Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How often should you update the design of your home?

The answer depends on what type of design personality you are or want to be.

There are different types of design personalities:

The Traditionalist- this is someone who likes a particular period or regional style of design. These styles include: French Country, Tuscan, Craftsman, Art Deco, Mediterranean, etc. This is a more permanent style and needs updating less often. If you are authentic in your design, then you may only need to introduce accessories like pillows, lamps and recover worn furniture every 10-15 years. You should have investment type pieces of furniture. So, if this is your goal and you can imagine yourself in an English Tudor Home, then you need to identify pieces of furniture that compliment the style you have chosen and pay for quality. These pieces are timeless and classic and are worth the extra money you will spend.

The Trendsetter- this is someone who follows the trends and wants their home to reflect what is current, whether that is with color, shape or style of furniture. If this is you, you update often and don’t really need me to tell you when. You probably update every 3-4 years. I would say this is more of a design choice of a younger person who is exploring what their design statement is. It’s a good thing. I just would be cautious of what you invest your money in. You may not want to spend a huge amount on the orange sofa, knowing you won’t have it longer than 3 years.

The Individualist – This is someone who is a free spirit and it spills over into his or her home. It’s an extension of who they are. It’s unlike the Traditionalist. It’s more internal than external. A Traditionalist likes a particular style because of a place or period and how that makes them feel. An Individualist shows you how they feel. This is the toughest of all to achieve and very few people can pull this off. They can somehow make the oddest of things seem so “cool” and purposeful. This person searches on their journeys and adds things over time. It is never completely done and constantly evolving. It this describes you, then Bravo!! If this is what you would like to achieve, then you need to have a concept, inspiration or something to start your journey from. Maybe it’s a painting, movie, place, color, etc. Carry it with you and as you see things that can define an aspect of your character of the character of the loved ones that live in your home (remember it’s not all about you). Slowly, over time acquire things you love and then learn how to display them. There is no need to update this type of design, it’s always changing.

The “Average Joe” – You bought a house full of furniture after you bought your first home or big promotion and you haven’t had time to think about it since. Here’s how to begin: make a list, pull images off the Internet and magazines of things you like, take one room at a time, starting with the most used room in the house and start making changes. New paint colors can go a long way. You should update every 7-10 years.

The “I don’t have a design bone in my body”- Seek help! An Interior Designer can help your home reflect who you are and function better to suit your family’s needs.

Brandy’s updating guidelines:

1. Unless you live in a museum, you need to update at least every 10 years.

2. Pillow, lamps and accessories are great to keep things current without spending too much.

3. Update upholstery that is too worn or dusty.

4. Paint is magical!

5. Editing your rooms can be a great update. You don’t spend a dime, infact you can make some. If you keep things that no longer hold value in your life then those things will start to suck the life out of you and weigh you down.

6. Change bedding and towels. This is good for the soul!

7. You live in your house, so overtime you tend to not notice what may scream, “change me” to someone else. Everyone knows someone who has style, so call them and ask them to point out things to change. They don’t have an emotional attachment, so they can be honest. Don’t get defensive; take their advice to heart and really think about the item in question and see if it is that important for you to keep.

8. Beware of seasonal design decisions. Always question yourself, when you make a decision about your home whether it’s influenced by the season you are in or the change of seasons. If you want a white sofa in July, it may not be so appealing in December. Is it an impulsive decision? You need to question yourself. There’s nothing wrong with changing things for seasons. I have a fur pillow that I love but I don’t really want fur in the summer on my bed. I switch them out.

Got any other ideas for updating? Send us a comment! ~Brandy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fresh Squeezed - Kyle Bunting Rugs

Cowhide has come a long way from western wear and has crossed over into designer chic. Kyle Bunting has taken something ordinary and made it extraordinary through his use of hide in different interior applications. His designs can be seen as rugs, wall art, upholstery and now even furniture!

Take a look at some of his designs below:

I have got to have one of these rugs in my future. Not to mention they are based out of the Texas Hill Country!
PS Where would you like to use Kyle Bunting's work?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"What Were They Thinking Thursday" - Fake Flowers

I would really like to have a dog but I don't have time to take care of it so I got this really cool life-like stuffed dog and I put him in the corner and I named him Fido. It's great because I don't have to feed him or give him water. I don't have to take him for walks or play ball with him, or take him to the lake to go swimming. Wait a minute, I would like to do all those things with him. Isn't that what having a dog is about. Spending time with him and having him give you a slobbery kiss after you scratch his ears. Wow, I really sold out with this fake dog. He can't do anything, he just sits there collecting dust and reminding me how busy I think I am to have a dog.

