Interior Design

Is It Spring?

“Is it spring?”

“Yes, it is.”

“And the flowers are growing?”

“Yes, they are.”

“Are we going to Mimi’s house?”

“Not today. Today is Sunday, you are going to Mimi’s house on Monday”

“No, today is not Sunday, it’s spring.”

Ahh, I see now where I went wrong. How do you explain the seasons to a four year-old?  I tried to explain the markers of spring-time to my curious little boy, but spring is a very abstract concept.  When does it begin?  When does it end?  What causes it to be spring?  Well, like my son, I don’t understand the physiology of how the seasons change, but I am thankful for it.

There is just something about springtime that is invigorating.  Even if it’s still only 40 degrees out, if the new spring sun is shining, I want to get out in the garage and clean something, or work on a project.  The coming forth of new life, even the annoying weeds in the garden, brings new life to my soul.

This season is one of transformation.  Cold, hard dirt that housed the death of winter begins to thaw and plants and trees come out of hibernation and begin their ascent toward the warmth of the sunshine.  Our grass becomes lush and green again, tulips and daffodils begin to sprout flashing their pretty colors against the browns and greens of the earth.  And our neighbors come out of their homes and there is new life in the neigborhood; mowing lawns, riding bikes, playing ball in the driveway.  It’s beautiful.

The transformations that begin happening around us in nature with the entrance of spring often motivate us to begin our own transformations on our homes, both outside and inside.  We brush away the cobwebs of winter, shake the dirt out of the rugs and get to work bringing new life to the stuff we’ve been staring at all winter.  Maybe that’s a whole remodel.  Maybe it’s just a few new accessories and a good deep clean. It’s amazing how even small tweaks on your home can make a huge difference.

I have recently had the opportunity to work with a wonderful client on bringing new life to their recently purchased home.  She and her husband came to L. J. Wagner Home Interiors looking for some inspiration for a way to blend their very traditional furniture with their new home that was a little more transitional.

Inspired by her collection of gorgeous blue and white ginger jars, as well as two existing saddle colored swivel chairs she planned on keeping, we went with a color palette of navy blue, tan and shades of grey for the walls.

The previous owner had painted just about every wall in a shade of yellow, there were several Tommy Bahama fan/light fixtures, and the fireplace had a slightly awkward layout with small glass shelves on either side that proved fairly useless.  We talked about what to do about the fireplace layout, and while they weren’t ready to make a major renovation on the fireplace they really wanted to do something to update the look and make it more functional. Thankfully her hubby is handy with the tools and up for the task!

He was able to update the fireplace, the kitchen island, and add a new storage bench for the eat-in kitchen table.

Together we selected a pair of sophisticated sofas from La-Z-Boy that featured arms with a soft curve outward, a rich brass nail-head trim around the back of the sofa — framing the cushions, all covered in a fabric that combined tan and ivory with just a slight lineal pattern to create some interest.  We picked out toss pillows that mirrored the rich navy of the ginger jars and added some pattern and color to the neutral upholstery.

The coffee table beautifully tied in the stone on the fireplace and added a modern flare to the room.  The traditional hutch, sofa table and end table stayed in the room as well which added warmth to the space – not to mention displayed her lovely collection of ginger jars that inspired the design.

Through some well thought-out color choices and furniture selections we were able to bring new life to this beautiful home.  Let the newness of the season motivate and inspire you to clean out, organize and think outside the box.  Transformation is a process that sometimes has several steps.

So get out in the sunshine, pull those weeds and start dreaming of what your space can become!

– Lauren

 

 

Finding Inspiration

One thing I really enjoyed about Interior Design school was learning how to be inspired by the unexpected.  As a student I could easily be inspired by beautiful interiors, or fabrics or a piece of furniture.  But as I studied other courses in the arts that were not specific to interior design, I was forced to learn how to be inspired by shapes, or colors, or even smells.

My husband often makes fun of me for this, but I love to look up the definition of words.  Usually words that I know what they mean and how to use them properly, and may even use them often, but I want to know the actual definition, rather than the generally accepted understanding of the word.  So, as I looked up the word inspiration, it read as follows: “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” I was also intrigued about what the difference was between inspiration and motivation. Motivation is defined as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.” Inspiration involves feeling. When we become inspired, we feel it. It’s usually an uplifting feeling. Inspiration leads to motivation.

So, why am I rambling on about inspiration and motivation? (other than because my first degree was in psychology and I just can’t shake it) Why aren’t I talking more about design? I get a little ga-ga over how powerful the built environment can be. Have you ever walked into someone’s home and it evokes a feeling?  You might even say, “It just feels so _____________ in here!” (you fill in the blank: warm, cozy, open, bright… ).  Our homes inspire feeling in us and in those who visit them. What kind of feeling are you trying to evoke; and then how do you use your furniture, and paint and lighting to evoke it??

