Designing for the Opposite – When Couples Disagree on Design Styles

It’s always a challenge when designing your home, especially when there is another person who is on the other end of the design spectrum. Yes, opposites attract, but the key to its success is compromise. I have been married for fifteen years, lived in the same home for fifteen years, but my home does not reflect my design style or who my family has grown to be. When it comes to making any decisions regarding new furniture or renovating our home, we can never seem to agree. This is why it’s hard for couples to decorate together for a million reasons. He wants comfortable, she wants beautiful. He wants inexpensive, she wants realistic if not luxury. Ultimately, your space does need to reflect both of your styles in order for both of you to be happy. So here are some simple tips when designing with your partner.

Decide on a Budget
No matter how big or small your project is, decide on a budget that both you and your spouse can agree on. It is easy to get carried away with the project and before you know it, you are spending more than you anticipated. If you can’t come up with a budget on your own, ask your decorator to propose an estimated budget for your project.

Identify your Style
Identifying which of these categories each person’s personal style falls into. Nearly everyone’s design style falls into one of these categories:
• Traditional
• Contemporary
• Modern
• Global/Eclectic
After identifying each person’s style, the next step is narrowing it down a little further to fit your specific project.
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Creating your Own
Allow each person to select a key piece of furniture that exemplifies their design style and defines them individually. By having each select a signature piece, this in turn will encourage couples to compromise and create a harmonious space that defines them as a couple.
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VRA Interiors can help you find your design style and incorporate any or all of these design ideas that speak to you. For a full design consultation with Atlanta‘s premier interior design service, please call us at 877-284-5067 or visit our website vrainteriors.com. We want to help bring a new look to your life that is fresh but completely you.

Posted by: Vanessa M.

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A Classic Never Dies!

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with and physically drawn to anything Houndstooth. With that being said, it is sad to say that I do not own one outfit, accessory or home accent that has this AMAZING print on it. If it were up to me, the toilet paper in my home would be in a Houndstooth print, but….I’m not sure how hubby would feel about that. So, instead of purchasing anything and everything that has a Houndstooth print on it, I’ll blog and post beautiful pictures of it instead. 😉

To give you a little history on this print, Houndstooth originated in the 1800s in Scotland and was originally worn as a woven wool outer garment by Scottish shepherds. This print evolved in the fashion world,  becoming a symbol of wealth in the 1900s. I am sure you’ve seen this print many times used by top designers such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

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An Interior Decorator from the 1930s, Dorothy Draper, wears a houndstooth-patterned suit with a matching hat.

And like everything else in the world, Houndstooth evolved throughout the years, changing in size, texture and color. Typically, it is still most popular in its original black and white colors, but modern day designers have strayed from this classic color way, using bold colors and unique size combinations.

Houndstooth in Fashion

Colorful Houndstooth Print

Of course, this fashion trend extended to designing interior spaces as well. Houndstooth has been a popular pattern seen in Interior Design used in  fabric and wallpaper prints, carpet patterns and incorporated in home accessories.

A classic black and white Houndstooth fabric is used on the dining chairs of this high end restaurant in Paris.

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Restaurant 1 Place Vendôme from L’Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris,France

I’m in love with this pink Houndstooth window treatment. What little princess wouldn’t love these treatments in her bedroom?! I know my daughter would adore them!

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These Houndstooth pillows add color and pattern to a neutral sofa.

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Too nervous to incorporate a Houndstooth pattern in the home? Why not try a neutral tone on tone pattern like the wallpaper in the below picture. Sophisticated and timeless!

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Do you have a pattern fetish like I do? Let us know what it is and we can help you incorporate it in your space. Visit www.vrainteriors.com to contact us.

Posted by Reem T.

Black + White: 30 Most Beautiful Interiors

I am a huge fan of black and white interiors ,while my husband on the other hand, is a traditionalist when it comes to interiors…so this could never be done in my home.  I have pulled together a collection of interiors all dressed in black & white that will entice and inspire you. These spaces evoke a sense of sophistication, edge, elegance and glamour.

