Nobody liks mold

Obviously, everyone hates the slimy, gross smelling, disease causing mold. But in the décor world, it seems nearly required that one love molding. I, however, have an overabundance of crown molding in my apartment and I’ve struggled with it since the day I moved in. My recent paint color choices have felt hampered by the rows upon rows of crown molding. Then, it suddenly dawned on me – I could just get rid of it. My soul may be damned to décor hell, but at least in this life I’d have walls I can work with.
Don’t get me wrong, I generally adore crown molding. It adds interest , it adds a nice finish, it looks classy. But in my shoebox, uber amounts of crown molding is limiting my decor options.

In a small space you want to be able use everything you have, from floor to ceiling, like you can do in the rooms from Living Etc and Desire to Inspire below. See how your eye can travel without tripping over visual roadblocks of crown molding.

Crown molding can also do great things to a room like these two show. In the first shot the molding beautifually frames the space and creates interest. The traditional room isn’t exactly my style but I can appreciate it. And the more modern take illustrates how molding can do great things for what would otherwise be a bland empty wall space.

But the picture rail I have going around my entire livingroom makes it harder to pick paint colors, harder to furnish, impossible to hang art – it’s just hard to work around. Take a look at my bedroom vs. my livingroom. My bedroom has crown molding at about 10 feet up but no picture rail. I think the room feels more open, less formal and much more flexible. The first shot is before I took the wallpaper down, the second is after. I painted the wallspace above the crown molding chocolate brown when I first moved in, but it’ll all go to neutral pretty soon.

When you look at my livingroom, you see this picture rail at about 5 1/2 feet high and then another strip of molding at the 10ft mark. Your eye moves over the base molding, the picture rail, the midwall molding and then molding at the top of the 12 ft ceilings. I think its just too much.

So there you have it. I’ve decided that the picture rail is coming down. I am prepared to face the decor firing squad. Ready. Aim. FIRE!

Renovation of Apartment #34 – All the World’s a Rainbow

A few weeks back I introduced my friend Erin and her apartment. She’s stripped down the wallpaper, and started the all consuming process of a minor renovation. When last we heard from her, she explained to us her inspirations and I could see her going more towards neutrals. Then, last week when I was in Seattle she surprised me with a huge pile of paint samples… all in white! Struggling with how to properly do color in her small space, she’s decided to keep it open and airy… here’s her post:

All the world’s a rainbow… and all I see is white. Or off-white to be exact. With names like moonlight white, timid white, white wisp or white diamond. Don’t get me wrong, I do love color, but in this renovation/rejuvenation of my place I’ve finally figured out that I’m trying to meld two objectives:

1)Turn my first home into a place that feels like my own AND
2)Create a space that future owners or renters can also easily see themselves in.

I mean come on – how long can a girl live in 475sq feet? Do you know how many pairs of shoes I have? I need to maximize the potential of the space rather than design with only my tastes and furniture in mind. Because of that, I think I need to stay within fairly neutral territory when it comes to choosing paint.

Lack of color, however, does not have to be boring! Here are some rooms from Living Etc that I’ve been drooling over and would love to emulate.

Since many of you asked for more photos of my place, I’ve provided a 360 (counterclockwise) view of my living room for you to inspect. This is the room I’m going to start on first (bedroom next!).

Enter through the front door and check your hair in either mirror (photo 1), plop down on my green chaise that I found at Chartreuse in Seattle (photo 2), then take a load off sitting under the window at either my little café table or my vintage white vinyl chair from Collective (if you live in Seattle – when the new location opens, go!) (photo 3), or watch a little TV sitting atop my West Elm shelving (photo 4). That’s my bedroom door you’re facing. You may also notice all my crown molding, picture rail, and woodwork (pics 1-4).

As girl on a budget, I have pieces in my living room that aren’t going anywhere – the couch is here to stay (right now the only real color we need to work with) as are my dining table and my white vintage chair (I love it!). However I am open to bringing in a few new pieces. Possibilities include a new rug, a more open and light looking coffee table, and (fingers crossed) the perfect credenza to sit my TV on and hide all my ugly electronics.

The questions running through my head are these… Can I take something from Benjamin Moore’s over 150 “off-whites” to turn my living room from girly dorm room to sophisticated mod? What would you do with all the crown molding? Accent color, or all white? Any tips for designing with white on white to make sure it’s still warm?

I’ve been thinking about making things a little more interesting by painting the molding that creates a small archway between the “entry” and living room in an accent color. I think this will add some drama and clearly separate the space. I also have to deal with a bright pink radiator (how they got that paint to match the wallpaper so perfectly, I’ll never know) so I’m considering painting the radiator the same accent color as the molding – maybe something like the grey in this room via Desire to Inspire.

These are just a few of the myriad ideas floating around in my head. I’d love your help dear Coco+Kelley readers. Now that I’ve gotten rid of the pink, what you would paint the walls and trim to create the Utter Gorgeousness I’m in desperate search of?

Renovation of Apartment #34 – Inspirations

In the beginning of this week, I introduced you to Erin and her condo in Seattle that she’s begun renovating. Her first step was tearing down the wallpaper so she could begin with a blank canvas. Second step? Finding her inspiration. Because she identifies so well with fashion, I asked her to send colors and pieces from the runway as well as rooms to give you all an idea of her style.

That said, I’ve known this girl since Jr. High and I still couldn’t completely define her. She’s got an obsession with winter coats, which to me translates to her need to have a warm and cozy feel to her rooms, along with a touch of clean lines and maybe a little ‘menswear’ style? She’s completely into the green movement, so a space that’s organic with neutrals and nature inspired colors speaks to her senses. And, the girl’s got attitude, so there’s definitely gotta be a touch of glam. That’s my take on her space… I’ll let her explain the rest herself!

Thanks to everyone for the great comments and suggestions on my first post. I appreciated the input and the varying opinions. Exactly what I was hoping for, so keep it comin ya’ll!

To help facilitate that, I should probably begin at the beginning: what I want and what I got. Describing my personal style has proven exceedingly difficult. As Cass mentioned, I’ve always been the fashionista. Now I’m swimming in her pool and barely keeping my head above water. But if I must come up with a descriptor for my design aesthetic it would have to be “Sophisticated Modern”. I like mid-mod simplicity and clean lines, but with a little sophistication dropped in to add some depth and warmth. I think there needs to be something unique, unexpected and personal in every space.

Here’s what I’m going for…

First, I love the idea of taking fashion and translating it into a room. The cream and green suit by Oscar de la Renta on the left is a gorgeous mix of neutrals I love – creams, greys, greens and browns with accents of yellow, gold or silver. I see these gorgeous outfits translated into neutral walls and major furniture with accessories, pillows and lights that pop, shine, or glow.

When it comes to rooms I love they’ve got to have those clean mod lines but with surfaces you actually want to sit, lay or lounge on. I’m drawn to natural and environmentally friendly materials. Green all the way.

But translating the beautiful pics above into something I get to live in everyday is another thing entirely. I pick out shoes, not paint samples. So, the question this week is – what’s the color scheme? Because all the rooms are fairly small and run into each other I want to make sure there is some consistency between the two – does anyone have suggestions on doing this without painting all the walls the same color? I’m totally attracted to grey right now, but want to make sure I don’t get sick of it (especially living in a city as grey as Seattle!). What are your thoughts?? This week’s post was meant to give you a better idea of my taste and style before jumping into the design, but I’m open to any ideas or suggestions you have on color before we start dipping into the paint (eeek!).