What's it say about your decorating skills and choices...

legomom23November 12, 2012

When your house looks better empty?:)

We are repainting most of our first floor so we have removed all the curtains, pictures, and 90% of the furniture. My house looks so much better. Even before new paint.

Someone stopped by yesterday and said they never knew we had a fireplace. I guess I was really featuring that!

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trailrunnerbiker

Haha...I have been having an email convo with a friend that is an amazing decorator...has a great blog. Anyway she has been clearing out and paring down and recently had to clear out everything from her rooms so they could put in insulation. She loved the empty bare rooms and took the opportunity to get rid of one rug and to wax the floors. She is in the process of getting rid of more and is going to post it on her blog soon. I will link to it when she does.

I too have been clearing out the past 2 yrs. I take up all my Oriental rugs every spring and then put them down in the Fall. I love the expanse of bare floors. I have also gotten rid of several large pieces of furniture . I am planning on more clearing out.

I also have been looking at deco books on Amazon..search for Zen look and modern and simple decor and you will find a lot of great picture books with ideas. I am going to check my library for some of them but many were only a few dollars used and had great ratings.

Would be fun if you posted pics of the empty space and then add back in judiciously and see what you get . I am planning to do the same. c

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 5:54PM
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palimpsest

To me, it also means that it must be a pretty pleasant nicely scaled room in and of itself.

A really Great room looks good empty. If you look at period rooms in museums or classical ballrooms and minimally furnished historical rooms of the classical period, the empty or near-empty room makes a statement of its own through proportion and architectural elements.

In contemporary architecture, we often deal with having to use decoration to compensate for odd proportions or "blank" looking rooms.

When the room is full of everyday things, the occupant is often blind to the amount of accumulation or other problems that may exist decoration wise. When you empty it out, it can be a relief. I take pictures and encourage other people to take pictures of their rooms to analyze them as an observer would.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:44PM
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treasuretheday

Just this weekend, I took everything out of my 3-season sunroom for major cleaning of the room and furnishings. It was the first time in about 18 years that I had seen the room completely empty so, of course, I had to take a couple of pictures. As I put things back in, I thought really hard about whether I wanted it back in the room. I love how clean and open it looks now. If I could just figure out what to do with all of the extra stuff piled in my kitchen. ;)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:45PM
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madeyna

A friend of mine did that after cleaning her room out for carpet cleaning and discovered she loves the clutter free look . My mom has been working on it for some time and I finally decluttered mine of kids stuff two years ago. Looking around today though I noticed toy creep is sneaking back in . I have a kids table and two toy boxs in the living room as well as assorted stuffed animals and the pets beds and toys. Its amazing how this stuff sneaks in when your not looking. I hate the look of clutter so I don,t know why I let it sneak up on my like this.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:59PM
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lynninnewmexico

Five years ago this month, right before Thanksgiving, our total kitchen and family room gut and reno finished up. I felt that way when it was time to put our furniture and decorative pieces back in, too. On top of it all, the day after Thanksgiving is when we start putting up the Christmas decs, and I didn't want to put them up either! I didn't want to clutter up my fresh, beautiful new rooms. I gave away a lot of everyday decs and loved the new look. I tried valiantly to only put up one tree and minimal decs to no avail. My DD would have none of that! But, after the holidays were over I fell in love with my fresh new spaces all over again. Once DD went back to school, it was easier to edit what came back in. I can totally understand how you're feeling. My advice: add things back in slowly, don't rush. It can be a very satisfying, fun time for you.
Lynn

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

At our old house, before we sold we staged it and pared it down a lot. It did look very nice. It certainly looked a lot larger. Maybe brighter. But it didn't look like anyone lived there...only that it suggested what it might look like if the buyer lived there.

I think just by living there, stuff starts to move in and adds to the distraction, and it's a matter of editing to bring it back into balance....too empty is cold, too full is distracting and tension inducing....

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:31AM
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legomom23

It is funny isn't it. I think mine is probably clutter and over decorating certain areas. My house is certainly no architectural wonder, but it does have lots of good windows and pretty floors. The curtains were probably the worst of it. I will also need to look at better lighting.

