How to Design the Whole House: Part 4

Sometimes all it takes is one photo to get you started on something new and that happened to me with a magazine photo showing a new color combination.

Matt visits my house once every two or three months.  We do some taping and going out to eat and then he heads for home.  In the meantime, I continue moving forward on all our projects as does he.  Well, in this case, my Whole House Decorating, I’ve made some changes since we were together last. The video that goes with this article was shot in May, and I’m writing this in August, so as you can imagine, I haven’t stood still!  So, I’m just going to refer to what has gone on in the past and continue to move forward.

Red and Light Blue Color Scheme - MattandShari.comAt some point a few weeks after Matt was here, I saw a picture in a magazine that talked about a new color combination, red and light blue.  Well, I fell in love with the look of it and since I already have a living and dining room in light blue, the red or coral family was a perfect way to brighten up the blue and add some warmth to my rooms.

One week when my husband was out of town, (the best time for making messes), I moved the coral and blue area rug out of my bedroom and into the living room.  I put the rug that was there under the dining table and the dining table rug into another room.  Yes, I nearly broke my back, but the result was worth it!


I loved the coral and blue rug with the white sectional and one of the chairs, (the white one), that I had been agonizing over.  This definitely meant that the navy one had to go.  It went to my son’s room where it was supposed to be all along.  The plaid chair from his room is now in my husband’s office and my husband’s cream chair is in the room with the previous dining room rug.  Please tell me some of you out there do the same crazy thing!!

Angled Dining Table -

Changing all of this around made me try my dining table on an angle and it did so much for the whole space.  Because the sectional is angular, the angle in the dining room makes sense and draws you into the house in an easier fashion.  Every place visitors might go is to the left as you enter my house and now the furniture directs you to the left!

Gathered Drapery Heading -

Draperies were the next project to tackle and so although I already had the blue and taupe striped fabric, I wasn’t sold on the design I was going to create.  I gathered up all my drapery books and came across a pencil pleated drapery that hung from a dramatic rod with finials and decided that would be what I would try.  It is tailored looking, with clean lines, just like most of my furniture. Plus, the pencil pleating would be a good fit with the vertical striped fabric.  If you’d like to learn how to make pencil pleated draperies, check it out the project sheet in our Sewing section.

All it takes is a little step forward to get me excited about continuing on.  We all fall into roadblocks or creative blocks I should say, and I had been in one for a month or two.  I decided to get out and see what I could find to support my new direction, coral and light blue.  I stopped at my local Calico Corners which is a fabric, furniture and accessory store and I found a variety of fantastic accessory pillows.

Beachy Pillows -

One was cream with a coral crab on it and several of them had coral and cream used along with some neutrals in the shapes of shells….well, you know me and shells….I had to have them!  Now when I walk through that room I get a smile on my face…things are finally coming together!

Dramatic Wallcovering Option -

My next stop was Sherwin Williams to take out some wallpaper books.  The only design I had in mind was a black background small print that I had looked at previously for my kitchen.  I know, black background sounds awful, but I think it is going to be extra striking against my light cabinets.  Plus, there isn’t that much wall space.  There is a little around the kitchen table in the alcove and then most of the paper goes above the cabinets since the backsplash is tile.  Don’t worry about it; it’s going to be wonderful.  When it’s done….I’ll make sure you see it!

Pleated Shades in Windows -

Also, the blinds for the windows in the kitchen finally came in and have been installed.  This makes such a difference when the sun gets down low enough to blaze into my kitchen making it difficult to see what you are doing!  Now all I notice is that they look really bare and need some window coverings on them!  Here’s my plan for that.  Once the black background wall covering is up I will then start the search for fabrics that will tie the black into the reds and oranges that I have going on in the family room which is open to the kitchen.  It’s going to be tricky, but I’m up to the challenge!!

Coral Print Wallcovering -

While I was at the Sherwin Williams store picking up the book with the black background for the kitchen, I found other patterns I liked and brought home 5 or 6 books.  I immediately fell in love with a coral patterned wallpaper for my master bathroom.  The previous owner had painted the commode room and one wall around the tub with a heavy textured suede finish in taupe that matched the tile.  I wasn’t too keen on sanding all of this off so I was hoping to find a paper that would blend the taupe with a brighter, happier color.  Well, the coral print with a light taupe basket weave background was perfect.

With that decided, now I needed towels and a shower curtain.  I started with a fabric for the shower curtain.  I went back to my Calico Corners, remembering some coral fabrics I saw there when I purchased the pillows.

Coordinated Coral Fabric -

I was thrilled to find they had the fabric that was supposed to be the coordinate to the wallpaper I had selected.  It was quite a bit busier with shells included in the pattern but for some reason I wasn’t rushing back to purchase it.  I decided that I could do better.  I didn’t have to be so matchy, matchy.  In fact, I prefer not to be!

