23 February 2017

Design Crush | Lambrequins

A lambrequin (pronounced lam-ber-kin, lam-bri-kin) is a formal window covering that’s been around for centuries. It is similar to the cornice, but the similarity stops there. Lambrequins are much more elaborate with their impressive curves and architectural shapes. While the lambrequin has had its ups and downs over the years, it remains a popular and classic window treatment to this day.

The word lambrequin is derived “lamperken” a Middle French/Middle Dutch name for a protective cloth cover that provided medieval helmets protection from the elements.

Think of a lambrequin as a cornice extending down one or both sides of a window. It frames the opening, typically extending one-third or half length, down to the sill or even to the floor.

You can layer curtains or shades under lambrequins to add color, texture and privacy.

As with most historical window treatments, lambrequins were used to block the flow of cold air from drafty windows. Not only were they practical but lambrequins were quite decorative as well.

When lambrequins first came on the scene, they were made from wood or stiffened linen. The earlier versions were typically painted or stenciled. Later versions were covered in wallpaper or upholstered in fine textiles.

As interior styles evolved, the designs became more ornate and were often embellished with cording, trim and tassels. Today's lambrequins are extremely versatile window coverings. They can take on the look of any decor style whether it be formal, traditional, tailored, exotic or modern.


15 February 2017

Editor's Picks for Spring

Even though prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil recently predicted six more weeks of winter (ugh!), that doesn't mean you can't get an epic case of spring fever right now! To help ease the doldrums, provide loads of inspiration and spark your imagination, our intrepid editor has scoured the internet and stacks of shelter magazines for the best of the best in spring decor. So put on your fluffy slippers, grab that hot cup of tea and curl up with these super chic picks that will get you in the mood to give your home a seasonal reset and refresh!

 Halifax sofa, neutral, 92" wide, diamond tufting and nailhead trim, at home, $499.99

 33" Mercury blue table lamp. Safavieh, Home Depot, $102.34

Peruvian artisan mirrors, various sizes, West Elm, $34-279

 Santa Fe Spice rug, various sizes, loloi for Magnolia Home, $99-1,449

 Morelia acrylic and gold side table, 21.5"L x 21.5"W x 22.45"H, Overstock, $286.99

Boho fringe throw pillow, 18" x 18", World Market, $49.99

Blue faux agate tray, 16"W x 12"D x 2.75"H, Pier 1, $29.98
Catalunya Blush Kaleidoscope Floral Wallpaper, Brewster Wallcoverings, 20.5"W x 33'L per double roll, Wallpaper Warehouse, $130.48

Threshold Modern Blush Decor Collection, Target, $8.49-129.99

Georgetown Blackout Curtain, 50"W x 84-120"L, Half Price Drapes, $40.99-47.99

LightUpMyHome Celeste Chandelier, 15.5"H x 40"W x 14"D, Wayfair, $738.99

 Behr Marquee Elusive Dawn, 1 gallon, Home Depot, $39.98

The Vienna Dust Pink ruffle bedding, twin-cal king, Crane and Canopy, $35-159

Folded Vase by Amanda Betz for Menu, 8.7"D x 5.9"H, Vertigo Home, $99.95


08 February 2017

Quick Clicks | Tiny House Love

We love tiny houses. They’re cute, efficient, affordable, require little upkeep and are easy to transport. Tiny houses vary in size depending on who you’re talking to, but most range from 150 to 500 square feet. To make them portable, most are built on trailer chassis so they can be easily towed and parked in an RV or mobile home community.

If you have a plot of land or a vacant driveway, that’s great—you have an instant base of operations for your tiny house. No place to put one? Take a look on Craigslist for someone to rent you the land and utilities to host your little abode. If you want to live in the city, you’ll need to check local zoning ordinances to make sure your tiny house is considered a legal dwelling.

The main requirement for establishing a location for your tiny house is the availability of utilities and a water source. If you want to be off-grid, you can purchase a tiny house with composting toilets, rainwater collection systems and solar panels. In that case, all you’ll need is a plot of land and potable water.

