Understanding Your Dream Home
You hear the term often enough, and you may even think you understand it: Dream Home. It's something highly sought out, and not just for the extremely wealthy. Every class seeks to have a piece of paradise, a home to be proud of, and a refuge. What is a dream home for you truly? What do you need in a home? What makes a home easier for your lifestyle? Does it reflect you and your family? Just take a deeper look at your current living preferences, and you'll be able to answer all of these questions!
YOUR Dream Home: Whether you're building a home, remodeling, seeking out the perfect humble abode, or redecorating there is a way to understand what you need in every room. Ask yourself simple questions. Start with your Entry, you walk into your home and what's the first thing you want to see? A table where you can put the car keys? The laundry room, where you can kick off your dirty shoes or shrug off that stained jacket? Write down your traffic pattern. Next, the Mudroom. The Mudroom/ Laundry Room is an important part of any home. Laundry is a must in homes, and in order to obtain a healthy and happy family, make sure you have the space needed to do everyones dirty clothes. The Kitchen, and heart of the home, is it enough to have all of your regular cookware out? Is it enough to prep for those big Thanksgiving dinners? Is the sink deep enough? How old are the appliances? The Living Room and Family Rooms are also a big part of a regular family lifestyle. How many people can you fit in this room? Will the flooring ware well? How much natural lighting does the room have? Is it easy to access? The Bedrooms and the Master: in a room where you will be spending a lot of time, make sure it can reflect you easily. Is the room layout pleasant to look at? Is there a nice view? Can your bed fit in here comfortably? Is the bathroom easy to access from here? Now, blindfold yourself or close your eyes. Can you still easily access the bathroom? Next step, the Office! This room is very important, whether you're a child or adult. Doing homework or bringing home work is usually no fun. So, you'll want a room with plenty of natural lighting, a nice space. And when it comes down to finishes, you'll want your office to feel light and clean. So that your thoughts may roam freely. Finally, the Bathroom a regularly looked over piece of the home until you've actually moved in. But, wait! Take a seat, literally! Is the toilet comfortable? Could you reach everything you would need while sitting on the throne? Is there enough storage (for towels, shampoo's, lotions, makeup..etc)? Remind yourself, "Yes, I am being picky. Yes, it is worth it!" Your home is just that, a home! It should be a place where you can relax and not have to add chores to your list every day because the layout is terrible. Learn to seek for what you know and love.
YOUR Family and YOUR Style: This is quite simple. Take into consideration the things you own now, and the things you know you will soon own. Write them down as you either rearrange, home seek or remodel. Ask yourself, "Where can I put this object that I love?" "Why do I love it?" If you can answer those two questions you will be able to understand why that piece works in your home. Remember to pick things that your family loves also! Only choose things you can use. Decoration will get old.
See the photos below for help on building or choosing your dream home!
Upon growing up my mother took me and my siblings to church every Sunday, alone. Growing up without my father attending church was confusing to me. "Why would someone not want to worship God on a day of rest?" I often pondered. It wasn't until later that I learned that my father had no religion, even though he believed in God and supported our beliefs, and because of this, put a slow and steady strain on my mothers eagerness to attend church. By the time I was in my teens I had monthly church magazines arriving, from my mothers parents, for me. They were to help me build my personal testimony, and in hopes I would never feel alone attending church. Which they did quite well. I read an article one summer day with a question that still sticks with me, it went along the lines of, "If a non-member was to walk into your home or bedroom, would they know your beliefs?" Essentially the question posed, did I represent my faith in my room, either through: art, books, posters, and/or simply my actions? I decided to make the change.
As a member of a Christian faith, specifically The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are known for overloading our homes with posters, memorization charts for youth, statues and plenty of temple and church-like photos. It's great feeling, even if you have no religion, to walk into an environment and feel welcome. Art and warm smiles always accomplish this feeling for me and my family. Listed below are tips and tricks on showing off your faith, in style, and in hopes that those that you welcome into your home, will feel at home.
Less Can Be More. Like previously stated having multiple photos in the same area, can be overwhelming. A great way to show off your religion, in a room, is through small art. The example listed below shows a framed quote from the Bible. Another way to make a settle statement, is hanging up art that speaks to you. Being LDS, we believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ created all things and in that: talents. Art is a talent, if something speaks to you or your family member and it looks great, find a way to incorporate it into your space!
Statues: Many faiths have statues, and of those that they idolize and/or worship. The example below is of the Christus, which is displayed in the Salt Lake City visiting center, only the actual statue is 10.5' and the replicas you can purchase only run about 15" tall. Nevertheless, display whatever statue that represents your faith in a safe spot. Somewhere your guests can admire the craftsmanship that took place and possibly ask you what your statue represents.
