Giving thanks for your home

Keep it pretty and simple this Thanksgiving with handcrafted ceramics from Pottery Barn that let you bring nature into your home with botanicals and colorful fruit. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Keep it pretty and simple this Thanksgiving with handcrafted ceramics from Pottery Barn that let you bring nature into your home with botanicals and colorful fruit. Photo: Pottery Barn.


Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • November 3, 2018

Even in our year-round tropical paradise where there is little change in the weather, fall brings a noticeable shift.

Unlike the rest of the country, the slight drop in temperature has most of us heading for the beach, sprucing up our lanais for the season and getting outdoors more. It means football games, antique markets, holiday open houses, the beginning of a series of celebrations and family gatherings. And Thanksgiving.

Sadly, Thanksgiving gets lost in the Halloween/Christmas shuffle. Wedged in between the two, it doesn’t get the recognition that it did when I was growing up in Virginia and it was a major family holiday.

In a time of many challenges, most people are stressed, shuffling too many obligations and trying to do it all, Thanksgiving is a good time to stop and take a breath. And to be thankful for where you live and for your home.

Bombarded by beautiful, professionally-styled homes featured in magazines, Pinterest and HGTV, we live in a constant state of wanting to do more, more, more. And a visit to model homes on a weekend sends most of us into a deep case of home envy. Everyone has a better, more gorgeous home. Or so we think.

Our homes provide comfort, safety, calm and happiness. And yet, we are never really satisfied

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I make homes pretty. Solve problems that bother the homeowner. Pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look. The ultimate goal: happiness when you walk in the door.

The right paint color helps to pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look and makes you happy when you walk in the door. Benjamin Moore: Wall in Mascarpone AF-20; trim in Whipple Blue HC-152. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

The right paint color helps to pull everything together for a calm, cohesive look and makes you happy when you walk in the door. Benjamin Moore: Wall in Mascarpone AF-20; trim in Whipple Blue HC-152. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Sometimes this may only require a new color palette. Color is the big change in any home. And it can be the best investment for your money. But it may also require new furniture or a bath or kitchen redo. The most important thing: start with where you are and work from there. But don’t go crazy.

Take a minute to stop, look around and give thanks for what you have. A fresh perspective. Often it is the simple things.

A few things that you don’t need:

· Oversized coffee tables

· Too many chairs (eat-in kitchen, dining room, bar stools, patio chairs….how many chairs do you really need?) make a home look like a furniture store.

· Bar carts. Cute but unnecessary and take up space.

· Too many throw pillows.

· Media centers that span an entire wall. A lot of fuss for a TV.

· Layered rugs. One is enough.

· Dining room table and chairs that see use once a year (or less).

· To strive for perfection. It will never happen and you will just be exhausted all the time.

Giving thanks with a twist on the traditional napkin ring with these wraps from Frontgate. Photo: Frontgate.

Giving thanks with a twist on the traditional napkin ring with these wraps from Frontgate. Photo: Frontgate.

What you need:

· Keep it simple.

· Declutter something. You will feel better.

· A chandelier in your closet. It will make you happy.

· A calm space. A spa bath, a patio, a yoga nook, a chair with a reading lamp.

· Nature. Plants in the house have health benefits and make us feel good.

· Good lighting. Up the wattage.

· Decorate as though you will live there forever.

· A pretty guest room. Company is coming!

· Aim for timeless and affordable.

· Don’t live in a storage garage for someone else’s memories. Your home is about you.

Wherever you are spending the holiday, be thankful for your home sweet home.



Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 239-949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog





Eliminate color confusion! Tips for getting it right

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • June 2, 2018

So many choices! A few tips will keep you from making mistakes and will help select just the right color to create a beautiful interior. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

So many choices! A few tips will keep you from making mistakes and will help select just the right color to create a beautiful interior. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

It makes us feel happy. It changes everything including how we feel about our space. Get it right and you will love your home. Mess it up and you will always wonder why it’s not feeling quite right. 

Color.

