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Mindful Interior Design

March 27th, 2015
This week’s article first appeared in FRESHOME.COM
I’m sharing it with you because as times change, our lives do as well and that definitely affects how we live in our home.
What worked 10 years ago, or even 5, isn’t necessarily working today, because you’ve evolved. What you require to live well in your home is different.
Even though the word “elegance” is used in the title of the article, that doesn’t automatically mean expensive. We often make that association.
If your home is functional; if it expresses your vision of what’s beautiful; and if it satisfies your psychological needs, then you truly have an elegant home in the truest sense of the word.
Enjoy the article!
WHAT ELEGANCE IN DESIGN MEANS IN 2015

minimalist grey silver living room fireplace

Once upon a time, an elegant home was filled with flamboyance, layers of fabrics, and passementerie. Those homes with stratums of accessories all matched to perfection seem outdated in our modern world. For one, we don’t really have the time to fuss with all those matched sets, making everything look magazine-perfect. And secondly, even if we did have the time (or hired an interior designer) who really wants that matchy-matchy aesthetic in their homes anymore?

What is the new meaning of elegance in design? How is an elegant home defined in this upcoming year that promises even more advancements than we ever thought possible a mere ten years ago?

Let’s take a look at the new definition of elegance in 2015, it is much more sleek and minimalist than your grandmother’s version of elegance:

black modern home glass coffee table lighting

Clean Lines and Minimalism

We are all familiar with a modern home, filled with…well, filled with very little. It seems we have gone to the opposite end of the design spectrum, shunning everything ‘fussy’ and going bare bones. This minimalist aesthetic has its benefits: no clutter, very little dusting and cleaning (since there are few items to collect dust), simple hard-surface floors, and perhaps a feeling of relief when one walks in the door after a hectic city commute.

We believe that elegance in 2015 is all about clean lines, and clean lines can be achieved within most modern homes by avoiding clutter and keeping furnishings simple (think: the extreme opposite of baroque styling). Minimalism makes a lot sense, not only does it offer a reprieve from our hectic lives, it allows design elements and architectural elements to stand out. We are a design-savvy bunch occupying the world right now (perhaps thanks to Pinterest and places like Freshome), and we want the clean lines and quality of our furnishings to take center-stage, avoiding all the extra fluff.

But what if you are not a fan of the minimalist style? Read below to learn more about creating elegance in your home.

all white minimalist living

What if You Don’t Like Minimalism?

Aside from the above-mentioned benefits of the minimalist home, there are still many (this writer included) who want to be surrounded by objects they love; they want a home that is clean and modern yet remains ‘homey'; they want their knick-knacks out; they want a few piles of well-loved books here and there.

Yes, clean lines are certainly topping the list in terms of elegance, but it doesn’t mean that you must have a minimalist home in order to attain elegance. Certainly a home that is layered in culture, color and personality is elegant.

In fact, we dare argue that the epitome of an elegant home is one where you break the rules, tossing aside passé put-together rooms in place of an eclectic mix of furnishings, combining them into a space that is uniquely you.

gold accent tables club chairs

 A Tech-Savvy Home is Sleek and Elegant

We can’t escape it—cords, iPads, iPhones, tablets, chargers— there is no better way to ruin an elegant design than by cluttering it with all these tech devices. Of course, we ‘need’ these devices, they are quite literally a bodily appendage.

How do you maintain elegance with all these extraneous wires and cord clutter? By making your home as tech-savvy and sleek as possible. Home builders are jumping on the tech bandwagon by designing homes that have it all: smart automation, energy efficiency, built-in charging stations, virtual climate control, virtual security…essentially enabling everything in the home to be controlled from anywhere with the tap of a button. Now that is elegance in 2015!

It seems the Jetsons had it right, aside from the flying cars, we seem to be living in the future.

modern office shelves chair desk flooring

Elegant Colors for 2015

We can’t talk about elegance in design without touching upon color. While color is a very personal choice, there are some hot colors hitting the market that embody elegance.

Some of you may already be aware of the Pantone color of the year—Marsala. The reddish-burgundy color is said to be ‘subtly seductive; one that draws us into its embracing warmth’. Well, that sounds elegant, right? Some in the interior design community disagree, citing it made them feel ‘blah’.

If you tend to agree with the latter opinion, then look to some of the other elegant colors that seem to be on the tip of everyones’ paint brush such as Sherwin-Williams predicted top 40 colors for 2015. We think they hit elegance spot-on with their Chrysalis palette— a palette of muted, soft grayish-greens.

soft color palette green grey living room

What is elegance in 2015?  We suggest that all of these above-mentioned modern aesthetics embody the new meaning of elegance: minimalism, clean lines, eclectic mixes, and muted color—they are all parallel when it comes to creating an elegant home in 2015.

