If you are reading this blog, you can thank a teacher…specifically, Rachel Hazelton of Rachel Hazelton Interior Design. One of my Interior Design instructors at North Shore Community College, Rachel is the subject of my second guest blog for NE Home Magazine’s Design Blog. She is an extraordinary designer, well-known for her strikingly glamorous interiors, and the marketing teacher who inspired me to launch this blog. To read more about Rachel, please click here: http://blog.nehomemag.com/2013/02/susan-mathison-rachel-hazelton/trackback/. There are links to Rachel’s blog and website, in the event that you are interested in seeing more of her work. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone! Susan
Just recently watched the season finale of HGTV’s Design Star (thank you, DVR). I loved the pilot concept by runner-up Britany Simon, “Picture Perfect Spaces“. The idea was to take photographs and make them an integral part of your decor scheme. I don’t know anyone who does not have a home filled with photos of pets, families and friends, some curated into collections, some more randomly scattered throughout. Always fun to look at, bringing back memories of trips abroad, lovely weddings, fantastic parties and family.
I am, like millions of other bloggers, an amateur photographer, with a small Olympus 35mm camera that I use for many occasions. But, more often than not, I find myself using my Iphone to take the shots that I post on my blog. The pics are serviceable, but certainly not museum quality. But then again, my home is not a museum. It is a reflection of the way we live our daily lives, surrounded by friends, families and a few furry friends.
Most of my photos are stored away-albums and boxes for the ones before the digital era- DVDs and flash drives for the more current photos. My favorites are scattered in frames throughout our home. I have often thought about displaying them all together in one space, but couldn’t really conceptualize the look I was trying to achieve. The grand scale of this framed series of photographs draws your eye beyond the fabulous white leather sofa. While the overall effect is drama, I am not certain it is the best way to display the photos.
Below are some equally fabulous ways to show off your treasured photos. Hopefully it will inspire you to create a space to share your favorites! Stairways and halls, long and narrow, are the perfect place for a “gallery” effect.
A small music studio would be the perfect place to “tile” the walls with photos that are similar in size and color. A room full of vintage star pics would be a great backdrop for a concert, yes?
Color blocking is effective in creating an overall image. This green sofa is a standout paired with this wall of green-flocked images.
Black and white photos also convey a soft, unified look.
This monotone palette is effective for creating a soft, neutral, inviting decor.
Vintage can take you in many directions: multiple sizes and pictures are unified by the frames and color tones that complement the rustic pieces, the furnishings and wall color.
This room stands the test of time. Could be from a summer cottage in the Hamptons, a prep school dorm room, a young man’s retreat. Even though the background is a large scale print (yay, buffalo plaid!), the pictures are hung close together around the headboard to create a unifying effect.
Vintage can also be colorful, as shown here with the white mats and frames on the books and pictures on a dark grey background.
There are many companies that will take your photographs and transform them into wallpaper or giant canvases. These fair-haired girls in black and white with the pink and grey furnishings is charming and fun.
F is for funky. LOVE. Perfect for a young beautiful couple just starting out who are decorating with trash to treasure finds mixed with contemporary pieces. Multiple colors and textures are unified with one large backdrop. Not sure if I could look at a giant pic of me and coach every day…
A sporting life: this vintage baseball photo is mounted on slats, used as a headboard. Even though the overall theme is sports, the look is soft and polished with the blue backdrop. Not your typical sports room!
This room has more colorful photos,
but they are lightened to add a soft pop of color to an otherwise unending white room, balancing the black baby grand. For a great tutorial on how to hang your photos, click here. OK, time to quit hanging around and collect up all my favorite family photos to create my own special gallery. Have a terrific Tuesday! Susan
Aside from Buffalo Plaid, my other favorite style icon is stripes! Big and bold or soft and dreamy, stripes make a statement about your style.
or height But not width. Stacy and Clinton warn most of us to avoid horizontal stripes, but honestly, if I looked like this, why not?!?!)
