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Providing interior decorating services in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Naples, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva islands, Cape Coral, Sarasota, Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas of Central Florida. Contact for details!

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Saturday
Mar072015

Home Inspirations: Start spring decorating with curb appeal

 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• March 7, 2015

Photo of pretty home with spring flowers and bench in entrySpring flowers, trees and a bench in the entry set the tone for the interior decor.

We always talk in this column about decorating our home's interior and how to make our outdoor spaces beautiful (coming soon), but with spring around the corner, I think we should pay a little attention to the sometimes overlooked curb appeal of our homes.

One of my favorite British sitcoms features in every episode, a home that has a broken mail box, a garden te that falls of the hinges, car with a flat in the driveway, cracked sidewalk leading to the house, light fixtures hanging from wires, chipped stairs leading to the door. And when the homeowner greets guests, you see that the interior perfectly matches the exterior: a disaster.

 Photo of beautiful home with garden gate
I laugh at this show every week. And no, in all of my years as a southwest Florida interior decorator, I have never encountered anything quite this dramatic while making my way to a client's front door. Although I did once break the heal on my shoe because of pavers that were too far apart and I did have a client's dog eat my shoes while I was on a ladder hanging artwork.

The fact is this: with a few good tips, we can improve the curb appeal of any home in a short time. If you are selling your home, it will attract a buyer and if not, you will feel much better every time you pull into your driveway. Try these tips for a quick (pretty) fix starting at the curb. It will say "welcome home" to you and your guests!

Photo of garden with clothesline and pathway Decorative items, shutters, lighting and flower pots say "welcome home."

Before you get started, as with any decorating project, clean and declutter. Spring is the perfect time to take care of your landscaping by trimming, weeding and pruning. Pressure wash roof and driveway. Clean out gutters. Now for the fun tips:

Photo of white fence with hearts and beautiful pink flowers•    Upgrade your mail box from the one that you have had since you moved into the house. If this is not possible because of homeowner rules, at least clean it out (cobwebs) and plant some colorful flowers around it.
•    Repair pavers or cracks in the driveway or sidewalk.
•    Freshen up the house numbers. Invest a few dollars little in a customized decorative plaque with your numbers.
•    It's a great time to clean/replace outdoor light fixtures and make sure you have enough light. A dark entry is not inviting nor is it safe.
•    Paint the front door, trim on the house and shutters if you have them. If you read this column regularly, I always suggest painting the door and the trim around it every spring. Give some thought to the style of the home and don't be afraid to go bold! Mine is currently turquoise!
•    Evaluate the  paint. If you are selling your home, a fresh coat of paint is the best  way to update your curb appeal.
•    Update your door bell or knocker. •    Plant spring annuals in your front yard. Around trees and to line your sidewalk or driveway.
•    Style the front entry. I do this for all of my clients. A seasonal wreath on the front door. Container gardens from a nursery, Lowes or Home Depot are my favorites. They are fast and inexpensive. Place them in pairs on either side of your door to add a welcoming touch.
•    Add some accessories! A piece or two of artwork that is weather-resistant such as a birdbath in the yard surrounded by plants and flowers or a metal sculpture at the entry, set the tone for entering your home.
•    Replace your door mat.
•    Welcome home.

Photo of Home Inspirations in Fort Myers News-Press by Wrenda GoodwynWrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos visit her blog at spectacularspaces.com/blog

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Do you want your home to look like a model? Read my tips.

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge for your home and when to save.

Is it time to hire a professional? Check out my suggestions in the Fort Myers News-Press for working with an interior decorator.

 

Saturday
Feb072015

Home Inspirations: Model behavior

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• February 7, 2015

It's happened to all of us. We walk into a model home and want to say "I'll take it."

Everything is so perfect and coordinated. The lighting, paint color, furniture, artwork, window treatments. It sparkles and says, "come in and stay a while."

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can't tell you how many times I receive a phone call that goes something like this: "I want my home to look like a model."

If only.