Designing a space is like one big puzzle.  There are lots of pieces, but not every piece fits in just one place.  They can sometimes be interchangeable, but sometimes they can’t…and changing one piece will usually affect the others.  This part I love. But how do I make each piece fit?

Often I will find an inspirational piece for a space I’m designing.  It might be an item the client has in the room, such as a picture, or a chair.  It might be a new fabric that we plan on putting in the space.  It may even be the idea of something, like “football in the 1920’s.”  I will use this piece of inspiration as my touchstone.  As I’m selecting a style of furniture or a paint color or an accessory item, I ask myself, “Does this fit within the scope of my inspiration?”  If it does, great!  If not, then I may need to re-select.

Often, people will be inspired by a picture of a room they’ve seen on Pinterest (or more accurately a thousand different rooms they’ve seen on Pinterest) and start plucking ideas from all of them, and wind up frustrated that all these ideas aren’t working together.  Part of the issue is that you need an object of inspiration, a touchstone that informs the decision of which ideas to use and which ones to let go.

My sister posted something on Facebook recently that has stuck in my mind.  Now, she is a Marriage and Family Therapist, so it may have been meant for something more closely related to things of that nature; but I drew a connection to design, as everyday I work with people that feel overwhelmed by the number of choices they are faced with as they build, or design or redesign their homes.  She said, “Choices, choices, choices…Part of the essence of commitment is making a choice to give up other choices.  Of course, committing to a choice does not make the alternatives disappear.  That would be too easy.  Part of the work of commitment is letting other options go and investing your energy in the one you have chosen.”

So, as you search for inspiration for your home, choose an object that elicits the feelings you want for your home; and then frame your design choices around that object.  This doesn’t have to be strict, but let that object inspire you and inform the choices you make.

To demonstrate, I have asked my fellow designers here at L. J. Wagner Home Interiors to share with me an example of what they had used in inspiration in their own homes.  It’s always interesting to see what meaning others might derive from certain objects.  Enjoy the gallery below!

Lauren

A fun find! An apartment piano, refinished, inspired my grayscale and warm wood tones color scheme.

A fun find! An apartment piano, which I refinished for my living room, inspired my grayscale and warm wood tones color scheme. — Lauren

We are a family that LOVES books! They inspire us in so many ways. Displaying our books, and demonstrating our love of dogs and horses, inspires much of our other decor.

We are a family that LOVES books! They inspire us in so many ways. Displaying our books, and demonstrating our love of dogs and horses, inspires much of our other decor. — Jane

My Mothers dishes, accented with Depression Glass pieces inspired my living room color scheme. I love decorating with dishes! — Cheryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This locally found Oriental artwork inspired a new color scheme for our family room! — Ed

Inspiration Gallery

Vintage dishware, artwork, and other decor items really inspire me in all areas of my home. — Lori

Magnolia Home Furniture, by Joanna Gaines

If you are familiar with HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper you have definitely heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines.  The Gaines’ have made television magic; working as house-hunting and remodeling counselors for families in search of the perfect home.  With Chips’ experience and management of the construction process, and Joanna’s fantastic eye for design and decor, they have helped many families in their search for a dream home.  Their passion has inspired millions and has catapulted Fixer Upper into becoming one of cable television’s most widely watched programs.  Fans have flocked to Magnolia Market, Joanna’s home-style store in Waco, Texas; falling in love with her unique personal design and fun decor ideas.

Building on the appeal of their show, and her own design style, Joanna has released a new line for the very first time: Mangolia Home Furniture, by Joanna Gaines.  Inspired by Jo’s unique style, and designed under the direction of Joanna herself, Magnolia Home Furniture is now available here at L. J. Wagner Home Interiors, in Nappanee!  Stop in anytime; we would love to show you her fun new designs!

With styles ranging from Primitive to French Inspired, Industrial to Traditional, Farmhouse to Boho (an eclectic style mix of Victorian Bistro and Mid-Century Modern) Magnolia Home Furniture, by Joanna Gaines, offers pieces for every room in your home.  Pair this with the many Magnolia-style accessories we carry, and our designers can help you achieve that unique look of which even Joanna herself would approve!

Farmhouse Dining
Shiplap Bed
Primitive Colonnade Metal Bed
Carpe Diem Chair

If you are interested in checking out more, click HERE for a Magnolia Home Furniture Gallery!