It was a summer that I did not venture into my art studio, and yesterday I realized painting is what makes my heart sing. That and some great Rhythm and Blues music in the background make for a wonderful day.
Two days ago I picked up a piece from a wonderful Interior Design Studio in Edmonds that sells quite a bit of my work. The owner took me to house she is redoing and asked if I could do something for the living room to put above the fireplace. The colors were rich grays, taupes, bronze and a little bit of yellow green. This piece is 30″ x 60″ and painted over a previous piece I had done a long time ago.
It was done in a time when everything I did had some purple in it. In the last couple of years I have finally grown tired of purple. I find painting over a previously painted abstract gives depth and life to a new painting.
In this case, since it was already framed, I just used green guerrilla painters tape to cover the frame, so did not have to remove it and could get right to painting.
Whenever I do a bigger piece, I make it so you can hang it vertically or horizontally. It is one thing I do to make it easier to use in what ever environment you hang the art. In my own home, I may hang it one way for a while, then change 90 degrees in another place. That way I don’t grow tired of the piece as quickly.
At the end of the day yesterday I felt this piece was complete and had a great start on a second piece. I plan to spend a lot more time in my studio in the days to come. It makes me happy!
This article came on my newsfeed this morning and I thought it was very interesting. While I agree with most, I do not agree with all. There are as many opinions about design as there are people with opinions.
Drop the paint can, step away from the brick and read this remodeling advice from people who’ve been there
There are a million and one things to consider when taking on a remodeling project. Some of those decisions have the potential to significantly impact your home — and in turn your emotional well-being — for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional your new kitchen is, for example, if you hate the flooring material you chose. It’s going to eat away at you every single day.
In hopes of preventing these situations, we asked readers for design advice on things you should never, ever do during a remodel. Their suggestions are quite revealing, and worth considering. But remember, the thing about advice is that you don’t have to take it. After all, the main takeaway message here should be that no matter what, it’s your home. And you should do whatever you want. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Mike van Lammeren: “Never paint the brick exterior of your house.” I have seen this done and it can work in your favor. Brick may not be a color that works with a new color scheme.
lisknits: “Never have a red, orange or harsh yellow bedroom. No matter how much you like it, those colors are too energizing/irritating to foster rest.”
nnigrt: “Never paint a bedroom before buying the bedding.”
tatts: “Never paint test swatches directly on your walls. The color and or change in finish will telegraph through the finished paint job unless you spend extra time and money to sand and prime. Paint big swatches on poster board so you can move them around to different areas and in different lighting.” I have done this for years and find an extra coat of paint where you sampled the colors works just fine.
decoenthusiaste: “Never buy a ‘set’ from the big-box furniture stores, especially if it includes a love seat.” I have seen way to many homes where this is done. It never looks very good. It looks like you put no thought into buying furniture.
bellburgmaggie: “Never buy that big ugly leather sofa sectional for an itty-bitty tract home and then wonder why it doesn’t look right.” Proportion is everything. Smaller house should equal smaller furniture.
Quirkymimaw (Clarissa): “Don’t let yourself get talked into something if it’s not right for you or the way you and your family live and function.” Here is a great reason to work with a professional designer. They are not just a salesman.
ckp88: “Rethink front-loader washers, side-by-side fridges and double sinks.” Love my front load washers, as it is so easy to transfer to my front load dryer. Mine are both counter height, so I have a countertop that goes on top of them. One big sink is so much easier to wash big pans and a freezer at the bottom (French Style) is so much easier.
laurie0714: “Never put the kitchen sink in a corner.” Totally agree!
Sun Lions LLC: “I recently learned the hard way to never, never buy furniture unless you can first take home a cushion or fabric sample. I ended up with a pink couch and side chair when I thought I was buying cream. Now if I can’t get a sample to see how the color will really look in my own home, I go somewhere else.” Duh!
Sylvia Carlson: “Never buy furniture until you have measured your apartment building’s elevator and all the doors the item will have to pass through.” When I worked at Macy’s years ago, a lot of furniture had to be returned because it did not fit through doors or up stairs.
