Upgrade the front of your house for enticing curb appeal
Curb appeal is the attractiveness of your home’s exterior when viewed from the street. Making a good first impression with your home is important all the time and especially important when you are preparing to sell your home.
Small changes to the face of your home can greatly improve its curb appeal, allowing you to much more greatly enjoy the view each day as you pull up to your home. You can give the front of your house a personality in many ways, but first you need to evaluate its current status.
Stand across the street from your home in order to get the fullest view of the front, the driveway and the sides. Note any painting, repairs or replacements needed. Identify bushes or trees that are overgrown.
Walk towards your home and note landscaping needs such as edging, raking, weeding, pruning and trash removal. Look for items that should be removed or hidden such as hoses, sprinklers, trash cans or toys.
Can you see through your front windows? Note interior views that detract from your home’s curb appeal.Proper window coverings in the front rooms of your house help not only provide privacy for those inside, but also add to your home’s curb appeal. Inspect your home’s walkway entrance. Note any cleaning, repairs, painting and lighting needs.Now that we’ve evaluated the current look, let’s talk about small changes we can make to greatly improve your home’s curb appeal. Start with the color and style of the front door, and always consider durability in the finish you select. Notice how the red door pops off this white house. The windows in your door or surrounding your door can make a difference as well. Consider stained glass, etched glass, clear glass or frosted glass to create interest. Landscaping also makes a first impression for your house. Plan the surrounding garden area to accent the good features of your front entrance. Consider adding a selection of potted plants near your front door. Pay attention to the surface and shape of your front walk, the driveway and garage door, and any fences, gates or hedges that provide privacy. Make plans this season to optimize the first impression your house makes.
In design, we often hear, “Every room needs just a little black.”
In designing a new living room decor, there’s something about adding just one element of black that anchors the room and enhances the other colors. You and your guests may not even notice the touch of black, but it does make a difference.
Does this mean rooms without a black element are not complete? Not at all. However, black adds impact and drama and mixes well with all colors. Without being garish or bright, black is strong enough to command – and draw – attention wherever you place it. It is extremely versatile in its ability to be both refined and elegant and, quite opposite, be casual and raw.
As for that touch, a little black can go a long way in adding drama, sophistication, seriousness or masculinity, and it can be used on anything from accents, furniture, artwork, countertops and fabrics. Just remember that black is striking and it draws your eye to that element or shape. And, just like that “little black dress”, it is always classic, versatile and in style. That’s one of the best things about black; it never goes out of style, even as other colors rise and fall in popularity, so your black accents will probably outlast all your other design elements!
Black goes well with so many colors, especially cream or any off-white – or even pure, snowy white. It also looks beautiful with bold jewel tones and soft pastels. Today, some people are even decorating with black as the primary color in their design scheme, but be cautious about using too much black – it can be overpowering.
- Frames for paintings, photographs or mirrors
- Granite or marble countertops in the kitchen or bath
- Lamps or lampshades
- Upholstery fabric – in moderation
- Lacquer moldings around windows and doors
- A valance, top treatment or drapery rod
- Leather-covered walls or wall coverings
- The inside surfaces of a built-in shelving system
- Wrought iron for stair railings or bed frames
Anchor your home decor by adding a splash of black in every room this spring.
An open concept kitchen and family room is the latest in home building trends, and we love it. However, it can make furniture placement tricky as items need to be floated in a room, and definition of different spaces needs to be created without walls.
We recently completed a home remodel where we executed an open concept family room and eat-in-kitchen.
Unique features of this space are the game table, roll out ottomans beneath the coffee table, and the hidden desk in the built-in cabinetry.
Here you can see the plush and comfy sectional with a gorgeous red swivel barrel chair. The swivel allows the barrel chair to be both part of the conversation when turned toward the sectional, but also able to enjoy the television when rotated the other way.
Here is a view of the open concept into the eat in kitchen. As you can see, we differentiated the spaces with lighting. The drum shades anchor the family room, while the modern chandelier floats over the kitchen table.
Notice also the coffee table that hides four ottomans on wheels. This allows for a functional table while having a place to put your feet up at any seat. Plus, those ottomans can be pulled out to become additional seating at family gatherings.
How great is this desk chair? Since it floats in the room, and the back is what everyone sees, we wanted the back to be spectacular. It might be our favorite part of this space.
This room is all about the blending of different reds and blues, and these leather dining chairs give us a pop of red in the kitchen. They offer contrast off the blue walls and white cabinetry.
