Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interior décor on a budget

Our home decor mood-board
Ever since we made a decision to pay off our mortgage off quicker than normal, we have had a moratorium on buying anything for our home.  The only thing we purchased was a pair of sofas about six years ago because our elderly lounge suite was literally falling apart.  We saved and bought the best we could afford, and they still look as good today, despite being used every day by the four of us (two people and two cats).

Then, when we decided to move from the city to the provincial area where I grew up, some five or six hours drive away, we again decided to buy nothing for the house until after we moved.  That was an easy decision, because it’s silly to buy furniture when you don’t know what your new house will be like.

Now that we are here in our forever home it is exciting to start putting together a plan of what we want and how we are going to decorate.  We are very lucky in that our new house has been immaculately maintained and is painted beautifully in simple creamy-white shade throughout so it’s a great blank canvas.

Because our new home has two living areas – one main living/dining room and a smaller sitting room off the kitchen, we didn’t have enough furniture to fill both rooms.  Our current sofas look fantastic in the large living room, but we need sofas for the sitting room too.

We've had a good look at most of the furniture stores in the area where we now live, plus we checked out our Auckland options when we were back in the city earlier this month.  We got an idea of what constitutes a reasonable price these days and also looked at what style and fabric we wanted.

We want to buy quality, but not pay through the nose.  We definitely do not want ‘cheap’.  One sofa I sat on that looked very nice (but had a suspiciously low price) felt so lightweight and junky.

My husband and I were doing some errands in Napier on Thursday and wandered into an interior design showroom.  Sometimes these are scary places to be (designery people can be quite intimidating!) but the owner and her son we spoke to couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful.  They had exquisite taste too.

After a very informative chat, the son said he was going to be visiting a home in our street the next day and he could pop around and take a look at our room.  When he arrived we showed him our inspiration photos and he started talking us through a vision for our home.  After he left I realised the main component of the changes he proposed was paint.  No grand schemes that were going to bankrupt us, just paint.

He talked about layering in changes over time, starting with the big things as we are doing, such as sofas.  Our carpet is fine and the curtains will have to last for a few more years, but in the meantime with our new sofas and a new colour scheme for our two living areas our designer decor will start to take shape!

I’ve never used an interior decorator before but now I think I am a convert.  I have always enjoyed home style and reading interior décor magazines, but there is nothing like getting caught up in the enthusiasm of people who do it for a living, who live and breathe and love it.

So exciting!  I always assumed you had to be a jazillionaire to have an interior designer but happily that is not the case.

Have you used an interior designer before?  Good/bad experience?  What about your home style; what would you say it is?  I had a think about it, and my dream home style is ‘Hotel Sexy Rustic Elegance’.  Tell me yours in 3-5 words!

See you next week :)
Fiona

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29 comments:

  1. That is fantastic. I would have thought an interior designer to be beyond ordinary budgets. Good to know.
    Having a tight budget is a blessing in disguise, because it forces you to slow down and to prioritize. You will add pieces over time, and the feel will be authentic and layered, vs. the "decorated" places (no offense to your decorator) where everything has been bought from a few shops with an eye toward following trendy brand names.
    My style: elegant/French/eclectic/classic. Lots of antiques with a number of pieces gathered from travels around the world. Nothing that would be changed out because of trends.

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    1. Our guy recommended NOT doing everything at once and said doing your home over time is far preferable.

      I love your style manifesto 😍

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  2. My style would be wabi-sabi (or, what is generally called "shabby chic"), as I don't like to spend a lot of money (or indeed any) if I can help it. Our furnishings have been mostly inherited, bought at garage sales, and yes, even pulled out of a dumpster. But because even with going on the cheap, we only take/buy what we love, everything works together.

    Our inherited black leather sofa was falling apart, and we had to buy a new one this year. We were going to buy a new new one, as it had to be leather, so we were prepared to spend a lot on it. My husband had vacation time, so we thought we would spend a day later in the week shopping for one. But first, we had planned an excursion to a local town I hadn't been to before. The first place in Manayunk that we stopped at was a furnishing consignment shop. As it was a Tuesday, it was closed. BUT! The owner happened to be there taking delivery, and he invited us in to take a look around. And there we found it -- the first sofa we looked at. Cream colored leather. Very comfortable, both for sitting and napping. And less than half than we were prepared to spend. We bought it immediately and had it delivered later in the week. This is somehow how the Universe works for me -- a combination of serendipity and synchronicity.

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    1. I believe in synchronicity too, Mimi. That cream leather sofa was definitely meant to be yours!

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  3. I love your vision board. It perfectly fits your inspiration words. I'm looking forward to seeing the transformation. I think my words would be cozy chateau chic. We are actually looking at building a house and choosing the style of architecture is interesting because I can pick finishes that align with that vision.

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    1. Cozy chateau chic sounds wonderful Stephanie, and is definitely you!

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  4. Although I enjoy perusing interior design magazines, I find the task of decorating my own house stressful and unfulfilling to say the least. That's why I would love to have an expert on board! I find colors, shapes and textures the most important guidelines when deciding upon furniture and other home goods so I have compiled my House Style List I keep on my google docs and update regularly, but overall I would define my style as elegant country chic (not cottage chic though that's too boho for my taste :).

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    1. I agree, Ksenija, I like a slightly more elegant/glamorous country style than cottage. I adore looking at cottage style books though!

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  5. I think classic-elegant-natural-zen would be my decorating words with a tiny bit of whimsy thrown in there. We've never changed our interior because most of what we have doesn't go out of style. Also, we did what you do which is to buy the best quality we can afford.

    I like your decor board, it's very stylish and elegant. For some reason I thought you might go for a more rustic look since you moved :)

    D.

