Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Stylish Solutions For The Family's New Room!

The Family's New Room for Laurie and Don!

The family room, it’s the place where we almost always find the true meaning of home. The space that is even titled after the very people we love most, our family.

As for my clients Laurie and Don, their beautiful families are raised and now have flown the nest. Leaving them with a family room that has always had its architectural problems. They have arranged furniture in countless ways, never really feeling right. The fireplace never functioned properly with smoke drafting into the room not up the chimney. We have two windows and a sliding glass door, the views are spectacular, but the glare bothersome and difficult for viewing television comfortably. The room is also completely open into the eating area and kitchen, great for entertaining and raising a family but not so much for intimate adult gatherings or movie night.

The Design Board, a way to show you how it will  look!
 Set to correct and improve on some of the room’s problems, they came to me for some real solutions, sage advice, and a list of questions to answer.
Make a problem wall a feature wall with a deep paint color and a new use!
Fireplace re-do and color selection was first. Don and Laurie knew what they wanted in a fireplace as far as functionality so a very modern gas insert with a lovely frame was chosen. Then, the surrounding area was given a face lift with marble and granite. A new mantel and the wall above the mantel was the new location for the TV. A warm neutral color for all the walls except one, it was the problem wall. Not big enough for anything and always a problem as to what to put against it as it was open to a staircase that went down to the garage at one end. Instead of trying to make it disappear, I thought to make it an accent feature visually by painting it in a warm Java color.

While Don and Laurie worked on the fireplace and paint I worked on the Design Board. With a footprint of the floor plan and the room’s color cards, I met Laurie and Don at a local retail furniture store. Together we choose furniture that was small in scale but could still seat 6 people comfortably for viewing the TV. We kept one existing leather arm chair and ottoman because it worked with the new fabrics of the sofa and another small print chair. We selected tables and lamps together by email and telephone conversations in front of the computer screen. We even choose the area rug on-line. I had drawn on my plan a beverage credenza for that problem wall (mentioned above) and Laurie found that piece at a close out sale, it worked perfectly and it was exactly what I was envisioning.

Open to the kitchen, smart valances in the drapery fabric marrys the rooms togethr.
 With all these windows, the treatments had to be perfect. It took a couple of house calls to really define the style of drape, the fabric and of course the function. Laurie knew she had to have something for the glare, and I knew we had to control the light and not make the room too dark, so I suggested fabric roller shades in the exact wall color for a seamless look when down. When the shades are up, the views are wonderful and only stationary panels are necessary to give a finished look and to set the styling. I found the perfect fabric, in a similar color of the accent wall, and designed a wonderful Grommet treatment with it. I choose to hang them from modern wood hardware with a nickel metal trim that was repeated in the grommets, lamps and furniture trim. I used the same fabric to fashion smart, streamlined roman valances over the eating area’s sliding glass door and the window over the kitchen sink.
Problem Corner Soved With Drapery Panels
This project took several months and the Design Board went a long way in communicating the anticipated feel of the room when completed. The fireplace, the new TV placement, the window’s glare and light control, the odd problem wall, all of these issues were addressed first and the solutions were beautiful! Don and Laurie love the new family room in their home now. And they are so happy that they worked with a designer/decorator that worked through each step with them in the process!

Draperies Follow American Tradition!

Ethan Allen 4 Poster Bed with Urn Finial
Joan lived in her home for 15 years with the original verticals and mini blinds in the windows. She came to this home with beautiful Ethan Allen traditional mahogany master bedroom furniture, but just couldn’t figure out what would be best to put on the windows to replace the blinds. So riveted in indecision she did nothing! Joan said she tried time and again to look at different styles and try to envision what might look good but she just couldn’t get anything that would also go well with the existing custom made bedding ensemble she purchased when she bought the bedroom set.

