Decorating tips from Paolo Moschino

The English country house of Paolo Moschino is a case study in decorating that looks effortless and yet is incredibly impressive at the same time. Of course, he has the time, funds and talent to pull of such a beautiful (and personal) project, but there is a lot we can learn form this to apply to our own projects. He offers a lot of useful decorating tips, but I think one of the best pieces of advice he gives is this:  "Don't let rooms look overtly decorated. The key is to relax; you need books, you need magazines, you even need dust!"

This is a comment close to my heart. You don't live in a hotel, so why should your home look like one? It should reflect you and the things and people you love. Fantastic decorating tips from a master: Paolo Moschino

Throughout this house we see light, neutral walls and colors that allow prominent pieces jump out. The first thing you notice in this space is the urns, but then your eye moves around and takes in the beautiful hutch, the barrel, the dining set. None of these pieces looks like it arrived fresh from Crate & Barrel. There's a lot to be said for decorating with older pieces that you love.

Fantastic decorating tips from a master: Paolo Moschino

A collection of Catholic statuary may not be your thing, but whatever your thing is, considering bringing your collection together and showing it off. Creating small, focal displays of things that interest you is a great way to bring your personality into a space.

Fantastic decorating tips from a master: Paolo Moschino

Again we see light walls being used to allow the coloured objects in the room really stand out, particularly the art, which is also framed and matted in white for effect. The floor and larger pieces of furniture are also quite neutral, letting the smaller pieces like the lamp, stools and flowers grab your attention.

To get more tips from a master, and see more of this gorgeous home, check out this article in House & Garden.

Before and After: The Living Room

We've got a Before and After for you today! We recently finished some work with a couple of lovely clients who took possession of an older home and wanted to rework the interior a bit. The previous owners had done a bit of updating when they prepared to sell, but had likely done a lot of the work on their own and the results, unfortunately, weren't great.

Paint colors were dreary and not terribly well applied. Cracks in the corners were left un-mended, and this older home lacked sufficient outlets for modern owners. The fireplace in the living room was the original red brick, and the sconces were also from another time - which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case....well have a look at the first before picture:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

 

And here we are after:

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

LR after 8Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Our work with these clients covered most of the spaces in the home, so the living room became part of the overall plan. The clients were looking for a mix of old and new that was still uncluttered and functional.  In this space and the adjoining dining room (pictures of those to come later), we settled on a calming grey - Sherwin William "Passive." We used a simple palette of grey, blue and yellow-gold, with mixed metals, primarily brass and chrome. Modern fixtures, mix with vintage pieces to give the space a relaxed feel.  There is a family room in the basement where the TV is located, so this room was kept as an entertaining space.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The drapery fabric (So Good's Medina) was worth every penny spent. Having custom drapery made can be a considered purchase once you factor in the fabric and the labor, but if the room is one that you intend to feature and entertain in, it's a worthy place to put some of your budget. These drapes look stunning and catch the eye of anyone entering the room.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

What to hang on your walls? My advice is typically that it doesn't need to be "art" or even necessarily a picture or painting. It simply needs to be something that you really love and/or that means something to you. Don't hang things on your walls that you feel so-so about. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. And a few mirrors, they're great for adding light to a space ;)

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Here are a few more great vintage finds that were added to the space. The sideboard was found via local classifieds. In it's former life, it was a cabinet stereo. It's now general storage and hides speakers to the bluetooth system. A bit of beeswax polish and four new legs and it became a new treasure for this home. the brass lamp is also a vintage piece, and the crow was one of those fortuitous finds at a local Yart Sale.

Now, on to that fireplace. Here's the before:

fireplace before 2

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Yikes.

The decision was made to simply paint the fireplace, rather than replace it. If a client intends to use a fireplace like this on a regular basis, my advice is typically to renovate it and install an insert. Wood and gas inserts are very efficient heaters (and can be absolutely gorgeous as well), whereas an old wood fireplace like this, while romantic, is essentially a hole in your house through which heat escapes. If you are installing an insert, you can also take a moment to consider complely transforming the fireplace and hearth with a new front using, for example, tile, or stone.

But as they don't use it frequently, wanted to keep some of the older features of the home in tact, and wanted to reserve more of their budget for exterior work, we used a simple and inexpensive method to transform it.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

Before and after of a dated living room transformed into an eclectic and functional space, including a painted fireplace.

The contrast between the dark charcoal color and the warm brass fittings is just gorgeous. Most of the brass pieces were sourced at vintage shops and flea markets and given a good polish. The tired old sconces were replaced with new ones that evoke the past, but still have modern chrome touches.

 

That's it for now. In coming posts we'll show you the before and after in other space in the home, including a fabulous new dining room.

House Tour: A classic, chic space.

Check out this house tour featuring the very chic home of blogger Erika Brechtel. Dark colors mix with lush metals for a timeless but edgy look. Check out this house tour of a gorgeous home featuring a monochromatic palette with gold and brass accents.  It's chic and edgy all at once.

What to steal from this look? Experiment with  a monochromatic palette of greys, black and white, accented with gold and brass. the place setting is classic and simple in style, but the gold edge fills out the picture, bringing an element of luxury to the look, without drowning in detail.

Check out this house tour of a gorgeous home featuring a monochromatic palette with gold and brass accents.  It's chic and edgy all at once.

The feature wall showcases how to bring together different styles and colors of frames in a less structured shape.  Your picture wall doesn't need to be measured to the last millimetre, and have only uniform frames and images. Put together things that mean  something to you, or that appeal to you. Your picture wall should say something about you - don't get hung up on perfection.

Check out this house tour of a gorgeous home featuring a monochromatic palette with gold and brass accents.  It's chic and edgy all at once.

The living room  sticks to the same formula - a monochromatic palette with touches of brass and gold.  The look is sophisticated and always in style.  Check out the whole gallery here.

DIY: A Home Transformed

This beautiful home in Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast is all the more impressive for the fact that the couple who live here did the work themselves. Project by project, this Craftsman style home was transformed from dated to modern and fresh, without losing its sense of history and character. an amazing DIY home renovation. A craftsman style home is given a fresh facelift with white walls, a painted fireplace, new kitchen and more!

an amazing DIY home renovation. A craftsman style home is given a fresh facelift with white walls, a painted fireplace, new kitchen and more!

an amazing DIY home renovation. A craftsman style home is given a fresh facelift with white walls, a painted fireplace, new kitchen and more!

The space was opened up with white walls and fireplace, but original touches like radiators maintain the home's original charm. Check out the full DIY story and pictures at East Coast Living. 

 

Renovated Church

Who hasn't dreamed of acquiring a former church and transforming it? The architecture lends itself to grand statements and this project in Chicago is no exception.

heavenly-family-home-resurrected-from-twentieth-century-church-24-1024x683
heavenly-family-home-resurrected-from-twentieth-century-church-24-1024x683

Note the herringbone tile on the interior of the fireplace. Details count. See more here.

My Old House Dreams

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you ever watched a horror film where the family moves to a new town and despite the parents having regular jobs with regular income, they take up residence in an unbelievably gorgeous old home (which is invariably haunted)? If you are like me, you snort with disgust at the screen, commenting on how it would be impossible to own a home like that on a mid-range salary. (And then spend the rest of the film noting the amazing details of the home.) Well, it turns out, the kind of money that can't even buy you 500 square feet where I live, can indeed buy you a stately home. Old House Dreams features them on the regular and I don't mind admitting that it's driving me mad. Pocket doors, original mouldings, farmhouse kitchens...it's all there. 

1127-E-Jefferson-Ave-

 

My apologies to the horror film producers.

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