Cutting through the decluttering maze

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • May 4, 2019

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Too much information can be a bad thing. And we are surrounded by it. Overload. It comes at us from all directions.

There are articles, blogs, books, magazines, television shows, newsletters and podcasts totally dedicated to this one topic. People are making a living from telling us what to do with our stuff.

Think about it for a minute.

They tell us why we should do it. How to do it. When to do it. How to talk to our possessions when we do it. How we should feel when we are doing it. What will happen to us if we don’t do it. Yikes.

The very name (decluttering) has gone from a spring cleaning that you do every season (or before your interior designer arrives at the front door) to a lifestyle. And while, it can be life- changing, it can also be confusing.

Been there and done it

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I talk about decluttering a lot and I mention it in most of my articles. Sometimes the thought of decluttering itself is overwhelming. Just the physical aspect of getting rid of things and deciding what to do with them is difficult and stops homeowners in their tracks. I understand that because I have just done it.

During my recent move to a new home, I did a major editing of everything I own. You know that 10 percent of our clothing that we wear all the time? I got rid of the other 90 percent. Furniture and everything else that I have been carrying around for years that was no longer working and part of a past life: gone. Donated to good causes that can help people.

Was it painful? Some of it.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Why? Because now I am surrounded by things that I love. As opposed to meaningless items that have just been around for years and take up space.

Because I don’t want this to be another article telling you what to do, let’s cut through all of the clutter with a few gentle thoughts that focus on the most important aspects of decluttering. I promise it will make you love your home again.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Go at it like you mean it

Do you love it? Need it? Use it? There you are. Done.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keep a clear head

A few years ago a client said goodbye to some furnishings that meant a lot to her. These were pieces that she had collected with her husband on their travels. He became ill and they had to downsize. Rather than waiting to see what her next home would be like, she panicked in all of the confusion and sold too much too quickly. The lesson: don’t make a major decision while you are under stress.

Stop shopping now

Drive right past Home Goods and I don’t care that Target’s new line of (affordable) patio furniture looks great. Don’t buy one more thing until you edit what you have. Just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it should be coming into your home as an emotional purchase. Go for a walk or take a yoga class.

Decluttering that you can do NOW

Edit a few things and you’re on your way. Say goodbye to:

· Old shoes, toys, books, potpourri, gift wrap, calendars, cookbooks, paint, craft supplies, remote controls that have no TV.

· Wire hangers, makeup samples, expired medicines, greeting cards from years ago.

· Clothes you haven’t worn in a year (even if the tags are still on them)

· Toss appliance manuals. They are all online.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Delete some of the visual stimulation

Pare down your accessories. Keep your decorating simple. Eliminate or rearrange some furniture and establish a comfortable conversation area that is relaxing.

Summary

When you unburden yourself of the items that are causing stress, your life becomes much easier. Try it, what have you go to lose?

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 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

Home renovation survival tips

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

My dream was to find the perfect home that needed just a tiny bit of cosmetic work to make it mine. I had done major renovations in the past and did not want to go down that road again.

Keep it simple and easy. That was my mantra. And gorgeous. With everything perfect. After all, I am a Southwest Florida interior decorator and I know how to make anything pretty. Really pretty. And functional. Plus, I have all the tools at my fingertips so this should be a snap.

Wrong.

There is a lot to consider in a kitchen renovation: floors, walls, lighting, cabinets. Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues are the focus in this coastal-inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

There is a lot to consider in a kitchen renovation: floors, walls, lighting, cabinets. Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues are the focus in this coastal-inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Remember “Under the Tuscan Sun?”

Although it was a romantic comedy, it could be a home renovation documentary. It’s about a writer who says goodbye to her past and buys a 300-year-old villa in Tuscany. It’s also about her hot new love interest and is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Tuscan countryside. We have all had a similar dream, right?

But it (the movie) is really about the house.