How do you create elegance in your home design? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
As an interior designer, I certainly understand the importance of lighting a home. I always make sure there is sufficient ambient, task and mood lighting in any given space.
As a design psychology coach, of equal concern is that a home also takes into consideration everything needed to ensure health and well-being for all who live in the home.
I recently ran across an article written by Houzz contributor, MIKE ELGAN, who shares some very interesting information on how lighting can improve the overall quality of you and your family’s lives.
As always, when designing your home, the needs of everyone living with you need to be considered. For instance, older adults sleeping in a room devoid of any light,could become a safety hazard if they need to get up during the night. Solution? The sleeping mask that can easily be removed before getting out of bed! Enjoy.

We tend to think of lighting choices as a matter of personal preference, something that’s part of the lamp-shopping checklist. But it turns out that the most important lighting decisions have nothing to do with lamps. And lighting decisions can actually make or break your family’s health, happiness and well-being.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Also called screens,panels, privacy walls, or room partitions,, this design feature can serve so many different purposes in your home.
Room dividers can be functional, beautiful, and even provide psychological benefit by creating private and cozy spaces where you may wish to be connected, yet separated from adjacent spaces.
Made from many different materials, they primarily allow light to pass through and maintain a feeling of openness
Take a look at these photos for some great examples on how room dividers can be successfully used. You may see one that would be a great addition to your home.
Photos via HOUZZ
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live yours—not the other way around
We all know we’re supposed to stay physically fit for any number of good reasons.
However, knowing and doing are two different things.
Take a look at the following helpful design tips shared by JAMIE WIEKE for ELLE DECOR.
They can inspire you to actually create a fitness space that will have you feeling better both emotionally and physically. What could be better than that?

1. Choose peaceful colors. Whites and light grays are traditional picks, but there’s no need to stick to neutrals: Blues, purples, and yellows can be peaceful, too. While we do recommend staying away from bold colors like red and orange, really, it’s about making yourself feel at ease. So if there’s a color you love, paint it!

2. Unclutter. It’s hard to be mindful with a stack of papers sitting a foot from your right knee. Think about how clutter makes you feel: Scattered, disorganized, and anxious. To create a healthy area you’re excited to be in, focus on clearing the clutter — no matter how big the space is.

 3. Add houseplants. Bringing nature into your workout space is a great substitute for working out outside. Plants help filter the air, but they also create a calming environment that feels more natural. Don’t go wild — a few plants is all you need — but adding a little greenery can make your daily workout just a little more pleasant.

4. Take advantage of natural light. No one wants to work out under harsh fluorescent lights. Instead, try to select a workout area that gets plenty of natural light, which is more energizing and relaxing than harsh lights from above. And if you’re working out at night — or if natural light is out of the picture — think “calming,” not bright, choosing sconces and lamps instead of overhead lights.

5. Think minimalistic. It’s so easy to get distracted during a workout — ooh, I should read that book! Fend off potential distractors by removing them entirely. There are plenty of opportunities to go decor-wild in your home, but leave your fitness area simple.

6. Indulge in organization. Fitness equipment isn’t known for being super-attractive, even if you’ve got a minimal set (a few weights and bands and a yoga mat). While its by no means a requirement, don’t feel bad indulging in an attractive bookcase or storage solution.

7. Make space for movement. Forgive me, this may be obvious, but: Fitness takes space. All that lunging, vinyasa flow-ing, and running in place means you need at least a few free feet in every direction. After all, what’s fun about hitting your head on your coffee table while doing push-ups? (Nothing. Not fun at all.)

8. Don’t forget about scent. The best fitness rooms feel spa-like: A calm space in the middle of the hubbub of everyday life. One essential — but often overlooked — ingredient is scent. Whether you opt for diffusers or potpourri or candles or the fresh mountain air floating in through your windows (jealous), don’t skip this important step in creating a peaceful space.

9. Select inspiring artwork. No, don’t clutter your walls. But a few well-placed prints will make your room more beautiful — and more inspiring. Choose panoramas of vistas you love or artwork that pushes you to do your best, even in the middle of a tough workout.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
It seems to be the rule, in most cases, that ceilings are painted white.
Perhaps it’s because a white ceiling gives the illusion of a bigger and brighter space.
While there’s nothing wrong with this, you might be missing  out on what could be beautiful design by doing something different.
Think of your ceiling as the 5th wall. It deserves as much attention as you give all of the other aspects of your interior design.
Take a look at these photos for some exciting ways to take your ceilings from white to wow.

Soft and sophisticated, this monochromatic look is really beautiful. Try to imagine how different the feel would be if the ceiling were painted white.

The mocha shade on the ceiling is also used on the molding giving a cohesive look.

This is a great way to treat a tray ceiling. The green stripe is a bit lighter than the wall color, giving the room a soft , overall impression.
A favorite technique of mine that gives the feeling of a canopy bed. The molding is applied up the wall at the head of the bed and continues along the ceiling to the foot of the bed. The paint applied to this area is a high gloss creating a beautiful sheen. Remember, however, when using a high gloss finish, the walls/ceiling need to be flawlessly smooth.
Small rooms don’t need to be painted a white or lighter color as seen here. The darker walls and ceiling give the space a cozy feel.
The soft blue of the ceiling is brought into the furniture and accessories giving this beautiful room a light and airy feeling. As in photo # 2, the color extends onto the top of the walls.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

If you’re like me, they stay in my phone. Then if I want to share one or print it out, I have to thumb back until I find it which can take time and too much patience.

