Five decorating ideas for tall ceilings

I have noticed a trend lately among new builds in my area; especially in over 55 housing communities. It seems the rooms sizes are smaller but the ceilings are really high to give the illusion of more space. This may seem great at first glance but figuring out what to do with all this vertical space can be very challenging for my clients. The problem with really tall ceilings is that if you don’t address them then your room can feel cavernous and cold.

Last week while at the Hampton Show Houses I took notice of what the pros did as they were presented with very tall ceilings in both the Hampton Show House and the Holiday House Hampton. Here are five decorating ideas if you have tall ceilings.

1. Hang em high. When it comes to window treatments the higher the better. Designer Tobi Fairley took her window treatments right to the ceiling in the master bedroom of her show house room. Even though that head board was quite tall, it was dwarfed by the soaring ceiling height. The window treatments visually filled the space and kept the room feeling balanced.  It’s not inexpensive to do this but it really is the best solution. Hanging the window treatments lower would simply draw more attention to the tall ceiling and could make the room look “top heavy”.

Tobi Fairley Design/Linda Holt Photo

Tobi Fairley Design/Linda Holt Photo

2. Use tall art work to fill the space. Art work should always relate to the shape of the wall you are placing it on and a tall wall begs for tall art work. Designer Gil Walsh used what appeared to originally be a screen to fill her soaring wall space.

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

3. Add a hanging light. Using a hanging light in a room with a tall ceiling is a great way to not only add more light but also bring the eye down to a more comfortable level. Notice too that designer Katie Leeds hung her window treatments right up to the ceiling.

Katie Leeds/Linda Holt Photo

Katie Leeds/Linda Holt Photo

4. Paint horizontal stripes. Designer Michelle Smith of Studio MRS used the age old trick of painting wide horizontal stripes to “fool the eye” into thinking the room is not as tall as it really is. She too hung her window treatments to the ceiling and used the same horizontal stripe so that they seamlessly blended with the wall.

Elsa Soyars design/Linda Holt Photo

Michelle Smith studios/Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Roy also used horizontal stripes in her show house bathroom to make the super tall yet small bathroom seem less imposing.

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Melanie Roy Designs/Linda Holt Photo

5. Create a lower wall height with molding. Elsa Soyars chose to create her own wall height by adding clearly defined molding at the top of wallpapered walls. She cleverly created what she wants you to see as wall vs. ceiling. The large sputnik shaped chandelier also fills in some of void between the ceiling and walls as well as adds visual interest.

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Elsa Soyars

Do you have tall ceilings? If so, what’s your favorite way to decorate?

Five ways to bring show house style into your own home

I’ve always loved to visit designer show houses. Even though the rooms may be completely out of reach financially to copy, show houses are still a great place to get ideas that you can incorporate in your own home. You may be inspired by a color palette or by a window treatment or even in how the designer accessorized the room. There are always lessons to be learned if you look closely. Last week I was fortunate enough to tour two very different show houses; the Hampton Show House and the Holiday Hampton Show House. As different as each house was, I spotted several things the designers did over and over that are easily duplicated decorating ideas that you can do in your own home. Most of them are at little or no cost but will add that designer flair. Here are my top five tips to bring show house style into your own home.

1. Use a chair to display books and objects. I saw this done over and over again in almost every designer’s room. Chairs were used as little display tables and were stacked with books, art and decorative objects.

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

I think the image below shows a great way to display a small piece of art work that you just can’t find the right spot for on your wall.

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2. Add an orchid. I assume the designers used orchids because they require little care and will last for at least as long as the show house is open to the public but I would have say, just about every show room had a beautiful (usually white) orchid. Orchids are affordable and add life and beauty to any room.

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Elsa Soyars Interiors

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

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3. Add a geode. Gems are trending big time in interior design and geodes were spotted all over at the two show houses. I saw geodes on stands, geodes in book cases and geodes on top of stacked books. Not only are they beautiful but geodes add sparkle and color.

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4. Add something gold. Gold was THE metal of choice at both Hampton show houses. Gold for light fixtures, gold for hardware, and gold for accessories. Tobi Fairley used beautiful gold accessories on an orange dresser with gold hardware from Lexington Furniture. Notice too the white orchid and look at the chair just to the left of the dresser.

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Tobi Fairley

Lillian August used lots of gold in her room but I especially loved the two matching gold bookcases.

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Lillian August

5. Add photography. As a photographer, I have to say I was most happy to see so much photography used. There was quite a mixture between black and white, color, vintage prints and modern.

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Phoebe Howard design

With Instagram we all seem to be photographers these days so why not pick a favorite image and hang it in your own home? My tip to get a professional look is to blow it up big and have it professionally framed. It will look just like the ones the designers used.

