Pamela Pierce Does It Again

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The new issue of Antiques Shops and Designers is out – and if you live in Houston, I’m sure you’ve seen it already, but I wanted to discuss a feature story in the new issue.  As always, the issue is online – which I love.  The magazine is always great with wonderful articles and even better advertisements from local designers.     Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a malaise – I look at all the design magazines, printed and online, and hardly anything seems to strike me.  I’m not really sold on all the bright interiors that the younger decorators love so much.  And I don’t get all the interiors where everything is so mismatched.   Maybe it’s my age.  Mostly when I look at magazines these days, it’s just  one boring house after another – or it’s decorating that I just don’t understand.  I don’t’  know if I’m being picky now that I am older, or if the quality of interiors aren’t what they used to be.   Only a very few magazines really grab my attention.   So, when this new issue came, I flipped it open – and almost started foaming at the mouth over the very first house.  Seriously.  I didn’t make it past this house for days.  I left my issue open out on the kitchen island and just looked at it each time I passed by.  Sick, I know.  But this house really, really moved me.  I’m almost embarrassed to tell you whose it is, because I feel like an obsessed fan girl – just loving everything she does.   So, care to guess?   No?  OK, it’s Pamela Pierce.  

 

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Whoa.   I could just crawl in this picture and move right in.    I’m not alone in being overwhelmed by this house – the writer, Nina Wickman, had a similar experience.  Nina writes “We have all heard about near death experiences and I think I just had one.  I went into a house that made me think I had died and gone to heaven.”   Glad to know I’m not the only idiot around here.  Nina – I can totally relate!    The owners recently built this house – moving from a much larger one.  They hired Pamela Pierce to do the interiors, while Robert Dame is the architect, and Dan Parker is the builder.   The house is done in white, with touches of blue, red, and lilac.   Some things came from their former house, repurposed, and others were bought for this house.  The walls and ceiling are the famous Segreto plaster (is there any beautiful house Leslie hasn’t done?) and the floors are limestone.  The windows are steel.   This room pictured above is the family room – done in white with a faded antique blue and white dhurri rug.   The only pattern comes from the blue and white Fortuny pillows, which also add an understated elegance.  The blue painted French cabinet, with a collection of Oriental vases atop it, comes from Watkins Culver.     I love the all white room – I can only imagine how gorgeous the sophisticated stucco wall treatment looks.   

But, what do you do when the homeowner tells you that red is her favorite color????

 

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You shop around until you find a pair of oversized doors from a French winery – painted oxblood red.  Stunning.  Absolutely stunning and genius.  Fall over dead gorgeous.   When you look at this – it’s like you are inside an antique Oxblood vase – paired with Oriental blue and white plates.    I can’t imagine how this came to be – was Pierce scared?  Was she worried?  Or did she forge ahead and know it would look as jaw  dropping fabulous as it does?    How was she so sure it would look this absolutely amazing?  Add Swedish antique chairs and tables to the mix, along with a pair of white washed wood balustrade lamps with perfect white shades.   That table!  Is there a prettier, crustier table anywhere?????    And finally, flank a pair of blue painted chairs next to the winery doors.   I imagine there’s a fireplace here somewhere – I wish there was another picture or two to see, but beggars can’t be greedy.   Do you understand now why I couldn’t get past this house to finish the magazine?   I might just have to blow it up and frame it to get over it.

 

 

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The dining room is reached through a tall arched doorway.   A large round table is set with chairs slipped in Rose Tarlow fabric.   The silk taffeta curtains carry the blue into this room from the family room.   The chandelier looks almost delicate with beading hanging in arches.   A mirror over a painted piece reflects it all. 

 

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.A closer view for your enjoyment.   And there is the French pot filled with white roses, of course.

 

 

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Through the winery doors is the kitchen – done in the homeowner’s favorite color.   The backsplash is antique French floor tiles from Chateau Domingue.   Shades made out of ticking cover the windows.  Notice the lights on the side of the sink.  A wonderful lantern hangs above the marble topped island, while an antique cow’s head is above the wood mantel.   Pierce knew exactly how much red to use – on the island and the stove cabinets.  The others are white.   How did she know that too much red would be too much? 