It’s far from easy. It’s complicated. It’s not necessarily about your favorite color. It’s why home interior professionals study it for years and most are like me and don’t leave the house without a fan deck in their hand. We are passionate about color.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, my most requested service is selecting color and creating personalized color palettes for the home. It’s the most difficult part of decorating for most people and there are good reasons. The number one reason being the approach. It’s usually all wrong and results in mistakes and frustration.

Most people rush out to a big box store, grab a hundred color swatches (all in their favorite colors), take them home, hold the one-inch color swatch up to their existing paint color, make a decision, call the painter and it all begins. And then wonder why it doesn’t look just right.

Neutrals and beiges are popular in Southwest Florida and can be paired with accent colors in accessories. Wall: Pashima (AF-100). Trim: Winds Breath (OC-24). Bookcase back wall: Silhouette (AF-655).Ceiling: White Heron (OC-57). Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Neutrals and beiges are popular in Southwest Florida and can be paired with accent colors in accessories. Wall: Pashima (AF-100). Trim: Winds Breath (OC-24). Bookcase back wall: Silhouette (AF-655).Ceiling: White Heron (OC-57). Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Here’s the good news

As we head into summer in Southwest Florida, things have quieted down a bit. All of the company is gone and it’s a great time to think about giving your home a little refresh. If you’re on a decorating budget (who isn’t?) and can only do one thing to you home, this is it. Color.

Books about color fill the shelves. I just have space in this article for some key tips to set you off on the right path.

Selecting the right color

Updates your home without spending a fortune.

Pulls the space together.

Makes your home look clean and fresh.

Creates a look for your home.

Serene colors in this bath are done with Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath & Spa paint that withstands warm, humid environments. Walls: Palladian Blue (HC-144). Trim: Distant Gray (22124-70). Tub: Breath of Fresh Air (806).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Serene colors in this bath are done with Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath & Spa paint that withstands warm, humid environments. Walls: Palladian Blue (HC-144). Trim: Distant Gray (22124-70). Tub: Breath of Fresh Air (806).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Don’t do this!

Go with the latest trends.

Pick your favorite color.

Select color like you pick out your clothes (grab what you like at the moment).

Pick color from a tiny swatch.

Paint without testing the color on the wall.

Pick a paint color before you have anything else in the room (there are exceptions to this).

Rush to make a decision.

Think only about the room that you are painting.

Select paint without coming up with a complete color palette for the room.

Do this!

Buy the best quality paint you can afford. It makes a difference. Trust me on this.

Go with the lowest VOC or no VOC.

Color challenged? Magazines, Pinterest and vision boards all help.

Process: Select swatches. Order large swatches. Test your final selections on the actual wall. Leave the test colors up for a few days and see how they change with lighting.

Selecting paint color is challenging for most homeowners. It’s important to test your final selections on the actual wall. Leave the test colors up for a few days and see how they change with lighting. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Selecting paint color is challenging for most homeowners. It’s important to test your final selections on the actual wall. Leave the test colors up for a few days and see how they change with lighting. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Consider the ceiling. I often tint the paint for the ceiling so that it’s not such a stark white. Just a little tint links the ceiling to the walls. And if you have coffered ceilings, take advantage of this element with color.

Sometimes less is more. A beautiful white on the walls with trim in a carefully selected neutral color is classic and timeless. Hint: Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” was the 2016 color of the year. It’s a warm white that pairs well with neutrals.

Select furniture, fabric, flooring first. Then paint color. Then accessories.

ALL color has undertones. This is where the mistakes are made. If your sofa (or flooring or counter tops) has green/beige undertones and you pick a pinky beige paint color for walls, you will not be happy.

Think about the rest of your home. Color needs to coordinate throughout. A good rule that I follow: No more than three paint colors in the home.

Create a color palette and work from there. Consider your window treatments, upholstery, pillows, artwork and accessories. Color is not just the paint that you put on the walls. Think about the big picture.

What works: I like to select more neutrals for the main areas and incorporate ceiling and trim colors. Bathrooms and bedrooms lend themselves to accent colors.

Here’s a little trade secret

When redoing the color in a room, follow the 60-30-10 color rule. Many decorators use this rule and it works every time. The 60 percent should be your wall color. Furniture and fabric should be 30 percent. The remaining 10 percent should be your accessories, pillows and rugs. When you see a room or photograph in a magazine and it seems to work, chances are that this rule applies.