Now that you’re totally curious about tiny house living, take a gander at these adorable examples. Come on, we know you want one! (Click on the links at the end of this post for full house tours.)

There's plenty of room in this kitchen to handle Thanksgiving dinner.

 This tiny house has it all. Even a full size bathtub and washer/dryer.

 Spread out in this king-size sleeping loft.

 A rustic cabin feel in the Nomad's Nest.

Clean, simple and stylish interior.

Cozy, adorable reading nook.

 Everything you'd ever possibly need.

 A boho container home beauty.

OMG. Can we live here?

 Zyl Vardos tiny houses are magical.

02 February 2017

Caring for Succulents During the Winter

Just like snowbirds that winter in warmer climates, your succulents need to escape the cold too. If you live where temps fall below freezing, you definitely need to bring your succulents inside the house and give them a comfy environment to wait out the frigid months.

Remember, not all succulents are hardy like cacti. Many of the popular succulent varieties retain water in their leaves and stems making them quite susceptible to cold. Think about it. What happens to water when the temperature drops? It freezes and so will your precious succulents. Protecting your adorable babies from winter’s chill will keep them happy and healthy until it’s time to head back to the patio once the weather begins to warm up again.

Keep Them Hydrated

We know it’s a pain to water your succulents inside, but you need to keep their soil moist even though they’re considered drought tolerant. Unless you have a really good humidifier, your indoor environment can become extremely dry from central heating, wood burning fireplaces and even electric space heaters.

Check the soil a couple times a week. Maintaining the proper amount of moisture is a balancing act that requires some trial and error. As soon as their soil begins to dry out, spritz them with a fine mist of water or if they're extremely dried out, place their containers in a sink and thoroughly soak the soil. Put them on an elevated platform in the basin to allow the water to completely drain through.

Also remember, your succulents don’t like wet feet! If you haven’t already, put your succulents in a container with a drainage hole. If the soil seems to retain too much moisture, you run the risk of root rot. Make sure they are potted in a well draining soil mix specially formulated for succulents.

Give Them Vitamin D
In the form of sunlight, that is. Making sure your succulents receive the right amount of sun is also something that might take time to get right much like your watering routine.

Start by placing them near a window with bright, indirect sunlight most of the day.  This is really important during shorter winter days – your succulent friends will need at least six hours of sun each day for optimum health.

Now, we know there can be days and weeks on end without sun in some parts of the country. In this case, you might have to break out the grow lights to perk up your succulent plants during those extended periods of gray. Keep the lights on during daylight hours and turn them off at sundown. This will mimic the natural cycle of the sun and keep your succulents happy and none the wiser!

You might ask, “How do I know if my plants aren’t getting enough sun?”  Well, your succulents will actually tell you – here are a couple of easy signs to look for:

If your succulents seem to be getting a little lanky and rangy, it’s probably due to insufficient sunlight. This is pretty common and not harmful at all to the plant. In the spring when the weather warms up and the days become longer, you can trim them back and use the cuttings to start new plants.

Another subtle hint that your succulents are lacking adequate sunlight is when they start to “lean” toward their natural light source. It’s to be expected during short winter days. If you don’t want to go to the expense of artificial lighting, simply rotate the containers to balance the amount of light they get. That will straighten them out in a few days!

Have fun with your succulents this winter! They’re so darned adorable and will brighten up any room with their color variations, interesting shapes and amazing textures. Caring for them during the winter can be a bit more difficult, but most of the same rules apply any time of the year.


26 January 2017

Color Cache | Navy Blue

It’s dapper, droll and sophisticated—all rolled into one stylish little package. Navy blue is a timeless color that remains on trend, and with good reason.  It plays well with other colors and can serve as a deep neutral or can easily be an accent color to give any space in your home a classic look.

Understanding Navy
Navy blue has some of the same characteristics as other deep, dark colors. It exudes an air of elegance and refinement. Navy also connotes intellect, harmony, strength and tradition.

