I know it’s been a while since my last post. Apologies to my loyal readers and design fans! Things have been moving and shaking furiously; new teaching position, new classes, new students, upcoming art show and two design projects. The elusive vacation never materialized this past summer so I’ll just have to be content with working hard.
As the seasons change from summer to fall tomorrow, it seems the perfect time to hang up the grill and garden tools and look towards the inside for things to pass the hours. This means, it’s time to redecorate! There are so many places to look for ideas, but we tend to forget our past too quickly. I’d like to bring back some old school, circa 1965 lessons from our friends at McCall’s. They’ve been helping America sew and decorate for well over a 125 years. And it only makes sense to revisit the fashions in the year I was born, particularly since design is now my chosen profession.
So I present to you selections from McCall’s Home Fashion SEW-IT BOOK, the Home Decorator’s Guide for Creative Sewing (how to make curtains, draperies, pillows, slipcovers, spreads, and table covers). But first, thank you to my mom. She was inspired to make our home a lovely place with the assistance of this book that still graces her bookshelf.
Let’s start with the snappy cover: notice the beautiful patterned upholstered wall surrounding the couch and coincidentally also on the couch. However, what I enjoy most is the yellow rug which is a color so hard to find nowadays for flooring.
For my second image of inspiration I present: An imaginative use of color and fabric adds charm to a room. One can’t help but wonder what the girl in the window seat is thinking about. Is she appreciating the pink shag rug? Or does she adore the well-coordinated flower pattern on the bed? I kind of think she’s mesmerized at the spot light aimed at her from behind the bed and casting shadows. She’s probably thinking how hard it is to read with the light shining in her eyes.
For my next image, I present: For elegance, add embroidery and fringe to a simple cover. Now I probably wouldn’t have thought of this myself and am thankful that this resource is still available to remind me of the possibilities. This image also makes me miss the wood paneling of the Brady Bunch era and again, here’s another shade of carpeting that will be almost impossible to find. I do know where I can find purple felt for my dining table though.
Now the kitchen, in addition to the bathroom, is the most expensive room in the house to decorate. So when you choose your inspiration you want to make sure that you decorate right the first time. In this image: Fringed cafes are a gay and easy treatment for the kitchen. Who can argue with that? I find it ever so hard nowadays to find gay and easy treatments for the kitchens I design; particularly with the ability to throw in patriotic flairs like the carved eagle and repeated eagle motif in the chair backs. What is most impressive though is how the designer thought to mirror the parquet flooring look in the caned seats. I’m still not sold on the pompom fringe on the curtains though. That’s just a bit too much for such a small space.
Now we all know that throw pillows are always a fashionable way to accessorize a seat. And sometimes variety is the spice of life as shown in the image below: A variety of pillows create drama in a room setting. That is quite dramatic, although I’d probably create more drama trying to find a place to comfortably sit. Much like the over-pillowed hotel bed, I’d be inclined to throw half on the floor in order to access the beautiful blue velour couch, so I could sink my bare feet into the classic two tone shag carpet.
Now who wouldn’t feel like a king in their own castle (or queen for my more feminine readers) in this bedroom? Slip covered headboard and pillows transform a plain bed. Yes they certainly do! Love the red, the stripes and the accessories, but I really don’t get the blue apple and dish. Really? In a room this well decorated, they couldn’t find a red apple anywhere to show? But otherwise, the peek-a-boo curtains are a great way to showcase your needlepoint. Notice the box of spares on the bed to allow you to change them seasonally.
Now one way to redecorate without spending money on new furniture is to use: slip covers, through practical, can be the center of interest. Who would deny that the couch is not the center of interest? Although the more I look at it, there is plenty to keep the eye occupied here; great accessories, great curtains and the coordinated red flowers pop along with the red seat on the bamboo chair in the foreground. Again, it will be hard to find that exact shade of green shag to duplicate this look. But thankfully the couch style is still available.
And finally my last gift of inspiration to you: Trimming gives an important custom-look to home fashions. I mean this is so true. No one wants to walk into your home thinking you just got back from buying out IKEA. Add a bit of trim to anything to customize it for that expensive flair. Now don’t go out and buy your own BeDazzler, just judiciously add a bit of interest here and there with some simple trim and notions you pick up at your nearby JoAnn Fabrics. Also notice how inviting the space is for a child with the sailor doll on the nightstand?
So I hope this gives you the courage and inspiration to tackle your own design projects this weekend. Don’t be scared of color or patterns and definitely don’t forget to accessorize!