Executing the Color Scheme

I would say half of my posts here are me railing against consumerism, and the other half are me talking about things I want.  This will be the latter.

So last month, I found a color scheme for my house to de-beige it.  Brown was accepted as my primary color throughout the house.  (To include beige, light beige, and all my other favorites.)  Everything that got added had to fit the plan.  The determined colors were:

  1. Navy
  2. Colonial blue (not sure exactly what this is, but in my mind it is a grayed down aqua.)
  3. Red (warm, like brick or rust, and deep)

So as things came up that we wanted or needed, I decided that they would be one of these colors.  We needed blackout curtains for our room, because the moon keeps us awake on clear, full moon nights:

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Hmmm.

We (I) wanted a gallery wall on the stairs because I did:

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I guess there is one painting with navy blue in it!

And we needed a china cabinet so I could move some things out of kitchen cabinets now that all our food is stored in the kitchen.

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(It was $400 on Craigslist, is solid cherry, and is SUPER BEAUTIFUL in person. But very brown!)

Well.  A bit of a failure so far, but I do like them, and the curtains were really just practical, not decorative.  And not sure if you are aware of this, but buying pretty curtains that are also blackout curtains would be like $100 per panel, especially when your windows are huge.

At least I have finished up some new pillow covers:

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(Why is this couch so weird looking in photos.)

Found some flowers,

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And a little green and blue outside.

 

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Does your home have a color scheme?  Are you good about sticking to it?


Finding a Color Scheme for the Home

You know how when you are planning a wedding, the first thing you have to do is pick your colors?  Once that is done, everything becomes easy.  It also helps to have a style like “rustic”, “elegant”, whatever.  I think decorating your house might be a little like that too.  Without a style and a color scheme, you are just randomly picking things you like and hoping they work together.

Well after looking at pictures of my house, I finally realized that my color scheme of beige, brown, white, off-white, and grayish beige was not really working.  I was complaining about it being cloudy out and how depressing it was when my mom gently suggested that maybe if I had some color in my house it would cheer me up.

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I had tried to “warm up” the house by buying various things.  Baskets (brown), new cloth napkins (white with beige stripes!), some creamware pitchers from a thrift shop (off white), a canvas bag for kindling (tan), and more baskets (brown brown brown).  Well.  She was right.

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(Seriously.  Why?)

I didn’t know what to do.  I obviously could not pick out colorful things myself.

But I stumbled upon this delightful blog that said to pick four colors.  A primary, a secondary, a primary accent, and a secondary accent.  And luckily for me, the example given used a rug with the same colors as the rugs in my house.  I might not be able to think of a color scheme, but I could certainly copy one!

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My colors are:

Gold/ brown (Obviously.)

Navy blue

Red/ burgundy

Colonial blue (I guess that’s what this lighter shade of blue is)

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I think green plants are allowed in all color schemes and don’t count as one of the four.

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Red bowl returns.

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Maybe I could make some navy and white ticking stripe curtains?

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Found this fabric in my craft closet and THINK it is the right shade of blue.  Going to make springy throw pillow covers.

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A blue and white pitcher.  Baby steps!

P.S. My wedding colors were peach and champagne.  (Beige and warm beige.)


Decorating as a way to“people” the home

Have you ever heard of the term in architecture to “people” a space? It was used by the architect Donlyn Lyndon as a way to make spaces feel more human, inviting, and alive. I first read about this in William Hirsch’s book on home design. It was my favorite part of the book. I believe that Lyndon originally intended the ideas to be used to make public spaces more inviting, but they are applicable to the home as well.

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These are the ways Lyndon says this can be accomplished:

1. Use of human scale. (No two story spaces, uncomfortably enormous windows, or 20 foot columns.)

2. “Windows of appearance”: a window that suggests that at any point a person could appear. (Picture flat, non-operational office windows and think of how uncomfortable a message they send.)

3. Spaces for planned and unplanned interaction. (Areas where people who run into each other can stop and chat, instead of just rushing from one place to the next.)

4. Use of handmade items, or items that require maintenance by hand. Lyndon says that the craftsman people’s the space with his work. Someone who cares for that item peoples the space with their work as well. (Think of a set of handmade tiles vs sheet vinyl.)

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I have always been interested in architecture and what make a home feel “right” and this is one of the most interesting things I’ve come across, along with the book “A Pattern Language”.

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But a lot of this is only useful if we are building from scratch. How can I use this to make my home cozier and more inviting if it is already built?

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Here are some ideas I have come up with. The pictures are all from around my house but I have a looooong way to go with this.

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We have no curtains, hardly any furniture and all our walls are beige!  But as time and money allow, I want to use all these principles as a decorating guideline for our home.

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Human scale:

Indoor plants that are the size of people feel almost like a companion

Darker wall paint makes a room with too-tall ceilings a little cozier

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Windows of appearance:

Windows open

Curtains

Window boxes

A clothesline (not in the window, but same idea)

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Spaces for planned and unplanned interaction:

Seating in bedrooms where someone could sit for a talk.

A chair in a bathroom so one spouse can sit and talk to the other who is getting ready

Tables cleared of clutter so they can be used for eating dinner, doing crafts, sitting and reading, etc.

Seating in the kitchen- either at a table or counter stools

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Handmade looking items, or items that require maintenance by hand (now we get to a lot of ideas!)

Items made my hand:

Baskets

Quilts

Handmade looking pottery (planters, bowls, etc)

Original artwork

Embroidered items

Rag rugs

Homemade furniture

Knit scarves, hats, etc by the door

Cut flowers

Items requiring human maintenance:

A fire in the fireplace

Pets!

