Ask the De­signer

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Ask The Designer -

Dear Sandy,

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.



Dear Sara,

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

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