California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Q and A: Five Top Decorating Questions Answered


Everyone loves intriguing spaces. Whether it’s a windowless, jewel box of a powder room with red lacquered walls or a glass walled living room with mountainous views, we love being “transported”. 


Perhaps this comes from our days as children with forts and tree houses. Or maybe it’s a deeper nesting instinct. I’m not sure about the psychology.



You can choose all the paint colors, carpet, fabrics and furnishings you like but designers will tell you the challenge is choosing elements that look fantastic “together”. It’s much more than choosing color and styles. It’s like telling a story: there are lots of words in a book but it’s the order in which the author puts them that makes the book interesting.

I’ve compiled a list of questions people frequently ask during our consultations and provided a number of solutions below.

Frequently Asked:

Q: “We are remodeling our kitchen and there are so many decisions to be made. Where do I start?”

above via

A: Start with the elements already present in other areas of the home such as flooring, molding, doors, casing, and windows. Think about the year the home was built. Think about future plans for remodeling other rooms. Plan your kitchen to blend in with all of the above. If your home is relatively new and modern, cherry wood cabinets, recessed lighting, contemporary brushed stainless steel pulls, and granite counter tops might be in keeping with what is “already there”. Or, if it’s an older home, consider white painted cabinets, a polished marble tile back splash, and old fashioned black porcelain pulls.

above S.R. GAMBREL
I find clients sometimes want to go in a completely new direction with their kitchen remodels just to be “different”. That’s a mistake unless you plan on redesigning the entire home. Never try and make your home appear to be something it’s not. Consider the architectural style, geographic surroundings, maintenance issues and THEN your style preferences. Aim for flow and continuity.


above via

Q: “My sofa is getting dingy. Should I recover or replace it?”

A: The first thing to consider is the overall condition of your existing sofa. How is the frame? Is it wobbly or stable? How are the cushions? Are they misshaped, lumpy or uncomfortable? How much did you pay for the sofa? If it’s a good quality piece it’s worth having it recovered. Prices for recovering sofas vary dramatically due to the wide range of fabric costs. Most upholstery fabrics begin at $80 a yard.


above via DOMINO
Q: “I need window coverings throughout my new home. What is the solution to a home with many sizes and styles of windows?”

A: Most homes do have many types of windows. My favorite go-to solution in three words is draperies over sheers. Depending on sun control and privacy needs, you can opt for functioning or non-functioning draperies and sheers on traversing decorative hardware.


above via

I also love stationery draperies over wooden blinds on decorative rods and rings. They make virtually any unattractive window look fabulous and are a great investment for most traditional style homes.

above via THISIVYHOUSE.tumblr
Coordinate drapery fabrics with your existing design scheme. Wooden blinds, shutters and drapery hardware are a great investment. The drapery panels can be replaced or changed out (for a different look) with a relatively small investment. This also makes them a great selling point for potential buyers.  

above via ELLE DECOR

Q: “What are my window treatment options for French doors and glass sliding doors?”

A: I prefer traversing draperies for both French doors and glass sliding doors. In some instances valances and stationery panels can be nice for glass sliders depending on what’s on the neighboring window/s and how much space is available side to side. Like most window treatments, these require professional workmanship to be functional and attractive.

above via HOUSE AND HOME

I'm familiar with the mass-produced window treatment options for sliders and French doors like vertical shades, honeycomb shades, etc. but I've never cared much for them. They are outrageously expensive for what you get. If you’re going that route at least choose styles and colors as neutral as possible.

above via

There is one mass-produced option I’ve used and loved and that’s the Hunter Douglas Nantucket sheer shade with internal rotating louvers. When the louvers are "open" they give the room a softened light while still allowing you to see outside. When closed they provide maximum privacy and sun control.

above via
Q: “I don’t like contrived decorating or a lot of accessories but I’d like my home to look special. What can you recommend?”

A: There are some very nice ways to make your home more festive without being overly decorated. My favorite way is to keep on hand a wide variety of quality vases and fill them on the weekends with fresh flowers or greenery from the garden. Sans flowers, they are a fine table top accent as long as they are kept clean. I also love having lots of hard bound books and baskets around the house.  They add a homey, useful touch. Lastly, high quality lamps, simple throw pillows and lap blankets add texture and bring a home to life.

above via
Feathering your nest is quite often about finding ways to play up the positives and detract they eye from the negatives. Start by filling a binder or file with pictures of the homes, rooms, and individual furnishings you love. By educating your eye, you are much closer to getting what you want from your project.
If you haven’t already done so, go to Pinterest and build boards for your projects. It’s fun, easy and a great way to find inspiration. If you need help finding interesting images, to get you started, follow me on Pinterest here.

The images in this post are from Pinterest boards "Kitchens, the Hub of the Home" and "Living Well at Home".

above via VERANDA

above via SWEETSTROLL.tumblr

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Energy Boosts for Tired Interiors, Plus Inspiring Ideas to Get You Started!

Being at home should be a positive experience but if you find yourself looking for ways to get out of the house rather than ways to enjoy yourself while there, you might want to consider buffing up your domestic act with one or more of the following improvements. If your home is a drain on your energy, maybe it’s time for a change.

