Tuesday, February 19, 2008

northwest coastal cottage

This is how my friend and realtor Jeri describes her decorating style. That relaxed coastal vibe is so characteristic of this area, and I love it. Whether you have a house on the water or not, you can apply some simple decorating aesthetics to create that beach access, sound view, waterfront feeling.

Jeri's question specifically was, how to deal with her wall-to-wall carpet, which was necessary to install, given her home's uneven flooring. Could she still give her rooms the beach cottage look, without the hard wood floors that dominate the breezy carefree vignettes in Coastal Living magazine? My answer: yes definitely. There is no reason why you can't place a nice textural sisal or jute rug on top of pale green carpet. How about a simple but colorful striped cotton rug to ground your living room seating group? In either case, be certain to use a rug-to-rug pad in between the layers to keep that area rug from bunching.

I would also recommend interjecting a little wicker or rattan into your seating area or at your dining room table to lend an earthy touch. As far as upholstery, go for slip covers or light, linen-y textural neutrals. Casual is key in generating a lived-in, sea weathered look. Color palettes for a northwest beach look would mostly likely include a great basic khaki (C2's Hummus), a watery blue (Ralph Lauren's Shoreline) and a warm, light loving white (Ben Moore's Navajo White). A few touches of slate gray will add contrast and evoke the image of the NW's rocky shores. Add an artful grouping of apothecary jars full of shells and beach rocks or sea grass on your bookshelf, and voila, instant seaside getaway.

You might consider other elements to add texture like bamboo blinds and woven baskets to tighten the look, but not make it too cliche. Popping in plant life will add the layer of another natural color and bring the outdoors inside. Use fabrics like linen and cotton in soft shades of blue, ivory and green on simple drapes or to cover throw pillows. The main idea is to add natural and textural items and colors, but don't try too hard, or it might end up looking like you did!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

painting again

So this weekend, Chris and I tackled painting the living room trim. It has been over two and half years since we moved in, and have put it off until now, because we both HATE painting trim. It is tedious and time consuming. The project was long overdue, and we finally had to face it. I thought we might also muster the energy to do the kitchen, and paint the ceiling in there too. This morning, however, we were so drained after putting the blinds and curtains back up and rearranging the furniture, we had nothing left to give any other room in the house.

Now, the living room looks more polished and a little happier. The change we made that has the most visual impact, was painting the inside of the front door white. It used to be just a really dingy and outdated wood finish. The white really cleans it up and brightens that corner of the room quite a bit.

I also decided to make a couple of new pillow covers today, using two small pillows I had on the bed. I wanted to move them into the living room, and put to use some fabric swatches I had brought home from work. Even though the pillows are little, their pretty fabrics pack a lot of design punch. This is a great way to utilize fabric odds and ends and freshen the look of your rooms.