I hesitated earlier than asking my workplace neighbor, inside designer Ken Olsen, if I may pay him to return to my new home to offer his opinion of what I would performed to date and recommendation on what I ought to do subsequent. The minute he agreed, I panicked.
I discovered way back to not ask inquiries to which you may not just like the solutions. (Does this skirt make my butt look large? No, your butt makes your butt look large.) And right here I used to be setting myself within the crosshairs of criticism. How does my home look?
As somebody who writes about dwelling design and has professionally staged and designed many houses, I wish to assume I do not want skilled assist. However I do know my limits. I could make a house look good, however a proficient designer can take a house from good to nice.
Ken had been to the home earlier than, proper after my husband and I purchased it and earlier than we might put in hardwood flooring all through and painted each vertical floor, so he knew what I would began with. He’d additionally walked via my final home, so knew what furnishings I needed to work with. Now he would see, for higher or worse, what I would performed within the two months since.
“Do I have to deliver something?” he requested, as we left our workplace constructing collectively.
“Simply your mind, and your mouth,” I stated.
Apart from his apparent expertise, the trait I admire most in Ken is his straight-shooting honesty. “I used to inform folks what they needed to listen to,” he advised me, “however then I assumed, why? They’re paying me for what I feel.”
Did I actually wish to know? Too late. We would arrived.
“You are fortunate a lot of your outdated furnishings works right here,” he stated, as he appeared round, although we each agreed a number of items wanted changing.
As we walked the home, he provided recommendations and identified the hits and misses, validating and educating. And you recognize what? It did not even harm.
Even if in case you have a knack, when adorning your personal dwelling, have somebody with a skilled eye enable you to dial within the final 10 p.c.
Listed below are among the hits and misses Ken identified.
Stunning use of colour: I had painted all of the closet interiors in daring accent colours — Sherwin-Williams Safe Blue, Fairly Coral and Clary Sage — leaving the cabinets white. “It is a good shock once you open the door and anticipate white,” he stated. He additionally favored that I added these accent colours on sure partitions and to the backs of e-book cabinets.
Shelf styling: After taking a crucial take a look at the books and equipment on my lounge built-ins, Ken declared, “No change. They’re excellent.” (Phew! My greatest buddy, Susan, and I had just lately given these bookshelves a cautious edit and utilized my shelf decor rule: one-third books, one-third decorative objects, one-third empty house. It really works.)
The sudden: In my dwelling workplace, my French carved desk is central, and European-inspired artwork hangs on the wall. I assumed Ken would for positive nix the cowhide rug, calling it a non-sequitur. When he did not, I requested: “Do I would like a extra conventional rug?” I braced for an undesirable reply. “I just like the rug,” he stated. “It is sudden. Plus, you are from the West. It displays your roots.”
Blocked fire: Ken’s first repair occurred in the lounge. “Why are these in entrance of the fireside?” he requested about two armchairs I had positioned earlier than the fireplace, throughout from a settee. “Uh, so friends can attain the espresso desk?” I stated. He pulled the chairs again and over, in order that they flanked the fireside and opened up the room. “You do not wish to cover the room’s greatest characteristic,” he stated. (Duh! Smack.) The brand new association was clearly higher.
Over-accessorized kitchen cupboards: Within the kitchen, which he agreed was largely performed, he needed fewer equipment within the house between the cupboards and the ceiling. I had 5 massive equipment there, (which I would whittled down from seven). He needed to take away two extra, a painted tray and a basket, and go away solely three: a pair of ceramic chickens, a big picket egg crate, and a chunk of phrase artwork I like that claims “Dwelling.” “The attention wants a spot to relaxation,” he stated of the newly created empty house.
Awkward couch placement: Within the household room, I had created an L-shaped couch association from a 7-foot couch and an identical 5-foot love seat. The lengthy couch confronted the tv wall. I would positioned the love seat on the left, the place its again paralleled the glass doorways to the patio. “Nobody desires to really feel as if somebody may sneak up behind them,” Ken stated, and, although we agreed that in the end an L-shaped sectional could be higher for this room, the return wanted to be on the appropriate. We moved the love seat to the appropriate, the place it backed to a wall, improved movement and allowed views to the patio.
Lopsided bed room: I had organized the visitor room furnishings — a queen mattress and two nightstands — to accommodate the swing of a closet door, which opened out and wanted 30-inches clearance. So the door may open 180 levels and never hit a nightstand, I slid the furnishings away from the closet, which opened up house on one aspect of the room, whereas crowding the furnishings on the opposite. Designing round that door was a mistake, Ken stated. “Belief your friends to watch out.” We moved the furnishings nearer to the closet, which let the room breathe. The closet door can nonetheless open 90 levels, permitting full entry.
As Ken was leaving, I had another query: “Whenever you’re working by yourself home, do you ever ask for an out of doors opinion?”
“Completely,” he stated. “You possibly can’t see your personal dwelling objectively. In my very own place, I make errors.”
Ken. I like his honesty.
Syndicated columnist Marni Jameson is the writer of two dwelling and way of life books, together with Downsizing the Household Dwelling — What to Save, What to Let Go (Sterling Publishing 2016). Attain her at marnijameson.com.