I just ran across a product called Little Black Book and it’s a wonderful way to capture all of those special moments into a high quality, inexpensive photo book. Their website is www.artisanstate.com/photo-book/little-black-book.html
Take a look and see what you think.
Little Black Book
Flush Mount
I’m thinking of what wonderful gifts these little photo books would make.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Most of us live in rooms that are to some degree, at least, eclectically designed.
This means that our home is not cookie cutter (buying an entire room from a showroom floor for example). It’s not impersonal. We mix old and new, heritage and modern, collected and casual.
The goal with an eclectic design style is to tell the story of our journey which is the best interior design. It shows our personality and gives a visual history of our life and family.
But pulling it all together so it doesn’t look like a hodge-podge can be a challenge.
For this week’s article, I’m sharing the words of LISA FREDERICK, a Houzz Contributor. She gives some excellent advice on how to make the eclectic style of interior design work successfully. You most likely won’t love every photo and that’s O.K. The design principles are sound and will help make sure that you won’t trip over the line between contrast and chaos.
What’s your take on eclectic style? 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
Most women tend to stick with the tried and true when It comes to decorating their home and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But sometimes do you get an itch to try something that’s totally out-of-the-box?
Maybe, there lies within that secret part of yourself, an urge to break out a little and express another facet of your personality that you’ve hidden.
That’s the fun of decorating— giving yourself permission to dare to be different from the norm.
Always decorate with what YOU love. If a piece or design element is unexpected, so much the better. Because it represents who you are and that’s essential to making a home authentically your own.
Here are some examples of how to do that (from HOUZZ):

PLAY WITH SCALE

At first glance, you may be surprised by the size of the flower arrangement. But they become a focal point. You only want one thing in a room that is over-sized and that one thing could also be a lamp or a piece of art.

ASYMMETRY

If this shelving arrangement makes you feel off-balanced, don’t even try it. If, on the other hand it wouldn’t—why not?
3-D WALL DISPLAYS
In this photo, the owner wanted to display a collection of radios and in the following picture, an article of clothing that had special meaning is artfully hung on the wall.
Why not display something personal that might  otherwise be stuck in a closet or drawer. You then receive pleasure each time you look at it; It’s part of your unique story.

QUIRKY WALLPAPER

Why not if you love it. This paper shows Bond Girls, but it could be anything that speaks to you, even if it’s not considered the norm.
MIX UP DESIGN STYLE
For this traditionally designed room, the owner chose a funky piece of artwork to hang above the fireplace. Again the unexpected, which is what adds zest to a space because it’s unpredictable.

THE 6TH WALL

Instead of the usual white ceiling, why not treat it differently? In this photo, the owner used tin tiles. The white walls, flooring, and the window wall insures, the dark ceiling is not oppressive.
There you have it. Just a few ideas that may spark some out-of-the-box design concepts for your your home. In the end, the only person/persons you need to please is yourself and any others who share your spaces.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Having a window wall is a definite plus. It lets a lot of natural light into a room and it’s especially terrific if it looks out onto a lovely view.
But it can also be a source of frustration if you’re not sure how to use the space underneath the windows. By not wasting this area, you gain a lot of the room’s functionality. Is there ever too much space? One TIP is if the room receives a lot of sun, consider using solar shades. They can be mounted from the ceiling and will protect not only your eyes, but carpets and furnishings as well.
Take a look at these photos for some good ideas from HOUZZ.
The shelves are perfect for extra storage and also hides the radiator on the far right. while allowing for sufficient air flow. This design is great for a kid’s room.
Perfect space for a desk, particularly in a smaller home where there isn’t room for a designated office.
A large daybed with storage drawers underneath. Wouldn’t you feel like a cat dozing in the sunshine on this bed?
Another daybed that’s narrower than the previous photo and fits perfectly with the frameless window. It takes advantage of extra storage space underneath as well.
A low bookcase fills this space beautifully and it’s as sleek-looking as the home’s architecture.
A built-in dresser which saves space and also deals with a not so attractive radiator.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping YOU live your rooms—not the OTHER way around
For those of us who live in the Seattle area or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, the Sunday our team, the Seattle Seahawks, won the AFC Championship was a day and a game we’ll never forget. It was literally won in the last few minutes and an absolute nailbiter
You don’t have to be young and/or male to get caught up in the frenzy either. My best friend’s 95-year-old- mother watched the game and had to take a Xanax after the game was over!
So now it’s on to the Super Bowl.
In the United States, Super Bowl Sunday is celebrated like it was a national holiday.
It’s the sense of community and getting together with friends and family; it’s about food, most of it not good for us, and drinks.
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, here are some items you can order from Houzz that can make your celebrating more fun, easier, and score your own touchdown.
P.S. Be sure to try the Guacamole recipe. I tried it and it’s delicious
P.P.S Go Hawks!!!
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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