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Home Design Trends: Faux Bois

Faux bois, French for false wood, imitates the look of real wood and was all the rage in modern design of the 1930’s and 40’s. Today, we’re seeing faux bois wall coverings, place mats, vases and more- all with a fun and contemporary twist. The traditional rustic motif is suddenly very hip, so get your hands on some of these great pieces!

Photo: Devinecorp.net

Photo: Devinecorp.net 

Photo: Martha Stewart Collection

Photo: Martha Stewart Collection

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Decorating in a Day

Small decor changes make a big impact in a home’s look. Here are some fast and inexpensive quick fixes that deliver big results without a lot of effort. 

Organize with Trays
Corral items like TV remotes on a tray on the coffee table. Put liquor bottles, glasses, and bar accoutrements on a tray in the living or dining room.

  Photo: Pinterest

Display Children’s Art
Display drawings in a colorful frame, or in a white frame with a colored mat. Hang them in an otherwise unimaginative space. They’re full of spirit, and meaningful.

 Photo: Pinterest

 
Paint an Accent Wall 
Wake up a wall with brightly colored paint. A cheery color goes a long way in a small space so limit it to one wall in a room. This color would be especially effective in a north-facing room that doesn’t get a large amount of natural light. 

Photo: Pinterest

Remove Upper Cabinet Doors
If you love the look of glass cabinets, but want an affordable alternative, consider removing your upper doors. Arrange your dishes and glasses in an interesting way. Put miscellaneous items in low wicker baskets that are all uniform.

 Photo: Pinterest

Reconsider Your Artwork
Put pieces in unusual places, like above a door. Lean some against a mirror or a wall.

Photo: Pinterest

Refresh the Bath
Change your shower curtain, or just the liner. Add fragrant candles and a small bouquet. Clear the counters of everything except your prettiest essentials.

 Photo: Pinterest

Update with New Sheets
Refresh your bedroom with new sheets. My favorites are white hotel-style sheets, which you can also find with a colored border. They have a classic look and you can buy them anywhere.

Remove Rugs
Take up some of your rugs. Bare wood and stone floors can be just as beautiful. Or get a carpet remnant and put it down in an unusual place, like a patio or balcony.

Accessorize with Books
Stack art, design, gardening, travel books- whatever you collect- on a table or in a cool bookcase. Books are a great accessory because they’re so personal- they reflect your interests.

Photo: Pinterest

Home Design Trends: Moroccan Magic

Moroccan is a hot new home design style that we are loving right now. Moroccan design is welcoming, warm, inexpensive and relatively easy to pull together- all wonderful traits for the home! Moroccan design combines the best of Moorish and European influences to form a beautiful union of architecture and style. It also adds a note of worldly, well-traveled sophistication to a space. The best part is, you don’t have to theme an entire room- a few simple accessories will do the trick.

Photo: Justmorocco.com

 

 Photo: abchome.com

 

 Photo: Westelm.com

How To: Throw the Perfect Outdoor Party

With the warmer evenings upon us, we can’t think of a more perfect way to cap off the day than by enjoying a leisurely dinner outside.  Whether you’re hosting a small get-together among friends or a large neighborhood potluck, you’ll entertain outdoors like a pro with our easy-to-follow ideas for outdoor parties. We’ve included tips for planning, decorating, and food prep- everything you need to get you on your way to throwing the best parties of the summer!

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Outdoor Party Planning Tips 
Follow these easy outdoor entertaining tips when organizing and planning your next outdoor party:

-Send invitations if you’re going to invite more than 12 people or if you have a theme for your outdoor party. Otherwise, call or invite guests in person.

-Ask guests if they have any food allergies or special preferences (vegetarian, kosher, diabetic, etc.), so everyone is able to enjoy the party fare.

-Lessen the stress of hosting an outdoor party by making it a potluck. Assign each guest a dish (appetizer, salad, side dish, or dessert) to contribute, so you only have to make the main dish. If you want a cohesive buffet, organize the potluck around a theme, such as Tex-Mex, Asian, or All-American.

-Mix up the seating. If you have multiple outside spaces, set up a table, chairs, and blankets throughout the yard.

-Account for anything that might prevent entertaining outside: If you think bugs, rain, heat, or cold might get in the way of your party, make sure you have a backup plan.

