Hey hey! It's Wednesday....and I am feeling the stress. We have been on a whirlwind this month with client installs and wrapping up projects, starting new projects, meetings, traveling and then add in the the most important being a mother, wife and trying to keep the house in order. The juggle is real guys. All of these reasons add up to why it has taken me almost three weeks to write my follow up to our Instagram Live Q+A. My apologies.
I know you understand, which is why I love my clients and loyal followers. In any case, here is a cute pic of our little man to make you smile.
If you missed my Instagram Live, I am recapping the questions and answers right here, right now! So let's jump in! I am going to share the emails I received and my responses below.
Q: Susan P
I am loving your emails...who shot the photography? Beautiful, but obviously it helps that you're gorgeous! I have a design question. I live in a new townhouse, and am thinking of having the banisters painted black. I am seeing this look in a lot of very high end homes and it's strikingly beautiful. What kind of paint do you suggest we use? And what finish, glossy or matte? Thanks in advance!
A: Hi Susan!
You are too sweet, thank you very much! My headshots were taken by Emily O'Brien Photography. She is phenomenal and so easy to work with. She will be shooting some of our interiors this fall! She has a studio in Lawrence but works everywhere. We shot in Boston.
I love the contrast and look of black banisters. This look can fit into many different design styles as it reflects traditional, modern and farmhouse styles. There are two ways to achieve this look without the hassle or cost of having someone sand and apply a black stain. First, you want to make sure you apply a TSP (degreaser) to prep. Once that is done, you can use Clark + Kensington. They make a high gloss paint in the color Tomcat that is always my go to. The color isn't a cold stark black, but rather a slightly warm black with charcoal undertones so you won't get any blue reflects that you can get with a true black. If you would like to try a gel stain General Finishes will help you achieve the same look. The color I recommend is Java. Once the gel stain is applied (two coats) and is fully dried, you will want to finish it with a high gloss poly. The total project including all drying time should take 4-5 days. Thank you for your question and make sure you share how it turns out!
Q: Judy B.
I love your designs. Please see photos below. We need help in trying to purchase drapes, accessories and fabric for recovering chairs at our kitchen table. I would like to also replace the light fixture over our table. My questions are:
- Question 1: How do I select a fixture to coincide with the pendants over the island?
- Question 2: With 12 foot ceilings, would I need full drapes in the kitchen, as I do not want to hide the green outside the windows but I do want the room to feel a little less casual.
- Question 3: Since the kitchen and family room are close together, are the drapes suppose to match?
I am very grateful for any help or direction you can provide. Thank you.
A: Hi Judy!
Thank you for your question. Your home in AZ is beautiful!
1.Pendants and chandeliers only need to compliment each other in shape, finish or style. It doesn't have to be all three. I suggest a chandelier that is a mix of clear glass and polished nickel. If you can find a finish similar to the mercury glass / antique glass in your pendants even better, but I know that may be difficult.
2 +3. I can't answer these questions together for you. Drapes don't have to close together, but they should frame the window. Two panels on either side of the window will give it a cozy, comfortable feel. Drapes in the adjoining room should match if they are a solid panel. If you choose a print in one of the rooms, the other should be a coordinating solid. So for example, if your printed drapes have neutrals and blue in them, select either one of the neutral colors or a blue solid drape for the adjoining room.
Q: Stacy W
My name is Stacy Worton and I recently started following you on Instagram. I love your style. It's so clean and fresh with so many fabulous pieces of furniture and accessories. Your work is beautiful and I always look forward to your posts.
We recently renovated our house in Wayne, PA. Our new house is a modern farmhouse. Our project has taken well over a year and we are exhausted. We kept the existing footprint of our home, but renovated every room in the house with the exception of a small bath on the 2nd floor. Typically, I love doing these projects (this is probably our 6th project), but this project has really taken a toll on me. We came in way over budget and it took entirely too long. I feel like I need a break, but there is still so much to do. We need to furnish the living room, we need a runner for our stairs, a new front door, furniture for an outside pea gravel garden and fire pit area, some wallpaper for our dining room, new dining furniture, curtains, some furniture for our family room and some tweaks to my mudroom. I also need some help with my foyer as well as some changes to my bookcases. The list seems endless.
Since we have done this before, I realize you can't get everything done at once and I am typically good at waiting and doing one room at a time. Waiting would be fine, but we were recently asked if we would put our house on a tour organized by the Philadelphia Orchestra. I said yes and now I am so nervous and don't know which room to focus on! They are expecting 300 people and the tour will be in November.
I am writing to see if you have suggestions for me? Where to start? What will make the biggest impact? Furniture shopping on a budget? Any help would be great. Thanks!
A: Hi Stacy!
Thank you for following my instagram page! I appreciate the kind words!
Wow it sounds like you are becoming a pro at this renovation thing! I would normally advise you to tackle this differently, but because your house is going to be on a tour, my advice will differ slightly. How exciting, by the way!
- Here is how I would tackle this. Start with the front door. it's the first thing people will see when they walk up to your home so this impression will draw them in. Next tackle the furnishing in the rooms. Instead of overwhelming yourself with purchasing all new furniture quickly and having regrets down the road, select a few timeless pieces you love now and mix them into with your existing furniture. For example if you can work with your existing dining table but really need new chairs, focus on the chairs, add a new rug or chandelier and a fresh coat of paint to wow. The attention will be drawn away from those furniture pieces you may not love so much. The great thing with doing this is you may love some of these piece in their new light better than you had before.