It is thought to have the ability to calm the mind and eliminate interference, allowing you to think clearly and get to the bottom of things. Navy blue is the shade most associated with impartiality and good judgment.

Navy expresses seriousness, assurance, influence and a sense of importance. For centuries, naval uniforms around the world have featured that dark, familiar blue hue—that’s how the color earned its moniker.

Decorating with Navy
As with any inky hue, navy emphasizes small details and makes them pop—like white crown molding or metallic finishes played against navy walls. It is so versatile because it works well with almost every color. You may think of it as ultra modern, but navy is the perfect foil for traditional furniture and accessories. Use it on all four walls or the ceiling to create a real sense of drama.

If you’re too timid for all over navy, pick a piece of furniture and cover it in sumptuous navy velvet. It could be a sofa, headboard or a tufted ottoman. If you don’t have the budget for an upholstered piece, swing by the local thrift store and adopt a worn dresser, console or end table and give it new life with a coat of navy blue paint.

Still not convinced that navy is the right color for your home? Why not start really small with a splash of navy by way of a pillow, lamp or throw just to see how you like it. This way, you can test drive navy without making a huge commitment or investment.


20 January 2017

Decorating Dilemmas | Help for Low Ceilings

Dear Homeagination:
My husband and I own a 200-year-old home located on the Cape. It’s listed on the historic register and simply oozes charm and character. We’ve gone in and updated the plumbing, electric and HVAC as well as modernizing the kitchen and bath.

We absolutely love living in the house but there’s one thing we can’t fix – its extremely low ceilings. Hopefully there is something we can do to make the ceilings look higher. Unfortunately, we have no idea what that might be. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Low Down in Massachusetts

Dear Height Challenged:
There’s really no way to make your ceilings physically higher other than a major remodel, but we do have a few suggestions to give them a loftier appearance.

Paint: You mentioned your wall colors were a bit on the dark side. One of the best things you can do is to lighten that wall color. It doesn’t have to be white but the lighter the better.

Light colors have a reflective quality and will make the space seem larger and ceilings seem higher. If you don’t want to touch the original wood paneled walls, paint your ceilings in a bright white – that will allow your eye to travel up, creating the illusion of taller walls.

Lighting: Install as much lighting as possible – and make sure they’re on dimmers so you can control the output. If your ceilings will allow, install recessed ceiling fixtures to brighten and heighten. If you can’t get into the ceiling to install can lighting, use wall sconces and aim them toward the ceiling to create the same effect.

Furnishings: Furniture lines should be low, lean and simple. Avoid using too many dark, heavy pieces. If you love rugs, make sure they’re light in color and the patterns unfussy. Keep furniture legs exposed. Meaning no skirted pieces -- they will visually close off the space. Neutral upholstery colors are your best bet to prevent the space from feeling claustrophobic.

Mirrors: This is an interior designer’s favorite trick. Use mirrors all around the house. Mirrors reflect views and refract light, both of which have a surprising knack for expanding space. Plus, they’re wonderful decorative accessories.

A tall floor mirror would look great leaning against a wall. If you have a fireplace, a sizeable mirror above the mantel will literally make you think the ceilings are higher than they really are. Mirrored closet doors work wonders in bedrooms and bathrooms.


11 January 2017

Design Crush | Pegboard

Get ready for it. Pegboard. Is. Hot. No really.

In case you’re not familiar, pegboard is a composite wallboard product available in hardware stores and home improvement centers. It features a series of evenly spaced, pre-drilled holes designed to accept a variety of hooks and holders. Once relegated to tool storage in the garage, pegboard has since taken off and is used in just about every room of the house.

You should really give pegboard a whirl. It’s is fun, inexpensive, versatile and totally on trend. To give you some inspiration, we’ve put together a collection of our favorite uses for this long-overlooked workshop staple. Take a look, grab some pegboard then go forth and organize!

 Here's a great way to organize and beautify your craft room with a framed pegboard storage center. 