My latest obsession? Chevron Stripes. WOW! Introduced by the Missoni Fashion House back in the 70′s, chevron stripes are all the rage right now. You will find the signature zig zag pattern in eye-popping fashion,
Recently spotted this picture in House Beautiful Magazine. You know that moment when you see something, really SEE something, and your heart starts pounding and your mind starts racing and you think, “where, oh where can I put this?!?” That “Ah, Ha!” decorating moment. This was it for me. I see another project in my future…
Time to get out the masking tape and paint supplies- oh, wait! – right after I finish the Hall of Shame!!! Susan
PS- I found this great tutorial on Pinterest on how to make perfect Chevron Stripes in your space. And if you happen to finish your project before I finish mine, please send me pics @ firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them!
…I found a mirror for my new front hall!!! With the Hall of Shame project still ongoing, I have been searching for artwork, occasional tables and other assorted items to fill the space once it is completed. (and, yes, it is still a work in progress- but good things come to those who wait, right?) Along with my usual trips to HomeGoods and the various local antique and junque shops I frequent, I do make an occasional stop at my local Salvation Army Store. With a large furniture showroom in the back, you never know what you might find- like my fabulous new $10.00 mirror!
It’s a horrible brown circa 1970′s faux wood grain, but it’s the perfect size and the top detail is exquisite-it actually mirrors the curved shapes of the soon-to-be-hung damask wallpaper. You would almost think that was intentional, right?
Time to hit it with a coat of Kilz to cover that faux wood paint and the faint odor of mildew/smoke that often accompanies a cast-off piece of furniture, origins unknown. Looks better already! So I grabbed my Ipad and started searching on Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs for color inspiration.
And then I saw this Jonathan Adler mirror and this entryway with pieces from Oomph! and that was it-color chosen.
Tangerine Tango is the Pantone Color of the Year, and what goes better with the Smoke Blue I’ve chosen for the walls than its complementary color, orange? So I chose this yummy shade called Mesa Sunrise from Behr. Now, Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint for just about everything, but Behr sells these little custom mixed sample pots for $2.95, with just enough paint in them for a small project. Here is a sneak preview of the Mesa Sunrise Mirror that will soon be welcoming you into my new front hall. And if Pantone comes out with the newest “color of the year” I can always change it! Total investment for this project: $12.95 + tax.
Mesa Sunrise Mirror in the making
Enjoy your Friday- and just remember to make each day a reflection of your best you! Susan
Just came across this amazing website, so I’d like to share:
If you are looking to redecorate a room, or just interested in defining your design style, this is the website for you! It is so user-friendly, allows you to choose colors, furniture styles or entire decorating palettes, and then shop for them as well. Once you have created your new room, you can share it with the world. And it’s free!
Have a great Friday everyone! Susan
A beautiful rug can be the foundation of any space. Whether a dreamy white shag an heirloom persian passed down through generations or a modern version of an old classic, rugs can set the tone and color scheme of a room and transform a space from dark and dreary to fabulous and fun. There is no easier way to change the feel of a room than adding or changing a rug. The rules are simple, if you love it, use it. An antique oriental goes perfectly in modern decor, and a modern chevron looks perfectly at home in an eclectic, vibrant space.
We recently had the good fortune to purchase 2 new rugs for our home. The first is our new dining room rug, replacing the one that is now in our living room. (see decorating dominoes) Vibrant red and white, classic in style but modern in design, it instantly updated our dining room, creating a focal point that no one can miss! LOVE!! So imagine my delight when a few weeks after installing this beauty in our dining room, it was featured in an HGTV episode of Color Splash! For those of you who are not familiar with delightfully talented David Bromstad’s design show, color- and loads of it-is his style. A man after my own heart.
In this episode, the makeover inspiration was an old winery. David used two rugs together to define a really large space, with loads of dark, rustic elements.
The newest addition to our family room decor is this amazing Zamin rug purchased from Manzel Interiors. This Danvers, Massachusetts store is chock full of hand-made rugs, furniture, architecture and accessories from Persia and India at fantastic prices.
The description of our rug: “Zamin means earth or land in Persian or Hindi, and Zamin carpets are truly carpets of the earth. They are woven in India in villages in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. They are thick dense carpets, where all the weight of the carpet is in the heavy, beaten wool pile, much like an old Persian Bidjar. The vegetable dye colours are rich and saturated. The best, longest staple new Zealand wool is used, which is hand spun. Vegetable dye stuff are collected from throughout india and Nepal. Zamin designs favour the more primitive, such as Gabbeh designs, but include contemporary experimental designs classical Persian designs.”
