Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Decorating questions answered

Welcome to the second OY VEY!! Q&A!! answer post.
Boy, did I get more questions this week!!!
I'll try to get to all of them, but I'm not promising nothin'!
The ones I don't get to today, I'll continue answering tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next Tuesday at the start of the questions party. I'm figuring this out as I go.

Just remember you get what you pay for, and this advice is free.......

First I need to put up a pretty picture, so that when folks get thumbnails of my blog, they'll want to stop by.
(Amy Chalmers of Maison Decor told me to do this, and I do everything she says. Her husband is a cop, so I don't mess with her.)

'cuz if I start with a picture of a problem room, then that's what shows up on blogrolls, and NO ONE will ever come see this @#$ blog.

While I'm at it, I'm occasionally going to vent a pet peeve, and today is the FIRST one. 
It's bad enough I need to buy pants with elastic in the waste band.....I mean....we know our tummy ain't flat.
So then they go ahead and add a drawstring as if to say......."some skinny person may have to borrow your pants someday, but you're so @#$ fat that they'll need help keeping the @#$ pants up!!!"

OK, now I feel better, thanks for listening.

Question #1
 Amy @MaisonDecorJan 18, 2012 03:31 AM
Me again! Love this party~I am link #6. I got a comment saying the rectangle shape of the new painting doesn't look right under the carved arch thing on the mantle. I thought it looked fine, but I understand what she meant. You put the round wire basket there~do I have to get a framed art in a curved shape?

The issue isn't whether the painting is round or square, but all about proportion in the space under the carving detail. The negative space (space around an object) is just as important as the positive space (the object itself). You need something vertical; that was why I loved the mirror you had leaning there before it broke. If I were paranoid, I'd swear you broke it on purpose, because you could psychically feel that it was my favorite mirror in your house, and you know my issue with all your millions of other mirrors.
Think of the way you would arrange furniture in a long narrow room (like the space over the mantle), you wouldn't want to line the sofa up along the wall, but have it jut into the room to help with the spaces proportion. 
p.s. I love the vases on the top shelves of the bookcase!

Question #2

Hi Betsy,
I'm one of your blog followers and absolutely love your sense of humor.  OK, now that I've tried to butter you up a bit, I'm going to ask for your help :-)

After seeing your latest post of your cottage and how you changed the exterior, what would you suggest for this house?  This is our new house and it needs "something" done to the front...not just landscaping.  I've got several ideas rolling around in my head but wouldn't mind your expert opinion...and I don't want to influence you...in case we might just happen to have some of the same ideas. Smileycons!

There are lilies planted in that sad,dormant flower bed in front and that awful bark covering on top of the soil. (It always looks dead and it gets everywhere! It is going as soon as spring arrives in North Dakota!)  I've got lots of perennials I'm planning to retrieve from our old house this spring/summer...just to let you know I've got access to some beautiful flowers.

Thanks :-)

Connie Nikiforoff
P.S.  I absolutely hate that red door and mailbox!  I mean, since the house is a pale green, it looks like a Christmas-wanna-be color scheme!  Ick!  As soon as the weather allows, the color will be changed!

I have a ton of ideas, and they would absolutely trash your budget......
So I'm going to rein myself in, and try to think along the lines of helping someone who has a life other than just fixing up houses way beyond their neighborhood price-point.
It looks like you have single pane windows, so you could do what I did and install removable wooden window grills to give the house more of a cottagey look. It will make them look like they have mullions.

The way the little overhang is added is really cute too.

Next I would add shutters, not the plastic screw on kind, but I would save up for a decent quality wood pair, just for the big window, and hang them like the old fashioned shutters are hung, overlapping the window casing, not installed outside the casing.


Like THIS....

These look like you could actually build them yourselves, and save yourself some moolah!
I could spend a lot more time on this, going into landscaping ideas, but I need to get to some of the other questions. 
If you want, post some follow up questions next week.

Question #3

HouseZenGarden Blog has left a new comment on your post "My Cottage Den":

Hi Betsy!
I have always admired your design and your former home with all the dog paraphernalia. Today I showed a client a magazine tear sheet (that I have saved for years) from House Beautiful(I think, or Home and Garden, etc.)that shows your former front porch with its trellis portico. I was hoping your blog would have a better picture of it. We have been working on an idea for their Cape Cod design house and your portico was one of the best designs I've seen so far.
Anyway... do you have more photos of the portico that you could share with us? Thank you for all your inspiration through the years!
Love your blog and your spirit too.
Mary Alice Smith

Although this was not a formal question from Tuesday, I am including it here because it sort of goes with the question just above. I will repost the picture of the front of my Watertown cottage.

photo by Eric Roth for House Beautiful Magazine

Question #4

Hi, Betsy, I just linked my pics under "french flundering" ( don't even know if that's a word :) Anyway, my link is my blog post for Christmas, so outside of the added "pink" here and there, The rooms are pretty much what you see. I wanted to send you this post, because, it best shows my futile attempts at French Country Style. I do Love the All White Shabby Chic thing that's going on with a lot of Bloggers out there, but, I just can't seem to Ditch the "Cutness" in my Style Forte? What to Do? What is the Best Way to Get to the Place you Want to Go adding in your Own Style in the Mix? My "TinCanCottage" is pretty much me, but How do I incorporated that Style in my own Home? 
Fun, but with Style????? 
Burn Everything and Start Over????? Paint everything White? What to Add? What To Take Away?

