We chronicle both high-luxury rooms and real makeovers by the industry’s elite professionals—presenting a balanced mix so you can envision the possibilities and see tangible, accessible results.

Design Chronicles

Green Gone Good

4 Comments 12 April 2010

By Colleen Luntzel, Contributing Writer


Green. It’s everywhere you look, and I don’t mean the color, but the movement spreading faster than kudzu across the vast landscape of design.  From new construction to the repurposing of everyday items found around the house, Green is rapidly becoming the new standard of excellence in home design and décor.  What was once old is new again.

Fantastic! Right? Well… it depends.  A little thinking outside the box is an absolute must if great aesthetics are to be achieved when revamping what you’ve got. Let’s face it, there’s not much worse than green gone bad.

So, how do you incorporate environmentally friendly design into your home without busting the budget or losing the cuteness factor?  I’ve got a few ideas to get you started—but be forewarned!  These projects are so adorable they’re likely to leave your friends green with envy!

Going green is:

My cup of tea…

Image with permission: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

Image used with permission: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

Photograph by Emily Angle

Photograph by Emily Angle

Tuck spring flowering bulbs into unused tea cups and bring a little unexpected beauty into your space, while re-purposing an everyday household item.

Here’s how to plant a bulb…or read another explanation.

…a step in the right direction

Photography by Emily Angle

Photograph by Emily Angle

Photography by Emily Angle

Photograph by Emily Angle

Well worn, beloved shoes are hard to give up–even when they’re long past their prime. Well, now you don’t have to toss them—at least not yet. Shoes are made for walking, so take a step in the right direction and re-purpose them as planters. What could be cuter than these powder blue baby crocks planted with mini daffodils, hens and chickens, and moss?


Photography by Emily Angle

Photograph by Emily Angle

Image used with permission: Omega Too

Image used with permission: Omega Too

There’s just something about the depth of color in the aged glass of old telephone line insulators.  These beauties beg to be used for something, and I’m not the only one who came up with an enlightening idea.  Omega Too is shedding a little light on the subject of going green.  Contact Mark at Omega Too for custom orders.

…everyone’s best friend

Image used with permission: Recreate

Image used with permission: Recreate

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Most of us have more things than we know what to do with, so we just keep lugging them around. Let’s unpack a few things and take a load off. (Find clever re-furnishings at Recreate.)

Editor’s Note: Interior designer, author and freelance writer, Colleen Luntzel‘s passion is teaching and equipping others to transform their surroundings into places of beauty and refuge.  She’s currently working on an interior design book, and is in the early stages of development of a new home and garden television show.  Check out her blog, Designing DNA, for more inspirations.

Emily Angle is an award winning photographer with over twenty years of experience. She resides in the mountains of western North Carolina with her husband and mini doxies. View more of her images on her website, AnglePhotography.com

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Design Chronicles

From Hollow Home to Happy Nest

1 Comment 05 April 2010

Professional tips from Melinda Sechrist for first time homeowners.

By Erika Solis, Contributing Writer


For newbie homeowners, the hollow sound of an empty home can be most frightening when moving in. Instead of bare walls and sterile environments, first-timers can have a space that is inviting and comfortable while still being stylish and not to mention, budget friendly.

I spoke to Melinda Sechrist, head interior designer of Sechrist Design Associates located in my home town of Seattle, to share some tips to get newbies on their way to living in fabulous abodes.


Start with an overall concept

“Look at what you have,” says Melinda. “Then flip through magazines, create collages and figure out what makes you happy.” Having an overall concept (or a big picture) will help you see what works for your life and your new home.


Color Blind

“Don’t be afraid of color!” says Melinda.  An easy way to choose the perfect shade is to buy a test pot or quart of your favorite hue (not your favorite paint name!), then go ahead and test it on the wall it might end up living on. Paint as many coats as necessary and let it dry.  Now this is when you must be patient and observant.  All paint colors are affected by light, so make sure you like how it looks in the morning, afternoon, and at night.  If you’re still ga-ga, then go for it!  If you are less than impressed, try another hue.  After all, it’s just paint!


Apartment Dwellers

If you are dealing with a small space that feels tight and crowded, a simple mirror will solve that problem.  Mirrors reflect light and create bright spaces.  Also, stick with a monochromatic space with layers of texture to create depth and interest, even if the space may say otherwise!


Budget Beauties

Simple touches like fresh flowers or some branches from your back yard go a long way.   “Plus, they add a pop of color,” Melinda explains .  You also want to stay consistent “when you don’t have a lot…just keep it simple.”  Use furniture that has multiple personalities.  A sofa table can double as a landing spot for keys and storage.

To D.I.Y or not?

“Start small,” Melinda says. “Figure out what your skills are.”  Take a chair that you found at your favorite thrift store, research the best way to refurbish it, buy the proper supplies, then give it a try!  “You have to have patience,” says Melinda, “not instant gratification.”  When doing it yourself, be methodical and take your time or you’ll be unhappy with the results. You want to create treasure, not trash.

Quick and simple tips:
• Don’t forget about the practical necessities like a great bed (This newbie is in love with the Cirrus bed set by Anthropologie. The layers of lush cotton make me want to snuggle up and read a good book or dream the night away : )

• If you can’t paint, drape. Fabric (and art) go a long way.
• A cohesive home can be achieved by having one color flow in a different way throughout each room.
• Always ask yourself when purchasing something, does it feel like home to me? If the answer is no…walk away, even if it is the deal of the century!

Editor’s Note: Erika is a journalism major at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. She is a senior and will be graduating next fall. Erika specializes in feature writing with a passion for home decor, the use of color and the hunt for vintage pieces. Check out her personal blog at Practical Princess. We asked her to regularly contribute her newbie perspective about what’s happening in the design world.

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