Like “Under the Tuscan Sun,” whether you’re remodeling your bedroom or a bath, knocking out a few walls, creating a new kitchen from start to finish or renovating the entire home, it’s a fairly miserable experience. There is just no way to sugarcoat it.

It’s dirty, stressful and expensive. You have very little control. You are at the mercy of your contractor and the subs that may or may not show up for work. Unexpected problems arise that delay the project and cost. It turns your home and your life upside down. Until the project is finished.

The bottom line: you just have to live through it and hope for the best.

And having just gone through the experience myself, I have a few do’s, don’ts and survival tips that can help.

Renovation don’ts

Don’t cry or panic. It will get better.

Don’t believe the home shows. As fun as they are, they just don’t present the reality of the cost and experience of a home renovation. You know that.

Don’t stay in the house if it’s a major renovation. This is not always possible but moving out for the duration can save your sanity.

Don’t try to do it yourself. Call in the professionals.

Don’t take on a renovation or major remodel if you just aren’t up to it. Make a few cosmetic changes to the room that will enable you to live with it. New paint. New window treatments. A new rug. Maybe new kitchen countertops. Pick what bothers you most and let that be your focus. You might be surprised at the big difference a few small changes make.

Don’t embark on a renovation or major remodel if you just aren’t up to it. Make a few cosmetic changes to the room that will enable you to live with it. Pick what bothers you most and let that be your focus. A few small changes make a big difference. This Pottery Barn Harper upholstered bed, along with new furniture and artwork will totally change a bedroom. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Don’t embark on a renovation or major remodel if you just aren’t up to it. Make a few cosmetic changes to the room that will enable you to live with it. Pick what bothers you most and let that be your focus. A few small changes make a big difference. This Pottery Barn Harper upholstered bed, along with new furniture and artwork will totally change a bedroom. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Renovation do’s

Be patient. This won’t last forever.

Come up with a plan before your first meeting with a contractor. They can’t read your mind and you need to be able to tell them exactly what you need/want. Think about the little things that matter: light switches in the right place, fans, chandeliers, electrical outlets. This is your chance to get it just right.

Consider your lifestyle if you are redoing a floorplan. Traffic flow. Feeling of the home. Color. Is your taste traditional, contemporary, casual, coastal, transitional?

Start from the ground and work your way up with your plan: flooring, walls, furniture, lighting.

Establish a budget before the first meeting. And know that there will always be a few unexpected surprises that will add dollars so plan on it.

Hire an interior decorator or designer to get you started on the right path. They can look at the project and tell you what is doable, practical and the best use of your money for resale. They will also help you to make your vision for your home a reality.

Interview several contractors. Visit homes they have done and talk to the owners. Select the one that you feel will be the best fit for this short or long term relationship.

Renovating or adding a powder room? There are a lot of details to consider. Fixtures, space planning, color. Design element for this small bath is Pottery Barn’s modern farmhouse sink. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Renovating or adding a powder room? There are a lot of details to consider. Fixtures, space planning, color. Design element for this small bath is Pottery Barn’s modern farmhouse sink. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Be flexible. And be willing to make compromises. That’s just the reality of a renovation. Sure, you wanted that beautiful, free standing bath tub sitting in the middle of your new master bathroom. But the plumber said it would cost a fortune. So, against the wall will be just fine.

If you are living in the home during a remodel or renovation, set aside one area that is your sanctuary from the noise and dust. Like a master bedroom where you can close the door and think.

Most important: be patient. It’s worth the wait and the disruption to get the home that you want.


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







The coastal-inspired home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • September 1,  2018

The coastal inspired home: What is it and how do you get it?

Whether you live steps from the water or miles away, coastal is a design style that works with modern or traditional decor. And it’s easy to do.

It’s one of the fastest growing decorating styles and it’s not just for those of us lucky enough to live within a drive of the beach or closer. Everyone can have it.