She called on me to help her find the best solution to her window dilemma. As Joan was chatting away I was busy absorbing the excellent craftsman ship of her beautiful furniture, the wonderful slate green walls, and the luscious custom bedding in a blue green and red paisley print. Joan even had a fabulous traditional wing back chair in the room to complement the purely American Traditional Styling of the room! So far so good. It was all beautiful but with two large picture windows of metal mini blinds, it seriously ruined the effect!
The Urn Finial
I approached the design of the windows in keeping with tradition….draperies! I removed the blinds and put in Vignette Fabric Shades. These are perfect for older windows, like Joan’s that are not double paned. They act as sound absorbers and give great insulation for warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. They also roll up into a neat little cassette, so they virtually disappear when not in use unlike the blinds that have a stack. I choose a shade color that matched the window casings so they look very natural and do not take the eye away from the window drapery itself.
Robert Allen's Fabric for drapery panels with hand made gathered tab tops!

Joan and I both loved the little red detailing in the bedding that appeared on the edges of the shams and the spread. So I selected a fabric for the drapery panels that had that red and some of the other colors as well. This fabric is a very traditional Robert Allen Jacobean Print and worked perfectly with our bedding. The style of the drapery heading was again in keeping with the style of the furnishings; the 4 little urn finial that topped her 4 poster bed was a perfectly matched with Robert Allen’s Bedpost Collection of wooden hardware. I matched the hardware color and finish to the Ethan Allen furniture to complete the look and give a subtle continuity to the room.
Robert Allen's Bedpost Wooden Hardware...Urn finial a perfect match to the Ethan Allen Urn Finial!

We also brought the same fabric into the adjoining master bathroom as a traditional valance. The large windows in the tub area needed some updating as well, so we put Vignette’s there too!
The Master Bath with Traditional Valance!

Joan was impressed that I took the time and the effort to take into account all of what was already in place…I just picked up where Joan left off, continuing her theme….and finished her master bedroom into a place of complete harmony! Ethan Allen would be proud!

Color Your Home Confidently, The Do's & Don'ts!

Color is such an important part of making a home look and feel great, but it can be a bit scary to make color choices.

But it doesn't have to be. Avoid common mistakes, learn a few tricks, and you'll feel confident about choosing color for your space.

  • Don't choose colors in a paint store. Colors change drastically depending on the light, so they can look very different in your own home. When deciding on colors, make sure to look at them in the space they will be used. Get a sample of paint from the store and use it to paint a large poster board. Then hang it on different walls and live with it for a few days. That should really help you in feeling certain about the color choice.

  • Don't forget the ceiling -- it's the fifth wall. A white ceiling may be the best choice, but don't just leave it white by default. A room looks much more finished when the ceiling is deliberately painted to coordinate and harmonize with the decor. For seamless harmony, add a little of the wall color to the ceiling color paint to give it a tint and a hint of the wall color.

  • Don't ignore accessories. While paint is the most common way to add color, don't forget that incorporating pillows, fabrics, area rugs, and other accessories is a great way to add splashes of color and reflect your personality. Remember the "60-30-10 Rule" of decorating -- 60 percent is the wall color, 30 percent is the furnishings color and 10 percent is the accent color.


  • Do understand the psychology of color. Colors evoke reactions that affect us physically and mentally. When you understand how colors shape your feelings, you can choose ones that help you feel wonderful in your home. When we painted our master bedroom a soft blue after years of beige and green flowered wallpaper, it turned into a calming retreat where we both can relax.

  • Do create flow from room to room. In most homes, you can stand in one room and see into other rooms, so there needs to be a smooth continuity. Not all rooms should be painted the same color, but the colors need to work together. Carry elements of one room into another. The easiest way to do this is to paint the moldings all the same color throughout the home. You also can achieve the same flow by painting the ceilings the same color as well.

  • Do use inspiration. If you have a large piece of furniture or a treasured accessory, let it awaken your color creativity. The background color in a piece of art can become your wall color, a favorite antique can inspire the color for pillows, a lampshade can become the molding color. About 20 years ago I told a friend to paint a wall in her kitchen "delft blue" to match the blue in her china. Years later she moved from that home and it has changed owners twice more. I recently went into that home and there was that same blue wall. As I sat and had a cup of tea with this new homeowner, she asked if I liked the way this blue wall accented her china. Evidently, each homeowner found favor with the delft blue wall and each had china to go with it.

If you are still struggling with choosing a color with confidence contact Toni Berry at Marie Antoinette Interiors for a Color Consultation.  A one hour session will bring you years of satisfaction!
925-862-9064 or Toni@MarieAntoinetteInteriors.com.