Blue & White

Blue and white:  A color duo that has remained an important design influence from the 14th century in China until today. Is it the crispness of the contrasts, the ease in which it blends with traditional, transitional and contemporary interior decor? Is it the way it indicates military command or the way a navy blazer and white trousers always looks right?

It’s all of these reasons and  more.

You can’t go wrong with this ancient yet up-to-the-minute design classic.You can use blue and white as a neutral, add any color you want along side it. Always present in the most elegant rooms, it transcends class and culture and is at home everywhere. It remains a staple in upholstery, wallpaper, clothing, exteriors and really almost everywhere and every price point.  It is masculine and feminine. Blue, cross-culturally the most chosen color, perhaps its the influence of the sea & sky that unites us all in our love of this soothing color.

If you are having a hard time finding a solid ‘look’ or style in your home,  blue & white is a timeless theme. ( just promise to not add any anchors, wall mounted fish taxidermy, or boat steering wheels to the room!!!)

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 4.12.54 PM

Tips for using color in your home!

1. Paint trim same as wall if you live in a traditional house but want to have a modern look:- this brings attention to the form of the architectural details-

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.20.55 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.19.25 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.19.50 AM

2. Have less contrast between wall and trim for a more peaceful feeling.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.24.03 AM
3.Paint window walls ( with special view you would like to show off) in a darker tone- this will bring attention to the view

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.45.46 AM

4.Start with buying art/ or identifying an item you love in the house- then proceed to create a backdrop for it- the art piece is the star of the show, not the walls.- As Don has done here :)

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 12.04.53 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.27.20 AM

5. If you are going to do white walls/white trim in your home , take a leap on getting strong pieces of furnitures and mixing textures.

 Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.27.32 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.36.46 AM

6. Be brave! Choose the actual color you like on the paint strip. If you go up the wheel to the lightest version you will not be satisfied with the result- If you are not feeling brave enough to paint this rich color- go ahead and paint the walls a neutral or warm white and buy your furniture in the color you love-

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.55.48 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.54.42 AM
7. Paint your ceiling! It’s an accent wall!- come down one wall with it also!- you will always enjoy seeing this transition- particularly in bedrooms- the “one wall” accent color falls flat because you are not surrounded by the color-

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.23.47 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 8.31.01 AM
8. Paint either side of a small hallway different colors- it becomes expansive- less of a ‘tunnel’ feeling.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.32.00 PM



Room & Board , University Village- Color Talk

Join me for this discussion! A panel of color nerds ( me included:) will chat about tips for using color in your home- July 31st at 6:45- RSVP on their website   Room & Board

Int’l Contemporary Furniture

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is currently happening in NYC- This event shows off some pretty amazing lighting, flooring, and furnishings of innovative designers.

I have been trolling instagram  for the snapshots from inside the fair and have been drooling over some of the items.

This one really stood out for me: Clients are always looking for interesting flooring alternatives:

Mirth Studios -Mirth Studio is proud to be the only company in the world producing custom printed floor tiles. This amazing new product allows designers, architects, and the consumers endless choices in flooring not found it the marketplace today.

 Mirth Hardwood Floor tilesPainted Wood Floor Tiles

  • Technology: we produce colored hardwood floor tiles through an innovative process that only recently became available due to advances in printing technology.
  • Material: the wood tiles are made of engineered hardwood that won’t warp like strips and are easily installed with glue.

And here are some others that caught my eye:

Ladies and Gentleman Sutdiosphoto 1

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

Church Altar Project

Leah Martin @ VergeAD has been working on this church for a while. It went through many years of process.. It is really exciting to see the final details come to life , her vision is becoming a reality!.

Verge AD, Megan @ View-Graphics and I teamed up for this altar design, the clients needed a budget savvy design for their focus wall. Paint is always a good option for that!

Shearer Painting is implementing the design.

Concept by Leah @ Layout Design by Megan @  Colors by me!

