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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.

Repurpose Your Dining Room…For Your Family’s Purposes

If you don’t use a room for its original function, why not consider transforming it to serve a better purpose?  This concept has become more popular than ever with the formal dining room. Think about your own home. When was the last time you used your formal dining room for a dinner?  If you’re a dinner party host or hostess extraordinaire, this idea would not be for you.  For others, it still may take some time getting used to thinking outside the box.  In the end, the builder’s floor plan may designate the room for dining, but it’s up to you to assign a use for the space based on how your family lives.

The most common repurposing of a dining room is as an office, a library or a secondary living space. If you’ve thought to yourself how nice it would be to have one of these spaces, and you don’t really use your formal dining room anyway, here are some steps you can take to ensure the newly repurposed room becomes a showcase and doesn’t look like an afterthought.

Decide on the New Purpose
Carefully consider the way you live in your home and use the current rooms. Do you need a home office or a workspace? Are you lacking a great place to store your extensive collection of books, or have you always wanted a piano but just didn’t have room for it? Now think about that underused dining room. Will that space work for what you have in mind?
 
Consider Structural Changes
As always, the function of the room determines what you need in the space, so think about use and plan ahead accordingly. For example, storage is a big one.  If you’re designing a library or home office, you may want to work with a cabinet maker to build bookcases or a desk storage system.  You also need to think about lighting and electricity.  Consider the layout of the new room and ensure that you have the proper type of lighting and access to power outlets in the right locations. And of course privacy is an important factor.   If you’re creating a home office for your business, do you need doors for additional privacy?
 
Layer Decorative Elements 
This is the part where you get to really have fun and infuse personality into your new space. Furniture, wall treatments (paint or otherwise), decorative lighting and window treatments all come into play to create the perfect environment.  Consider how the look and feel of the room will coordinate with the nearby rooms.  Select fabrics and colors that work with the overall decorative scheme of your home.  Also, make the space functional with the correct layout and furniture plan. For instance, if you’re creating a movie room, how many seats will you need for your family and additional guests?  And lastly, what other decorative elements will complete the look? You might want additional lighting or artwork. Because the room has special meaning to you since you’re creating it from something else, don’t hold back on doing what you want.

How To: Choose the Right Window Treatment

No matter what your interior style is, chances are that you will be faced with the decision of what to do with your windows.  Custom window treatments are an easy, affordable addition to every home but many people don’t know where to begin.   Options are limited to blinds, shutters, shades or drapery, but the tricky part is figuring out which one to choose.  To determine how to dress your windows, first you should ask yourself, what is the main function of the window?   There are so many fabric and textile options out there, choosing window treatments can be overwhelming unless you know exactly what kind of window treatment is best suited for your space. Whether you want to dress up your bedroom, living room or master bath, choosing a window treatment doesn’t need to be a chore.   Here are some helpful tips:

Function First
First things first: determine the main function of the window you’re looking to cover. Consider how often, if at all, you’ll want to open and close it.  Privacy is also a huge factor.  Are you looking for a little, or a lot?  And style is obviously a big part of the choice as well.  Do you want your window dressed to the nines, or would you prefer something simple and understated?  And lastly, another important issue to think about is light.  Are you relying on the window to light the space?  Make sure you keep in mind that the answers to these questions will vary from room to room, so your treatments may also vary throughout your house.  Your bedroom window that overlooks the street may require much more privacy than the kitchen window that overlooks the backyard.  Once you’ve figured out the function of your windows, you’ll have an easier time picking the right window treatment.

Custom or Retail?
Custom window treatments are great because they offer many pluses.  If you prefer a tailored look, custom is preferable, as you can customize the dimensions to your window size.  And custom panels come in an endless array of design options, but all of this comes with a considerable price difference from off-the-shelf treatments.  If custom just isn’t in your budget,  don’t worry, you can still find high-quality retail window treatments at places like Restoration Hardware.

Style Options
Once you’ve done your due diligence in considering function and custom vs. retail, now it’s time to choose the style of window covering that’s best for you.  Consider your room decor– look at the colors, textures, and materials that you already use in the room. For example, valances are well suited for home offices and kitchens, while heavier draperies are better in bedrooms where you might want to block light for sleeping late on weekends.  Also, make sure to think about the maintenance of each option before you select.  If you have a family with allergies, a hard surface is important.  If you want to soften up your interior look with fabric, consider that it may look pretty, but its going to be more work to clean and maintain.

Shutters have been around for centuries and are still a very popular style of a window covering.  They’re generally made of wood with hinged panels and adjustable slats.  Shutters allow for easy access to the window, as they’re simple to open and close, and they’re also easy to adjust for light and privacy.   I did shutters in my bedroom because they best suited my lifestyle.  Style-wise, they have a very finished look, which I love, and function-wise, you can almost completely block out the light when you want to sleep. And they’re easy to keep clean with frequent dusting!

 Photo: Pinterest

Blinds are similar to shutters, but hung vertically.  They’ll provide a minimalistic look with optimal functions such as privacy and light control. Blinds, like shutters, allow for complete window access for those windows that you want to open a lot.  They can compliment any room and can come in just about any neutral color you can imagine.

