Home Style: Clean and Simple Stairway

A dose of interior design inspiration:

stairway runner

We’ve all heard the saying “less is more.” This stairway is a perfect example of how true that phrase can be. It has several key elements of style: CONTRAST between dark wood floors and bright white walls, TEXTURE in the seagrass stair runner and iron rails, GEOMETRY with a mix of curves, arches, and angles, and LIGHT through the charming paned window and the glowing ceiling lamp. And that’s it! Clean, simple, elegant, timeless.

Photo Credit:  Urban Electric Co.

Home Style: Colorful Tiled Fireplace

A dose of interior design inspiration:

Domaine Home Fireplace

Most fireplaces are a focal point, but this unusual blue and white tiled version steals the show. The vibrant pattern stands out from standard stone and wood mantle options, yet fits perfectly with the casually exotic vibe of this home. After pinning it on Pinterest a few days ago, I must have scrolled past this image a dozen times. Then something struck me. Every time I saw this image, it was the fireplace that caught my eye, NOT the big black TV mounted above it. “How to Conceal a TV” is a major topic in the design world, but this is perhaps the simplest solution: just put something more interesting and more beautiful next to it! If your eye is drawn to the object of beauty, the TV will automatically fade into the background. Sometimes the best solutions are also the easiest.

Photo Credit:  Article on Domaine Home, Photography by Tessa Neustadt

Home Style: Bold Banquette

A dose of interior design inspiration:

amanda nisbet banquette

I have a bit of an obsession with banquettes. Whether traditional or modern, colorful or neutral, they just seem like the perfect place to drink my morning coffee, sort through the mail, or play a board game with my family. Who knew that built-in furniture could be so versatile? Among the many I’ve seen, this tufted chartreuse banquette by Amanda Nisbet stands out for several reasons: 1) the atypical jolt of color (chartreuse!) 2) recessed bookshelves that provide stylish storage and even MORE color 3) flexible chair space opposite the banquette bench, and last but not least… 4) David Parise’s playful Barbie and Ken photograph on the wall. To be honest, it took me a while to even notice the artwork, but it’s those subtle details that take a space from good to great. You just KNOW that happiness happens at this table.

Photo Credit:  Design by Amanda Nisbet, Barbie and Ken photograph by David Parise

Home Style: The Blanket Dilemma

A dose of interior design inspiration:

Barrie Benson

The blue floral sofa in this NYC living room makes a strong statement. You either love it or you hate it. But the sofa is not the focus of this post. The design element that catches my eye is the Plexi-craft coffee table containing a variety of quilts. As a lover of all things warm and snuggly, I have at least one blanket tossed across my sofa at any given moment. From the heavy floral throw lovingly knit by my great aunt, to a trendy fur blanket from Restoration Hardware, to my daughter’s favorite fleece, I am conflicted between wanting a pile of blankets within arms reach at all times and wanting to maintain a tidy (blanket-free) living room. By tucking them casually into this table, designer Barrie Benson puts the artistry of these quilts on display, makes grabbing a blanket quick and easy, and manages to keep everything neatly tucked away in its place. Brilliant. Now if only I had a Plexi-craft table of my own…

Photo Credit:  1st Dibs

Home Style: The Sultana Chair… Again!

A dose of interior design inspiration:

Mulhauser Sultana Chair

Do you remember this chair? I featured it in this Home Style post last January. Designed by George Mulhauser for Plycraft in the 1960’s, the Sultana Chair is a work of art. Well, imagine my excitement when I spotted it again! Then, imagine my surprise when I discovered that both images are of the same home in Oregon. While the chair in the January post was located in a dark and dramatic kitchen, this one is in a bright and airy guest bedroom. The pair of vintage Sultana chairs is a family heirloom passed down from the homeowner’s parents. To view the complete set of images of this gorgeous renovation, follow the NY Times link below. But first, let’s not ignore the simple, elegant wood desk supported between two built-in cabinets. I just love functional beauty!

For more design inspiration visit my Pinterest page:

Photo Credit:  NY Times

Design Trend: Home Libraries

My very first Home Style post, seen here, featured a beautiful display of color coordinated bookshelves in a casual chic living room. I created that post on November 3, 2013. In the year since then, that post has become the single most popular post on my blog. It has traveled all over Pinterest and been picked up by other blogs where it continues to attract attention. The enthusiasm surrounding those color coordinated bookshelves suggests that, despite the transition to e-books, blogs, and e-zines, our deep-rooted love for actual paper books remains. Personally, I have always been enamored with libraries and the history and possibility contained within. With that in mind, I’m highlighting a few of my favorite bookshelf trends.

black bookshelf yellow sofa

Bookshelf Trend #1: Dark Shelves, Bright Furniture

I’m clearly not the only person who loves this particular trend. Black or dark bookshelves contrasted by chartreuse sofas and chairs (not just any color – it always seems to be chartreuse) are taking home libraries by storm. The refinement of dark shelves pays tribute to traditional library style, while the bright furniture jolts the room with energy and modernity. The colorful mix of books pops against the contrast of the dark paint for a look that is far from old-fashioned.

