My husband and I recently purchased our first home and though we dream of living in the country far from the city we all have to start somewhere. This three bedroom one and a half bathroom home with spacious front and backyard with a variety fruit trees is nestled in the heart of a residential neighborhood in LA's Korea Town. The street is wide and clean, there is minimal traffic on the block and it is quiet, a middle-school sits 5 blocks away. This home was practically a steal, the reason? It will need some care.
Two months and counting to the day we move, the house will be renovated upon moving in. The dinghy carpet that lay above the original wooden floors will be torn away. The walls will be freshly painted. The existing full bathroom will be redone and a master bathroom connected directly to the master bedroom will be installed. The mudroom will be made smaller in order to enlarge the kitchen. The first bedroom will be made into a library/office with a futon couch, this can double as a second guest bedroom.
Needless to say we are very excited.
In my lasting "first home" excitement constant visions of what the place will look like when I'm done with it goes round and round in my head. However somewhat understanding that decorating a one bedroom apartment is probably much easier than a three bedroom home has gotten me feeling a little overwhelmed. There is much to be considered afterall, money/budget being the utmost, will the look I'm going for in each room turn out the way I want? Is the second quandary, if not, how do I achieve what I am envisioning?
I am a big believer in the idea that anyone's design is a beautiful design, it is a form of expression- and therefor has no proper answer, there is no wrong way or right way when it comes to design and style. A part of me has faith in how I feel and what I think is beautiful to guide me through this challenge of decorating and designing my first home, but then a part of me tells me to be at least well informed of the basic rules, norms and standards. So I ordered two books, two books which I find so far to be very helpful.
Design Sponge at Home
Domino the Book of Decorating
DESIGN SPONGE AT HOME by Grace Bonney
Design Sponge at Home is probably my favorite design/decor book to turn to, with its many pictured examples of people's homes around the world it's a bit hard to beat, Domino, is a close second. The layout of the book is simple, turn the pages and in the left upper corner you can find names and the location of the homes pictured on the following pages. The book has more pictures than words, and even though I hate to read about design there is no denying that the side notes are interesting, both the visuals and the side notes gives me ideas of what I can do.
DIY Projects is the second chapter of the book (otherwise known as Do It Yourself Projects), I think this portion is just fantastic. Want to press botanical specimens but don't know how? Simply flip to page 190! How about a rolling storage bench? Page 210! Chair bench, recycled wine bottle torch, a butterfly dome- you got it! It's all here, and more. This chapter is then followed by DIY Basics, another really great chapter that made me really happy and proud of myself that I bought this book. DIY Basics discloses information such as, how to strip wooden furniture, how to paint furniture, how to staple-gun upholstery, how to choose fabrics for upholstery amongst other things.
And then comes the Flower Workshop chapter, so if you have a garden of flowers you can learn a thing or two from this chapter, the basics, tricks and different designs of making arrangements. And if you don't have a garden of beautiful flowers? You can probably still learn a thing or two.
The book is closed with Before & After, here, refurbished material is transformed all accompanied with before and after pictures, of course. Warning: it may create the urge in you to begin refurbishing everything you own.
And like any great decor/design books last pages are a Resource Guide, where specific or general supplies can be gotten.
DOMINO THE BOOK OF DECORATING by editors of Domino
Domino begins the book with a chapter titled: Getting Started. In this chapter the book takes you step by step on how to begin to bring your decor idea for a room and/or your home to realization.
1. Find Inspiration
2. Determine your style
3. Consider how you'll use the room
4. Assess your stuff
5. Draw up a floor plan
6. Set a budget
7. Research, research, research
8. Create a design scheme
9. Make a decorating schedule
To a few the thoroughness of the chapter may seem a bit much, but I like to think that I would much rather have too much information than too little.
Each chapter from there on goes room by room, beginning most appropriately at The Entryway and then to The Living Room, The Dining Room, The Kitchen, The Bedroom, The Bathroom, The Office, The Kids' Room. Each of the rooms studied are presented with a number of beautiful and interesting examples, followed by a page titled The Big Piece, where different varieties of the main piece of furniture in that given room are listed, pictured and described. The Big Piece is followed by a page How To Mix and Match which then is followed by a page titled, Very Important Tips, interesting information about dimensions and picking the right shapes amongst many other things are disclosed on this page- I found it rather interesting read. Each of the rooms studied is then followed by short pages of Decorating Tricks, Small-Space Solutions for those living in less than roomy square-footage, Finishing Touches that covers how to hang pictures and place plants and etcetera, then finally closed with The Domino Effect, how an individual changed his or her room based off of an inspiration or a focal point.
Domino has numerous amounts of pictures which I absolutely love about it, you can't go wrong with a decor book full of pictures, the side notes for each picture were helpful and interesting as they had many tips and ideas. The cherry on top? As if the book alone thus far isn't reason enough to purchase it, the last two chapters of the book: The Decorators' Handbook, which contains almost all you need to know about window coverings and upholstery, and, The Big Black Book, a guide to the best decorating resources.