Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fabulous French Country Interiors

French Country isn't just for rustic farmhouses or old chateaux in France. This charming interior decorating style, with it's use of rich colors and pretty prints, can be found in homes all over the globe.

Warm reds, golden yellows, rich blues and vivid greens are some of the characteristic colors used in this decorating style. Bursts of brighter colors are usually paired with softer pastel hues to give a sense of warmth and comfort.

There are some popular motifs in the French Country style, mostly of things that would be found in a rural, farmland setting, such as roosters, olives, sunflowers, and lavender. Toile prints are also frequently used.

Natural elements are also emphasized in the French Country interior, such as stucco, wood, warm-toned metals, and stone. This combines in a style that is elegant, yet cozy and inviting, and oh so indescribably French.

French Country living room mixes different prints in a red and white color scheme
(by Lola Watson Interior Design)

Kitchen uses copper and earth-toned ceramic flooring for a natural, rustic look
(by Marie Meko, Allied ASID)

I usually don't show exteriors, but this stone covered porch with ceramic pots is perfect French Country style
(by Don Ziebell)

Romantic bedroom with patterned wallpaper and a draped crown canopy
(by Cabell Design Studio)

More photos after the page break

Monday, December 10, 2012

Black and White Rooms - Classic Elegance

While use of colors adds character and personality to a space, so too does the absence of color. A black and white scheme is a very classic choice, and is generally perceived as being elegantly simple. It suits both formal spaces, as well as modern ones, and is particularly well suited for the use of geometrics and bold patterns.

It also provides a unique canvas to which you can add small, bold splashes of color, which create quite a visual impact.  This is a great color combination for those who admire classical interiors, or simple, stark minimalism. It is also good for those who want to get the popular, mostly white "Euro" style effect, but with a little added kick.

A traditional black and white kitchen is complemented by warm cherry wood floors
(by Sutton Suzuki Architects)

Black and white is a good palette for this eclectic living room
(by Dawna Jones Design)

Black and white tile floors and dark, aged wood make this traditional hallway look welcoming
(by mark pinkerton - vi360 photography)

White, black accents, and rich wood give this room an art gallery feel
(by Rikki Snyder)

Black paneled walls give this bathroom a classy, traditional feel
(by Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.)

More photos after the page break

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Red Rooms - Vibrant and Passionate

As we've established, the use of color in a room can contribute to the overall mood of your surroundings. Blue can produce a soporific effect, yellow can contribute to a feeling of sunshine and warmth. 

Today, we will look at the use of red in a room.

Red is traditionally known as the color of love, life, and passion. It is the color of our blood, the foundation of our beings. Ranging from vibrant crimson to the deepest, richest maroon, this typically warm color is bold, the very antithesis of quiet pastels.

Used to varying degrees, it can compliment a wide variety of interiors, from traditional farmhouses to formal mansions and contemporary homes. However, since it is a bold, dark shade, I usually recommend it in spaces that have a lot of light, and larger rooms. When a room is too poorly lit, or small, red can actually make the room feel closed in.

Red can also be a splashy focal accent color, from painted cabinets in a kitchen to art and throw pillows in a living room. Red also makes a fabulous single accent wall color.

Let's examine the use of red in a variety of spaces. 

Red is a wonderful color in a traditional interior

It also works well in contemporary, modern decor

It provides a bold, warm accent color...

... and also works well as a single accent wall

It blends nicely with wood also, as seen in this rustic-style kitchen

As always, more photos after the page break!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yellow Rooms - Happy and Sunny

The other day we explored the calming effects of using the color blue in a room. Today, we'll look at the color yellow. I'll do a few more color series in the coming days.

The color yellow gives a room a feeling of warmth and happiness, as it reminds us of the color of sunshine. Personal anecdote, my kitchen was originally a drab and chilly white. We painted the walls a very soft yellow, the color of rich buttermilk, and immediately the room felt brighter and more inviting.

Yellow can range from bright to very soft and subtle, and blends nicely with most other colors. It can add a touch of warmth and brightness to a predominately cool-toned room (think blues, purples, greens), pairs well with other warm hues (orange and red) for a fiery appearance, and also works with natural materials like wood and stone.

I usually like to recommend shades of yellow especially in cooler climates that tend to be overcast frequently, as the color fools the eye slightly into thinking it is sunny, and thereby makes the room feel more inviting on cloudy days.

Very bright yellow works particularly well as an accent color, as opposed to a wall paint color. If you want to paint, a soft pastel yellow is usually best.

A yellow ceiling makes this enclosed porch glow
(by Group 3)

Yellow accents warm up this home library
(by Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc.)

Cupboards painted a yellow-beige hue bring cheer to a country kitchen
(by Superior Woodcraft, Inc.)

Small splashes of bright yellow liven up this black and white bathroom
(by De Meza + Architecture)

More photos after the page break

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blue Rooms - A Calming Color Scheme

Aside from looking great, the color of a room can have an impact on you, your emotions, even your health. Scientific research shows that colors do have an effect on our moods, and how we feel. Red can make a room feel lively and energetic, yellow conveys warmth and happiness, green can rest the eyes.

In this article, we'll showcase the color blue. Blue, as a room color, produces a calming atmosphere, and is particularly suited for rooms in which you wish to relax, such as bedrooms or bathrooms. Blue rooms have been shown to reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure. But choose your blue wisely - dark shades, when overused, can actually produce feelings of sadness, while the wrong shade of light blue can make a room feel chilly and cool. Therefore, it is best to choose accents with care - warm colored fabrics, rich wood, and white trim work best. Also, using blue accents, such as painted furniture or fabrics, is a nice way to introduce a little relaxing color into a room without having it become overwhelming.

