May 2014 archive

10 Signs You’ve Caught the Decorating Bug

Last week I took a break from both decorating and blogging while away with my family and that’s when it really hit me….I have the decorating bug…big time!  I truly missed doing projects around the house and browsing my favorite sites.



Here are 10 signs that you, too, might have the decorating bug.



1. While driving along the highway in an unfamiliar area, you scan every mall and shopping center for your favorite stores.

Fingers crossed they aren’t too far off the highway and you justify a quick stop!


2. When the Pottery Barn catalog arrives, you set aside some “me” time so that you can read through it leisurely.

Or Restoration Hardware, or Ballard Designs, or… doesn’t really matter.  All decorating catalogs give you a little rush when you see them in the mailbox!


3. You will never be “done” decorating your home.

Just when you think a room is done, it’s time to rearrange!  And your “To Do”  and “Someday” lists are longer than you care to admit.


4. Your idea of a great day involves scoring an awesome home décor item at a great price.

Who doesn’t love a bargain?!


5. You have a closet or room dedicated to your stash of extra décor.

You know what I’m talking about – the things that you aren’t currently using but will eventually rotate through the house again!  ;)


6. You tuck away photos and save Pins to use as inspiration for future projects.

Although in reality, you have more photos filed away than you could ever use.


7. You study designers’ homes, model homes, and the glossy pages of magazines like a textbook to learn all you can.

Fashionists might have a copy of Vogue on their nightstands, but you have House Beautiful tucked away for a little late-night reading.  And of course, you favorite pages are dog-eared.


8. Your ideal vacation includes time spent scoping out local houseware and furniture stores.

It’s so much fun to stumble upon a store you love in an unfamiliar town…bonus points if they have an online shopping site!


9. You rearrange furniture and décor in your home like it’s a sport.

Your family leaves in the morning and discovers everything has been moved around by the time they get home.  Upon entering through the door, they often wonder, “Am I in the right house?”


10. Meeting others who share your love and passion for decorating is always fun.

…especially if you become shopping buddies!




How many of these describe you??


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Textile Spotlight: Queen Charlotte’s Check {aka Buffalo Check}

The use of buffalo check fabric in design isn’t new, in fact, it’s a centuries old pattern whose timeless beauty has captured the hearts of designers and decorators alike.  Like me, you might not have ever given much thought to this simple, yet charming, pattern, but as I’ve learned, it has an interesting history and a varied use in today’s world of decorating!

{via Interior Designer Michael Siller}

{via Interior Designer Michael Siller on Houzz}



What is Buffalo Check?

Buffalo check is often a two- or three-color striped fabric whose pattern creates large squares of equal size in all directions (as opposed to checked gingham fabric, which has small squares).  While it often includes black as one of the colors, black is not required in order to qualify the pattern as buffalo check.  Centuries ago, this pattern was primarily produced in white combined with either red, yellow, or blue, as these were the colors found in the natural dyes available in the 17th century.  Modern buffalo check fabric now comes in a wide variety of colors, but regardless, the pattern creates squares of equal size in all directions.

{Available via Fabric Bee on  Etsy}

{Available via Fabric Bee on Etsy}



Queen Charlotte’s Check (aka Buffalo Check)

I had never given much thought to this particular fabric until I spotted it while touring the Governor’s Palace while visiting Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.  {Please excuse the quality of the photos; the tour was full and it was hard to get a shot without another tourist in it!}

TIDBITS & TWINE Williamsburg Governor's Palace


You’ll notice that in these very classic rooms with white-trimmed walls, the red buffalo check pattern makes quite a bold statement.  As such, I asked the docent whether the pattern was original to the period home.  Her response was “yes” and that in fact, it was so popular with the Queen at the time, that it was often referred to as “Queen Charlotte’s Check.”

TIDBITS & TWINE Williamsburg Governor's Palace 2



Who was Queen Charlotte?

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz lived from 1744 to 1818.  In 1761 she married King George III and subsequently, had 15 children while living in Bukingham House (now known as Bukingham Palace).  Along with being a passionate music connoisseur and amateur botanist, she apparently also had a fondness for this classic check pattern!



Buffalo Check Fabric in Decorating

The simplistic design and wide variety of colors allows this pattern to work well in a variety of decorating styles from French country, to traditional, to contemporary.  I love that the two photos of wallpaper below demonstrate how easily this pattern can transition between styles!

{Source unknown}

{Source unknown}



Buffalo check is also subtle enough that it can easily mix with a variety of other patterns, including stripes, florals, toile, and a myriad of small-scale patterns.  {For more information about mixing patterns, click here.}

{via Houzz}

{via Houzz}


When used as part of a monochromatic color scheme, the pattern simply adds texture and character to a space.

Buffalo Check Banquette

{Isn’t this custom gray blue buffalo check banquette from decorator Iris Thorpe amazing?! Source}


It can also be used as that little extra “pop” to draw attention to a space!

{via Pinterest}

{via Pinterest}


Regardless of how and where this pattern is used, it makes an elegant and timeless statement when used in decorating.

{via Tumblr}

{via Tumblr}


My living room redo is on hold until our new puppy arrives (just in case he/she decides to chew the new sofa), but I’m now on the lookout for some buffalo check pillows to use in this room for the day this project finally gets back on track.  And while I know that this pattern is typically called buffalo check, somewhere inside my mind,I will forever think of it as Queen Charlotte’s Check.  ;)




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5 Tricks for a Brighter, Bigger Space!

Have you ever looked around your home and wished it was….well…bigger?  Moving might be an option for some, but for others, it’s just not possible.  Instead, try these 5 tricks that will fool your eyes and your mind into thinking your space it bigger, brighter, and roomier!



1. Use horizontal lines to elongate

Have you ever tried on a horizontal striped shirt and realized that it made you look wider?  Well, horizontal stripes in our home have the same effect.


Literal stripes tend to have a more clean and modern look to them, but if that’s not your style, you can still achieve the same effect.  Try using a long console with a row of pictures above to create horizontal lines that draw the eye along.


Or even a horozontal plank wall!



 2. Hang drapes tall and wide for a larger window

Let the light shine in…and make your windows appear larger at the same time!  Hang your curtain rod just below the ceiling or crown to give the illusion of a taller window.  When open, have the edge of your drapes overlap your window by about 1″-2″ to make the window seem wider.


Here’s a great side-by-side example of the effect found on Pinterest:


 3. Carry accent colors throughout

To help carry your eye around the room, be sure to use your accent color throughout.  This allows you to take in the view of the entire space, not just a portion of it, which often happens if the use of an accent color is limited to just one area.


 4. Move your furniture away from the walls

Many people think that to allow for as much floor space as possible, they should push furniture up against the walls.  The problem with this approach is that your furniture then simply outlines the walls of the room and doesn’t give it any depth or dimension.  If you have room for a console, the addition can bring lots of personality to the room, but at the very least, moving your sofa even just a couple of inches off the wall creates shadows, which then gives the illusion of depth.



 5. Mind your traffic flow

Often times, furniture arranged such that the room is blocked off upon entering gives the feeling that the room is confined.  This is also true if the arrangement of the furniture doesn’t provide clear paths for walking.  Give thought to traffic flow in a room and adjust your layout accordingly.  Also be mindful that you don’t include so much furniture in a room such that it feels crowded.



Sometimes, size doesn’t matter!  Little decorating tricks can go a long way toward making a space feel bigger, brighter, and welcoming, so play around with furniture arrangement and proportions to find what will work best for you!

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