Table Setting & Decorating Tips 
Transform your space and add a bit of elegance to your outdoor party table with a few of our simple and easy outdoor decorating tips:

-Buy two of the same tablecloth if your patio table is too large for one to cover. Simply fold each in half and drape over the ends of the table.

-Coordinate your tablecloth, place settings, and table decorations to give your outdoor party table a coordinated look.

-Hang string lanterns from trees to make your outdoor party glow.

-Use candles on the table if you’ll be dining outdoors after dark. Votives can be set in wineglasses, jars, or tin cans with holes punched around the sides. To create magical overhead lighting, make wire cradles for jars and suspend them from trees. String icicle lights along a fence, around a porch, or through a tree or shrub for another take on whimsical outdoor lighting.

Food Prep
Keep food for your outdoor party fresh and serve it efficiently with our helpful tips:

-Keep unwanted pests away from individual dishes using wire domes, which are available at kitchenware stores.

-Serve drinks in glasses or clear bottles rather than cans, which can hide bugs in the openings. Avoiding red or yellow drinks, which can attract bugs, is another way to keep your party pest-free.

-Follow the two-hour rule: Never serve food that’s been out of the refrigerator, off the stove, or out of the oven any longer than two hours. On warm days, follow the one-hour rule. Sit down to eat for an intimate gathering, and pass the food in bowls family-style.

-For a larger crowd, set up a buffet table and stack dishes at one end so guests can help themselves.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

How To: Make Overnight Guests Feel At Home

Summertime is always a fun time of year to invite guests for an overnight or weekend stay.  It means they can linger longer at your BBQ or cocktail party and enjoy brunch with your family the next day.  So when you have guests coming to stay with you, it’s nice to go the extra mile to make your guest room especially inviting.  Now if you haven’t given much thought to your guest room (in which case you’re not alone) we’ve got good news for you!  It’s actually quite simple to make it inviting and comfortable for guests, and it can even be done at the last minute.  It’s all about the small, but important, details.  Those little touches go a long way.  Keep reading for some simple tips you can incorporate anytime to turn your spare room into a place your guests will want to come back to again and again.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

The Guest Bedroom 
First things first- the bed!  If your guests don’t get a good night’s sleep, the rest doesn’t matter. Make sure that the bed linens are freshly cleaned and laundered.  There’s nothing better than crisp, clean sheets and your guests will thank you for it.  (Use fragrance-free laundry detergent in case they have allergies).  The bed should also have plenty of layers so guests can choose the coverage they want without having to hunt through closets for extra linens. It’s nice to provide some extra pillows on the bed too.  And keep extra blankets nearby or drape a stylish, cozy throw at the foot of the bed or on a nearby chair.

Once you’ve got the bed dialed in, focus on some of the smaller details that we feel make all the difference.  The bedside table is a key guest room element, so make sure you set yours with the essentials.  A bottle of water and a glass (an all-in-one bedside carafe is a great option) is important so that guests won’t need to navigate their way to the kitchen when they’re thirsty in the middle of the night.  A pretty bouquet of fresh-cut flowers lends a charming and cheerful touch, but keep it simple.  A small bud vase will work just fine.   And stock your guest room with a few good reads, especially if there’s not a television in the room.  Go for a combination of books and magazines that are easy to flip through. Fashion, interior design and travel are all good options. If your guests are arriving in the evening, set a mellow mood with dimmed lighting and a burning, unscented candle.   It’s also nice to give guests a place to sit other than the bed.  You may need to bring a cozy chair or chaise lounge into the room but a bench or simple chair will work just fine.  And make sure to stock the closet with a few hangers- we go for the wooden option.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

 

The Guest Bathroom 
Make sure there are clean towels in every size- bath, hand and washcloth.  I also like to place a basket with a blow dryer, shampoo and conditioner, a shower cap and some shower gel, lotion and a good hand cream in the bathroom just in case my guest forgot anything at home. You can also fill the medicine cabinet with any other items they might need, such as Band-Aids or mouthwash.  A toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are also good to offer.  And don’t forget, guests don’t want to ask you for extra toilet paper.  Place a new, full roll on and store a few extras in the bathroom cabinet where guests will easily spot them.  And, for the ultimate in luxury, stock the guest bathroom with a plush robe and French-milled soaps.

 Photo: Pinterest

 Photo: Pinterest

These few simple details will go a long way towards transforming a spare room into your guest’s home away from home!

