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Friday, September 20, 2013

Green is a prime color

Green is a color that our Master Planner has picked as the primary color.  For example flowers standout when they are up against the color green.  Greenery adds a softness to any room.  We humans just can't duplicate it's natural beauty, but we can come very close.  Currently all shades of green are in vogue.  Previously it was shades of brown, another primary shade that we used in decorating.  

The color green adds a sense of freshness.  We can mix various shades of green and they work together just as they do in nature.
In this example, different shades of green and pattern are used in the pillows, as well as the throw and the color of the wall.    The white adds a freshness.  

If traditional is your style, green is the perfect choice.  In the above dining room we have beautiful zucchini green walls that add a freshness to the traditional room.  The above sofas are in a soft basil shade that is very inviting and cozy and are a perfect complement to the floral artwork.  The leaves in the lamps are also appropriate with the sofas and floral rug.  And of course wood tables flow well with these motifs and color.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I have been hearing a sad trend lately from my customers that are trying to take care of either an ill parent or spouse.  The other day I listened to one of my customer’s, a store owner, sharing with his customer about taking care of his very sick mother.  The store owner’s customer was also sharing his experience with trying to do the same.  If was interesting to see both of these tall and burly men feeling out of control at the situation.  Illness has a way of taking away our control in life or at least making us realize that we are not the ones in control of this life.  Both men were trying to figure out how they were going to take care of the mothers and how they could accommodate their mothers at home.

This is not a subject that most want to think about, but is unfortunately becoming a reality for many people.  How can we accommodate our homes to be user friendly for someone that is having health issues?

First, as in all areas of the home, evaluate what the needs are.  For example, if they are recovering from a surgery, perhaps a temporary hospital bed will be necessary for the patient.  What room would be best to place this in?  Is it near a bathroom? If they need to use a walker, are there steps to be navigated?  Or is there enough of a walkway to accommodate the walker or perhaps a wheelchair?  Is there access to a television?  Is there enough light to read by?  If they have visitors, is there a place for the visitors to sit?  Are they able to negotiate getting to the table for meals?  Or do you need to have a tray set up or a table nearby for food?  If they are going to need oxygen or other medical assistance is there enough room to accommodate this equipment?  

There is a man that I see on my home that used to sit on their porch.  He sat in a nice wicker chair with a chair pad.  Then I saw he began sitting in a camping chair.  He was losing weight and I realized this was probably the most comfortable chair for him at this stage.  Now I see him sitting in a wheelchair.  This is an example of how a patient’s needs change with the stage of their illness.  Another person might need the firmness of a sturdy chair in order to get themselves up out of a chair.    There are also numerous lift chairs on the market that are recliners, as well as having mechanisms that allow the patient to have “assistance” arising from the chair.  Power recliners, sofas and loveseats are also available, that allow people to recline without having physically move any part of the recliner.  The more we can figure out what that person’s physical needs are and to help them during this time of dependence, the more we can help preserve that person’s independence, which leads to the emotional needs.  

The above examples involve the physical needs.  The second area to consider would be the person’s emotional needs.  Depending on the nature of the illness, it’s important to consider how to accommodate the ill person’s physical needs, but at the same time not take away their independence.  For example, if they are confined to a bedroom, make sure the room is visitor friendly.  It’s very uncomfortable for the patient, as well as a visitor to stand over that person.  A place to sit down is important and makes the patient feel less helpless.  Also being able to see out the doorway allows the patient not to have surprise visitors, but still feel somewhat control of who is coming in.  Putting medical supplies away and out of site helps the patient to not be constantly reminded of their illness.  

Probably the most important thing to do for a patient if they are able to accommodate visitors is to spend time with them.  This can be a very lonely and isolated time not only for the patient but also for the caregiver.  So as we prepare for the upcoming holiday season, be sure to think about the folks that might need extra help or accommodations when you plan for this season, and don’t forget about the caregivers, they can use some help as well.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Changing Your Room with Rugs

One of the quickest and easiest ways to update or change your décor is by adding an area rug.  This is true whether it is a living room, dining room, sunroom, office, bathroom, kitchen or entry way, and now this even applies to outdoor spaces.   The rug styles and designs are now limitless and affordable. 

To see how this works, take a look at a furniture showroom, and imagine any of the furniture without an area rug.  That brown sofa would look very boring and not as exciting without the pop of color the area rug is providing.  That same principle applies to your home.  In order to achieve the coziness and to accent the furniture, now imagine your dining room table or living room set with an area rug.  This is the easiest way to create instant design décor.  So how do we accomplish this?  Here are some general rules that will help to make those decisions.

First, decide where you want to place a rug.  Rugs can be used to define a space or to separate it.  For example, if your room is quite large then the area could be divided with the placement of an area rug.  One might be used to define a sitting area or another one to accent the fireplace by placing a rug in front.  The area rug can also be used to “anchor” or put emphasis in a room.  So how is this done?

Let’s start with a living room.  By adding a rug to this area, the rug can be the focal point through the design of it or the rug will make the furniture the main focus by placing emphasis and drawing the eye to this location.  If your sofa is a solid, then depending on your style, you can have the same style of rug.  The key to deciding on a rug is to place the emphasis on matching the colors to the sofa and other items of the room.  If you feel confident, then mixing styles such as a contemporary sofa with a traditional rug is also acceptable.   If your sofa has a design, then a plain or less busy design would probably be more appropriate, and of course always look at the colors.  

In a living room the general rule of thumb for the size of rug is to use a 5x8 rug if you are placing the area rug on existing carpet, and then to place the sofa and loveseat or chairs around this with the cocktail table on top.  If your furniture is on a hard surface, then an.8x10 or larger rug is recommended.  This allows all the furniture to be placed completely on the rug and prevents the furniture from sliding.  

If you would like a rug under the dining room table, of course determine if your household can handle it, probably not a good idea with toddlers!  However, there are rugs that are very durable, such as the outdoor rugs that can be used as such until the children are older.  The rule of thumb under the table is for the rug to extend 24 inches beyond the table base.  This allows the chairs to be comfortably pushed back without falling off of the edge of the carpet.  Again color and style are important, and also consider what the rug will be competing with, wall color, artwork, etc.

In a bedroom, usually a large size rug is used and has the bed completely placed on the rug, as well as the two nightstands.  Therefore a very intricate design would be lost in this area.  However, using three smaller rugs, one on each side and one at the foot would allow the designs to be displayed, would add color and keep the feet warm if on a hard surface or help to preserve the underlying carpet.

Bathrooms and kitchens can be fun to add smaller rugs to.  They can add warmth and a wow factor, especially if the right colors are chosen.  Entry ways are also a great space to add an area rug to.  They are inviting, as well as practical and keep the dirt from tracking in.

And of course always take into consideration the use and the wear of the rug, and purchase accordingly.  High traffic areas probably need a patterned rug, as they will show less dirt.  Synthetics are usually easier to clean than natural products, and usually have brighter colors and the designs can be more detailed, whereas natural products tend to be more muted and the designs not as intricate.  With the products available on the market now it is getting more difficult to tell the synthetics and natural products apart.