Sep 19, 2014


I will go through what you have told me and make comments in blue.
Hi Claudine 

I will explain something's about each picture that are my thoughts or why I chosen to do what I have done to give you some perspective. This is what can not be changed, the wall color, couches, piano and side table ( maybe) only because I finally found a new base(pier one) for the glass top to replace the brass base that was their previously. Side table, initially wanted ceramic white elephants for a base but could not find anything I liked (I looked for months everywhere) The only reason I kept with the glass tables was because the room is small and I wanted to repurpose the glass. Otherwise garbage or Freecycle. I know the tiger striped couch screams Africa, primitive but maybe not so much with the red walls. 
Leslie, I like the side table base and I think once you have something on the walls it will look more finished and pull the design together a little more.  Think about a mirror and some art prints on that wall, as the mirror will bring in a little more light.  The red is a personal choice but a little intense in a small room - so we need to bring in a little more light and reflection and art to break it up so it works for you.  I like the tiger stripe, but it needs a little breaking up too - a throw or another pillow or two in a different color or pattern.  We will work on that.  Is there room in the space to do a room divider between the sofa and the piano?  Some thing like Ikea's Kallax would bring some vertical design into the room.

Lamp on the table not staying.  I will put up artwork and a much smaller lamp. 
I like the height of the lamp, but the base needs to be more substantial.  I'm thinking more along the lines of a large mirror on that big wall, and prints flanking it.   The back wall can have a couple of prints, too.
Previously I had two pictures ( they were a set) at slightly different heights. I am thinking to do the same. Couch on the angle is because in the winter I use it while reading with the fire place and I only have one side table. I have had it up against the back wall, not sure but it seemed awkward looking but could try again I suppose. 
Is the room large enough to put the larger sofa directly in front of the fireplace with the loveseat to the side at a 90 degree angle?  Can you draw me a rough floor plan of the room with approximate measurements?

Questions artwork?? I see things I like but not sure. What about the smaller left wall? 
Can you give me some examples of what you like??  I have some ideas for these walls, but need to know your style preferences.

I was going to purchase an arc light and put in corner behind couch. But maybe the room is to small and would be better with one really nice floor lamp. Their is quite a gap back their with the couch on the angle so I would like to make use of the space in some way.
Most people don't have enough lighting in their rooms.  I say the more the better - table and floor and overhead and sconces - at least you can then choose how much light you want.  Lamps are great design elements, too.  However, let me play with placement first.

One very difficult task has been drapes for windows. I might try to send a pic in the evening, you might be able better see what is thier. What is their now is a beige basket weave drapery (bed & bath - Reina) I have tried several colors.

Black - with the black couch I thought it was to much black. Tried the same basket weave type drape and a shimmery style material.  I agree - black is too much drama!

Red - shimmery style, surprisingly it looked nice but I thought it was again too much red but it imparted a somewhat elegant look.  Not a fan of shimmery red drapes on the windows...

Turquoise- this is the color I have been trying to play with as a 3 or 4 th colour. It looked ok and again shimmery type material.  The key to adding turquoise is to spread it out around the room a little.  Add a pillow or two to the sofas.  A small pop on the mantle. Maybe a more neutral version (grayed down a little) for the window coverings - so that they don't become your most prominent feature - and even add a small tiger stripe leading edge (do you sew a little?) to the curtain to pull the tiger stripe through.  Pictures to follow....

Patterned drapes nothing worked.  Hard to find something that won't fight with the tiger stripe...

The beige basket weave that is thier now looks fine. Because their are people passing by on the side of the house I have white sheers also that are quite bunched up. So at night I do not have to close the drapes. I would only close drapes mostly during summer ( less light keeps house cooler) and when gone to the cottage.  

One other idea I have is to go with the sheer verticals. ( ugh...verticals I know) and forget the drapes. This way less bulk from the drapes but could close the verticals when I need to. I could then put up a header/cornice for some interest above the white sheers.  Yikes.  Verticals are not a design element....  haha!

