Foyers ~ The eyes to your Home!

Ever walk into a home and gasp!  I have. Innumerable times. Sometimes in real peoples’ homes, sometimes in show-homes and sometimes in hotels and commercial buildings. I love the anticipation of a foyer. The tale of the unknown that begins to unfold when passing over a threshold!

It’s only secondary to the curb appeal and of course your front door and related landscaping, but how often have you stood on an incredible porch surrounded by stone, two-story arches and 4′ tall hanging pendants only to get your first glimpse of what lays beyond..and be totally disappointed? Well, this is either the big miss or the big hit! Often, the neighborhood girl scout selling her cookies won’t get beyond this mysterious place, but nothing like a little teaser to let the imagination run wild!

Foyers should never, ever be cluttered! A  foyer can be grand even when not so grand in stature, by being classic and inviting! Here are some fabulous foyers that I hope you’ll enjoy!

This is somewhat simple, but stunning and make a big impression for a medium size foyer.

I adore seating in a foyer, such a wonderful and ‘soft’ way to welcome guests. Although this Foyer is narrow, it has been staged beautifully.

Don’t you just adore the cheerfulness of this entryway? Immediately, you simply must cheer up! Whomever lives here likes to have guests!

This Foyer is by Florida Design. The dramatic tangerine color in an adjoining room play off the neutral tones in the actual Foyer. A stunner for sure!

Another Foyer which appears so striking because of the bold use of color! Color is the single most simple way to add drama or impact to a space!

A more typical Foyer in regards to size yet stylishly appointed.

As you may have discerned, I like a ‘crisp’ foyer, not to say that the ornate ones leave me sad, just that there is sometimes the overwhelming, over colorful or overly decorated space that leaves no place for the eye to REST!  Giving the eye a place to rest is mental relaxation. If the foyer is too busy, it will not invoke a sense of peace in your home, and we all know how important that is! I hope this post has inspired  you to take a second look at your Foyer.

Thanks for stopping by – Chatti Patti – Till next time and leave me a message if you wish. #Cincinnati, Ohio

Identify #Antique Furnishings

The Dictionary defines Antique as:

“antique [ænˈtiːk] n

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques)

a.  a decorative object, piece of furniture, or other work of art created in an earlier period, that is collected and valued for its beauty, workmanship, and age
b.  (as modifier) an antique shop
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Antiques) any object made in an earlier period
3. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) the. the style of ancient art, esp Greek or Roman art, or an example of it”

In the Home Interiors, Design and Furniture world, antiques are most often classified by their age and characteristics, age being of 100 years or more. Items that are not that old are often considered  ‘Classics”. So, with that in mind, what makes wood furniture of 100 years old or more valuable? Primarily the origin, handcrafted or workmanship, the artisan or woodworker, the condition and the type of material, i.e. rare species of wood and of course, the finish.

Educating yourself with the world of antiques prior to venturing out and investing would be highly recommended! Good ways to do this is by visiting your local library where you should be able to find extensive information to read up on or even take a class at your local community college or just spend time at antique shows learning by speaking with the vendors. As a designer, I encourage my clients to invest in one or more antiques. Antique pieces can be  assimilated into almost any type of decor when done properly and scale and proportion are considered.

A basic and primary characteristic of a genuine antique furnishing would be dovetailed drawers; devoid of modern nails, and screws.

A drawer with only a few dovetail joints, with the ‘pins’ at the top and bottom being narrower than the dovetail (part in between) indicate a hand made joint as shown above.

Notice in this picture that the joints are all uniform in the drawer corner shown above depicting machine cut joinery.

In addition to the method of construction, the type of wood also makes a big difference when identifying authentic antique furnishings. Oak was broadly used prior to the 1700’s, however after 1700 and on; walnut and mahogany woods were commonly used. American antiques were commonly crafted from pine as it was very plentiful and equally easy to work with. Higher quality antique pieces were constructed with walnut, mahogany or even maple and cherry woods.  Genuine antiques are rarely perfectly cut due to the hand crafted nature whereas a reproduction will be precise and symmetrical as a result of  the process of machinery. If you were to investigate the wood closely and were able to determine the saw cuts, you can assume hand cut or circular saw cut which will help you date the item. Circular saws and machine cutting for furniture came along around 1860, making even a machine crafted piece an antique that still falls into the age category of being more than 100 years old. However, this serves to increase the demand for hand crafted pieces causing them to be more sought after and valuable!

I hope you enjoyed your little Antiques 101, check back soon for more on Antiques. If you have a question you would like answered, please submit it below!