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Patrik Lonn chose a statement photo over the fireplace of bright blue butterflies on a back ground of crumpled tin foil. (notice too the geode lamp and white orchid in the background).

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Above is a colorful Gray Malin photo. I feel like he is following me this Summer as his work was all over our Nantucket house rental this past Summer as well.

I’m sure you want to see more of each of these beautiful rooms and I will be sharing lot’s more in the next few blogs…including the room that most inspired me. In the meantime, I would love to hear which of these design elements is your favorite? Mine is the use of photography.

 

 

The hottest trends from the style spotters

Last week was the home industry event referred to in the designer world simply as High Point. It is a HUGE home interiors market that takes place in High Point, North Carolina. All the top manufactures and dealers of anything related to the home gather to showcase their newest products to members of the trade.  Although I did not attend, I lived vicariously through several of my designer friends and acquaintances who did.

For the past few seasons, High Point has designated 9 “Style Spotters” to search out the hottest trends from all the different showrooms and “Pin” them onto a Pinterest board. I have loved following their pins and getting a sneak peak of what we will soon be seeing in our local home furnishing stores. You can check out all 9 style spotter boards here but here are some of my favorites.

Bold bright color, especially when applied as a high gloss or lacquer, is still trending. Look at this gorgeous lacquered teal chest spotted by Tobi Fairley

Century Pinned by Tobi Fairley

Century Furniture

Lisa Mende spotted the color orange still going strong and pinned this fabulous orange lacquered lamp from Dunes and Duchess.

Dunes and Duchess

Dunes and Duchess

Stacy Naquin chose this mint lacquered console from Hickory Chair with trending gold accents and gold table lamps.

Hickory Chair Lacquered chest with gold

Hickory Chair

Graphics continue to have a strong presence and  Traci Zeller spotted this collection of graphic removable and reusable wallpaper from Casart Coverings. Removable wallpaper is so great if you want the punch of wallpaper but don’t want to make a permanent commitment. When you tire of the look, simply peal it off.

Casart Coverings High Point Fall 2013

Casart Coverings

Our natural world has been trending for awhile now and agate seems to be especially popular. I love these Shagreen boxes with agate slices on top from Regina Andrew that was spotted by Shay Geyer.

Shagreen and agate boxes

Regina Andrew

This agate sconce from RoshamBeaux seems like it was a market favorite and was spotted by Lisa Mende.

Agate chandelier High Point 2013

RoShamBeaux

Nail heads are still trending as is the color pinkGretchen Aubuchon  spotted this hot pink and silver chair outlined with silver nail heads.

Hot pink and silver chair

Wesley Hall

Shay Geyer also spotted the color pink as trending and pinned this white lacquered chair covered with hot pink velvet from Caracole.

white lacquered chair with hot pink velvet.

Caracole

Lastly, I want to share this bold blue and orange show room by CR Laine. I love everything about this room and look at all the trends it incorporates: bold color, lacquered furniture, the color orange and a graphic rug.

CR Laine at High Point

CR Laine at High Point Fall 2013

I invite you to check out my Pinterest board of all my favorites from the 2013 Fall High Point Style Spotters here and discover a few other other trends this room also incorporates.

What is your favorite trend from High Point?

 

 

Kravet Blogfest NY (part one) and a Winner!

Almost directly after all the fun at Brimfield I traveled to NYC to attend Blogfest.  Sponsered by Kravet, Blogfest is an opportunity for interior design bloggers to attend design industry events and showrooms.  I went with my friend Yvonne Blacker who writes the design Blog  Design Vignettes . We stayed at a very “hip” hotel called Yotel. It was completely automated including both check in and baggage storage. See that huge robot arm? It stores your luggage for you. Yvonne and I weren’t sure why there was a bike hanging overhead in the lobby but we did both notice that the bike was bright green and complimented the purple neon quite nicely.

Yotel Lobby, Yvonne next to “check in”, robotic luggage storage

Yvonne is such a fun traveling companion and between the two of us we knew quite a few of the other attendees. The event kicked off with a cocktail party at Jonathon Adler’s NY store.

photo by Yvonne Blacker

There was so much to look at while at the same time everyone was excited to connect and reconnect with fellow bloggers. I was so happy to see my friends Lesslie Hassler of TX and Ann McDonald of CA. We all met through our mentor Tobi Fairley.

Lesslie Hassler, me, Ann McDonald

JA’s store is a filled with fun graphic prints, fabulous furniture, hot pops of color and so many great accessories.

I want this bed!

I couldn’t decide which one of these I loved more

I’ve always been a fan of JA’s head vases.

I seriously considered buying all three of those pillows.

