Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

Break Free of Your “Color Box”: Let Nature Choose Your Color Palette

     Have you ever walked into someone’s home and it is absolutely the perfect colors?  You want to curl up in a chair and make yourself right at home.  Maybe grab a glass of wine and a really good book.  And while you’re sitting there you begin to  wonder how they accomplished that daunting task?

     There are many tricks, tips, and secrets that designers use to create the perfect color palette for themselves and their clients.  And one of these is to let nature do the work for you. 

      One of my favorite things to do when I’m outside is to take a good look at everything around me.  I notice the textures of tree bark.  I look at the way light plays on a mountainside.  Maybe it’s the art classes or the quilts I’ve made that have created this awareness.  Maybe it’s just one person’s passion for color and texture.  But through each experience, I’ve learned that nature is the best form of color combination you’ll ever find.

      As I was looking at this beautiful lake photograph, thinking about Fall, and feeling nostalgic about leaving our lake home behind for new adventures,  I realized that most of my favorite colors are in that photo.  And, most importantly, I use these guides to help me with my own color selections.

Let’s look at the photo above to see how you can make it work in your home for your next DIY project. 

1.  Find one dominating color that really speaks to you and use it freely.  For me it’s the beautiful blues of water that range from deep blue to turquoise. 

2.  Next choose a secondary color from the photo.  Red would be my personal choice.  One of my favorite pieces of pottery just happens to include both of these colors!

raku vase in blues, turquoise and coral 

3.  After that, choose one or two more to be accents.  These colors can be present in pillows, throws, towels, and any other accent piece you’d like to use.

 

4.  Finally select one color for a background and paint your walls. My go-to neutral wall color is usually Benjamin Moor Cedar Key.  It goes with everything and makes a good background for colorful art work.

      Take a look at these accent pieces found online.   They’re great examples of how you can follow the steps above to create your own color palette, and then shop on your own to find the perfect accents to pull it all together.

 

 

     If you’ve been thinking about adding some pizzazz to your home this Fall, and don’t know where to start,  be sure to grab our FREE report!  All you have to do is add your name and email on our home page.

               

3 Secrets To a Stress-Free Renovation

3 Secrets To a Stress-Free Renovation

Starting a home renovation project is a big step.  For most people, it’s a fun and exciting time.  They enjoy the process, have fun selecting their products, and want the very best when it comes to the people they choose to work with.

But every once in a while a client starts the process with a sense of dread.  They’ve heard “stories” from their friends and family about the horrors of construction.  So they worry in advance about the mess and how long they’ll be inconvenienced.  What will they do for meals?  Where will they set up the temporary kitchen?  Will the guest bathroom be too small for both of us while we live through construction?  If you’re considering a renovation or any type of disruptive project at your home.  I hope that you’re not letting these stories scare you away.

I think we’ve all had some type of disruption to our home at one time or another.  Maybe you’ve had new carpeting installed, or hardwood floors refinished.  Maybe the entire house has been painted.  No matter what project you’ve taken on, it probably brought chaos into your life and a lot of anxiety!

a demo'd kitchen remodel

We want everything to turn out just the way we imagined…PERFECT!  But too often we expect perfection all along the way, and become impatient if a little glitch appears.  I can relate because it happens to me too.  And what I’ve noticed is when I’m tired, and the chaos has dragged on too long, I get impatient.  I start to hover around the workers (or my husband) to make sure the job is getting done “right.”  And when I find one thing wrong, I start looking for other things that aren’t perfect.  Has this ever happened to you?

Since I’ve been spending some time with cabinet installations lately, and disappointed that a ding or two is keeping that perfect kitchen on hold for a week or two,  I started thinking back on some of my clients’ projects.  I realized that the clients who were the most stressed out were the ones who had unrealistic expectations of how a project works.

new kitchen under construction

And it also reminded me that when stress and anxiety creep up and rear their ugly head, it’s time to follow these 3 Simple Steps:

1.  Take a deep breath!  When you see a mistake, a ding, or anything less than perfect, take a step back and breathe.  Know that it will all come together perfectly in the end.  Maybe not today or tomorrow.  But it will be perfect soon.

2.   Trust that the people you’ve hired want the very best for you and your project.  You’ve hired the very best.  Don’t hover around the job site to watch them at work or ask a lot of questions.  I know you might want to watch the process, but imagine your employer looking over your shoulder all day long.  It probably slows down your work and makes you anxious.

3.   Take a break.  The banging, sawing, and drilling will get on your last nerve after a while.  So make it a practice to get away for a little while each day, especially if you work from home.  When you’re at the job site all the time, you start to notice every little imperfection to a cabinet, wall or seam.  Let your installer work their magic to make it perfect and you’ll never notice there was a problem.  After all, that’s why you’ve hired the best!

ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

ARE YOU STUCK IN “BEING PERFECT”?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to be perfect.  Some people would call it a value, others a flaw.  No matter how you look at it, the need for perfection pops it’s ugly head for most of us at one time or another.  We want everything to be “just so” before we put it out to the world.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been there!

For a few months now I’ve been postponing a few projects that have been on my list for a long time.  Different excuses seem to get in the way.  Then, I began procrastinating, which lead to guilt, and then stress.  Sound familiar?  It wasn’t until I watched a video in a class I’m taking, that I realized I was stuck in being perfect.

Some women need to be perfect in everything they do.  Other women are selective.  We all want our children to have perfect manners when they‘re in public.  We usually want to look our best for a date or a job interview.  And when I make the time to sit down and paint, I expect it to be perfect every time!  Of course it’s not!!!  Then I avoid painting for a while and do something that I know I’m good at.

painting class exercises

What about our homes? There are so many ways we create perfection in our minds.  We want the perfect paint color, the perfect designer, the perfect budget, the perfect weather before we start the kitchen remodel.  The list goes on and on.  How many times have you passed on an opportunity to join a book club because you were self conscious about hosting it at your house?  I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t have a sleepover because the house wasn’t clean enough!  Often we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t even begin the process. We’re on “overwhelm” before we even get started!  The sad truth is that if we just take action without waiting for the perfect kitchen, the perfect wall color, or the perfect window treatment, our lives would be more enriched with relationships and happy memories.

Let’s take a look at a few things that can make a huge difference in getting us out of perfect and into action:

Realize that nothing is perfect.  Did you know that Amish quilters always leave one mistake in their quilts because “only God is perfect”?

Be realistic. Acknowledge your limits of time, money and resources.  Don’t let these obstacles keep you from moving forward with little changes.

Be flexible. Realize that the project will probably take longer than you expect.  Go with the flow and relax.  Enjoy the process.

Trust yourself.  If you inner voice is telling you not to buy something.  Listen to it!

Be authentic.  Be true to yourself. And, please, don’t check your personality at the front door.  Every woman brings their own dreams, visions, and talents to the table.  Don’t be afraid to let your uniqueness shine.

Make a plan.  Small steps, done consistently, are sometimes better than one big effort.  You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?…one bite at a time.” Use these words to guide you through your home makeover.

Mistakes happen.  Sometimes you have a “What was I thinking!” moment that sends you into a panic.  Instead of feeling like you’ve failed or having a meltdown, sit back, take a deep breath, and get creative.  There’s almost always a way to fix it.  Did you forget to measure the wall, or test the paint color in the room?  Learn from your mistakes and take that with you into the next project.

Take risks.  Sometimes it’s fun to shake things up a little.  Go ahead.  Add some turquoise to the walls.  Throw an animal print pillow on the sofa.

Seek help.  Network with your friends, hire professionals, or take a class.  I can’t stress this enough!  So many design disappointments happen because you didn’t ask for help, assumed your contractor could read your mind, or didn’t want to pay for help.

Be kind to yourself.  If updating your home is taking too long because of no money, no time, or no help, it’s time to tell yourself good enough…for now.  Throw caution to the wind, call your friends, and have a spur of the moment party.  Sometimes entertaining at the last minute is the perfect excuse to not be perfect !  You’ll be more relaxed and feel less pressure.  Best of all, your guests will feel welcomed.  And isn’t that the point… enjoying what life has to offer?

 

 

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home

Life at home is anything but normal these days.  Most of us have been cooped up at home, feeling more distracted than ever.  Some days it feels like a blessing, as if God hit the reset button just for us and we finally have time to breathe and regroup.

Other days we just wander around the house aimlessly, distracted by the news and conflicting reports on how to stay safe.  Between homeschooling and work-from-home the day is gone before we know it.  Focusing on anything is hard. 

Now that we’re spending so much time at home, suddenly we see our spaces with new eyes, and we’re definitely focusing on it.  After weeks of staring at the same walls, sitting on the same sofa, and prepping meals on the same island that became your home office and home school, we long to make some changes. 

Clients are telling me they’re finally ready to update their bathroom, change wall colors, or buy new furniture Here in our house, we’re working on all the projects that we’ve been putting off.  For years I felt the porch was too dark.  It was all I thought about when I sat out there.  So the project of the week was painting the porch!  It’s funny how such a simple change like paint color can bring peace of mind.

cans of colorful paint

Keeping life simple so we can enjoy it more is a lifestyle choice that’s becoming more accepted.  Do you ever wish you had more room for fun and joy in your life?  I know I do!  After all the tension, uncertainty, and distractions simplicity at home is a good place to start. 

