Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Design questions answered #1

Today is the first Tuesday,(hopefully of many) that I will answer your decorating questions. Remember, this is free advice, and you get what you pay for.....
Sooooo, with that said, let's start the answers!!!!

The first question concerns space planning, a sore spot for many professionals as well as DIY'ers. Sometimes there is no easy solution, but I will do my best.

Misfit (I love that name!!) wrote me an email at betsyspeert@gmail.com
asking for help with the furniture arrangement in her bedroom.....

She wrote:
"I got home late yesterday and forgot to send the picture(s). I have these in four emails so it's going to drive you crazy - I'm very sorry. I won't be offended if you delete them all. In this one is the object I need to situate better in the room. Beloved solid oak armoire".

~the misfit

Betsy says" I would never delete someone's pictures before helping them!!!
(Unless I can't come up with a solution, or I don't want to answer the question, or I don't like the question, or I got up on the wrong side of the bed, or.....)

She wrote:
"Here is where I have considered putting it - between the windows. As you may note, the armoire is around 40" wide. The gap between the drapes is around 24". The gap between the window frames is probably...33"? I know I can overlap the drapes in theory. (It fits fine where it is now, it just looks really awkward. I don't know why - I didn't expect that.)"

~the misfit

She continues...
"For reference, this and the next picture show the rest of the room. The armoire is sitting just out of the frame, on the left. The two-windowed wall is opposite the wall with the headboard. (Not moving the bed because I wallpapered that one wall as an accent wall.) Also, yes, I know the room is a total disaster. I am not actually a slob; I'm just not cleaning or straightening ANYTHING until I am done with all my projects in a given room - here, repairing the door and finishing the duvet cover. Until then, energy goes to wallpapering the dining room..."

~the misfit

And she finished with...
"Last for-reference picture. The window to the left of the armoire is one of the pair that are on the same wall. The room is large-ish (by my standards) but there's a window or door (or more) on each wall. And the bed is centered and throws off everything else. I think tiny rooms are easier..."

~the misfit

Now, I actually had a similar situation in my little cottage in Watertown. My den had a pair of windows on one wall, and I wanted to put an armoire between them to house my TV. (this was in the old days of deep TV's). I would like to take credit for the solution, but I think my designer buddy, Greg, is the one who came up with the answer. AARRRGGG!!!! I need a scanner, so I can draw a picture of what I did, but I'm in Florida, and my scanner is in Massachusetts. Well, I'll explain it as best I can, and maybe I'll go out tomorrow and buy a scanner. I'm really making a lot of money, writing this blog.  (Let's seeeee.....I've bought a new camera and tripod, I want to buy a wide angle lens, I need some other photography stuff......Thank God I'm retired, or I'd go broke!!!)

This is what I did!!!!!!!
I treated the two windows as one.
I had a valance made that spanned the full width of the two windows, and I hung it at the ceiling line.
I had two pairs of draperies made that flanked the two windows.
I placed the armoire in front of the drapery panels.

The main point is that the glass was not covered by fabric or furniture, just the window casing and the wall were covered.
I  had a space of wall show between the two windows, I didn't want to do a whole wall of fabric, but the span of the valence united the treatment. ACTUALLY.....now that I think about it, and the same thing would work in the situation above.....The valence came down to the top of the armoire, so none of the wall behind it showed.

I try to NEVER cover glass!!!!! (Except with blinds, shutters and shades). I keep drapery panels, valences and cornices off the @#%& glass!!!

   Betsy's point # 1:  Glass is to see out and let the sun in (except at night, it's O.K. to close the draperies at night.)

Now, if the armoire overlaps the window glass, I would leave it where it is in the room, and set a pretty chair in front of the window, perpendicular to the armoire, angled slightly away from it.
This way you start building an arrangement of furniture into the corner, so that it doesn't look like you just stuck a piece of furniture over there, not knowing what else to do. (I know, that's what you did, but I don't want you to feel bad about it.)

Here's a picture of my den, unfortunately, the image is cutting off the armoire, but it shows the left side of the drapery treatment I'm talking about.

I know, I know.....
The table is covering the glass a little. I always seem to be breaking my own rules.

They're my rules, I feel they are important, and then I ignore them.

Do what I say, and not what I do.


Question 2!!! (I am so excited that I got me some questions!)
(Working for free!!!! My Dad will be sooooo proud!!!)

Katie from Wildwood Creek asked:

Dear Betsy,

We live in a rustic cottage and the kitchen is a dark cave. I'd like to paint the walls and cabinets white. Do you have a favorite paint and color for painting kitchens?

Wellllllllll, the first thing I'd do, is raise the valences up a little bit to get the fabric off the glass.
I know, I know, that's not what you asked me, but you'd be amazed at the difference it will make in how much light comes into the room. I mean, you're covering a quarter of the window!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's a cheap and easy fix.
The cabinets will look AMAZING painted white. Good idea!!!!
The white I use the most is.......
Get ready.....
Benjamin Moore, color:  White.
Not Linen White, or Navajo White, or this white or that white, just plain @#%& White!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's crisp, it's pretty, and it goes with everything.
I wouldn't paint the walls white.

