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Dust or Bust…

by Kelly DuByne on July 7, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Have you ever walked into a wonderful hotel room and been blown away by the design only to notice some unidentifiable stain on the duvet cover and a clump of hair in the tub drain? Or stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast and you involuntarily cooed at the sweet layout of the room then noticed the dust along the top of the curtain rod and the inch of dust bunnies under the TV stand?  Or been invited to have lunch at a friend’s home and you found their style alluring and comfortable and then used the bathroom where the waste basket was over flowing and the mirror was splattered with toothpaste?  Yes, of course you have—we all have.  Design is one of those things you notice without looking for it.  Well so are dust, clutter and overall uncleanliness.

Dirt and clutter trumps design!

If a beautiful kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, dark wood cabinets and beautiful flooring has food all over the counters and the sink overflowing with dishes, you are most likely going to remember the mess the room held and not the deep rich design of the space.  The same is true for a bathroom, living room, bedroom, dining room, etc.

You may want to think of this as more of a public service announcement and less as a ‘design blog post’.   I am writing this to encourage you to look around your home and see it through the eyes of a stranger.  What looks a little shabby and should probably be replaced?  What is lying around causing general clutter and upsetting the flow of the room?  What could use a quick dusting?  Can you see through your windows or are they covered in dog-nose prints and the kids’ lunches?

Stand on the stairs for a new perspective.  A change in vantage point will give you new information about what others are seeing.  What you can’t see from standing on the main floor you may be able to see from higher (i.e. the dust on top of the bookcase or the layer on the light bulbs of the chandelier).

Get down low and look under your furniture or look at it from across the room while sitting in a chair.  Are there spots that could use a good vacuuming that you are accustomed to, but that guests might notice?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe our homes should be museums with rooms that we never use– a space our family is afraid to ‘live’ in (my step-mother had a formal living room that we called ‘Nana’s pretty room’.  No one was allowed in it.  I asked myself then and I ask myself now, ‘What’s the point?’)  I recognize that life happens and dust settles and dishes get dirty and garbage piles up.  All I am hoping to do is to give you a moment to pause and reflect about your home and to ask yourself what is it that guests are focusing on when they come into your world.  Is it the design that you have worked hard to make sure reflects you and your family or is it the pile of clean clothes that have been waiting to be folded in the middle of the dining room table now for a week?

Trust me.  It is easier to tidy up a room and run a dust rag over your furniture than it is to change a person’s mental impression of your home, and, since homes are truly extensions of who we are, you.

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Accent Wall or Art?

by Kelly DuByne on June 10, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

I’m done! I’m done! I’m done painting my daughters’ rooms.  Yippee!

Completing the painting of these two rooms has been a yearlong project.  A project  that was delayed by the fact that changing the  paint color meant a need to purchase all new artwork, bedding, draperies, etc.

I found inspiration for both rooms (a single throw pillow for one and a bedspread for the other) and knew what the new paint color would be, but that’s only half of what we decorate our walls with.  What would I do for artwork for each room?

I decided to forgo a lot of artwork and instead to do one full wall as an accent/art installation.  This adds a massive amount of impact to the space and gives each room a true personality.

For one room I decided to freehand flowers onto the wall inspired by the flowers from the bedspread.  The other room got a geometric design that incorporated the colors from the pillow yet added bold design to the space.  I love the way these projects came out.  I made sure I drew each of them out on draft paper ahead of time to assure that the image I had floating around in my head would actually translate well in reality and I took my time to make sure I had it all properly laid out on the wall before a paint can was ever opened.

You may consider doing this in your own home.  Try adding impact to a small bathroom or an office by adding an artistic wall. The wall you choose doesn’t need to be large but you will want to make sure it is a space you want to accent and draw attention to.   You’ll want to make sure that you are finding your inspiration for the piece using elements from the room itself.  You may want to do a repeating design such as a diamond harlequin or a quatrefoil.  You may choose to do something more freestyle as I did with the flowers and use a portion of a motif from a soft furnishing found in the room.  Another fun design when working a wall like this into a room is to repeat the same shape in a random pattern and various sizes on the wall—for example circles or flowers in three or four different sizes, but the exact same shape placed in a random spattering across the solid color plane.

As always in design, make sure you are being true to your style, the space’s natural identity and have fun!

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Coloring Outside the Box in Schools

May 13, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Here at Distinctive Interior Designs we have been working on color consultations for a couple of local schools and LOVING IT! The entire process is very similar to a residential color consultation, but we are working for about 450 clients ranging in age 5-11 who have no idea we have been […]

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Decorating your Garden Spaces for Spring

April 23, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger There are signs of spring cropping up everywhere!  From the song birds flitting about in the rhododendrons to the blue bells and crocuses that are peeking out from the piles of leaves, it is futile to argue that it isn’t ‘that time of year’ again.  You know the time of year […]

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Elegant Change On A Dime

March 25, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger As I mentioned earlier this year one of my resolutions is to take care of the items haunting me from my ‘don’t-ignore-us-any-longer-to-do-list’.  I am happy to announce that I have checked off yet another one of these long-thought-of-but-never-acted-on projects. Ever since the day we moved in (eight short years ago) I […]

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Inspiration Found

March 4, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger “I just don’t have a clue where to begin.” “You’re so good at decorating.  I don’t know where you find your inspiration.”  “I just don’t have the (decorating) gene.” I hear it all the time from friends, family, acquaintances, delivery people, etc.  People who just can’t see the decorator in themselves […]

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Find Help Fostering Your Innate Style

February 3, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger My six-year-old asked me the other day if she may look through one of my design books (specifically a book dedicated to bedroom design).   I said, “Of course.  Help yourself.”   I was mainly just excited and a little impressed that she asked to look at a book as opposed to watching […]

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Treat Your Windows Right

January 6, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Here it is January 2014 and along with my usual New Year resolutions –eat better, exercise more, lay off the sweets, etc.  I made a few extras including one to complete my unfinished project list. One such project began way back in June when I removed my dark brown Espresso colored […]

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Embrace the Odd Space

December 16, 2013

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Many homes, older and newer, have strange niches that hold no clear purpose and are quite ambiguous in design.  I have one such space above the entry to my kitchen.  It measures approximately 5’x 1 ½’x 1 ¼’ and is nothing more than an empty box (I mirrored the back of […]

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Updating Vintage Furniture By Changing Dated Hardware: A cautionary tale

December 4, 2013

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Recently this 1970’s vintage dresser came to live in our home.  It was passed on by my in-laws who are downsizing and needing to rethink their furnishings.  I fell in love with this piece and saw great potential and a variety of uses for it (it has tons of storage for […]

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