With Fabric…

Fabric is one of my favorite ways to update and refresh a tired space. Reupholstering the sofa, dressing the windows, slipcovering the chairs, and having some coordinating throw pillows done up will revive a tired room into something wonderful, and quite possibly without buying anything else.

Combining fabrics and pattern is tricky. If you’re a person who shies away from pattern, using high quality fabrics will be your best bet. You can start with a striated fabric that has color variations; add a subtle, wide, tone-on-tone stripe; then a simple ribbed texture; and maybe a velvet or mohair in a slightly darker color. Instead of pattern, use texture, contrast and color to add visual interest. Prices for high quality fabrics for windows and slipcovers begin around $60 a yard and fabrics for upholstery begin around $80 a yard.


For those who like prints, start with a faded floral fabric on your sofa; add two chairs in a rich chenille texture with contrasting welts; pillows in an awning stripe; and more pillows in a soft wool plaid or smaller floral. I’m not a big fan of checks, though I do like wool or cotton plaids a la Ralph Lauren.



With Paint…
Every ten years or so, have one or two fresh coats of paint applied to your interior walls. Color trends evolve. Remember Navajo White? It’s now passé. Whites are generally cooler now, with more gray. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards offer beautiful designer colors while Pratt and Lambert, Fine Paints of Europe, and Farrow and Ball offer high end finishes and high pigment content.
For walls always go with a flat finish in the public rooms and master bedroom; satin or eggshell in bathrooms, kitchen and children’s areas; and gloss or semi-gloss on cabinetry, doors, windows and casing. If “white paint” isn’t your idea of redecorating, choose your colors carefully. Today’s homes have open floor plans and they usually don’t look right with multiple changes in color without the visual dividers of doorway frames.


above SIMPLIFIEDBEE.blogspot
Light colors like cool, pale yellow, pale gray-blue, and light celadon green are good options for colors that “travel” well from room to room. Reds, terra cottas and other dark, warm colors are much harder to work with in an open floor plan. They are easier to work with however, in bathrooms and bedrooms which are visually divided from the rest of the public areas. I like to do a warm white ceiling with white crown molding to separate it from the color of the walls. Red paints trends have changed from the “Nars Red” of the nineties to the current reds today which are muted with bit of “brick”.
above via LONNY
Keep in mind warm dark colors advance, making the room appear smaller while light, cool colors recede, making the room appear larger.


With a 1-Day Makeover for the Home…

A great way to improve and beautify your home is to give it a makeover. A makeover is economical because it saves you from unnecessary purchases. It helps you make the most of what you already have. Once your makeover is complete, you’ll see what purchases are truly needed.




Makeovers for the living room usually take one day while the other rooms take half days. Experiment with furniture placement, placing the sofa and other large furnishings first. Anchor conversation areas with furniture then create focal points with accessories. Move things around till you get it right. Fireplaces are natural focal points and are nicely balanced with an opposing sofa.

above via LUVRUMCAKE.tumblr
With Accessories…

While accessories like pillows, baskets, throws, books, vases, pots, plants (faux and real), and lamps are comparatively inexpensive next to buying new furniture and window coverings, add them up and they are not necessarily a small expense. As an example, to prepare for a home tour a few years ago, I purchased new accessories to add to my existing ones in the living room, dining room, and master bedroom.

above via AGIRLANDHERPEARLS.tumblr

I purchased ten framed prints, five large decorative pots, two table cloths (for permanent use on living room tables), silver picture frames, and a small area rug. This supplemented the things I already had. The tour was a success and two years later, I’m still delighted with the changes in my home.



Take the accessory list below with you when shopping for accessories and only buy the styles of those on the list that truly resonate with you. As you shop try and keep in mind the style of your architecture and existing furnishings.


If your personal belongings are collecting dust that never seems to get cleaned, if your spouse or children are embarrassed to have guests over, or if “Hoarders” has contacted you recently to guest appear in an upcoming episode (teasing) it’s time to reduce or repurpose.


Don’t take your unwanted stuff to the thrift store yet, however. Do a home makeover first. Start with the living room, work your way to the dining room, then the master bedroom, and so on. You’ll be amazed by the things you can repurpose in other areas of your home. Change is harder for some of us, but quality of life at home relies on healthy, sustainable changes. A home isn’t static. It needs regular attention to keep it functioning and attractive.

A Clean Sweep...

One of the things I’ve noticed being a home maker and using a professional coach in years past is that the cleaner and tidier the home, the more motivated I feel. When you eliminate or change things that are a nuisance to you, you get a tremendous energy boost. This is true of many things in life such as excess weight or a job you’ve outgrown. As someone once said, “nature abhors a vacuum”. Get rid of the things that drain your energy to make room for better things to come.


Art works
Area rugs
Trophy cups
Aggregates and shells
Vintage baby cups and silver cigarette holders
Antler wall hangings
Throw Pillows
Throws/lap blankets
Framed prints
Plants/faux and natural/topiary
Framed photographs
Decorative boxes
Table cloths
Modern lamps
Dish collections for displaying
   on walls and sideboards


above GREIGEDESIGN.blogspot


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