Being featured on other peoples' blogs is always an honor. Here are a couple of places you can find us...Read More
Our Thoughts on All Things Home
We enjoy taking opportunities to share our design insights and advice at little or no charge to consumers. Some of our recent speaking engagements have been very rewarding.Read More
It can be difficult to decide whether you should go with current trends or abiding classics when choosing renovation finishes. We weigh in...Read More
The current real estate climate in the Arlington/Somerville/Winchester/Lexington/Cambridge/Belmont area in which we generally work has really compelled us to expand our Home Staging offerings--based on repeated requests from realtors.Read More
Selecting exterior house paint color is one of the trickiest jobs around. The factors of scale, sunlight and setting all affect the look of exterior paints...Read More
The principle of establishing creative constraints is fundamental to our success in giving clients functional, beautiful rooms. Before we begin any "creative" work, we figure out the boundaries of the project. We want to know every limit of the job and have learned over the years that the more there are, the more creative we can and must be.Read More
Styling our client's built-in proved trickier than we would have originally predicted, but we got some good take-aways from the experience...Read More
It is remarkable the difference optimally placed furniture can make to the presentation of a home. For sale, in particular, it is very important to have walkways accessible -- that includes entryways into rooms.Read More
Over the span of 6 months we worked with this client to recraft the downstairs of her graceful neo-colonial home. What started with a redesign session ended with install of new furniture and custom drapery.Read More
One of our current projects is serving as consultants on a low-budget kitchen remodel. Our client and her husband want to use as much of their existing items as possible, and plan to do all of the work themselves. She has hired us to give feedback and guidance on her design plan.Read More
Our client had many great ideas for how the room could be used: reading, playing games, Web surfing, studying and relaxing. After looking around her house, we realized many of those activities were already taking place in other areas. Rather than try to design the library so that it could accomodate all these functions, we worked with her to enhance the usage of the spaces in the home that were already serving these needs.
For instance, there was already a computer at a desk in the kitchen. We interviewed all family members to see how that area might better meet each of their technology needs. One person wanted a more comfortable chair; another needed access to a printer; a third offered to add their laptop to the computing area. This great collaboration alleviated the need for a computer in the library.
Ideally, we would have the library be a cozy, intimate room for reading and relaxing. By incoporating everyone's voice into the process, it was a way to figure out how to achieve this, and how to rejuvenate the other spaces in the house for their originally envisioned function.
When taking furniture from an old house to a new house, the urge is to keep furniture, art and accessories in their previous groupings. By nature, we get locked into thinking about our furnishings "going together" in a certain way. Moving into a new space is an opportunity to mix things up--and, quite honestly, it's also a mandate to mix things up. Reality is that your current arrangement of furnishings likely will not continue to work in new rooms of different shape and geographic orientation.
Here are three simple steps to establishing a great look in your new place with all the same, old stuff:
1. For each room, determine it's optimal function for your family (ignore how the space was being used by the previous owners).
2. Look at each piece of your furniture, art and decorative accessory as a stand-alone item. Forget about how or where it was used in your previous space. Make no assumptions about how it should be used in your new space.
3. Clearly determined room functionality + innovative use of available furnishings=great new spaces. Combine your items to support your new ways of living in your new space.
One very important side-note: color scheme. In a previous post we talked about determining your color scheme. Starting off fresh in a new space is the perfect opportunity to assert your color scheme throughout all your rooms. Be selective about which of your art and decorative accessories you use. And never let the previous tenant's color choices determine your color scheme! Painting a room is relatively fast and inexpensive, so paint over wall colors that aren't perfect for you. Rather than "working around" existing carpets or wallpaper in the new space that don't support your color scheme, remove them. Although doing this work may mean spending some extra dollars during the move, using the previous tenant's choices of these key visual items can completely derail your decorating process and prevent your new space from feeling like the great new home you want it to be. And, remember: paint and elbow grease are much cheaper than buying new things!
With interior redecorating and decorating, frequently our clients have a cohesive color scheme buried deep within many, many colors at use in their home. To figure out which 3 or 4 colors will become the main scheme, we do some investigating. Which piece of art do they just love? Is there a pillowcase, napkin, or even a shirt, they're drawn to? Are any of their wall colors painted in a color they chose and like?
Usually a theme starts to emerge. There are a handful of main color schemes we run across again and again: sea colors (green/blue/white/grey/tan), neutrals (beige, white, grey, black, silver), earth tones (red, brown, yellow, orange) and brights (pink, yellow, lime, purple, teal, red). Do you know which group makes you feel great? This is YOUR color scheme!
So, down to the work of "unifying" it within your home. First, edit out the items that do not reinforce your color scheme. If you are squarely in the earth tones, take the aqua and the purple quilted pillow off your sofa! The fun thing about working in a client's house (versus staging, where we often bring in the color scheme through our own accessories) is the process of discovering everything that comes out of closets and basements in support of the color scheme. And every time, we hear "I'm so glad to have this [insert name of treasured item here] out--I just love this and never knew what to do with it!"
Weaving the colors throughout your house will give you a cohesive look. If there are 3 or 4 main colors we're working with, we "up the levels" of each color in a different way in each room. For instance, if we're working with a sea palette of green, white, blue and tan, we might accessories intensively with blue in the kitchen, then work with both blue and green in the dining room, and combine all the colors in the living room. This gives each room a unique character, while keeping the color scheme consistent and easy to look at throughout the house. (See photos below for example of how to alter color levels within different rooms of the same home.)
This strategy is effective with paint colors, as well. If you are someone who is drawn to color on the walls, restrict yourself to a range of complimentary colors within your palette and thread them throughout your house. It's about commitment and faith in the fabulousness of the end result--as much as you may love red, if you want a serene interior and you are working with sea tones, resist the urge to paint your half-bath red!
Also, choose which way to go with wall colors--either use your walls to express your color scheme, and keep furnishings and accessories neutral (white, off white, brown, black) or paint walls in light, neutral tones that support the furnishings and accessories in your color scheme.