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Living with Pets (and why it's a good thing)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I hear all the time from clients "I know I need new furniture but we have pets." Acting as if, because they have furry friends, that they are destined to live on a sleeping bag in the living room, unable to ever host an adult party again.

Well guess what, you can roll up the sleeping bag and put it back in the attic where it belongs.


Having pets is actually a gift, it’s part of what makes your house a home. As much as the glossy images of Architectural Digest (or Instagram, for that matter) lead us to believe that we should be all fancy and shiny all the time, the truth is that we don’t live in a magazine, and the hard truth about residential design is that comfort comes first, not aesthetic.

Did you hear me? Comfort first, looks second.
 
I’m not saying you have to choose one or the other, I’m just saying you have to prioritize my friend.


Pets have a way of putting a home at ease. They make us give up on perfection (as much as we may try to fight it) and accept that we’re just, kind of living. A home should always be slightly undone, it puts guests at ease as well as the homeowner; so let a little fur fly, grab your martini, and watch those cushions squish down, because there is comfort in letting go.

If you need help finding the most pet friendly finishes, reach out! And no, there is nothing that is totally scratch resistant, nor 100% stain resistant. But that's what the pros are for; and should you need advice on who to contact when something gets scratched, stained, or pulverized – I can help you with that too.

Cheers to letting the fur fly! (designer-approved)





Scent + 3 Recommendations

When you enter a home, what do you notice first?

(ok you read the title) yes that’s right! The scent.

Growing up, I remember how much I enjoyed visiting friends who lived in homes that simply radiated the scent of baked goods and freshly dried laundry. These homes felt alive and instantly relaxed me as I stepped through the front door.

I also recall dreading visits to other homes; homes that were musky, stagnant, and sealed off. At one point, I recall visiting a Great Uncle back East who did nothing but smoke cigars inside. I was so distracted by the all-consuming stench, that I could not tell you a single thing about the look of his home, let alone our conversation.

Of course most of us do not live in either extreme. We live life. We pile up our sweaty gym clothes, we throw out banana peels, we occasionally burn things (please tell me I’m not alone here), we clean house, we take out the garbage, and we hope to God no one says “What’s that smell?” when they walk through our front door.


So you aren’t smoking cigars indoors but you also don’t have time to bake and do laundry on the daily, here’s what I recommend:

Fresh Air
All homes need circulation, and fresh air is our baseline for a great smelling home. Without proper circulation, things/dust/musk/scents find their way into crevices and lay dormant as they gain a certain stench of their own. So open the windows as much as you can, and let it flow.

Gentle Fresheners
Do shy away from aerosol sprays, plug-in diffusers, and non-soy candles; not only are these things tough on the environment, they’re tough on our bodies. Many people are offended and/or allergic to strong scents, and while you may love the scent… too much of a good thing, may just be too much for your guests.

My Top Three Recommendations

1-Aromatherapy Diffuser: These are great in that they allow you to change they scent quite frequently. Perhaps an energizing citrus when you wake up in the morning, and a relaxing lavender to wind down in the evening. With about a Jillion-Bazillion oils to choose from, you will undoubtedly find plenty of scents that suit you.

 2-Soy Candles: By removing the carcinogenic parabens which cause that persistent black smoke, you are gaining a gentler scent and a product that is easier on your body and home.


3-Reed Diffusers: Perfect for any room, just flip the sticks when you need a refresh.





Mad About Wallpaper

Wallpaper has come a long way over the decades and I for one am thrilled to see this explosive comeback!

Not only have the designs been upgraded in a BIG way, but the placement options have grown; becoming virtually limitless.









Renting? Can’t put wallpaper up where you currently live? Be sure to look into Wall Decals; they offer a similar look, with less commitment. Just stick on, and peel off when you’re done.


Like what you see but not sure where to start? Reach out!  

Three Options for Modern Color Palettes

Recently I have seen a growth in clients looking to trade their current style, for more modern look. Whether it’s a big life change or just one big move, people are leaping into the world of modern design. In an effort to support you in your leap, below are a few thoughts on selecting Modern Color Palettes.


Please note: The palette variations below are speaking specifically to classic modern design (no mid century, boho, or the like, just clean, modern design). So if you are drawn to sleek, clean lines, sharp design, and a play on empty, open spaces, read on.

Three easy options for a modern color palette:
First things first, modern design does not mean Grey palettes and only grey palettes. Many newcomers to the style have the preconceived notion that modern design means only grey, white, or black palettes; but this isn’t the case.

Option 1: Only Neutrals
Ok... let me back track. Because, yes of course, if all-grey or all-white and black is what your heart desires, go for it!

This style is best accentuated with minimal ornamentation and accents of texturally (or lack-of-texturally) interesting items, such as large mirrors and metallic objects (goods or furniture).