Fireplace mantel and wall. It all goes what you see. I was thinking I would put up a mirror. For some reason I was thinking wood, maybe a little rustic looking. I initially tried to do silver in this room but with tiger srtiped couch, did not look good. I have some suggestions....The white trim around fireplace not finished and for now the brown brick stays but I would like to cover it up with another stone. We just covered up all the brick a year ago as it was like that from ceiling to floor. The black fireplace insert has to stay for safety reason( wood burning). I did paint it out from shiny brass to black. If I could see something really nice to put thier I would buy it but again I looked everywhere.  The mantle looks good, and I don't mind the brick right now, as it has the same tone as the curtains.  I do think we need to work with the arrangement on top.  A little eclectic and a little funky would work in this room...

This is the view from behind the love seat. Both couches were reupholstered. I love the tiger striped but black ( matching material ) was a huge mistake! I should have done just two comfy chairs and a table between them. That was my plan originally. Anyways problem here is finding accent cushions that tie in to both couches. Again looked everywhere, only way is to have them made so now I go looking for material ( ugh ...another time consuming process that could take months). I was initially thinking turquoise ( for some color and pop )somewhere in the color for the pillows and with also some beige, red, black and cream.   I do like the turquoise pop idea.  I think tiger on this sofa would pull them together as well.  I don't think adding red is necessary, as there is a lot of that around already.  I would rearrange the furniture, too.

The wall between the two windows initially had a picture. I might do that again just because the couch is black blah so maybe something behind will help. If I had to do the couch over I would have done it in a thick black courdory just for the texture. I think it would have added to it visually.
I would flank the french doors in more curtain panels, which will add color, texture and bring the eye up.

French doors I am pretty sure I will paint them out white.  Yes, I agree that is a good idea.  Although I'm not sure you can see it but their is really nice crown moulding in this room. Holes in wall are for new sconces. The fan( has to stay, I do not have a/c so I do use it)it is brown ( lowes) with wicker type blades. When the fan went up I thought I would work around that, as I like that look. But trying to find the sconces with that in mind was not working. I could show what was purchased that looked really nice but when I went to order the second one it was discontinued. I have been everywhere trying to find something similar. Yes please show me, but here are a few suggestions...

I have gotten rid of everything in the dinette. So starting from scratch. The only thing I have purchased is a new table from world market ( Arcadia ).
love this, good choice
and currently on sale at Pier 1 for 99.00

I have not purchased chairs yet but was thinking kobu (pier one) they are somewhat grayish wicker chairs. I think that would look nice.   I love Kobu chairs and wicker is back - especially the gray toned wicker..
I will also purchase something for the back wall for some storage either hutch or bakers rack. The white bifold doors are covering my patio doors. It was a cheap version of California shutters. They did look nice with the old kitchen with the valence above it. They are of use especially in the summer when the sun is in the back most of the day. They could go but I do need something else to close. Drapes ?  black out drapes would add more elegance, but the shutters are good for a casual feel - which do you want for this room?  My recommendation would be to add drapes anyway, whether you keep the shutters or not.  :)  I always jump at the chance to soften and add texture to a room...

The fan/ light would like to change but was a huge hassle getting it up. I would like something nicer but again I need the fan part. Hard to find nice and efficient with ceiling fans. But if I see something worth going to all the hassle I would change it out! I love the chandelier lights with the shade around them.   If you look at the magazines you will find that most designers down play the fans when they are needed.  They are mostly basic, bronze or dark brown, no lights on them, functional fans made to disappear and not enfringe on the design of the room at all.  I also love fans, especially in my bedroom - love the air moving while I sleep..but they are definitely not very attractive.

Question the color here is temporary, it was just painted this color to get rid of previous color so I could figure out a new color. The dinette is very bright during the day when the sun is out ( it faces west). With my new dinning table which has some rustic flare to it and the grayish kobu chairs I was thinking a light gray ??  Depending on what you decide to do as a color 'pop' that should also be pulled into this room.  A grayed down version of the turquoise for example would be lovely and then accent with a pop of red and some of the black from the other room.  That will pull it all together and make sense of the color palette.
The only problem is the kitchen part ( next picture). 

