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 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…

 

  

 

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)

 

                                                     

 

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!

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.

Mixologist or How to Design a Bookshelf

 Decorating bookshelves often prove to be one of the more difficult tasks in homeaccessorizing.  With a few quick tips, your experience with this dastardly dead will keep your hair in place and your lipstick on.

Mix old with new, vintage with modern.

Sum up the room’s style by using accessories that enhance the décor.

Add functionality with a wall-mounted television or baskets full of needed controls, movies, and CD’s.

Keep scale in mind as larger objects tend to work better than smaller in terms of impact.

Wallpaper of paint the back of the bookshelf or bookshelves.  A great added feature often overlooked.

Think outside the proverbial box by overlapping items, popping in the unexpected, or duplicating both sides to perfection.

Use vignettes (or grouping within a grouping).

Combine similar items of different size, shape, or texture.

Honor your home’s location if by water, mountains, or sunflowers.

Showcase collectibles, vintage finds, art, and family photos.

Less can be more so edit, edit, edit.

 

 

 

 

 

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.