Frank Fontana, host of HGTV's "Design on a Dime" comes clean with the realities of TV, and must-have decorating tips in his new book, "Dirty Little Secrets of Design."
On TV, he and his cohorts knock on the door with a "surprise" makeover that the owners accept with nary a word about expectations. Before you know it, they've hit a home-room; the homeowners love the new look Fontana's created!
The reality, he confesses, is that he and his team meet with the owners in advance, devise a game plan (which he suggests we all do for ourselves), identifies their style (he defines everything from Global Eclectic to Hollywood Regency and Tudor to Tuscan -- plus numerous others -- in the book), and determines a budget. They then transform it all -- by the book, applying his three-point formula:
1. Function. "Your room needs a very clear, very functional purpose." If it's a sewing room, then furnishings and accessories should reflect that purpose.
2. Ambiance. He shares advice on how "to listen what the room tells on its own" and how to build from there.
3. Cohesion. How do you pull it all together -- the new with the old? And how can you tell if you've nailed it? It's all in the book.
He shares his own blueprint for "high style, low-cost decorating." He also talks about:
*When does it always pay to "go green?" (He tells the truth about TV decisions.)
*The three staple design styles for kitchens (modern, rustic European and Traditional).
*A room-by-room guide "to infusing your home with style." (And, he includes what he really thought when homeowners wanted their work space in the dining room.)
*The Dos and Don'ts of a Home Office.
*The Thousand Dollar Kitchen Countertop -- for Less.
* Lots of DIY projects with instructions.
This book is packed full of information and covers decorating advice for a variety of spaces, from outdoor areas to kitchens, bedrooms and entryways. The U.S. price for the book: $24.95. At Amazon, it's $16.47!
A FEW TAKE AWAYS:
* When changing the color of a wall, white or tinted primer is essential to achieving the color you selected.
* Drop a few squirts of vanilla extract into your paint can to eliminate overwhelming smells. (Fumes are masked not eliminated. Use low-VOC paints to reduce toxins.)
* Use the 60-30-10 designer rule for color: 60% of the color in a space comes from the walls. 30% comes from the upholstery, window coverings and rugs. Ten percent comes from accessories and artwork.
* Three decorative pillows are all you need for your bed. Two with matching shams and one funky one as a statement piece.
* The most essential piece of furniture for the entryway: a chair!
Debbie Zimmer at Paint Quality Institute shares three likely color directions for 2011, a year designated as one where individual style rules:
Back to Basics
"Neutrals provide versatility and allow homeowners to quickly change the look of a room just by adding a few new accessories, without spending a lot of time and money to remodel and repaint again. This is the ultimate in practical remodelings, and the time is ripe for it," says Zimmer.
I borrowed this image from the lovely Chic Provence blog. I like how the homeowner dressed up their neutral room such such a soft pretty accent color that could be easily changed out.
Warm whites, tawny tans, "barely-there" corals and greens may find their way into next year's bedrooms, baths and kitchens, according to Zimmer.
This feels very comfortable to me. I like the subtle textural and organic qualities offered by the table, plants, fabrics, trim, greenry. Photo from Little French Garden House, a delightful blog.
This dining room over at Chic Provence serves up an elegant "neutral" look.
How about this bohemian-style sofa found at Gypsy Purple . . . couldn't you see it add a little pizzazz in a room where walls might be painted Zimmer's suggested "barely-there" coral color?
I had to bring these over from The LIsa Porter Collection -- for a little white and green inspiration. This one below is also from Lisa's feel-good blog:
I like the green paired with the well-worn white color. Also from Lisa's blog.
Like a well-worn pair of blue jeans, blue is both comforting and familiar. Zimmer expects to see all hues -- from deep blue to soft blue-greys in 2011.
Since it's all about personal style, how about grey walls with touches of blue? This image came from Sofas and Sage. Thanks, Carol!
Since most blues tend to be calming colors, this hue offers a nice retreat from life's stresses, according to Zimmer.
Thrifty consumers who want a little sparkle without breaking the budget should look at metallics and high sheens. Glossy hues boost the mood of a room, in addition to maximizing the available natural light.