Royal Carpet Galleries: “Never attempt to buy an area rug before you are sure you have the proper measurements.” Another Duh!
robin701: “Never buy artwork or accessories just to fill a space. Buy what you love and find a space for it.” And buy original art. Go to college shows where you can buy from up and coming artists.
auntthelma: “Never have white floors. Trust me, I’ve done it more than once. I’m a slow learner.” I do love my light gray floor.
tedbixby: “Never (ever) carpet your kitchen, laundry room, well, every room in your house, especially with peach plush carpet. Where was Houzz when I needed you guys to tell me, ‘No way. You can pull up that cheap white vinyl flooring. No need to cover it with carpeting’? Oh, the 1980s were such a learning experience.” Never, never, never!
lobelia: “Never install very dark wood or laminate floors. They will only look good for about five minutes after you clean them. And you have to clean every square inch or the undone areas will be very noticeable. Trust me. I made this mistake. We kept the floors for about a year and then had them replaced.” I still remember when black wood floors were the in thing. What a nightmare for maintenance.
Contracts and Construction
Jillian – Interior design student: “Never ever sign a contract/agreement without reading it. Read the whole agreement — each and every clause. Understand what you are reading/signing. If you don’t, ask someone. Make sure everything you were promised verbally appears in writing.”
tdee56: “Never ever let someone start a job in your home or for you without a written contract. Smiles and handshakes are for the easily duped.” Smiles and handshakes have not worked since the 1950’s.
cambier: “Never leave subcontractors alone on a renovation. Try to be there 24/7.” Pick subcontractors that have been recommended by people you trust, and this won’t be necessary.
Julia Barulina: “Never hire relatives to help you renovate. When something doesn’t go your way or if you don’t like their ideas, it can be a disaster. Hire someone who can guarantee their work.” Don’t hire relatives for anything. Remember they do not need to impress you.
This is the perfect comment for my husband. I wonder if it applies to beer too!
Bison Mat Co.: “Don’t do cheap. If you can’t afford it, wait. You will end up saving money because when you invest in high-quality goods, you won’t have to replace it.” I remember when I was first married and my late husband wanted to buy new furniture at Dania, which is Scandinavian furniture. We did and I did not like it when we bought it and wanted to wait to get what I really loved. I lived with that furniture for years and years. Do without, till you can afford or find what you love.
labincurlers: “When you buy a house, especially a resale, don’t change every single thing you don’t like before you live in it a little while. You find some things are a certain way for a good reason and you are glad you didn’t ‘fix’ it.” Hire a designer.
tedbixby: “Never ever do something because it is a trend. Do it because you love it.” Classic style is always in style.
nnigrt: “And the corollary to tedbixby’s: Never don’t do something you like because it is a trend.”
tedbixby: “Never ever drink wine while operating power tools. The dust will spoil it.”
Amy Wolff Interiors: “Never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbors etc. aren’t paying for it. You are. Get what you love.
nnigrt: “Never renovate aspirationally. If your family isn’t crowded around the kitchen table now playing games, they won’t suddenly do it (more than once) in a new game room. If you don’t have company now in your ‘humble home,’ odds are you won’t suddenly have friends who want to visit your fancier one. You will be just as much of a slob in a nice space as in your current one. Renovations change little that is wrong with us or our relationships.”
Sylvia Carlson: “Never tell your teenager he or she can decorate his or her own room unless you are prepared to live with black paint, plastic skulls and a coffin-shaped bed.” Remember paint is cheap, when they off to college.
mcolabucci: “Never, ever, ever buy your wife brand-new kitchen appliances for Christmas. ‘They are not gifts! They are machines for doing work.’ So I am told.” Maybe it is old world, but never buy a gift with a cord attached.
teamaltese: “One poster’s ‘never’ is another poster’s ‘always.’ Never assume what’s right for you, your taste, your budget, your situation, is right for everyone.” Duh! How many homes have you visited that you just loved everything in the house?
Your turn: What are your design “nevers”? Tell us in the Comments.
Normally I post about food or art, but today I am sharing an article about my own home featured in a local magazine. I bought the land about thirteen years ago and designed and built a home for me to live in as a single woman, as all my children had gotten on with their lives. I was not sure at the time, if I wanted to live here or move back to California, where I am a sixth generation family member. I moved there for a year, but could not get close to the beach, hated the traffic, realized most of my past friends had moved on and totally hated living in a townhouse, with a gate and for the most part not so friendly neighbors. The problem started, when I trusted a builder to follow my construction plans, and he did not. He cheated out on absolutely everything, changed my floor plan without my permission and totally changed the feel of the house. When I moved back to Washington, I lost money on my townhouse in Carlsbad and did not have a job. I did not have a job for over a year, so making changes was not in the budget.
