Adding Pattern Personality to Your Home

October 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

polkadotrugWhat is your pattern passion? Mine is polka dots. I can’t seem to get enough–dresses, bags, note cards, rugs, whatever I see in polka dots, large and small. But when is it enough?

I’ve seen complete rooms done in small-flowered Waverly prints: bedding, curtains, and even wallpaper going up over the ceiling. If you love the idea of waking up in (and I mean IN) a field of wildflowers, then that’s just great. But what happens when you get tired of the pattern and it’s literally everywhere in your room? You’re stuck.

Healthy alternative to bingeing on your pattern passion? Small portions. Instead of wallpapering the entire room in your favorite plaid, just do one accent wall or a reading nook, like we see in this HGTV design idea. That way you are less likely to tire of the pattern and want to rip it down. plaidwallpaper

If animal prints are your print of choice, consider limiting it to the upholstery on a fun favorite chair or a pillow (Pottery Barn). There is no reason to feel limited by any fashion trends if you have a passion for a particular print. But using it in limited applications will allow you to switch it out when the next pattern passion comes along. animalprint

It’s Time for Faux to Gaux

June 22, 2015 § 2 Comments

spongeDrop the sponges, folks. Honestly, without trying to offend anyone or stomp on creativity, I have never seen such awful faux finishes in my life! It’s high time we roll over those ugly paint jobs and simplify our visual lives a bit. And if you plan to sell your house anytime soon, please listen up.

Faux is out. It was hard to perfect from the beginning but as of now, it has been totally overdone. From walls to kitchen cabinets to dressers and dining room ceilings, enough!

What’s in? Paint. Just plain paint. And in some applications, wallpaper. But not too much! No need to match the curtains to the wallpaper to the bed linens. As one who tends to find a badfauxgood thing and overdo it, I can certainly sympathize. But the next time you have the urge to spend hours dabbing wet sponges on the wall or cabinet door, take a deep breath and stop.

Marital (Decorating) Mismatches

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

stuffAre you and your significant other on the same page when it comes to the “stuff” of life around the house? The newspapers, magazines, mail, books, TV clickers, recycling cords and the like? Are you one to snatch the Sports Page right out of his or her hands as you make your daily pilgrimage to the recycling bin? Or are you content to let paper pile up on the coffee table until you get around to reading it? If you both treat life’s eternal clutter the same way… then congratulations. At least you don’t fight about it. But what if you are mismatched? Here are some ideas:

1. Make a deal to keep the main public space (maybe the living room) clear and ready for guests who pop in. At the end of each day, spend 5 minutes picking stuff up and putting it away. If you can only manage one room of the house, then that’s okay.

2. Contain clutter with baskets and bins. Little stuff on counters and tables may drive you crazy, but your partner needs to know where to find that restaurant receipt from last weekend. Make an agreement that things left on the kitchen counter can be found in a certain basket or bin by the recharging station.

3. Which brings me to the Recharging Station. Have one. That way you can find your phone when you are ready to leave for the day and more importantly, you can contain cords and loose devices to one particular spot instead of draping them out of every outlet. Rescue the TV clickers from under the cushions and keep them in a dedicated clicker basket.

4. And speaking of baskets and bins (see #2 above), invest in them. Closets, garages, spare bedrooms, offices, and every other clutter-prone area will benefit visually from containing the loose items in baskets rather than letting loose items and papers pile up. Both partners win. One gets to keep the stuff. The other sees some semblance of organization and unity.

5. If you are the neat one of the pair, give your partner space to mess up. For people who need everything out in full view instead of behind cupboard doors, your neatnik nagging is undoubtedly really annoying. Not everybody can be as organized as you. Give your spouse a space that he or she can call home and not be under constant pressure to pick stuff up.

6. If you are the messy one, appreciate how clutter can affect your partner’s mood and even creativity. Make an occasional attempt to go through piles and purge — even if you just move piles from one area to another. Any free space will encourage marital bliss.

7. Most importantly, take a chill pill. Fighting over “stuff” is pretty silly in the grand scheme of things.

Hope this helps.

Ready to Immerse Your Home in Color?

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

redsAs with haute couture in the fashion world, we often look to hotels and other public spaces for trends in home color and design. Look no further than The William, a boutique hotel in New York, where each room immerses its guests in a paint bucket of saturated color punctuated by droplets of white for chroma relief. I am not sure if you can order up a particular color to match your luggage, but nevertheless, your experience there will be unforgettable.

Are we ready to move this color trend into the home? Some already have, but many of us will take a little while to move back into the rich dark hues of a decade ago. I’m just getting used to the freshness and brightness of white walls. But who knows.

BluesIf you are contemplating a project that involves intense color, start with a small space like a guest bath or a guest room where the color will make a huge impact and the cost of painting over it will be minimal. Make sure you have adequate lighting so the color will show “true” and you will not end up in a cave. And remember to punctuate your color with white or cream to make the color “pop” and add bits of black not only to avoid the I-got-lost-in-a-box-of-crayons look but also to add an air of sophistication to the project.

Full color on!

(photos from Dwell magazine)

Color Combos that Excite the Palette

November 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

Like pairing a fine wine to its epicurean delicacy, some color combinations can stimulate an emotional response. Some of my leg-tingling favorites include:

The rich, regal Plum Royale 2070-20 with an icy accent of Colony Green 694 (colors from Ben Moore).



The dark luscious Dinner Party red (AF-300) with a splash of Yellowstone (202)


redyellowcombo(from House Beautiful)

And the soft, sultry gray hue (Elephant Gray 2109-50) with a pop of orange (Soft Glow 014).



It’s almost a curse to adore color as much as I do. But they love me at the paint store!

House Colors with Personality

November 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Nothing shy about this pretty pink house. And instead of tempering it with neutral (black or gray for the shutters and door), the homeowners went Victorian bold with a rich blue like Ben Moore’s Blue Macaw 784.



When you have an old house, it’s fun to use old historic color schemes that make a statement. This one certainly does with its two-toned mustard/olive combo clarified with white trim and a traditional brick red door (Ben Moore Cottage Red).



I always love a tastefully done red-white-and-blue scheme, shown here with a blue garage attached to the red house. White (Ben Moore’s Brilliant White) as both trim and accent color pulls the look together.



This dark brown house is a classic New England Cape. Its simplicity is what captures the eye. No accent color needed on this traditional solid wood door with black hinges.


Make a statement in your neighborhood. Tastefully, of course.

Accent Color Ideas for Stone and Brick Houses

November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment


Choosing door or other accent colors for stone and brick homes is easier than you think. If the stone is uniform like this gray, then almost any accent color will work. This homeowner chose tomato red, something like Ben Moore’s Red 2000-10.


With multi-colored stonework, I like to pick a color out of the palette. In this case, the homeowners chose a gray for the siding and a warm golden color for the natural-wood-stained front door. The orange tone in the wood stain, something like Minwax’s Cherrywood, brings out the depth of color in the stonework and makes the front door warm and welcoming.


For uniformly colored red brick, you can accent with a contrasting color. And the opposite of red, of course, is green. Using a gray-green in a lighter value will prevent the house from looking like Santa’s workshop. Check out Ben Moore’s Louisburg Green HC-113.



Blonde brick is a challenging palette but consider what hues are in the brick and tease them out. Taupe is a safe bet for the siding and a warm accent like Mayflower Red (Ben Moore HC-49) will warm up the front door.



Let the stone and brick of your house speak to you. Sticking to the color palette that’s already there will make your house coordinated and happy.


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