Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lighting Choice For The Small Hall In Our New Home


When I last wrote about the lighting in my home I was looking for the right combination of lighting for my Great room. 

As I wrote in my last post I had to think of all the lighting in the main part of the house because you can see it all together as you enter into our home.

Here is a picture of all existing lighting in the room.......

As you can see I have carried out a black and white theme with a touch of antique brass.

I also have to keep in mind the lighting you will see as you enter our home since you can see all the way to the back wall from our entry hall.

In the entry I chose to use the aged brass since I have a piece of art in there that looks best with gold tones. Below is a mock up I did of the entry.


I chose the aged hand rubbed finish because it feels richer to me, and it also has a darkened finish in the crevices which mimic the black that I am using. I also am getting a new picture light in the same finish.

REMEMBER: When using more than one light in the same area and in the same finish try to get it from the same manufacture. All manufacturer's finishes are different so aged brass in one company might be totally different from another company. Both of my fixtures are from Hudson Valley.

Now for the new kid on the block, and where he will reside.....

See that little hall on the left of the TV? 

It is a blank slate, and it needed some attention so I decided I would add a molding frame on the entire back wall and have a hanging fixture hang down low enough to be seen.

I wanted something simple that was blackish and possibly had an addition of the aged brass. It needed to be a certain size, and of course budget was also a concern.

I had several picks to choose from, and narrowed it down to five, here are some of the fixtures I was contemplating in the bottom left corner.

First I picked out what I liked, then reviewed pricing and sizes. The reason I choose what I like first without considering anything else is to make sure I am not swayed at the beginning of my decision.

I will get practical and down to nitty-gritty after I line up my choices.









So there you have the lineup! 

Just for fun which one do you like?  I have my favorites and have it narrowed down to two choices. I will share by final decision in another post.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Effortlessly Styled vs. Contrived Room Designs

 You are about to embark on a study with me in order to determine what is your own comfort zone in a rooms design. 

Does everything have to match, or do you feel more comfortable with a surprise element in the mix?


Obviously planned or calculated; not spontaneous or natural; labored:

In the past I have used the word, “CONTRIVED!” many times when I was consulting with my clients. 

I did not want their rooms to look, too planned, too obvious, too matchy, or  as I like to say, “SMATCHY!!” (definition: where the room matches so much it smacks you in the face!!)

What I did want was a well designed room.  A room that looked like it took time, a process that evolved, easy on the eye, a room with a good visual flow. 

There has to be nothing that is jarring to the eye in a room, but one that will create a smooth flow that the eye will gently move across the room to view it in it’s entirety.

Opposite words for contrived :

This subject opened up to me again as I was in the middle of planning the addition of some new Spring pillows, and an addition of yellow in my  family room.

Since I am a planner I have to go to great efforts in order to make my rooms not look too contrived. I realize there is a level of effortlessness that we all have, and it will vary from person to person.

We all need to find our comfort zone. Some people require symmetry, and everything to match in order to be comfortable in their home. 

However, an effortlessly styled room can be much more interesting  to others.

In my researching of rooms that mixed patterns, and colors beautifully I began to notice there was a definite line that marked an effortlessly styled room vs. a very contrived room.

Today I am going to share with you some of my discoveries. These will be my own observations and opinions on how the rooms made me feel.

I will try to dissect them for you in order for you to understand why I feel they are effortlessly styled, or contrived. However, try to be your own judge, since all of us will have varying opinions.

The object of this lesson is to teach all of you to be more observing about the designs you see and love, or dis-like and to know why.


As lovely as this room is it feels contrived to me. Let me tell you why. 

All of the pillows are repeats, same patterns and same colors, there is no surprise here. 

The rug matches the gray in the pillows, the side table matches the turquoise in the pillows. This is a room that really matches.

To make this more effortless in style I would switch out the turquoise table for a nice big  round log table. 

The rug would be switched to a patterned rug that would introduce one of the main colors, which happens to be blue. 

I would add a large scale pattern pillow to replace one of the striped pillows.

For some this room would be perfect and it is perfect, but that is part of it’s contrived personality, it is too perfect.

.not contrived


You will notice right out of the gate, the patterns in this room are quite varied. 

What is making them all work together well is there common ground in the color of indigo/navy. Not one single pattern is the same, and yet this room has a gentle flow to the eye. You do not jolt from one element to the other.

I will admit there is some thought, planning, and talent that takes place in making a room look effortless in it's styling, but with research, and studying of what you like and don’t like, anyone can do it.
I absolutely love the colors that are being used here, but this is contrived because of the use of the same two colors repeatedly.

The artwork matching the turquoise, and green color scheme is making it look too, “SMATCHY!” 

Something with a scene that had a fresh look to it would have been more interesting.