It will never be bare - we have way too many books and stuff for that. But I am going to edit some furniture and certainly the pictures and knick knacks. And most definitely the curtains:)

I am excited to see the outcome. I will post pictures. The painters are supposed to be done right before Thanksgiving, so I will be in the same boat as you Lynn - Christmas decorations!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:08AM
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schoolhouse_gw

I think I've mentioned before that I had to begin a complete bedroom remodel in 2009 when my old plaster and lathe ceiling fell! I had to move every single item out of that room and into the next until new drywall was put on the ceiling and walls, new trim,ect. except the old wood floors remained untouched. Well let me tell you. My eyes were opened. By the time I moved back into that bedroom there was 75% less "stuff", maybe more. I loved the look and I still do. Haven't even hung a picture on the wall yet because I'm savoring "the view".

Did the same two years later with the kitchen and purged even more. Now I'm much more conscientious about what I buy or what I bring home from the antique and thrift shops. The rooms are not bare by any means but less cluttered with things with little or no meaning to me.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:59AM
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bronwynsmom

Oh, brother!

A good friend of mine once said that three moves are almost as good as a house fire. (Now, please don't jump on me about how horrible a house fire really is...)

I wonder if three redecorations are, too. I am in desperate need of a purge-a-thon myself, having never fully adjusted to this old town house with its disdain for closets, and a perfectly good basement filled up with a rental apartment.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:08PM
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mtnrdredux_gw

Three thoughts.

One, what Pal says about rooms that look good empty is one of my biggest gripes about shelter mags, esp AD. They alwyas start with show-stopping rooms.

Two, I have long been a proponents of a more spare look. When we sold our old house the realtor said it was the easiest stagin job she ever saw, since we had far less doodads and stuff on surfaces, walls, etc.

One thing I always notice is how nice a room looks when you take down the window treatments. Airy, open, bright. For that reason I have almost none in our house, as we don't need anything for privacy on our property.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:43PM
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yayagal

It's a very satisfying feeling to pare down and hold on to what you really enjoy rather than what is holding you down i.e. dusting, cleaning etc. Five years ago my husband and I started one room at a time and replaced almost everything except our art and memory pieces. We transitioned over to a more open airy feeling with lighter tones and less furniture. I can't tell you how much we love it. When I walk in to my huge den and can see the nature outside and just my favorite things inside with so much floor real estate, I get that aaaah feeling. You will too. It's like shedding a layer of clothing when you're too hot. lol

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:45PM
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trailrunnerbiker

yaya,,,have you posted pics ? I did a quick search but didn't find anything. I would love to see whatever you would be willing to share along with commentary on what you changed...or before and after photos.

I am lucky that our home has a lot of architectural interest , I have read that comment before from pal. It does make it easier and I don't really have "stuff" sitting around since I don't like clutter at all. I am not sure what I will change so any pics would be most helpful. c

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:10PM
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teacats

I waiver back-and-forth between a "spare" look and a "full" look in my rooms. I am so drawn to both types of decor ....

It is always an interesting experience to see a very familiar room or space (even outdoors in the garden or landscape) "naked" ...

There can be a sense of great opportunity OR a "whoosh" of deep need to "put it all back together" And have had both feelings -- and both are certainly very, very valid feelings .....

Fascinating to stand in an empty room and think "What If? ..."

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:16PM
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blfenton

I like looking at pics of rooms that have a lot going on in them. I love the way some people have the ability to coordinate different patterns and colours in a room. I admire those rooms, but for myself, our rooms have little to no clutter in them beyond furniture, as small as possible area rug and minimal art in the room.

