about the subway tiles of New York City! What's the big deal?!
Reflecting on this, I think that I have come up with some possibilities for why subway tiles are so prevalent.
Have grey walls?? No problem! Blue Cabinets? Get outta town, white subway all the way! Chartreuse walls?? I don't know why you have these, but I'd like to see a picture, and I'll bet you can pair white subways with it! Just seriously everything goes with subway tiles.
Not Just Your Standard Subway Tile
If you're thinking about subway tiles right now, and you should be since we are halfway down this essay, you're probably thinking a 3x6 polished smooth ceramic tile. What if I told you subways come in so many different forms now?!
Subway Tiles are Just Plain Classy
Let's just be honest. Subway tiles have a vibe that is both retro and current. They just never go out of style. There is something about these little 3x6 peices of stone that make people feel comfortable. Their appeal is far reaching. This timeless little tile is here to stay.
If you're thinking, 'I'd like to incorporate some subway tiles into my next project,' give us a shout! We can be reached by email, phone, or in the store from 8:30-5:30 M-F 11:00-3:00 Sat.
and crannies for storage, reading, or whatever. These are just a few of the wonderful things older homes offer, that new homes just don't - without building a custom (and costly) home.
Growing up in an old Victorian turned Craftsman home, I have always had a heart for these older houses. I can remember spending summers with my Mom painting wooden windows and their sills, taking time to take each window apart, clean them, paint them, and return them to their proper place. I remember taking a putty knife to the front porch to scrape off the old paint, and seal it up with the new. They were chores, but it was vital to keep the home functional. When we moved out of that house, I can remember watching it fall to shambles because the new owners did not understand or care about what it took to keep the house up. Windows broke, crystal chandeliers were sold off and replaced with ugly surface mounts, and the house began to sag where a jack previously used to stabilize an addition put on in the 80's, had been forgotten.
I know painting can be a real chore, but it does protect the walls below it. When paint drys it creates a hard shell over your walls, siding, windows (if you have wooden ones), porches, and ceilings. When people bump and scrape up against them, often times only the paint will be damaged, and can easily be fixed with more paint.
Painting is also a great way to modernize a room without changing the architecture - or incurring a major expense. If your rooms feel out-dated it might just be time to stop into a paint store and check out the latest selections.
It is good to replace the caulking around windows, doors, and other areas of the home to help seal it from the elements. This will help keep not only dirt out, but also bugs and other critters that could squeeze through those small holes.
If water is going to come into your home, it's going to be through the roof. Make sure your shingles are in good condition and that any holes are patched right away!
If Something is Broken, Fix It
If a window breaks, replace it. Don't allow the elements into your home. If the furnace goes out, get it fixed. Homes are made out of wood, and dramatic temperature changes will cause the home to expand and contract. It's good for you and your home to keep it a fairly constant temperature. Broken pieces of a home lead to disaster later on. If it's broken, fix it.
Owning and maintaining an old home can be extremely rewarding. Simple, common sense, steps to keep your home functional means that you have done the work, not only to keep your family in the house, but to keep families in the house for years to come. By giving a little bit of your time, and effort, you have become a part of the home's history, and have helped to ensure it's history endures for the next 100+ years!
The really cool thing about Danish Modern design is that most of the tables, chairs, and storage peices are beautiful simply because they are beautiful. Stripped of heavy ornament, Danish Modern furniture is made with good craftsmanship and natural materials such as wood, leather, and wool. It's beautiful like nature is beautiful - no adornment, there's just something about it that brings joy and peace by simply being in it's presence.
This principle can be brought into our homes as well, without having to go out and spend thousands of dollars on true Danish Modern peices of the early 1900's. When adding furniture and accessories into a room, think about it's purpose. Do I use that thing every day? What is it doing for me other than sitting on a shelf, on the floor, etc.? If you can honestly give it a purpose - other than I like to look at it - keep it in the room.
Wool rugs and carpet are great ways to bring this element into your home no matter your aesthetic. As I stated before, wool is durable and easy to maintain. The natural fiber bounces back much better than nylon - which means it doesn't crush as easily - and because wool naturally repells dirt and grime, it is easy to clean!
One of the biggest features of Danish Modern design is function. Floor plans were more open to allow flexibility of space; furniture was built plainly because the function was more important than the aesthetic. Even when this style first came on the scene, people felt they could mix their more traditional style with this new modern one.
