Modern Wallpaper / Wallcoverings – Types and Where to Use

Hang Ups?

We all know it’s a big NO to those robo calls but a big YES to wallcoverings today!  You may have some hang ups about using wallcovering though, if you remember when it was not only hard to install but a nightmare to remove.  Fast forward to the wallcoverings of today and technology has improved and made them so different and exciting!  The texture and sustainability of wallpapers are much improved and they can add so much interest to not only the walls, but ceilings, furniture, built-ins, and even stair risers. 

Modern Day Wallpaper

The options are so current and diversified that the design opportunities are endless.  Whether you are traditional or contemporary, floral or geometric, bright colors or subdued, seeking quiet elegance, gloss or metallic, a stucco or wood faux finish, glass beads, peacock feathers, or embedded LED lighting, the statement will be impactful and an easy way to update your space!

Where to Use Wallpaper

Accent Wall

Photo by York Wallpaper RY2817

Next, you will want to determine how you want to use these great new options.  Do you want a feature wall, such as behind a bed or seating area, or to create drama or just an exciting finish on a ceiling? 

Powder Room Wallpaper

Photo by Thibaut, Wallpaper Pattern: Maryse in Metallic on Navy from Artisan Collection

One of the most popular uses of the bold papers is in powder rooms. What better place to have a little fun and add some personality! You don’t have a moisture problem here, and the space is smaller, so you can really go as bold as you want. In a full bathroom, however, do be certain to make sure there is proper ventilation and use a water resistant vinyl to be safe.

Update Furniture with Wallpaper

Photo by apartmenttherapy.com

Covering a boring, perhaps damaged or scratched piece of furniture can give it a whole new, current look. Usually a grass cloth or textured linen is good for this, although we recently used a chinoiserie paper to make a piece of furniture for a specific size and space needed.

Stair Risers

Photo from Brewster Wallpaper

Another dramatic use of wallcovering can be on stair risers, with the proper adhesive and protective coating added.

Importance of a great installer!

Of course, working with a knowledgeable installer is important, because installation varies depending on the product being installed.  You should also rely on your installer for the final estimate of how many rolls to order.  It can get to be a little confusing with whether the wallpaper only comes in double rolls or single, factoring in the repeats of the pattern, deducting for windows and doors, figuring out if there is shading with the texture and if the wallpaper needs to be turned, and determining if the wallcovering will show seams, etc.  In addition, your installer will make sure that the wall is properly prepared and will use the best adhesive for your particular wallcovering.  In the end, using quality wallpaper and having a great installer will provide results that are dramatic and add a lot of personality to your space. 

So, answer the call!

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Remodel & Home Additions

Design Trends for 2019

If you are about to remodel or build onto your house, here are some of the current trends to consider, whether working on your kitchen, bathroom, living space, laundry room, or outdoor area.

Kitchens

Everyone always refers to the kitchen as “the heart of the house”, so what is the latest and most desirable for this area? Since it is where everyone tends to hang out, we want it to be beautiful, but we all know this area can be messy!

Consider building in the hidden kitchen or dirty pantry. This can be a bonus kitchen, sometimes called the catering kitchen, or a pantry with appliances that cause clutter for items like the toaster, juicer, coffee machine, and perhaps a sink. Often times an additional dishwasher will be here, too. Smart appliances which are user friendly with apps to control them are abundant, even from a distance. 

Also, consider more color in at least some of the cabinet finishes, or tile. Don’t remain locked in to the white, which has been so popular or white marble, which is hard to maintain. There are so many surface products available now that are handsome, easy to maintain, and also available in larger sizes for those extra-large islands to not have seams. Lighting fixture finishes are more into soft, matte brass, nickel, black, and some copper; but there are a lot of uses for mixed metals.

Bathrooms

Health and wellness is essential here.  The bathroom should not only be beautiful, a retreat or sanctuary, but safe for all ages.  If possible, one bath in the home, or preferably all, should have large enough openings to accommodate someone who might have to be temporarily in a wheelchair or walker.  This is not to suggest meeting ADA code with all of the requirements, but simply have doors at a minimum of 32”, and block inside walls when you are under construction, to be able to add a grab bar later, if needed.  You can at least have assisted use bathrooms, even if you don’t have a 5’ turning radius.

