Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ask the Designer - Choosing Paint Color

I would love to paint my living room but having a hard time with picking a color.  I would love to do a dark color but I'm afraid it will make my already small space look smaller.  And if I go like, I'm afraid it will clash with my floors. ~Monica

Despite what you may see on HGTV or read in magazines, choosing the right paint color isn’t easy. The real proof of that can be heard from friends and family who’ve repainted their room 3 different yellows. Or it can be seen any day in the paint section of a local hardware store where you will find at least one shopper staring at the wall of paint swatches looking more than overwhelmed.

Understand Your Undertones
The most difficult part of selecting paint is working with the correct undertone. The undertone varies by color but it vitally important. An undertone is what Designers mean when they say things like “that is a blue red”. While that statement appears ridiculous, it actually means that the red has an undertone of blue (or cool colors) instead of an undertone of yellow/orange (or warm colors). And this undertone makes a big difference in the success of that paint color in your room.
Step #1 in your paint selection process is to look at your room and understand the undertones in the pieces you already have. Overall, does your room have more cool undertones (blues, grays) or warm undertones (yellows, oranges).  Then opt for paint colors that have the same undertones.
If you’re not sure of the undertone of a paint color, place the sample on a white piece of paper. The neutral background will usually make the undertone easier to identify, even if you don’t have a lot of experience with colors.
Here the colors are very similar, but the color on the left has a cool undertone while the color on the right has a warm undertone. 

Go Bold Or Don’t Go At All
If you do decide to go bold, then really go bold and pick the darkest color of the paint swatch. If you ease off and go with a lighter color, your red will really be pink and your Navy Blue will be a watered down overcast day. Dark colors don’t always make a room feel smaller. That’s a blog post for another day, so stay tuned!

Making The Final Selection
Be warned, making the correct selection will involve multiple trips to the home improvement or paint store over the course of a few days.  There is no way around it. Never make your final selection under the fluorescent lights of the home improvement or paint store. Always take a few samples home to see what they look like in your room, with your lighting and next to your furnishings, flooring and artwork. After you look at the samples at home, choose a favorite or two and buy the sample pots.
Here is a point when buyers go really wrong, again. Typically people will buy sample pots and paint a 3” x  3” square on 2 different walls in a room, then make a selection. This sample is not nearly enough to make a good choice. Instead, I recommend painting the samples onto 1-4 poster boards that you can get at a craft store for $0.50 or less. The boards are much larger and can be moved around the room, placed next to flooring, or behind furniture, draperies or artwork. 

Live with these samples for at least 3 days. Look at the samples on each wall that will be painted and at different times of day. The direction and type of lighting will dramatically alter the color. What looks beautiful in daylight may look terrible under artificial light. Now you should have enough information to select one of these paints or to know if you need to try more colors or a different undertone.
Good luck!

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nail Heads, part 4

I have some very fun client projects in the works, so I am trying to complete my little nail head DIY soon, and devote my creativity to those projects.  I'll be honest, I am not a huge DIY'er. I believe that there are professionals that can do (enter any DIY project) better than I, so best left to them. I decided to tackle this nail head project to explore the outer boundaries of my creativity and because I found some very cool materials and inspirations.  I am still working on the perfect patterns for my nail head designs.  In the meantime, I am soaking up every ounce of nail head inspiration that I can possibly find.
It seems that House Beautiful is also seeing nail heads everywhere. To see their round up of products, try the two links below. 

Stay tuned for more design ideas on my bench project.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Favorite Things - Traffic Light Pendant

 Napa Style is one of my favorite Eco Home companies. They frequently reuse and refurbish items into fabulous, fun new products.  Here, modern, colorful and fun pendant lights have been created from old traffic lights.

The glass insulators, once a common sight on telegraph and telephone lines, make perfect sleeves for incandescent bulbs. And the old traffic lights and lenses—now being replaced by modern LEDs—are rescued, cleaned and cut as perfect shades.
These would be a great addition to a kitchen, or rec room or grouped over a dining table as a wonderful conversation starter.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nail Head Project Revealed

 I have been obsessing over nail heads for quite some time now. 
Latest Obsession: Nail Head Trim
Still Obsessing: Nail Head Trim
Latest Obsession: Nail Head Trim, part 3
Now I'd like to incorporate them into my own DIY project - the reupholster of a bench for the master bedroom.