Home Decor: Where to Splurge and Where to Save

Unless you have the advantage of working with an interior designer, it’s tough for many people to know what they should splurge on with their home decor, and where it’s safe to cut costs.  We break it down room by room to find out what can be purchased for less, and what you should be spending a little more on. Shower curtains versus faucets, duvets versus throw pillows, lighting versus love seats, read on to find out what to spend on, and where to save:

The Bedroom 
In general, be prepared to spend a lot on your bedroom.  Start with sourcing a good-quality mattress. Sleep is important, and you don’t want to compromise a good night’s rest for the sake of saving a few dollars. Plus you want your mattress to last. You also want to spend on your duvet cover and bedding. After all, your bed is the focal point of the room, so spending on good bedding will help keep the room looking current and polished. You should also spend more on dresser drawers, because they get lots of wear and tear.  You can save on extras like nightstands, reading lamps and decorative pillows. Rather than spending money on artwork, go with a beautiful headboard and stylish bedding instead.

The Kitchen and Dining Room 
There are a few areas to splash out on in the kitchen, but lots of opportunity to opt for more affordable items.   It’s a good idea to think about upgrading to stainless steel appliances, which look great and are a good idea for resale value. You also want to spend on faucets and taps and splurge on a beautiful countertop since that’s usually the first thing you see when you walk into the room. If you can, splurge on a good, functional dining table. It will likely get lots of use, and you want it to last. When it comes to kitchen cabinets, go simple and affordable. The visual impact can come from unique and eye-catching hardware and handles. Visit antique shops and even thrift stores to scout stylish, one-of-a-kind options. Save on chairs since you may want to change them after a few years, plus you need several of them, which can get expensive.

The Living Room 
The living room is where you spend a lot of time, between relaxing at home and entertaining. Larger items are worth splurging on here. Buying note: Fabric, foam and construction are what determine the quality. When you sit down, it shouldn’t feel like you are sinking endlessly into it. The sofa should have a little bit of give, but the shape should hold.  You definitely need to splurge on your sofa. It gets enough use that opting for quality will save you money in the end. There’s no point purchasing something just because it’s cheap and then having to replace it two years later. A good-quality sofa should last about 10 years. Spend a bit more on good lighting, which can do wonders to make a space look beautiful. We also suggest splurging on art, which will help tie the room together. You don’t need a lot- one nice piece of original art is often enough to make a statement.  Save on accents (pillows, rugs, carpet) and on carpets. Carpeting acts as more of a decorative item and is something you should feel you are free to change if the mood strikes.

The Bathroom 
It’s easy to create a chic, on-trend bathroom look by only spending on a few key items…and saving on everything else.  Spend on faucets and taps. Think of them as the accents of your wardrobe, like enhancing a simple black dress with great accessories (belt, beautiful necklace). Even a plain sink and vanity can be dressed up with stylish faucet and ultra-modern taps. Also invest in a nice showerhead that will last. Not only will your morning showers improve (big bonus), a quality showerhead is good for resale value. If you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom, a shower stall with beautiful tiling makes for a relaxing and spa-like setting.  Save on towels, shower curtains, toothbrush holders and other accessories you’re going to switch up more often.

The Foyer
The foyer or entrance way is the first impression people have of your home, which means you want it spend more to make sure it looks good. But that doesn’t mean spending a fortune all around.   A good place to start is to splurge on lighting. Think about pendant lighting, which hangs from the ceiling and adds both ambiance and architectural influence. You can also spend on one focal piece, such as bench seating that also works as storage or a beautiful antique side table.  An area you can save is with accessories such as mirrors, vases or small tables that can be purchased with less regard for cost.

Patio Perfection

Now that summer is in full swing, there’s no better way to enjoy it than by spending time outdoors with friends and family. Add good food and drinks to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a party! Since everyone wants to be outside, put some thought and effort into creating the perfect outdoor entertaining space for summer. And for Southern Californians, you’ll likely be able to enjoy it through October! Whether you’re working with acres or a small patio, some well-placed potted plants, an outdoor rug and matching patio furniture can make all the difference. The sooner you can get your yard in prime shape, the more likely you are to take advantage of the weather. If your patio looks warm and inviting all the time, then you’re ready to host friends without much notice. Simply opening a bottle of wine and turning on some music can make for an instant party. Here are our top tips for making your backyard bashes a success:

