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.

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)

 

                                                     

 

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

 

Shiplap

  

HOLY SHIPLAP BATMAN!

 

 

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

 

Best Laid Plans or Did I Over-Decorate?

I need some sage advice.  I shop, pretty much every day, goes with the job.  My current obsessions are Home Goods and World Market.  No don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms about spending substantial money on a leather sectional that will last through the years but I believe in balance.  And to be perfectly honest, Home Goods has great stuff, terrific prices, and fairly decent displays.

 

One of my current client’s, whose previous home interior design choice was French Country (via Charles Faudree).  Lots of patterns, prints, flouncy draperies, an overwhelming amount of accessories; it actually looked quite fabulous.  Now dated, Cherie and her husband decided they are at a point where its time to redo, repurpose, reorganize, or basically spend a great deal of the green stuff.  He wants mid-century modern, she desires a contemporary farmhouse style.  Even with tear sheets and a rather lengthy Pinterest page, does little to relinquish my confusion.  I’m thinking Coachella meets Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke show (see look how giddy that complete stranger feels in her living room).

For some 25 years, Cherie and I have maintained an almost spousal relationship (non-sexual).  We trust one another as long as she understands that my opinion remains sacrosanct.  After much thought, Kathryn Ireland’s no hold bars designs came to mind.  Problem solved.

 But my question, the one that requires help, is as John Steinbeck once pondered, “Do you only want advice if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway?

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.

 

 

 

A Crush on Charles Faudree

 

My obsession with all things French began not on a trip to Paris but one to Oklahoma.  I visited a home designed by the great Charles Faudree.  Based in Tulsa, his works appeared in numerous magazines from House Beautiful, Veranda, Traditional Home, and Southern Living.  He wrote six books, all of which I cherish, designed a fabric line, was named one of best 100 designers in America, and a passionate owner of his beloved Cavalier King Charles spaniels.  His illustrious career ended in 2003 but he still serves as the impetus for my passion of French and Southern décor.

As a designer of both quaint cottages and large estates, Mr. Faudree believed that certain little pops of “je ne sais quoI” or “the mix” created the look that we now all envy.

He considered “the mix,” necessary in all good design.  By placing works of art in a grouping, highlighting an entry hall to create a warm and welcoming space, and filling a table full of breathtaking little treasures to create a feeling, expressed not only his style but reflected that of his clients.  Style was the key to his greatness and no where could it be seen better than in his use of lush fabrics that combined buffalo checks, ticking stripes, florals, and, of course, toiles to represent a story, a statement of that room.

The beauty was always in the detail.  Past and present, old and new, rustic and refined, understated yet elegant.  But despite his famous mix, there existed a cohesion in every room he touched.  Consistency also played a part as he often used his favorite objects; French commodes, gilded mirrors, bergeres, shell boxes, plates, platters, and stoneware, Staffordshire dogs, grand clocks.

Charles Faudree elevated French Country to a stunning artform, tried by many, succeeded by few.  Known for his accoutrement (often without the pretense of stuffiness) his discerning eye generated beauty that seemed to simply evolve with ease.

Yes, Charles Faudree was my first design crush and I feel honored to be able to look at his work.

 

(all photos credited to Jenifer Jordan)

Show & Tell

So you live in a place that’s short on space.  Not uncommon for college grads, big city dwellers, or idiots (like me) that had to pay their ex-husband alimony.  You want high ceilings, intricate crown molding, iron fireplaces, weathered floors, open shelving, essentially a Parisian apartment in the 50s.  But let’s face it, you live in Des Moines in a mass produced, overpriced 1 bedroom, 1 bath that leaks every time it rains.  What’s you going do???

Add a focal wall (paper, paint, mural)?  Use nesting tables instead of one big bulky coffee console that overfills the room?  Buy poufs, benches, ottomans, even folding chairs for more versatile seating?  Throw in a fabulous chandelier or a stunning floor lamp?  Contrast colors to give the idea of defined space?  Place a mirror behind a loveseat to reflect light and create the illusion of something more grand?  Hide your technology?  Use corners for bar carts or architectural oddities?  Layer rugs to define and separate?  Mix textures, metals, and fabrics?  Use different design styles like mid-century modern and boho with a touch of industrial farmhouse?  Spend high and save low?  Accept that garage sales and flea markets occasionally let lose that little slice of heaven in what seems a pile of junk?  YES, YES, & YES!  Because show and tell requires creativity not size (at least not in design).