Decorating Tips After the Cocktail Hour

Furnishing are simply a small part of the puzzle.  End and middle pieces are needed such as floor type, wall texture, and architectural details such as moldings and cornices.

 

Make sure the furnishings fit the size of the room.  Higher ceilings call for larger scale upholstered pieces while low ceilings need longer but shorter appointments.

Create fabulous groupings.  Think of different conversational areas or a nook for reading.

Start with a color palette.  Find inspiration in a fabric, a work of art, a favorite dress.  Choose a few hues and maybe only use these tones in accent pillows or ottomans.

Pull the paint colors from one room to another using accents and accessories to create a flow.

If using draperies, in particular panels, mount the rods as high as possible.

Try to avoid overhead light (with the exception of basement areas).  Use lamps and chandeliers with dimmer switches.

Small cocktail and side tables or a set of nesting tables allow guest to place drinks down without feeling overwhelmed or having to reach for their beverage.

Accessories express your personality.  A pile of old books, family photos, a glass bowl full of old keys, or anything that catches your eye.

 

X Marks the Spot or the Beauty of Living with White

My long journey in interior design (to be specific; my own personal journey) has increasingly become smaller as the brood leaves home.   How much damage could one big hairy dog and an 18 year old (very petite) cat cause?  Factoring in these facts, I decided to reflect my true decor need of WHITE!  Like a laboratory, the thought of creams, ivories, and varying shades of white made me feel tranquil (and with my combo of Shabby Chic hording and OCD) sounded like a match seen only on The Bachelor after taking a Xanax.  So for my latest downsize, I purchased gorgeous slip-covered furniture, distressed armoires, chippy columns, beat-up ladders to hold fetching blankets.  The look was STUNNING.  And then my children started visiting.  Please eat at the table, I muttered thousands of times (much like I uttered, “if you put your shoes away, you would know where to find them,” for some 25 plus years.  But the allure of my cozy, meticulously cared for sofas became the only possible seat they could plant their adult asses.  After awhile I began covering up spots with pillows (that my golden retriever would promptly chew), throws (that my golden retriever would promptly chew, and professionally cleaners (which my 18 year old cat would cough and choke up bile).  So I decided to get creative.  Keeping the white, as never one to give in too quickly, but adding hints of color to take the eye away from marks that even the staff at Windsor Castle would protest.

The first purchase was this spectacular metallic mirror (thank you Hobby Lobby).  Hung on the wall, it reflected the light in a slightly different way.  Then, I bought a leather ottoman, an over sized cowhide rug in this glorious gray (though jute or sisal could work as easily).  My wide-planked distressed hardwoods helped but I asked one of my faux artists to paint the manufactured material in a black and white checkerboard (not a great idea) so lucky I still love wood.  I bought numerous suitcases and iron buckets from a well-known flea market in Kansas City and filled them with books, old logs, and various accessories.  Fortunate enough to have beams in my hearth room, I again enlisted the talents of Bob and Rick to create a barn wood feel (I know; so Joanna Gaines of me).  Though in protest, I performed this miraculous task (or Bob & Rick did) 15 years ago before anyone heard of Fixer Upper.  I threw up some bulletin boards to give a vintage vibe and redid my draperies.  Popped some glass knobs on a pretty sofa table and VOILA; all is well in the house of Buhrer.

A FEW IMAGES TO ENTICE THOSE THAT LOVE AND LIVE WITH WHITE, WHITE, AND MORE WHITE!

 

 

 

Domino

Started in magazine form, initially I was a bit confused.  The front half of the monthly glossy emphasized furniture, mirrors, and the usual bric n’ brac.  The back 60 pages featured fashion, shoes, and jewels.  After a few years, I got hooked (though still too many ads, a weakness of all journalistic endeavors).  I like books.  I enjoy an iPad as well but I want to touch, feel, smell the pages of a newly minted (or better yet, original edition) of some enjoyable read.  Recently, while visiting my local Barnes & Noble, I purchased Domino’s “The Book of Decorating; A Room by Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy.”  And what do you know, the truth be told.  Full of great tips, this easy to follow blueprint takes the mystery or bullshit out of all things sacred in the world of interior design.  Deborah Needleman, one of the creative editors behind this little treasure, states very clearly that the goal was to make decorating easier for the “civilian.”  Eliminate the mystery or the 1,2,3 of all things grand and gorgeous and rush to buy this incredible group of words and pictures for all things grand and gorgeous.