The glass tiles offer a variety of blues in the kitchen back splash which provides contrast for the client’s red pot and tea kettle. We love the idea of considering what pieces will live on your counters and other surfaces and working them into the design. A well planned design keeps in mind form and function down to the smallest details.
The anchor piece to this design is the rug. Notice that all of the colors we pulled from the space are in this rug. The client fell in love with this piece first, and it became our inspiration for the room.
What do you think of this space?
It’s ALL about the details, and we love nail-head and contrasting welts to take furniture from standard to special. Take a look at these images and you will see just how important the details are in making a statement with your furniture.
First look at this ottoman: a boring neutral color….but look at the nail head! It takes the ottoman from normal to spectacular. Plus we love the pattern (its our logo if you haven’t noticed!)
Next, take a look at this chair. Yes, its a plain fabric, but notice the small touch of nail-head trim on the base. It makes all the difference. Add a pop of color with a pillow, and we think this chair is an A+
Not sure about nail-head? A contrast welt provides a similar feel. This chair is bold despite its beige fabric. Look at the hot pink welt playing off the beige and black. Think about adding a patterned pink pillow and this chair makes a statement.
Finally, this chair says it all. Bold color (purple is so hot right now), nail head trim, tall modern leg, and a contrasting pillow in shades of purple and white.
Next time you’re picking items for your home, think about the details. They make your furniture look more upscale and finished.
I want you to think about some new window treatment ideas and why you put window treatments on your windows. Your answer will be different in every room. In rooms such as the bedroom or bathroom, we need privacy. In the kitchen, we may need something to diffuse the bright sun that pours through into your eyes while washing the dishes. In the living room, we may need sound absorption or insulation. In the dining room, we may simply want something decorative to add to the ambiance of the space.
Choosing the right window treatment for your space involves analyzing the reasons behind why you are choosing to cover the windows, and you may have more than one need in each space. Generally, we have a functional need as well as an aesthetic desire which is why the days of mini blinds are behind us! We offer functional shades that are also beautiful.
So, let’s talk about the functions of window treatments and considerations to make when choosing the right product.
1.) Beauty and aesthetic: We all want to enjoy how our home looks. For this reason, we think carefully about paint colors, the sofa that we choose and the pillows that we put on that sofa. The window treatments are no different. From hard treatments such as blinds, shades and shutters, to soft drapery treatments, window treatments are a great place to add color and pattern to your space. Soft fabric treatments soften the window casings and finish a room. Which treatments we like the look of is an important consideration in selecting the right product for our space.
2.) Light control: No one wants a glare on the big screen TV during the game or when you are creating a home theater environment. Do you work 3rd shift, and need to sleep during the day? You probably need a blackout shade with drapery to prevent any light from getting through. Does the sun stream into your home office hitting you right in the eyes? A blind or shade with the right level of opacity will allow you to enjoy the day light without suffering from the glare.
3.) Privacy: Having neighbors is a wonderful part of suburban living, but unless you you live on acres and acres of land or have woods between you and those next door, you need window treatments for privacy. During the day, those outside of your house can’t really see in, but at night, if you turn a light on, your home becomes a fishbowl. In my house, unless I close my shades at night, anyone driving down the street can see exactly what I’m watching on TV as well as how many people are in the living room. In the living room, that’s an annoyance, but we certainly don’t want everyone driving down the street to see what’s happening in our bedrooms or bathrooms. A top-down bottom-up lifting system can allow you to have privacy in your bathroom, while still letting in sunlight. These are important considerations based on the function on the room and proximity of the window to the road or neighbors.
4.) Sound absorption. Do you have kids and pets? If you have large rooms with high ceilings, or just large rooms, the echos of sounds from kids and pets, or just from your own shoes when you’re walking across a hardware floor can be annoying. The solution to this problem is to use fabric; rugs, fabric upholstered furniture and lined draperies on your windows. These will cut down the sound, and warm up the room, literally and visually. Do you live on a busy road with lots of traffic? Insulating your windows with a high quality window treatment will help diffuse that sound entering your home make you room quieter and more relaxing.
5.) Insulation and Energy Efficiency: Speaking of insulation, some window treatments are excellent at keeping the cold out and the heat in. A honeycomb shade for example will provide you top-of-the-line home insulation helping you cut down on your home heating and cooling costs. I find that the rooms in my home where I have honeycomb are by far the warmest in the winter months, even when we are fighting the negative degrees that January and February can bring. Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb shades have a honeycomb within a honeycomb. They are known for their superior energy efficiency, so much so that the Federal Government offered up to a $500 tax energy credit on the purchase of these in 2013.
