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La-Z-Boy and the house that love built. Ronald McDonald’s Liz Calaici and La-Z-Boy’s Daria Degolian, Spanish Fort lead designer, tour the new RMH guestroom. Please support RMH as it strives to provide a home away from home for families with seriously ill or injured children.
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Top Ten Rules for a Beautiful Room-
# 10 Rule: Use all of the room. Your room was made to accommodate you. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Your rooms are there to serve you for your pleasure.
# 9 Rule: Adding to #10 Rule, use all of the room, use all of the room in a color that sends you over the moon. Be careful and consider the color, you will be in this room for quite a while. FYI, living and dining rooms are updated every five to seven years, bedrooms a little more often. But even six weeks in a poorly painted space could make you very sad.
# 8 Rule: Do not be afraid of white space. (This is a term borrowed from printers) white space is often referred to as negative space. It is the space that allows you to see everything else in the room. In other words, don't give in to clutter, she is a buzz killer.
# 7 Rule: Go in feet first; be mindful of the floor. What is on your floor? Do you have a wonderful surface like beautiful hardwood polished to a high sheen? Do you have fabulous porcelain tile? Or, do you have a plain simple carpet that is so bashful it is hardly noticed? Consider the virtue of a rug, 8 x 10, more or less depending on the space. She can bring such joy. She can amplify the patterns in the room, bring fun, sophistication, and glamour or just quiet the space down. She has the ability to make or break a room, be careful not to overlook her.
# 6 Rule: Now, where are you going to sit? Can everyone see the tv? Can everyone see each other? Stadium/theater seating is good for theaters and stadiums, not for living spaces. Is there a lonely chair isolated in the corner? Get it away from there. Inevitably, you will have a gathering and the most socially awkward person will find a way to sit in that lonely corner all night long. What kind of party host are you to let that happen?
# 5 Rule: Do you have a place for your phone, drink, book, and glasses? Tables matter. Choose yours with care. The thing about tables, unless you dance on them, they are with you for quite some time, have fun with them. They come in so many styles and so many materials that it is hard to make a mistake. The largest mistake you can make is to not have one of these hard workers placed strategically in your room so that you don't have to use your lap as a table top. The second mistake is having a table too short or too tall, who wants to reach up or down when you aren't at exercise or dancing?
# 4 Rule: Light it up. Three action words lamps, lamps, lamps, nothing is more insidious than an obnoxious overhead light. Besides the fact that these ornery spots in the center of the ceiling can make you look old and color your skin gray, if they are too bright you will become fatigued. Don't forget your windows. Dress them for success. Hardware store shades and blinds are great for emergency privacy, dorm spaces and bachelor pads, real rooms need real window treatments.
# 3 Rule: Artwork, refer to #10, use all of the room. The average height of sofas and chairs is 40 inches. That means there is a lot of room at the top. The artwork is the breath of life for your space. It is also one of the only components that can be completely independent of everything else in the room. Art is your voice, use it.
# 2 Rule: Accessories, now this can be tricky. Only use those things that you love that are appropriate to the space. Remember rule #8, it also applies here. Never underestimate how sneaky Miss Clutter is. She will take over a tabletop or corner the minute your head is turned.
# 1 Rule: Go back to #10 Rule and live, live, live graciously in your beautiful space.
MID CENTURY MODERN
Have you ever not loved something, had to work with it and found yourself embracing the very thing you once hated? I have. For me, it was midcentury modern. Everything about the look and style seemed austere and standoffish. Even the art for this genre was geometric and muted. How was that supposed to be inspiring?
I never appreciated it until it became necessary to embrace it. Midcentury modern, or MCM, always seemed austere, bland and way too aggressive. Then I met the French version whose name is Moderne and voila, it was love. I mean L O V E. I found something that I could embrace.
