The Cozy Home by Carriann Johnson


by Carriann 5 Dec 2014

We all want it. Here's how you get it...


Happy December, everyone! Can you even believe that I'm saying that? I can't either.  It feels like yesterday that I was telling myself, "Christmas is only 4 months away!" Ahhh! And here we are. As temperatures plummet, it's only natural to start craving comfort foods like chili, meatloaf, and hot cocoa. The electric blankets are making their way from the hall closet to our beds. Those warm sweaters and extra thick clothing items are pushed to the front of our closets as our calendars inch closer and closer to "First day of Winter". The reality of the season is upon us. (Sniffle).


While many of us anxiously wait all year for the soothing temperatures of Summer, most of us live in climates where temperatures drop and seasons change. So if you can't afford to move to the Canary Islands where temperatures year round are 64 - 77 degrees, then why not embrace each season by looking at the positive? After all, attitude is everything, right? Part of that attitude is acclimating to the changes that need to take place in our homes. While it may be chilly outside, consider some of my design tips to cozy up your home this winter!


Add A Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace


I was sitting in the lobby of a local business and saw one of these mounted on the wall. As I walked over it to it, I discovered that it actually was radiating heat from it! "How awesome is that?" I thought. Imagine the possibilities in your home? How about that room that never seems to get warm enough? That space that doesn't allow for a fireplace but you've always wanted one? In your dining room where you know you'll be entertaining guests anyway? After a few minutes on the internet, I discovered all different shapes, sizes, colors, and price ranges on these. Perhaps there's one that meets your needs?

A Basket of Slippers


Place a basket of slippers near the front door to encourage guests (and yourself!) to keep their feet warm. Cold feet and hands are to be expected in the winter months....but they don't have to be inside your home. Find a large, fun basket that coordinates with your décor and fill it with 6-8 pairs of slippers. Make them different colors and sizes to accommodate everyone. I can promise you that you will love this idea, especially when you notice your basket is empty and smiles are all over your home!


Soften all those hard surfaces


Our senses are a portal to our moods. Ever notice how everyone starts to feel better as we approach the dinner table for a meal? Or how we immediately feel like taking a nap when we snuggle up on a cozy chair or sofa? Or how happy we may feel when we hear one of our favorite songs as we enter a restaurant or a clothing store? The smell of apple pie or cinnamon can calm our soul. Upon discovering a faux fur pillow or blanket, we may find ourselves protecting it like a newborn!  Our surroundings can surely alter our moods. Successful interior design occurs when the human element is considered.  Spaces can have the illusion they are colder than they actually are when they don't invite us into them. Here is my list of items to add to hard surface spaces that immediately add the cozy factor:


* Add a wool or heavy cashmere blanket and/or pillows to a leather sofa.


* Add a rug under seating areas, even if the floor is carpeted. (Rugs also help define a space, so it's a double win!) Add rugs to hard surfaces like tile and wood floors. Especially under dining tables and kitchen tables. Feeling something soft under your feet while you eat encourages you to slow down, enjoy your meal, and the moment.

* Add florals, silks, or artificial greens to tabletop areas. A space that has a lot of hard surfaces will also have a lot of noise reflection. If you can hear an echo in your space, chances are it needs some 'warming up' with the right décor items. Adding florals is the fail-proof cure.  Notice how this foyer looks in this home. The floral on the hall table, the rug, and the pillows and throw on the bench all invite you into this warm and cozy space.


Illuminate!


I can't say enough great things about candles. Not only do they add color to our spaces ,but (when lit) they add ambiance. They let off heat. They change the entire mood of a space! Coordinate with your seasonal décor and don't forget....to use them!! Light them. All of them!!

Window Coverings For Warmth


You wouldn't bake a birthday cake and not add frosting to it, right? The same idea applies to great spaces. They are by far one of the most overlooked areas of your home that add function, style, color, warmth, design, and help insulate. I've always loved standard window panels to complement windows. Choose a panel that is a part of your color palette within the space. You'll be happy you did!

Warm Colored Shades


Choose a color palette that coordinates with the colors in your space. A warm color will always soften the look in your room and create warmth. And if you select just the right color,
you will have a timeless look that lasts for
years to come.

Follow these tips when making your home cozy this Season and it will have you feeling warm all the way to Spring!


Happy Decorating! 