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    1. That's my plan too, D. As we replace items they are going to be our forever piece(s). Love your essence words.

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  6. I love everything connected with interior design, but I have my own style mantra: if it isn't good enough for Chatsworth, it's not good enough for me! This is, of course, a tongue-in-cheek joke. As people who live in the UK will know, Chatsworth is the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Devonshire and is a very grand house indeed. What I mean is, I use this as my bench mark: would a grand house such as Chatsworth have vertical office blinds in a domestic setting? No it would not. So I only have Venetian blinds (plus curtains, of course) which I think are acceptable in a domestic setting, whereas vertical blinds - to me anyway - look suitable for an office or showroom. But some people like them, and everyone must decorate their homes in the way they that suits them. There are no rights and wrongs only preferences.

    I also do not like leather furniture; this, again, is purely personal and I know leather is long-lasting, but again, I ask ... would it be in Chatsworth? And the answer would be No, not unless it was the billiard room.

    When we moved here, we didn't engage the services of an interior design company, but the shop from where we bought our large sofa and our curtains (they were made specially for the rooms) came to visit with lots of pattern books and together we worked out colour schemes which were so pleasing that we still have the curtains in our sitting room and in our study, even though the sofa has been reupholstered, and a further sofa has been purchased.

    I like the faded look of an English country house even though we live in a very ordinary 1980s house in suburbia. I do not subscribe to any particular 'look' and following the latest design trends to the letter is anathema to me. If a paint colour is proclaimed "paint colour of the year" then that to me is sufficient reason not to use it!

    I love your mood board, it is as D says, very stylish and elegant. Your interior design person is right, paint colours can achieve a lot inexpensively and if you get it wrong - not that you will - it is less expensive to change than a new carpet or suite of furniture! Good luck with your homemaking, Fiona, you have a lovely home as a starting point!
    Margaret P

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    1. You always have SUCH great comments, Margaret - thank you! I adore your style, and love the photos you have sent me. I also know now that I can enjoy looking at something but need something else entirely for me to live in. You would probably be bored rigid living in a hotel style home like I covet!!

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  7. Hello Fiona,
    Never used an interior designer before but I am quite inspired by your desire to pay off your mortgage. Very inspiring!!!!

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    1. From what I've seen of your home, Mrs Shockely, you could be the decorator! I love your elegant femininity. Yes, early mortgage payoffs can be done - we paid ours off within five years :)

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  8. Great story, Fiona! My dream home aesthetic is crisp, elegant, and warm. 😊

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  9. My words are country comfy shabby chic.

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    1. I can picture that, Susan 💜 I have one of Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic books and it is a delight to page through 💝

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  10. norfolk country girlSeptember 21, 2017 at 9:43 PM

    We have just moved into a beautiful flint and stone cottage in norfolk in the Uk its small but comes with fab views a fantastic flower garden and a meadow we too have chosen to ditch the mortgage and go smaller but less worries for the future, my style is old country cottage loving open fires and cosy sofas big dining table, a bit squished in when all the kids and their partners come home but hey-ho!!I read alot of interior mags but its all very expensive so I shop around, charity shops and paint paint paint. Loving your books. x

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    1. It all sounds wonderful, and so English :) Our interior designer advised to shop second-hand online and go to auctions rather than buy new items ('hard' items I mean, such as dining tables, occasional tables, sets of drawers). She said they dragged a second-hand dining table - upside down - up a driveway to get the look they desired! I need to become friends with paint, it works magic.

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  11. Mine are "pink, frilly, romantic". My husband's are "gray, modern, minimal." I adore him. I let him win. The plan is to outlive him. Would love to see pictures as your beautiful home evolves!

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    1. So cute Missy, and I can't stop laughing that you planning to outlive him so you can get your way!

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  12. Contemporary elegance opulence luxury, with touches of warmth to keep it from being/looking cold (like fireplaces). There is a house design in Canada I fell in love with last year made of slate blue stone, warm wood staircases, tall ceilings, huge kitchen with a hearth room off to the side. Alpha Hubby and I made a deal we would never have a small kitchen again. This is where luxury comes in - the small details like an under-counter top refrigerator drawers for baking goods items (butter, milk, eggs) near the coffee pot and area for rolling out those baking goods. A walk-in pantry designed just for me. A butler's pantry for my china and crystal collections. OK OK, I need to stop now. I've been saving pictures on my laptop for my dream home we're building. Learning appliance names (Sub Zero, Perlick), and getting ready.

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    1. I love having all the storage we do at our new house, so I know where you are coming from with all your different kitchen areas.

      Love, love, love your four words!

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  13. I would say my style is classy/classic/traditional. I have used a decorator twice and was pleased with their ideas and suggestions. Although my home is somewhat formal (yet comfortable), I think if I were to change it would be less formal with more of a French Country flair mixed with perhaps some unexpected delightful pieces.

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    1. I'm glad you had a great experience with decorators. Just from our few chats, I can see that they take what you like and bring it to life. I used to think they told you what to do, but ours listens to our ideas then formulates how we are going to achieve that look (on our budget too). It's fabulous!

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  14. My words are feminine/quiet/comfort. I don't want a flashy place, or one overloaded with bright colors. I like grays and silvers, soft lavenders and pinks, gentle blues and greens. Not frilly, necessarily, though I do like some, but not everywhere. I'm not a red person when it comes to the house, except for flowers.

    Mostly, I want to walk into my home and feel welcomed and comforted.

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    1. Your comment and words echo your favoured decor style too, Aurora, just lovely! The way you write is soft, feminine and gentle.

      'Mostly, I want to walk into my home and feel welcomed and comforted. ' - Perfection :)

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  15. What a delightful compliment, Fiona! I've always felt that way about your writing too.

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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