bedroom needs to be a place of relaxation and calm. Subdued neutrals like beige, whites, and grays in soft tones can help calm the mind. Gentle, not dark, greens and blues are also associated with relaxation. In general, steer clear of warm colors as they stimulate the brain to an awakened state. 

Minimalism That Doesn’t Support the Mattress

Minimalism reduces clutter which promotes an equally uncluttered mind that falls asleep easier. But, there are some minimalist trends you might want to pass by if you have trouble sleeping or a bad back. A mattress placed on a platform rather than a box spring might not provide the right kind of support. Box spring designs have changed significantly so that now many have a wire support system that prolongs the life of your mattress while reducing body fatigue and pain. 

Large Televisions

You might be tempted to binge watch your favorite streaming service or watch your favorite movie until you fall asleep, but the light from a television (or any screen for that matter) stimulates the brain. It can confuse the circadian rhythms and make it harder to sleep. Having a screen in your bedroom creates a multi-purpose room, and you want to avoid that. A bedroom that has too many distractions doesn’t send the message that it’s the place to sleep. If you have to have a TV, consider a small screen that doesn’t give off as much light. Try placing the TV in a cabinet with doors where you can shut it away so you’re not tempted to watch at bedtime.

Bring Back the Ceiling Fan

A cool sleep environment helps the body maintain the low temperature it needs for high-quality sleep. Fans give you more temperature control options. Ceiling fans also provide white noise to drown out outside disturbances and lull the brain into a deeper sleep. Ceiling fans have come a long way from the faux wood with brass accents you may remember. They now come in everything from minimalist to modern farmhouse designs so don’t let aesthetics prevent you from making a move that could help you get better rest. 

Your bedroom should be your oasis - a place for you to relax and reset after a long day. If you are having difficulty getting a good night's sleep or want to know if a certain trend you saw online would be beneficial to your sleep then contact us and we can help you out. 

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Tuck Sleep Foundation aims to improve sleep hygiene, health, and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free sleep resources. Tuck aims to power consumers, sleep professionals, and the troubled sleeper looking for answers. Tuck.com is a comprehensive platform to help you understand sleep health and hygiene and research sleep products. 

6 Ways to Brighten a Dark Room

The cave, the bane of your interior design goals, the one room that just won’t lighten up — almost everyone has a room that’s always lacking light, regardless of sunny days. But it doesn’t have to be that way any more. If you’re lacking in natural light but want to give a room a fresh makeover to chase away the darkness, try these tips from ABODO.

1 | Paint the Walls

Probably the most intuitive tip on this list, painting your walls a light color will immediately give any room a brighter atmosphere. Prevent any entering light from disappearing into dark blues, browns, or reds currently residing on your walls, and instead amplify that gleam with light yellow, gray, green, or white. Your ceiling, especially, should be painted a very light color.

2 | Hang a Mirror or Metallics 

Naturally, the mirror’s reflective surface — or that of a mirrored statement piece — will bounce around light and add the appearance of openness. Metallic accents on wall-hangings or furniture will have a similar, though smaller, impact.

3 | Accent the Furniture

Dark furniture could be exacerbating the room’s lack of light, but reupholstery can be expensive and change the look of the chairs and couches that you so carefully picked out. Instead, opt to drape them with light-colored blankets and pillows, and choose a bright accent rug to bring it all together. 

4 | ...Or Replace It

If you’re having a hard time making your bulky furniture appear lighter through accessories alone, it might be time to swap that heavy, solid-wood coffee table for something smaller and more airy, perhaps with a glass top. Replace cabinets with open shelving. Instead of a couch, try a loveseat and a chair to retain seating while spreading out the visual weight of the furniture.

5 | Add the Right Lighting

Don’t hold back when it comes to lamps — illuminate every dark corner and side table you see fit. But, choose your lampshades carefully. If they’re the traditional cone-shape, they’re directing light downward, which concentrates it on whatever surface it’s standing on and therefore not doing much to make the room feel brighter. Instead, look for cylindrical shades that allow the light to bounce off the ceiling and walls to add indirect light to the entire area.

While you’re handling your lamps, swap out dim incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs that are far brighter with lower wattage (and they’ll help your energy bill, too). 

6 | Declutter

Look around the room — are the walls lined with trinkets, books, and other decor? Sometimes simpler is better. Reduce a bookshelf to a small selection of your favorites, and display just those. Apply the same process all around the room, and you’ll have more breathing space in no time. 

If these tips still leave you in the dark, there is one final option (short of adding windows and glass doors): Embrace the darkness and build yourself a cozy room, with deep colors on the walls and plenty of comforts. Either way, you should end up with a room that’s hard to leave.