Here is a dirty little secret: It's not possible. It's like looking at  a photo in a fashion magazine and saying, "I want to look like that model."

It won't happen. That model doesn't even look like that model.

And it's much the same with a model home. It's designed to be a model home. Not a home that anyone lives in. Therefore, you will never be able to achieve the exact look for your space.

But here is the good news: You can manage, with some help, to achieve the feeling that the model home gives you. Whether you are looking at home magazines in which the rooms are staged for photos or at a model home designed to "sell" the home, there are some tricks that will help you capture the feeling. But on a realistic, practical level.

Photo of Pottery Barn's organic Ikat medallion print with bright colors and a washed effectFabric headboard, styled nightstand, sconces and this beautiful, organic Ikat medallion print with bright colors and a washed effect create a model feeling in a bedroom. Photo: PotteryBarn.comIt's like I tell all of my decorating clients, show me the feeling that you want and I will help you get there. But remember, because a model home is not designed for anyone to live in it, we need to proceed cautiously!   

Here are my favorite tips for designing your space to capture the feel of a model home for real life living:

•    Clean until everything sparkles. This is the trait of a model home: not a speck of dust anywhere! And polish the furniture and wipe down all appliances.
•    Declutter and organize. I know, you don't want to but you must. Clear the countertops and organize closets/drawers. You cannot have a model home feel with a lot of clutter. It just won't happen.
•    A fresh coat of paint changes everything.  Select a neutral color palette and give your walls a fresh coat. Add color with fabric, accessories and texture. One of my current favorites: grey walls with white, blue, green accents.
•    Notice how well lit and crisp model homes always look. One reason: lighting. Check out your ambient lighting, task and accent lighting. A carefully designed plan should include all three. And for those dark, tough to light areas: sconces and floor lamps.


New lighting, fresh paint and a hand-painted framed mirror transform a bathroom. Photo: PotteryBarn.com•    Establish a focal point in the living areas. This can be a piece of art, a beautiful view of the outdoors, an antique or eclectic piece, a fireplace.
•    Drag the furniture away from the walls. You never see this in a model home! Establish a comfortable, easy flow conversation area and make sure your furniture is in scale with the room. Note: the furniture from your previous house may not work with scale of your new/current home.
•    Eliminate pieces that no longer work for you. If you have been hauling around furniture from home to home, it may be time to start over. If you want the feeling of a model home.
•    Include a large area rug to tie things together. It makes the room look more spacious.
•    Style your dining room table: set it for your next meal (like a model) or create a tablescape in the center that becomes permanent and you can enjoy it every day. Rather than a dining room table that just sets there unused. And unpretty!
•    Style your coffee table. I like to divide my tables into sections: books, flowers and a pretty tray with something that you love.
•    Refresh the bathroom: Hang a chandelier. Frame the mirror or replace with two single hanging mirrors. Add new sconces over the mirror.
•    Less is more. Always. Go for somewhat of a minimalist look but not to an extreme. It's one of the reasons that we love models homes: they are not filled with our everyday "stuff."
•    This is an easy one and it has to do with artwork. Go for large pieces over the sofa and think in terms of three's. Cut a large image into three sections or try it with a piece of fabric cur three times and stretched over canvas.
•    Add some drama to the bedroom. Paint an accent or add a wall covering to the wall behind the bed. Invest in a fabric headboard. Add sconces for lighting. Purchase new bed linens in a fresh, bold color. Declutter the nightstand.


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

 

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge for your home and when to save.

Is it time to hire a professional? Check out my suggestions in the Fort Myers News-Press for working with a professional.

 

Saturday
Jan242015

Art meets design for a walk on the wild side

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 24, 2015

It's whimsical and exotic with a touch of eclectic.  

The collection contains vibrant and varied species of birds, butterflies, rabbits, tropical leaves and orchids all utilized in creating dynamic patterns in this art-meets-design collection.  In Lee Jofa's  first artist collaboration with Groundworks, they have introduced vibrantly colored and stunning fabrics, wallpapers, and carpets designed by Hunt Slonem, a world-renowned artist best known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings of exotic animals and tropical plant life.