Where to use your favorite color?

Your sofa! I see far too many heavy brown leather sofas in Southwest Florida! Pick out your favorite color in the most gorgeous fabric you can find. Yellow. Jewel tones. A color that is not on your wall or floor.

Don’t be afraid of color

It changes everything. Including how you feel. And you want to feel happy in your home. If it’s a struggle, call a professional. The goal is to keep you from making mistakes and to help you bring out the best in your home!

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

 

 

Yellow: a burst of sunshine for your home

Yellow: a burst of sunshine for your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • June 3,  2017

If you’ve seen any of the award shows lately, you know that one color has popped up all over the red carpet: yellow. Muted. Cobalt. Sequined. Think about the gowns worn by Viola Davis and Natalie Portman. And there is Bella’s unforgettable gold/yellow ball gown in Beauty and the Beast.

And that means one thing: home interior colors follow fashion so here it comes into your home. For many, it never left.

Because I believe that current color follows what is happening in the world, it’s no surprise that yellow is popping up everywhere. A little yellow may be just what we need right now.

Read More

Benjamin Moore's "Color of the Year" casts a dramatic Shadow

As someone who lives, sleeps and breathes color, I have always believed that popular color trends somewhat reflect what is happening in the world around us.

When Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore announced its Color of the Year 2017 – Shadow 2117-30, a rich, royal amethyst, I thought, this is it. A shadowy, brooding, deep color that speaks for itself.

Read More

Quick Decorating Tips for a Happy Home (some are free!)

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •June 4, 2016

Try something new with color with this perky blue and green setting with a large-scale graphic pattern (Midland) that has a leaf-like motif and gives a nod to old Federal style wallpaper. The wallcovering shown here is Troy, a small-scale texture with characteristics of a basket-weave. Photo credit: Courtesy of Thibaut.www.thibautdesign.com 

There are a few things that really drive decorators and designers crazy. But the good news: the minute we walk into your house, we can spot them and help you correct them quickly. Today, I am sharing my short list with you and guess what? Many of these can be corrected before you finish reading this article and you don’t even have to get in your car to drive up and down 41 looking for more “stuff” to bring into your house! 

So, if you’re happy with your home sweet home but it doesn’t seem quite right, read on and maybe the one little tweak that you need is listed below. 

Be realistic about a budget.

I've never been into a client’s home that I couldn’t improve.  As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have seen it all. Realistic budget. No budget. Tiny budget. I base my decorating on affordable solutions for home décor and I’ve had lots of practice of making a home look great without wrecking your finances. 

It’s important to keep in mind that reality home shows are not a home interior professional’s friend. They give the impression that a designing couple can breeze through your home, redo it from the inside to the outside, all for a song. Quick, beautiful, cheap, fast. It’s just not so and what they do not include are the behind the scene costs and a realistic, honest budget. 

Pretty painted chest set against the backdrop of Thibaut’s Portofino wall covering. These large, stylized, flowers and other fun details make this a striking accent wall. The wallpaper is rotary screen printed, which uses a lot of ink to make the flowers slightly textured. Photo credit: Courtesy of Thibaut.  www.thibautdesign.com

So having said that, whatever your budget, be realistic and honest with yourself. A lot of my tips below are free or require little $$. Others may be something to work toward (phase two, as I say!). The more realistic you are, the happier you will be with your home. 

No plan? Then it doesn’t matter where you are going.

Now that you have a budget nailed down, take some time to get your thoughts organized and develop a plan. This is key to a happy outcome. What are the priorities? What can you do without spending a lot? Do you need a total redo or will a good design plan help to sort out where to begin? Do you need the professional help of a designer or can you do it yourself with a plan? No plan? The result will be a house filled with rooms that all have a different look. 

Please: Say goodbye to these. Now.

Refrigerator magnets. Fake flowers. A lot of junk on top of kitchen cabinets. Enough said about this. 

Pull furniture away from the walls.