What a design presentation looks like

Sorry for the shortage of posts lately; I've been busy. I have projects in full swing and have been working on a new client presentation that I just got back from. I presented a comprehensive design plan for a new construction ranch home that my client recently moved into. After the presentation, the client said something really nice - she said that she never thought her budget would allow her to have a design presentation that looked like it was off one of her favorite HGTV shows. By this, she was referring to the 3D, animated renderings that I created for three of her bedrooms. You've all probably seen shows like Fixer Upper or Property Brothers where the designer reveals animated renderings of what the transformed space will looks like - the client knows exactly what the space will look like and is shocked at the transformation (there are always gasps).

With JZID's designer services, this type of design presentation is not just for TV. I will create 3D renderings of your home using Google SketchUp and give you a booklet of paint chips, fabric swatches, and flooring samples that you can keep in order to help you when choosing the final design. 

Most non-designers find it difficult to really visualize what their redesigned room would look like from just looking at sketches and swatches. By seeing 3D renderings along with fabric swatches, clients are more clearly able to see the final product - with no surprises at the install. 

Here are two examples of my room designs that I presented today. The space that needs redesigned is a guest bedroom. The client really likes coastal motifs (without being kitschy) and wants the space to be a retreat for guests. As a part of this project, I developed two design concepts for this room. The first is inspired by a more modern hotel feel with a neutral color palette and clean lines, while the second is more rustic and focused on a coffee sitting area. Below are the animated renderings that allow you to take a virtual tour of how the two designs can transform the same bedroom. 

Curious about what your remodel could look like? Would you like to virtually walk through your new kitchen/bath before diving into the demolition? Contact me today to get your project started

Create your own view

I love to cook, so I tend to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Right now, my kitchen isn't the most ideal space; there isn't any room for a dishwasher, the countertops don't all match and the laminate isn't in the best shape, but it has quite a large floor plan. One thing that I see as a downfall in the kitchen is that the sink isn't on a wall with a window. I don't have a dishwasher, so a lot of time is spent at the sink washing dishes and staring at a blank wall. 

To help with the boredom that settles in, I hung one of my favorite vintage prints above the sink for something interesting to look. I made sure the print was well framed with glass so any water splashing up doesn't ruin the print. Typically the spray is pretty tame, so the artwork stays dry pretty much all the time. 

This is a great addition to your kitchen if you live in an apartment and can't make any serious changes to the walls, or if you live in an older home. A big plus is that the glass over the print is much easier to clean than a painted wall. And best of all, the print adds extra color and visual interest to the room.

Here's how it turned out - 

My Advice on Marble in the Kitchen

A common question that I get from clients is whether or not they are crazy for wanting marble countertops in their kitchen. The answer is yes... and no. It's not so straightforward when it comes to this stone. 

There is no doubt that marble reigns supreme with the high-end elegance it exudes. Despite marble being very trendy right now, the material (especially white marbles) will never go out of style. Marble brightens up any space and easily lends itself to traditional, rustic or contemporary kitchens. It even helps you out when you put your pastry chef's hat on. Marble has a naturally cool temperature which makes it easier to roll out dough without using a ton of flour to prevent sticking. Best of all, marble is priced a bit lower than other natural stones on the market right now since it is commonly found at any of your local distributors. 

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Aside from the definite aesthetic pros, marble is not the perfect kitchen material. Marble is much more fragile than granite or an engineered stone since it is a softer material that is more porous. This makes it easy for the stone to stain or have etching (scratches). Stones are basically just hard sponges, so any liquid sitting on the surface will seep into the stone, staining the marble. This can be easily prevented through proper, regular sealing, using coasters and wiping any spills up quickly. There are even treatments that allow you to bleach out any staining after the fact. Etching, on the other hand, is permanent.  Etching happens when any acidic material sits on the surface (like lemon/limes, wine and tomato sauce) and eats away at it causing dull spots. It is an actual changing of the stone itself, like a scratch. It's not really a discoloration; it's a dulling. Check out the image to the right to see what an etched marble surface looks like. 

There are some things that you can do to help protect the pureness of your marble countertops - regular sealing, wiping off the surface after you cook anything, using coasters and choosing a honed marble over a polished marble (polished will show any etching more obviously).

Are marble countertops right for you? I only suggest marble countertops for clients that are prepared to be diligent about keeping the marble clean and dry. The client also has to be able to shrug off any imperfections that happen over the years, as it's impossible to not have some etching after 1 year - 5 years - 10 years. Some people would walk into their kitchen and immediately be haunted by the etching, while other can look past it and just know that any company that comes over will never notice the small things.

