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.

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.

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)

 

                                                     

 

Shots Fired From This Sheriff if You Interfere With My Collecting

Over the years, I have tried my hand at “collections.”  The first began at the age of five or six and involved small glass animals which, at the time, I found charming, delightful, breakable.  I remember when my favorite horse, Bluebell (yes I named them all) broke her tail.  I was devastated for weeks.  To protect the others, I packed them up gently into a decorative box.  Needless to say, that cherished receptacle disappeared many moons ago.  In college, because I was referred to as a “difficult buy,” I faked an interest in perfume bottles.  For years and years, every person who meant something to me or who didn’t made sure that is received scores and scores of these potions of love for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Memorial, Flag, and Ground Hog Day.  Once the number reached 200, I put a moratorium on any more presents for anyone under the age of 12.  Though I do think back on fondness of one special antique Baccarat jewel, now chipped when the cat thought it was a chew toy and batted it off its weathered silver pedestal.

Certain items remain popular in their collectability.  Milk glass for one, invented in Venice in the 1500sby such makers as Fenton and McKee come in a variety of pieces; platters, punch bowls, plates,  To know if the bottle stands up to the test of tie, one must hold a piece up to the light and look for a “ring of fire” or an iridescent halo that indicated age.

If you consider yourself a winner, and who doesn’t, trophies hold a certain appeal.  They tell a story a tail (LOL) and celebrate accomplishment.  Engraved pieces bring higher prices and I am not referring to the “participation tidbits we throw at kids today just for showing up, but truly etched urns that bring sizable sums.

 

 

Leather, part and parcel of all things natural, serve up a big ole whoopee from collectors.  The cracks, stains, and different grains indicate the valuing of patina over perfection.  Available at a range or prices, some may cost in the thousands so sticker shock beware.

Barware or anything “cocktaily” serves as a source of the pretty and the entertainment (never a bad combination).  Cut crystal glassware, vintage serving items, and lovely decanters. make for a great display but a usable source for heavy drinkers.  No longer forced to make that long walk to the fridge, they can simply slip to the open bar area where the good liquor is often found.

 

Copper, zinc, and their metal cousins of brass and bronze serve as decorative and utilitarian objects.  Polished or unpolished, they make a beautiful statement as a light fixture, decorative tray, telescope, or candleholders.  Popular since ancient times, their virtually indestructible and readily available numbers perhaps makes this the most prized of the collectible crowd.

 

Next hand mirrors to reflect the age lines and spots in my face.  Yeah AGE!

Farmgirl in Heels or Why Americans Are Fascinated by Scandinavian Design

The areas of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have left indelible marks of the world of design.  With distinct pairings of soft blues and whites, weathered wood, large paned windows, and painted furniture, causes many a savvy homeowner to fall in love.  The fifth wall (or ceiling) in may Scandinavian homes receives special attention whether barn-boarded, beamed, or a soothing white gloss.  Window treatments tend to be sparse or skipped all together.  Since, traditionally, Gustavian furniture is painted, distressed and finished are typically in white, parchment, gold, and exposed antique pine, homeowners attempting to copy this style often find flea markets and antique stores as their best sources for materials.  Wall art can range from originals to abstracts, from lithographs to unframed oils.  Accessories tend to be well-edited so as not to interfere with the tranquility of the overall use of any room.  Floors look best newly sanded with a white stain or carefully selected tiles.  The outdoors brought in exemplifies a Scandinavian home so strategically place living greenery and flowery plants around every living area.  Give existing furniture a face lift by sanding and adding lighter colors such as buttermilk or gray blue to keep with the scheme.  Fabrics in raw linen and neutral colors create a warmth that appeals to those that want the feel of that region in the world.  Vintage wood, a beautiful Swedish clock, vintage crockery, apothecary jars, metal bins, canopy beds, a wood abacus, wall niches with shelves all serve to not only transform your home but also creates a lovely spot reflective on that perfect Hans Christian Anderson morning.