I could have taken home half the store if budget allowed. Another one of my favorite things in the store was a huge hanging sign that said “Jonathan Adler’s Manifesto”. It hung directly behind the register and although I tried my best to get a photo, the sign was too big and the lighting was not good.

I was however able to find it printed online. Here is JA’s company manifesto and his outlook on life and home.

We believe that your home should make you happy.

We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right.
Unless the husband is gay.

We believe in carbohydrates and to hell with the puffy consequences.

We believe minimalism is a bummer.

We believe handcrafted tchotckes are life-enhancing.

We believe tassels are the earrings of the home.

We believe in our muses: David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Bonnie Cashin, Hans Coper, Gio Ponti, Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madonna.

We believe in the innate chicness of red with brown.

We believe in being underdressed or overdressed always.

We believe in infantile, happy emblems like butterflies and hearts.

We believe celebrities should pay full price.

We believe in rustic modernism: Big Sur, A-Frame beach houses, raw beams, and geodesic dome homes.

We believe in Palm Beach style: Louis chairs, chinoiserie, Lilly Pulitzer, The Breakers circa ’72.

We believe our designs are award winning even though they’ve never actually won any.

We believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants.

We believe in mantiques –
suits of armor, worn chesterfield sofas, heraldic tapestries.

We believe you should throw out your Blackberry and go pick some actual blackberries.

We believe colors can’t clash.

We believe in blowing your nest egg on our pots.

We believe our lamps will make you look younger and thinner.

We believe in irreverent luxury.

 I am in total agreement…how about you?
.
.
While at Blogfest I was one of the lucky winners of a Jonathan Adler bowl. I thought it only appropriate to pick the winner for my  Benjamin Moore Williamsburg fan deck giveaway out of  my new bowl.
And the winner is:
.
.

Kelly!

Congratulations Kelly!! Send me your address and I will mail it out right away.

 

 

My 15 Seconds of Fame in House Beautiful Magazine

When I received a call from an editor at House Beautiful Magazine back in November I was driving home from an appointment and only answered my phone because I thought I must have left something at my client’s house. When the caller, Christine Pittel, said she wanted to interview me about painting my first nanosecond thought was  “oh, she must be looking for the OTHER Linda Holt“.  There actually is one and she lives just a few towns away from me and is a well known Artist. Although we have never met we have been confused for one another for the past 20 years. In the next nanosecond I heard Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and painting furniture and it was at this point I pulled off the road to try and collect myself and calm down my rapidly beating heart…OMG…House Beautiful, OMG…House Beautiful! House-Beautiful-Feb13-cover Many of you already know that I am a huge Annie Sloan Chalk Paint fan. My good friend Susan Siefer of MadPatter Art Design actually was the one who turned me on to it a couple years back. She was likely one of the very first around to check out and start using the paint. Now of course it seems like EVERYONE is using it.

AnnieSloanChalkPaint

Since I am basically lazy when it comes to painting furniture, I love the fact that you don’t have to sand or prep a piece before starting to paint. It’s instant gratification and you can have a fresh updated piece in a day…love that! Painted furniture is so “on trend” right now and I usually try and incorporate at least one painted piece into each of my projects.  My client’s love to have something unique and custom without spending a huge amount of money. As I recently shared in a previous post, I just painted two chairs with Annie Sloan Barcelona Orange for one of my clients.

Annie Sloan Barcelona Orange

Annie Sloan Barcelona Orange

Anyway, I digress… Pittel asked me to name my favorite Annie Sloan paint color and to talk about a piece I used it on and why.  My pick?  Florence: one of Annie’s newest colors.

Annie Sloan Florence

Annie Sloan Florence

How funny that I picked this color even before I knew that Pantone’s Color of the Year was to be Emerald Green. Below is my actual  quote in the February House Beautiful feature on Color Painted Furniture. (click on photo to enlarge) HB quoteand here is the piece in mention; done with my painting partner Susan.

 If you would like to see other pieces Susan and I have painted that are currently for sale check out my Pinterest board here.

If you had told me 5 years ago when I was still working full time as a photographer and only dreaming of being an interior decorator that one day I would be quoted in House Beautiful  I would have said you were crazy. It’s been an exciting  journey and I have to give credit to a few teachers and mentors who made my quote possible: namely Maria Killam for her True Color Expert training Leatrice Eiseman for her Color Expert training classKate Smith for her friendship and advice, Susan Siefer, close friend and painting partner and most recently Tobi Fairley, my teacher and business mentor. They have all educated me, inspired me, and fueled my passion and love of Color and Design.  I thank you and love you all.

If you would like a custom painted piece of furniture in your home or decorating help, give me a call.

