I Have this Thing with Floors…

Today is a meat and potatoes kind of day. I adore discussing my home shopping addiction, but we gotta go back to basics. Flooring. It’s sort of like two women going clothes shopping. One is a perfect size 4 without a drop of flab in sight, ( yes we hate her!) Then, of course we have the woman most of us will identify with. Some leftover baby belly flab, a bit of extra insulation in the rear…yes she enjoys life, but not when she’s in the 3-way mirrored dressing room.

 

Skinny size 4, the one we hate, just looks amazing in everything! She can shop Forever 21 and look like a million bucks. Her friend, the cookie lover, is a bit more limited. Instead of just buying what she likes, she needs to shop for clothes that flatter her. She’s way more limited, and probably has to spend a bit more.

 

Enter flooring. Choosing flooring is one of the most important aesthetic decisions you will make over the course of building a home. That’s because the flooring is the basis of all your decor. A home with great flooring is like a skinny girl who looks great in everything. You can shop well without breaking the bank and still have a chic home. A home with a neutral, authentic looking tile is a blank slate with limitless options. Even a simple hardwood floor leaves you open to endless color options and styles of decor. Few things pain me more than walking into a home I was hired to decorate only to be greeted with ugly, cheap looking tile. (Cue my fave eye-covering monkey emoji.) That’s the heavier friend, where I find myself spending so much energy and money trying to decorate the home well around that ugly-fugly floor.

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William Hodgins

So to get specific, an overview of different flooring options and where to use them.

 

Wall to Wall Carpeting

Please, please try to limit this only to bedrooms! It will inevitably get dirty and gross and is definitely not your friend if anyone in your home has asthma, as it is a serious dust catcher. Even in bedrooms, I am a huge fan of area rugs on top of hardwood flooring, as they can be removed and spot cleaned and the room can remain fresh and clean. Definitely not a fan of this one.

 

Tile

Tile is the optimal choice for all high traffic areas, such as a mudroom, entry, and kitchen, and of course, bathrooms. You will be hearing a lot more from me in the future about the importance of choosing the right tile for your space, but tile is definitely the most long lasting, no maintenance flooring available. Unless it is highly polished, in which case you do need to proceed with caution in regard to scratching, tile is pretty much bulletproof and won’t scratch, stain, warp, or do anything you don’t want it to do. It is waterproof and a worthy investment. There are people who worry about tile being cold in the winter and that it is very hard if you fall or drop a dish. To which I reply put on some slippers! How often do you drop plates on the floor? And in general little children are the ones who fall, and their bodies are designed to handle the falls. No worries.

 

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Annette English

Hardwood

Hardwood is dear to my heart. I adore hardwood in living and dining rooms, on stairs, in playrooms, and always in bedrooms. Hardwood tends to be soft underfoot and warm in the winter, and gives a room a cozy feel. It adds lasting value to a home as it can always be refinished after years of wear and tear and the new stain can instantly add an affordable update. It is absolutely timeless. Be aware that in the afore-mentioned high traffic areas it will scratch easily, and is not as easily cleaned as tile. For that reason, in a busy home I would stay away from hardwood in the entrance and kitchen/dinette. Big but. If you do not have room in your budget to choose a great tile and have it installed well, I would always prefer hardwood to bad tile! It always looks great and will not destroy the rest of your decor like a bad tile will.

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Vinyl and Laminate

Vinyl and laminate flooring have come a long way. There are fantastic hardwood look-alike options available today. They are affordable and fantastic for retail spaces, but although it is undoubtedly a better alternative to carpet, I would advise against using them in your home, as they just don’t have the solid presence underfoot of tile and hardwood and are definitely not something that I would consider to be very long-lasting.

 

Stay tuned for more in-depth discussion about tiles.

 

G-d Bless Zara….

