Posted using ShareThis
The Power of White… January 18, 2010
A very cleansing and spiritual color, white could be the key to your sanity. White is refreshing when layered with various tones and textures. You don’t need to live in a beach house to experience the power of white in your home—sometimes taking color out of a room is just as rewarding as adding it. Whether doing an entire room in whites or anchoring the main furnishings in the room you can create an elegant and subtle statement that is timeless.
Bedrooms, kitchens, and baths are a great place to play up whites.
One of my clients had always felt they needed to add color to every room of their house. Therefore, their master bedroom consisted of a dark green wall color with maple trim and their master bath the same dark green. After our bathroom renovation, see blog post Before/After Bath dated Nov 18, 2009, and my use of white to create contrast and light within the room, we knew the walls in the bedroom needed a little softening. I recommended the same Swiss coffee for the bedroom walls that we had used for enameling in the bath—creating a very soothing place of rest. To play up the softness of the new wall color we replaced the tired duvet cover with a creamy white bedspread stitched with an embroidered chrysanthemum pattern. The embroidery adds the right amount of texture to the king size bed so that it doesn’t feel flat. Pillows in deep pumpkins, browns, and green pull in the terra-cotta tiles from the bath and coördinate with the clients existing green drapery panels.
Who doesn’t find a white subway tile refreshing? I love to use this on walls and backsplashes. For a less expensive solution, white ceramic square tiles can add just as much punch installed in a bricklayer pattern or on a diagonal. White is soft, clean, and timeless—a plus in spaces that need a lot of cleaning like your kitchen or bath. (Timeless being a plus in adding to the value of your home.) White tiles, while looking stylish with stainless steel can also enhance white appliances or bath fixtures. Pairing with Carrara Marble countertops and white enameled cabinets while accenting with warms woods on the floor and trim-work adds contrast and breaks up the monochromatic scheme—an altogether perfect room.
House Beautiful magazines February issue highlighted some wonderful residences that I felt used white wonderfully. I’ve scanned in some images from this issue where the Designer or homeowner used various whites—which I thought would be helpful in telling a story of how to use various whites in your own home.
As you can see if used correctly white can build a very interesting space, paint manufacturers offer a variety of whites to select from to make your palette as warm and inviting or as soft and sleek as you’d like. Remember that the use of various materials and textures within the rooms furnishings will make the room really speak.
(Images from House Beautiful Feb 2010 issue. Images: 1-6 Interior Design and photography by Amy Neunsinger. Images: 7-8 Interior Design by Jonathan King & James Stott, Photography by Gridley & Graves.)
Get your house organized and on track before spring. See blog post Bringing Baby Home, dated Jan 4 for some tips on organizing.
Bringing Baby Home… January 4, 2010
We all can use a little clutter control now and again, but never is it more important when adding to the family. No matter how old or young the new houseguest is, making sure they have a since of place in the home can be comforting for all. This should be an enjoyable time that shouldn’t feel forced and planning ahead will make the transition go more smoothly.
Obviously the size of your home plays a very important role in how to manage this. Some will have to give up an office, others the extra guest room, or entire lower level depending on who’s staying. In my case we will be welcoming a new baby not an elderly adult, yet in a two-bedroom town-home the luxury of space is limited. Knowing we will be having another girl has made the panic of finding a new home in this tough economy less of a need. Instead we choose to make the home we have a little more cozy for the four of us, by making better use of the space we do have. As my almost five-year old continues to grow and collect toys of unusual shapes and sizes it’s a great time for us to inventory what is important to her and what can go elsewhere. (I’m sure you parents can relate.)
How to get started: (this will vary depending on who is coming to stay and again by how much space you have, but is a good way for you to start thinking about the stuff you have collected over the years and it’s role in your future.)
–I started by going through my daughters bins that were once organized by toy type, pulling out things to go to trash and those to go to baby or Goodwill. This is a process we’ve gone through several times throughout her life, but are now noticing there are more items to keep then give away because of baby #2 who will arrive in just a few short months. Have your child help! There may be things they just have to hold on to, but you’ll find if you make the activity fun and tell them how baby or another child will really enjoy playing with it they’ll have an easier time letting go. This also helps when they are looking for that toy later as you can remind them where it’s gone to.
–Reorganizing closet space so we can accommodate to babies new clothes, diapers, etc. means finding accessible storage for the toys that are currently occupying that half of the closet. Some very inexpensive solutions involve using precious wall space that can often be forgotten; Netted stuffed animal organizers that hang from a corner wall or ceiling can be a lifesaver, especially when you have over 55 stuffed animals that are all very precious to one savvy little girl! Install wall shelves to hold items that aren’t regularly played with like books; use decorative baskets or bins to keep then looking tidy. This is a great way to free up lower bookshelves that can be used for toys more frequented by the children.
–To keep toys organized and out of sight in the main living areas of the home, use storage ottomans that also can be used for additional seating and baskets on the lower part of an open bookshelf. Organize the toys by child’s age, designating older kid toys in more private spaces like the child’s bedroom, playroom, or lower play area, and those for the younger child in the more public spaces where most of your adult time is spent. Once the younger sibling outgrows the “baby toys”, move them out of the house entirely and free up the space you had designated.
–Lofting an older child’s bed is another great way to add additional space to their room. We often think of this when the child goes to college and has to share a tiny dorm room, but why not put that idea to use now? There are inexpensive solutions for this and often today’s bunk beds offer more than one way to use them to accommodate to a child’s growing needs. (Much like the convertible crib.) Use the underneath floor space to tuck bookshelves, a desk, or large toys such as a dollhouse. Add oversized floor pillows or bean bags to help create your child’s private getaway, which can often make the transition from low bed to high more easily and much more exciting! Always make it fun! Change can be hard, no matter what age we are.
—Another area of the home that may be accessible for storing seasonal or future use items is your garage. Take advantage of this space if you have it. Use plastic bins to keep items clean and moisture free. Add wall shelves, hooks, or bike hooks; keep as much off the floor as possible so that when Spring cleaning comes you can easily sweep without having to move things. Many home improvement centers offer stackable shelves in plastic or wire, which you can easily put together, they are mobile so if you move you can always take them with you. If updating a kitchen, a garage is a great place to recycle those unwanted old cabinets that otherwise would have gone to the dump! (Laundry rooms are another great place for old cabinets.) Also, look to the rafters for additional out of sight storage.
Following are some various links to help you get started in your search for organization of children’s closets and bedrooms starting out with the DIY kind of furnishings offered by IKEA. There are numerous closet organizers companies out there as well if you are in need of a little more customization; many offer the Murphy style bed, which is great for a guest room/office as the bed tucks into a wall cabinet. Along with closets and offices, they also do garages.
For even more custom options, an Interior Designer can be a great source and partner for you on your project often charging an hourly consult for planning and design. I have the luxury of working with great contractors who are reliable and can get the work done properly for both my clients and me. We offer fully customizable solutions with endless finishes and materials.
Stanley Young America: http://www.youngamerica.com/products/175442/Age/preschool?n=0&o=name
Closets By Design: http://www.closetsbydesign.com/scheduleConsultationppc.php