MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
As a designer, I believe accent pillows are the next best thing to sliced bread.
They add color (vibrant or subtle), texture and personality. They’re easily changed out if you want to freshen your interiors or change pillows as a seasonal design statement.
Pillows are also functional as they add lower back support and shorten the seat depth. There’s nothing worse for a guest or yourself if your feet don’t touch the floor. Imagine you’re Lily Tomlin in her role as Edith!!
You can spend a little or a lot. Good resources for accent pillows are West Elm; Zgallerie; Pottery Barn; Crate and Barrel to name but a few.
For this week’s article, I’m sharing a post written by Houzz Contributor, Jennifer Ott, http://jenottdesign.com
It can be a bit overwhelming to choose decorative pillows because there are so many different sizes, materials, colors, and patterns available. Here are Jennifer’s tips to make the selection easier for you:
HOW TO GET YOUR ACCENT PILLOWS RIGHT [PHOTOS]
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
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For me, growing up didn’t include computers, smart phones, tablets. or any of the technology that we have today.
So, instead of taking it for granted like today’s young people, I’m constantly amazed, and yes, often perplexed by all of the technological advances.
If you are of a certain age, don’t you agree?
Today’s article shows 10 new kitchen products that really can make our lives easier and even healthier.
There are a few I’m definitely going to look into. Especially the one that allows you to eat fried foods with all the crunch, without all of the fat!
Take a look. I’ll bet you find some that will pique your interest as well.

Here are 10 new kitchen products that will give you a smart start in 2016.

coffee machine fridge door

A Fridge That Makes Coffee

GE’s Café Series refrigerators incorporate a Keurig K-Cup Brewing System in the door dispenser, allowing single-serve coffee at the touch of a button. The magic fridges come in French door or side-by-side models.

cinnibird spice coffee pen

Latte Art Pen

The CinniBird spice pen allows you to add personalized art to your home-brewed latte. Want a great gift for Valentine’s Day? Penning romantic sayings in your significant other’s cup of coffee (or dessert plate) could certainly spice up your love life.

smarter coffee pot wifi

Wi-Fi Coffee Maker

Programmable coffee pots are nothing new. But how many times have you gone to bed at night forgetting to set the timer and fill the coffee pot, ensuring you have a hot cup first thing in the morning without having to do anything?

The Smarter Coffee machine seems to have solved this dilemma. This Wi-Fi-enabled coffeemaker runs via your smartphone or tablet while you’re still in bed; it even grinds the coffee beans. Alas, it’s available only in Europe. For those of us in the U.S., the Mr. Coffee Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Coffeemaker will do the trick via the free WeMo app.

prep pad food scale

Food Prep Pad

A new year often brings resolutions; for many, those include eating more healthfully. Whether you are looking to lose weight or simply improve your overall health, keeping track of what you eat plays an important role.

The Orange Chef Prep Pad works with your iPad or iPhone to serve as not only a digital scale, but also a nutritional guide. It has a “food library” of more than 300,000 items, and gives you the breakdown of calories, fat, protein and carbs.

slow cooker

High-Tech Slow Cooker

Another high-tech take on a traditional appliance, the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with Belkin’s WeMo technology allows you to use your smartphone to turn it on from anywhere (as long as you remember to plug it in before you leave the house).

You can also adjust the cooking temperature remotely, which is especially beneficial when you need it to be on high for a certain amount of time and then turned down. You can also change the cooking time from your smartphone.

smart app for egg storage

Smart Egg Tray

Even the person who has everything probably doesn’t have the Quirky Egg Minder. Fill the tray with eggs (it holds up to 14), pop it in your refrigerator and connect it to your smartphone, and the Wink app will let you know when you’re low on eggs and whether they’re going bad. Sure, you could just look in the fridge — but where’s the fun in that?

wine storage

Wine Preserver

While some of us finish a bottle of wine in one sitting, others prefer to sip more slowly. The EuroCave Wine Art stores one or two open bottles of wine at the ideal serving temperature for up to 10 days, keeping it as fresh and fragrant as the day you opened it.

air fryer cooking tool

Air-‘Fried’ Cooker

Now you can enjoy “fried” food without breaking your New Year’s resolution. The Philips Airfryer gives you that crispy, crunchy texture you love without all the fat — only a spritz of oil is required. You don’t have to sacrifice the texture of your favorite fried foods, and they won’t ruin your diet: win-win!

kitchen charging station

Charging Station

If you plan to change up your kitchen in 2016, consider adding a charging station. For many, the perfect spot is integrated into the kitchen island, allowing you to charge your electronics all in one location without the hassle of cords.

iPort’s LaunchPort serves as a docking and charging station for your iPad. The base station fits on your kitchen counter; a wall-mount version also is available. Both give you easy access to your tablet while you cook, especially handy for those who who use their tablets as recipe cards.

kitchen tablet

Kitchen Tablet

Speaking of tablets in the kitchen, you no longer have to worry about getting food or liquids on yours. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z Kitchen Edition is designed to hold up to spills and greasy hands. In fact, Sony says it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes without being damaged.

