Friday, August 19, 2011

Nautical and (very) Nice!

A lovely Inn that sits on the sand, overlooking the ocean. For me, this is what dreams are made of; the sound of the waves, salty wet bathing suits, fresh seafood, and no computer or make-up. The only schedule is the time of the next fishing boat. An easy life, that makes me forget about what I "should" be doing.

I fell in love with this place when we visited last year, and, I confess, that I think one of the reasons was the way it was decorated (or, undecorated?). It merges into the landscape in a, seemingly, effortless way.

As simple as it sounds, creating a wonderful seaside home takes some editing. Too much, and it's nautical predictability becomes silly and boring - a caricature, that mocks the beauty that surrounds it. Too little, and the potential magic is ignored.

For me, a beach home should be comfortable. The furniture and floor should be practical and solid, ignorant of fussiness - sand, water and bare feet can be cleaned up easily. No tip-toeing through, fearful that you may scratch the expensive finish, or get sand on the bed.

Lots of white, of course, is a natural choice. Add in a few old tables and dressers to enhance the character, and prevent it from becoming too pristine. Art and accessories are easy; black and white photographs, paintings (prints?) from a local artist, or a shadow box filled with souvenirs from your last walk on the beach. Don't get stuck on the details, any bowl can be filled with things that you have found on your travels (postcards, rocks, pieces of fabric...). Warm up your home with blankets and piles of books. Keep old-fashioned games out for people to see, reminding them to play when the evenings turn cold.

Living (or being inspired) by the ocean gives us a feeling of calm, with the thought of an adventure never too far away. Don't lose that thought, just let your home be the accessory.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Easy Dorm Style !

Beige corridors, led to beige doors, that opened unceremoniously into a beige (non air-conditioned) room. Optimistically ready for two, new students, a thin piece of cork lined the room, a plastic mirror hung from a piece of string and two curtain rods hung, crookedly, inside two small closets (without doors).
This was my first look at a College Dorm room.

It's August, and plenty of students are beginning to plan their time in college. Finally allowed to leave home, the promise of freedom is a teenage vacation just waiting to begin. The reality, is a full class schedule and twenty eight people sharing three bathrooms - a complex life, crammed into a generic 12 foot square room.

With costs being what they are, parents are limited in what they can provide for the college-bound. Admittedly, it takes a bit of planning, but creating a Dorm Room that reflects who they are, and functions at the same time, is not as difficult as you may think.

Rooms may vary between schools, but decorating guidelines are usually similar - minimal (or no) holes in the walls, and no paint. Here are some items to make it fun and personal:

Eraseable, compact refigerator - share the cost with your room-mate - write notes, and store late night snacks at the same time.

Bamboo curtains - for those pesky, no-door closets.

Removable, adhesive hangers - maximum weight 5 pounds (not for mirrors or heavy breakables, but great for pictures and hanging bags, light coats etc).

Over-the-door mirror - saves time and space.

Mirrored decals - a useful, decorative, option.

Cork or fabric boards - should be used in abundance for notes, appointment cards, photos and any miscellaneous pieces of paper.

Over-the-door hooks - perfect for everything!

Desk fan - a lot of air, for a small price!