Monthly Archives: April 2010

IT’s on Sale – This Week’s Hot ITems!

We’ve got even more great gift ideas for Mom’s special day!  Surprise her with a whole new look for her living room!  These fabulous finds are an ADDITIONAL 10% off our everyday DESIGNER-DISCOUNT prices for the next week!  Mom always said to spend your money wisely!

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6 1/2″ Baby’s Breath: This small lifelike baby’s breath bunch adds a touch of green to any space and never needs watering.  In a neutral clay pot to coordinate with any interior. Regular $39/Now $26!

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Sleigh Rocking Chair: This cool modern rocking chair looks stunning in a nursery or sitting room.  Rock away in style. Constructed of molded plastic with a stainless steel and wood base. Regular $334/Now $225!

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Stones Charcoal Area Rug: Felted tufts create a unique pebbled texture on this plush contemporary rug.  Available in 5′ x 8′ or 8′ x 11′ sizes. Regular $996-$2211/Now $672-$1492!

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Drop by the STORE to check out these and 1000s more hot home decor items, and if you’re unsure what to choose, a DIO gift certificate is the perfect fit for any taste!

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One Room/Three Hot New Looks: Part 3

In Part 3 of our series showcasing the fabulous benefits of our exclusive 3D rendering services we show another hot new design option for the same unfinished master bedroom.  This time we feature a stunning transitional look, encompassing the best modern AND traditional elements!

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BEFORE: Undecorated and underwhelming

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AFTER: A sparkling confection of color, pattern, and texture, combining both traditional and contemporary elements.

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Take the full tour to see the amazing realism of the renderings and to take in the finer details of the new design!

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Visit our SERVICES page for more information on our affordable 3D Decorating packages!

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DIY Pride

There is nothing that creates a greater sense of pride for me than “doing-it-myself”, this includes everything from cooking a great meal to painting a fence.  I’ll admit that as a younger woman I was not the tidiest of creatures.  In fact, the state of cleanliness in my house related directly to the number of DIY projects that I completed.  I guess it’s like anything: the more love you put into something the greater the reward.

I was reminded of this recently when we went on a “fix and finish everything” spree.  Refinishing patio furniture, hanging pictures, stuffing pillows, and of course reworking the space plan.  A little bit of effort that resulted in a huge reward, and now, after being in this house for almost 2 years it really does feel like home for the first time.

So, if you’re looking looking for inspiration and a break from those winter blues, I highly recommend grabbing a paint brush, dusting off the glue gun or digging out the sewing machine.  For me there is nothing more rewarding than a little bit of sweat on the brow and sitting back at the end of the day admiring my accomplishments.  After all, spring is the season of new beginnings.

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Scents and Sensibility: Making your Home Smell as Good as it Looks!

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During our last buying trip to Las Vegas one of the trends we noticed in the more fashion-forward hotels was that they each seemed to have a signature scent piped throughout the public areas (and I don’t mean cigarettes and Corona).  Each hotel featured an exclusive fragrance designed to coordinate with the aesthetic profile of the space: Planet Hollywood featured a bold, edgy, youthful scent; the Bellagio more refined, elegant, and subtle; the new Aria very fresh, woodsy, and Zen-like.

While likely conjured to counter the less-pleasing olfactory influences of the Sin City air, the aromas served to reinforce the positive emotional response and contribute to the rich tapestry of sensory stimulation that Vegas is known for. This same concept can be applied, on a much smaller scale, in your own spaces. Here’s how:

First, try to eliminate any negative scents that are noticeable in any of the areas of your home.  Professionally clean those stale carpets, use the exhaust fan whenever you’re cooking greasy or smoky food, and keep laundry baskets, cat litter boxes, recycling bins, and garbage receptacles well out of the common areas of your home.

Next, use a fabric refresher spray (available at any supermarket or variety store) on upholstered furnishings, drapery, bedding, and any unwashable soft surfaces to eliminate any lingering odors and provide a fresh, neutral scent palette in the space.  You can also use this spray on glass and mirrors (just spray it, leave it on for a few seconds, then wipe it off); the microscopic ridges will hold the fresh fragrance for several days.

