Add Rustic Elements to Your Home

Add Rustic Elements to Your Home
Add Rustic Elements to Your Home

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nine Decorating Tips for Small Spaces

Whether you’ve been considering downsizing into a smaller space, you’re buying a condo in the city, or you are renting an apartment to be close to all the action, furnishing a small space can present challenges. 

Here are some suggestions for all of us to consider in order to create a new feeling in our spaces.  If you’ve downsized into a space that’s smaller than you imagined it would be, here are some ideas to make it feel lighter, more spacious and welcoming.

1. Set Your Priorities:
Because small spaces are very limited, you need to figure out your priorities and allocate accordingly. Some people need a desk area, but not a dining area. Some people want a living area and would prefer a media room to a dining room.  Make the space work for your needs and don't hold yourself to what is traditional in a home. It's your home.

2. Think in Terms of Zones:
Ask yourself which activities need to happen in a room (weighing their relative importance), and then allocate an area-sometimes separate, sometimes overlapping other areas-for each activity. Say your family room will serve as TV lounge, casual dining spot, homework center and craft space (in that order of importance). To create a feeling of separation between zones, erect visual barriers between them.  A rug is a visual indicator that whatever is contained upon it is a group.  A long, low cabinet, a sofa or a set of chairs, or even a row of tall potted plants can create a border between spaces without blocking light or making a room feel carved up.  Open shelving, decorative screens, carved wood panels and salvaged windows suspended from the ceiling can break up a space without totally closing it off.  Folding screens act as mobile partitions to hide a messy corner workspace or obscure the view of your exercise gear, and they can be folded flat and set aside when you don't need them.
1 2 3 Decor


3. Strive for Stylistic Unity
Stick to a unified vision for an entire room. A cohesive color palette, design style, wood tone or fabric can pull everything together and preserve a sense of spaciousness in a room that serves multiple functions. Look for furnishings that allow rooms to transition from one function to another: a coffee table that raises to dining height; a lidded ottoman that pulls quadruple duty as a coffee table, footrest, storage bench and extra seating; a shapely stool that also serves as a side table; a handsome secretary with a fold-down work surface for your laptop.  Portability is important, too: put double-duty pieces on casters so you can move them around easily. Need help creating one style?  Contact us through the website below.
It's an ottoman/coffee table... but then...'s a fold-out guest bed!

Extra storage is awesome!

It's a couch... wait, it's a... table!

4. Use Your Wall Space
Stretch bookcases, cabinets and open shelving to the ceiling to supersize storage space and visually enlarge a room without cutting into its footprint. Vertical storage also helps maximize floor space, so affix slender shelves or display cubes to walls instead of using floor-hogging furniture, and don't overlook the storage potential above a door or a window, which can be a perfect spot for a substantial shelf.
Floor to ceiling bookshelves- nice!

HGTV version of shelving

5. Furniture Scale
Your small space will probably feel and look better with moderately-sized furnishings, as it's all about scale. The apartments that actually look bigger with the furniture in them are those where the furnishings fit the space and yourself.  Just as you want to avoid furniture that's massive and overstuffed, avoid furniture and accessories that are too small. Even in a tiny space, it's important to consider functionality and good looks. To make a realistic furniture plan, use masking tape on the floor to lay out the ideal size of each piece, and then buy.

6. Add Some Curves:
Because most small abodes are made up of a series of boxes, it's great to add some curves. Round tables, chairs with a curve and rugs that are either in shapes or adorned with shapes like spirals and dots help to soften the box-like feel of an apartment.

7. Lighting:
Add up lights, down lights, and all around to create interest and the feeling of space.  Lights are the most amazing way of making a space feel warm and hospitable. Using several lamps throughout a space creates a warm glow in the room. If you need help creating a lighting plan, contact us through the website below.

8. Combat Clutter With Hidden or Attractive Storage
If you're lucky enough to have a closet or a pantry, invest in an organizing system that will eke every available inch out of those spaces.  (Remember that clear/transparent storage in closets or a pantry help you see what’s in the bin without having to open it.)  If you're not, purchase furniture that will house all your needed supplies in style. Coffee tables, ottoman pieces and other double-duty items offer hidden storage options. Attractive baskets, bins and cloth-covered boxes on shelves or in cubbies keep everyday supplies handy without adding visual overload for the eyes.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this paragraph to help your space feel and look more spacious. If you need help finding furniture or storage pieces, contact us through our website listed below.

