Back ♥ Home = happy place (physically & mentally)
Bridges = help us get there
My childhood Sunday afternoons were spent with 6 women: my mom, sister, Tia, twin cousins & Abuela.
What did we do?? We looked at houses…“Open houses”.
Sounds wierd. I know.
Why would we do this?
Were we in the market to buy a house?? No.
We did it because we came from a long line of Interior Designers and we Loved to look at different architectural styles of homes and their interiors.
They say my grandfather’s family (who still owns one of the finest Interior Design Firms in Vigo, Spain) were the personal interior designers for Franco.
So, obviously, It’s in my blood. And while most kids wouldn’t find this outing a particularly “Funday Sunday”…
I learned to like it.
Not many 7yr olds are overly concerned with decorating their bedrooms; color coordinating their bedding with their curtains… or wanted Lime Green Shag carpeting for Christmas, but that was only the beginning of my life long passion!
Fast forward, I still Love home architecture and interior design.
I’ve had two homes built from floor plans I designed, and have renovated/decorated eight additional homes, including the one I’m living in now.
I also love helping friends with everything from tweaking their houseplan blueprints, to redecorating or just choosing the perfect paint color.
In a recent Blog posted on 1/14/16, I shared some design elements I believe are the Bridges we use to make a house… our Home.
Essential Design Elements
These are essential design elements that are independent of your home’s decorating style, be it Contemporary, Country, Arts & Crafts, or Victorian.
And they make the difference between a house and a Home. ♥
They help your home not only meet your physical needs… but more importantly, fulfill & nurture your spiritual needs as well.
They focus on soothing your senses of sight, touch, sound and smell.
They are the things you Love to have surrounding you.
They nourish and refresh your spirit… so, your home becomes your safe haven.
They’re the little things… the details you incorporate into your decorating, so that every room in your home is a reflection of your personality, your passions… your spirit.
Because it’s the little details that make your home the place you want to retreat to after a long day and a place where your friends and family feel equally welcome and at home.
I’ve decided to do a Photo Tour of our Living Room to illustrate some of these design elements and the importance of detail when decorating a
comfortable and inviting room.
Before & After
- I chose to replace the wall-to-wall carpet with rustically finished hardwood flooring, this made a huge difference and was my way of reflecting the texture of nature and the woods surrounding our home.
- The wall color was painted in my go-to shade: a warm buttery yellow.
- The wood trim was sanded and painted warm white, including the stairway spindles!
- The room was missing architectural details and the stairway wall was sticking out like a sore thumb, so built in cabinetry was custom designed to provide depth and much needed storage. Also the mirror reflects a beautiful wall of windows.
- The curtain rods were painted to match the woodwork and trim.
- The curtains were changed to a sleek, pinch-pleat style that exposed more of the windows to bring in the natural light.
- The curtains were hung by wooden rings, in the same rich wood-tone as the piano, floors and other wooden pieces in the room.
Custom Designed Wall Cabinetry
As mentioned above, these cabinets were a big-bang-for-the-buck:
storage, texture, reflection, display room, etc…
I’m thinking of adding some antique wicker baskets across the top ledge. What do you think?? Any other suggestions??
All the shelving is adjustable!
- The finish chosen was a creamy white with a faint mocha wash and MacKenzie-Childs Knobs… always my go-to choice for knobs!!
- The center counsel jots out 7″ from the bookcases, providing plenty of room to display festive decorations during the Holidays, etc…
- Did you notice the one thing this room is missing??? A fireplace. So, it is awesome when the candle light reflects and flickers in the mirror!
- This provided the perfect space to display some of my favorite things. A rock from Omaha Beach placed next to smooth crystal candlesticks provides a pleasant contrast in texture.
Filling Bookshelves With More Than Books
The bookshelves provide a special place to gather meaningful treasures alongside practical things.
- Collectibles are grouped on the top shelves.
- MacKenzie-Childs Winter & Summer display platters create symmetry. A wooden bowl filled with seashells and a birds-nest bring the texture and benefit of nature indoors. An antique Tibetan Bell, a treasured keepsake.
- SONOS speakers placement ensures sound projection at the perfect height for the room.
- Books, scrapbooks and albums are placed on the bottom shelves to anchor the visual weight
- For the best quality albums check out Exposures. My absolute favorite resource for preserving memories!
The photo below shows a good view of the rooms furniture placement.
The room has a cathedral ceiling,
so the height of the custom cabinetry
balances out the bank of floor to ceiling windows it reflects.
Also, a set of matching leather recliners were not only chosen for comfort,
but because their high backs also help to balance out the room.
- These pecan brown leather recliners, with rolled arms and nail head trim, provide the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on the daily happenings with loved ones.
- Nestled between the chairs is a table holding thought provoking books and a small crystal bowl filled with Acorns collected from the French countryside. I have bowls of Acorns, Chestnuts or Seashells in every room of our home. They’re some of my favorite things!
- A big wicker basket holds several soft, warm and cozy blankets within reach.
- Every room has certain pieces that you couldn’t live without. Our family piano has been well played by all my children through the years… it holds a very special place in my heart, in our family and our living room.
- This sofa is the first high quality piece of furniture I ever purchased. And I love it as much today as I did when I bought it 16 years ago. The fabric is a delicious Chenille, in a perfect shade of creme and is down filled for extra comfort!!