*If you are looking for a softer look, throw in wooden and/or fabric-upholstered pieces.

*If you want to harden the look, go with leather-upholstered pieces and metal frames.




Option 2: All neutrals + one accent color
This is one of the easiest tricks in the book: you can kick those neutrals up a notch, by tying in one accent color. Don’t worry too much about what color it is, so long as it brings you joy and you maintain it as the uniform color in your space.
You may bring the color in through furniture, art, or the like.



Option 3: Color
Bringing color into a modern space is all about playing up the use of space and lines. So long as the space maintains an overall minimal feel; aka that it lacks much ornamentation (knick knacks, too many frames, too many textures, etc.) you will have plenty of visual-space for color. Also, you want to be sure that the colorful pieces provide sharp, straight lines.



Soap & Water

Clients regularly ask me how to clean their furniture/upholstered items and I always have one simple answer: soap & water. The idea is simple, environmentally sound, and will keep your furniture lasting longer.
Think about it: looking at your cleaning products right now, how many would you feel comfortable inhaling up-close? Probably not too many, and the fact is that if you don’t want to inhale it, neither does your furniture. The chemicals in most commercialized cleaning products are very harsh on surfaces. And while this type of wear is something you won’t notice right away, it is something that will eat away at your furniture much more quickly than alternatively using gentle soap and water.

A MIXTURE OF 1 OUNCE OF YOUR FAVORITE DISH DETERGENT PER GALLON OF WARM WATER WILL DO THE TRICK FOR MOST CLEAN UPS

SO GRAB YOUR BUCKET….


…A GENTLE DISH SOAP..

WHITE SCRUBBING TOWELS (so as to not bleed any color)..



AND SCRUB AWAY!

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out via the connect page.



 

Decorating with Houseplants


In the Pacific Northwest we love our greens: We eat green, we hike green, we live green. So why wouldn’t our homes be green too? Not only do plants add vibrancy to a space, but they help us breathe, help us heal, and aide in our personal growth.*

Plus, there’s the added bonus of keeping the dang thing alive, and luckily most houseplants are pretty easy to maintain: Water once a week, give it a touch of sunlight (or gray sky, since we must) and call it good.

Greens for Thought:

• Succulents: These fellas come in many shapes and sizes. Blend together for a larger collection, or use in sets of one or two to add smaller touches here and there.





• Cacti/Cactus: Ok, maybe don’t go this route if you have kids or curious pets (they will poke you). But if you aren’t worried about any collisions, this is an ideal option. Great for homeowners/renters who travel often and/or don’t spend much time at home. This plant is beyond low-maintenance and available in a wide variety of sizes. From large floor Cacti to a teeny-tiny-baby-cactus, this plant is as versatile as they come.




• Floor Plants: Palms and Rubber Plants are a personal favorite, but there are endless styles to choose from. They are readily available at places like Home Depot and even Ikea – but don’t forget about the local options as well.



Final Touch:
• The Vase, The Pot, The-pretty-thing-you-put-your-plant-in; Don’t forget about that, Because that can make or break the plant. This is where you can either make a statement, or glue an overall look together.


Get creative: this succulent was planted inside an Old Book…. uh, like, #KeepPortlandWeird, People.  


Simple and chic: a clay pot, placed in a fitted white bowl creates a simply undone look in this ethereal space.


Black is the new Black: Dark vases always give a bold touch, and the juxtaposition of this dark against light, offers a powerful punch.



Compliment: Red and Green are complimentary colors, so when in doubt, know that red will always provide a flattering “Pow!”

Good luck, God Speed, and just know, there is no such thing as a green thumb. There’s practice, there’s luck, and that’s it. You can do it.

*For more information on the health benefits of indoor plants click here

 

Sectional or Sofa, that is the Question


So, you need somewhere new to lounge, and you’ve hopped online to do a little research…. and…. now you’re overwhelmed.

Sectional?

Sofa?

L-Shape?

U-Shape?

Chaise?

Return?

Bumper?

What the heck is all this verbiage? And what happened to the good ol’ couch?

Ok, here we go:

Sofa: This is your standard, straight-line piece. Oh, and a sofa is a couch, and a couch is a sofa. Why we in the furniture world say “sofa” more often than “couch”, I’m not certain, but that’s just how it is, alright?


Sectional: This is usually a big “L” shape; sometimes even a “U” shape. Sectionals can be big or small, but generally run on the large side. They can have arms on each end, but often there is an arm only on one end, and a chaise or return on the other end.



 Sectional with Chaise: When a sofa has an extended area for your legs on one end (essentially like an attached ottoman) that is called a sectional with chaise.


Sectional with Return: Similar to a chaise, but different; a return piece is an L-shaped extension that also has an arm running about half way down with a “bumper” (basically an attached ottoman) on the end.


