By Kristy Ju
With the hot summer months well under way, don’t forget to include plantscaping the deck on your next summer to-do list. Linda Nichols of Hidden Lane Landscaping & Design brings us tips to ensure that our deck’s blooms can withstand the season’s blazing heat and humidity. With over 24 years of experience of residential landscape design, Nichols has developed a wealth of knowledge of plants and the best groupings for color that lasts throughout the year (with the least amount of maintenance).
What plants do you keep on your own deck during the summer?
I move a number of my houseplants outside for a summer vacation—they really thrive with fresh air and filtered sun! For annual summer color, my planters are filled with pink geranium, purple petunias, yellow marigold, white alyssym and dusty miller. I love this color combination! In individual pots, I’ve used red pentas, pink callibrocha, blue verbena, variegated sage and purple oxalis to carry the color scheme through. Most of these plants are attractive to hummingbirds & butterflies because the tubular shape of the blossom is conducive to their long beaks/tongues as they search for nectar. The grass is an experiment this year, it’s called Stipa. I like the way it drapes and moves gracefully with the breeze, although by the end of the summer it may hide the annuals too much underneath it. If that happens, I’ll plant it in the ground this fall.
I also keep a pot of my favorite herbs on the back deck (basil/chives/parsley)—there’s nothing like slipping out the back door and pinching off a few basil leaves to accompany fresh tomatoes!
Why is soil with moisture control elements important to use during the summer?
When filling up pots for outdoor use it is a good idea to use a potting soil that has ‘moisture beads’ included. These ‘beads’ swell up with water and help the container stay wet a little longer during the hot summer days. Pots sitting on your deck/patio will dry out faster than plants in the ground, as the surrounding hot air heats up the potted soil much faster than plants in garden soil. As summer progresses the plant roots expand and fill up the pot, quickly absorbing any available moisture. I have found that during the last days of summer, it is not unusual to water the pots on a daily basis.
“Don’t crowd your pots” is one tidbit that landscapers advise. What is the reasoning behind this tip?
I like to give annuals in my container plants room to grow, and so when planting them in mid-May, leave plenty of room between the plants so they naturally fill the pot within a few weeks. This will give the roots room to grow and have access to enough water as the summer progresses.
Now that it’s the middle of summer, what is one task we should keep in mind for plantscapes on our decks?
By mid-July/early August, some annuals can get leggy or tired looking. I like to cut these plants back a few inches and then give them a good liquid fertilizer. It’s amazing how quickly they respond with dark green, bushy growth and lots of new flowers!
As lover of all things shabby chic and Lucketts, I cannot begin to explain my love of finding ways to make new things look distressed and weathered. After searching through countless blogs, I came across Miss Mustard Seed and was immediately drawn in. Marian Parsons, the brains behind the blog, who is also a freelance writer for HGTV and has contributed to Country Living, Cottages & Bungalows, Romantic Homes, Flea Market Style among (can you believe it?!) others! Anyways, enough with that rant–what I really connected with on her blog were the number of projects and tutorials she had.
Lucky for us, Marian agreed to send over a tutorial to get our creative juices flowing. So keep on reading to learn a bit about Antiquing Wax and a lot about how to make the new look old.
By Kristy Ju
Bookshelves in our homes often become the catch-all of paperwork and misplaced items that stand disordered among our books and other keepsakes. These high-potential spaces can be entirely re-imagined with careful organization and accessorizing. Style your bookshelves so that they convey stories in of themselves, much like the books set upon them.
Start with “Once upon a time …”
Some books include pictures to illustrate a story. Similarly, add visual impact to your own bookshelf with staccato bursts of color-coordinated books.
Save the collection of seashells from all those old summers for another space in your home. Instead, place a globe on a shelf and mark the places that you have visited for a more sophisticated visual of your travels.
Add a bold, personal touch by displaying your favorite quote from a beloved book.
Bring all your pieces together with photographs in matching frames that tell your story.
By Meghan Furey
Create Your Own Lights for Warm Summer Nights.
Coming from a very crafty family, I always love finding ways of keeping money in my pocket, and so with Pinterest and blog searching, I have been finding easy and fun ways of creating my own outdoor votives with items I find around the house. For those evenings when you are relaxing on porch with friends and family or warm weather events when you are setting up table arrangements, these DIY votives are simple and beautiful ways of adding a unique touch to your outdoor décor. Here are some of the surprising things you may find around the house that can actually make your life a lot brighter!
Mason jars are probably one of the most popular ways to create your own outdoor lighting. The patterns on these jars create a beautiful authentic feel to your home’s outdoor décor. One can just place candles inside the jars, but many projects involve filling them with other materials such as floating candles in water or placing them in sand or pebbles to make them more ornamental. These jars also look great when wrapped in twine or ribbon, painted or even bedazzled with glitter. One can go on and on about how you can decorate these jars, and even when they’re just plain, they add a simple and unique light to any outdoor space.
