Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Five Smart Decorating Tips From a San Diego Reader

Building a House?
Stumped with a Design Dilemma?
A California Woman Takes Steps to Answer Similar Questions -- and in the Process 
Validates Her Own Instincts.

A reader who lives in San Diego recently contacted me through email.  After an exchange of thought regarding paint colors, she shared lessons learned during the process of building her second house. As a side, she wonders if three might be the charm. Thinking "yes," she anticipates tackling, perhaps, one more house project -- from the inside out, and top to bottom. She might be right! We all gain confidence by doing.
Chris Barrett Designs
Shelley -- from San Diego and who loves dogs -- sent along a photo that inspires her. It's a living room (pictured above) by Chris Barrett Designs in Los Angeles. She finds this room sophisticated yet relaxed -- just the kind of California living she enjoys.

Chris Barrett rooms convey a lot of personality, whether in relaxed way or in a bold manner -- as depicted with the jazzy tile work seen here:

 Chris Barrett Designs

"I went to a design "workshop," when we were at the end stage of building our last home. The designer (and presenter) gave us lots of great tips for creating pleasing interiors. She gave us a handout called "Creating a Concept for Your Home," and it was full  of great information," says Shelley. 

(Because Shelley showed such inspiring taste when sharing the photo of the Chris Barrett living room, we're celebrating the firm's design savvy with a random look at her work throughout this post.) 

Chris Barrett Designs

 In the end, Shelley says, "I was pleased to discover that I actually had followed her (the designer/presenter) method without knowing that much about interior design planning.

Chris Barrett Designs

Shelley's "take" on what she learned at the designer workshop:
1. Collect magazines. 
Look for pictures of rooms and interiors you like -- and also things -- and spaces -- you don't.

2. Get a binder. 
Create a section for each of your rooms. Print out photos from blogs and Web sites. Tear pages from magazines. Place in a plastic sleeve in the binder. Look at it periodically for inspiration.

Shelley's binder.
3. Make a copy of your floor plan and keep it in the binder. 
Make a special sleeve for paint color chips. Visit paint stores and select paint chips of colors you feel "drawn" to. You are training your eyes!

4. Save advertisements of places you want to visit 
-- furniture stores, consignments shops etc.  There are so many details on your mind when building and you may forget to go some places, and these could be where you'll see things you really like.
5. Make a page for each room in your house and list the things you will need 
-- or that you think you'll want to buy for each room -- and beside each item write the amount you think you can spend. This gives you a handle on your budget. Keep this  binder with you - it is your house "bible."

"When I started to get overwhelmed at the tile store, Lowe's, or even at home when shopping for materials online, I just flipped through my binder, which re-affirmed what I wanted," says Shelley.
 Chris Barrett Designs
"Use idea books and magazines as a starting-off point, but go with your own hunches regarding details. After all, it’s your own home; it should be pleasing to you, first and foremost," says Shelley.

"I learned you want to develop an overall decorating concept based on color, theme and furnishings so that your home is cohesive -- and so that one room unites with the other," says Shelley.

Decorating started to come together for Shelley, "when I listened to my own instincts."
Such great tips and advice. Well said, Shelley!! 
Thank you for the email and conversation.

For more information on Chris Barrett Designs, click here. She and her firm have 
had their work featured in most of the major shelter publications. 

A new recipe posted in Eating Cheap and Healthy.

Click here to find the recipe for Quinoa Turkey Chili. Hearty and Delicious!
and finally . . .
One day left to enter our pillow giveaway from Inmod.
Click here for details. Good luck.

3 Responses to “Five Smart Decorating Tips From a San Diego Reader”

Good post Susan! I always tell my clients to do #1 and #2. It helps them and me understand their personal style but also where they want to go.

Keeping design files is such a great starting point. Love the first photo.

shell said...

Susan! wow--how tickled I am to read my tips on your great blog!
I'm honored you thought the ideas I gathered from other places are share-worthy. Thanks! I hope they will help some others.

Yes--going with your gut always is the thing to do. I had to trust my instincts and like you say, we learn by doing!

After now having "done" 2 homes from the ground up and having pleasing results
both times, I feel I have gained the confidence to believe that I can do it yet again-! I know I am
fortunate to have had the opportunity to build two homes - many people nevereven have the chance to build one.
Best wishes

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