Five Luxe Living Room Tips

When it comes to designing your living space, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it appear like you spent a lot of money. Here are some shortcuts to creating a luxurious living room without breaking the bank.

Layered lighting

Lighting up a space the right way is important and a topic that I have written about before. Having a variety of light sources adds depth to a room. Utilize a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting that can be adjusted based on the time of day or mood of the occupant.  Dimmer switches allow for complete control of lighting levels.

Bernhardt luxury living room
Bernhardt

Beautiful Textiles

Toss some pillows in an opulent velvet or an exotic print onto the sofa for a luxurious update. Custom pillows can be found in designer fabrics on Etsy and many other online sources. Reusing old pillow forms saves money too.

Eastern Accents

Drapery to the floor

Curtains that do not go to the floor look skimpy. Hang rods as close to the ceiling as possible so that windows appear tall. Choose a fabric that blends with the wall color and doesn’t create contrast if you are concerned about overwhelming the space.

Large Art Pieces

Oversized art makes a daring focal point in a space. Large artwork somehow just looks so much more expensive than smaller pieces. Keep the colors and patterns of the piece subtle so that it seamlessly blends with the rest of your decor.

Renwil Artwork
Renwil

Moldings

Improve a rooms interior architecture with applied wall and crown moldings. While adding a visual presence, upscale moldings, make a home feel substantial and well built.

Daniel Island Interior Design
J. Rhodes Interior Design

Mr. H says: The living room is where we come to slow down the world for just a second-Enjoy!

Four High Point Market Trends

Straight from the source-these four top interior design trends were everywhere at this Spring’s High Point Furniture Market.

Macrame

Fur textures were still on display however macrame emerged as the hottest new look.  It makes sense that this fringed trend found a second wind in this era of handmade globalism.

Artesia

Selamat Designs

Agate

This colorful, crystallized rock is in big demand appearing in a range of home design products.  With it’s gemstone quality, agate items add a touch of glamour and luxury.

Bradburn Home

Zodax

Even images of agate made an appearance

 

 

 

 

 

Wendover Art Group

Acrylic

Another retro design trend, Lucite acrylic, is enjoying resurgence in home furnishings and for good reason.  This chic plastic material is real furniture workhorse and translucent pieces don’t take up visual space in a room.

Interlude Home

Notice the subtle acrylic legs on the Swaim sofa

Swaim

Curves

The severe industrial look from years past has been replaced with a welcoming curvilinear vibe. The shapes are undeniably inviting and studies have shown that curvy furniture evokes feelings of relaxation.

Tomlinson

ParishCo

Baker

Mr. H says: The best way to change your future is design it-Enjoy!

How to select a kitchen counter top

“What is the best kitchen counter top selection?” is a question I’m frequently asked.  Unfortunately there is no correct answer as every choice has it’s pros and cons.   With my guidance, I leave it up to the home owner to evaluate those attributes and choose the option that best fits their lifestyle.

In no particular order are five types of the most counter top materials readily available.

Natural Stone

Over the last few decades, the market leader for counter top selections has been granite.  This natural stone is mined from quarries all around the world, producing very plain, solid color slabs to the wildly exotic.  Polished to a fine finish it is still a porous material that requires diligent maintenance to keep it looking fine.  Acids, like citrus juice, can eat away at the stone, while beets and red wine can leave behind a stain.    It can withstand direct cutting (although it dulls knives) and a hot pot generally will not harm or scorch the surface.  An annual application of sealant will keep stains at bay while a thorough daily wipe down will reward by remaining beautiful.

Marble, granite’s softer cousin, is even more porous and prone to scratching and absorbing stains.   It’s a classic though and can be worth the effort to keep it looking fabulous.

Photo: Classic Marble Granite and Tile

Photo: Universal Marble & Granite

Quartz

Quartz is an engineered material composed of 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.  It has the look and feel of natural stone without being porous and is both heat and water resistant.  Quartz has exploded in popularity due to it’s nearly maintenance free appearance and anti-microbial properties.  With thousands of colors, patterns and price points to choose from, local fabricators predict that within a few years, Quartz will be the counter top of choice.

