First off, I want to send out a huge "thank you" to all of you who sent me emails and messages, and the sweet phone call too, after last week's post. This whole blogging thing is new and unchartered territory for me, so as I find my way in blog land, your words of encouragement and interest in my project are awesome!
Now, let's just get to it, shall we? I want to give you a glimpse into a portion of what I've been working on behind the scenes. For a project of this magnitude, things could go really bad really quickly, so it was imperative that I develop a clear idea of where I wanted to take the interiors of the main house. For me, the first order of business was to determine the feeling or mood I want my interiors to evoke. To get there, there were a few steps I needed to take:
1.Listen to what the home and its architecture were telling me.
On most projects, I almost always know immediately what the home is telling me and where I want to take it. With Mrs. Colonial? I have to be honest. I've been struggling a bit. Since it was love at first sight, my mind immediately kicked into overdrive and many ideas started forming creating all kinds of chaos in my brain. I currently live in a stately Colonial, so pure traditional naturally had a heavier draw.
However, after 15 years of traditional Colonial, I'm interested in changing it up a bit, but just the interiors! This is how I tackled my dilemma.
2. Set The Scene
I first took stock of the existing elements and determined whether they could/should stay. In a home that's been allowed to deteriorate so badly, a home like Mrs. Colonial, there are an abundance of fixtures and surfaces (every counter, cabinet, wallpaper, door handle, light fixture, floor) that need to be removed, pronto! Next, I needed to decide if what remained (doors, windows, staircase, fireplace, etc.) were significant and did they deliver enough impact? Were they required so the house could retain its all important charm and character? The answer was definitely "yes". So, what I was left with were good bones, great proportions, sizable crown and casings, beautiful old windows and staircase, good flow, awesome ceiling height, and just a good ole fashioned dose of Southern Belle! Great starting point. CHECK!
3. What were the elements saying? And in what direction could I take them?
First of all, I needed to have a good read on what the elements in No. 1 above were telling me. I was hearing traditional, but the crown told me I could lean a little contemporary. Staircase and foyer? Strictly traditional and stately but they could handle contemporary neighbors. Room proportions? Traditionally balanced and boldly formal that easily flow from one to the other. Ceiling heights? Awesome no matter where I want to go. Bones over all? Stately traditional but open to a breath of fresh air. The home's inherent style? Make a statement, the house can handle it. Sandy Sheldon who absolutely loves traditional design? Feeling empowered to lean a little bit modern, yet grazing by rustic, circling back around to traditional, all the while staring at masculine industrial! What a mix huh? Confused? CHECK! So this is how I found my way:
Since my mind was traveling in decidedly two different directions, strict traditional or warm modern, it was important for me to try a few different ideas in the space to see how they translated. So to assist me, I began to hunt for inspiration. There is inspiration to be found all over the web these days. However, the old fashioned, traditional farm girl in me with roots in the old days still likes to pick up an interior design magazine. I routinely tear out images that capture my imagination, and I store them in plastic pages in huge binders. Design Inspiration! CHECK!
In one of my earlier posts, "An Interior Design Confessional", I told you how I often use old book covers to help me establish my color palettes. For my rooms downstairs, I did just that. I hauled in a mountain of book covers in different hues and saturations. I moved them around in different locations within each room, and I quickly started to see a trend. Mrs. Colonial wanted earth tones. She wanted a monochromatic palette of cream, gray, black and greige, with a few hints of soothing blue and green. True to my earlier post, a palette was established from a treasure trove of books. CHECK!
How I Chose My Design Style
Once I established my palette, I brought out all of my images. I placed them on the floor and began editing. When you use clip art images, instead of photos on your computer screen, you can actually place them in your rooms and get a real sense of how the elements in the clips will work in your space.
This stage was all about feel. Very quickly it all started to make sense, and before long there was this cohesion of styles and colors. My color palette worked perfectly in the space throughout the day as the light was changing, and it enhanced the fixtures and furnishings in my images. Juxtapositions were developing, and unlikely marriages were being formed. There was a story being told and I liked what it said. Voila! My interior design style and direction were born! CHECK!
To help me capture the mood and feel of where I'm headed and to be able to share that with you, I put together a 3D clip art video from my magazine images.
(More easily viewed on a large computer screen.)
As you can see, there will be a kaleidoscope of styles and designs - feminine curves and color, and masculine leather and stone. I'm hoping it will be a refuge for those who seek a comfortable and soothing space, but a feast for those whose eyes enjoy an unusual layering and pairing of textures and forms. Who will Mrs. Colonial become? A beautiful, stately cohabitation of rustic and refined, enhancing my family's future space with comfort and grace. CHECK!
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you can use some of my ideas to help you create your own beautiful interiors.
Last week I introduced my new RENOVATION DIARY series to keep you informed of what was happening here on the farm during the construction delay. If you haven't already visited the DIARY tab on my website, you can view it HERE.