The window treatment is picking up on the same color as seen in the pillow and the artwork, again a bit too matchy. 

A nice natural light wood tone, matchstick blind would have tied in the armoire, and added some much needed texture, and warmth to this room.
.Not contrived
I wanted to show you this next image because it is only using the same two colors over, and over, navy and turquoise, and yet this room looks effortlessly styled to me. 

So what is the difference between this room, and the last room that I pictured?

The varied patterns in the pillows, the textures in the room. The rough painted beams, beaded chandelier, various sea shells and a touch of shine with the mercury glass, bottles and glass top tables.

All of these varied textures keep this room in the interesting category.
CONTRIVED remove the yellow pillows and only have the yellow in the chairs and one flip flop picture
Another home at the beach! I absolutely LOVE the pattern on the chairs, and the bright cheery yellow fabric on what appears to be a distressed wooden chair. The nail-head trim adds another bit of interest and texture to the room.

This room has a yellow rug, yellow chairs, yellow trim on banquette, yellow pillow, and then another pop of yellow in the flip-flop art.

My eye is jumping from one yellow piece to the other.

Now picture the room without that yellow pillow, and in its place another indigo/navy pillow in a different pattern but still in keeping with the blue and white.

I would take away the yellow napkins, and blue dishes, and use white dishes and a soft linen napkin in a blue and white tiny stripe. In my opinion these changes would make the room look less contrived and more effortlessly styled.
I would imagine by now you recognize this room as feeling contrived to me. Again, love the colors, but my eye is jolting around the room to pick up the yellow and cobalt elements.

The wood accents are a great choice because they give a nice warmth and texture to this room. 

The other smart choice was to vary the blue in the base of the little breakfast bar area. 

If they had not put the yellow dishes in the glass front cupboard, but kept them in the blue and white family this room would have had much more of a smooth visual flow. The yellow plates in the cupboard make my eye jolt over there instead of going around the room easily.

When using a bright, dark or contrasting colors in your room designs make sure that they are placed in strategic areas in the room in order to make a nice visual flow. 

If you find your eye hopping from one colorful element to the next you then will know you do not have an effortlessly styled room, but one that just might feel a bit contrived.

This post was not a post to be critical of any one person’s design or their choices, but rather a lesson in observation.

Design is an ever changing, vast subject, and one that we can always learn something new from. 

I hope that this post opens your eyes to new possibilities and you start viewing your home or any new projects with an open mind.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

2017 Easter Table Plans

  Domino for Easter custom of your BUNNY by DIMDI Original watercolour by dimdi, $38.00:

To say I love this time of year is an understatement. I seem to thrive this time of year. All the things that inspire me seem to be surrounding me. Colors, weather, flowers, birds, blue skies. Love it all.

Easter is only 4 weeks away and it just dawned on me the other day I had better get going on my plans.

 black and white for Easter:

Throughout the year I make myself a pinboard for the upcoming holidays and when I see something I like, I pin it. Eventually a pattern starts to emerge and this year was no exception.

Like most years it is usually color that catches my eye first and then I go from there. This year it was pretty simple and straight forward.


I know these are not your typical Easter colors, however these are the two main colors I always seem to enjoy working with. In fact last years table was black and white with pink.........

Another year I did black and white spotted feathers with soft blue.....

It is easy for me to incorporate black and white into my table designs since it is at the base of my home design.

Once I establish color then I starting pinning ideas that I like in that color scheme.

rabbit painting- Bunnies- watercolor animal print:

When deciding on my color scheme I like to keep it fairly tight so it won't get too busy on the eye.

I also keep that in mind when I decide on the elements I am using.

 I like to have words, or a special phrase in my over all design as well, and this one caught my eye.

 This also spoke to me.  

Black and white stripes, white tulips and little spotted feathers, plus pussy willow branches. This is starting to all come together in my mind. Can you see where I am going?

 Sweet little paper pockets to hold silverware.

Since I tend to like simplicity this arrangement was very appealing to me.

This is another fun way to incorporate the pussy willows.

I pull together the different ideas to see which direction I would like to go, and it helps me narrow down ideas and elements.

Sometimes our minds can get carried away with excitement. By lining up the ideas in a collage I can see which one's work and which one's don't quite fit in the mix.



Once I have done all this my plan is flexible according to if I am able to find the different elements I plan on using.

Here is my over all plan........

Colors: Black and white and soft brown as in the pussy willows and parchment paper.

Elements: Bunnies, pussy willows, eggs, feathers .

Patterns: Stripes or maybe large buffalo check. Still not quite sure which table cloth I will be using.

So there you have it, my over all plan and how I come about with a plan every year. Now the real fun begins, creating it.

Progress: The pussy willows have been ordered and the sweet bunny print.