Coastal is a state of mind that you transfer to your home. A comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Before I tell you how to get it, let’s talk about what coastal is not. And that’s really important.

Coastal don’ts

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I am in and out of a lot of homes. Many of my clients have distanced themselves from the heavy furnishings they may have had for years or perhaps brought to Southwest Florida when they moved here from someplace else. Eventually they decide to lighten up and coastal is the perfect choice.

Coastal, a comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Coastal, a comfortable, laid-back, easy lifestyle that is no fuss, no clutter and just a touch of minimalism. It’s calm, soothing and rejuvenating. It makes you happy to walk into the house at the end of a tough day. Photo: Ballard Designs.

A bunch of outdated accessories, shells, a broken lobster trap and a monkey carved out of a coconut. Every room panted a different tropical color. A collection of fake nautical accessories. Loud prints. Lots of beach-related “stuff” and cutesy signs. Save those for the pool. This is not coastal.

So, what is it?

Classic design with a casual, understated look.

There is cottage coastal. Contemporary coastal. Modern coastal. They all have one thing in common: mindful decorating. Every piece in the home is planned. You will need fewer accessories. But select wisely to eliminate the temptation to clutter things up.

Coastal do’s

In your home, recreate the feeling that you love about the beach. Sparkling blue water. Bright sun. Sand. A colorful beach umbrella. White shells. You have just created your color palette.

Use calm solid colors, textures, distressed woods and ceramics.

Furniture is uncomplicated, contemporary, sleek.

Keep it soft with pillows, soft cushions, throws.

Contrast to heavy, weighted furnishings.

Use natural wood or wood that has been painted white.

Add a few plants for greenery. Real if possible!

Think: classic, lived in cottage by the sea. Not overdone. Simple elegance.

Benjamin Moore’s popular Palladian Blue HC-144 sets the tone for this coastal-inspired room with a chaise and palms. Photo: Benjamin Moore. 

Benjamin Moore’s popular Palladian Blue HC-144 sets the tone for this coastal-inspired room with a chaise and palms. Photo: Benjamin Moore. 

Use neutrals as your base paint color. Creamy whites, bright whites, soft grays.

Maybe a wall done in shiplap. Don’t overdo it.

Accent neutrals with sea glass tones: blues, greens, aqua and sprinkle in a bit of coral.

Fabric chairs with a little rattan or wicker as an accent but not in a matched set.

Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues in this coastal inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Great light, white cabinets and beautiful blues in this coastal inspired kitchen. Near wall in smoke 2122-40. Far wall in Caribbean Mist 2061-70. Cabinets in Ice Mist OC-67. Photo: Benjamin Moore.

Arrange a colorful collection of your favorite coffee table books with a big shell or piece of coral.

Finish off with a few sand dollars, coral and sea glass in a beautiful bowl or basket.

Add a couple of original nautical accessories such as a porthole cover or color weathered oars that look like they washed up on the beach. A piece or two of driftwood.

Let light in with light panels or fiber blinds.

Put on some nice music. Have a cold beverage and let yourself drift into a coastal state of mind.

 

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

 

It's complicated: selecting the right white

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • August 4, 2018

White. It’s everywhere.

All of the design magazines style the most beautiful white rooms and make them all look perfectly gorgeous.

Crisp white walls, dark hardwood flooring. Perfect lighting in the room. Subtle pops of color. Bold artwork on the walls that make it look like a museum gallery. Stunning.

 Light floods this room and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 (aura interior paint-matte)   is the perfect white with warm textures. Floor is Ice Mist OC-67 (advance interior paint-satin).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

 Light floods this room and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 (aura interior paint-matte)   is the perfect white with warm textures. Floor is Ice Mist OC-67 (advance interior paint-satin).   Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

And then we have photos of white kitchens with pure white cabinets and island that coordinate with white marble or quartz countertops. Light beaming through the room. These are the rooms that homeowners dream about.

And then reality enters the room when we try to make white walls work.