dark bookshelves

black bookshelves chartreuse sofa

Bookshelf Trend #2: Artwork on Bookshelves

Look at the images above and below and you will notice artwork in every one. Framed paintings, prints, and photographs are either inserted into the shelf cubbies themselves, or hung on the front edge of the shelves. The art serves as a visual respite from the continuity of books, allowing your eyes to rest and relax. Do you have less attractive items that you’d like to store on the shelves, but you don’t want to disturb the beauty of the display? Hide them behind the hanging art! That beautiful painting takes on the role of cabinet door, concealing the contents behind it.

art in bookshelf nook

art in bookshelf cubby

art hanging on bookshelf

Bookshelf Trend #3: Shelves Built into Passageways

Space is limited. A wonderful (and practical) way to display your collection of books is by utilizing empty space in doorways, entryways, and hallways. By sacrificing one or two feet against an otherwise unused wall, you gain organization, storage, and a decorative display. A few of my favorite uses of space include this bookshelf built around a wide passageway…

doorway bookshelf

these bookshelves lining both sides of a long hallway…

hallway bookshelves

these bookshelves built into the pony wall at the top of this stair landing…

stair landing bookshelves

and this recessed wall of shelves alongside a banquette and stairway.

entryway bookshelf

Bookshelf Trend #4: Library Ladders

What bookshelf review would be complete without the mention of library ladders!? These tall sliding ladders are both beautiful and functional, allowing you to maximize wall space from floor to ceiling and still access books on the highest shelves.

library ladder white bookshelves

chartreuse bookshelves

The range of options when designing a home library or simply styling a bookshelf are seemingly endless. It would be impossible to cover them all in one blog post. Built-in, free-standing, metal, wood, low, high, colorfully painted, back-painted, organized for a rainbow effect… One thing is certain: the more we turn towards tablets for our everyday reading, the more valuable our old books become. They are pieces of history: tangible, entertaining, and lovely to look at.

For more bookshelf inspiration visit my Pinterest page:

Photo Credits: Style Carrot, Sketch 42, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, The Decorista, Daniel Farmer for House & Garden, Sadie and Stella, Style at Home, Most Beautiful Things, Ryann Ford Photography for FAB Architecture, Wendy Haworth Design, Little Green Notebook, Ciave Design

Home Style: Fireplace in a Wall of Windows

A dose of interior design inspiration:

window fireplace

Wow. That about sums it up. This floor-to-ceiling wall of windows under a peaked roof is simply breathtaking. The elegantly neutral fireplace inserted into that wall of windows is even better. Add in the backdrop of a Norwegian forest and rocky mountains, and we are back to… WOW.

For more design inspiration visit my Pinterest page:

Photo Credit:  Bo Bedre

Mood Board: Colorful Boy’s Bedroom

I’ve been working on the design for a 5 year old boy’s bedroom. Certain aspects of kids rooms are easy (lots of color, yeah!), but they present the unique challenge of capturing someone’s personality at a young age while still allowing plenty of room for that child to grow and evolve. As a general rule, I try not to go too themey. Then again, if a kid really loves a particular subject, it seems like a shame not to embrace that joyful enthusiasm and curiosity. And anyway, most kids believe that rules are made to be broken! So, in summary, there are no rules when it comes to kids rooms except this: Kids are fun. Their rooms should be fun, too.

colorful boys room mood board

This particular little boy loves red, green, and black. However, black feels too heavy for this little dude, so I toned down his favorite shade to charcoal gray. Then I loaded on lots of bright color, geometry, and comfort for a space that exudes modern, youthful energy. Perhaps most importantly, I incorporated flexible storage into the design. As a mom, I have learned the hard way that kids have so much STUFF! And with every birthday, every Christmas, (every trip to Target) their collections of stuff keep changing and GROWING. I guarantee that when the ABC lamp and playful throw pillow are long gone, that Ikea shelf will still be around.

Photo Sources: 1. Spiderman Mural Bedroom, NYTimes.com  2. White Bookshelf, Ikea Kallax  3. Brown Book Ledges, The Land of Nod Straight & Narrow Book Ledge 4. Rainbow Book Ledges, The Land of Nod Color Bar Ledge 5. Charcoal Gray Bedroom, House Tweaking 6. Chalkboard Stripe Boys Room, Isabella and Max Rooms by Janell Beals 7. Licorice Rope Rainbow Pendant, The Land of Nod 8. Alphabet Complete Lamp, PB Kids 9. Delerus Multi Rug, Overstock 10. Princess and the Pea Throw Pillow, The Land of Nod 11. Red Rugby Stripe Duvet Cover, PB Kids

Home Style: Painted Wood Walls

A dose of interior design inspiration:

The Barn painted wall

The idea of painting wood fills me with anxiety and excitement. Perhaps only design junkies can relate to that rush that comes with anticipating the failures and rewards of taking a decorating risk. I liken painting wood to coloring your hair for the first time.  You believe that the result will look new, fresh, playful, and fabulous, and yet… you may NEVER be able to get it back to it’s original color AGAIN! At least not without some suffering. But taking risks can be liberating. I love what New England designer Sarah Steinberg did with this converted barn. The rustic farmhouse frame appears light and youthful covered in this on-trend minty blue-green. Somehow I doubt the homeowner wasted a single moment mourning the loss of the natural wood finish.

For more design inspiration visit my Pinterest page:


Photo Credit:  Houzz – Steinberg Custom Designs