 

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The study has comfortable seating, slipped in lilac and white ticking.  The ottoman is just darling, with its ruffled hem.   Pierce always has best slipcovers, ever.   The shelves hold a collection of blue and white porcelains.  And watching over it all is a blue painted Swedish antique Mora clock. 

 

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A guest room is done in bluish gray and white strips, with gray and white bedding.   The wall hangings add a touch of whimsy. 

 

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The master bedroom has a custom mohair velvet headboard in aubergine.   Fortuny fabric adds the only pattern here, as it does elsewhere in the house. 

 

 

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Using heavy doors in that house isn’t a first for Pierce.  In another house, shown in Veranda,  she used these doors off the foyer – not Peking Red, these are more Persimmon – but are just as stunning.   Still, the red color is a surprise and is extremely successful in this mostly neutral house.  

 

 

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White rooms with touches of blue and red aren’t unique.   The trick is to not make it look like a star spangled banner interior.  Several popular designers frequently use red and blue and white together.   Lynn Van Kersting mixed Oxblood with blue and white oriental porcelains in this creamy white room.

 

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Mary McDonald uses red mixed with blue a lot.  Here, red curtains are flanked with huge blue and white pots.  

 

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Allesandra Branca often mixes blue in with her reds.  She is famous for decorating with vibrant reds. 

 

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Pamela Pierce is known for more sedate interiors – often almost minimalistic.  Fabrics are textures, not patterns.  And antique furniture is the focal point.

 

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I wish there were more pictures from this room. Eventually I did move on from this story – and finished the magazine. There are other beautiful houses in it – and wonderful stories about artisans and designers to read. If you live in Houston, pick one up, if not – read Antique Shops and Designers online, HERE.

Can you get the look of Pierce’s room on a budget?  Maybe.  Sort of.   She used almost all pricey antiques in this room, but there are some ways you could get the look at a more reasonable price.  First, paint the room a white – a cool white, not one with yellow undertones.  If you have a wood floor – consider painting it white or a light bluish gray.  The object is to get the feel of the room – and that feel is mostly white.   Another idea for the floor would be to cover the wood with custom cut seagrass and then layer the dhurri rug over it. 

 

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The easiest way to start is with the upholstery.  Ikea’s white slipcovered sofa is just $399.  Now, you could always upgrade the slipcover with beautiful white linen.  Bemz makes linen slips for Ikea’s sofa HERE.  I must admit that linen is more refined than denim or cotton – it looks so much richer.

 

 

 

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Copying the antique dhurri rug is hard, but not impossible.  Pottery Barn sells this dhurri.  

 

 

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Overstock.com had this dhurri – which is nice – but really, the background should be white with blue, not the other way around.

 

 

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Shades of Light sells this white with blue dhurri, which might be a good substitute.

 

 

 

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And Shades of Light sells this one too.   The stripes might be too beachy for the look, but google dhurris – there are a lot on the market.

 

 

 

 

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The gorgeous Swedish coffee table was harder to source.  I found this white washed one at HaloStyles.com – which is a wholesale company.   I would probably add more white paint to this to make it look closer to Pam’s table.   It should be crusty with layers of paint to get the same look.

 

 

 

 

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Not the right shape, but Wisteria has this Swedish inspired table which is very reasonable.  Again, it would have to have white paint added to it.

 

 

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The Swedish barrel chair was hard to source.  The Tara Shaw reproduction was the only one I could find – it is not cheap, but it would be worth the money if you wanted to achieve the same look.  An antique Swedish barrel chair is so very expensive – this copy would be worth it.  To be more authentic, the larger decorative nail heads could be removed for plain nails.

 

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For the side chair, Halo Styles has this Swedish chair that would be a good copy.

 

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Wisteria has this, while different, would fit in with the d├ęcor.

 

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For the two chairs flanking the red doors – Halo Styles has this beautiful chair – not blue, but you could paint it or just leave it white.

 

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Or, Pottery Barn has these copies.

 

 

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Visual Comfort sells these balustrade lamps which would be great – but I would get a round, white paper shade instead of this shape.

 

 

 

 

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Copying the armoire from Watkins Culver is hard.  But, you could always find one like this at Ballard Design.  It comes in this blue painted finish. 