One of the things I promised myself when I started this blog was that my posts would never, ever be boring. Rambling, maybe, but boring, never. So, I cracked the screen on my 3 month old IPhone and had time to kill in the mall while my phone was being repaired in the Apple store. (By the way, it was like free therapy! Actually not free; $149+ tax. 45 minutes alone in a shopping mall with no phone. You should try it!) I was browsing the Crewcuts section in J.Crew and spotted a sweet white summer top for my munchkins. I hadn’t noticed it online, so I asked the woman working there if it was available on the website.

crewcuts

Here’s where things got interesting. She got a little intense and asked me why I would want to purchase it online instead of in the store. Ok, people, really? Do we not all know the obvious answer to this question? So I told her the truth. I don’t need it for at least two months. In that time it will inevitably be part of an online promotion. I get free shipping and returns, so if it doesn’t work I can save myself a trip to the store. Well, she got so upset and started venting about how the store needs sales, blah, blah. When I apologized and asked, “Doesn’t everyone do that?”, she said, and here’s the kicker, “Not really, mostly the Lakewood people.” It took time for her words to sink in and for me to realize how extremely offensive that was!

 

So now that I’m done venting, on to a chain store that is making me happier today. Zara! My go-to shopping addiction. The queen of fast fashion at affordable prices; where you can buy runwayish looks a few weeks after they debut at normal people prices. They have a home website! I feel like I discovered America. They carried over their amazing chic aesthetic to a fab home collection. Their stuff is not just modern, they have so many different styles! Some items are priced better than others, but there are some true gems. A few of my faves:

 

Pink Bamboo Towel Rack

$49.90

towel rack

I am in love with this. It also comes in an awesome emerald green and natural wood. An affordable way to add so much character to a basic bathroom!

 

Terrycloth Kitchen Towel (Set of 2)

$14.90

towels

Finally, chic kitchen towels that you can actually use! Love the French country vibe. I would gladly display these in my kitchen.

 

Multicolor Parrot Cushion

$29.90

parrot pillow

This fabric is everything! It has such a high-end, designer feel. There are tons of other amazing floral prints; must-see.

Blue Design Vase

$59.90

blue design vase

A bit pricey, but I couldn’t help myself. I am and always have been obsessed with blue and white. This is a classic, forever purchase that will never go out of style. Seriously, people. Get over the modern obsession!

 

Mirror with Leather Strap

$69.90

leather mirror

How chic is this for a boy’s bedroom or bath?

 

And of course, Zara’s famous free shipping and returns! Just ask your local Fed Ex driver about it……

Disclaimer: I’m realizing this post is actually misleading about customer service. 99% of the time J.Crew has impeccable customer service and Zara…..well just try calling them with a problem. Best shopping experience as long as nothing goes wrong. I’m thinking, how about a J.Crew home collection? I, for one, would not be opposed to that mod preppy J.Crew vibe in home furnishings. Hhmmm.

 

First Blog Post (Yay!)

I must confess my love for instagram.

It’s so great for a quick burst of social media, and as an interior designer, it provides me with daily, (and hourly) inspiration. One problem, though. I detest long, rambling text under posts. I mean, come on! It’s called INSTAgram! My coffee break should be over, and I’m stuck in my chair reading your deepest thoughts!

Which brings me to my inner rants every time I post a picture on my account. But no, I don’t want to hold my loyal instagram followers hostage to their feed (though they probably are already…) And thus the birth of my blog!

Let the rant begin. As an avid follower of way too many interior designers, I definitely read my share of design blogs and tips. Which always leaves me wondering as to the state of the American economy. If most Americans are able to spend $9.95 a square foot on bathroom tile while on a tight budget, we must not be doing as bad as everyone thinks we are! (Trust me, it adds up oh so quickly!) I believe that good design should be attainable for everyone! I would love to share shopping sources and tips to help everyone live beautifully, whatever their budget may be. ( And yes, i really do mean budget for regular folks.)

One more bone to pick. My dear Jewish readers in the tri-state area: You are decorating with total tunnel vision. There are more styles of design than traditional and modern. There is an entire world of lovely and diverse styles of interior design out there. And, oh, don’t even mention the word ‘trend’. Trends are wonderful for a top from Zara that you can enjoy for one season and then toss. As far as I know, most people do not redecorate their homes yearly.

windsor smith kitchen
Windsor Smith

“Good design is timeless”

 

With this blog, I will be sharing examples of all different styles of design, and hopefully educating you and broadening your horizons. Please feel free to comment and let me know what design questions you have and what you’d love to see!