Did you ever meet someone who on the first impression seemed beyond cool? The person whose intimidating presence first invited a denouncement on your part, mainly because the look was so cool you didn’t really understand it? You know the person who made the cool people you knew look Provencal? Then somehow you got to know that person, became familiar with the style and maybe even tried it out to see if it would work for you?
As you warmed up to that very fashionable look and attitude, did the style gain your admiration, and suddenly, the old you became tragically obsolete?
Well, MCM has those elements. For a 150-year-old movement, it certainly is enduring. The look seems to re-emerge when the climate gets tough. It made its first appearance with the industrial age and the robber barons. It reappeared after the first world war, the one that was supposed to end all wars. It receded during World War II, but so did a lot of things during that terrible time. Then, right after the war, it came back, right along with the station wagon and baby boomers. Now the Xers and Millennials have claimed it.
For me, French Moderne is queen, for you, it may be a more relaxed, existential approach with clearly defined geometrics and saturated color. One thing is certain, you do not have to have a turquoise or harvest gold kitchen to call your home MCM. It is a straightforward and uncomplicated look. MCM is playful, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and isn’t that a relief?
Check out the recording from June's Keep It Simple, Summer Design Chat Sneak Peek livestream!
Keep it simple, it's summertime.
Summer is an attitude. Summer is keeping it simple. Summer is a break.
I love my house in the summer. Mother Nature is my designer.
Sunshine is my go-to partner for summer decorating. The summer sunlight comes pouring in all day through the windows and French doors in my house. But, she is a tough taskmaster and requires that I work harder than I really want to keep the windows clean and shiny. But, if she is going to work ten to twelve hours a day, the least I can do is keep the windows sparkling so she can show off her glory.
When the sun, my summer partner, gets really enthusiastic, I am prepared with a window unit air conditioner in my bedroom. It hums all night at a nippy 68 degrees, like the air conditioners at old Holiday Inns that put condensation on the windows by morning. I don't even mind that the woven wood shade and silk draperies are pulled up and to the side making room for the glorious factory air. Here function definitely takes the front seat to form. The treatment of the window treatment is not pretty, however, there is two pair of French doors in the room dressed in silk draperies that are very pleasing to the eye and more than make up for the temporary design infraction on the west wall.
The kitchen is a great summer spot. When I can, I have a wooden bowl filled with fresh veggies in season. I try to eat them before they go bad, I confess, I don't always succeed. These seasonal jewels make their own statement. Eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and corn on the cob, are the originals in organic design. The colors of summer vegetables are fabulous, Mother Nature really does put on a show. Together they say summer is here and the season is as temporary as the homegrown veggies. Mother Nature with her deep, sensuous and vibrant colors makes our effort at interior paint color seem pale and lifeless. Aside, I tried to grow tomatoes, my plant yielded five tomatoes the size of golf balls, despite my efforts at watering and fertilizing. The crop was tasty but tiny, and after the less than bountiful harvest, the whole plant surrendered herself back to Mother Nature. I am going to stick to decorating and let those with the green thumbs work their own magic.
So, put on your flip-flops, kick back and bask in the sunlight. Don't miss Mother Nature's summer light show, fall will be here soon enough.
My son is a Marine, Sergeant Norman, E-5. I found this description of Marine moms. It’s true.
The Marine mom:
Freedom is the greatest gift there is. It is fragile and precious, and must be protected at all costs. I am one of the lucky Marine moms. He is home, safe and sound. There are moms who will never hear that voice on the other end of the phone again. Pray for her, especially this weekend. We can’t know her pain and she doesn’t expect us to. For her we can stop and embrace our freedom and our county. That shouldn’t be too hard, after all, it is the greatest country the world has ever known.
My house is the place I want to be. It is my sanctuary. There is nothing more comforting to me than climbing into my bed with a bowl of hot buttered popcorn, a diet coke and a remote control. I have cabled us up to the limit to watch whatever I want to watch on my exceptionally large tv. That is my heaven. I can’t share that time with my friends, but, I do, however, share it with my husband, sometimes, and my dog always.
