Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tips for choosing the RIGHT paint color!

With the hundred's of thousands of paint colors out there, you may wonder where to begin. And, if you are like many of my clients, picking a paint color may stop you in your tracks! How does one choose?

Instead of looking at as choosing just one color, I like to have a vision for the whole room and sometimes for the whole floor, depending on the layout of the home! Think of yourself as an artist, choosing your palette.

1. Don't pick your paint color first: I know that may seem counter intuitive, but trust me, it'll be easier to choose the right paint color to match your furniture than to find furniture to match your wall color!

Surely you have an idea of colors you like. What was your favorite color as a child? Do you still love that same color? What colors do you wear most often? Are they colors you could see yourself decorating your home with? 

Still not sure? Try creating a Pinterest board or Ideabook on Houzz, with images of rooms or paint color swatches that you like. What are the colors that are most prevalent? Click here to see my "No Fail Color Choices" board on Pinterest.

2. Find something that inspires you: It's always a good idea to start designing your room around one piece that you already love. It could be a pillow, a rug or maybe a favorite piece of artwork. I designed a whole room around this Octopus fabric! I just fell in love when I saw it! Whatever your inspiration piece may be, use that as springboard in choosing your room colors!

I loved this piece of artwork and decided to use it in one of the Maine cottages I was designing at the time. We stepped away from the traditional seaside color choices and decided to give this cottage a bit of a spunky feel incorporating unexpected pops of orange with beautiful blues.

Room designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs
Here's another great example of how this designer used the colors in this hallway rug to add a fun paint color to the door.

Found on www.houseofturquoise.com

3. Try before you buy: Thank goodness you can buy test size paint colors these days! I always recommend that you purchase one of these so you can paint a small area of your wall and really see how it looks against your d├ęcor and as the light changes throughout the day. You will be happy you only bought a small amount if your paint happens to be the wrong shade!

4. Consider a color theme throughout your home: This is especially true if you have rooms that open up to each other or if you have an open-concept type home. I'm not saying everything has to be the same color, but there should be some sort of cohesiveness from room to room.
5. If you're still stumped, hire a designer: Sometimes it just takes another set of eyes to look at something and tell you "yes" you are headed in the right direction, or "maybe there's an even better color out there". Either way, interior designers have the education and expertise to help you make the best choice.

Just for fun click here and take Better Homes and Garden's color personality quiz. You just might surprise yourself and learn that your favorite color to decorate with is quite different than how you'd answer the question, "What's your favorite color?"


Renee Carman

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tempted to try a little wallpaper?

Welcome to Part 2 of our wallpaper series. If last weeks blog wasn't convincing enough that wallpaper is in, this weeks surely will. It's no surprise that there are possibilities galore! No matter what your personality or taste, there is a wallpaper design out there for you!

Because I am such a visual person (think picture books!), I thought it'd be fun to share with you some of my favorite wallpaper designs. These are just a few, because let's face it, I could spend all day doing this! But it's a good start and hopefully a bit of inspiration for you!

For the non-committal type:
Listen, I get it. You're still not sure you want to do this wallpaper thing. Well, I've got the answer for you! Retailers have smartened up and realized that there are lots and lots of people like you out there, who love the idea of trying something new with wallpaper, but don't want to be stuck with it for the next decade (or longer...gasp!). Voila! Along comes temporary wallpaper! And trust me, you won't be sacrificing design or quality by going with removable paper. It's just as lovely...it just may not stick around as long (no pun intended!).



P.S. I love this temporary chalkboard wallpaper...thinking I might have to put this in my new office!

My son would never have left his room if I put this paper on the walls....hhmmm, why didn't I think of that years ago?!



If you're looking for a funky, industrial vibe: Check out what Deborah Bowness has to offer. www.deborahbowness.com.  Whether it's faux bookshelves or a bit of swag to draw your eye up, or maybe something more subtle, like a faux tile print...whatever it is Deborah has got it! Her one of a kind wallpaper are beautiful and function pieces of art.



Tricked ya! This isn't tile! It's wallpaper! You can get a faux tile, wood, brick, concrete...whatever you can imagine...in wallpaper! (same look as the real stuff, minus the huge expense)

Graham & Brown brick wallpaper found at Urban Outfitters
For the artist in you: For those of you out there who posses your own talent and vision, guess what?! You can actually design and create your own custom wallpaper! Check out www.spoonflower.com!

The only challenge I have now (at least when it comes to wallpaper) is containing my excitement! Be sure to also check out my Pinterest page! You'll find lots and lots of inspiration there! Click here to check it out!



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hang in there!

Another week, another snowstorm here in NH! And another one on the way to boot! There must be at least 50 inches of snow in my front yard. The kids haven't had a full week of school in weeks! Even my friends who love winter are hanging up the white flag (you just can't see it under all of the snow!)!  So the term, "Hang in there!" has been used a lot lately!

But what I really meant to say was "Hang it there!"...meaning hang some wallpaper! No seriously, wallpaper is cool. Way cooler than it used to be.