After thinking about what I really want, (and the list was long) I narrowed it down to these 5 Important Action Steps to Simplify Your Life at Home…

Action Step #1: Re-evaluate Your Stuff

Too many possessions will complicate your life and lead to clutter.  Living in a cluttered space drains our energy, our attention, even our bank accounts.  And who wants that?  Have you ever spent time organizing the clutter and all of your stuff, only to find that after a week, it’s a mess again and you can’t find anything?

cluttered desk

Do you have a closet filled with clothes from 10 years ago?  A pantry filled with expired food?  Five sets of dishes?  Instead, think about what you really value in life and start to live a life based that.

Right now, I value being active outside.  I no longer want a lot of stuff that I need to dust or maintain.  And that includes house plants, books, and nic-nacs.  Slowly these things are going to new homes.

Action Step #2:  Look at Your Time Commitments

learn to say no

Review your list of values and set priorities.  Then use your Best YES (and your Best NO) to help you decide what is good for you and your family.  You can start bringing joy into your life by doing the activities you actually love doing (gardening, being creative, relationships with family and friends, etc.). The things that no longer serve you can be off your plate!

Action Step #3:  Focus on Your Goals

goals

As women, we love to be people-pleasers and over achievers.  Can you relate?  We set all these goals for different areas of our lives and think we need to work on all of them at the same time.  This is crazy, and a recipe for a mental explosion!  You want to be homeschooling Mom of the Year, lose weight, decorate your house by yourself so everyone has their own “work space”, plant the garden…The list goes on.

Take a deep breath and know that there’s a better way.  And that is called FOCUS.  I like to make a brain dump of all the things I want/need to accomplish.  Then I’ve learned to choose one important goal for each area of my my life: personal, home, and work.  Once a goal is completed, I can move on to the next one.

Mentally release the rest of the list for now.  And don’t beat yourself up with negative thoughts if you fall off the wagon and binge eat or stop a project for a day or two.  Just focus on your ONE THING again until it’s done.

Action Step #4:  Eliminate artificial and toxic ingredients

health

Eating clean, intermittent fasting, plant based are all the internet talks about these days.  We work so hard at it.  Somehow we forget that just as we watch what goes into our bodies, it’s equally important to watch the ingredients in our cleaning products, our skin care products, and our makeup. 

My journey began with the simple need to find a product for my clients that would clean granite counters and stainless appliances without leaving a “greasy” residue.  Chemical cleaning sprays began bothering my breathing, so I switched to “clean”.  And now unexplained skin issues have made me start looking at the chemicals in skin care products and makeup. 

Do yourself a favor and start checking ALL labels.  Not just on food.

If you want to learn more about clean beauty, visit my website: www.beautycounter.com/randidestefano 

Action Step #5:  Stop Multi-tasking

chaos of multitasking

Have you ever caught yourself checking emails, watching TV and trying to carry on a conversation with your kids?  Chaos, right?  And nobody likes feeling stressed from doing too many things at one time.  Just like focusing on one goal at a time leads to success, working on one task at a time has the same effect.  Being focused on one thing at a time allows you to do your best work, and no one feels like you’re not paying attention to them.

“Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and joy.  When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, Where else in my life can I remove distraction and simplify life to focus on the essentials?” – Joshua Becker-

To learn more ways to Simplify Life at home, follow my Instagram page: www.instagram.com/simplifylife.randi

                                                                      And my Facebook group:   Simplify Life

 

THE BIG MISTAKE MOST DIY’ers MAKE And How to Avoid It

THE BIG MISTAKE MOST DIY’ers MAKE And How to Avoid It

 

Most of us love a good DIY project every now and then.  I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of planning a project and seeing it through to the end?  And then there’s the added bonus of saving a little money.  But lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of Design-It-Yourself’ers that they’re disappointed in the way their remodels are turning out.  As I listen to their concerns, one common thread stands out loud and clear.  The biggest mistake they’re making is not communicating EXACTLY what they want to the people who are helping them. 

Being over-the-moon excited with your finished design project is what you dream of.  The vision you have in your head is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the dust and drilling is getting on your last nerve.  But unless you get that vision out of your head and onto paper, you might be headed for disappointment.  No one can read your mind, so communication is the key to your project’s success.

Somehow, in the rush of our crazy lives, the small details seem to get lost in the shuffle.  We assume  “they should know that”.  But they don’t.  Everyone working for you has their own idea of how something should be installed.   It might be standard in their industry, but not how you want it to look.

Here are just a few of those little details you need to consider:

 1. The height of your shower head.  Where do you want it?  Be sure to tell your plumber or contractor.

2.  The height of the tile in your shower.  Do you want it to go to the ceiling?  Is there crown molding?

3.  Garbage disposer…Do you want it on the small bowl side or the large?  On the left bowl or the right?  There is no right or wrong answer here, but you need to communicate this with the plumber.  If you think about how you like to work at your sink, and plan accordingly, incorrect installations won’t happen.

4.  Counter top overhang.  Standard is 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″.  Make that clear with your counter top people.  Check it for consistency once it’s installed.  In my own kitchen, the first installation had different overhangs all around the island and had to be re-done.

