Mini Makeover: Dawn's Sitting Room
Jun 20, 2012
Lots of work lately means little time to blog, but I'm back with a Mini Makeover for Dawn in Texas. She wrote:
Here's how Dawn's room looks now, with a mish-mash of furniture and functions and no apparent purpose. It's 9'x14'3".
Dawn, you're right. The room's size and narrow proportions are a little difficult. For a dining table and chairs, it works; but it's tricky for a comfy sitting room. Here I've developed a space plan that will balance the long-skinniness of the room and allow you to fit ample seating, as well as some additional storage.
(Click to enlarge any image.)
The first thing I did was move your large armoire to the short wall. This helps it take up space on the long dimension of the room, making the room appear more squarish. Then I defined the space and broke up the right angles with an 8-foot round rug. This helps you create a soft, less formal furniture arrangement. Seating from the sources you asked to use is centered around a round ottoman that works for foot-propping, seating, game-playing and drink-holding.
The seating is pulled away from the walls a bit. The Mistral Sofa from SofaWorks (your preferred source) can be sized to 34" deep by 66" long. The slightly shallower depth allows a bit more breathing room. Two matching chairs complete the seating, although you can pull up the small storage ottoman if needed. That piece is also handy for holding your daughter's toys.
I softened the corner by the window with a large, dark green plant. A 24" round accent table adds function to the room and is a handy place to drop things when you come in the door. A floor lamp takes up little floor space but adds light where you need it for reading. I suggest replacing your ceiling fixture with a semi-flush fixture. An oval mirror on the long wall reflects light and plays into the color plan.
COLOR AND FURNITURE
You asked for a neutral color scheme and sent this inspiration photo:
Because you need to blend this very visible room with the creamy color of the adjacent room and the golds and reds in the rest of the house, I've created a palette of grays, taupes, and muted golds with a surprise on the ceiling: a warm blush color that will blend beautifully with your cherry floors and give the room a bit more of the cozy, feminine look you asked for. For walls I chose a taupe with slightly reddish undertones to work with the red tones in the floor.
From your narrowed-down selections, I chose the furniture pieces that I thought would work best in the room and with each other, then supplemented with a few accent pieces. Metal finishes bridge the grays in this room with warmer colors in other rooms. A silver-leaf finish on the ceiling fixture and mirror is silvery with a hint of warm gold highlights. The grayed oak finish on the side table has a simple, rustic style that helps create a transition between this room and the rest of the house.
Here's where to find everything. Click and buy or use this Inspiration Board as a guide while you shop locally.
Sofa: SofaWorks Mistral, custom sized to 34" deep by 66" long. Suggested fabric: a greige linen with a lot of texture.
Chair: Azriel Club Chair by Sam Moore for Hooker. Suggested fabric: 2695 Granite modified zebra print.
Large Ottoman: Try the Holland Ottoman from Sam Moore.
Side Table: Crate & Barrel Blake Grey Wash Side Table.
Storage Ottoman: Safavieh Amelia Tufted Storage Ottoman in Gray Linen.
Rug: Province II 8-foot round wool rug in gray from Home Decorators Collection.
Mirror: Haviland Oval Antique Silver 38"-wide Mirror from Lamps Plus.
Light Fixture: Ava Flush-Mount Silver Leaf Ceiling Fixture by Home Decorators Collection.
Paint: Sherwin-Williams Sticks & Stones (SW7503) on walls. Malted Milk (SW6057) on ceiling. Keep your white trim. Extra-large swatches are on their way to you in the mail.
Dawn, thanks for sharing your room with my readers. Can't wait to see the "after" photos! —Diane Kolak
Do you need help pulling a room together with pieces you already own, or selections you plan to buy? A Mini Makeover can help. For $175, I deliver a quick-and-easy deocrating plan here on my blog.
TAGS: living room sitting room design plan edecor edecorating neutral gray taupe silver transitional look online design plan diane kolak
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6 Interior Design Rules to Break
May 02, 2012
Interior design is neither an art nor a science. It falls somewhere in between, mixing the expressive nature of art with some proven guidelines that encourage function, practicality, and pleasing appearance. However, a few rigid rules seem to persist for no good reason. We've heard them from our mothers, from design magazines, and even from some decorators and designers.
Here are 6 persistent interior decorating "rules" that ought to be broken.
RULE TO BREAK #1: A living room requires a sofa.
Often when I visit a home for a room redesign or consultation, there's a big problem in the living room: a sofa that has no comfortable place. Sometimes it's just the wrong sofa for the room (too long, too deep, too high), but other times the room really shouldn't have a sofa at all due to multiple entrances, fireplace and/or TV placement, or odd proportions. Especially in smaller living rooms used mainly for entertaining, reading, and conversation, a couch is not the ideal seating choice. A grouping of chairs is more flexible and makes better use of the space. Setting an arrangement of four chairs diagonally to a focal point like this park view makes the space inviting and keeps entrances accessible.