Once you have the Mason Jar lights made, there are so many ways you can arrange them too. One can simply them set on tables for dinner lighting. Many DIY bloggers have also created chandeliers or hanging lanterns like Holly did with her Mason Jars on Chez Beeper Babe. While creating a chandelier or hanging lantern may sound more complicated, both projects are a great way of spending time saving some dimes.
Tin cans are also an easy and accessible material to use to create beautiful lighting for those fun summer backyard parties or even just for your outdoor seating areas. Tin can lanterns can be a shiny decoration that glitters in the light and glows in the dark when lit. Most cans are opaque, which allows the holes punched in create beautiful prints and patterns. From birthday parties to outdoor dinner events, these votives can be a personal and unique ornament for any outdoor event. The cans can also be painted to match with other outdoor furniture or to make them even more festive décor like. .
While these luminaries look great on tables, many DIYers say that they look just as amazing hung. Decorating a backyard with strung up tin can lanterns would make an excellent source of light in any part of your outdoor space, and all without busting your wallet. Not to mention, it is an excellent summer activity for the kids to showcase their creativity to your friends and family!
Despite its narrow opening, wine bottles can be made into and are beautiful sources of light for any outdoor gathering. With their various glass hues and shapes, wine bottles can be versatile décor pieces that create a summery glow without spending more than a bottle of wine (literally).
A great wine bottle votive can also eliminate those nasty mosquitoes in your yard by creating a wine bottle tiki torch. By placing a using citronella torch fuel on a tiki wick in a wine bottle, you can make an effort in fighting against these pests while also creating a nice ambiance for your outdoor space.
With a glass cutter, you can also make a beautiful candle cover with a wine bottle . This creates a beautiful glow that can last all night long. With long-lasting light like this, you can enjoy those summer nights hours on end and the people you are spending them with. After, that is what summer is all about, right?
From sparkling silvers to brilliant bronzes to snazzy golds, metallic table accents are often reserved for the winter holidays, but who says Thanksgiving can’t shine? On Nov. 22, celebrate family, friends and food in style with a tablescape that truly shimmers.
“Surprise your guests by spicing up the usual red, orange and yellow Thanksgiving tablescape with shiny, chic metallics,” says Jennifer Smith, owner of Elegantly Chic Events in Falls Church. “Add elegance and sophistication to everything, from your serving platters to your place card holders. Have fun, and be creative!”
By Lindsey Leake
“A table runner with beaded accents is sure to add some holiday sparkle to your Thanksgiving tablescape. Runners can be used on the dinner table or one of the side tables in the room to add lots of holiday style to your event.”
“Jeweled napkin rings are a great way to add sparkle to your table setting. The more shine, the better effect!”
”Add a burst of holiday shine to your table with silver chargers. Chargers are a great addition to any table; they really make the place setting pop!”
“Scented candles with crystal candleholders add extra gleam to any tablescape. The brighter, the better!”
“Leaves are an obvious theme for fall dinner decorations, and metallic serving platters really help set the mood. I especially love these platters because of their versatility; they can be used for anything!”
“Sateen napkins in any of the fall hues add extra fun and flair to your place settings.”
“Place cards are a great way to make your guests feel special. Gold and silver place card holders are small, but festive, accents for any table.”
“Nothing better than fancy serving ware! A sculpted butter dish or gravy boat makes your holiday dinner festive and cheerful.”
Design Expert: Jennifer Smith, Owner of Elegantly Chic Events, Falls Church
By Lauren Clement
Ah, such a popular question asked and pondered by many homeowners, myself included. My stance on this subject has recently been confirmed as we just placed a sectional in our own family room. And I love it! I will tell you why I am in love as I debate both sides of this question.
The first aspect to consider is the room layout and whether or not a sectional sofa would even fit in your room. If the answer is yes, then here we go. Often times my clients want to know how to maximize their seating in a family room setting so that all family members are comfortable on a daily basis and that there is enough space to accommodate friends and family when they come over. A sectional is a great option to provide lots of seating. This type of sofa also offers great ‘snuggle-ability’ for families.
That being said, you could take the opposite approach and say that a sectional does not provide enough separation. So that when you entertain, or even just for your own immediate family, you do only have one option for seating, which is all sitting next to each other.
So this aspect of the debate comes down to this: do you use this room more for family hang out time or for hosting guests? One reason that I am so happy with my sectional is that I am in the family snuggle time place and am so excited to be able to curl up with my girls, and our menagerie of pets, and all be comfortable together as one big happy family (of course Chris is happy sitting across the room in his recliner!). I also like the casual, comfortable feeling that a sectional gives a room. In the picture above, the room has a grown up and sophisticated feel, but the rich chocolate sectional lets you know that this is a family hang out spot.
In this photo to the left, the sectional was actually the best fit for the space. The back wall of this room with the clock is angled and cuts the room off a bit. Using a sofa and a loveseat instead of a sectional would actually not have fit in this space. The rounded wedge corner piece of the sectional made for a nice smooth corner as opposed to a sharp 90 degree angle that a sofa and loveseat would have formed.
