joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

The Evolution of a Home: Incorporating a Lifetime of Home Furnishings with Great Style

In between design projects and appointments for the past few months, I’ve been reorganizing closets in both of our homes. It’s amazing the things we accumulate over the years. In my case since about 1977, when I started collecting kitchen stuff in my mom’s old cedar hope chest as a senior in high school.



The heirloom silver and fine linens, the numerous sets of dinner plates, and mementos from a lifetime with my late husband Jim, all have a place in my cupboards and hutches. They’re filled to the brim but at least now they’re organized. It has also been a welcomed challenge to fully incorporate my new husband David’s and my belongings into one household.  

It occurs to me that starting out as a young couple, you have few belongings. You start with the basics. Your home looks simple and clean with few furnishings and accessories. Your priorities are work, play and taking care of the children. As years pass, you become more of a nester, adding to the décor or changing it up over time. People give you things or you inherit them. You collect a few pieces of artwork, or several. You buy a new sofa, or recover an old one. You purchase a few new chairs, or a nice dining room table.


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How does it all end up feeling like “you”? What is your “style”? What do you keep and what do you discard as you go through life? I’ve had personal and professional reasons to ponder these things and I think I have a philosophy that works.  


It’s not that complicated really, unless you make it so. If something is ugly, if it’s cheap, if it has no sentimental value, give it away or consign it. If it’s designed and/or crafted well, is a keepsake or an heirloom, or is something you really love, you will find a place for it eventually.


Another thing I’ve noticed, when something is really outdated it’s often because it wasn’t well designed or well-crafted to begin with. Sofas with big, rolled arms; faux distressed furniture; anything Tuscan or French looking, but made in China; or colors and styles that have been grossly overused, generally don’t pass the test of time.
Whatever era, quality American or European hand crafted furniture is very desirable and if you’ve been wise enough to purchase or lucky enough to inherit pieces like these, keep them. If they don’t work with your living room décor, put them to work in a spare room with the knowledge that a better space will open up for them at some point.

In my own home, I’ve inherited many things I treasure and a few I’ve stored away in the garage for my son Christian when he has his own home. One was his great, great grandmother’s mission style rocking chair given to me by my paternal grandfather when Christian was born. Another is a red leather rocking chair from his father’s bachelor pad, before we met. In the master bedroom I have a darling vintage dressing table that came with the house. Initially, I’d planned to get rid of it but now I love it.


Then there’s the bird’s eye maple tall boy dresser that I boldly painted black because it didn’t go well with the wood floors. It’s a quality piece and eventually it will be refinished properly. It works fine for now. Because I’ve been loath to discard anything that’s wood, I also have some fun, mismatched tables and dressers around the house.

In David’s new den we’ve incorporated several things including my favorite pair of black Edwardian “étagère” bookcases that I purchased from my old design store, S.S. Home; a small black secretary/desk that was in my step grandparents’ home now being used as a laptop work place; an antique lyre back Larson chair with a custom skirted seat pad to match the draperies; a matching slipcovered cabinet, incredibly ugly in its former life that now houses extra guest bedding; sheer, floor length curtains from David’s old living room, which fit perfectly under my existing custom valances and stationery curtain panels, his brilliant idea.
There is a round, rattan end table with a removable tray top, formerly in my living room; a vintage Chinese red lacquered stool that he uses for drinks, found at a local thrift shop; and his television, TV stand and newly purchased, loveseat hide-a-bed for overnight guests. The loveseat’s coordinating brownish-green fabric looks so handsome with the room’s existing green walls and green floral window treatments and matching lumbar pillows.
I love it when I get to repurpose things as we’ve done in this project. What was initially a space planning nightmare is now a warm and welcoming “Man Cave”. All that’s left to do at this point is hang the rest of his pictures when they come out of storage.
Shiree’s Style File
To incorporate a variety of furniture styles, use unifying elements like lamps, paint, pillows and other fabrics to pull everything together in a cohesive design scheme.
If something isn’t well designed or well made, has no sentimental value, or isn’t working in your home, give it to the thrift store.
If something is good quality, but outdated try moving it around from room to room first. If it still doesn’t resonate with you on any level, consign it or give it away to a needy college student. Let someone else have it who will appreciate it.
It takes years, often decades, to put together an evolved, well accoutered home. Don’t discard something just because you feel it’s old or outdated. It’s those oddball pieces that make a home’s décor unique.