Now that that’s cleared up, let’s find out which one is right for you:

Firstly, size matters. How large is your space? Can it handle a large sectional? And even if it can physically hold that size, how much space does it take up visually? You want to be certain that you have plenty of space for you and your guests to move around comfortably.

Next, how long do you plan to stay in your current home? A large sectional may be perfection in the room you are shopping for, right now. However, if you plan to move anytime soon, the chances of that piece fitting just right in your new space are slim to none. A sofa is always the safe bet when you don’t know if a move is in your near future or not.

Finally, commitment: So you have the space physically as well as visually, and you love where you live; you don’t see yourself moving anytime soon, but are you ready to commit? Unless your home is the size of a gym (I’m exaggerating, well… sort of), then choosing a sectional means choosing one configuration for as long as you own the piece. If you’re ready to commit, then go for it! But if you need the ability to switch things up from time to time, a sofa is the way to go.

“But Lauren, I need versatility and a lot of seating!” you say.

Oh my friend, “just buy two sofas!” I say…or buy a sofa and a loveseat….
…or a sofa and chairs… or a sofa and… well, practically anything you can rest your bum on.

Yes, it takes a bit more curating to go the route of selecting multiple pieces instead of signing up for just one big piece; but if that’s what you find yourself needing or wanting versatility, it’s worth the extra effort.

If you find yourself needing a little help curating, please do not hesitate to reach out!



 
 

How To: Punch up your Home for Spring


As winter comes to a close this month, it’s time to celebrate the renewal of spring and all that the season has to offer. Here in Portland it goes without saying that we had a particularly rough winter, so we have all the more reason to welcome this Spring with arms wide open.

Difficult winter or not, I am a big believer in celebrating each changing season and reflecting that in my own home. Many of you are already on board with Pumpkins, bats, and cob-webs in October, as well as the bright lights shimmering through December, but what about the rest of the year? (And no, I’m not suggesting kitchy twinkly lights and glitter covered everything).

Each season is different, and I find that Spring calls for bright colors and fresh florals. Below are a few suggestions on refreshing your home for the season, while avoiding the kitchy, aforementioned d├ęcor, saved exclusively for the major holiday months:

Brighten up your dining room: Brightly colored placemats, greens, blues, shades of white, and any color that speaks to you (and your space). Also consider cloth napkins in complimentary colors finishings. If you’re really into it, consider a brighter, lighter set of dining chairs. If you do decide on a new set of chairs, choose something that is stackable so you can store them away during the colder months. And if you don’t want to commit to a full set, consider just changing out the two chairs at each head of your table.


Brighten up your floors: New floor Mats are a great opportunity to bring in pops up color. Go with a lighter shade, or be bold and go for color. This is also a great chance for you to take out the mats of winter and give them a wash before you store them away for the season.


Change out your art: We all have pieces that we love keeping up year round, but if you have a couple works that you have grown tired of staring at all winter, consider brining in a pop of color with a new piece here or there.


Punch up the sofa: Sofas are simple; all you need is to switch your pillows and add a light throw, ta da! It’s spring.

Get Outside (because you can!): As you breathe in the fresh air of spring, you’ll need somewhere to sit down and rest (or at least rest your drink). A brightly colored chair and cube should do the trick.

 
There are so many places to brighten up your home that are low-cost and low commitment: Brightly colored bed sheets, a new duvet cover, fresh flowers, clear vases, spring-scented candles (whatever that scent is to you), and updated towels (admit it, the ones you have are looking a little raggedy anyway).
 

 

Picture Wall Round Deux: Free Printables

Picture walls have been on my mind since last week's post so I wanted to share a new idea and some matching freebies with you this week!

Short of living under a rock, you have likely seen the use of letters to accent and accessorize walls, bookshelves, bedrooms, and so on...


Maybe you've even tried out a wall like this yourself, but have you tried decorating with numbers instead?

For the most part, decorators use letters to represent the initials of a person or family, but when using numbers, there is a bit more ambiguity.

For example, here are the numbers I'm looking to play with in my own home:

1

7

4

Ambiguous, right? Now here is what they mean to me:

1 - number 1 is always that "keep your eye on the prize" number, it gets me motivated

7 - my birth date, 7/7 has made 7 a lucky number for me

4 - I actually do have a favorite number, and it's 4, I like how it multiplies and divides... Fun Fact: I was really into math as a kid, and it's really stuck with me.

Below are some free printables to get you started. So pick a number, frame it, and tack it up on the wall/bookshelf/dresser/you-name-it and, ta da! you're a decorator.

To access the image: click on it and when the new screen pops up, right click and select "save image." If you have any issues or would prefer a black and white image, feel free to email me and I'll help you out.