People of all ages love intriguing spaces. They love being both visually “stimulated” or “calmed” by their surroundings. Perhaps this comes from our days as children with forts and tree houses. Or maybe it’s a deeper nesting instinct. I’m not sure about the psychology.
At any rate, you can choose all the paint colors, carpet, fabrics and furnishings you like but designers will tell you the challenge is choosing elements that look fantastic “together”. It’s much more than just mixing color. It’s like telling a whole story: there are a lot of words and chapters but it’s the order the author puts them in that makes the book readable.
Q: “We are remodeling our kitchen, but we’re having a really hard time making decisions on styles, finishes and colors.”
A: It’s really important to remember to tie the kitchen in with the rest of the architectural elements already present in your home such as flooring, molding, doors, casing, and windows. If you fail to do this effectively it will make the rest of the house look old and outdated.
So think about the year the home was built. What were the styles back then. Think about future plans for remodeling areas outside the kitchen. Plan your kitchen to blend in with both.
You might be tempted to go in a completely different direction with your kitchen remodels just to be “different”. That’s a mistake unless you plan on remodeling the entire house. Consider the architectural style, geographic surroundings, maintenance issues and THEN your style preferences. And remember never try and make your home into something it’s not. It will end up looking silly.
If the basic footprint is efficient there are a lot of ways to do that without gutting the kitchen like keeping the wiring plumbing and base cabinets the same and replacing the cabinet doors, appliances, flooring, countertops, backsplashes, sinks, faucets, windows, paint and lighting.
Q: “My sofa is getting dingy. Should I recover or replace it?”
A: The first thing to consider is the overall condition of your existing sofa. How is the frame? Is it wobbly or stable? How are the cushions? Are they misshapen, lumpy or uncomfortable? How much did you pay for the sofa? Chances are good that if it’s a good quality piece it’s worthwhile recovering it. Prices for recovering sofas vary dramatically due to the wide range of fabric costs. If the sofa was a bargain when you purchased it new, it probably isn’t worth recovering. Consider buying a good quality sofa and donating your old one to college kids or the local church thrift shop.
Q: “I need window coverings throughout my new home but some windows are small, some are large, and some are French doors. What is the solution to a home with a lot of styles of windows?”
A: Most homes do have many types of windows. My favorite go-to solution is two-fold. In two words: draperies and woven or matchstick blinds. Most windows benefit from draperies on beautiful rods and rings. These solutions are a fabulous investment. You can coordinate the drapery fabrics you choose with your design scheme. They’re timeless, attractive, versatile, and relatively affordable when compared to plantation shutters and fancier window coverings. The best part is that drapery panels can be replaced in fifteen to seventeen years with little investment making them a great selling point for potential buyers. I also love the addition of sheer draperies layered under traversing draperies. If you’re a contractor building a spec home these are great tips to remember.
Q: “What are my window treatment options for French doors and glass slider doors?”
A: Mass produced window treatments for sliders and French doors such as vertical shades, honeycomb shades etc. are high priced, require a lot of maintenance, have problematic warranties, and I personally don’t care for how they look. These aren’t lasting investments. If you’re going that route at least make it cost efficient and do them yourself. For interior mounted shades, you measure the interior width at the top of the window, mid-section and bottom as well as the length or height. I recommend measuring for exterior mounted shades however. And this has a lot of contingencies so I can’t really specify where to measure. Generally speaking, if the window is framed, you measure an inch or more on either side beyond the frame. Be sure to allow for light seepage and privacy when measuring the width. You want enough on either side that no one can see in from the side gap.
I prefer Roman shades or traversing draperies for French doors and traversing draperies for glass sliders. In some instances valances and stationery panels can be nice for glass sliders and French doors too, depending on what’s on the neighboring window/s and how much space is available side to side. Like most window treatments, these require professional workmanship to be functional and attractive.
Q: “I don’t like contrived decorating or a lot of accessories but I’d like my home to look special. What can you recommend?”
A: There are some very nice ways to make your home more festive without being overly decorated. My favorite way is to keep a wide variety of quality vases on hand and fill them on the weekends with fresh flowers or greenery from the garden. I also love keeping hard bound books and baskets around for their hominess and usefulness. Lastly, high quality lamps, simple throw pillows and lap blankets add texture and bring a home to life. Other uncontrived accessories besides vases, flowers, books and baskets are candlesticks. Choose styles that are relevant to your furniture and architecture. For the walls, mirrors in interesting frames are a great alternative to artwork, until you can start your own art collection.
Casa de Valentina
In new or older construction, personalizing your home often comes down to identifying solutions for its deficits as well as finding ways to play up the positives much like when you dress yourself or put on your make up or have your hair styled.
Start identifying your own style by educating your eye via traveling and designer showcases. Pinterest is a great catch all for images you love but it’s not really going to help you develop style because it’s very limited to what only one group of people like.
To get more on renovations and redecorating, head on over to to my new download “Healthy at Home, 5 Key Design Decisions for Wellness Minded and Wellness Challenged Women”. In it you’ll find super easy to follow design solutions like tips on choosing flooring material; the most affordable way to remodel your kitchen, creating a restful bedroom retreat, the newest in techy kitchen trends, creating workout spaces!