Danish Modern design does a great job of feeling contemporary without being too cold or sterile like many other Modern designs. Try incorporating some true Danish Modern peices into your home, even if it is more on the Traditional spectrum of design. There are many Danish Modern peices out there that take the more traditional frame and strip it of it's adornment. These peices are ideal for the person with transitional taste.
Even if your home is the furthest thing from 'Modern' there is something to learn from this style that has withstood the test of time. A less is more mentality and natural materials can help us all to walk through our front door and appreciate the innate beauty of our homes.
If you are interested in incorporating some of these ideas into your home, but don't know where to begin or need assistance, Manhattan Carpet & Interior's designers are ready to help! Please give us a call, send us an email, or stop by the store! We Design with You in Mind! #DesignLocal
*Research for this blog post was done using the book Architecture and Interior Design - An Integrated History to the Present written by Buie Harwood, Bridget May, and Curt Sherman. Copyright 2012. Pearson Education, Inc.*
If your rental is anything like mine, it is beige floor to ceiling and has little to no architectural interest. Especially around Christmas time, I start to long for a mantel for my stockings and interesting vingettes to decorate. I look around my apartment only to be saddend by its mantelless, boring, beige interior.
This year, I decided to do something different. I came up with my DIY-Christmas. This year, I am going to have that fireplace and those interesting vignettes to decorate. Here is how I did it:
other. I scored the sides so that they would fold in to adhere to the wall and cut out a place for the firebox. The panels are attached first with box tape on both sides. Then I went over the box tape on the front with plaster cloth - just cut to length, wet, and apply - so I could easily paint the joints.
After allowing the plast cloth to dry for 24 hours, I began to paint. I decided that I wanted a concrete look, so I developed a technique with acrylic paint. First a layer of watered-down white paint, next black streaks in randomly strewn about, then a 'dry' layer of grey paint - no water added - and finally a 'wet' layer of grey paint - mix a little water in with the grey paint. My aim was to create a concrete look - and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out! The addition of some candles and stockings helped to pull the look together.
I love real Christmas trees, but I have a pet in the house who does not. So, my compromise was to get a small tree. I found a 'table-top' pine tree that included a tree stand at my local grocery store. To dress this tree up - and so my tree skirt didn't look goofy, I purchased a large basket for the tree. I raised the tree to the proper height within the basket by placing a block of wood underneath a disposable casserole dish to collect water that may spill over. Finally, I put my tree skirt in the basket - making sure to not let it touch the water reservoir - and voila! I get my real Christmas tree, and Eustace doesn't attack it!
I chose a combination of pencil shapes and arabesque shapes to adorn my tree. Simply remove the tile from the backing. Make sure that you wear gloves because sometimes the backings are made of fiberglass and it's the worst to have that stuck in your hands. I learned this from experience -_-. Once the backing is off of the tiles, simply hot glue ribbon or string to the back and you will have a unique ornament for your tree! It's that simple!
Other Christmas Decor
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Alright. Halloween is over! We now usher in the 'Holiday Season'. Many people take this time as an opportunity to update and show off their house! Here are some tips to get your house in top shape this Holiday Season!
1. Deep Clean
Is it your turn to host the Holidays? If so, consider an extremely thorough deep clean of your home. I'm talking move that big ol' armoire and vacuum behind and underneath it. Wash every single plate, cup, and nick-knack in that china hutch just to see it sparkle! Wash the windows - both sides - and the screens if you have them. There is no better feeling than walking through your house with the knowledge that this is first-day-I-moved-in clean! Your guests probably won't say anything to you about it, but your efforts will be noted when they say to themselves, 'Oh my goodness, this house is spotless!'
2. Great Focal Points
Consider every room you are hosting in. The dining room is easy - make your focal point the table. It doesn't have to be a centerpiece per se, it could be a really great table setting. If you do choose to do a centerpiece, make sure that it is low enough that people can still chat across the table.
If you're hosting in the living room, create a focal point with your fireplace if you have one. A great mantel can be a wonderful conversation piece.
If you don't have a fireplace, consider a display on your coffee table or side table, just remember to leave room for people to rest their beverages or appetizer plates.
3. Any necessary updates
If you're hosting the holidays now is the time to do those updates you've been thinking about. If your bathroom has tile from 1952, and you've been thinking about replacing it - do it. You now have more stains on your floor than furniture to cover it up - change it. In the end, you'll be happy you made the updates, and you won't have to worry about it for years more.