The cabinets are brown and have a very slight orange undertone to them. the cabinets will look less orange when the color is cooler for the wall. I was thinking gray because of the red living room and my hallway is taupe, thought it would flow better?? I'm thinking that changing colors in every room will chop the space up instead of making it flow.  Can you change the hall color, or paint the kitchen the same color?  Space is money.  We don't want to make our space look smaller, which happens when we stop and start colors in open rooms.  Only other color was a green maybe olive ( one of the few colors green I have not done in this kitchen lol ) I just do not want anymore darker colors. I wouldn't add another color to the mix, the neutral taupe or gray would be better.  The red living room as much as I love it is on the wow side so looking for something softer.  Yes, a neutral will allow the red to be wow and not fight with it.
The border goes and will be replaced with matching crown moulding in dinette. Maybe I'm overthinking the paint color. I tend to that! Lol  So happy the border is bye bye

This is little more clear. Mostly what will be painted in here is the above the cabinets where border is. And one small wall opposite the red wall in this picture. The back splash tile is kind of white, cream, beige,gray. It's 6" tumbled marble (lowes) the floor is similar to the backsplash in colour. Gray or olive?? Any other color? Does it really matter? It matters because we are trying to create a design that flows easily from room to room.  So no green, unless its a version of the turquoise (if you use that) and I would try to keep the hall and kitchen consistent with each other.  They will look different because of the shape of the rooms and amount of light available, but it won't be an obvious chop/stop and start of colors..

This is the hallway to front door, it tends to be on the dark side when the door is closed. It's hard to see the color but it is taupe on the gray side slightly. The opening to the basement will be a white French door bifold( lowes). It's looks the same as the door between living room and dinette but white. Once all the floors are complete their will only be carpet runners on the floor different to what you see now. 

So that's it. I hope I have not gone overboard with trying to explain everything. I just keep thinking if you were sitting here with me I guess this is what I would tell you.  Perfect
So please give any suggestions you might have for anything!!! If you have pictures, links, anything that would help me visually please send them.

Next step - answer any questions I may have asked in the blue above, and give me some feedback on the advice or ask any questions you have.  Then I will include some suggestions with photos, etc. and possible items you may want to add and where you can get them.  I'd also like to play with the floor plan in the living room if you can get me the room dimensions and the size of the sofas.

Best wishes,

Jul 22, 2014



Congratulations on a new beginning!  Thinking good thoughts for you for the future!

[I removed all the pictures you didn't like and kept the ones you did]

[2. LOVE everything about this! The colors, the happy feeling it gives off, the stuff on the coffee table and table behind the couch is adorable!
these two have a sofa table behind the sofa, so theres a place for lamps, etc.
4.  [Love the side chair and flowers on the table. Pictures are really pretty too! I like pictures of people (Brooke:) up in the house!]
no white for brooke

7. [Love the fun/interesting pillows!]

10. [LOVE THE WHITE... just don't know how to keep the couch clean with Brooke but I love how fresh, light and homey it is.]
11. [ So fun! Love the table.]
12. [Love the couch, flowers and I especially like the side table/dresser!]

13. [That table is amazing and so are the chairs. I didn't think about a round table but I absolutely love that one.]

14. [I love the idea of the desk behind the couch if it doesn't fit in the bedroom!]

Brookes room

2. [I love this one (because of the colors)]

4. [this one (the blue wall one because of the BEDDING!!)]
5. [this one (because of the colors and storage!)]

Anthropologie has my absolute favorite stuff as far as bedding/decorating items! They are out of this bedding but it is my favorite ever:

Jun 18, 2014



I'm so sorry for the delay in getting this to you, but you have me a lot to digest, and I wanted to put it here in such a way that you can see the palette working throughout your home.   As always, a few words of wisdom:  Paint looks completely different in your house than it would in mine or anyone else's for that matter.  Light, size of room, wood tones, height of ceiling, time of day and even geographical settings all alter the appearance of paint color.  It may take us a couple of tries to get it right, but the best way is for you to put some sample paint on a poster board (leaving at least 2-3 inches of white all around) (two coats) and try it out in your room for 24 hours.  You will see the changes it goes through as the light changes, and you will see if it looks good with the woods, tile and flooring already installed.  You gave me some guidelines:

I really was hoping to get away from tans, yellows, greens.  If I could I would love to do warm grays or a Stonington Gray with BM Eclipse or BM Black Pepper accents in our bedroom and try to find a flow for bathroom and living room.

Stonington Gray

Black Pepper

Ceilings are high (except on north wall of dining room)... All rooms upstairs are open to each other...

The soffit and wall above soffit in kitchen is BM kangaroo.

