Banquettes

I love the idea of a banquette!  Think about it…when you go into a restaurant, would you rather sit at a booth or a table?  We always choose a booth!  Why?  Because it just seems more cozy!  Don’t you think?  Adding a banquette to your eating area will give your kitchen that same warm and cozy feeling that you want when sharing a meal with friends and family.  

 

Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites — from Houzz, of course!

 

Banquettes are perfect for a small area where you need to maximize your seating.

 

This area is very small and yet it comfortably seats six people.  I love how the back of this bench perfect frames the decorative window.

 

This corner booth transforms an empty spot in the kitchen into a cute, trendy little eating area for 4 or 5 hungry guests.

 

I especially love the banquettes that extend out from the wall on either side of the table.  All you need to do is add some washable cushions and you have the perfect spot for that morning cup of coffee!

 

Banquettes can be the focal point of your kitchen.
Maybe you want your banquette to be the focal point of the kitchen.  This can easily be achieved by paying special attention to the fabric choice and bench design.

 

This bench is actually a stand alone piece that looks like a built-in.  The shape is unique and the fabric really makes a statement.

 

Find a good upholsterer and design your own look!

 

Banquettes don’t have to be built in.
Maybe you don’t want a permanent structure added to your kitchen, but you like the banquette look.  Just like I noted in the earlier picture (green and white striped bench), you can achieve that look with a bench.

 

Whether you order this out of a catalog or have it custom made, this gives you the option to change out the seating in the future if need be.  You could even take this with you if you move.  (I’m loving the tufting.  Anybody else agree?)

 

Here is another example of a stand-alone bench used to achieve a banquette look.

 

Here is my favorite banquette pic~

 

It has everything — the lighting, the window, the built-ins, the pillows, the table, the chairs — all perfect!
Which picture was your favorite?

 

Now I want a cup of coffee!  ;)

 

Have a great day,
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Unexpected Fabric

I believe that your personal design style evolves over time.  The rooms that I find the most interesting usually tell a story.  Maybe it’s in the artwork, or the furniture, or the accessories.  The way that new and old items are woven together in a room give the space a unique depth that you won’t find if all the pieces are purchased at the same time.

One of my favorites things to do with a treasured piece of furniture is to give it new life by wrapping it in an unexpected fabric.

I am currently working with a client who was given two of these Louse XVI beauties by her mom.

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I can’t wait to get them back from my upholstery guy and place them in her room.  The fabric we chose is gorgeous.

Do you have a chair that might be a diamond in the rough?  Consider getting it reupholstered.  It’s the  perfect way to add personality to your space.

Here are some examples of chairs that have been reborn.  Enjoy!

Be bold!  Infuse your room with an incredible amount of energy by choosing a bold simple print.

 

Use a contrasting fabric on the back of your chair.  So fun!

 

Less than one yard of fabric transformed this chair into a showpiece.  Let your imagination run wild!

 

Think about what elements you want to accentuate when you are choosing your fabric.  Here we can see that the designer wanted to bring the outdoors in with the placement of this botanical print in front of the windows.

 

Are you looking to mix elegance with comfort?  Choose a simple, comfortable fabric to achieve this look.

 

This beautiful chair that is peeking at us from the corner has quite the personality, don’t you agree?

 

Mix modern with traditional.  Be brave!

 

I had to end my post with this show stopper!  I love everything about this chair.
The high gloss black paint is both elegant and unexpected.  The plush velvet fabric is decadent.  This is truly a winner.

 

Which one was your favorite?
Head out to your garage and see if you have a forgotten chair that is waiting to be rediscovered!
Have a great day!
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Love Your Bathroom

Having a beautiful bathroom is such a treat.

Not in love with your bathroom space?  Here are 5 easy ways to bring your bathroom up to speed.

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1.  Find a soft paint color that really speaks to you.  This is the room where you start and end your day.  Surround yourself with the color that makes you happy.

2.  If you are fortunate enough to have crown molding in your bathroom, think about choosing color for your ceiling.  Go to the lightest color on the paint strip so that it coordinates with your walls.

