Home Holiday Prep Ideas

Holiday

by Donna De Palma

 

It takes a little planning to prepare your home for the holidays.  When November blows in, our thoughts turn to making the season bright and what it takes to get our homes ready for family and friends. A smell of pine, the twinkle of Christmas lights, a full house, the warm glow of a fire, food and impromptu get-togethers are what we look forward to as the season draws near.

Be a thoughtful host and make your home inviting to family and friends by checking these simple tasks off your Christmas list in plenty of time to sit back and enjoy the holidays.

 

Clean out the junk

The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets. Declutter guest rooms and open areas of your home like your foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room.  Remove anything that’s unnecessary from countertops and tables.

Well before guests arrive and the festivities begin, clean out, sort and recycle mail, newspapers, magazines.  Store shoes, hats, umbrellas, toys and other items that should be out of sight.  Clean out your kitchen cabinets and frig and restock essentials.

 

Wrap up home projects

Using an upcoming holiday or party as a deadline is one way to motivate yourself to complete home repairs already underway.  Hopefully you’ve timed your projects so they’re nearing completion as the holidays start to sizzle.  Finish painting projects, hanging lights and refreshing accessories before mid-November.

 

Clean it up

Now is a great time to clean carpets and windows.  The living room and dining room carpets will be front and center so freshen them up with a good cleaning.

In the kitchen, a deep cleaning of counters, sink and appliances will streamline your food prep when holiday baking and cooking go into high gear.  Sharpen knives, run stemware through the dishwasher, polish silver and wipe stainless clean.

In the bath, fix leaky faucets and consider upgrading outdated accessories or bath hardware well before your guests arrive. Be sure you have enough guest bath and hand towels. Towels with a holiday theme carry the spirit of the season into the bath.  Aromatic pine-scented soaps, or diffusers allow guests to feel indulged.

 

Make a budget

Have a game plan when it comes to budgeting for the holidays.  Create a budget and a list of what you’ll need.   Categorize expenses: decorating, entertaining, food, gifts.  Prioritize what’s needed then buy the essentials.

If you’re going all out to throw a party, lighten up on gifts or decorating this season.  If you want to splurge on decorating, throw a cocktail party instead of a dinner party and serve light

hors d’oeuvres. If it’s a dinner party you have in mind, ask invited guests to each bring a dish to pass.

 

Take inventory

Assess your supplies.   Is your kitchen well-equipped?  How about holiday table settings?  With holiday guests and dinner parties, this is a great time to update your place settings with new flatware, dishes, or a tablecloth.

Table décor, kitchenware, glasses, serving dishes, table linens, seating and dinnerware all should be ready before the menu is set.  Locate what you’ll need around the house and purchase anything else you’ll want to set a memorable holiday table.  If you need additional seating now is the time to secure it.

Stock up on candles for the table.  A rule of thumb: when burning candles one inch equals one hour of burn time.

 

Stowing holiday guests 

Expecting overnight guests? A thoughtful host anticipates their guests’ needs.

Anticipate what your guests will enjoy by putting towels, toiletries, a pair of pajamas and assorted books and magazines in your guest bedroom.

Have fresh linens on the bed and place an inviting seasonal arrangement of fresh flowers nearby. An extra blanket and slippers make it feel more like home. Clear some closet space or a drawer.  No one likes to live out of an overnight bag.

A reading lamp and a clock add convenience and allow your guests to relax and enjoy the time away from home.

 

Rummage through your garden and yard

Christmas brings two vivid colors out of the crayon box.  Make your color theme of red and green natural with finds from your own yard.

Why not make your own wreath or garland this year?  Fresh aromatic balsam pine, blue spruce or white pine boughs make a good base for any garland or wreath.

If you’re lucky enough to have holly in your yard, it makes for great color when tucked into a garland or wreath.  Berries from winter varieties of bushes and evergreens, like frosted blue juniper berries, can be wired together to decorate wreathes or greens.

Use berries, boughs and branches on your front door, your table and sills to bring seasonal scents and color indoors.

 

Clear a path

Be sure walkways and your porch are free from ice and snow.  Throw down salt and assign someone in your family shoveling duty during family get-togethers and holiday parties.

Add a doormat, to extend a warm holiday greeting even before you open the door.  Guests are less likely to track in snow and slush.

 

Light the way

Light the way so outdoor walkways are well-lit and safe.  Christmas lights on bushes, around an entryway or lining your house add to outdoor illumination.  Use only UL approved, outdoor extension cords and multi-outlet power strips for outdoor lights.

Make this season truly bright with lanterns or luminaries leading up to your front door. Simple luminaries can be made from paper bags filled with sand and battery-operated tea lights.

Adding motion sensing lights and path lights help illuminate the walkway for those who arrive after dark.

 

Spruce up your entryway

Focus holiday decorations on the front door and front porch or entryway.  Make your front door a centerpiece by hanging a lush, full wreath front and center.  If you prefer a more natural look, fill in with berries or artificial fruit.  If you prefer luxe, decorate your wreath with ornaments in silver and gold and a big bow.

Place planters with small evergreens alongside your door.  String lights, hang ornaments or wrap ribbon around them to add sparkle.

If you want to light up your door, add lights to your wreath or secure them to the molding around your front door.  Lighting up your entryway is all about creating an inviting welcome for your guests.

 

Wrap it up

Designate a room or area of your home for writing Christmas cards, gift wrapping and mailing.  Get organized and start early.  Looking for tape, ribbon or wrapping paper at the last minute, just before guests arrive, is stressful.

 

Hang them up

Go through your coat closet and donate or discard old coats that you no longer use.  Create space to hang your guests’ coats.  If you don’t have an adequate closet, think of an alternative like a coat stand, rolling rack or moveable wardrobe.  Borrow one of these from a friend if you’re trying to save on cost.

Consider putting a blank label on each hanger so guests can write their names on outerwear. No one wants to go home with someone else’s coat, hat or scarf.

 

Keep the fire burning

Bring in firewood and place it by the fire.  A warm hearth symbolizes the spirit of the season.  Have someone tend the fire while your entertaining guests and preparing holiday meals.  If you have a wood burning fireplace that gets moderate use, it should be cleaned by a professional every few years to avoid creosote build-up.

 

In case of trouble

Whenever guests arrive, it’s a smart idea to be prepared for minor emergencies.  Have jumper cables on hand if a battery gives out.  Keep a tool kit handy in case something breaks just as the festivities are heating up.

A fire extinguisher and fire blanket in the kitchen can put out a kitchen fire.  Keep a first aid kit handy for cuts and splinters.  A few ice packs in the freezer can help with sprains and bumps.

