The Details Makes All the Difference

Preparing for and hosting house guests can be a very enjoyable experience. There’s something satisfying about helping your visitors feel especially welcome and comfortable.

When you start to plan your guest room, think about what you’d expect to find in a 5-diamond hotel and try to make your room measure up to that standard. Your budget may not have enough in it to let you create a getaway oasis, but you can clear the decks, arrange what’s necessary, and provide a quiet place to relax.

 

  • The Best Bed Your Money Can BuyDon’t give your guest the oldest, most saggy mattress you have. If you can’t afford a new or good used bed, think about getting a quality air mattress. They’re really quite comfortable and can be placed on top of a box spring, over a sofa bed mattress, or on the floor.
  • Bedding UpgradesBeyond clean bedding, think about adding wonderful bed linens and comfort items often supplied by fine B&B’s: a featherbed mattress topper, a choice of pillows, a cozy down comforter, extra blankets, and freshly ironed pillowcases.
  • Fresh LinensAlways have an extra set of bed and bath linens available for your guests. Accidents do happen! Or you may have one of those wonderful guests who insists on changing the sheets when they leave. Let them do it, and thank them profusely!
  • A Place to Set Down a SuitcaseClear a space to put a luggage rack or a small table or bench to set down a suitcase. No one likes to have to stoop over to the floor to pull out a clean pair of socks. Even a chair is better than nothing.
  • Clear the DecksResist the temptation to put your beautiful collection of dolls on the dresser or fill the closet with out-of-season clothes. In a guest room, less is more — more space, more comfortable, and more welcoming. Get rid of anything that you would not find in the room of a fine hotel. Keep only the most useful items in the room, like a clock and calendar.
  • A Comfy Place to SitSome people do not feel comfortable sitting on a bed, and your guests shouldn’t have to. Place an upholstered armchair or side chair in the room with a table and lamp close by.
  • Good LightingOne of the biggest hotel decor missteps is walking into an otherwise nice hotel room and there’s no light to read by. It’s always nice to have a light control near the bed, so your guest won’t have to stumble around in the dark, just to turn a light on. If nothing else, provide a good reading light near a chair or over the bed. Another fixture or lamp near the desk would be great. A small night light is helpful, and a lighted magnifying make-up mirror is a real luxury.
  • Hanging Clothes StorageIf your guest room shares space with a home office, clear at least a foot or two of pole space in the closet. Or purchase an inexpensive over-the-door hook that can accommodate some hanging clothes. Don’t forget a supply of 6 or 8 hangers. A simple hook on the wall or behind a closet door can hold a robe, coat, or a purse.

Modern Home Failures

The current popularity of the mid-century modern style is usually attributed to the TV series Mad Men. But the show is just a mouthpiece–a messaging system–for the zeitgeist that’s already there.

 

The source of heat lies deep in the cerebral cortex of a generation of 40-plus year-olds. These are the environs where we, as kids, accompanied our parents to the super-sleek savings and loan and marveled at concrete beams impossibly arching over vast floor spaces. Or where we visited Mom’s rich sister who had a low, flat home designed by an actual architect–not a tract home stamped from a cookie presser–dominated by a massive fireplace. Or where countless TV sitcom families lived among acres of glass and indoor rockery.

 

So it comes as no surprise that this generation, now adults, now parents, and now monied, would want to buy or remodel their homes to mid-century modern perfection.

Mid-century modern represented freedom–freedom from the bonds of gravity (cantilevers), from the restrictions of energy-saving (those acres of glass), from skimping on land (spread out the house on one level; no two stories allowed here).

And who doesn’t love freedom?

But if you’re considering renovating sections of your home, or your entire home, into the mid-century style, at least be aware of several beliefs of that age that later came to naught.

The first thing you notice with mid-century modern houses is that they appear to be built wholly of glass.

 

The Fail

 

Glass is a terrible insulator. The more layers and thickness you have, the better insulator you have. It also helps to have materials suited for insulation, such as fiberglass and gypsum. Even though mid-century modern homes employed thick tempered glass for its transparent walls and oversized windows, there are far better ways to insulate a home than this.

Francisco Penthouse With A View

Too often we underestimate the importance of design, reducing it to colors and patterns, pretty pictures and fantasy homes. But there’s more to it; and every so often we get reminded of the other side of things. The part where beautiful interiors become homes for real people. Where the right colors can change someone’s day, and where patterns can represent the heritage and history of the people who live there.