Get rid of the uncomfortable conversation area and create some space. A U-shaped arrangement is best.  Sofa and two chairs or two sofas.  We realize the sized of the space dictates placement. Give it a fresh look. 

Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.

I know, I talk about this all the time. But you have to do it over and over. Things have a way of accumulating when you aren’t looking. And without this key element, you may as well not try to make a change. You will just be rearranging the clutter. 

Create a palette: don’t just throw color around.

If you get the color palette right, everything else falls into place. This is my most popular service and the one that homeowners have the most difficulty establishing. And here’s why: it’s not all about putting paint on the wall. It is about creating a color scheme for the entire home and carrying the color throughout in fabric, accessories, window treatments, pillows, etc. This is definitely the tricky part of decorating. The fun part and the most important after your budget and your plan.  So spend some time on this one.   

Decorating: it’s all about you.

It’s not about your neighbors, your relatives who come to visit each year, your bridge club or a friend who has a daughter who is a decorator in another state. We hear these sources of input all the time! Filter out the noise and keep in mind this is your home and your opinion is the only one that counts. 

Curate your own art gallery.

Take a fresh look at your art work. I like to select a space on a wall and make it look like a museum gallery. Place everything on the floor. With painter’s tape, mark off the area you wish to cover on the wall. The best height for your key pieces: eye level. This is usually 57-58 inches from the floor. Once you have the arrangement, you are ready to create your gallery. 

Paint your entry door on both sides.

If you don’t have the time or budget for anything else, give your home a lift and do this one. And here is a tip: paint both sides of the door for a professional design look. My advice: if you love a color but are afraid that it just will not work in your home, use it on the door. 

Don’t fear wall coverings!

For a long time, we focused on paint and textures for walls. It seems that wallpaper (as it was called) went by the wayside. But it’s back and it’s fabulous. Textures, sheens, feathers. Take a fresh look and at least try it for a powder room or an accent wall. 

Don’t love it? Paint it or pass it on.

Have an antique that you no longer love? Like an armoire or chest? Paint it! What good is it if you no longer want it in your home? Our tastes all change and color can change everything. Otherwise, pass it on and let someone else love it. 

Think about white.

It looks beautiful in magazines. White walls. White sofas and chairs. Gorgeous and carefully styled. Do you have the lifestyle for all white? Will you be able to accent with beautiful artwork and accessories to carry it off? If the answer is yes, go for it! If not, rethink this commitment. 

Come into the light!

We can never have enough and right now your home is likely lacking in this area. Because all of us seem to overlook this important element in our homes.  Check all four corners of your rooms for proper lighting. Remember: we need overhead, task and ambient lighting. Make sure you use dimmers and if this is not possible, plugin adapters work fine.  Chandeliers, floor lamps, mirrors and glass doors also reflect light. 

Decorative painting. Ugh.

This was a trend that has (thankfully) passed on. I am not speaking of the beautiful treatments for recessed ceilings. Rather the unfortunate fad of things like sponge painting, globing things like wadded up paper on the wall, stenciling and other horrors. When it comes to wall treatments: a good quality paint in a beautiful color and finish or the most outrageous wall covering you can afford on an accent wall. 

Say goodbye to your unicorn collection.

We all have collections that made sense at one time. But time is the problem. It may be time to say goodbye. If it’s not a priceless collection or one that you absolutely love, it may have outlived its value. So when you are doing your decluttering, you may want to say goodbye and let someone else love it. 

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. Her @home article 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

 

Tips for designing a home that brings the beach inside

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •May 7, 2016

If you're like me and your favorite chair is a beach chair, your favorite shoes are flip flops and your preferred color palette is the one in your beach umbrella, you likely love the beach and want to have a little of it in your home.

Whether you live steps from the beautiful Gulf shores of Southwest Florida or just wish you did, you can design your home interior to reflect the colors, feelings and hues that will make you feel the tranquility and beauty that only the beach can provide.

WHIMSICAL CLOWN FISH ARE FROM COLE & SON'S ACQUARIO FORNASITTI II. THE WALL COVERING CREATES A DRAMATIC BACKDROP FOR AN ENTRY TABLE STYLED WITH FAVORITE BEACH-INSPIRED PIECES. PHOTO: COLE & SONS.