 Photo: Pinterest

Shades come in many functional styles:  roller shades, pleated shades, and roman shades. Much like blinds, shades afford you many functions, but with a softer appearance. As the name implies, the shade is meant to offer a solid cover for your window, but can easily be pulled up to expose the window when needed.  Texture plays a big role in good interior design and bamboo shades are a fun way to add texture to a room.  However, keep in mind that they don’t black out, but they can easily be lined if you prefer to control the lighting in your room.

 Photo: Pinterest 

Drapery is probably the most common term in window treatments.  Drapes provide many functions: light control, privacy, easy access to the window, as well as providing a fabric element of design to the room. They can be customized to match your decor style or kept simple and soft to lighten a room.  Shades can block the light, but drapery is needed for a complete black out, like you’d find in a hotel room.  Something to keep in mind if you’re considering installing drapes in any room of your house, is that they come with a bit of maintenance.  It’s not too bad- you need to dry clean them once a year- but make sure you don’t forget or they’ll become dust magnets.

 Photo: Elle Decor

If you still find this whole process a bit overwhelming, feel free to reach out to Chameleon Design and we’d be more than happy to help!

 

Chameleon Design Featured Project: The Ridge Plan 7, Mission Viejo

The Ridge Plan 7 was done in a style called natural contemporary.  For the color palette we used  warm neutrals, stone grey, chamois and warm whites.  We brought in a lot of texture into the design to give it an organic feel, and also a bit masculine.  We used clean and modern upholstery and natural wood accents, such as the cocktail table made of wood slices to round out the earthy feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To: Make Your Bedroom More Luxurious

With the daily stress of our fast-paced lifestyles, the master bedroom should be a sanctuary that you can’t wait to come home to.  It should be the one place that there are no worries, and the world comes to a standstill until you have to wake up and do it all over again the next day.  When you’re thinking about the design for your bedroom, remember that it’s the little details that are going to make all the difference.  Use these helpful tips to turn your bedroom into a retreat that is relaxing and luxurious.   Once you do, you’ll wonder what took you so long!   

Splurge on Your Bedding
With bedding you truly do get what you pay for.   However, don’t think you’re always going to have to spend a fortune!  Many people don’t realize that you can get affordable, high thread count sheets at many places these days for a great price.  Look for 600 thread count or more and try places like Home Goods, Costco, Overstock.com and the amazing sales at Bloomingdale’s Home Store.  Purchase the highest thread count sheets you can afford, as they’ll make all the difference in your sleeping experience.  Luxury hotel beds feel so heavenly because of their high-quality bedding.  Soft, fluffy comforters, pillows your head sink into, and sheets that feel silky and luxurious will make your bedroom feel the same way.

 Photo: Pinterest

 

 Photo: Domino Magazine


Keep it Clean

The bedroom is the most important room in the house to keep dust free.  Dust can wreak havoc on allergies and disrupt your sleep, which no one wants.  When you have fabric on your headboards, you need to vacuum it.  This is a simple tip, but people forget about this.  Also, if you have fabric drapes those are big dust collectors, so be sure to vacuum those as well for a dust-free and allergy free environment.

Simplify
One of the best tips I can share with you if you want to improve the look and feel of your bedroom, is to clear out the clutter and simplify!  Keep nightstands and dressers clear of clutter. Add simple touches such as a square glass vase with fresh flowers and it will make a huge difference. A small alarm clock or a few framed pictures may also be added on nightstands, but not much more.   If you read books, make sure your nightstand accommodates that and look for one with a drawer or bottom shelf to stack books.  Also, keep things tidy with a small basket or tray on your dresser for when you come home and need to empty your pockets.

Lighting
Bedroom lighting is also very important for achieving a cozy and luxurious feel.  It can make all the difference between a sterile room and a soothing sanctuary that you’ll never want to leave.  Use side lamps on your nightstands for task lighting such as reading.  A nightstand on either side of the bed, with an elegant, simple lamp on each will also create a lovely and sophisticated look.  And for overhead lighting, cans will cast an even glow and can easily be adjusted with dimmers.  Being able to control the lighting in any room is important, but especially the bedroom.  You can set the mood and go from bright and energetic to soothing or romantic.  Add dimmers to all of your bedroom lighting options and you’ll be happy you did.  It will make a world of difference.

Signature Pieces
If you have room to spare, add an occasional chair or sitting area that you can relax in without getting into bed.  I have a small scale sofa at the foot of my bed and we often use it to sit and relax.  In fact, my kids love it so much sometimes we have a hard time getting them to leave the room!  Another nice touch is something like a chandelier.  It’s an unexpected element for a bedroom and a nice way to create luxury.  There are many options out there, small and large scale, and they don’t always have to be lighting-driven.  You may just want one that’s purely decorative.

