Sprinkle your home with a little decorating whimsy

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • July 6, 2019

Wendy Conklin’s Frida chairs pay homage to Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Group them together for a dining room that your guests will never stop talking about! Photo: Chair Whimsy

Wendy Conklin’s Frida chairs pay homage to Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Group them together for a dining room that your guests will never stop talking about! Photo: Chair Whimsy

Whatever happened to the fun in interior decorating?

Sometimes I think our home interiors are becoming too serious.

Why: I go into a lot of homes that tell me absolutely nothing about the people who live there. The home can look great, everything in the right place, good flow, nice color (although a little dull). But what is missing is something to tell me who lives there and what they like.

Garden party! Change up your dining room chairs with this colorful fabric set against a neutral palette bu Wendy Conklin. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Garden party! Change up your dining room chairs with this colorful fabric set against a neutral palette bu Wendy Conklin. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Where is the fun?

It’s one of the reasons Southwest Florida homeowners call me. They are just plain bored. Their homes need a little something. They don’t always need to change the entire house. They want me to give their home a little injection of personality (definitely can do that). A little wow (they say, although wow is not a decorating style) or an accent piece to shake things up. Or a new color palette to change everything.

In other words, they need a little sprinkling of decorating whimsy. Something to make their house their home.

Brighten up a dull space with this black on black chair has lots of WOW. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Brighten up a dull space with this black on black chair has lots of WOW. Photo: Chair Whimsy

The French writing desk and why are chairs so ugly?

I started thinking about this recently when a longtime client asked to help her create a space for writing. She’s a published author and had just downsized. She had purchased a French writing desk and wanted to incorporate it into an area for her writing. The writing desk is well, spectacular. A focal point of the room. And it needed a chair equally as spectacular.

I set out on a mission. To find a chair that screams WOW. And does the desk and the space justice. And so, it began.

First of all, let me say this: a pretty chair is hard to find. No, let me rephrase: most chairs start out ugly. I know this because I shop for chairs for many clients and I always tell them to find a chair that fits the space, fits them and is a style that works with the room. If we are lucky enough to find all three, we can make it pretty with beautiful fabric selections.

Pretty in floral pinks with a whitewash finish. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Pretty in floral pinks with a whitewash finish. Photo: Chair Whimsy

“Ugly chairs” on Pinterest

I was looking for another client’s pink chair recently and somehow ended up going down a rabbit trail and found myself on Pinterest. Do you know there is actually a board called “Ugly chairs?” Seriously. I have seen most of these chairs. Except for the one that looks like a potato. Check it out if you want a laugh. I did find a pretty pink chair at West Elm.

But I digress. Slightly.

Chairs as an accent

I’ve always used chairs as an accent piece. In my own home, I have one in every room. An old, wooden, shabby chic chair sits in my living room with a pillow that points toward the beach. In my bedroom, a treasured flea market find, an old, weathered beach chair that holds a pillow that I love from a trip to Paris. An old, heirloom wicker chair was given a new life with some beautiful, coastal fabric. And the list goes on.

But here is the thing.

You can’t really sit in these chairs. For long. If your accent needs to be for real life, you need something substantial.

And then I found it.

Chair “whimsy”

My search led me to designer and upholsterer, Wendy Conklin. Her business, Chair Whimsy, offers one-of-a-kind, out-of-this-world chairs that make wonderful accent pieces. From boho chic to vintage farmhouse to classic romance, these chairs reflect the personalities of their owner. They are new and fabulous. And you can create your own. Check them all out at chairwhimsy.com

Her boho chic line includes a collection of “Frida” chairs, paying homage to the colorful Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. A set for the dining room makes a perfect conversation piece when entertaining or one can stand alone at a desk or in a corner.

Be fearless

Find your inspiration and don’t be afraid to put an accent piece in every room. It can be a chair or something else that will make you love your home again. As I am writing this, I am thinking about how I can convince my husband that we need a Frida chair. Wish me luck.

Frida Chair #5) - Copy.jpeg

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves 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

What's in, what's out and resolutions for a new year

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • January 6, 2018

Keep it simple in the New Year. Pillow covers inspired by nature nautical accessories, plants, Leona metallic tables, Jackson chippy base lamps work with this Townsend sofa as a focal point of the room.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Keep it simple in the New Year. Pillow covers inspired by nature nautical accessories, plants, Leona metallic tables, Jackson chippy base lamps work with this Townsend sofa as a focal point of the room. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

The lights and decorations have come down and if you’re like me, it seems that things seem a bit gloomy. You may be looking around your home thinking that it needs a little sparkle as we settle in for a new year.