Reuse. You have probably seen this before, but lets take reusing church art and stained glass to a new level. Take out your standard window and have this old, beautiful art piece put in! If that's outside your budget, consider this: weld two strong and narrow chains to your glass and hang it in your home. Not only are you giving this piece another life, but it will be a conversation starter and a great way to add antiques to your home.
Displaying Family Photos: A classic way of showing off your religion, through a very discreet way is hanging up or displaying family photos. To become like a pro, spray paint or purchase frames of the same color or hue. If you want to go one step further, turning your photos into black and whites adds a timeless touch to any photograph and is sure to be adored for ages.
Appreciate the Outdoors. If you're building a new home or remodeling try adding large windows into your space. Because, if God created us, he created the world we live in. Everything is his, so take time to appreciate it. Simply put, wherever you live, find the time to enjoy the outdoors.
When you're finished with redecorating your space, take a step back. Does it represent you? Does it resemble what you believe in, and who you believe in? Does it make you smile, or possibly tear up? Can you feel the joy and peace that it brings to your home? If so, bravo. Your home shows off your religion, and in doing so it shows off a part of who you are.
Black & White
A friend once told me to never wear black with brown. Still to this day I find this perfectly acceptable. Depending on shades, black and brown can look extremely classy together. However, what will forever remain a classic look in the world’s eyes is black and white paired together. We can trace the trend back to the early Egyptians, then a reappearance in the Art Deco period, and now in the 21st century we are finding ourselves gravitating towards clean lines, bold design and drastic color. Listed below are a few simple ideas on how to incorporate this trend into your home.
Bold Stripes. By adding thick stripes into your home you create the illusion of a wider space. In addition the black and white combination is both playful and modern. A great way to accessorize your new walls is with a black or white frame and large white matte board surrounding your favorite photo or art piece.
Eating Habits. Create the appearance of a clean dinning room or kitchen with a white surface and black chairs. Before purchasing new counters, test them with mustard and wine to ensure that once you wipe it off the counter a stain isn’t left behind. When you discover this wonderful countertop, or table, you will discover that fewer messes are left behind. With your white surfaces, black chairs deliver a great pop of contrast. If you are afraid of messy children ruining your nice countertop, or table: the opposite can be accomplished as well with a dark or black wood table or stone countertop with white chairs. This time ensure your chairs are easy to wipe off or throw in the laundry!
Pillows. Any design trend nowadays can be done on a budget through the smart use of pillows. One of the things you need to consider about pillows is the interior filling. When purchasing pillows you are paying for: fabric, stitching and the interior filling. Many of us like down inserts; however, at my household we have nothing with down feathers, due to my husband’s allergies. Remember through any designing you do throughout your home, guests will eventually enter, be guest conscious. Think of allergies, of the elderly and of children. The next step is picking the fabric. Make sure – if you already have the walls painted black or white- that the pillow fabric you choose is the same shade. Take a sample of the fabric home to compare for the best results.
Art. This is easy. Find art, any style, with any additional colors, and just make sure the main colors in the art are black and/or white. Hang it up where your guest can admire it and you are already a trendsetter.
The Perfect Roof
As an Interior Designer you are asked quite frequently about your professional opinion on the aesthetics. “How do you think it will look?” If you’re choosing a new roof for your new or existing home, aesthetics are important, but so too are the material’s cost, weight, how it will wear, and installation requirements. Having personally installed a roof I did a bit more research to make sure that everything was taken into consideration.
The opportunity we had with this new home was to acquire a new roof. The options were not endless, however. We had approximately twenty choices, of the same material in the same monochromatic color schemes for every shade available. If this is the case with you and your homebuilder see it as a challenge to paint a prettier picture. Pick a neutral roof; this will give you the most options. Then decide what you and your family’s personality reflects. Listed below are a few examples, and pictures of the options I gave my client for their selection.
Classy: White and pastels or black. If you are a classic, you probably tend to invite your friends and family over quite frequently. Your dinners are also probably not your casual outdoors barbeque. So, accent your home with your elegant style with a bright off white and settle colors. Black will make your home pop, in the best way possible. Similar to how candles lit on a table. Pastels will give your home a softer feel, more delicate; like a fancy Easter Dinner.