 

 

 

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Blue and white porcelains are probably the easiest thing to find.  This set is from Wisteria.  I actually have it myself and for the money, it’s great.  You could buy two sets of 3 and mix them up to make a mass of color.

 

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Another hard item to copy is the Fortuny pillows.  There are a few companies that make copies of Fortuny, Brunschwig and Fils for one.  And you could search Ebay and Google for someone who sells original Fortuny.  Myself, I wouldn’t skimp on this design element.  It’s too important.  You could buy one or two yards of the fabric and make just two pillows.  With one yard, you could cover the front with the Fortuny and the back with white or blue linen.  The problem is though, I’m sure there is a limit on yardage of Fortuny!   Still, this is something I wouldn’t copy.

 

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The red in the room is another hugely important element.  Copying the barn doors is probably not realistic, but it could be done.  You could always go simple and buy a few oxblood vases.  The deep blue-red is the important element, there can’t be any orange in the color.  Another idea would be to buy red silk taffeta and make a pair of portieres to flank a doorway into the room. 

 

 

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Or, you could always buy old shutters like these – and paint them in the proper red tone – placing these next to a doorway or around a fireplace. 

 

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Lastly, though the Mora clock was in the study, I couldn’t resist.  This copy from Halo Styles would be perfect in the room in place of the armoire, especially if space is an issue.  And the price is much much less than an antique.

So, there it is!   While it doesn’t have the fabulous antiques, I do think you can get a family room with the feeling of Pam Pierce’s gorgeous room.  I’m sure she wouldn’t agree and is probably vomiting right now if she is reading this!!!    I’m sorry Pam – I can’t help myself!!!   Like I said, I can’t remember seeing a room this year that has made me so crazy with lust!!  Actually, not sure I have ever seen a room Pam has done that I haven’t been crazy about.   I need a shrink.

 

To read all about this house and many other gorgeous ones, be sure to get the new issue of Antique Shops and Designers – or read it online HERE.

Segreto Finishes on the Skirted Roundtable

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This week the Skirted Roundtable welcomes Leslie Sinclair, who owns Houston based Segreto Finishes.  Segreto specializes in paint finishes applied to walls, ceilings, and cabinets.  These finishes include a newly engineered stucco application, glazes, murals, and faux paint jobs.   Many houses I have shown in the past four years have been those where Segreto applied their magic.  And magical is exactly what their finishes are.  There is no way to adequately depict how beautiful Leslie’s finishes are in a photograph.  You almost have to experience them firsthand to truly understand their worth.   The finishes are subtle and textural – wrapping the room in a soft color while adding an air of sophistication. 

 

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This beautiful  house with plaster wall treatment by Segreto is an example of the usually large, custom houses that they usually work on.

 

During the interview, we discussed what is trendy today in paint finishes and what is no longer in vogue.  Wall  treatments evolve with the times just as interiors do.    Born with an artistic eye, Leslie left the corporate world to start Segreto which today has over 25 employees.  Many of the more gorgeous houses in Houston have been painted by Segreto, for they truly are the best at what they do.   As if running her own company and house, being a mother and wife wasn’t enough on her plate, Leslie recently compiled her portfolio into a gorgeous book – one of the prettiest design books of the year.  Page after page shows these fabulous interiors, all with her wonderful glazes and stucco finishes. 

 

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This gorgeous kitchen by Kara Childress features the glazes that Segreto uses on cabinets. 

 

Since doing an entire house in a specialty finish is not exactly cheap – most of the houses are large and quite luxurious.  But, recently on her blog, HERE, Leslie showed a townhouse that is owned by a former employee of Segreto.  The townhouse is now for sale for $385,000 – and is located in the Rice Military Section.   The paint finishes in this townhouse are gorgeous – and one can truly see what a difference her touch can bring to house, no matter what size it.   Since this house is more affordable than many of the Segreto’s usual million-plus customs, one can look at these photographs and imagine how one’s own house might look if given the Segreto touch.   This difference is amazing to me. 

 

 

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Now, take a look at this townhouse – owned by a former associate of Segreto. Three story, with 3 bathrooms, it is located in the Rice Military area. 