In other cases, the sofa and loveseat may be a good option as the open corner where the two pieces abut allows for an end table and a table lamp. This scenario offers a hard surface for drinks, books, etc., and the lamp would clearly provide lighting to the space. One con to the sofa, loveseat and end table option is that you lose the seating of the corner piece to the sectional.
As you can see, this is a truly debatable topic and one that is very personal and room specific. It is best to address this list of questions before making your ultimate seating decision:
-Can a sectional fit in your space? Or would a sofa and loveseat fit better?
-How do you plan on using this piece and this room? For a casual family hang out space or a more formal entertaining space?
-How many people do you need to accommodate?
Once you have considered all aspects of this decision thoroughly, you are ready to answer the question: sectional vs. sofa? If you need help in your decision making process, please send me an email to set up a complimentary consultation or email me photos of your room and what your needs are and I can offer some advice. Happy decorating y’all and remember that I am here to help!
Your Style created in Your Home. I am busy being a full time everything- national award winning interior designer, author, Mom, wife, friend, sister, and lover of all things beautiful and functional. Follow me to see it all! Whether you need one window dressed or an entire room designed, I can help you accomplish your decorating goals and have fun at the same time. Let’s get started!
Lauren Riddiough Clement
By Jennifer Shapira
Dee David is in the business of overhauling personal spaces. The owner of her eponymous Falls Church-based kitchen and bath design firm has seen an increase in requests to redo and renew bathrooms, which she and other industry professionals say is a product of the recession.
No matter their means, people want to spruce up their homes, she says. Even small enhancements can make a big difference to one’s quality of life.
From facelifts to total gut jobs, whether the goal is a tiny but functional powder room or a better circulating master, experts say if you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, a bathroom redo is paramount.
One of today’s absolute biggest trends is the removal of the tub in the master bathroom, says Joshua Baker, co-founder of McLean- and Middleburg-based BOWA Builders.
Instead, frameless glass-enclosed showers, many with elaborate tile work and multiple jets, have become focal points, he says. And it’s obvious why: They can be custom-fit to be roomier and infinitely more spa-like and, as the population ages, the showers are safer than tubs.
Of course, there are exceptions for those who like a good soak, says Baker. While it’s true that the best-case scenario is a master bath complete with a high-end, standalone soaking tub and full spa shower, if there are space limitations and the homeowner must choose one over the other, the shower always wins out.
Today’s bathroom design trends cut across all styles: traditional, transitional and contemporary or anywhere in between. Everyone wants a modern take on the essentials, from improved flow to storage. Homeowners want convenience and beautification above all else. As the population ages, it makes sense that chic-er commodes now sit at comfort height, and attractive grab bars are installed in walk-in showers. Vanities can be tailored to a husband and wife’s heights, says Baker, of a recent project.
Big masters were a big deal in the 1980s and early ’90s, but today the focus is less on space, and more on functionality, he says. Design solutions are where it’s at; for example, giving that little-used closet new life as a second entryway into the master bath.
Beautiful built-in vanities complete with storage (for towels and toilet paper) and display areas (to exhibit favorite possessions), or a spot for tuning into the morning’s news on an LED TV, just make for better movement.
Dee David & Co. LLC
7906 Sycamore Drive, Falls Church, VA; 703-560-6601; deedavidandco.com
NVS Kitchen and Bath
8982 Hornbaker Road, Manassas; 703-378-2600
Case Design/Remodeling Inc.
701 Park Ave., Falls Church; 703-241-2980; 800-513-2250; casedesign.com
REVE Design Studio Inc.
5319 N. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington; 703-312-7060; reve-studio.com
Blue Moon Construction, LLC
42582 Muirwood Court, Ashburn; 888-209-8352; bluemoonconstruction.net
7900 Westpark Drive, Suite A10, McLean; 703-734-9050
201 E. Washington St., PO Box 205, Middleburg; 540-687-6771; bowa.com
Reico Kitchen and Bath
6790 Commercial Drive, Springfield; 703-245-0414
7500-B Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-748-0700; reico.com
Alexandria Kitchen & Bath Studio
1502 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1415; akbs-oldtown.com
Harvey’s Kitchens & Baths
22560 Glenn Drive, Suite 115, Sterling; 703-444-0871; harveys-kb.com
Kitchen & Bath Factory
4624 Lee Highway, Arlington; 703-522-7337; kitchenandbathfactory.com
Tile and Stone:
Alexandria Public Showroom
203 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-299-6200; architecturalceramics.net
Falls Church Showroom
7505P Leesburg Pike, Falls Church; 703-714-0161
Fairfax Marble & Granite
13913 Willard Road, Chantilly; 703-378-1080; fairfaxmarble.com
Flintstone Marble and Granite
21760 Beaumeade Circle, Suite 105, Ashburn; 571-223-2970; flintstonemarble.com
Stone World Inc.
