How’d you like a free decorating consultation? Yes F-R-E-E. Pretty blooming May flowers are Mother Nature’s sweet reward after April showers. Mary Etta Designs wants reward you with a 30-minute free decorating consultation. All that you need to do is book an available time slot in May. All consultations are available by phone or in person. On location free decorating consultations are for those of you living in the immediate Orange County, California area. I want to gift you the start of something beautiful during the month of May. This would make a beautiful Mother’s Day Gift for that special Mom in your life.
Email Mary Etta Designs at email@example.com or call our office at 714-340-3214 and schedule your 30-minute FREE decorating consultation while slots for these appointments are still available.
This season, all you need are 5 Quick Decorating Updates to make your home feel brand new to you!
Ok, ok, that is pretty drastic. But it does happen. There is no better reason to update your home with things you already own than moving. In November, we moved to a smaller home. It was a great decision. But ooo wee, we had to get rid of a lot of our stuff. I was really excited to update my colors, furnishings and fabric. It’s no secret that my love of timeless southern styling in home decor is still alive and kicking. But a home refresh was way overdue.
2. Combine Room Furnishings
Our new home is smaller in square footage and in number of rooms. There isn’t a formal living room but there is a formal dining room. Like most of you, we only use both of these two rooms just a few times a year. We liked the idea of making the dining room into a living room since it is right off the entry. And, it’s a great place for our piano. The dining room table and most of the chairs are in storage for now. This easily made tip #2 of my 5 Quick Decorating Updates.
Did you notice in the picture above that the two chairs from the family room above are now in the living room? Maybe not, because they got a jolt of the color red. I love red and the move gave me a great excuse to play with this passionate ruby red fabric and with texture. The tone-on-tone rose pattern lends a touch of femininity without shouting floral pattern. Works wonders with the black baby grand. This is one of my favorite decorating tricks. You might remember the bar stools we updated with new upholstery last year. Combining the two rooms was a fun challenge. Thankfully the sofa (next to visit the re-upholstery doctor) is curved and was a little more forgiving of the tighter floor plan. Quality furniture pieces will last for years. Reupholsterd pieces that you love will update your home’s vibe.
Accessories are the sprinkles on top of my decorating sundae. Good design is timeless, functional and personal. I like to use books as one of my many accessories. They are very personal and let you re-live memories. Oh I don’t know. Maybe you can relive that time you attended an event and were fortunate to have the author who gave a talk autograph it for you. If you have a chance to pick up Ken Fulk’s Magical World book, you will delight in the imagery and fun of his design and events firm. Every design is a full on event!
5. Create Moments
One easy and quick update you can make is to carve out little spaces within your home where you can escape, if only mentally. Do you need a place to read, meditate, craft? Even when space is at a premium, there is a corner that can be found to “get away” in your moments that are special to you in your home.
Do you have ways that you like to update your home this time of year? Leave a comment and share with us your 5 quick decorating updates. I would love to hear about them. If you need help in updating your decor, contact Mary Etta Designs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s confession time. Well, actually, to myself. Southern interiors are my obsession. When I say obsession, I mean like if my husband would agree, I would pack up and move to Atlanta or Charlotte, or Louisiana. Well, maybe not the bayou. Love their design, but I’m more of a southeastern girl. But I am totally obsessed with all things southern when it comes to interior design. Why? The homes in the southern regions of our country make me feel like I could walk right in and “set a spell.”
Just take a look at that antique chest in the picture above for starters. There is always a collected piece of furniture or two or three in every room. What I love about antique pieces is that they don’t always get stripped and refurbished to perfection. Southern interiors are collected over time or at least made to look that way. You get the hint that there is some heritage there. My husband’s great aunt would say, “Child this stuff is so old.” And I would just drool over the beautiful fine woods . The craftsmanship showed pride. Not typical of furniture you would get at a chain store or at the mall.
Every southern home that I’ve admired always has that guest room where the bed is perfectly made like this one shown in this picture from Leontine Linens designer fabric collection. The interior is always layered with colorful, yet tasteful, linens. Monograms and border details on the linen are usually what makes me feel like the host or hostess went to a lot of trouble just for me. And have you ever noticed that the dining room table is always set with a beautiful place setting? All. The. Time?
This foyer designed by Melissa Miles Rufty is a surprise in tradition all rolled into one. The antique chest and major art pieces on the gallery wall fulfill the expectations of a classic and traditional look. But the print on the corner banquette is an oversized fretwork pattern updates the look. And the of-the-moment lucite table is begging for you to “set a spell” and enjoy a mint julep.
Yes, wallpaper is back in a big way. Let’s be honest. We who love all things southern never really gave up on it. Tastefully done in a jewel of a room here and a powder room there, wallpaper is the perfect way to give character to an otherwise utilitarian space.
