Sandra H. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

Sandra H. loves the look of her classic white wood shutters (loosely translated, meaning our Designer Wood Shutters in Blanco). We love how they look framing her door, layered next to that wonderful white interior brick. And how they make a neat hideaway (when closed) for spools of thread. That’s a really creative storage idea, Sandra!

Warming Hearts with Holiday Hearths

Photo courtesy of Julie Lancia, The Design Twins

Nothing says the holidays like family and friends gathered in front of a roaring fire. Adding to the warmth are mantels and hearths adorned not just with carefully hung stockings, but decorations rich with family tradition, touches of nature and perhaps imaginings of Christmases yet to come.

I’ve never had a home with a fireplace to decorate, but I’ve always been enchanted by — and a little jealous of — my friends who do, so here are a few ideas to welcome ole St. Nick as he emerges from the chimney. I bet with festive fireplaces like these he’d forget all about the milk and cookies!

My friend Julie recently posted this amazing pic of her fireplace on FB. (Wish I had room to share all of the pictures of her beautifully decorated home she took.) Is that not one of the most incredible collections of nutcrackers you’ve ever seen? They are her son’s, she told me. Her sister started it by giving him his first for his first birthday, which is just a few days before Christmas. He turns 17 this year, and with other friends and family taking his aunt’s lead, now has more than 80, which Julie lovingly displays each year. (I think she’s going to have to find a bigger mantel soon!)

Photo by Julie Drzewicki Rubis

One of our favorite Inspiring Decorators here at SelectBlinds.com is Cynthia Harper. This season the owner of Esty shop Harper and Arrow decided to use vintage brass candlesticks  on her mantel, grouping them together to make the most visual impact.

“Every year I like to incorporate at least one vintage item on my mantel,” she says. “I believe vintage items connect us with Christmases past, and they remind us of those who’ve lives were lived before ours.”

She also suggests incorporating natural elements from outdoors, things like fresh greenery, eucalyptus and wooden branches, to add warmth and texture.

We also asked The Design Twins, Jodie Kammerer and Julie Lancia, how they were sprucing up hearth and home.

“Keeping with tradition this year,” Julie said, “I decided to return to a classic palette of green and red. Large poinsettias flank doorways, simple evergreen boughs frame archways, banisters and doors. Unadorned small Christmas trees in baskets are found in almost every room, making the house feel like an evergreen forest. Bright red comfy pillows and thick woven blankets invite friends to grab a cup of cocoa and sit awhile next to the roaring fire. It’s fun to finish with details like red boots and a traditional sled adorned with evergreen and vintage skates. These pieces add charm and character to the holiday scene. Now it’s time to sit back and let the festivities begin!”

Photos courtesy of Julie Lancia, The Design Twins

How do you decorate your holiday fireplace? Please share your favorite ideas with us in the comments here on The Blinds Spot! We’d love to hear from you!

Guy L. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

“Fantastic!” is what Guy L. had to say about his new cordless Premium Plus Roman Shades — his third order from SelectBlinds.com in as many months. 🙂 Guy replaced his home’s original, years-old cellular shades with updated fabric romans in a classic fold. He seamlessly melded together his kitchen/great room windows into a smooth, cohesive design, going with a lightly textured Hazy Sky color. And, he reports, he single-handedly hung all four shades in less than an hour! Very impressive, sir!

premium plus romans

premium plus romans

premium plus romans

 

Edward B. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

Wow! Common adjectives seem woefully inadequate when describing Edward B’s.  bespoke window treatments featuring our Designer Wood Shutters. Talk about breaking through the glass ceiling. Look how phenomenal they look on the greenhouse-styled roof of his solarium. Inside, the Colonial Oak color is the perfect complement to the gorgeous vigas in the great room. Ed even used them underneath the windows to hide the heating elements for the baseboards. Genius!

solarium with wood shutters

solarium with wood shutters

 

wood shutters great room

wood shutters great room

Inspiring Decorator Ashley Goldman

ashley goldman

First off, congratulations to our newest Inspiring Decorator and The Gold Hive blogger, Ashley Goldman. After participating earlier this year as a guest participant in both the spring and fall House Beautiful One Room Challenge, she was recently selected to be a featured designer in the Spring 2018 ORC competition! We’re especially thrilled to be sharing her success with you here on The Blinds Spot, as Ashley selected our Signature Basic Solid Blackout Roman Shades as part of the 7-week reno of her beautiful home office this fall. We’re even more excited that she layered them over our Signature Sheer Weave 3% Solar Shades, which she also has hanging throughout the house.