Concept by Leah @ Layout Design by Megan @ Colors by me!

Shearer Painting

Shearer Painting

Contemporary style in a Traditional home

Happy 2014!

I was looking through my search statistics for 2013 and I noticed that most people are searching for traditional design.  It occurred to me that most people have homes that are traditional in some way- either actual old houses or newer homes with detailing that is traditional, like big trim, crown molding, paneled doors , big fireplaces etc.

What also seems to be a trend among my clients is the desire to decorate these traditional homes in a contemporary style. They become so conflicted and flustered and confused about these desires.. I think they feel like they are betraying their traditional house by decorating in a contemporary way. It’s like some sordid affair, with secret desires.

They say to me ” Can I do this? Is it OK? Does this make any sense to you? Am I crazy?”I try to soothe them by helping them let go of the ‘rules’. It seems that people are so bound by the rule that there is only one right answer to their homes decor. They really want to pass the test and get it all correct. They study the textbooks ( catalog’s from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware etc)

I urge them to let their style preferences (even the secret ones)out and then see how the result is always right and a real reflection of who they are and how live. When you can be brave enough to jump in a trust your instincts, you can bet that the end result will fit perfectly with your house.  It truly doesn’t matter what year your house was built.

Here are some tips for decorating & painting your home in a contemporary style if you live in a traditional home:

  • Paint all trim/built-ins to match the walls it is on, just change the sheen ( satin for trim and eggshell for walls) -This helps take away the traditional feature of bright white trim on a colored wall and lets you see the whole space. This also quiets  visual input and makes the space feel more zen and open.
  • Pick one major traditional feature in the house like, the fireplace, the front door, the chandelier, the coffered ceiling, all the floors- and paint it an amazing color like, Black, Dark Blue/Green, Red or Neon Pink! Let your light shine!
  • Put all the clutter away.
  • Take down the upper cabinets in your kitchen and put up wood open shelves. Get modern colored dishware that all matches and place it artfully on the shelves.
  • Paint all the walls and ceilings and trim a neutral soft white ( with a touch of yellow in it, trust me) and get brightly colored furnishings. Rich red patterned rugs, aqua sofas.
  • Ironic wall hangings like Paper Mache deer heads for over the fireplace etc.
  • Paint all of the interior doors black.
  • Buy items like lamps and sofas that are a traditional shape but modern in color/texture- like large yellow lacquer bulb lamps- ornate chandeliers that are all one color like pink or aqua etc.
  • Buy thick drapery with a quirky print.
  • Be bold.

I hope this helps you take the leap!Let me know if you have any tips you would add to this list.


Thoughts on lighting and OMG, it’s dark at 5pm in the PNW.

I have had multiple clients ask me about lighting lately. I can understand why. We live in Seattle- it is dark at 5pm in November. My street lights went on at 4:50 yesterday. Sigh. It’s a hard time for many of us to stay motivated and not want to go to sleep at 5pm.

Here are some lighting improvement ideas, I am no expert- I just wanted to share some great sources, products & ideas.

  • Light your ceiling & corners. Use a torchiere lamp , or a lamp with a drum shade that shines light up and down.
  • If you have flush mount lights in each room, upgrade that fixture to one with more bulbs! this one is cool looking and is 15.75″ round with 4 bulbs in it! this will make a huge difference in each room- but wait. Please put in a dimmer switch so you have the option for softer lighting. This is easy.
  • Take down those ceiling mount lights and wash the glass. I have seen so many of these filled with dust and eeeeeks, dead bugs.
  • Clean your windows.
  • An obvious one, simply add more lamps.
  • If you have the budget, add a SolaTube .These are amazing & save energy.  Check out the site to see why.
  • Here are my favorite sources for lighting. All Modern, Wayfair, Light Art, Lumens
  • Hire a lighting expert.

Before you think you need a color change in your home, think about your lighting!