Pick the Perfect Spot 
Before you start purchasing new patio furniture, or arranging what you’ve already got, it’s important to be mindful of the type of space you’re working with. Look at your yard as a whole and determine the area that you’re more likely to do your entertaining in, then plan the rest of your yard around it. The spot you choose should be the area most conducive to entertaining. It’s important that the space be comfortable for guests, so you’ll want something that has shade, and has a fairly level ground so it’s easy to setup furniture on and easy for guests to walk on. Also make sure it’s not too far from your kitchen to allow for easy access when serving food/drinks. Access to outdoor power is also a plus. And don’t forget to consider the type of parties you want to host and create the spaces to accommodate them. Do you have film buff friends who you’d love to screen outdoor movies for? Or perhaps most of your friends have children, and you want to make sure the layout is kid-friendly. There are many ways to go, so don’t over-think it- just go with what suits you and your lifestyle. It’s that simple!

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  

Determine Your Layout 
One of the most important aspects of creating the ultimate outdoor entertaining space comes down to how things are arranged. It’s important to figure out the best layout for your parties and then repeat the setup every time you entertain. For example, knowing that your patio can hold one lounge area and a bar and still have a nice flow for guests to move around means that every time you can go back to that setup, regardless of the party style and know it will work well. Another thing to think about when looking at your layout is how to create ample seating for guests. Whether you’re doing a sit-down dinner at one long table, or casual dining with guests open to sit where they’d like, a place to sit makes for happy guests who will ultimately be more comfortable and stay longer. Fire pits are great ways to create fun conversation areas, and the heat the fire provides is always welcome when the night starts to get chilly.

Photo: Architectural Digest

Photo: Architectural Digest

 
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  

Stay Neutral 
By keeping the overall look neutral you can easily incorporate elements of your party’s theme. Hosting a beach bash? Add pops of bright color with outdoor pillows and accents in fun hues or vases full of shells that can be removed once the party is over. Trends change and so do tastes and favorite colors and patterns, so it’s best to keep overall decor neutral. Since party themes are always changing, avoid decorating the yard in a way that’s too stylized. Stick with neutral colors and design so any party you might throw can easily work with what you already have in place. And if you’re not a theme person, don’t worry. The summer season is all about stylish simplicity and embracing the outdoors as a place to eat, drink and have fun.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

  
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

 
Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Chameleon Design Featured Project: The Ridge Plan 8, Mission Viejo

The themes of The Ridge Plan 8 are urban contemporary and whimsical. We drew inspiration from Z-Gallerie for this model, using mixed modern and transitional furniture. The refined, bohemian look was pulled together with a color palette that included: purple, bone, mink, fuchsia, lime green, blue and teal. We used smokey, gray neutral fabrics with pops of colorful prints and whimsical, sculptural accessories. The end result was a glamorous, yet unconventional look that was a lot of fun.

 Kitchen/Living Area
Dining Room Detail
Living Room Detail
Master Bedroom
Master Detail
 Master Detail
Guest Suite
Hip-Hop Girls Room

Eclectic Chic

The days of buying a complete matching furniture set are long gone.  A collected, eclectic look is the all the rage in design today.   Cultivating a personalized space with only pieces that you love is a natural way to express your individuality.  Compiling diverse furnishings, fabrics, finishes, and objects from any number of periods and countries, it’s possible to arrange a totally unique scene. Not bound by any rules, you’re free to include whatever you like.  Of course, in order to be successful, you’ll want to keep all the principles concerning form, scale, composition, and proportion in mind. But, the more original, the better. The only requisite is comfort.  Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering this look for your home:

Cover Your Basics
You’ll never appreciate a space if it doesn’t provide basics like comfortable seating and good lighting. Start with some pieces of furniture that you

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love, stay away from anything too matchy-matchy, add several lighting sources and build from there.   To make sure the look you’re creating doesn’t lean towards messy, eliminating wallpaper and decorative finishes for a neutral palette is the safest route. Various styles mix peacefully when the background and furniture forms are simple.  If whites and creams don’t excite you, choose a more contemporary color like pale rust, straw, or smoke. Reasonable amounts of color or pattern (at the window, on a chair, etc) will help unite all of the elements.  For windows, stick to natural cottons or natural fibers blended with synthetics for greater durability. Simple roman or rattan shades are timeless and tasteful.

