Tuesday, August 14, 2012

OY VEY!! Q&A!! Tuesday!! ANSWERS!!!!

Can't believe this is the 9th time I'm doing this.
While I'm commenting on the number of things.....
I passed my one year blogging anniversary without making a note of it.....,
It was the 10th of August.....
Amy Chalmers and I talked about doing a give-a-way in honor of the occasion.....
But I'm too lazy.....
Free advice is going to have to suffice....

On that charming note, let's get onto the Q&A.....
For Cheri, who wrote me about her plantations shutters and window scale, when I went to answer your questions,
 I couldn't get the picture onto my blog,
 because you included it pasted to the page of the email.
If you send me the question again,
 this time add your picture as an attachment, then I will be able to post it on my blog.
So for anyone else who is going to send questions,
 that's the way to do it!!!!

OK, let's try another, sheesh.....
I'm not off to such a great start.....

Hi, Betsy                    
I have another question for you - I feel pretty comfortable choosing colors and fabrics, but furniture arrangement feels so HARD ! I just agonize - with time I can tell when something isn't right. BUT WHY can't I tell by looking at the room ? I feel like I have to make my choices quickly because I have people who are doing the heavy lifting ! I feel so frustrated, is this something a person can study and apply "rules" to in order to get a formula ?? I am just agonizing over another spot in my house and it just bugs me so much !! I did a floor plan with graph paper but I still struggle with this 
Thanks Doll,

the other Betsy 
Well, there are some basic rules I go by when laying out a floorplan.
I arrange furniture by how the room is to be used.
I create conversation areas in living rooms and family rooms. 
I always think about supplying a small table next to a sofa or chair for drinks.
For main traffic flow areas, I leave 36" of space. 
If it's not a main walking area, I have been known to leave 30".....
However, each space is unique, and I sweat bullets over almost every floorplan I do.
The way to tell that you've come up with a good arrangement of furniture,
is when the plan looks obvious.
It shouldn't look contrived.
So, the more successful the floorplan.....
The less work 
people will think you've put into it!!!
Doesn't really seem fair, but that's the rough and tumble world of decorating!!!!!
Just to make you feel better...,
My living room arrangement gave me heartburn!!!!!
My Study wasn't a walk in the park either......
But now they look like....
"of course that's the logical way to arrange the room!"
I tell ya, it's not fair!!!!!
But a key point I made, 
when moving into my condo from my house in Watertown;
 I was willing to forgo pieces that didn't fit,
 and got new pieces that worked better.
My niece has been the beneficiary
 of my favored cast offs.
With all the great finds on Craig's List, and some DIY sweat, 
you can rework spaces without breaking the bank.....
the main thing is to be willing to let go of stuff
 that no longer fits
 into your lifestyle or house!!!!!
I can't tell you the heartache I've suffered having to work around some sentimental piece of crap that a client wouldn't get rid of.....
That's whats grand kids and nieces are for!!!!!


My sense of design is mixed with my husbands love of finding old stuff. Or maybe I just don't have any sense of what I am doing.

 I have been living with this common problem of my furniture being under arrest!  Up against the wall! 

  What do you do when The room is only 10 feet wide?

I hope to be purchasing slip covers in the near future. I can also pull furniture from other rooms. I have collected a lot of stuff over the years. Most of it will look a lot better after I get Maison Decor's. Miss Amy to tell me all her 

tricks for transforming them with Annie Sloan paint.  I have a blog it's not up and running (i don't know how). Getting to that!!! Don't be gentle with me, I can take it!! Oy Oy Oy!!
O.K. so here are my pictures: I'm sure they are too big.....Help!!   

P.S. Sofa 82 inches and that wall where the T.V. is 7 feet between the 2 openings. The front of room has a bow window! The only thing I like about the room is the wall color.

Thank you
 Cheryl Siciliano from Design on a Find!!
 also blog friend of Amy Chalmers....sorry I'm shamelessly dropping names!!

