Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3
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Design Dilemma: Straight-Laced in DC? Not Necessarily!

transitional living room interiors

It used to be that Washington DC decorating was classic, conservative, colonial. Not many designers ventured beyond safe and serious, which is perhaps the decorating style that best projects power. But there’s a whole new generation of designers in the District these days catering to a younger crowd who feel freer and more open to express themselves in design. Safe and serious has been tossed out the window.

Take the home of Kerra Michele Huerta, a D.C. designer who did up her own 600 square foot Dupont Circle rental in a fun, eclectic, boho style that does not call to mind preppy paneled dens or chintz-splashed  living rooms that were once standard around the city. Huerta’s home mixes periods, style, pattern, texture, and lots of artwork for a vibrant, funky feel.

transitional living room interiors

In the living room above and below, Huerta indulges in lush textures, from the furry, sheepskin carpet to the plush, emerald green sofa — a recovered vintage sofa. Huerta found the artwork above the fireplace at a thrift shop and used the emerald and teal palette accented with pinks throughout her entire home. She bought a pair of bergère chairs from eBay and, cleverly,  reupholstered them in an ikat-dot fabric on the front, and white leather on the sides and back, for a glam, graphic feel.

transitional living room interiors

Here’s a closer view of the reupholstered chair:

transitional living room interiors

Color and texture is used in interesting ways throughout. The front door, below to the right, is painted a light blue and opens onto the dining room. Huerta swapped the cheap flush-mounted ceiling lamp that came with her rental for a dramatic bohemian chandelier recalling lustrous pearls, and used a round table to create the feeling of a foyer.

transitional living room interiors

Huerta’s kitchen is as rich, homey and vibrant as the rest of her home, and this despite the fact that it is a rental kitchen where no permanent changes could be made. She used temporary wallpaper on the appliances to jazz things up. She also painted the kitchen’s back wall with chalkboard paint with permission from her landlord.

transitional kitchen interiors

Also in the kitchen, Huerta brought eclectic energy by removing cabinet doors, installing patterned paper on the backsplash, and  by painting the inside of cabinets a sweet aqua color. The mix of colors and patterns has a slight Latin or Caribbean feel

transitional kitchen interiors

In the bedroom, Huerta splurged on an Indonesian bed that she says helps make the room feel more expensive than it is. She says her general rule of thumb is to splurge on one item in every room to help imbue rooms with the feeling of quality. The colors in the bedroom were influenced by a trip she took to India. The many feminine touches throughout the apartment she says are just a part of her style.

transitional living room interiors

Here’s a unique paint treatment in Huerta’s colorful home office:

transitional living room interiors

Huerta says she spent about $15,000 to decorate her rental, which she views as a feat. In projects for clients, she easily dedicates that much to just one room alone. By relying on thrift shop finds and repurposing furniture, Huerta has proven that it doesn’t take a lot of money to have a lot of style!

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10 Vintage Furniture Design Styles That Are Deserve a Rebirth in Your Home

Vintage furniture styles have been popular for the past few years with homeowners looking for new ways to add some life to their space. Buying some of these styles secondhand can help you save a bit on your redecorating costs unless you end up finding authentic period style pieces that are well-preserved antiques. It’s also becoming more common for furniture designers to use vintage ideas in their contemporary work. Here are 10 old furniture styles that could give your home a new look.

1. Mid-Century Modern

midcentury furniture 2

A vintage look that has recently become wildly popular at flea markets, antique furniture shops, and in homes is the mid-century modern style. The mid-century modern look was popular originally in the 1930s to the 1960s. The style featured bright colors, such as green, orange, and yellow. It also used different silhouettes for couches, tables, and chairs that were innovative and unique. Today, many homeowners who are looking for an eclectic appeal in their room choose a few mid-century accents as bold pieces.

2. Shaker

Shaker furniture has always had a quiet following since its introduction into design history in the 19th century. It was created by the Shaker religious sect and prioritized function over style. Furniture in the Shaker style focused on handcrafted wood furniture pieces that were meant to last generations. Families looking for durable furniture options that offer lots of versatility for design should consider some of the Shaker styles.

3. Victorian

Furniture pieces from the Victorian era were manufactured during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901. These pieces of furniture were characterized by heavy fabrics for upholstery, ornate decoration, and dark wooden inlays pressed into the structure. Actual Victorian pieces may fetch a high price due to their age and their condition. It may be better to choose a reproduction if you want something more affordable but enjoy the style of this age.

4. Empire

The American Empire style of furniture was initially popular during the early 19th century and capitalized on the Empire style around the world after Napoleon’s success in France and beyond. Empire pieces were also part of a revival of classical Greek and Roman styles from ancient times. This furniture style has also been brought back multiple times by contemporary designers with carving in the wood, ornamental inlays, scrollwork on the legs of tables, and gilded stenciling.

