Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting the House Together

My colorful Living Room

Over the years, I have renovated and decorated 5 houses! I am ready to do it again, but am not sure if the sentiment is shared with the rest of my family. I feel like our current house in Brooklyn will always be a work in progress, despite being here for close to 6 years.  After parenting, designing a living space is what I truly enjoy.  I could spend all day looking at Persian rugs or Gustavian side tables or Flavor Paper wall coverings. Oh, and don't let me near a garden store! Aside from my own homes, I have happily helped numerous friends with their renovations and design.


So many wonderful parties cooked in this kitchen

Last year, friends of ours, a young couple living outside NYC, bought a house and asked for some advice on where to begin.  Not surprising, I had some thoughts!  Here they are:


Earthy tones I chose for our bedroom



First and foremost! Do not get overwhelmed with a new house.  It doesn't all need to be done immediately. It took 20 years of collecting things from all over the world to get my house the way I like it, and I am still working on it!  








A few of the many boxes we collected when traveling

Speaking of the world, when you are traveling be sure to pick up something for the house (art usually lasts forever) and  something for the kitchen (so when you use it, you are reminded of your trip).  Most houses look very vanilla to me or lack personality if there aren't interesting talking pieces around.  








Home chalk board walls are brilliant; and they are great for children and adults alike.  It also showcases your kid's art.  Another great way of showcasing and preserving the treasures your kids create is to frame a few pieces of their early art.  

I framed this piece of pre-school art and hung it in my daughter's room.




Love this European antique bed and side table



In new houses, antiques here and there look great.  Go to the local flea markets and look around.  A big antique mirror will look great almost anywhere and adds a great deal of light and space to a room.  


The bed clothes in my daughter's room









Kids rooms should have color!  I do not care for the all- white trend in rooms for young people.  Instead, make them lively, interesting and challenging; give the kids something to explore and enjoy.  Our daughters room is the most colorful room in the house. 















Be careful using white on walls.  Its a wonderfully cool color if you have a house in Mykonos or in the Hamptons; but elsewhere it frequently reads a bit cold and very often does not compliment furnishings and art.  Don't be afraid of color, especially creams and soft, muted earth tones.  


Great cool colors, but maybe best for a beach house.


Sectional sofas are practical and comfortable, but best for an informal basement or TV room.  For the main floor, I would use a sofa with clean lines. I also like facing sofas, anchored by some fun chairs. 



Be sure to mix it up!! In our guest room, we put together an antique Asian Tansu dresser, with all sorts of religious art and then logically paired it all with a driftwood lamp!






Do not buy "sets" of furniture, the goal is to coordinate, not match.  I love dining tables surrounded by 2 different types of chairs. I also like a simple dining table with high backed "super comfy" upholstered chairs. 



Burled Wood, always in style!

So much of good design is about the accessories. Much like a simple dress, take what you have and accessorize. A simple  IKEA side table with a fabulous eccentric lamp, some great art books, a leather box from Florence,  looks fabulous.







More to come on design...