Of course, the master bath is becoming more of a spa with temperature controlled showers, a place to sit, and multiple sprays.  People want larger showers and often a roll in shower with no curb around it.  This has to be planned in the construction stage with a slight slope and preferably a vertical drain.  Free standing tubs are kind of the art for the room.  They’re beautiful, but recognize that they cannot be used by some, as they can be difficult to navigate getting in and out of.  Technology keeps adding many new options with cryotherapy, hidden speakers and TV, touch or motion faucets, 3-D printed faucets, and even a new concrete faucet!  As in all rooms, lighting is so important, but especially here where you will be shaving and applying makeup.  Please don’t have the lighting just shining down on your head.  This is the worst application!  The best situation is to have lighting from sconces at about 6’ high, and then additional lighting from the ceiling behind you but not over you.

Living Spaces

Automation for the home continues to grow.  In 2018, 643 million smart home devices were purchased, but by 2022, it is estimated that number will be 53 billion, so include this in your plans.

Everyone wants and should be able to control their AV, lighting, and security from their smart phone, so plan for this. Put in combination USB/electrical outlets in all places you may be working for charging, add a central charging station, and maybe, consider adding an automobile charging plug in the garage also. Do your wiring now while under construction. Put in proper wiring for adequate lighting for different uses – ambient, task and general. Also, consider wiring for those automated window treatments, especially for the high ceilings and sound throughout the house.

Outdoors

Make your outdoor living a year round experience and an extension of the house. For that year round usage, provide for heaters to use on those cool days or nights and fans or misters for the warm ones. Automatic screening for porches or motorized shades to protect them from insects is great for Houston.

Consider a fire pit or fireplace and an outdoor cooking area. Artificial turf is becoming more and more popular, and while it costs a little more initially, the benefits of the low maintenance will make it worth it, if you don’t have too much area to cover.

Laundry Rooms

Don’t forget the pets! More often than not we are including pet accommodations in the utility rooms. This can include kennels built into the lower cabinets, a shower or large sink for bathing, depending on the size of the pet, and built in storage for the pet feeding bowls. Recently, we also stashed kitty litter boxes behind a wall in the laundry to keep them out of site. This is one room that is normally not on the house tour, so use it to help you keep things in order.

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Shower or Tub???

OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those preferences. For resale, we always make sure, even if the client is a professed shower lover, that there is also a tub or at least one in a secondary bath for children. More often there will be at least a tub/shower combo in one secondary bathroom, and perhaps the others can have showers – whatever the owner prefers, but with resale in mind.

I was one of those who hated the bathtub. I rebelled against the old jet tubs because they would not completely drain out all of the water and would leave about a cup of nasty water retained in the lines. When the air jets came out they were nice and clean, not holding the dirty water, but they were sort of fluffy, without the massaging action. On the plus side, you could use more bath products in those tubs than you could in the jet tubs. Then the popularity of the freestanding tub, and soaking tub, became the rage, and really still is. They are pretty to look at, and photograph, but dangerous for many to enter, and therefore essentially just for looks.

So, why do so many people dislike tubs and prefer showers?

The main reason, I think, is because we feel they are faster, and with our hurried lifestyles, we think we don’t have time for a leisurely soak. Honestly, when I think about it, I take just as long for a shower because the hot water is relaxing and I don’t want to get out. It makes me feel better and sleep better. Supposedly it’s a fact that the raised body temperature from a hot shower or bath lets your body do its normal cooling that happens after you go to bed and it is good to have that warm experience before sleep. I think another reason some of us don’t like the tub as much is also because the water gets cold and you have to constantly adjust it by adding more hot water. If you have to be monitoring and working to keep the temperature, that is not fun or relaxing. 

Photo: Aquatica

But wait! The reason I am changing my thoughts about tub bathing is the new technology – hydrothermal therapy! It will keep your water hot so you can relax. Also, the new jets, like the Shiatsu massage for your back, and even a wrist jet (for too many hours on the computer), make your time in the tub worthwhile since you also get the added benefits of a massage. Plus, the dirty water retention problem has been corrected by redirecting the angle of the jets. You can also use all kinds of bath products in it, even oils. Wait until you hear about the indulge therapy that oxygenates your skin with a microbubbles system, cleaning it without soap! Supposedly it increases collagen, so BRING IT ON!

I recognize we have been doing body sprays in showers for a good while and they do a type of massage, but it seems fewer clients want those, and instead prefer a good spray head, sometimes also a rain head, and a handheld. The beauty of these has been that they are thermal controlled and maintain the temperature. It might be nice to have all of that and more, and be able to sit and relax in a tub, with added relaxation techniques. If you are still a lover of the freestanding tub, without the jets, just for soaking and relaxing, you can have it with the hydrothermal addition to enjoy a soak that stays warm.

Now all I need is a place to put it in!

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The End of Harvey

This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.

Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We expect to close on the sale of our property at the end of this month and move on. I loved our property that we are now selling to another family with children to enjoy very much, and I am grateful for the time it was ours. I planted so much on that acre in Memorial for many years.

When I was at our deserted house recently, finishing clearing out some items stored upstairs and in the mucked out garage, I discovered my Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow shrub, happily blooming, even after being underwater for more than a week! Of course, the botanical name is Brunfelsia Pauciflora, but that’s not as meaningful or memorable to me.

There was something symbolic about this plant showing all its colors of blooms that occur yesterday, today and tomorrow, as they change colors with each day; hence the name.  My yesterdays of forty years were pretty wonderful with our children and grandchildren growing up there playing on the creek and property, and enjoying life in the city with a taste of the country.  Also had a peacock come strolling through while I was there to remind me of all the wildlife we experienced, and there are many more stories about that!

I imagined the today to be the current situation of Harvey, but dragged out for a year and a half, after destroying the collectibles, treasures, and accumulation of all of those years. I know there are many others still trying to decide what to do or even still trying to get settled back into their homes. We still see evidence all around the city with some vacant, scraped lots, some still sitting homes, and many under construction, but elevated.

Finally, tomorrow is what is to come as we close this chapter. Many people were affected not only physically, but also psychologically, and I know that is hard. I prefer to imagine the future as full of hope, surprises and possibly new adventures; although if I am honest, there are moments when that is rather difficult. Thanks to friends and family, those times are fewer and fewer, and I am optimistic about a great future!

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Furniture In Motion

 

 

Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the motion capacity currently, that statistic shouldn’t really come as much of a shock.

Swivel vs. Recliners

Most of the inquiries we get now, here at Design House, for comfortable lounge chairs, have the added request that they be swivel, swivel/glide, and sometimes recline as well. The swivel chair is extremely important and useful to allow you to turn to the TV, conversation, or view. In the past, I considered that the worst piece of furniture was the dreaded recliner, but today you don’t have to have that heavy, bulky, bustle back recliner. Now they can look like a regular chair, be upholstered in a beautiful fabric or nice leather, and be customized as you prefer. You can select the size, arm, leg, etc, and they are much more high style and slender in profile; plus, the motion is greatly improved. Sometimes the old, bulky ones were really hard to “kick back” in, especially for the more petite person or the elderly. Today, there are a variety of electronic controls and battery operated when there is no way to plug it in. Additionally, you can have them swivel and glide like the popular lounge chair request. One word of caution though, if the chair is for someone older, or someone a little unstable for some reason, the glide might be a challenge for them having the movement possible as they sit. Recliners can be good not only for relaxing purposes, but also as the perfect solution for someone recuperating just after surgery. 

Black Recliner (Closed)
Black Recliner (Open)

Motion in Bedrooms

Bedrooms are another place where motion furniture is really growing with the adjustable beds becoming so popular. Again, this can be a health benefit for someone with a gastric problem or recuperating with the need to be elevated. There are many ways of hiding a bed that pulls out of a cabinet, or a wall, or even lifts into a dropped ceiling. Now, there are also movable closets that will close up when not needed, but become a walk-in closet when opened. 

Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Closed)
Black Recliner (Open)

Moving Work Stations

In the office, motion furniture has always been used for the desk chair, but now many people prefer the stand/sit desk that is so highly touted as better for your health, allowing you to continue working standing or sitting. The adjustable height can also be incorporated into work stations where even the stations themselves and files may be portable and movable. Work tables may not only adjust in height, but also tilt and be a white board for meeting presentations.

Look for many more options to come in furniture movement, with the addition of voice activation, as the industry works to make pieces adjust to different demands, locations, and smaller spaces!

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What Will 2019 Bring to Interior Design?

Can you believe it is 2019 already? 

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and family, but now that you have taken down the holiday decorations, is your home looking a little tired and needy? We all look for that fresh start for the New Year and make our resolutions, typically about how we can improve ourselves, but let’s think about the environment that you spend so much time in and how it can affect your happiness and health! Below are some predictions for what’s coming design wise in 2019.

Color

Of course the Colors of the Year have been revealed, which you may have already seen, and those are always interesting, but please make the space you live in yours and not dictated by these predictions, unless you absolutely love them and they suit your environment. A home should reflect who you are and how you live, so surely it has to be personalized. Of interest though, are Pantone’s Living Coral- with the warmth of nature, Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan- a calming gray, Sherwin Williams’ Cavern Clay- another color of nature, and Behr’s Blueprint- a mid-tone blue. These are some of the most well-known sources, but many other manufacturers are coming up with their own Color of the Year. As for the most immediate facelift of your home, nothing can beat paint! Remember, for an allergy free experience, look at the zero VOC paints.