Spontaneous & Fun: Colors with a neutral roof! You are crazy, and your family and friends for the most part love that about you. So show off your spunky personality with your homes exterior. In the option listed below a fun combination of reds and oranges are chosen. If you decide to paint your home, try to base the color pallet off of something you would see in nature. An example being, a colorful picture of the ocean has many blues, greens and light beiges.
World Traveler & Traveler at Heart: If you earn to see the world, a classic and settle home exterior is for you! The beauty about homes, is that they are different everywhere you turn. But no matter where you go nature is sure to be found. In option three below a beautiful home looks like it could be located in a variety of destinations. The key, all the lush greenery! Plant multiple topiaries and keep up on their shape for your home to come together magnificently.
Foodies Unite: If you are like my family, good food is extremely important; and who knows good food better than the Italians and Spanish! The key to putting together this home is to create a warm feel. You will need pastel accents, rich colored trim, and outdoor lighting. In the option four listed below, you will see a rich gold/mustard color is used on the home in order to accomplish a true homey feel.
Beach Lovers: You know where your heart is at, and it’s located within a few feet of the ocean! A coastal home is simple you’re in luck! In order to accomplish this home you need accents of blues and whites. That’s it. Choose where you would love to put them, you can’t really go wrong!
Placement Is Key
A few days ago I found myself thinking, “Placement is everything!” Why? As a temporary Barista, I had accidentally burnt my hand with 250-degree water. I will admit that I am a clumsy individual, but never have I caused a serious injury to myself. I had traded shifts with another employee who decided to move the banana basket under the water, and there appeared to be enough room for my cup. However, upon taking my full cup of water out for my customer the banana stem had caught the bottom of the cup, causing the hot water to spill over a good chunk of my hand.
Now I don’t blame my co-worker. In fact, I blame the previous Architect or Interior Designer, who had built that “Coffee Shop” as a gift shop, and that’s it. The space was not designed to hold multiple machines, water lines and excessive amounts of coffee. If they had previously thought about making the space a coffee shop, then this individual simply had not thought things through. So today, we will talk about the importance of placement, for all objects. Everything in your home should have a designated place. Your “junk drawer” that we all have lingering near our office or kitchen; should only be ONE drawer. Even then, you should have a pretty confident idea on what lives in that disorganized drawer.
Need help understanding how things work in your home? Take one day, just one to carry with you a small note pad. Every time you leave one room- write down what you used. In a separate column make notes on how easy it was to access. By doing this, you will not only recognize all of the unnecessary “needs” you have lingering in your cupboards, but you will find a better way to organize your rooms. Here are a few examples:
KIDS. If you have children, you might be on the verge of finding it to be impossible on getting them to clean up. Now in order to get them to clean up, you too must show them that cleaning can be easy…because it can! Use colorful baskets for toys, clothes, shoes, and more. If they are old enough, take them shopping with you. A child will always respect an object more if they felt like they purchased it. Finally, when you have set aside areas for these lovely bins or baskets, create times of the day to clean their spaces. Whether you teach them that after each time they go play in a room, or after every meal. Make a game out of cleaning it up (maybe the ground is lava, and you don’t want the toys to melt!). Finally, Understand that your kids listen and watch you, all the time. If they hear you complaining about cleaning, they will complain; likewise, if they see that you leave rooms messy, so will they.
FOOD. The refrigerator can be your friend and your worst enemy. However, a way to minimize looking into a fridge for more substance is to clean your shelves, use Ziploc baggies with labels, and designate spaces for: Dairy, Veggies, Fruits, Snacks, Sauces, and Meats/ Cheeses. Find a day once a month to clean your shelves. By cleaning simply and yet everyday objects you will find your mind becoming uncluttered itself.
BOWLS & TRAYS. Make sure they can stand on uneven surfaces, and make sure they can hold with added weight. A simple way to make sure you don’t purchase an unstable object is by placing the bowl or tray on the store floor and then making sure it can hold the weight of your purse or wallet, without rocking or falling over. After you purchase your beautiful organization helper, place it in a spot where it is either so obvious or so hidden that no one can hit it on accident.
SHOES. If you are like my husband, you have an extreme tendency to take off your shoes as you close the front door, and if you’re like me you get a little ticked that seven pairs of shoes are piled up next to the first place every stranger and friend walks in. You want to make a good impression, but you also want those shoes hidden! To solve this simple dilemma acquire a bench or tiered rack, place large baskets, tubs, or matts in the necessary slots where shoes can remain hidden and yet ready to access as you prepare your daily adventure.
