Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is not just Red and Green Continued

I also love to take old things and re invent them at Christmas.  I have used ornaments that go back to the 1950's mixed with new ones.  I have an antique sleigh with modern branches next to it.  I think you need to make Christmas personal.  I love to drive around during the Holidays just to see what other people have done.  It the homes that do things I would never think of that I appreciate the most.

Christmas is not just red and green

             I must apologize for not writing in a while.  I have gotten extremely busy at work, but will promise to keep blogging on what I discover as I run my design business.  This time around I want to talk about Christmas decorations.  I have always felt that you Christmas decor should work with your home decor and colors.  There is nothing wrong with red and green, but there are some many other interesting options.  In additions to interior design, I also to event designing and seasonal decorating to businesses and private homes.  I love to use non traditional colors and elements to decorate for the holidays.

            One of my clients is a fish monger with an upscale gourmet market.  We did all his decoration in blue to represent the ocean.  Blue and gold with greens are very attractive

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seasonal Planters bring color to your front door

 May is the time of year where we begin to transition into the summer season.  One of the best ways to add color and visual interest is with seasonal planters filled with beautiful flowers and plants.  I recently had to add interest to a new home.  The front door was white and there was no door mat or pots in front ot the door.  I believe that even a beautiful house looks dull without color at the front door.  The first thing we did was paint the front door a beautiful brick red.  We then added a black iron front mat to match the color of the shutters.  The house was now balanced with color, but it was till lacking visual interest.  That was when I went looking for interesting planters

  First you will need to pick a container.  There are so many to choose from.  You can do clay pots or urns or zinc planters.  You can use colorful painted pottery or very contemporary tall modern brushed nichol containters.  My rule of thumb is have the style of planter match the architecture of the house.  Don't put neon green containers in front of a center hall colonial.

 Once the pots are picked you will need to fill them.  As of late, I have become very creative with what I fill my pots with. You don't always have to use flowers.  I have done pots with ornamental peppers, with grasses.  I have even used lettuces in a decorative way.  Try to think outside the box.  The best thing you can hear from someone is how did you think of that?  Or, do you mind if I copy that ?

 In my clients case, we chose square planter boxes made of wood.  I had them sprayed in a high gloss black finish so they would contract with the front door.  I then put a spike planted in the center of each planter box for height .  In this case, I chose to do an unusual combination of reds, purples, and oranges.  I combined flowers vines and foliage.  I have to say it looked great.  Be creative this spring and do something unexpected with your flower pots.  If you do a really good job being different you may start to see your neighbors copying you.  I guess then they won't be so unual after all.  Oh well at least it was your idea first, Happy Planting.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring is time to Branch out

 As I have noted in a previous blog entry, it has been an odd year for weather.   There was no winter this year.  Spring has come a month early and it seems everything is blooming at the same time.  Usually spring comes in gently first with the crocus and then a sea of yellow with the daffodils and forsythia.  The yellow burst then turns to pink with Cherry blossoms, magnolias and tulips.  Nature is confused this year.  I think that it is a particularly beautiful spring though.  It also dawned on me that all the trees seem to be in full bloom right now and we should take advantage of it.
  Instead of buying the standard daffodils, tulips and hyacinths for your Passover or Easter table, why not decorate with branches.  That's right I said branches.  Get out your heavy clippers and your biggest vases and  fill your home with tall branches loaded with spring blooms. Nothing looks more dramatic on a holiday table or a side board than tall spring branches. Also, to double the effect, put branches in front of a mirror.  This with increase the effect and make it even more spectacular. Foyer tables, side boards and dining tables with shine with these blooms and it won't cost you a thing.

  This coming week, most people will do a great deal of entertaining.  Make your Passover or Easter table amazing with something you already have.  Just one thing, don't wander into your neighbor's yard to do the cutting. If you do, however, you need to wait until they go out first and then don't have them in until after the blooms die. Remember if you get caught....... deny, deny, deny.  Oh, I forgot about those darn security cameras. Oh well, Happy April Fool's everyone.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's quite easy being Green

Happy March everyone!!!! I can't believe that it is going to be daylight savings time soon. I started writing this blog to share my life experiences as an interior designer.  I hopefully will pass some information on to you that will help you enrich your life and your home.  I am in at least 5 homes a week and I find I am still always learning new things and being inspired.

My latest inspiration has to do with a new project I am working on.  The couple I am working with have trusted me and are giving me total control in their family room.  I usually find inspiration from trade magazines or show houses, but this time it was nature that inspired me.  We are having a bizarre winter. Strange spring-like things have been happening since the beginning of January.  I have noticed all my bulbs are out of the ground and there is a lot of new growth on plants in my garden.  It is concerning, but at the same time quite beautiful.  I am obsessed with the spring green color that I have been seeing all winter.  The beautiful light green colors that invoke thoughts of warm temperatures and better times ahead.  Spring green is hard to describe.  It is like the color of the grass when it starts to come back after the winter.  It is also like the new lighter green leaves that come out on your existing perennials.  It is like asparagus stalks or the inside of a ripe avocado.  I love this color!!! The room was a huge success using a fresh green and taupe palate.

