One of my favorite designers is Margaret Russell, the editor in chief of Architectural Digest. I love the spaces she designs! Not just because we have similar design philosophies, but the spaces she creates are both stunning to look at and the kind of home you actually want to be and live in. I’ve seen lots of technically well-designed rooms that have very gorgeous pieces in them, but without work they can feel like museums. Look, but don’t touch. To me, the highest compliment someone can say about a room I design is that it is a place that they just want to hang out in and never leave. Its beauty draws you in and its easy livability keeps you there.
So, how do you do it? Here are a few ways to bring in beauty and elegance to your home.
Inspiration Point Surround yourself with what inspires you. This could be memories of travel, books you love, favorite artists or even scents that stimulate a positive outlook. The things in your home should mean something to you!
Think It Through People who feel like they have a beautiful and elegant home, have often put a lot of thought into it. As a designer, that’s what I get paid to do—helping clients think through their routines, favorite things, not-so-favorite things and how that can all best work together. But you don’t have to be a designer to be thoughtful. Ask questions. Bounce ideas off of friends. Play around with what works best for you!
Love Where You Live Always remember it’s YOUR home. It is there to please you and meet the needs of your lifestyle. While there is something to be said for updating rooms to suit new life stages or reflect a better use of space for daily living, be careful about changing to just follow trends. If it’s a trend you love, great! But if it’s a trend for trend for trend’s sake, then you will likely become bored or unhappy with a trendy purchase than if it’s something you actually love.
Also, remember it’s your personal style that counts most. Who cares if someone else doesn’t like it. If you love it and it makes you happy, that’s all that matters!
This post is the second in a three part series on “What We Love About Home.”
“The numerous pieces that furnish your house… are undoubtedly THINGS! But if you choose each piece with due regard to your individual needs and preferences… it then becomes, not a THING, but an undeniable part of yourself!”
– Leopold Stickley
One of the things I love about the TV show “What Not to Wear” is that the hosts are always telling women that they don’t have to wear baggy sweatpants or sneakers in order to be comfortable. It is possible to be both stylish AND comfortable. I feel the same about the home. You don’t need an overstuffed recliner in order to relax in your abode. Plenty of items for the home are comfortable and also stylish.
Furniture Leather is beautiful to look at and is pretty easy to clean. It wears well and can actually look better with age. Like a great leather boot, it also becomes more comfortable with age.
Area rugs can be a way to warm up hard surface floors like wood and stone. They also give extra personality to the room. Because they aren’t permanent, they are easy to change when worn. You can also rotate them in different rooms when you feel the need to change things up. We just got in several area rugs in the store that are absolutely beautiful!
Layout Consider how you and your family go about daily life. Is your home helping or hindering this? Arranging furniture to suit your daily needs makes an impact to the overall feel of your room and makes you feel good in the process. Think about the size and shape of the room, as well as the sizes of the pieces you are working with, in order to determine placement. For instance, long rooms can be broken up by creating two groupings of furniture.
Also, keep comfortable items as part of your décor. Snuggly blankets thrown over a couch that are also beautiful, like chenille, make your home feel lovely to be in. Knick Knack Attack It’s fun to display family photos, sentimental heirlooms and treasures from travels. However, we can quickly get bogged down by all of these. Not only can it look cluttered, but becoming a knick knack hoarder makes dusting a bear. I suggest keeping only the decorative essentials out and bring special items out when you want to share with certain friends or family
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!