Well.....my answer is.....
You didn't tell me enough info, so I'm going to make assumptions.....
I don't know the length of the room.....
I don't know the size of the club chairs.....
I don't know @#$
Here's a sketch I did, guessing about what you have
 and where you have it......,

I would move the pair of chairs perpendicular to the sofa, creating a conversation/TV viewing area.
This would create two more spaces in the room at either end.
In front of the big window, off the entry, I would place a console type of table, with a couple of side chairs flanking it for back up seating, when you have a big party!!!!!
This would create a more gracious entry, as your guests, entering your home, would not be right on top of the living room seating area.....
At the other end of the living room, you could open your antique and  set up a desk area for computer game playing, or blog writing, that you are threatening to do.....
The room is so long that it would be nice to get several uses out of it, other than just watching TV!!!!!
To soften the space, I have helped you spend money by putting a fake tree in the corner.....
I forgot to draw in your end tables, so just imagine that I did......
I have ditched the big chair and ottoman, put them in another room.....
Or not, 
it's your house...... 
p.s. I like your dog......
Paula asks...
I also have huge furniture arrangement issues. Our open plan kitchen/living room is 20 x 23 with windows on the west wall, sliding door and window on the north wall, kitchen sink, counter, cabinets and oven on the south wall, and stairs and hallway on the east. I hate the couch floating in the middle of the room, simple because I don't like looking at the back of a couch when I walk up the stairs. Plus, if a burglar breaks in how will I know what they look like if they can sneak up behind me? Not a good situation. Here is one picture from my blog of the space.
editor's note 
(Being the enterprising babe that I am.....I went to her blog, and found the rest of the pictures of the room.....I am like a female Sherlock Holmes!!!!)

cream walls, dropcloth drapes, neutral rug, red wing crocks

cream walls, dropcloth shades, record carp bowfishing, red wing crocks, chalkboard wall

cream walls, dropcloth shades, vintage teal cabinet, minnesota subway art, vintage pyrex, neutral rug

cream walls, dropcloth shades, vintage teal cabinet, minnesota subway art, vintage pyrex, blue ball jars, vintage kitchen island
My solution is.....
Put the sofa on the wall that has the little blue china cabinet, centering it under the window to the right.
Put the TV against the wall that's behind the white recliner.....
If there is room (who knows??? you guys never give me enough information....) place the recliner perpendicular to the TV.
I don't know where to put the china cabinet, 

I just found your blog recently and was so thrilled that I have found someone who likes florals as much as I do.  I so look forward to each time that you post.  I love your beautiful homes and all the floral fabrics and prints on your wall.  Your style of decorating is fabulous.

I seem to not quite know which direction to go in my decorating.   I am attaching a few photos for you to see.  My main question is the mirror in the living room.  Is this mirror too gawdy or is the finish correct.  What do I do with the urns on each side of it?  Are they right for this mantel?   I am not totally in love with the silk flowers that I have in there now, but it seems that the vases need something with height to be in scale with the mirror. 

As for draperies, are these ok, or not?   I do like color, but sometimes don't think that I am using it in the right areas.  Excuse the one picture being missing in the plate  racks.  It fell and broke.  Should I even havee these plate racks on the wall here with something in them.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.  I realize lots of people email you, so I am willing to wait as long as needed for an answer. 

I do not have a blog.   Hoping  that it is ok that I am emailing you.

Have a great day.

Sandra White

OK, Sandra, let's start with the draperies.....
I think the pattern is handsome, and windows this style are hard to dress.
What I would do is restyle the way they are hung. 
I like the look of a drapery panel that gets wider towards the bottom.
Your hold backs are creating a look that is top-heavy.....
I used to have the same problem, but I went to a plastic surgeon and had that fixed.
I think we won't need to go to such extremes....
this is what I suggest you do......
(you're going to have to get on a ladder....)
gather the panels more tightly at the top, as tight as you can make them.
It may make the poles look too long, so you might decide to bite the bullet and do this right by cutting down the poles.....
Your house, your rules!!!!
Then take off the hold backs, and let the draperies flair out at the bottom.
they will look much more luxurious, and the plaid will look better.

