Thursday, October 11, 2012

Julianne Moore - Moonlight Interior Designer

When she's not winning Emmys, Julianne Moore moonlights as an interior designer. This month's issue of Elle features the home of Moore's stylist, Leslie Fremar, a Tribeca loft decorated by the thespian herself. Actually, this is the second of Leslie's homes that Julianne has decorated. Almost five years ago she dressed up Leslie's tiny West Village Apartment. Having recently relocated to a large three-bedroom TriBeCa loft, Fremar once again relied on her famous friend's decorating prowess. The result? Understated. Minimal. Elegant. We love this home.

Here are some simple yet effective design techniques we spotted along the way.
  • Use a dark-hued paint to “carve” smaller areas in large rooms. This allows you to have multiple smaller, more focused areas. For example a reading nook.
  • Reclaim and recycle if it fits the bill. Moore transformed a vintage Marni dress into a chic throw pillow and converted reclaimed-wood into a beautiful dining table.
  • Neutral go with everything. Throw blankets, rugs and more.
  • Everyone looks better by candlelight. Candlelight isn't just for romantic dinners. Make use of them in unexpected ways.
  • Go custom when you need something to fit in that special place. The bench on the cover image, above, is a perfect fit under the bright window. 
Moore proves again that she isn't great just at her day job. Like many truly talented celebrities, her artistic skills transfer to other mediums as well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stage Your Home for Sale

For the first time since the recession hit, the housing market is making gains. That's music to the ears of home owners who need or want to sell their home. With home prices on the rise, it may be that you need take only a few more steps to get the best possible price for your house. One of the number one techniques in real estate is home staging.

All over the country home owners are paying top dollar to have home staging experts give their homes a per-sale makeover. Realtors will tell you staging is worth the money. But, wait, we just said we're coming out of a recession. Maybe putting funds towards hiring an expert isn't an option for you. That doesn't mean you can't give your house an interior design look to boost your home's selling price.

Staging is what you do after you've cleaned, uncluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it's all about dressing the house for sale. Here are a few of the industry's secrets.

• Work room by room starting at the front door. Your home should feel open and welcoming. Focus on simple accessories. Consider a big, lovely mirror over the console table. Maybe a deep rattan basket for collecting shoes.

• Liven up the living room. Celebrate a great focal point - a view of the backyard garden, lake, or the fireplace. Adjust your furniture to sit toward the focal point. Rather than against the walls, float furniture on an area rug to give the room a spacious feel. No focal point in your room? Use stylish art or a dramatic piece of furniture to create one.

• Kitchens are the heart of the home. Toss or store anything that would be considered kitschy. Clear the counters of small appliances, cooking utensils, canisters. Place a single display of seasonal fruit such as polished apples, bright oranges, or pineapples on the counter or island. The more you put away, the better the kitchen will look. Counter space is a real selling point. Bonus tip: rub orange oil on the cabinets to restore their original luster.

• Dress up the bedroom. Ditch the patterned comforter in the bedroom. Keep it simple with a fresh white duvet or cotton blanket. Trade bold bedroom walls for light grey or putty neutrals. Aim for a light and airy feel by removing heavy curtains and nightstand clutter. Matching lamps and a few art books lend a sense of sophistication. Use a simple lidded box to hide the remote control, tissues, and worn paperback.

• Master the master bath. Replace spec home sink, shower, and light fixtures with something a step up. Use a silver tray to anchor odds and ends that collect on counters. Use artful containers to hide away frequently used items. Small glass jars for swabs and cotton balls make an attractive and practical display.

• Bring the outdoors inside. Live plants like orchids or succulents make a huge difference in a room. Cut branches or large tropical leaves in large vases are very chic. Silk plants and flowers should be avoided unless they appear so real that even touching them leaves doubt.

• Want to stay. Your for-sale home do-over should be so compelling it makes you second think selling.