Feel free to reach out it you want to know more about using marble in your own kitchen. 

 

My Kitchen's Personality

The Kitchn blog recently posted an article that pairs different kitchen styles to the different  Myers-Briggs typologies. For those of you who don't know about the Myers-Briggs test, it is a 4 letter code that tells you what your personality is based on a series of questions. Questions range from whether you feel emotionally involved when watching soap operas to gauging if you find yourself contemplating life's complexity. 

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According to the test that I took, I'm an ENTJ - Extrovert over an introvert, Intuition over sensing, Thinking over feeling, Judging over perceiving. Depending on the day and period I'm at in my life, I'm sometimes a ENFJ (feeling trumps thinking). But today, I definitely feel like an ENTJ.

I don't tend to take these personality tests too seriously, but some elements of the Myers-Briggs does make sense and shed light on some of my habits and reactions. The ENTJ description could explain why I get bored easily if I don't have a thousand things going on, and why I like to throw in some competitiveness into my hobbies (like yoga and skiing). 

The Kitchn is now taking my personality analysis to the next level. To the Kitchen, an ENTJ is called  the Commander personality type and the editor took a stab at what my kitchen style is... and it was surprisingly accurate. Here's what they have to say: 

"Your kitchen style is Sophisticated Industrial. Sometimes it takes a hard edge to really push things through. You appreciate strong industrial-style elements — cage pendant lights, metal stools — but you're not interested in roughing it. Traditional cabinets (painted black) keep the look sophisticated, and only slightly intimidating — just how you like it."

The scary part is that I do have metal stools paired with traditional cabinets. And I really don't like the distressed 'industrial' look in my home.  

Check out the image that the Kitchn says represents my personality's style to the right >>

Was this more of a lucky guess than a scientific analysis? Help me figure it out. Take the Myers-Briggs test (link here) and then check out the Kitchn (article link here) to see if their analysis works for you.

5 Simple Projects for Your Memorial Day Weekend

I'm very excited for this long Memorial Day weekend! It's going to be a bit rainy in Milwaukee, so cookouts and poolside lounging may not be in the cards. If we have to stay inside, then we might as well do a bit of fun home-improvement, right?! 

Check out 5 simple projects that you can do in an afternoon this weekend -

1. Hang new house numbers

One of the easiest things you can do to improve your curb appeal is to hang new house numbers. My favorite numbers are from Modernist architect icon, Richard Neutra. His numbers are classic and unobstrusive and it's no wonder that Neutra numbers run about $50 per number. If you have a jigsaw and a little bit of woodworking skills, then you can make your own for around $20 and 90 minutes a set. Check out Curbly.com for a full tutorial. 

2. Reorganize your home office

Every room in your home has a purpose, but your home office may be the nerve center of your entire house. If you have a home-based business like I do, then you need a well-functioning space to keep your files organized and you sanity intact. This weekend, take a minute to take inventory of your office and make sure you're set up properly to enable organization. 

A well-set up office should have:

  • An inbox you can use to put bills, contracts and other paperwork on your to-do list. This doesn't have to be a traditional tray. Try setting up a bulletin board or metal grid to clip paperwork to.
  • Filing to hold current projects. You probably have different folders on your computer to separate projects. Why not do this for hard copies? 
  • A filing cabinet is the best way to keep your project folders organized. You don't have to have the classic grey metal cabinet. IKEA and CB2 both make uniquely-styled cabinets that would give your office a polished, modern touch. 
  • And a trash can, recycling container and shredder so you don't keep accumulating paper waste that will only stress you out and take up space. 

3. Update your entry rug

We all have utility or flat woven mats in our entryway. These mats work great for wiping off your shoes, but are not always the cutest. This weekend, tape off a pattern on your rug and use acrylic paint to create your graphic. You can do a tribal pattern, something abstract or use typography to create your statement - the possibilities are endless.

4. Swap out your knobs

One easy way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity or dresser drawers is to take off your old knobs and bring in something a bit more unexpected. All you have to do is unscrew the old knobs and replace them. My favorite place right now to get unique, quirky knobs is Anthropology

5. Paint your doorways

Painting doorways is an easy way to add unexpected color to your home. This works great if you are a bit color shy and don't want to commit to a color for your entire room. Choose a color that you absolutely love and matches the color scheme  that is used in your furniture and decor. Not only will painting your doorway give your room a sense of destination, but the color can be easily swapped out over the years. 

Have a great Memorial Day!

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10 Ways to Create the Perfect Guest Bedroom

The quickly approaching Memorial Day weekend is the mark of summer travelling season. This means that people will start descending upon your home.