25358 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite 100, Chantilly; 571-239-5167; stoneworldonline.com
Potomac Marble & Granite
1235 Featherstone Road, Woodbridge; 703-497-6555; pmgranite.com
8400 Hilltop Road, Suite E, Fairfax; 703-280-4300
14801 Willard Road, Suite 400, Chantilly; 703-631-4848
10720 Richmond Highway, Suite F, Lorton; 703-495-8453; mosaictileco.com
Best Tile Lorton
8196 Terminal Road, Lorton; 703-550-2352; besttile.com
4121 Parke Long Court, Suite 110, Chantilly; 703-378-6610; mid-atlantictile.com
419-A Calvert Ave., Alexandria; 703-836-6526; ferguson.com
701 N. Henry St., Alexandria; 703-548-2320; alexandrialighting.com
Dominion Electric Supply Co.
14605 Lee-Jackson Highway, Chantilly; 703-631-8300; 1-800-525-5007; dominionelectric.com
10362 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax; 888-847-7295; annapolislighting.com
22570 Shaw Road, Suite 150, Sterling; 703-450-5700; dulleselectric.com
1362 Chain Bridge Road, McLean; 703-827-0090; lampsunlimited-mclean.com
Lamp Factory Outlet
6412 Springfield Plaza, Springfield; 703-569-5330; thelampfactoryoutlet.com
14312 Jefferson Davis Highway, Woodbridge; 703-494-5181; woodbridgeglassva.com
ABC Glass and Mirror Inc.
8395 B Euclid Ave., Manassas Park; 703-257-7150; abcglassandmirror.com
Showers, Saunas, Tubs
5739 Telegraph Road, Alexandria; 703-960-0220; showersauna.com
1374 Chain Bridge Road, McLean; 703-356-8477; mycolorwheel.com/sb.cn
Color Wheel Paint Center
2802-D Merrilee Drive, Fairfax; 703-356-8477, ext. 2
305 E Market St., Suite V, Leesburg; 703-771-2612; leesburgpaint.com
Baker mentions one such micro-improvement that clients love: the convenience of outlets hidden inside vanity drawers. Appliances like hairdryers and razors can stay plugged in and off, out of sight until needed. The result: no cluttering up of valuable real estate on beautiful, carefully chosen granite or marble countertops.
Other storage solutions that can make a difference: Consider an heirloom corner etagere, open shelving or a pretty basket that stocks tightly rolled, easy-to-grab plush towels, or a carved-to-fit cubby inside the shower to park bottles of shampoo and body wash.
“I always add a little niche,” says Stephanie Kelley, a Fairfax interior decorator (refineddesignllc.com). “If you don’t, you’re stuck with those ugly things that you have to buy at the store to hold your shampoo, and they never look good.”
Another must: “If there’s room, always put a bench in the shower,” she laughs, “because women have to shave their legs.” Kelley recalls one client whose lower half was measured expressly for the purpose of a custom-built seat. Useful and luxe, the bench is essential for that home spa feel.
Today’s frameless glass showers resemble crystal cubes that often showcase intricate tile designs and mosaics on the floor or walls. Sometimes thought of as the bathroom’s ‘jewelry,’ pricier materials are often used in the shampoo cubbies, or banded on the sides of the shower’s walls as accents.
Gone are the days of a solitary shower head. Today’s shower includes, at minimum, multiple shower heads and adjustable hand-held jets in varied heights to literally treat each body part, says Schwartz.
They are also larger, often built to comfortably fit two and always include a bench. Homeowners can choose to enjoy a steam shower, “where you can actually sit and take a steam bath within the shower itself, like you would at a spa,” says Baker. While it requires changes to the bathroom’s ventilation, a steam shower’s sophisticated controls allow you to take your time and finish up on your own clock. The same is true of heated tile floors, now much more common in a master redo: Set the timer to begin heating before you get out of bed and the floor will be toasty beneath your feet. After showering, envelop yourself in a towel warmed on a heated rack. Such luxuries are becoming more essential in achieving the much-wanted spa-like feel in today’s renovated bathrooms.
If frameless glass showers seem trendy because everyone wants them, it is one trend that experts agree has definite staying power: They make any bathroom look larger, aren’t defined by a particular style, and always look glamorous.
The look “is more expensive but it lasts forever, and it probably won’t go out of style because it’s so simple,” says Donna Evers, president of Evers & Co. Real Estate in Washington, D.C.
Minimal maintenance keeps them in shape. The shower’s multiple heads have another important function: Fire away on soap scum and “it’s almost like self-cleaning shower,” says David.
And, it may seem odd, but contemplate the drain. Traditionally, not a very sexy thing to consider when it comes to bathroom redos, but John Ronay, president and director of field operations for Blue Moon Construction, says he’s adding such innovative personal touches (“We call them ‘funner features’”) like soothing LED-lit channel drains that illuminate the shower underfoot. Longer and thinner, and less, well, drain-like, clients are finding that they are much more aesthetically pleasing, adds Baker.
Experts agree that one is the magic number for a bathtub in the home. It doesn’t matter where it is—hall bath, guest bath, no matter—the requirement is one if you decide to sell, says Evers. The self-described house addict has renovated two dozen properties, and regularly consults sellers on ways to whip their bathrooms into shape to appeal to buyers.