I can see that they are nice board paneling, so painting them white is a classic way to go, butttttt......I would paint them a buttery, creamy yellow, very light, that would complement your blue accents. I would paint the woodwork around the windows the same white as the cabinets. Yayyyyy. Benjamin Moore "White"!!!!! To find you a nice yellow, I went to my large Benjamin Moore paint chip samples, that only us super duper decorators get, and found this as a possibility: 
Name: Natural Beech, #253

I can't believe I tried to take a picture of a paint chip!!!!!!
Of course the color is WAYYYYYY off.

But, I do think it would be nice to have some contrast between the cabinets and the walls, just sayin'.
It would also pick up some of the warmth of the counter tops color.

Question 3!!!!!
Sissie from Sissie's Shabby Cottage  gave out a cry for help.

She wrote: "Amy sent me over to have you look at my living room pictures. I must say that it's a little intimidating to ask a famous designer questions about my simple decor. But here I am and any suggestions you might have will be most appreciated."
So, I clicked on over to her blog and saw her very pretty living room that just needs a few tweaks.

I would start building up the stuff on the bookshelves. Maybe do collections of white pottery and mercury glass. To keep it from looking too stark, layer in some wooden objects and some paintings leaning against the wall.
If you want to bring some color into the room, go to Homegoods to look for cheap pillows with the color you want, and paint the back of the bookshelves a matching hue. Then do draperies to match the white of the upholstered furniture.

Here's an example of what I mean.....
This is in my living room in Massachusetts

Don't go for this heavy a look, because your room is so light and airy.
But fill more stuff into the shelves.
I think a lot of mercury glass with accents of white pottery would be really beautiful.

To add some life to the mantle, how about a pair of matching mercury glass vases with some fake bouquets of roses in them?
I just love me some fake flowers!!!!!

On the console table behind the sofa, what about a lovey potted orchid set in a mossy container, it will bring some life to that part of the room along with some more color and texture. I lucked out and found some fake ones at Home Goods, but a real one would do. (I know, real flowers!!!!! I must be loosing my mind!!)

Here's a fake one I found at Home Goods along with the pot. The clay pot that came with the orchid was reeeaaallly small, so I stuck it in this white pot and filled up the extra space inside the pot with sphagnum moss.

Sissie then asked.....
"My next project is what to do with these huge windows. See the rods up there.....I'm trying to decide what kind of panels to make.

Any suggestions?????"

As I mentioned above, I think white panels would be really pretty, if you bring other color into the room. You could sew a contrast fabric onto the lead and bottom edges, but I think in this light and airy space, just white would be lovely.
For a more elegant look, I would do a rich lined brocade, like the sofa. If you want something a little more casual, why not floaty sheers? Make sure they are full enough, and I always like them a little too long, so that they break on the floor. Try to have as little fabric as possible cover the glass (am I beating a dead horse with this point????). Just a simple straight panel in this type of a classic room is what I feel is the best.

Question 4!!!!!
This question is from my buddy Amy at Maison Decor. I have a sneaking suspicion that she just wanted me to have some questions, so I wouldn't feel like a complete dork. Butttt.... I will answer it any way.
She asks...."Are my bookcases too busy?"
"my question is, if I have a floral background in the bookcase, should I tone it down with the contents or what?"

My answer is:  Or what!!!!!

It's funny, until she asked me this, I hadn't given it any thought.
Now that I look at it, I like the whole megillah!!!!!
I happen to love a whole jumble of stuff on a bookcase.
I think it looks very cozy and charming. I particularly like that little green tray leaning against the wall.
I even like her mirror and vases on her mantle. But if you haven't been to her house, you don't know that SHE HAS A MIRROR ON EVERY @#%& WALL!!!!!
AMY go buy some freakin' art work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Question 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Erika wrote.....

"Am SO happy to have recently found your blog. It is quickly becoming a favorite!
I am struggling with a design issue that doesn't require sending you a pic. A few years back we bought a 15 year old house that we love-sort of "French chateau" in feeling with Brazilian Cherry floors, large windows, cherry cabinets and white painted woodwork, leaded glass with my fave Fleur de lis inserts. You get the idea.

But all bath fixtures, door hardware, hinges, etc. throughout are brass. I keep hearing brass is still "out" and have changed a couple of pieces we felt we could when doing some upgrading, but am wondering what the "rules " are about everything matching? For consistency must they be the same in all (7) baths? To change them all-hinges, door handles, knobs etc is out of the question due to cost.
Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated!
Best wishes to you in your blogging adventures! Thanks, a new fan!"

My answer:
 NO!!!!!! All the bathrooms don't need to match. As for whether brass is passe or not. WHO CARES????
The most important point is: Do YOU like it????? This is your home, if you like it, and it works, then how can it be wrong? I think what's more important than finish, is the style of the fixtures themselves. If they are appropriate for the house, then that's GREAT!!!!
What I do try for though, is that inside each bathroom, to try to get all the metals to work together. If the bath has chrome, then I try to have the door knob that is on the bath side be chrome also. Same goes for towel bars, etc.Hinges on the doors are up for grabs, as they show on both sides (see, I am brilliant, I know that!!) (Not that I am brilliant, but that hinges show on both sides.) (Oy Vey!!! I just looked at my doors, they don't show on both sides!!!! Who knew???) So the hinges should match on whichever side they show. Oy.

