Contributing Writer

Decorating with Wood Antiques

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Have you ever wondered how to decorate with those antiques you’ve inherited?  Those precious pieces beloved by a grandmother or aunt that have been in the family for decades and now belong to you? It’s a question I received last month from a reader and one many people have struggled with. 

Today Courtney from Courtney Out Loud is back with his monthly contribution and the topic of the day is decorating with wood antiques, specifically those vintage pieces handed down from previous generations. Please welcome back Courtney and his artful analysis on how to decorate with antique wood furniture:

“Mixing antique and modern furniture styles helps create an individualized and multilayered room that reflects the owner’s unique taste and personality. However, many people adhere to one specific style when decorating their homes. This approach is great if you are truly passionate about a particular era or genre of design, however, for the majority of homeowners they tend to be at a loss when they happen to inherit a family heirloom. How do you incorporate it into your home’s personality and style?  Case in point, Kate received this email from a reader seeking help:  

    "My mom has a vintage buffet that I convinced her to hang onto. I want to use it in my home, but how do you incorporate vintage pieces with your regular decor, without making it feel like grandma’s house?"

Great question! Exactly how do you incorporate vintage and antique furniture into your home without having it feel too dated ?  Don’t fret because it’s as easy as following one of these six simple rules.

1) Determine Your Design Focus  A room filled with nothing but antiques can quickly make your home feel dated and more like a museum.  Unless you are purposefully going for a "boho" look, then you need to decide the primary style of your space – modern, traditional, contemporary – whatever it may be. Making the decision on what style will dominate the room will allow you to make conscious choices on what types of antiques will work with your aesthetic.  You can then begin to layer in vintage and antique pieces that suit your particular design focus and also add character.

scot mecham wood

Scot Mecham Wood 

Judith Balis

Judith Balis via HGTV

The two rooms above are perfect examples of how to choose a design focus yet still incorporate antiques and vintage pieces seamless into a room without overpowering the space.  The antiques are combined with more modern pieces to achieve a balanced “collected over time” look. 

      

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Design Trends of 2011

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Greetings all!  Today I have the best conversation for you to savor. Settle in with your beverage of choice cause it’s just like a group of your favorite gal pals are here with you and we’re all sharing our opinions on trends in design for 2011!  Michelle of Ten June is back for her monthly contribution and she has asked six experienced DIY and design bloggers (including me!) our thoughts on design trends, including what we’ve observed over the past year, and our predictions for the future.

So glad to have you back this month Michelle, take it away!

“Believe it or not, 2011 is coming to a close. Before we get too wrapped up in all things holiday, I thought it would be fun to chat about design trends in 2011- the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I’ve got a little surprise, as I’ve lined up six of our favorite shelter bloggers to discuss the highlights of design in 2011.

Everybody give up a big welcome to Sherry from Young House Love, Mrs. Limestone from A Brooklyn Limestone, Cristin from Simplified Bee, Janell from Isabella and Max Rooms, Jennifer from Rambling Renovators, and our very own Kate from Centsational Girl.

blogger panel

I know, right? This is a superstar team of DIY and design bloggers! So without further introduction, let’s get started and dive into the world of design in 2011!

What was your favorite interior design trend in 2011?

Sherry: Hmm, it’s a tie between Ikat and chevron I think. I love everything from tone-on-tone chevron curtains to brightly painted furniture with those playful zig-zig patterns worked in there. And anything Ikat = love for me. I like to say that I’m happy to hang out behind the trends. Ha ha. I’m rarely ahead of that sort of stuff and I usually love it far longer than most trend forecasters do. But it works out because if I work something "trendy" into my house I’m not over it a season or two later – I tend to enjoy things for a nice long time. Like my Ikat curtains in the dining room. Here’s hoping I still love those babies in ten years. So far, so good.

Mrs. Limestone: I tend to think the best trends last way longer than 12 months, so while this isn’t particular to 2011, my favorite just might be using maps in decor.  Everything from turning a globe into a light to map patterns showing up in all kinds of small accessories to repurposing old pull down school maps as art – the world is hot!

framed map bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

Cristin: Wallpaper and wall coverings have been trending. I found that more and more of my clients were willing to take the plunge to commit to wallpaper in 2011. All different types of wall coverings are popular, but I am finding that coverings made of natural fibers such as sea grass, hemp, or arrowroot are leading the pack.

schumaker grasscloth

Natalie Clay Design

Janell: Even though the term is becoming overused, I love the trend of embracing eclectic design. I think it helps dispel the idea there is a right and wrong way to decorate and gives people the freedom to explore and embrace their own unique mix of favorite items, both new and old.

Jennifer: The use of paneling/molding/trim. It’s a great way to add architectural detail and is a classic look that will never go out of style.

Kate: My most favorite trend is the growing use of reclaimed wood, especially when the designer makes efforts to truly showcase the beauty of the wood itself.  Whether polished, whitewashed, stained, or rustic, exposed wood is back and it’s looking fabulous!

house and home rustic wood

House and Home

 

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Go Big or Go Home

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Courtney and I got to talking the other day about how much we love well designed spaces with large scale statement pieces.  While small collections successfully grouped together certainly have their appeal and do help to personalize a home, there is something to be said for the wow factor created by a statement piece that begs to be noticed and takes center stage. 

This month Courtney from Courtney Out Loud is back for his monthly insight, offering his best tips for delivering big impact in spaces which demand large scale décor. 

Let’s hear them Courtney! 

“The 1990s ushered in the concept of the expansive ‘great room’ – a large and often double height room that encapsulated the idea of living without walls. It combined the functionality of formal dining rooms living rooms, dens, and family rooms into one massive space.  The great room proved to be a key selling point for families looking for more open living, however, it has also proved to be a constant source of frustration as how to best decorate such a voluminous space.

When faced with rooms of monumental proportions, I look to the words of a former college classmate whose favorite catchphrase was "Go Big or Go Home." Of course he was referring to drinking when he uttered that phrase but nonetheless, the statement also holds true for home decorating. The key to decorating large spaces lies in utilizing proper scale.

Follow these simple rules and your larger space will end up feeling more like a cozy nook:

1. Define the Space From Below. A complaint I typically hear from my clients is that their great rooms are not functional. Upon hearing that, the first thing I tend to ask is if they have segmented the room by use. Sounds simple but so often home owners neglect to divide their great rooms into smaller areas.

By creating activity zones or communal areas for entertaining, reading, and conversation as well as more utilitarian areas such as an office or craft area, the room begins to feel less overwhelming.

l choose to work a space from the floor up, so a hardworking area rug is a worthwhile and essential investment for a large great room. In great rooms, I like to use multiple rugs to define zones, but I find many people are hesitant to use multiple rugs in one room because to them they appear choppy or island-like.

To counter that notion, I encourage them to consider large rugs (8 x 10 or larger) in different but coordinating designs to create seating areas and to avoid the appearance of a room looking like a fragmented hotel lobby.

Deborah Needleman great room ny mag

Deborah Needleman via NY Mag

If the idea of multiple rugs doesn’t sit well, then consider going having a custom rug created.  While extra-large rugs often run thousands of dollars, a inexpensive alternative is to find a carpet remnant and have it bound.  This way, you can create a custom one-of-a-kind pieces for far less than what a custom woven rug would cost.

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