Monday, June 11, 2012

The Hospitable Home, for everyone

I hate the term Man Cave.  For the record, I am not a fan of Play Room either.

I firmly believe that every inch of every house should be used by every member of that household.

A Living Room should be just that.... you should live in it.  Get rid of fussy furniture, plastic coverings, things to precious to be lived with.....I have a velvet sofa.  I also have a Boston Terrier, two cats, a 7 year old, a 9 year old and husband with size 13 feet.  Guess what?  We have Family Pizza - Watch Wipe Out Night in the Living Room, with the velvet sofa.  Ever heard of Scotch Guard?  Make it your friend.

 Everything has its own place.  Toys can come out into the Living Room.  When Grown Ups come over, toys get packed up into their Container Store holders and go back into the children's' closets.  I have great art work on my walls (not much touches that height) but Gran's fine breakables were packed away while the kids were toddling.  I have silk draperies..... I taught my kids not to swing from them.

A friend once told me that if I never take my children out to nice dinners, they will never know how to behave in a nice restaurant.  Guess what?  She was right.  Children rise to expectations.  They have their rooms, the backyard and plenty of playtime at parks.  Kitchens are GREAT spaces for playing.... especially if you have family friendly floors, like Pergo, tile, hardwood... pretty much anything beside wall to wall!

Now if your husband insists on hanging up hockey jerseys and erecting a shrine to Ovechkin, there is not much I can do to help you with that.... unless you too are an Ovie Fan!

Just remember that a home should be that to everyone who dwells in it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fashion Forward

So I have touched on this subject before, I think I can further extrapolate.  Fashion and decor can really go hand in hand.  There are trends in decorating just like there are on the runway.

More importantly, your fashion sense can be mined to decorate your home.  Are you an Anthropologie fan?  You probably lean toward vintage and quirky.  Think about combing junk stores for old postcards; group them together in either separate frames or just pin them to a fabric board.  Voila - instant interesting art.

A little more modernist?  How is this for avant garde.... buy several different size black frames.  Cluster them on the wall but do not frame anything.  Existential chic.

Lean toward Hautey?  Mount in the center of a mirror a black and white photo... of your grandmother, your wedding day, a family pet.  The black and white photo lends the traditional elegance, while the mirror gives a nod to creative whimsy.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Someone recently asked me for top tips for decorating on a budget.... ask and you SHALL receive!

(1) Change the hardware.  Pulls, knobs, levers, cabinets..... update an old dresser with "crystal" knobs from World Market.  Improve your kitchen cabinets with wrought iron pulls from Lowes.

(2) Paint.  Paint your porch ceiling Sky Blue.  Paint the back of your book shelf Chartreuse.  Paint your old Ikea dresser black and add green glass knobs.  Pick up the brush and get going!

(3) Reuse.  My favorite candle holders are blue and white porcelain tequila bottles.  Really.  I've taken really decorative frames, with awful 'artwork" in them and used them with mirrors.  Pretty ribbons make great napkin rings.  Cheap fun cocktail rings  or bracelets work too!!!!

(4) Paint (#2. Again) the inside of your lampshades gold.  Or red.  Or black.

(5) Can't afford a new sofa?  Bet you can buy new pillows for the whole living room without breaking the bank.  Buy three different patterns in the same color family and dispense them throughout your living room.  Target has a great pillows as does World Market and Home Goods.

(6)  Make a BIG impact at Christmas buy using the same color scheme throughout.  Silver decorations on the tree, silver balls as a centerpiece, silver tinsel wrapped around your napkins for the holiday dinner.

(7) Bring the outdoors in.  Want a pretty table?  Down the center of your dining room table, line up plain old terra cotta pots of herbs.  On each plate, lay a sprig of an herb.  I like alternating basil and rosemary.

(8) Make a Focus Wall of photos.  Use with all Black & Whites or Color and make sure you use the same color frames for all (all Gold, all black, etc).

(9) Line the back of a bookcase, built in or not, with vibrant wallpaper.  Ask your local design shop for discontinued books.  Many motifs are carried in different colors; use  a different color of the same paper for each shelf.