 

Jodi Querbach lives in the Bedford-Styuvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, along with her husband Kemis and their five children. Their historic, 19th century brownstone was selected for a redesign by LOWE’S as part of their fall makeover program. The home was designed by Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason of AphroChic with furniture from LOWE’S.

To create the perfect backdrop the designers repainted the entire space in a special shade of gray with hints of lilac. As sunlight moves through the room throughout the day the wall color changes slightly from gray to purple, and even a slight shade of blue. The neutral tone creates a cool and calm interior that readily displays the colorful highlights placed throughout the room.

The living room plan is open yet cozy, designed for time with a large family. A gray modular sofa is set across from a pair of matching petal side chairs to provide ample seating for all seven members of the family. The Moroccan Beni Ourain rugon the floor mirrors the neutral shade of the walls, while the natural tone of the chairs brings a touch of warmth to the cool interior. Plants on the table and floor pop with bright greens and bring a fresh, natural feel to the space. To give the historic home a touch of it’s original splendor, AphroChic worked with contractor Will Johnson to design and create a brand new mantle. The visual center of the room, the mantle was painted black to match the color of the home’s other original details. 

The dining room is a study in contrasts between the cool, industrial color of the walls and the warm, natural tones of the furniture. A long wooden dining table is attended by eight stylish dining chairs to ensure that there’s room for everyone around the table. The painting, an original from Brooklyn-based artist Valincy-Jean Patelli adds a beautiful metallic shade to the open space that is echoed in the brass side tables of the living room.

One of only two original pieces from the older design of the house, this classic hutch adds texture and depth to the dining room. The lamp and the potted plant that top the piece both echo elements from the dining table and the living room to create a cohesive look that flows along the entirety of the space.

Modern Living Rooms

In some corners of the decorating world “modern” is considered a dirty word. There’s a belief that modern rooms are cold and lack personality. But nothing could be further from the truth. Modern living rooms can be warm, inviting, and sometimes even downright cozy. While modern living rooms may lack some of the frills of their more embellished counterparts, they make up for it in their sleek sense of style.

What’s not to love about a room with comfortable furniture, a soothing palette, and a take notice focal point? This modern living room from Raven Inside Interior Designhas them all. The sleek lines and no-frills approach to decorating is both modern and minimal, yet there’s nothing cold or impersonal about it. The warm finishes and soft furnishings make this a great room for spending a cozy night in.

Who says modern can’t be fun? Cleary not the team from Michelle Lewis Interior Design, the  masterminds behind this room. Abstract art, a unique light fixture, and an array of colors and finishes come together to create a space that looks great and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

What many people don’t appreciated about modern design is how easily it can be combined with other styles. This room for instance has some traditional architectural bones (courtesy of Murphy & Co Architects) yet the furniture and art skew modern. Together they form an almost transitional style which can be appealing to a wide variety of people.

Make a small modern space appear larger with a white color palette and see through furnishings. This modern condo designed by Lori Pedersen Staging & Stylinghas a small footprint but thanks to the use of negative space (mainly around the acrylic coffee table) it appears larger than it really is.

The fireplace is almost always the focal point of a room, so why not beef it up to create an entire focal wall? In this modern living room the focal wall (designed by Beinfield Architecture) is not particularly flashy, but it has a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the space. The metal panels add texture which provides more depth than something flat like paint would. It’s minimal, yet the results are huge.

Dreamy Home Ideas

There are some interiors that push the envelope. Some that go beyond the typical homes you see while idly spending time on Pinterest. And this home by interior designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25, definitely pushes the envelope in some truly exciting ways. Fenimore, who is based in Dallas, is recognized as one of the city’s top designers. So, it is no surprise that she is the designer behind this Dallas dream home where color, pattern, and a sophisticated mix of the two truly shines.

No stone was left unturned in the design of this two-bedroom home. Stepping into each room, you can see that Fenimore thought about each and every detail that would contribute to her bold vision for the interior. In the home’s guest bedroom, Kelly Wearstler’s Channels Wallpaper makes quite an impression. The backdrop creates a striking statement wall, where Wearstler’s edgy brush strokes are featured.

To keep things cozy in the guest bedroom, a reading nook was designed. For seating, Fenimore went with custom upholstery. An oversized foliage print is extremely modern and the shade of emerald green is a nice contrast to the cream and white design on the walls. The addition of a gold side table becomes the perfect moment of warmth, echoing the metallic frame of the room’s canopy bed.