I was really wanting to add more interest to my blog, by adding more pics of my 'real' Home, not just my "10ft" Cottage on Wheels, But Maybe, I'm Scaring People Away :D

Thanx for your "Free" Decorators Advise!

Blogger is giving me fits again with the font size,

 so sorry. I had to go to a smaller font.

No, you don't need to burn everything.
But get ready, 'cuz I want to change a lot of stuff!!

get rid of all the small white ones.
How the hello is anyone supposed to be able to sit down on the sofa with so many pillows?????
Pillows are to add comfort to a seating area, not to be there just for display!!!!!
And while I'm being bitchy (sorry) it would really help the room to change the window treatments. 
I would hang the draperies from the top of the transom windows and gather them tightly so that they don't cover the glass.

If you want a valence, hang it higher, at the ceiling, so the fabric is off the glass!!!!!

Doing this raises the eye and makes the ceiling feel higher and gives the room a nicer feeling of proportion.

I'd slip cover these chairs in white with a short flirty skirt.
I'd paint the china cabinet a nice chalky color.
And while I'm at it, GET THE FABRIC OFF THE WINDOWS!!!
I'd also lower the pair of prints hanging on the wall by around 10".
I know this doesn't answer all your questions, but I need to get to the next one.

Question #5

hi Betsy, and thanks! I'm "getgrounded" from previous posts, and I posted link no. 5 - my perfect living room quest. 
When you read my post, you'll see my goals of making my small builders tract home with no architectural interest look similar to a photo I found in a magazine that I fell in love with. When you see the photos, you'll see that I'm definitely not there yet. I have basically NO budget right now, so suggestions could be for DIY stuff, or feel free to lay out eventual stuff that I might someday have money for. Thanks! Robin

This is Robin's "inspiration picture"

Design by Jill Kantelberg

This is Robin's home

I think the way you used the pillows, to create the feeling of the striped sofa, is a really nice way to get the look you want on a budget, so bravo!!
The coffee table and bookcases  you found are affordable gems.(for you guys reading this, go to Robins blog to see the whole story)
OK, now on to the tweaks and money sucking ideas.
I'm not thrilled with the group of pictures between the bookcases.
The look you're going for is made up of single simple shapes.
I would hang one large item between them, maybe a mirror with a rustic wood frame in a white washed finish, (so it doesn't match the finish on the bookshelves)
I would also get rid of that clock, it is visually distracting. If you need to know the time, look at your cell phone.
being a great and wonderful blogger, I came up with an idea that solves both the above problems in ONE FELL SWOOP!!!!
I found two different clocks at Pottery Barn that would work hanging between the two cases. Choose one or hang both, one above the other!! That's the kind of whackadoodle thing I would do, and then before I knew it, I would have started a collection of clocks.

Nah, looking at them together, I would just choose one.
I'm leaning towards the round one, the black metal brings in the feeling of the iron hinges in your inspirational picture. It also refers back in tone and texture to the coffee table, and isn't such a close match to the bookcases.
In the future, though, for a budget busting project, I would definitely clad the ceiling in wood; with its slant, I think it would be THE BOMB.
Just keep going in the direction you'er working, the next thing I would change are the table lamps.
I found these Caged Glass Table Lamps at Pottery Barn

I'd get two, one for either side of the sofa. If the tables are different heights, set one on books, to even them out.
Hope this was helpful.

Question #6.....
to be continued................

linking to:  


Anonymous said...

Oh love todays posts, I'm learning and studying.

Thanks Betsy

Amy Chalmers said...

oh man! so great you are!! And a note to connie, I bought my real wood shutters on craigslist for my bungalow and hung them real proper like betsy said with shutterdogs and everything. The shutterdogs cost more than the shutters! I got 8 pairs of shutters for$100 and they fit!

Designing Domesticity said...

what a fun post. I love it. and love that you aren't holding back either! liz

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Betsy,
You are on a roll! I love your ideas. Keep em coming!!!


Miss Char said...

Love this session, great advise for all of us. Thanks!

Jennifer @ Town and Country Living said...

Betsy, you're a hoot! You're like the Erma Bombeck of decorating and I think you should have your own TV show.

Laura said...

Hi Betsy,
I am so hooked on your blog. Your ideas and sense of style are amazing. Great post today!


Christine said...

