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Decorating Tips

How To Mix Modern with Baroque

August 17, 2006

The term “baroque” is from the Portuguese noun barocco meaning imperfect pearl, not round but of unpredictable and elaborate shape, reflecting the style’s use of exquisite materials and composition of asymmetrical parts. In informal usage, the word baroque can simply mean that something is “elaborate,” with many details, without reference to the Baroque styles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

How To Mix Modern with Baroque
The latest baroque revival, some call it the ‘new’ romantic design trend, others refer to it as “baroque ‘n roll”, is a real treat for the eyes, mixing modern lines with 17th century baroque charm. I’m attracted to modern simplicity anyway, a classy clean sofa (room + board’s delancy is nice, especially in dagmar dove) paired with crystal urn lamps, sumptuous textiles (damasks, linens…), an ornate mirror (that was once gilded gold, now is white), and a dressy baroque wallpaper on the walls.

This month, Australian Home Beautiful (August), does a nice job spotlighting this trend with clever examples of how to mix modern pieces with baroque-inspired elements in the most pleasing way. I love how damask softens the lines of modern stark furniture, bringing a bit of personality into the space and uncovering perhaps a little bit of an adventurous streak in the homeowner.

How To Mix Modern with BaroqueLooking to create the look in your own home? The look works best if you keep in mind how to build it. Here’s how:

1. Start with black, grey and white as your foundation colors. You build from there.

2. Incorporate metallics (either silver or gold, not both) and/or mirrored surfaces, crystal, or acrylic. This step must be done tastefully. Be careful not to overdo it.

3. Now, you’re ready to add bursts of color. Remember, no more than two colors should be added. Stick to romantic hues. For romance, try lavenders and pinks, or blues. For bold, use red, purple, teal, navy blue… I prefer the softer hues myself, I would opt for a soft blue with pink. You can even keep the look very understated by mixing in various shades of grey, beige, white, bits of black, and a touch of pale blue or a bit of chocolate.

4. Furnishings – invest in pieces that glam up the space. An ornate mirror, headboard, chair. You can find such items in antique stores, auctions, estate sales… Even inexpensive reproductions can be easily found (and won’t leave you baroque, errr broke). Paint these statement pieces in high gloss black, or for a softer vibe, white. Upholster soft furnishings with damask, for instance. (If your home is pet-free, opt for sexy blue velvet.)

5. Avoid going over the top, unless you want your home to resemble Windsor Castle. You don’t need 5 statement pieces in a single room. Sometimes, just a few pieces that are carefully placed will give the room that “it” factor you seek. Think of a focal point piece, and then, as I like to do, a “surprise” piece. For instance, when you walk into the room, the focal point may be your amazing sofa. However, once the guests are seated on that sofa, you can have a surprise piece that they wouldn’t see unless they were seated on that sofa (or standing on that side of the room). It can be a beautiful mirror over a sleek buffet, a wall of wallpaper, a sassy chair, a great lamp, etc.

6. Home Beautiful magazine gave a great tip on how to give the space a contemporary spin: Mix patterned fabric with bold striped wallpaper in similar colors. Vertical stripes are classic but pick up the clean lines of modern furniture, giving the room height and creating a sense of spaciousness.

7. This trend works best if you use small prints, monochromatic ones, on large pieces of furniture (keep the prints in a single shade).

8. Most of all, have fun and invite a friend over with a good eye, someone who may already have this style going on at home and can offer you some great tips. Order thai, uncork the vino, put on some tunes, and decorate!

How To Mix Modern with Baroque
(images from home beautiful and restoration hardware)

Decorating Tips

How To Measure For Custom Blinds

April 14, 2006

Gina from Atlanta wrote in asking for advice on how to measure for custom blinds. I’ve pulled together a few easy steps below that may help you based on my own personal experience measuring for for clients.

How To Measure For Custom Blinds
“I am hoping that you can give me some help me on a small project that my husband and I are about to embark on this weekend. We are renovating part of our new condo and plan to install blinds in two rooms. My question is, how the heck do you measure for these things? I don’t want to order custom blinds and have them arrive not fitting properly. Any quick advice? Oh and do you know of places online that I can check out blinds and maybe even order them?” -Gina

Sure Gina. Here’s a little guide I’ve written just for you!

How to Measure for Custom Blinds

1) First of all, look at the type of window casing you have and also notice the architectural details that surround that window. This may dictate whether or not you want to mount the blinds on the inside or on the outside of the frame. You wouldn’t want to hide arch details with a shade. In this case, I’m guessing your windows are pretty basic since it’s a condo…

2) If you plan to mount on the inside, measure the width of the window from one edge to the other (outside of the casing). It’s a good idea to measure the top part of the window, the middle, and then towards the bottom since some windows (especially in older homes) are not always uniform in width. To measure the height of the window, start at the top inside edge of the window and extend the measuring tape all the way to the top of your window sill.

3) If you’ve decided to mount your blinds on the outside, measure the width from one side of the outer most edge of the window casing to the other side. You may want to add 1/2″ on each side of this measurement because if you don’t, you may have gaps which certainly won’t allow for much privacy! Next step is to measure the height. Start at the top edge of the casing and measure to the lowest point that you’d like to see the blinds cover. Keep in mind that most blind manufacturers already compensate for all the various window lengths out there by adding extra materials (like wood) or fabric into the design of the blinds at either the top or the bottom.

In addition, here are a few places online that I suggest shopping for blinds:

American Blinds + Wallpaper

Just Blinds

Smith + Noble– my favorite, although in some cases, a little more expensive but worth it if you want something different. They also send you lots of free samples and offer beautiful shades and blinds trimmed in modern fabrics. They also have the best fashion solar roman shades out there.

Thanks for writing in, Lisa!

How To Measure For Custom Blinds
If anyone else would like some quick design advice, please send me an email at decor8blog[at]yahoo[dot]com.

(images from smith + noble)

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