Whenever you are designing a room, whether you are accessorizing, redecorating, remodeling a room in your house, or moving to a new home entirely, the number one route to a successful outcome is to have a well thought out PLAN.Read More
There are a lot of things to think through when designing a home office. Whether you use the space to work full time from home or just as an organizational hub for volunteer and household activities, it needs to be functional. BUT it also needs to be attractive - especially if it is adjacent to the public rooms in the house.Read More
Slipcovers are a great option for re-purposing your upholstered furniture. If you have pieces that are comfortable and have great lines but worn or dated upholstery fabric, slipcovers are a less expensive alternative to reupholstery and are potentially washable as well!
I have met many clients who immediately dismiss the idea of slipcovers because they associate them with something that looks like this…Read More
The holiday decorations are finally all packed up until next year. And now is the time to turn our attention to organizing and freshening our homes. Here are three small changes with big impact that will breathe new life into your rooms:Read More
Sharing a peek at a project in progress....
We are almost done with the first phase of this redecorating project at a charming vacation home in a private beach neighborhood on Cape Cod. After years of living with a "living room" space that didn't ever get used, the homeowner tasked us with creating a comfortable space that would be inviting.Read More
A well-designed room is alchemy…part science and part art.
Sure, we want our rooms to look good, but more importantly, we want them to be comfortable – to LIVE well. And the essence of comfort in a room is feeling good there. Comfort is about more than the cushion fill in the sofa. It also includes the convenience and functionality and welcoming FEEL of the space. Good design serves the occupants of the room, not the other way around.
Whether starting from scratch or reworking existing spaces, here are a few essential processes and principles:Read More
FINALLY! After years of poring over the Ballard Designs catalog and absorbing the pretty vignettes, the catalog has come to life right here in New England! A new Ballard Designs retail store has opened at the Natick Mall. It is a breath of fresh design air after years of proliferating Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware stores. While the quality level and prices are all similar, the ingredients are a bit more classical than Pottery Barn and a bit more varied than Restoration Hardware.Read More
A well chosen area rug can pull together a whole room. While there are many ways to approach decorating a room, starting with an area rug you love is one of the most logical. The rug you choose can set the design direction for the whole room and choices are available for every possible situation, from a trendy flokati to a classic oriental, and everything in between. That said, here are some guidelines to help you with your choices wherever the rug selection falls in your process.Read More
Sometimes a small change can have a big impact.
Rearranging the contents of this deep built-in china cabinet to showcase some of the home owners favorite things was on our list of projects this week. Armed with a variety of easels and stands, we set to work!
This client has an extensive collection of china, silver, and crystal pieces – some family heirlooms – like the silver pitcher she grew up pouring her milk from for breakfast each morning, and others collected over the years. She had a china cabinet full of pieces and had brought more of her favorites out of storage and gathered them on the table for our perusal.
We remembered to take the 'before' picture below after we had already emptied the bottom shelf of myriad small teacups, salts, and little crystal dishes and had just started setting it up with the gorgeous cobalt china tea set. The top two shelves contained symmetrically arranged china all lined up in rows, and the third shelf contained a lovely collection of demitasse cups, but such small scale items on such a deep shelf made it hard to appreciate them.
The trim in this dining room and thus on the exterior of the china cabinet is a rich warm gumwood and the interior is painted – soon to be re-painted with interior side and back walls in a metallic leaf finish - can't wait to see it completed!
The new contents of the china cabinet echo the rich colors in the oriental carpet on the floor with its cobalt blues, aqua greens and rich coral tones.
Carefully editing the contents, varying the heights, standing plates and trays as backdrops, and distributing the finishes and shapes for balance give the new cabinet arrangement a more curated look.
Best of all, our client is delighted to have some of her favorite treasures beautifully displayed!
Throw pillows can add so much to a room. Of course, too much of a good thing is still too much, so use them wisely and keep in mind the look you are after. More minimalist looks might benefit from a sofa with only two throw pillows, while a more transitional or traditional décor approach might use up to five or more of varying sizes and shapes depending on the size of the piece. While arguments still persist in almost every household as to whether throw pillows are an asset or a nuisance, here are six good reasons to include them.
Throw pillows ...
1. add color and pattern to an otherwise boring sofa
You only buy a sofa once in a great while so, generally speaking, it is wise to choose a neutral or at least a livable color and a classic design so you won’t tire of it. That said, throw pillows are an opportunity to add style and color that will elevate the design and break up a large expanse of sameness. Just please don’t call it a “pop” of color … let’s reserve that as a verb more appropriate for balloons and bubblegum shall we?
2. add comfort to a deep sofa
So YOU might be 5’10” with legs that go to your armpits, but when your petite aunt Sally visits, wouldn’t it be nice if she could sit on your sofa and have her feet touch the floor? A handy throw pillow to put behind you allows you to have a nice deep sofa for lounging and curling up with a good book AND a proper and comfortable seat for entertaining an assortment of guests.
3. are essential for sofa lounging
At some point (if not regularly) SOMEONE in your house is going to want to stretch out or curl up on the sofa and lie down and they will need a comfy pillow or two for their head. Enough said.
4. are a practical way to use a gorgeous piece of fabric that is costly
You fell in love with the silk appliquéd, embroidered linen that costs more than your car payment … okay, so maybe draperies for six windows in it are out of the question, but a pair of throw pillows would only take a little bit. Bonus: cover the backs of the pillows in something inexpensive and soft so they can be turned over for use in sofa lounging (see item 3) – this uses even less of the expensive fabric AND makes them irresistible to cuddle up on!
5. are a great place to add custom details to a room
Dressmaker details like trim, pleats, braid, fringe, buttons, ties, contrast banding - all of these are easily added to pillows. These sorts of details can really customize the look of a room and on a throw pillow, they are on display in an obvious location where they can be appreciated. These couture details can help further the whole design of the room; for example, wooden buttons might help establish a casual feel where fabric covered buttons add some tailored elegance. The opportunities for creativity are endless!
6. are easily changed
Pillows don’t require an army to move, so you can change them any time you want to modify the look in your room without enlisting the help of anyone else. If you just buy or make covers for your pillows, they are even easy to store – keep the filler and change the covers seasonally or whenever the occasion or your mood calls for it. They are the ultimate décor with a purpose!
Some final advice...
Be sure you have filled your pillows with down inserts – buy them a bit larger than the pillow cover for a nice full look. Replace any of those poly-fillers with down inserts. They are totally worth the modest investment. Down pillows can be plumped in an instant and will look like new, and they are not subject to the ‘pancake’ syndrome that afflicts polyester pillows.
SO, go forth and add some well designed throw pillows to your life.
You will be glad you did!
Sometimes, updating your space doesn't mean starting from scratch. When one of our favorite clients called us about updating the look in her well-used family room, we knew just what to do.
This was one of the first spaces we tackled 15 years ago when we began working on this lovely antique colonial with the homeowners. At the time, we selected the paint colors, designed the window coverings and specified the furnishings, rug, and lamps.
The original arrangement (shown above) worked well, but after 15 years of daily use, the homeowner was ready for a refresh.
We kept the paint colors, window treatments, and lamps. Antique pine case goods and distressed finish tables still worked well but we opted to update the upholstery beginning with a new, more transitional styled sofa in a high performance fabric that would stand up to snuggling with the grandchildren.
The solid wool sisal rug was exchanged for a patterned, more contemporary style area rug, and the chairs and ottomans were recovered in luscious textures and friendly stripes that echo the colors in the rug.
Now all the generations of the family can enjoy the new space for years to come!