Color Palette Or Warming Up A White Room

My two favorite colors are white and black.  Sounds a bit like a Michael Jackson song but my wardrobe favors black and my home prefers white.  What can a girl do?  Here a few quick tips if you feel the need to heat up a milky hue.

Metallic Mirrors

Image result for metallic mirror in a white room

Subtle Accent Pillows

Jute or Sisal Rug

Image result for jute or sisal rugs in a white room

Woven Shades

Exposed Beams

Unexpected Chandelier

Or a Pop of Black 

Get Your Pretty On With Creative Storage Ideas

In my home, I have an old-fashioned hotel key box which I use to hold photos.  Fabulous!

  • Image result for old fashioned hotel key holder

Find a drying rack (the one our great grandmothers were forced to use) and display throws, scarves, purses (you get the idea).

Wooden crates make great bookshelves for Gen Y (who love their lofts) and Millennials (who despite asking Mom & Dad for money) live modestly and these enclosed shipping crates make a terrific room divider.

Baskets, Baskets, Baskets!  Look cute holding potatoes, onions, and other items we stock in a pantry.

Old style tin metals hold your knitting, cards and dice, jewelry and baubles.  Simply think outside of the box (I mean tin).

10 Ways to Be A Little Bit Country

Like Marie Osmond (didn’t she have a hit called Paper Roses that hit the charts?), I enjoy country.  Over the years, though this genre of decorating never hit high on my list of requests, I learned a few tricks to make any kitchen stand out and sing Toby Keith or Carrie Underwood (if you prefer).

  1.     Use reproduction appliances (currently hotter than the Las Vegas Strip in August).  A recycled potbellied stove, a super cool fridge that looks like a 1950s model (an all the rage according        to the magazines).  Retro baby, you can do no wrong.
  2.     Never forget the apron or farmhouse sink.
  3.     Use glass fronted cabinet doors or better yet open shelving made from reclaimed wood.
  4.     Industrial light fixtures add a nice modern touch but stick to the aged oil rubbed or bronze chandeliers.
  5.     How about brick floors, reclaimed wood, or distressed manufactured.
  6.     Antique, barn, or glass doors.
  7.     Subway tile (never goes out of style).
  8.     Beams and more beams.
  9.     Movable island, preferably painted in some funky color.
  10.     Beadboard or shiplap your walls painted a creamy white

Please remember the bric n’ brac; cookbooks, cutting boards, wooden spoons, cookie presses, Mason jars, metal canisters, tea towels, spice racks, candy/cake tins, rolling pins, metal breadboxes, milk cans, metal memo boards, and all the other fabulous stuff that can be found at your favorite flea market, garage sale, antique store, Hobby Lobby, and Home Goods.

Just Do It! Apartment Decorating for Ungrateful Children!!!

 

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT in my small family.  The youngest is finally moving out. Yes, we had a slight gap between graduation and finding that “right job,” so I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying his company and wet towels for an extra year but the child promises (swears on his life) that the trucks are coming next week.  My baby is finally ready to venture out on his own, delve into those deep waters, navigate those wide highways, climb those tall mountains BUT will they be the Flint Hills or the Himalayas?  Frankly, I’d settle for the Alps, even the French side as long as he doesn’t bring over his dirty laundry every week.  Now, it’s unprofessional of me to discuss my latest (and certainly most unwanted) client but my kid has terrible taste and no sense of budget. Some of the ties he puts on with his work shirts, simply unexplanable…  Anyway, Kyle (as I chose to name him along with 327 other moms decided to name their bouncing boys) wants a cross between clean-line modern, a tad of California, a bit of Colorado, a lake theme with a boat, and something about Fixer Upper but I stopped listening when he hit the more western states).  I gave him a checklist of items needed (along with a laminated duplicate copy for his better half, the potential future wife).  He threw it back at me, not sure he exactly ready my thought provoking scribble, and stated “just do it.”  Apparently I’ve become a Nike commercial.

So I suggested to Kyle, “after my time for Mommy” that he glance at Pinterest or look at the many, many, many magazines and design books I have displayed around the house.  Two hours later, the laughter subsided.  I never knew that guys didn’t “play with Pinterest and that I would have a hissy fit if he misplaced one of my so-called vignettes.  I finally handed him a blank sheet of typing paper and told him to write down a couple of colors he could tolerate and the things that were important to him while keeping in mind the square footage and layout of the new space.  I know that your first place is a big freaking deal but hysterically giggling through 2 reruns of Chicago P.D.  Come on!

