A Fresh New Look

Dear Style Studio:

As an “interior designer wannabe” I have assisted several friends with their decorating problems.  However, I struggle to find just the right “look” for my home.  I truly appreciate the opportunity to have your advice with my problems.

My 90 year old home is structurally sound and has many beautiful features.  Built by my grandfather in 1920, it has wonderful craftsmanship and features which in homes built today would be quite expensive.

The original oak hardwood floors throughout the house are in excellent condition.  All the French doors and windows are original.  The rooms are generous in size, but pose some furniture placement problems.

My style:  I must admit that I am a thrift store/garage sale person.  In my travels, I have purchased or been given some very nice pieces.  Eclectic?? maybe, but I feel that I am “drawn” to a more warm and cozy feel than “don’t touch” cluttery look.  Although I no longer have children at home, I want to live in all the rooms of my home and feel comfortable.  Elegant but very inviting appeals to me.  Rich, warm deep colors would be my choice.  I do not like primary colors.  Accessorizing is important to me and I like interesting vignettes.

I am not opposed to any re-painting that may be suggested.  I am open to any and all suggestions you might offer.  I love my home and its heritage.  My goal is to honor my home by making it welcoming and inviting to all that enter.

Excited and looking forward to your results.

Vicky H.


Dear Vicky:

In viewing your home (which we love by the way) we noticed that there is quite a bit going on.  You really need to edit out the accessories.  When you have too much in every nook and cranny, visually it looks cluttered.  We would like you to look over all your collections and select a few per room – if you feel it looks too empty you can always add to them.

Our first thought, you need an overall color theme.  We decided on cream, spa blue and light browns (toffee, camel, etc.).  We can start with the living room:

Living Room:    Try painting the walls – Sherwin Williams: Rainwashed.  We have chosen the Davenport Sofa and Loveseat covered in our off white quilted slip covers.  Love the addition of our Louis Salon Chair covered in Etiene fabric.  Hanging the Ballard Essential Drapes in Skyler Plaid Toffee will add a lot of dimension.  The Coventry Jute rugs in natural (6×9 and the matching 3×9 runner)  for in front of the French Doors will help to pull the space together.  The existing sofa table can stay behind the sofa, but we need to add one behind the loveseat the Benedetta Console in Tuscan Brown is perfect.  The piano can stay where it is, but the corners need to be cleared out and edited.  We like the mirror on the wall, and the plants placed in each corner,  otherwise, eliminate the clutter.  Add some Ballard Essential pillows in Spa Blue, Etiene and small Toffee Check to finish off the look.  Just remember, when you have such beautiful, architectural details in a room, you need to let them shine, so edit, edit, edit.

Dining Room:  Again, Vicky too much going on to see the beauty of the details.  Let’s turn it into a French Bistro!  We think the chairs are somewhat dated, so we chose the Constance Dining Chairs for a fresh European feel.  We think the walls should be painted a soft white (Sherwin Willliams – Dover White).  Our inspiration came from your chandelier – we just love it!  Carrying on the theme, we think the Le Poeme Rug (Chocolate) would help anchor the room.  For the window seats, you can repeat the Etiene fabric from the living room providing continuity.  We think it is okay to keep the buffet, but the large hutch needs to go.  Once again, too much going on in the room.  We would love to see a collection of plates in either a brown and white toile pattern or white stoneware arranged over the buffet.  Perhaps a couple of old shutters painted in Rainwashed to hang on the wall opposite the kitchen.  Add a fresh white linen table square to you dining table with a fresh arrangement in a stoneware pitcher to finish the room.

Kitchen:  Unless you are ready to renovate, we think a few small changes will make a world of difference.  We want you to paint the walls – Benjamin Moore’s Heavenly Blue.  Paint the bar table and chairs black.   We carry a French Bistro Comfort Mat that will look great in front of the sink.  Because we don’t know the size of the shelves above the sink, try adding some black wrought iron pieces – again, don’t overdo, perhaps a couple of framed pictures of France in black frames, some small items.  Try to keep the counters free of everything but essentials this will help to make the kitchen appear larger.  Paint the wrought iron wall hanging (against the dining room wall) black.  Try looking online for some fresh white café curtains, maybe ones with a rod on the top and the bottom.

TV Room:  We will be sending you an updated layout of the room.  We chose our Baldwin Apartment Sized Sofa with a slipcover in Microfiber Camel, our Stratford Chair in our Small Toffee Check, two Upholstered Cubes covered in Charlotte Floral Spa, Two Table-rounds in Linen Spa and Ballard Essential Pillows in assorted fabrics.  We also love our Calabasas Rug in a 6×9 size.  Add our Spa Linen Panels on the windows and a few of our suggested prints: Set/6 Little Birds, Flowers by the Sea, Set/3 Medallions or Set/3 Entomology Plaques for the walls.  Our Vetrina Console in distressed off white will keep things light and airy.

Our intention is to give you an overall plan that works for you both functionally and esthetically.  We hope that you can use this plan as a guideline to create the kind of environment you are looking for.  Please let us know what  you think of our ideas – feedback helps to keep us on our toes.


The Style Studio Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.