The tablet is preloaded with food and cooking apps as well as recipes from Saveur magazine. It also comes with a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer, so your iGrill app will let you know when your roast is ready.

We hope these new kitchen products will give you a smart start in 2016. Please let us know if you try any of them!

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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MINDFUL INTERIOR DESIGN:
I’m always looking for unusual table centerpieces for myself and my clients, If it’s something that nature gifts us with, so much the better.
The idea I’m sharing with you this week, comes from landscape designer, ROXANNE KIM-PEREZ. It utilizes simple things that are easily found and not difficult to put together—namely, driftwood, succulents, and tillandsias (air plants).
For those of us living in the Northwest, driftwood is found on beaches everywhere. It’s usually kicked aside like the sand it rests on as we walk along.
But if you really look at driftwood through your artist’s eye, you notice beautiful shapes, color, and texture. This simple  and seemingly common gift of nature becomes a piece of sculpture that time and tide creates and becomes a piece of sculpture—one that you can turn into your own piece of art to be enjoyed for a very long time and with little care.
Roxanne shows you step-by-step, everything you need to create your own “masterpiece” centerpiece. It does require a drill which if you’re uncomfortable using, someone can help you with this step.
Take a look and see how easy this project is to do. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you create something that requires your heart, mind, and hands. You become the artist and how great is that?
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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“What colors should I choose? “How many pillows should I have?” “Which material would be best?”
These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when it comes to choosing decorative pillows. It can become confusing and frustrating because there are so many to choose from.
My first suggestion is to choose your pillows after all of the other elements are in place. This includes furniture, flooring material, paint colors, and artwork.
Here are some other tips that will make your choices easier:
PRICE

Accent pillows come in all price points. It’s one of area decorating where you can get a lot of zing without breaking the budget. However, you may find a pillow or two that you love and want to splurge on.

MATERIAL

This will depend on how much wear and tear your pillows will receive. If you have small children and/or pets, having an out-door fabric makes much more sense than choosing a silk fabric. Check, too, if the pillows can be machine washed or require dry-cleaning.

SIZE

Decorative square pillows are generally sized from 14 inches to 22 inches. Rectangular pillows     from 12 by 16 inches and 16 by 26 inches. Think in terms of 1 pillow for chairs and 3 to 5 for a sofa. It’s your choice as to how many pillows you choose.

COLOR

This will depend on what else you have in your room. For instance, you may want to pull colors from your artwork. Look at the colors you’ve chosen for the rest of the room. Are they warm, cool, or neutral hues? Looking at a color wheel, do you prefer warm or cool colors? Your own clothes closet is also another indication of the hues you love.Here’s another way of breaking down colors:

COOL PALETTE

Examples are blue, blue-gray, purple, blue purple,  gray and cool gray, green and blue green. Think of the sea.

WARM PALETTE

These are on the opposite side of the cools on the color wheel. Examples are shades of yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, and red-purple. Think of the sun.

NEUTRAL PALETTE

Examples are shades of white, creme, gray, greige (grey-beige), tan and taupe. When choosing neutrals, vary the pattern and texture and choose varying dark and light shades of your chosen neutral.

If you’re not sure when looking at pillows in the store, bring them home so you see them in the actual space. Your eye will tell you if they’re right or not. You may not know why, but something will feel off.
In the end, if you have difficulty in this area, it’s worth hiring expert help to feel sure of your choices.
As always, your home is your haven and everything you choose must feel perfect for you.
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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“What colors should I choose? “How many pillows should I have?” “Which material would be best?”
These are just a few of the questions I’m asked when it comes to choosing decorative pillows. It can become confusing and frustrating because there are so many to choose from.
My first suggestion is to choose your pillows after all of the other elements are in place. This includes furniture, flooring material, paint colors, and artwork.
Here are some other tips that will make your choices easier:
PRICE

Accent pillows come in all price points. It’s one of area decorating where you can get a lot of zing without breaking the budget. However, you may find a pillow or two that you love and want to splurge on.

MATERIAL

This will depend on how much wear and tear your pillows will receive. If you have small children and/or pets, having an out-door fabric makes much more sense than choosing a silk fabric. Check, too, if the pillows can be machine washed or require dry-cleaning.

SIZE

Decorative square pillows are generally sized from 14 inches to 22 inches. Rectangular pillows from 12 by 16 inches and 16 by 26 inches. Think in terms of 1 pillow for chairs and 3 to 5 for a sofa. It’s your choice as to how many pillows you choose.

COLOR

This will depend on what else you have in your room. For instance, you may want to pull colors from your artwork. Look at the colors you’ve chosen for the rest of the room. Are they warm, cool, or neutral hues? Looking at a color wheel, do you prefer warm or cool colors? Your own clothes closet is also another indication of the hues you love.Here’s another way of breaking down colors:

COOL PALETTE

Examples are blue, blue-gray, purple, blue purple, gray and cool gray, green and blue green. Think of the sea.