5.  How high do you want your window treatments hung?  To the ceiling?  To the top of your trim?  Somewhere in between?  You need to decide this before they’re constructed and then communicate this to the installer.

6.  Placement of pendant lights.  Size of the pendants and size of the island usually determine how far apart they should be.  Your installer may have a different opinion than you do, so make it clear ahead of time.  Also, ceiling beams or joists may throw a wrench into the plan.  Keeping an open line of communication with your installers and contractor will make these last minute changes less stressful.

7.  Exact placement of mirrors and vanity lights.  This is determined by ceiling height, backsplash height, size of the lights, etc.  Plan and ahead and then communicate this plan to everyone involved, especially if you can’t be there when they’re installed.

To avoid miscommunication on your design project:

  • Ask a lot questions about the little details so you know what to expect.
  • Understand that, if the details aren’t spelled out in advance, you’ll get calls for last minute decisions.  If you’re not available to answer, something might get installed where you don’t want it.
  • Plan out every detail of your project before construction begins and make sure your contractor and subs are on board.
  • Arrange to have daily or weekly updates on progress.
  • Hire an interior designer to handle these details for you.  A designer will make sure they’re installed according to your vision.

Always remember that how well you communicate your design vision determines how happy you’ll be in the end.  And that’s exactly what everyone wants for you!

If you’re finally ready to begin your own home makeover, contact us today to schedule a Design Success call and get your project started in the right direction .  Info@RandiDestefano.com  

 

Lessons Learned In Art Class

Lessons Learned In Art Class

 

This week I decided to act on my Word of the Year (CREATE) and do something creative.  Something that would take me way out of my comfort zone and challenge me.  I enrolled in an art class called Color and Mood because I love color, and I just knew it would help me in interior design.  Little did I know that the lessons learned in art class would also show me how to help clients in their quest for the perfect home.

Let me back up a little bit, to the day the supply list from the instructor arrived in my inbox.  Included in the list were instructions to bring pastels (too messy for me), oil paints (never tried them), and acrylic paints (haven’t touched them in 10 years).  And we needed all the brushes and papers that go with each medium.  I panicked!  I was in way over my head!  So I emailed the instructor who assured me that beginners were welcome.  The class to be was all about color and mood…not a technique class.

I was so excited for class day!  First of all, it was a chance to get out of the house during this monsoon season we’ve been having.  Second, I could hang out with some of my creative friends for two days.  And best of all, I was going to learn something new.

Color and Mood exercises by Sharon Colker

Our main exercise for Day 1 was to select a black and white photograph that the instructor provided.  We were to sketch it onto 6 different  6×6  boards.  That part was easy.  But then she explained that each board needed to be painted in a different color combination, and these colors would create a mood for each painting.  We had to paint each board as follows:  use the colors as they would be in real life,  use contrasting colors,  analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel),  warm colors,  cool colors,  and monochromatic.

Have you ever had an anxiety attack right before you had to try something new and out of your comfort zone? Well, that’s exactly what happened when I started to put brush to canvas!  The thoughts going through my mind were  “I want it to be perfect”,   “I know it won’t be”,   “I’m afraid to start”,   “What if my friends think it’s awful?”.   Can you relate?   But I took a deep breath,  and told myself “it’s supposed to be fun…an experiment in color, not technique”. 

And I began to paint.

After two days of painting, experimenting, and learning from my mistakes, I discovered that the lessons learned in art class about life and design were just as important as painting again.  Here is my take away:

  • Before you begin a painting decide on the mood or emotion you want it to portray.  Keep this in mind for any home or office re-design project you want to take on.   Do you want the mood to be bright and cheerful or dark and cozy?

Pastel drawings by Patsy Dupre

  • Relax and don’t worry about perfection
  • Mistakes can usually be fixed
  • Walk away and come back to it later for a fresh perspective
  • Loosen up! It doesn’t have to look exactly like the photograph.  Insert your own personality and style into it.
  • The quality of the supplies you use impacts the end result and how much you like it. When it comes to our design projects, we all love to find a bargain.  But sometimes paying for better quality paint will give you better coverage and durability.  Buying a beautiful bargain sofa online without checking out all of the specifications, could be a huge mistake if no one will sit on it because it’s too hard.
  • Sketch it and “map it out” before you begin the painting. Plan, plan, plan is also the first and most important rule of every interior design project.

In the end, I was so glad that I took the class.  Sure, my work was far from perfect but I improved with each lesson.  By the end of Day 2 I was pleased with my work and ready to keep practicing.  But just like any design project we tackle, there’s always room for improvement when we start out.  Our design eye gets better with each new space we create.  And that’s what keeps it interesting and fun!

Photography by Becky Gilstrap, The Reserve at Lake Keowee