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Mary's Drapes

Hi Christine,
I'm attaching pics of my bedroom that needs some drapery treatments.  I will be making my own drapes & have ordered a ton of fabric samples.  I've decided not to order anymore until I know what to look for. I need some direction. 
So, do I do a solid, pattern, what color?  Do I match the headboard or get something that matches the chair?  I've tried finding a patterned fabric that has both the peacock blue of the headboard & the golden yellow of the chair but they are usually on an off-white background.  Any fabrics with an off-white background look dingy against all the white in the room.  I tried some plain, solid, white drapes & they looked boring.  Not enough contrast.
I'm not asking you to find my fabric.  Just point me in the direction I should be going.  Any help would be appreciated.
Mary Evers
Hi Mary,
You are on the right track, just keep looking.  How's that for fancy advice. 
Example 1- Here is one that has the gold, the teal and white.  I'd get a sample- it's worth a look. 
Then we'll try another fabric...
Look at it next to the chair and rug...
If you wanted to bring some of your gold color in, you could with a tape down the vertical side of your drapes.
I would look for a teal and white geometric.  Here is another example:

I found another one for you- This one is my favorite yet. 
and with the rug: 
one more-
in the room:
Remember that you are not limited to the fabric patterns you can find.  With drapery panels, you can create your own pattern.  Use a solid, (or a pattern) and then have a band of 18" at the base or the top of a second fabric.  Or divide your panes into thirds, and bring in your teal, white and gold, similar to this room. 
Or simplify the whole process by using a solid or tone on tone white fabric.  White panels can be beautiful, with or without trim. 
Now for the advice you didn't ask for.  Your bed has too much white on it.  I like to break up beds by thirds.  You can have two thirds one color, and one third a second, or even three different colors.  You do this by having pretty sheets and folding back the coverelt, or putting a throw on the bottom third of the bed, or something similar. The bed above, for example, has a white coverlet, but you see the sheets, the trow at the base, etc.
Try a throw on the end. 
Can you see how that is better?
Don't worry about everything matching.  We want repetition of color, yes, and continuity, but perfect matching is something you find in a Pottery Barn nursury, not a professionally designed master bedroom. 

Megan from Nebraska

I have been looking for exterior paint colors for almost 4 months and bought so many samples and am so lost. Our painter doesn’t give much advice, and we have switched to different painters and they aren’t any help either. I am not great with style and coordination of colors. We live in Nebraska and we have lived in our current home about 2 years. I hate the current color!!
I’m not a fan of the siding or trim either but we are unable to change that financially right now. We are looking for a tan/grey--not too grey but not too tan. I like more grey than tan. Our painter doesn’t think white trim is a good idea as it would be too choppy.
Our current trim board is so thick and pinkish. We are replacing the windows which will be white. That weird design above the window is no longer there.  We will be replacing the front door, site light, and storm door (to be white) and garage door.  I need recommendations for paint color, trim color, and front door color. We have a small amount of red brick on our home, and a grey colored roof. Here is a picture of our home. We have tried posting on houzz and different forums for months but no one gives any ideas.
A few colors for exterior I like:  Benjamin Moore Briarwood
Sherwin Williams fawn brindle and Sherwin Williams Intellectual grey
The only trim color that I have been able to come up with is maybe revere pewter with briarwood? What do you think? please help!!

Hi Megan,
I think what is making your decision so hard is your painter's super bad advice.  White is exactly the color you should paint your trim.  With white windows, the decision is a "no-brainer".   In fact, if you don't, the white windows will stand out in a bad way.  The larger the window trim, the more rich the feel.  Another way to say that is that less expensive homes have smaller trim, nicer, more expensive homes have larger trim.  Sometimes it is a matter of older, more charming homes having the larger trim.  Either way, larger trim is undoubtedly the better look.  When you have white windows and you use white trim, it creates a "larger" trim feel.  Your painting contractor was exactly wrong.  Having white windows and NOT having white trim, gives you a whimpy, more choppy feel.   Contractors are not designers and while they have "seen a lot of jobs", and there might be some out there with good taste, I have seen many more that from a design standpoint don't know a thing, and spew very bad advice with such authority, that it's a damn shame. 
Use white trim.  Try to match your windows.  Pure White from Sherwin Williams is where I'd start.  Get a sample, and see how it looks with your windows.  We want them to blend together, and not look like two different colors. 
Your Benjamin Moore Briarwood was a great idea- It would look something like this:
Sherwin Williams Fawn Bridle will look something like this:
Sherwin Williams Intellectual Grey will look something like this: 
Here is another Intellectual Grey, which looks way more gray to me, re-inforcing the need for sample quarts. 
All of these are perfectly good selections.  If you want a stronger gray- consider Sherwin Williams Software.  It's a really nice color, and will look great with your brick, and a nice white trim.  ;-) 



David's Exterior


Hi Christine-


What Sherwin Williams exterior paint colors for base, trim and shutters would you recommend?


