Friday, January 27, 2012

Trim Colors

Unless you are David Letterman,  you wouldn’t wear white socks with a nice brown suit. 
You know that they would draw attention to your ankles and take focus away from the nice brown suit and spectacular shoes. 
Its the contrast rule. Again. The eye will go to the area of greatest contrast first. If your  socks are the most important element in your outfit, then white is great. If, however, you would like them to stay in the background, socks in a color that blends with the suit or shoes is better. Unless you are David Letterman. 
Using this guideline with regard to baseboards and window trim will help you determine what color to paint. Or to paint in the first place. If the trim is wood, and it is exceptional in some way, it may be appropriate to treat  it as a focal point in the room and use the contrast rule to your advantage. 
 Stand at the end of a hallway that has several doors. Look at the number of horizontal and vertical lines created by the contrasting trim. When looking down the hall, your eye will stop and start at each contrast point. Imagine the hallway with all these contrast points negated. The hallway will appear much larger and less confined. Pictures or furniture in the hall will become the focus; not the trim and doorways. 
Contrast will make an area appear smaller;  lack of contrast will help an area appear larger.  Trim on doors, walls and windows that is a contrast color will make the entire room appear smaller. Trim that blends with the surrounding wall will blur the edges, the walls will appear taller, the floor wider and the windows larger.
Decide what place you want the trim to take in the design scheme  and paint accordingly.  You can always re-paint if you make a big boo-boo. But, by understanding the contrast rule and with a bit of planning, this shouldn’t happen.
I have the facility to take a picture of your room, load it into my system  and change the wall and trim color. It’s lots of fun to see what the effect will be before painting. 
Update on colors for 2012. As mentioned, Pantone has selected an orange as color of the year. Benjamin Moore has selected Wythe Blue HC-143  (a very soft gray-blue) as theirs.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Colors for 2012

For all of you who have been anxiously waiting for the color forecast for 2012, sorry to disappoint but I just couldn’t do it.  I did my research. I looked at all the ‘important’ magazines and web sites. But I gave up.
I really wanted to summarize what one of the most popular paint companies was saying about color for the year but they wanted $75.00 for the report. That’s like buying a T-shirt with the designers name splashed across the front.  They should be paying me. I found a blog that was ‘sharing’ the report and it took a me 45 minutes to figure out that the new way of categorizing color was quite convoluted, but when it all boiled down, it seems they are saying that anything goes. Lots of introspective, metaphysical, socio-economic jargon. Simply put: muted colors; grey is big and reptile prints, as in snakes, are ‘important.’
Pantone, the absolute color poo-bah, has determined that the color of 2012 is Orange - or, in their lingo, Tangerine Tango, color 17-1463. These are the folks who told us that fuchsia/honeysuckle was the interior color of the year for 2011. I saw this color in pillows in home dec stores, but did not once see it in anyone’s home. Not once. Well, except in my closet because it is my favorite scarf color and has been for years. On the cutting edge, me.
Most of us know what our best colors are, as clothing, and in our surroundings.  We tend to stay with these colors, changing only when our lives change.
An acquaintance did a closet purge and was left with grey, black and brown clothing.  In the summer she adds beige and off-white. No surprise there - these are the same colors as her  (beautiful) homes interior.  I know she gets a bit of grief now and then about her ‘fear’ of color but she has found what works for her, where her comfort level is, and she sticks with it.  She won’t be asking me to whip up any orange pillows for her living room. Of this I am sure. 
Just as little black dresses never go out of fashion, classic colors and styles help create easy living spaces. That should be the goal. So. Once again. Put the magazines down and use the colors YOU like in YOUR home.

Trust Yourself. Please.

I was doing my due diligent reading in preparation for the color forecast column and I came across a blog talking about interior design trends for 2012. Interesting stuff. But what caught my eye was a comment, way down the comments section, from a gal who said  she had seen some blown glass lamps she loved but was hesitant to buy them. However, based on what the blog said, she was confident enough that the lamps were OK, trend-wise, and that she would go ahead and buy them. 
I had a client whose entertainment unit was in the wrong place in the room; the sun shone on the TV screen and everyone who passed through the room had to walk between the TV and the sofa. She said that the unit had to stay where it was because that is where the cable connection was situated. After I asked her what Interior Design training the cable installer had, she realized that she had allowed the installer to  dictate furniture placement in her room.  We got the cable connection re-located, moved the entertainment unit and  the room became much more user-friendly.
I know a young professional couple who have a beautiful home. It could be right out of Elle Decor and it is stunning in its minimalist esthetic. It’s disquieting, though, when one realizes there are no books, other than the three carefully chosen  coffee table books. There are no pictures of family or friends anywhere. The wall art is all of the same genre, all the same mono-chromatic color scheme. All the frames and mats match. There is no evidence, in the public spaces, that two children live in the home. There is no personal style evident anywhere. The decorator created a show home but the young couple don’t have a family home. 
The most important part of my job is to listen to my clients. Most of the time, all you really want is someone to listen to you, and help you define your vision. I tell you all, over and over, that you need to trust your instincts and do what is right for  you and your family. It is your home, not mine, not another decorators. I will help you attain your vision, but it must be YOUR vision.
As we start another year, I wish you all the very best that life can bring.

How to hem pants

I would not be exaggerating to say I have hemmed over 1000 pairs of pants, in my time, --- everything from jeans to astoundingly expensive custom made mens wool pants.  Some, like  jeans and the expensive dress pants, should be taken to a professional - for lots of reasons. But, for the young wife, mom or GUY, you should know how to hem everyday pants, and by extension, skirts and shorts. So here is the quick version.
Put the pants on inside out. Turn the bottom of the pants up to the correct length, just form a cuff around the bottom. Pin this in place at the center back. Pin one leg only, and at this point only. The assumption is that  both of your legs are the same length, or reasonably close to the same length, and that the pant legs are the same length to begin with. 
Take the pants off; keep them inside out. 
Measure the amount you turned  up. Remove the pin and turn the pants up, by this amount, all around the pant leg. Press this ‘new hem’ fold.
Open the fold. Remove the previous hem stitching. The easiest way to do this is to use small sharp-tipped scissors and snip the threads on the surface of the hem,  on the inside of the pant.   Snip every third or fourth stitch. After snipping all the threads on the inside, the outside thread will easily pull away from the pant leg in one long piece. 

Open the hem out and iron, being careful not to iron over the new hem fold. 
Mark the cut line, from the new hem fold  down toward the bottom of the pant leg,1 1/2 inches.  Use a fabric marking pencil - or if you are confident, use a pencil and a light hand.  Cut the pants off along this line.
Turn the cut raw edge up to meet the new hem fold line and press all around. Be careful not to press the new fold line. Turn the hem up again 3/4 inch. You have created a double hem, 3/4-inch wide. Sew around the pants, close to the folded edge.   Done.