6.) Sun Protection: We’ve talked about light control, but let’s also consider protecting your furniture and rugs from the sun, not just your eyes. If you’ve made an investment in furnishings you want them to look new for some time, but the sun has a bleaching effect over time. Even a sheer window treatment like a Silhouette, helps to protect your furniture from fading over time.
Time to update the window treatments for your home?
Call us today to book your FREE 1-hour in-home consultation. We will bring the samples and fabrics to you so that you can choose the right product for your space right in the room the treatments will live in. Book Now!!!
It’s official: The Pantone Color of the Year of 2015 is… Marsala. “This earthy red has wine and a very warm brown underneath, which gives the feeling of groundedness, strength, and confidence,” says Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute.
This creamy wine hue is quite a bit different than last year’s Radiant Orchid, but it seems more versatile. Not as dramatic as oxblood or even burgundy, but a gorgeous terracotta red shade. While the Color of the Year can be applied to just about anything – from makeup to fashion – we focus our attention on where this color shows up in interior design.
“It has a richness that lends sophistication. When you wear it, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy—you’ll find you get positive reactions form others and it builds up your confidence.” Eisman explains that we’ve seen glimpses of marsala in the late ‘60s into the ‘70s and a touch in the ‘80s, but it’s a very modern hue that totally suits the times.You may not have heard of Pantone, but the color authorities have been used as an industry resource for decades. After announcing the color of the millennium in 1999 there was so much public interest that Pantone decided to name a color every year based on their extensive research.
Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth. Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.
The Versatility of Marsala
- Equally appealing to men and women, Marsala is a stirring and flavorful shade for apparel and accessories, one that encourages color creativity and experimentation
- Flattering against many skin tones, sultry and subtle Marsala is a great
go-tocolor for beauty, providing enormous highlight for the cheek, and a captivating pop of color for nails, shadows lips and hair.
- Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors
- An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury
Because of the brown undertones in marsala, it can be used both as a pop of color in a room or as the grounding “neutral.”
Generally, we suggest with the color of the year that you keep it to inexpensive pieces that are easy to change, but the neutral feel to this color will allow it last longer in a space than radiant orchard or emerald did. This color can work well on upholstery, in rugs, as paint or in your accessories, but make sure to choose classic patterns and silhouettes to pair it with.
It’s another snowy New England day, and I am stuck home while the white stuff keeps piling up outside my window. Truthfully, I don’t mind the excuse to sit on the couch instead of at my desk while I get caught up on work and caught up my HGTV. Yes, I’ll admit it, like most of you, I love sitting down to binge watch some Love it or List it, Property Brothers, or Income Property (which is what is on right now). I enjoy seeing a concept become a reality, which is why I love my job. However, I find it interesting that HGTV is really the lens through which our clients judge the success of a renovation, forgetting that these shows are not real,but rather are “reality TV,” and like the Kardashians or the Bachelor, are scripted for the drama. There are many differences between a real home improvement and an HGTV reality TV renovation, and one of the big differences is the cost. Yes, those shows can give you a concept of what it costs to do a renovation. However, keep in mind that the labor is discounted as part of the show, often the window treatments are donated by Hunter Douglas for publicity, and the cabinetry is ready made and not semi-custom. Plus, it is not always brought to your attention that the homes are staged, and the furniture is not part of the cost of the remodel. I also always find it interesting that on the shows such as Property Brothers and Love It or List It, the construction crew runs into recurring “surprises” like unexpected bearing wall conditions, hidden duct work, wiring or plumbing that must be moved, and similar such scenarios. I’m not surprised that they run into these issues. Anyone who routinely does home improvement work absolutely expects these conditions and plans and budgets accordingly with contingency for what might be hidden inside the walls. The premise that these “experts” are surprised to find these issues is comical and speaks to the “acting” that is part of the staged show. Second, let’s talk about time-frame. All HGTV renovation projects are completed within 4-5 weeks. To you, that might sound realistic because you see it in every episode, but truthfully, that is not a realistic timeframe. Just ordering cabinetry, counter tops and furniture could have an 8-10 week window for parts to arrive and be ready for installation. A smooth, complete renovation from concept to completion will take months, not weeks. HGTV shows also don’t include time it takes on the front end of home remodeling:
The Reality of Home Improvement
- it takes time to interview & decide on a scope of work,
- it take time to create design plans and the rework them with changes based on client feedback,
- it take time to source materials (& re-source materials to fit into a budget),
- it takes time to order materials & the lead time for materials to be made & delivered can be 8-10 weeks at best,
- you also need to pull permits and have work approved by the city (if needed).