It’s good to start early when sprucing up your home for the season.  A check list of what needs to happen takes the stress out of holiday planning.  Enjoy spending time with those you love and welcome your guests in style.  Nothing brings people together like the holiday season so this year, make yours sparkle!

 

 

Sources

 

Popular Mechanics

House Logic

Lowe’s

Good Housekeeping 

Studio Interior Design

 

 

Design On A Dime

by Donna De Palma

We searched for budget design ideas to amp up your home’s design factor.  Even if you’re designing on the cheap, it doesn’t take loads of money to bring home a design that looks like you hired an interior designer.

Use things you already have, discover the power of flea markets, visit a craft store, buy some paint and make your own art to keep cost down and impact high even on a dime store budget.

 

Canvas flea markets and antique stores

Search for items you can restore to new life.  Use your imagination to reinvent old and worn chairs, dressers and desks by refinishing, putting on a fresh coat of paint, replacing an old seat cushion or adding new hardware.

Flea Market Design
Many great decorations can be found at flea markets.

Look for furniture with solid construction and classic lines that new upholstery or paint will bring back to life.  Frequent thrift stores, consignment shops, church rummage sales, online auction sites and estate sales for items that spur your imagination.

Turn a fresh eye to what you already have and think about how it might be camouflaged, repurposed or reimagined.

A gently-used wicker loveseat can become indoor furniture with a plush new cushion.  Mix with upholstered chairs in a grouping for an unexpected coastal look.

An end table can be made out of anything with a flat top and four legs.  Modular storage units can be stacked to make a side table with cubby holes to display books and keepsakes.

 

Design art for your walls

Think big! Buy three stretched canvases, paint in three solid colors or modulate color on each, then hang them to fill a blank wall.

Or make a triptych, a trio of paneled art, by enlarging a 20” X 24” photo to 60” X 72” at a copy center.  Cut enlargement into three separate sections then adhere each section to a separate stretched canvas.  Hang them close together on a wall behind a sofa or on their own. Instead of looking at a blank wall you’ll be admiring your own artwork.

Float found objects between glass to make your own collage.  Frameless art sandwiched in glass is a contemporary way to design walls.

 

The power of a mirror

A mirror goes the distance in transforming your space.  Find a decorative vintage frame and have a mirror cut to fit. Hang it on a wall opposite a window to reflect natural light and the entire contents of your room.  You’ll be amazed at how much bigger your room will look.

mirror leans against a wall
A mirror against a wall can be a great decorative idea.

For a classic interior designer’s trick, prop up a large mirror – three-fourths as tall as the wall to create instant square footage.

A foyer is a great place to hang a mirror.  Not only does it brighten the entryway of your home, but functions as a place to check makeup and hair before leaving the house.

A mirror makes a sparkling tray for candles or silver serving pieces.   Repurpose a mirror by applying felt backing to the underside so it stays in place on an end table.

 

Accessorize with found objects

Found objects and household items that cost practically nothing can be used to accessorize a room. A bowl of crisp green apples provides a pop of color.  Corbels from a salvage yard make nice bookends. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.

 

Craft your style

Crafting is an inexpensive way to personalize accessories.  Trim lamp shades with lace or ribbon.  Customize boxes, file folders and desk accessories and display them on a desk or counter. Glue, ribbon, scissors and a few inexpensive supplies are all that’s needed.

 

Go natural

design materials in foyer
Having natural materials in a foyer can add a sense of calm for entering guests.

Shells, branches, sand, ferns, look for anything outside with an interesting shape or color and bring in indoors.  Shells in a glass bowl, cut beach glass in a dish, driftwood collected from the shore, white birch and cherry branches in a tall cylinder at the entryway, all give a rustic, relaxed feel to your home.  Play off the colors of nature’s bountiful palette.

 

Photo gallery

Find your best photos and frame at least ten of them.  Match the frames or mix and match any way you like.  Gold, silver, plain or ornate, just keep them about the same size. Select a blank wall that needs a lift and arrange them in a long row, gallery style, or choose a geometric pattern that works well in your space.

 

Swap the shades

Shades made with off the shelf linensReplace lamp shades to refresh the look of a tired room.  Limit your color choice to one accent color then use neutral tones like soft white or wheat for the others.  A color statement of one accent color in an otherwise neutral room is an inexpensive way to bring color into your home.

 

Stack colorful books

Find your most colorful and interesting hardcover books and place Books on a coffee tablethem on a coffee table or ottoman.  If you have open shelves in a living room or great room, display a stack of three or four books next to a vase of flowers or a plant.  Oversized books work best on a table or in a place of honor so they can be enjoyed.

 

Paint the ceiling

Instead of an entire room, paint your ceiling.  A dull, old, white ceiling doesn’t do much to enhance a room.  Try a color that’s neutral but is definitely a color.

 

Swap yardage for off the shelf

Flat bed sheets with bold patterns make great curtain panels, pillows, duvet covers, tablecloths, even slipcovers.  Pay just a fraction of what would for fabric by the yard and get the same results.  If you have the sewing skills of a beginner and a low-cost sewing machine, you’re ready to rock.

 

Chair rail to go

Break up a dull wall with a chair rail.  If you want to save on strip molding, use decorator tape to create a stick-on molding.  Paint areas above and below two different shades of the same color or contrasting but complementary colors.

 

What’s your number?

An inexpensive way to increase curb appeal and to spruce up the exterior of your home is to replace worn out house numbers.  Find new numbers that match the style and siding of your home.  If your house has historic quality, mount a number plaque near your front door or on a gate.  Use brass numbers if your house is regal and stately.

 

Paint your door

Side angle red door
Pick a bold color for your front door.

If the exterior of your home is lackluster and you can’t afford to paint, nothing has more impact than painting your front door a show-stopping color.  Not the brightest color you can find but the right color for your house.  Be selective.  Try at least three colors.  Ask for sample pints at the paint store and paint them on your door to test.  Look at your painted samples at different times of day.  Light affects color.

If your budget allows, change the hardware on your front door after you paint it and add a brass kick plate.  It will look like a new home.

 

Draw the curtain

Tired bathroom and no money to renovate?  A new shower curtain can rescue the day. Your shower curtain is one of the first things you see when you enter a bathroom because of its size. Choose a color, pattern or texture that draws the eye away from what’s tired and old to something fresh and new.

 

Light up your table

Candles make more of a statement when there are more of them.  Go big with candles.  The larger the surface, the larger the candles.  Group pillars or use hurricane-style glass and place a candle each.

