Archive for February, 2010

25
Feb
10

Spanish

This post includes some pictures of Spanish and Mexican styles.  I am very much aware that Spanish and Mexican are about as similar as American and British, which is to say there may be ancestry, but there are still significant differences.  The Spanish style is influenced by the Mediterranean and is inspired by coastal colors: blues, greens, browns, and whites primarily.  Terracotta reds and oranges also have a place given the wide use of tiles.

The hanging tapestry, authentic pillows, and breezy color palette are used as subtle touches of Mediterranean and Spanish influences.

Use a neutral color palette, as shown in the picture above, to highlight the architectural features of the room.  I love the asymmetrical, yet symmetrical curtains on the windows.

Notice the decorate wrought iron accents in the room above.  This element in particular serves a hacienda-type atmosphere.

Vibrant tiles, as in the shower shown above, add a Mexican flair to the room.  Notice the stone wall art and the blue, white, and yellow sink.  All these features work together to create a sophisticated, Mexican-style bathroom!  Stone, ceramics, pottery, and wrought iron are typical artistic expressions for both Spanish and Mexican style rooms.

Thanks to http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/spice-up-your-casa-spanish-style/pictures/index.html and http://interiordesign.lovetoknow.com/Spanish_Interior_Design for their input for this post!

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24
Feb
10

Tuscan

Similar to the french country and cottage styles, the tuscan style also is inspired by elements of nature.  It bears similarity to the french country style in that it uses wrought iron, stone, and rustic elements, however, there are differences that make it a unique style.  One of the primary elements that sets this style apart is S I M P L I C I T Y.

As one website put it, “From ancient Roman times, people moved to the beautiful hills of central Italy to remove themselves from city life, escape the intrigue of politics, and embrace the idealized culture of the country. They enjoyed the beauty of nature and incorporated the elements into their villas. These same elements are what makes Tuscan style decorating so appealing for our homes today.”  (about.com)

Common colors are Siena yellow, blues, terracotta, and brick.  Unlike the french country style that is conducive to a wide array of colors, this style is not quite so compatible.  Though any style can be modified, the true tuscan style caters to a limited set of colors.  The colors should be muted and appear weathered to create a timeless beauty.  One common color technique is stark white walls to contrast with the dark wood beams in the ceiling and furniture.

This style also features stucco, or similarly textured, walls to create the Italian country aura.  The floors are typically made of wide timber planks, tile, brick, or rough stones.  Terracotta tiling is perhaps one of the primary flooring options.

Stone, in its natural form, is a common feature of the tuscan style, as depicted in the picture above.  Tuscans respect the past and do not think that it should be removed and discarded, rather, they should be proudly displayed.  Woods that are commonly used include oak, chestnut, or cherry.  Wood with a shiny or glossy finish does not fit well with this style, just as it would be also out of place in a french country style.

Use rough wooden beams in the ceiling.  The furniture has straight, clean lines.  Wooden items typically are hand-worked.  Wrought iron adds a charming element to this style, as it does to the french country style.  Don’t paint furniture, which is different than the cottage-style we studied a couple weeks ago.

A fireplace in a tuscan-style kitchen would be ideal, but that is typically not a luxury available to most.  Use hard, dark wood for the pantry and shelves.  Kitchen counters are typically made of granite, travertine, or tile.  Some say that a wooden family dining table is mandatory in a tuscan kitchen.

This style is quite appealing to me, probably most of all the ones studied so far.  Though I wouldn’t mind using elements of it in my own home, I don’t think I would go all-out Tuscan.  The simplicity is really quite appealing, but the general color schemes are different than my preferences at this time.  Let’s keep looking!

Much of this information was extracted from http://experience-tuscany.thriftytuscany.com/the-colors-and-materials-of-a-tuscan-home-indoors/2984, but http://www.lifeinitaly.com/decor/decorating/tuscan-colors.asp was the primary source of tuscan style interior decorating!

22
Feb
10

French Country

After my week-long blog vacation, I’m back and with a renewed passion!  We’ll continue where we left off with decorating styles.  From contemporary to romantic, modern to cottage, we have covered a wide range of styles already, but we have only barely scratched the surface.  Additionally, it is my personal goal to find the style, or mix thereof, that exemplifies my tastes and preferences; we have not yet made progress on accomplishing this goal.  So, let us begin again with French Country!

A central element of this style is the use of natural materials, such as plastered walls, beamed ceilings, wood details, stone fireplace, etc.

Armoires are an essential piece of furniture for this style.  Furniture usually has a dull, low-sheen finish as in the worn look of the furniture above.

