Question | How can I accessorize built-in shelves in my living room to achieve a warm, natural look and style?
Answer | This is a popular topic I discuss with most of my interior design clients. Even when a home is professionally decorated, it should reflect a sense of your personal origin and who you are now.
For your shelves, consider displaying your family’s handed-down treasures to showcase your heritage, while personalizing the space by adding collections and objects that are important to you.
For one of my clients’ shelving displays, I incorporated a few pieces of her small antique framed art, heirloom crystal accents she had received from a special aunt and prized decorative boxes. These items were chosen as a way of preserving memories. For a small taste of contrast, I suggested starting a collection of her own. With her love of color in mind, we found six red vases in various shapes and sizes, which were artfully displayed. To maintain color-balance, we included a new collection of decorative white books and installed a corresponding textile wall cover on the back of the shelf area.
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Q. | My husband keeps asking me to unbox some of his favorite keepsakes and put them on display in our home, but they feel more like mundane souvenirs to me. Help!
A. | Take it from me; I have seen countless marriages fester over the power struggles associated with how homes are decorated. An idea that can help is devoting a space your husband can call his own and decorate how he’d prefer — well, with a little help from you.
Focus on making the man’s space all he could wish for in a room. When that is accomplished, just think of all the other spaces in the house left up to you.
Start by assessing how his new space will be used. What are his hobbies? Does he have hunting prizes to display, such as that deer head stored in the attic? Will the space be used for card games, reading or watching television?
As his own personal “getaway,” this area should meet the challenge of creating a space where he can spread out and be surrounded by his own things. Keep in mind, this is one of those times when you might need the guidance of a professional. I often find I am able to take the conflict out of this process or prevent one from occurring. Ultimately, his new space may not be a castle, but it can be an at-home retreat any time he needs it.
Q. | Do you have design recommendations for a guest room that maximizes sleeping capacity, yet is cozy and beautiful?
A. | Think luxury, comfort and pampering, words I use to describe the perfect guest bedroom. For the guest rooms my team and I at Knotting Hill Interiors design, we like to give as much thoughtful consideration as we do to the master bedrooms.
Begin with a color scheme that will flow with the rest of the home, choosing soft, soothing colors and adding lovely window treatments and artwork. Include your own dose of personal thoughtfulness and anticipate every need of your guests, providing little touches that make guests feel welcome.
Many people make the mistake of putting leftover furniture they do not use elsewhere into the guest room. This has the effect of confusion and comes off like a bad college dorm room. Select furnishings with comfortable elegance and the genteel spirit that are the hallmarks of southern design.
For one client who often hosts her two sisters, I designed a luxurious guest room with two beds, each topped with a small head-canopy emerging from the wall. For most any guest room, I find southern principles are a helpful guide, including hospitality, comfort, heritage, romance and attention to detail.
Q. | What factors are important for a new kitchen island?
A. | Because the kitchen is the heart of most homes, the kitchen island is the center of activity. For stationary islands, I recommend maximizing practical-use options while still maintaining aesthetic design appeal.
With the help of a designer or renovation expert, the size and shape of your island is key so the finished result does not look contrived. Apply similar rules for placement, much like you would for large furniture. Keep a workable, walkable distance surrounding the island. Under-counter island microwaves or warming ovens save space and are handy next to small sinks for washing glasses or utensils while entertaining or cooking.
Myrtle Beach-based interior designer KIMBERLY GRIGG is the owner of Knotting Hill Interiors and specializes in designing, renovating and redecorating homes in the South and beyond. She also is author of “Secrets of Southern Design.” Visit www.knottinghill