Living in Dallas, a city with a well-known design scene, Fenimore was able to work with local designers. The bed is from Scout Design Studio Dallas. And bedding is from Peacock Alley, which also has a home in Dallas. A shop-owner herself, some of the pieces in the interior are from Abbe’s online boutique, Shop Ten 25, that offers a range of decorative elements including furniture, lighting and pillows.

There are those moments where a designer takes some risks and here it really pays off. The mix of pattern in an interior can be complicated, but Fenimore embraced it. In this bedroom the bookshelf has been wallpapered in a spotted print. And while it’s directly across from the Channels Wallpaper that offers a strikingly different design, here it all works together harmoniously.

Beautiful Beach House Living Rooms

Can’t afford a beach vacation this year? Don’t worry. With easy breezy beach style decorating you can get all the ambiance of a day at the beach without setting foot outside the house. And the best news of all? It’s an easy and versatile style that can be modified to suit any style of home.

A sandy color palette with touches of blue is perfectly reminiscent of the sea and surf in this home by Butler Armsden Architects. To make the most of this type of palette try to stick with an open layout and limit the use of furniture and accessories. The idea here is to create an open, airy atmosphere, similar to what’s happening just outside.

A basic beach house living room is easy to achieve if you use the right combination of color and materials, like designer Sabrina Alfin did here. Soft blue paint, sand and stone colored fabrics and driftwood accents combine seamlessly to make an afternoon in this living room feel like a day at the beach.

One of the best ways to get a beachy or coastal look is with shiplap, as seen here in this living room courtesy of Indian River Furniture. While some liken it more with farmhouse style, it’s been historically more associated with nautical or “cape cod” style. The wide, horizontal planks evoke a sense of casual simplicity, and isn’t that what beach style is all about?

To make the connection from the outdoors to the indoors virtually seamless, consider a largely white color scheme with slim, streamlined furniture, like this beach house from Lissett Homes. In this beach house living room there’s a sense of openness thanks to the large window and minimalist interior. Pops of sea blue help to maintain the beachy personality amidst all the white.

DIY Decorating Projects

Looking for some simple, inexpensive DIY decorating projects to try? Let the inspiration juices flow with this roundup of easy DIY projects.

This rag rug can be customized to meet the decor of any room, and it is easy enough for kids to join in on the DIY decorating fun.

If you want to remodel your home in the style of mid-century modern (MCM), incorporating the following elements will take you a long way towards your goal.

The quintessential MCM-style living room from the early to mid-Sixties period would have included some of these things:

 

Vaulted Ceiling With Exposed Beams

The prototypical MCM low-vaulted ceiling had exposed natural wood beams. For the mid-century Jet Agers, a feeling of openness–of soaring to the sky–was always emphasized.

Wood Panel Accent Wall

The accent wall in the center of the room is paneled in dark, rich walnut. For your home, you’ll want to panel sections of the room, not the entire room. And go for real veneer wood panels rather than cheap panels.

 

Horse Sculptures

Depictions of horses were a feature in 1960s homes. Look no further than The Brady Bunch set and its famous prancing faux Tang Dynasty horse sculpture. In this living room, you will count no less than six horses.

 

Danish Modern Chairs and Coffee Table

Danish Modern furniture pieces found in common MCM homes on the whole were not expensive Drexel Declaration sideboards, coffee tables, and chairs. They were knock-off Danish Modern pieces purchased from local department stores.

 

Two-Tier Coffee Table

The prototypical Fifties and Sixties double-level coffee table is found today at many antique stores or on eBay.

 

Linoleum Floor

In the Sixties, the linoleum industry was heavily promoting the “durability” and “beauty” of linoleum floors all throughout the home.

So, even though MCM homes are frequently depicted in movies as being heavily shagged, MCM homes in most of the United States often had hard floor coverings, like linoleum or vinyl.

 

Sunburst Clock

Sunburst clocks are so Sixties-looking that you risk going over the top by putting one in your living room.

Remnants of the Past Era

Hugely important, yet rarely found in MCM installations. Except for homes of the wealthy few, most homes had mixed-era decor. In this image you see: the 1940s radio still hanging around in the corner; twee items on the curio shelf; overly sweet floral wallpaper.

 

Sconce Lights

Cone-shaped metal sconce lights, as well as metal cone pole lights, were a staple in MCM homes.

