Inspiring Decorator — Natalie Kolter — My Vintage Porch

Natalie Kolter is a do-it-yourself dynamo of a designer whose projects are her passion. And the best part is she’s happy to share and show (lucky for us!) exactly how she creates unique pieces and spaces from scratch for herself and her clients. Follow her blog for step-by-step explanations and videos of how she breathes new life into old finds, and how you can duplicate her look to make it your own.

1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?

I started my own path of design and decorating for other clients a few years ago. I began by painting and creating furniture pieces for clients’ homes, and then began receiving interest from clients for design and decorating. I love designing my own home. I would post projects that I would complete and clients just began to ask for my help with decorating their homes. It’s also a passion of mine to incorporate budget-friendly decor, which can encourage and allow anyone on any budget to have a gorgeous space of their dreams.

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I love whites and neutrals but also like to add a pop of color with a rug or small objects such as pillows or adding textures with woods and whites. This way I can change out my decor easily without feeling the need to change the wall color.

3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?

I have an artistic love as well, making me passionate about creating in every realm, whether it be decor, a painting, or painting a wall with an original touch. I painted a wall to resemble concrete and also made a brick wall with some joint compound and paint. I also painted my laundry room floor and made a barn door with a distressed technique that I love.

4. What’s your favorite trend right now?

I don’t get into trends too much, but I do like a little of the farmhouse style. I love to mix in original items, such as vintage and antique finds. Thrifting and finding original decor pieces helps a space to be less trendy and more timeless, in my opinion.

Suzanne C. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

Suzanne C. covered the windows in her cozy living room with our Select Tropical Isle Bamboo Shades in Bamboo Tortoise to create her own island paradise. She also added optional privacy liners for more light control and exclusivity.

Craig M. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

Craig M. thinks his new bronze Exterior Signature Sheer Weave 1% Solar Shades with a continuous cord loop are pretty cool. We do, too!

“They look great! Should make a big difference helping to keep our house cool, too. Installed on West-facing windows in Colorado.”

Like the look? We offer 1%, 3%, 5%, 10% and 14% UV-protective shades (1% blocks the most light, 14% the least). Check out our selection here.

 

Sally J. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

And we love the way her bedroom curtains complement her new  2″ American Hardwood Blinds in the color Eggshell. Sally opted for cloth tape binding in Cappuccino to really take it to the next level!

 

Inspiring Decorator — Gemary Ermus

The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them.

That’s why we’re excited about decorator and beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger and photographer, Gemary Ermus. And why we follow her. You’ll want to, too.

1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?

The ability to envision something in your head and bring it to existence is something that I have always been fond of. I have always loved and been interested in anything that challenges me creatively, whether that be a photograph, a video, a drawing, or my home. It is something that keeps me on my toes and something that I am very passionate about.

As a kid, I would get different journals every other week and fill it with drawings, sketches, quotes and ideas. I would cut out magazines and make collages and mood boards before I even knew there was such a thing. Then I got a computer, taught myself some mediocre web design and started my own webpage. This was before I even knew what a blog was!

Later, I got a hold of my first camera and fell in love with capturing moments, which eventually made me start an actual blog. Anything and everything that allows me to express myself creatively is and always will be something that I’ve been drawn to since the very beginning.

My mom influenced me a bit in that area as well. Growing up, there was never a lack of compliments from visitors on my mother’s interior design choices. Her garden was always the talk of the block and everything she did, design-wise, was done so meticulously. This rubbed off on me at a very young age.

Even though interior design is not my profession, I recently became a homeowner of a 1970s fixer-upper, and my love for interior design has never been stronger.  I like the challenge in bringing character and personality into a room or a home, especially one that desperately needs it. It’s like a blank canvas and you are the artist.

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Classic, bright, and minimal but cozy. I find that that combination makes for a more timeless design. I try my best to stay away from anything that is too trendy. I love mixing mid-century modern with vintage pieces, so I guess my interior style is modern-vintage with a tiny hint of farmhouse.

3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?

My favorite project so far has been our kitchen. Even though that is the only room in our house that is actually finished. I know I’m going to have a hard time topping it. The kitchen had to be completely remodeled, so essentially, we were able to build it from the ground up.

Each little detail was thought out and executed to my taste. Aside from all of the stress and hard work of completely re-doing a room, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you had such a big part in the design; you look around and you feel so at-home.

We’re excited, too, that we had a small part in the renovation of Gemary’s kitchen, where she used our Premier Woven Wood Shades in Bodhi.

4. What’s your favorite trend right now?

This is really hard to narrow down because I love so many home decor trends at the moment, but if I HAD to pick just one, I would probably say open shelving in kitchens.

After using my kitchen for a couple of months now I have really learned to appreciate the simplicity of open shelving. Even though you want your shelves to look aesthetically pleasing, everything on there has to be practical. You have to force yourself to be quite minimal and only own what you absolutely need.

SelectBlinds.com College Scholarship Winner Announced

May we have a drum roll please? Select Blinds is thrilled to announce the winner of its first annual $1,000 college scholarship. Congratulations to Jacob Hola, a premed and accounting student at Utah State University.

Jacob was selected for the scholarship award from more than 400 eager applicants. To apply, students were challenged to come up with creative things to do with window coverings, or a new technology for designing tomorrow’s window treatments. They also had to submit an essay on one of five different topics related to their field of study and how they could help make the world a better place.

While living in the Dominican Republic, Jacob was surprised what little people there knew about the world. In his essay, he described his ideas for spreading and sharing knowledge with people in more remote areas that could improve and change their lives.