9. Dress Up Utilitarian Fixtures and Furnishings
Create clever disguises for unsightly but essential fixtures such as a water heater, utility boxes, a washer and dryer or a mountain of computer equipment.  Hang a homemade art canvas in front of an electrical panel or fuse box, or use a folding screen to cordon off a utility or exercise area. Hide the washer and dryer behind a curtain or a set of bi-fold doors.  Drape decorative cloths over office equipment in a guest room when visitors come to stay.  Need help? Contact us through the website below.

In Conclusion
Have ideas to add to these nine guidelines?  Have questions about what I’ve shared?  I’d love to hear from you in writing about your design successes, (ideally with pictures) as well as your challenges!  Check out our website at if you need professional help in designing your space.  Remember, we convert ordinary spaces into extraordinary places!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Adding Rustic Elements to Your Home

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Do you love the look of rustic combined with a more contemporary vibe?  Or perhaps you have wonderful old collections of dishes, pottery, and/or such you’d like to display but need to create a style that will show them off effectively.  Maybe you have some beloved antique/collectible furniture that you found/inherited years ago that you want to utilize more effectively.  Keep reading, we’re going to share some ideas for you to use in the next few months to creative a peaceful space that you can enjoy.

Form Still Follows Function:

If you’re working on redecorating your living room, then what activities occur that you want to facilitate?  (Playing games, relaxing, and entertaining come to mind.) Now find ways to facilitate those activities with furniture placement. Start with the biggest piece of furniture and try different positions in the room, keeping it from sitting against the wall if it’s a couch (not if it’s a headboard to your bed.)  Explore placing pieces at an angle as well. Once that piece is placed, then move in order of size to placing the smaller pieces. 
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A Statement Piece:
Perhaps you already own this piece- something that draws the eye because of its color, shape, texture or even size. (Be careful to not overwhelm your room with a piece that’s just too large for your space, however.) What if you need a statement piece?  Try second hand shops, antique shops, and flea markets. Once you've found it, consider placing it nearby or across the room from any natural architectural focal point such as a fireplace.
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Go to Flea Markets:
You can find some amazing things if you look carefully.  What are some things you should be looking for?  Here’s a list to start your quest:
  • tool boxes (for flower arrangement/plants)
  • vintage scales 
  • Old signs
  • church pews (for entries)
  • matching upholstered wingback chairs
  • vintage fans
  • school-style chalkboards
  • wooden ladders
  • galvanized everything
  • glass jars
  • weathered books
  • metal baskets
  • industrial furniture
  • old window frames
  • old wooden boxes/crates
  • soda (not pop) bottles
  • bird cages
  • mantels
  • Industrial scrap pieces

Where to Find Flea Markets:
In the state of Washington, flea markets are few and far between, but here’s at least a partial list of places I found.  Be sure to check when they’re open before you set out.  Many are only open during one season, or one day a week. Other states and locales probably offer at least as many as Washington.  Another option is to check the internet for websites like this wonderland of “found” objects:

Name: City: Open:
Fremont Market Fremont in Seattle Sundays
2nd Saturdayz                           Seattle                      2nd Sat. of month
Starlight Swap Meet Lakewood weekends
Olympia Flea Market Olympia Sat. & Sun.
Seabold Vintage Market Bainbridge Island 
Packwood Flea Market Packwood
Anacortes Flea Market Anacortes
Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market Spokane
Junk Drunk Colville 2nd week of April
Pasco Flea Market Pasco Mar-Dec weekends

In Conclusion:
What if you aren’t sure you’d know a good deal from a rip off? What if you need help because you just don’t have the time to go check out these haunts?  What if you just need some guidance to separate the trash from the treasures?  Contact us at and we’ll set up an initial meeting where you can share your hopes and dreams regarding your home (as well as your budget) and help you get started.
We’ll be sharing color trends, ideas for your kitchen, bath, living room, media/game room, and more in the next few months. Be sure to follow this blog at the upper right (scroll right) of the page so you won’t miss a thing!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Autumn's Bounty Celebrated!

In Feng Shui, the Autumn season is associated with wonderful recompenses for hard work. Farmers have toiled in Spring to plant and nurture their seedlings. They have watered and fertilized the crops in Summer as the sun provided its warmth and light through long days. Now these farmers may enjoy the fruits of their labors after harvest. The ancients linked the wine flask with Autumn suggesting relaxation and joy.

Autumn is represented by Metal in the Chinese Five Element Theory, which impacts our businesses, organization and planning for the future. We can use the metal energy to organize ourselves and our businesses. The Metal element helps us to communicate more effectively, speak out against injustice and assists us to attain perfect timing.

Below are two more means of Celebrating Autumn in your home:

Adorn the Front Door with an Autumn Wreath

Christmas isn’t the only time that you can dress up your front door to welcome guests. A wreath of Autumn foliage, fresh vegetables and/or fruit can last for several weeks to a month, and good quality artificial fruits and vegetables combined with autumn foliage will last "forever."  Why not greet every guest coming to your home to celebrate the harvest season.