Photo: Window Works via Houzz.com
RULE TO BREAK #2: Light colors are best for dark rooms.
Some rooms are just dark. Trying to make them lighter with a light paint color usually results in a dreary space that's still dark, with a wall color that looks dingy. Lighting, of course, is important to improve the function and mood of the room, but as far as color goes, it's often best to go with the darkness. Play up the cozy feel with a deep, saturated color. The dark value will shift emphasis from the lack of light and instead make the room feel inviting and restful. A saturated hue can add life and personality; a neutral like this deep, blue-based black looks elegant and refined.
Photo: New England Home via Content in a Cottage
RULE TO BREAK #3: Beige goes with everything.
If only every builder of spec homes would understand this rule. Beige is not a color. It's a complex family of colors that represent every shade of the rainbow. If you don't believe it, go to the paint store and collect all the beige paint chips you can find. Lay them out against a white background. You'll see a range of muted pinks, yellows, greens, and purples. These are the undertones of the color, and they're tricky to handle. Apprehensive homeowners who tend to choose beige for everything are actually setting up a very complicated color problem for themselves. Mix the wrong shades of beige and the result is not only boring, but also clashy and ugly. If you want neutral walls, start with the room's fixed elements which might be tile, stone, flooring, or furniture. Then hire a pro to find the right shade. Really, it takes a keen eye for color to choose a really successful shade of beige or taupe. The same goes for beige furniture. This bedroom by designer Jim Hawes effectively uses multiple shades of beige and other neutrals for an effect that's harmonious and interesting.
Photo: Better Homes & Gardens
RULE TO BREAK #4: Windows require draperies.
Draperies are best when they improve both aesthetics and function in a room. There are rooms that are best without any type of window treatments, though. Where architecture is beautiful, and privacy or bright light are not concerns, bare windows are best. This happens more often than you might think. Additionally, the wrong draperies can ruin a good window, or even a good room. Hung incorrectly, they can make windows appear small and rooms dark. And when they're dated or cheap-looking, they drag down the entire room. Here's a gorgeous example of perfectly naked windows by Jessica Helgerson. Draperies would be all wrong in this space.
RULE TO BREAK #5: Metal hardware should match throughout the house.
It's fine to match metal, but not necessary. The key to making it look good is deft use of color and consistency of style. Will an ornate brass chandelier work in the same room as a sleek, brushed chrome sconce? No. But a sparkle of chrome on a lamp in an otherwise dark, earthy space with oiled bronze hardware can be a beautiful surprise. The contrasting metal works like an accent color works in a good color palette. Another way to mix metals is to create a very intentional balance. Example. When designing my master bath, I found a ridiculous close-out price on a very pricey polished chrome tub filler ($550 marked down to $125!). Most of the hardware in the house is brushed nickel. To create an intentional transition I chose polished chrome sink faucets, brushed nickel sconces, and towel hardware that mixed the two finishes. Below is a bold example of mixing metal finishes by architect Bill Ingram, from House Beautiful.
RULE TO BREAK #6: Granite is the best countertop choice for resale.
If you watch HGTV, you might believe that this is the number-one upgrade you should consider when selling your house. It's so wrong! Granite is so expensive that you won't get a full return on the investment. Putting smaller amounts of money into more areas of the house is a smarter strategy. A $3,000 granite countertop is worthless to a buyer who thinks it's ugly or boring. And cheaping out with granite tile is pointless. Choose a laminate that works well with the kitchen (but stay away from white and beige), then put money into hardware upgrades, lighting, paint, and storage. This kitchen was sensibly updated with dark laminate countertops and painted cabinets. Using luxurious materials like the marble tile in small quantities makes a big impact for a manageable price.
Need a little confidence when breaking the rules in your own house? I can help. Just email me. —Diane Kolak
TAGS: breaking design rules myths interior design traverse city leelanau northern michigan
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Dwelement gets a mention in STIR Magazine!
Apr 19, 2012
I was excited to get a call from a rep for Sherwin-Williams a few weeks ago. They were looking for insight from designers who had tried out their new online color app called Chip It!, for inclusion in an article in their trade magazine, STIR. It's really a fun tool. I see myself using it more as a starting point for inspiration and creative thinking than I do for final color specification, but it is very useful in that regard.
Read the full story, "Color Inspiration in a Click," about how designers are using Chip It!.
Here's how the tool works. Visit letschipit.com. You can paste in a URL for an image, then see the colors that the tool extracts from the image in a color card. Even easier: Drag the blue SW button to your toolbar. Click the button, and a Chip It! tab appears in the upper left of your screen. Now hover over any image you find online. A mini palette appears above the image. You can click this for further detail including paint names and numbers, and additional colors that the tool pulls from the photo. Here are a few of my favorite Chip It! palettes that I made from my own photos and images around the web. (Click to enlarge and read the color codes and names.)
