Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Vintage Christmas Tree for a baby boomer

You will love this video on my tree and the history of some of the ornaments and decorations we all grew up with in the 50's and 60's. The smell of the pine is just an added bonus. Enjoy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Versatile Dining Centerpiece

How about some understated elegance for your holiday table that can be used year round? For Thanksgiving, I got some mirror squares, circles and ovals and placed them down the middle of my table. I purchased some fluted, short and tall clear glass votive holders and then the votives in white and put them on the mirrors. A little sticky tape on the underside held them in place in case the table got shook. I had some Thanksgiving type ribbon that I interwove with the votives. That's it! With the lights dimmed, the sparkle and the reflection from the candles was wonderful! I will get a lot of use out of those candles. Give it a try yourself- just remember safety first when it comes to using candles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Design a Color Palette

Hi again,
Here I am about to do another whole home and our first task is to pick the color palette for the home. Not that all rooms will be the same but the flow will be established. Green will be a large part of it and that is good because green is the easiest color to work with and so many other colors are good complements for it. Pictures coming when they are ready!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Rainy, Stay Indoors Kind of Day

It has been rainy,chilly and cloudy here in Richmond, Virginia for the last couple of days. I have lots of time to catch up on my work and do some interior decorating kind of thinking and planning for the upcoming Christmas season. Here is my checklist: 1. Keeping readers up to date on the latest vintage holiday tree plans on Facebook-check! 2. Offering discounts on our holiday decorating service for your Christmas tree, mantel and windows- check again! 3. Postcard and online reminders of the sale- check,check! 4.Have some colorful and cheery red and green plaids and stripe fabrics to make into winter slipcovers for furniture and pillows- another big check!
And in the meanwhile, I will continue to come up with great ideas for you. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decorator's Dream Fabric


I am so in love with Kasmir's Grand Soiree fabric. Many years ago we had a similar fabric for window treatments that was the same as this beautiful medium weight satin weave with a soft luster finish-similar to peau de soie. Then they discontinued it!! Now it is back and better than ever with a fresh color palette and wonderful drapability for soft folds. The words "peau de soie" translate into "skin of silk". The photo shows it in a color called "slipper" but you really need to see it and hold it in your hand to get it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make Some Pomanders!


Back in the "olden days" when taking baths and using deodorant was not always the norm, people had to do something to disguise the odors from themselves and others. One way was to make pomanders. Their sweet, citrus and spice scent usually did the trick and was easy enough for anyone to do! They were natural deodorizers and could be set on a table or if small enough, worn around the neck as a pendant. Today, we use them as a lovely centerpiece for our homes around holiday time. Here in Richmond Virginia, we like them due to the Colonial Williamsburg influence.They add to your interior design in an unusual way.
As you can see from the picture, they are usually oranges or lemons but crabapples and clementines have been used also. Get a skewer and pierce the skin with holes in a custom design or just overall lines. Fill the holes with whole cloves. Get decorative and tie twine or ribbons around the fruit and enjoy. A mix of cinnamon and other spices can be added to the fruit to preserve it for longer use. The fruit must sit in this mix for 5 weeks in the dark wrapped in tissue.
Also, try using 3 fruits and spell out the word "joy"-very unique.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stop the Confusion - Get A Free Decorating Plan


A common dilemma for many of my clients is to find a way to get started on their design projects. It all seems so overwhelming to them. Here I am to the rescue with a f*r*e*e* e-book on starting your decorating journey. It is written in a logical approach that puts decorating in perspective for everyone.
This is the same approach that I use with my clients and it is now available to you for f-r-e-e.
You need a priority list and a template to become organized on decorating your home. Visit the bookstore page on my website and request a copy for yourself.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