On my “tip sheet,” I tried using betting terms, like our family was in Vegas choosing odds on a game, but when that failed to register on either of their faces, I pointed at the computer and said pick something.  For example; choose a couple of paint colors for accent walls.  It might make the place feel more adult and a leader among the other apartments.  Nod your heads if you understand.  Rugs.  Rugs good.  Rugs made a room feel warm and help to define an area while adding pattern and texture.  Pick rugs.  A gallery wall.  A gallery wall can be a large focal picture with smaller accents surrounding but in this case, let’s just frame anything.  Let’s fill up the whole space.  So choose your favorite pictures, magazine tear sheets, piano music, comic book covers.

 

Next, invest in a good mattress.  I’ll let you two be involved in that one without me.  Also buy cheap bedding.  You can always add the “foufou” with pillows.  Plus, you claim that I forgot to teach you how to make a proper bed, so forget about it.  Lighting.  Really, really important stuff.  As an adult, we sometimes work from home and we need to be able to see our computers and laptops so a few lamps; great investment.  Storage.  I know the closets look big without the merchandise in them but all apartments lack storage.  The apartment fairies deemed it true long before we were born so purchase baskets, under the bed containers, anything plastic.  If you decide to become a Costco member, which I will explain the importance of big box stores at a later date, absolutely nothing will fit.  It’s your imagination working over time.

“MOM, YOU JUST DO IT! WHAT’S THE POINT OF YOU, IF YOU DON’T DO THIS?  I MEAN SERIOUSLY?”

little shit…

 

  

 

12 Lessons to Learn From Tastemaker Iris Arpel

Recently I read a wonderful article about my adopted grandmother (or so I wish) Iris Arpel.  A woman of breeding, beauty, and a “don’t give a shit” attitude.  Just an afternoon in New York City with this icon would top my Bucket List along with seeing the United Arab Emirates, Machu Picchu, Great Barrier Reef, Terracotta Army, Congregation of Holy Cross, Victoria Harbor, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and, eating at Noma, purchasing unlimited Chanel, being Amal Clooney (George only a small part of that wish), and spending a week or two at a Spa with no phone availability to my children.

The journalistic briefing included her beliefs on the fashionable and why, I asked, should we follow her rules.  Because she’s Iris f…ing Arpel.

 

1.      Power clashing because mixing clothes is a total “boss move.”

2.     No age limit on biker jackets or any other clothing considered “fashionable” for the moment.

3.     Sneakers; perfect for any style of outfit.

4.     Ignore Coco Chanel.  Never take off a piece but add more.

5.     Overdressed?  There’s no such thing…

6.     Monochromatic is boring!

7.     Black doesn’t necessarily mean basic.

8.     Switch it up

9.     Creativity starts with curiosity.

10.    Humor is always stylish.

11.    Acknowledge your accomplishments

12.    Forget the rules and just be yourself.

10 Tips for Mixing Fabrics

The secret to adding interest to any room; colors never need to match but simply coordinate. Here are a few tips I learned over the 25 years that interior design has swallowed up my life (but in a delicious way).

 

1.    Work in odd numbers of patterns (the rule of 3 as applied to most things styled)

2.    Use different scales of fabric such as large, medium, and small or floral, geometric, and classic (think Ralph Lauren)

 3.     Use larger patterns on bigger pieces (example; sofa or drapery).  Use smaller fabrics on pillows or footstools.

4.     Use a rug to incorporate all the colors used in the room.

5.     Even in a monochromatic room, use scales and patterns that vary in size.

 

6.     Here’s a novel idea, add a solid…

7.     Group patterns together (traditional with traditional, cottage with cottage)

8.     Balance fabrics in the space making sure the room is surrounded by comfort.

9.     Stick with a consistent look.  If you love farmhouse fabulous, then bring it on baby.

10.    Break ever rule I just gave you.

Give Those Windows a Double-Take

 

I Candy

Forget what your mother told you about staring.

Get interiors that you can’t take your eyes off of.  Designs that are drop-dead gorgeous.  From furniture and accessories, wall coverings to window treatments.  Laura Buhrer Interiors can help you create rooms that promise a double-take. (Jill Bagby)

 

                                                     

 

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