If you are lucky enough to have a home big enough for a guest room, then this is perfect place to create a great impression on the friends and family who temporarily reside there. A lot of us, like the room pictured below, need to use the guest room as a multi-use space. Whether it is a full-time guest space or not, it’s important to keep the room looking its best (clean, fully stocked) at all times for any unexpected guests. 

To make your guest's stay as pleasant as possible (and to help keep your sanity), I've compiled a quick list of 10 to-do items for your guest bedroom. See the the gallery below.

Need help setting up your guest bedroom? Contact me today to get ready for your summer guests!

Natural Drain Cleaner

One of my biggest pet peeves is a slow running drain. I live in an older house so clogs are a frequent issue. Some Feng Shui masters even go so far as thinking that clogged drains can deplete finances, health and aspirations and just wreak havoc in general. We all have them, but no one likes a clogged drain.

Instead of risking damage to the drains by using Dran-O or spending money on a plumber, I look to my kitchen pantry for a solution. Using a recipe from Tidy Mom, I can keep my drains clear with just three simple ingredients - baking soda, vinegar and water. The recipe below is great for unclogging stopped-up drains or for general maintenance. I like to use this in all of our sinks about every three months to keep everything flowing smoothing. The best part of this is there are no chemicals that will erode your pipes and no negative impact on the environment. 

Give a shout out in the comments if you have any questions or if you want to share your results. 

The New Coastal Style Board

Coastal and nautical design is always a crowd favorite during the start of summer. Shades of blue, drift wood, rope, coral - who doesn't love the beautiful beach aesthetic? 

For this season, try a more dramatic spin on the usual coastal look. Keep the base of your room a clean white while bringing in bold stripes, graphic or abstract artwork to add color. Set up vignettes that put a spin on the traditional coral and plants and pair it with high gloss surfaces. I especially love the dandelion paperweight in the image below! Blur the line between outdoor and indoor furniture and rugs.

Take a look at the style board below for some inspiration.  

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Need help creating this style in your home? Contact me today for a consultation.

Nostalgic Paint Colors

In my family, there are a lot of things to celebrate in early Spring - four birthdays, an anniversary and Easter. This season brings up a lot of nostalgic memories for me. Tied to these memories are a few colors that have lingered in my mind. I've rounded up 5 paint colors that not only spur these moments, but are also chic when used in design.

1. I grew up in a small town in Illinois and my sister and I regularly went to my grandparent's farmhouse on the outskirts of town. The house is a vibrant red brick home, as is the shed and all of the barns. The red makes the house pop against the green corn fields and large yard that I spent hours running around. Cherry Tomato from Sherwin Williams exudes high-impact energy. This dramatic color works well as an exterior paint color or in formal dining rooms.  

2. My older sister was a fan of the 1980's cartoon Jem and the Holograms (which is now on Netflix). In the show, a young record label exec named Jerrica (on the right below) turns into a rock star diva named Jem with the help of a holographic computer. Jerrica is business savvy and charitable, but her alter ego is glamorous, talented and mysterious. Since I was named after this character, I often imagine myself as my pink-haired rock star alter ego. With a new Jem and Holograms movie coming out later this year, hopefully a new generation of Jerricas are born. Pink Damask from Benjamin Moore isn't as much of a statement as Jem's hair, but it is more versatile and sophisticated. This color is fabulous in traditional spaces, giving a warm tone to the room. 

3. Growing up, one of my favorite movies was (and still is) The Sound of Music. The image of Julie Andrews running through the wildflower covered Alps singing "Do-Re-Mi" is so iconic. The yellow flowers perfectly represent the happiness that the scene exudes. Citron from Farrow and Ball captures this happiness. The color is a great yellow that works well in entryways. You just can't help but smile when seeing a Citron room.

4. Every Easter, my grandmother makes the best decorative eggs. She is a fan of bright colors so she laboriously dyes the eggs until the colors are highly saturated. Naples Blue from Benjamin Moore is as saturated as my grandmother's Easter eggs. This vivid and charming tone works great in bedrooms or as an accent to add interest to a neutral room.

5. When I was in college I spent a semester studying at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape of South Africa. The city has deep Dutch roots in everything from the Africaans language to their architecture. A typical Cape Dutch house like the one below is ornately shaped with a thatched roof and whitewashed walls. Ever since my semester abroad, I've loved Scandinavian design. Dutch White from Behr is a stark color that exudes a sophisticated minimalism. This color is a great neutral for trim and cabinets or you can go all out and do an entire room in this white to have a clean, modern look. 