- Plus, let’s not forget that most contractors work within business hours: M-F 7am – 4pm and not around the clock as jobs seems to go on HGTV.
From what I’ve read, most of the homeowners on these shows have already purchased a house, so the concepts have been decided and product has been purchased before the show even begins filming. With the addition of round the clock construction, a large team, and TV magic, the project seems to more along quickly. All-in-all, we still love HGTV. It’s inspiring; it keeps us on trend; it gives us new ideas; and it teaches us about the process of renovating. Just don’t forget when you’re starting a new project that there are distinct differences and the camera magic that HGTV features will not be a part of your project. However, what we can promise you is that just like the end of every show, you too will love your new space and the work of the renovation will be more than worth it.
Inspired by one of these shows to start renovations on your home? We can help.
From creating floor plans and concepts to providing general contracting services, Lisa Scheff Designs’ staff is the home renovation experts.
Call today to book your free in-home consultation. 413-567-8541
Design myth: you can’t mix metals.
Once upon a time, mixing metals in home decor was viewed a bad practice and a decision usually had to be made between silver and gold, or chrome and brass.
We get asked about this supposed faux-pas all the time. Clients either ask, “can I mix metals in the same room?” or they say, “Oh I can’t use that silver table I already have gold in the room. Isn’t that bad?”
But we would like to bust this myth. Yes, you can mix metals! In fact, mixing metallics in a space adds dimension to a room.
Over last few years, mixing metals in jewelry has been a growing trend, and we love it in interior design as well.
Now I’m not telling you to layer ever metal finish you can find in the same room, and I’m also not saying just because you can mix metals that you should. There are ways to mix metals well and ways that make it look haphazard.
Mixing Metals in Home Decor – How to mix metals well:
1) Don’t go over board with the finishes. Two metallic finishes (silver with gold or nickel with oil rubbed bronze) is enough. However, within that color scheme, mix a variety of textures and colors (meaning dark and light golds, weathered silver finished with polished).
2) Make sure to have a variety of pieces: don’t have a single piece in a different finish. If you incorporate a gold lamp, make sure to have gold accents elsewhere in the room. This makes the look purposeful rather than haphazard.
3) Incorporate the mixing of metals into fabrics used in the room as well. This contributes to the cohesive look of the room and warms up the feel.
How do you mix metals in your spaces?
I’ve been spending my evenings lately with a glass of wine and an episode of Mad Men, and I can’t help but notice how much has changed since the 60’s. If you watch the show, one of the key facets you’ll notice is how human rights (for women, race and sexual orientation) have come a long way, but I also can’t help but pay attention to how much interior design has changed over the past 50 years.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane as we look at design through the decades on this #tbt, Throwback Thursday.
Interior Design Through the Years
The 1950’s were characterized by a post war boom, and consumerism became rampant. People had money, families and homes to fill with furniture. 50’s interior design is typically characterized by modernism, open living space, and pastel colors. Think pink bathrooms and mid-century modern furniture characterized by a lack of unnecessary ornamentation – form follows function.
The swinging 60’s saw the free love movement flourish underneath the dark shadow of probable nuclear annihilation. Striking out against modernism, the 60’s sought to radically combine elements of the past with the new, forming post modernism. It was a time for experimentation. The picture perfect TV home of June cleaver moved into the brighter more colorful home of The Brady Bunch. Design at the time shook off the formality of previous eras and mixed patterns, times periods, materials and colors.
Midst an oil crisis and rising inflation, American interior design changed to reflect a new regard for nature and an awareness of environmental concerns. Despite recession and mass unemployment, the 70s did see living standards and home ownership rise. The house was the crucible for the family. With economics leading to DIY culture and “built to last” furniture. Color was a big part of 70’s decor with a focus on green, yellow, orange, brown and turquoise. This chrome, glass, plastic and vinyl creating a sleep, space-age look, and who can forget the lava lamp!
