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.

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)

 

                                                     

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside So Use the Following Tricks to Make Your Home More Inviting

HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE INVITING?

Pretty urns filled with a steady bloom of begonias, a beautifully engraved welcome mat (reminding guests the correct way to spell your last name), an iron bench placed blissfully next to a streaming koi pond.  But what about the interior?  Granted a pot brimming with a sweet-smelling marinara sauce, an open bottle of chilled Pinot Gris (or in my case, an iced Diet Dr. Pepper), or the password to the home WiFi contribute in making visitors feel comfortable but there exists a few design tricks that achieve the same effect.

Decorate with a mood enhancing color palette.  An added pop of yellow or green not only create a cheery feel but work well with the ever-popular gray or grain tones (bow to Joanna Gaines).

Give your home a pleasant smell.  No one, not even a pet lover, want to take a whiff of an uncleaned litter box or enjoy the aroma of socks worn by your son during a  recent basketball game that he carelessly threw on the floor.  So purchase your favorite freshner and spray as needed.

Live plants or cleverly bagged herbs bring the outside into your dwelling and generate a feeling of being one with Nature.  Personally; fresh peonies, tulips, and roses fulfill my needs and don’t require me to use the latest over-the-counter allergy pill.

Mood lighting; whether a pretty chandelier or a few well-placed lamps (remember the shade often makes the beacon) not only add style to a room but creates a softer environment.  No disco balls please as Studio 54 closed in the early 80s.

Pillows, blankets, and rugs (oh my).  A little texture adds warmth, vibrancy, and sometimes extra seating.

11 Way to Little House on the Prairie Style

Prairie Style is a bit rustic, a bit shabby, a bit mod, a bit vintage, a bit organic, and a whole lot of gorgeous.  To achieve this design aesthetic, one must incorporate the fusion of elements and textural accents that blend into a comfy and livable home.  Effortless and timeless, always emphasize those items that make you feel harmonious.

 

Meaningful objects whether from family or a thrift store.  Something that tells a story about you and your family.

Stick with a color scheme that defines rooms or areas but blends hues that compliment one another.

“Feather your nest” or simply purchase accessories that create a feeling of warmth and comfort that highlight the structure and style of your dwelling.

Paint, the secret weapon of most interior designers, adds the base for all creative impulses.

Reclaimed wood used as open shelving for a kitchen, a much needed bookcase, or a surprising accent wall unifies spaces and brings a sense of history to a house.

Repetition can be useful in decorating a room.  Collections often represents prized possessions that truly infuse your personality.

Throwing in a twist, whether a vintage item, a boho rug, or a collection of guitars add variation and contrast.

Always start with one large statement piece, an armoire, a sofa, an architectural buffet.  Then build around.

Limit the number of bric n’ brac instead favoring old-fashioned scales, antique clocks, farmhouse wares.

Emphasize lighting by making it a focal point in the primary rooms.

Utilize inexpensive wall treatments such as tongue and groove boards, shiplap, weathered beams, or galvanized pieces.

CURATE, CURATE, CURATE

 

I’m Giving Tips on How To Paint Furniture…but I Oversee, Manage, Hold the Reins

I try to admit my relatively few faults.  I can be impatient, sharp-tongued, overbearing, and inevitably right…but crafty…not so much.  I prefer supervisor, more of a bigger picture kind of gal.  Believe this often creates exhaustion as much as getting on a tall ladder and hanging a 120 pound chandelier or perfectly cutting straight seems on a drapery panel.

One of my faux painters attempted to teach me how to add a few hues to a nightstand.  Words fail to do this piece of crap justice.  She even gave me pointers but I, the supervisor extradinaire, the inevitably right idea gal chose not to listen.  Please note her tips because they sure never applied to my abilities.

First, always clean the piece you intend to paint, distress, or revive.  Dust and apparently oil fails to help primer adhere.  This causes an object to peel and chip (though isn’t that distressing?).

Next, use the proper primer (which is code word for expensive).  Cheaper brands affect paint much like a t-shirt from Walmart clashes with your Louboutins.

Then fill any and all holes and cracks (hey not referring to my face the day before my liquid injections appointment).  She even suggested using a flashlight (I just found out the my iPhone can turn into a shiny object) so that eyes over the age of 40 cannot miss that 1 1/2 inch gap.

Never use an inexpensive brush (note Walmart/Louboutin comment).  Feel the bristles, caress them, rub them against your skin.  The softer the better.

Finally, find that perfect color.  Shading and underlining hues can grab a tone and turn it upside down.  Grab some chips from your preferred paint store or even buy a small jar of the color being considered.

 

 not my work

Remember life is living regret-free.

(damn, needs some hardware)

Shiplap

  

HOLY SHIPLAP BATMAN!

 

 

(last pic courtesy of Chip & Joanna Gaines, Magnolia House, Fixer Upper, HGTV)

 

Junkyard Dog

No this little missive has nothing to do with our furry friends, but with a book I recently purchased on the sales rack.  It’s a lovely read with glorious photos by Leslie Linsley  (between you and me, I would have paid full price).   The author delves into the ease of using “junk” or “salvage” items to give your home that farmhouse feel.  What did we do before Joanna Gaines?  Anyway, Leslie offers wonderful tips and cost-saving ideas on how to beautify your abode.  Starting with the unexpected (lol, I have always wanted to use that abbreviation when writing, you’re just lucky I didn’t add emojis)  reclaimed woods and beams (which are now premade by every flooring and tile company so skip the chill in New Hampshire) to add that certain patina that ages a home in a unique and creative way.  She, like many designers today, prefers a kitchen with open shelving and thus allowing for more areas of display.  (I assume they have cleaning people coming in once or twice a week).