4. Ask for help if you need it
If you're struggling to come up with good ideas for your home this season, or you have way too many good ideas and need help pairing them down, you can always ask for help. Here at Manhattan Carpet & Interiors, our designers are ready to take on any challenge. Many design dilemmas can be solved in a simple 30-60 minute consultation.
It's October. Fall is in full swing. The weather is cooler, the colors are browner, the air is crisper. I love it! It is my absolute favorite time of the year! It's cozy up in your favorite sweater, sit on the couch with a cup of hot coffee and watch a great movie kind of weather!
Every store begins to set out their great wreaths, yellow and gold tea towels, all of the 'Happy Fall' door decorations; they put out great pillows and blankets, and so many other home accessories! I always get so excited to decorate my own home for the season!
Then the end of October happens, and all of the wonderful fall decor seems to be masked by skeletons, ghouls, and cheesy holiday decor. I am immediately less excited for this season. What happened to the reds and oranges and yellows of my great fall decor? Here are a few tips to keep your home festive, but still really cute - and totally not cheesy!
Keep Your Fall Decor on Display
Instead of switching your really great fall wreath for construction paper holiday decor, try adding some small and festive piece. This can be as simple as a chalkboard 'boo' or a stuffed ghost. You don't have to go crazy. Some small addition is enough to express your involvement in the holiday without compromising your otherwise fabulously Fall-themed exterior.
For your interior decor, think about other little additions you can make to your fall look. Can you add a little bit of black lace to your candles then remove it Nov. 1? Or maybe the addition of a wood-block black cat is the perfect way to add a little Halloween to your Fall interior.
Rethink Halloween Pumpkin Displays
I don't know about you, but I can only stand carved pumpkins on my porch for about 3 days. After that, I have a rotten gooey mess that embarrasses me every time a guest comes my way. Pinterest has some great alternatives to carved pumpkins for your outdoor display! Some are so cute, and they last so much longer than a carved pumpkin! Many of these don't take more than a hot glue gun and a can of spray paint - way easier than those carving knives that snap in half on the first cut!
Keep it Personal
Ultimately you want your decor, no matter the season, to say something about you. Keeping your home decor personal does not mean that you have to monogram it, or put your name on it. Choose the pieces that speak to you, and you'll want to keep them for a long time! If you choose things that you truly like - they don't have to be what's 'in' right now, your guests will notice. They will say, 'oh that is so you', and that is a great compliment!
Holidays full of cheesy home decor isn't going to stand in my way this year! Get out there and start decorating for Fall! I know I will!
Are you hosting a Halloween party, or just looking to update your home? Let us help you get your home in shape! Call us or visit us to discuss what design services we offer and how we can help you prep for the holidays!
Communication is Important
An interior designer is a visual person. I am walking through a room in my mind as you describe it to us. We are standing in your kitchen as you answer questions to best help you select a tile for a back splash. Pictures are a great way to communicate with a designer to illustrate the look you like or a detail you would like to see in your home. Houzz , Pinterest and HGTV are great resources for ideas but will it really work in your home? This is where a designer can tell you why for example a design in a California home with 10 foot ceilings and a wall of sliding glass doors on Houzz will not work in the style of your house. She will notice the differences because of her expertise and trained eye. She may still come up with a similar design so you can have the look in your home.
It is important for the designer to also be sure the client understands the design before money has been spent. This is where the client should be asking the questions. Have all of your needs been met? Do you have pictures, visuals, big enough samples to really know what you are paying for or really like it? This is why you want to hire a designer that you trust will design with you in mind and not the latest look on Houzz.
Utilize an Interior Designer the Way You Want
An interior design usually works on an hourly rate basis.
An interior designer can provide several solutions based on needs and the budget of the client.
She can just pick paint colors, fabrics, flooring, or create a tile design and then the client sources them.
If this is all the client really needs help with.
She can be a personal shopper for lighting, antiques, art work or just the right custom rug. This is where it is important for a designer to understand your taste and preference. This is your home not the designers. The furnishings are for your home not just something that looked good in a magazine or store. Form follows function. Did she select that really comfy chair you wanted? Did you test drive the chair?
She can also work the project from the design phase to move in ready. An interior designer can act as the liaison on behalf of the homeowner to make sure the project is done on a time, budget and quality expectations.
Emily & Rachael
We are interior designers who strive to design and create spaces that will change the way people look at design. With our blog we want to keep you up to date with what is going on in our world of design.