- I can’t wait to replace this end-table…but in the meantime, it’s the perfect height and size. So, I’ve added a piece of rough-hewn slate to the top, and the lower shelf is the perfect spot for a mini farm menagerie I put together.
- This coffee table is one of my very favorite pieces of furniture. It is a Kittinger antique table that has been passed down in my family for generations. A traditional Spanish wicker cafe tray protects the well-worn table top while providing plenty of space to set down your glass of wine or cup of coffee.
- Without a fireplace, I use plenty of candles to provide warm, flickering light.
- This is my quiet corner to cuddle up with a warm blanket and a good book!!!
- Filled with my favorite books…
- This calf-hide provides a soft place to put up your feet and also hides a hole in the upholstery.
- This carpet was purchased in 2000 and has been the focal point in all my homes…this time it set the color-scheme for the whole room. I bought this Bergere Chair and Ottoman 25 years ago!!! I have had it reupholstered twice and I’m still madly in love with it.
I hope you enjoyed the tour and learned something along the way.
Something you can use when designing your living room to make it a reflection of your personality, your passions… your spirit.
Remember to choose design elements that ease & please your sense of sight, touch, sound, and smell.
We didn’t forget about smell… I am a believer that the best room fragrance is to simply open your windows and let in the fresh-air… and the benefit of our Living Room being right of the kitchen is there are (usually) plenty of good aromas in the air!!
I’d love your feedback and questions!
Would you like to see a photo tour of essential design elements used in a another room???
Back Home = happy place (physically & mentally)
Bridges = help us get there
EVERYONE Loves a Good Time… a party, vacation, the HOLIDAYS!!!
And some of us have a hard time after the Good Time… when everyone’s gone home and all that’s left to do is clean-up the mess.
Christmas is my favorite!! The world of fun and joy opens right up during the weeks before Christmas. Our house is filled with the sound of non-stop Christmas carols, the aroma of Ginger Snap cookies baking in the oven, colorfully wrapped presents under the tree, twinkling lights, and simply beautiful holiday decorations all around.
The anticipation of The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year is sometimes more excitement than I
And vacations are the best!! But when we get back home, there’s usually a pile of mail and heaps and heaps of dirty laundry. Truth is, it is much more fun to pack your suitcase for a vacation, rather than empty it after you’ve returned back home.
So, how can we best navigate the transition from the Good Time to Back Home? What are some Bridges that can help us achieve a more pleasant, and smooth RE-ENTRY?
I personally struggle to find those answers. I’m the girl that actually kept her Christmas tree up until mid-February one year. I just couldn’t bare to see it end. So right before Valentines Day, I finally Took Down Christmas and quickly redecorated the house with festive hearts and cupids.
One of my closest friends has her tree un-decorated and at the curb by Christmas night. Everything Christmas is cleaned up and put away until next year, all in less than 24 hours after “down the chimney St. Nicholas came with abound.” There’s not even a crumb of a Christmas cookie or a strand of tinsel left behind.
I also had a neighbor that put an (electric) “Candle” in each window during Christmas and kept them up (and lit in the evenings) until Easter. I actually loved seeing the candle’s glow throughout the long winter and into the spring… I thought it was a very cozy, warm touch.
Those are only some extreme examples of how people approach transitioning from the Good Times to Back Home. Everyone handles things differently… in their own way… everyone has their own comfort zone. And it would appear a healthy, balanced approach to transitioning lies somewhere in-between the extremes.
Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved a Good Time when people were happy and having fun… so transition was never easy for me. Therefore, I have been working hard to navigate a healthier approach to Re-entry and have discovered some helpful Bridges.
Be Mindful when you are Preparing for the Good Time
It’s a lot of fun when it’s a family event opening up 10 storage boxes of Christmas decorations, and everyone wants to cut down the biggest tree in the forest and after we’ve all hung our favorite ornaments in just the right spot, begins the excitement of who’ll get the honor of placing the Star on top… all while festive Christmas carols play in the background.
Then it comes time to Take Down Christmas and no one is the least bit interested in helping. So, there you’ll be… most likely all alone, with no “Jolly Old Saint Nick” serenading you in the background. Also, remember, the size of the tree is directly proportionate to the endless amounts of pine needles you’ll be vacuuming up until June.
Therefore, be mindful as to what (and how much) you put up during the Holidays… because chances are, it will not be as much fun (nor will you have much help) taking it down.
That goes for packing for a vacation as well. PACK LIGHT. The experts say “Pack your suitcase with everything you think you’ll need…and then take half of it out.”
There will be less laundry to face when you return, and emptying your suitcase won’t feel like an overwhelming task if it’s not bursting at the seams.
Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a day or two (if you can) to readjust after the Good Time. Once you’ve gotten your energy back and reacclimated… then set up a reasonable plan. Decide on manageable tasks you can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Once you start checking off these tasks, you’ll start feeling efficient and will easily build the momentum to complete RE-ENTRY.
Home Sweet Home
Even though I love a Good Time as much as anyone… there’s nothing like Home Sweet Home. Routine is so soothing. There is peace and comfort that comes when everything is back to our version of normal.
My wise Spanish Grandmother had the perfect saying about those
she always said:
“Noches Alegres, Mañana Triste”
Please take a moment and share the Bridges you use for a smooth transition for the Good Times to Back Home in the comment section below.