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.

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.

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)

 

                                                     

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.