Photo: Cambria

Photo: Silestone

Wood

Nothing compares to the warmth of wood.  Whether in the ubiquitous butcher block form, the trendy reclaimed mode or long lengths of a rare hard wood,  this material is tactile and can remain lovely with a little care.  Naturally anti-bacterial and easy on dishware, wood counter tops have acoustical properties as well, absorbing sound in a busy room.  They are not heat or water resistant so care should be taken with trivets and around sink areas.   Keeping the counter tops oiled is a must and most counter tops can be sanded and repaired if scratched, gouged or scorched.

Photo: J. Rhodes Interior Design

Photo: DeVos Custom Woodworking

Stainless Steel

The first choice in restaurant kitchens and for good reason since stainless steel can take a beating and still look fabulous.  Heat, water and acid resistant, it can scratch and ding though, and like natural stone and quartz is cold to the touch.  The stainless material can come in a number of finishes and textures, including brushed or hammered finishes.  Sink bowls can be integrated creating a seamless, hygienic surface.   Since the metal is flexible it can be contorted into a myriad of shapes and designs and is at home in both traditional and modern kitchens.

Photo: HGTV

Solid Surface

Pioneered by DuPont under the brand name, Corian in the 1960s, this counter top material is enjoying a resurgence.  Composed from minerals and acrylic polymer, it can be formed into any shape without affecting it’s uniform color allowing for integral sinks and drainboards.  Other companies, such a Wilsonart, LG and Formica all have their own solid surface offerings with thousands of patterns and colors to choose from.  While not entirely heat resistant, it is non porous and anti-microbial.  It can scratch and scorch though there are onsite repairs that can done depending on the extent of the damage.

Corian

Wilsonart

Mr. H says: The best way to get rid of kitchen odors is to eat out-Enjoy!

The Hottest Interior Design Trends for Spring

It may still be rather cold and dingy for some parts of the country, but cheer up!  Spring will arrive eventually and we have some great trend to look forward to this Spring.

Gelato Colors

Easter eggs are not the only thing that look good in bright pastels.  Once confined to children’s rooms, these spring time shades are surprisingly versatile.

Jan Showers for Curated Kravet

Geometric Patterns

A bold design comes from mixing geometric patterns with lush florals.  Wallpaper, decorative tiles and fabrics with strong contrasting colors can be used to create a striking effect.

Thibaut Design

Live Plants

I’ve blogged about plantscaping before and this trend is hotter than ever.  Indoor plants bring an ever changing living element to a space that are believed to be good for health, and help clean the indoor air.

photo by Jason Leung

Iridescent Finishes

Perfect for spring, subtle iridescent finishes that catch the light and create instant glamour in a room.  Shimmery wallpapers and decorative paint effects are just a few ways to integrate this hot trend.

Osborne & Little Lovelace wallpaper

Gold

After several years, this trend is still going strong.  Look for warm gold accents on furniture, lighting, cabinet hardware and bath fixtures to incorporate this design movement into your space.

photo: 24 Design Construction

Tropical 

This global trend took hold last year and will continue well into 2018.   Perhaps it stems from our desire to escape this chaotic world to luxury tropical vacation…

Pier One

Mr. H says: Don’t be afraid to sparkle a little brighter-Enjoy!

Is your back yard pet friendly?

With the Charleston weather predicted to turn much warmer this weekend, we’ll want to venture out to enjoy some Spring temperatures with our pets.  It is a common assumption, that our yard poses no danger to our fur kids however their are some precautions to take to ensure that your animals can roam without the fear of being hurt.

photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

Escape Routes

Gaps in the fencing or the ability to tunnel should be addressed.  Besides actually escaping, animals can become trapped or pinned in causing serious harm or suffocation.  Make sure fences are too tall for your dog to jump over and do periodic perimeter checks to make sure that fencing is intact.

Wild Animals

Small dogs and cats have been known to be carried away by eagles, hawks and owls so it is important to never leave them unattended.  Other predators that could attack when provoked include, raccoons, snakes and even wolves.   Keep these creatures at bay by not leaving out food, including bird feeders, overnight and securing other food sources, like garbage cans.

photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Vegetation

The prettiest parts of your yard could be the most dangerous to your pet.  Many common types of flowers are toxic to animals, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death.

Certain vegetables like onions, garlic, wild mushrooms, avocado, and grapes are lethal as well and should be cultivated away from your pet’s play area.