Seashell Fabric -

I went back to the fabric store and looked around a bit.  I discovered another busy print but it had a light coral background with shells and seahorses, and just felt warmer and more interesting to me. (I realize I’m falling into the Florida look, but I’ve always loved shells, water and the pretty warm tones of this fabric.)

Master Bathroom Color Scheme -

This photo gives you an idea how the cabinets, wall covering, fabric and bright coral towels will all work together.  Again, once this project is complete, I’ll show you.  Right now my husband and I are arguing over whether we should change the lighting and get rid of the medicine cabinets in the wall…time will tell!

My bedroom and the hallway from it to the bathroom must also be planned at this time.  One of the wallpaper books I brought home was grass cloth.  I have always enjoyed installing grass cloth and living with the rich, warm texture.

Sample of Grasscloth -

Though I usually like my bedroom to be dark, I’ve selected a grass cloth color very close to the carpeting tone and I think this will be a calming, soft background for the entire room.  Plus it does pick up the color in the background of the coral wallpaper for the bathroom.

When I get ready to install this, I’ll write a little bit about how to hang it. Grass cloth is one of the easiest papers to hang and I think if you like the look you ought to try it!

Painted Border -

Right now I am debating what to do with the band painted around the crown molding in the room.  I’m assuming this is the same color as the bathroom taupe but I haven’t really double checked that yet.  It could be nice with the grass cloth just as it is or I might paint it in the trim color and make it look like a very large crown.  Matt and I have installed wooden blocks and things like star shapes in bands like this at the top of a wall and it has looked great.  Hmmm, something to ponder.

Testing Paint Colors -

This will also perhaps impact the color I use in the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom.  I will probably go with the taupe tone although I’ve been itching to put some bright color on the walls in this area.  It’s really not a public area, though some of the wall in the hall can be seen from the living room…so, wouldn’t the deep coral color be pretty picking up the coral in the living room rug?  Huh? Huh?  I did buy a sample quart of the coral so I could paint a swatch and think about it.  I still haven’t done it, but it’s there and ready to go!

housefour14Now onto the other side of the house where my son and I share a bathroom that is between his bedroom and my office!  This particular bathroom takes a beating since he is nine years old.  Every time I go to use the facilities, I’m cleaning up something!

I’m not sure what’s up with this photo but there is more color in the room than it shows.  However, changes have been made and I can’t go back.  Because my son uses this room I decided that a shower curtain wouldn’t be enough and we purchased a glass sliding door for the tub. I’m also considering putting up bead board to a certain level so it can be wiped off easily. He seems to fling water all over the place in here!

Neutral Walls in Child's Bath -

There, this color is a bit better and I know the shower door may not seem like much of an improvement to you, but to me it’s made a world of difference!

The bead board is still in the thinking stages, as well as color for the walls.  I have been thinking about putting a wall covering over the bead board or perhaps trying a painting technique.  But, as I’ve told you many times, I needed that inspiration piece that tied things together and set the project in motion.

Patterned Shower Curtain -

A few weeks after getting the door installed, I ran across a Tommy Bahama shower curtain that I loved because of the colors and the fact that the patterns work for a boy AND for me!  The colors pull the orange paint from the hallway and the tropical feel is appropriate but not over the top which helps this side of the house blend a bit nicer into the other “coral” side of the house!

I’m sure some of you are noticing that it’s not hanging and it’s still wrinkled from the packaging.  Well, as I went to hold it up to see how I liked it, I realized that my shower door is up much higher than you would normally hang a shower curtain.  So, not to be discouraged, I’m going to search for a fabric to add to either the bottom or the top of the shower curtain to give it enough length to come close to the floor.  In the meantime I’ll keep working with the colors to choose what I want for the walls and accessories in the room!

Office on Moving Day -

My office has come a ways from where it was when I moved in as well.  It would almost have to for me to continue adding to the website!  Some of you may remember shots I took shortly after moving in.  Years ago I had a lovely office grouping but my husband now uses that so my big purchase this year was some real office furniture!

New Accessorized Office Furniture -

I haven’t done too much with the room, but I can work and on many days it looks neat and clean and on most days it’s still full of projects and papers spread all over the table, desk and floor!  So I’ll give you a few tease photos until the day I can really clean this workroom up!

New Office Table -

My plans going forward?  Get the wall papers up and finish the painting in the area between the living area and the family room area.  I had considered going dark and I think I’m just going to continue the beige family room color throughout to bring a little continuity to the spaces.  I’ll do some work on the bathroom near me and perhaps one day, clean up this office!


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