- Grab those outdoor furniture pieces now for a steal while the summer stuff is on clearance! August and September are great times to score amazing deals on beautiful pieces so get those chairs for the firepit and your pea gravel garden!
- Next tweak the mudroom, even if it's just refreshing the hooks you have or the baskets. Add a throw pillow here or there and drape a blanket. Leave a nice pair of shoes as if you casually took them off your feet- this is especially true for the day of the tour!
- For the curtains, keep them simple. You want all the natural light to come through during the tour so light, airy fabrics like linen work great.
- My advice is not to rush on wallpaper unless you have one selected already. This is a statement and the wrong statement made in a rush will cost you. Instead repaint the room and add an accent wall with paint a nice piece of art and tackle the wallpaper when you aren't rushed.
- Last is the stair runner. They aren't necessary and like many of my other comments, choosing the wrong pattern in a rush is a costly mistake.
Best of luck and please keep me updated on how the orchestra tour goes!
Q: Laura W.
I love following you on Instagram and have been a recent subscriber to your blog. I am so thankful to have found you in the world of social media. My question is how do I incorporate color into my home? I know it's good to add pops of color into a space but I have tried almost every color and don't feel like any look good. How can I add interest to my space?
A: Hi Laura!
Thank you very much! I love that you asked this question as it is one that many people struggle with. First off, there is no rule or handbook on decor/design that says you have to add color into a space for interest. It's not true. If you look at my work you will notice most of my designs are a neutral base with subtle or bold pops. When I am designing for myself and our home, you'll see it's all neutrals! Does that make it "boring"? No! The trick is to layer texture, especially into monochromatic settings. Whether your home / room is all white, black or pink, you can always layer different fabrics and finishes into the space to provide interest! Do you have metallics in your room such as brass, nickel, chrome, bronze or iron? If so, guess what? That's your accent! Metallics are great ways to add a pop into an otherwise neutral space. Another great add in is greenery with plants or twigs.
Q: Cindy G
I live in a rental in NYC and the lighting is awful, especially in my dark bedroom. My bedroom is small so I don't have enough space for nightstands and therefore don't have lamps next to my bed. I want to add more light but am not sure how I can do this under my landlord's rules. Any suggestions would be so helpful!
A: Hi Cindy,
Thank you for your question! I choose yours because I think a lot of people that rent are in a similar situation. My suggestion would be to install plug in sconces! They will screw into the wall behind your bed either right to the side or over the corners of your headboard depending on style and size. I recommend selecting sconces that have an adjustable arm/neck so you can move them where you need. If you're reading a book in bed you will be able to adjust the light. You'll want to get a surge protector to place on the floor behind the bed so the wires fall behind your headboard and plug into the protector. That protector will then plug into the wall so if you don't have a centered socket you won't have wires strewn about.
Q: Pam Z
I am so excited you are doing a q+a! I have been struggling with the transition in our home and need your help immensely! Can you fly to Chicago to help me (not kidding, I wish you could).
We have two kids (3 yrs +2 months) and our house constantly looks like an explosion happened. Besides that, our house doesn't feel put together at all. I want our house to feel like home and not like a daycare. Can you give me advise on how to tackle having an adult home that is kid friendly? Is that too much to ask?!? Thank you!
A: Hi Pam,
Busy mom of two! We have one and I know our struggle with this! My advice is to select items that are double duty. Like most parents, you want to child proof your house which means no right corners, no glass coffee tables, etc. Select an upholstered stylish ottoman such as this:
Not only is it modern but the top lifts up and there is storage inside! Another option would be to add built-ins in your home if it fits within your budget. Inside the cabinet doors add baskets and use the baskets to store small toys and games. The kids may even have fun cleaning up! You can also purchase bookcases / cabinets, but please make sure to secure them to the walls.
Q: Leanne K
My name is Paula and I live in TX!
I have been wanting to do a wall of family photos in our hallway but haven't been able to find frames with mats I like without having to spend a lot of money on custom. I want to have a lot of mat and not centered if that makes sense (similar to the photo you posted on your Instagram). Can you tell me where I can find nice frames on a budget?
A: Hi Leanne,
Hello to Texas! We are all thinking and praying for your state during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey!
Aren't these frames great?!? I love them myself. They are going up in our upstairs hallway once we select our photos to be displayed. I'll tell you a little secret..... custom isn't required to achieve this look! Go to Ikea, Target or Homegoods, and get some inexpensive frames that will fit the application you are looking to achieve. Then go to your local Michael's Crafts or Hobby Lobby and have your mats cut! Say you have a square 20x20 frame, but you want a small photo with a lot of white mat to surround it.... ask for a mat to fit a 20x20 frame with a cut out of 4x4 or 5x7. If you want the mat to be off center like the photo above, let them know the size of the matte, cutout and height of the cutout. Custom look on a budget!
Thank you everyone that submitted questions. I apologize I couldn't get to them all! I will be doing this Q+A again in October so be sure to get your questions ready! We will send out another email/newsletter when the time comes!
If you like these types of posts please let me know. I will be doing more Instagram Lives as well as some Facebook Lives soon! Be sure to follow me on my social media platforms so you don't miss it!