If you have a particular perfume or cologne that you love, try spraying in on unlit incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs (wait until the bulb is completely cooled first, and NEVER try this on halogen bulbs).  Once the perfume dries turn on the light and the fragrance will radiate throughout the room.

Fresh-cut flowers in every room are another way to convey a pleasing scent throughout your home.  Buy large bouquets of the same type of flower (we buy whatever is on sale) and split them up into small cut-crystal vases placed in the kitchen, bath, foyer, great room, and bedrooms.

Fresh herbs such as lemon balm, lavender, and oregano, grown in small pots on the kitchen windowsill add an organic touch and also help to detoxify the air by absorbing smoke and carbon dioxide.

Candles and incense can also add a pleasing smell to a space, but can sometimes make the air feel heavy and stagnant.  If you burn them make sure that there is adequate ventilation in the room (like an open window) to avoid having the room smell smoky and to minimize discoloration of the ceiling and fabrics.

Just like with lighting, the main objective is to keep the effect pleasing but subtle.  Your guests should notice the overall effect that the scent creates, rather than the source of the scent itself.

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For more great home tips and ideas check out our TOOLS page!

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Ask IT: Culinary Quandary

Here’s a tough one for you.  We recently moved to Seattle where my partner will be attending graduate school.  We are currently renting a basement suite in an older house (circa 1940s) that, while clean and well maintained, has not been updated much in several years.  The large eat-in kitchen is especially dated, with tacky vintage cabinet hardware and shiny ceramic tile countertops.  The owners will not let us make any permanent changes to the space so we are looking for ideas to make the space look more stylish and contemporary, without breaking the bank or our rental agreement.  We are basically starting from scratch as we didn’t bring much of our old furniture or housewares when we moved.  Any ideas?

Jeremy

Seattle, WA

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Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the question.  Despite the limitations of your space there are definitely some great ideas you can employ to glam up your kitchen on a budget.  One of the first rules of good interior decoration is working with the architecture of the space (which, in this case, includes the things you cannot change, like the tile countertops and kitschy cabinet handles).  Your kitchen’s “bones” have a definite vintage 1950s feel, so rather than try to fight with them we recommend playing them up.

Table: Though it is unclear in the photo how much space you have for a dining table it would be fun to see a vintage chrome/laminate model in red, pink, or green tones, with matching chrome and vinyl chairs.  These can usually be found inexpensively at thrift stores, estate sales, and vintage furniture shops.

Small appliances: For your small countertop appliances (toaster, microwave, coffee maker, etc) we suggest shiny chrome pieces that have a retro flare to them.  Many leading manufacturers now make vintage-style small appliances and they’re available at most department and housewares stores.  Also, a seafoam green stand mixer would look fantastic on your counter, just to the left of the sink.

Window: For the window on the right side of the room we recommend a cafe curtain in a fresh pastel color (pink or green) that hangs from just above the bottom of the window to just above the countertop.  This will add a bit of color to the space as well as giving the impression that the window is larger than it actually is (which is always helpful in a basement room).

Accessories: Another way to add color and visual interest to the room is to add interesting vintage kitchen accessories on the shelf above your sink and in small groupings on the countertop.  Vintage Fiestaware, a popular staple of 1950’s kitchens, can be found at thrift and antique stores in a wide range of vibrant candy colors.  Newer knockoff pieces are also available at many department and housewares stores.

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If you have a question for our decorating team, email it to: AskIT@decorateITonline.com.  If we feature it on our blog you’ll receive a $25 gift certificate to use in the STORE!

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Life on the Net

I have to say that I am pleasantly amazed at the kindness that is out there in the world of social networking.  I guess I thought that under the cloak of anonymity the darker side of human nature would prevail.  My experience, though, has been quite the opposite: I have found kindness, courtesy, and humanity from complete strangers.  From pleasant direct message exchanges to helpful tweets the net is a very nice place to be.  Really, more often than not these days I get better and more personal service from online purchases than from physical stores.  I wont even venture a guess as to why this is the case I will just say thanks to all of our friends, followers, clients and partners.  Please, keep it up!