Here's my dog, Britta, enjoying a summer breeze off Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Chip It! did a pretty nice job balancing the scene with the subject colors.
Here she is again (imagine that) on a stroll through the pine stand behind our house. I love this coppery palette. If you click "More Colors" at the bottom, the palette expands to show some of the minor colors in the photo. I like how it picked up the bright green moss and Britta's orange vest. (This was taken during hunting season… safety first.)
I love the cool neutral palette the tool pulled from this photo of my husband and me on Lake Herendeene. It includes two of my favorite SW colors: Jasper and Riverway. (PHOTO: Brian Confer.)
My friend Megan pinned this fashion shot to Pinterest, and we were both inspired by the sophisticated Chip It! palette it created.
I took the photo below at Waimea Canyon on Kaua'i Island, Hawaii. I did not alter this photo… straight from the camera. It still doesn't capture the brilliance and variety of color we saw that day as the Pacific mist blew across the canyon. The expanded palette here is a little wild, but so is Kaua'i.
Need a professional confirmation that your computerized color selection is good? Want to make sure you're choosing exactly the right shade for your own home? Just email me. A single-room color consultation is just $60. That's less than the cost of painting your room— twice. —Diane Kolak
TAGS: chip it letschipit.com sherwin williams sherman williams online color selection palette scheme choosing paint colors from a photo online color tool widget app traverse city color consultation interior design decorating
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How to Choose a Ceiling Paint Color
Mar 13, 2012
Ceiling White: it's a name, not a rule. White ceilings may be the norm, but contrary to popular belief, they don't "go" with everything. And they do very little to brighten a room. Pale flooring is more effective in that regard. So if the ceiling really is the fifth wall, how do you choose the right color? You have to consider wall color, architecture, light, and mood. Here are some basic guidelines for selecting an effective ceiling paint color, and some inspiring images.
1 | Paint ceilings the same color as the walls.
A monochromatic plan creates a sense of endlessness in a room. Rooms painted this way with pale colors tend to be soothing and calm. Darker colors create cozy, enveloping spaces. And with a space like the one above, where angles create a transition to the ceiling, it makes sense to cover it with a continuous shade.
2 | Paint ceilings lighter than the walls.
Photo: Dodson and Daughter ID via decorpad
This popular technique dictates selecting a paint that's a few shades lighter than the wall color, on the same swatch. The difference is in value, not hue. The effect is a visual heightening, so it's appropriate for rooms with average or low ceilings.
3 | Paint ceilings darker than the walls.
Photo: Atmosphere Interior Design via Houzz.com
Painting ceilings one to three shades darker than the walls is effective in rooms with high ceilings or awkward variations in ceiling height. Deep colors in a flat finish can also camouflage flaws on ceilings in poor condition. Dark ceilings make large spaces feel more intimate, which is why the technique is often used in restaurants. Above, deep charcoal paint on the ceiling really cozies up this dining room with gray grasscloth walls.
4 | Paint ceilings a contrasting color for balance or emphasis.
Photo: David Christensen via decorpad
A contrasting ceiling can be a pleasant surprise if the right color combination is selected. Choosing a warm-colored ceiling in a room that's cool, or vice versa, is a good way to create balance. It's also a nice way to introduce a bold color when there is not an appropriate accent wall. A ceiling color can tie a room to an adjoining space in a subtle way. In the gorgeous marble-tiled kitchen above by David Christensen, the peacock blue ceiling adds a jolt of color that would be hard to achieve any other way.
How to Paint Sloped or Slanted Ceilings in a Dormer Space
If you have dormers with angled surfaces, paint the angles the same color as the wall. This is a mistake builders make all the time, and it's a major design peeve for me. The contrast breaks up the room and causes awkward changes in the lines of the space. Look at the difference:
Need a confidence boost before painting your own ceiling? I can help you choose the perfect color before you break your neck applying the wrong one. Just email me. —Diane Kolak
TAGS: color on the ceiling different color from walls contrasting ceiling how to paint slanted sloped ceilings choosing paint for ceiling
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Color Love: Leap Day Paint Palette
Feb 29, 2012
Happy February 29th! Ever wonder what would happen if you choose a color palette purely by the numbers? I thought the result might be pretty ugly when I pulled out my Sherwin-Williams fandeck to select only colors ending with the digits "29." Actually, it's quite pretty. Enjoy!
I promise, this is not how I do my personalized color consultations. :) For a palette inspired by you, just email me. —Diane Kolak
TAGS: leap day color palette scheme sherwin williams paint 7029 6329 6229 6129 6729 agreeable gray faint coral lacewing restrained gold tempe star
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