Mediterranean Kitchen by M. Elle Design
Helping a client decide on the right kitchen countertop is right up there there in importance when designing or remodeling a kitchen.
 
There are so many choices and factors that decide what will be best.
 
Things like budget, personal preference, cooking and cleaning style are all questions that need to be answered before making the final decision.
 
JENNIFER OTT, San Francisco interior designer, designed a quiz for Houzz that can help you answer these questions for yourself.
 
Its fun and quick so take a coffee or tea break and see what you discover.
 
I have to say when I took it, the answer was spot-on—quartz!
 
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
You may have beautiful leftover remnants of fabrics neatly folded in a closet or drawer that you rediscover while doing some early spring cleaning.
 
Or, you may have found a high-end piece of fabric that caught your eye and decided it was so gorgeous you knew somehow, someday, you’d find use for it. That, too, was carefully folded with tissue and stored away.
 
And then there are fabrics you discovered while traveling that represent a culture, an heirloom, or historical artifact and held special meaning for you.
 
Consider using these pieces to create art that can give you pleasure everyday. And all you need to add is the frame.
 
Take a look at these examples:
Contemporary Bedroom by Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

In this photo, leftover fabric from the bed pillows have been placed in the center of 6 Indian-inspired woodcuts. A very clever way of tying the bed pillows to the over-the-bed art and using the extra material.

 

Here, leftover drapery fabric was framed and placed over the bed. The pillows and throw fabric are different and they complement each other beautifully.

 
Eclectic Bedroom by Geoff Chick & Associates
This exquisite piece of fabric has been used as the headboard. The material has been layered over batting and stapled tightly into place. The colors are echoed in the bed pillows for a unified look.
 

In this photo, the fabric is used as wall panels and mounted within picture molding.

 
Traditional Home Office by Pine Street Carpenters & The Kitchen Studio
This museum piece of special fabric has been artfully framed in a room that seems designed especially to complement it. The fabric has become a focal point.
 
Contemporary Living Room by Studio Marcelo Brito

The framed fabrics in this photo, along with the tribal art placed below, tell a collective, cultural story of gathered objects from far away travels.

 
What about you?
 
Do you have any tucked away fabrics that you could use as framed art?
 
Far better to see and enjoy them everyday, rather than hidden and forgotten.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
Photos via HOUZZ
Lakeside LivingEvery year at this time, after putting away holiday decorations, I get this urge to de-clutter my home.
 
I think it’s because it is a brand new year and I want my home environment to be as clean and unfettered as the pages so far are on the calendar.
 
I hadn’t given thought to the why it feels so good after de-cluttering until reading a blog bu Shifrah Combiths. It makes perfect sense and with this new understanding, it will make it easier to stay de-cluttered even after the pages of my calendar start filling up.
 
Here are Shifrah’s 4 feel good reasons to de-clutter and 1 more of my own recommendations.:
 

Physical space and mental space go hand-in-hand. Clutter is visual noise, and the disarray creeps into our mental faculties as well (for some of us more than others). So it stands to reason that clearing out our physical spaces, making room for air and light and growth, would be mirrored in our psyches as well. Just think how much better you work when your desk is cleaned off — now extend that to your life.

Separating from the past can heal us. We hang onto so many things because of the memories tied to them. When we de-clutter, we have the opportunity to interact not only with our physical possessions, but with the memories and feelings they trigger. This can be negative but cathartic, as when we let go of things we’ve held onto out of fear of letting go or of not being in control. The act of getting rid of these things can be painful but is nevertheless triumphant, inspiring a feeling of this has no hold on me!! as things are discarded. I think watching this interplay between our things and our personal histories is what had me hooked on Hoarders for a time.

Making decisions makes us strong. When we make a decision about something, even something as small as whether to keep those curtain rods, we do gain some control, and the feeling is addicting and self-perpetuating. If you can donate years’ upon years’ worth of children’s clothes, for instance, you’re not only making room mentally and physically. You’re also empowered to tackle that next thing that’s been hanging over you or crowding your consciousness: exercising, asking your boss for a raise, copying your pictures off your phone, whatever.

You have less stuff to deal with. This is the most obvious reward of getting rid of stuff, and most definitely not the smallest. Each thing that goes out your door is one less thing you have to find a place for, organize again and again, or clean. That, my friends, is freedom and boy does it feel good!

 
1 More recommendation:
 
UNFINISHED PROJECTS. If you’ve started a project , yet with all good intentions it remains unfinished, set a finish date or get rid of it. Otherwise you’ll feel guilty and dis-ease every time you look at it. Perhaps you lost interest or found a better idea. Either way, toss it!
 