Create a Welcoming Entry 

After you've cleaned your front porch of the ravages of Summer, think about ways you can adorn the area seen as most important in feng shui (to welcome good energy into your home.)  Invigorate your front porch with pumpkins (which come in crème, gold, green as well as orange), squash and gourds for a festive look. Just go to the grocery store or plant nursery with an eye for decorating- amazing shapes, colors, sizes, and textures are available. Add a few leaves (either real or quality artificial) to complete the look.

In Conclusion

We hope you’ll utilize one or more of the ideas we’ve shared for Autumn. Don’t forget to carve a pumpkin with your children (or grandchildren) for a fun family evening.  Need help with this small project, or a bigger one?  Contact us at and we'll spend a few hours preparing your entry and living areas for Fall... or for your remodel.  AND... remember to scroll to the far right on this blog and "follow" this page so that you won't miss the idea that's perfect for your home!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Three Ways to Celebrate Autumn in Your Home!

Have you noticed? The daylight hours are shorter and beginning to cool off.  Western Washington has received its share of rain of late, and it's been a bit of a shock! The kids are back in school and settling into that routine. Football is back, the leaves are starting to turn to gold, fire, rust, and eventually brown... Let's celebrate the beauty of the season in our homes! 

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1. Add New Throw Pillows/Plush Throws
Many of us have begun to notice that we’re all starting to spend more and more time indoors. Add a variety of plush throw pillows in different shapes, sizes and patterns on your living room sofas and chairs.  The same thing can be done for your bed in the master bedroom. These comfortable accessories will emit a warm and inviting coziness perfect for the season.
Warning: If you begin to notice that your guests put the pillows on the floor next to the sofa upon which they are sitting, consider lowering the overall number of pillows. 
Run your blankets and throws through the washing machine (or send to the environmentally friendly dry cleaners as necessary) before putting them out for use this Fall. In a contemporary living room, a faux-fur throw adds subtle warmth and texture to a simple, solid-colored sofa. Select a throw in a contrasting hue to really create a pop of color if you're hoping to make a bolder statement. Need help with this?  Contact us through our website at the bottom of this entry for assistance.
Fireplace by Napoleon

2. Prepare the Fireplace
To prepare for cool fall nights and the brisk winter ahead, get your fireplace ready for its seasonal debut. If yours is like mine, it probably gets a bit dusty from March to October. To ensure your gas fireplace is ready to light up, contact a specialist to regularly check for any safety hazards like gas leaks. On the next warm and breezy day, open the windows, turn on the fireplace and start up a fan blowing (3 ft. away from the fire and toward that window) to take the unpleasant smell of burning dust out of your home. It only takes a half hour of your time, but it’s worthwhile to avoid that first smelly night of burning dust.

To keep your wood-burning fireplace safe, contact a professional to do a thorough check of the fireplace. Once your fireplace is safe, you're ready for relaxing evenings by the fire. 

3. Set the Table, Create a Mantelscape & Light the Candles in Autumn

Spend a little extra time at the grocery store with decorating in mind. Pumpkins, nuts in the shell, squash, gourds, dried beans, rice, and whole bean coffee can be a wonderful addition to your mantel and/or tablescape. (Think about purchasing various shapes & sizes for more interest.) Check those gourds every few days after a few weeks by squeezing them gently to make sure they are still maintaining their integrity. (You'll avoid cleaning up a mess.)  Want to avoid all of this and get authentic-looking artificial gourds?  Contact us at the website at the bottom of this entry for further information.

Stow away all of your pure white dishes in favor of crème, tan and brown colors for the season. Use boxes of varying sizes under a tablecloth for your centerpiece to create varying heights to make an appealing vignette.

Pumpkins don’t have to just represent Halloween, nor do turkeys have to represent just Thanksgiving. Think through your possessions that often come out for a day or a week during Autumn and use them throughout the season.  Small white pumpkins are sometimes available through your favorite plant nursery.
Take advantage of shorter days (and less daylight) by placing candles throughout your living space. The warmth and ambience they create will make returning from a long, hard day at work so much easier, sliding you into a calmer and welcoming atmosphere.

I have some more ideas, but thought I'd get you started with three of my favorites for the fabulous season of Autumn that's upon us. I'll write more in a future entry, but I'd love to hear your ideas for Fall decor, too!  If you need help with remodeling to just adding beautiful touches to your home, please contact us at and please take a minute to "follow" this blog so that you don't miss out on the perfect idea for your home.