De­sign tips from 2016, Part II

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Marni Jame­son, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

As I wind up the year with my tra­di­tional con­sol­i­dated re­play of col­umn high­lights, I have se­lected what I think are the best lessons from the 2016 line up – one for each month. Last week, I shared advice from the first half of the year. Here are post half­time tips.

IN JULY, my happy yel­low house got a light­ing makeover, en­light­en­ing me. I threw spot­lights on art­work, adding drama. I put dim­mers on al­most ev­ery switch in the house, con­trol­ling mood (wish I could add them to peo­ple), and I con­verted ev­ery light into an LED, cer­e­mo­ni­ously ush­er­ing out the CFLs, flu­o­res­cents and in­can­des­cent lights. The move to­ward LED marks a tidal shift in the light­ing in­dus­try, experts told me. LEDs of­fer bet­ter light qual­ity, ef­fi­ciency, and lifes­pan. And now they are cost com­pet­i­tive, too.

IN AU­GUST, I flew to Hous­ton to help my daughter dec­o­rate her first post-col­lege place. When kids leave col­lege, their dé­cor level grad­u­ates, too – one hopes. They shed dorm dé­cor — fu­tons, milk crates, posters taped to the wall, and fra­ter­nity em­bla­zoned glass­ware — and shoot for some­thing more adult. The prob­lem, most young adults, like my daughter, still have a milk-crate bud­get.

When I ar­rived to Paige’s du­plex, I looked around, and felt a dizzy­ing clash of emo­tions: pride (she’d done a great job), and hurt (she didn’t need me). Sniff !

“The place looks ter­rific!” I said, hop­ing I didn’t sound as shocked as I was. Then I grilled her for these fru­gal-fur­nish­ing tips: See what you can rus­tle up from friends and fam­ily for free. Check your lo­cal univer­sity for sites where mov­ing stu­dents post fur­nish­ings they are giv­ing away. Shop Craigslist and Good­will for steals. (She got a solid wood cof­fee ta­ble and side ta­ble at Good­will for $15 to­tal). Add some sweat eq­uity. She and her boyfriend re­freshed old items by sand­ing and paint tired fur­ni­ture, and re­cov­er­ing seats on a well­worn, hand-me-down dinette set with in­ex­pen­sive cot­ton.

IN SEPTEM­BER, I learned some­thing about taste. See, to home de­sign­ers, taste means one thing. To chefs, the word means some­thing else. But when I talked to Celebrity Chef Art Smith about his new­est restau­rant, Home­com­ing: Florida Kitchen & South­ern Shine, in Lake Buena Vista’s Dis­ney Springs, the two mean­ings of taste col­lided. Or rather they fused like but­ter and flour in a good béchamel sauce.

“I wanted to taste Florida in the de­sign,” Smith told me after I’d visited the place-in­spired restau­rant.

He wanted to cap­ture Florida — the me­an­der­ing rivers and lakes, shacks on wa­ter­ways, Span­ish moss drip­ping from trees, barn­like build­ings, fish camps, and deep porches — so you could taste it. Food and place are en­twined, he taught me. Think of eat­ing cook­ies out of the oven, din­ing on fresh oys­ters by the sea, sip­ping a dry mar­tini while over­look­ing down­town Chicago from a high rise. Place in­fuses taste.

IN OC­TO­BER, I ex­plored the pros and cons of get­ting a sec­ond home. I sur­veyed friends with sec­ond homes, read­ers, real es­tate pros and fi­nan­cial experts, to get to the bot­tom line. Should you or shouldn’t you.

Yes, con­ve­nience (all your stuff there), dec­o­rat­ing your way, and chance for mak­ing last­ing fam­ily mem­o­ries are un­de­ni­ably pos­i­tive, but the emo­tions be­hind get­ting a sec­ond home can quickly trump a good fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion, said fi­nan­cial experts, who’ve wit­nessed the re­gret. That cher­ished get­away dream often be­comes a stress­ful money pit re­al­ity, and good times get eclipsed by nui­sances: un­planned re­pairs, van­dals, egre­gious home as­so­ci­a­tion as­sess­ments, un­wel­come squat­ters (from crit­ters to fam­ily mem­bers), and “friends” who wear out their wel­comes.

IN NOVEM­BER, I solved my iden­tity cri­sis. After a life­time of go­ing by my mid­dle name, which re­ally messes up your mono­gram, I legally shook my first name and added my new mar­ried name. Then the freshly minted me be­gan tat­too­ing ev­ery­thing — with mono­grams: tow­els, ta­ble linens, bed­ding, sta­tionery. So, when I came Above: Ex­cept for the throw pil­lows, which were pur­chased, ev­ery­thing in this room was prac­ti­cally free — even the res­cue Schnau­zer. At right: Make it yours, with mono­grams in the home or on ac­ces­sories. Mono­grams are clas­sic, time­less, cus­tom and el­e­gant. across “Mono­grams for the Home” (Gibbs Smith Pub­lish­ing), by Kim­berly Sch­legel Whit­man, I stud­ied up. IN DE­CEM­BER, I joined the half of the world pop­u­la­tion who has read “The Life-Chang­ing Magic of Tidy­ing Up – The Ja­panese Art of De­clut­ter­ing and Or­ga­niz­ing” (Ten Speed Press). Marie Kondo’s quirky lit­tle man­ual has sold six mil­lion copies in 40 lan­guages. I wanted to see first­hand what that was about. While my mantra on sav­ing or toss­ing stuff boils down to need, use, love, hers is even sim­pler: Does it spark joy? I ap­plied her KonMari Method to my closet to see how the advice worked. I think we all know what needs to go if we lis­ten.

De­sign light­ing in lay­ers. Use dim­mers when­ever pos­si­ble to set the stage for what­ever mood you are in. Pro­vided by Mary Cook As­so­ciates

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