White cottage room with blue accents has a nautical feel
(by Marcelo Brito)

Pale sky blue and pink and green accents have a feel of spring
(by Amanda L. Reid)

Dark blue pairs well with wood and light accents
(by Jane Ellison)

A pale gray-blue wall paint pairs nicely with Wedgwood blue chairs
(by David Sharff Architect, P.C.)

More photos following the page break

Monday, February 20, 2012

Get The Look - Bohemian Gypsy Dining Room

Modern Boho Gypsy Dining

Olivier 5-Piece Place Setting
$70 -

IKEA Minut
$20 -

Bag of Pomegranates
$7.95 -

Medium Red And Gold Textured Glass Bowl
£7.50 -

Artwork can be found at

Kitchen Islands - Multi-Functional Centers

Yes, I was gone for a while from my blog... combination of a lingering sinus problem, frozen/broken water pipes in the house, and just general lazy winter blahs. :(

I hope I can make up for my absence! Sorry, everyone.

Anyhow... although I have never had one, I have always wanted a kitchen island. Who doesn't want extra work space? And today's modern islands perform a multitude of functions, from extra prep counter space to special prep sinks, storage, and places to feature special appliances. Some islands even feature extended counters to form a dining bar.

Whether you have one that matches your cabinetry or countertops, or something fun and contrasting, these islands can transform a kitchen from adequate into a highly functional space.

Traditional island with marble counter and decorative corbels
(by Venegas and Company)

Rustic European-style kitchen with antique island cabinet

Island with seating and basket storage
(by Felhandler/ Steeneken Architects)

Contemporary triangular island with eating area
(by Frederick + Frederick Architects)

More photos after the page break

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lofts - Fun In Small Spaces

Forgive me for this being a sort of short posting... I think I'm getting a cold. About all I want to do right now is have a cup of tea and sleep for two or three days. The cold and snow has finally hit Southern Germany... and with it, have come the sniffles.

So I will leave you all with a brief posting on lofts. Not huge, industrial loft living spaces (although I love those, and they will be coming in a future article), but small, second-story (or higher) spaces with open fronts, and often peaked, vaulted ceilings. Due to their open nature, these airy aeries can take a very small space and it make it feel much larger and open.

Tiny space combines a mini-kitchen with a loft bedroom above
(by Koch Architects, Inc. Joanne Koch)

An open loft library looks down onto a two-story living room
(by Summerour Architects)

An open loft with amazing windows is used as a 2nd story family room
(by Robert Hawkins)

An open loft is located above the living room in this carriage house
(by Carl Vernlund)

More photos after the page break

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chandeliers - From The Simple To The Sublime

Although when redecorating, or just decorating, we tend to agonize over things like paint colors for the walls, upholstery and accent fabrics (well, at least I know I do... I'm not alone, am I?), there is one sometimes overlooked room feature that can take a room from drab to dazzling. Lighting fixture - or, more specifically for this article, chandeliers.

From the sweet and simple metal cottage style pieces to tiers of shimmering crystals, a chandelier can work in almost any room. Whether you use a modest style as an accent piece, or choose a sparkly stunner as the focal point of the room, these lighting fixtures can fit into any role. And with an almost limitless array of styles and colors, you can surely find one to suit your room, style, and budget.

And don't overlook vintage! Even dull and dreary vintage chandeliers can become show-stoppers with a little metal paint and imagination.

Italian designer chandelier takes center stage in a classic Baroque room
This black chandelier adds an elegant touch to a dramatic gray and black room
(by Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.)

Vintage chandeliers add charm to a shabby chic interior
(by Dreamy Whites)

A divine Lladro butterfly chandelier
(Lladro Niagara Chandelier)

More photos after the page break

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rustic Country Chic - Decorating with Burlap

In case none of you have noticed by now, I am not a weekend blogger! My Saturdays and Sundays are spent loafing around with my guy... and doing all the fun chores, like grocery shopping. Hooray. I do try and make posts Monday through Friday though. :)

Anyhoo, onto our regular daily article and photos!

Burlap is a wonderful fabric. Due to it's construction, and normal usage as sacking, this material is both durable and fairly resistant to staining. Plus, it's loosely woven make-up lends a rough, rustic charm to any room. From using a small piece as an accent, such as a table runner of placemats, to re-purposing old sacks as funky upholstery or accents like throw pillows, this is a wonderful way to lend a little shabby charm to any room. Whether you are aiming for cozy French farmhouse or down home American country, burlap provides a fun and decorative look that is easy to achieve.

Chairs recovered in old coffee sacks

Custom Hand Painted Burlap Placements (can be customized)
(GeorgiaInBloom on Etsy)

Burlap upholstery and towels
(by French Larkspur)

Burlap-back French Versailles chair
Burlap bedding

More photos after the page break

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's Get Organized - Creative Closet Spaces

Often, designers and homeowners focus on the "WOW" factor of decorating a home, concentrating on furnishings, colors, styles. But it can be what is hidden away from view, behind the scenes, the more functional aspects, that can take a dwelling from a mere showplace to a true home.

Closets are one such feature. Once hidden away, these utilitarian catch-all spaces are becoming more and more visible in modern homes. A well-planned closet can be a true blend of function and beauty.

Open-fronted, built in closet
(by Astleford Interiors, Inc.)

A walk-in closet with built-ins and a dresser island
(by Munger Interiors)
Custom-made shelving, just for shoes
(by Lisa Adams, LA Closet Design)

A former closet is converted into a small home office space
(by Ed Ritger Photography)

More photos after the page break