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How to do IT: Creating a Wall Shadowbox

Interesting wall art can sometimes be difficult to find, especially if you’re looking for something with a personal or emotional connection.  One creative solution is to take unique objects you have lying around the house and frame them in a shadow box.  We created these interesting shadow boxes featuring vintage newspaper press templates that were found in an attic (they had been used as insulation for several decades).

Here’s how we did it:

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First, we took two ready-made shadow box kits (available at most large variety or craft stores), opened them up, and removed the backs.  Next, we took 1/2″ strips of styrofoam we had lying around and glued them to the back of the templates that we were framing.  We did this in order to create a slight shadow behind the templates to give them more depth.  We also glued velcro strips onto the back of the styrofoam pieces to use to attach the template to the felt backing of the shadow box.

Then we centered the template onto the felt backing and pressed it to make sure it was secure.

Finally, we reassembled the frame, replaced the glass, and added the hanging hardware to the back.

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Total time: 30 minutes

Total budget: $165 ($160 for the 2 shadowboxes and $5 for velcro strips and hot glue)

Total impact: Fabulous!

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For more cool decorating project ideas check out our TOOLS page!

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IT’s on Sale – This Week’s Hot ITems!

With Mom’s special day coming up we chose three hot items that we know she would love!  And you’ll love giving them too, especially since they’re each an EXTRA 10% OFF our EVERYDAY DESIGNER-DISCOUNT prices for the following week!  This might finally make up for that house party you had when you were 17…

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Giselle Mirrored Side Table: This French-Deco-inspired mirrored side table adds a glamorous touch to a bedroom or sitting room.  Also available in black.  Regular $413/Now $278!

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Whim Occasional Chair: Graceful lines, intricate button-tufting, and shiny nailhead compliment this stunning transitional chair.  Available in champagne, black, and ice blue.  Regular $875/Now$590!

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Oahu Single Stem 16″ Orchid: An elegant and simple white orchid in a contemporary white ceramic pot.  They’re fabulous alone or in pairs and they make a stunning centerpiece too! Regular $83/Now $55!

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Visit the STORE to check out these and 1000s of other fabulous gift ideas for Mom or for yourself!

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One Room/Three Hot New Looks: Part 2

In this second instalment of our series highlighting our 3D room renderings we take the same unfinished room, and this time we turn it into a STUNNING MODERN SHOW-STOPPER!

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BEFORE: The unfinished master bedroom suffers from a lack of style direction.

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AFTER: Reinvented in white! The new monochromatic palette is both soothing and glamorous. By using wall-to-wall white sheer drapery on two walls the room takes on a more soft, feminine feel, that is perfectly balanced by the sleek masculine shape of the hard furnishings.

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You can also take a stroll around the room to see how beautifully everything works together in the Video Tour!

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Next week we’ll feature Part 3, with a Transitional look.  Stay tuned!  And for more information on our affordable 3D Decorating packages check the SERVICES page!

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Form Follows Function

Architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) once famously said “form ever follows function” to denote that in architecture and interior design the form or look of a space is secondary to its practical functionality.  The phrase has been used as a battle cry for modern architects and designers for the last century in their crusade against superfluous adornment and  impractical spaces, but it applies nonetheless in principle to every different style of architecture and interior design, from starkly contemporary to staunchly traditional.   No matter how beautifully designed and decorated a space is, it isn’t truly a success unless it is able to be used and enjoyed by the people it was designed for.  Rooms for entertaining should make your guests feel comfortable and welcomed, not afraid to touch anything lest they break, stain, or scuff your delicate collectables, white sofa, or Brazilian mahogany floors.  Kitchens should make you want to delve in and get your hands dirty, media rooms should invite you to eat a bowl of buttery popcorn and chug grape soda, mud rooms should be able to withstand tons of mud unscathed.

When I work with a client the first thing I like to consider, before even talking about style, is what purpose or function a room will have.  Simple considerations like traffic flow, ample storage, cleanability, furniture height, and lighting are of paramount importance in a well-designed room.  One of the primary purposes of the decorateITonline StyleFinder guide is to delve into the specific uses, context, and limitations of the room so that we can come up with a design that is not only incredibly attractive, but also eminently functional.  It is only when we achieve both that we can truly consider a room to be “finished”.

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