There are several favorite “public spots” at my house. I love my living room with the silk sectional and the dining room with our ancestors staring down at us. The gentleman is holding the NASHVILLE CONSTITUTION, his wife, at least we presume it is his wife, stares down at us with a demure smile. Who are they? We have no idea, they came to us from my mother-in- law’s house and now they are ours. We think we hear them giggling sometimes.
I rarely cook, but I have collected some really cool kitchen things that make my heart sing. I have copper pots, this was a challenge even for me who can generally justify buying anything. But telling my husband I was going to spend $2,000.00 on copper pots because they really look good when you serve from the stove, four times a year was beyond even my ability to justify. So, I asked for copper pots for birthdays and Christmas. I did not ask for my husband to give me these things, he is obligated for much more than that, but I did ask my children and siblings. It didn’t take long to create a copper pot collection, and I do love them! They really charm up the kitchen.
The den, it’s awesome, it is filled with things we have collected, it is ever evolving. The point is, it is our house, and when you come into it you know it is me. You also know it is my husband’s because his things are everywhere. He has been tolerant with my ideas and in return the La-Z-Boy recliner stays right where he put it. That is our compromise.
The point of this conversation is, this is your home. Let it take care of you. Be bold in your expression. Life is too short to compromise who you are, when you do that everyone loses. What do you want your friends and family to experience when they enter your domain? The great thing about this is it takes so little to make your mark. Start at the front door, how does it look? Are you there? Look at the paint, the door knocker, the hardware, who’s taste is that? Is that you at the entrance of your house? What about flowers? Do you love them, the fresh ones, I mean? Are you a gardener? I have a friend who specializes in roses. She spends hours in her rose garden and when she comes to visit, she always has a bouquet for the hostess. It is a treat to receive one of her bouquets. They are known as Laurie’s roses. She has found her mark. That is the point, you get to decide how to elevate your style. When you do you begin to make your mark. That is when the magic happens.
Swag your spirit. Don’t just own your home, own your style. Who are you? If you are wondering about the answer to that eternal question posed by all mankind, look around your room. It will give you the answer, sometimes, it’s even shouting at you.
Do you recognize the personality that created your space? Is it a mirror of your soul? If not, why not? Let’s look at what is going really going on in your room. First, what color is it? Do you have a favorite color? Are you using your favorite color to power up your day and power down your night? Here is what the “experts” have to say about color: “The colors of the rooms in your home are a direct reflection of your personality.” That’s a lot of responsibility not to mention a heavy burden.
On top of all of everything else you have to do, now you are responsible for the mood influences in your space. Terrific. So how do you affect the mood in your room?
Here are a few simple principles.
You can add color to liven things up, subtract color to calm things down. We should all have spouses and partners with that kind of flexibility, just a thought. There are several other factors to help define your style.
Does an uptown classic look lift you up or is it shabby chic you prefer? Is an easy breezy coastal spirit your style or does a colorful family fun room hit all cylinders? Is it rooms that ramble or modified spaces that hold you close? Are you contemporary or all about the antique? Doesn’t matter, all of the above mentioned are fabulous, especially if it makes your heart sing. There is, however, one rule we cannot move beyond, no matter how hard we try. Well-being is linked to a clean house. Recent studies have shown those who have a clean home have a healthier and happier environment.
Your mother was right.
Preppie fashion rules can be translated into rules for family fun rooms.
Rule # 1: Keep it sporty. Sporty for your house can be interpreted with great looking plaids and patterned fabrics with maybe a little leather mixed in. Think of football, baseball, basketball, tennis, and soccer teams. The colors are bright and complementary. They are high energy, unless, of course, you are looking at a team that has black and gold as “signature “team colors. For our purposes, don’t look at black and gold teams. For you black and gold lovers, we will have something for you later.