“A master bath becomes a form of self-expression even more than the powder room,” says Evers. “If you stay in your house 20 years and the styles change, you don’t want to be stuck with something you’re going to have to quickly renovate in order to sell it.”
Experts agree the best bang for your buck is to install fixtures in neutral colors. White is really where it’s at, says Evers. If you’re thinking about selling in the future, think understated.
“People say ‘white is so boring,’” says Evers. “But it’s not.” You can still show your own personality. Kick it up a notch with splashy accessories like bright colored towels, window treatments, lighting fixtures, even paint color–all easy pieces to change out when, and if, the time comes to sell. “Your home is your home,” she says, “but it’s also an investment.”
Transitional style has a broad, safe appeal, says Kelley, suggesting that it’s a good look for the potential seller’s bathroom. But, she adds, that doesn’t mean it has to be plain.
David’s master bath for a home in Alexandria fit the couple’s needs to a T. The wife insisted on a bathtub because “that’s how she melts away her stress of the day,” says David.
The walk-in shower is a frameless glass enclosure, its floor tiled in gray-toned stones that provide a stimulating foot massage. The custom-built master bathroom incorporates dual vanity spaces, hers larger—obviously—for primping purposes, laughs David; the other side, just right for his needs. If space allows, says David, there’s a trend toward zoning the bathroom by purpose and privacy. Specific spaces were carved out; bathing is in one area, the vanities are set apart in another. Recessed lights provide task lighting; matching curvy mirror-mounted sconces cast a warm glow.
Long, rectangular tiles were designed and placed from floor to ceiling, creating an elegant, contemporary feel. And, the palette of grays creates a soothing environment.
“Every woman wants a little bit of glamour or glitz in her life,” says David. And a bathroom is a perfect place to add sparkle.
David’s master bathroom for the Alexandria townhouse represents a down-to-earth contemporary feel with an out-of-this-world element. Like a starry night, the tub’s Caesarstone surround shimmers, says David, and makes the bathroom feel luxurious.
But adding sparkle doesn’t have to be pricey. “You can spend $3 on a crystal doorknob to get that bling,” she says, “and it looks cute!” She’s hung crystal chandeliers in small Arlington bathrooms, and added bigger ones when space permits.
Chandeliers, though glamorous, don’t always have to be traditional in look and feel. They can be more contemporary: Instead of the waterfall effect, a trio of crystal pendants can serve as a modern take on a stylish look.
Luxe for Less
But even if a glass-walled shower is not in your immediate future, you can dress up (or change up) a shower or bathtub with a statement shower curtain. You don’t have to shell out big bucks to improve the space.
Designers say the trend now is for bathrooms to be calm, nature- and Asian-inspired sanctuaries, often in tones of beiges and grays. That doesn’t mean you can’t paint the walls, or even one wall, a rich, striking color. Or consider wallpaper in a favorite print or pattern. Add touches of glamour with architecturally interesting lighting fixtures. Purchase an attractive mirror that fits your style, and pair matching sconces on either side. Even something as simple as a minimalist vase of fresh-cut flowers beside the sink will jazz up the room.
Ashburn interior designer Andrea Schwartz (andreadesignz.com) places smooth, flat rocks to the bottom of a basin to add to the space’s calming atmosphere. If you have natural light, choose an orchid at your local garden center. If not, Schwartz says to go with the faux—silk versions are available at most home goods shops.
Other improvement tips: Place ceramic floor tiles on a diagonal to make the space seem larger. And, use mildew-resistant grout that matches the tile, says David.
Match the hardware on everything, Evers suggests, from the shower door to the faucets, from towel bars to grab bars, even the flush lever on the toilet. Brushed nickel and polished chrome are good choices; they’re stylish but not too trendy.
Modern, Tranquil Spaces
“I find that most clients that approach me tend to want bathrooms that are more soothing, spa-like and tranquil,” says Patrick C. Carter, owner of Arlington-based architecture and design firm Reve Designs. To Carter, that request translates into a more simplified design—softer colors, natural materials—with a contemporary, modern aesthetic.
“Eight to 10 years ago bathrooms were much more traditional and fussy. Today, people live hectic lifestyles,” he says. “They want to feel relaxed while they are preparing for, or unwinding from, their day.”
Carter recently completed two such projects, both incorporating natural stone set in more modern surroundings: a 1920s Arlington bungalow and a house in Reston.
For the Arlington job, Carter redid the high-traffic guest bath, and the couple chose high-end materials because they like to entertain. Carter finished the space with a dark gray marble floor, and tiled the walls in a combination of flagstone and glass.
Planning for the possibility of mobility issues for the Reston couple, Carter created a wide steam shower and added a cantilevered bluestone bench. And, in a nod to the couple’s home state, the Wisconsin natives integrated modern Kohler fixtures.
These are welcome settings. Clean, simple lines and open, comfortable spaces with a bit of color or nod to nature make for a modern aesthetic.
