Friday, January 27, 2012

The Big Orange Splot

About ten years ago I painted in a neighbor’s house where I pretty much touched every wall with my brush. I faux finished both bathrooms, painted the vestibule, color-washed the kitchen and hallways, painted a mural in the laundry room and striped the dining room.  After each job, I would say to my friend “Are you sure that you want me to paint MORE?”  She would give me a hug and tell me that after a long day there was nothing better than coming home to a house that made her smile.  As a thank you gift she gave me a children’s paperback book that I graciously accepted but admittingly never read until my daughter was born. The book was called THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. The story was about a simple man named Mr. Plumbean who lives on a very “neat” street where all the houses look exactly the same. One day, a bird flew over Mr. Plumbean’s house and spilled a gallon of orange paint making a huge mess. The neighbors freak out and demand that Plumbean paint his house back to look like all the others on the street. Instead, Mr. Plumbean transforms his house into a rainbow of colors and images.  It was what all his dreams were made of at the expense of mortifying his neighbors. 
Mr. Plumbean's pimped out pad
At any given week I go on multiple color consultations where a majority of clients are timid of using color or worried about the dreaded R word. RESALE. It’s just paint and if you decided to move you can get a good deal on a five gallon bucket of antique white. That’s my answer. (I know my realtor mom and friends are cringing now). Just yesterday, I worked with a young couple that was building their “Dream House” and it wasn’t a small one by any means. After making the all the color choices she turned to me and asked “How will this look for resale?” I promptly replied with “The colors are perfect and why are you designing a house for the next owner?  Who knows you might spend the rest of your life in your house. Why not enjoy it and have it the way YOU like it?” Im not talking about turquoise and red backsplash kitchen tiles with bright yellow cabinets. Something totally out there (which I know that I can make work) but keeping your home’s staples basic and don’t be afraid of using color on the walls. I think back to a friend who complained that she had no space for her three toddlers to play but had a huge unfurnished formal living room.  I suggested that she turn that room into the kids playroom and she replied "What about Resale?” I stressed to her to enjoy her house and make it work for her family’s lifestyle. It would require a gallon of paint to transform the playroom back to that big empty room. Her children played countless hours in that room until they sold the house.

The handsome Mr. P
Now, I have a pretty “neat” house from the street but it wasn’t always like that. I remember my friend driving by and telling me “Well...., it’s in a great neighborhood.”  Others would comment “You need a lot of vision for this one.”  And “Why on earth is she leaving that great house for that piece of crap?” I heard it all.  Now, once you step into my home there is no doubt about what kind of person(s) occupy my home. I have color everywhere. Collections of my favorite things, everything from matchbooks to silhouette portraits and in between. I mix new furniture with antiques from all eras.  I surround myself in things that remind me of the special people and places that I love.  No one has a house like me and I’m pretty sure no one would want it the way it is other than me. I change it constantly to rejuvenate, invigorate and inspire.  “ My house is me, I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams.”
So....If your wondering what happened to Mr Plumbean and his neighbors.... one by one, each night a neighbor would come to Plumbean’s house trying to convince him to change it.  They would sit under the palm trees and drink lemonade and talk about their dreams. The very next day the owner would set about changing his own house to fit his dreams.  
The "Neat" Street no more.
“Life is too short for white walls!” Make your space work for you. Let it tell a story about you and not worry right now about the next guy who’ll live there. Channel your inner Plumbean and feel good about the place you call HOME. 
For the complete story of Mr. Plumbean and his neighbors you can purchase a copy THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. Copyright 1977 Published by Scholastic Inc. at It’s a keeper.

If you are or know of a Mr. Plumbean, feel free to email me a picture of the house. No names necessary.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top Picks and Trends for 2012

More than 50 years ago, AmericasMart started with a vision - today AmericaMart is the World's Global Wholesaler Market. Everything that you need is all in one place. There, thousands of manufacturers, reps and artist display and take orders for the entire retail world. Just about everything that you find in a store is there and it is THE best place to see what’s next in design and trends.  Le’s start with COLOR, my favorite!

Basically, think back to your first box of crayons and you will find all the answers to the hottest colors this year.  Chinese red, tangerine orange, lemon yellow, turquoise blue, grass green, black and white.  All bright and saturated with the exceptions of a few tamed down colors. Dusty purple (the new Mauve) and a gray taupe. A perfect blend of earthy brown with a touch of gray.

This delicious collection is from OOMPH

I feel in love with these amazing bangles from

two's company showroom 

High gloss white furniture and accessories. The perfect back drop for any color. Want to change your decor well white will let you accessorize with any color scheme.

That shiney stuff is back and it is as luxurious as ever. It’s a softer gold and brushed brass that just reeks elegance and charm.

Everywhere you go look for burlap, linen and all things organic. These amazing tiles are made from wood chips that have been artfully put together on a web backing and have been coated with a wax protective seal. They are pliable and can be used to cover almost anything. At $14.95 a square you can adhere these bad boys to anything... a glass vase, old table , accent wall or column, even a kitchen backsplash.

perfect example of organic meets modern

Fans of Paris and all things french look out for the updated version of country french.  Look for an abundance of Eiffel Tower images, vintage egg basket chandeliers and gray-washed distressed furniture. The language of love is in.

An old teapots and egg baskets turned into lamps and chandeliers. Tennis racquets become mirrors. Old doll parts be come chic candlesticks. You name it. Nothing is thrown away anymore. 

Hippie chicks unite for this fresh approach on spirituality, color and new age of living.

The Good Life line. 
These hand carved indian blocks can be used to make  everything from note cards to one of a kind custom fabrics. 
Inspiration words and thought as artwork have been creeping up on the design world for a few years now under a country decorating style. Well, they have entered the design world at full steam in every genre of decor. Look for single words to long phrases as artwork and the single letter as a piece of art. Its a perfect way to have your home tell something about you.