Now, about the mantel.....
The mirror is lovely.
The problem is the urns and the flowers......
You need vases or urns with a wider mouth.
(for all of you nasty folks reading this. I didn't just say that because I have a big mouth.....)
A wider mouth will allow for a lusher arrangement.
While we're talking about arrangements....
It could be my limited experience in life,
If you don't see it in nature, don't buy a fake like it.
You want a fake that looks real!!!!!!!!!

Betsy's decorating rule number 212c:
Fakes are good.
Real looking fakes are gooder!!!!!

Why not go out and buy some fake blue hydrangeas. Those would be the same color you have, but more believable....
Take the other #$% off the mantel.
how about getting a pair of antique plates in colors that work with the room, and set them on stands on either end of the mantel....
Then, what about just placing a pretty wooden box in the middle, and you'll be done.
OH BOY!!!!!
Now you get to go shopping!!!!
please help me!
Hello Ms. Speert

I'm in need of help with the windows located in my eat in kitchen space. As you can see, its not a very bright area, I have a screened porch on the back of the house. Windows face south, but the roof of the porch blocks much of the light. Anyway-at one point I had tacked up some long panels of material along the windows, in my attempt to see if I liked the way a potential stationary panel worked. I liked them, it instantly warmed the space up, however I have no clue how to treat the window on the end (the one that is west facing) because there is very little wall space to do panels on each side. There is 6" of wall space on one side, and 13" on the other. This is the kind of b.s. I wish I paid attention to when we built our house-so now i have an off center window, amongst many other little bits around my house, that will drive me bananas. I thought about faux roman shades, but I worry that it will block the light coming in, and these are the only windows in my kitchen. On a side note, I plan on hanging a larger light fixture over the table, I want something a with some sparkle. Right now this area feels and looks cold, sparse, and needs color. I don't like sitting/eating here. I'm a diy kind of girl, but I'm also a discouraged perfectionist so I need help with this little pickle so I don't obsess about what to do until I am 85. I promise I will graciously send you improved pics (I don't have a blog-just do a lot of blog reading) of this blah part of my house if you dispense me any help! Thanks so much for your time.

My "problem" window. Sorry about dirty table. I have 4 kids.

Sarah! All is not lost!!!!!
Hang the pole so that the left side doesn't have a finial and goes tight against the left wall, with just a finial on the right side of the smaller window.
If you make your drapery panels out of sheer fabric, and sew them to rings with a small pinch pleat at the top, the panels will stack tight enough to stay off the glass on the left side.
 Like I did for my friend Lissette last spring.
 Sheers come in all different colors, so you could find something that works with your home, plus they are easy to sew for the DIYer that you are!!!
As to the fact that the window isn't centered on the wall,
You will notice this, but once the draperies are up, other folks won't. 

The next question is from the blogger: The Other Me is Sane....
Betsy, what can I do to make the door and window look like they should be in the same room together? To the left of the door is a corner fireplace so there's only about 3 feet between the door and the fireplace. The floor will be wood. The ceiling is 12 feet high.
Please pick this pathetic situation to correct. I will be forever grateful.
Easy Peasy!!!!
Here's the solution!!!!
The drapery side panels on the door should be hung on a pole.
The ones on the window should have a valance and side panels.
The top of the valance should line up with the top of the drapery fabric of the door panels.
This will unite the two openings, yet allow for two different sizes.

Elizabeth from the blog Elizabeth and Gary asks....
I love wallpaper and have been wanting to use it again, back in the 70's I think my husband and I must have wallpapered every room in the house LOL (poor people that had to remove all that)
 There is wallpaper Bead Board now that I think is really cool looking and I love the wallpaper in you your book Great Color & Pattern Collection on page 242.