 

Snag a deal

Deals on slightly damaged items like floor models and seconds can be found if you’re a smart shopper.  You can save megabucks on less than perfect items.

Don’t forget sales and advertised discounts.  If you can wait a week to get a better price, do it.

 

DIY to savings

Through sweat and tears, doing-it-yourself saves you money.  Small projects you can master on your own without the help of a designer or contractor are like money in the bank.  All of your cost goes into supplies, not labor.

Painting, installing a new floor, laying tile and sewing curtains or pillows all require minimal skill but attention to detail and lots of patience.  Do it cheap but do it right.

Enlist friends if you don’t have enough manpower at home.  Remember to feed them though so they’ll still be your friends after your DIY projects are complete.

If your design ambitions are bigger than your budget, no need to worry.  Try some of these money-saving ideas to take your home from blah to beautiful.  Using your imagination is one way to achieve that designer look when designing on a shoestring.

 

Sources:

 

Real Simple

Freshome

Good Housekeeping

HGTV

Easy Home Design Tips

by Donna De Palma

 

These simple design ideas go a long way in making your home more beautiful.  Cheerful color accents can transform a room.  Skip the sofa, mix styles, layer lighting–discover ideas that pack a punch yet are easy on your wallet.

With one eye on budget and the other on what’s current in home furnishings, let’s give your home a new look with ideas we’ve borrowed from top designers.

Accent color

Design Ideas
Accent colors can have a calming effect on a room.

To take a little color go a long way, paint your walls a warm neutral tone, then choose an accent color and use it in unexpected ways. Paint the wall of an upstairs landing a cheerful yellow.  You’ll see your unexpected color only when you walk upstairs.

 

 

 

Design Ideas
Monochromatic colors can work too.

Experiment with uncommon color combinations by shopping for colors you like then pairing them with grey, sand or khaki.  In a monochromatic bath, line a counter with a planter filled with green grass or moss.  Clever pops of color look more colorful when surrounded by a neutral palette.

A lemon yellow wastebasket and towels in a warm grey bath provide a fresh, new color look.  Think splashes of color instead of overall color.  A little goes a long way.

Color-coding is a fun design approach too.  Calm disorganized bookshelves by organizing books by color. Leave some books upright and stack others.  Place decorative objects between them.

Painting the inside of a cabinet or a bookshelf a bright color makes for a colorful visual surprise.

 

Refresh the space around big features

Switching out a tub or sink can be expensive.  Instead, look at the space around major features in your bath or kitchen and refresh them.  Tile just one wall instead of four or half a wall instead of a whole wall.  Minor improvements may spruce up your bath enough for it to feel like new without the hassle of a major renovation.

A new fabric shower curtain, real rug instead of bath rug, or lush, new towels may draw attention away from a dated tub or not-so-sensational vanity.   A bamboo tray piled high with plush face cloths covers an old countertop and distracts from a less-than-perfect sink.

Design Ideas
Mirrors can help transform spaces by making them feel larger.

For a quick update in the bath, try installing a new faucet with high-end finish in a sleek design.  Their attention will go to the faucet instead of your sink.  A big mirror is a great way to transform a space. It can feel like you’ve added another window while notching up the light. Find a mirror at an antique store and paint the frame.

In the kitchen, try a sensational new rug on flooring that might need upgrading.  Go big with a rug that covers as much floor space as possible as long as it doesn’t overpower the scale of your room.  Place mats, a runner, even a colorful tablecloth, draw attention away from trouble spots.

Remove one cabinet door or several to open up your space and create a more contemporary look.  Replace cabinet doors with frosted glass or open shelving to break up that allover look of wood cabinets.  Display colorful dinnerware on your new shelves.  Hang some knockout pendants over a nothing-special countertop.  The pattern the light makes breaks up the look of a dull countertop.

Light kitchen countertops with inexpensive lamps. The light they give off will make your countertops shine.

 

Punch out patterns

Every room needs some pattern, so don’t be shy.  Conquer your fear of graphics by introducing stripes or polka dots then bolder patterns later.  Find pillow covers that function like slipcovers to slip over pillows you already have for a quick and easy way to change your room.

The bath aisle has a wide variety of prints – from herringbone to paisley – if your a frugal decorator.  Remember, cheap can be chic.

Design Ideas
Wallpaper is becoming more commonplace.

Wallpaper is back and it’s easier to install.  Bring pattern to your walls with a stylish wallpaper choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change with the seasons

Why keep heavy drapes and dark rug in place for summer. Switch things up with lightweight fabrics and a summer palette to match your wall color.  Your room will look like new with a slipcover for the sofa and sisal rug underneath.  Pair a pretty bowl of lemons or limes with colorful books to match for a bold color statement on an end table or tray.  Spread a lively fabric or shawl on the back of a tired sofa.

Relocate art.  Moving art is the best way to rediscover what you already have.  Art looks differently when paired with new things.  Find colors or content that match your room so placement makes sense.  It’s easy to stop noticing things that have been in the same place for too long so move your artwork.

 

Ditch your sofa

Whoever said a living room has to have a sofa hasn’t turned the pages of home décor magazines lately.  There’s no rule there has to be a sofa in your home.  Instead, create a grouping of chairs and a table in the center of your living room.  Window seats, loveseats, chaises can all stand in for a sofa.  Your room should be more about style than tradition.

 

Lighten up

If your living room looks like it got its inspiration from a Gothic novel, it’s time to swap out that seriously-heavy Oriental rug for a sea grass weave to lighten the mood. Try placing smaller, patterned, flat-weave rugs with graphic weaves on hardwoods for added interest.  Find accessories that are fun and say something about what makes you happy in life.

 

Bring the outside in

Clip branches from trees or shrubs in your yard and display them in a vase or on a mantel.  Greens and berries from your garden or yard tied with ribbon and hung on a door remind us of how beautiful nature is.

Look out the windows of your home.  Maximize views of the outdoors by placing chairs, corner tables and plants near windows.  Let the sun shine in.

 

Pile on the pillows

In your living room, one pair of pillows just isn’t enough. Use two pairs, in contrasting patterns, colors, and textures to plump up your bed or loveseat.  These fluffy squares of softness invite guests to indulge and linger.

 

Mix styles

Who can’t appreciate pairing industrial-styled bar stools with a weathered oak table or a vintage armoire with a mid-century sofa.   Matching is out; style today is eclectic.  When mixing styles, have a purpose so your design choices make sense.  Select one design element that pulls all the furnishings in a room together: color, texture, shape or scale.

