TAGGED: thoughts on decorating

The Final Word On White Walls, A Lesson Learned & My Favorite White Paint

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I’ve always said you’re either a white wall person or you’re not. And in general, there isn’t much overlap between the two. At my last house, I met a neighbor once who started telling me about how much work he had to do to his house when he moved in, like painting all the walls because Can you believe every wall was white?! He hadn’t been in my house yet so he didn’t know that I had all the walls painted white when we bought it. It never occurred to him that some people actually prefer white walls and I know that a lot of people feel the same way- that white is ho-hum, blah, plain, boring, etc. On the other hand, white wall people like me can’t live with anything else. The more I try to branch out and put color on walls, the more certain I become that I’m a white wall person.

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Before moving in, I had all the walls in our current house painted white too. The only exceptions were the master bedroom and half of the dining room. I chose a pale blue gray for those two rooms and I only did that because I felt pressured to put at least a little color somewhere. It’s a really pretty shade so I’m absolutely fine with it but there have been more than a few moments when I wished I had just painted them white too.

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This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate color on walls. I do. Some of my all time favorite rooms in the design world have walls ranging the whole spectrum of colors. But for me to live in, it has to be white.

So this brings me to the lesson learned.

As you know, I made the decision to lacquer the wall in the master bedroom entry blue. I researched the easiest and simplest way that would yield the best results and concluded that the Hollandlac line from Fine Paints of Europe was the answer. I sent away for some information, decided on the color Summer Sky and placed an order. Even though I had my painter scheduled to come for the other projects on my list, when the paint arrived, I thought I’d tackle this project myself since it was just one wall. (Painting is not my forte but neither is waiting.) Well, it turned out pretty much how I expected. The shine on it was super glossy and the color was really pretty and yet….

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I knew almost instantly it was not for me. I decided to give it a chance for at least a little while and when I got back from my spring break I looked at it again with fresh eyes. That basically cemented what I knew all along: I’m a white wall person and there’s just no getting around it.

Now I’ve always treated my house like a lab to test out ideas, knowing that not all of them will work out. There are going to be failures along the way – like this one. When that happens, the best you can do is fix what you can, learn from it and move on. It’s no different than in life, really.

So, when the painter came to do the kitchen last week I asked him to undo what I had done. Thankfully, paint is just paint. A couple of coats of white and bam, it’s as if the whole crazy episode never even happened. (Can you just picture the husband shaking his  head in the background?)

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Finally, not a week goes by without someone asking me for white paint suggestions or which white I used in my houses. My answer is always the same: Benjamin Moore White 01 which is also sometimes called Number One or Pure White. More recently, they’ve started calling it Super White (PM-1). This has always been and always will be my favorite white. The reason is it’s the purest white I’ve come across that is not too warm or too cold and with no discernible undertones.

So that’s it. The final word. Now, let’s take an informal poll. Are you a white wall person? I’d love to know!

(Photos: 1.Elle Decor 2,3.Skona Hem 4.FROM THE RIGHT BANK 5.Benjamin Moore)

Zebra Wallpaper + Gold Ceiling Are Happening in Project Hallway

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It seems like all I’ve been talking about lately is Project Hallway and well, that’s probably because that is all I’ve been talking about. Usually I’m thinking about a million projects at once but I’ve been singularly focused on the hallway for some reason. It’s actually a much more productive way to work but I think it can get a little boring for you (and me) after a while. Well, it’s about to get a lot more exciting because decisions have been made! Very fun decisions, too, I might add.

First, I’ve decided on the wallpaper. Scalamandre Zebras! In orange! I’m so excited I can’t! stop! using! exclamation! points!

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I have been wanting to use this wallpaper forever, and I mean forever, but haven’t had the right occasion. I thought I was finally going to use it in blue or red for the WC in the master bathroom (another project) but when I saw the orange in person, I literally gasped. The shade of orange is just perfect – it’s that beautiful Hermès orange which is a little warmer and lighter than in this photo – and as many papers as I saw, nothing compared to it. Along with the fact that orange is what I call one of my house colors and that I’ve never seen the orange colorway used anywhere, it was a done deal. It had to go in the hall.

