Friday, March 6, 2009

Design Dilemma: You Say You Want an Evolution?

What do you do when your style is evolving?
My friend, Carrie, emailed me with that brief question the other day, and I realized its actually a very BIG design dilemma for many of us...

Dilemma: How does one "freshen" the look of a room, maybe incorporating a touch of a different style, without going full throttle and breaking the bank?

Since I don't have some pics of her home (although I swear I took quite a few about a year ago, and can't locate the files - arrggghhh!!) I'll try to give you a mental visual...She and her husband share a darling home with their two sons. Although the house had good bones, it wasn't updated when they bought it, and they've spent the last couple of years remodeling. These two are crazy- talented DIY'rs - what Carrie can dream up, Scott can usually make. They also have amazing good luck scoring finds on Craigslist, and making them their own. Like this media cabinet they repainted and distressed.
In the past, Carrie's taste in d├ęcor has been, in her words, "traditional, country style." Think Pottery Barn with dashes of Country and Cottage Living and a little dollop of Ballard on top. Now, however, she's ready to spread her wings a bit, mix it up, and test drive something a touch more contemporary. She asked MLHP for some suggestions on how to begin her evolution...

Here are a couple of her pics I DO have:
This "parlor" chair was a freebie from her MIL (gotta love that!) which she intends to recover...And I think the lamp is, too...
Her dining room chairs are covered in this red ikat print (Oh, if she'd only had that comfy parlor chair, then!) She also uses some throw pillows made of a lipstick-red damask on her leather sofa.
She feels she has a lot of brown going on; leather couch, sisal rug, and honey-oak TV armoire - so red has been her go-to for colorful interest. But...she's still not convinced she has the full palette she'd like.
She requested I help her find
one idea or item to give some "edge" to her traditional interiors, but I'm hopelessly unable to be that exact...let's try two: color scheme and lighting.

One way to punch some life into a room is to use color (OK, no brainer) but, to take it one step further, to go out on a limb a bit - the combination of colors is the thing that will "stir the pot" so to speak...
I might be veering into Trendy territory, but I've seen some pretty awesome effects created using Red and Turquoise together. Illustrated by one of my all-time fave pictures from Domino.
I love, love, love this color combo. Its especially effective with those doses of black. But, you'll notice - this is not a "modern" room - tailored yes, severe - not a chance.
I'm thinking, since Carrie already has a good pop of red going on, AND I know she loves turquoise, why don't we put the two together to give her room the up-tick she craves?

Here's some more images from the idea board in my brain...
Domino via Decor8
Notice how the black "grounds" the room - keeping it from feeling too much like a circus?

Domino via EoS
There's a lot going in in this bedroom, and it might be too much for some - but the damask is very close to Carrie's throw pillows, so this gives a good visual on what the combo might look like applied in her room...

I love this color pairing, because, despite it recently being declared "fresh and new" - there's actually a cool retro vibe to it....
...Sort of Dr. Seuss-y - and I DIG that! To me, interiors with a sense of humor, or at least ones that don't take themselves too seriously are much more interesting. Am I wrong?
So....I'd consider covering that parlor chair in something like this stripe...There's our turquoise and red color combination, and if the red in this stripe is of the same hue as her damask pillows, I think it just might work!

Another way to get a lot of contemporary bang for the buck is with lighting. A smart, clean-lined lamp can go a long way in giving that little bit of edge. I think I'd move the current lamp on the bureau, and replace it with this black one. Modern lines, strong dose of black and an Ikea price tag - Suh-Weet! Ikea ljusas uvas lamp

One more thing: If I were Carrie, I'd get my very talented husband to paint an abstract piece of art to put above the bureau - and with that, be DONE!

I think the moral of the DD is this: Never be afraid to boldly go where your room has never been. Mixing styles can lead to unabashedly beautiful results!

Elle Decor per flickr/xjavierx **
House and Garden via flickr/xJavierx
**These last two images represent to me divine examples of the perfect pairing of traditional and modern. On a related note, I must put in a word about xJavierx. His flickr photostream is one of the most amazing, no, downright brilliant collections of interior design images I've ever seen! If you have some time to spare, and don't mind a little drool on your keyboard, check it out!

Also - Forgot to mention last week - the price of my "design services" is the requirement that clients send in After pictures so we can post DD updates. Fair bargain, I'd say! ;)

Happy Weekend!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! I will definitely be leaning towards a pop of turquoise. I love the MIL's lamp, but I think I will replace it with more of a modern gourd shape. Love the black shade! Great fabric choice too! Since I have two young boys, the crisp white linen will have to wait. Thanks again Alison! I'll send after pics soon, I hope!

We Blog Artists said...

What a fabulous post! I would love you as my designer for my home...and I may take you up on that exchange for some pillows...I have a husband and 2 girls, we could all rent that room!!! Have a great's raining here.