We let the pictures outside of our windows, and the post and beam architecture of our home be our decoration.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:36PM
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outsideplaying_gw

After looking at those 'layered' rooms, I'm not sure I'll want to be guilty of a too-full look ever. Being in the country with no one able to see in our windows, I still don't have covering on some of our windows and love the open feel and look. I usually make a run through the bookcases now and then and clean them out. And when you repaint, don't you almost hate to put stuff back on the wall sometimes? Could I pare down? Of course I could. I've done it a zillion times in my mind.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:54PM
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patty_cakes

After my build was complete, and the house was bare, the foreman gave me the greatest compliment~he said he and his crew thought it was the 'classiest' house they have worked on. There were many neighbors who came to 'look' before exterior doors were installed, and after I moved in, got many nice compliments.

I didn't go overboard w/extras, but what I did was definitely worth the $$$.

As for decorating, I like rooms that *could* be considered overdone, but not overkill. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:58PM
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palimpsest

I am going to be a (lonely) voice of dissent by making a couple of differentiations here.

I don't generally see that the problem is "too much stuff" but rather too much of the *wrong* stuff, or too much irrelevent stuff.

Likewise I think "window treatments" get a bad rap. In my experience it's not the presence of the window treatment that is bad, it's the presence of a bad window treatment or the wrong window treatment(s).

Excluding a large proportion of GWers of course, most people are not very good at editing and are pretty bad at picking window treatments. Mostly because people want to do this last and they don't have the money or the desire to spend the money they should on window treatments. I usually try to get people to do window treatments FIRST, not last.

That said, I have minimal window treatments. But I have beautiful windows and a great view. However, if I cared more about people I don't know seeing me in my underwear, I would have more Adequate window treatments.

There are windows in my new house that will take about three treatments or three layers of treatment to be adequate, and I find this is about right on a lot of windows I do in the city.

As for "too much stuff" vs. too much of the wrong stuff, I have approximately 150 individual items in my living room that are there for their purely decorative value. But not a single Realtor has said that the apartment needed to be decluttered or depersonalized. And if I posted pictures of it. I don't think it would even be considered "layered".

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:53PM
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mustangs81

I have been on the "less is more" and "decorate with meaning" for a couple of years. It is amazing the refreshing feeling I get when I consign or Freecycle pieces that I once thought were a must have.

My neighbor has some lovely decorative pieces but as a whole, she has way TMS. She is always asking me to come over and check out this new item or that item. I would like to be honest and say it's not making the room prettier it's making it cluttered.

For years looked out to a 10 acre pasture. I loved it so I didn't put up drapes, just side panels. Recently someone purchased the pasture and built a McMansion right behind me so that is my new view. Too bad for them because I am not going to put up blinds or drapes.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:25PM
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patty_cakes

Pal, I here ya! When I sold my condo in CA 4 years ago(3 mos. in a horrific economy!)I asked if I should remove some of my 'stuff', including a black fireplace surround in the living room. The powder room was also painted a brick red, with wall 'ornamentation' from 'almost' floor to ceiling, resembling a Victorian library. The realtor as well as photographer both gave a firm no. So yes, in re:to stuff and done correctly, it can help with a sale, rather than hinder. My lime green laundry room didn't hurt either. Incidentially, I had 5 offers, all women. The last 2 became a bidding war.

As for WT, fullness is key, as well as fabric that hangs well~that's why lining is important. If your budget doesn't allow for a better, lined fabric, leave the windows 'a la carte'. A unique window, say an arched window, needs no WT.

And pal, I can't seem to bring myself to 'edit'~~do I have to? LOL

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:36PM
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blfenton

patty cakes- interesting point. My sister was selling her place a couple of years ago and she is more of a minimalist even than me. The realtor strongly suggested that she bring out some things and put them in her living room, family room kitchen etc. The realtor said that her house was so completely devoid of personality or warmth that it had the potential to turn buyers off.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:05PM
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patty_cakes

Blfenton, yep, a house even for sale, needs to have a 'soul'. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:22PM
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schoolhouse_gw

My library is still full of "soul". For some reason, it's my go to comfy room; but I don't want that look in every room.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:58PM
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jerseygirl_1

I am a less is more decorator and pretty specific in what we require in our home. I semi-follow trends and have the tendency to take to long in making decisions. I like the ability to move my accessories around to change up our rooms. I see most things assymetrically. DH adds symetry (sp?)to our home when it comes to furnishings.