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This paper is a really popular choice for powder rooms…..

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FROM THE RIGHT BANK | www.fromtherightbank.com

and I love how Lauren used it in her hallway:

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but I haven’t seen it in orange anywhere. If you have, please let me know. I’d love to see!

Okay, so with a wallpaper that was not within the intended color palette, I had to reconsider the blue ceiling idea. (I did say I was only 99% sure!) The blue could have worked but when I put the wallpaper sample up on the wall…..

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I knew exactly what needed to happen. Gold. It was one of those instances when I just knew. And while we’re on the topic, let me say this is generally how decorate – by gut and instinct. I’m not one for rules and formulas. I think they have their place and are helpful for a lot of people but it’s just not my approach.

Anyway, here are some examples of what I envision:

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Looking at the wallpaper on the wall, I had a vision of a gold ceiling and that was that. Of course it’s not always that simple and clearcut but I love it when it is!

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I was really pleased with this idea but then immediately started to regret it because I thought a gold ceiling would entail gold leafing or finding the perfect gold wallpaper or something else more complicated. But then I came across…..

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Ralph Lauren Regent Metallic Paint. Metallic paints are tricky but this line seemed to have good reviews across the board. (I read a lot of reviews.) I called their customer service number to find a local retailer because very few places carry RL paints these days and they gave me the contact for the one shop here. (If you’re local, Paint Unlimited – no website). I went by and picked up some gold swatches then narrowed it down to these two colors:

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Golden Candlesticks on the left and Parlor Gold on the right. I chose Parlor Gold in the end because it was lighter and since paint tends to look darker on ceilings, I think it will work better.

Lastly, the built-in will be painted white. I considered a different color but there is plenty going on with the wallpaper and ceiling so white it will be. I’ve also been looking for the perfect lights to install against the gold ceiling and possibly a runner of some sort.

So that’s it. The makings of my dream hallway. And I promise this will be the last time you hear about Project Hallway until the reveal! Thank goodness.

(Photos: 1.Scalamandre 2,11.Elle Decor 3.Diane Bergeron 4.Liz Caan 5.Pop Sugar 6,9.Traditional Home 7.4th Floor Walkup 8,12,14,15.FROM THE RIGHT BANK 10.Vogue 13.Ralph Lauren Home)

 

Kitchen Office Update + a $250 Lighting Giveaway

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Having lived in as many homes as I have, the one thing I’ve learned is that it takes time to fine tune your spaces to fit your lifestyle. Take our kitchen office for instance. When we bought the house, it was described in the listing as the Bill Paying Station. The thought of a dedicated space just to pay bills was really amusing to me on so many levels.

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After I stopped rolling my eyes, I thought since I have it, I might as well make the most of it. So I basically thought of it as the Kitchen Office and decorated accordingly. But it always looked and felt forced to me – like it had to be a certain way because it was in the kitchen. Well, more and more I’m throwing out the should’s in favor of doing what works for how we live. So I thought about what we really used the space for and the main things were recharging all our gadgets, dropping off keys and mail when we came in, housing all my cookbooks and yes, paying the occasional bill that can’t be done online(!) So I reorganized to accommodate these things and got rid of anything superfluous.

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I also freed up a shelf for my calendars and notebooks so I can jot things down as they come up, made the cookbooks easier to access and brought in some things I want to see everyday like photos, fresh flowers and travel souvenirs. Even with just these little changes, it works and feels so much better now. I’m especially loving this wall of mementos. It’s just a start; I have plenty more things to add!

Everything else has stayed the same. I’m still loving thepink Milo Baughman chair:

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Frenchie bookends:

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and Tord Boontje light:

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And speaking of lights…..

It’s giveaway time!