What colors have stuck in your mind over the years? Feel free to share your nostalgic moments in the comments below. 

Tips and Picks for purchasing artwork

Good art that fits into an already designed room can be VERY hard to find. Unlike furniture and lighting, which should be both functional and decorative, art is purely decorative. Everyone's aesthetic tastes are different and artwork can be quite expensive, so there is a lot of pressure for you to really love the pieces in your home. 

With my art background, it's probably no surprise that I often draw inspiration from the art world for my own designs. I've even filled my own home with a large variety of art - paintings I've found from Goodwill, sculptural figures from my travels, beautiful pottery, family heirlooms and my own creations. I love almost all types of artwork and personally want to surround myself in things I like. The more the better! 

If you love artwork but don't have the time or funds to purchase from galleries and auction houses, then don't worry - you can now browse artwork online through a variety of sites (see image source credits below). While gathering images for this post, I was literally finding artwork while watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix... 

To help you in your artwork hunt, consider the following tips: 

  1. Go big. Skip the 8"x10" prints, they're too small to make an impact in your home and run the risk of looking generic. 
  2. Try buying a standard size. This will help save you money on framing, which can be shockingly expensive. Check IKEA or Target before going to a specialty framing shop. With that said, if you invested a lot of money in a painting, then it could make sense to have it professionally framed (these shops really do a nice job).
  3. Buy original. Sure, I have some amazing Modigliani and Picasso prints that I wouldn't have been able to buy original, but I also mix the classic works in with original works from emerging artists. A collection with just reproductions can seen incomplete, especially if you really value and support the arts. Buying from emerging artists also gives your collection a chance to appreciate over time; who knows, maybe you are buying the next Warhol. 
  4. Make a statement. Don't let all of your artwork fade into the background. At least one piece should be a statement or conversational piece in your home. This doesn't necessarily have to be a graphic graffiti piece, but can be something personal to you.   
  5. Don't get freaked out by pricing. Buying original can sometimes be expensive. But, if you really love the piece and you value artwork in your home, then just remember that you are paying for years of talent, training, and honing of vision. 

If you want to spruce up your home this spring by bringing new artwork into your home, then take a look at my top picks below. Which is your favorite? 

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Do you need more assistance in selecting, purchasing and framing your new artwork? Contact me today and I can lend a hand. 

Visual Glossary of Patterns

I thought I'd start off this week with a little design lesson on pattern. A pattern is defined as a repeated form or design especially used to decorate something (via Merriam-Webster). Patterns surround us in our daily lives, but how often do you see a design you like and are not able to call it by name? 

Going off a post I recently wrote about my favorite fabrics, I created a glossary of 30 common patterns that you often see in home decor, fabrics , tiles and fashion. Different textile designers interpret these patterns in various ways, changing up the color scheme, scale,  texture, et cetera. The list below shows common examples of each pattern with a short description of characteristics. Hopefully this helps you determine calico from damask and quatrefoil from ogee. 

Arabesque:  An elaborate design of intertwined floral or geometric motifs. Commonly inspired by Islamic art.

Arabesque: An elaborate design of intertwined floral or geometric motifs. Commonly inspired by Islamic art.

Calico:  Small-scale allover floral design in bright colors originally from India, and later associated with American country-style. 

Calico: Small-scale allover floral design in bright colors originally from India, and later associated
with American country-style. 

Chevron:  A traditional, woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout.

Chevron: A traditional, woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout.

Floral:  Decorated with or consisting of flowers or patterns of flowers. 

Floral: Decorated with or consisting of flowers or patterns of flowers. 

Herringbone:  A traditional woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout.

Herringbone: A traditional woven or printed design of zigzags in a stripe layout.

Lattice:  A design of interlacing, criss-crossing stripes forming a network.

Lattice: A design of interlacing, criss-crossing stripes forming a network.

Palmette:  A classical motif based on a radiating, fan-shaped palm leaf.

Palmette: A classical motif based on a radiating, fan-shaped palm leaf.

Quatrefoil:  A stylized four-petal flower motif.

Quatrefoil: A stylized four-petal flower motif.

Scroll:  A spiral design derived from the curves of partly rolled parchment scroll.

Scroll: A spiral design derived from the curves of partly rolled parchment scroll.

Toile De Jouy:  A scenic pattern usually printed in one color on a light/white ground.

Toile De Jouy: A scenic pattern usually printed in one color on a light/white ground.

Argyle:  Geometric pattern of varicolored diamonds in solid and outline shapes on a single background color.

Argyle: Geometric pattern of varicolored diamonds in solid and outline shapes on a single background color.