We really love the art we have accumulated. Most are all lithographs. DH would put it in any frame to get it done and save $$. I am the opposite and like it custom framed by a specific framer. At first he goes along with it to make me happy, then when he sees the framing a big smile crosses his face. Last weekend we just picked up our newly framed Miro lithograph and Georgia O'Keefe poster from 1989 that was gvien to DH by his daughter ins 1989 along with a book. It is costly and we only do it when we have the extra $$ which is the reason it takes so long for us to finish a room.

Definitely agree with Pal about the window treamtments.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:09AM
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allison0704

I resisted window treatments for a long time after we moved. Acreage, privacy - why bother? But the sun does get low and the moon does get full, and as much as I loved our home without the window panels, I love it just as much with them - DH can close one or two in the great room when the sun is setting and the full moons don't wake me up when they are closer to the horizon.

I don't care for the heavily layered look when it comes to accessories (or window treatments), but I'll admit to layering for comfort. A table holding family items along side things gathered when traveling or in local antique stores create visual comfort. Plus they give our home a personal touch and make a house our "home."

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:12AM
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mclarke

We moved into a new place about a month ago. Most of the artwork is stacked in the closet because I really am liking the blank white walls.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:20AM
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stinky-gardener

Knowing when to say "enough," & having a good feel for what to delete & what to keep, results in pleasing design, just as smart editing results in good writing.

Architecture dictates so much. Basically I'm a "less is more" kind of gal, AND window treatments are a keeper for me. They add much by distracting from my "nothing special" windows & architecture. They actually created architecture in the living room, since I put up valances on cornice boards with panels. While somewhat formal, the treatments still manage to make the room feel cozy & cocoon-like, & the fabric absorbs sound. However, I realize that with splendid architecture & expansive views, bare windows are stunning.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

pal I agree wholeheartedly about WT and about needing to do them first, not last. In fact, maybe it's just what I've been looking at, but in the decor mags, I've been noticing a trend back to window treatments...I used to go through the mags looking for window treatments and struggled to find any....now I see many more, esp in softer rooms like bedrooms.

And there is a big difference between an artful vignette and room dandruff....so many rooms suffer the latter.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Jamie

All of our stuff in storage, and while I hate paying for it, and I really don't like having nothing to wear, I love a closet with space in it.

The one thing I look forward to about installing drapes and rugs (besides not having to figure out what to do with them if I'm not going to keep them) is the sound muffling. Everything echoes in here, and it's not a big house.

That, and the cold or hot pockets in front of the windows.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:01AM
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lynninnewmexico

I'm so enjoying all of your stories!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:24AM
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bronwynsmom

I am like a mixed breed dog...part one who wants to roam, part one who likes to stay to guard the hearth, and who then spends all day stepping on and off the curb....

I want both comfort and serenity, space and warmth, simplicity and personality, neutrals and colors. I like to see out of the windows, but I also like them to be dressed for town rather than for sunbathing. I don't want clutter, but I like to see things around, to give evidence that there is a full life being lived there. And I like a little bit of mess here and there, and one or two odd or even awful things, to save the rooms from preciousness. I want there to be enough going on in the room so that if I leave a book, a coffee cup, and a pair of shoes lying around, it doesn't destroy the look of the place.

So as Pal has said so well, it's about editing. As Elsie deWolfe (the Mother of Us All) so famously said, "Suitability, suitability, suitability."

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:43AM
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stinky-gardener

Wow, Bronwynsmom! You describe the mix of uncluttered simplicity with just "enough" embellishment that I enjoy. Never in a million years though, could I have articulated that preference with such flair. Not only do you have a well-trained eye, but a wonderful gift for writing, (often with great but subtle humor!).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:18AM
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sochi

I don't have any window treatments, in part because like mtnrdredux, I don't generally like them, and in part because choosing window treatments scares the cr*p out of me. I will need them for my bedroom (large windows face the wall of my neighbour's house) and I'll probably have to get my ID friend to help me choose something. I'm waiting to find my bed before I choose window treatments, but maybe I shouldn't?