There are lots of interesting trends in the home interiors forecast for 2018. Some are fabulous and worth a try. As I always tell my Southwest Florida interior design clients, pick your changes according to what you love and not the latest trend. And there are the fun lists of what’s in and what’s out. It’s all great fun and I have offered a sampling as well as a few resolutions for your home in 2018. I promise you can keep them!

Happy decorating and best wishes for the New Year!

 Resolutions to do NOW!

 ·       Show gratitude for your home. We always have a wish list and it all never seems to get done. But keep in mind that many in our area are still dealing with severe hurricane damage and would love to be thinking about decorating. Be thankful for what you have and don’t stress out about the small things.

·       Be intentional about your home décor this year. Make a plan before making purchases. We all crave simplicity so don’t go overboard.

Give a little love in 2018 with Pottery Barn’s  Love Gallery  art pieces, pillows, Bella crystal round chandelier, Madison upholstered settee and metallic tables. Check out details at  www.potterybarn.com .  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Give a little love in 2018 with Pottery Barn’s Love Gallery art pieces, pillows, Bella crystal round chandelier, Madison upholstered settee and metallic tables. Check out details at www.potterybarn.com. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

·       Give yourself a little self-care. The early days of a new year are perfect for thinking about what is important for the upcoming months. And these cool days are perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea and a good book, some soft music. In other words: give yourself a break.

Treat yourself to a break with this love is love tray and accessories.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Treat yourself to a break with this love is love tray and accessories. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

·       Manage clutter. Eliminate your junk drawer (who needs junk?).

·       Say “no” to what you don’t love in your home. 

·       Discard duplicates. Donate clothes that you don’t wear. Take excess books to the library.

·       Buy plants or fresh flowers and put them in every room in your house.

·       Try something new! Suggestions below!

What’s in (trends)

Metallics are the hot accessory for the new year. Pendants in nickel, brass, copper, bronze, white, vintage glass.   Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Metallics are the hot accessory for the new year. Pendants in nickel, brass, copper, bronze, white, vintage glass.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

·       Keep it simple! And calm.

·       Fish scale tiles for the perfect backsplash.

·       Space for a coffee bar.

·       Velvet. Couches, rugs, pillows.

·       Metallics: rose gold, brass, copper. And it’s okay to mix them.

·       Rattan furniture. If you see it at a flea market, grab it.

·       Fringe.

·       Typography (signs with your favorite sayings).

·       Art gallery walls.

A serene spa-like powder room with classic white console, marble top, metal fixtures is set against a dramatic wall covering for a customized look.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.     

A serene spa-like powder room with classic white console, marble top, metal fixtures is set against a dramatic wall covering for a customized look. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

 

·       Chandeliers.

·       Wall coverings inspired by nature.

·       Floral patterns.

·       Nautical laccessories.

·       Daybeds.

·       Terrazzo flooring and counters. Even walls.

·       Spa bathrooms.

·       Statement ceilings with paint, wallpaper or textures.

·       Herringbone flooring, walls, backsplashes.

·       Three dimensional wall décor.

·       The color green. And plants everywhere. Real, if possible!

·       Repurposing anything.

·       Dark wood. Chocolate brown floor and furniture.

·       Colorful doors. The front door of course. But also interior doors.

·       Subway tiles. They are still a classic and are affordable. The best kitchen backsplash option.

·       Natural light. Large windows. Light shades and drapes.

·       Mirrors to reflect natural light.

·       Mixing antiques with modern pieces.

·       Marble everything. Flooring, walls, backsplashes, counters.

·       Jewel tones. Colors from nature. Bye-bye beige.

·       Large wall art to take up large spaces in open floor plans.

·       Black and white patterns, prints, flooring.

·       Woven textures and artisan accessories.

What’s out

·       Brushed metals.

·       Too many throw pillows.

·       Decorative painting. Enough said.

·       Huge oversized furniture. It’s ugly and space is a premium.

·       Bare walls.

·       Artwork at the wrong height: 57-58 inches. That’s the general rule.

·       Chevron. Thank goodness.

·       Furniture smashed against the walls.

·       Huge hoods in kitchen.

·       Tuscan. Thank goodness.

