Interior door style

Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz

For many years, white interior trim has been most prevalent in homes here in the south. Older homes with dark stained interior doors or trim are often painted white to update the look and feel of a home; however, I’ve started to see a shift toward black or charcoal gray doors and trim in both new construction, recently remodeled homes, and even in new luxury apartments. Homeowners are finding this look both elegant and sophisticated. Almost anything can be painted with the right product, and dark paint can make even the stock builder grade door look classy. You can paint just the interior doors dark and it’s perfectly acceptable to also paint your trim (baseboards and window trim) the same color. Popular color choices for this type of project include Benjamin Moore Graphite, Black Suede by Behr, Onyx Black by Glidden – all in semi-gloss finish.

Dark paint can make a stock builder grade door look classy.

Dark paint can make a stock builder grade door look classy.

Another interior door trend that has been gaining popularity is the use of decorative barn doors inside the house. This rustic look brings both style and character into a home.  I recently worked on a project in Charlotte where the homeowner installed double sliding barn doors in their master bedroom. The dual doors nicely frame the entry into their large and luxurious master bath. Sometimes these doors can be purely decorative such as the kitchen door featured here. This door frame separates the home’s foyer from the kitchen and this custom barn door makes a statement upon entering the home. The homeowner hired Chad Albertson Rustic Home to design, build, and install for approximately $1,100. The homeowner felt this was a great price given the cost of hardware alone. Readers can view other projects by Albertson on his Facebook page Chad Albertson Rustic Home.

Barn3

Posted in Decorating Tips, Interior Design, Lake Norman Home Staging | Tagged , ,

5 Interior design trends that won’t break the bank

Interior design trends tend to change every seven years on average. Do you remember the “hunter green” color scheme that was very popular in the 1980’s and carried on into the 1990’s? Only then was it replaced with gold tones and now blue-grays. I’ve consulted on hundreds if not thousands of homes over the years prior to them going on the market, and I’ve seen all of these color schemes from different eras that have come and gone. Oftentimes homeowners don’t change their style with the time or I find that it’s not the home that’ s dated but rather the personal property in the home.  This combination can make it more difficult to sell your home and can decrease the value of what your home may be worth.  If you’re looking to update your home and give it a fresh new look, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars.  Here are some affordable suggestions on things you can do to give your home a fresh new look whether you are selling or just looking for a change:

Lamps: Pleated lamp shades are out and drum shades are in! Mercury lamps are very popular and trending right now and can be quite beautiful. You can either update just the shade or replace the whole lamp. Donate former lighting to a worthwhile organization such as Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.

Mercury Lamp with drum shade

Mercury Lamp with drum shade

Linens: Do you have the bedroom blues? Many department stores have “bed-in-a-bag” ensembles that include comforter, bed skirt, and matching pillow shams. Oftentimes the set will also include accent pillows as well. Many department stores carry a great selection of current design trend bedding sets – Belk, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Home Goods, and even Wal-Mart has a great bedding line from Better Homes and Gardens!

Pillows: I often see dated tapestry, floral, and ruffle pillows when consulting on residential real estate. Switch out the pillows on your sofas for a fresh new look. You can layer pillows in each corner of your sofa – for example a print pillow layered over solid color pillow of similar color scheme or vice versa.

Pillows from William-Sonoma

Pillows from William-Sonoma

Area Rugs: Both pillows and area rugs can make a statement in your living quarters. The colors in both should complement each other rather than compete against each other.  Target sells many great area rugs at affordable prices – check out their Threshold brand of rugs. Lowes Home Improvement is another great place to find area rugs that are both attractive and affordable.

Threshold area rug from Target

Threshold area rug from Target

Cosmetic Bathroom Update: Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in a home, making them very affordable to spruce up. All you need to do is buy a new shower curtain, bath towels, and new floor mat. Again the Threshold brand at Target has many new exciting design choices to choose from in their Bed & Bath department. A fresh coat of paint on the wall can help tie it all together for relatively little money spent. One of my new favorites is Sherwin Williams Passive Gray.

Sherwin Williams Passive Gray

Sherwin Williams Passive Gray

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Step up ways to utilize space under your stairs

Under the stairs office niche by Sage Design Studio (photo credit: Leslie Goodwin Photography)

Under the stairs office niche by Sage Design Studio (photo credit: Leslie Goodwin Photography)

The space underneath stairs in homes is often left underutilized by designers and builders.  This area in the home is actually a great resource to gain a few more square feet of functional space in your home. The more common but “boring” use of this space includes coat closets and pantries or even a small bath or laundry room; however, I’ve come across some really great projects and found several more unique applications for utilizing space underneath stairs.