To successfully tie the space together, I suggest using a monochromatic color palette with a pop of color or by allowing the light to bounce around the walls by choosing a ultra-white wall paint to help the room feel more spacious and bright. Then you can introduce black in furniture, art and accessories. Another technique is choosing black as your trim and floor color with white and gray accents in furniture and accessories. Painting the walls black may feel daring but this can be achieved with white furniture and lots of bling! Let’s not forget pattern, this can be done with wallpaper, fabric, tile, or paint. Enjoy!

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mustaveeeee_2Posted by: Vanessa M.

Why don’t you sleep on it?

So, my sister decided to move to NYC a couple of months ago. She called me up after her move with a major space issue. As you all know, apartments are super small in the city and she had to leave a majority of her furniture behind. Her biggest issue was her bedroom area: All she had room for was a mattress with the box spring and rails. She had no room for a headboard or night stand and was needing some ideas on how to spruce the room up a little and add some shelf space to substitute for the end tables.  So, being the great and amazing sister that I am 😉 , this post is for you sis! Some great solutions that will make your small space livable and fun without putting a big hole in your wallet.

My  favorite “do it yourself” headboard idea is putting some sort of screen in place of the headboard. It can be a free standing screen like the picture to the left or it can be actual window shutters that can be mounted on the wall as in the photo to the left. This adds an architectural element to the space and you can have fun with painting the screens to add some color to the space.

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A popular headboard that is inexpensive and very easy to make yourself is the upholstered hanging headboard. You can have fun with different sized colored, patterned and textured fabrics to mount behind your bed.

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Here is a link as to how to create the upholstered hanging headboard:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSircVnX_uY#t=120

The idea below is very fun and unique. In this photo, the headboard is created by using the frame of an old window (windows were knocked out). In place of the windows, patterned fabrics were mounted on the back of the frame.

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Reclaimed wood was used in the photos below. The wood really adds a lot of character and texture to the space. You can paint or design the wood however you like. In the first photo, the designer stenciled a pattern onto the wood.  Below that, the reclaimed wood is placed in a subway pattern and the colors of each plank are different, allowing it to be a unique, one of a kind piece.

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The photos below show applications where a fabric is hung/draped over a curtain rod. Again, you can have fun with the fabric pattern or even design your own on a solid fabric as in the 2nd photo below.

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How about keeping it really easy and having high pillows leaning on the back wall and some fun artwork above? you really can’t go wrong with this look!

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Last but not least, some great ideas for shelving to act as a headboard as well as storage.

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So, remember to think outside of the box and just have fun with this. It can be fun weekend project that can really add character to your bedroom. And if you need help coming up with a design, give us a call and we can help out!

Written by Reem T.

It’s Fall Y’all!

Cool breezes, snuggly sweaters, apple cider, pumpkins and fall leaves.  Who doesn’t love Fall?  To me however, fall means the Pantone Fashion color Fall Report, Fall Fashion Week 2013 and the new ways that these styles, patterns and colors can be incorporated into a space.  Making your home cozy doesn’t just mean orange and pumpkin spice (although who wouldn’t agree that both of those items are yummy!).  Fall brings bold, beautiful jewel tones with deep rich colors and textures.  It might seem challenging to incorporate these items into your home or space.  I’ve taken some great pieces from Fall Fashion week, and have paired them with a few great additions to any home:

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By using accessory pieces, accent furniture, paint, and accent rug or even wall coverings, Fall is a great time to mix it up and take those fall fashions straight from the Runway to your home.

If you want some help incorporating your favorite Fall fashions into your space, check out our Pinterest page for more ideas, or come by our website.

Written by Amy B.

 

 

Things are Lookin’ Up

Where are you sitting right now?  Look up at the ceiling.  What do you see?  I must confess, I’m sitting at home in my living room, and as I look up I see white, white and more flat white.  When most individuals think about the design of a space, they think about the furnishings, the walls, cabinetry, and accessories.  Really, the only time most people think about the ceiling is when they add some lighting, or are scraping the 1970’s popcorn off.  