OCTOBER IS WINDOW CORD SAFETY MONTH

Every October, I climb upon my soapbox to write about this very important issue. As you are reading this, you can probably think of someone in your life that should become aware of window cord safety. Together we can all help protect our precious children.
Child safety begins at home. We do not often think of the windows in our home as potential danger spots. But the statistics are tragic and speak for themselves. Two hundred infants and children have died from window cord accidents since 1990. Parents are often the ones who unwittingly bring these dangers into their homes and even into their children’s bedrooms. In fact, we all have looked this dangerous killer right in the eye and not recognized it. For the third year in a row, I am working to raise awareness of the importance of window cord safety issues and bring to light the dangers and solutions available. Children and window cords don’t mix!
It only takes a few seconds for a youngster to strangle on window cords that are within their reach. Think how often cribs are placed by windows. It makes it all too easy for a baby to grasp the dangling window treatment cord and roll over wrapping it around their necks. Active toddlers and older children are climbers and can accidentally become tangled and caught in window cords. But know that there are things you can do right now to create a safer environment in your home.
The Window Covering Safety Council recommends only using cordless window blinds and shades in young children’s sleeping areas. These are popular, clean and streamlined window treatment designs that use batteries, wands or spring-loaded mechanisms to replace the cords. All pre-2001 window treatments in children’s rooms should be replaced immediately with today’s safer products. Doing this also gets rid of the lead dust danger prevalent in pre-2001 vinyl mini blinds.
Active youngsters like to explore their bedrooms and play areas. Move all cribs, beds and furniture in their rooms that can be used for climbing to windowless walls whenever possible.
Make sure all window treatments with cords in your home are out of children’s reach by keeping them short or having them permanently anchored to the wall with a cord cleat. Lock cords into position whenever they are lowered partially or all the way to the sill.
Today’s safer window treatment products meet child safety standards. There are free cord-retrofit kits and window safety information available to consumers from the Window Covering Safety Council to install on pre-2001 blinds and shades that are in your home. They may be obtained by contacting them at www.windowcoverings.org. and going to their “How to Retrofit” area.
It is a great idea to use caution and choose safety for our children every time. Learn what you should and do what you can. Let’s make “home sweet home” a safe haven for our younger generation.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Create a Fireplace Focal Point


I have just taken on a design project that includes creating a prominence for the fireplace to make it the center of the room. As the work progresses, I will be posting comments and photos for you to follow the transformation as it goes along.
I have always loved to see a fireplace show off its beauty and design in a room's overall decor. It does not have to be of the style or size like the one at Biltmore-you can drive your car right into that hearth! There are lots of small changes you can make to add to your fireplace. Photo here had framing, mirror and spotlight added to create its focus. Take a look.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Thinks This Stuff Up Anyway??

Every fall and spring I receive my assortment of new fabric books for draperies and upholstery. And with each new shipment, I sit and wonder where on earth they came up with the color choices they feature that always have crazy names. There is no genie sitting on a tasseled pillow dreaming up the future colors with fancy names for home design. The Pantone Color Institute is the global authority on colors and future trends in fashions. Their determinations are formulated as a result of much observation of nature and its beauty in the world as well as any influences that will impact our world in the future. Some of the factors that influence color direction include socioeconomic issues, technology, lifestyles and entertainment. The needs, moods, fantasies and aspirations of consumers are part of the emotional component of color.
So how about a heads up on some of the color trends they have identified? Three of their most popular color palettes are named Greenmarket, Gatherings and Galaxy. Let’s see if you can draw on these groupings to inspire you with color ideas for your home direct from the authority! You will be right on with colors. You can get more information from their website www.pantone.com.
Greenmarket color palette, as the name suggests, evolved from the inviting colors one would see at a roadside produce stand. Those products are an important part of our need to eat healthier and have a healthier lifestyle. They are the “produce colors” of Tomato Puree, Super Lemon, Apple Green, Chutney and Paprika. These Greenmarket colors are the hues that appeal to both the eyes and the taste buds. They are the beauty of nature and the need of consumers to live better.
The Gatherings palette is inspired by the continent of Africa with its vast open spaces and very unique regional artifacts and handicrafts. These are the colors of creative boldness and include Sand, Oasis, Lemon Curry and Copper Coin.
The Galaxy color collection is a reflection of the harmony of hues of the mysterious night sky. Earth colors in the backdrop of the night sky include Greener Pastures and Peridot. They sit contrasted against the violets, silvers and smoky blues of the sky. Turquoise and orchid enhance the sky while radiant golds capture the rays of the warmth and energy of the sun.
These three color palettes are a snapshot of life and the global atmosphere that we are all a part of in 2010. They are easy to identify with and create a strong level of comfort for us. Try them on for size and see for yourself!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