Photo of Hunt Slonem's Bunny WallBunny Wall, a tromp l'oeil wallpaper that recreates the walls of Slonem's studio, Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

And it's exciting because it puts some fun into interior design. It almost says, "yes I am gorgeous, but I don't take myself too seriously."

The result: spectacular.

Slonem's  paintings are layered with thick brushstrokes of vivid color, and are often cut into in a cross-hatched pattern, adding texture to the overall surface of the painting. This technique has been replicated in the fabric collection through intricate jacquard weaving and digital printing techniques, resulting in a look that is graphically stunning.  For the Groundworks' collection, several of his most popular themes and iconic works have been translated into decor for the home.

Photo of Hunt Slonem's Star of India fabricStar of India, describes a type of tortoise that was a former pet of the artist. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

As a celebrated painter, sculptor and printmaker with more than 350 exhibitions at prestigious galleries and museums internationally,  Slonem has traveled all over the world but it was his childhood spent in Hawaii, and a year studying in Nicaragua, that have had the most profound impact on his life’s work. The vivid color combinations and exotic wildlife he encountered there inspire him to this day.

PhotoBayo Casino fabric, Slonem's parrot series using dozens of live parrots which he paints in his studio. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

The motifs he explored in his early works, tropical birds, butterflies, bunnies and portraits, have been reduced to their essence and have become recurring themes in his extraordinary art. His spiritual connection to the concept of metamorphosis led him to include the butterfly as one of the recurring themes in his work.

Photo of Hunt Slonem's Fritillery fabricFritillery, the butterfly motif based upon specimens Slonem studied as a boy. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

And there are those iconic bunnies.

Fascination with the rabbit occurred when he realized was born in the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese calendar. In his New York City studio,  the bunny wall consists of   salon-style groupings of his small bunny paintings, some hung while wet. These signature paintings are now collector's items.  And Bunny Wall is a wallpaper that mimics the effect of the framed paintings against different colored backgrounds.

Photo of Hunt Slonem's bunnies A seamless series of bunnies, unframed and multiplied, on solid and metallic backgrounds. The repetition represents luck, abundance and the gentle traits represented by the rabbit. Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

Slonem's spiritual connection to his recurring themes elevates the simple paintings to something more significant. To Slonem, repetition is divinity. Just like the act of repeating a phrase creates a mantra, the object is elevated and the act of repeating these forms becomes an act of worship. The process of painting is sacred to Slonem, and as a result, his body of work represents so much more than what's painted on the canvas.

Photo of Hunt Slonem's the GuardiansThe Guardians, a series of paintings that feature the eyes and mouths of monkeys Photo: Kravet/Lee Jofa.

Photo of Hunt Slonem parrotsAnd just how do we incorporate some of this exotic whimsy into our southwest homes? My suggestions:

•    The beautiful fabric is an elegant touch for upholstery and draperies.  My favorite is to take a chair or sofa piece that has become dated or an antique and reupholster  to give it a totally new look.  And the fabric makes beautiful window panels.

•    Who can resist the Bunny Wall as an accent wall covering in an office or dining room and for the entire powder room?

•    Pillows for accents add a bright, eclectic  touch to a solid color, traditional sofa.

•    The bunny wall coverings, Hutch, are available in pink or yellow and would be a great touch for a nursery.

•    Want just a touch of these fabulous creations in your home?  Stretch a piece of the fabric on canvas for a wall or frame a section of one of the wallpapers.


To see the entire collection, visit the Kravet/Lee Jofa showroom at the Miromar Design Center in Estero or visit www.leejofa.com/groundworks_wallcoverings.htm.

Hunt Slonem will sign his new book, When Art Meets Design from 4-6:30 p.m., January 26 at Harmon-Meek in Naples. Details: 239-262-2699.


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge for your home and when to save.