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
I chose them first because Pantone is the industry standard and their color choice of the year will show up in many other industries like fashion, cosmetics, cars, and home accessories.
 
However, all of the other major paint companies also offer their color choices of the year as well.
 
Yes, this is marketing, and no, it doesn’t mean you repaint your home every year with an “in” color.
 
Rather, think of looking at trending colors with the possibility of seeing new ideas for color you may not have ever thought of using.
 
Let’s take a look:
 
Jennifer Ott (http://jenottdesign.com), San Francisco based color specialist put together a graphic showing some major paint companies’ color choices for 2017.
 
Then see how they’ve been used in various rooms.
 
by Jennifer Ott Design
 
“Shadow”—Benjamin Moore
“Violet Verbena”—PRG Paints
PPG Paints
“Byzantine Blue”—Glidden
Glidden
“Cloudy”—Olympic
Olympic
“Kettleman”—Kelly Moore
Kelly-Moore
“Poised Taupe”—Sherwin-Williams
Sherwin-Williams
“Honey Glow”—Dunn-Edwards
Dunn-Edwards
Final Thoughts About Color:
 
  • If you find any of these trending colors of interest, it becomes much easier to find furnishings and decorative accessories that co-ordinate with the favorite hue because it is trending.
  • Colors hold psychological reasons as to why we hate, love, or even feel neutral about a specific hue. It’s not necessary to know why; it is important to know how it makes you feel.
  • You always want to choose colors that make you smile and feel alive. It’s an important part of creating a happy home.
  • Incorporating a trending color doesn’t mean painting it on all four walls. It might mean just using it on a ceiling or bringing it in with accessories that represent the hue.
  • In the final analysis, you are your own trendsetter. You decide what’s “in.” If the colors you choose make you feel good, then they’re the perfect choice in your home.
What do you think? Do any of these 2017 colors create an emotional feeling—good, bad, indifferent? Let me know in the comments.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
Photos via HOUZZ
Are you feeling the need for “refreshment, rejuvenation, and reassurance” in 2017?
 
According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the PANTONE COLOR INSTITUTE, their color pick for the new year ahead may help you do just that.
 
After the tumultuous, complex, and political environment of 2016, perhaps we all could use some “Greenery” in our own home.
 
This bright, energetic, and fresh shade of green reminds you immediately of the new baby leaves that burst forth in the spring.
 
“Greenery” is not the flat, dark, and dull avacado green that many of us lived with in the 70’s. It’s a happy hue that makes you think of hope and a new start; just like spring when the days become longer, brighter and the dark days of winter become a memory.
 
In Feng Shui, the meaning of green is calming, balancing, healing, relaxing, and tranquil. These are exactly the feelings we want to experience in our home. So perhaps, it’s easier “being green” than we think. After all, green is a color that nature has blessed us with and, as nature does, connects us to ourselves and one another.
 
Take a look at how these interiors have used “Greenery:”
 
 
Used here in a kitchen/breakfast area. I would advise being very sure you love and can live with this color before using it in a tile which can’t be replaced as easily as a coat of paint or a pillow.
 
 
A very complimentary color with the warm-hued wood tones used in this kitchen.
Really pretty when used with a fresh, clean, white and a touch added in the bed pillows. It’s also interesting when the color is placed on the ceiling instead of the walls.
 
Again, paired in this bathroom with lots of white.
 
Consider using in small ways such as done in these window coverings, the orchid on the table, and the decorative object on the fireplace mantle.
 
 
“Greenery” is a color that complements all of the natural shades of nature.
 
Paint brands that are similar to Pantone’s “Greenery.”
 
So what do you think? Is 2017’s color of the year one you could embrace in either small or more daring ways in your home? Let me know in the comments section.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
Photos via HOUZZ
MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
 
This week I’m sharing a guest post by Sharon Parks, a party planner at Love Lucia’s Parties located in England.
 
It’s close to Christmas with the days hurrying by. Sharon shares some wonderful tips and food for thought that will be of help to you in planning your own holiday festivities.
 
Take a look:

Top Tips To Creating A Fabulous Christmas Party

With the end of 2016 fast approaching, our attention has turned to Christmas. In fact, we saw back in October many homes already hanging out their Christmas lights – oh the despair!  As we are now in the full throw of organising Christmas events for our clients, we wanted to share some of our top tips to creating a fabulous Christmas party with you.

Party Design

christmas venue roomYou want to create a real ‘wow’ factor when your guests walk in, so have a look in mind and be consistent throughout the party. Naturally, to deliver impact, the venue plays a huge part on setting your scene. It’ll be a challenge to get the same effect from a Village Hall in comparison to a building with beautiful architecture that boasts high ceilings for instance. That’s not to say you couldn’t do it however, for the cost of props, lighting etc. you may find it more cost effective to book the more appropriate venue from the start.