Interestingly enough, whenever I see Dale Chihuly glass, I'm reminded of sea creatures. Take a look at the 2,000 wavy, watery glass light sculptures floating en masse on the ceiling above the Bellagio Hotel lobby in Las Vegas:
My best friend, Barbara, took this photo during a "girlfriend" trip to Las Vegas.
While Mr. Chihuly wouldn't be surprised by my admission, since many other admirers also see sea creatures, he says it's all unintentional. In this YouTube interview, the world-renowned glass blower says he's never scuba dived or even looked at a book depicting sea creatures in search of inspiration. It all just happened.
Originally from Washington state, Chihuly took a weaving class during his early art studies. Fascinated in glass blowing and by the intricacies of weaving, he combined the two arts. He then went on to study in Venice, where he learned the benefits of team collaboration. He has assembled teams that numbered as many as 18 to construct one piece. When he lost the sight of his left eye years ago in a motorcycle accident, his role in the studio changed. He began choreographing the artistry employed by all of his teams, as opposed to focusing on one piece at a time. "I found I could move around and work with the various teams...."
This glass sculpture stands 20-feet high in the Bellagio Hotel lobby.
(photo by BFF Barbara)
Chihuly says most of his work these days stems from commissions. His installations are found around the world.
Barbara's photo of the Bellagio lobby.
Barbara also took pictures of Chihuly's works in New City Center:
As many of us know, being "in the doghouse" isn't a good thing. It usually means you're in deep trouble and have no other choice but to take temporary refuge outside with the pup. Well, let me amend that statement, it's not where you typically want to be, unless your dog calls one of these cool places home:
By English Associates
By Morris Architects
The second annual Barkitecture begins tomorrow in Houston with yappy hour, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. This kickoff party will showcase doghouses designed and built by some very creative architects, builders and artists. It maybe the first time many of these builders and architects get to create without worry about permits, zoning laws and neighborhood requirements. woof!
There is a suggested $10 donation to attend the Friday event at Houston Pavillions' Center Court at Main and Dallas, which will be catered by McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant. The houses will be auctioned off on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Some more doghouses from last year's event:
(The outdoor houses are 4'x5'x4'; the indoor ones are smaller)
In my last post, I shared photos of a couple of girly bedrooms. (Scroll down for a look.) Today, it's a pictorial post -- of the same antique's dealer/homeowner's kitchen. You tell me what you see and like. I think it's a pretty space:
The kitchen above was photographed for Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine . . . .
An antiques dealer decorated the two bedrooms, below, for her young daughters in what feels like old French glam style. I wanted to share the images since I see at least7 inspirational take-away ideas here:
#1 The draping above the headboard imparts soft elegance to a wall that begs for something powerful and large. So, if you're going for luxurious and glamorous in your own room, then this might be the touch you want and need.
#2 The repetitious design of the small armoire is transferred to the wall and gives a complementary touch as opposed to a cluttered competing look.
#3 Window seats are irresistible. So cozy. So inviting. But what I especially like here is the inset shelving. What a great use of space.
# 4 A furniture piece -- or a built-in with great color and design -- gives this corner space functional cause in additional to added style.
#5 The chandelier above the bed adds sparkle while the soft winged panels create a cozy cocoon, of sorts.
So, do you ever drive past a house you once owned? Just to see what the new homeowners have done? If not you, maybe someone else you know conducts similar drive-bys??! Well, I did that the other day. I turned down the street where I once lived. And I noticed something new! So subtle yet so striking! Why didn't I think of that?!
Here's the house:
The new homeowner, an interior decorator from Houston, painted the chain-link fence, aka hurricane fence, black! Such a crisp, upscale look as opposed to this:
. . . the galvanized steel look:
When we lived at this house, the fence was draped in flowery jasmine; the scent as lovely and quaint as the look. But it all died, thanks to Hurricane Ike a couple of years ago. The new fix was probably a lot more cost effective than removing it or doing something else. I like it when people use what they have and make it work. Don't you?