Rule # 2: Keep it under dressed. Quick question, what does under dressed for a room look like? It looks like purpose. Not to belabor the sports comparisons, but, if the cleats fit. In sports, every element or piece of equipment has a vital purpose. Think of football without the helmet, soccer without socks and shin guards, tennis without lines on the court, everything has a reason and a function. Sports equipment is a fashion statement. Tennis has a very high style dress code, golf, well, that dress code conversation could go on for a while from the visor all the way down to the cleated shoe, and we didn’t mention the golf bag. So, how does this translate into a fun, high energy room that is awesome to just sit in? Everything must have purpose and be in a suitable style. Not frilly and sexy, that will be for other rooms, but tailored and intentional.
Rule # 3: Jewelry for the preppster doesn’t have to match, but the metals should. What does that mean for your room. The tables, chests, odd, fun pieces don’t have to match, but they do need to have a scale that relates. In other words, the tables need to talk to each other the conversation had better be good.
Rule # 4: Preppies take care of their clothes, but a tiny stain or small pull in a sweater is not the end of the world. The family fun room, preppie style is not afraid of a few life bruises. Small bumps and spills only serve to show that the room is cherished. These rooms, however, must never be shabby. There is a difference between gracefully worn and messy.
Rule #5: Preppie clothes can cost any amount, but they must fit. Many a preppy has an item from a vintage shop or a lost-and-found bin at the club that was tailored and looks incredibly chic. This same principle applies to the preppie family room. Your furniture can cost any amount, but it must be suitable for the space. Finds at consignment shops and garage sales can be very appealing if they are “tailored” to perfection. I.E., these treasurers must be finished, clean, and polished. Note, preppie rooms love beeswax.
These rooms are classic and always in style. Bottom line these rooms work because they are authentic. They really do meet the Vanity Fair criteria that, “The best fashion statement is no fashion statement…” Enjoy!
Hold on to your Izod, preppie is back. A new day has dawned. Navy, kelly green and hot pink are claiming a place in family rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, even kitchens and baths. This is not only happening here at home in the USA, but all over the globe. The economy has risen and with it has come a world of color. What does this mean for you and your abode? Classic looks mixed with wit and suitability. It’s time for our rooms to be happy.
A style that was defined a hundred years ago has come of age. What does the original “athleisure” look in fashion have to do with your house. Everything. The preppie movement is exuberant and exhilarating. It is more than a style, it is an attitude. The original preppies of 1910 took the staid and formal manner of America and breathed life into it.
Good taste and suitability are the name of the game. Preppie style kicks back with confidence. Relax the room with saturated color and feel the energy flow. Introduce some joy into your living space. Pop some hot pink in that room. She shines in the corner like a beautiful flower that never wilts. Pair her up with some navy and white pillows and you have taken your room to the next level.
What does saturated color mean? It is color in its purest or truest version. That is the definition of preppie. It is youth, purity and authenticity. Let your room reach out to you and surround you with vitality. The movement embodies all that is real and all that is simple. The basic blue blazer, a staple for the preppie, can be interpreted as a fabulous tuxedo sofa. Yes, you know it, a basic three seater, three cushions for the seat and three cushions for the back. This sofa rises above trend. For the preppie room the sofa is best covered in white, khaki or navy blue, but you are not limited to just those. You can use bold stripes or plaids. Note, the energy comes from the contrast in the colors. You can use other colors but white is the partner for all them. She tames the power of saturated, pure color. In the past white was unfairly treated as the “safe” color. A fall back if you didn’t know what to do in your room, safe, non-threatening and non-descript. Preppie white is not your grandmother’s safety white! She is here in all of her gleaming glory to give your space the pop and pizazz it has been longing for. Have fun with this style, it is really versatile. Preppie style can take you from a casual beach room all the way up to a formal dining room.
Remember the principles of this timeless exhilarating style are honorable, exuberant, energetic and fun. Tennis anyone?