(10)  Redesign, without spending a dime.  Take everything out of the room.  Everything.  Slowly, bring it back in.  Try that chair in a different corner.  Maybe you never needed that table at all.  Sometimes, the best design comes from the best editing.

Bon Chance!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I like nothing better than mixing high and low.  Ask my dear friend Michele, who tolerates my stories of bargain hunting at both Goodwill and Neimans!

Today I showed Michele as great looking coffee table that I am GIVING AWAY.... it was originally a bench to a dining table but I thought it made a svelte coffee table.  Michele is looking for something more modern.  My suggestion?  Have a piece of mirror cut to fit the top.  High - expensive looking reflective surface.  Low - seating bench come coffee table.

If you think outside the big (Pottery Barn) box, you will surprise yourself.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey Ladies!  Not being exclusionary or sexist.... just a little nostalgic shout out to MCA.

Ok, moving right along.... Well!  Haven't things transpired!  We have sold our 1950s rambler in suburbia and have purchased a 1910 Wardman Rowhouse in Mount Pleasant Washington DC.  The times, they are a changing'!

While the new home is pretty much in turn key shape, of course we want to put our own personal touch on it.  Please tune in frequently as we update you on wallpaper, paint and fabric choices!  Here's a little hint.... we LOVE Thibaut!  Did you know they now make furniture???  Speaking of furniture, DC Dwellers, have you checked out Nadeau????  This ultra hip store with a soul sells fab furniture at great prices.... I liken it to the Anthropology of furniture stores!

So now I have to jaunt off and Pinterest a few more items.... check out Kravet fabrics, Thibaut wallpapers and of course, always, Benjamin Moore Paint!

Catch you later!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A new leaf, or paint, or wallpaper....

Radio Free America!  We are Back!

Yes, HGD took a little hiatus (did you notice????).  Here's what happened in the meantime....

We've joined the newest century!  Yes, the iMac from 2002 was turned in and a sporty new MacBook Pro was returned to us.  This means better service for you, as we can now pull up web pages, drafts, paint colors, etc, on our laptop.

Also, we have familiarized ourselves with a few new looks from across the pond.  One idea in particular that stuck out.... looking for a way to make a bold statement in a small space?  Paint the walls a striking color (think chartreuse) and wallpaper the ceiling.  Other ideas?  Ask your grandmother for help with this one.... have a wet bar?  Decoupage the backsplash with coasters from your favorite pub (Gran will know what decoupage means).  Also, we LOVE wood.  Forget about granite in your kitchen..... go for rustic pine with a high gloss varnish.  Last May, when I added on to my own home, I installed hard wood floors in the BATHROOM.  That's right..... the humid, wet, bathroom.  Been in a Victorian lately?  Chances are that house has wood floors in both the kitchen and the baths.  It can be done.  As long as you are not keeping a harp seal in your tub, your floors should be fine.  And extending hardwoods throughout your whole home makes the footage appear more expansive.

Now, we're off to New Orleans, a virtual American Mecca of style and good decorative taste!  We will report back soon!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Shop around

HGTV has done quite a fine job of educating people on how to decorate on a shoestring.

Do you ever wonder where they find all those great buys?  Certainly, Home Goods has been recently anointed the industry favorite for finding inexpensive decor items.  However, you never know where you might find great goods or just inspiration.

Pier 1 and World Market are still major players when it comes to affordable decor.

Don't dismiss Target.  While their Home Goods section leans toward trendy, at Target prices, why not pick up a few fun things that you can replace in a couple of seasons?  A recent great find at Target?  Really well made funky throw pillows.  Always read those circulars; Target likes to move its inventory, so they slash prices frequently.

Like to shop on line? has just about everything.

A little secret?  I have found great looking dinnerware at Wal-Mart.

I always tout GoodWill, especially if you live in an area, like D.C., where people are constantly coming and going.

I am also a big fan of consignment shops and while I haven't used Craigslist personally, I know plenty of people who have and love it.

Another overlooked gem is Tuesday Morning, which really stocks everything from gift paper to furniture.

Now get out there and get shopping!