That's it for today, please don't be shy and next week ask some questions. See, I was sort of nice, not too mean, and I hope this was helpful.

The reason the font has gotten so big, is because the blogger program is giving me fits, it won't let me set the last 2 questions in the size font I want.
Has anyone else had this problem?
Now I'm asking you guys questions.



Katie @ Wildwood Creek said...

Thanks for your answer regarding painting my kitchen, Betsy! It's a great help to learn of your favorite white color because there are so many whites to choose from. Loved reading your answers to all the questions.

Amy Chalmers said...

OMG!!! It is good!???? yay for me and yay for me having you as a pal! Ok, the mirror fell off the mantle this morning and crashed into bits onto the floor. by the way, last week I did buy a painting and I cannot wait to hang it right over the mantle. So I must be getting the Betsy vibe sent to me via wavelengths. Yay!! Nice post. I waited all morning to see this damn thing too.

the misfit said...

I have had this problem (with the font size). You're not going to like the answer, I suspect. When in the "Create Post" window, you'll find that there's a little box in which you may type your post. Along the top is a long row of buttons (to change font, add hyperlinks, add photos, etc.). Above THAT, and to the right, you'll see two folder tabs. One is "write" or something neutral-sounding. The other is "edit html." I am increasingly finding that I prefer that one. If you click on it, you will see what input your blog is REALLY RECEIVING when you create a post. In the other tab, it has translated it according to how it will appear on the blog - SORT OF. Blogger's translation process for this is janky at best. Whenever you add a picture, it starts multiplying the returns between paragraphs like crazy, for no reason that I can discern. (It has done this since at least 2009.) As of 2011 (and some periods in 2009), it will not let you cut and paste a picture in the other (non-html) view; you have to drag it. ALL THE WAY DOWN THE POST. If you use the html view, you can copy and paste the TEXT that corresponds to the picture, and put it wherever you want. This is so much easier. As you know, it also has many other bugs. You can see them all in all their creepy-crawliness when you open the "edit html" (or is it "view html"?). If you look at a pargraph that's reading properly and it has just a few characters of formatting, and you go to one of the paragraphs that's the wrong font size, or type face, or justification, or has seventy returns, just go ahead and delete all the formatting code that the normal paragraph doesn't have.

Thanks for the decorating tips!! I think my armoire would overlap the glass (and I JUST hung the curtains, which was a huge pain, so I am leery of going back and adding a valance) but I could put a furniture grouping in the corner...

Starr said...

Love this "column". Very fun. I would send in a dilemma of my own but my house is one big problem.

PS Blogger is just making me mad recently.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Betsy!
I am thrilled that you answered my questions about my living room and quite honored that you found it pretty with not much tweaking necessary. Quite a compliment coming from you!

My first thought was to add long flowing sheers on the windows and now you have confirmed my thoughts!
I agree with you that the bookcased need to be filled up with some warmer pieces. Of course mercury glass and white ironstone are my favorite collectibles.
Thank you again for your great suggestions and input. I'll be working on this room and I'll be sure and show it's progress using your designer recommendations.

I've also enjoyed reading about the other rooms as well. You have given them some great advice.

This is going to be a fun meme!


Cindy said...

Omg... YOU are giving free advice??? How did i miss that opportunity! Uhhhhhh, can i send you a picture and get some free advice too???!!!! Flirty and charming, head tilt and smile, batting eyelashes... so you'll say yes...

Either way, you're funny as anything... and i really liked all your ideas for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Loved the "Tuesday questions" Big success !! Thinking of sending one in myself !

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Morning Betsy,

What funto read all your great advice and endearing biting humor ;->

You always make me laugh.

janet xox

Olivia said...

I love this advice day! I've been reading your blog since the beginning and think it's great and you're funny! I can't wait to post my own question! I have several.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

I was so busy yesterday with a posting and "activities of daily life" that I totally missed my submission of your "Tuesday questions"..However, you have already answered one of mine.."go with what you love" The photo of the Sissie's Shabby Cottage is truly a near copy of my great room layout. Mine has the jewel tone colors but the room is almost identical..So you also answered my question about the drapery panels. My windows are the exact duplicate of hers!..

Love, love your Q&A session..so great!

Connie in Hartwood said...

I have just had the most wonderful time wandering backwards in time through your blog. I love your practical advice, and your 'who cares if it's popular' attitude. Anyone who loves cabbage roses as much as I do is someone I know I'll like. I just hit the Follower button, and I'm putting you on my blog roll as soon as I finish this comment.

Seriously looking forward to visiting with you each week!

Janet said...

Love all your advice and biting, sarcastic humor (similar to my own). The finish on your bookcase/armoire in your Massachusetts home is delightful. I want it! Speaking of blogger doing weird things...it is telling me that "humor" is misspelled!!!

Janet in Mass

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...