Celtic Knot:  A knot formed by ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Also known as everlasting knot. 

Celtic Knot: A knot formed by ribbons that lead seamlessly into one another. Also known as
everlasting knot. 

Damask:  A jacquard woven ornamental pattern usually in one color. 

Damask: A jacquard woven ornamental pattern usually in one color. 

Gingham:  Pattern of solid squares made by overlapping stripes of the same width. 

Gingham: Pattern of solid squares made by overlapping stripes of the same width. 

Houndstooth:  A pattern of small jagged checks created by four-pointed stars.

Houndstooth: A pattern of small jagged checks created by four-pointed stars.

Ogee:  An onion-shaped motif. An arch formed by two S-shaped curves meeting at a point.

Ogee: An onion-shaped motif. An arch formed by two S-shaped curves meeting at a point.

Pinstripes:  A pattern of very thin stripes of any color running in parallel.

Pinstripes: A pattern of very thin stripes of any color running in parallel.

Regency Stripes:  A mix of wide and thin stripes.

Regency Stripes: A mix of wide and thin stripes.

Tartan:  Woven plaids that consist of stripes of different widths and colors. 

Tartan: Woven plaids that consist of stripes of different widths and colors. 

Trellis:  A pattern of interwoven lines that mimic structures used to support climbing plants.

Trellis: A pattern of interwoven lines that mimic structures used to support climbing plants.

Basketweave:  An all-over checkered weave pattern resembling that of a woven basket. Commonly used in floor tiling.

Basketweave: An all-over checkered weave pattern resembling that of a woven basket. Commonly used in floor tiling.

Chequer/Checkerboard:  A repeating pattern of squares of alternating colors, textures, or materials. 

Chequer/Checkerboard: A repeating pattern of squares of alternating colors, textures, or materials. 

Fleur-De-Lis:  A stylized three-petal or four-petal lily, originally a symbol of purity.

Fleur-De-Lis: A stylized three-petal or four-petal lily, originally a symbol of purity.

Greek Key:  Geometric pattern that consists of lines that meet at right angles.

Greek Key: Geometric pattern that consists of lines that meet at right angles.

Ikat:  A pattern design created by tie-dyeing threads prior to weaving the fabric.

Ikat: A pattern design created by tie-dyeing threads prior to weaving the fabric.

Paisley:  A stylized teardrop-shaped design that originally appeared in Paisley, Scotland.

Paisley: A stylized teardrop-shaped design that originally appeared in Paisley, Scotland.

Polka Dot:  An array of filled circles, generally equally sized and spaced evenly.

Polka Dot: An array of filled circles, generally equally sized and spaced evenly.

 Scales:  Design created with overlapping arcs.

 Scales: Design created with overlapping arcs.

Tessellations:  Repeated pattern composed of interlocking shapes that can be extended infinitely.

Tessellations: Repeated pattern composed of interlocking shapes that can be extended infinitely.

Vermicular:  A pattern of irregular twisted lines (derived from the Latin for worm). 

Vermicular: A pattern of irregular twisted lines (derived from the Latin for worm). 

10 Spring Cleaning Tips

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The days are longer and the weather is getting warmer. Winter has faded into spring, bringing a desire to open the windows, get outside and freshen up our homes. Take the weekend to rejuvenate your home and join me and the rest of the nation in Spring Cleaning. There are a ton of cleaning checklists out there, but I've compiled my top 10 favorite tips to help make your life a little easier - 

  1. Set small, attainable goals. Let's get real, unless you have a few helpers you probably wont be able to knock off everything from your wish list. So, start small and prioritize so you are less likely to get burnt out. 
  2. Restock your cleaning supplies cabinet. Throw out any empty bottles that have started to pile up and go to the store to buy any cleaning essentials that are running low. See the Martha Stewart-approved list of cleaners.
  3. Take a serious look at your closet. Try to limit yourself to only 40 or 50 hangers. Pack away those heavy winter sweaters and donate clothing items you haven’t wore in the last year.
  4. Before you start the deep clean on your bedroom, make the bed first. This will help you see the vision of what a clean room can look like! If you are allergy-prone, then do the vacuuming and dusting in the morning so any dust has time to settle before bedtime.  
  5. Run a power strip through the back of a nightstand into the inside of a drawer so you can charge your gadgets out of sight.
  6. Use fabric softener sheets to dust. They are a cheap substitute for electrostatic cloths, and they work just as well. You can also use orphaned socks as a mitten to dust tight areas and blinds. Work top to bottom when dusting to avoid wasting time going over surfaces twice.