At the end of the day, the client’s bathroom is a place to relax and recharge, says Carter of the spaces he’s curated. “It’s that feeling of being somewhat pampered and able to just wash the stress off and go to bed in a different state of mind than when you walked into the bathroom.”
What are some trends in bathroom lighting that you think have staying power?
“I would say clean, simple fixtures. If something can be ambiguous as far as design style—doesn’t really fit into one design style—[it] will stay around much longer. If a look fits into one design style, i.e. modern, this will be considered dated in just a few years.
“Earth tones have longevity: beiges, browns, grays, off-whites. Just remember, the more the fixture looks unique, the more it could be dated when the design style moves on. But this shouldn’t stop a homeowner from wanting to be more individualistic, especially if they plan to stay in their home for many years to come.”
What was one recent bathroom project you really enjoyed working on, and why?
“I recently worked on a powder bath in a new-construction home in Northwest D.C. The entire house is ultra-modern, clean and refreshing; gray tones and dark wood finishes. I instructed my customers that the powder bath is the one area that you should go crazy and out-of-this-world in design style. This room is used for one purpose only.
“The entire bathroom was tiled to the ceiling with clean, simple, warm earth-tone tile. Above the floating vanity was a clean, long rectangle mirror. We looked through all of my catalogs and finally found the perfect light. It’s a pendant that is brushed steel in finish but has a small cluster of circles around the bulbs. From the canopy at the ceiling, past the cluster of metal circles around the bulbs, this fixture has small silver chain going right through it. It looks like a piece of art.”
Trends Designers Would Like to See Gone for Good
There are a number of bad trends in bathrooms that industry professionals and design experts would like to see gone for good. Whether it’s about reconfiguring a traditional builder-grade style bathroom or gutting a 1970s-era space, designers have definite opinions about what they don’t like. Read on to see what causes experts to get steamed:
Tim White, sales and design consultant at Architectural Ceramics, in Alexandria: “It’s a bad idea to pigeonhole yourself into a particular color of tile. That makes it obvious that the tile is of a certain period. You don’t want people to say, “Whoa, that’s so 1999.’ Don’t tile a bathroom bright orange.”
Interior designer Patrick Carter: “I, personally, hate medicine cabinets. And I’m finding my clients don’t like them, and we’re ripping them out a lot, replacing them with more cabinetry for storage.” Despite some technological advances, Carter says he vented to one of his employees: “If I have to deal with another medicine cabinet, I’m going to scream because they’re tedious. It’s a bit of a frustration for me. That’s not what I want to be designing around.
“To me, Jacuzzi tubs are disgusting. They breed bacteria when the water sits in them, so I just have a real problem with that. And if you are elderly or going to be aging-in-place, bathtubs can become very dangerous, when you get in and out of them.”
Designer Dee David: “Rain showers because they’re a pain to install, and they don’t get the shampoo out of your hair. But I love the [multi-jet] shower towers; they’re so easy to install.”
Joshua Mollet, showroom manager at Alexandria Lighting: “Two trends that I hope never come back are: polished brass finish. This is a dated, ‘80s finish. Satin brass and aged brass are already coming back in style, though. But polished brass looks too new and gimmicky.
“The other trend that I pray to God never returns: ‘70s swag pendants in the bathroom, flanking a mirror. So dated, it’s scary!”
Of course, trends can be good, says decorator Stephanie Kelley, but there’s a trick. In order for them to have staying power, she says, “You can be trendy, but if you pick something that’s just really cool and kind of classic and natural, you can keep them for quite a while.”
Has the guest bathroom become more important in today’s (U.S.) homes? If so, why?
“The guest bath definitely has become more important in today’s U.S. homes. As homeowners have begun to embrace using their home to express their own sense of style and personality, much like a wardrobe, the guest bath has become a simple way for a homeowner to express themselves and create a beautiful decorated space for their guests to enjoy.
“Adding a personal touch to these spaces helps your guests get a true sense of your style and your home’s unique flair. If your guest bath needs a refresh, it’s a simple and affordable way to spruce up your home while adding your own stamp to things.”
Does the guest bathroom allow for a bit more freedom when it comes to a homeowner’s personality?
“As guest baths are usually small in size, this allows for more freedom and flexibility to use vibrant pops of color or a wall of bold wallpaper that you may not ordinarily use in larger, more inhabited spaces.”
Are bold colors becoming more prevalent?
“Bold bathroom schemes are definitely on the rise with people being more daring with colors. Smaller spaces can be enhanced with bold, dark colors. Try using an indigo shade in the guest bathroom as this will create an intimate, cozy feeling; perfect for a smaller bathroom. Paint the walls in Hague Blue and All White on the skirting and woodwork. Pair with curtains and accessories in complementary blues and the rich shade on the walls. This will create a wonderfully cosseting feel–perfect for the end of a long day. Adding the touches of bright white keeps the bathroom feeling crisp and fresh.”
What is the biggest color trend right now?