Sage Design Studio, Inc. in Toronto, Canada carved out a study niche underneath the staircase shown here. There was plenty of space to create an ample built-in work surface with drawers for storage below as well as open shelving above – a great place to store invoices, statements and other important records in the magazine file boxes shown here. This project also happened to be a basement level renovation that included relocation of the laundry room, creation of a new powder room, and the owners requested a nice playroom for the kids with a TV area as well. This built-in office niche was a fabulous bonus that wasn’t part of the initial plan.

Meanwhile Brillo Home Improvements Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) completed a basement level renovation and used this space to create a custom wet bar featured here. The bar comes with built-in wine rack, beverage refrigerator, sink, and puck lights underneath the staircase. A stacked stone veneer backsplash completed this niche. Before renovation, this space was concealed with dated side paneling and the room felt more like a dungeon. This transformation was amazing and NARI thought so too. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry presented Brillo with a gold award for this project in 2012.

Brillo’s  under the stairs  wet bar after renovation (photo credit: Brillo Home Improvements Inc and Edmunds Studios)

Brillo’s under the stairs wet bar after renovation (photo credit: Brillo Home Improvements Inc and Edmunds Studios)

Before Brillo’s renovation, staircase space was hidden and concealed with dated paneling.

Before Brillo’s renovation, staircase space was hidden and concealed with dated paneling.

Last but not least I’ve seen several designers use this space to create pet caves or playhouses for the children in the home. If you’ve been pondering a renovation for your home, the internet can be a great resource for ideas to come up with your own unique way to utilize otherwise dead zones in your home. Projects like these can be found on HOUZZ.COM, PINTEREST, Bob Vila Nation, or other inspirational home décor sites online.

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Eclectique Market Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary in Lake Norman

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Lillian Vandiver Hoopaugh, Owner Eclectique Market

Lake Norman area Eclectique Market celebrated its two year anniversary in March. If you haven’t visited this small home décor and furniture store yet, it’s worth the stop! Many shoppers claim they have driven past the stores Hwy. 115 location hundreds of times before finally visiting for the first time only to regret that they hadn’t stopped sooner.

This quaint home décor shop carries a variety of vintage furniture pieces and home décor accessories. Not only is its inventory unique, but the prices are very affordable. During my last visit to the shop, there were several eye-catching pieces displayed for sale. The first was a portable wine bar on casters that was constructed from a pair of shutters and hand-painted wood. There was also a vintage Thomasville High Boy chest of drawers hand painted in midnight blue and a traditional dresser by Basset that had been painted in a custom red finish. Not only are these pieces unique, but they were well-made unlike many of today’s mass produced pieces made overseas.

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Handmade portable bar on casters painted in red

 

Vintage Thomasville High Boy chest hand painted in midnight blue

Vintage Thomasville High Boy chest hand painted in midnight blue

Store owner Lillian Vandiver Hoopaugh hand picks her pieces from estate sales, thrift stores, CraigsList, and local yard sales. She used to custom paint all the pieces herself but as her business grew she needed to bring on three additional custom painters and part-time interior designer (Al Bell) to keep up with demand. In addition to furniture, the store carries an assortment of gifts including jewelry, soaps, candles, custom signs, and purses crafted by local artists. Hoopaugh says the soaps were a huge hit during the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Large gift assortment

Large gift assortment

While business has temporarily slowed the past several weeks due to weather, the store expects sales to pick up again with warming temperatures this spring. And even though business has grown significantly since opening two years ago, Hoopaugh plans to keep it small and eclectic at 502-B Old Statesville Road.

Red Bureau

 

White Bench

Posted in Decor, Decorating Tips, Interior Design, Lake Norman Home Staging | Tagged ,

Decorating with area rugs

area rugs can break up busy tile flooring patterns

Use area rugs to break up busy tile flooring patterns.

 

If your house needs a fresh new look, you could start with a new rug or two. Not too long ago I found a wool area rug I loved at Home Goods on clearance for $88! Since it was such a steal, I was able to spread out my decorating budget. The rug served as a focal point for a family room decorating project. From here I was able to select paint colors, furniture, window treatments, and other décor.

Not only are area rugs a great way to introduce color to a space and enhance the overall décor, they are also highly functional. They create warmth when installed on hard surfaces such as tile or hardwood floors. When staging, I often use area rugs to break up busy tile flooring patterns. I also use them to define large spaces or open floorplans.  Larger size rugs can define dining areas and smaller rugs can be used to create intimate seating areas.