Toile, shown in the pictures above, is a central fabric.  Note, however, that there is not a strict set of colors for this style; it is conducive to a wide array of color schemes.  The two fabric samples above are completely different color schemes, but both can be used to create the warm, charming atmosphere that accompanies this style.  Common colors used are bright golds, rust, splashes of blue, and lavender purple.

Key words of this style are: old, charming, rustic, worn, warm.  But, as depicted by this picture above, it doesn’t have to be without class or quality.  The use of neutral colors in the picture above is sophisticated and this sophistication is made suddenly charming by not only the accents and features throughout the room, but by the splash of teal on the shutters.

Here’s a cozier french country style kitchen to contrast the one above it.  Note that almost all the pictures of rooms so far displayed have beamed ceilings and light color woods (darker woods used only as accents).

Common accents of this style are roosters & chickens, wrought iron, whimsical curves, pails, baskets, and other such items.  Notice the watering can on the shelf above and the style and texture of the blue wall.

Here’s a room that utilizes yellow as a primary color in the color scheme.  Notice the stone of the fireplace, as mentioned earlier, and the toile-like fabric on the chair.

I love the use of the nature pictures in this photo and soft green wanes coating.  Notice the copper pot sitting in the stone fireplace to add a rustic feel to an otherwise formal room.  The yellow flowers on the table are simply classic.  I don’t believe that this is a true french country style dining room, but it does hold elements of the style that are notable.

The information from this post is attributable primarily to http://interiordec.about.com/b/2010/02/08/french-countryside-in-your-very-own-home.htm and http://www.bhg.com/decorating/decorating-style/country-french/country-french-decorating-ideas/.  Visit for yourself for more links related to this style!

18
Feb
10

Apologies

It looks like my schedule this week got the better of me and I did not post anything yesterday, as I had promised.  Please forgive me.  I hope to get back to the articles this weekend, time permitting.  In the meantime, hang in there – this blog has not died.

14
Feb
10

Apologies

My dear readers…

It is busy season for the CPAs among us, which means that there is little time for activities outside of work and chores.  Though I have not been remarkably disciplined with my time, it has been quite busy.  Please be patient – I promise to have posts back by Wednesday at the latest, beginning with the French Countryside and Tuscan styles!

I appreciate your understanding.

11
Feb
10

Romantic

I will be the first to admit that the romantic style is quite repulsive to the very core of my being.  But, as with the contemporary or modern styles of interior design, we need to acknowledge its existence and give it some stage time regardless of my personal opinion!

The primary buzz word of this style is femininity.  You can add masculinity to the room, so as to make sure your husband still feels manly while lounging on the couch, by introducing straight lines in fabric patterns and curtains, for example.  Similar to the cottage style, use pastel colors for your color scheme.  However, unlike cottage, there are quite a bit more frills and curves in this style.

This style is also quite ornate, bordering on gaudy, if one is not careful.

Overstuffed furniture and fabrics fit nicely into the romantic style.  The ruffled bed skirts add flair.  I love the four-poster bed frames in this picture.

This style also lends itself to luscious valences and drapes.  It can be quite sophisticated if done properly.

Perhaps the most dangerous element of this style is that if done improperly, it can prove disastrous.  What could have been a sophisticated, upscale living room could easily become a museum of the living room your great-grandmother had.  The margin of error allowed in this style is quite small compared to the cottage style.

10
Feb
10

Modern

I’m not quite sure, yet, if we’ll be able to tell much of a difference between modern vs. contemporary style, but let’s give it a try nonetheless.  Modern, as with contemporary, begins with a neutral color palette.  It is characterized by strong geometric shapes and asymmetry.

Finishes should be smooth, shiny, or sleek.  Concrete, granite, and linoleum are common flooring options, though this picture displays a light wood floor.  Stainless steel and chrome accents are common.

This style, unlike its contemporary cousin, strays somewhat from the clean-cut lines.  The backwash is this kitchen is more distracting than we might expect from a contemporary-style kitchen.

Curves seem generally more accepted.  There is less emphasis on traditional-style furniture (i.e., a standard, everyday couch), as in the bench-like seating above.  Some living rooms just have large pillows on the floor for seating.

Some additional research, however, showed how the modern style emphasizes functionality above aesthetics while the contemporary style seeks to unite the two by creating a symbiotic relationship with nature and natural elements.  Despite the name of this style, it has actually been around for nearly a century.

Here’s a modern bedroom:

And a contemporary bedroom:

I definitely admit: I am unable to see a significant difference.  But there is a general atmospheric difference that I can’t quite pin.  But we’ll leave it at that for now.  Suffice it to say, contemporary is the newer style of the two and neither is something that I would likely consider in my personal home.  It’s good to know about the existence of these styles, however, since they are widely used.