The romantic lure of the rustic style home or cabin is undeniable. Maybe its because of our rich heritage of building log cabins to protect our families from the weather. Or maybe its the way rustic homes connect us with the outdoors with their rough hewn beams, simple style, and organic materials like stacked stone fireplaces.
But even though we still love our rustic home, sometimes we crave furnishings that are more refined and luxurious to offset the rugged architecture for that perfect mix of masculine and feminine. If that’s you, here are my 3 tips as an interior designer to help you create a beautiful blend.
- Select a muted color scheme that picks up the hues reflected in your finishes. By picking up existing colors in the home’s architecture for the furnishings, the overall design style is strengthened and the furnishings connect better with the hard surfaces . Here in this photo, we pulled out the beautiful gray blue and taupe color scheme from the hues found in the stone fireplace. By selecting furniture with a softer hand and more luxurious feel, the room also took on a more timeless complex look that adds interest.
Layering in an area rug with an organic pattern in those same hues brings everything together while the lighter colors of all the furnishings help bounce around much needed light in the room.
2. Keep it simple Because of the rugged nature of the rustic interior, to create a sophisticated feel its important to balance the mega sized fireplace, wood columns, and other rough elements with furnishings with cleaner lines and softer edges to create the perfect balance of rugged and sleek. Here the softer lines of the sofa and tables help balance the rough hewn fireplace and stone columns.
The same is true with this family room where the textural pillows, shag rug, and airy swivel chairs add texture and light to the darker hard surfaces of the fireplace, floors, and leather sofa.
3. Layer in organic materials that coordinate with the room’s rugged finish to soften room such as natural cottons as seen in the bedding and the casual fabrics on the chairs. The textural rug also adds light and interest to the room.
A beautiful simple pale blue shimmery wallpaper in an organic pattern provides a nice juxtaposition against the stone columns and paneled wood ceiling.
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If you love acrylic furniture check out the Associated Press article I was recently featured in that’s already made appearances in ABC, The Washington Post, Yahoo and many more titled Clear Favorite: Acrylics a Versatile Furniture Option .
Our project in this photo that was part of the Associated Press article shows how acrylic furniture can be used in a room effectively which I also talk about in the interview link above.
Coffee tables and nesting end tables are one of my favorite pieces to use in a project too, especially in a smaller space like this photo where they don’t take up room visually but still serve a function.
Dining rooms like this photo offer another opportunity to include acrylic whether its the table, chairs, or a bar cart. Here the Century table almost disappears in the room keeping the space light and airy.
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The first day of spring has arrived in the United States and it’s a joyous time for most of us in the colder climates because it marks the end of a season of cold, ice, and snow.
As I walked through my yard this last weekend I saw green buds appearing everywhere from bushes and trees to perennials. So of course that motivated me to perform my semi-annual tradition of packing up heavy winter decor and ushering in spring with lighter decor. If you would like to lighten your interior too, here are 5 tips for injecting spring into your home.
- Add life with fresh flowers and seasonal plants like this photo by Jonathan Charles furniture above. Lighter finishes also help enhance the spring feel of this room along with an infusion of sunlight.
2. Add fresh pops of color in pillows and decor like the room above. The shell and lantern beach inspired decor also add to the warm season feel.
3. Replace dark heavy items like rugs with lighter options like shown above or go with a natural rug like a sisal. If that’s not possible, opt for removing the rug altogether.
Light pillow covers in natural fabrics also add to the appeal along with fresh flowers and light upholstery. If you don’t have light upholstery, consider adding a slipcover for spring/summer weather like the dining chairs we had slip covered below.
4. Lighten up in the bedroom by replacing heavy dark bedding with light natural fabrics in cotton and consider using sheer drapery panels instead of heavy drapes.
5. Spring Clean Remove all the extra items that have accumulated over the winter months and do some spring cleaning so your room feels fresh and fabulous. Now you’re ready for spring!
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As I’ve matured as an interior designer I’ve come to love clean simple design that stands on it’s own. Of course it’s much more difficult to attain a modern look because each piece of the design has an important role and you don’t want the room to become sterile. So if you’re looking for more simplicity in your life without sacrificing warmth, here are 3 tips for creating an inviting contemporary look.
- Add texture to your room. In this living space shown above a textural rug was layered underneath to ground the seating area along with a throw, books, and plant. Textural fireplace tile, art, and wood logs also add more interest to the room.
