Archive for July, 2009

10 Budget-Stretching Decorating Ideas

We’re all watching our pennies these days…thinking two and three times before making any discretionary expenditures. Yet making our homes more comfortable and attractive will help us feel better as we weather these challenging times. So here are my top 10 ideas for spiffing up your space without breaking the bank.

MM_0022_crop1. Paint: You’ve heard me say it before…there is no faster easier way to get dramatic change in your home than new wall color. Without a doubt the biggest bang for your buck.

2. Refinish worn pieces: If you have some tired furniture, a fresh coat of stain and varnish can breathe new life into the most tattered of pieces.

3. Recover or replace old lampshades: This is an easy way to add some spalsh. Recover your existing shades with a bright, bold pattern or trim. If that intimidates you, purchase new shades at any store that sells lighting.

img94i4. Reupholster: You love you grandmother’s chair, but the upholstery screams “old lady”. Have it recovered in a bright new fabric and viola…instant fabulous! Consider an animal print or a really vivid color…bright yellow or hot pink…not only will it add punch to any room but it’s unexpected.

5. Change the shower curtain, towels and accessories in your bathroom…you can have a new room for less than $100.

6. Rearrange your furniture: We all get so accustomed to seeing our furniture in the same arrangement, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. Truth is, most rooms will accomodate more than one floor plan. Try looking at your room as if seeing it for the first time, without attachment or emotion. Then rearrange, you’ll think you have all new things!

7. Add an area rug: A bold stripe or graphic rug will update your space quickly.

8. Repurpose: Get creative. Is a door always a door? Can it be a table top? A great piece of ironwork can become a beautiful piece of wall decor. Wire a ceramic vase into become a lamp (most local lamp stores sell supplies and/or will wire it for you.) Most everything can be used for another purpose, it just takes a little creativity.

9. Buy used: Now more than ever you can find amazing deals at garage sales, consignment shops, flea markets, salvage yards and online sources like Craig’s List and ebay. It takes some time, but the rewards can be huge. Remember what I said earlier about refinishing, reupholstering and repurposing.

transform-chair-after-m-m10. Add a punch of color: Paint a piece of furniture a bold color, add some accent pillows or a collection of objects. If it’s bright and unexpected, you’ll look like a design genius.

Most importantly, have fun. Do you have other budget-stretching decorating ideas? I’d love to hear them.

Space Planning. Which comes first, the space or the furnishings?

floorPlans1bedA regular reader of this blog, recently asked if I would talk a bit about space planning. She and her husband are working with an architect on a remodel of their beach house. The question is…Does one plan a space around furniture or design the space and then determine the furniture placement?

The answer is neither and both. Let’s assume that the parameters of the remodel have been established, i.e. footprint of the house, budget, timeline, etc. The structure of the house really shouldn’t be driven by the contents. That’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog. You want to consider the function of the space, traffic flow and maximization of any available views, passive solar, etc. And of course you and your architect want to make sure that the space will accomodate your needs…how many beds, how many do you want seated at your dining table, or do you want/need separate living and family rooms? The physical space should allow for these functional considerations.

That said, you and your architect need to make sure that the the design will accommodate the obvious…a sofa, dining table etc. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen plans that don’t allow adequate space for the basics. Also if you have pieces that may need a specific type of space be sure to plan for them. Maybe you have an antique armoire or an art collection. Be sure to allow enough wall space to show these pieces off. Many open floor plans today have very little wall space, especially if you are lucky enough to have a view. Perhaps you have a large sectional sofa you really want to utilize in the media room. Will the room accommodate it and still allow for easy traffic flow? Once you and your architect have considered all of the options, you’ll know where you can compromise and where you need to redesign.

So JCM, have I answered your question? Feel free to contact me for more direction. Now what design challenges can I help YOU with?

Design News From Bend

31This Tuesday, July 14th, Bend’s Mill Quarter Design District will be hosting it’s first block party. From 4-8 there will be food, music, beverages and the opportunity to tour the now abundant design-related businesses in the district.

Furnish is there with it’s beautiful new 2-story location. Evergreen Plantscapes, Atlas and Haven Home have all relocated there as well. This district is becoming a very cool destination. Come down and support this vibrant neighborhood. What better way to spend one of our lovely, long summer evenings? Hope to see you all there.

On a more somber note Bend will soon be losing Luxe Home Interiors. They tried to hang on, but have had to make the very tough decision to close their doors. They are having a huge sale and there are some incredible deals, so get if you are in need of now furniture, now is the time. I believe they will still be taking special orders for a few more weeks. Mountain Comfort is also having a close-out sale. Word on the street is that they will reopen, but I haven’t been able to confirm that. Stay tuned.

3-Form Panels: High Design, Very Cool AND Easy on the Planet

p_v_346_539_2I have fallen head over heals for this product…chroma and resin panels from 3-Form. You’ve probably seen these products in used in architectural settings…hotels, commercial buildings, etc. If you’re local…in the form of the alabaster bar at Blacksmith in Bend. As stunning as they are in large-scale installations, they can also be used very effectively for residential applications.

So what makes these products so cool? First they look amazing and perform beautifully. The way they filter and almost “hold” light is ethereal. The color palettes and options are inspired, AND they are incredibly durable. If having fabulous design and versatility isn’t enough, the 3-Form products are manufactured with environmental accountability and sustainability at the forefront, many are made from 40% post-consumer waste and some utilize 100% post-consumer waste. Additionally, their “Full Circle” product line incorporates materials crafted by artisans from around the world in a fair-trade program…truly beautiful.

p_v_261_388_13-Form, the company, was formed with the vision of creating high-design materials with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Their “Path to Zero” program will stop sending manufacturing waste to landfill by the end of 2009 and allow the company to be carbon neutral by 2017. All of their products ship with instructions on returning the product to 3-Form at end-of-life for recycling, upcycling and re-purposing.

p_v_268_398_33-form products are available only to the trade, but your favorite interior designer will be more than happy to explore the options and access this amazing product line for you. I promise, you’ll love these versatile and unique materials.

Photos: 3-Form

YOLO Colorhouse releases 36 new “hopeful” colors

Fans of YOLO Colorhouse paint now have 36 additional colors to immerse themselves in. The new palette, Hope, is a collection of beautiful colors that are a bit lighter and brighter than the Earth collection we have all grown to love. The fabulous women of YOLO have provided me with a short video. Take a look and let me know what you think.

For those of you that may not know YOLO Colorhouse… a brief introduction…YC is the brainchild of Virginia Young and Janie Lowe…both artists. They had a custom paint and plaster finish company in Portland, Oregon. In 2000 they made a commitment to use products that would have a lower impact the their health, that of their clients and the environment. They began experimenting with old recipes for clay- and milk-based paints,  and low- and zero-VOC products. The result is YOLO Colorhouse, a premium, zero-VOC paint that contains no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica or any of the other toxins normally found in paint.

I can tell you from personal experience that the YOLO paints have great coverage (not the case with most low/zero-VOC paint), there is no detectable odor, they’re durable and the colors are gorgeous. The brilliant ladies of YOLO also developed poster-sized swatches to make it much easier to choose the right color. No more squinting at those tiny swathes in fan books. How cool is that?

I hope you’ll consider YOLO the next time you have a paint project. You won’t be sorry. YOLO Colorhouse is available locally at brilliant environmental building products, in downtown Bend.


Contact the Author

martha@mmdsf.com 541-330-5899 www.marthamurraydesign.com

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