 

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The townhouse was plain when it was bought by the current owner.  Filled with builder finishes, the nondescript townhouse had walls with a blown on finish as did the ceiling.  In the great room, Segreto applied plaster to the walls and ceilings which envelopes the room in the soft color.   I think this picture truly illustrates what a difference the plaster makes to a room.  This plaster is different from the plaster of years gone by – and is a finish that Segreto is known for.  Look how gorgeous the ceiling looks!   It is so luminous and rich looking.  It’s as if the entire room is wrapped in this warm, glorious glow. The stucco finish makes a space look very custom.    I just love the way this room looks now~!!

 

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When the homeowner moved in, she had all her furniture slipcovered in neutral khaki and light blue fabrics.    French accents such as the candlesticks and trumeau give the room character.  The color of the plaster was chosen to blend in with the fireplace surround.  Also, it was chosen to match the molding. 

 

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The plaster finish is my favorite one.  I really love the sophisticated look it gives to a space.    This townhouse completely illustrates what a difference this finish can make to a room.

 

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Leslie helped the homeowner design the window treatments using a burlap fabric for the panels and the shades.  A cornice brings in the French blue found throughout the room.   I love that touch of blue.  Notice how the cabinet is also painted blue. 

 

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The granite really stood out because the cabinets were painted white.  Segreto applied a taupe glaze to the island and a blue glaze to the kitchen cabinets pulling in the colors from the living room.  By applying the colored glazes, the granite becomes more sedate.  In the breakfast area, a matching burlap shade was installed. 

 

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In the master bedroom – the walls were ragged in a soft blue.  Stencils were added to the ceiling.  Such a pretty room!

 

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The walls in the master bedroom are painted in the same blue of the basecoat of the bedroom.

 

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The guest bedroom is painted a soft neutral. 

 

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The downstairs sitting room is painted all one color – walls, molding, and ceiling.  This creates that enveloping feel – soft and custom looking with no contrasting moldings.  This is a great way to update your look – it’s more “today” than a white ceiling with white moldings and darker walls.  Wall to wall seagrass is installed in all the bedrooms – which I love.  Darling room!

This townhouse is for sale at $385,000.  To contact the owner email her at lesliecarrigan@gmail.com

 

 

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AND to order Leslie’s book, Segreto, go HERE.

 

Please be sure to listen to Leslie Sinclair’s interview on
The Skirted Roundtable – it’s a good one with lots of information to learn from
, HERE

 

psst.  Guess who is our next guest on The Skirted Roundtable?  He’s a Million Dollar Decorator, darling!!!

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: RED!

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Recently, interior designer Cheryl Ketner from Plano, Texas submitted her kitchen for the Readers Kitchen Series.  When I looked at her photographs, I was intrigued.  Most kitchens that have been submitted have been white or some variation of white.  This kitchen was red!    Through the years I’ve been accused of showing only houses with gray paint and white slipcovers.  I thought that this would be a perfect departure from that norm.  I asked Cheryl to send more photographs of her house and was pleased to see that it was a total renovation – taken from plain builders grade to custom.  I love total redos – I think they are a great help to those of you who are currently undergoing a renovation.  Here are the before and after pictures of the “Red House.”   Enjoy!

 

 

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BEFORE:  The house in Plano, Texas was a typical red brick home when the Ketners purchased it.   Cheryl, an interior designer, sometimes works on projects with her husband Kerry, who is a contractor.   Of course, this was one job they both were heavily involved in – their own house! 

 

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AFTER:  in an unusual twist – the brick was painted a dark taupe color, but a row of red brick was left exposed around the windows – which highlight their arched shapes.   This is such a great idea.   Also, the trees were thinned out and the landscaped beds were greatly enlarged, creating much prettier curb appeal.

 

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BEFORE  The Entry Hall:  The house had good bones, pretty moldings and high ceilings.  But, Cheryl loves bright colors.  Builders grade cream paint would never do for her.

 

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AFTER: Bright yellow paint fills the house.  The moldings are painted white to highlight them.  And red is introduced at the front door through the lampshades and chair fabric. 

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A variety of rugs cover the entry hall floor.  Cheryl loves symmetry – as you can tell by this perfectly balanced vignette.  I’m a symmetrical person too – you either are, or aren’t.  Notice how the large mirror is the exact right size for this area. 

 

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BEFORE:  The living room and dining room are off to the left side when you enter.  This room was carpeted.