Since they are all open to each other and the tile on the fireplace is gray - and a particular problem spot for you -  I'm recommending we go a little less beige and more gray on this level.  The cool of the gray will play off the warm wood tones and there is should be sufficient gray in the backsplash tiles and counter top material to support it.  

The living room, dining area, stairs (very high ceilings in stairway) and front door entry way is Manchester tan (which looks completely different downstairs where there is little natural light)
Manchester Tan

I made a huge mistake with a gray tile I used on fireplace. It looks horrible with Manchester tan wall paint and really everything else too... I am hoping the right wall color will bring it together but still keep suggesting to my husband we rip it out and put something much more interesting to replace gray tile.

Hard surface colors: hope pics of kitchen granite counter tops and backslash are clear enough in pics.  Bathroom and adjoining master bedroom are currently BM smokey taupe
Smokey Taupe
 The bathroom vanity top is Caesarstone linen and the back splash in shower and sink is a glass ...I guess shades of brown.

Bathroom porcelain tiles on wall surround and floors are called "ash" and I thought they had a taupe color undertone (hence why I painted walls smokey taupe) but now I am told they are a green gray. Green again :).

So is the undertone noticeable?  Does the green show up against the smokey taupe?  If it is truly reading green, then we should go with a gray with a subtle green/blue undertone that may lead it in the right direction. And since you have treasures throughout your home that share that color, its a natural choice to suggest it as an undertone. However, you wanted this area to be the Stonington Gray and darker Black Pepper or Eclipse accents - which may not play well with the brown glass accent tiles in the bathroom.

Bearing that in mind, and the photos of rooms you have collected (he's one of my favorites, too!) which bring in more beige/grays, taupes and soft blues - here is the palette I'm recommending.  We will tweak it as we go along if one or more of these colors doesn't work out.

Because of the open floor plan and close proximity to the fireplace with the gray tile you are having some difficulty with, I've given you 3 colors to try here - It's hard for me to get an exact idea of the color of the tile, but it is apparent that a beige or brown undertone is not working with it.  We also have the backsplash and the counter top to consider - so I think a cooler tone gray should work.  You will have to paint a sample and take it to each area to see if it plays nicely with the other colors :)


Benjamin Moore HORIZON GRAY

Benjamin Moore PENTHOUSE

Along with the Stonington Gray you liked for this area, I'm also suggesting another color to try:
Benjamin Moore GRAY HORSE
 Gray Horse has a subtle green/blue undertone, and your accent colors will blend beautifully with this tone.
Benjamin Moore GRAY HORSE

Sherwin Williams has a wonderful array of grays - this one with a little warm undertone

So I like to think you can go a little more dramatic in bathrooms.  To pair with Stonington Gray is these slightly darker blends - (the color is so off in the photo of the bathroom due to the flash, that I don't know how it will go with the tile).  See what you think....
Benjamin Moore COVENTRY GRAY

Benjamin Moore BOOTHBAY GRAY
Slight blue/green undertone to this one - 

 And this one a little more taupey gray - you can steer me in the right direction on these.

Mary, get back to me as soon as you can on these colors - let me know which ones work and which ones don't and we will play with them until we get it right.

I love Vincent Wolf's vibe (in the attachment i have added some pics from his book and magazine tear out that I have been carrying around for way to long :)

The hardwood floors, window casings and kitchen cabinets are all that dark wood....espresso ? Everyone thought the dark wood floors would not work but we think they do as again the natural light is so abundant that light floors, cabinets would get washed out (I think anyway )....

So my dream is to have a somewhat contemporary vibe but with a warm comfortable inviting space.

It does have a tropical feel with palms, bird of paradise , etc. and trying to figure out how we might use a few beach accents incorporated into a more more contemporary look. i spent some time years a go in Bali and went nuts over that look so our garage is full of art, etc. from that look....but tired of it and yet want to use a few things that mean something to us from our travels....i.e. glass balls, shells, etc.

A few other things, .small balcony deck paint color off living room will be changed and planning to paint deck wood a dark stain so looks like an extension of living room floors. Still need a railing on deck too.

I know you are only doing paint palette now but I am hoping we can continue to work together in furnishings etc. and getting to a house I want to come home to ! there is currently no home feel and it is EMPTY!! I love your work and love love love that you are willing to help the DIY'ers :)