Archive for August, 2010

The Right Space Helps with Homework

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Design and Decorating

We spend a lot of time talking about how to use design to make our homes more beautiful or functional. With school starting soon, let’s spend a minute thinking about how designing the right space can encourage our children to keep their school work organized.

If you can find a corner that can be turned into a homework station for your child, it can help create a focus for school projects and reading. Just a few ideas can make the space work well:

  • Choose a quiet space with few distractions – no TV, games or phones.
  • The space should be used only for schoolwork, with separate spaces for each child if at all possible.
  • Have your children help with the planning and design – it will make them more likely to use the space.
  • If you have hard surfaces floors, add an area rug to make the room quieter.
  • Use bright colors and whimsical touches to make the space inviting. (area rugs can do this, too)
  • Include a bookshelf for reference books and book report possibilities.
  • Include storage space for old homework papers and class notes and a bulletin board with a calendar to keep track of assignments and appointments.

With a dedicated spot for school-related projects and assignments, you have taken the first step to help your child or children find ways to organize their lives and responsibilities.

Bobby Flay – The Essence of Sophistication

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood

On a recent set of commercials, HGTV celebrities ended up designing sandwiches for various “clients.” What would happen if we turned the tables and had Food Network chefs designing spaces? In the last blog post, Paula Deen created a warm cozy kitchen. Let’s jump to a chef with a totally different style, Bobby Flay.

Flay started cooking at a very young age, and his amazing food led to his reputation as one of the best chefs on the Food Network. His sophisticated, modern metropolitan approach says ebony hardwood flooring. No other option creates a mood of rich style. The dark ebony tones provide just the right background for a cross between mid-century modern and contemporary that Bobby showcases in his dress and his sense of style. Let’s face it; the man is the ultimate in cool.

Bobby isn’t afraid of color, and it shows in the furniture and accessories scattered in the living space outside his open kitchen. A sleek sofa in a rich red faces a low-slung orange chair, with a trio of yellow vases sitting on the rich wood-grain coffee table between them. No curtains needed when this high rise commands an amazing view of the New York skyline.

Bobby’s prep counter faces the windows, and the dark solid surface countertops reflect pops of color from his glass serving plates and bowls. It’s paella tonight, and nobody makes it better than Flay. Can we get an invitation? Are we cool enough?

What Would Paula Deen Choose?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood

Home and Garden TV and the Food Network have been crossing paths lately through a series of commercials. Candace Olsen, for example, designed a “man sandwich” for one guy on a recent mayonnaise ad. What would happen if we took this idea one step further? What if some of those celebrity chefs showcased their own preferred spaces?

Let’s start with Paula Deen. Her down-home southern charm gives us only one reasonable option for flooring – heart pine. Whether reclaimed from some barn or old home or newly milled, this classic wood choice has Paula written all over it. Any occasional spills or scratches – and there would be some, she isn’t the neatest cook – would be greeted with her characteristic chuckle and a comment such as, “Oh honey, the floor don’t care and neither do I!”

Finish the room off with a big circular wood table with room for her family, and some comfy deep armchairs and a sofa for everyone to relax in after a hearty meal that definitely has more bacon and butter involved than we’re used to consuming in a week.

Old fashioned goodness and flavor – heart pine and Paula Deen. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Building Contrast by Mixing Hard and Soft Surfaces – Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

We’ve talked about warming up a modern space in our last post by adding some softer elements. In a more traditional room, the challenge may be to balance the inherent softness with a few more sculptural elements.

Carpet is a wonderful soft element in a space. Its natural warmth makes any space feel cozier. Traditional furniture has a comfy, overstuffed quality, and pillows add to the comfort. Dining tables are often round or oval, and dining chairs are padded. All of these features add to a sense of softness. This is not bad, but a few harder-surfaced pieces help a room feel balanced.

To add a hard-surface contrast, a few accessories can make a difference. A glass or metallic vase with clean lines standing alone on a side table provides a positive contrast to the cozy chair nearby. If your coffee table is an ottoman, place a tray on one corner to add a hard-surface touch. Sometimes all it takes it a little editing of the softness in a room to allow some of the harder elements to stand out.

A soft-surface room welcomes everyone. By balancing the space with just a few hard-surface items, the softness will stand out more than ever and the room will look richer and more interesting.

