Do you feel it’s important to freshen up the home with some kind of tidying, redesign, or rethinking of how the home is lived in?
LTW Design: Spring is an opportunity to look at your home and how you live in the rooms – take stock of what works and what you’d like to change. Maybe switch up a floor plan slightly, edit extra items you haven’t used, and change a color platte. I truly believe less is more. The more stuff we have equals clutter in our home and clutter translates to stress. Only have what you need, use, and love to look at in your home. It is your sanctuary.
Jill Rae: This is an interesting question, importance depends on the client. Some people are creatures of habit and have their home set up in a way they feel comfortable. I do think it is nice if you can create a space that works best for your family. Changing things up to allow for a space to be more functional can make all the family happier and more comfortable.
Olley Court: I do feel it’s important to change things up seasonally. It can be a simple swap of pillows or throws, changing out tabletop books for more brightly colored ones, adding in some house plants or forcing bulbs in small colorful vases. I just added quince branches to a tall vase on a table in my living room where the blooms will last several weeks. I like to add shades of greens, blues, pinks and lilac in early spring months. You can place small tabletop accessories like hand blown glass bud vases on a beside table or refresh your bar area with linen napkins. Try a beautiful table runner with a pop of color in the dining room or kitchen. These are easily washable and the texture of linen is delightful. It’s also a good time to add a fresh coat of paint to high traffic areas like a mudroom or playroom. Organize with baskets and add new floor mats for springtime mud and water in the entrance.
Molly Hirsch: Yes! I feel it is essential to have your home ever-evolving to keep up with your current needs: how you live daily, how you interact with your family, how you entertain, etc. Our needs change as we go through the various stages of our lives, and our home needs to evolve to meet
Many might like to re-design their entire home and get the full design refresh for the warm season. But considering homeowners with a budget or limited time who might only be able to focus on one floor, or even one room, where is the best place to start?
Jill Rae: The best place to start is the heart of the home. Where everyone congregates and spends most of their time. Especially in a family setting, might as well enjoy your space the most while all the family is together. To me, the kitchen and family room are the main areas of the home. Not only do you hangout there as a family, but this allows you to entertain with ease as well.
Olley Court: I recommend starting with decluttering and organizationing your spaces. Just having some negative space and living in an organized home, can elevate your mood and make life in the house easier. Simple touches like fresh flowers in small bud vases can bring spring into the home. Give some thought to the most problematic room in the house and consider why it doesn’t work for you or your family. What, if anything, does work about the space and start with that room.
LTW Design: If you can’t jump into a complete home renovation, we recommend starting with just one room and it should be the room you use the most. Remove design elements that are no longer working for you and layer in those that you dream about. It can be as much as painting, refinishing floors and purchasing all new furniture or as little as swapping out existing accessories for new ones, removing/changing window treatments, adding artwork and new throw pillows.
Molly Hirsch: I would start with the places you and your family spend the most time or the room that is the least functional and is causing the most problems. Starting there will have the most impact on your daily life. Create one space you love and fully complete it, so you have a place in your home that brings you joy, instead of trying to fix a little bit in every room and not accomplishing a complete design—this can lead to a bit of frustration. Then, when the time is right, you can move to the next space.
Are there any foundational design tips you could offer a first-time client wanting a spring refresh? Kind of a “you can’t go wrong with…” list for those that are hesitant to experiment?
Jill Rae: Less is better! I think the best way to refresh a space is to minimize window treatments, freshen up the walls with a new paint color and organize your space.
Olley Court: I would urge people to buy a piece they love and build around it. Buy a good quality foundation piece like a chair or sofa. You will have it for life and it can always be re-upholstered down the road. Buy real art – a piece you love will make you smile every time you pass it in your home. I often witness people just buying tons of stuff to fill a house and none of it has any meaning or importance. This will not make you happy when you look at it. Your home should be a place of peace, joy and bliss. Pillows and throws that are textural and natural materials will last much longer and feel better to the touch than poly filled ones. Think of the senses – touch, smell, sight – when purchasing for your home. `Organic, natural fibers are the best for you, your children, and the environment.
Molly Hirsch: You can’t go wrong with accessories for a spring refresh. Accessories are the easiest and most cost-effective way to refresh any space and help you gain confidence in designing your rooms. A stack of books, a pretty object, or a decorative tray can change the feel of a coffee table or console. And never underestimate the power of flowers and plants to give your space the instant feeling of spring.
So much changes through the years in terms of preference. Are there any trends or color combinations that have stood the test of time?
Molly Hirsch: I’d say the most classic color combination that has stood the test of time is blue and white. It’s combination can be so many things; fresh, playful, traditional, dramatic, soft, soothing, bold, preppy, edgy, modern, etc. Blue has been named the most popular color worldwide. Some say we are attracted to blue because it is so prevalent in nature and in such calming ways: the bluebird sky or magnificent oceans. Blue in our homes can evoke that same feeling we get when outside on a sunny day or at the beach—calmness and relaxation—so it’s no wonder that it has stood the test of time.
Jill Rae: Neutrals and natural materials such as woods and leathers, will always be on trend. When you think of long-term, stick to neutral colors. Color can always be added with accessories!
Olley Court: The best advice here is to buy what you love and it will stand the test of time. I always find a way to mix pieces that clients love with newer pieces to flush out the spaces. Trends like shag carpets are not necessarily gone but just done differently now. Styles change and color stories come and go, but classic schemes will stand up for years to come. With all the plain gray and white we have seen in the past ten years, I am happy to see people incorporating some rich hues in their accessories, if not in the upholstered pieces.
LTW Design: A neutral color palette will always be timeless. Trendy colors come and go but black, white and light beige will always be classics.
Any new trends/requests that surprise you? How would you guide a client who has always lived with off-white walls and neutral color furniture who wants to really experiment with something a little more Avant Garde to spice things up?
Olley Court: We work on a variety of projects and clients from all walks of life. For example, at the moment we are in full renovation of a 1905 historic home in Chappaqua and a mid century modern, tech-built home in CT, among other projects in Florida, RI, CA, NY and CT. Each project calls for a unique approach so no requests surprise us anymore. Depending on the project and clients’ personalities we bring color in through accessories, art, pillows and throws. We are in love with all shades of teal and green as the market has exploded with color this season. We have just completed a project with a blue/green kitchen, ordered velvet chairs in teal, created window seats in emerald green. We spend a lot of time interviewing, questioning and deciphering clients’ needs and wishes prior to presenting color concepts. Color is extremely personal. Each room in a house presents different lighting and mood which paint, furnishings and art need to enhance. For someone who just wants to give color a try and isn’t committed to a full redesign, I would start with colorful pillows and throws or a fantastic large piece of art on the white wall. We have so many amazing local artists who are willing to bring pieces to the home and try out scale and color.
Jill Rae: I am obsessed with warm tones, dark green, mustard and charcoal. I love a good moody space, I feel it brings a ton of character to a room and adds a fun element to your home and style. This can also be done by adding in many different types of fabrics. Mixing leather with velvets is a
LTW Design: Honestly, we tend to stay more neutral but if a client wanted something more bold we love doing rooms all black. Think walls, trim and ceiling all painted black. It sounds scary but our clients have loved spending time in their black rooms and have reported that it is actually very relaxing and easier to focus in.
Molly Hirsch: For someone who has always lived with off-white walls and neutral furniture, I would suggest to start with pops of color with accessories to build up their color confidence. If they are feeling adventurous, a great place to start with bold color or design is the powder bathroom—makes it more fun to go in there – pick a fun paint for the walls, trim, or ceiling. •