One of the reasons I like moving is that it forces me to pare down and get rid of so much. I find it difficult beating back the kid clutter with an 8 and 5 year old though. Time to move again I guess! :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 11:19AM
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awm03

"So as Pal has said so well, it's about editing."

Yes, Pal's post was wonderfully instructive, as usual. But you, bronwynsmom, wrote several years ago that interior decorating was as much about editing as it was about adding stuff. That struck me at the time & has stayed in my mind.

Your other great piece of advice was something along the lines of, "Many people think they can transform a room by adding some kind of hoo haw [accessory], but it doesn't work." That's stayed with me too.

Nevertheless, off to Pier One today to look for some Thanksgiving hoo haws for the mantle :)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:23PM
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blfenton

"Nevertheless, off to Pier One today to look for some Thanksgiving hoo haws for the mantle :)" LOL

I'm heading to Home Sense next week for Christmas hoo haws.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:16PM
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bronwynsmom

Thank you for the kind words.

And a Happy Hoo-Hah to all of you!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:26PM
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tfm1134

Bronwynsmom- I feel the exact same way and so glad you were able to describe this because I never can. It's that simple yet cozy yet uncluttered but lived-in feel that I crave
(see you sounded so much better)

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:35PM
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outsideplaying_gw

Well-said, B'mom!! Let's all buy her a drink!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:49PM
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bronwynsmom

I accept!

There's a lovely little bar near the Luxembourg Gardens...

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:52PM
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sochi

Sounds lovely, when are we going?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:59PM
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blfenton

I'm in.

Bronwynsmom- I knew there was a reason my coffee table/ottoman existed. It is my clutter point. Cat and shoes underneath, magazines/crosswords on top, notepaper/pen on top, coffee cup on the side and my feet right there on top with everything else. Everything else is clear.

I was wondering about what our clutter/minimalist attitudes toward decorating says about us, if anything. I am one of those that has to have a wide personal space about them - probably as I'm slightly claustrophobic. And I don't like a lot of decorating things around me. I prefer sleek furniture with no frou-frous and tables that are bare. Messy counters drive me up a wall and heavy WT covering windows give me a headache, figuratively speaking.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:18PM
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lynxe

Well, I am definitely a more-is-more person. I no longer apologize for it either!

That's not to say that I don't need a LOT more practice in editing and choosing the right things, but I like looking at stuff. I like details, and I like ornamentation.

Case in point, we moved a ~70+ inch refectory-style table from the kitchen, where it was our table for eating (and for piling miscellaneous junk and papers) to a spot in the LR, in front of a fireplace. There are now three piles of art books on it; a slip-cased book on plants; a Shona sculpture of a woman; a metal sculpture/thing/repro of a medieval tower; five silver or silverplate things on it, including two dishes, an engraved cup, a tray, and a Christophle monkey riding an elephant while holding an umbrella; and a small oil painting on a metal stand.

There may be too many things on the table, and I suspect that, even if there are not, the things need rearranging to look better, but even so, I like the overall effect. And that's after having removed an orchid after it stopped blooming!

I am also guilty of what pal has described, which is putting off the whole window treatment decision. Why I'm so stunned by the cost of doing a room I don't know, but I am. Because a room's window treatements can be so expensive, I'm stuck - I'm afraid to make a horridly expensive mistake. Result? I don't make any decision at all.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 5:48PM
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patty_cakes

Editing would be a slow suicide for me~I love my 'stuff'! My house wouldn't be considered cluttered, nor does it look staged. One thing will play off another giving a wall arrangement/table vignette almost the look of a still life, but maybe not so structured.