REALLY FREE AND ALMOST FREE DECOR TIPS


REALLY FREE AND ALMOST FREE DECORATING IDEAS

In these belt-tightening days, I want to do my part to help with economical decorating tips you will love.

5 No Cost Decorating Changes You Can Make Now:
Play with moving your furniture into different rooms in your home. Move your accessories around from room to room. You will be surprised at how well that works. Your furnishings will have a whole new life.
Get out one of your pretty dishes and put it in your guest powder room to hold fancy soaps and tissues. They will feel so special.
Wrap and knot a decorative scarf around a throw pillow for a decorative look on your sofa. Do not be afraid of pattern and color for the pillows, they are small dashes of accent color.
How about folding up your bedspread and putting it away for awhile? There are many fancy trimmed top sheets that you can use in its place. It will be a breath of fresh air for your bedroom.
Stack a couple of large hardcover books under your table lamps. It is very chic and increases the light and brightness in your rooms.

5 Low Cost Decorating Changes:
Buy a can of paint. It is more of a labor cost than a monetary one. Choose to do one wall or whole room, either way it makes an impact. Maybe you can start with your powder room.
Purchase new bathroom fixtures – towel bar, robe hook, toilet tissue holder, etc. They are available at local home improvement centers and in most cases are easily installed. I love the variety of finishes and styles!
A can of spray paint is an inexpensive way update your picture frames. There are metallic and stone finishes available to help you create high fashion d├ęcor. This works on mirror frames too.
Buy new lampshades for your existing lamps. Experiment with new shapes, colors and trimmings for a fresher look. Don’t forget your chandelier shades also. Banding and tassels add decorative touches and make your lampshades very unique.
Colorful decorative throw rugs can make nice room decorating changes. Use some different weaves and brighter tones. Put them in the kitchen, bathroom and under the coffee table.
There you have it. It is possible to do some decorating on the cheap with good results. I hope it has given you some inspiration for your home. Get to it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Window Treatment In the Spotlight


This week one of my window treatments was selected to be in the Ava Living Designer Spotlight. I would love for you to check it out on Ava website and I invite you to browse the site.
This photo is an example of one of the ways I can create a design for your unusual window shapes!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't You Love Window Seats?


Grab your book and curl up for reading. I love this kitchen window seat. The custom made cushions ensure your comfort and the bright colors warm the space.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thoughts on Recycling and Carpooling

Who among us is not concerned with saving the earth and our way of life? Interior decorating can help in 2 ways!
1. Recycle your gently used furnishing and decor items. Consignment and thrift shops are flourishing today. Your discards will be new to someone else. They will find a new home that is not in the local landfill. That is a win-win.
2. We have joined with Nu-Ride, a company that offers rewards for carpooling, biking, taking a bus etc. We have a nice meaty discount on their site that can be earned through the miles you rack up not taking your personal car to work! How nice is that? Be sure to check them out!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Easy Decorating Idea

I love ideas that we can all use for unique design. From the Better Homes and Gardens July 2010 issue , an inexpensive rectangular tablecloth 60" x 90" was remade into a tailored skirt for an average size round end table.
Cut the short ends of the rectangle to your round table height plus about 1 inch for a seam. Add even more extra if you want the skirt to puddle on the floor.
From the center of the cloth, cut your circle 1" larger than the table top diameter.
Pin the skirt sides to the top and sew up. Any extra width can be box pleated or cut to fit at the top. See the magazine for complete details and give it a try. Great idea!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 4th Decorating



