Homework Friendly Space

Homework is no joke these days! At a recent Back-To-School-Night, my son’s chemistry teacher said the kids should expect an hour of homework every night. I’m sorry…say what? That’s one class out of 7 and some kids are in sports or clubs with practice and activities every day. I remember a similar night for one of my kid’s teachers in elementary school where a parent was asking why they didn’t have homework. Um…because they’re in first grade. Duh! Once the homework years roll in, there’s a lot of it and it’s best to get in some good habits early.

Finding or creating the perfect spot to do homework is easy but keeping that space clutter free can be the challenge. By easy I mean people have natural places they go to that’s comfortable or inviting, where they can be productive. For some it’s in the hub of the household – a kitchen table or the central island. For others (like myself) it’s a bright but quiet desk area.

Having bins or drawers or shelves near a favorite site for studying helps keep tools, papers and books handy. Being able to put everything away neatly and easily helps keep people like me sane. This article in Houzz has some fantastic ideas. My favorite is the sneaky shelf hidden under the kitchen island top. So clever!

If you have any great study spots, share them with us. We always like to see and learn new ideas.

Cozy Gifts for Anyone on Your List

Holidays are filled with seasonal music, seasonal scents, seasonal sights and typically a seasonal credit card bill. Shopping for family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and host gifts to take to all the parties can get extremely expensive! And in a season of Marie Kondo teaching everyone to purge, gifts need to be useful or meaningful.

I love this article from Houzz with recommendations on cozy gift ideas. The best part about this list is that the recipients will feel pampered while receiving some lovely upgrades to their home environment.

 

I also found this other fantastic list of gifts under $20 that work for a variety of people in your life:   https://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/holidays/cheap-stocking-stuffers

Wishing you and your family a relaxing and joyful holiday season!

 

Gray, Gray and More Gray

I love it when I’m right! Nothing like having your design sense affirmed by a bunch of other professionals. Check out this article and the favorite grays used by interior designers.

#1 is my all time favorite and go-to gray. Ask any of my clients. Even the name Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams sounds inviting. As if that wasn’t enough, the list goes on to include my other top choices…#3, #5 and #8.

 

Gray paint on your walls adds a nice warmth and neutrality most spaces need. And the options today are endless. Stick with one of the grays listed in this article and you can’t go wrong.

Guest Rooms They’ll Never Want To Leave

Okay, maybe that’s not actually a good thing! My uncle once told me that 3 days should be your max stay when visiting someone. “Company is like fish. After 3 days they start to stink.” So if that’s your philosophy, then you don’t need to bother with this article.

Personally, I love to make sure my guests feel comfortable and welcome. Probably because this is how I want to feel when staying away from home. I also hate to bother my hosts with little needs like a fan or a hair dryer or an extra blanket. Makes me seem high-maintenance, which I might be, but nobody else needs to know that!

My favorite takeaway from this article in Houzz is the carafe of water! I’m always dehydrated from travel and this is such a thoughtful touch. And the full-length mirror would be super helpful. I’d suggest some fresh flowers to brighten the room, too. Check out some of the other great ideas that will make your guests feel well taken care of…

 

What Is A Vignette?

And No, it’s not something you put on salad… A vignette is just a fancy term for what I like to call a “Moment”. I’m sure that really clears things up! As I walk through a client’s house I’m always quick to say “I love this moment you’ve created here” as I wave my hand over some table or mantle or chair. They typically look very confused. I assure them it’s a compliment.

A vignette is a variety of items placed together to create a focal point or an area of visual interest. The items are different in nature and size and scale and texture and purpose. But when put together in a grouping they compliment each other to create an interesting visual moment. There’s that word again…

If you’re interested in creating a vignette in your own space, check out this article with the ABC’s of how to pull it off.

Nursery Ideas

This article from HGTV is full of the best, most calming nursery designs. I’ve always thought it strange to have a nursery made to be so girl or boy specific. What if you have more than one pregnancy? What if the ultrasound technician was wrong? What if you have twins or triplets?

I’ve always been a fan of the more neutral nursery…the grays, the khakis, the whites, the creams…such soothing palettes. Most time spent in a nursery is relaxing, napping, nursing, sleeping, reading, rocking or sleeping time for a baby. Active play areas can have more vibrant and excitable colors.

Whether you’re intentionally trying to create a gender-neutral space or a simply tranquil room, your baby (or babies) will enjoy a calming nursery design! Check out some of these nursery inspirations

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Dorm Room Contests

Wait…is this really a thing??? Had I known there was potentially prize money and bragging rights, I would have pushed my daughter to take her dorm room design to the next level!

Some of the ideas in this article are very creative and inspiring. While other ideas make no sense to me. Why would I put astro-turf on the wall next to my bed? Ouch! Some of the rooms had me wondering whether or not these people had a roommate to blend their style with.

While sharing a small room with another person is challenging, you also need to make sure there’s a place for all of your stuff. Then an even bigger challenge is having appropriate storage that keeps all functional items out of sight. This becomes essential when you have a student trying to create a calm, relaxing, zen-like space. Clutter becomes chaos pretty quickly especially in a dorm room that functions as your bedroom, living room, dining room, study room and closet all-in-one!

While there’s a lot of hoopla surrounding decked out dorm rooms, the most important factor is that your student feels comfortable. I tried to steer my daughter away from an all white comforter, but that was the crisp, clean vibe she was going for. The good news is that she knows how to use a laundry machine.

Cheers to a great school year! Go Dukes!

 

Appearing Bigger is always Better

Quite often a challenge arises when a room is much smaller than the client’s vision for the space. A client sees enough comfortable seating for visiting family and friends while a designer sees all the physical parameters including window walls, a fireplace, 2 doorways entering the room, etc.  This is where the right furniture and finishes make a huge difference in helping a room feel larger than it is.

Designers use lots of “tricks” to achieve certain goals within a space. This article gives some great suggestions to keep in mind if you’ve got a tight space you’re working with.

Along with painting ceilings Bright White, I use #5 and #10 regularly. These are some of my best kept secrets!

 

Secrets for a Brilliant Bedroom

Some bedrooms are sprawling with a few distinct spaces within. Many of us would love a cozy reading area in front of a fireplace and a writing desk in front of a large window in addition to a separate area with a big fluffy bed for sleeping. While others prefer a cozy room that is a relaxing retreat for sleeping only.

Whichever type of space you prefer, this article offers excellent ideas for your bedroom design. Idea #8 is a trick I use all the time as it adds visual cohesiveness to a room or even a house.

 

Where To Splurge in Home Decor

My clients are forever asking where they should save money and where they should splurge when designing their home. My #1 answer…drum roll please…is splurge on your furniture! This is where you sit, you sleep, you work, you eat. These are the items you use daily. They need to be high quality, durable and comfortable. As a Designer I’m going to want them to be attractive, too!

I’m also big on lighting because it’s functional but can take on the form of art within a space. Lighting sets moods, conveys styles and adds depth to a room. So we splurge here, too.

This article gives a great picture of common places to splurge versus save when designing your space.