Pretty Cheeky Stuff or 7 Mistakes To A Stylish Home


Singles or Couples who have recently purchased a house are often to quick to buy furniture.  Style is constantly evolving so the process of time tends to allow a better outcome.  Purchase a new piece, retire another.  Remember when you ebb, you gotta flow.

I love a great museum, in particular, the Musee d’Orsay, but I sure don’t want to live in one.  If you have children, pets, friends, or a husband, expensive statuary and priceless architectural pieces may not be a great choice.  Buy a beautiful rug, splurge on a breathtaking chandelier, but be careful of choice items with hefty price tags. 

Purchasing in sets or the La-Z-Boy syndrome.  The 80s and even the 90’s, both decades of which I remember well, were filled with homes full of matchy match sofas and chairs.  Hell, even the coffee table was identical to the end unit.  The idea is to coordinate not put someone to sleep.  So be brave and mix it up.

Never ever assume original artwork is not in your budget.  Granted a Warhol or Lichtenstein might break the bank but hit flea markets, estate sales, or even blow up your children’s original drawings.  Afterall, Jack and Jill might end up being the next Picasso.

Collections, I repeat, collections are not just for grandmothers.  They simply need to be displayed in something beside a Curio.  Curated groupings such as trays, silver, books, tell a story.  It may be about your heritage, it may be about your travels.  Learn the art of accessorizing and those doilies might not seem so outdated.You create a room not habtable for those of us that breathe.  As a child, I remember that my American grandmother had all her furniture lined with plastic.  During the winter it was freezing, in the summer sticky.  Her child, my Aunt had a space in her home that in the 22 years of ownership, not one person had ever stepped into….She even bought those old theater ropes as if to say, “too fabulous for human touch.  Strip it down.  All rooms should be intended for interaction and conversation (though not necessarily grape juice or ice cream).

Forgetting to edit, edit, edit.  I, like all others in the universe, love Iris Arpel, but could you really live in her penthouse?  Accessories can become clutter and clutter can become hoarding.  There’s a fine line, one which I mysel, have crossed so ask your friends, your children, a complete stranger, what they truly think and listen carefully.  You might be surprised.

The Yoko Factor or BoHo in SoHo

Boho Chic is a style of design that fits perfectly with the just graduated, don’t have much money, can use a paint brush, addicted to Pinterest kind of gal.  The vibrancy of colors, the play on fabrics, the mix of textures, the wind chimes…….Boho tends to be a jumble of mid-century modern, hippi dippity,  shabby chic , cottage, flea market, Middle-Eastern, with a nod to Mary Quant kind of look.

The Bohemian Style embraces a sense of freedom from conventional design and infuses what we picture to be the European Gypsy look.  Usually referring to an unconventional and certainly artistic life, one thinks of free spirits who love this genre.  Anyone with a good case of OCD may want to skip this unconventional approach to living but for those that love those 64 box crayons…Fill your space from top to bottom with a bold and energetic palette.

 To achieve this style, one must mix old with new, vintage with modern, lacquered with weathered.  In other words, throw everything including the kitchen toaster into the pot.  The idea of achieving variety and diversity in color and form requires thinking outside the box (and drilling a whole lot holes in one’s walls).  Use books, fabrics, braided rugs, funky lighting, pillows, throws, plants, lamps, and sculpture to express your individuality (and don’t forget the handmade).   And as a nod to Mother Nature never hurts with REAL plants and herbs playing a central role.

I find the eclectic look works best in small spaces, cozy nooks, and tiny apartments where young people travel to after their formative college years.  BoHo is also a great way to avoid cleaning as it’s expression usually involves a great deal of clutter.   For me, I visualize a budget friendly indie recipe with a smattering of charm.  Think Yoko Ono.  Break it up, hold a love-in, and screech out a few records.

 

 

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

 

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