This bathroom by Dering Hall shows a beautiful damask wallpaper. The oversized scale in the pattern kicks a traditional look right into today’s fresh new style.
There is, more often than not, a wall of pictures showing cousins, uncles and aunts, grandmas and grandpas alongside various stages of the immediate family. Yep, it’s a bit folksy. It’s also nice to not forget your roots and all the people who make up your family tree. As you can see by the picture below, I absolutely love that.
If you are local to Orange County, California and are obsessed with Southern Interiors as much as I am, let’s talk. We would love to help you bring a touch of southern charm to your southern Cali home. Call Mary Etta Designs at 714 340-3214 or go here and contact us by email.
Staging for an Occasion
My client’s request was to have a warm and inviting entry. It’s not often that I get a direct call from my church pastor. So imagine my surprise when I answered my phone and was greeted with, ‘Hello Sister McCurdy.” True to form, he was on his way to another commitment, But he personally made the time to ask for my help on staging the newly renovated sanctuary’s narthex (lobby).
The occasion was celebration of his 3rd pastoral anniversary. There would be many visitors to our newly remodeled sanctuary. The narthex, an entry where worshippers gather before service, also serves as a holding spot for latecomers to wait during prayer. Before staging it looked like a long hall spanning several sets of double doors leading into the sanctuary. Opposite those doors is a wall of glass and double doors as the entry into the building.
Function is always the first concern when I select furniture for a space. And I knew that it would need to be furniture that would stand up to the traffic of weekly services. But we did not have to sacrifice style. Modular furniture gives total flexibility for changing events. The armless sofas and chairs allow more people to easily and quickly sit while waiting to enter the sanctuary. And they look warm and inviting. A personal touch was to have calligraphy of the church’s mission statement and various bible verses sprinkled on the walls. Some were done by hand and others were pre-printed appliqués.
Staging before you buy is a great way to test the pieces of furniture to see if the investment is good in the long term. “Greeters” hand out the week’s bulletins, flyers, and brochures to worshippers as they leave the building. To that purpose, two credenzas with storage flank either side of the long entry. They are functional and stylish. This piece turned out to be a definite “yes” for a similar future purchase.
And, as always, I am happy when my clients are satisfied. The highest compliment is a testimonial. If you live in the Orange County, California area, contact Mary Etta Designs and let us show you how to warm up the entry in your home or business.
Every April and October for a week, High Point Market is the event to attend. Design professionals make their pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina to see what’s new and what’s next in home decor and furniture design. This fall I made my way to what I call “fashion week for furniture” and it was exciting, enlightening, and exhausting. And it was eye opening as to why it’s necessary for serious design professionals like me to make the trip.
Being on the left coast, I’ve attended Las Vegas Market where many of the vendors and showrooms show their newest products. But even the suppliers that I met in Vegas kicked it up a couple notches for high Point Market. The three mile radius of endless showrooms and party-like atmosphere could have your head spinning. So a plan is a must.
The goal for me during this market was to see how I could educate my clients on what will work in their designs while they incorporate new styling that they will enjoy for years. One recurring theme I noticed was that coffee tables are getting much larger. In addition, there is a visual play so as not to overwhelm the room with such a large piece.
Look at this beautiful live edge wood table that floats glass in the middle. Visually this gives the eye a rest.
High Point Market is known for showing furniture trends for upcoming seasons. We also get to see future innovations in interior design. This beautiful piece by Noir of Los Angeles was actually two separate wood pieces that could be used like you see it here allowing guests to walk through or pull the tables closer for use. The actual footprint of these pieces give you the ability to have more surface space while entertaining. And it also gives you flexibility. How cool that they can be used as side tables too.
Talk about innovation! Who says that the surface has to be all at the same level. Interesting, functional and fun has to be the theme of this coffee table. Put your personality in your home. Give Mary Etta Designs a call for more ideas on how you can decorate with design pieces that will last you for years to come.
The Portola Court Apartment Homes clubhouse in Irvine recently hosted an event that I attended. In fact, you may have seen the video showing the fun we had on Day 22 of my Facebook Live 30 Day Challenge. It reminded me of a blog post I wrote about three easy apartment decorating secrets. Yes, your apartment can be decorated as if it was built just for you. What a perfect excuse to share more pictures from the Portola Court Apartment Homes to illustrate that point.
Use Color to express your character. The draperies have a pattern, although they are not too busy. The vibrant blue chairs and pops of the color orange in this living room gives a clue that this is a high energy, fun loving family. No blah, blah beige life being live here.
