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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finding a Vision

So I had a couple of different ideas about this week's blog post.  But then I got this question from Ashley:

"I was going to ask you how you come up with a vision for a room. I've started keeping a folder of ideas, but I'm not sure where one goes from there. Did you draw your plans up? Did it come together gradually as you went?"
What an awesome question! And thanks for asking it Ashley! I would say yes, as you guys who have been following this blog for a while now know, it definitely comes together gradually. 
I'm no interior designer, and I also don't think you have to be one or have to have one to have a beautiful home.  What you do have to have is a vision.  Here's how I get mine...


1. Devour images.  

This one is a no-brainer (and one you are already doing Ashley!).  Ever since I was little I remember loving houses. I had a house plan catalog that I looked through over and over again picking out my dream homes.  I used to -still do sometimes- steal my mom's Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living magazines and claim them as my own.  But now, I mainly get my inspirational images from Pinterest, Houzz, and blogs (Young House Love, Hooked on Houses, The Lettered Cottage, and View Along the Way just to name some of my favorites). 

2. Like what you like. 

The nice thing about pinterest is that you can save any image that strikes you.  For me, I have a board for every room/area of the house: kitchen, bath, bedroom, living room, dining room, basement, entry/mudroom, laundry/craft.  Not to mention a board for furniture/lighting and fabric/paint/tile.  So as I have accumulated images that I like on these boards, I am "pin" pointing my style.  I can go in, look at the collection of images and look for repeating elements of things that have caught my eye.  A good example of this is my bathroom pinterest board.  I have pinned a whole lot of white subway tile, a whole lot of white beadboard wainscoting, and a whole lot of old farmhouse touches.  A girl likes what she likes.  And by creating a pinterest board that is focused on one room, I was able to narrow in on elements (subway tile, bead board, and farmhouse touches) of the room that I am really drawn to - these are the things I incorporated into the room. 

3.  Use your words. 

 If you look at my living room pinterest board, you might notice that it does not have a nicely organized theme like the bathroom board does.  So what's a girl to do if she pins away and doesn't find a good direction?  Ask yourself how you want the room to make you feel? How do you want others to feel in the room? My answer:  I want it to be casual, comfortable, light.  With those words in mind, I move forward.  We needed furniture?  We bought a slipcover sofa and love seat because, well, it doesn't get much more comfortable and casual than slip covered furniture.  We did buy the charcoal-ish grey color, which is not so much light as it is dark, but we can balance it out with light colored pillows, a light rug, and a lighter wall color, not to mention plenty of lighting - natural and otherwise. 

4. Know the room.  

Every room of our house comes with it's own challenges and quirks. To help me find a direction for our living room, I have to know the room - focal points, strengths, weaknesses.  Knowing these things about the living room allows me to come up with a game plan for highlighting the strengths and remedying/hiding the weaknesses.

Focal point: Front window view of the river, TV (cringe.), and fireplace.  We arranged the furniture in such a way that allows you to enjoy any of the focal points.

Strengths: Open to the kitchen and dining room - great for entertaining.  Pretty molding around openings and window.  Fireplace. Great view.  We will be coordinating the color schemes with the kitchen and dining room to ensure the rooms feel connected and congruent.  We definitely plan to paint the walls -this will make the molding pop!  We also enhanced the fireplace mantel to give it more presence.

Weaknesses: Slightly narrow. Difficult to find a place for the TV.  No storage.  

Since the room is slightly narrow, we purchased fairly petite furniture to save on space.  I have been fighting the idea of putting the TV directly above the fireplace, but to maintain symmetry, I'm afraid I have no choice.  Some day we plan to build book shelves on both sides of the fireplace to increase storage.  I also like the idea of storage ottomans and some type of console to store things in.  Then of course there are decorative boxes and baskets that help too.  I'm on the hunt....

5.  Find a jumping off point for color. 

The one that does it best is Sarah Richardson.  She's my favorite designer.  She has an HGTV show called Sarah's House.  Have you seen it?  Oh I've watched each season probably three times.  At the beginning stage of designing a room she, and her sidekick Tommy, will find one fabric and then work the whole room around that.  Many times, my first instinct is to pick out my paint color first.  Don't do it Laura, you'll just regret it girl. So this time, with the living room, I didn't.  I went neutral with the furniture to start with and then I've been searching for something to inspire me.  I looked at fabric for window treatments but have been coming up short.  Then, the other day, I found pillows on at a shop called Pillow Fight. The great thing about this pillow is, is that it has awesome colors that can be pulled out in other ways - my jumping off point.

6. Texture, pattern, shine, fun.

Furniture and color do not make a room.  To me, a truly interesting room has a mixture of patterns, textures, and finishes.  And lets not forget to add something fun that makes people know it's yours!

I love the beadboard texture intermixed  throughout our home. The pattern in our dining room curtains makes me smile.The mixture of the oil rubbed bronze, stainless steal, and copper finishes that are in our dining room and kitchen bring a nice shine.  And the fun?... well, I'm working on that. 

So I hope that helps Ashley! I would say those are my basic processes for going about decorating a room and finding a vision.

What are your tips for finding a vision for a room?  What is usually your jumping off point?  What are three words that you'd like to use to describe your home? 

Don't miss a beat.  
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