Hi, Betsy! Thank-You for your Design Advise....I will loose the extra pillows, since I am changing them out, I will remember what you said about too, many for sure. And, I am skeeming up ideas on my new "fabric" for my windows...and will remember to keep them Off the Windows "D! Thanx for your design expertise!! Your Sweet and Funny to Boot!!

Lori said...

Amy is so right about that first picture grabbing attention. And yours sure does. How great to look at someone elses' room and give suggestions. I need to rethink a few of mine.

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

OMGosh....dear Betsy, how dod you know that just last night I yanked the drawstrings out of my flannel sleeping pants...WTH!!! Plus if you bother to tie the stupid things, you have to waste time untying them to pee at night...Sheesh!! Is that too much information??

I am still giddy that I won your design book!!! Loved your ideas for all these bloggers..you are Brilliant! You like being called Brilliant, don't you ;->

Have a lovely day

janet xox

Amy said...

I really enjoy this new Oy vey! Q&A! I also like that when you give advice you show us a picture of what you're thinking. I think most of us can incorporate your advice into our own homes. Thanks, it was fun!

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

Love your q&a- you're a hoot, and such great ideas! As for the drawstrings- I had a bad experience with them on my pj's. During one of my nightly rollovers, the string slid across my tummy- I thought it was a spider, jumped up, shuddering & muttering. Anyway, I cut the strings on all pj's now.

Janet said...

I HATE the drawstrings...if we need elastic waists do we really need a bunchy tied drawstring to call more attention to the convex abdomen...really.

Yours truly,

The apple with boobs

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

I love this post Betsy. Great advise, and inspiration. Love your blunt approach too. Funny, and refreshing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what great suggestions, Betsy. But of course I knew you would. I never liked those scattered little pics between my bookcases, but I had to do something when they arrived and I discovered that their scale wasn't as large as I had anticipated. I love that clock! I'll have to be a bit of a detective to find it though, since PB no longer carries the round one that is so awesome. The lamps are fantastic suggestions - in fact, after I had put my room together with the new coffee table, I realized the lamps were wrong also. Next, what kind of blinds to use? My current ones no longer match....always something! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE FREE, YES I SAID FREE, DESIGN ADVICE. YOU'RE THE BEST!!! (My bedroom will be next).

Donna said...

I love hearing your advice! You've inspired me to ask my hubby to make some wooden shutters for the front windows like the old fashioned ones. I think they would look fabulous on our cottage. Thanks!

Connie said...

Such fun to read this post. I'll look forward to Tuesdays now.

Eilis said...

So... I'm picture #6...not sure if I'm answer #6...but I keep checking...hoping you'll answer... I have loved your answers for everyone else so far. I feel like I'm living in a cliffhanger between seasons on a prime time drama :)

Cindy said...

That was insane it was so funny, and informative, and irreverent, and right on. Omg... i learned so much, and had so much fun doing it... You are completely brilliant! I LOVED the whole shutter thing. I made my own wooden shutters once, saws, drill and all, but didn't think to hang them inside the frame like that... it's a million times cooler that way! I liked that mirror that Amy murdered on her mantel too... i'm the one who told her to put something oval under that arch. I liked the round tray you put there when you were at her house moving things around. I'm dying to have help with my mantel too, as soon as i get a decent photo, i'm soooo sending it in to you.


Katie @ Wildwood Creek said...

FYI--I just linked your blog to Vintage Rivals link party, which is showcasing blogs everyone should be reading. Have a good day! http://www.vintagerevivals.blogspot.com/2012/01/who-is-your-blog-crush-ultimate-linky.html

lvroftiques said...

Betsy I'm lovin' this series! You give great advice. And although I'm already an incredibly fabulous decorator I'm learning so much here!......*snorts*...No I'm just pulling your leg about the "incredibly fabulous decorator " part, but I bet I had you wondering what the he-double hocky sticks is going on with that big headed girl! Lol!*winks* Vanna

shannonallsworth said...

Betsy. I just discovered your blog yesterday and I'm hooked. Too bad for my poor husband who came home to messy house, kids rotting brains in front of tube and frozen pizza for dinner. A girl has to prioritize and my priority was figuring out how you did that amazing fabric wall for Miriam!
I'm a serial lurker on decor blogs. Never comment, never "follow", though I'll do it for you just because Miriam's dining walls have me obsessed. (even though I'm so done with shabby chic, and now I may have to go back just so I can have those walls that my husband will hate and I will curse in 10 years when it's time to take them down to appease my decorating ADD- damn you, you little evil genius)

Lucas said...

I have a stumper for you: I have several active children and the biggest one (Dad) likes to start pickup soccer scrimmages in our entryway!!! Now there is a large hole and large cracks in the wall. That kid is definitely not cut out to be a goalie-or they were smart to duck. I would like to cover it with something durable. It is hard to patch drywall and make it look good. And . . . I have a feeling the games will not stop until the husband is too old to toss the ball. Is there something durable enough to withstand our wannabe Messi shooters? Something that doesn't look like it came from a gym? Thanks.

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