In this modern contemporary living room below texture is introduced through the fabrics on the upholstery and pillows along with the sisal and fur rugs underneath. Wood furniture also plays a key role in adding warmth.
2. Introduce live elements like the branch cutting shown in this living room create a more inviting feel. Other live elements you can introduce include fruit, flowers, and plants. Pops of color also help warm up this living room along with a book, art, and color.
3. Use Color to warm up a room especially if its a orange sofa like the space above. The tree in the corner, wooden spools, and pillow also add warmth to the room.
In this modern living room above the leather chair, pillows and sofa all add texture and warmth along with the rug and wood topped coffee table.
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Vessel sinks add energy to a bathroom’s interior design because they’re elevated to a place of importance on top of the vanity. And they add style with their unique shape, color, pattern, finish, or material!
Vessel sinks come in an array of materials from stone or ceramic to glass, metal, wood, and more so the options are endless considering that you can also have an artist create an one of kind piece for you.
So if you’re considering redoing your bathroom to include a vessel sink, here are 5 ways to incorporate them in your bathroom design.
1. To enhance your design In the photo above, the vessel sink by Link a Sink plays a wonderful supporting role in this dramatic powder room design, keeping the room from getting too busy. But if you have a more neutral bathroom without much pattern or color, a vessel with an interesting shape could be the perfect solution.
2. To add texture
By adding a rougher finish like this carrara marble sink show above by Signature Hardware to a bathroom full of hard shiny surfaces, you can make it more inviting .
3. To introduce color
In the photo above this blue vessel sink by Kraus offers an exciting pop of color for neutral bathrooms. I’m particularly fond of the faucet shown with it designed by a former Mercedes Benz designer to look like an auto stick shift.
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If you want to update your tired old kitchen but don’t want to invest in a full remodel, here are 5 tips for freshening up your kitchen for less.
1. Refurbish your existing kitchen cabinets. If your cabinets are in good shape and not too dated, sand, repaint and seal them. In this kitchen above we painted the cabinets different colors, added a mitered (thicker) edge island counter top, and replaced some upper cabinets with live edge shelving to create a more interesting look.
If your cabinet door styles are dated, have them refaced with new doors and fronts. You can also add glass inserts, replace your dated moldings and add crown molding overhead to completely transform them. Plus pull out those dated appliance garages housed in the corner.
2. Replace your dated or worn appliances with more updated ones you can find for less in a clearance section or replace appliance fronts only if that updates the look. In this kitchen above we also painted the cabinets, added a vintage chandelier the homeowner already had for a Hollywood Glam feel along with new light fixtures above the table which she had finished to a more grayed out rustic look.
3. Update your hardware finishes by replacing pulls or knobs, your sink faucet, and light fixtures. If you don’t have the budget for new light fixtures, have your old ones spray painted or do it yourself.
4. Replace your dated counter tops and back splashes ensuring you add under cabinet lighting to show them off.
5. Refurbish your existing floors by refinishing hardwoods or by replacing flooring with stone tile found on clearance and install yourself. As an interior designer, I’ve used faux wood tile more than once on kitchen remodels to create a cozier rustic feel when wood isn’t an option.
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Whether you’re planning to grow old in your home or not, you should seriously consider incorporating some universal design practices into your home.
Why? Because universal design is becoming more in demand by an aging baby boomer generation, plus universal design features can add value.
Glass enclosed showers make your room not only appear larger but large zero entry showers can usually accommodate a wheelchair or walker.
For years, homeowners have thought of universal design as utilitarian or ugly like the white bathroom grab bars and plastic bath benches, but the good news is that universally designed homes, especially bathrooms have become beautiful thanks to the interior designers and those savvy architects or builders who understand universal design and how to make it beautiful.
Some additional considerations besides large walk in showers for a more universal design include wall mounted sinks, 36″ wide doorways and grab bars that look like towel bars.
I also love the idea of the bathroom melding into the bedroom to become one large space.
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Timeless spaces are beautiful, sophisticated, and understated. They tell the story of their occupants and their belongings like nothing else can. Plus they hold their value and memories of loved ones for years to come, as they bring family closer to live, love, and grow. That’s why I love to design timeless spaces. So if you would like to avoid trendy decorating and have a more enduring design too, here is an informative article I wrote on Friday for Houzz . (Click link below to read)
Kansas City’s interior designer Karen Mills