Create a pegboard backsplash to organize utensils, cups and host of other kitchen tools.

 Imagine having an organized sewing center where everything's in easy reach!

Untangle those necklaces and earrings and display them so you can grab and go!

 This inspiration/message pegboard is a great idea for busy creative types.

Promote good study habits with this pegboard homework station.

This pegboard idea takes personal organization up a notch by creating a stylish bedroom focal point.

Let's not forget the original intent for pegboards: tool storage.

This pegboard potrack gets pans out of the cabinets to free up valuable kitchen space.

 Use pegboard to make a gallery wall that's super easy to swap out artwork when the mood strikes.

 If you telecommute or just want to organize your home office, a pegboard wall is the perfect solution.

The pegboard system is a nifty way to keep the resident sports enthusiast's gear in check.


03 January 2017

Creating a Cool Bedroom for Your Teenager

You remember your teenage years, don't you? You were coming into your own and searching for your true identity. You were maturing into an independent young adult. You needed a space of your own to think, read, watch TV and gossip with friends. No one over 20 could possibly understand what you were going through—especially your parents! Really nothing much has changed, except YOU are now the parent.

Lucky you. You have taken on the challenge of transitioning a juvenile bedroom to one of a teenager. This is quite an undertaking. What was cool when you were a teen is probably not so cool today. Before you go out to buy paint, bedding and furniture, you should understand one important thing: you are not completely in charge of this project.

While you may not agree with all of the details, try to strike a compromise with your teen as to the bedroom’s general design direction and key elements. Obviously, a spot for a computer is mandatory—whether for homework or social networking. A bed and clothing storage are also points on which both parties will likely agree.

Creating a cool bedroom for your teen doesn’t need to be a test of wills. Try throwing out of a few of these ideas to help bridge the generation gap and hopefully you can find some common ground!

Gobs of Pillows
Mounds of pillows on the bed and larger floor pillows make your teen’s room a place to totally unwind and relax. Pillows can add color and set a mood. Imagine rich textures and paisleys to give the bedroom exotic Boho flair.

Special Lighting
Your teen needs a task light for studying, but once the homework is done, give him or her something special. A string of twinkle lights for the ladies or a funky disco ball for the gents will give their bedroom a lounge vibe for the evening.

Organized Chaos
We all know most teens can have very questionable standards when it comes to tidiness. Get them to cut down on the mess by creating places to keep everything under wraps. Under bed storage containers, baskets and shelving with bins keep strewn clothing and miscellaneous clutter to a minimum. Or, like in this room, take storage to new heights by constructing a raised platform and incorporating drawer storage beneath!

Fashionable Windows
Most teens are fashion-conscious whether they admit it or not. Why not extend their love of fashion to the windows? There are so many fun curtain fabrics today, you can find something to satisfy even the most design-forward teen. For something more tailored, consider woven grass, matchstick shades or wooden blinds.

Wall Art
Wall decals are a great way for your teen to express their individuality and creativity without ruining the walls. They can choose from scrambled message or poetry word decals to wild polka dots. When they tire of one phase, just replace them with another set of peel and stick wall art.

Fresh Duvet Cover
No room is complete without a cool comforter or duvet cover. I personally like the idea of duvet covers because of their versatility. Just purchase an insert (either down or fiberfill) and encase it in a fabulous duvet cover to suit your teen’s favorite colors and patterns. Pick up a few coordinating pillow shams as well. And by all means, do not purchase a matching bed-in-a-bag set. That is so not cool!

New Paint Scheme
You and your teen can tackle this as a first or final step in the room design process. If she absolutely adores “Tiffany blue”, then by all means, start by painting the walls that color. If you’re both stuck for inspiration, choose a few key fabrics, a rug, bedding and upholstered pieces to give you wall color ideas. Not up for painting the entire room? Get a quart of paint and tackle an accent wall—preferably the headboard wall.

Kelly Sue DeConnick via flickr | Corey Taratuta via flickr | DIY Ready | Freshome