De­signer tells how to make a house a home

Lethbridge Herald - - GREAT READS | SATURDAY BOOKS - Ali­cia Rancilio

Joanna Gaines, known for her cozy-yet-cool de­signs in­clud­ing open-con­cept floor plans, farm­house sinks and slid­ing barn doors, ad­mits hav­ing to scale back on the vi­sion of her own home in Waco, Texas, to al­low her chil­dren to add per­son­al­ity to their own spa­ces.

“In the past it was hard,” she said re­cently in an in­ter­view, hav­ing to shift her think­ing to, “This is their space. This is what makes them come alive, I need to en­cour­age that.”

Gaines says this prin­ci­ple es­pe­cially ap­plies to her two old­est chil­dren, son Drake, 13, and daugh­ter Ella, 11.

“In the main spa­ces I get to do my thing and in­cor­po­rate some things that they love but for their rooms, es­pe­cially this year, there’s stuff they’re want­ing in their room that I wouldn’t put in there orig­i­nally, but now it’s fun to watch their room evolve into their per­son­al­ity and give them the free­dom to do it.”

She re­mem­bers that she, too, had her own flair grow­ing up.

“I was into cats. I had cat posters ev­ery­where and my mom let me do it,” she said.

She and her hus­band, Chip, are plan­ning on a re­turn to TV. The cou­ple con­firms they are in dis­cus­sions with Dis­cov­ery about cre­at­ing a lifestyle-fo­cused net­work.

In the mean­time, Gaines writes about how she makes a house a home in her new book, “Home­body “(Harper De­sign), shar­ing ex­am­ples from her own farm­house in Waco, Texas, and homes she’s worked on.

She re­cently talked about de­sign in an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press.

When you see an empty room, what’s the first thing you think about when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing?

I think, ‘OK, how are peo­ple go­ing to be walk­ing in and out? What’s the pass-through?’ I want the traf­fic. I kind of just try to fig­ure out the foot­print and then I start think­ing about, ‘Where do you put the sofa? Where do you fit the chair or a cof­fee ta­ble?’ Then from there I start adding the book­shelves, stuff on the wall. But I think for me the seat­ing is im­por­tant be­cause that’s where ev­ery­one is con­gre­gat­ing. That’s the most im­por­tant thing.

You also find in­ter­est­ing pieces that ei­ther show a per­son’s per­son­al­ity or a fam­ily heir­loom. What if some­one doesn’t have any of that but wants to add some in­ter­est­ing pieces to their home that aren’t so cookie cut­ter?

I think peo­ple need to know that it takes time. You can find things at flea mar­kets, an­tique stores or even on­line. It be­comes like a trea­sure hunt.

You seem to like neu­trals and black and white. What are your thoughts on colour in de­sign?

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I love the con­trast of black and white and I think it’s time­less and no mat­ter what style or genre, black and white can fit into that. I love to im­ple­ment colour with rugs and pil­lows and art. But if I’m work­ing with clients who love colour, I’m all about a coloured sofa or piece of fur­ni­ture. For me, I love a neu­tral pal­ette, I think it’s calm­ing. But I like keep­ing it sim­ple and lay­er­ing colours in later so then when I’m tired of it, I can shift that out sim­ply with a pil­low.

When you do have a client who has a dif­fer­ent style than you do, is that a fun ex­er­cise?

It’s so fun. To me, it’s a way of get­ting things out through other peo­ple. For me, we’re stay­ing at the farm­house, so it’s a fun way to try out other styles.

What about dec­o­rat­ing for the hol­i­days? Do you like themes? What do you like?

Think­ing about the farm­house, I love just lay­er­ing in the tex­tures and so it’s re­ally sim­ple. Ob­vi­ously the tree, the gar­land and the stock­ings, but sim­ple, sub­tle colours. That’s when there’s red, the pil­lows, the throw blan­kets, the tree skirt. The hol­i­days can be re­ally busy and home is a place where we can un­wind and rest. If there’s too much clut­ter, I think it’s hard for all of us to feel at ease. I try to keep it min­i­mal but bring in the reds and greens.

That brings up the ques­tion of clut­ter. You want dec­o­ra­tive ac­cents but when is it too much?

A lot of this is gut in­stinct. What I feel is enough may not be enough for oth­ers. I think when you’re look­ing at your space and you feel like, ‘OK, I think I’ve got it,’ you can stop.

On­line:

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Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP

Joanna Gaines poses for a por­trait at The Green­wich Ho­tel in New York to pro­mote her book “Home­body: A Guide to Cre­at­ing Spa­ces You Never Want to Leave.”

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