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“Floor Plans and Space Planning: Key Considerations for the New Home”

Some homeowners have the luxury of designing their home from the ground up and others purchase their homes after construction. Both base their selections on the size of their families, the age of their children and grandchildren, on their financial resources, and personal tastes.
After purchasing the home that suits their needs as closely as possible, they do what they can to make it inhabitable and pleasing, personalizing it with their own selections of furnishings, paint colors, flooring, counters, windows, fixtures, etc.
The basic types of floor plans are closed plans, open plans, horizontal plans and vertical plans.
The closed plan divides space into separate rooms and activities. They are seen in formal, traditional style homes. Closed plans can be charming and cozy or they can appear to be small and cramped. They require more square footage to “appear” comfortable and spacious. Personally, I love the division of walls and doors and feel these types of homes have a little mystery about them. It’s not all there for you to see at once but rather unfolds before you one room or passageway at a time.
An open plan provides minimal walls and doors. Space is organized as a continuous entity, flowing from one area to another which greatly expands the sense of spaciousness and capitalizes on outdoor views. For people with ambulatory or vision problems the open plan is convenient and functional.
The open floor plan was first seen in Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie home designs and later, in the one story ranch style home. Open plans also have some disadvantages. Noise can be an issue because sound travels quickly in open spaces. The open floor plan also makes privacy and intimacy next to impossible. Perhaps that’s why the expansive master bedroom suite was created- to offset the lack of privacy.
The one and a half story plan or “Cape Code” provides a smaller upper floor beneath a high pitched roof. At the high point of the pitched roof, there is livable space. The other half is suitable for storage. Dormer windows are characteristic in this style of home and it’s an inexpensive way to add living space with minimal construction costs.
One story plans are well suited to both small and large sized homes providing the home’s lot can accommodate them. They allow for easy supervision of children, give ready access to the yard, and generally give a horizontal silhouette that fits comfortably on level land.
Multilevel plans offer several advantages. Homes with two stories are less expensive to build because of the smaller roof and foundation. Heating and cooling installation for this type of home is also less expensive. When land prices are high, the two story home adds the flexibility of building into the side of a hillside or fitting it onto an awkward lot.
Are the enclosed spaces well designed and adjacent to related outdoor areas? Do the foot traffic patterns simplify homemaking and make life more pleasant? Are the rooms of a usable shape and size? Will they accommodate your furniture gracefully and efficiently? Is there adequate lighting? Storage? How is the home oriented on the site? Is the plan reasonably economical? Will the plan lend itself to common lifestyle changes such as having children, pets, and aging?
I’m always amazed by the effect proper space planning can have on a home. Just having good bones and layout is much of it, but of course so is knowing how to furnish and update your interior design as well as knowing where to invest the budget.
When planning a room’s furniture layout aim for comfortable clearances, proper scale, a strong focal point, and an “anchor” to give the room a sense of reason and permanence. If there’s a strong fireplace and mantel, balance it with a large scale piece on the opposite wall. If you have an amazing view framed by a large picture window, take advantage of it and call attention to it by facing it with a sofa. 
Most important in any floor plan is keeping traffic patterns clear of furniture and other obstacles. This provides your home with convenience, comfort and safety. Function should always come first. Decide on the scale of the furnishings. Generally speaking, a small sofa is 76 to 84 inches; a medium size sofa is 85 to 90 inches; and a large sofa is 92 inches and over.
When designing or building a home, it’s imperative to have at least some sense of where the furniture will be placed so that windows, lighting and electrical outlets can be planned accordingly. If you have some furniture already, which most of us do, it’s helpful to know where those pieces will go in the finished plan.
Generally, open floor plans go well with modern or contemporary furnishings while closed floor plans go well with traditional.
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Shiree’s Style File
Keep track of your project with two to three binders. One for structural decisions such as flooring, paint, counters, door styles, et cetera; one for furnishings you already have as well as furniture you plan to purchase; and one for exterior finishes and landscaping.
When choosing colors and finishes, consider how the home will flow from room to room particularly in open floor plans where adjacent colors will be more visible.
Choose fixtures like faucets, pulls, and lighting with a commonality such as similar finishes or styles.
Choose flooring that flows well from room to room. I like to choose no more than three or four flooring selections per home. One for the living areas such as the living room, dining room and entry; one for the kitchen; one for the bathrooms; and one for the bedrooms. For laundry or crafts rooms match them to one of the rooms above.
Pay close attention to the size and layout of the kitchen and bathrooms. Spaciousness may seem an advantage at first but if you don’t plan on hiring a housekeeper, you may feel differently later.
Hardwood floors and laminates are easy maintenance choices for pet owners. Having lived with both carpeting and hardwood, I’m thrilled with the easy maintenance of hardware floors.

via PALOMA81.blogspot


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