5. Edwardian

If you’re looking for another fancy style for your formal living room or dining room space, you may want to consider pieces that mirror the Edwardian look. The Edwardian style was popular during the reign of Britain’s King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910. Furniture pieces from this era were bright and colorful with a heavy use of pastels and other lighter colors. Wicker and bamboo were popular for this look, making it common for people today to use it in their sunrooms or other formal porch spaces.

6. Federal

True pieces in the Federal furniture style may be quite expensive, as they may be more than 200 years old. Federal furniture was all the rage during the late 18th century. This style was made popular during the time of the American and French Revolution, and many decorators continue to favor some of the basics from this look. Pieces from this era are light and elegant but have plenty of ornate décor in the woodwork.

7. Arts and Crafts

artscrafts furniture 2

The Arts and Crafts design style was common in the early 20th century and featured stained decorative glass, heavy oak furniture, and solid construction. This furniture style is featured in some contemporary retailer’s showrooms such as Ashley Furniture, which has been led by CEO Eugene Chrinian in recent years.

8. Scandinavian

The popularity of Swedish furniture giant Ikea in today’s modern living rooms may have its origins in the simple Scandinavian furniture design look from the 1950s. This look of modernism and minimalism was introduced in the Nordic part of Europe and still is quite popular around the world. There are many vintage pieces that are affordable for most people that could bring your living room’s look together.

9. Art Nouveau

Another look that was popular in the early 20th century with some designers was the Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau was characterized by organic shapes, ornate wood, and feminine lines. While styles in this look aren’t very common in contemporary pieces, there are many vintage original pieces that you may find at secondhand furniture stores.

10. Art Deco

The 1920s era was a time for excess and displays of wealth, which were evident in the Art Deco furniture style. If you want a fun piece for your bedroom or other space, you may be able to pick up an original piece in good condition. Art Deco furniture was shiny and decorative, with the use of metals and mirrors.

When it’s time to consider redecorating your home, you may want to go back in time and review some of the most popular vintage styles. Then, you can try looking for an original or see if a contemporary manufacturer has revived the look.

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4 Smart Ways to Reduce Home Cooling Costs

Ask many people to name their most used appliances in the home and air conditioners would probably rank similarly to staples like dishwashers, microwaves, and washing machines. Being able to keep your home at the desired temperature regardless of weather conditions is certainly a perk, but if you’re not careful, you could be dealing with large cooling bills. There are several things you can do to keep your home comfy without breaking the bank.

Use a Ceiling Fan Along With Your Air Conditioner

CeilingFan home improvement

Using a ceiling fan in an air-conditioned home can reduce cooling costs dramatically because it costs so little to run fans even if they are operating all day. Ceiling fans consume much less power than air conditioners do, so they are good complements to your air conditioner. Furthermore, you can install ceiling fans in areas of the home that tend to get a little stuffy to conquer the rising temperatures without having to crank up the thermostat.

Bear in mind that a ceiling fan doesn’t actually cool down the temperature in a room. Instead, it circulates air and makes the people in the room feel better. That means it’s useless to use a ceiling fan in an empty room but could offer good results when there are people in the space.

Use Your Air Conditioner on a Timer

Most modern air conditioners have timer settings that allow users to set them up so they turn off or switch to lower settings at night or when the home is unoccupied. It’s a good idea to see if your air conditioner offers such settings. If it does, learn how to use it and figure out which settings work best for your family.

Strategically Plant Trees Around Your Home

cut home improvement

Another way to cut your home cooling costs is to pay attention to your home’s landscaping. Is the sun shining into your home directly and heating things up? If you run into that problem, one pleasing way to solve it is by planting trees to block the sun while simultaneously beautifying things.

Just look for 15 to 20-foot trees at your local garden center. If you’re unsure which types to buy, ask for help from a sales representative and specifically mention you want something to provide shade.

If you have an outdoor air conditioner, it’s even beneficial to make the area around it shadier. When the surrounding environment is cooler, the air conditioner won’t work as hard. A more efficient air conditioner is usually cheaper to run.

Stay On Top of Air Conditioner Maintenance

Filter Buying Guide home improvement

When you follow recommended air conditioner maintenance procedures, your unit will be in the best condition to run efficiently. One important periodic maintenance measure involves changing the air conditioner’s filter. The filter automatically removes contaminants from the air as the air conditioner operates but if the filter becomes too dirty because it’s not changed frequently enough, the efficiency level of the air conditioner will drop.

Buying the proper air conditioner filter is not always as straightforward as it seems. However, an AC filter guide is a good resource to refer to as needed.

Besides keeping up with DIY maintenance, get on a schedule of professional maintenance so specialists can uncover potential problems that could result in system failures if not addressed promptly. You can also ask the technician if there are further maintenance techniques that could reduce running costs between tuneups. If it gets to the point where it costs too much to maintain the air conditioner you have, perhaps it’s time to upgrade. A professional can offer sound advice about that option.

As you can see, it’s easier than you might have thought to keep cooling costs down without breaking a sweat. Try these tips soon and enjoy lower bills.