 

Layer your lighting

They say four lamps are better than two. A room needs ambient light for mood and direct lighting for tasks like reading and cooking.  Layering lighting makes a room more interesting.  The patterns of light play on surfaces. Your lighting should be balanced with ample task lights available.

 

Switch up seating

The new look in seating is grouping chairs together in a room.  A sofa can be positioned in a less traditional place than as the centerpiece of a living room.  The most versatile coffee table you’ll ever own is an ottoman topped with a tray.  Ditch your coffee table. Put your feet up without worrying about what anybody’s going to say.

Design Ideas
Use ottomans instead of a coffee table.

Explore different types of chairs and finishes.  Leather for seating is back and it’s durable.  Skirted chairs are in too.  Too many chair and table legs make a seating arrangement look fussy.  Cover chair legs with skirts for a more put-together look.

 

 

 

 

Plants bring cheer

Soften corners with plants.  Their organic shapes in a variety of colors and textures bring life to your room.  Find sunny spots to make them thrive.  Healthy plants send a message that good things happen in your home.

 

Refinish vintage design finds

Painting vintage furniture opens up a ton of possibilities when refreshing your décor.  Look for good bones and fine details when you select vintage furnishings.  Make the search an adventure.  Study up on what your buying, then select items based on how the piece will look in your room not on its market value.  It doesn’t have to be a real antique to be perfect for you.

By keeping prices low and impact high, these easy tips for making your home more beautiful will transform what’s tired and old into something new.

 

Sources:

Homebunch

 

Better Homes and Gardens

 

Home Designing

 

House Beautiful

Bedroom style ideas anyone can master

Bedroom Design Ideas

by Donna De Palma

 

Make your master bedroom worthy of the time you spend in it.   The master bedroom of your dreams is just an upgrade away with one or all of these seven low-cost, high-impact designer tips.

 

Choose a bedroom theme

Bedroom Design Ideas
Consider themes you want expressed when designing your bedroom.

If you’re starting with a blank canvas, choose a theme for your bedroom design.  Whether plantation-style, ocean-inspired, cottage or island-style, tropical, Moroccan or country, your theme will help you select colors, patterns and furnishings to suit your style.  Even an existing design can benefit from choosing a theme.

For a country look, mix and match classic pine furniture, wrought-iron bed, colorful woven rugs, and the warmth of contemporary hurricane lamps.  Farmhouse-style dressers and ladder back chairs say country.  Soft paint colors on walls and softer pillows in floral prints and blue ticking stripes complete this relaxed, laid-back look.

Inspired by the cool breezes of sand and surf, a relaxed island-style is all about blue, white and sand-colored neutrals. Watery blues, crisp white and airy, carefree fabrics make it a fresh and clean design choice.  Anything by or from the sea make great additions. Materials like cork or pine carry the theme to floors and beadboard on walls or ceilings give that retreat-like feel to your room.  Think driftwood, white-washed furniture, sand and seashells to bring the beach indoors.

If exotic woods and warm colors excite you, Moroccan-style brings a little mystery to the master bedroom.  Gold, wine red and orange or violet round out the palette.  The shape of the ogee on latticework and rugs with notes of gold on bed coverings, lighting and trim give the flair of North Africa to your room design.  Laced with plenty of opulence, Moroccan-style always has a few golden accents to offset dark, exotic woods of floors and furnishings.

Lantern-style lighting is a key addition that defines this look. Rugs with geometric patterns and colorful ottomans complete the style.

Plantation-style is tropics, British-style.  The colors of iced tea, golden sunlight, and the warmth of long sunlit days inspire a style that’s classic and exotic at the same time.

Rooted in Britain’s 17th-century invasion of the West Indies, plantation-style combines heavier colonial elements with the lightness and brightness which most people identify as sea-inspired decor.

Recreate the plantation look in your home with pieces you already have or purchase a few inexpensive items at an import store. Imagine being on vacation in an exotic location.

If you don’t have dark wood furniture, refinish your light-colored pieces with dark stain to anchor the style.

While white is most traditional, experiment with light, cool neutrals or blues and greens. Natural fibers like sisal and grass cloth make great floor treatments. Window treatments that are light and breezy work well or consider installing wood blinds or plantation shutters. Accessorize with plants, ceiling fans, botanical-themed art and vintage travel memorabilia like postcards, travelogues and trunks.

 

Go bold with one element

First, edit your décor.  De-clutter walls and tops of dressers.  Less clutter increases serenity and makes your bedroom a place to retreat to at the end of the day.

Paint walls in neutrals and select bedding that blends in with your wall color. Use only subtle prints and patterns.  Painting walls all one color makes artwork stand out.

Bedroom Design Ideas
Having one bold element will add character to your bedroom, but won’t be overwhelming.

Now pick one piece that makes a statement: a four poster bed of carved wood with canopy, an oversized piece of artwork that fills an entire wall, a richly-patterned rug or crystal pendant lights to make a splash.  All eyes will be on the centerpiece of your design.

 

 

 

 

Color sense

Choose three coordinating colors in the bedroom. Make the first color your primary wall color.  Your second color should be equally important but use less of it: on an accent wall.  Your third color is for accessories: as an accent color for pillows and throws.

Shades of the same color count as one color – pale yellow, a warm buttery yellow or canary yellow all count as yellow.  Select patterns and prints that have all three of your selected colors, some that have only one and some with two.

Bedroom Design Ideas
Experiment with different colors to see which ones work best.

If you’re having difficulty selecting a palette, go to your closet and look at the colors of your clothes.  Chances are these are the colors you enjoy most.

Blue and white is a classic color combination for the bedroom.  Play with different shades of blue on throws, pillows and walls. Combine with sage green to add another layer of color.  Or paint walls a butter yellow as a warm backdrop for your classic blue and white color theme.  If you’re set on a traditional color combination, experiment with accent colors to make your room design your own.

 

 

Light it right

Put relaxation first when it comes to task lighting in the bedroom.  Overhead lighting paired with task lights such as bedside lamps or sconces work best. A pendant light on either side of the bed over a night table is an elegant solution to bedside lighting.

All lights should have dimmers, so you can turn down the brightness when reading or settling into bed. At least one light in your bedroom should cast a soft light for a little glow before bed.

 

A touch of glam

Mirrored nightstands are a simple way to create Hollywood-style charm. A crystal chandelier over the bed or nightstands with silver hardware, a mercury glass vase, silver votive holders, or silver tray all recall the glamour of the silver screen.

Luxury bed coverings–even satin sheets–up the glam factor. Turn up the glitz with black and white then add red to accent for a classic Hollywood-style.

Bedroom Design Ideas
Add some personality to your bedroom with different curtains and sheets.