Two years into the complete restoration and renovation of her 1915 Craftsman bungalow in San Diego, Ashley had several rooms to choose from for ORC, and they all look amazing! She has even more transformations planned for the future. Follow her on IG to find out which room she’ll pick as her challenge next year. We can’t wait to see!

The re-do of her home office, including a stunning 1600s-inspired hand-painted mural, boosted Ashley from “guest” status to “featured” designer in next spring’s House Beautiful One Room Challenge.

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

I went to school for art and I’m a homebody, so the love for beautiful interiors came naturally. I’ve worked for the past 10 years in art museums teaching and managing programs for kids to foster their creativity. When my husband and I bought our first house, it made sense to blend my love for teaching and interiors, so I started a blog, The Gold Hive, to share the renovation stories and DIY design tutorials.

1915 craftsman bungalow exterior

2.  How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I’m a believer in staying true to your home’s architecture, so I make design decisions influenced by my 1915 Craftsman bungalow’s character. However, I like modern aesthetics, so I blend the old-school with the new. For example, I use Select Blind’s solar shades in my 100-year-old windows. The shades are modern and streamlined, rather than traditional curtains with valances and tie backs. I think the modern shades balance the historic architecture and enhance the character by not taking away from the millwork. I also like edgy and unexpected statement pieces.

brass chandelier

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

My latest project is definitely a favorite! I hand-painted a mural in the likeness of a 1600s etching in our home office. I also painted my den the prettiest shade of dark green, which creates a moody and cozy space. Our kitchen is due for a remodel in 2018, but I made cosmetic fixes, including new paint and a checkerboard tile floor. The house was in pretty bad shape, so the before and after transformations are super satisfying.

checkered floor

4.  What’s your favorite trend right now?

Design trends are so tricky! They come and go frequently, and they vary depending on your style. I’m definitely digging moody shades like deep greens and matte black hardware. I’m a firm believer in having a touch of black in each room, but this year I think I’m going to decorate with more blacks.

den

 5.  What’s your favorite holiday to decorate for?

Halloween has to be my favorite. However, I don’t go for the blow up skeletons in the front yard, or glittery gourds. Rather, I gravitate toward eerie vintage art, classic pumpkins and neutral, spooky décor like black candlesticks and white spider webs. This past year, I projected flying ghosts on a wall for the trick-or-treaters and they got quite a kick out of it.

halloween house

Prepping for a Window Wonderland – Tips to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

exterior-xmas-decorations

We’re making a list and checking it twice to make sure your home is holiday nice!  Before the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, here are some seasonal safety and cleaning tips for getting your house spruced up in time for the upcoming festivities.

Santa’s Safety Tips

snowman-draft-blocker

  • Testing 1, 2, 3. Test/replace electrical outlets, and by extension, extension cords, to make sure you don’t overload outlets with all those lights. Test and replace batteries in fire alarms, too.
  • Take a different tack. Check carpeting and floor coverings for loose or frayed edges. Reduce risk of falls by placing non-slip pads under area rugs.
  • Can we vent? When you turn your heater on for the first time, you may smell an odor of smoke or burning, but no need to pull the fire alarm. It’s only dust burning off your heater coils. Clean dusty air vents and replace greasy oven hood screens. To be on the safe side and to keep your heater running at optimum efficiency, change your air filters every 30 days, even during the winter months.
  • Get cooking. Check all kitchen appliances, including your garbage disposal, dish washer, stove and oven to ensure they’re working properly and ready for holiday cooking and clean up.

Prep the Walls before Decking the Halls

  • Clean up your curb appeal. Scrub your walkway. Wipe down your front door inside and out. Shake out and sweep off the welcome mat.
  • Wash your windows. DIY with a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe to a no-streak shine with a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to dust off your window blinds and shades.