Chemicals

Pesticides and fertilizers keep our outdoor spaces free of pests and creates lush grass and vegetation.  These are poisons and should be stored in proper containers and out of reach to your pet.  Learn about ways to organically fertilize and get rid of pests naturally.  Same goes for the toxic cocoa bean mulch.  Pet owners will find pine and cedar mulches are good alternatives.

 

The Elements

Heat stroke can occur in all animals so be sure your yard has shady places for your pet to rest and has access to plenty of water in the summer.  Alternatively, in winter months animals should have access to a dog/cat house, garage or shed with blankets and a bed to avoid a chill.

Mr H says: Dogs laugh with their tails-Enjoy!

Ten new fabrics for Spring

Spring is toying with Charleston this week, running hot one day and setting in a frost the next.   Get inspired to tackle your Spring design project with these gorgeous Spring fabrics, culled from the newest fabric collections.

Drawn from within the extensive F. Schumacher archives, the “Fashion Forward” print collection celebrates the exuberance of the early 20th Century master couturier, Paul Poiret.   The brightly colored “Juin” floral print captures the joie de vivre that was Poiret’s signature style.

F. Schumacher

Little Carlotta printed sheer from Osborne & Little casts an array of dahlias, poppies and berries on a washable wide-width sheer.

Osborne & Little

Reminiscent of the plumage of an exotic bird, Beacon Hill’s “Plumassier” is a bright creation on luxurious silk.

Beacon Hill

From the Giardino Segreto collection by Designer’s Guild, the “Papillons” fabric features delicately drawn butterflies with watercolor hued accents. Printed on cotton this is a versatile home design print.

Designers Guild

Kate Spade New York: the name is eponymous with crisp, bright colors and bold patterns.  The new Kravet collections embrace the brand’s signature style and it’s motto: live colorfully.

Kate Spade New York for Kravet

F. Schumacher believes you can have it all when designing your outdoor spaces.  Beautiful prints in a performance fabric.  Charming and whimsical, Josef Frank’s beloved 1947 print is a colorful, cheery addition to alfresco decor.

F. Schumacher

Famous for its hand screen printing of fabrics, Clarence House, is considered a style-setter in the decorative fabric industry.  The “Pagode Enchante” print embodies the spirit of this iconic fabric house.

Clarence House

Scalamandre’s “Jardin de Chin” is an intricate Chinoiserie print on a luscious green background that is both soothing and electrifying.

Scalamandre

A floral and leaf pattern, printed on a flowing cotton, transforms into a printed wild garden.  The fuchsia color way from Zimmer + Rohde feels like Spring.

Zimmer + Rohde

Always exotic, the Gastón y Daniela fabric house presents their 2018 Librería Collection, featuring the Print Collection.  The “Ikat Azul” is a vibrant take on the well loved global pattern.

Mr. H says: The fabric of existence weaves itself whole-Enjoy!

Six inspiring interior design books

Flipping through a gorgeously photographed interior design book can spark an interest in revamping your own space.  Find six newly released volumes that have all the tips and tricks to assist you in creating the home that fits your unique lifestyle.

In Living with Pattern, Rebecca Atwood demystifies how to use pattern, a design concept that often confounds and confuses, demonstrating how to seamlessly mix and layer prints throughout a house.

Both educational and beautiful, Vern Yip shares his favorite insider tips, and opens his doors to show how he’s made them work in his own homes.  Vern Yip’s Design Wise provides both the inspiration and the clear, essential guidelines you need to create a home that perfectly reflects you.

Good taste is embedded into Aerin Lauder’s DNA.  As the heiress to the Estée Lauder brand and the founder of her own Aerin collection, Lauder’s Beauty at Home is a love letter to the well-lived, well-loved homes of the Lauder family.

Veranda Elegant Entertaining.  Providing the perfect mix of engaging advice and dazzling photographs, you’ll be inspired to take your next Spring party to the next level.

The Four Elements of Design: Interiors Inspired by Earth, Water, Air and Fire.  Interior design icon Vicente Wolf, provides an inspirational guide to designing unforgettable spaces based on the four natural elements. 

Closer to home, Southern Coastal Living is the first book from the award-winning J Banks Design Group.  This beautifully photographed book reveals luxurious but relaxed home and lifestyle design on Hilton Head Island.   Joni Vanderslice, ASID founded J Banks Design Group in 1986. As owner and president, she has built the design company into an internationally firm recognized for the J Banks signature style of timeless design and casual elegance.