Go big and go home! Your art and accessories need to rise to the life you want to live. This gallery wall shows the sum total of life experiences in this home’s art collection. Your art collection deserves the same care and focus as that homeowner who has a mortgage.
I hope that you are not waiting for a “real” home to buy functional furniture that you like. These night stands, lamps and bedding are of the moment, though in correct proportion to the size of the room.
Yes, I have designed and installed custom draperies like the drapery panel in this apartment home’s bath. Custom drapery panels like this and the ones in the living room and bedroom give an air of luxury to your apartment. Custom window treatments designed just for you combined with matched accessories are classic luxuries that you and your family deserve.
Living in Portola Apartment Homes affords you additional amenities like that gorgeous pool at the top of the page. And Friday nights will be on and popping in a clubhouse outfitted like this. Loving you life starts now!
Looking for a simple way to add elegance in your home? Custom drapes elevate a room and gives it a polished look. Recently, a couple I worked with sold their home. They traded it for a shiny, newer model in the same tony suburb. The couple proceeded to buy decorative window shades for privacy and light control. But something was missing. Both the husband and the wife felt that they needed to elevate their rooms with custom window treatments. Their home needed the finishing touch that only a custom design can provide.
As you can see in the “before” picture, the room was suitable for a good night’s rest. They soon discovered, however, that well-made drapes and cornices can make all the difference between a home that is “just ok” and one that says you are glad that you get to live there. The cornices and custom drapes elevate this master bedroom to an elegant one. Opting for sill length drapes, adding fabric at the window softens noises in the room allowing for peaceful nights. And fabric smoothes the hard rectangular edges. We chose soft colors tones that are not trendy. The blue tint achieves the calm feeling that they seek at day’s end. And, like a cool body of water, the look is one that they will love for years to come.
“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” I love this quote from the movie, Steel Magnolias. We chose accessories that were warm and comforting in a bedroom. We added art with peaceful themes (not shown here), florals and snuggly throws tell a subtle story of their travels, culture and life experiences. The colorful Persian rug grounds the bed and keeps the room from feeling cold and lifeless. These accessories are inviting and easy to change as the seasons.
On the first floor, no cornices and drapes were used. In the family room we opted for beautiful navy draperies, this time on decorative wood rods to match the grand piano. Along with the books about California are also glass sculptures of fish and decorative plates made of shells from the ocean. And smack dab in the middle is a snow globe of the wife’s hometown of New York City. Further proof that accessories tell our life stories. Area rugs, flowers and pillows all do their part to be the supporting cast to the major players in this home.
Again, the couple requested that the drapes be shorter. But if you want to up your elegance quota, I recommend floor length drapes. They make the room feel grander. At Mary Etta Designs, we work with designer fabrics and show you options in drapery hardware and trim to elegantly finish the rooms in your home. Call 714.340.3214 if you are local to Orange County, California.
Stay Cool Naturally
You are ready to stay cool naturally! It’s getting hot in here. And you”re ready to take off all your clothes! Whoa…. before you drop it like its hot, get your solar heat gain under control. What is solar heat gain? It’s the increase in temperature in a space that results from solar radiation. In plain English – the sun’s rays are warming the glass on your windows. And, well, that heats up your home. Read on if you want to reduce the price of running your air conditioner in summer.
Much of the energy in a structure builds up at the windows. Heat (from sunlight in summer or heaters in winter) is attracted to the glass panes by. That fact explains why some rooms are hotter in summer than others (and cooler in winter) depending upon the orientation to the sun. Your air conditioner (or heater) starts working overtime to bring the room to a comfort level you set on the thermostat.
No, that fan does not have to be the only solution for controlling enegery bills. Shades and shadings, like the Pirouette shown here from Hunter Douglas, are a great bet when you want to control the heat or light at the window. There are many ways to cut the heat and preserve some of the view. Choose room darkening for comfy sleeping and better visuals on tv’s and computer screens. Or consider light filtering shades to diffuse the light and give a softer look at your window.
Screen type shades, also known as solar shades, allow you to see out and can cut 86% to 99% of the sun’s damaging UV rays.
The Hunter Douglas Duette Architella shade I had installed in this home office works perfectly for a couple of reasons. The low profile headrail and pleated fabric is a minimalistic look. This works great when you want the shade open completely. It won’t detract from the view. And the top-down-bottom-up feature allows a versatile combination of light with privacy.
Blinds & Shutters
Shutters and blinds offer a level of view-through that solid materials, like a roller shade, don’t allow. The angled slats or louvers can be directed so that you have control over your level of privacy. As a bonus, wood shutters (and faux wood) add value to your home.