I blame in on my birthdate. I'm a Virgo, so like lots of details. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:09AM
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outsideplaying_gw

Well B'mom, are we all up for a big Road Trip to Paris? Sounds good to me! I've got the first round at the bar.
We can all talk about editing, whether our stuff is clutter or not, and things we love. And then tour the gardens. What a hoot!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:23AM
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tfm1134

Paris? count me in!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 10:46AM
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palimpsest

Where I live, unless you are an exhibitionist and can sleep in a well-lit room all night, most houses where I live need window treatments.

My trainer, for whom I did window treatments needed three layers and as it is the third layer still isn't enough. He has a streetlight within arm's reach of the bedroom window. His neighbor's bedroom window is ten feet away.

So he needs a blackout for night. Then during the day he needs a sheer for daytime privacy unless he wants to have the lights on all day. There is also drapery to compensate for light leakage around the blind. But this isn't enough and now we need to replace the drapery with full blackout drapery.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:13PM
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blfenton

And can we also get lost in the streets on either side of the Seine looking at the architecture? Second round is on me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:55PM
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blfenton

And can we also get lost in the streets on either side of the Seine looking at the architecture? Second round is on me.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:56PM
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happyintexas

Very interesting thread.

I love stuff...but too much is too much. I often cross the tipping point without realizing it and have to edit a bit. Just lately I seemed to have collected too any items. Now those rooms make me itchy. Just just don't welcome me like a more edited room does.

Those other day I rearranged the furniture in the living room. First we moved everything out. It looked so spacious! I hated to put some things back....now my kitchen and dining room are cluttered

I' m in for the Paris trip!

Off to edit my kitchen counters...

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:46PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

So, Pal, let's see those pictures! :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:15PM
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palimpsest

This is what he was dealing with:

And this is where we are now: these are going to be replaced with blackout curtains. The chronic problem is budget. These will be moved to a single window downstair where they go will with the sofa.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:42PM
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outsideplaying_gw

Wow, you weren't kidding about that street light! I'd hate that.

The counters, tops of dressers, or shelves are always the first things I edit when I start cleaning out a room.

This Paris trip is getting legs...wouldn't it be fun? And yes, we can hit the architecture too!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 8:21PM
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frenchmadeline

Legomom. your post made me, well, it made me laugh out loud!
Outsideplaying: Did I mis-understand you? Could editing a room be as simple as "cleaning out a room"? I think you mean it in an entirely different way, one that I'd very much like to grasp. Thank you!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:42PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Pal, oh my! All I can say is, at least it's not neon and doesn't flash! Yikes....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:53AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

There is also a fashion to "stuff". In the old days of Christopher, his rooms were gorgeous and very very full of stuff. His style was not minimalistic at all. But watching the old shows now, his rooms look well decorated but way too intense for today's more minimalistic approach.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:32AM
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palimpsest

I think the light hums, though.
There are lights several blocks away that shine in our bedroom windows. They are letters about 5 feet tall (it seems like). You can read with the lights out. Not comfortably, but still.

The thing about Christopher's approach is that he started out in retail and he even called the placement of accessories "merchandizing"--in his hands it worked, but it led to my things like my sister opening her china cupboard and artfully draping a table runner over the door, and the fad of draping the throw "casually" on the arm of a chair but dragging just so onto the floor from a few years back. Vignettes that looked good for actual merchandising but not so practical at home.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes he did call it merchandising, but his background was in the theatre with set design, lighting design and costuming. That's where he gets his 18" of space for a human body to go by....a set can be a small space....and I think people have gotten larger since then.

I believe candice olson has a background in retail where she learned about lighting design....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 9:28AM
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outsideplaying_gw

Frenchmadeline, I very rarely re-arrange an entire room. Of course we re-paint now and then and things get cleared out.

I meant when I decide it's time for a change in the room because it looks 'tired'. I start first by clearing off all the tops of the dressers or nightstands. I might decide the lamps need to be changed/replaced. So to me that starts with somewhat of a blank slate, even if I don't repaint or replace the bedding. Changing artwork on the walls or moving accessories from one room to another gives a whole new look, sometimes without spending any money.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:53AM
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lynxe

Christopher? What have I missed? Who is he?

