Monday, August 24, 2009

Lovin' the pillows

Oh yes, my home DOES make me smile! Newest project is pillowcases made from quilting fabric. I used an Amy Butler wild floral print and a quieter, leafy print to make two sets of pillowcases for our bed. Our bedroom is a restful space, but a little graphic print peeking out won't hurt a bit.

Picture #1 is the fabric, all ready for sewing, and #2 are the finished result. Lovin' them!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let's color!

Now we're finally up to Step #3 in decorating your space--choosing a color for the walls. While white and ivory are perfectly lovely colors, the majority of us need a little more saturation in our shades. Don't be afraid. Remember that this is a background. Plenty of things are going to go over it, around it, near it. The only caveat that I want to give you is that if you've got a fabulous rug that you're going to use in this room OR if you're going to buy a rug, do it first. It's harder to coordinate a rug to a room than vice versa. Otherwise, let your eyes and your heart join together to choose a color for those walls. Personally, I like my walls to be easy on the eyes, so I choose soft shades. By "soft" I do not mean super-pastels or tints of white. My colors are usually 2 or 3 steps down on the paint chip. Accent walls, if you like them, (and I do, but only one accent wall per house please) can be much bolder.

I find it pleasing to choose colors that have a little bit of a gray undertone. They're more sophisticated and have more depth. I also like the finish of a painted wall to be eggshell, although I know there's a big push out there lately for flat finishes. I like eggshell--there's a tiny bit of sheen and they're easy to clean.

One more thing to remember; when choosing your color, don't be thinking of how you're going to "match" your furnishings and accessories to the wall color. You are NOT going to match things any more. Matching results in a flat, boring look. We want to coordinate, never match. Get on board with that concept and you're halfway there!

Really think about your color of choice. Give the colors you know you'd never want a chance. Somewhere lurking in there could be something fabulous that you might be ready to try after all. Consider shimmery grays, softest tuscan gold (gold with red undertones), yellowy greens, pale greeny yellows, khakis of all kinds. Avoid harsh, bright colors. Look hard outdoors to see what the colors are out there. Then buy those little sample pots that so many paint stores now offer and try them out until you find the one that makes you smile.

The pictures at the top of this post are courtesy of Sherwin Williams--one of my favorite stores. Great quality paint, knowledgeable, friendly staff.

Next, we'll put furniture back in the room.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why do they call these the lazy days of summer?

I don't know about you, but there's no laziness going on around here this summer! Yes, the pace is slower during this season, but at the end things seem to really start picking up steam and it's a struggle to hang onto the peaceful vibe. The fabulous grandboy starts school in two weeks. We need to fit in a few more fun activities to finish things off right. I'll see if preschool movies are still playing at a local cinema today.

In the studio I'm working on a new wool needle felted pillow. This one has fish swimming in a deep blue sea with some oceanic accents. In the September issue of "Martha Stewart Living" there is a big article on needle felting! It's a fairly simplistic view, but a great place to start.
I've also got some lovely pillow cases in the developement stage. They will jazz up any bedroom, either softly or at a higher volume! I like the soft palette in my own bedroom, but the higher volume in the guest room as it's a darker room and can handle it.

We're going to talk about color in the next post that will tackle Step #3 in our decorating journey. The peach picture is to get you thinking about that. What colors! Ben Moore and Sherwin cannot compete with Mother Nature, but we can get a lot of inspiration from her. See the mix of shades that create such beauty and depth? Not one flat shade at all, is it? Layers are at work. Oh, and these peaches, from my local Harris Teeter, are delicious, too!



Monday, August 17, 2009

And you thought decluttering was hard!

Now we're off to step 2 in our redecorating process. It's cleaning! Whoo hoo! Sorry, still not having fun, but this is SUCH an important step. You wonder why your previous efforts haven't given you a space that makes you smile? Preparation, or lack of preparation, can make a big difference. You've gotten rid of all the "stuff" and now you've got to make sure that your underpinnings are spotless. I love old words. Thank you for the opportunity to use "underpinnings." It means the floor, shelving, walls, baseboards, etc, are dusted, washed, vacuumed and lovely.

While you're doing this, give your mind something pleasant to think about. I want you to come up with 3 words that describe how you want your space to look and feel to you. Be honest and use whatever words you want. Warm, cozy, spacious, zen, happy, calm, cool, colorful, restful, stimulating, whimsical, organized, eclectic, artsy, formal, sexy, clean, comfortable and modern are all words to get you started. I like to pick 3. Then, every time you look at something you might want to put in the space, you ask yourself, "is this zen, calm and cozy (or whatever your words are)?" This exercise gives you a lot of guidance along the way. I use it on every room that I do. It keeps me in check. I like everything!

Now go clean while you think about your words.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let's Get Started--with clutter!

Does your home make you smile?
I've got that on the top of my Etsy shop and on the business card for my hand made pillows (pillows! I'll drop in a picture!). I'm spreading the question around because it's the bottom line of good design for the home. If your home doesn't feel good to you, doesn't make you smile when you walk through through the door, then your decorating efforts have missed their mark. Today let's get started on our journey toward good home design. It doesn't have to be a long, hard journey. It can be a lot of fun!

My credentials? I'm a trained and experienced interior designer. My college degree says that I majored in interior design with a minor in art. I have my own design firm, DeCocco Design, and have worked for many years creating all kinds of lovely rooms for all kinds of wonderful clients. I love great design and my home makes me smile.

Discussion #1, I'm sorry to say, is about clutter. If you're ready to really make a change, the clutter needs to go. It helps to be "in the mood" to tackle it, but if that mood never strikes, then just plunge in anyway. Make it easy on yourself if you just can't toss the stuff; get a big box (or boxes, whatever it takes) and ruthlessly walk around the room you're working on and put ALL the little bits and pieces into the box. You don't throw it out--just put it aside in the box. Leave yourself only the furnishings. You'll do some "shopping" out of the box later on, but please try to let go of some of the stuff. You know there are things in there that would thrill someone else at the Goodwill shop.

In these tough, uncertain economic times, we all need to pare down, let go and get refreshed in any way that we can. You'll see that getting rid of clutter and working on your home space will work wonders.

You can do it and it's going to look FABulous! Next we'll talk about color.



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vacation is a very good thing

We're back from vacation and I had a great time. Finally had a chance to go home, see my people and my places and introduce them all to my grandson. He's a wonderful traveller; slept like a log in the hotel, ate like a horse, played hard and, for the most part, acted like a gracious guest.

I came back totally inspired by the amazing architecture and gardens of my area of New England. That would include my sister's town of Falmouth, Maine (the prettiest town in the world), my brother's town of Plaistow, NH (charming, charming and his yard is a masterpiece) and my friend's town of Newburyport, Mass (a town full of history, beauty and fun). I need to find a way to hold on to the feeling that it all gave me. I took very few pictures as I decided that I would focus on taking it in through my eyes, with no other agenda at that moment. Of course you see I took a picture of the lobsters at dinner one day and of some shells in Karen's house. She's my oldest, dearest friend and can decorate with the best of us. Oh, it was all just so good.

I think we all need to take more vacations, don't you?