3.  Think about combining two different styles of window treatments.  Oftentimes, we first address the privacy issue with the window treatment in the bathroom, but we forget to make it pretty as well.  This fixed shade is the perfect complement to the short cafe curtain.  The window is now functional and beautiful.

4.  Use rolled towels as accessories.  So easy!

5.  Be bold in your counter top choice.  Think about it.  Since the bathroom counter space is usually very limited, it allows you to be a little more daring in your choice, knowing that you could change it out in time for very little expense.  I know in the design world, we usually say to stick with a neutral when it comes to counter tops, but once in a while it sure is fun to break the rules!

What do you like about this space?  What changes have you made in your bathroom to make it beautiful?

Feel free to post any questions you may have!

Tootles,

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Having a Statement Piece

I love a gorgeous statement necklace, don’t you?  Look at this outfit.

It’s plain.

It’s all one color.

And yet, the model looks spectacular just because of  necklace.  What if we took that same idea over into home design.  What would that look like?  It would stand to reason that you could have a very plain room with one spectacular piece in it and the room would look amazing. d5b71cd3c35f5dae732cdfae350d073b

Here are some great examples of rooms that utilize that design technique.

This is a very simple room with an amazing light fixture.  Wow.

 

Everything in this kitchen is gorgeous, but what is the first thing you noticed?  I noticed the light fixtures.   They make a beautiful statement in this room.

 

This monochromatic kitchen gets its personality from that unique chandelier.

 

Do you love this as much as I do?

 

Here is an example of using furniture as your statement piece.  What a great sofa!

 

One of my favorite design techniques is to take an older piece of furniture and give it new life with an unexpected fabric choice.  This chair definitely makes a statement in the entry of this home.

 

Here is an example of using art to make your statement.  Gorgeous.  The rest of the room is simple and understated so that the artwork can shine.

 

…another interesting piece…

 

Wow!  Love it.

 

Is your office tired and boring?  Inject some life into your space with an amazing piece of art.

 

Simple room…beautiful art.  Love.

 

Think outside the box when it comes to your dining room art.  Look at that picture!  It’s spectacular.

 

I hope you were able to take away some great ideas from this post.  Start with one room and find a statement piece to give that room new life.
Have a fun day,
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Championship Colors

Here in Washington, we are still celebrating the Superbowl win!

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What a great game!  I couldn’t be happier for the Seahawks.  They worked very hard to achieve this accolade.  Having said that, I have to admit, I love Peyton Manning.  He is the epitome of everything that is good about the game of football.  He is a gracious person of character and a hard worker.  Unfortunately for the Broncos, they got outplayed and the win deservedly went to the Seahawks.

Since this is our first Superbowl title, we are understandably a little giddy!  And suddenly, I want to redecorate my house in blue and lime green!  lol.  I’ve been studying the psychology of color lately and I was reminded that the color blue symbolizes calmness and serenity and the color green brings with it feelings of life and new growth.  The lime green that you see on the Seahawks blue uniforms is like a spark of energy.   Let’s take a look at how that works in a room.

The mood of the room will depend on the proportion of each color.  If you are wanting to create a peaceful, calm space, then focus on using more blue than green.  Here is a perfect example…

In the main room, the mood is calm and relaxed because the percentage of blue is higher than the percentage of green.  However, if you look into the reading nook, you can feel the energy increase because of the wall color.

Using a neutral color of paint on the walls allows you to fine tune the temperature of the room with your furniture, fabrics, and accessories.

 

This room exudes a calmness because of the amount of blue used on the walls.  Bringing in just a touch of green wakes up the space and makes it more inviting.

 

I love this space because that side table is an antique that has been given new life!  That is the spark that makes this room memorable.  (The dog is pretty cute too!)

 

This is a gorgeous bedroom that once again, focuses on the calming aspect of blue and uses a lovely throw to turn up the heat just a tad.

When the proportions of blue and green are reversed, and green is in the spotlight, the effect is completely different.

I feel energized just looking at this photo, don’t you?  As you can see, we have just a touch of blue in the tile design.  The rest of the room is exploding with this glorious color.

 

I’m much more inclined to put calm, soothing colors in a nursery (for obvious reasons, ha), but I have to admit, I love this design.