The neighborhood door decorating contest for the 4th was a lot of fun! We won for most red, white and blue. I made red and white tieback curtains. I also carried it on to the front lamppost with a version of Uncle Sam. His lovely beard and hair are from a dollar store mop! Can't wait till next year! Enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Few Ideas for the Master Bedroom


This bedroom I designed for my busy professional clients has some good tips everyone can use to create a retreat from the hectic lifestyles we all have.
Notice the wall color. That is the biggest use of color in any room. Shades of turquoise were used that are very tranquil and peaceful. That is how we started. The fabric is an understated stripe-nothing busy or too active-great for a bedroom where you want to relax. There was no bedskirt used to keep the look very clean and straight lined. But we did go all out with lots of soft decorative pillows. That is in keeping with the simple luxury of the bedroom. The lamps allow for nighttime reading in bed that is easy on the eyes because they are at a good height.
The result is a retreat from the world! What can you apply to your master bedroom?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's Talk Floors

What to use especially in a kitchen? We all want the best of both worlds - a really nice look with lots of durability to handle all the household traffic, even the family dog. I will help you know what you need to look for when you are floor shopping for all your rooms
Linoleum or vinyl floors are by far the most popular. They wash up nicely and leave no traces of most common household spills. There are many colors available and some styles even mimic the look of tile and marble. So far so good! Here is what you need to know if you are considering vinyl. The different grades of vinyl will have different depths of the pattern. Inexpensive grades will show the black backing where there is wear or where a gouge has occurred. Higher grades of vinyl have more depth of the pattern so as wear and tear occurs; there are more layers of the pattern underneath before the backing layer starts to show. Good subflooring is a necessity to avoid cracks and bumps. This type of flooring is expensive to install properly but will ensure you many years of use.
Hardwoods and laminates are becoming very popular for kitchens as well as the rest of the home. The look of wood can warm a kitchen and goes with all styles. Hardwoods have all the wonderful variations and grains nature provides. They must be properly sealed by a professional for use in the kitchen and have their own variety of cleaning and care products. This is a value added product for your home. Laminates are a faux wood with a huge variety of widths and stains available. They install right over an existing floor. The one thing you must be careful of is dropping blunt and sharp objects on the laminate. It will leave a gouge. Clean up is a breeze and the look is really nice!
Let’s talk about maintenance for your flooring choice. Remember that grit from outdoors sticks to the soles of shoes and can be very abrasive to a floor. Use lots of washable, rubber-backed rugs at all entrances to your home to catch most of that grit. High traffic areas in the home benefit from rugs also. Everyone go and check now to see if you are using leftovers from wall to wall carpeting as little rugs. If you find it, get rid of it as soon as possible! The hard woven backing of carpet is abrasive to all floor types, even carpeted ones.

Let's Talk a

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Highlight an Area in your home


This was a great little wall that looked into the family room and was just begging for a special treatment. The artwork had wonderful clay tiles on the roofs and in the accents. So we painted the wall in a bright clay called Warm Terra Cotta from Behr. The look is knock-out. Look around your home for that special area- such as the wall around a bay window- that would look good with an accent paint.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Every Man Needs His Space

So often when designing our interior spaces, the choices in styles, colors, fabrics, and furnishings are geared towards the woman of the home. With Father’s Day coming up, this is the perfect time to discuss designing spaces that appeal to men.
Men often feel pampered and comfortable in spaces that are linked in some way to their interests or hobbies. Some people call this using a “theme”. Working with a theme offers a great starting place. Choose the theme elements carefully and deliberately so as not to go overboard with the interpretation of the theme in his space. Use the “feeling “and “sense” of the theme without being too obvious. Do not repeat the theme everywhere. Just add subtle cues. Here’s how:
Let’s say for example that your husband (or dad) loves to refurbish old cars. One way to work with this hobby design would be to place within the space a major piece related to old cars. This could be an attractive and well-made model car on a stand, or a beautifully framed picture of a classic car.
You would then take design cues for the color and texture of the rest of the room from this major accent piece. If for example, the framed art had beige, blue, and red as the main colors, use those colors elsewhere in the room. You could paint the walls in the space a deeper version of the beige. Add a sofa upholstered in a neutral brown or beige. Leather works so beautifully in masculine spaces. You could also place a dark blue or red accent chair in the space, again picking up the colors from the picture. The key to great seating in a man’s space is comfort over beauty (although you CAN and should have both).Next, use various hues of the beiges, blues and reds from the picture as throw pillows for the sofa. This adds pattern, texture, and warmth to a room cooled by leather.
Finally, add one or two accessory pieces based on the hobby or object of interest without going overboard. He will both be very happy in his new spaces.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What i've Noticed Lately