 Photo: Elle Decor
 Photo: Pinterest

Lovely Scents
Scented candles are a very nice touch to keep the scent in your bedroom different from the rest of the house.  It’s a great feeling to walk into your bedroom and be embraced by a scent that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Light incense and oils are other options that work well.  A favorite trick of mine is to add a drop or two of lavender oil to my pillow for a calm night of sleep.  Also, don’t forget to open up the windows regularly to bring natural breezes into the room and cycle in fresh air for your body and mind.

Photo: Elle Decor

 

Tips for Small Spaces: A Decorating Guide to Help You Live Large Even if Your Space is Small

When you’re dealing with a small space, you’ll undoubtedly have to make some compromises in your decorating, get organized, and make some adjustments to your lifestyle in order to make everything fit and not feel cramped.   There are quite a few can decorating changes that you can apply to make your space look and feel larger without moving any walls! With the right color, furniture arrangement, and lighting, your space won’t feel so cramped.  Here are some things you can do to make a small space feel larger, even if the floor space stays the same:

Clear Out the Clutter
People put too much in their small spaces…leave some air.  I recently saw a house in Lido that was staged and looked great.  The reason why model homes are so appealing to people is that they are staged and not crammed full of unnecessary “stuff.”  There’s nothing that makes a small space feel more cramped than having too much stuff. Work out ways to get collections out of view, organized behind doors or on shelves. Simplify!  With things neatly arranged and out of sight, the space that is in view will feel orderly and open.

Make Way!
With furniture and accessories blocking the view into a room and out to open spaces, a room will look cramped. By moving furniture out and away from walkways, you’ll open up the space and make it feel larger. You can also choose short pieces of furniture like an ottoman, an armless, open chair, or a low table, and place large, tall pieces along a wall rather than out in the open space. If you can see the floor, the room will look larger.

Storage, storage, storage!
You absolutely must think about how you’re going to store your stuff.  Having a strong organizational aspect in small spaces is crucial.  Think about things that you need access to on a regular basis and figure out ways to tuck them away where they’ll be out of sight, but easily accessible.  Using a large ottoman as a cocktail table that you can also store stuff inside is a great idea.  Pottery Barn has a lot of great tips on this subject if you need some ideas and inspiration.

Use a Monochromatic Color Scheme
Color is sort of like clothing.  If you wear one color on the top and bottom it can make you look taller or thinner.  It’s the same with small spaces.  If you go with a uniform color pallet it will open up a room like magic.  For the strongest effect, choose soft and light hues.  Whereas dark, warm colors make a space feel cozy and intimate, light, cool colors make a space feel open and airy.   If you’re not ready to re-paint, instead of a color change, do textural changes.  Choose colors that are in the same color family and use tone-on-tone woven upholstery fabrics, textured wall finishes and delicate tonal drapery fabrics. Cool colors and delicate warm colors on most surfaces will give the room a more open look.

Let in the Light
Any room will look larger if it’s well-lit, either by natural light or artificial lighting. Get rid of heavy draperies and open up the windows to let the light of the outdoors into the space. Add more lamps or install track lighting or recessed lighting.

Reflective Surfaces
You might not like the look of a mirrored wall, but you have to admit that it always makes a room look larger. Instead, use a large framed mirror on a wall or stand an over-sized framed mirror against a wall. You’ll get the same room-enlarging effect as a mirrored wall, but with more style. The space and the light will be reflected for a more open feeling.  Top a coffee table or side table with a piece of beveled plate mirror or have a chest of drawers or bureau covered with custom-cut and installed mirrors.

By following some of these simple rules about decorating a small space, your home will feel comfortable, not cramped.

Chameleon Design Featured Project: Orange County Dream Home- Living Room

Chameleon Design was lucky to be a part of the ASID Dream Home this year.  The home was designed by over one dozen Orange County interior designers and Chameleon Design did the living room.  The Dream Home was on view from March 1-25th in Costa Mesa and benefited the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The Living Room design has a clean and modern feeling, with a color palette of natural wood tones, light neutrals and citron green and fuchsia accents.  We call the style “natural elegance.”  You will notice a balance of elements that evoke a modern feeling: natural woods, patina metal, sculptural plants, textured fabrics,  original art canvas’ and a reflective mirror.   The paint color is light grey and the floors are natural concrete in keeping with the modern style. The lighting consists of an overhead chandelier, directional tracks with art lights, two wall sconces and two floor lamps.

The sofa upholstery fabric is chenille with mohair and woven chenille pillows.  They are sitting on a grey mottled rug with a natural root ball table as the sculptural and focal element in the room.  The simple, clean lined floor lamps in metal and glass help create the symmetrical feel of the room.

Anchoring the seating area is a large metal faced fire place made from patina sheet metal.  The fireplace itself is a modern eco-smart firebox insert in stainless steel.  The fireplace needs no ventilation and uses a renewable energy source- bio ethanol and has clean emissions. Grey felt ottomans float in front of the fireplace for additional lounging or seating. On either side of the fireplace the walls are mirrored with full height mirror and natural sheer drapery.

The accessories include natural elements like a terrarium collection and crystals.  Universal design is considered and the furniture layout accommodates access thru the space between the doors.  An open area in the seating grouping allows a wheel chair to join in and a 5’ radius to turn is allowed at that point as well.