The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Sweet Escape: A Scottish Castle August 30, 2007

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:33 pm

Ackergill Tower Castle, a 15th Century Scottish Castle. Available to rent exclusively for a small fortune.

My sweet escape. In my royal dreams. Have a lovely weekend! What are you up to?

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Ackergill Tower Castle

In memory of a real Princess, The Beloved Princess Diana.

 

Back to Nature

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:18 am
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photo: room service home

Just knowing next week is September can give you that warm cozy feeling of Fall being just around the corner. Never mind that it is probably rather HOT outside and that is what is making your warm. This is the time of year when your mind starts to wander to your nesting instincts. Certainly you are not bringing out your fall blankets yet (are you?), but it is fun to start imagining the cool nights under the toasty covers and a crackling fire once again.

In our series on awakening all your senses by the things you put in your home, we are currently discussing the sense of touch. By adding texture to your home, you are adding a dimension that no color alone can achieve. You really find this displayed for us in nature. What could be better than being outside by the sea, in a bountiful garden, or gazing at the top of a glorious snow capped mountain or walking through a wooded forest? All of the textures are unique. The majesty of what God created for us in the world is an ideal place to gain inspiration for our homes!

Think about the authenticity of real texture taken from natural materials. Why not bring those inside, so on the dark dreary days of winter you can experience them year round? When paired in a weave of texture with contrasting materials, the beauty of natural materials inside your home can be remarkable.

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Sometimes our houses feel dull or as if something is not quite right, so we start re-arranging things hoping that will solve the problem. Before you start re-arranging, look at your room. Sometimes it helps to take a picture of it so you can really study. Is it full of soft fluffy things? Hard or rough things? Too dark or too light? Are things all the same? Once you’ve assessed the room, start to pair objects up with things of contrasting texture.

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If you have too much fabric and softness, try adding a basket, a shell or piece of coral, a beautiful natural wood side table, a sisal rug. If you have too much darkness or wood and you want to lighten things up, just add a lighter quilt, a pretty table runner, or a creamy porcelain pitcher to add some luster on a dark wood table. You will be able to appreciate the things you already have more when they have a contrast to play off of.

If nothing surprises people in a house, it can look too staged or decorated, stuck in a time-warp or not authentic. In a word, boring! Break out of your predictable mold by throwing in a natural element in a house overwhelmed by painted furniture. Or in a home full of natural wood tones, throw in greenery in the form of plants to soften things up. It is the mixing of materials that will make your home come alive with ambience! Try it, I bet you will be surprised by how much better things look.

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Photos from Pottery Barn, except where noted
 

The Superhero Exception August 29, 2007

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 5:29 pm
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For those of you with younger boys, you may have run across this dilemma. Your son wants a superhero room. You don’t love the idea. I have referred to these theme rooms a few times, and in my opinion, they generally end up tacky. Especially theme rooms that revolve around a cartoon.

Unfortunately, oftentimes this is the case for the superhero lovers too. And that is because most of the superhero room decorations ARE tacky. The comforters & sheets are poor quality (which is why I don’t even recommend limiting a theme to sheets, they are usually dreadfully scratchy and poor fitting) and the theme just doesn’t lend itself to a tasteful room. Most of the time. I have suggested vintage prints of superheroes as a compromise and that I think works well. Pottery Barn has some, or you could frame comic books if you found pictures you liked.

I am all for kids being kids, but I just think we can let them be kids AND have some class and taste too. Give them some artistic appreciation, but done in a way that would appeal to a kid and not nauseate an adult. They don’t have to have a Monet or Renoir inspired room to learn taste.

I of course have no problem with superhero rooms in anyone else’s home, you can do what you are comfortable with, I just feel like kids will learn their sense of taste from us and we should do our best to keep things from getting too focused on a cartoon theme they may not like next week. For their sake, as well as ours. That is just me. A simple mural or a few accessories are no big deal, I am just talking about the all out Sponge Bob room, those just are hard to pull off in a classy way! Even for decorators. Again, it is all up to you, I don’t fault you if you decide to go that route.

So today I found a super hero inspired room that I think does a great job of appealing to boys AND being tasteful, and in the interest of boys who love superheros, I will share what I found. It is no secret, it is in the Pottery Barn kids catalog, just like the Superhero prints that I shared in a previous post called “About A Boy”. I think, as they usually do, Pottery Barn found a good way to incorporate superheroes in a tasteful way. Making it a room inspired by superheroes, but not consumed by them in a tacky way. That is the key, making your room inspired by something, not overwhelmed by a theme.

Using classic original artwork style superheroes, they have designed a room with a cityscape border (available from Pottery Barn), decent looking sheets and then balanced it all out with classic quilted bedding and accessories. Notice the brick wall, that keeps the room from becoming overwhelmed by cityscape decals! It suggests a theme without getting carried away. Most of us don’t have brick walls, but if we did, that is very cool. If you are artistic and have lots of time on your hands, you could paint a brick wall!