So today's approach is one of minimalism. Fine, but I'm remaining on the other side. I have unintentionally started out with empty rooms, but they haven't stayed that way for long. Besides, I think that if minimalism is to work, it requires a very fine eye for something...I don't know what. Maybe the careful selection of items with colors and/or textures that work well together, maybe high quality items, maybe those things plus a keen eye for placement. Whatever it requires to be done well, I don't think I have it.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 12:18PM
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sail_away

Pal, Where did you get the curtain rods shown in pictures of your trainer's windows? I like that they are substantial, yet very simple and unobtrusive.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 12:36PM
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palimpsest

J C Penney, and I have used them several times. I really like them. Especially since they wrap back to the wall.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 12:55PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Pal, thanks for the picture. I love those rods, too. What I really meant though was please show a pic of your living room with all those decorative items you mention!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:20PM
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palimpsest

One side,

and, the other:

Not really current pictures. Soon to be cleared out.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:46PM
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dody40

Lynxe, I believe they are talking about Christopher Lowell. He was just wonderful with his 'You can do it' attitude. He had a '7 layers of design' that he taught.

Layer # 1 is paint and architectural embellishments: Paint is the cheapest way to add warmth to your room. Oh yeah, don't forget to paint those ceilings. Architectural embellishments are moldings and other architectural items. I like to add these elements not only because they add value to homes, but also charm and substance.

Layer #2 is installed flooring: This is wall-to-wall installation, not area rugs which come later.

Layer #3 is high-ticket upholstery items: These are basically any oversized fabric covered piece. Here is a quick tip to remember when purchasing your items. Remember to focus on solid and textured fabrics rather than patterns. Locking yourself into a pattern can be a costly investment, which won't have any return.

Layer # 4 is accent: This is where you can have fun with accent fabrics for pillows, curtains, runners and yes, area rugs. These are the easier pieces to change from season to season or when updating is needed.

Layer #5 is non-upholstered furniture (or the workhorses): Without these workhorses of the room, like coffee, end and side tables, a room simply doesn't work.

Layer #6 is accessories: This is my favorite part. This is where you can inject personal items like photos, books and other merchandise.

Layer # 7 is plants and lighting: Shadow is important to the mood of the room as the light that creates it. Here's a tip, remember, as much lighting should come from the floor as from the ceiling.Plants under lit help make great shadows and add that important living element to the room.

Copied from

http://www.ivillage.com/christopher-lowells-7-layers-design/7-a-220357

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:41AM
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lynxe

Thanks, dody. Now I remember his book! I have seen it before, although I don't recall much about it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:39AM
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bronwynsmom

Pal, I was going to ask about the rods, too - it's so hard to find nice ones that return any more! You did a perfect job on the windows for your trainer. (I wish mine needed design work - I can't afford him any more!)

And I think your living room is wonderful. You've shown us the perfect object lesson in mixing elements, styles, and eras, and in careful editing.

Your room is both serene and exuberant. Well done, you!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Nice job, pal...understated elegance with architectural interest.

Dody and lynxe, you might want to follow Chrisotpher's pinterest page...he has lots of interesting stuff there....

Here is a link that might be useful: CL on Pinterest

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:05AM
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outsideplaying_gw

Nice room, Pal. I meant to comment earlier on how lived-in (and I mean that in a good way) it looks, yet a nice elegance to it as well. Don't apologize for a thing. Isn't it funny how we're all critical of our rooms in some way? Whether it's a messy desk, something we haven't finished yet, etc.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:09AM
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palimpsest

This is the only living space in the apartment, so it does get used every day, although the computer, which gets a lot of use is in the second bedroom.

Actually we often sit at the sofa to eat dinner, depending on what it is. When the TV was in the bedroom, I often ate with my plate on a towel on the foot of the bed while I sat on a footstool...so we use everything but I guess overall we are pretty neat and tread lightly. The new house will likely have two main living areas, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

One of the criteria of the new house is that the rug fit. It was surprising the number of houses we looked at where it would not.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:03PM
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dody40

Thanks Anne, will check it out.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:57AM
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