Allow light to filter in and bounce off crystal and silver by choosing sheer panels for drapes. Or select a luxe fabric for curtains like velvet or silk then pool full-length drapes generously at the bottoms so they drape over the floor.  Curtain rods and hooks or rings that dazzle are jewelry in your room.  Tie-backs with tassels make window treatments fun.

Add personality with a fabric-covered headboard.  Try something unexpected like velvet, or patterned upholstery. A tufted, Hollywood-style headboard treatment will dress up any bed.

If Hollywood just isn’t your thing, glam can be cheap chic if you mix it up.  Remember the new rule is no rules.  Eclectic style means combining old and new.  Unmatched materials–whether stripes and plaids or solids and florals–work if your intention is to create a fresh, new look.

Different materials in a bedroom make your room more interesting.  Go cheap chic with a metal nightstand, color block bedding, over-sized chaise and boho-chic lamp.  Rummage through garage sales for finds–tables, chairs and dressers–that you can paint in any color you like. Whitewash used furniture then paint one piece in an unexpected hue for a pretty highlight in your room.

 

Make it feel bigger

When you want to give the impression that a room is larger than it is, most people think of mirrors. The clever placement of a mirror can make it seem like you’ve doubled the size of your room.  Mirrors on either side of the bed behind night tables have a similar effect of enlarging the look of your room.

A trick designers use to give the appearance of a bigger room is to paint a wide stripe on the wall behind a bed and continue that color onto the bed. A careful selection of bedding in a color that matches the wall works best.

Keep nightstand décor to a minimum. A nightstand is more functional than for display.  You’ll need a lamp, books and a clock on your nightstand, that’s it.

Always position your bed to maximize the view of the outdoors.  If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, a tray ceiling is a nice option.  If your ceilings are taller than 8 ft., a tray ceiling not only enlarges the look of your room but it makes you want to look up.

Create an interesting perimeter with an area rug under the bed.  It’s best to have a rug extend 18-24 inches from the sides and end of the bed.  Choose a bolder print for a fun look or if you want something more subtle, try a natural fiber rug with texture in a neutral that better suits your style.

 

Add seating

A seating area in the bedroom can make a room feel cozy and inviting.  Just don’t let it become a place to stash clothes. Place chairs away from closets and dressers so you’re not inclined to toss clothing and personal items over them.

Bedroom Design Ideas
Consider adding some seating in your bedroom.

Try accent seating at the foot of bed if you’re short on space. The foot of the bed is a natural place to read or relax before sleep.

Arrange two comfy chairs near a table and desk lamp if your room has an alcove, bay window or separate area suitable for seating.  A small area rug separates the function of a seating area.

Redefine your space with color, a theme and a few new finds.  Take a look at what you already have, then transform your master bedroom into the room of your dreams without breaking the bank.

 

 

Sources:

House and Garden

Good Housekeeping

Decorist

 

 

7 Fantastic Neutral Colors For Every Home

The great thing about neutral colors is that they complement a wide variety of styles and have wide appeal.  They also help with home value and resale, since more aggressive and bold colors can often turn off potential buyers.  Soft, subtle, and with just enough of an accent to complement a room, a neutral color can greatly enhance the appeal of a room.  Below are some of the more popular colors to date:

#7 Loft Space

Loft Space (N500-2, Behr)
Loft Space (N500-2, Behr)

#6 Palais White

Palais White (GR-W15, Behr)
Palais White (GR-W15, Behr)

#5 Krypton

Krypton (SW 6247, Sherwin Williams)
Krypton (SW 6247, Sherwin Williams)

#4 Filmy Green

Filmy Green (SW 6190, Sherwin Williams)
Filmy Green (SW 6190, Sherwin Williams)

#3 Squash Bisque

Squash Bisque (M240-5, Behr)
Squash Bisque (M240-5, Behr)

#2 Topsail

Neutral Colors Topsail (SW 6217, Sherwin Williams)
Topsail (SW 6217, Sherwin Williams)

#1 Edgecomb Gray

Neutral Colors #1 Edgecomb Gray (HC-173, Benjamin Moore)
Edgecomb Gray (HC-173, Benjamin Moore)

 

References:

http://www.behr.com/consumer/inspiration/interior/design-advice/hidden-power-of-neutrals

http://www.favoritepaintcolorsblog.com/category/sherwin-williams/page/3

http://evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/color-case-study-shades-of-gray.html

 

 

 

Basement Remodeling 101

basement

by Donna De Palma

If you live in an area like Upstate New York where basements are a common feature in most homes, you’re in luck.  It doesn’t take a lot of square footage to make your basement into something sensational.

 

If built finished out or to be remodeled, your unfinished basement is prime real estate in your home. Think media room, upscale lounge, great room, wine cellar, wet bar, gym, home office, playroom, laundry or guest room–all are popular choices for a basement remodel.  Any would be a perfect addition to your home’s livable space.

 

Finishing a basement is more that simply selecting fixtures and finishes.  First, determine a budget and design a layout.  Hiring an architect to design the space can save you headaches later on.  If you plan to hire a contractor, have a design in place before you make the call.

 

Knowing building code is also another consideration.  Regulations like egress windows and ceiling clearances need to be met. Check with your local municipality to see if you’ll need permits before construction begins especially if you’re planning plumbing or electrical upgrades.  Go by the book when it comes to building code and permits.

 

From what kind of building materials you can use to how much support you need for beams and columns, industry standards focus on specific aspects of a basement remodel. When planning to finish a basement, put time and money into prep work.  If you’re gutting your basement, now is the time to place utility appliances like your water heater and furnace in one location.  Section off a walled area to keep appliances concealed but accessible.

 

Next, be sure your basement is dry before you start a renovation.  Installing flooring, painting and implementing your design plan comes later.  Some condensation issues due to humidity can be addressed with an automatic dehumidifier, but a better solution is insulating your basement.

 

Building code often requires insulation and moisture barriers. First, identify any moisture problems.  Look for signs that moisture is seeping in; pooling water or drips appearing through below-grade walls.   Check the ground outside and around your basement.  It should be graded away from the foundation.  If you find cracks in the foundation, repair them before work begins.

 

Basements are damp.  You want to know where leaks are occurring before framing and finishing surfaces. Remedies can be as simple as rerouting or extending a drain spout, or as expensive as installing a perimeter drain.  Whether you take on this project yourself or have a contractor do it, when adding a perimeter drain, the drain will collect any rising groundwater and carry it away from your foundation.

 

Choose products designed for basements, such as paneled wall systems. Think like a professional contractor and forgo traditional studs and drywall in this moisture-laden environment. Wall systems designed specifically for basements will insulate and inhibit mold.