Dramatic theming will transform a venue in an instance, consider not just aesthetics but also senses i.e. touch, smell, sound. We love a combination of scented candles, variety of fabrics, and soft lighting which creates a sense of welcoming and warmth at your party.

christmas crackerColours are extremely important to your design – Christmas is synonymous with rich jewel colours so your palate should have no more than three influencing colours, gold, deep red and teal work perfectly to create Christmas opulence.

Ensure you use your colour scheme consistently throughout the event, linens, invites, dinner settings, glassware etc. and don’t forget to introduce personal touches for your guests i.e. personalised luxury Christmas crackers, we love Celebration Crackers or perhaps a Christmas stocking hung on the back of each seat with your guests names embroidered we found lots to choose from on Etsy.

Fabulous Food

christmas dessertChristmas is certainly a time for indulgence and we love going all out. From the moment your guests arrive to when they leave you should think about how to really treat your guests. If you’re a Martha Stewart you’ll be confident with all the preparation and execution on the day however, we also want you to consider outsourcing this part of the party. On far too many occasions, we witness at first hand hosts stressed out trying to cope with every element of the catering and then not having enough time to get themselves ready for the party.

There are lots of different options, whether you have food prepped in advance by a retailer, book an outside caterer (do this well in advance as they are extremely popular around the holiday periods) or even have friends and family lend a helping hand.

Try something a bit different if you are hosting a dinner party – why not consider a beautiful tasting menu or have a wonderful mini dessert table at midnight.

Ultimate Cocktails

As much as it’s a tradition, Mulled Wine is a definite no, no. We love the excitement of cocktails and even better if you can create a beautifully lit bar area in your room. You can be really inventive with Christmas cocktails and winter warmers. Here are a few suggestions:

christmas-blog-cherry-cocktailRose Crumble: Four Roses bourbon, apple and cinnamon syrup with lemon and egg white.

The Nutcracker: 25ml Walnut infused Bushmills, 40ml Baileys Original Irish Cream, 60ml Hazelnut & Almond milk, 2 dashes of chocolate bitters and 12.5ml date syrup.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Martell VS, Cabernet Franc, lemon juice, Clementine Sherbert and underbug bitters.

Frozen Tart Cherrytini: Servings 4 – 12 frozen pitted tart cherries, 2 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons if you can’t find them), 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 1/2 cups tart cherry juice, chilled 1 1/2 cups vodka and 2 cups of ice cubes

Beautiful glassware is absolutely essential at your party, there is nothing more enticing than a tray of intricately cut crystal glasses or perhaps ostentatious gold rimmed champagne saucers.

Perfect Playlist

christmas-blog-disco-ballIt’s important to create the right atmosphere and music evokes every emotion to get everyone in the right mood. If you have chosen to host a traditional theme then nothing beats a choir of carol singers outside, holding lanterns.

If you are planning a large Christmas party then it’s essential to book a reputable DJ. Don’t give them carte blanche on the play list, work out what will work best for the various times of your party i.e. softer background music whilst dining then turning it up for dancing. Consider a mix of classical music along with some guaranteed dance floor fillers. These days it’s fairly standard to run everything from your android phone and even better if you can do it through Spotify.

Good lighting is super effective, check with your DJ what lighting they will be bringing as standard and make a feature of the dance floor. This can easily be created by carefully positioned lighting and furniture layout. We love large chandeliers and white lighting and if you can have a disco ball – all the better!!

Enjoy

For all the time, energy and expense you have invested in your Christmas party it is paramount that you enjoy yourself. Raise a glass to yourself and have a fun party!

Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Have you ever wrapped a large present and it ended up looking like a wrinkled,  patchy cut-and-paste job?
 
I have more times than I like to admit and feeling very frustrated because of the end result.
 
Like you, I take pride in presentation and want the wrapping as special as the gift it’s covering.
 
Here is a video from OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network) that gives easy step-by-step instructions on how to do just that.Take a look.
 

1. Unroll the wrapping paper onto a smooth surface and lower the top half of the box onto the paper.

OWN

2. Cut the paper to wrap around the top half of the box and secure with double-sided tape.

OWN

3. On the top part of the box with the open end, fold the flaps inward and crease; secure with double-sided tape.

OWN

 4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the other side of the box.

OWN

5. Use baker’s twine to measure the width of the box, then cut another sheet of wrapping paper that’s the length of that twine.

OWN

6. Wrap the extra sheet of paper around the middle of the box, folding the hard edges over and securing with double-sided tape.

OWN

7. Using your twine, cut a length of wide ribbon. Wrap it around the box to hide where the hard edge of the paper is visible.