I was inspired during our last meeting by our business partners Reem and Vanessa, when they were discussing how one of their professors in college used to challenge his designers to think about the ENTIRE space – including the ceiling.  They said that he used to tell his students to look at the ceiling and the bathroom whenever they go somewhere because if they haven’t been designed as well as the rest of the space, then it was a FAIL.  So, in an effort to gain a little inspiration, and remind myself to think about the entire space, here are some really beautiful ceilings.  It’s amazing how a pattern or the addition of one different material or some perfectly placed lighting can completely transform a room:

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So, next time you walk into a church, a new restaurant, or even your friend’s house, take a look up and see if it inspires you!

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out our Facebook and Pinterest page, or contact us on our website.

Post by Amy B.

Windsor Chair, Oh How I Love You…

I am sure you all are very familiar with the phrase “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery”, right? In the case of the Windsor Chair, one of my favorite furniture pieces, this couldn’t be more true. I am seeing replicas of this piece constantly and some are staying true to the original style of the chair while others take on a modern twist.  But one thing that remains constant in all of today’s Windsor Chairs are its main components: the solid wooden seat and the spindle back.

Below are some images of some more traditional Windsor Chairs. These traditional styles are seen constantly in homes today and remain a timeless classic.

Traditional chair

Windsor Chairs

More contemporary styles can be found at your local retailers at a reasonable price as well.

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Marlow Chair at Crate and Barrel

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Soren Chair at Room & Board

No one would ever guess that the Tom Dixon Fan Chair below was inspired by the Windsor Chair. Again, the two components I discussed earlier are still seen in this chair: the spindle back and the wood seat.

Tom Dixon Fan Chair

Tom Dixon Fan Chair

Another beautiful modern twist of the Windsor Chair by Richard Townsend.

Richard Townsend Chair

In love with the Windsor Chair and needing help incorporating it into your home?  You can contact us via our website at http://www.vrainteriors.com, or you can find us on Facebook, Linked-in and Pinterest.

Posted by Reem T.

Sit on Me

How long do you expect your sofa to last? Most people will tend to keep their sofa for seven to ten years. So choosing the right sofa is key to its longevity. How will you use your sofa? Will it be a place for kids to kick back watch TV and play video games? Is it for looks and not use? Will mans best friend be sharing your space? With all your requirements in mind, homework done, grab a friend or two it is time to shop for you new sofa. Here are some secrets all you need to know about buying the perfect sofa.

Structure

A sturdy frame made of  kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, is a more durable hardwood but can pricy. Avoid frames made of particle board, plastic, or metal. These materials may warp and crack over time. Soft wood, such as pine, is cost-effective, but it may warp or wobble after five years. Legs should be part of the frame or held on with screws or dowels (pegs) — not with glue alone.

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Tip: To test frame strength, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By the time you’ve raised it six inches, the other front leg should have risen too. If it’s still touching the floor, the frame is weak.

Construction
Frames should be connected with solid construction such as wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (the tag might read corner blocks glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but never buy a sofa that’s held together solely by staples, nails, or glue.

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Tip: Always ask your salesperson for the furniture specification and joinery information.

After you have looked at the structure and construction it’s time for the fun stuff. Your sofa should reflect your personal style and be suited for your family function.  There is a phrase that I like, “Buy it for looks buy it for life”, meaning make sure you love that pretty sofa because you will have it for 7 to 15 years. Here are some examples of some classic yet traditional sofas that has last the test of time.

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Everyone talks about being riveted by Downtown Abbey. I think part of it is the seductive background, it’s good furniture! You see camelbacks, chesterfields, English roll arm and Knole sofas, and they look as good today as they did in the 19th Century.

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Knole Sofa

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A Chesterfield sofa is a large, often leather, couch with deep tufting, and rolled arms that are the same height as the seat back. This style of seating was typical of England in the 1900s but has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.