This is the bench. I agree that it is in perfectly suitable condition as is. However, I want to add some personality to the bench and the bedroom.
Not to mention that the fabric and tufting look a little tired...

For that personality, I'm adding more interesting materials to this bench. Those include a very cool pearly ivory vinyl and, of course, nail heads. Vinyl can be a very fun material - it is extremely durable and cleanable for homes with pets and children. It also comes in endless patterns textures and colors.

 To work out the nail head design, I have created a few templates out of cardboard in 5 inch strips. Five inches is the height of the upholstered edge of the bench, which will receive the nail head treatment.

I have created a few possible designs, while looking back to previous posts for inspiration..

I am attempting to work with some curved designs as well, but I'll tell you now that those are very hard for the novice upholsterer! I have tremendous appreciation for the skill and work used to create the pieces I've shown in previous blog posts!
I'll keep you posted on the progress in working out these designs. Perhaps a vote for the final design...

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Love it or Leave it - Exposed Furniture?

Dan Marty,Designer and owner of the West Hollywood showroom Maison au Naturel, has taken natural to a new level. Many pieces featured in the showroom, and his home, are left uniquely exposed or, as some may say, "unfinished".
In Marty's dining room, featured in House Beautiful Magazine, May 2010, we see dining chairs missing their back panels, while exposing the construction of the tufted fronts. According to Marty, "They hand-tying is so beautiful, I thought: Why cover it? It makes me happy just to look at it.  And it creates more texture in the room."

The same chairs in the Maison au Naturel Shop.

Marty's living room, also from the May 2010 House Beautiful,  shows another exposed piece with a burlap backing and upholstery nails.
And again in his shop we see both the tufted dining chairs and a wing chair with just it's burlap lining.

Love it or leave it? Do you agree with Dan Marty on the beauty of theses textural, exposed pieces? Or will you take your chairs full upholstered, thank you very much?

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Latest Obsession: Nail head Trim, part 3

I am still keeping my eyes open for fun inspiration with nail head trim and the May-June issue of Veranda Magazine led me right to Interior Designer turned Furniture Designer, Barry Dixon. Dixon's very liberal and creative use of nail heads had me captivated immediately. Much of his use involves creating very unique furniture shapes that are reinforced by the use of nail heads along the same lines.

Then I stumbled upon the ottomans and my heart skipped a beat! You can't help but appreciate the art of nail heads in these beauties.

 Later this week I will reveal my own DIY project and the plan to spruce up a boring bench with  sassy pearl vinyl and custom nail head accents. Stay tuned!

Previous Nail Head posts:
Latest Obsession: Nail Head Trim
Still Obsessing: Nail Head Trim

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Un-Set Your Dining Room

One for those "rules" of Interior Design is that a dining room should be purchased as a "set". Or at least the chairs should be a set of the same matching chairs. This is one rule that I love to break. As the Designer Vincente Wolf said in the May 2010 issue of House Beautiful Magazine, "Mix up the seating at your dining table. You wouldn't have eight identical chairs in your living room." I couldn't agree more.Mix it up. Have some fun!
Below are two rooms by Vincent Wolf to beautifully illustrate this point. Both were featured in House Beautiful.

And, because I also like to add variety to any room, here are two Dining Rooms completed by Beautiful Habitat. In the first room , we mixed up the client's existing black and cherry dining set by mixing in two woven chairs.

In this dining room we opted for benches to suit the casual lifestyle and fun personality of a young family. The pedestal table is a bit more traditional, while the benches and chairs are more streamlined and modern, contributing to our eclectic, collected-over-time feel.

For additional inspiration, here are a few photos of mixed up Dining Rooms, all from House Beautiful.

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration www.beautifulhabitat.com


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