Is it time to hire a professional? Check out my suggestions in the Fort Myers News-Press for working with a professional.

 

Saturday
Jan032015

Home resolutions (easy) to make you love your space (a lot)

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 3, 2015

The houseguests have departed. The decorations are packed up (well, most of them). Home sweet home may be looking a little sad without the twinkly lights.  And while it's nice to have all of the space back, it may be looking a little drab. Maybe time for a refreshening. Not a total redo. A few tweaks for positive changes that make you feel good about your home.

Photo of staged coffee tableStage a coffee table and make it the focal point of the room. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Welcome 2015! Each year, I forgo the impossible, guilt inducing resolutions that are broken before my Christmas tree is picked up by the recycling truck. Instead, I come up with a list of resolutions for the home.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I help my clients make major changes in their homes with new color choices. Giving old furnishings a new look with beautiful upholstery. Purchasing a new accent piece or rug. Changing accessories, artwork, lighting.  Giving an outdated bathroom a spa look. Deciding if now is the time for a room renovation.  Pick just one of these for your home interior resolution in 2015 and you will have a major change.

Photo of gallery wall in entryDesign a gallery wall for your entry. Photo: Pottery Barn.

My resolutions are designed to be stress-free. Isn't that what we want for the New Year? Some you can do when you finish reading this column. Others will require a little thinking and planning. Whatever you select, happy decorating. I wish you a spectacular home in 2015!

•    Love everything in your home. If not, get rid of it. Open the space for something new. Just because you have had it forever doesn't mean it is still working for you. Donate it and let someone else love it.

•    Declutter. The New Year is the time. Be brave. A lot of our "stuff" has past emotional attachments. Let it go and love the extra space and calm that results.

•    Open the windows and breathe. Seriously, those windows do open! Let the toxins out (as well as the holiday smells)  and enjoy the fresh air. In southwest Florida where we run the air conditioning nonstop, this is important. Do it now!

•    Make your outdoor space more livable. Whether it is a tiny balcony or a spacious lanai with a pool, make it part of your living space. Furniture, lighting, artwork, a rug to pull it all together. Increases your space and gives you a reason to enjoy the outdoors this time of year.

Photo of new upholstery fabricAdd new color and give an old piece a new look for 2015. Photo: Kravet.

•    Be realistic and don't believe everything you see on TV. If you have worked endlessly on your home and have everything you want but something is still not quite right, it may be time to call in a professional to help you rethink your space. The home shows are just that: shows. They make it look easy and inexpensive.  It's neither. Remember this is television and what looks great may not always be practical in real life.

•    Bring some new color into your home. Whether it's a new palette for the walls or a new color scheme for accessories, this is the most impactful change you can make. Visually and emotionally, it changes everything.  And for the money, it's the best value.

•    Exercise restraint. Before you blast out the door to start making purchases, stop and make a plan. Think about how you want your home to feel and what you can do to get there. Avoid mistakes.

•    Check out your lighting. One of the biggest mistakes I see in homes is lack of or incorrect lighting. And this is relatively easy to fix. We need task (work), ambient (overall) and accent (on a particular object or part of the room). Sometimes all you need to do is increase the light bulb strength!

•    Add a gallery wall. Pull your artwork or photos together on one wall for a museum or art gallery look. Go with a dark color as a backdrop. Short on space? An entry is a great place to do this.  

•    Stage your coffee table.  You likely have everything you need! A pretty tray,  favorite books, accessories, flowers. Gorgeous!

•    Tidy up the laundry room. Paint it a color that you love but are afraid to use in any otter room. Add a piece of art. Reorganize and declutter. You may enjoy doing the laundry!

•    Always go for timeless over trendy. Will you love it in five years? Buy it. And buy the best you can afford with major items like your sofa.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Related posts:

Resolutions for a happy new year

Fill home sweet home with happiness 

 

Want to come home to a spectacular space? Call me!

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge for your home and when to save.

Is it time to hire a professional? Check out my suggestions for working with a professional in the Fort Myers News-Press.