 

Carriann Johnson

Designing for the Holidays


by Carriann 11 Nov 2014

Can you feel that new vibe in the air? Decorations and colors of all kinds for every holiday are creeping their way into retailers. One store has up Christmas trees, the other already has lit up pumpkins on clearance and now fashion retailers are starting to promote Spring fashion! It's a crazy time that can frantically drive someone right to Pinterest just to obtain some visuals on this madness. Even as an Interior Designer, I can spiral into a panicked dance like that of a squirrel trying to cross the road (and then changes his mind to dash back to the ditch). This is that time of year where we start thinking about all of the holidays that are fast approaching. And it seems that once Halloween is upon us, the ball starts rolling and our homes become the stage for gatherings, festivities, hosted parties, and tons of hungry mouths. From our dinner tables to our fireplaces, our homes become the backdrop for 4 wonderfully fun holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And if you're like me, you like your home to keep you, your family, your friends, and your guests in the holiday spirit! With all the craziness and hectic schedules of our lives, sometimes the simple things like sipping a hot apple cider on a Sunday afternoon, smelling the aroma of a nutmeg candle on November 21st, or hearing a crackling fireplace in the middle of December can sooth our soul like nothing else.  But before you daydream of those blissful moments, let's plan. The stage is our home and I'm happy to navigate you through the process of Decorating your Home For the Holidays! (This is a good time to set the mood by playing your favorite music in the background while you read the rest of this article. :) )

Step 1 - "The Swap"

It's easy to incorporate new seasonal décor, but how do you avoid that cluttered look? Swap out items already in your spaces with seasonal items. Don't just add items without subtracting others. For example, if you are decorating for Thanksgiving, swap out your current candles or centerpiece with one that is filled with Fall colors. Change out plain white candles with deep red ones or butterscotch colored candles. Swap out your everyday sofa pillows with seasonal pillows. Exchange your standard white lamp shade with a red one at Christmas, and so on. Think of ways to incorporate your theme and colors of the season and swap them out with fun, festive items!

Step 2 -  "Complement and Coordinate"


I've seen far too many people make the mistake of incorporating Holiday décor into their existing styles and not take their existing space into consideration. They love their holiday décor and they love their everyday décor but they don't like when the two come together. Here's how you avoid this common mistake.... Choose seasonal and Holiday décor that complements or coordinates with your existing colors and styles. For example, if you have a modern living room that has dark blues, browns, and ivories in your color palette, don't add the traditional red and green Christmas decorations. Consider adding all silver décor, gold décor, or even blue décor. It's out there, trust me. Christmas colors are no longer just red and green and Thanksgiving colors are not just orange and red. While shopping, I've seen fun things like purple pumpkins, lime green pilgrim statues, and even a solid orange Santa Claus! Take some time, shop wisely, and you will find just what your space needs to compliment your existing style.

Step 3 -  "Quality Over Quantity"

 

Our homes can start looking more like we are having an indoor garage sale than celebrating the current holiday. Your home will look like your hired a Designer when you keep things simple and choose your holiday décor wisely. I'd rather see a huge holiday wreath over your mantle filled with quality gourds, tasteful colors, and a unique flare to it (and that's ALL), than a living room that's filled with 25-20 small items crammed on to every end table, coffee table, and hanging from the ceiling with colored string. This is a time where less is more. Invest in a great holiday accent item that makes a statement. Thick outdoor garland with ample amounts of lights on it streaming around your front doorway with a natural pine wreath will look far nicer than a front porch that has so many plastic blown up holiday creatures you can barely stand on the porch with them. Save the front lawn for that, it has more room!

Step 4 - "Don't Forget Those Shades!"


I'm not talking sunglasses here. Take a moment and pause...and think of that busted cord, the discolored shade, the blind that no longer works, the window covering that you despise but have been putting off its replacement...what about that window covering that doesn't block that nasty winter draft? You know who you are and yes, I'm talking to you! Hasn't it been long enough? It's time to take some action. I've already done some of the work for you. When that time comes that you're sitting in your living room celebrating the holidays, you'll thank me as you gaze upon your windows and can't take your eyes off the gift that you purchased for your home...WINDOW COVERINGS! Here are some of my recommendations for great windows shades for this time of year. Not only do they provide an insulating component and help with those nasty drafts, but they look fabulous!

Wood Alloy Shades.

Not only do wood alloy shades add richness and elegance to your space, but the fit just about any style!  These are great for a variety of styles such as Traditional, Coastal themes, Modern, and even Cottage Style. The thickness of each wood slat provides the perfect barrier for any drafts. The S-Curve option adds a new dimension and an elegant look to the blind. The no-holes privacy option is also available on these wood alternative blinds.


Designer Screens.


These stylish window shades will compliment any space! I promise you won't regret selecting these in your home. These shades gently filter sun light providing UV protection and minimizing glare while maintaining your view outside. They also allow the beauty of all Seasons to be seen, even when they are lowered. These are perfect for styles such as Coastal, Modern, and transitional. Ideal for living rooms, theatre rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

Follow these tips when getting your home ready for this Holiday season and you're sure to be all smiles! 

