This post begins a three part series on “What We Love About Home.” There’s so much we love, we couldn’t squeeze it all into one post!
Durability and the “ease-of-maintenance factor” are pretty big for moms. We don’t like being stressed, worrying if the stuff that we have is too easily damaged. But we still want to have “nice” things–i.e. pieces that are beautiful to look at and make you feel like you are still living in an adult home, not a kiddie castle. Even if you’re not a mom, we’re all pressed for time and want to live in a place that is fairly easy to maintain, but doesn’t involve throwing plastic over furniture. This is a home we’d all love to be in. Here are some things to look for to help you create a durable and effortless home.
Flooring For stone floors, opt for a honed finish instead of polished to avoid scratches. Wood floors look really beautiful when they get a little distressed but you want to make sure you pick a wood floor that you can actually refinish. Use real wood planks, not veneers (engineered wood is fine). If you plan on being in your home for a while you want to be able to refinish something. It will be a bigger investment initially, but will be more cost effective in the long run.
Carpeting shows damage and dirt when it is smoother and more unified. Using a loop pile or a frieze (which is a twisted end cut pile), adds more texture and reduces the appearance of wear.
We installed this beautiful wood flooring in a recent home design knowing the residents planned to be there for several years.
Paint Flat finishes are always much harder to clean. If you are looking for a matte look, go with an eggshell finish. If it’s marked up, you can wash it off with much less effort and damage to the paint.
Fabrics For upholstery fabrics, go with something that has more texture. The smoother the fabric, the easier it is to see dirt and damage.
Cesarstone is available in a variety of colors.
Avoid glass top dining tables that will inevitably get scratched and show every fingerprint. Go for hard stone in a honed finish. Personally, I use CesarStone, which is a hard surface made of quartz and poured into a mold. This is virtually indestructible. If you do want to use a marble or granite, remember to have it professionally resealed every one to two years. Know that it will show its age over time, but let it go; learn to embrace this as a part of the home’s story – because that’s what easy elegance is really about.
We’re heading into March and the beginning of Spring Cleaning. Few look forward to cleaning, but my suggestion is start with your kids. Get them to clean out their rooms and box things up to give to charity. Surprisingly, kids love to
deliver their goods themselves so they feel like someone is actually going to have use of them. It puts a whole new twist on cleaning their rooms if they know where things will be going. Many abused women and children shelters are in need of gently used items that your kids are no longer using and many housing causes could use some not-too-worn furniture. We love helping out the women and children at Laura’s House and also Human Options. HomeAid Orange County has a list of the furniture needs of many local shelters.
What to do With What You Pitch There’s also this great article on what to do with your items after you have decided they can’t stay. Donate, recycle or sell!
This Alabaster Tray can help keep you organized after your Spring Cleaning. Toss in your keys or mail.
At all the shows and in design magazines I’m seeing lots of mirrored furniture. This might seem like a hard trend to get into since mirrors are often seen as modern. But don’t worry, whether you’re style is French country or shabby chic there are plenty of ways to incorporate mirrors into your home.
Put It Together
A fun way to make a large mirror is to buy a bunch of smaller mirrors and butt them up against each other on a focal wall behind the sofa or behind the buffet in the dining room. Do six or nine of them to create the grid.
A great way to make mirrored less edgy is by looking for antiqued pieces. I’m in love with this Estelle Cocktail Table we sell online.
Take the framed mirror hanging on your wall and use it as mirrored tray on top of a cocktail table. Get a big one so that it virtually covers the top of the table.
Mirrored chandeliers are a great way to bring mirrors in as a statement without doing a major design change. This shell and mirror chandelier from Nieman Marcus is a great transitional piece.
Studio Chameleon is a place where you find something unique everyday and for every occasion. Valentine’s Day is no exception! We want to help you celebrate those you love. We have gifts for friends, kids and significant others that you can buy in store and online. We hope this guide helps you shop or helps someone in your life shop for you!
Blabla Dolls $45-60, doll clothes $15-$25 Dolls are hand-knitted by Peruvian artists and made of natural fibers so they are irresistibly soft and cuddly. Display on entry bench or child’s bed. Perfect for kids and kids at heart.
Tile Art $215 each Pair multiple color tiles to make your own eye-catching wall décor or stack on a table top for an artsy display.
Selenite Tealight Holders large $24, small $18 Energy from a selenite crystal can provide calm and peace. Perfect for the Valentine who could use more zen.
Selenite Tealight Holders
Heart Crysal Bud Vases $40 Heart versions of our popular-selling vases. Stick a bud from the garden in it or attach a note of love to a pen or pencil.
Heart Crystal Bud Vases
Stone Hearts $25 each These hearts are carved from millennia-old stones that are as unique as your Valentine. Comes in banded amethyst (purple), fire quartz (pink) and desert jasper (multi-colored).
Valentine’s Day has a lot of pressure for romance. Remember that romance is just another way to say “I love you.” When you think about it like that, it’s easier to make it personal and meaningful. It helps you to get beyond candy and flowers. Here are some ways to make Valentine’s personal.