Beach house decor style is about a lifestyle. An attitude. It's about living with nature and capturing the essence of a long walk on a beach. Striking that balance between casual and a touch of formality. Collecting driftwood and shells. And finding a way to bring a piece of it home.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, many of my clients want to incorporate at least some aspect of our environment into their space.  Whether you live in an apartment, condo, single family home or an Airstream travel trailer, it's easily doable. And fun. Check out my favorite tips, pick one and get to work!

Bright and white

Take advantage of the great tropical lighting that we enjoy in this area. You can't beat a white backdrop for your walls. One of my other favorite go-to-colors for a beach cottage  look is Benjamin Moore's Silver Satin. And use Benjamin Moore's Decorator White for trim. Just enough hue and sparkle and has that "old Florida beach cottage" feeling.

Classic coastal color palette

Vintage Ship door sits atop pilings and holds glass layered with sea glass. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Accessories, fabric, accents are beautiful when done in sea glass accents. Seafoam green/blues. And remember: a bit of turquoise in every room. Even if it's just a bowl of shells mixed with sea glass.

Beach-inspired kitchen

While my favorite kitchen is one done in all white, you can add contrast to white walls with pale grey/blue cabinets. Or bead board (so easy to do this and a great look) in a sea glass tone around the island or bar. Stainless appliances.

 Style a coffee table or entry table

If you don't do anything else, this is the one. It sets the tone of your home. This is where you display your favorite nautical elements: seashells, driftwood, glass jars with seaglass, art, books. I love working books into the mix. Some of my favorites: Island Life by India Hicks and Key West: A Tropical Lifestyle by Leslie Linsley.

Accent walls

For a little beach drama, select a wall in the entry or in a powder room. Cover it in one of the beautiful grass cloth wall coverings or something similar to the whimsical clown fish Cole & Son's Acquario Fornasitti ii. Place this behind your styled entry table or a gorgeous mirror and you don't need anything else to bring the beach home!

Windows

White shutters or light linen drapes are best.  When using drapes, I like to trim them with fabric tape in a sea glass hue. And remember, always hang drapes from just below the ceiling for as much height as possible.

Furniture

Style a bookcase or shelving with a tropical theme. Incorporate white furnishings, white walls and a jute rug. Photo: Pottery Barn. 

It's all about casual comfort. Cushioned or slip covered sofas and chairs will get you the look but you don't need to redo your furnishings. Just add a couple of bamboo chairs and maybe a stool with tropical or white cushions.(Bamboo can be painted: think flea markets). Add a couple of colorful garden stools. These can work as side tables for extra seating. Add colorful pillows.

It's 5 o'clock someplace!

Style a cart with a tiki bar theme. Include artwork on the walls behind the cart and add some of your favorite pieces along with beachy glasses and a plant or two. I like to include a colorful cloth awning over the cart to set it apart.  

Artwork

It's all about color and this is where the room comes to life. I have my clients look through magazines and on Pinterest to seek out paintings and photographs that speak to them and we work it into the mix. One of my favorites: take some your own favorite photographs and stretch them on canvas. This style is perfect for a casual look and is a great memory of someplace you have been.

Flooring

Sand would be perfect for a beach lover but it's best to incorporate natural fiber rugs such as sisal, jute or seagrass. They look great and some of the modern styles have a contemporary look, allowing for trim in coastal colors. Think: coral.

Design your bookshelf

This is one of my favorites. First, pick a sea-inspired color and paint the back of the bookcase or the wall. Creatively, arrange and showcase your artwork, books, driftwood, shells and other elements to give it that "just washed up on the beach look."

Accents

Display your shells in jars and bowls. I like a bowl of shells in every room. There is one by my computer as I write this article. They make me happy and take me someplace else when I have to work can't get to the beach!

Incorporate Capiz mirrors and lighting fixtures.

Purchase bamboo flatware and sea-inspired dishes to use every day.

Add a couple of palm trees to your decor...large or small. They say "tropical" and are good for the air quality in your home.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. 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