Happy Decorating! 

 

Carriann Johnson

The Chill is Creeping In...Time to Warm Up!


by Carriann 7 Oct 2014

The smell of freshly sharpened pencils are now replaced with that earthy nip in the air. Your mornings may greet you with thoughts of turning on your furnace while you drag yourself into this new time of year. But there is such a beauty that comes with the Fall Season!! And if you're like me, it's your favorite time of year. Candy corn is pouring into my bloodstream like water and my creativity shoots though the roof!  This season not only begs for a palette of harvest colors in our home, but spaces that embrace us and bring warmth as the cold creeps in. With all that excitement going on outside, why not bring some of it indoors? If you like your home to have that Fall Festive Flare, than consider some of my design insights and I promise your home will hug you! As you prepare for Fall, consider some of these items and I promise that your home won't have you feeling the cold.

Consider some of my favorite items to add to the Season:

Wreaths. They're not just for front doors! Consider a wreath that is made of branches and add your own gourds, mini pumpkins, ribbons, Fall ornaments or even earthly items you find outside in nature.  You can hang them with ribbon over large picture windows, above your fireplace, in stairwells, on accent walls, or even on interior doors such as pantries and closets.


Candles & Scents. There are so many great scents out there to capture the mood of the season. And they can take you well into Thanksgiving. Cinnamon, Apple Spice, Cider, Pumpkin, and fig are all great options that will fill your home with amazing seasonal scents. They also add a great splash of Fall color! Plug-ins with these great smells will add that extra zest in your home as well.

Fall Garland. Wrap around chandeliers, doorways, mirrors, fireplaces, stair railings, and even windows.

Earthy Finds. What's so wonderful about this time of year is the many places you can venture outside and collect the dried and dead items that are all around our Fall landscapes. Things like twigs, wild grasses, acorns, branches, nuts, and cattails are easy to find. Purchase a can of orange, brown, or black spray paint and paint a few items for an inexpensive way to make your home super festive!


Throws, pillows and Slippers. Not only does a warm cup of coffee or cocoa warm us up, but so do those soft elements that invite the 'cozy factor.' Adding items like a basket of slippers right near your front door encourage yourself and your guests to kick off those shoes without losing the warmth. Purchase as many as you need in different sizes and leave in a decorative basket near your front door or where guests enter your home. Soft blankets and throws in Fall colors will bring those festive colors into your space as well. Accent pillows with Fall patterns or embroidered seasonal images will make your space pop with fun designs.

Faux Leaves. What an inexpensive way to add huge fun to your home! Sprinkle faux leaves on side tables, a dining buffet, dining table centerpieces, decorative shelves, and even bath tub surrounds. You'll be amazed at how much they add to the feel of the season! 


Enhance Your Window Coverings


Now is the best time to upgrade your window coverings to ones that will insulate and eliminate those nasty drafts that make their way through our windows.  Take it one step further by caulking all windows prior to installing your new shades! Consider these shades to help insulate your windows and help with those ever increasing utility bills! When shopping for the perfect shade, keep in mind...the more fabric and material that is up against your window, the more insulation you will have.

Roman Shades. They provide a tailored look and offer durable fabrics to block out those unwanted drafts. You can choose from the hobbled option, top down bottom up, continuous cord loop, and cordless for additional safety. You can also add liners to the shades to allow even more energy efficiency.  I love how Roman Shades add that touch of elegance to your space. Coordinate with a color that already compliments the color palette within your space. If you have a sage green comforter ensemble, consider a shade green roman shade to tie the color in throughout your room. These are great for a variety of styles such as Traditional, Coastal themes, Modern, and even Cottage Style.


Double Cellular. When it comes to extreme temperatures, two cells are always better than one! The Double Cellular Shade offers two cells of fabric which offer that extra insulating factor. Cellular shades are timeless and fit any style of décor from Ultra Modern to Traditional. Choose your colors and designs wisely and you will have window shades that compliment your home for years. Consider patterns such as Corkboard Granite, Iron Scroll Black Rose, or Brushed Orange Linen instead of a standard white or off white and your space is surely to look as if you hired a professional Designer!

Left: Corkboard Granite

Middle: Iron Scroll Black Rose

Right: Brushed Orange Linen

 

Follow these tips when getting your home ready for this fall season and you're sure to flash a warm smile!

Happy Decorating! 



 

Carriann Johnson

Light The Mood in Your Home


by Carriann 29 Aug 2014

There are several key ingredients to creating great spaces within your home, but they all end with an overall result... "What mood does the space leave?" Successful spaces are the result of all key ingredients merging into one and working in harmony.
 