A well tended garden

Polished stainless or copper pots and pans

Flowerpots by the house

Candles

Bird feeders

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They are all just ways to say “humans made this house, and humans live in this house”.

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Seems so very simple, but so many items seem to say “machines built this house, and for no particular reason”.

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It is nice to have a decorating style at last.  “Human!”


Trying to Make an Inviting Home

Our house is new, and fairly large (almost 3000 square feet), two things that are working against it in my quest to make it charming, cozy, and comfortable.  Now before we built this house we lived in the old cottage that came on the property, which was old, tiny, and infested with kitchen mice and attic snakes, so I am not complaining.

It was NOT charming, because it was in such disrepair, and not comfortable, because it was always cold and there was only one bathroom.  But it was cozy.  I will give it that.  Every square inch was used, and the things of life were out on display.  Cookbooks, toys, pots, homework.  When the cutting garden was in season, it seemed overflowing with flowers.  When we had guests, it felt full and bustling.  The new house is lacking that somehow.  I want to correct it.  Here is what I am trying.

1.  More things out

This goes against my very nature, as I like things put away.  But there is no need to pretend we don’t live here, and no need to exhaust oneself putting away baby toys during naps just to take them out again when she wakes up.  And “things” are proof that people live there.  Fruit, flowers (from Costco, and quite beautiful), crayons, sugar and flour canisters, a basket of potatoes and onions, even a pot on the stove. They have been invited to live on the counter or breakfast table as evidence of life.

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2. Less stuff out for kids.  

It is well known that once kids destroy a playroom with toys, they lose interest in it.  So they are being made to clean up every evening, not just because it is right, but because when their playroom is a mess they don’t use it.  Also it is more of a loft and I have to see it when I go upstairs.  Every night they pick up, and every Friday I switch out their toys to keep them interested.  If they are in the middle of making an “important store of out of magnets”, I will of course leave it alone.

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(Looks like this bookshelf needs a little help!)

3.  Keeping the dining table set

So the only picture I have of it appear to be of it not set.  But it is much more inviting with plates, place mats, cloth napkins, and silverware.  I keep it cleared off to make it easier to wipe down after lunch, and Camilla sets it after her quiet time in the afternoons.  It makes the room feel more alive.  The sun shines in the front of the house in the afternoons too, and generally cheers everyone up.

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4.  More people, more animals

Of course nothing makes a house feel more alive than actual life!  So we let the kittens in on cold days, play with the baby, and try to enjoy each other’s company.  Having guests over is always nice.  More babies too.  I now sit at the kids little kitchen table while they color.  I work on grocery lists and garden plans next to them instead of somewhere else.  We feel a little more together, and I find that the more focused attention they get, the less whining there is later.

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5.  Books, puzzles, board games

TV is so often depressing and isolating.  Why not do something that either invites a companion, or allows to you be together in comfortable silence?

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In the future, I need to work on getting curtains, getting some rooms painted in warmer, richer colors, and getting some furniture in empty feeling rooms like the dining room, master bedroom, and guest bedroom.  I will get there!

 

 

 

 


Fixing What Bothers You

I love staying home and caring for kids and the house,  but sometimes I feel myself going a little nuts with small frustrations.  In some ways the kids get easier as they get older, and in some ways harder.   Everything become physically easier but a tougher battle of wills, as food pickiness, homework resistance, and laziness emerge.  You can no longer excuse their bad behavior with their age, and this makes them more frustrating.  You are expected to feed all members of the household and clean up after them when they are perfectly capable of doing it.  And yet… you are a housewife.  Isn’t that what you are here for?  And so on.  Small annoyances.  You can fix them.

I read somewhere to make a list of what bothers you and see if there aren’t solutions.  Think of what advice you would give a friend with these complaints.  It sounded like a very silly exercise, but I did it.

Here is my list.

  1.  Kids don’t clean up after themselves and waste art supplies and create piles of paper.
  2. The kids stain their clothes and are ruining them and they have to last for three girls.
  3. I hate making lunches when everyone is home.
  4. My husband piles his stuff up on the kitchen counter even though we have a mudroom.

So, on to the solutions.  They have an art cabinet in the breakfast room that was getting cleaned out and then messed up constantly.  I look everything out, labeled it, and told them everything must go in the correct box before they go up for baths.  They figured it out pretty quickly.  Having things labeled has made all the difference.  They produce a stack of art every day, and every  night I go through it, tossing most of it and keeping select pieces to go in their art folders that live in the drawer above this cabinet.

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To keep them from staining clothes, I put a bundle of already stained or torn clothing in the mudroom and they must change into this before playing outside.  Maddie has to change into an old shirt before eating because she is destroying all of her clothing with hot sauce.

To deal with lunches, I have started having more ready to eat foods available so people can help themselves on the weekends instead of asking me “what’s for lunch?” and driving me batty.  On kitchen days I cut up veggies and make a tuna or chicken salad, I boil eggs, make sandwich rolls to pop in the freezer, mix up salad dressing, and pre cook bacon so those of us on low carb diets can still eat something quick.

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For the age old kitchen counter piling problem.  This is a problem I need to work on on my end, having some patience with someone who has just come home from a long day at work.  I also added the basket on the very left to at least corral the papers.

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Then I got distracted and rearranged the open cabinet.  I am slowly realizing I despise color. There was a pretty red bowl in this shelf before but it was too… red.  It is a cabinet, and now everything is beige or white.

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So beige. So dusty.  I just dusted two days ago.

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So beige!  Is this an acceptable decorating style?  I want to add white.  Brightness but no color.

I have ONE burgundy sunflower plant still blooming.

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Colors are acceptable here.

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What a masterpiece!