We do not have a head board, our bed is new and is a king, since we were not sure about a head board we decied  just to purchase the bed, what I thought about was having my husband make us a white  Bead Board headboard. I know the shelve is a bit small above the bed, but it fills in the open space of not having an headboard. I love having home made things around me.  So many of the linens and pillows were hand made for us and or inherited. The king size quilt on the bed I made.

Well this is what I think.....
I would do a red ticking stripe wallpaper. I think it works well with the Americana feeling of all your quilts.
Thibaut Wallpaper has it here
I'm not thrilled with the beadboard wallpaper.
I like it on the back of a kitchen cabinet, where you just get the overall effect of beadboard 'cuz it's hidden behind stuff, but I don't like it front and center.
I would paint your husbands wardrobe white.
For the bed, let him make a real beadboard white headboard.
A good height for a headboard is 54". 
Folks tend to make headboards too low.
I would add a crown molding at the ceiling, this will act as a nice accent to the wallpaper.


Jayne from Daisey Jayne asks...

Okay, I’m going to ask the fabulous Betsy Speert to give her sage advice on what to do with that giant wall behind my sofa!?  When we designed the house I neglected to balance the windows behind the sofa ( which is facing and centered on the fireplace, sorry no picture).  So in the second to last picture you can see the window on the right, and you can’t see the window on the left because it’s about 4′ away, the lack of symmetry bothers me.  Not to mention what/how do you decorate such a large wall?  In another post I showed my very large antique clock, which I’d like to use but what do I put around it, it looks lost by itself.  Well Betsy, what do you advise?  By the way I have added a coffee table, end tables with lamps and another small tufted chair next to my grandmothers chair, I just haven’t taken pics and posted yet…

Well, my answer is....
Since the sofa isn't set against the wall, it doesn't bother me that the windows are off center to the fireplace (much).
To make the wall more balanced, you could set a tall narrow piece of furniture to the right of the left window.
This would create a more centered space for hanging stuff on the wall.
A tall mora clock, or grandfather clock, or a secretary.
As for the clock you got at the estate sale.....
I love it, just not so sure about it with your tufted linen.
I would need to see your other furniture to see the direction you're going.
But if you had a tall clock, then you could do a gallery type wall on the remaining space to the right of the clock, like what I did in my Watertown home.....
(like the ripped picture, and I taped two pieces together. This is from a double spread in House Beautiful, and the picture is a leetle mangled.)

Well, I'm bushed.
that's it for this month's Q&A
Latah, Gatah


ShopGirl said...

Hi Bets ! Thanks so much for the thoughtful answer!! I am going to think about letting go the two love seats I have been trying to work with and try other ideas :) I am also going to go back over all your rooms and try to study your arrangements. The room I am going crazy over is a sitting room at the end of my kitchen. Hugs the other B.

Anonymous said...

Hi Betsy! Man, you went to town tonight. So many questions and I loved your answers too. I've painted the backs of my bookshelves green in my den a little like Lissettes.
Well, till later and be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

ShopGirl said...

P.S. Happy Blog Anniversary !

design on a find said...

Wow...I was so excited to see the sketch. My kids think I am nuts. I'm dancing around the room with my laptop! I am a bit starstruck! I have a sketch!!!! OH my...I am so excited about the possibilities. I forgot to mention the room is 24 feet long...A bowling ally! Your ideas are awesome. I am on the waiting list to have my chairs re-done by the prison...yup! It's so affordable. Thank you so much! The chairs are big but they were expensive so I'm keeping them but having the backs made smaller. Channel backs. Thank you. Thank you! By the time I figure out this blog business out..It will be done! P.S. Neighbors dog for good measure...J/k she's all mine

Amy Chalmers said...

yes you sure did go to town tonight with your answers!~I loved reading them and trying to imagine the fixes that could come...and I bet you got many happy women who were thrilled to hear your words of wisdom.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Well Happy Blogaversary Betsy!...I just love reading your "advice column"...you are so very generous with your professional decorating advice and the laughter is a bonus! Have a wonderful day!