It’s a little bit of a trick. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can tell you from doing hundreds of color consultations, white is the most complicated color (yes, white is a color) to make work and there are some good reasons for this. Done well, it's spectacular. Done poorly, it leaves a lot to be desired. My favorite way to work with white is to start with white as a backdrop and build the room from there with lots of texture, accents and accessories.

The good news:

·            White is popular right now with the trending coastal style that so many homeowners are incorporating into homes. It can be very dramatic by itself or with accent walls or just the right furnishings.

·            White serves as a backdrop (think museum walls) instead of a color that takes over the entire room. It’s a clean palette that offers plenty of room to incorporate a color palette.

·            White makes a kitchen clean and classic. Especially with quartz or marble counters.

·             It’s a great backdrop for an industrial look: stainless appliances and pendants.

Wood and rattan warms up a white shiplap wall along with Grandin Road’s “colored birds on a wire” wall art and colorful “watercolor” rug. Photo courtesy of Grandin Road.

Wood and rattan warms up a white shiplap wall along with Grandin Road’s “colored birds on a wire” wall art and colorful “watercolor” rug. Photo courtesy of Grandin Road.

Don’t make these mistakes:

·            White is an all or nothing color. It requires commitment! If you paint just one room in your home white it will look like you put primer on the walls and forgot to paint the real color.

·            White highlights everything that you don’t like in a room. Shabby furniture, worn carpets. Flaws on the walls. They are all magnified. Think about it before you try it.

Be bold! Make a statement in a white room with Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55 (aura bath & spa) in matte and accented in Ravishing Red 2008-10. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Be bold! Make a statement in a white room with Benjamin Moore Paper White OC-55 (aura bath & spa) in matte and accented in Ravishing Red 2008-10. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

·            All whites are not created equal. Beware of undertones. Yes, those pesky shades of green, pink, blue, gray...depending upon the color and the lighting. Get around making a mistake by painting a portion of a wall as a test and check it out as the light changes during the day. This will help avoid a stark or dingy tone.

There are 200 whites at Benjamin Moore. Five of the top ten selling paints in their collection are whites. In 2016 Benjamin Moore named Simply White OC-117, the Color of the Year. It’s an important part of design.

Tips for a white room:

·            If the lighting is not great in your home, don’t try white. Most of the magazine photos are done with rooms that have floor to ceiling windows or huge glass walls.

·            Use textures and accessories. My favorite: white walls, dark flooring, area rugs, white comfy sofas, lots of colorful pillows, green plants, colorful art on walls, white shutters.

·            Try white shiplap on an accent wall to get the same effect without a whole room commitment.

·            Start with a white master bathroom. No color gives a master bath a cleaner, more spa-like feel than white. Combine it with white tile, towels, rugs, accessories and beautiful capiz sconces.

And if you want to go” light” but maybe not quite “white”…try Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin 856. It’s my go-to neutral color. A touch of silver-grey with a slight shimmer. Perfect with blue sea glass accents.

 

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

 

 

Finding more with less: When is enough enough?

Finding more with less: When is enough enough?

Although everyone is shocked at this number, no one really argues with it.  Let it settle in for a moment. The bottom line: we have too much stuff.

We read a lot about living a minimalist life. You can call it downsizing. Decluttering. Living with less. Intentional living. And other terms that are just part of the solution. But what it comes down to is letting go of what is not necessary.

If you feel like your home has become a storage unit for items that you don’t even like anymore, can’t remember where they came from and the problem seems to be getting worse, it may be time for an evaluation of what you are doing. In other words: time to stop the madness.

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Spring refresh for home and spirit

Spring refresh for home and spirit

Ahhhh. Spring.

When I was growing up in Virginia, it meant that you could open the windows, flag down the ice cream man, go barefoot and stay outside an hour later. My mother always gave the house a “spring” cleaning and then we always rearranged the living room furniture. She said that the change was almost like having a new room. And she was right.

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