Lighting is one of these ingredients. And let's face it, lighting can drastically change the feel of a space. So where does our lighting come from? There's natural lighting (windows) and artificial lighting (fixtures).  Fixtures are specific in living areas such as kitchens and baths. Natural lighting is less specific and fills a room with more ambient light. But we are still left with the challenge of controlling both light sources. Window coverings allow you to control and direct natural lighting. They also dress up your window and enhance your space. Your space can be designed beautifully, have amazing textures, rich colors, eye catching décor, and just the precise amount of plants and fresh flowers. But if you're lighting is off, it will kill the entire look. It's like having a designer outfit on, looking your best, every hair is in place, but you wear an outdated, hideous pair of shoes. You kill the entire look! And once you realize it (if you do), the mood is negatively influenced. The reason many Homeowners are unsure of lighting solutions is because they simply don't have the tips and tricks of the trade. Keep reading, because I'm about to share some juicy information with you! Here are 4 popular spaces in homes today and some key points for each. Follow my designer tips and you'll soon be celebrating the very mood you wished to achieve!

Family / Living Rooms

We love our family rooms! After all, it's where we spend our time either relaxing, being a family, playing a game, entertaining, or watching our favorite TV show. This is a space where controlling light is critical, depending on the activity in the space.

  • Keep colors muted. Earth tones and neutrals will always create a soothing mood.
  • Window shades that work best for this space: blackout (for television viewing), shades that allow directional tilting such as wood blinds or sheer shades.
  • Choose a color and shade that compliments your current décor.
  • If you have an accent wall in your space, consider a window shade that coordinates or matches your wall color.
  • Choose textures and colors that invite the 'cozy factor.'  Plush throws, oversized pillows, upholstered furniture, soft rugs, and controlled lighting will all allow just the right mood for this space.
  • Don't forget the dimmer switch! Dimmer switches allow you to control the level of your artificial lighting. Plus, it's a small investment that offers a substantial influence to the mood of your space!

Kitchens / Eating Areas

Our kitchens have become an extension of family rooms. They're where we gather the most. After all...the stomach knows best, right?

  • Lively prints and bold patterns will enhance this space. Consider a Roller Shade or Roman Shade for this space.The possibilities are endless with these types of shades. You can choose patterns and designs that coordinate with your décor as well! 
  • Have fun with your colors here. Since you don't want to fall asleep in this space, don't go overboard on your muted palette. Colors that lift your mood such as reds, oranges, and yellows are perfect in kitchens.
  • This is usually the first or second room we enter as we start our day! Choose colors, textures, and décor that invite you in and lift your mood.

Bathrooms

Oh, the poor bathroom. Our lives are so busy these days, they can look more like a chemistry lab or laundry room than the retreats we need them to be! If you desire a space that invites you in the morning, and resolves you at night, follow these tips....

  • Keep your colors rich and muted. You can never go wrong by choosing soothing wall colors in this space.  Consider a Roller Shade, Roman Shade, or Cellular Shade for this space.
  • Since bathrooms require privacy, consider a top down bottom up shade. This allows more control of your natural lighting and privacy.
  • Keep décor and textures simple.
  • If you want that spa-like feel, visit a local spa and take note of how they treated the space. Colors and textures will all create a mood that soothe.
  • Personalize this space if you need! I love photos so, if your pup Baxter is the apple of your eye, consider a cute picture of him on your vanity. His wagging tail and sincere eyes will surely put a smile on your face. And what a great way to start your day!

Bedrooms

They're our sanctuaries. They're the space that is most personal to us and often a space that either hugs us, or frustrates us. Follow these tips, and the frustration will fly away....

  • Choose 2, no more than 3 colors to design this space.
  • Select a rug, bedspread, or artwork to serve as the inspiration for the room. Build your entire design for your space around that item.
  • Keep lighting soft, soft, soft! Avoid artificial lighting that is fluorescent, too bright, or too harsh. Lamps or chandeliers are always a sure decision. 
  • Consider blackout window shades. A Cellular shade, Roller shade, or Roman shade offers this feature. Who doesn't want the option to control natural light in a sleeping space? Afternoon nap anyone? Morning sun too bright? :)
  • Avoid the clutter. Our lives are hectic enough so, why would you allow your sanctuary to get that way?
  • Don't forget that dimmer switch!

Use these above guides when creating your spaces and you're sure to love the moods they create! The elements that come together when the right lighting is achieved transform a room into a seamless combination of functionality and style. When you have the knowledge, you have the confidence! Happy Decorating!

 

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Carriann Johnson

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