Happy Hunting!


5 Great Design Take-Aways

It’s getting close to that time of year.

Builders and designers in cities across the United States will be working feverishly on finishing their Model Homes for public tours via a Parade of Homes or a Designer Showcase Home for a charity or even a Homearama. I love to attend these events across the country when time permits, from New York to Washington State and places in between. I find it interesting to see what “Regional” design trends are. It really varies throughout the U.S. regions.  Have you ever attended a Parade of Homes or a beautiful Designer Showhouse and come away overwhelmed with all the eye candy and innovative design ideas? What were your take-aways?

Often certain ones will remain in my memory banks for years due to the originality* of the design.  There are many beautiful homes, some simply Over the Top and many overdone but occasionally one will stand out in my mind and years later I can bring it up to whomever my design companion was at that time and we can both talk about it! What’s with the one that the public is lined up outside to see? That would be open to interpretation. Was it the home with it’s own private professional massage room? (Ashley Homes  Columbus Ohio) or the incredible decorative ceilings?

Here are 5 simple ways to achieve some Oohs and Ahhs for your own abode.

Take way 1. Exceptional lighting – You come home from one of these tours and look blankly at your Dining Room and sigh. Oh my, I cannot do all that! BUT, you CAN replace the chandelier that came with the house with a spectacular lighting fixture that everyone can comment on, you will love staring at,  polishing and will be the catalyst for the future design of the Dining Room for which you can call me. Maybe you will even dine in there now.

Exceptional Lighting correct in scale and proportion. All designs, decorations, specifications and photography: Patti Johnson Interiors

Take Away 2. Color that carries your eye from the foyer to the back yard via the breakfast room and patio. Oh my, I cannot do all that! BUT, you CAN repaint the foyer from “builder white” to a warmer shade that transitions throughout the space so your eye is allowed to move around the entire home.

Soothing Color that marries the spaces on the main floor of this home. All design, decorations and photo: Patti Johnson Interiors. Area rug that brings it all together.

Take Away 3.  The area rugs in that showhouse had you wanting to take your shoes off and maybe even lay down and take a nap. Oh my, I cannot do all that!  BUT you CAN purchase a new rug for the foyer or family room or Dining room ( to go under that fab chandelier you just bought). Select one in colors that pull the room, if not the entire 1st floor together in harmony!

Take Away 4: The decadent bedding in the Master Suite had you secretly negotiating an offer in your head on the Showhouse right then and there. The sign next to the custom-made duvet and 16 1/2 pillows showed a hefty price tag though. Oh my, I cannot do all that! BUT you CAN clear your bed off and not use it to fold laundry and invest in a new duvet and 3-5 toss pillows. Maybe in the same color palette of the 1st floor. (called cohesive design, a speciality of  mine)

Lovely and do-able. Fresh, coordinating textiles add a splash of color! Via Pinterest, unknown.

Take Away 5: Number 5 is really Number 1, but you couldn’t wait to get inside and see everything first, so on your way out you actually notice Number 5 or Number 1. The exterior. The approach. The front entrance. The meticulously maintained landscaping and flora. Oh MY, I cannot do all that! BUT you CAN sweep up the sidewalk, paint the front door, plant a few pots along the way, trim or replace the bushes (if they are too large)  and freshen up the mulch, a bi-annual event at our home. It will really make a difference.

Manicured and fresh landscaping on approach.
Photo:Patti Johnson Interiors

So if the trip to the Parade or Homearama or Decorators Showhouse in your city was enough to stimulate you into making some beautiful changes, that’s wonderful, your dollars were well spent. If however, you came home and didn’t have a clue about what to do, that’s okay. You simply call a designer, you can call me. I will tell you to collect pictures of things that stir you, that you can dream about, rooms you can see  your friends and loved ones sitting and having fun in and I will get to work on “Transforming your Space Into a Beautiful Place”. Now THAT is my specialty!

*I attended a Homearama several years ago and the homes were all stunning and one in particular had a glass elevator for the homeowner’s motorcycle that was housed in the walk out lower level. With the flick of a switch, it  could be brought up to street level either to gaze upon or hit the pike. I think the glass enclosure even rotated the bike or maybe my head was just spinning. The same Homearama featured a home with a movie theatre in the lower level. Not a media room mind you, a theatre, complete with a ticket booth and heavy doors leading to the theatre. You could also “purchase” popcorn at the concession stand next to the ticket booth. Both are obviously must haves, so if you want this call me, I have connections.

Thanks again for stopping by, check back soon to see what Chatti Patti is talking about in Design.