  7. Wash your windows on a cloudy day. Sunshine will cause your windows to dry too quickly, leaving streaks. For a fast homemade window-washing solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water. The less stinky solution is to add one teaspoon of mild dish washing liquid to two gallons of water.

  8. Use a lemon to clean stainless steel. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on your appliances to remove hard water stains and rust from any stainless steel in the bathroom or kitchen. The fresh, citrus scent is a bonus.

  9. Clean out your kitchen cabinets. Wash the shelves and replace any shelf liner that has come up. Try to limit your dish sets to two or three times the required daily place settings. Put additional dishes in storage so you can pull them out when company comes.  
  10. Disinfect your sponge. If you have a big job to do and only one sponge to do it with (gasp!), freshen things up halfway through by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute. 

Enjoy!

My Favorite Fabrics

I've been spending a lot of my time looking at fabrics for drapery and upholstery for clients. There are thousands of fabric choices out there all ranging in price and usage and it can often be overwhelming when trying to pick just one to feature in your home. One quick tip I have for my readers when choosing fabric is that if you are in doubt when you see it in a showroom or online, then don't hesitate to have a sample cut for you. Take it home and live with it for a few days. If you still love it after the trial period then make the leap and order a few yards.

Here are some of my favorite fabrics that I've come across recently. I tend to be drawn to more graphic, whimsical prints that will be feature statement in a room. The fabrics below depict fantastical scenes of interacting animals and mythical creatures. I would love to use either of these prints on an accent chair or ottoman. A small hint of whimsy in a room can help inject an eclectic aesthetic into your home.

Folkland Fabric - Admiral  by Robert Allen for DwellStudio.

Folkland Fabric - Admiral by Robert Allen for DwellStudio.

Ming Dragon Fabric - Midnight  by Robert Allen for Dwellstudio

Ming Dragon Fabric - Midnight by Robert Allen for Dwellstudio

Toile fabrics can come off very traditional, but when paired with minimal design the fabric choice can be contemporary. According to Wikipedia, toile is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme.

The two fabrics below when paired with white walls, lacquered furniture, concrete accents and stark decor will come off as a pleasantly unexpected touch. 

Miyako Blue  for Calico Corners

Miyako Blue for Calico Corners

Bird Parade Teal  for Hillary's

Bird Parade Teal for Hillary's

My last 2 choices are reminiscent of the Pop Art movement. The prints below are graphic and look as if they they could have been screen printed onto the fabric. 

Not sure what fabric to use in your home? Then give me a call - 309.371.6676 - and I'd be happy to pull a few selections for you. 

Lying Low

When done thoughtlessly, a mattress on the floor will look like it belongs in a college dorm room. But, when executed well a platform bed can be inviting and cozy. While I love a high bed with a large statement headboard, I've totally jumped on the bandwagon with platform beds.

Low beds can air on the side of a more modern, minimalist aesthetic, but can also work well in more rustic settings. See the images below for examples of low bed I love.

Like the image below? Here are a few tips for how to work your bed on the floor without giving off the vibe that you can't afford a bed frame: 

1. Keep everything low. A low bed will shorten the scale of the room. Lean your artwork against the wall, bring in low side tables, add a collection of baskets. All of these things orient the room lower so the bed doesn't look out of place.

2. Splurge on the bedding. Keep your bed looking luxurious by choosing bedding that is high quality, both in terms of material and looks. Whether you go with a white duvet or a bold pattern, make sure that the bedding covers the edges of the box spring and the mattress. 

3. Tidy up. The bed is a lot closer to floor and the dust bunnies that would typically gather under your bed will need somewhere to go. So, keep it clean. Vacuum regularly and consider bringing in a rug to increase the comfy factor.

4. Keep it casual. With everything oriented lower to the ground, the look of the room will naturally be more casual. You can emphasize this by playing on a more neutral color palette and by mixing soft fabrics.  

5. Create a pillow headboard. Whether you have a headboard or not, propping large pillows will add some bulk to your bed. Try pillows that have contrasting color to your bedspread. If you have a lighter bedspread then bring in pillows in a darker fabric. This will make your pillows pop and add some depth to the bed.

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How much square footage do you actually need?

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I recently downsized from a 1,000 square foot apartment to one a little shy of 800 square feet. I had to purge some of my larger furniture and donated everything that I didn't think I absolutely needed. Going into it, I thought 800 square feet was small, but for my boyfriend and I this is actually ample space. We have enough room for a small bedroom, office, bathroom, kitchen, dining room and living room. What else could I possibility need?  

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It seems that my downsizing is against the trend of American families. I took a look at the Census and discovered that the median square footage of single family homes has increased 56.3% from 1973 to 2013. The housing bubble and burst in 2008 did cause a slight decline in home size, but the effect was only temporary. 2013 showed a record 2,384 square feet. 