Building Contrast by Mixing Hard and Soft Surfaces – Part 1

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Do you want a contemporary style but are concerned about having a space that feels cold rather than inviting? The real key to a warm room is a balance of hard and soft surfaces.

A modern style lends itself to hard-surface floors such as tile and wood. These sleek surfaces provide the foundation for a contemporary space. Add in furniture with simple lines and keep the upholstery tailored. Contemporary art and accessories finish up the look – giving you a room that with almost sculptural lines.

Now it’s time to add in the warmth by bringing in some soft elements. Rugs in thick textures – either monochromatic or in contemporary patterns – add a soft touch without challenging your modern look. Look for some softer contemporary art to add to one wall – a modern quilt, weaving or tapestry keeps the modern edge while warming up the space. Finish up with a table runner to add a splash of color and make your dining space shine.

Make the Best Wood Choice for Our Forests

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Environmental

Ready to buy a wood floor but concerned about making an environmentally responsible choice? Your best source for addressing that issue is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Started in 1993 because of concern about forests across the planet, FSC developed a certification process that ensures that wood is harvested responsibly, that organizations use no hazardous pesticides on the wood, and that the indigenous population is protected.

The tough standards developed by the FSC led to recognition by over 50 countries and every major environmental group. One requirement is re-confirming the standards every year, ensuring that your purchase continually meets the certification requirements. The Green Building Council considers FSC certification the standard for ensuring that wood products of any kind have been produced sustainably.

Looking for FSC certified products when selecting a wood floor will not limit your choices. Many flooring manufacturers and distributors proudly display their FSC certification. If you want to purchase wood floor from an environmentally-responsible organization, ask your salesperson to show you products that have FSC certification. That way you will have a beautiful floor, and your children and grandchildren will have a beautiful planet.

Using the Four Seasons to Inspire Your Decorating: Winter

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in 4 Seasons of Decorating

The Four Seasons of Decorating: Winter

In spite of the cold and slippery streets, for many people winter is their favorite season. If you love winter, how about giving yourself a room that brings the best of winter into your home year-round?

Think cozy and comfortable for your winter space. For flooring, carpet is the best choice. Floors are so much cozier with a soft surface under your stocking feet. Whether you choose a deep plush or patterned option, carpeting warms up your space.

For window coverings, how about velvet curtains? Selecting a floor to ceiling length helps keep the cold out and adds to the richness of your space. Don’t hesitate to combine winter shades in your fabrics. Dark greens, rich maroons and deep golds echo the holiday feel of winter while further warming your space.

With shorter days, prepare for darker evenings with a selection of lamps to brighten your space without losing all the shadows. For parties, pull out a wealth of candles to add light and warmth. If you have a fireplace, now is the time to highlight it. Angle the furniture to encourage people to sit and watch the fire.

When the season comes, accessories can reflect the holidays; be sure to include one or more throws to curl up in when the evenings get chilly. When the season turns cold, your warm winter room will help you weather the storms.

To learn more about decorating for the other seasons, click here.

Using the Four Seasons to Inspire Your Decorating: Summer

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in 4 Seasons of Decorating

The Four Seasons of Decorating: Summer

Is summer your favorite season? You can bring it into your home all year long by decorating a room with summer in mind. These simple steps can help you turn your home into a summer space.

For flooring, tile evokes the season with its cool touch on your feet. This easy-clean choice handles the demands of summer, from little wet toes running in from the pool to the easy wipe-up required after a troop of kids and a watermelon meet. To really connect your flooring to the outdoor life of summer, consider extending your family room tile across the patio, making the two spaces feel more like one and creating the sense of an outdoor room.

Grab the vivid colors of summer and scatter them through your space with cotton pillows in all the yellows and oranges of the sun, or possibly just a collection of blue and white patterns, reflecting that clear blue sky. To complement the colors, make your furniture summerhouse simple with the addition of washable white canvas slipcovers.

Let’s wrap up with a trip to the beach. Driftwood and shells make the best summer accessories. Scatter them on tables or pile into glass jars and baskets. Whether you pick them up yourself at low tide or buy them at an import store, they will invoke summer memories for everyone who walks into your home.

For the other seasons, click here.