Contributing Writer

Make Your Home Work For You

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

We’ve been talking about removing some cabinets around the bay window in our kitchen and replacing them with open shelving.  It’s something I’ve been considering for a while since I’m loving that style lately, and I might have Matt on board to tackle that project this weekend!  Speaking of tweaking your home to suit your style, I’m also excited to welcome back contributing writer and expert home flipper Liz from It’s Great to Be Home

Liz is a wealth of information when it comes to changing out spaces to suit your lifestyle and she’s back with her six smart tips on how to make your home work for you right now.   Please welcome back Liz!

  make your home work for you

 

“Whether you’re planning to live in your home for all of eternity or sell it tomorrow, it’s always a great idea to adapt your home to work with the way you live, and unless you’re living in a house that you built yourself from the ground up, chances are your abode could use a few tweaks to fit your lifestyle.

So when you find yourself faced with a spare afternoon or weekend, think about tackling one of these six projects to make your home work for you – they’re easy, not too expensive, and can be conquered without busting out the serious power tools.  

1.  Create an Entryway.

How many times have you entered a house and walked straight into the living room?  It’s especially common for homes built in the 50s-70s.  While there’s nothing wrong with that layout, wouldn’t it be nice to have a proper entryway or at least a space that functions like an entryway? Everyone can use a place to drop their keys, check their hair before they walk out the door, and maybe even greet guests without making them feel like they’ve walked straight into your personal living space.

So how do you go about creating an entryway?  Just follow this simple formula to create a basic entryway: add a mirror + ledge or console + bowl or tray for stuff!

entry console mirror bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

the marion house entry

House and Home

Of course, there’s always room to gussy things up!  If you have the space, you might want to add a little seating by tucking a bench or ottoman under the console. You can also up the amount of storage you have with baskets and storage ottomans.  Finally, think about dividing up an open floor plan by positioning furniture to create a sort of "hallway" coming from the front door.  It’s easy to do this by using the back of a sofa or chairs to divide the space. 

 

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Embracing the Dark Side

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Today is Color Day on the ol’ blog and this morning I posted about my favorite hue which is blue.  This afternoon, contributing writer and interior designer Courtney from Courtney Out Loud is back to share his thoughts on color, specifically the darker shades in the spectrum. 

Having taken the plunge and introduced a dark paint color into our own home (the powder room) earlier this year, I have a new found affection for dark painted walls, especially ones with whites and creams layered in for contrast, burnished metallic sheens, and richly patterned or rustic wood accents.  The combination makes me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea in these enveloping spaces. 

Please welcome back Courtney and his interview with a noted color expert on how to embrace the dark side… of paint!

“Nina Simone sang that black is the color of her true love’s hair and for me it is the color that I love most.  Something about this inky hue draws me in, settles my mind, and puts me at ease.  Clients typically come to me craving color which I am happy to deliver in all its rainbow glory but when left to my own devices, a smoky grey, nocturnal purple or saturated brown will always catch my eye.

Historically, these darker hues have been linked to nefarious activities and sinister deeds, but color research shows that the dark hues like their lighter cousins can elicit a range of reactions from relaxation to revitalization. Curious to know more about my infatuation with dark colors and how to best use them in my designs, I turned to Jean Molesworth Kee, noted architectural color consultant based in Washington, D.C. and the author of the highly regarded blog, The Painted Room.

Nate Berkus and Anne Coyle in Elle Decor

Nate Berkus in Elle Decor

Being a designer, I was bit hesitant to ask for help in understanding how to best use dark colors in spaces – let’s be honest, people pay me to help them with their overall design of which color plays a large part.  Fortunately, Jean shared that many designers as well as lay people use her services which begged me to ask…what is that that she exactly does.

“I do have a highly specialized niche, which is a luxury (not having to deal with building codes)!  Most of my work is residential– working with homeowners who want to make a change but are just spinning in the “color vortex”.

Rugo Raff Ltd. Architects

Rugo Raff Architects

That “color vortex” is something I know all too often from my own work with clients. That moment when clients need to make a paint decision many times feel like the longest part of the process.  Creating the proper background from which to anchor the design is essential and how I see paint selection. 

However, I know how difficult it is to deal with coaching design clients through the process, so I asked how it is to work with a second party (aka designers like me) and surprisingly, Jean enjoys that collaborative process.  “My ideal project involves collaboration with architects and designers on the ground floor but I’m usually working with a lot of design elements already in place.”

dark bookcases cochrane design

Cochrane Design

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