Black History Month: Honoring Style Icons

JOSEPHINE BAKER

With just a few more days left in February, I want to pay tribute to some amazing, stylish women of color who paved the way for so many others.  It’s funny because out of all of my boards on Pinterest ( I have several that focus on color in design), the most likes and re-pins are on my board entitled, ‘Style Icons Who Paved The Way: a gallery of beautiful black women pioneers.’  Here are just a few of them.

DOROTHY DANDRIGE

DOROTHY DANDRIGE

LENA HORNE

LENA HORNE

PEARL BAILEY

PEARL BAILEY

DELLA REESE

DELLA REESE

EARTHA KITT

EARTHA KITT

DIAHANN CARROLL

DIAHANN CARROLL

These talented women had to fight and overcome many barriers in order to get the acceptance and recognition they worked so hard for. Thanks to them, we are all enriched by seeing more diversity on television. These days, I love watching Kerry Washington in Scandal, Viola Lewis in HTGWM, Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane, Tracee Ellis Ross in Blackish and Taraji P. Henson in Empire – all in brilliantly written leading roles.  And no. Reality ‘housewives’ and the like and not actors or role models.

Hollywood still has a way to go when it comes to honoring diversity on the big screen (as evidenced by this year’s Oscars), but I’m hopeful that more black directors like Ava DuVernay (Selma) will continue to chip away at the norm.  Until then, I’m more than happy to use my modest platform on social media to help facilitate change.

Keepin’ It Fresh: How To Decorate With Green Accents

green and gray design by kelly porter

green and gray design by kelly porter

The best way to freshen up your space is with a new hue.  But that doesn’t mean you have to go through the hassle of painting.  Sometimes less is more.  And introducing a new accent color may be all you need to do.  It’s easier and less expensive than paining an entire room.  Not only that, but using an accent gives you the ability to safely add a more daring color that you would not want painted on the walls.  Or it just gives you the chance to try a new color that you haven’t used before.

fresh greens

Green is one of my favorite colors to use as an accent.  Not the deep emeralds or pine greens.  I like the slightly lighter, warmer greens.  Think of how the leaves look in early spring.  They haven’t fully developed so their color is lighter and not as pronounced as late-summer leaves.  Know what I mean?  This green can easily transform into a neutral, so it looks great with a variety of other background colors, such as a deep gray (shown above in my dining room).  Take a look at these other examples:

turquoise and green via hgtv.com

turquoise and green via hgtv.com

orange and green via hgtv

orange and green via hgtv

lavender and green via decorpad.com

lavender and green via decorpad.com

amber and green design by kelly porter

amber and green design by kelly porter

It’s very easy to add in green (or any other accent color for that matter) with throw pillows, chic lamps or side chairs:

tumblr

via tumblr

kristen rivoli via houzz.com

kristen rivoli via houzz.com

via laurie gorelick interiors

via laurie gorelick interiors

Or create drama with long, luxurious curtains.

And don’t overlook the bathroom.  There is no shortage of pretty wallpapers and these days, many styles are removable.  Or you can just include a few accessories for around the sink.

Green represents nature, newness and wealth.  Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded with that?

The Colors of Love

While Valentine’s Day is all about love, flowers and candy (although maybe not necessarily in that order), the promotion that surrounds this day can be a great source of color inspiration.

via magnoliastyles blog

via magnoliastyles blog

Look beyond the usual red and you can find romantic, alluring and feminine color schemes that could be just what you’re looking for.

Think pink, blush, ivory, coral and orange.  All of these hues work well together and can bring a splash of glamour to your bedroom, living room or home office.

The ‘ombre’ cherries shown above were featured in a brochure that I just got in the mail from Shari’s Berries.  My immediate thought was how delicious they look.  Then I thought about how fattening they probably are…but then I thought how cool these colors would look in a room.  I’m talking horizontal stripes painted with yummy shades of calorie-free pink!  I just know some of you would love to do this, so I’ve listed my paint picks at the end of this post.

pink artwork

Other lovely ideas:  Add pinks, corals and reds in a statement art piece, an area rug or a great sofa.

For a playful look, combine contrasting candy-colors such as pink and black.  This. is. bold. But it’s a fun design with tons of energy.  This space really reminds me of an old school box of Good and Plenty…but I love that it has so much personality.

via houzz.com - jamie hernandez, designer

via houzz.com – jamie hernandez, designer

And if an entire room of pink and black is too much for you, just add in a few chic desktop accessories instead.

You can also find storage boxes in a variety of pretty colors {I love these}:

…And I heart this idea:

So, for my adventurous readers who want to try the pink ombre stripes, here are my suggested paint colors from Sherwin-Williams:  Heartfelt, Cheery, Loveable, Alyssum, and a great shade of ivory–Alabaster.

pink paint colors

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Foyers and Hallways and Stairs, Oh My!

photo via homebunch.com

photo via homebunch.com

The start of a new year is the perfect time to get a new look for your home.  I suggest you begin right inside the front door.  Your home’s entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house, so don’t overlook how important it is to create a good first impression.