Ok Ok, my little story might be a little "far-fetched", (pun intended) but I think the concept is the same as having fake flowers or plants in your house. You basically buy them because you want something to look pretty in that vase that your mother-in-law gave you but you don't want to take care of them. And in the end, you are the one that loses because you have sacrificed all the life and joy real flowers could bring to your home.

Flowers are beautiful living things and when added to a space bring life and scent and an overall feeling of joy. I actually feel better when there are fresh flowers in the room. Fake flowers might look like real flowers, but that is where their benefits end. They do not have the beautiful scents, or the amazingly intricate details of the real flower. Some fake flowers might feel somewhat real to the touch but I would challenge you to touch a real flower at the same time and then tell me if you think it feels real. The real flower has a delicateness about it that
cannot be imitated. There is just something about how fragile it is but how strong it looks that is simply fascinating. Also, fake flowers are stagnant, they do not move or change. Fresh flowers grow, they bloom and open up and then slowly fade back away and dry. Even dried, they are beautiful. So my challenge is, why would you settle for only one aspect of the flower, the visual, in a fake impostor when the benefits of having fresh flowers are far more numerous.

Some may argue that fake flowers are easier and allow you to have something pretty that is low maintenance. Wrong! Fake flowers collect dust, fade and can fall apart. Not only that, but they only look good for a period of time. You will have to replace fake flowers just like you would real flowers, just not as often.

Another argument is cost. Real flowers are so expensive, I can't afford to have them in my house. Ok, I understand this argument but there are other ways to fill your vases than with fake flowers. For example, at my house I have a very large arrangement of dried flowers and twigs from my wedding on the mantle. It is beautiful and it is real. You can also fill your vases with other items, like sea shells, twigs, moss or pretty stones. The options are endless. Then, you can have real flowers on special occasions, or maybe once a month.

If you want to save money on flowers, my advice would be to buy one type of flower, not a fancy arrangement. If you buy a dozen daisies you can actually split them up and put one or two in single bud vases and then put the rest in a bunch in one bigger vase. Pre-arranged flowers tend to be kind of a rip-off. You pay $40 dollars for a bouquet that only has three large flowers and the rest are just fillers like baby's breath or mums or God forbid, carnations! If you have some design eye, check out your local grocery stores. I like to buy a dozen roses there and then buy my own fillers and put them together myself. This is a much better deal and you get more bang for your buck.

Also, have a look around your yard. Using flowers from your garden or sticks from your trees will look great. Do you have ferns? Simply clip some fern stems and put them in a vase, they look great! Hydrangea's are great cut flowers. Dried hydrangeas will look almost as good as live ones. They keep there shape and some will even keep there color.

Now let's have a look at the difference between real and fake. You tell me which ones you think look better:

I would like to add that these fake arrangements are actually pretty pricey! You could probably buy a dozen fresh flowers 7 times for the price of one fake arrangement.

Now let's take a look at fresh flower alternatives:

Fern Stems

Dried Sticks

Dried Hydrangeas look awesome!

More Fern Stems, I love the mixing of green colors
So what's you opinion on this controversial topic? Fresh or Fake?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Pulp- Decorator vs. Interior Designer

I can’t tell you how many times I have been called a Decorator. My own Mom still calls me a Decorator. As Seinfeld would say “Not that there is anything wrong with that." It just very difficult to be compared to someone who may only pick out pillows and drapery. There is a bit of resentment on my part, I have spent years in college, an internship and then sat for an exam to get a license just so I can practice Interior Design. I don’t like being compared to an occupation that has no foundation and has nothing required of them. Harsh, I know.

An Interior Designer is considered a professional occupation much like an Architect, Accountant and Lawyer. This is a very touchy subject with Decorators, Architects and Interior Designers. The Decorators want to continue working and doing what they have been doing for years and because of licensing, laws and regulations they are prevented from practicing and working in some fields of design. They feel they don’t have to take the exam to be an Interior Designer. Yes, they have natural talent and a gift that college and an exam can’t do for you.

Many Architects (not all) don’t have a clue what the Interior Design profession is either. They feel like we are “rag pickers” and what is worse, they feel like they do a better job at picking finishes. It’s a battle on all sides to prove that our profession has a place and is needed. There is an overlap in our professions of what an Architect does and what an Interior Design does. This best possible scenario is for both to work together from the beginning of the design process.

The problem is that the government or lawmakers can’t hold someone to a standard without setting a standard. Therefore the three E’s came about; Education, Experience and Examination. They require someone who wants to practice Interior Design to get a 4 year degree from an accredited college, have an internship for two years under a licensed Interior Designer or Architect and then pass an exam to get your license to practice. Once you have your license, you must practice by the guidelines they set for you. You must have continuing education of 8 hours every year. You have procedures in which to submit drawings. The reason for the three E’s is to make sure that the health, safety and welfare of the public is protected. We take an oath to uphold this principal. Interior Designers have to know the federal, state, and city codes; fire, health, building codes, accessibility, etc. Therefore, the lawmakers are making sure the public is protected from someone who does not possess the three E’s.