I once took a personality test that asked the question:"When you go in to a room do you notice the furnishings and decor?". I do not know why that was there but, it is so very true of me. Lately, I have been seeing some absolutely wonderful wall coverings. They appeared to be made out of a stone veneer. Some of them had a coppery finish to them. Like nothing I had ever seen before-just beautiful. Look around restaurants and hotels and see what you can find for yourself!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How About a Free Designer Room Review?

http://www.avaliving.com/myava.php
The above link is your connection to a free room review. When you get to the page on the link, just scroll down and click on Designer Room Review. I will look over your room from a picture and evaluate its positive and need improvement aspects. It will be your personal interior decorator room review. All at no cost to you. All you need to do is upload a picture for me! Give it a try, you will love it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Paint Makes it Pop



Decorative architecture and wall art can be highlighted with paint accents in a room. In the photos, the main color of the room is a mossy green with terra cotta as an accent color. The narrow wall features a wonderful oil painting with terra cotta roofs on the homes. Painting that wall in the terra cotta makes it turn into a focal point of the room. The colors are a perfect blend for that wall. You can't help but stare at it!
The colors are Behr paints: "Warm Terra Cotta" and "River Bank" in an eggshell finish.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Create your own Rug


You can design your own area rugs for a very reasonable price. Flor rug tiles fit together with sticky dots that can be repositioned for unlimited styles. Complement your decor with ease. Individual carpet tiles lift out of the rug and can be washed or replaced as needed. What is better than that? I love the versatility of these rug tiles. Be your own rug designer. Here is just one example for you. Give me your needs and I can create a rug for your home!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Color Scheme Accents


You all know I am very big on sharing interior decorating ideas that everyone can use in their homes. Those are the best kind of of tips.One of my favorite tips is painting the backwalls of cabinets and shelves a bright pop of color that accents your color scheme. Here is my corner cabinet. The backwall has been painted a deep red. Before it was a dark stain and looked like I had a "black hole" in my family room. Now it has some bright attention getting color and my blue and white pieces really pop against it. Deep colors require a coat of primer before applying your color of choice. My cabinet took three coats of paint. I only needed a quart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Favorite Color Scheme


I have always loved the blue and white china with a deep red color. It is traditional with a fresh brightness to the combination that is very appealing.The attached photo is of the wall in my kitchen. It is painted red on the bottom half and there are pieces of wall art and china in the red, and blue/white on the top half. My husband made the wall mounted shelves above for displaying accessories. I will soon have a photo of my corner cabinet. I have repainted the back wall of the cabinet in the deep red. The pieces I use in the cabinet are all styles of blue/white. See it in next week's post.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Less is More--Really!!

Today I worked with a client on her family room design. She had two wood hutches with beautiful plates and dishes. There was way too many dishes on display at once and it was hard to see some of the really unique pieces on there. We started removing some of the excess pieces and put white placemats under other pieces to highlight them. I found she had a beautiful blue and white tea set there that was lost in the clutter. Now it is the central highlight of the hutch. Lesson here- having "less" pieces on the hutch made the others that were left "more" noticeable.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Home Decorating goes Green

