California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Fabrics, Space Planning, Furnishings for a Savvy Design Client

After twelve weeks of designing, sourcing and ordering furniture, fabrics and window treatments we are now in the installation process of a unique and beautiful living room project.


One thing that’s unusual about the project is that the client, an active, style savvy grandmother, chose the best of the three design schemes I put together for her and didn’t change a thing. I was…am, completely thrilled.

above via ZSAZSABELLAGIO.blogspot
It’s a formal living room that will be used for relaxation and to entertain guests. It is a medium sized room, rather long, and with a low ceiling. It has one bay window at the far end and another small window on the adjacent wall. Since the home sits on property with lots of trees, the room tends to be a little dark during certain times of the day. There were several wonderful, existing furniture pieces to work around such as a large mahogany hutch and several accent tables. I also requested that we keep a small loveseat she’d initially planned on getting rid of, not only to protect the budget but also to keep things from being too “matchy-matchy”.

I spend a lot of time on my fabric schemes and I’m particularly excited about the ones we’ve chosen for this room. On the new sofa and armchair is a stunning, high end, blue diamond-motif upholstery fabric. The fabric is hard to describe. It has a kind of retro vibe with a gray-blue background. It falls into the velvet family but it has cut outs around the diamond. The diamond itself is in a slightly darker gray-blue. The fabric for the sofa and armchair pillows is a pale, flesh-toned linen with a tan, green and blue, branch and leaf motif. The pillows have tiny, dark teal blue welts that add a nice, crisp contrast.

above via
For the slipcover for the existing loveseat I chose a sturdy yet light weight textured fabric with the same colors: flesh tones, blues and other colors that pull everything together without the busyness of a print. It’s considered a multi-colored fabric and its predominant, background color is “flesh”. The pillows for the loveseat are teal, the same fabric that’s on the welts of the sofa/chair pillows but this time, the welt is the flesh toned, branch motif linen.


Lastly, the windows. There was no room in the alcove of the bay window to do any kind of significant window treatment and since the bay is a focal point, I had to come up with something striking… a kind of visual “anchor” for the room. We opted for a box pleated valance which we mounted directly on the soffit above in a beautiful, muted apricot cotton/linen blend. It has welts in the same flesh toned, branch motif linen that’s on the sofa pillows and the loveseat pillow welts. Under the bay valance, flanking the glass, are four simple, warm white curtain panels mounted on concealed oval rods. They soften and blur the dark lines of the window frames. There is also a matching valance right above the smallest window. We mounted the valances high, so maximum light will be allowed inside. For great energy efficiency and function, we installed high quality but surprisingly affordable honeycomb shades with an “easy” raising and lowering feature. No strings, and they virtually disappear when raised.

above via ELLE DECOR
In a long room, especially one with a low ceiling I focus on space planning and light first and foremost. In her floor plan option, I allowed for clear foot traffic patterns with the largest seating (the sofa) along the wall rather than across the room, while “floating” the new armchair beside the sofa, as a kind of “mini-room divider”.  I focused on making sure there was plenty of seating (for entertaining those guests) by keeping and utilizing the existing love seat. To allow maximum light, I kept the window treatments off the glass as much as possible with the exception of the warm white curtain panels. Their vertical lines also add needed visual height which again, helps with that low ceiling.

Putting together fabrics and color is less about function than space planning and light control but it’s just as important. The various shades of blue, flesh tones and touches of muted apricot are soft and comforting and go well with the wood tones, paint and carpet already present in the room. I like to use a variety of prints, solids and textures in my fabric schemes and manipulate them in ways that are eye catching as well as practical and soothing.     



above via DUSTJACKETATTIC.blogspot
After the last items are delivered, I’ll rearrange all the furniture both new and old, and place all her accessories. With the combination of striking new fabrics, new seating, new slipcovers and older wood case goods, the results will be smashing. The room will be warm and pulled together...
Ready for company.


above via DOLLYLOVESPINK.flicker
above FLEAINGFRANCE.tumblr

Shiree’s Style File


Custom design work through an interior designer takes time. Most of my products are built in North Carolina and I allow eight to twelve weeks from the time of order to the time it’s delivered to the client’s door. In mountainous areas, a  bit more time is required.


Floor plans and fabrics can make or break a project. Keep traffic patterns clean and simple and use the best designed fabrics the budget will allow.


To gain visual height in a room with low ceilings, try mounting the window treatments higher than usual. In this project we went almost to the ceiling.


Don’t “fight” the shape of a room. Go with the flow by following what’s already there: in long narrow rooms place the sofa on the longest wall and offset it with a chair “floating” to the left or right as a visual room divider.


Never buy all new furniture from one place in time. Mix it up with vintage, antiques and other, complimentary styles for a more evolved look. This also makes it easier to maintain a stylish look later “down the road”.


In small to medium spaces, keep color and pattern schemes fairly simple. In this project there are two main colors: gray-blue and muted apricot, and two main patterns: diamond and branch/leaf.


