Ask the Designer
Readers ask design expert Sandy Sutton questions about interior design. Sutton is the owner of The Design Center with Sandy Sutton.
We are planning on enclosing our deck and making it a year-round room so that we can pursue our favorite past time — bird watching!
We live in a wooded area, so we have many ways to attract different species that we are wanting to study. We have lots of books and we now have our apps, as well. What a wonderful world!
I want this room to be very friendly and relaxing and I don’t want to be thinking about work — just the birds.
Please suggest some finishes for me that would be suitable. I have looked at some porcelain tiles but don’t want the expense of heating them. Can you suggest something else other than carpet?
I want the colors to be soft but lively and want comfy furnishings. We both like whimsy and since the rest of the house is a little stuffy this could be the place.
I love your work and can’t wait to hear your ideas on our new retreat.
I am so excited for you! This room can be a perfect place for the two of you to enjoy nature and unwind.
You didn’t mention what the colors were in the rest of your home, but I am gathering that you want this light and airy and because of the touch of whimsy we can step out of the box and have some fun.
First, let’s start with the floors. Porcelain tiles would be durable and easy to maintain but I am installing lots of the new Luxury Vinyl Selections.
They either look like wide distressed plank wood, or you can do the ones that look like large porcelain tiles and they even have a grout line feature.
I love these for many reasons. They are affordable, no-maintenance, and beautiful.
Just to prove how real they look I recently had a forestry agent in The Design Center with his wife and they were needing help with their floors. I mentioned the luxury vinyls but he was not having it. Until he walked over to one of my samples and declared how beautiful it was while he was rubbing it with his hand — you guessed it — he was shocked.
There are also pretty nature inspired area rugs that would enhance the space.
Now that we have the floor, let’s talk paint and fabrics.
This lighthearted birdcage printed fabric could be the perfect choice for some simple
window treatments and we can come off of this with the new vinyl upholstery that arrived last week. This comes in so many fabulous colors and styles and it is certainly easy care.
I would suggest that we cover a pair of comfy swivel club chairs in this organic green. Perfect seating for you and your husband to twist and turn following the birds flight patterns.
The paint colors I would suggest are Pittsburgh Paints. The walls would look wonderful in 233-4 River Rouge. I would do this in an eggshell finish.
It would also look fantastic if your ceiling were bead board and painted in 230-1 Aubergine — now I know this sounds like eggplant, but it isn’t. You’ll like it.
Other ideas would be to turn a large birdcage into a chandelier or lamps, suspend an old fashioned swing from the ceiling and pot some orchids.
I just sold an antique wicker settee and rocker that would have been perfect for you. I will keep my eyes out for this for you.
Gather up lovely journals to document the species and the times of the year they return and depart, and note the flowers that are blooming at that time. We do have our iPads today, but there is something so personal about the journals. Take photos and insert them. When the kids come for a visit they can learn as they enjoy their special time with you.
I know you are going to be so happy and have many years of bird watching!
P.S. All this talk about Bird Watching made me think of eggs —go figure. So here is one of my favorite Stuffed Eggs Recipe. Enjoy!
Nature-inspired floor covering and lighthearted birdcage printed fabric