Mr. H says: Design is thinking made visual-Enjoy!

Romantic Room Design

If you’re looking to inject some romance into your life this Valentine’s Day then a natural place to start is in your home.  Eschew the gauzy, frilly images the word “romantic” conjures up in favor of a luxurious, modern approach.  A romantic room should draw you in with comfortable furniture, rich tactile fabrics, and other interesting elements that welcome users and entice you to stay. 

Red walls and a delicate tablescape create the perfect setting for an elegant  Valentine’s meal.

The ethereal feel of this light and airy living room begs it’s occupants to slow down and relax with each other.

photo by Sidekix Media

The romantic flower tile and marble top counters create an ideal place to make sweets for your sweet.

photo by Sidekix Media

 

A romantic, backyard oasis complete with comfy furniture and twinkle lights.

photo by Randy Fath

A romantic getaway may be just a few steps down the hall.   A four poster bed piled high with pillows and a fluffy comforter is an inviting retreat in shades of pale blue and white.

Premier Estate Properties, Inc.

 

Caramel color walls were found to be the most conducive to amorous bedroom activities in a study conducted by Travelodge.  Red, while the color of love and attraction, was shown to suppress the mood.

Try your own experiment with these wall color ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of where romance happens, remember that lighting sets the mood of any space.  No one wants to get intimate under the glow of a too-bright light.  Dim the overhead fixtures, light some candles and enjoy Valentine’s Day with the one you love.

Mr. H says: To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance-Enjoy!

Displaying Collections With Style

There is a fine line between collecting and hoarding.  Most of us have a collection of some kind whether it is pottery bowls, milk glass or salt and pepper shakers.  The easiest rule to follow when displaying your prized possessions is to keep them altogether rather than spreading them throughout your home.

Create a focal point with your collection.

photo by Jonny Caspari

Don’t let grandma’s china languish in storage-hang it on display.

photo by Chance Anderson

Group like items together for a bigger impact rather than disperse individually.

Small items such as sea shells, antique buttons, and matchbooks display better in a container.  Choose one that complements the items you are exhibiting.

Photo Clever Visuals

Mr. H says: Every collection is made up of journey stories-Enjoy!

Get organized in 2018!

Getting organized is a bandied about term for many in the new year but what does that truly mean?  There are hundreds of internet sites with helpful tips on getting organized by hanging peg board and buying baskets that while effective may not get to the root of your disorganization.  Stocking up on organizing products will not equate to an organized home.  The goal of being organized isn’t about neatening up but to creating a organized foundation for your home life.

Critically assess each room and figure out why the disorganization and mess are happening.  Dishes always piled in the sink may be that no one wants to unload the dishwasher since the cabinets are so cluttered.  By organizing the cabinets first, you’ll find that it is easier to keep the dishes out of the sink.

Photo by Holger Link

Clear away surface clutter.  Cluttered tables and floors make an entire room feel disorganized and can even alter how you feel and live in your space.   There is little room to prepare a snack let alone an entire meal in this kitchen.  Pare down to the essentials and toss, recycle or donate any items that you haven’t used in a long time.

Find a place for everything.  Most often, items pile up since they lack a home.  Set up a system to keep like items together, say candles for instance.  Keep candles and lighters together for easy access.  Returning items to the same location makes keeping an inventory easier thus preventing duplicate purchases.

Photo by David Prince

Hold off on container shopping. Clutter victims often think the solution to getting organized  is to stock up on containers and bins.  Shop for storage items only after you have an understanding of the specific problem, have tossed the inessentials and have formed an appropriate solution.   If the bins are hard reach or are not appropriate for what is being stored they will be ineffective and add to the chaos.

The Container Store

Start Small.  If the thought of organizing your entire kitchen is overwhelming start with the pantry or even one drawer.  Be sure to schedule enough uninterrupted time to de-clutter and organize.   You’ll most likely need more time than you think.

California Closets

Have one getaway.  If organizing your entire home is an impossible task, create at least one getaway to recharge from the chaos.  Consider ways that  your bedroom can inspire rest and rejuvenation on a daily basis.  Going to sleep and waking up in a well organized, clutter free space will put you in an improved mindset to tackle a busy day.

Photo by Jell Sheldon

Mr. H says: For every minute spent organizing an hour is earned-Enjoy!