Contributing Writer

Recliners in Design: Yay or Nay?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The debate continues between husbands and wives about how to mix his and her tastes, and one of the common requests by husbands (yes I’m generalizing!) is the placement of a big ol’ recliner smack dab in front of a giant screen. I’ll admit, there’s something comforting about the feeling of certain cushioning recliners for the television and movie watching experience, but the look?  I’ll just say it: I’m not a fan. Raise your hand if you’re with me.

Kathy M. recently wrote to this to me. “How can I incorporate a leather recliner in a design plan for my main living area? My husband is insistent!” I invited contributing writer and interior designer Courtney of Courtney Out Loud to tackle this topic, please welcome him back with his thoughts on the issue of recliners in interior decorating. 

“I don’t think I have ever met anyone who has ever said they want their home to be an uncomfortable and uninviting place. Mind you, that everyone has a different concept of what that is, but I think I can safely say that home is where we all go at the end of the day to kick off your shoes, let down your hair, and relax.

So it comes as little surprise when clients come to me and ask for interiors that exemplify those ideals of comfort. Kate came to me with a question from one of her readers on how to integrate a recliner into her home, I had a moment of pause. To be honest, I still have flashbacks of the large, over-stuffed leather recliners that seemed to dominate the 70s and 80s living rooms. To me, they exemplify an overly relaxed way of addressing a client’s need for comfort.

However, I firmly believe you can still have a place to put up your feet without sacrificing style. Incorporating a recliner into your room is simple as these rules: Reimagine It, Scale It, or Forget It.

Reimagine It.   Canadian designer Meredith Heron, believes that recliners can work in any space but they shouldn’t look like recliners. "I use recliners in many of my rooms" states Heron. "But I do them all custom which allows me the greatest control." In the example below, Heron reimagined the traditional leather recliner as a pair of streamlined, velvet club chairs that flow effortlessly into her pale grey and cream palette. 

merideth heron recliners in living room

Meredith Heron Designs

Stephen Tomar and Stuart Lampert of Tomar Lampert Associates followed a similar approach to Heron in creating the pair of channel back recliners in the serene shade  that serves as the focal point in a monochromatic room.

Tomar Lampert Associates

Tomar Lampert Associates 

Takeaway: If budget allows, a custom upholstered recliner allows you to all the creature comforts of a recliner without sacrificing any style (see also some of Kate’s picks below).

Scale It.   Typically, I love big things. Huge things. The more oversized the better, as they relate to accessories, artwork and lighting. However, when it comes to furniture, pieces should always be balanced and in scale with the room, which is why I have a hard time with recliners. I find many to be bulky white elephants that clients try to shoehorn into a space. They are the furniture equivalent of bullies, forcing all the other furniture in the space to the edges of the room.

Fortunately, retailers have taken heed and are producing some fantastically sleek and deliciously modern takes on recliners. Mid-century modern lovers will undoubtedly love the classic lines of the Milo Baughman Recliner 74 by Design Within Reach. The walnut legs elevate the body of the chair making it less bulky than its current counterparts and the wispy arms along with the elongated back create a frame that is less ballerina than lumbering lumberjack. The sense of lightness and airiness of the piece isn’t overpowering and won’t overwhelm a room.

milo baughman recliner

Design Within Reach

 

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Spicing Up Subway Tile

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Mid week greetings friends!  Today I bring you a topic we all love to chat about, home improvement that beautifies spaces!  I’ve invited contributing writer Liz from It’s Great to Be Home back to share her insight on spicing up a design classic: subway tile.   You all know Liz as a talented home remodeler, and she’s a wealth of information on everything from structural changes to cosmetic upgrades.  Please welcome back Liz!

“Hey there, peeps. Let’s talk tile today!  It seems that you can hardly look at a kitchen or bathroom in a design magazine or on without seeing subway tile. That little 3 x 6 inch white tile has a well-earned reputation for being the “little black dress” of tile – it goes with everything, never goes out of style, and can be dressed up or down. Sounds pretty great to me!

spice up subway tile

 

Traditionally, subway tile is installed in an offset brick pattern, end on end in staggered rows.

classic white kitchen

House and Home

 

classic subway tile in bathroom

Southern Living

 

While this is a timeless look, what do you do if you want to spice up your space with a fresh twist?   Here are six options!

1.   Changing the color of the grout that surrounds your subway tile is one option which makes a graphic statement. 

white kitchen backsplash gray grout

Veranda Interiors

 

gray grout white tile

Design*Sponge

Tip: Use a shade of gray for the grout – darker gray will have a more dramatic impact but will also highlight any imperfections in your tile job.  Avoid grout in shades of tan when working with subway tile – it will just look dirty.  (I may have learned this one the hard way!)

 

 

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How to Add Pizazz to Your Holiday Decor

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Well the holidays are upon us!  As much as I’d like to savor one holiday at a time, I can’t help but pull out a few Christmasy things before the big turkey day.  I know there are purists out there, but for me waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas proves much too difficult, especially with elementary school children begging to open the Christmas closet the day after Halloween.   Also because we host a party every year and I like to get started early on the decorations. 

Do you ever feel like those Christmas decorations you bring out of storage look a little tired?  Of course we all love our traditions and keepsakes, they bring the most nostalgic feelings, but sometimes the same old thing can feel like… the same old thing. 

To inspire you, I invited Michelle of Ten June back to share some tips on adding pizazz to your holiday decor.  Please welcome back Michelle and her insight on mixing it up this season with fresh ideas for holiday decorating. 

“As I walked through a department store last week, I watched the store employees beginning to arrange holiday decorations around the store.  My first reaction was complete surprise – is it really that time of year again?  But that feeling was quickly surpassed by one of excitement.   Yes, it’s time to pack up those witch hats and jack-o-lanterns and break out your holiday décor.

While I was watching the department store employees decorate, I realized that I want to do a little something different with my decorating this holiday season. Traditional Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year decorations are certainly beautiful, but my mind started wandering as to ways I could add some zing to my holiday décor this year. How could I kick my holiday decorating up a notch? After some intense research (ie. browsing the pages of my favorite magazines and clicking away on Pinterest… okay, so really fun research!), I’ve come up with three solid ways for anyone to add pizazz to your holiday decorating!

1. Incorporate a punch of unexpected color.

One way to add pizazz into your holiday décor is to incorporate a punch of an unexpected color.  We all expect red and green in Christmas decorations or orange and brown for Thanksgiving; while these traditional colors are beautiful, they certainly don’t surprise anyone.  Instead of using customary colors, change up your holiday look and think outside of the box with your holiday décor color scheme!  Your guest will love the refreshing change!

Outside of Valentine’s Day, pink is a totally unanticipated, but such a fun, holiday color. Who wouldn’t smile at seeing a hot pink Christmas tree or pastel pumpkin?

clip_image002

Freshome

 

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