“An on-trend and bold color scheme that is perfect for any bathroom is Brassica paired with All White. It has an intense jewel-like quality that transforms a bathroom into an enveloping cocoon. This rich purple provides the perfect backdrop to shiny silver accessories.
“Create a zesty, effervescent bathroom with this year’s must-have yellow: Babouche. A striking, graphic flash of this vivid hue will really lift a neutral scheme, and particularly complements grays.”
What are some small touches that one can add to a guest bathroom so that it feels really welcoming?
“From a decorating perspective, if you have a well-ventilated bathroom, using wallpaper on a feature wall can create a real impact and a certain ‘wow’ factor. For something totally different, use wallpaper on the ceiling of the bathroom so when reclining in the bath the full magnificence of the ceiling comes to life.”
Small Touches to Create Ambience
Having a beautiful bathroom is about a lot more than just the right fixtures. It’s about setting the mood to help rewind from a tough day. Interior designer Andrea Schwartz and interior decorator Stephanie Kelley offer up these tips to smarten up your space and put you in full relax mode.
• To achieve a Zen feel, add a collection of glass or natural stones in your sink.
• Add an orchid (real or faux) depending on the room’s amount of natural light and your own skill level. (It’s a matter of watering or dusting.)
• Embellish the sink with a pretty hand soap dispenser and/or a simple bud vase with a colorful bloom.
• Put recessed and overhead lights on a dimmer switch to enjoy lots of light or a softer nightlight effect.
• Add a chandelier to up the glamour quotient; it’s so much more spa-like.
• To keep the glass enclosed showers looking their best, keep a squeegee in the shower to rinse off water spots when you’re done.
• Add pops of color to a neutral palette with fluffy towels or beautiful wrapped hand soaps.
• Hang a piece of art to add interest.
Can’t find the perfect piece of art to display? Then create your own! These pottery classes will help craft your creativity to fit whatever shape, function or fashion you envision.
By Hilary Adleberg
The Art League School
305 Madison St., Alexandria; 703-683-2323; theartleague.org
Bowman House Arts and Crafts Center
211 Center St. S, Vienna; 703-255-6308; viennava.gov
The Clay Queen Pottery
2303 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-549-7775
Creative Clay Studios
5704E General Washington Drive, Alexandria; 703-750-9480; creativeclaypottery.com
Lee Arts Center
5722 Lee Highway, Arlington, 703-228-0560; arlingtonarts.org/venues/lee-arts-center
Lorton Arts Foundation
Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road, Lorton; 703 584-2982; workhousearts.org; Dale Marhanka, ceramics director, firstname.lastname@example.org
9122 Center St., Manassas; 703-330-1040; manassasclay.com
The Potter’s Wheel Studio
25050 Riding Plaza, Suite 145, South Riding; 703-542-8956; potterswheelstudio.com
Reston Community Center
at Lake Anne 1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston; 703-476-4500; restoncommunitycenter.com
Round Hill Arts Center
6 W. Loudoun St., PO Box 3, Round Hill; roundhillartscenter.org
Thomas Jefferson Community Center
3501 S. 2nd St., Arlington; 703-228-5925; arlingtonva.us
Wakefield Recreation Center
8100 Braddock Road, Annandale; 703-321-7082; fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/wakerec.htm
By Hilary Adleberg
After restoring an unorganized friend’s home, Scott Roewer found his calling. Officially launched in January 2004, Solutions by Scott based out of D.C. offers professional organizing, event planning and style consulting services. Roewer shares some of his favorite tips and tricks on how to maintain and organized lifestyle—in both a material and mental state.
Why organizing? What attracted you to this career path?
When a friend who was disorganized went away for the holidays, I recruited some assistance and surprised him with a complete home and office reorganization/redesign. We painted, repaired a hole in the ceiling, organized 10 years worth of papers, bought new furniture and tackled all his closets. After he returned, he said I really changed his life for the better, and he told me people would pay me to do the same. He found me my first client and business took off!
What space do clients find to be most difficult to keep organized?
For many clients, I find that any ‘landing zones’ are areas they have a hard time keeping organized. It may be the kitchen counter, the top of a dresser, the entry table, the dining room table, coffee tables, etc. It’s a large flat surface with no boundaries. I recommend trays to help keep things contained to a smaller area. If it doesn’t fit on the tray, it needs to go somewhere else. Baskets work for some people, or smaller containers to hold specific things.
It’s often been said, ‘Clutter is a delayed decision.’ You don’t know what you do with a specific item, so you set it down. Second item gets set down in the same spot. That’s the birth of a pile. If you continue to not make decisions about where an item is going to ‘live’ than you have a growing pile of clutter. Stop that nasty cycle by making decisions about everything. Ask yourself, ‘What is it, does it belong somewhere else, do I need it; if so, where does it make sense to keep it/use it/find it, etc?’
What is your advice for clients that have smaller spaces to spread out in?