 

 

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AFTER:   The bright yellow room is now carpeted in wall to wall seagrass.  Love that.   An Oriental rug is layered over the seagrass.  Red and  yellow toile curtains hang in the living room and the dining room – to the right.    A daybed takes the place of a regular sofa and the large armoire anchors the furniture arrangement.

 

 

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The Ketners – Kerry and Cheryl.  This is the only picture of the dining room – so you can see the homeowners too!!!!   I wish we could see more of the room – the chandelier,  and the table.  Notice the elegant shades that are layered behind the curtains.   Very pretty picture Cheryl!

 

 

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BEFORE:  The family room had a blah looking built in and was carpeted.

 

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AFTER:  The Ketners added hardwood floors in here and layered oriental rugs over them.  Again, the walls are the same shade of yellow – makes for great continuity when all the public rooms are painted the same.  Amazing – the bookcase looks brand new, but it was just painted black and lights were added to the top.   Corner fireplaces can be tricky when arranging furniture – but Cheryl came up with the perfect solution. 

 

 

 

 

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Here you can see into the living room and dining room from this view.  And you can see where Cheryl added lights to the bookcase – making them seem much more custom.  Great idea.   It also looks like crown molding may have been added to the bookcase too.  The mantel was painted to match.  Luckily, the tile surround was already dark and didn’t need to be changed.

 

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Before – The  Butlers Pantry, between the dining room and kitchen,  was stained the same as the bookcase. 

 

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TODAY:   Fauxed black with red undertones, the paint completely customizes the pantry.  Also new hardware updates it, along with seeded glass in the doors.   All great ideas to emulate when updating cabinetry.

 

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BEFORE:  Looking from the family room into the kitchen, with more light stained cabinets.

 

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AFTER:  The bar’s countertop was extended to make it more usable.  And new tile was added – placed diagonally, which helps expand the room. 

 

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BEFORE:  The footprint of the kitchen didn’t change at all.  But, all the design elements did.

 

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AFTER:   New granite countertops and stainless appliances, along with a new tiled backsplash make the kitchen  more custom.  But, the biggest change is the red painted cabinets.   They were fauxed to add more dimension to the paint job.  New hardware was also added.  The pantry door was painted black – a trick I like to do too.  Who says a kitchen has to be white????

 

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BEFORE:  The powder room was nothing special.

 

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AFTER:  It is now a little jewel box with richly veined marble and a red oriental cabinet.  Grasscloth on the walls adds texture. 

 

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The Master Bedroom has the same paint – with a newly added textured carpet.  Mismatched tables add interest.   I really like the shades here – very pretty.

 

 

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The guest room has brown and white bedding mixed in with greens and blacks.   I love the touch of green.

 

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BEFORE:  The guest bathroom.

 

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AFTER:  Two great ideas to update a 90s bath without breaking the bank.  Remove the cabinet hanging over the toilet!  And raise the shower curtain to the ceiling.  It looks so much more custom when raised.  Add a mirrored frame around the mirror and new marble countertops to take it a step further. 

 

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The office is dark brown and very dramatic.  The light colored desk pops against the dark walls.  Red pops up in the accessories and the fabrics. 

 

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And here, in another room, the same dark walls are the perfect backdrop to the wall of art – another way to decorate without breaking the bank.  Purchase identical frames and blow up your favorite family photos.  The white mats really pop against the dark, brown walls.   Again, red shows up in the fabric.  Love that carpet. 

 

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BEFORE:  The back yard – with the red brick. 

 

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AFTER:  With the brick painted a dark stone color – Cheryl added a mirrored trellis to the brick to create a focal point.  All the outdoor furniture is covered in red and white fabrics – bringing the inside – outside.  Another great way to add continuity to the design.

 

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BEFORE:  The back yard was all grass leading up to the fence.

 

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AFTER:  Now, instead of just grass, there is a large deck with benches that surround it.  Again the red follows from the inside out. 

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the Ketners colorful home!   They took a rather bland house and turned it into a cozy, warm and inviting home – by painting it a bright yellow and using  vibrant red throughout.

To read more about Cheryl, visit her web site HERE and to learn about Kerry’s contracting company, go HERE

 

A million thanks to Cheryl and Kerry for inviting us to peek into their house!!!