MAKEUP. I personally don’t like to publically display how vain I can be, so my makeup is in a drawer. If yours is too, and you have trouble separating your hair from your foundation listen up! Next time you order something online-keep that cardboard box! Or parts of it. Use the flaps to cut out dividers for the necessary sections of makeup world: your go-to brush in the bottom, foundation and powder in the top left…etc. etc.
OFFICE SPACE. At work or at home, you can be certain that one day the papers will suddenly form their own skyscraper. A great way to minimize this is with simple Walmart filing bins or any wire paper tray. They don’t have to be by category or even make sense, but the simple fact that you have something in a compact and organized-like stack will make you look like a pro.
Now that you have a few tips, go out and explore your home. What do you truly need? What could someone else use more than you do? How do you operate on good days and on terrible days? How do we make your life simpler? You have all these keys, all you need to do is a little soul searching.
Outdoor Living Made Simple
Who here wants a beautiful outdoor living space? I know I do! With warmer temperatures, bright blue skies, and sunny days what’s not to lure you outside? If you’re planning on doing any of your eating or lounging out there, then it’s time to rethink how that area looks and feels. Short on space? A few square inches can go a long way. Tight budget? Work with what you already own. No garden or greenery? No big deal. From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy decorating ideas can work for any spot you have big plans for beautifying.
Patio Primer. Give your outdoor space a fresh look by sticking to a monochromatic palette. You can pull off a polished look without overdoing it.
Tropical Punch. Want to add a touch of fun to your outdoor space? Cue the colorful accents! A terrace can get a bold puck-me-up from cushions in vibrant colors and modern prints like ikat, stripes, and eye-popping florals.
Garden Party. Dining alfresco is about gathering family, entertaining friends, and escaping your typical daily routine. Any rules to follow? Be smart about your outdoor style and choose weather-resistant furniture, coverage from the sun, and a solid base for setting up your table.
Seeing Red. Want a modern and budget-friend trick that won’t involve an entire patio makeover? Focus on a few decorative elements that strategically weave a splash of red throughout the dinning space.
Rainbow Bright. Minimalists, you’re in luck! An outdoor space can become whatever you make of it. Carve out a casual reading or conversational area with a few smart seating options. Before you view this idea as boring, consider how a trio of punchy colored chairs instantly brightens up a stone yard.
Patio Dining. Formal without all the fuss. Surround a reclaimed teak table with wicker chairs to keep the mood light and relaxing. Choose white chicken wire lanterns for an unexpected and yet oh-so-easy tabletop décor.
Swinging Pretty. You could have all the space in the world; yet still head to the same seat every time you step outside. Longing for your own special escape? Suspend a swinging seat bench in the corner of a deck to help you breeze through those lazy days of summer.
Cover Up. If your outdoor space doesn’t have an awning, create your own with a white fabric canopy. Have plenty of seating options (stackable stools, cushioned benches) so guests feel welcome.
Swinging In The Shade. Create an intimate nook for lounging, reading, or just zoning out. Find a spot in the trees to suspend a garden hammock and jazz it up with a few hanging lanterns.
Scatter Lights Everywhere. Yes everywhere, everywhere reasonable that is. Along the pathway, on the patio umbrella, hanging down to accent your conversational area, in the trees and in the bushes, and possible Chinese lanterns along the way. This not only looks like you know what your doing in the daytime, but sets the perfect mood at night.
Making Your House A Home
A few days ago I was approached by a friend, who’s parents had recently lost their home to a fire, she asked me if I wanted to take on the task of redecorating and finishing the interior of their new home that has yet to be built. Of course I was in for that challenge! My first large residential experience, how exciting! As I talked with this mother of four girls and many grandchildren, I felt an overwhelming burden.
Here I have been studying hours on end on what to do when confronting a client, on how to design model homes, and different design styles. She, however, stressed how she wanted her house to feel like a home – not a design home.
I was stumped, and was later humbled. Here I had thought all there was to a home was ensuring the best products, decorating, getting the measurements, and finally making sure my sustainable design was beautiful according to the style that my client had chosen. This new challenge, was nothing that school had taught me.
How do you build a home that feels like it’s lived in and like the home itself has experienced life, love, and laughter? Rather than a home that is plainly admired and wished for. After much thought, here are ten easy ways to personalize your home.
1. Throw Some Color Around. Dorothy was right when she said, "There's no place like home." But there's really no place like a home that's inviting and reflects your personal taste. For starters, think color! Your favorite colors are yellow and blue? Go for it! The way you combine your favorite hues is as individual as you are. One easy (no painting) way to spread some color is through decorative pillows. Mix (don’t match) throw pillows in the same color story for a fresh and lively look.