The most important rule is to ‘go-up.’ People tend to focus on the floor space and end up crowding their living spaces with too many pieces of furniture. Look at your walls and see how you can use them differently. Perhaps you have a piece of furniture that’s not maximizing the space. For example, this week, we worked with a client who had a very low TV stand. We couldn’t put anything on the narrow shelves under the TV. After we edited her belongings, we realized if we hung the TV on the wall, bought a sideboard/credenza to replace the TV stand, we would be able to store all of her music, DVDs, table placemats, napkins, candles and extra office supplies all in one piece of furniture in her studio apartment. She said, “I would have never thought to do that.” Having a fresh set of eyes look at your stuff and how you’re using your space can help rethink and improve the way you’re living.
When the economy got tough for many, people were moving less, and wanting to make their current residences double as their workplace. That’s when we got really busy. We were able to help people rethink, reuse, redesign, and reorganize their homes—improving the way they lived in their homes, not requiring a bigger space. For many, it isn’t that they didn’t have enough space, it was that they had too much stuff.
DIY Closet Organization Orientation
According to Roewer, “The most popular post on our blog, DeclutterYou.com, is one called Organizing Your Closet: A How-To Series. It’s a nine part video blog post on how to organize your closet like a pro.”
Redefining the Term ‘Home Schooling’
How do you teach clients to maintain an orderly lifestyle?
“I have a master’s in education, and though I may not be in a traditional classroom, I’m still a teacher. I’m just teaching a variety of clients the skills necessary to organize their lives.”
Can you briefly explain the organization process you offer?
“My company works with our clients’ habits, not against them. We have clients work alongside [us] so we can teach them as we’re working. Being organized isn’t something you do once in a while. You don’t hire a professional organizer and get your space organized and expect it to maintain itself. Organization is a way of life.
“Prior to the first appointment we ask clients basic questions like what’s not working, what their goals are, and what their expectations are. Some of the clients write us a few sentences; some of them write us a book!
“We begin the first appointment with a tour. We like to start with a complete understanding of the client’s needs, and we like to have a holistic approach when suggesting our plan of action. After the tour we start work on the area that warrants [the] most attention. At the end of the appointment we leave them with some ‘opportunities’—though my clients will tell you it’s ‘homework.’ Many like having specific things to do to move toward their goals, and we leave them [with] those opportunities. Most of our clients will work with us multiple times to accomplish their goals.”
In what ways do you believe an organized atmosphere affects a person’s life?
“I think organized people feel more in control. You gain space by being more organized. You save time and money because you’re not hunting for things, and you don’t buy to replace items you’ve lost. Organized people are more productive, because they have the ability to focus and have a better direction, and accomplish more in less time.”
What should people keep in mind when shopping for organizing accessories?
“One of the most important things to remember is that ‘buying’ stuff to help you get organized is counterproductive unless you know exactly how you’re going to use it. Have a plan before you go shopping. When I work with clients, I’m the professional who gives them the solution. We use whatever they own first, then purchase items to support the solutions if necessary.”
Let’s be real—it gets muggy hot here during NoVA’s summers. What better way to cool off, and update your home, than with a cool ceiling fan?
By Lorin Drinkard
Caruso Bronze Outdoor Dual Fan
Don’t let the heat and humidity keep you inside. With Fanimation’s brilliant adjustable motor heads, your patio/balcony will be a cool oasis in the blazing heat. $1,348. delmarfans.com;
Mistral Ceiling Fan by Moooi
Forget dusty fan blades. The chrome Mistral shade contains internal blades, giving the ceiling fan a sleek 2012 makeover. Prices may vary at select stores. moooi.com; +31 (0)76578444
Haiku Bamboo Finish Fan
While using 80 percent less energy than an average fan, the Haiku fan has been dubbed the most efficient, quietest and most sustainable fan available. Sheets of bamboo are bonded then cut and hand-sanded to create top-notch airfoils. $995. bigassfans.com/product/haiku; 1-877-244-3267
With the flick of a switch, the Fanaway brightens up a room with its pendant light and cools the space as the clear retractable blades are deployed. $349. hunterfan.com; 901- 744-1200
Size it up.
Thinking about adding an oversized fan to a small room? Think again. For eye-catching appeal, Bloxton recommends to keep in mind the space’s dimensions and square footage in order to keep the room aesthetically pleasing.
Watch your head.
“If you add a light kit, make sure everyone can walk underneath,” says Bloxton. “Shoot for seven feet of clearance.”
Hug less, flow more.
The biggest rookie mistake, though, when it comes to selecting a new ceiling fan is buying what Bloxton calls “hugger fans,” which don’t allow much air flow.” Especially on an eight-foot ceiling, you can still use a three-foot down rod,” says Bloxton.
Use wattage responsibly.
Many fans on the market now feature wattage limiters, which Bloxton says prevent light kits from exceeding a certain wattage. Energy efficiency is always a plus.
Find the perfect pitch.
The angle of the blades tremendously impacts the air flow. “It’s like standing in the pool when hands are at a slanted angle,” describes Bloxton. “You’ll chop more water at a steeper angle.”