Holiday Decorating Tip: Make your windows a winter wonderland with some of these seriously creative ideas.

holiday-window-decoration

  • Freshen up the microwave. Clean and freshen smelly microwaves by cutting a lemon in half and boiling it for 1-2 minutes in 1/2C of water, then using the lemon water to scrub away stubborn spots inside and out.
  • Scrub the toilet. Everyone’s favorite job, I know, but somebody’s gotta do it. Here’s how. And to keep the bathroom smelling fresh after use, invest in a seasonal scented toilet freshener to have on hand for visitors. (Your guests will thank you. 😉 )
  • Clean ceiling fans. Be sure your ceiling fans aren’t trimmed with dust and dirt. Wipe them down with a clean dryer sheet or damp cloth. Wash light fixtures so overnight guests have visions of sugar plums, not shadows of dead bugs, when they lay down for that long winter’s nap.
  • Overhaul the hearth. Nothing says home for the holidays like a roaring fire. To get the chimney and fireplace ready for St. Nick’s big reveal, make sure the flue is open and clean (may require hiring a pro chimney sweep). Use a stiff brush to scrub off soot stains with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. Clean out the grate and sweep off the hearth. Check doors and screens to make sure they’re operating properly. And don’t forget to dust off the mantle before hanging those stockings.

DIY Design Tip: Update your fireplace with a trendy fire glass kit and never have to clean your fireplace again!

fire-glass-fireplace

  • Get your mind – and leaves – out of the gutters. Get the gunk out so rain and melting snow can flow freely — without overflowing onto arriving guests and outdoor decorations.
  • Make a good first impression. Bust any dust bunnies and dirt that have collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keep the Swiffer handy to keep them clean through the holidays.

Do you have any time-saving tips to get your home holiday ready? Leave a comment to share!

Inspiring Decorator — Darcy Kempton, Simply Stunning Spaces

darcy-kempton

Darcy Kempton at her showroom in San Diego, CA. Shot by Samantha Kaplan

The name of her interior design firm says it all — Simply Stunning Spaces. That’s what San Diego interior designer Darcy Kempton creates for her clients. She’s spent more than 10 years designing homes, offices, restaurants, bars and boutique hotels (including Petco’s Pooch Hotels) for celebrities, Fortune 500 corporations and hundreds of homeowners, working with blank-check budgets, to design on a dime.

“I live for the ‘WOW!’ moments that I get from my clients when they see their newly designed home for the first time,” she says. “Although I can’t deny that large design budgets are fun to work with, I personally enjoy the challenge of creating designer-looks-for-less and coaching people through the process of transforming their houses into homes. My goal is to give every client that jaw-dropping moment you see on design show reveals.” (She reveals how she creates those moments — and how you can, too — in her book Instant Dream Home, A Paint-by-Numbers Interior Design Guide. Read our review here.)

Darcy is different than most established interior designers who won’t take on small projects with small budgets.

“The truth is,” she explains, “[designers are] accustomed to making their profit from the sale of goods that go into your home. If you don’t have a lot of remodeling or furnishing to do, then there’s no incentive for a designer to want to work for you.”

But Darcy’s philosophy is everyone should live in a home that looks and feels like the place they just can’t wait to come home to. That’s why she wrote her book, and why we think she is a true inspiration. Keep reading, and we’re sure you’ll agree.

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

The unlikely idea of becoming an interior designer was first brought to my attention during a high school art class. I had always been interested in all things creative, including, painting, drawing, sewing, photography and really just about anything else I could get my hands on. I loved to make things, create things and learn new ways to express my creativity. I was really convinced that pursuing a career in the arts was destined to lead to financial hardship, and so I chose biology as my major in college (despite my persistent art teacher’s biased recommendations against the contrary). It wasn’t but one hour into college orientation when I had a strong epiphany that I had to do something creative! I remember my art teacher inviting an interior design college student to our high school class and that suddenly sounded like the perfect career path! I dragged my mom around campus to change my major and with her blessing, I never looked back.

modern-coastal-bedroom

Darcy helped this client create a chic, modern coastal look for her beachfront condo.

2.  How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My personal design aesthetic is one that has a clean, modern foundation layered with contrast, texture, pops of color and carefully selected objects of interest that merge style, sophistication and charm to create a warm, inviting and personalized space that not only looks good, but feels good, too.

"The Bachelor" Pad Makeover | Living Room | Encinitas

A comfortable, modern home to return to is essential for a busy, active, professional and philanthropic bachelor like Kiptyn Locke, a former suitor on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”

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

My most recent favorite project has to be that of our new showroom in San Diego.  I’ve spent so much time over the years designing for other people and helping them come to decisions that make the most use of their design dollars and really reflect their individual style. It’s a process I go through with each client. However, when it came to making decisions for myself, it’s almost as if I needed to hire a designer of my own! Luckily, I have an incredible staff who helped push me over my own edge and into a space we’re all very proud of. I’m so grateful we didn’t skimp and that we splurged in all the right places!