My wife does not like the flesh tone in the current base color (Utterly Beige) or the yellow in the trim (Woolskien). 


Roof is Certain Teed Weatherwood with various colors in it.


My wife likes Ethereal Mood (SW 7639) because it goes well with the stone and door, but there is too much green in it when we paint it elsewhere.


I would appreciate your recommendations if you have time to respond.  We are stuck and need to let the painter know soon.


We live in Georgia or I would call and hire you to come see the house and help us.


Best Regards,

- David


Hi David,


First, I will mention, that I consult with clients across the country, being local is certainly not necessary to receive my help.  If you think about it, many times designers help clients with homes that are not even built.  Being physically in the space is nice, but definitely not necessary. For those of you who would like a skype or phone consultation for paint selections, you can purchase it here. Good photos of your hard surfaces, stone, brick and roof are very helpful.

Now, on to David's house.  Ethereal Mood does have a green undertone.  Good job in not wanting to go there. Personally, I don't like stucco to look green or blue.  It's creepy.  Now, who doesn't look at that house above and think they made a mistake on their paint selections?  Green on siding or shake or board and batten, great- but nothing remotely green on stucco. It's just wrong.  I love to explain the why's of it- in this case- I'll just say it's wrong. (blue is also wrong)

(green shake- terrific!)


OK- now, for your "not green" house. 


I also have pretty strong opinions about dark colored stucco.  I'm not a fan.  Take a look at this:

I don't like it.  It's just not the natural color of stucco.  It's like when I color my kids milk green on St. Patty's day.  I won't drink it.  It's supposed to be white.  And stucco is supposed to be a shade of white or very light beige.


Now, compare that to this one: 

I like it.  Painting your exterior is not always the time to be creative and trendy.  This, to me, looks lovely. 


Here's another dark stucco: 


Is anyone else thinking- "lovely home, but bad paint selection..."?  Part of the problem is the lack of contrast with the wood, but fundamentally, the problem is simply that the stucco is dark, and would be a million times nicer in a light color.


I have another photo to show you:


Now, this (above) is what stucco is meant to look like. 


 On your home, I would use a field color like China Doll. 


I would trim it darker, in 7645 Thunder Gray.  The combination would look something like this:


Now, one more thing.  Here's the part where I give the unsolicited advice.  What is up with your curvy trim? 


I would use this opportunity, while you are painting, to replace that with a straight trim.  Please don't be too offended if you love it.  You have a lovely home, but that curvy trim just looks so strange to me. 


good luck with your project!

- Christine


Barbie's Windows 

Hi Christine.  I just recently came across your blog and thoroughly have enjoyed it!  I love your style and your talent is clearly reflected in your work! 
Sticking to short and concise:  Just moved into our first newly built home 5 weeks ago...and I'm having a hard time figuring out the best timeless/practical window treatment for these windows.  I was thinking of roman shades for the 3 long living room windows and also over the kitchen window.   But b/c of the cabinet to the right of the sliding glass door, I really don't know the best window treatment for this space.  Probably going with a very light gray/light yellow (since the sofa is light yellow) and beige theme for colors.  Open to any and all your ideas and suggestions!
I really appreciate your time and thoughts!!
- Barbie
Hi Barbie,
Roman shades are a beautiful option.  But, with or without them, I would definitely add drapery panels. 
The long panels add rhythm, and far more visual weight than just the Roman shades alone.  Hang them high, (close to the ceiling) and hang an additional panel to the left of the slider to cover the slider.  (same height)  I would stack them off to the sides, like in the photo above, maximizing the size of the windows, and nearly covering that wall.
The combination of Roman shades and drapes is one of my favorite combinations; a far more finished look than just the use of one treatment.  Layering gives the room more textural variety, as well as an overall more finished look.
Congratualtions on your new home Barbie!

Miranda's Fireplace Mantle

Hi Christine,
We have this 1980's oversized mirror in our two story living room. Love the functionality (can see the little ones upstairs) but hate the dated look. What do you suggest?



Hi Miranda,


My first thought is to replace it with a piece of art rather than another mirror.  The mirror is simply reflecting a ceiling fan, not exactly an awesome focal point.  Your scale is good, so I would look for something a similar size.



One example would be the piece below- 70 x 48 in size, Raindrops by Uttermost.


Or- if abstract is not your style, you could do something like this:  Serenity from Uttermost.  I used this in a commercial job once- a salon.  It was even more impressive in person.   I would then lose all of the little accessories on the mantle, and just add one plant or set of vases, on one side.  Like the photo below: 


I like how in the photo above the decor is sitting on the mantle rather than hanging on the wall above it.  I do that whenever I can, it helps to tie things together.  Another option is to have a set of things accross the mantle like these candles: 


The scale of your smaller decor can't support the larger scale of the piece above it, creating a disconnect.  It is currently working as two separate units, the small items sitting on the mantle, and the large mirror above it.  It should operate as one unit, overlapped and tied together.