You may work in an office where everyone’s body temperature seems to register way below yours. Your desk is by a window and right about 1 p.m., that sun hits you right between the eyes. Maybe you love the feel of the sun shining on you. But glare can be a problem at a computer workstation or when you’re watching television. Blinds and shutters allow you to redirect the light at different angles as the sun moves across the sky.
If you want the bonus of cutting down on noise in a room and adding a touch of softness, draperies work beautifully. The great thing about fully functioning draperies is your almost endless choices you have for framing your windows. A tightly woven fabric, properly lined, can really help to block out sun and its heat in a room. Make sure that the ones you buy overlap at center and extend past the windows on either side. Custom window treatments, like the ones offered by Mary Etta Designs is the best way to make sure they have these features.
Don’t Sweat It
Contact Mary Etta Designs for an in-home appointment in the Orange County, California area – 714.974.6571. Mary Etta Designs will help you select a beautiful quality window covering to cool your home or office for summer that will be attractive all year round.
Hubby and I have put our home of 14 years on the market. And we are learning first hand about letting clutter go. As empty nesters (with an occasional boomerang adult child), we still have some of our adult offspring’s clutter mixed in with our own.
So when our realtor brought along a professional home stager, I figured, no problem. As a design professional, I know staging your home properly will allow potential buyers to more easily see the home as theirs. A couple of tweaks here and there and we’re done, right?
WRONG! We had gotten so used to all the things around us that hold our fondest memories, that they’d become part of the scenery. The bar area above to us looked just fine. But we needed to get rid of the knick knacks and a few art pieces. I must admit it was a big deal to let go of those mementos. Letting clutter go in the form of pictures, books, art, even food items was like saying goodbye to family members.
No drapes at my French doors and nothing on the table to suggest that we actually live here is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. But it allows a potential buyer to imagine their tastes in decor for this room. Make a great first impression to lure buyers to see more of your home. Eliminate clutter whoever possible. I tell my husband there should be no signs that we live here.
The home stager was kind, but ruthless in telling us what should be put in storage and what could stay while showing our house to potential buyers. She even offered to help me pack for a small fee. And though I turned her down, it might have been less painful.
Who knew that emptying a curio would bring tears to my eyes? That packing my angel collection would bring a rush of sentimental thoughts of the gift giver or the vacation that gave me that treasure. Taking down art pieces from my “designer’s gallery” wall was like painfully moving me out of my home before actually selling it. But I have to admit it is a head start on packing.
The anticipation of what’s in store for our future is exciting. I am being forced to let go. I am not only letting clutter go, but I am making way for the next family to make memories here.
Let’s peek Behind The Scenes Of a Cozy Kitchen Renovation and see what it took to get my client out of overwhelm. My client was concerned. She knew how she wanted to renovate new kitchen. But the choices she had to make on such a large investment led her to ask for my help on some key decisions. Her overwhelm came from what she saw as a small window of time. Home on sick leave for a few weeks, her goal was to have her kitchen pulled together by the time she to returned to work. She wanted to paint the kitchen yellow. At that point, she asked for help on how to get the color selection for the walls, counter top, backsplash and flooring to jibe.
Often what we think we want and what our heart is telling us are two different things. Such was the case with the kitchen for my client. She was having the cabinets built before contacting me for help and this is the wood that she chose for them. A warm honey color, I could see why yellow was her first thought for what she wanted to be a sunny kitchen. I pointed out that balancing the bright color choice that she had made for the cabinets with more muted ones would make her kitchen feel not only sunny but also not overpowering.
After visiting one of my favorite showrooms, we found a perfect balance of warmth and cool neutrals for her counters, backsplash and flooring. Since the counters and backsplash were visually full of color and movement, I suggested the solid flooring pictured here.
This condo kitchen was small, (ok cozy) so it was important to not make the room feel too chopped. We agreed that the grays were perfect neutrals to tie all of the elements together.
Compare how tight the space feels with the darker before cabinets. And the white tile and appliances was too stark a contrast making it feel closed in. And the small tiles, popular when the condo was originally built, emphasized the smallness of the kitchen.
One important lesson that I have learned is that when one spouse says, “No, it’s whatever she (or he) wants,” they still appreciate having played a part in some part of the design. Though the wife was the visionary on this kitchen project, she often made sure that her husband agreed on what were their final choices for the counter tops, flooring and paint color. And he proudly selected the hardware and it is stunning with the cabinets.
More To Come
As the very top picture shows, the colors of this couple’s new kitchen are warm and inviting. And, no, we did not paint the walls yellow. But a kitchen is full of color by way of food, napkins, placemats and candles. I suggested that she use her touches of yellow in accessories. And while we are still (as of the writing of this post) designing the perfect window coverings and considering having the refrigerator powder coated a stainless steel color, my clients are enjoying their new kitchen very much.