The rug is plush and soft, the colors deep and rich, striated blues and reds. The pattern is simple but tells a story, typical of a primitive village rug. It is now in our family room, the heart of our home. When you wander in through the back door, as all of our friends and family do, this little girl and her Llamas are poised to welcome you! As I continue to share with you more of my home, I hope that you will feel welcome too! Have a non-scary Friday the 13th… Susan
I know you are anxiously awaiting the results of the Hall of Shame project, but that is still ongoing, and clearly will take longer than I first anticipated. In the meantime, I thought I would share some other design changes happening in my Little Red House.
The family room was in desperate need of a spring overhaul. Added a creamy slipcover to the sofa, a new tribal rug for the floor, changed out the curtains and added a fresh spring face to the focal point of the room- the fireplace mantel.
or to warm up an outdoor space-wow!!!
So I did some online shopping on Houzz.com and Pinterest to see how other folks are decorating their focal points. I found some eclectic and amazing ideas, including using mantels as headboards and barn doors to hide TV’s
If you need more ideas, or just some Mantel Inspiration, click here. Time to start sanding again… Susan
Sleep eludes me tonight. The full moon, the wine with dinner? Perhaps. But since 3am I have been wide awake and thinking about all the things on my Easter “to-do” list (see Hall of Shame #5) that are still not done.
The hall is a mess, to put it bluntly. Since my last post, sanding the bannister has been an ongoing and endless grind. Won’t be done by Sunday. C’est La Vie. One of the things I love most about my family is that there are no pretenses. If they arrive on Sunday to a wall with taped up paint chips and wallpaper, the reaction will be “hey, doing another project, huh? Are there margaritas?”So no worries there.
Since sleeping was no longer an option, getting to work seemed the next best thing. So I did a load of laundry, added a slipcover to the sofa and re-hung some curtain panels in the family room. Time to lighten and freshen the family room decor for spring! Painted the first coat of Linen White to a mirror I am re-purposing. Emptied and filled the dishwasher and defrosted the turkey I will be roasting in the morning (I guess that means now). Filled the candy dishes with pastelly eggs and peanut butter cups. Is there anything prettier than Easter Candy?!
Sunday’s Easter celebration will be an open house buffet, so started looking at Pinterest to get some decorating ideas. Stunning! Too bad I don’t have a long white antique table. Or crystal chandeliers. Or lilacs. But I do have a stepladder I could prop.Who wouldn’t want a bunny bread belly filled with dip?
Wish I had thought of this before. Perhaps it’s time for another trip to Iparty! I wonder what time they open…
For some reason, it never occurs to me to NOT do a full-on reno project right before a holiday. So many times, with the deadline looming, the projects are not fully completed, or don’t get done properly. New wallpaper slapped over older wallpaper that never gets stripped, paint only gets one coat, the surfaces not properly prepped and sanded.
On several episodes of Modern Family, Phil Dunphy makes a mad dash up his stairs, tripping halfway up on a loose stair tread. As he mutters “I’ve got to fix that thing”, I think of our front hall. We use it 100 times a day, but at some point, we just stopped seeing it- the scraped walls, the torn wallpaper, the threadbare carpet.
Our “Hall of Shame” is like poor, overworked Cinderella. With some loving care and a glass slipper, it could be the Belle of the Ball, but right now it is the ugly stepsister. It was updated back in the 80′s, with cherry burgundy carpeting that is now thread-bare and worn from years of kids’ cleats and muddy paws. The floor is stick-on faux marble black and white check, with most of the ends curling up. The wallpaper has been changed a couple of times, but always with a nod to the horrible carpet. The bannister and railings? Well, they have been sanded and sanded and stripped and sanded some more, but never completed. I spent one whole summer stripping the paint off of the stair treads, only to find that that the wood was so worn, I went ahead and repainted them. BIG mistake!
So this time I started a week early-lol! But this time I am going to take my time and do it right, from the ceiling to the floor, both upstairs and down. I am creating my “mood board”, choosing my colors thoughtfully and adding the accessories carefully. As this week goes on, I will keep you updated on my progress. And if it is not done by Easter Sunday, so be it.
Hopefully, for my guests it will conjur up lovely images of faraway rustic Italy. I will just pour some wine, carve the ham and no one will even notice my latest work in progress. It’s gonna be a long week…
Happy Renovating! Susan