WARM PALETTE

These are on the opposite side of the cools on the color wheel. Examples are shades of yellow, yellow-orange, orange, red-orange, red, and red-purple. Think of the sun.

NEUTRAL PALETTE

Examples are shades of white, creme, gray, greige (grey-beige), tan and taupe. When choosing neutrals, vary the pattern and texture and choose varying dark and light shades of your chosen neutral.

If you’re not sure when looking at pillows in the store, bring them home so you see them in the actual space. Your eye will tell you if they’re right or not. You may not know why, but something will feel off.
In the end, if you have difficulty in this area, it’s worth hiring expert help to feel sure of your choices.
As always, your home is your haven and everything you choose must feel perfect for you.
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
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It’s the height of summer and that means vacation time.
Traveling to new or favorite places.
Visiting friends and family, or entertaining in our own homes.
And what is an important part of this?
Photographs—many, many photos.
And where do these captured for all time special moments live?
You guessed right if you said they hide in our smart phones. Hundreds of them that we forget about.
That’s why I’m strongly in favor of printed photos. This week’s article is from ELLEDECOR.COM and gives some great ideas on ways to share your treasured memories.
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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Your style of design is soft, soothing, and sophisticated. It’s not trendy. It lasts;you don’t tire of it.
But every once in a while do you look around a space and wonder if it could use some zing? Something that might amp up the energy?
Not every room in your home, but maybe just one space.
One way to do this is choosing a bold rug that is anything but “quiet.” Bold colors or geometric designs can be the perfect solution.
They work with any design style from country to contemporary and they don’t reduce the impact from the rest of your more subtle design elements.
Take a look at these photos for some examples. You’ll see everything from herringbone, diamond, Aztec, chevron, Greek key, honeycomb, and fret patterns. You may very well decide it could be your solution to giving a room a whole new feel and upping your energy quotient at the same time.
(Photos via HOUZZ)
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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Instead of hanging many small and medium- size portraits, have you considered using just one super- size piece?
You not only need less art, but the result is dramatic and powerful for sure. It can also be unique to you, especially when the photos are family members and pets.
Take a look at these photos for some examples. You just may want to try it yourself.
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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APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS

Flowers are one of nature’s greatest gifts. Just to look at their unique designs and colors and smell the essence of the blossoms is a feast for the senses. It’s no surprise they give us an emotional lift.
Quite simply, flowers make us smile and feel glad to be alive.
Vases house the flowers giving them structure while showcasing their beauty. Beautiful vases are sculptural, adding to but never taking attention away from the flowers themselves. They go together like salt and pepper or Jack and Jill; each enhancing the other.
Here are some examples of vases you may wish to add a few of to your collection.
Photos via ELLE Decor
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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Designers often use mirrors in interior design and for good reason.
They certainly reflect natural light and allow a space to feel brighter, but they can do so much more.
Mirrors can add style and a bit of glamour.They can also surprise, and open up rooms in ways that couldn’t be done otherwise.
Take a look at these ideas and see if you don’t find some examples that would work beautifully in your own home.
One caveat: Make sure mirrors are firmly attached to the wall I live in earthquake country so it’s imperative. Also important for children’s safety if you’re leaning a large mirror against a wall. Photos via HOUZZ:
PLACING A TALL MIRROR BETWEEN TWO WINDOWS gives the illusion of a third window and bounces even more natural light around the room.

WALL MIRROR BEHIND A CHEST. Again, a trick of the eye giving the impression that there’s more space than there actually is. This works especially well in a small room.

THE ICONIC SUNBURST MIRROR works well when used as part of a vignette. It brings life  and light to the entire arrangement.

SUNBURST MIRROR used above the bed always works and reflects, in this case, the art on the opposite wall and the ceiling light fixture. You always want a mirror to reflect something of beauty and/or interest.
PLACING MIRRORS BEHIND BEDSIDE TABLES is a wonderful way to enhance light because you get double the reflection of the bedside table lamps.
USING MIRRORS ON ADJACENT WALLS really steps up light enhancement on many levels. Don’t use this idea, however, if seeing too many images would bother you.

MIRRORED BACKSPLASH. I love this idea, especially for kitchens that don’t have  any natural light. Yes, you will have to clean it more often, but it’s worth it because you will  draw the light from any natural light source outside of the kitchen.

ROUND MIRROR IN A BOOKCASE. I love this idea, too, because it not only reflects light, but it breaks up the heaviness of the bookcase. By using a round mirror, it softens the linear lines that surround it.

EXTRA LARGE MIRROR ABOVE THE MANTEL. Instead of a small mirror above the mantel, why not go for broke and install a custom-size mirror the width of the mantel and all the way to the ceiling. There’s no greater way to gather natural light or enhance the size of the room.
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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