There are many reasons why this is a good thing; 1) A decorator may not know the difference in the type of fabric that can go in a 2-hour rated space. This is fire code. What if you design beautiful fabric walls for a ballroom and you don’t use the proper fabric required by fire code and a candle from a wedding ignites a fire and the place goes up in flames endangering lives? Could it have been prevented by making sure that an individual who is specifically trained and continually required to know the laws do the work. 2) It’s not all about having instinct and creative ability. You must know why something feels right or looks good. There is a science, or psychology that supports what we know to be instinct. I believe you must know history, design principals, etc. in order to support or reject them. 3) You can have the most beautiful design but if it doesn’t function well then it is pointless.

The laws are becoming stricter. You must be a licensed Architect or Interior Designer to be able to submit your project for a building permit to build new or remodel a project over $50,000.00. The laws and codes are there for a reason, to protect the public and too many times theses laws are broken or ignored. That’s a whole other topic of discussion!

Please comment or send questions regarding this. There are many sides to a story, what’s yours? ~ Brandy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Splash Trend - It's For The Birds!

OK, let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with following a trend. I am a huge trend follower (well until it gets too trendy). Trends are fun just as long as you don't spend a ton of money on them because they will soon be on their way out and you will be left wondering why in the world do you have jeans in every color known to man.

Just like in fashion (anyone remember broom skirts and button covers?), interiors have trends as well. One that is very dominant right now is BIRDS! Don't get me wrong, I love a good throw pillow with a little birdie silhouette on it. If you have birdies perched throughout your home that is just fine, they are very trendy right now, but be advised when it's time to throw the trend to the birds, don't be too attached to let them leave the nest and fly south for the winter.

Here are some examples of the current bird trend:

A great table scape, love the birdcages

This room is fabulous. I love the bird wallpaper and the pops of color

A cute birdie lamp

LOVE this pillow!

Cute idea for birdcages, remember our above the kitchen cabinets post? This could work there.
A birdie on your wall

Modern birdie napkin rings, maybe they will clean up the crumbs left on your table.
Now, you might be asking yourself how do I know when it's time to stop following a trend. PAY ATTENTION. Look through magazines and catalogues to see what's in and what's out. Have you noticed that beachy and coral are chasing those birds away?

And of course, if you are not a trend follower, stick to the classics, throw a bird in there somewhere if you want to but don't go crazy. I know I know, people say you should decorate with what you like and what looks good to you, but let's be honest, sometimes what we think looks good is just a big mess!

Get some advice, ask your friends what they think of your space. But, if you want an honest answer don't get upset when they give it to you! I'll give you one right now, if you are wearing those mom jeans of the early 90's, you know the ones, light wash, tapered at the ankle, go and buy yourself some nice dark wash slim bootcut jeans. Just remember, women always look better in a dark wash, it makes us look thinner! You can thank me later.

And now, I must go buy that bird pillow!

Friday, June 18, 2010

DIY - Upholstered Headboard

Ever look through those magazines and think...I would LOVE that beautiful upholstered headboard for my own bed at home...and then look at the price tag and think, "dream on"! Well, here is a super simple idea for a fast, easy, & inexpensive way to make an upholstered headboard!

Supplies needed:
- plywood: tall & wide enough to accommodate your size bed ( K, Q, or twin)
- batting: enough for 2 layers on the plywood
- fabric of your choice: enough to cover plywood and wrap around edges (I used linen)
- nail gun & staples
- nailhead trim

Step 1: Decide the headboard shape you desire. Of course, the more intricate the curve, the more detail, it's just deciding if you are up for the challenge!

Here are some pictures for inspiration...

Step 2: Cut plywood to desired shape. I went for a simple soft curve. Below is a picture of the plywood after (my friend's dad) cut it for me :).

Step 3: Cover plywood with batting. I used 2 layers to allow for enough "plushness". Wrap batting around edges and staple securely with a staple gun. Wrap corners and ensure everything is even against the board, this will prevent it from sticking out away from the wall when you hang it.

Step 4: Wrap fabric around headboard and staple securely on back as well. If you have a pattern or even linear lines (like in a linen) make sure everything is straight and will look good from the front. Below is the natural linen color I used.

Step 5: Add nailhead trim! Now the hard part is following the curve of your headboard. (Much easier for those who chose square!) I put mine 3" away from the edge and used a tape measure to measure all along the way.

And voila.....!!

Hope you enjoy being a little creative and making your own headboard to enjoy!