I’ve had many clients who have really struggled with choosing a color for their foyers.  I understand why.  If you get it wrong nothing else seems to look and feel right, especially if your foyer is a large, open two-story behemoth, which is the case with many suburban homes these days. On top of that, you have to consider the stairway and/or adjoining hallway.

Even if your entryway is small, it’s still ‘introduces’ the rest of your home, and most likely, it connects most if not all of the other rooms together.  So, making the right color choice here is crucial.  I’m always asked my opinion on the best paint colors for foyers, so I’ve broken it down into four categories:

1. COOL AND COMFORTING NEUTRALS

The photo at the top features a foyer using Berkshire Beige from benjaminmoore.com. This is a cool beige, or what I like to call greige which is a blend of gray and beige.  This is a good alternative if you don’t like the idea of using a pure gray, but if you do…

via houzz.com {highmark buildiers}

via houzz.com {highmark buildiers}

…Pavestone Gray from Sherwin-Williams.com creates a clean, classic look especially when paired with dark wood tones.

The photo below features another cool neutral (Virtual Taupe from SW) that works well if you’re looking for a darker, cozier greige.

2. WARM AND WELCOMING NEUTRALS
via adeeni design group

via adeeni design group

Sherwin-Williams’ Viva Gold (a color I’ve used many times) was used in this warm and cheery foyer. I love this yellow because it has rich undertones that give a room a sophisticated feel and its not too bright.  Below, is another of my favorite colors for foyers, SW’s Interactive Cream.  This color is light and airy but it still has tons of warmth, and it goes with everything!

interactive cream

SW Accessible Beige (below) is also a great neutral.  I like this color because it has a beachy feel that works well for casual foyers.

via regan baker design

via regan baker design

3. CLASSIC BLACK AND WHITE
via decorpad

via decorpad

A black and white foyer is always elegant and will never go out of style.  But these days, black and white is trending in more casual, laid-back spaces, too.

via karen b. wolf

via karen b. wolf

You can achieve a classic, crisp black and white combo using Graphite and Super White, both by Benjamin Moore.

4. STRONG STATEMENT COLORS

Lastly, if you have a creative personality…show it off!  Sometimes the best way to welcome guests into your home is with a color that reflects who you are and what you’re about. In this foyer/stairwell, I used SW’s Copper Harbor and Jacaranda for a gentlemen who was inspired by his travels to the Caribbean.

But is it OK to paint your foyer fuchsia or turquoise?  Sure!

via designsponge.com

via designsponge.com (color is Razzle Dazzle by Benjamin Moore)

via decorpad (color is SW's Drizzle)

via HGTV (color is SW’s Drizzle)

And I love this purple foyer.  This color reminds me of a similar color I used for a client’s foyer — she was newly divorced and with her ex-husband gone, she wanted to re-paint her home with colors that made her happy and would help her to move on.  Never underestimate the power of color!

6 Christmas Decorating Ideas {that won’t bust your budget}

There are many creative things you can do to get your home holiday-ready without spending a ton of money.  Here are six sensational ideas from my home to yours:

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Whether you purchase a chalkboard or create one using chalkboard paint {like I did here}, you can design a stunning, personal holiday message that has a good old-fashioned feel. And don't forget to hang a fresh wreath. I made this one from Leyland cypress branches.

Whether you purchase a chalkboard or create one yourself using chalkboard paint {like I did here}, you can design a stunning, personal holiday message that has a good old-fashioned feel. And don’t forget to hang a fresh wreath. I made this one from Leyland cypress branches.

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A fancy bow can make anything look festive, so tie one on!

A fancy, red bow can make anything look festive, so tie one on!

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Get your candles in line!  You probably already have some lying around, anyway.  Line them up on a window ledge or long dining table.  If they're colorful and decorative, you don't even have to light them because they will already look great just the way they are.

Get your candles in line! You probably already have some lying around, anyway. Line them up on a window ledge or a long dining table. If they’re colorful or decorative, you don’t even have to light them because they’ll already look great just the way they are.

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Candy canes are extremely cheap but they look super chic when grouped together in vases or mugs.  I like traditional red and white, but these days you can find candy canes in a variety of fun colors to match your decor.

Candy canes are extremely cheap but they look super chic when grouped together in vases or mugs. I like traditional red and white, but these days you can find candy canes in a variety of fun colors to match your decor.

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Embellish long curtains with tassels, ornaments or both.  Sometimes it's the small touches that make your home look sensational!

Embellish long curtains with tassels, ornaments or both. Sometimes it’s the small touches that make your home look sensational!

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Every year I hand a wreath on just about every window and door in my house.  The ribbon matches the colors of the room. This is my favorite way to make our home look festive!

Each year I hang a wreath on just about every window and door in my house using ribbon that matches the colors of the room. I have a Tuscan-style kitchen, so these wreaths have bows made from brown, gold and copper ribbon. This is my favorite way to make our home look festive!

All photos and styling by Kelly Porter.