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Camelback Sofa

So the next time you are in need for a new sofa remember our tips. Don’t forget to go to our Pinterest page for more inspiration.

Posted by Vanessa M.

Just put a rug over it

We cover it with rugs, drop food and dishes leaving dings and scratches, and leave muddy footprints on this most used surface of our homes every day.  It is one of the largest surfaces in a house, but seems to get lost in the daily shuffle.  Today however, let’s put it on center stage, and take a look at the options of materials, pattern, and colors of flooring.

A lot people ask what the smartest or best option is for flooring in a home.  It can depend on price, but I think more importantly, homeowners need to think about how they use the spaces in which they are applying their chosen flooring.  Budget is absolutely important, but it’s also important to think about your family and how they use spaces, how much time you want to spend cleaning and maintaining your floors, as well as visual/actual texture, color and aesthetics.  There really isn’t a wrong answer when it comes to what material you should use.  It is really a matter of your family.

One of the first options is tile.  This is probably the most common material used in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as entryways and laundry rooms.  Depending on the style you choose, it is very budget friendly while still giving a great visual impact, and is easy to clean and can stand up to pretty much anything your dog or kids could throw at it.

I will throw in a couple disclaimers and say that some natural material tiles require a little bit more maintenance and upkeep.  Some natural stones are very porous, and will require immediate clean up as well as sealing to avoid stains and liquids from being absorbed.  This is where you really have to think about how you use your space, and what kind of activities will take place in your home.  Also, in terms of budget, typically the more fancy (for lack of a better grammatically correct term) you go, the higher the price tag.  That doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match, or even just change the pattern application to create a beautiful aesthetic.  There are a lot of great options for each price range, and  just because it’s a hard-working floor and budget friendly, doesn’t mean it can’t look like a million bucks:

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 Another great option is wood flooring.  This option is also good for easy cleaning, but is a little bit higher in the budget range.  You can however, choose an option that is lower in price, and use some great stencil or painting techniques to create a very unique solution that is one of a kind.  You can also combine wood flooring with other materials such as tile to create accent spaces.  In a kitchen or bathroom it might be cool to create a “zone” where the sink is or a runner in an entrance.  This is where jumping out of that box is so much fun, and really forces you to look at your materials and find new solutions to an old problem.

You also have different species that you can specify for your home.  Bamboo flooring or even cork flooring is a beautiful alternative to the traditional hardwood option.  They are also Earth Friendly, and are harvested from rapidly renewable sources (meaning, the trees grow back really fast).  Take a look at some ideas below:

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Eco Friendly Bamboo flooring option

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Cork flooring with a unique natural pattern

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Cork flooring showcasing a beautiful and rich darker color

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This image shows a combination of wood flooring with tile

 One of the newest trends that is becoming more popular is one of my favorite options for flooring.  It is great on budget, easy to clean, and allows for ENDLESS options of pattern, color and texture.  Concrete floors are beautiful, and allow for paint, stains and require little maintenance beyond an initial sealing and simple basic cleaning.  Take a look at a couple of ideas that I am in love with:

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So next time you find yourself looking for a change, before you slap carpet over those older hard wood floors, think about using your floor to make a statement.  Bring it up into the spotlight and let them shine!

If you liked what you saw and would like some more ideas or help creating your own flooring masterpiece, stop by our Pinterest and Website for contact information and some inspiration.

Posted by Amy B.