 

After checking for leaks and moisture, you’ll still need a vapor barrier for floors and walls. The best choice is an insulation with a vapor barrier on both sides. Once you lay down a vapor barrier, let it sit for a few days then check underneath to see if moisture is coming through. Even with a vapor barrier, moisture can still be an issue so be alert to signs of water.

 

Insulate your new space not only to add another layer of moisture protection but to control temperature.  Check your local building code for insulation requirements.

 

Basements can be dark.  Lighting is key to making your new space inviting.  Recessed lighting spreads even light and it’s easy to install even if you have a drop ceiling.  If you have windows in your basement, maximize exposure to the outdoors by drawing attention to them with show-stopping window treatments.

 

Write out a thorough scope of work for each contractor you hire.  Depending on the scope of your project, expect it to take six to 12 weeks to complete.

 

Design and construction

Basement remodeling

There may be local or state building codes for how many inches off-center you can space studs, such as 16 or 24 inches apart, and how much clearance you need for ceilings or landings at the bottom of stairs.  Code may also dictate the height and depth of steps.

 

Check with your local building department if you plan to make any changes to structural elements like support columns or load-bearing walls. Miscalculation can cause serious structural problems in other parts of your house.  A structural engineer is often required to spec out and approve eliminating columns and replacing them with beams.

 

Basement walls and floors are usually made of masonry: either cement block or brick.  You’ll need anchors and fasteners for the kind of walls in your home.

 

Design layout

Basement
Layout of your basement is a key component in the remodeling process.

Use a zone system when laying out your space. Choose paint colors and furnishing to cordon off areas by function.   Multifunctional floor plans require some thought to meet all of the new functions of your remodel.  Different wall treatments and wall colors for separate functional areas help define space.

 

Neutral colors lighten up a space and make it appear more open.  Create the illusion of more space and more windows with floor-to-ceiling drapes even if you don’t have any windows.

 

Layer lighting to create interesting lighting effects and to brighten the space.

 

Basement Heating and cooling

Warm air rises, so it makes sense to install heating vents at floor level. Baseboard heat is a good option, but make sure it works well with your design plan and ties in with your existing HVAC system.

 

Mechanical Systems

Metal doors may be required to separate mechanical areas containing a furnace or boiler, and you might have to bring air into a mechanical room for ventilation.

 

Utilities

Keep the area housing your HVAC unit and water heater unfinished. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you’ll need access for inspection and/or repairs. If you’re tempted to finish this area off, don’t.  Keep it simple to avoid problems later.

 

Although a big project for any homeowner, basement remodeling can add space to a house that needs room to grow.   Hours of fun and relaxation in what was once, unused space, can be yours when you commit to a basement renovation.

 

 

Sources

Home Designing

HGTV.com

DIY.com

Martha Stewart Living

A Grand Entrance: Design tips for foyers and entryways

design

by Donna De Palma

 

It’s not just curbside appeal that makes a home stand out from all the rest.  Smart design choices can make the entryway to your home welcoming, even grand, so family and friends feel at home–and like royalty– when they walk through the door.

 

Foyers, vestibules or entryways, first impressions matter.  Define your entryway with color, lighting and a few select furnishings to impress.  What you add to your entryway with depend on the amount of available space.  Even with limited space, by choosing the right colors and furnishings, you can make a big impact.

design

There’s nothing like a spectacular lighting fixture to set the tone in an entryway. Suspend a pendant light or chandelier to add sparkle to existing lighting. A foyer with high ceilings will appear more intimate when you hang fixtures low enough for full visual effect but not too low to cause a hazard.

 

Color carves out a space and helps the eye separate one space from another.  Warm colors appear welcoming; cool, subdued colors are more relaxing.  Use color strategically to make your foyer look larger or more intimate depending on the space you have to work with.

Foyer 3

Paint crown molding or baseboard molding white or a lighter shade than your wall color to articulate the space.  Mirrors bring a crisp, bright light to any room.  Position a mirror on a wall that reflects light from a window or other lighting source.

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Select flooring that’s durable enough for wet shoes and boots.  If you specify a floor that can’t take much wear and tear, a carefully-selected runner protects fine surfaces while becoming an important design element. A plush, high-quality runner in a hue you love works best to keep your guests on a path that leads to other areas of your home.

Foyer 1

If you’re on a budget and have a staircase that’s visible from your front door, a fun trick to create another level of interest is to paint stair risers near your foyers in a contrasting color to steps. This draws the eye upward so guests see more of your home upon entering.

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Selecting foyer-sized furniture that’s inviting and functional is key to a warm welcome for your guests.  Tuck a chair next to a table for a place to stop off on your way into or out of your home.  If pressed for space, consider a floating console that conveniently mounts on a wall to free up floor space underneath.  A long, slender table becomes a perfect choice for small entryways.

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Add a tasteful table lamp to cast a warm glow.  If you need more seating in your entryway for visitors to remove shoes or boots, try a bench.   Benches make great resting places. Choose one in a color that matches your wall or flooring.  Or make a style statement with a bench in a contrasting color or style to amp up the look.

 

Even a single piece of artwork can make an entryway memorable.  Make sure yours is unique and says something about who you are and what you like.

 

And don’t forget the front door.  A front door can make or break the curb appeal of your home.  Invest in a door that’s unique and works with the style of your home.  Hardware matters so be sure knobs and handles have pizzazz– either brass or silver calls attention to your door depending on your home’s exterior.  A brass kickplate adds shine and polish and protects your door’s exterior finish.

 

Don’t be color shy.  If you have a painted front door, choose a color that stands out from your house.  Find a color that complements your house color but not too conservative otherwise no one will notice your entryway which is, after all, one of the main features of any home.

 

Design your entryways so it welcomes you each and every time you walk through your door.  No matter what size, it can be grand if you see the design potential in this unique space.

 

 

Sources

Better Homes and Gardens

Decoist

Martha Stewart Living

The Top Ten Things That Every New Home Needs

new home

by Donna De Palma

 

If you’ve just purchased a new home, you probably have a checklist of “must haves” to complete prior to moving day.   This top ten list of what every homeowner needs, is a great place to start.