Most people think that only beige is a neutral.  I stage many houses for sale as part of my business.  Sellers have told me" just paint all the rooms white or linen white", WRONG.  Neutrals are earth colors.  Greens and browns are soothing and make a space relate to the outside.  When you paint a house all white there is no contrast with the trim and moldings.  Beige and green co-exist well together.  I don't think a house ever stayed on the market too long for a  pale sage green kitchen.  Use of green in a home brings a sense of calm.  Even if you don't paint your walls green, you can buy a couple of fern prints and put them up in your foyer.  You can also incorporated green in your kitchen and dining room linens.  It could be a new table cloth, some napkins or a floral center piece.  Green flowers and branches signify spring and look great on any table.  Some of my favorite green flowers are hellebores (Lenten Roses), green orchids and the rare green blooms on dogwood branches. 

I always suggest to my clients when making big purchases, especially on upholstered furniture, to stay neutral.  When you have several sitting rooms all the couches can't be tan.  Green goes with so many other  colors, browns, blues, terracotta, cream, coral, plum, white, brick red.  The possibilities are endless.  So take a leap of faith and throw a little green in your home this March.  After all, St. Patricks Day is on it's way, and there an old saying that adding a little green to your home with send you some green, if you know what I mean.  See you next month.  Please keep e-mailing me you questions and comments.  I love them.  You can also find me on my website http://www.mavinhilldesigns/  or catch up with me on facebook.  I look forward to you input and ideas.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Accent Wall

 I have had many clients recently who have complained that their rooms look boring, especially in photos.  I usually suggest to them that we first change the paint color to something bolder.  Then we can go from there.  I can't tell you how many people are afraid of color.  Beige, tan, grey and taupe seem to be every body's safety zones.  I can understand this too, but a room will never really look dramatic without the use of color.

   Color is a tricky thing.  It is actually the absorption of light within a given space.  This basically means the sage green paint you purchased in the paint store will look totally different in your home than it did in the store.  I equate picking a paint color with trying on clothes.  You can pick a beautiful outfit, but when you put on and it doesn't fit, you will hate it.  The same applies to paint color. You have to bring large color samples into your home and leave then up for several days.  This will allow you to see if the color really does something for your space.

  I often get people to commit to a color they love, but when push come to shove they revert back to safety beige.  That is when I call in the compromise I am using more and more these days, THE ACCENT WALL. You color chickens have your out now with the accent wall.  In a sea of beige or grey you can use an accent wall to make a statement without totally letting go of your inhibitions.  The accent wall is the perfect solution to the color challenged.

 There are several rules, though, when it come to the accent wall.  First, the accent wall needs to be the darkest or brightest wall in the space. Secondly, an accent wall should only be used in one room of a house.   An accent wall, in more than one room, will ruin the effect you want.  Thirdly, pick a focal wall to make the accent color.  A fireplace wall or one with special height or architecture is your best bet for this paint treatment. I must admit I too was a little afraid of a change in color.  My living room is a pretty pale yellow shade and every time a photographed the room it looked bland.  I have always wanted to make that large room with 10 foot ceilings pop, but I did not want to make the room too dark.  Today I took the plunge and created a beautiful mossy green color on my fireplace wall.  IT LOOKS FANTASTIC.  I can't believe it took almost 7 years to be color brave. Well, I guess the same color rules apply to me as everyone I work with.   I tell all my clients be brave and  just do it.  After all if you don't like it in the end it's only a little paint.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life after the Christmas Tree

    It is starting to be the time of year where the festive holiday decorations need to come down.  It always amazes me that a room that looked great before the holidays, some how in January, post Christmas, now looks drab.   I hear of people who keep there tree up till the first week in February. THIS IS NOT GOOD.  I say everything has a season.  Embrace the new year with some new things for the winter season.

    First, after the tree comes down and the containers of ornaments return to their primary residence, the attic, don't put everything back in the same place.  January is a time of new beginnings.  Move your furniture around.  This allows you to get a new "feel" without spending a dollar.  Also with the cold temps, add new heavy throws to your couches, chairs and beds.  It will not only keep you warmer.  It will allow you to add a splash of color during the dull drums on winter.

  Secondly, winter can have incredible beauty.  Don't fight it, embrace the beauty of winter.  Clear glass vessels or over sized wire mesh containers can be filled with scented pine cones.  This will add color and wonderful winter fragrance.  Starting indoor pots of herbs and/or ornamental grasses can also give us hope of the spring to come.  Use winter to clear the clutter and keep things simple.   White or cream large pillar candles in over sized  glass containers look great.  Elements of silver or mercury glass resemble ice and look great on a winter table scape.

  Thirdly, and probably most important.  JANUARY AND FEBRUARY ARE GREAT MONTHS TO PAINT.  Most contractors are very slow in the winter months and are often willing to work for less money.  Once the spring comes you may wait weeks for your painter or wall paperer to call you back. Also , when it comes to painting, you don't have to go crazy and disrupt your whole house.  Paint an accent wall, like your headboard wall in the bedroom or the fireplace wall in your family room.  Little changes are not expensive but can really change a room.

  Finally, Plan things.  It is very easy to become house bound in the winter months.  Have projects to keep you going.  This makes winter much more palatable.  Do a big pot of chili with all the toppings and invite a group of your friends over.  Even a casual dinner party forces you to finish projects and make your house look and smell great. Remember it's all what you put into it.  Positive energy is contagious. Entertain and fix up your home in the winter months and before you know it. The Spring bulbs will be popping out of the ground.