2. Go To New Heights. Give your bath and dinning décor a lift with a footed cake plate. When you put everyday items on a pedestal, you make the ordinary extraordinary.
3. Share Your Travels. This one is huge. You know how at every dinner party you’ve had you tell stories of the friends you met at your vacation away from home, and my gosh that food in that country was supreme! Show off that country. Use their art, furniture or simply a music instrument purchased there. To have an object that is a little more personalized than the one you bought at your local Super market will mean more to you and seem more appealing to your guests.
4. Put Your Hobby To Work. Why spend money on meaningless decorator accents when you can shop from your own or your families own hobby? Whether it’s the quilt you’re stitching or your music stand, or the painting in progress, display your interests.
5. Become A Mix-Master. Kick up your collectibles by displaying two different collections together. Merge your Fiesta-ware with your state glass collection. Mixing it up works, it creates a bold contrast in any room.
6. Seek The Unique. Go on flea market adventures, take a day to yourself, and you might be amazed at what catches your eye. Rather than settling for a generic table or chair, consider that unique something that will give your room personality. Likewise, great-grandma’s armoire warms up a room with a patina of family memories that you just can’t buy.
7. Make A Scene. Set your decorating apart by creating small surprises. Put your favorite childhood photo in a funky frame, set your crystal clock on a mini stand and collect bright and interesting books. See what kind of scene you can create from small household items you have lingering around your home.
8. Go To Nature. Bring the outside in with freshly cut flowers, branches, river rocks, pinecones and whatever natural, organic ingredients you can find. This is a great thing to get the kids involved in. Place flowers and branches in a tall glass vase, group your rocks, pinecones on platters and trays. You will feel more in tune with your backyard as soon as you find the perfect spot for them.
9. Pull The Photo Boxes Out From Under The Bed. Dust off those old photographs and display them proudly. Hang them on your prominent walls – in living rooms, bedrooms and hallways. Create a gallery in a mudroom or entryway. Photographs are the perfect way to personalize your space.
10. Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Add oversized mirrors to your space. Mirrors will open up your space and enhance the room’s natural lighting. Large mirrors need simply lean against a wall or rest on a mantel for a simple and perfect touch. Your room will feel larger and your party guests will feel more willing to open up.
Finding Your Style
Everyone, even beginning Interior Designers have trouble with finding their design style. When really, it comes down to only a few things. Whether you know it or not you gravitate towards certain objects in your life. Here are seven tips on discovering your style.
1.Multiples. Do you have multiple items of the same color, shape or style around your house? This is one big "tell" I look for as I look through clients' homes. A kilim rug in the front hall, a kilim rug in the bedroom, another one in the living room? That means that you like kilim rugs. It sounds way too simple to be that easy, but most people stop seeing their style even when it's right in front of them.
2. Form over function. Do you work on a desk that is too small, but can't bear to replace it? Have a couch that is crazy uncomfortable, but it's still in you living room after all these years? That broken clock that's still up on the wall? Take a good long look, because this is a dead giveaway to your personal style. There is something you love so much about this piece that you have chosen its form over your need for function.
3. Where you shop. Do you browse the same store all the time, even when you're not looking to buy? Does a good flea market make you heart pound with excitement? Where you look for your furnishings speaks volumes about your style. New, used, found, handed down from family; where your furniture comes from represents your style.
4. Art. What you have chosen to hang on your walls says something about you. Art is purely personal, not tied to function or need and therefore is usually the best indication of your style. A vintage movie poster means you probably like classic lines in furniture, while an abstract lithograph likely means that modern design is your bag. Flea market oil painting of someone else's relative? Eclectic is your style.
5. Most recent purchase. A French country dish towel that caught your eye in the store, or an impulse buy of a Tiffany-style lamp that you thought you'd never like, but do. The last thing you bought for your home is a fantastic indicator of what your style is, especially if it is design departure for you.
6. What unites your stuff? Do you have terra-cottas, rusts and warm yellows all around your house? These are the sun-kissed colors of Mediterranean design, so you should look for rough-hewn wood tables, terra-cotta lamps and vases to polish up your style. Does all your furniture have lean, sharp lines, and you don't have a single thing on your mantel? Your style is thoroughly modern. Whether it's color, scale, shape or era, the uniting element in your home is the best place to start when looking for your style.
7. What's your favorite hotel? This is my secret weapon in finding a client's design style. Always stay in cozy country B&Bs? Like the modern city high-rise hotel? Or do you go more for the traditionally furnished places? Hotels have clear design styles, so use them to help you find YOUR style.
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