Good Bones… Great Staging

May 8, 2013



Got a call a few weeks ago from my talented friend, Jane. Jane is a real estate agent but also a design maven with an incredible eye and has  done her fair share of residential home staging. She had a new listing but decided to outsource the paint color selection and staging to professionals.




This house, built in 1937, had been lived in and loved. It had exceptional light, views and great bones. But it definitely needed a major interior facelift (and some exterior tweaking) before going on the market.










Grrr.. forgot to snap the “before” photos. Suffice to say that the palette was dated and involved pastel pink and blue. The pastels had worked with the previous owner’s furnishings and rugs but those wall colors had to go. In the living room, the elaborate moldings had been “picked out” in white– the effect– like icing on a wedding cake. We decided to temper the formalilty of the room by “painting out” the frame moldings and chair rail in the same color as the walls. I wanted the eye to be drawn up to the crown molding, so painted the ceiling a subtle color to highlight that and the height of the room.




The floors, a combination of original pine and oak, were refinished but left in their natural warm gold-orange tones. I used 5 different pale grays and off-whites on walls, ceilings and trim throughout the first floor to knock back the warmth of the floors and take advantage of the beautiful natural light.



Red House Staging did a fabulous job with clean contemporary furnishings and artwork… maintaining a neutral palette with lively pops of orange throughout the first floor.





The result is a subtle shift in light throughout the whole house. The shift creates just a bit of movement from the sight lines throughout  and makes the rooms flow seamlessly.




The stairway leading to the second floor was also layered in whites above and below the chair rail, stair risers were painted white and the handrail black.









The old pine floors give character to the new kitchen, wrapped in a warm white to match the cabinetry.




The walk-out basement got an uplift with a warm camel color–cozy and warm for watching TV in the evenings.





The master bedroom was painted in a pale green… dreamy and atmospheric with leafy views from all windows.





This was indeed, a transformation– with wall color highlighting the strengths of this classic Virginia home.  The result?  In one day….





I often talk about the paint colors I use on projects but have decided not to include them here. Why?  When using nuanced  “off-whites” it is essential to test– pale colors and whites look very different depending on the light source and flooring.  Attempting to replicate a look by simply using the same paint colors is often fraught with disappointment .  My advice?  The perfect white, especially when making a choice for interior or exterior trims,  can make or break a color scheme. Hire a professional and get it right the first time!








Andrew Wyeth + Winter Whites

February 25, 2013



“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.”

~  Andrew Wyeth



Andrew Wyeth, Fence Line



White on the brain again!  Maybe it’s the winter view of bark and white sky out my window.  But I was leafing through a beautiful book “Andrew Wyeth– Memory and Magic” yesterday and was drawn to the monochromatic palette of browns, tans and whites of his “Chadd’s Ford” paintings.  I love the interplay between the layers of white and neutrals here and am really drawn to the same palette for interiors.




via Interiorly




Andrew Wyeth, Long Limb



via New York Times






Andrew Wyeth, Trodden Weed




Amelia Handegan




Andrew Wyeth, Open and Closed






Andrew Wyeth’s “Maine” paintings are, of course, another story.



Andrew Wyeth, Wind from the Sea



Summer awaits.



Andrew Wyeth, On the Edge




timber + snow

December 29, 2012


Well, today there is snow outside my window (and a roaring fire inside).  And it brings to mind one of my very favorite “color” combinations —  a background of white with touches of warm brown. The warm neutrals found in natural wood finishes, usually flooring and furniture, accomplish this best.  Those ‘Swedes’ are masters of this yin/yang aesthetic and DC designer Darryl Carter also does this well.

Here are some fabulous images I’ve pinned over the past year, showing the beauty of white walls paired with simple natural textures.

Enjoy ~


via Darryl Carter




via Cup of Joe



via Houzz




via The City Sage








via Ruth Burts




via we are super famous



via Ben Herzog


via the design files




Stay cozy and warm today dear readers.  And raising my glass to another colorful year of sharing!




Not So Mellow-Yellow

March 21, 2012


It was gray and pouring rain yesterday morning here in DC. I attended a benefit breakfast and was seated at table with someone wearing the most beautiful daffodil colored jacket- really bright.  It just ‘sang’ in a room of otherwise muted tones. It inspired me to collect a few images from my Pinterest boards that showcase the power of a small dose of yellow in white rooms.


via Orange Tangerine Art




via Decor 8





via a dose of the delightful



via Joel Snayd/ Rethink Design Studio




via Tamar Schechner



Feeling the yellow love?  It WAS the first day of spring yesterday, right?