Wall Panels Will Make You Drool

Simply put, you cannot duplicate the look of these walls on your own; you need help. And help is on the way in the form of textured 3D wall panels, an innovation that most homeowners don’t know about.

 

Formerly found only in fancy cocktail lounges and boutique hotels, textured panels are slowly finding their way into the home as cool, unique, and jaw-droppingly amazing wall coverings for kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms.

 

Pictured: Soelberg Industries’ panel called Stillare, installed in the Pepperwood Residence, Sandy, UT.

This lovely textured panel is from Soelberg and is called Piastra. Piastra comes in planks (Soelberg terms them slats) ranging from 4″ x 12″ all the way up to 6″ x 36″.

 

The pictured panels are created from MDF and they mimic beechwood. But why not just use real wood?

 

Wood is an option.  But it’s not without its faults, either.  Even in interior applications, wood will eventually fade and require re-staining and re-sealing; Soelberg panels’ finishes will last indefinitely.

How can you not exclaim! the wonderfulness! of these panels! at every turn?

 

Shown here is the Caryota style of textured wall panel from WallArt 3D. The caryotais a type of fishtail palm, so named because the leaves resemble the tail of a fish.

 

To me, this pattern looks like the starbursts you see so much of in mid-century modern (i.e., 1960s) style home designs.

 

Panels from WallArt are made of bagasse, a light-weight sugarcane stalk material. So these panels are as green as they get, and leaps and bounds greener than MDF.

 

WallArt panels stick to your existing wall with construction adhesive.

An Eclectic Home Nestled

In Beachwood Canyon, a community in the Hollywood Hills of California, sits a classic California bungalow. The home has great bones featuring exposed wood beams, arched doorways and a fireplace that’s original to the home. It’s these details that Karen and Guy Vidal of Design Vidal got to work with when they took on this design project.

 

With their love of culture and pattern shining through, Design Vidal featured an eclectic mix of elements from around the globe in the home’s design. A metallic Moroccan side table; beaded African pillows on the sofa; a colorful kilim to brighten the living room floor. Mixed in with contemporary furnishings, the cultural elements fit seamlessly.

Above the fireplace, sits an array of colorful pieces that add to the room’s vibrant color palette. A collection of vases in yellow, green and blown glass create an artful display. The finishing touch – a colorful little painting displayed against the white stucco.

The credenza is the ultimate statement piece in this home’s hallway. Turned wood legs of the table offer a unique detail. Topped with more collected pieces, including vases and the homeowners’ favorite design books. The color palette of the vignette is captured in the painting that hangs above the table, with rich tones of red and blue that can be spotted throughout the entryway display.

The husband-and-wife team are also the owners of Granada Tile. One of top purveyors of cement tile in the United States, the couple knows how to use tile to accessorize in a space. Their collection of cement tiles can be seen throughout this home. In the kitchen they have installed a stylish wall of cement tiles. The lively color and pattern makes this one kitchen where you’ll want to cook and prepare many family meals in.

Beautiful tile can also be spotted in the home’s bathrooms. For a pop of color, a blue star pattern adds to the design of this serene bathroom. The hexagonal shape of the tile also accents the original arch right above the tub.

Victorian In Russian Hill

A focus on bespoke, vibrant homes, interior designer Kari McIntosh takes us inside her latest project – a modern family home in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The project had a tight deadline as the family of soon-to-be three needed a designer who could help them complete their newly renovated home just two months before their first child was about to be born. Under a strict deadline, McIntosh was able to design a home that’s warm, colorful and perfect for a young family with a newborn on the way. 

“I worked quickly to curate a fashion-forward and family-friendly home fit for a young family that loves wine, sports, and entertaining.” McIntosh started with a blue and green color palette in the living room. A choice of furnishings and art lends to the rich palette that’s warm and cozy, perfect for a family that desires a stylish environment.

The colorful interior has a mix of modern elements as well. Perfect for a newly renovated home in the Bay. In the office, a lacquered white desk with chrome legs keeps things contemporary. A structured desk chair is the perfect complement.

The home’s dining room has an open plan right into the kitchen. A mix of color and texture creates a striking statement in the dining area. The dining table is burled wood. A beautiful, natural wood tone that’s warm and inviting. Surrounding the table, a set of modern classic Panton Chairs add some soft curves. On the wall, green malachite wall art is the perfect pop of color. And overhead, the modern chandelier is the perfect way to bring home some ambiance.