“We don’t necessarily need a new idea to revolutionize the world, “ he wrote. “What we need is to share the ideas that we already have.”

In applauding Jacob’s ideals, our co-founder and CMO, Rick Steele, reiterated why Select Blinds fosters a culture of innovation and the importance of education in developing tomorrow’s innovators.

“We love and value innovation, education and passion, and that’s why we created a scholarship to help high school and college students achieve their potential.  It’s part of our belief, too, in the importance of giving back for the greater good of our communities. That’s why we’re super excited to award the first of what we hope will be many more – and larger – scholarships in the future.”

Know a deserving student who’d make a good candidate for next year’s scholarship? Send them this link for details on how they can apply.

Everybody, In the Pool!

Summer’s in full swing, and here in Arizona (where Select Blinds is based) we practically live in our pools to survive daily 110◦+ temperatures. So that pretty much makes us experts on pool parties.  Here are some ideas for great family-friendly pool games (or easily adaptable adult versions) to play to ensure your next party is a splashing success. For more ideas, get inspired on Pinterest, Google, or at your local pool store.

DIY Dive-Ins

Wet T-Shirt Contest: O.K., get your mind out of the pool filter and divide everyone into two teams in two lines at the edge of one end of the pool. Give the first person in each line an extra-large t-shirt to put on, then ready-set-go! The first two people must swim across the pool and back, then pass the wet shirt to the next ones in line who swim across and back, and so on. It’s a race to the finish to see which team wins.

Chicken Noodle Fight: The classic chicken fight is still a family favorite, but instead of using your hands, the team member on their partner’s shoulders uses a sponge tube to fend off their foe on the other team. Last one left standing wins.

Floating Battleship: Bring the popular board game to life by making your own or buying one of the many online versions available. (Try the popular battleship pong version for 21+ parties.)

Squirt Gun Races: String lines across the pool and push plastic cups across them using squirt guns.

Available Online or at Your Local Pool Store

Virtually any type of game you can play out of the water you can play in it. Look for the aquatic versions of your favorite sport and dive in! Float these ideas at your next party:

  • Floating golf
  • Water basketball
  • Water volleyball
  • Floating cornhole and tic-tac-toe
  • Floating casino

 

Pool Party Décor

Greet your guests with this cool arch easily constructed with beach balls and swim rings. Keep the party going at night by tossing glow sticks in the pool. And to shield you from too much fun in the sun, hang exterior solar shades. They’re a great option for patios, sun rooms and even gazebos because they’re weather and UV-resistant.

All American Pet Photo Day at SelectBlinds.com!

Beautiful Bula’s human is Amber G.

It’s All American Pet Photo Day, so we wanted to share some shots of our employees favorite fur babies here at Select Blinds.  Join in the fun on social media and post a pic of your pet with #AllAmericanPetPhotoDay!

 

Coastal Creations

Think “coastal” and what springs to mind? The beach, right? And who doesn’t love the look and feel of the beach? Coastal is a style all its own and one you can easily own whether you live by the coast or not.

Coastal design is a sensory experience. Creating your own seaside oasis – even in a Manhattan walk-up – takes just a few touches to evoke the feel of an ocean breeze, the sound of crashing waves and that sand-between-your-toes sensation. Coastal elements can complement any style, from Cape Cod cottage, to shabby chic beach bungalow, to minimalist, modern glam interiors. Combine coastal colors, textures and natural accents to create a zen-like summer sanctuary or casual year-round family vacay vibe anywhere.

Color – Get inspired by the changing ocean tides in creating a coastal color palette that works with your style. Paint a backdrop of soothing sage or sea foam green, cloud-white, aqua blue, soft gray. Pull in one or two contrasting or coordinating shades and pops of color with furniture and favorite accent pieces.

Texture – Borrow texture from the rugged shoreline or soft, sandy beach. Mix natural textiles like coral and driftwood with smooth ceramics and glass. Blend nubby, fuzzy fabrics with teak, rattan, bamboo, woven jute and grasses, or classic white wicker.

A smooth white dresser contrasts cleanly with a shaggy, soft silk rug and varying hues of silvery blue and gray in this master bedroom. The textured wallpaper and two-toned drapes effortlessly draw you through the room to the oceanfront view outside. Photo courtesy of Kim Van Hook

 

Coastal exteriors aren’t limited to Adirondack chairs and hammocks anymore. This modern beachfront patio features sleek teak, burled wood and woven rope textures atop a blue/gray-toned patterned rug. Remember to choose weather and fade resistant fabrics for outdoor spaces to keep your coastal theme looking like new longer. Photo courtesy of Kim Van Hook

 

Clapboard walls and siding are a coastal classic. Love how Melissa Michaels topped it with wallpaper and tied in more texture with bamboo shades. And those litte anchor hangers are too cute! Photo credit Melissa Michaels, The Inspired Room

 

Accents – There’s more to coastal accents than pictures of fish and seashells. Look for unique nautical and marine-inspired items to complement a favorite piece of art. Pick up a piece of coral from the beach, roll up comfy throws and towels in brightly woven baskets. Treat your windows to the look with white or weathered shutters. Complete the sensory experience with fresh beach-scented candles.

 

A stunning industrial-style chandelier anchors the modern coastal look in this condo. Large scale art, accent pillows, patterned wood credenza and real coral bring the space’s neutral base into focus without distracting from the beachfront view outside. Photo courtesy of Kim Van Hook