 

 

Does This Color Make My Room Look Big?

Last week while touring a client’s home she told me she painted her guest room Benjamin Moore Cape May Cobblestone because she was told it makes a room look bigger. When I got home I did a little research and the Benjamin Moore website does indeed say “This classic, elegant gray confers a sense of spaciousness that makes it ideal for small bedrooms and areas like hallways and mudrooms.”

Wow…wouldn’t it be great if there was a specific color that when painted on the walls would make the room magically look bigger? Personally, I’m not convinced that Cape May Cobblestone is the answer but if you want your room to look bigger here are three ways to create a more spacious look simply with paint.

1. Use light(er) colors over dark(er) colors. Creams, pastels, and light cool colors (blues and greens)  generally make a room look and feel bigger over dark warm colors. Light, cool colors have the effect of reflecting the light around whereas warm and darker colors tend to absorb the light making the room feel cozy but smaller.

light colored living room

Pinterest

The dark walls in the living room below create a cozy but seemingly smaller space than if it had been painted in a light or pastel color.

dark walls

Pinterest

2. Choose low contrast over high contrast. Consider painting your walls the same color as your furnishings; this will give the effect of the large furniture items virtually disappearing into the walls and will create an open feeling in the room.

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley

Even dark colors when used in very low contrast can make a room appear larger. Notice how the trim is painted the same color as the walls keeping the contrast down making this seemingly very small room appear bigger than it actually is.

Pinterest

Pinterest

In comparison, high contrast colors act to break up a space, and can make the room look cluttered and smaller than it is.

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald

Even though the room below is high contrast look how the wall color matches the biggest piece of furniture in the room, the sofa. Try if you will to imagine how much more chopped up and smaller the room would look if the sofa was yellow like the chair or orange like the ceiling.

high contrast den

Pinterest

3. Paint a horizontal stripe around the room.  Just like with clothing, horizontal stripes tend to trick the eye into thinking something is wider. A horizontal stripe, painted on one wall or all four, will carry your eye around the room, making it appear wider.

horizontal stripe

Pinterest

I’m guessing this room below looks as big as possible since it incorporates all three tips: light colors, low contrast with horizontal stripes.

stripes

Pinterest

As a  final note: be careful not to confuse making a room look and feel bigger with making a dark room look and feel brighter.  Maria Killam wrote a great blog post about this and you can read it here.

So how about you? Do you have a small room that you used a paint color or technique to appear  bigger?

If you need help with finding the perfect color, decorating, or home staging give me a call at 617-965-3342.

 

Popular Color Myths Busted!

A few weeks ago I received a call from a writer at the Huffington Post. She was interviewing color experts about how different colors affects us.  You can read the article Here.  She asked me if I knew about the study that indicated the color Pink calmed and pacified criminals. Well it so happens that I did know about the study because when I attended Leatrice Eiseman’s color class this past January, she was intent on clearing up several popular color myths. One of these myths is that Pink calms down prisoners.

pink-prison-uniforms

pink-prison-uniforms

The (Pink is for girls) color stereotyping began in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s when clothing manufacturers began assigning the color Pink to little girls and the color Blue to little boys. Blue was marketed to boys in order to show support for the soldiers who were marching off to war in blue uniforms. Pink became the default color for girls as it represented softness, sugar and spice.  It was falsely assumed that little boys dressed in Pink would become weak and girly.

As laughable as this all seems today the myth still persists. Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona dresses State prisoners in bright pink garb believing they will become passive and cooperative…like girls??  The fact is, this myth has been busted!

What studies show is that when unruly prisoners are put into bright Pink holding cells they do indeed calm down; for about 5 minutes. They are initially surprised and shocked by the unconventional bright Pink color. After a few minutes though the shock value wears off and they return to their original unruly behavior.

Leatrice also busted a few more color myths.

The color Yellow causes babies to cry. This is just plain silly. Long story how this myth was started but it is just simply NOT true.

crying baby wearing Yellow

crying baby wearing Yellow

The color Orange is a cheap color. Back in the 50’s ans 60’s  Orange was perceived as a “cheap” color but this is certainly not true today. This year Orange has reached it’s highest form of respect by being named Pantone’s 2012 color of the year.

pantone-tangerine-tango

pantone-tangerine-tango

The color BLUE should never be used in a kitchen or around food. This myth says we loose our appetite around the color blue. …REALLY??  I don’t know about you but I sure think I could eat in this kitchen.

Blue Kitchen by Diamondbarratta Design

Blue Kitchen by Diamondbarratta Design

or this beautiful turquoise one designed by Tobi Fairley.

Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley kitchen

So how about you?  Have you heard any of these color myths?  Did you believe they were true?

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