OWN

8. Repeat step 7 on the other side of the box, using longer ribbon that you can then tie into a bow.

OWN

 Voilà. Nicely wrapped box with no visible lines or sloppy patches.

 
Happy wrapping this holiday season with much less stress! (watch the video here)
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
 
Christmas is approaching faster than snowflakes in a blizzard, so this week I want to share some holiday decorating tips from one of my design mentors, Kelly Hoppen, London-based interior designer (kellyhoppen.com). 
 
She’s known for her sophisticated, soothing, and Zen-like design. Kelly also offers an online shopping store so check out her offerings; they’re beautiful and top quality.
 

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen – From decorating the Christmas tree to how to lay the table for your festive feast, interior designer Kelly Hoppen shares her top festive decorating tips.

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen 1

“Do not be afraid to have fun and mix textures and colours around your home. I personally like to display decorations with colours matching my tree (my personal favourites being silver and white).

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen 2

Fairy lights are a great way to add a beautiful magical ambience and are not just for the tree! Decorate pieces of furniture or use within your table to add a glittering look.

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen 3

See also: Obama Family: Inside White House Private Living Areas

With the nights drawing in and numerous guests to entertain, I like to keep an inviting home. Burning a fire is a sure way to enhance the atmosphere, and draw guests in with warmth.

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen 4

I love making use of my fireplace, not only for function but because they can be decorated gorgeously to become a focal point in the living room. Try placing christmassy trinkets, garlands or ‘home jewellery’ on the mantelpiece to really adorn the space.

Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen Christmas Decorating Tips by Celebrity Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen 5

I tend to mix up cushions and throws in various materials such as wool and velvet. Using a combination of soft, sumptuous textures such as these really adds a touch of luxury and provides that extra comfort for a cosy, festive feel. Some other fabrics I like to use are cashmere and faux fur.”

 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Have you ever received a gift that was so beautifully and personally wrapped you didn’t want to open it?
 
It was like being given two presents in one.
 
It’s truly giving from the heart; a joyous feeling for both the giver and the receiver.
 
Here are four ways that illustrate how you can wrap your gifts this holiday season to show how much you really care. Best of all, they’re simple, creative, and inexpensive.
 
NOTE: You’ll notice that in these photos, either inexpensive Butcher paper or white wrapping paper has been used. They serve as the perfect background. What makes them personal is how you wrap them.
 
INITIALS
Your computer can print letters in any size, color, or font. In these photos, matching colored ribbon or metallic gold thread was used for the wrapping. Further embellishment comes from small Christmas ornaments like the red ball or bells.
 
THE EXTRA GIFT
Add something that the person can use after the unwrapping.
 
The first photo is for someone who loves to bake. The cookie cutters will be used by the recipient long after they’ve opened the actual gift.
 
Eclectic by RedAgape Blog
 
This is the perfect bonus gift for someone who loves to write and send letters via snail mail (no emails)! The monogrammed wax seal and wax sticks become part of the present wrapping.
 
PHOTOS
Eclectic by RedAgape Blog
No need to have a gift tag when you do this. The photo quickly tells who the gift is for.
 
Eclectic by RedAgape Blog
 
The photo can also be a place that is meaningful to the recipient and evokes happy memories.
 
Eclectic by RedAgape Blog
 
In this photo, the giver used part of a road map placed on a Christmas tree-shaped tag that depicts a place that the giver and receiver visited together. More wonderful memories.
 

PERSONAL INTERESTS AND HOBBIES

Eclectic by RedAgape Blog
For a musician or music lover, wrapping a present with vintage sheet music will surely evoke a warm smile. You get the idea. It can be anything that is of special interest to the recipient. It shows how much you care  and that you took the time to think of them and who they are as a person. Any gift given is so much sweeter and meaningful.
 
TELL ME: Do you make an effort to personalize your gift wrapping? Please share your ideas in the Comments section below.
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
 
Via HOUZZ
To experience a bad day is to be a human.
 
No matter how well we plan, things can go off the rails. 
 
One bad thing leads to another and like dominoes, everything crashes and we wonder why we even bothered to get out of bed.
 
We all live such busy lives, especially now as we rapidly approach the holiday season and demands on our time and talents increase.
 
Fortunately, there are things we can do to restore and set us to rights again.
 
Best of all, the place to regain our balance is home sweet home.
 
Following are a list of suggestions from JANET DUNN, Houzz Australia Contributor.
 
I rely on several of these stress busters to keep my sanity on trying days and guarantee they work every time.
 
Remember to take time for yourself. Life is so much richer when you do.
 
 
Until next time…
 
Blessings from my home to yours,
 
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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