It’s a Cute Fixer-upper

I love house hunting.  That may be nerdy, but I do…I love it.  Many a weekend has been spent with friends, visiting model homes and open houses, and sneaking into homes through the garage that are being built (I know you’ve done it too!).  I think my favorite part of house hunting is when you’re talking to the realtor and they ask you what you do for a living.  I always smile, and of course say, “I’m an Interior Designer”.  9 times out of 10 the following responses are either, “Well what do you think of the decor?  The builder’s wife did the design” or, “So, what do you think of the layout and decor?  Would you change anything?”  Of course the answer is always no, and that the builder’s wife has done a lovely job with the space, but leeeet’s be real folks.  Whether you’re buying a brand new home, or you’ve decided on that cute 1960’s ranch with a 2 car garage and unfinished basement that will someday be your mancave, there are always obstacles to homeownership.  In general, the main issues that I’ve seen (and heard from friends and family) are:

1. Not enough closet space

2. Kitchens and Bathrooms are outdated

3. 5 different colors of carpet

4. Small Rooms

Reem has previously discussed some great ways to add storage into your home in an earlier post “So Much Stuff, So Little Space!“, so we won’t be looking at the struggles with hoarding.  Click on the link and check it out.  There are a bunch of great ways you can incorporate some extra storage into your home.

And while, having 5 different colors of jewel tone carpet in each room is a problem, this time we’re going to focus on some easy ways that you can update your kitchen without having to completedly tear it down and start over from the studs.  We will look at three different ways you can make a huge impact on your space, and we have some great images as examples.

First, let’s take a look at the backsplash.  As you all know by now (if you’ve been following us each week), I am a HUGE fan of color and pattern.  If you are just joining us, I am a huge fan of color and pattern.  The backsplash in your kitchen is a perfect place to add both.  There are a bunch of ways that you can do this including tiles, slabs of solid surfaces such as marble, and even backpainted colored glass.  Take a look at these great examples below:

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This yellow and white tile is a great way to brighten your space.  It adds a great pattern without being too overwhelming.  The great yellow color is a good contrast to the neutral counter surface and crisp white cabinets.  Make sure when you are using a patterned tile to consider the size of the wall where you will be applying it.  A larger wall works best with a larger pattern, where smaller spaces can work best with a smaller scale pattern or tile size.

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The white marble backsplash is both beautiful and a classic choice.  I like how this traditional material is paired with stainless steel upper cabinets, and clean line base cabinets and pulls.  It is a nice transitional look combining traditional and modern styles perfectly.

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This tile backsplash is so fun and whimsical!  The use of different circle sizes is a great choice.  It pairs well with the honey cabinets and dark solid surface counter with stainless steel accents.  We’ve seen a lot of white kitchens lately, but this is a great use of natural colors to create a warm and inviting kitchen.  This would be a great space to have a cup of coffee in the morning.

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Not only is this blue backsplash a great pop of bright blue, but it uses a material that you do not see often.  This backpainted colored glass is a wonderful option to tile or solid stone surface.  It is easy to clean, and you can even leave messages for loved ones or write your recipes so that you don’t have to keep worrying about having a cookbook or recipe card near your oven or cooking surface.

The second option for updating your kitchen is lighting.  There are ENDLESS options for adding some light into your space including pendant lighting and uplighting.  Don’t be afraid to find some stand out pieces that show off your great style and taste just like these options below:

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The last way that you can update your kitchen without busting your budget is by refinishing your cabinets and pulls.  Most kitchens, especially that 1960’s ranch, have great solid wood cabinets that you would have to pay top dollar for today.  A great way to reuse those is to either refinish the natural wood stain, or paint them.  Add some fun pulls, and you have a brand new look with half the time and labor.  You can even create different colors for your wall cabinets and your island.  You can do bright colors, or white.  Once again, let’s look at some ideas for colors and finishes:

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So whether you choose to add some color and pattern to your backsplash, brighten your space with some new lighting, or change up the colors of your cabinets, each of these options is a great way for your to completely transform the heart of your home without breaking the bank.  You can go from run-down and outdated to fresh, crisp and beautiful, and only you will really know the truth!  All of your friends will wonder which great designer you used to create your new kitchen. And when they ask you, be sure to tell them you used VRA Interiors!

If you need some inspiration or some ideas on how you can transform your kitchen from Shabby to Shabby Chic, visit our website and send us a message, or check out our Pinterest Page and create a board of your own great ideas.

Posted by Amy B.