Many of my clients have reservations about wallpaper, and I get it. It kind of earned a bad rap a few decades ago. Most of you are worried that it's no longer in style, or that it will quickly go out of style. Some are concerned that it's difficult put up and even more difficult to get down.

West Elm
Sepulveda Mural Wallpaper - Graystone

Well, the good news is that wallpaper today is very much in fashion and with today's advances in technology and design, wallpaper is much easier to install and to remove. And for those commitment-phobes out there, you can even buy temporary wallpaper.

There are so many great companies out there making some beautiful wallpaper. There is no doubt, that there is something for everyone! And there are so many different ways incorporate wallpaper into your design.

Wallpaper can totally transform the look and feel of a room. Have you ever felt that a painted wall feels, well...."flat"? In comes some wallpaper and voila! bring on the dimension! If you are feeling a little nervous about wallpapering an entire room, try just covering an accent wall. You will still get the effect, without as much of a commitment.

Found on beachblissliving.com

Remember to choose your wallpaper carefully. These days wallpaper is made from all kinds of materials. Pick the one that's most suitable for your room. For example, you may want to use a vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom where it's moist. Consider a wallpaper with a washable finish for high-traffic areas like hallways, mudrooms, or for that matter kids room (I still have visions of hand and footprints on my kids walls!). In fact, wallpaper can be more forgiving and easier to care for than just a painted wall!

The entryway is another fun place to use wallpaper. You can apply it to the walls, or even the stairs!

Found on theboldabode.com
Found on bhg.com

Still not sure what to do?? Look no further than UP!! You betcha! Wallpaper on the ceiling is a brilliant idea! It's a dreamy touch to a nursery, or a bold statement in an office!

Found on homeadore.com

Found on projectnursery.com

Here's  something funny...I absolutely love wallpaper and yet I have none of it in my house. Stands to reason that if you loved something, you would want to have it around you, and that's exactly why I don't. See, I have such a love of wallpaper that I can't choose! Yes, it even happens to designers. I am paralyzed by all of the wonderful options;  Graphic, floral, photographs of corrugated tin siding! I have decided that the responsible thing to do is just continue to love from afar (and wait until our new studio is painted, and then...watch out!)!

Now that I've got you thinking wallpaper, be sure to check back next week, we'll be featuring my favorite wallpaper designers!

Until then, have fun imagining the possibilities!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Let's head to the islands...kitchen islands!

I can't tell you how much I wish I were headed to the islands right now! Instead, I am here in my cozy office, enduring yet another Nor'easter in NH. And Punxsutawney Phil says we have 6 more weeks of this!! But that's okay, because I am working on designing another kitchen, one of my favorite aspects of this job! Rather than sand in my toes and sunshine on my face, I am taking measurements and making adjustments for a gorgeous kitchen complete with a stylish island!
Found on Pinterest.com

If you have ever thought about a kitchen remodel, then you know there are tons of decisions that you must make before you even get to the fun stuff, like picking out cabinets, tile and lighting! Before I even begin to work on a kitchen, I spend a lot of time with my clients trying to uncover how they use their current kitchen, what they feel it lacks, what are storage needs, dining needs, and the list goes on.

A kitchen is where we gather with our family and guests. It's the heart of the home. And if you are a mom, you know you spend countless hours in the kitchen making snacks, and meals. Doing homework. Maybe even paying bills. So it's important that your kitchen is designed with all of your needs in mind. If you have the space, a kitchen island is a great choice! Perhaps even two!

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design
Do you find that you host a lot of gatherings at your house? If so, then I bet much time is spent in the kitchen. If this sounds like you, here are some things to consider before you start your kitchen island design:
  • Is there enough space for an island? Perhaps you need two!
  • What kind of appliances would you like at your finger tips? Wine fridge, ice maker, or just a small mini-fridge?
  • Do you need an extra sink?
  • Consider worry-free countertop surfaces
  • Don't forget the mood lighting!

Lenova Entertainer Sink

One size does NOT fit all!

Source: www.thisoldhouse.com
We all know that by now, right? So what size island is ideal? For most of my clients, I recommend at least 3 feet wide and 4-7 feet long, depending on the size of the space you are working with. Keep in mind that you will also need about 42" of floor space on the "working" sides of the island so that you can open your dishwasher or fridge, and more importantly, so that you can have more than one person in your workspace at a time!

And what about the height? Well, that depends too. Many homeowners are opting to create a dining area as part of their island design, which is a great use of space. Another popular design is to use two different levels, one for eating and the other for food prep. There are pros and cons to every design, but you can never go wrong with enough leg room! Be sure to factor in 15-18" of overhang for leg room!

Source: Habersham
What's the latest trend in kitchen design? Wine Islands! This has got me swooning with ideas!! I love this idea so much that I have decided to carry this particular line, +Habersham Home  in my studio!

These pieces are beautiful works of art that add so much style to your kitchen! Just imagine the possibilities!

Source: Habersham

Contact me or come visit me in my studio! A lot goes into a kitchen renovation or design. I highly recommend that you call in an expert for this type of project. And where to put all the wine is just one of the many considerations!

Don't forget to check out my Pinterest board Dreamy Islands for more inspiration!