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I needed a desk lamp for this space and the sleek Pixo task lamp from Lamps.com was perfect.

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I just love how minimalist it is. It takes up virtually no space and just blends right in. It can move over 900 degrees in several directions and the LED lights casts a really nice warm glow that you can dim. It even has a USB port in its base for charging all your devices.

 

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FROM THE RIGHT BANK | www.fromtherightbank.com

Lamps.com is giving one lucky reader a Pixo lamp in Glow which is a vibrant, almost neon yellow-green color ($256.71 value). It’s a fun color that will brighten up a desk or bedside and its minimalist style will work with just about any style of room.

To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Leave an additional comment if you post about the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook. A winner will be chosen at random and announced here next Wednesday, February 19. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!

***This giveaway is now closed.***

(Photos: 1-7.FROM THE RIGHT BANK 8-10.Lamps.com)

Artist’s Berlin Apartment

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You may have noticed that I’ve started another category recently called Interesting Homes. I did that because I love looking at real homes and how people live even if they aren’t necessarily my personal style. I think that’s why I feature so many homes on FTRB that could be described as bohemian. You know the ones – quirky, layered, often a bit cluttered. Even if those homes are a little too much for me personally, I find them to be the most interesting because it’s that stuff that tells you who the owners are and something about their lives. I guess I’m just a big voyeur!

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That’s why I was drawn to this Berlin apartment of artist Zora Mann. There are so many things to take in and none of it seems superfluous or just for show; you get the sense that this is how she really lives. I think some designers can go too far in wanting to make things look good. After all, homes are for living in first and foremost.

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For more Interesting Homes, check out the archives here.

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Since I got back from my trip, I’ve been really trying to get organized for the rest of the year because things are getting very busy. Looking at my calendar, there isn’t going to be a lot of free time so even though I just got home, I’m getting ready to go on a little shopping road trip. I need to do some scouting for projects and to stock my shop (big announcement about that coming soon) and next week looks like the only chance I’ll have for a while. So, FTRB will be coming to you from somewhere in southern Georgia/northern Florida next week. I’ve never been down there so it should be an adventure! If you have any good antique/vintage shopping spots in the region, please leave them in the comments or shoot me an email.

Thanks so much and have a great weekend!

(Photos 1-8.Freunde von Freunde 9.FROM THE RIGHT BANK)

More Thoughts on Decorating By Feel

Nearly two years ago, I posted this room to illustrate how I decorate much more by feel than by looks:

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Some time last year, I found out that that gentleman on the couch there is P. Allen Smith, a garden expert and television host and that’s what looks to be a study in his home. I also found another photo of the same room which shows just a little more of the space:

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As I said in that old post, this is much more traditional than my style but I’m still so drawn to the feeling of this room. Given my design ADD, when a space still resonates with me years after first seeing it, I pay attention.

So what is it about this space? First it’s the layers. There are layers of books, art, rugs, lighting and accessories everywhere. Second and more importantly, all of it has a very casually strewn feel about it. The result is a room that invites you to sit (or lie) down, get comfortable ad hang out. You actually want to pick up and browse through these books unlike in so many rooms where they’re used as props and you’re afraid to move one because it’ll upset a vignette; it’s the kind of room where you feel like you can put your feet up, set your drink down wherever and totally relax without worrying about messing something up. In other words, it’s about real living, not staging. Of course, it would be naive to think there isn’t some styling involved when an interior is being shot but in this case, I’d venture to say not a whole lot.

I guess the bottom line is it feels authentic and lived in, not too precious or perfect. Let’s face it, perfect is kind of boring. That’s the feeling I strive for in the spaces I decorate and it’s much harder than it sounds!

Boy, this post was a lot wordier than usual, wasn’t it? I guess I just have a lot to say on the topic. So what are your thoughts? If you missed the second post on the topic of decorating by feel, you can find it here.

(Photo: 1.My Home Ideas 2.P. Allen Smith)