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‚Ķ.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. ūüėČ

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 Vend√īme from L‚ÄôH√ītel de Vend√īme 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.

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) ‚ÄĒ 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.

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Wallpaper

WALLPAPER. ¬†That’s right! ¬†Wallcoverings in general have a bad wrap these days, and it’s partially due to the horrific stereotype that I’m sure pretty much every family in America grew up with:

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That flowery wallpaper that covered every surface of your house. ¬†It had matching borders for each room, paint colors and matching window valences…AHHHHH!!! ¬†I think we can all agree that when we think of THAT type of wallpaper, this is how we feel:

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Well today I’m here to change your opinion of Wallcoverings with some great options on how to use them throughout your space. ¬†There are TONS of ways that you can apply wallpaper around your home, but for this post we’re going to focus on the traditional application, using paper as an accent, and then some unconventional places that we see wallpapers being used to add additional color and pattern in some unexpected places.

Our first option is probably what we are all mot familiar with.  Picking out a nice pattern with lots of color and applying it on the walls of a room.  While this seems like somewhat of a boring option, it can actually completely change the look of your space, and can add some much-needed beauty.  Check out some great finds below:

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This paper offers a traditional base with the blue flowers while combing a retro modern feel with the furniture. ¬†It’s always fun to mix eras and styles within a room to create something unique and new.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the natural wallpaper used in this space.  Just by using neutral grass style paper and combining two separate patterns, it creates a unique application and adds so much to this powder room!

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This paper is one of my favorite finds! ¬†Besides the cute pup, this example showcases glitz and glam without bold patterns or combinations of bright colors. ¬†It’s GLITTER!! ¬†What a great option that will brighten your space on its own, but will also reflect any natural and artificial light in your room, bringing that “homey” quality that only light can.

The second option mentioned above is to use wallcoverings as an accent.  This can be a wall or as the first image below shows, a ceiling:

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By using a solid wall color and placing the pop of patterned wallpaper on the ceiling, it draws your eyes upward, and makes your space feel brighter and your ceilings  seem taller.

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Creating an accent wall like the four images above is also another great way to add some interest to your space whether you want to highlight your main cooking space, some beautiful family photos, or an entryway with a great serving table to hold your daily mail and keys.

The last option that we are going to entertain today is using wallpaper in some unconventional or unexpected places such as the interior of a bookcase or drawer, framing your favorite bold patterns, or using a frame to help define a space for furniture placement.  This allows you to add a pop of color pattern without having to commit to a more permanent place in your space such as the walls or ceiling.  It also allows you to switch out your paper more often as the cost and labor is a lot less than buying enough for a whole room.

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I’m going to be using this in my own space! ¬†If you can’t decide on just one paper to use, why not pick all your favorites (you can even use the techniques from our first post about pattern genius), and hang them as an accent on a wall or above your bed with some great antique frames.

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So whether you’re looking to change the look of an entire room, or just wanted a punch of pattern and color for the back of a bookcase or as a secret in your dresser drawer, there are unlimited options when it comes to styles and ways that we can use wallpaper in our homes today. ¬†So as I always say, don’t be afraid, jump out of that box, and go bold – You won’t regret it!

If you would like some help with some ideas, please contact us on our website http://www.vrainteriors.com, or check out our Pinterest page.

Posted by Amy B.