I am pleased to have a photo to show you there IS a way to do the superhero thing if you must — just learn from Pottery Barn. It is probably more “theme” than you really need, but still a fun room. A superhero inspired room can be tasteful, and I think Pottery Barn has the right idea!

 

Exciting Plans

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration,Domesticity — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:54 am
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I know I promised you all way back when that I would reveal my exciting plans soon. And I’ve decided that today will be the day.

The news actually fits in to our series, because the point of using your senses to create a home is to make your home an emotionally warm and satisfying place to be. And this exciting news will definitely contribute to that sense in my own home!

When we first moved into our house four years ago, our daughters were 12 and 15. Our son was just 3. On the third floor of our house is a large bonus sort of room (attic style peaked ceilings) that leads into two other connected but smaller spaces and then a bathroom. The 1970s style (yes, always unfortunate in a 1930s house) bathroom is very strangely sloped downhill, built that way evidently by a drunken contractor! But that is another story! Anyways, it is quite a large space altogether with all those rooms flowing from one to another.

We decided upon moving in to dedicate the entire upper floor to the girls, one of them having a bedroom up there and the other large area being a hangout place for TV, computer and video games when friends came over. It has been wonderful for them to have a place to escape and be with friends.

Our bedroom is on the main floor, in the same hallway with my other daughter and son. The room is charming, but small. It is the hub of the house so we can keep an eye on everyone. But it leaves me and my husband crammed into small closets, my office being upstairs and no real sense of having a retreat from the busy household. My personal things are scattered throughout the house wherever I can fit them in. I have started to feel a bit disorganized and not peaceful at all.

Well, upon reflecting in my series here on using all of your senses to create your home, it has occurred to me that the time has come for me to move. Not move to another house, but take over the entire third floor as a master suite. Hip Hip Horray!

I have willingly given up master suites in smaller houses in order for children to have more room to play. And I did it again here in the big house. But after 19 years of being a mom, I am ready for a real master suite! I can truly see the value in it for me and in turn that will positively affect the kids. Even though they lose a hangout spot, the house is big enough that they can hang elsewhere! And my college age daughter has agreed to switch rooms with me so we are all set.

I am going to have a big room with plenty of space! It has lots of fun angles to the ceiling, like in the photo above. The medium sized room that connects will be my oh-so-charming office (at least I hope it will turn out that way!), room for shelving, storage and all the stuff I need to have on hand.

The remaining area, which is somewhat open to the office area, is going to be a walk in boutique style closet! It has wonderful painted wood walls, so I am going to add sparkle with chandeliers and mirrors, and open shelving for sweaters & shoes, rods for clothes….I will be in closet heaven! Eventually we will fix up the bathroom to be more level and charming. For now, it all works fine.

Keep in mind, I have no budget for any of these things. Everything I do will be using what I already have or can find at a thrift store or other inexpensive solution.

I think I will add a fireplace surround and fill it with candles. I will have to start keeping my eyes peeled for an inexpensive surround I could use. My ceilings are peaked, but not wood. Maybe some trim work here and there would look cool. And I might even put a loveseat in the room! I’ve never had the room for extra furniture before, but it sure looks charming so I might try it! I don’t have a four poster bed, but with the slope of the ceiling I could hang some bed curtains, for drama!fireplace4.jpg

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My boutique closet might look like this, with clothing racks and without the bed. And maybe a dark wood table in the middle to give it some weight. My house needs a contrast between dark and light or it looks too fluffy for such a solid house:

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I do not yet have a photo of my dream office/workspace. When I find some options I will let you know. Point me in the right direction if you have seen any awesome ideas! I did see Kim at Daisy Cottage’s office, very cute–check it out if you haven’t been by. I think it was in yesterday’s post. I just need to figure out what what work for my house. So, there you have it!

My big news! I can’t wait to get started!

photos: cottage living design assistant

This post has had formatting problems, so forgive me if anything looks askew!

 

The Right Touch August 28, 2007

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 12:37 am
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As some of you will remember (before the little interlude of my sentimental journey down memory lane as my daughter headed off to college, the kitchen remodel post and introducing that sweetie pie Winston!) we were discussing how important it is to incorporate the five senses into your home. Without the proper balance of all the senses, your home will always feel a bit “off” and you won’t always be able to immediately pinpoint the problem.

Introducing all of the senses brings layers of depth to your home that you cannot achieve just by having pretty things. That is what I LOVE about creating a home — the complexity of textures, surfaces, colors, sights, lights, aroma, sounds — it is so rewarding when they start coming together as something really beautiful, personal and meaningful to you.