The decade of excess introduced a number of bold and startling approaches to design. In its extremes, it is remembered for stark colored geometrical nightmares, but for most normal homes it meant beige and cream coloring along with the prevalence of carpets and wall to wall wallpaper. But who could forget the mauve and dusty pastel epidemic the swept the nation?? Think track lighting, blocky furniture, and patio chairs used indoors.
The 90’s provided sobriety after the heady excess of the previous decade. Interior design was toned back for a more minimalist look with natural colors and lots and lots of pine furniture. We can still hear the squeak from inflatable chairs and feel the boredom of beige on beige on beige. Think ivy wall designs carefully stenciled around windows, floral patterns on chairs, and sofas, faux-silk flowers, sponge painted walls, and the unfortunate carpet in bathrooms.
With the arrival of the millennium, interior design re-embraced the theme of color into the home, with spaces becoming more personalized. The popularity of flat-packed Ikea furniture reached dizzying new heights, while the technological revolution saw devices getting smaller and taking a higher priority in room arrangement. The TV has always been most designers nemesis because it demands a focal point. The TV’s attention typically competes with the fireplace and other things worth noticing. Although the size of television has scaled back they will continue to out perform themselves.
In an era colored by always online individuals and social media, self expression has come to define the approach to interior design. Home owners like to wear their influences and inspirations on their sleeve for all to see. In terms of the uncertain future of the economy, home owners are making use of smaller living spaces and furniture with built in storage. Think living green. More efficient construction with using less environmental resources and higher efficiency in space and energy consumption, plus the understanding of how to lower your home’s emissions and it’s impact on the environment.
What is in store for the next decade of interior design? While six years may not sound like a lot of time, look how much has changed from decade to decade over the past 60 years. Technology is becoming increasingly important in design as companies flawlessly mix ease of use, technology and aesthetics.
What do you think we will see in interior design trends for 2020?
Mistakes people tend to make choosing paint colors!
Mistake # 1: Picking Your Paint Color First
Choosing paint colors should be one of the last things you select for a room. There are infinite paint colors to choose from, but if you pick it first, you will pigeon hole yourself into a color scheme, hoping to find fabrics and furniture that work with it. Find fabrics you love first and then choose a coordinating color, not the other way around!
Correct It: Get the room planned and then select the paint to support all of the other things going on in your space. You can take your color cues from fabrics, whether it’s accent pillows or an occasional chair that has a pattern or print to it. That’s usually my jumping off point for selecting a color for a space.
Mistake #2: Picking a Color That’s Too Bright or Saturated
A bright cobalt blue, which is really trendy right now, can look great as a ceramic lamp, because it has a sheen to it, or as a silk pillow, because it has depth or interest, but when you put that same really bright color on the wall, it’s a whole lot stronger.
Correct It: If the walls are going to scream a bright color, you want to wrap the rest of your furnishings in neutral tones or even white. Decide what your focal point is. If it’s the wall color, then let everything else support it, not fight with it.
Mistake # 3: Not Considering the Home As a Whole
Whether your planning for a small apartment or a large, modern home, transitioning color from one room to the next can be tricky and it doesn’t flow well if you’ve got bright orange in one room and bright pink in another. Keep in mind that when doors are open, you can see the two colors together.
Mistake #4: Losing Sight Of Your Emotional Goal
I hear people say things like, ‘My favorite color is red, I’m going to put that in my bedroom,’ but what they really ultimately wanted was a space that was relaxing and calm, so there’s a disconnect between picking colors and what the space is intended for.
Correct It: When selecting a color, consider the mood of a room. In a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a quieter feeling while stronger colors are for drama. Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance. Do you want kid’s rooms to create an active and exciting energy or an orderly and restful feeling? Be careful not to overstimulate your children with intensely bright hues. You may not know it, but some brighter colors can lead to unrest and irritability.
Mistake # 5: Following Trends
The color of the year is Radiant Orchid, but I wouldn’t paint my walls that color because next year it will be something else.
Correct It: Chances are, you’re not going to paint your home every 2 or 3 years. Choose colors that will work for the long haul and add a pop of trendy colors in pillows, throws and other accessories.
Mistake #6: Not Paying Attention to Lighting
The reason why paint stores have light boxes for you to test paint chips: Natural daylight shows the truest color; Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows; and Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone. So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.
Correct it: Test the color in the room. If you’re unable to get a larger sample, buy a small amount of paint to test on the walls. Test it in different corners of the room to see how it will look in the various lighting.