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Betsy, thanks so much for answering my question about my high door low windows. I hadn't thought of putting a valance across the top of the window, so am pondering that. I'm going to buy some wooden thicker poles and hope to get some type of floral curtains. Thanks again so much. Will email with attachments when completed.

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Dear Betsy,
Thank you so much for writing Oy Vey!! Q&A!!
and for helping me with my wallpaper and bead board question. I love the ticking wallpaper very much and am going to send for a sample. Also my husband is going to design the head board for me. For the last serval months our carpenter (who is our daughters boyfriend) has been designing and installing custom crown throughout out our home and ripping out all the old small standard door molding and replacing it with 3 1/5 wood molding. He had planned on crowning our bedroom for us, so thats a done deal. It might take a few months for us to complete the bedroom but when its done I will post photo's for you. You are such a sweetheart and I can't thank you enough.
Have a sweet day, Elizabeth
P.S I am looking forward to seeing your dinning room table

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Happy Blogaversary Betsy!!!!!!

janet xox
The Empty Nest

Marian said...

Congrats on a year of blogging. I look forward to the next year.

Jayne said...

Betsy, thank you so much for your advice. I am going to take it and find something tall to put next to the left window. And then on to the gallery wall! I'll be posting pictures as I go along. Happy anniversary on your blog!! I don't miss a post!
Your faithful follower,

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I love all your advice and it sure helps to see a room through another persons eyes, especially a professional as yourself. I cannot wait to put your advice into action. As for those fake flowers in those urns, I don't like them either. I am an avid gardener as well, and the only reason they were in the urns, was that they were blue and seemed tall and skinny. I will certainly replace the urns. Those were inherited from family, and I will use them somewhere else, perhaps in the dining room. I made those plaid draperies myself, so they are certainly not perfect. I will be climbing on a ladder to restyle them.
Once again thank you. Happy Anniversary with your blog, and I cannot wait to see all your posts. Always look forward to them.


Cheri said...

Happy Anniversary! I can't believe a year has passed since you started blogging. You're probably the only designer whose name and interiors I remembered over the years, even details like the Speert family dog house! Thanks for all the great information and advice. I love your style, new and old.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! Wicked excited to have Betsy Speert's advice for my windows! I'm off to shop for fabric, and get some hardware help from my mister this weekend. I'll send you an update when I finish. Thanks for your time. Cheers to a year of blogging!


Paula said...

BETSY!!! Thank you so much for answering my question. I can't wait to get home tonight and rearrange my room. Congratulations on your blogiversary!

Katie Mansfield said...

What is worse the family has made me the keeper of the cr*p. I have learned in the last two years to give away what doesn't work. I have a settee that I am wrestling over, now. It doesn't fit into our lifestyle anymore.
Thanks for the validation!!

Toni said...

Hi Betsy-Just found your blog & am enjoying wasting my time (ha ha) viewing all the lovely eye candy! I am your newest follower....

jeanne said...

Love,love,love. It all! You
Your attitude and your blog. Glad we could meet.

Lorraine said...

What a great home renovations in Los Angeles. Such a beautiful idea. Thanks for sharing :)

Dolores said...

Hi Betsy!
I was looking for the answer to a decorating question I had- so searched through your blog for help. Of course, spent a good hour reading your blog just for fun...Anyway, I just love the once-a -month decorating dilemmas that you solved for your readers. It's probably too much work for you to sift through projects that had some appeal( and, where you weren't expected to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse) and had a good solution, but it was just such a gift to your readers- I learned soo much from you..
Never did find the answer to my question- so if you need inspiration for another topic- what is the rule for matching metals in a bathroom or kitchen.i.e. if you have good brass lights over the vanity and brass curtain rods, etc., do you have to have brass fixtures, or would chrome faucets with white porcelain handles work fine..
Hope your new fabric line isn't causing you sleepless nights.Can't wait to see the direction that you will be taking with them!

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