 

Here is another high energy example.   Putting this much color on walls takes a hefty dose of confidence.  The one thing to keep in mind is, it’s only paint.  Paint is the easiest element in design to change or tweak.

 

What do you think?  Do you like this color combo?  How would you use it in your home?  I would love to hear from you!
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5 Ways To Give Your Closet Star Power!

I cleaned my closet this weekend (again).  I also watched The Grammys.  What do closets and The Grammys have in common?  Hmmm…nothing.  lol  But when I saw this lovely closet pic posted by Architectural Digest I thought it would be fun to go over 5 simple ways to give your closet star power.

Here we go…

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1.  Use beautiful baskets or bins to store lots of smaller items.  Putting your smaller items in a large storage container will make your space feel clean and spacious.

2.  Put wallpaper on one wall.  Why not make a statement in your closet?  Since the space is small, the transformation will take you no time at all!

3.  Take out your ugly light and replace it with something that is truly unique.  You will be glad you did every time you walk in that closet.

4.  Keep you floor clear.  This seems to be a challenge for me, but I am determined to make this a habit.

5.  Stack only what will fit on your shelves.  If your shelves are crammed full of clothes, you have too many clothes.  Ouch!  I know, I had to face that ugly fact.  My shelves were so full, I couldn’t see what I had so I only wore the first three items in the stack.  Give your extra clothes to Goodwill.  Someone will love you for it.

Beyoncé will be jealous!

Enjoy!

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3 Reasons to Love Yellow

I have long been a fan of the color yellow.  You just can’t look at that color without smiling.   When I’m out driving and I pass a yellow house, I immediately want to live there!  ;)

Crazy, right?  But that’s how this color affects me.

Here are 3 reasons you should love the color yellow too.

1.  It’s a great neutral.

Notice how this soft butter yellow just sort of floats in the kitchen area of this space, letting the furniture and the architecture take center stage.  So nice.

 

Blue and Yellow — one of my favorite color combinations!  Again, we see a soft yellow on the walls providing the perfect backdrop for those beautiful cabinets.

 

Simply gorgeous!

Simple color palette. Limited pattern. Beautiful.

2. It’s so cheerful!

Wow!  I almost need sunglasses to look at this picture.  I love it.  It feels like such a happy room.  I don’t know how anyone could be in a bad mood when they are in this kitchen.

 

This is the perfect guest room!

 

3.  It’s welcoming!
Incorporating yellow into the color scheme is a great way to take an otherwise formal setting and make it feel less intimidating.

 

Most of us paint the front door black or red.  (Guilty!)  Wouldn’t it be fun to just throw caution to the wind and chose a wild color for a change?  I love this front door!  Doesn’t it feel welcoming?

 

How does yellow make you feel?  Do you love it or hate it?
Let me know what you think!
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Shopping

I feel so lucky when I have the time to step away from my desk and visit my favorite stores.  I was able to do just that on Friday.  I had two goals as I headed to Rejuvenation, my first stop.

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First, I just wanted to wander.  The product in that store is so beautiful that it’s a treat to just browse.

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My second goal was to look for options to correct a problem with a settee that I bought last year.

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You see, I snagged this little beauty at Homegoods and brought it home thinking it would be perfect for my kitchen.  And it is…except for the fact that when you sit in it, you sink down so low that you feel like a kindergartener on the first day of school.  

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So I needed to either amend the leg height with castors or replace the legs altogether.  

I could see that castors were not going to work because they weren’t high enough, so I headed out to their salvage area to find something I could use for legs.

After digging through a couple of bins, my friend and I found these spindles.

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I’ll use this type of bolt to attach the spindles to the settee.

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My plan is to cut these to the right height, sand and paint them, then cross my fingers, install them and hope this works!   I will let you know how it turns out.

What projects are you working on this year?

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Wall Art For The Kitchen

Want to freshen things up a bit in your kitchen without too much fuss?  You may want to think about changing out your wall art for something completely different.  Now I’m the first one to admit, when I have found the perfect picture and I truly love it, it’s hard for me to change it out for something else.  But maybe you could just move it to a different space and try something new in its place.