For furnishings, you can expect to see a neutral palette that is not as gray as the long standing previous trend, but more toward light sand, or warmer gray, and even tinted pastels. Also popping up are the bold colors, from ethnic to neon, much like the fashion industry. Black and white, with its combination creating both balance and boldness, will continue to be a good pairing. It is reported that there are more charcoal or versions-of-black kitchens being ordered now as well.

Pantone – Living Color

Sherwin Williams – Cavern Clay

Benjamin Moore – Metropolitan

Behr – Blueprint

Texture

People are loving the feel and warmth, emotionally and physically, of textures in their environments, from floor carpets, to the seating, bedding and soft throws. Velvets continue to be strong, especially now that technology has made them more practical, with great abrasion resistance and cleanability. They now can be used in luxurious and elegant settings when they are made with a silk or linen fiber. Many new performance fabric versions are family friendly and thus suitable for areas with heavier use, perhaps among children and pets.

Thibaut Pasadena Chair

Layered Look

Patterns

You may be surprised, and may not agree, but florals, botanicals and chintz are back! They are being layered with different patterns in rooms, much as fashion is doing with clothing. This can move more toward the maximalism trend with lots of different mismatched fabrics.  Also watch for the shell and scallop shapes which will be seen in furniture, accessories and wallcovering.  And don’t forget about wallcovering for a dramic addition to your home, on the walls, the ceiling, as a furniture finish, or even risers on steps, of course with protective coating.

Thibaut – Sunburst Wallpaper

Wallquest – The Woodlands Collection Wallpaper

Mixed Metals

The use of mixed metals, that has become so popular, continues, but gold, copper, matte brass and black will dominate the new scene. Pewter and gunmetal may be a little softer look.   Imagine the charcoal cabinets with the brass and copper as fixtures and a sink – definitely a dramatic look! Of course, the mixed metals are to be found in abundance in lighting and accessories, but they can even be found on a complete console and lots of chairs and furniture accents.

Currey and Company

Technology

Technology is affecting all of our products and the way we use our spaces. The connected home is now so much more available and inexpensive. We have had integrated systems that allow you to control the window coverings, fireplace, lighting, entertainment, etc. for a while (and some are very elaborate in what all they can do) but now, even something as affordable as Amazon Echo and Google Home (which are rapidly adding to their commands) are more reasonably accessible and can be taken with you when you move. In 2016, there were 80 million smart home devices purchased and it is predicted that the number will reach more than 53 billion by 2022.  Voice interaction will take over for all those remotes.

Kitchens and bathrooms are areas with many exciting new options to simplify your life, and the controls are becoming more intuitive and easy to use. There are innovative 3D faucets that make you wonder how the water got there with all the openings! Look for the volcanic lava stone and great concrete tiles that have been developed for the kitchen and bath. There are way too many to write about here, so get with your designer before you start remodeling or building those new spaces!

More new designs of architectural robotics furniture pieces will become available, like the Cloud Bed, that can be raised and lowered from an integrated dropped ceiling.  When raised, there is a sofa and coffee table underneath that becomes your study or living area. The sofa’s back is the bed’s headboard and the coffee table supports the bed’s frame. Also, check out the pocket closet which doubles your storage space in tiny areas.  When I was recently in Spain, a manufacturer showed us the prototype chair for offices that will tell you when you are slouching, including anything that might be detrimental, and when it is time for you to get up and move, or elevate your sit/stand desk.

Sofa and Coffee Table Set Up

Down as Bed

Sustainability

Sustainable products will grow more in what is now available and the demand for them.  Perhaps it is just up-cycling an old piece of furniture or accessory with a coat of bright paint, to make a real standout, fun, accent piece, or making more conscious decisions about where the product comes from, and whether it can be recycled. You can look for vegan furniture, also.  How about a corrugated cardboard bed made by Happy Beds?

Image by In My Own Style

Image by In My Own Style

Vegan Bed

Miscellaneous

I would add that I think we will see more curved furniture and vintage and artisan pieces.  Also, there seems to be more requests for a little more traditional, or “brown” furniture to mix in, but then, at Design House, we always strive to have a variety of curated selections from various periods and origins on our floor, and certainly available for sourcing and order.  Additionally, we have numerous lines we can help the customer create their own custom pieces with. So, let’s all get busy giving our interiors a fresh start, as well as ourselves!

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