·       Overuse of the farmhouse look. Thank goodness.

·       Too much white on white on white.

·       Designing your space without a plan. The result: costly mistakes.

·       Keep it simple. Be intentional with what you bring into your home. Follow what you love. Not trends!

 

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

 

What's your decorating style?

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 21, 2012

Is your home feeling like a hodgepodge of all the furniture you have been moving from home to home for years?

Do you want to change your decorating style to better fit your current lifestyle but are feeling a little uncertain as to how to begin?

There are some tricks of the trade that may help. So before you head out to purchase a lot of “things” to “redo” your home, check these out and you will begin to find your decorating style.

The goal is to transform your home from something that may seem a little stale or discombobulated into something that reflects your personal tastes. Or maybe a change into something that takes your home from drab to wow.

Traditional Living Room - Copy (2).jpg

Traditional style living room with colorful collections as accents, white walls and contemporary fabric, rugs.

Maybe you have been living with shabby chic for a while and want to go contemporary with less clutter as is the current trend. Or perhaps you have just moved to Southwest Florida and want to make your home a little more tropical.

This means having a plan and a willingness to make a (positive) change. So what will it be — contemporary, modern, classic, casual, Florida style, eclectic, traditional, transitional or a mix?

It takes confidence and self-awareness and it may take a while to evolve. After all, it is your personal style, distinct and expressive of how you live your life. Most important: You need to love it. It’s a process. Think about how you want your home to look and work around it.

Combining styles with this modular seating from West Elm, abstract artwork, wood flooring, vintage pieces and bold paint color results in a modern, yet natural look. Photo: West Elm.

Interior designer Deborah Chase of Norris Home Furnishings in Fort Myers recommends beginning with something that you love and working from there. She says it is also important when determining decorating style to consider how you are using your home.

“Is it a second home that will be used for family gatherings, entertaining and holidays? And don’t be afraid to try something different… a new paint color, something fun.”

Best-selling author and home design expert Lauri Ward of redecorate.com suggests “looking inside your closet for clues to your favorite colors. If you tend to dress in navy, camel, black and white, you probably will feel more comfortable living in a neutral colored environment.

“If you like to dress in primary colors, you can use one or two bright hues as accent colors for your home accessories, or even the wall color in one or two rooms (note: avoid bright color in every room as it can be tiring).”

Beautiful Echo Design and the Windsor Smith Home Collection for Kravet set the tone for a casual, Florida style with bright colors and patterns. Photo: Courtesy of Kravet.

Try some of these tips and your style will begin to emerge:

Visit a fabric store and note what appeals to you. Set up a Pinterest board and begin following other pinners who have tastes similar to yours. This will help you to begin to collect some ideas about how you would like for your home to look.

Visit model homes in the area and ask for permission to take photos of rooms that you like.

Follow blogs that offer suggestions and photos that are compatible with your wish list. Favorites: apartmenttherapy.com, houzz.com.

Create a vision board for one of your walls and include articles and photos from magazines that will give you ideas. Favorites: Home Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Coastal Living, Veranda. Your favorites will quickly become obvious. Look for trends.

Visit home stores and design centers for inspiration. Take classes and seminars to learn as much as you can about decorating. Local favorites: Miromar Design Center in Estero and Norris Home Furnishings in Fort Myers & Naples.

Remember: Finding and fine-tuning your decorating style takes time. If you need additional help, call a decorator or designer and have them help you pull it all together.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. 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.

Try these (FREE!) decorating tips at home

In this week's Home Inspirations column I thought I would share a few of my favorite decorating tips! 

 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 27, 2011

 

When I speak to organizations throughout southwest Florida, I always offer some tips that my audience can actually go home that day and either try them out or include them in the decorating plan in their own homes. 

Try some of these ideas for making quick changes that may make you like your home a lot more! 

The best news: Many of them are absolutely free or will cost very little to implement. My top decorating trips that anyone can implement are listed below. Give them a try! 

• Keep your decorating plan simple and uncomplicated.

• Declutter. It makes all the difference: Start with the refrigerator magnets and work through old stacks of magazines. Then remove some furniture if your room seems too crowded.

• Color is a decorator's most valuable tool and it can be yours as well. Follow this color rule for distributing color and you can't go wrong: 20% walls, 30% furniture, 10% accessories.

 • When selecting paint colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow and I have never been sorry.  See below:

Photo of nature's colorsOne of nature's color palletes photographed at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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