We have a strong commitment to the environment. It is a work in progress. One of our newest fabric collections “Footprints” contains certified organic cottons that were fabricated leaving a minimal effect on the environment. It is a great assortment and very environmentally conscious.
Give a 2nd life to your home decor items. Spray paint a light fixture with some of the new modern finishes instead of throwing it out. Accent tables that have seen better days can be repainted in a new color. How about some new knobs? Add some decorative trim wood to have a fancy new look. Be adventuresome and not afraid. You were going to get rid of it anyway, so try some different ways to update it.It is a whole new life for your furniture.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Fabrics and the Resurgence of Draperies



I have started to receive my semi-annual group of new fabrics. Faux silks have just exploded with beautiful lusterous solids and embroderies. Sheers have beaded swirls. I always embrace the new selections to show my clients and offer them the latest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More on Painting your Walls

There is one great group of interior wall paints that you have just got to check out! Ralph Lauren has a line of paints that create either a metallic, a shimmer, a suede or a rock texture finish to them. They are so nice and the only thing you have to do different is to apply them with a different paint roller. Nothing complicated about the applications but the look is so unique and comes in a variety of colors.The company of Ralph Lauren has a sign-up for designers to get paint chips and other samples. I would really like to have them to show.You have to see them to believe them. All paints are latex.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beautiful Space Saving for Baths


Ever since we traveled to Europe a few years ago to see my son, I have had my sights set on what is called a "bath screen". In my bath, there is a sheetrock and tile wall for the shower. It is so obstructive. I want the wall taken out and the bath screen put in. Being glass it does the same job as a solid wall but it does not appear to take up any room. It appears very spacious! Photo here shows the idea of it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's Up Now

The new year has gotten started and with it many people make resolutions,goals and the plan to work them.Same here! I want to share my goals with all of you. They will be of great benefit to all of us.
You will see lots more of me in blogs and emails. I've gotten a decorator designed new website.It is chock full of information and very easy to navigate. I want to make all my information easy for you to find and benefit from. Bottom line- I will be serving you better in 2010. I already am liking this-hope you will too!
A little bit of the home decor forecast for 2010 for you! The economy has cast a gray pall over all aspects of our lives. We long for the bright, warm tropical escapes to help us getaway from it all. Turquoise is the color that represents that. It is peaceful like cool blue waters and healing like the green of nature. Wear it and show it in your personal life. Let it be a bright spot for you this year!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Window Treatments 101



It is a good time to review 2 of the basics of window treatments for you.
1. Fullness= This is having more fabric on the window either in pleats or gathers and not just flat fabric on a rod. Fullness is a good thing! It keeps whatever you are putting at your window from looking skimpy. Custom sheers are made at 3 to 1 fullness. That means if you have a 50" wide window the workroom will use 150" worth of fabric for that width. Custom draperies are usually done at 2 1/2 to 1 fullness. So if you use ready-made treatments, be ready to add extra pieces to get enough fullness on your window. Some ready-made treatments are 1 1/2 to 1 fullness- very skimpy.
2. The Look= This one is easy and often overlooked. No one would take a man's shirt out of the wrapper and put it on. It has folds and wrinkles! The same with your window treatments. Before you hang them, make sure they are pressed and looking good. My installer steams and dresses down every fabric treatment we put up. Now you know that you have to do the same!

Look at the wonderful fullness put in the 2 drapery styles shown here. That is how they all should look!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Thought About Draperies

I saw some drapery panels with attached valances that had an initial monogrammed on the valance. It was so uniquely beautiful. I would love to try that! Just another idea for drapery treatments I am passing along to everyone.

To Do Draperies or Not??




I am getting this question from my clients more frequently. It would seem that the era of minimalist treatments at the window is slowly changing. The styles and designs from my workroom reflect that emerging trend. I love them! There are many styles available that are not your mother's pinch pleated antique satin draperies. The look has been modernized for today's homes. More at the window also translates to better coverage and energy savings. Lots of air exchange takes place at even the best of windows. Draperies help stop that and look beautiful also.I think this is a win-win for everyone! So next time you are contemplating a change of window treatments, consider 21st century style draperies.