Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I just bought my first house (tons of photos soon to come) and as a professional Interior Designer, I thought I would know exactly what and how I wanted our first house. N O T.  I feel clueless. Inexperienced.  No confidence in anything I do. So, I thought if I could write myself some rules to go by, it might help.  I feel a pressure for the casa to be uuber cute (of course), but I still want it to reflect who we care--you know-- stylish yet casual; a glamorous casually perfect abode.  So, here are my rules:

S C A L E : I think people have this weird misconception that if you put large scale items in a small space, it makes it look smaller.  I don't know who came up with this, but it is not true.  Dark paint and/or large scale furniture does NOT make your small space look smaller.  Think about the scale of your furniture, artwork, accessories, pattern prints.  Be cautious of using smaller accessories and study them in relation to the piece they're next to and in the overall room and don't be afraid to GO BIG!

I N S P I R A T I O N : Find a photo, a paint chip, fabric swatch, piece of jewelry--anything to inspire how you want your space to look and feel.  Dissect it and figure our why you like your inspiration item: Is it the color, the furniture styles, fabric styles?  Make sure if you're using a photo as your inspiration, it relates to your space.  Don't pic a photo of an urban modern loft with exposed brick walls when you live in a traditional bungalow home where your inspiration look can never be pulled off.  Often, I take a magazine photo with a color I like to Lowe's and have them match that exact color for a paint.  Paint is one of the hardest things for me to pick out.  I have a zillion paint samples taped up all over the house as we speak.  I like to leave them out for about a week before committing to a color to see them at all hours of the day in all types of light....but I digress...

I N V E S T :  in pieces you love.  Don't buy something to "fill a space" in your house.  Buy something because you love it; because it speaks to you and because you can see it in your home for many years to come.  I have purchased a few things since getting the keys to my home because "we needed a table and this one was cheap" or "this was on sale and it matched" and you know what? Every time I look at those pieces, I regret buying them.  Yet, the pieces that I walked past in a store and thought "I have to have that.  I don't know where it will go, but I love it".  They always seem to work.  I make a spot. 

K E E P I T N E U T R A L: "Big Money" pieces that is.  I would recommend keeping any big ticket items like sofas, rugs, and anything that cannot be easily changed, neutral.  If you're digging on a orange sofa, you might want to consider getting a more neutral color and throwing orange pillows on it.  Throw pillows and art are a great way to add accent colors to your space and most times are pretty inexpensive.

D I Y :  I am all about doing it yourself!  There are tons of ways to recreate looks for waaay less with a little research and elbow grease.  Stay tuned for more blogs on how our DIY projects.

R E U S E : I'm a hater when it comes to new anything.  I love the feeling of a house filled with old pieces that have a history and charm.  There's something more interesting to me knowing they had a life (or two) before coming into your life.  BUT, if you don't buy that, buy this: old stuff is generally cheaper, has more character, made better, and you are doing your part to recycle when you buy used.  I know it's not practical to get everything second hand, but just try it for a couple of pieces--I promise it will add so much personality to your space.  Go to a yard sale, find a cute junk store, or visit craigslist or ebay and definitely stay tuned for our "around the town" section where I will be writing about my favorite spots to shop in Tampa.

D E T A I L S : I'm a firm believer in details.  Don't forget about the little things like light fixtures, cabinet hardware, welting, etc.  You wouldn't get all dressed up and forget your jewelry would you?  Details are like jewelry for the home--and don't be afraid to switch it up!

P E R S O N A L I Z E : Always a feign for personalization, I suggest a good monogram, photos, and anything that lets people know you live there.  You're personality should peep it's head the second people walk in the door (or even before).  What does your house say about you?  Are you bold?  Paint your front door a bold color to reflect that.  More causal--use slipcoveres.

And now for you followers that just like to look at the pretty pictures--here are a few of my favorite inspiration rooms:

I like this for several reasons.  My floors are similar in color so it is a good inspiration photo for me, I'm obsessed with gray at the moment, I like that this space is neutral yet still interesting, the mix of styles works for me and every piece has style.  I'm all about bribing  the hubs make furniture for me and that desk looks preeeeT easy to whip up! 

I LOVE this kitchen!  I'm crazy about painted anything...mainly because I can recreate that look pretty inexpensively. I can see this photo as an inspiration for an older kitchen that could just use a little paint on the cabinets and barstools.  White/Neutral countertops are always a plus especially because you can change out whatever pop of color you want and the counters will always "go".

This picture, again, is good for me because I was lost at what colors to put on top of my dark laminate floors.  I was hesitant to put any more dark or black, but come to find out, it actually looks good as long as the piece isn't too heavy and is paired with something lighter.  Again, I love the personality of this room.  It has a history and looks like the pieces were found over time. I try to stay away from "Catalog Design" where your space looks like it all came from page 6 of "insert your favorite store here".  What's the fun in that?  It can't possibly reflect your story, your lifestyle and your style.  Right?

I think this illustrates how pieces don't have to "match" to "go".  I love the color combo with the taupe, teal, and orange. 

I hope this helps you...hell, I hope it helps me! lol.  I'd love to hear about your decorating rules and the story behind how you came up with them.