 Photo: Pinterest
 Photo: Pinterest

Supporting Cast
Once a comfortable sofa and chairs are in place, choose the supporting furnishings according to character.  A 19th-century Spanish table and a set of American Empire chairs may not be a team anyone would normally think of, but try pairing them together. There’s an old saying that says if you buy only what you love, somehow it will all work, and it’s true!  An eclectic room welcomes everything from the possessions you’ve inherited to vintage pieces you’ve collected. Assigning furnishings new roles is a wonderful way to include pieces you like in a small space. For example,  a pair of leather suitcases, one on top of the other, could double as a coffee table or a bedside table can make a nifty desk when you pull up a chair.

 Photo: Pinterest
 Photo: Pinterest

Balancing Act
A balancing, yin and yang approach takes well to a room such as the kitchen where you want the warm, welcoming aura of home with professional-style appliances.  An old farmhouse table would look great with new, modern metal chairs.  An eclectic style also works well in the bath where a vintage medicine cabinet can live in harmony with a modern lighting fixture.  In the bedroom, stand a lucite lamp on an antique desk.  Forget the notion that everything needs to match and have fun experimenting!   Jackie Kennedy’s fashion advice to women was always to remove one thing from an outfit before going out. If you’re worried you’ve gone overboard, do the same with your room.  You might be amazed at the difference.

 Photo: Lonny Mag
 Photo: Vogue

Bring Summertime Style Into Your Home

When summer rolls into town with it’s long days and warm air, you can’t help but want to enjoy everything it has to offer.  To bring the bright look of summer into your home, all it takes are some  quick and easy additions (or removals) of color, style, and accessories.  You don’t need to change every room or do anything that takes a lot of time or money, there are lots of ways to lighten up and freshen up your home for a wonderful summer seasonal change. Try some of these simple, easy changes to bring some summertime style into your home!

Embrace Your Outdoor Living Space
The patio is a great example of how you really don’t need much outdoor space to take advantage of summer’s fresh air and sunshine. A patio chair accented with a colorful outdoor rug and weatherproof pillow transforms a simple space into an inviting retreat. A window box on the railing brings a little more green to the space, while sheer curtains offer the option of privacy.  Dining alfresco is always a great opportunity to savor the gorgeous summer weather. Invest in a few pieces of good patio furniture for your dining area, and then accessorize with less expensive and more trendy pieces. Be sure to stick to your style: You want your home and your outdoor area to mesh.

 Photo: Pinterest

 

 Photo: Pinterest

Bring in Some Plant Life
Even if you don’t have the space, time, or energy to have a summer garden, there are still plenty of easy and beautiful ways to incorporate plants into your home. A container garden is a perfect way to benefit from the beautiful flowers and herbs that flourish in the summer. Choose a large pot for a landscaped effect using multiple plants, or create a grouping of smaller pots.  A few plants can add a brilliant pop of green to a room. Just make sure they’re in a place where they can drain without making a mess and can still get plenty of sunshine.

Photo: WoollyPocket.com

Add Color
Summer decor can be bright, bold and cheerful, so use colors and patterns you can’t get away with during other seasons.  Pillows, cushions, and colorful accessories are fun and easy ways to brighten up an otherwise simple setup. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and contrast colors and styles when it comes to textiles. Fabric can be a relatively inexpensive endeavor, so have fun with it and play around!  Try to incorporate color in unexpected areas in your home for that extra pop of summer cheer.

 Photo: Pinterest

Bring the Outdoors In
Allow your decor to reflect the beauty of summer, and work natural materials into your home.  Bringing outdoor furniture inside is a great way to blur the line between the two spaces. If you don’t think your outdoor furniture will work inside, try using slipcovers or new cushions to help it blend with your interior.

 Photo: Architectual Digest

Use Light and Breezy Textiles
Integrate light and airy fabrics into your home’s design to give each room a bright feel, and also to cool it down on particularly hot days.  Tablecloths, rugs, placemats, pillow cushions, and sofa covers can all be temporarily replaced in warmer months. If your home is full of plush velvets and lots of dark colors, it could be a good idea to give it a more summery feel with a few quick changes.
Replace heavy winter drapes with sheer or thin curtains to let more light in. Use the same ideas when approaching summer bed linens (especially for guests), throws, cushions and floor pillows. When it’s 100 degrees outside, lounging on a flannel duvet wouldn’t be a good idea.