. . . Or maybe it was Marfa (see post below) . . . . One or the other Texas stop got me going on cowboy boots. It did begin in Marfa, when I slipped into my Lucchese reds but, then, my western boot fever heightened in Boerne. Today, a pair of brown decorative Lanes arrived by Fed-X. Love 'em! And better yet, they were $137 as opposed to the $220 at most boutiques! I used my discount from Overstock to get that price of $137. I actually shared it with you recently. However, I was so thrilled with my purchase that I thought I'd bring it up again in case you missed it. (I get nothing from this push except the thrill of sharing the cost-saving discount.) Just visit the OVERSTOCK post at the link above, obtain the discount code and click on the Overstock shoes link. Then, you can find your own red-hot deal. cheers, susan
"Red Chile" Lane boots at Overstock
Know someone with a hurricane fence? Well, I'll show you a quick fix tomorrow on how to turn them from hum-drum to striking. I found someone who had a great idea.
When sitting not long ago in Carmen's Cafe waiting for my (delicious!) green chile chicken enchiladas, I was struck by the diversity of the clientele joining us in this "hole-in-the-wall kind of place. Ordinarily, I wouldn't think too much of it except that I was in Marfa, a tiny West Texas town (population 2,121) situated on a high plateau in the Chihuahuan Desert. Less than an hour's drive from the Mexican border. In addition to the Mexican Nationals sitting at the bar eating hamburgers (everybody else seemed delighted with the Mexican food), our company included a welcoming cowboy, a hungry truck driver and a trio of Eastern Europeans. The diners' dress ranged from the really avant garde to trusty Stetsons, dusty blue jeans and trendy capri pants.
I haven't met a recipe that I didn't want to change -- even a little bit. This one is no exception. My aim is to make it healthier, using less sugar, for example . . . . So, to begin, let me tell you how I altered the recipe below with good results.
First off, I used fat-free organic milk. I also opted to go a bit lighter by using 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg -- not the 4 whole eggs, as dictated in the recipe below. Additionally, I used 1/2 cup real organic maple syrup rather than 3/4. I didn't have the crystallized ginger, so I chopped up some pecans and added a small dollop of yogurt. I love this dessert.
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whipped cream
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Line a roasting pan with a folded kitchen towel.
2. Heat milk over low heat in a small saucepan until barely steaming but not boiling.
3. Whisk eggs and syrup in a large bowl until smooth. Gently whisk in the warm milk (a little bit at a time so the eggs don't cook). Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until blended.
4. Divide the mixture among six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) custard cups. Skim foam from the surface. Place custard cups in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until custards are just set but still quiver in the center when shaken, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer custards to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chilled.
5. To serve, top each custard with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crystallized ginger. (Again, since I didn't have the cystallized ginger, I topped it with chopped pecans -- that I did have. Plus a little yogurt.)
HERE'S ANOTHER RECIPE -- WITH MY HEALTHIER TIP! It's a Scarlet Quinoa Salad. YUM!
This quinoa (keen-wah) salad is a favorite! Everytime I prepare it, someone asks for the recipe. If you're interested in reading about the nutritional benefits of this grain-like crop, go here.
I plan to share all the ingredients of this recipe, which I found on a bag of Eden Red Quinoa. However, *instead of the plum vinegar, I use apple-cider vinegar. Why? Well, the plum vinegar has a whopping 1,050 grams of sodium per teaspoon!! (yikes.) The apple-cider vinegar contains zero (0)!
Ingredients: 1 medium beet, peeled and diced (2 small)** 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp. plum vinegar (*I use apple-cider vinegar) 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 6 red radishes (optional) 2 tbsp. finely minced red onion 1/4 cup chopped scallions or chives (optional) 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cranraisins) 1 cup red quinoa
Preparation: Rinse quinoa in cold water. Add 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/4 cup boiling water. Add chopped beet(s).Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes and fluff. When cool, toss with remaining ingredients and serve. Or place in fridge, as it works as a cold salad. Serves 4.
**Cut off the beet leaves, rinse to add to a green salad or in cut up into small pieces for a pasta salad.
The Scarlet Quinoa Salad, is a pretty red dish, as you might imagine. Think holidays? or anytime, like I do . . . .
Water ensures skin health and weight management/loss.
So, drink up. Consider adding to your daily diet the veggies above and the following foods that contain at least 75 percent water by weight: apples, limes, lemons, cantaloupes, watermelons, strawberries, plums, pears, kiwis and grapes.
Foods that Keep Your Skin Healthy and Young.
Click the bowl of tomatoes for the article and recommendations.
Newly Posted Interior Design, and Homes & Gardens: Click photo below:
Home in San Miguel de Allende
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