When decorating with area rugs, here are a few tips:

  • Avoid layering area rugs on top of carpeting. Over time the carpeting will discolor from sun fading and unevenly wear the more permanent carpeting underneath. When it comes time to sell your house, you most likely will need to replace carpeting in this room.
  • If you have new hardwood floors or recently refinished hardwood floors, you need to let the floors cure for an appropriate amount of time before placing rugs to avoid discoloration of the flooring underneath. Shift your rugs slightly every few months to avoid long term discoloration.
  • If you have several area rugs in your home, you want to avoid rugs with busy and competing patterns or styles. For example, you shouldn’t have an oriental style area rug in your formal dining room and a modern geometric style area rug in the adjacent great room. Instead it is best to have rugs that complement each other such as a pattern rug in one room and a solid color area rug of a similar color scheme in an adjacent space. Too many rugs can also create a cluttered look throughout the home.
  • Lastly, consider using rugs of varying sizes or shapes such as a larger or round rug in your dining room and a smaller rug in your living room (for example, a 5×7’ area rug underneath your cocktail table).
area rugs can define spaces in large open floor plans such as this dining area

Area rugs can define spaces in large open floor plans.

 

Refresh your home by rolling out the rugs in your living space. By following these tips, you can introduce a rug (or two) to spruce up your home, and give it a fresh, stylish new look.

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Interior Stone Trends

Carr family fireplace wrapped in dry stacked stone veneers

Carr family fireplace wrapped in dry stacked stone veneers

If you’re looking to update your home, why not try something different. I’ve seen the use of stone increase in popularity in a variety of applications. Rick and Diana Highter purchased their home in Robbins Park two years ago. Because it was a spec/inventory home, they did not get a say in the products used to finish their home. Now that they are settled, they have started making several changes to make the home their own. Most recently they installed a stacked stone veneer on their island. Not only is it a beautiful, but it is also functional because it aids in wear and tear from people’s shoes when sitting at the island bar. They also installed the same veneer on their fireplace at the opposite side of the room in their open living/dining floor plan concept. Having stone in both areas balances their large open floor plan. For their stacked stone veneer, the Highter’s chose the distinct look of Buck County southern ledgestone. Rick happens to be a buyer for Graco Distributers in Mooresville, NC and purchases cultured stone and outdoor living products for a living. These products get distributed to home improvement stores, builders, lumber yards, and masons.

Buck County southern ledgestone island

Buck County southern ledgestone island

Meanwhile on the other side of town, the Carr family is in the process of making several improvements to their home. Like the Highter’s, they liked the look of dry stacked stone veneers. They updated their kitchen backsplash with the product as well as the fireplace in their great room. The Carr’s shopped very local and purchased their fireplace stone from Carolina Tile and Stone, Inc. on Statesville Road in Cornelius, and their hearth floor was purchased at Surface Products on Northline Drive, also in Cornelius. Their mantle was custom made at Boone Lumber in Lenoir, NC. The kitchen backsplash is from Lowes.

Carr Family Kitchen Backsplash

Carr Family Kitchen Backsplash

If you’re looking for a way to add pizzazz to your own home, consider the trending concept of stone veneers.  Not only does it look great, but it is very functional and versatile. It can be used in a number of applications, holds up well, and does not need to be maintained.

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Less is more when it comes to selling your home

Example of warm, yet neutral Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige

Example of warm, yet neutral Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige

My grandmother in Wisconsin recently mailed me very amusing column clipping written by Joel Stein in TIME magazine called “Decolor My World”. It was essentially a satire piece highlighting the writer’s recent experience of selling his home and working with a realtor and home staging company similar to mine.

Stein jokes that the first problem was their walls were painted in “personal colors.” I want to clarify that the answer is not white to correct this problem. White or vanilla colored walls are very sterile and can be just as bad in many cases as those personal colors. Instead I recommend warm yet neutral colors that will appeal to buyers. I am still having great success with Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige or Universal Khaki. If your rooms are smaller or lack natural light, go with the lighter of the two. I also often recommend tranquil spa-like colors for the master baths and even secondary bathrooms to differentiate the home.

Stein next jokes that he had to take away all his “gross personal stuff” for several months and replace with a way less number of staging accessories. A few years ago Duke University conducted a study on the effectiveness of home staging. The #1 staging principle the participants concluded was that personal items need to be removed from bathrooms. These items include but are not limited to used bars of soap, razors, and toothbrushes. They create clutter, reminds buyers the house is “used” and prevents potential buyers from imagining the home as “theirs”.

The take-away from both his column and mine is that “Less is More” when it comes to selling real estate. Less bright colors, less clutter, and less furniture. Try to create a traditional setting when staging your home to sell – not too contemporary and not too antique. You want your house to appeal to as many buyers as possible of varying demographics.

If you’re not sure how to accomplish this task, you can hire a home staging professional for a one hour consultation. He or she can create a home staging plan that you can implement yourself to save money. The ultimate goal of staging your home is to sell more quickly and for top dollar given current market conditions.

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