Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Try a Little Sunshine

I would never say my favorite color is yellow, but for some reason I am ready to welcome in the spring and yellow seems to be the best way to do it.

I would never wear yellow clothes or paint my nails yellow... or drive a yellow car, but a big glass vase filled with yellow daffodils screams Spring to me.  You just can't be sad when you walk into a room and see a bunch of bright yellow flowers.  It instantly cheers you up.

Some other ways to use yellow:

1. Try lemony yellow towels in your guest bathroom.

2. Fill a bowl with lemons to brighten up your kitchen counter.

3. Depending on your decor, add some yellow pillows to your sofa or bedroom.

Go ahead... give yellow a try.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thoughts on Hotel Design

Just got back from Las Vegas last night and I thought I'd share my thoughts on some hotel design observations I made.

We stayed at the MGM Grand, my first time actually seeing their rooms.  We stayed in the West Wing, which is supposed to be a little bit more upscale and modern.  If by upscale and modern they mean small and inefficient, I'd say they've done their job.  The hallways of the West Wing are narrow and the ceilings so low there is no way anybody taller than my 6' husband can comfortably walk upright.  Once you get the room door open, you are walking right into the bathroom.  Yes, kind of strange.  There is no door to the bathroom (the door to the toilet is supposed to magnetically close but we had a little trouble with the door actually doing that).  There is no insulation (you hear it all) and if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night to use the facilities (I've had 3 kids so making it through the night is not an option for me) then you are either feeling your way in the dark or turning on the bright overhead light and waking your sleeping husband.

The bed at first glance is soft and comfortable.  That is, until you sleep in it and discover there is no back or head support whatsoever.   The decor is okay... not anything special.  For some reason the window treatments don't completely cover the side of the windows so if you are expecting to sleep in... don't!

All in all... I would give the MGM another try... just not going back to the West Wing anytime soon.

I've seen hotels built from the ground floor up... and I've been the one buying all those interior furnishings and I can tell you for a fact... having more expensive furniture doesn't mean you are getting a "better" room.  When it comes to hotels... stick with the clean and comfortable.  You'll be happy you didn't spend the extra money.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Return to Classic

I just got my copy of the Williams Sonoma Home Catalog in the mail.  Yes, if you didn't already know, Williams Sonoma has a home collection.  And let me say I am impressed.

The new furnishings in the catalog are really beautiful, returning to a more traditional/classic style of design.  Gone are the oversized sofas, bright colored fabrics and rustic looking wood.  Welcome back the sleek forms, neutral colors and timeless pieces that will work in any home.  What I love best about these classic styles is that they can mix and mingle so well with your current furnishings.  For a truly eclectic look, try pairing a classic straight back sofa with chic needlepoint pillows.  Or how about adding some upholstered dining chairs with your rustic dining table. 

Try something new and give your home that warm, lived-in look.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rainy Saturdays

I woke up to rain this morning... lots of it.  It should continue on throughout the day and since I don't have much else to do but stay home and listen to the contant pounding on the rooftop, I thought it might be a good day to reorganize the kids' rooms.  We are on the move again.  With only two bedrooms for 3 girls, we do a lot of moving around.  The two older girls have been sharing a room for about a year now but the oldest is getting to the point where she is demanding her own room.  Rightfully so, since at 10 having a room to one's own is pretty significant.

That leaves the two younger ones to share.  That might be more of a problem.  My two youngest don't get a long.  At all.  So the trick is to figure out how to "share" without causing actual physical harm to each other.  My biggest trick?  No matchy... matchy for them.  Each one will get to choose their own colors and styles.  It will be up to my amazing decorating sensibilities to integrate the two.

Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kids & Decorating

Should you let your kids decorate their own rooms?  YES

Think back to when you were a kid and what your room meant to you.  It was everything.  In a world where what you eat, wear and drive in is controlled primarily by your parents, your room is the one thing that you can call your own.  Now while you most likely won't be up for painting the room all black... or red... or any other color you find offensive, there is always a way to compromise so that your child will feel they got the room they wanted.

For example:  My daughter wants a Twilight themed room.  Okay... I'm not going to paint it black or have vampire blood oozing down the walls, but we did manage to compromise on painting the room a grayish-purple and framing her Twilight/New Moon movie posters to hang on the walls.  The rest of the room will be decorated with mirrored, silver and iron accessories to complete the look.  It's something we both can live with.

Give it a try.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Discount Furniture

Just found out that we have a new furniture and accessory consignment shop in my hometown.  I love finding great new sources for furnishings.  I know that some people have an aversion to "used" furniture, but if you shop carefully, places like consignment shops, antique stores, and even the Good Will can provide some real special bargains.

What to know before you go:

1.  Always ask what the return policy is.  Many stores that sell used items don't take returns, but you'd be surprised that some actually will take back merchandise if you find it is damaged once you get home.

2. Take measurements before purchasing.  Make sure that beautiful dining room table actually fits in your dining room.

3. Inspect everything throughly.  Don't be afraid to open every drawer, tip over every chair and take off every sofa cushion.  You don't want any surprises.

4.  Keep an open mind.  You might find a beautiful dresser that is just your style but the knobs are a little funky.  Drawer knobs are easily replaceable... don't pass up a bargain for ugly hardware.

5.  When purchasing a used chair or sofa (anything that's been upholstered), double check each pillow and take off fabric covers is possible.  You want to check to make sure there are no holes, mold, bugs, etc. in any part of the piece.  Anything can be reupholstered, but make sure the frame and base cushions are clean and in good condition.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Color Purple

Several years ago I had a client who was redecorating her entire house.  She hired me to help her with her living room, dining room and kitchen.  Her one story house was very much a ranch style house, complete with wagon wheel coffee table and vibrant indian rugs.  We chose new colors for all the walls and some new leather sofas.  The house was warm and cozy and comfortable.  There was only one issue the owner was having a little trouble with.  Purple!

Her favorite color was purple and she really wanted to add the color into her home in some way.  I suggested she go for the laundry area.  Her laundry "room" was located behind her kitchen and was not visable by any other room in the house.  The laundry room had a door that led out to the garage and unless you entered that way, nobody would ever know this tiny room was full of color.  Every time she did laundry (not one of her favorite tasks) she would be surrounded by her favorite color.  She loved the idea.

This old memory came to mind when my daughter chose purple for her bedroom wall color.  Purple wouldn't be most people's choice but there are so many variations of the color that there is bound to be a suitable hue that would please both me and my daughter.  I chose a darker than lavender version with a lot of gray in it so the color "purple" wouldn't scream out at you when you entered her room.  It's something we are both happy with.

When choosing colors, there is always a way to add your favorite.  Even if it's only in a small way.