For those blessed with a second home at the shore
(or even a nice outbuilding such as a pool house)
you know what fun it is to mix it up a little bit.
And, anyway, it’s always fun to dream!
By that, I mean, you do something perhaps a little kooky, a little off-beat,
a little more colorful than you might select for your main house.
Because, in the main house, kooky can turn weird, off-beat can hit a sour note,
and vibrant color can grow cold on you, if you are seeing it day in and day out, all the time.
I first think of the gorgeous homes in Palm Beach.
Many of the seasonal residents live part of the year in much colder climes,
so they embrace the tropical lifestyle, for part of the year, in all its colored splendor.
And it works, beautifully:
They wouldn’t dream of having the same sort of decor in their Park Avenue Apartment, though.
Lovely though it is, it Just Wouldn’t Work.
What a treat it would be to open the front door of this little PB number
after a flight in from, say, snowy Boston:
Do you see what I mean by mixing it up a bit?
These are not rooms that you would have in a Buckhead home or anywhere else,
really, besides where they are.
There is a PLACE element that makes them totally wonderful for the location.
Perfect for Place.
This is a time that selected elements of whimsy can hit a home run rather than fall flat.
It means looking for unique elements that reflect both your taste and the PLACE.
A FEW totally charming ‘location’ pieces. With A Sense of PLACE:
An off-beat driftwood hanging light, perfect for this Beaufort-area beach home.
It says beach without screaming it.
Driftwood mirrors in a fun shape, Moravian star pendant. Perfect.
Ship lap on the walls adds the sense of place here:
Check out the green ceiling. And that quirky tobacco basket on the wall. Fabulous coastal casual.
Well, why not? This Australian beach cottage, below, has a simply framed trio of swimsuits,
The fancier the house, the more it can take on a bit more:
Hope you’ve enjoyed the little getaway! Do you have a favorite?
Now, what if you have TOO MUCH going on in the room, and want to quiet it down to something calmer like the below:
These are a few of my tips for calming a busy room:
I find that often people have lived with things so long, that they have completely tuned out something that is not working. A pair of fresh eyes can be invaluable in guiding your decisions.
Here is where using the right neutrals can make all the difference.
Replacing a wall color or multiple wall colors (i.e. accent wall) with the “right” neutral can really calm down a space. What is the right neutral? The one with the correct undertone.
After True Color Expert training with Maria Killam, I can see an undertone clashing a mile away. Even if you don’t understand undertones, you will know, “for some reason, that is not really working.”
This is to reduce visual clutter.
First place to start: personal framed photographs. Select a few that are particularly meaningful to keep out and display. Place the others in a beautiful archival leather photo album, and have it within reach on your family room coffee table. You will now be able to see ALL your photos.
Ask a friend with a great eye, or engage a design professional for two hours on a one-time basis. ASK what is worth keeping and what should go? Which also might include storing dated pieces, perking them up with a coat of paint, giving them away, or repurposing them.
There is hardly a room in existence that doesn’t benefit from a bit of freshening at least every 5 to 7 years. And, if you have consistently selected trendy over traditional, be prepared for an even shorter shelf life.
This is just one example, and happens to be something on my mind for a project.
Crown moulding should “read” as one piece.
This is what you want, below, trimmed out in one paint color from top of crown to bottom.
Generally should be semi-gloss, though sometimes I spec high gloss:
And, this is what you don’t want:
Layers of moulding, broken by layer(s) of painted sheetrock:
If you don’t have crown, a good design professional or your architect can tell you what is appropriate for adding this feature to your house. It will really add the finishing interest and elegance to a room to have the right crown moulding, properly chosen and installed.
Holding on to a lumpy sofa? Or a poorly made leather one?
Nothing dates a room faster.
Sofas need replacing or reupholstering about every six to eight years. Washable slipcovers can extend this.
If your family room sofa has been in its current state for 10 years (or more), it’s probably time.
Is your furniture the right scale for the space? Or, are you crowding every thing you own into a space, just because you have it?
Brickwork can be very tricky because it can date a room very quickly.
I know that many people (men) are hesitant to paint
Especially around a fireplace,
soot can and will darken the paint.
This is usually easily wiped off, but you can always touch-up
paint again when/if it gets really noticeable.
Take a look at fellow Color Expert Kristie Barnett of Nashville’s amazing before and after.
You can click to supersize the before shot (if you dare):
8) FOCAL POINT
Establish ONE main focal point in the room, with subsidiary focal points appropriate to the space. (Professional guidance can get you there. This is what we are trained to do.)
9) Take it easy on the pattern
To look “today” instead of “yesterday,” it is important to know how to lighten up a space weighed down by TOO MUCH pattern. Slipcovers can be a beautiful, cost-effective way to lighten the look without emptying the wallet.
Is the traffic pattern working? A bad traffic pattern can “build up” over the years. Again, you may have lived with something so long that you don’t realize something is not working.
A pair of FRESH EYES can help you see things the way guests see them when they enter your home.
If you need help in calming down a busy family room, it is probably a good idea to seek professional advice.
This is always money well-spent to keep you from making the same mistakes again.
Do you want to take a fun little test?
Do your design sensibilities lean toward France or toward England?
So, are you a Francophile or an Anglophile?
Answer a) or b) to the following short preference questions.
You can click on any image to supersize it.
Do you prefer:
1. In furniture
4. Furniture style
b) straight and narrow with fluting
5. Afternoon snack
a) fox hunt
b) Stag hunt
8. Literature Classic
11. Decorative arts
13. Cheese tray
b) herbs de provence
15. Wood panels
17. sporting activity
28. Morning caffeine 🙂
Count your a’s and b’s.
( really, both #16 could be either French or English)
mostly A’s are Anglophiles
mostly B’s are Francophiles
Anglophile here, which are you?
I read an entire post on one of my favorite blogs, Cote De Texas.
And as I read it, I assumed I was reading about Bunny Williams.
Only the post was about Charlotte Moss.
Honestly, I have always confused the two.
Top pic, Charlotte Moss. Lower pic, Bunny Williams. (I think.)
When I read one of the reader comments on Cote de Texas blog, commenting that those two
have such similar design looks and books,
that they must be in competition,
I realized what I had done.
And to be honest, I really couldn’t see Bunny using a faux greenery accent wall in any of her projects.
With a porthole.
It just didn’t jibe with my idea of Bunny’s design sensibilities.
Nothing against faux evergreenery, of course.
Nor faux portholes.
And, really, do you know anyone who has a better monogram for a bath towel than this? 😉
(above rooms decorated by Charlotte Moss)
I have heard them each speak at local lectures, and have several of Bunny’s books.
Why am I so confused as to which is which?