 

1. Window treatments

Cover your windows.  We all want to let the sunshine in, however, window treatments are essential to a comfortable, stylish home.  Choose versatile treatments that allow plenty of natural light in during the day and privacy when the sun goes down. Whether you choose blinds, curtains, Roman shades, shutters or valances, bring color and pattern into your room by selecting window coverings that set the tone for your room’s decor.  When hanging custom shades, choose a fabric that complements or matches your sofa and chairs in a living room or great room.   Luxurious fabrics like linen or silk make a dramatic statement when floor length curtains are your choice.  The extra length lets curtains puddle slightly on the floor.  Valances can add an additional decorative element to a room.  Layer curtains with sheers underneath in a fresh-colored fabric to create more options for light control.  Have fun with your window treatments.  The right window treatment can turn any window into a stunning focal point in a room or the perfect backdrop for fine furnishings.

new home article

2. Create a place to relax  

Every home needs a special spot to unwind; a serene space to retreat to at the end of your day.  Whether it’s a sunroom, man cave or just a cozy corner where you can enjoy a good read, we all need a place to put our feet up and forget the worries of the day.  Place a comfortable chair near a reading lamp. Don’t forget an end table to put your cup of coffee on.  Groupings of furniture should be cozy and functional.

A bathroom that’s designed like a spa is a prefect place to indulge yourself.  Try a soaking tub in a room that features a soft color palette, dimmers and plush fabrics for a fabulous end to a stressful day.  Choose a room in your new home that will be your well-deserved retreat.

 

3. Have a color scheme

Integrate the spaces in your home by selecting a color palette that carries throughout.  Choose a palette of neutral tones in subtly-varied hues to create continuity in an open floor plan.  Or select contrasting colors of the same tone to designate different functions for different spaces.  Colors you can live with that work well with your furnishings are key to a comfortable home that you’ll want to spend lots of time in.

Experiment with accent colors. A little bit of bold color goes a long way if you want to add drama to your color scheme.  Remember colors look differently when next to other colors.  They also appear differently when they are in different light so bring samples of your color choices to your new home before committing to a color palette.

 

4. A place to lay your head  

There is nothing more important in your home than the mattress you sleep on each night.  Your mattress is a great place to splurge on comfort.  Trying out a mattress is essential to a good fit.  Bigger is usually better especially if you’re sharing your mattress with someone you love.  Pillows matter.  And so do sheets, blankets and bed coverings.  Think comfort first, then style.  And don’t forget luxury.  If you want crisp sheets, try Percale.  For a softer feel, Egyptian, pima and supima cottons reign supreme.  Cotton is soft, durable and breathes well.  Thread count matters but highest isn’t always best. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet and the more likely it will wear well.  A good choice is a sheet that ranges between a 200 and 800 thread count.

Mix fabrics, textures and pattern to match your style.  When choosing a comforter, coverlet or duvet, touch the fabric to see if it’s something that will be comfortable to lie on.  Pillows come in all shapes and sizes from boudoir to bolster.  Mix them up to add interest.

 

5. Storage. Storage. Storage

There’s one thing none of us can get enough of and that’s storage. Clutter doesn’t improve the style in any room.  Find containers, baskets, shelves and storage units that take clutter out of sight.  Baskets make interesting accessories to hide excess stuff.  Storage units come in many forms.  Be creative.  Stow away personal items in containers that are easy to access.

Whether it’s bright colors and punchy fabrics or pretty weaves and rustic textures, containers can add style to your space.  Just remember one simple rule.  If your storage units are out of sight, make them strictly functional but if they’re on display, they need to integrate well with the overall design of the room.

 

6. A Personal Touch  

Your home should be a reflection of who you are.  Create a collection of your favorite things from your family, your travel, or your childhood.   Display your collection on shelves or a wall dedicated to memorabilia.  Find accessories that showcase your personality.  If you love the ocean, search for themes that reflect your love of the water.  If you have a unique vintage collection, group items in a place where they can enjoy center stage.      

 

7. Remember artwork  

No one wants to live in a furniture showroom.  Artwork adds a personal touch to your home.  Finding artwork you can live with takes time and effort. Hang items on your walls that you will love for years.  Consider subject matter, color palette and style. Your artwork doesn’t have to be pricey, just something you adore.

Rotate artwork on your walls.  A wall of art on a wall going upstairs makes a perfect gallery space.  Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone in small ways with your choices of wall art.

Consider scale.  Artwork shouldn’t disappear on a wall or compete with another center of interest in a room.  Like any accessory, artwork needs to relate to nearby furnishings, wall colors and finishes.

 

8. Bring the green indoors

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, plants bring life into your home.  There are houseplants that need very little care to thrive.  Plants improve the air quality in your new home and they make a house feel like a home.  Vary the height and variety of plants. Try grouping plants near windows. Taller plants such as a Palm or Ficus, Rubber Tree or even a Norfolk Pine in front of a window add drama to your room.  More exotics like Ponytail Palm and Saguaro Cactus are also an option for a sunny corner of your home.

Some low maintenance varieties of house plant with lush green foliage are Philodendron, English Ivy, Arrowhead Vine, Boston Fern and Jade plants.

 

9. Create an outdoor space

Expand the possibilities for outdoor living with a deck, patio, outdoor grill or fireplace —even a full outdoor kitchen.  Discovering the joy of outdoor living adds a new dimension to your new home.

Consult an expert when planning outdoor space.  Consider a location for your patio or deck by deciding what function it’s going to fulfill and at what time of day it will get the most use.

If you plan on using your outdoor space for entertaining, position it near an exterior door that’s close to your kitchen. If it faces west and you plan to entertain in the evening, you’ll need a shade structure like a gazebo, pergola or canopy.

Think function to maximize use of your outdoor space. Planting shade trees nearby will block direct sunlight and extend its use.   If your patio will be adjacent to a pool and serve as a daytime escape, remember, it will heat up, so lighter colored materials are best. Dark colors absorb sunlight and will get too hot. If your stone, tile or cement is too light, it can be blinding and far too reflective for our eyes.  Following a few practical guidelines will make outdoor living a feature of your new home you can’t live without.

 

10. Consider safety for your new home

Fire happens unexpectedly—even in a new home.  Be prepared for kitchen fires with a fire blanket stored conveniently by your stove.  Fire extinguishers are a must in all homes.   Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning effectively and are the best type for your home.  Have an emergency plan in place for family members; a place where your entire family can meet if your home needs to be evacuated.

 

Finally, to make your new home more than just a place to live but a place for you and your family to thrive, be a good neighbor.  These top ten tips can ensure that your new home will be a safe, comfortable place that everyone can enjoy.

 

Sources:

Freshome

The nest

Elle

HGTV

 

From graphic designer to interior designer: Mary Anne Brugnoni of Brugnoni Design

by Donna De Palma

 

Interior designer, Mary Anne Brugnoni, owner of Brugnoni Design, went from graphic designer to interior designer after she redesigned the logo and marketing materials for one of her top clients.