Simply-stunning-Space-Studio

Second to that, I’ll never forget designing Pooch Hotels for Petco. (Six foot fire hydrants will probably never come across my desk again.) And Bruce Buffer of the UFC holds a special place in my heart as he instilled in me a permanent reminder that the most precious parts of our home are those items which remind us of a special time and place in our hearts. [Watch this special video Bruce and Darcy filmed for celebritybachelorpads.com.]

4.  What’s your favorite trend right now?

My favorite trend right now has to be the use of antique brass as a finish on plumbing fixtures, lighting and furniture. I know it’s trendy and I typically like to keep my interiors timeless, but I can’t help it on this one!

brass-light-fixture-dining-room

Need some more inspiration? Follow Darcy on Facebook and Darcy K. on Instagram @simply.stunning.spaces.

Tracy T. Is a Happy SelectBlinds.com Customer!

Boy, it’s quite a compliment when someone who was literally raised among the stylish literati and fashion elite during Hollywood’s heyday is so happy with your blinds! In her book Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life, costume designer (her credits include The Big Easy, Blind Date, Great Balls of Fire and Tuesdays with Morrie) and author Tracy Tynan writes that while growing up among the likes of  family friends Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Orson Welles and Katharine Hepburn (her godmother), “style was essential” and shopping was an art passed down through the family. We’re thrilled that she now applies that art online, recently shopping with us here at Selectblinds.com for these stylish, cordless Designer Series Blackout Roller Shades in Cafe Au Lait for her beautiful L.A. home.

designer-series-blackout-rollers

designer-series-blackout-rollers

 

Instant Dream Home — A Paint-by-Numbers Interior Design Guide

instant-dream-home-book

Imagine the possibilities …

That’s what interior designer, design coach and mentor, and author Darcy Kempton encourages her readers to do in her easy-to-follow book, Instant Dream Home — A Paint-by-Numbers Interior Design Guide. But painting by numbers doesn’t necessarily mean staying within the lines when designing your dream home.

“If you can dream it, then it’s possible,” writes Darcy, who admits to making just about every decorating mistake in the book. That’s why her guide is so great; she’s made the mistakes and missteps, so you don’t have to. In this hands-on, interactive workbook, she steers you along the same roadmap she uses for every project she undertakes in her own highly successful interior design business to help you avoid the detours and often costly consequences of a design disaster.

In her own engaging, conversational style, Darcy emboldens readers with encouragement to create a home you, your family and guests will love. Packed with inspirational before and afters, name- (and jaw) dropping client case studies, expert tips on where to splurge and how to save, and other pro “secrets,” she walks you through a simple, three-step process to interior decorating success, giving you all the tools you need along the way to implement the design of your dreams, whatever your budget.

Darcy’s in the houzz

Step 1: Define your style. Darcy gets you started with a 10-question evaluation form, priming the process with questions like, how would you describe your home as it is today? What drives you crazy about your house now? How long do you plan to be in your home? Then it’s on to the fun part — finding inspiration to develop your style. As she does with clients, Darcy starts by referring readers to peruse houzz.com, with questions and photographs to guide them through the site and help them zero in on what they like. Ground zero for any design, she says, is finding that “Almighty Inspiration Piece” (she even leaves a space on the page where you can paste a picture of it).

Step 2: Translating your inspiration into a well-defined design plan. Here Darcy breaks down the seemingly daunting design planning process into a few key elements: a sensible floorplan, a cohesive design scheme and a smart budget. She gives easy to read expert guidance on deciding what to keep, scaling design elements to fit and focusing on a focal point, as well as her Top 10 “Must Haves” to help you build a room design from the ground up. This chapter also includes hands-on tools like an inventory list and grids for sketching out furniture placement, places to paste your color palette, and a sample budget work sheet.

Step 3: Take action! In this chapter, Darcy helps you take your plans on paper to reality by learning to embrace your strengths and hire your weaknesses. (Great advice!) She includes a simple DIY assessment survey to decide what you can tackle on your own and where you might want to hire a pro.

Inspired to create a simply stunning space of your own? Get your copy of Instant Dream Home here, or get to know Darcy better at www.simplystunningspaces.com.