 

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We started off this series by discussing the visual side of a decorating room. While we didn’t cover everything visual by any stretch of the imagination, we did discuss making certain visual statements and how they can transform a room.

By way of introduction, our next sense will add an incredible richness and stability to your room. While color and pattern can give you an immediate visual boost, touch or texture is often more subtle in the way it will affect the feeling of your home.

While an abundance of pretty things will look, well, pretty — attention to the contrast of textures in a room is what really gives your room substance and interest. Pretty faces only go so far towards happiness and contentment in life. Same is true for your home. There are layers to an emotionally satisfying and stable home that go far beyond the pretty stuff or colors you love.

 

 

 

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I’ve noticed through the years of being interested and working in interior design that most of the time people decorate using their sense of sight. They buy because something looks beautiful, paint because they love a particular color — their decisions will often revolve around whether or not they like the way something looks. However, when handed a fabric or shown a sofa, they will reach out and touch it with their hands or put the fabric against their face. We are tactile creatures! How things feel impact us just as much or more than how things look.

Unfortunately, if you do not balance a room’s texture, you will likely end up with a lopsided room! It will either be too fluffy, too heavy, too slick or too uncomfortable in some way. It may look pretty, but be too intense, be too predictable, or oftentimes just too flat. Rooms that really come alive have incorporated a contrast among materials and shapes. Texture can provide balance as well as an element of interest.

Beauty alone isn’t enough. What you put WITH the beautiful object is what creates the harmony, both texturally and visually. It is a contrast between materials that boosts the composition — providing you with the result you really want. Most people don’t want to live in a museum, with a collection of beautiful things in cold display cases. They want to live in a home. And a home requires the ability to experience all of your senses in order to feel fully alive and content.

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Usually when we think of texture, we think of textiles. But in your home, there are many other ways to add a tactile experience.

Next time we will talk about adding authentic organic materials in your home for emotional warmth and ambience. It is amazing what the right materials can do for a home. Especially if you are interested in adding character or a sense of history to a space.

Older homes often have far more substance and texture in their woodwork, walls and flooring. By adding some of these elements to a newer home, you can add some solid features that will add instant history to your home. Texture can also give you the ‘acquired over time’ look that is so pleasing and comfortable to many people.

Until next time…have a great day!

photos: Cottage Living design assistant

 

Introducing… August 26, 2007

Filed under: Domesticity — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:23 pm
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Introducing … our pup Winston! He is a West Highland White Terrier (Westie). He is no spring chicken, he is 12 years old now! He is the most mellow, sweet dog you’d ever want to have. He loves being a part of the family, riding in the car, laying on the bed, sitting on chairs — wherever the family is, Winston is there too! I snapped a few photos so you could see how cute he is.

P.S. I promise to get back to the series on using the five senses to create a beautiful home, but for now, thanks for greeting Winston!

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Kitchen Before & Afters August 25, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 7:09 pm
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I haven’t yet shared the stories of my house. The story of how we got our house will definitely require its own post. Suffice it to say, it was a house that needed some major TLC. Neglected for many many years, and remodeled with some bad contractors and 1970s style, this 1935 house was in desperate need of help. Four years later, we are still working away at it. At over 4300 square feet, it has a lot of nooks and crannies to work on, both inside and out. I will show more before pictures of other rooms another time so you will understand how bad it really was.

I haven’t spent many dollars or hours on furnishing or decorating like many of you have, but I have spent COUNTLESS hours designing a kitchen remodel (trying to make the best of what we had without gutting the whole thing), ripping out dirty dusty smoky wallpaper in many rooms, painting, patching, sanding, disguising problems, refinishing floors, and replacing things like windows and faucets and that sort of thing. When you buy a true fixer upper, things like getting the rat droppings out of your kitchen and having working appliances installed are really big deals. You look forward to “someday” when you have time to think about decorating and furnishing!

Today, I will show the before & afters of the kitchen. I’ve shown a few of these afters before. I apologize for the horrible before pictures. Not only the hideous state of the kitchen, but the bad photos! My computer crashed a couple of years back and I lost the original photos. All I have is this! But, you can get the general idea. It was BAD all the way around!

Here is a sheet of before pictures. Not every angle but enough to show you!

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The after pictures are in the same order as the before so you can kind of follow along:

Here are a few more shots of the kitchen, for those of you who enjoy more details and so you can see some things the above pictures miss:

Well, there you have it, my kitchen before and afters! I’d say it took a good two years to do. Between the design which I did myself and having the work done (and in some parts, doing the work ourselves), it was a major project. Doing a new kitchen would’ve been a snap by comparison, working around existing features requires careful thought and planning in order to save money! We had one ugly kitchen and now the room actually feels like it belongs in my house and not in the 1970s.