 

“I created a new corporate identity for the accounting firm, DeJoy, Knauf & Blood, ten years ago.  Every time I visited their office, I’d comment on how outdated their lobby was.  The best way I can describe it is shabby 80’s.  The lobby just didn’t reflect what a great company it was.  Finally, one day, my client asked me to redesign the space—and their conference room and employee lounge—to complement the rebranding,” Brugnoni says.

 

According to the designer, it was the most fun she’d ever had on a project.  She consulted one of her clients at a local college, hired a business coach to come up with a plan to achieve her new goal, then headed back to school.  In 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a brand new associate degree in Interior Design, Brugnoni set her sites on kitchen and bath remodeling.  After a two-year stint at a bath and kitchen showroom, she developed enough experience to go solo last year.

 

Self-employed for more than 25 years, Brugnoni has switched from page layout to room layout and space planning, which she says, is one of her favorite aspects of interior design.  “I’m just working on a larger canvas,” Brugnoni says, and her latest kitchen remodel for an 80’s California contemporary, shows her skill and design savvy.

 

The goal of this kitchen remodel was to replace outdated white laminate wood-trimmed cabinets, improve flow and update fixtures.  “This kitchen had great bones.  Picture a cedar ceiling with six skylights.  One-third of the ceiling is vaulted,” Brugnoni says.

 

Existing hardwoods in a warm neutral tone meant this room featured lots of wood. “The challenge was to select wood for new cabinets without feeling as though you were in a houseboat.”  Brugnoni suggested two-toned cabinets with lower cabinets from quartersawn oak to match features in an adjacent family room and creamy white upper cabinets to match the paint color of the kitchen walls.

Brugnoni Kitchen Desk FINAL

She specified different pulls for upper and lower cabinets: dark copper for lower cabinets and a brushed nickel for uppers.  “This kitchen had a ‘Bermuda triangle’ of appliances, three separate pantries, and an existing island that had the wrong dimensions for the room.”  The designer moved the frig into one of the pantries and made the island longer and slimmer to create the impression of a more spacious kitchen.

 

She specified a slate backsplash in grey tones to keep the look contemporary.   The overall neutral color scheme draws attention to granite selections: Yellow Rain granite tops the island with perimeter countertops finished in White Kashmir granite.

 

A curved, brushed nickel faucet by Hamat and deep Blanco sink in cream add organic elements to this modern redesign.  Brugnoni says, faucets are “the jewelry of a room,” and should make a bold design statement.

 

“When selecting hardware or fixtures or any design element, it’s good to ask yourself, do you want a monotone look or are you seeking contrast and the drama that provides.  That will guide your color choices and the materials you choose,” she says.

 

An existing desk in the kitchen was updated with new cabinetry. The designer repurposed a rectangular stool; its seat reclaimed from a vintage 1940’s sewing machine.

 

A door separating the kitchen and dining room was replaced with a pocket door, circa 1930’s, from Historic House Parts in Rochester, New York.  “This find didn’t even need refurbishing, just new hardware. It’s one of my client’s favorite design choices,” “she says.

 

The designer, who’s comfortable making color selections after 25 years as a graphic designer, also likes to prepare drawings for her installers. “It’s always better to have project drawings in front of you, even when laying tile, so there are no questions as to how the finished design should look.”

 

Brugnoni’s design philosophy is simple.  “I like to ensure that the design of your new kitchen or bath will be timeless.  Trends are just that, trends. Good design is a synergy of aesthetic, function and imagination.”

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Contact Brugnoni Design at [email protected], or at 585.264.9964.

 

Karen Waldron of Sensitive Design on “Jazzing up” a townhome on Calm Lake

waldron

By Donna De Palma

For Karen Waldron, interior designer for Sensitive Design—a design firm she founded two years ago—learning about what matters to her clients is job one. “I want to get to know them, what’s important to them.  I want to know what they love in life.  I want to hear their stories.”

Waldron believes that good design means more than just having a beautiful home.  “When you walk into someone’s home, you should feel as if you’re surrounded by the things that are most important to that homeowner,” Waldron says.

When Michael DuPre hired Waldron to “jazz up” his 1500 sq. ft. townhome, he just wanted to replace old kitchen cabinets.  DuPre, a jazz enthusiast who loves bold colors and the city of New Orleans, enjoys entertaining but the layout and decor of his home held him back.

Waldron, who believes in minimal impact design, says, “If something is still beautiful, why toss it in a landfill?”  In that spirit, she consulted with DuPre and decided to start small, selecting a light grey tone for walls as a backdrop for bold color.

Waldron saw there was wasted space in the kitchen.  The open floor plan of the first floor lacked continuity.  The foyer needed a refresher.  According to Waldron, a half wall of wooden spindles in the living room had to go.  The lower level lacked personality and her client’s kitchen needed to be reconfigured to accommodate DuPre’s penchant for entertaining.

Waldron suggested her client replace a peninsula in the kitchen with an island to improve flow.  Now guests can walk around the kitchen without bumping into walls.  She selected a colorful granite countertop with notes of amber, rust and cream, streaked with deep wine red.

To create a cohesive look on the first floor and to reflect the colorful and fun-loving personality of her client, she chose a wine red cork floor throughout. “Cork is a sustainable, easy-to-live-with flooring that provides rich color and texture,” Waldron says.

Her client selected a rectangular charcoal grey sink—made from recycled composite— to offset the bright tones of the room.  Amber glass pendant lights hang above the island to create a warm glow.
To bring the outside in—a view of Calm Lake—Waldron combined cool blues and neutrals in a mosaic backsplash that reflects the water theme.  She plays warm tones against cool for a dynamic color statement.

The homeowner chose custom cherry cabinets and the rich, natural look of hardwood—handmade by Harmut Deeg—with burnished copper pulls to add warmth. A burnished copper faucet finishes the look.

For design inspiration, Waldron headed to the basement where she uncovered a Mardi Gras-themed poster.  References to jazz and New Orleans are sprinkled throughout the home.  A wall sculpture of jazz musicians sits above a reconditioned fireplace.

The designer carried the water theme downstairs to the great room by reclaiming fishing lures—now hung from hooks in the hall— and vintage fishing photos.

“I like to reuse and repurpose old things.  Those “gems” in the basement or attic hold personality. They bring a home to life,” she says.

Waldron, a marathon runner who studied art history, insists that when she enters a home, it speaks to her.  “I have a feeling for what a house needs the moment I step inside. Custom design is a process of discovery; discovering what a homeowner envisions, then sharing your vision with them.”

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