And how are we using all that added square footage? The answer might surprise you. Even though the average family size is dwindling, we're designing and building our homes to include great rooms, four-car garages, man caves, walk-in closets, double master bedrooms, and guest suites. It seems the basic home of today would have been considered a mansion by the standards of any previous generation.

You can see the full pdf dating back to the 70's here >> Download PDF.

These statistics got me thinking, how much square footage do you actually need? Different sources float around different rules of thumb. Apartment Therapy often says that 200 square feet per person is needed. This seems a bit small to me, I would want at least 350 square feet per person. 

How do you use your square footage in your home? Are you the type of person that has a large 2,000+ square feet house, but only really uses the kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom? What are you doing with the rest of the rooms?  

Oscar-Worthy Design - Hollywood Regency

Tonight's Academy Awards will surely exude an air of luxury as actors dress to be either new style icons or channel the old Hollywood glamour of the red carpet. In celebration of tonight's event, I thought I'd give some insight into a truly Hollywood aesthetic - Hollywood Regency. 

The glamorous looks of Hollywood movie set and costume designers have influenced the imaginations of designers and magazine editors since the 1930's. The Hollywood Regency interior design style is rooted in the glitz and glamour of the film industry. Iconic figures of the past golden-age of Hollywood, like Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow (below), brought the opulence of the industry into their home.

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This style got it's start through William Haines, the first openly gay Hollywood actor. After MGM terminated his contract in 1936, Haines reinvented himself as an interior designer, getting his start with early clients like Joan Crawford & Carole Lombard. He quickly propelled to designer stardom and was largely responsible for the birth of Hollywood Regency design.

Another designer, Dorothy Draper, is also credited with launching this style. In 1923, Draper became the first designer to establish an interior design company in the United States. She had a flair for the dramatic and theatrical and became well known for her over scaled and brightly colored versions of classic traditional rooms, her love for checkered floors, intricate mirrors, and lacquered doors.

Classic Hollywood Regency design is characterized with black and white color schemes, geometric patterns and blocks of color in acid yellows. Other common accessories are zebra rugs, mirrored surfaces, Chippendale bamboo chairs, and faux furs next to high-gloss lacquered pieces. Over the decades, this style has evolved. Below are a few tips to bring the luxury and elegance of Hollywood Regency into your home while still staying contemporary.

1. Blend bold colors and patterns - Don't be afraid to really commit to the mix of large-scale patterns and saturated colors. A black and white color palette with a pop of color is classic Hollywood Regency. If you want to tone down the drama a bit, then you can use a more muted color palette with touches of black and bold color. Limit the number of saturated colors in the room. Simplification of the palette will make a bigger impact than throwing in all colors into the mix. As for patterns, a room that is too flat will look too modern. Add patterns to upholstery, rugs, wall treatments and drapery. 

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2. Keep entertaining in mind - Instead of the over-sized sectional focused on a television that is so prevalent in our homes today, try to focus your seating arrangements to accommodate conversation. In order to do this, scale down your furniture so you can group seating in clusters. After arranging your seating, try sitting in each seat to make sure the grouping feels natural from all angles. 

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3. Add high-lacquered and reflective surfaces - Solid furniture and architectural details (like moulding) should have the shiny "lip-gloss" effect. This will help elevate your decor and add the glitz into your design. Try adding a mirrored/glass coffee table or high-lacquered buffet to your room to inject some glamour. 

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4. Globalize your decor - Touches of the East are prevalent in Hollywood Regency design. Traditional additions are Chinoiserie patterned wallpaper, fretwork, bamboo and cane chairs painted in a bold glossy color, or divider screens in a Japanese or Moroccan-inspired pattern. Don't hesitate to add in European design elements, too. Over-sized Parisian carved mirrors and frames fit into this design style nicely. 

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5. Invest in classic pieces - If money is no object, then invest in Dorothy Draper or William Haines pieces. They are true antique collectables and will only see their value increase over the next few decades. If you want a more affordable splurge, find a vintage Porters or cane chair to put at a small mirrored desk, a Chinoiserie mirror, an ornate chandelier, or some oversize porcelain animals just for show. Jonathan Adler has a great selection of decor and furniture to choose from.

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A Hollywood Regency room is the exact opposite of mass-market decorating. The decor should look like you spent years scouring antiques shops and tag sales to find objects of true interest and enduring value. While curating your furniture and decor, keep in mid that you are creating a type of movie set for a life that is as rich and full and interesting as a star on the silver screen.