Message in a Bottle
Have a small jar or container with a sweet note set out for your Valentine. You can even take it up a notch and fill the jar with several notes of “Reasons Why I Love You.”
Buy a large canvas and a sponge brush and paint your declaration of love such as “John Loves Ann” or “J + A” and the year. Put it on an easel with a cool gift in front of it, preferably wrapped. Studio Chameleon has beautiful crystals, fossils and minerals that are 20 million years old—they say “I love you forever” in a unique and more affordable way than a diamond.
Cozy Up with Your Valentine
Snuggling with a good cashmere throw makes for a cozy evening with your sweetheart. And it’s a good way to introduce color into the room. Buy a red one for a seasonal touch! Add hot chocolate and your evening is complete!
and your evening is complete.
We hope these help you. Feel free to drop by the store with your personalization dilemmas!
Color is such a mood changer. Just adding a spray of colorful flowers can change a sad corner into a happy space you will love walking by throughout the day. But many aren’t sure how to integrate color. Don’t be afraid—be bold!
Introduce Color in Unexpected Places If you have a color story that is happening in blues and aqua with whites then you may want to use orange as an accent—hang artwork with highlights of orange, drape an orange throw on a chair, or set out orange candy in the candy dish Those pops of color will move your eye around a room and make your look complete. On a pristine desk place a container with turquoise pencils for a fun accent or hang a chandelier that is yellow for a more dramatic effect! Little touches of color can help get you in the mood for spring, which is just around the corner…
Paint or Paper an Accent Wall to Add Interest Adding color using an accent wall by painting or using wall paper can spruce up any room. Just do one wall—like the back wall behind the sofa or bed. It’s easy to do in a day, but big on the effect!
Many people don’t realize that it does get cold here in Newport Beach (though lately the gorgeous weather has made me forget that it was grey and below 70 degrees). While there may not be snow on the ground, we still look for ways to make our homes cozy when the temperature drops outside. Here are some tips bring in warmth to your home—whether you live in Orange County, CA or Orange County, NY.
Fuzzy and furry throws look cozy and are warm.
1) Go Under Cover: Blankets and throws placed on sofas, chairs and beds don’t just look cozy—they ARE cozy. They come in so many textures, patterns and price points. We love ones in golden or red hues that give the feeling of the glow of a fire. Furry throws, or even the faux sheepskin rugs IKEA has, are great on the back of an occasional chair. Placed at the head, you will feel cozy as you snuggle up against it.
2) Bring the Outside In: Living things need warmth to grow, so when you have plants or flowers inside there is an immediate association of warmth. They are available year round and you can get a dozen roses for like $15 at the grocery store. Cut two dozen level and bunch tightly in a vase for a very professional look. Small plants are great additions to side or cocktail tables. 3) Fragrance and Radiance: Scent and light are huge for creating a cozy home because they engage so many senses. The fire on the wick does, of course, actually give off heat, but when you choose a warm or spicy scent it will also tell your nose that you are warm. My rule is that you need at least two candles, usually in odd numbers, burning and bunched together. This gives a mini fireplace feel in different areas of your home and gives a lot of cozy ambiance.
4) “Shoe” Away the Cold: In your entry or mud room keep fuzzy slippers and fur-lined boots (like Uggs) close by. When you come in from the cold, slip off your cold and wet shoes for something comfy and warm. Grab the throw from off a nearby chair and you’ll instantly feel cozy down to your toes!
Did you know there’s a debate raging about whether down is out? It’s gotten so “heated” the Wall Street Journal has even “covered” it. Okay, enough with the puns. Whether or not you use a duvet or pile high with blankets, we know there are passionate opinions on both sides. My personal bed? Covered in a summer weight duvet with a blanket folded at the end of the bed. We make beds all the time as designers, so here’s my two cents.
Hurray for the Duvet
Down doesn’t have to be messy. If you’re committed to keeping your down comforter, I suggest tucking it in to make it neater. Another way to address it is use a blanket over the top of the duvet like a spread. You can also fold the duvet at the foot of the bed… put the top sheet on then the blanket. Fold both down a little below the pillows at the head of the bed. Then take the duvet and put it on the bed covering the pillows. Fold down to the foot of the bed so its folded in half. If that doesn’t look right fold it in half again. This especially helps the problem of the comforter peeping out of where it gets inserted in the duvet. I like the duvets that have square quilting on them so the down doesn’t move around. They get lumpy if you don’t choose this option.
Also, if you find yourself fussing with feathers, there are lots of great down alternatives on the market (which are helpful with allergies and when washing). Many of them also have different weights if you know you run hot or cold. If you find yourself changing temperatures with the seasons, I suggest also changing your comforter. Keep a heavier, toasty one around in winter and a cool, light one in the summer. Keep different duvets covers on them so you are also changing the look of your bed with the season!
The Beauty of Blankets What’s great about using blankets is that you can layer for the seasons. Pile them high in winter and strip down to one or two in the summer. This will always keep your bedroom looking fresh and seasonally appropriate!
What I also love is that blankets give you so many more choices with patterns and textures. You can have plaid mixed with floral with a solid color in between. Just make sure it all coordinates, but it doesn’t have to be matchy matchy.