I’m partial to large pieces of art — especially in the kitchen because it is unexpected.  Sometimes the reason we like a room is because the homeowner/designer has added an unexpected element to the space and that creates a depth that the room would not have ordinarily had.

Pictures of fruit have long been a favorite in the kitchen.  Here’s a different twist on that theme…

 

 

 

 

The infusion of color and style sets the tone for the entire room.  So nice!

You may want to consider a series of prints to grace your walls.
Always look for dead space that could benefit from some color or visual interest.

 

 

We have seen lovely gallery walls in family rooms and living rooms, but have you ever thought of doing one in your kitchen?

If you are a DIYer, this artwork would be so easy to replicate!

I will wrap this up with my favorite…

This feels so peaceful and beautiful.

I hope you are inspired!  Don’t forget to submit your design dilemma!  You may be chosen to receive free design advice!

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Launching

The title of this post makes me laugh because for some reason I am having a really hard time getting out of “vacation brain”.  I feel like I’m moving in quicksand and my brain has turned into a big couch potato and it’s refusing to get up!  Maybe I just ate too many cookies.  lol  So my post today is going to be about launching with the hopes that I can get myself in gear and actually become a productive member of society.  ;)

I wanted to make some changes this year with my blog to keep things fresh and new.  I thought I would try a segment where you send me a picture with your design dilemma and I give you a couple of suggestions to help fix the issue.

I want to keep this as simple as possible for you.  Here is how it works…

  • Submit your photo to carolynsmith@comcast.net along with your design dilemma.
  • Hop on over to my Facebook page and hit “like”.  If you could also post a comment, I would love that!

That’s it!!  I will chose one photo and post my response on this blog.  Based on how well this works, I would like to offer this service a couple of times a month.

I have also decided to only post 2 – 3 times a week instead of everyday.  I would like to take some extra time to focus on improving the quality of my posts as well as the functionality of my blog.

I have a couple of other ideas in the works.  I am excited to start a new year full of new beginnings!

Don’t forget to submit your photo!

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Looking Back

What a year!  It’s been fun to look back at my posts.  Here are a few of my faves (o.k., maybe more than just a few!)

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White Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad 

[Read more...]

Heating Pad

I have done a good amount of sewing over the years, which means I have lots and lots of fabric remnants.  As I was trying to reorganize my ever-growing collection, I thought it might be nice to take some of that extra fabric and make each of my kids a heating pad for Christmas.  Like most people, I spend a significant amount of time at my computer which means my shoulders and neck get really sore.   Laying on the sofa with a heating pad on my shoulders is heavenly after a long day.  Here is how I made mine…

I used lining fabric for the inner pouch.

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Turn it right side out and fill it about 1/2 – 2/3 full of regular rice.  Then sew the end shut. [Read more...]

Buttery Rolls

Just when you thought the food fest was over, I’m going to entice you with an old family recipe!  ;)  After all, the diet doesn’t start until January 1st, right?

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Buttery Rolls (bread machine recipe)

Ingredients [Read more...]

Boot Storage

As I was digging through our tiny coat closet looking for my boots, I heard that same loop playing through my head…”Someday I’m going to organize my boots…”

Of course, in our house you could replace the word “boots” with…oh, let’s see…pantry, linen closet, sewing area, laundry room…lol  Anyway, back to the boots!  First I had to look at my current storage situation.  I don’t really have wall space unless I want to hang my boots in the garage, which I don’t.  And I don’t really have hanging space on the actual closet rod since our coat closet is small.  So my only option would be to utilize something that is free-standing that I can put on the floor.  Here is what I came up with…

Fresh Finds

This boot rack is from Fresh Finds.  It’s inexpensive and easy to assemble. [Read more...]

Christmas Week

I love everything about Christmas.  The parties.  Family. Decorating. The music. Baking. Gift giving.  And of course, celebrating the birth of Christ. It’s a tradition at our house to read the story of the birth of Christ, from Luke 2, every Christmas Eve.  It’s a nice time to slow down, reflect and give thanks.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog.  I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I will be posting as time allows this week.  I still have lots to do before Wednesday!

Merry Christmas!

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