Ask Kate

Mixing Wood Tones

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Wood has made a comeback, have you noticed? Well what’s true is that wood never went out of style (are you kidding, how could it?) it’s just that our tastes have changed.

We’re so over the heavily shellacked yellowish and reddish stains from past decades, remember those? What we crave today is more natural and more organic. Think less shiny, more exposed, the real and the raw. Letting the wood itself be the star, after all, it took nature decades to create that beauty so why not show it off. 

mixed gray patina and wood tones

tine k home

A reader wrote to me recently inquiring how to mix wood tones. Truth is, there are no hard and fast rules, the key is to mix them so that the wood finishes complement each other and don’t clash. There’s no secret formula, however these guidelines may help:

First, Avoid the Matchy Matchy. The “everything in the same wood tone” bedrooms and dining sets are a thing of the past. This bedroom set would work if the bed frame and armoire were a classic black or white and the dresser and end table were wood, but all of it together is just too much of the same thing.

matching wood tones in bedroom

If you happen to have one of these sets, no worries. Consider painting a piece or two in a classic shade (black, white, gray) to break up the set or replace one piece, say the bed frame for a softer upholstered version and you’ll achieve a less “matchy matchy” look.

White Makes It Alright. Wood is earthy, neutral by nature, and unpredictable in its grain, that’s what makes it cool. You can go crazy mixing the wood tones when you’ve got plenty of white to interrupt your medley and ultimately balance it all. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this very idea, check it out here.

mixed wood tones with white

mixed wood tones with white

wood floor white walls

mixed wood tones in entry

lantliv / house beautiful / greige / light locations/ roger davies

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

The Slipcover Report

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

It’s been a week of lethargy around here and the start of summer is totally to blame. We’ve spent most of the mornings just lying around and then sometimes we find the energy to do something fun but I admit it’s been nice being extra lazy the past two weeks. 

Ever since the house tour I’ve had a few questions, namely about the furniture in our home and especially in the family and dining rooms with other inquiries like how we live the way we do with kids and pets and my answer comes down to one word or choice that I’m sure several of you endorse and that word is this: slipcovers.

Slipcovered furniture is a mom’s BFF and I’m a true believer. What’s better than a washable piece of furniture when those oops and spills and mistakes of life occur? Slipcovers buy me piece of mind because I know (like last week) when applesauce gets spilled on them, they can go straight to the wash. I prefer the tailored fitted versions, the ones that mimic upholstered pieces but have the benefit of easy removal when “oh no mom I spilled on the couch” moments happen.

Our family room sofas and dining room chairs are our most used pieces and as a result, limbs and hands and paws are on them constantly so naturally they’re bound to get soiled. So here’s the slipcover report after all these years of living with them with kids and pets and life’s circumstances and the lowdown on my two favorite pieces of slipcovered furniture.

First the family room sofas. I bought these sofas five years ago – they are the Pottery Barn Basic sofa and loveseat and worth the investment. They were manufactured by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (in partnership with Pottery Barn according to the label) and still are as comfortable as the month they were delivered.

pottery barn basic sofas centsational girl

This color of slipcover is (sadly) no longer available, they are the “Slate Blue” brushed canvas fabric, and as you know I’m a sucker for anything in the blue gray family so the choice was easy. The cushions are polyester which are more firm and hold the shape a bit better than down blend as I understand (but tell me your experience if you have the down blend versions). They’re not in direct sun, so I have no idea how the fabric color holds up those circumstances, but ours has been consistent through the multiple washings. 

I’ve washed these slipcovers more times than I can count and they still keep their shape, but a few tips: don’t wash all the cushion slipcovers together if you have both a loveseat and sofa, I’ve confused them before when they come out and struggled with which belongs with which. It’s better to wash the loveseat cushions and loveseat cover together, then just the sofa cushion covers, then just the sofa cover, in three separate washes. That’s my routine anyway. Also dry them on a low heat cycle and pull them out when ever so slightly damp so you can smooth any wrinkles away.

Also, the sofa is the foldout version, which we love for family movie night or kid sleepovers when we move the loveseat back a foot and move the coffee table out of the way and they all pile on top in front of a movie with blankets and pillows and popcorn.

In the dining room are the Ballard Designs Couture Chairs that I bought seven years ago and still going strong. I have three of the pleated slipcover sets for them, a dark brown velvet which is yummy in the fall, a cream velvet which I love in the winter, and then a spa linen (seen below) in a pale gray blue which I use in the spring and summer and complements the family rooms sofas nicely.

dining room centsational girl

The regular price on the pleated slipcovers is $49 but I wait for the $39 each sale or use a 15% off coupon (find it in House Beautiful or other publications). I like that the flirty pleat adds a feminine touch and that the chair legs are visible. They’ve gone through multiple washings as well and have held their color and shape for years.

So there you have it, the secret to sanity in my house: tailored slipcovers. Fitted and washable, I couldn’t ask for more!

 

..

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare