Before and After

Who doesn’t love a good before and after? Whether it’s a new hair style or new room styling, a fresh approach is always welcome. In my opinion the easiest way to update Interiors comes down to these three basics:

Fresh Paint – especially for wood trims
Replacing carpet with hardwood
Updated lighting

These photos beautifully illustrate these ideas:

Fresh paint – replacing the “builders white” with a soft grey creates good contrast for this space.  Note the wood banister has been painted to give a more uniformed look.

Hardwood flooring visually expands this interior,  but appropriate sized area rugs can be added to anchor a space also.

A modern lighting fixture updates and completes the look.

A few more examples:

Easy as one, two, three! Paint, flooring, light fixtures.

Color of the Month – Creekside Green

I can honestly say I have never met a color I didn’t like.  However, there are some I adore. Creekside Green (Benjamin Moore) is just how it sounds. It reminds me of a lovely spring walk by a creek. In my opinion it is the color of spring!

I chose this color for my kitchen over 8 years ago and I still love it. Like my favorite friends, “it plays well with others”. It is so versatile it is almost a neutral:

It is appropriate for any room:

bedroom.

A dining room.

A bathroom.

It is a great way to create contrast when paired with cream or white.

Also, it is great for exterior applications as well! If May were a color it would be Creekside Green. What could be nicer than a walk along a creek on a beautiful spring day?

Weddings

Today is the big day for the royal wedding. It will be starting a little early for me, but wishing those kids all the best!  I look forward to seeing the photos, etc.

Let me go on the record as saying I love weddings. The celebration of the blending of lives and families is so sweet. Weddings are the true exclamation point to a commitment and clearly marks a new beginning.

Aside from this lovely sentiment, what I love the most about weddings are the flowers.  How I adore them!  Traditionally, hundreds of years ago, they were used to perfume the air and cover up any unpleasant smells from guests.  Yes, not so long ago Saturday was bath day, so naturally a good day for a wedding celebration. But I digress.

Wedding flowers set the mood for the celebration, identity key participants (naturally!) and emphasize the color scheme.

As someone who lives in a 150 year old home, I like a vintage feel:

Landon Jacob

What does this have to do with an interior design blog?  The same way flowers emphasize the color scheme of a wedding, flowers can emphasize the color scheme of your home.

Continue reading Weddings

Chillin Time

It’s that magical time of year when we need to get our hands into the good earth and plant wonderful flowers and vegetables. My garden was fairly well established until the happiest woodchuck I have ever seen racked havoc on my beautiful garden.  As a result a lot of TLC is needed to bring it back.  But also a good opportunity to incorporate some changes.  By change I mean less flowers and a large hammock.  I am thinking less work and more relaxing!

I don’t have the luxury of two big trees, but a hammock stand will suffice:

 

I have narrowed it down to these choices (all available at Hayneedle.com):

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What is it about a hammock, is it the simplicity of the design?  The way it cradles and rocks us?  Is it the way it clearly states it’s chill time?

But here is the real question, a single or a double?

Happy Relaxing!

 

 

Signature Scents

My favorite place to stay in NYC is The Edition.  I have  blogged (see Opposites Attract) about this hotel! It has everything I enjoy! The only drawback however is I feel no desire to leave and venture out into the city!

Of all the many amenities of this beautiful hotel, the way it smells is my favorite!  I inquired about how this wonderful scent was achieved and was told it was a signature scent, Black Tea, created just for the hotel.  Of course this scent is available for purchase in the form of candles etc.  How lovely!Our sense of smell is our most primal and is a way to influence moods and behaviors.  There are many easy and inexpensive ways to add a signature sent to your home.

Flowers and greenery are a natural way to perfume the air.  My favorites: lilies and eucalypus; I especially like the way these earthy scents mix with citrus and lavendar:

Cut lemons at a slow simmer on the stove is a great way to infuse the air; add your favorite herb to make it unique:

Cleaning solutions of vinegar and essential oils; lemon or lavender are my favorites:

And any products by Mrs. Meyers; all a delight:

Candles; well you can never can have too many:

Stay consistent with your choices (lilies, lavender, lemon, etc.) and your home can have its own signature sent!

A Sense of Place

I have been doing a good deal of work related travel lately and enjoying it! The travel has involved meeting some interesting people from all parts of the US. A lot of our conversations center around regional architecture in our home towns.

These conversations started me thinking how important the idea of a “sense of place is”. I live in a beautiful town on the Hudson River with gorgeous 19th century architecture. To place a Gap or a McDonalds here would be a crime! Archictural landmarks make a city unique and gives each city a sense of identity.

My colleagues span the country, from New York to California. As you may know I have a rich fantasy life (see previous blog post). So when someone says the are from Long Island and have a 1920s style home, my mind goes to – yes the Great Gatsby:

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Gatsby – Perfect set design, the location speaks to “a sense of place”. It is important to embrace where you live and celebrate the regional history and landscape. Enjoy the ways your city and your lifestyle are unique and incorporate these ideas in your home design. A few good ways to accomplish this:

Framed photos depicting area landmarks:

Also framed area maps:

Books about area History:

The idea is to give a glimpse of what makes your city or town unique.

I hope you love your city as much as I do mine. How great it is to appreciate all the uniqueness of where we all live across our beautiful country!

When Life Gives You Lemons….

Spring here in the Northeast has been a bit of a lemon this year; as in it really hasn’t happened yet. In April we still are dealing with snow and cold temperatures. How to cope? I recommend indulging in all things citrus. Eating-drinking citrus, wearing citrus colors, and of course decorating with these colors. Maybe it’s because nothing really tastes better on a warm day than a cold glass of Lemonade!

Consider these ideas to put yourself in a warm state of mind:

Fresh Orange and Lime drink combinations.

Cook with citrus in new ways. Scallops and orange; yum!

Hard to feel cold wearing these bright hues!

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Lastly, incorporate a little citrus color in your home design, the next best thing to a little sunshine. Hope these ideas help you get through this very cold spring!

Does This Sofa Make Me Look Fat?

Ok, just one more blog post from the archives:

Recently I was shopping with a friend at the Boston Design Center. She sat on a very petit sofa and being her funny self asked, “Does this sofa make me look fat?” We had a good laugh, but It really got me thinking about what is most important when sofa shopping. Here are my top three:

#1. Scale – Small room, small scale furniture, large room large scale furniture. Also the ceiling height should be considered. You can have larger scale pieces in a smaller room if your ceiling is high. Also, if you are placing your sofa in front of a window, the window sill height is important, because you must also consider the view from the outside in.

 

#2. Quality – Please do not buy a sofa that does not have springs. This is the foundation of the sofa, without springs you just have foam, and foam will compress and lose it’s supportiveness in a very short time frame.

#3. Versalitality – Although it’s always tempting to make a statement with a great pattern or a wild color, neutrals are your best options for sofas. You can always punch things up with pillows and accent pieces that can be easily changed.

Follow these guidelines and your sofa will always make you and your rooms look great!

Black Is My Happy Color

It has been a crazy busy summer here at 1865 City House! Why does summer fly and winter drag? In an effort to “catch up” I will be reposting a few of my favorite blog posts the next few weeks, just in case you missed any.  Enjoy!

I saw a girl wearing a tee shirt the other day that read “Black is My Happy Color” and I laughed because black is my “go to” favorite color. I remember my first black velvet dress at around age ten, I thought is was the most elegant thing I had ever owned. Maybe my love of black started then.

Today I strongly believe no interior is complete without a touch of black. It is a timeless color. Black always adds emphasis just like a black picture frame highlights the white mat and photo. Oddly it can make small rooms seem bigger, as the lines tend to disappear. Black will always add depth and can anchor a space like no other color.

There are many ways to incorporate black to your interiors. Consider adding accents and textiles in black when looking for a bit of drama or elegance.

Yes, I know, one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular colors is “Simply White”. However, pair it with black and you have a winning combination.

Opposites Attract

I was lucky enough to stay at my favorite hotel recently, The Edition in NYC.  Oh, how I love this place! While staying there I am always inspired by the interior design.  So much so, that in the moment, I am mentally redesigning every inch of 1865 City House.

What makes it so appealing?  It’s the repeated use of contrast.  Or in other words “opposites”.  Light colors with dark colors.  This is the best tool in a designers tool box!

Contrast works in paintings:

Renoir – At the Opera

Contrast works with food presentation:

Art of Food

Contrast most definitely works at The Edition:

Marriott International New York EDITION

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At The Edition light oak floors paired with dark wood entryways and beautiful dark oversized beds create contrast at its best.  The high contrast concept is implemented with variations on the same theme all throughout the hotel. Even the artwork is great vintage black and white photos in glossy white or black frames.

Here are a few examples of contrast for interiors:

Goodlifeofdesign

Kadvacorp

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Contrast (light vs dark) is important when designing a room.  It is an easy way to make a statement and add personality to your spaces.

Even monochromatic rooms can be visually exciting when paired with strong accents in constrating colors.  A room without any contrast can be quite boring.  I recommend taking a step back, or better yet photograph your spaces to ensure they are inviting, interesting, and have a good deal of contrast.  Often it is just a matter of adding a few dynamic colors to update the entire look!