I love houses. I especially love turning a house into a home. Over the years, and having owned and recreated several homes, there are a few things that keep popping up on my ‘must have’ list that, for me, turn a house into a home. You can probably relate, and if you give it some thought, I bet you can come up with your Top 10 most loved elements for your dream home too.
The more the merrier!…Ok, within reason, but I love to cozy up any space with layered pillows and throw blankets. If you aren’t a lover of lots of pillows (and throws), here’s my plea to make you a believer. Pillows and throws are the easiest, most effective and least expensive way to change up your space while adding tons of personality, texture and pattern. Mix and match pattern and colour and easily change up your look seasonally. Home Lovers Tip: Look for natural fabrication (cotton, linen, wool, leather, sheepskin, etc… and make sure your pillow inserts are the real deal. A down pillow (or synthetic down) just look and feel better compared to a fibre filled pillow; which for me; just ruins the look altogether.
Brick pavers are not just for patios and walkways. My heart beats fast when I see brick pavers used inside the home. Hard working in a foyer or mudroom, brick pavers will stand the test of time all while warming the entry, making it welcoming every time you walk through the door. I also get excited about brick pavers in a laundry area or even in the kitchen (although it will be a lot like high heels…good looking but not the most comfortable under foot…but, this is the price we pay for looking good, right?) Brick pavers come in all sorts of colours and can be laid in many different patterns, but for the most authentic look, a reclaimed red brick done in a herringbone or simple brick pattern is my personal recommendation.
There’s lots of talk about injecting colour into your spaces, so if you lean towards a more colourful environment, you might think a white on white room is super boring. When done right, you’d be surprised what a white on white room has to offer. It’s all about layering various shades of white. Yes, there are a zillion shades of white out there and when pulled together using different finishes, textures, tone-on-tone patterns, it makes for one of the most peaceful and seriously cool spaces. Home Lovers Tip: A character home is the prime candidate for a white on white palette. If you have original hardwoods, chunky moldings and trim and lots of windows offering a generous wash of light, go for it and paint the town white!
Who doesn’t love subway tile? It’s the least expensive and most versatile and universal tile choice out there! But, that’s not why I love subway tile. It’s more about the feeling it evokes. It’s a bit nostalgic and speaks to easier times. I love this nod to the past mixed with a more modern day kitchen or bath design. Although most traditionally installed in a brick pattern, subway tile can be used in many configurations. Choose a contrasting grout for that vintage vibe or keep it monochromatic for a more modern feel. Either way, gotta have some subway tile in your life!
I can’t talk about tile without bringing up another favourite. Subway tile is more likely used on your walls (backsplash, tub surround, wainscoting in the bath), but my other beloved tile; Moroccan Cement Tiles; is a must-have flooring choice for me…especially in black and white…which should really be on my Top 10 list, black and white in general, not just in floor tiles! Anyway, I digress, behold the beauty and interest of the Moorish geometric shapes that work together to create a gorgeous design…floor art, if you will. It may surprise you that this farmhouse loving designer has ventured out to include such bold choice on her Top 10 list, but the Moroccan Cement Tile choice is a timeless one, and one that suits both traditional and contemporary interiors.
I am often hired by clients to do colour consultations and nothing more. Family and friends continually ask me to choose paint colours for their weekend DIY projects. Committing to colour is a scary thing for a lot of us and it’s usually where we are most confused, which inevitably leads to disappointment. How many of you are currently living with a paint colour that was an unfortunate choice but can’t even stomach the idea of investing more time, money and energy into a re-do? I just counted 5 people I know who have shared their painful painting stories with me in the last 4 weeks! That means you are not alone!
One of the trickiest colours to select, and thanks to all the hot HGTV home makeover shows, the one that most people are gravitating to these days is GRAY. I love gray. I must, it’s on my Top 10. But, I don’t like the wrong shade of gray, so I’m delivering a FREE GRAY COLOUR CONSULTATION to all my home lovers right here, right now. Home Lovers Tip: For a true gray that doesn’t go blue-ish, green-ish, prison-like, or too muddy or greige, my top recommendations are: Sherwin Williams Functional Gray, Sherwin Williams Requisite Gray and Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray. These are sure-fire winners so paint confidently!
Architectural details in a home are amazing. It’s like winning the character lottery if your home already has original elements like exposed beams, highlighting the ceiling height and bringing warmth and texture in a way that nothing else can. The first house I ever bought had and beam running down the main living space and one across the kitchen. There were other issues with the house, but I fell in love with it just because of the exposed beams…well, and the front porch…which should also be on my Top 10 list…maybe I just need to make it a Top 10+ list! At any rate, you can add a front porch depending on the architecture of the house and you can add ceiling beams too if you have a room with the ceiling height or angles to deserve a few beams! If you love it, you can have it!
Exposed beams to exposed brick. I think you are starting to get to know me a bit here. I love anything original or natural about a house. If it’s there, preserve it, embrace it and feature it! Exposed brick walls work with many design tastes; eclectic, bohemian, farmhouse, mid-mod, rustic, contemporary, traditional. You name, brick works!
The first time I ever thought to reinvent a piece of furniture came when I sold and moved from my first house. I had a little pine hutch that I had bought at a cool second-hand shop and I loved it in my first home. It didn’t really have a place in the next house, but I was determined to reinvent it so it could have a second life. The hutch that originally was the perfect TV bench morphed into a new bathroom vanity with a vessel bowl sink. From that point on, I have had a lot of fun using furniture pieces in non-traditional ways around the house. Reinvented furniture pieces add instant personality and character. They can be the main focal point in a room and a great conversation piece. To this day, I still try to inject a formerly loved vintage piece into all the rooms I design. So, I encourage you to think twice before putting that old bench, table or hutch to the road! I bet you just might find it has more to offer! Check out a few reinvented furniture pieces from Amaryllis Homes: https://amaryllishomes.com//market/
10. Harvest Tables
Need I say more? A gathering space with a generous and welcoming harvest table running down the middle of it is a good thing. A harvest table looks great dressed for Thanksgiving dinner, while also sitting quietly and casually in the dining room ready for a basic Tuesday night dinner with your family. A harvest table pairs well with linen slip covered parsons chairs pulled up to it or keep things simple with rustic bench seating. One of my favourite things is to style my harvest table top for all the big holiday get-togethers. I change it up every year. Ah, to set a table…but OOH! and AHH! to set a HARVEST TABLE!
What are your Top 10 must-have’s in your home? Share with fellow Home Lovers!