Good lighting plays an important part in any room and one should occasional shock by doing the unexpected.  Personally I am huge fan of anything galvanized but I also fancy a lovely crystal chandelier. 

Try the unexpected like mixing wood with copper.  A proper industrial looking aged bronze fixture can not only be functional but a tremendously wonderful detail.  The author recommends using baskets and vintage tin boxes (here we come Hobby Lobby) to hold fruits, chocolates, tea bags.  And let’s not forget the apron sink and workable island.    Things to display include small appliances, wedding flatware, cookbooks, wooden spoons and bowls, vintage cookie presses, blue Mason jars, antique wire soap dishes, metal canisters, colanders, wall mounted wood spice racks, vintage teapots, enamelware, and chopping boards in wood (of course)  To go even further, you could mix and match your island stools, barring the fact that you have an island.  Leslie is a proponent of using open shelving on narrow walls which allows one to display collectibles such as breadboxes or scales.

Flirting at Nebraska Furniture Mart

When shopping for an funky table that will tie together your Boho, English Country, Fixer Upper, Americana dream; your goal should never ever be to meet a guy unless he’s wearing a store name tag.  Unless, and this is a big unless, he’s got that unmistakable Clooney look (about 10 years ago during all those silly Ocean movies and pre Amal), immediately check the left hand.  And speaking of the left hand, what is it with all these hideous hunks of black titanium.  Hell, I had to spell check the bloody thing.  But off on one of my usual tangents.  Back to shopping for that fabulous coffee table (insert photo)  Yes that may be the one!  A little wooden number with mismatch chairs (all the range I heard), seems a bit off with the wall coverings, and it almost but not quite centers the chandelier.  If you find yourself staring for more than ten seconds without an acknowledgement, its time to find a new love interest (furniture, bad Ask Burt, Bart, Brandon, whoever, to show you something a little contemporary, a table with a little edge (don’t wink).  Now this is just the right look.  Can hold a scarf, a throw, a duvet, food, red wine, red rose, a night’s rest after too many cocktails at the local hot spot.  Hey and it’s looking good of you’re expecting Moroccan food and a belly dancer.  Okay, I love Kathryn Ireland BUT

 

Ask Burt, Bart, or Brandon to see if the table can support both your weights (you never know…)  At this point don’t use the resting bitch face, smile, showing those teeth you whiten every night, as you suggest hunting down one more piece.  Call it a challenge as you flip your hair.  Ask for something that no one else has ever bought.  Show your individuality, your wild side, your version of Paris on a bridge as you watch young lovers glide by…

WELL OBVIOUSLY BURT, BART, OR BRANDON HAS EXCELLENT TASTE IN FURNISHINGS BUT ALAS THAT LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP GOING ON IN YOUR HEAD. EVEN WITH THOSE SOULFUL BROWN EYES THAT FINALLY LOOKED AT YOU, READY TO WRITE UP THAT TICKET, DIDN’T SEDUCE YOU ENOUGH TO CHARGE $3,500  ON THAT VISA.

 

 

 

Mix It On Up

A bag of tricks used by designers to create a personal space in any home tends to weave together a set of rules bequeathed by the “STYLE GODS of yesteryear.”  For example, investment pieces (those that cost more than your child’s first year in college) should be placed front and center where visitors can ogle and whisper about the price.  We learned from the great Albert Hadley that the sofa often fulfills this glorified need, so never forget to pile on the pillows for that extra luxe as well.  It also makes it simple to change out those little poufs depending on look, season, or boredom.  The neighbors will be aghast.  Also never skimp on certain items of seating or translating that into “marriage speak” means that immediately after the honeymoon, remove any item hubby attempts to bring into the home.  And by the way, you can forget contacting Goodwill; they have their standards.  For my sake, think neutral, flexibility is important in all areas.

Lush and lavish window treatments seem to be an oddity of the past.  Today, we favor simplistic panels to add a splash of color, texture, and height.  But I must admit, I find yards of pretty fabric as a compliment such as a good set of pearls used as a finish for that little black dress.  The can amplify neutrals through use of materials, provide privacy in case of nosy neighbors, add warmth on colder days, and finish a space beautifully by highlighting specific hues.  HEY DESIGNERS go to the floor with drapery (or at least a pant break) as it makes the look appear complete (no high waters for the clients).   

When painting, remember that you have five walls (in case your expensive stylist forgot).  Look up!  Embellish your ceiling with a medallion, a mural, or a slightly lighter (or darker) color than the wall.  And don’t be shy, enamel the molding, the crown, even the baseboard.  Let the space dictate the use, and your furniture determine the colors.  And always, always, always, place a rug under your dining table.

For more interesting rooms, mix and match eras, periods, fabrics, textures, and art (this precludes neutral or tone-on-tone lovers).  And here is a great big DESIGN secret, you can mix gold and silver.  Embrace the unusual.  Always follow the rules without following the rules.  Your home should celebrate how you live much like a mirror reflects light.  Don’t be nervous about a wall of clocks or mirrors or religious crosses.  Amplify small spaces by treating them as large.  Appropriate open shelves.

Use galvanized steal, shiplap, or wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper) in unusual ways.  An empty corner makes a great little space for an architectural piece.  Take your dining room table to from a place to eat to unforgettable by utilizing different patterns of china and crystal.  While DESIGN should follow certain dictums, always remember that you are unique, SO BABY, mix it on up.