Orange and blue are opposites on the color wheel and are therefore “complimentary”. Apricot is a version of orange and goes splendidly with various shades of blue.


above via JOSS AND MAIN
above via AMY MEIER. com

 above via

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Best Home Upgrades and Additions for 2015

above via
With residential real estate values still low in some areas, many homeowners are exploring the benefits of adding to and remodeling their existing home. While making improvements to your home may or may not add immediate value on paper right away, there are other benefits to consider such as future value and personal comfort.

As a guideline, I’ve chosen the best, most beneficial interior additions and upgrades for the coming year and placed them in order of generalized importance. Obviously priorities vary slightly for everyone. Some people care more about home value while others are interested in lifestyle improvements.

Kitchen and bath remodels/ appliances

Attractive, quality flooring

Energy efficient windows and doors

Quality interior doors, casing and molding

Built-in book cases and hutches

Attractive fireplaces and mantels

Sky lights and solar tubes

Home offices
Green design (saving for a separate post)

These last four are more feasible for households that have sufficient value to justify them.

Media rooms

Wine cellars

French doors

Guest houses

If your home was built before the mid-nineties, your kitchen needs a cosmetic upgrade or a complete remodel. Some of today’s “standards” in kitchen design like granite counters and stainless steel appliances were set at that time and are usually requirements for today’s home buyer. These improvements add real value to your home whether you’re selling or refinancing, whether the home is large or small. I don’t feel the need to use granite counters in all my projects, but I’m aware that most home buyers expect them.


Flooring is not that difficult to choose if you have these easy perimeters to guide you. Stick with the basics. It’s been my experience that wool carpet looks better, is healthier, is environmentally friendly and stays beautiful longer. Choose neutral, one color carpets, not too dark or light; medium pile; and no sculpting. Carpets should be a tasteful background, not a focal point. Berber’s and sculptured carpets are not currently a popular design trend. Area rugs are however, and different guidelines apply to them.

You literally can’t go wrong with wood floors. The upfront expense will pay for itself in the long run. Wide or narrow plank, rustic or refined, dark or light: think about how it will relate to your architectural style, and your doors and windows. Tile, in my opinion, isn’t well suited for large spaces and should be saved for the bathroom and laundry. Some people love them in hot climates however.

above MISSZEIT.tumblr
Improving your home with new, energy efficient windows will of course add value to your home but choosing the right style is important too. Consider the architecture. Is it contemporary or traditional? Contemporary style windows don’t usually have grids or panes but rather large expanses of glass. What materials already exist in the home? If you have light floors, light wood windows will look best. Vinyl windows are easier to maintain, but wood windows are a natural product, are better for the environment, and are beautiful to the eye. Is it a formal or casual room? I like large picture windows in the living and dining room and smaller, more functional windows in the guest room and bath. Will sun or privacy be an issue? Protecting your floors and furniture will be something to consider, especially if there are no trees surrounding your lot. 

Built-in bookcases are one of my favorite architectural details. Without at least a few built-ins, a home lacks permanence or purpose. They aren’t that hard to design if you know where to place them, and what they should look like. Again, coordinate them with the molding, windows, and doors in the home. They are an excellent investment for a home of any size or value.

above via ELLE DECOR
The most inexpensive and astounding home improvement I’ve seen recently is a series of skylights my good friends and clients installed in their new, downsized home. The home is light filled on even the dreariest days and in the spring, you can see the tops of their stunning, flowering pear trees. Solar tubes are easy to install and add considerable light but don’t provide this kind of view. As we age, our eyes and moods require more light. Skylights are wonderful improvements to consider whether you’re selling or staying put.

Living in mountainous areas with occasional snow and power outages, wood burning stoves are very common place. I appreciate the practicality but dislike the way they look. Unfortunately fireplaces don’t provide the kind of warmth you get with air tight stoves. It’s function vs. aesthetics in this case and the homeowner must decide where the tradeoff lies.

My current design solution is to put the stove in the family room or den and the fireplace in the formal living room.  And if you don’t have a formal living room, I like to recommend a compromise with a fireplace and wood burning insert. You get the beauty of the fireplace with the function of a stove.

above via ZSAZSABELLAGIO.BlogSpot
If your home is beautifully landscaped with plantings, patios or vistas, French doors add tremendous beauty and pleasure to your home life. Virtually any room in the home will benefit from them. Match the materials to your windows, casing and molding. They are particularly in keeping with the California and Florida “indoor/outdoor” living style. When deciding on improvements, French doors are not the first, most important improvement for your home. They are something to consider “after” more important improvements have been made, such as updating your kitchen and bathrooms.

above via SWEETHOMESTYLE.tumblr
There is more to consider in home improvement than just adding to the dollar value of your home. Think about function and aesthetics, how long you’ll be in the home, the condition of the neighborhood, the “emotional” appeal the improvements will have on potential buyers, and the enjoyment you’ll derive from the improvements.

above via THEENCHANTEDHOME.blogspot


above via MYIDEALHOME.tumblr


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