When I married about six years ago, after being single for over twenty years, it was an adjustment using a home designed for one person for the two people now living in it. After about five years, we decided to make the changes you see featured in this article. This is the second home I’ve had featured in a magazine. My 1998 home on Wing Point, Bainbridge Island was featured as home of the year in Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine. They are very different homes, as that was designed for myself and my three teenage sons.
Art in Residence
In the hands of Mike and Diana Kingsley, home is a canvas.
When it comes to interior design, Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley wrote the book. Really. An artist and holder of a master’s degree in interior design, Kingsley authored “Hand Drafting for Interior Design” during her years of teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. The book is a popular text in a hundred colleges across the country and abroad.
When not authoring textbooks, she is a whirlwind of creative energy. The artist-author fills her semi-retirement with painting, sewing, cooking and photography, as well as her beautifully visual cooking and commentary blog.
Considering this surplus of interests, Kingsley was just the woman for job when the time came to plan a new residence. As the last of her three sons graduated from Bainbridge High School, the designer started the search for a home site on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2005, she found just what she was looking for in Kingston.
“I had no idea where I wanted to live until I saw this property,” she says. “There was the beach and this fabulous view. I just wanted to walk on the sand.”
Set on the shore of Apple Tree Cove, the lot looks across broad tide flats to the Kingston Cove Marina and the comings and goings of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. Flocks of sea birds ride the waves and ospreys float in the sky. Changing weather alternately mists distant docks and glints sunbeams off passing boats. Kingsley was enchanted. She knew she’d found the one.
Kingsley also knew who would design her home. She would. First of all, the house would take advantage of the view over two stories. Deep porches on both levels would be roomy enough for dining and reclining. Finally, the master suite would occupy the entire upper floor.
For Kingsley, the design was the easy part. The tough part was acting as her own contractor. The foundation was barely dry before she made a temporary move to California. By the time she returned for a visit, the work was nearly wrapped up. Except some of it wasn’t per agreement, including the kitchen appliances.
Disappointed but undeterred, Kingsley moved in and moved on with life. The next few years brought good things, chief among them her future husband, Mike. As the newlyweds settled into the Kingston house, Diana and Mike Kingsley found creative compatibility.
“I design things and my husband makes them happen,” she says. “He’s very handy.”
“So far I have a 2-to-1 ratio of projects desired to projects completed,” Mike Kingsley replies, smiling at his indefatigable wife.
Considering the couple’s combined talents, what happened next was inevitable. They gutted the house and began a complete remodel.
“We ripped everything out and loaded it in dumpsters,” Diana Kingsley recalls.
After 12 years in residence, she knew what she wanted to rise from the metaphoric ashes of the original house. She wanted a look that was beachy, low-key and comfortable. Kingsley wanted muted colors to reflect what the eye sees outside Puget Sound windows for more than 300 cloudy days a year. She wanted an understated carbon-gray exterior with orange accents. Mostly, she wanted people to stay out of her kitchen.
Kingsley makes no apologies for being the queen of her kitchen. She loves to cook. She also loves to entertain. An invitation to dinner with the Kingsleys is a recipe for a most appetizing evening. Kingsley needed a kitchen worthy of her talents.
Then the designer had an inspiration. What if her real-life project became a lesson for her students at the art institute? Kingsley invited 30 students to her home to plan 30 individual redesigns. One of the plans was an eye-opener.
“A student suggested getting rid of the kitchen island and making the kitchen u-shaped,” she says.
Kingsley realized this new configuration was just what she wanted. It would keep guests from wandering underfoot while she cooked but allow them to keep her company on stools on the far side of the counter.
With this as the basis of her new kitchen, Kingsley added view windows and new cabinets, upgraded the appliances and chose new flooring. Her husband saw to it that her dream pot rack became reality. A new color scheme paired soft-gray walls with crisp-white cabinetry. Granite installed by Grandy Marble and Tile of Kingston added visual movement to the otherwise peaceful presentation. The result is a casually elegant cooking center that reads like a sigh of relief at the end of a hectic day.
Just off the kitchen, the couple added two small rooms tucked behind roller-mounted barn doors: the bead-boarded utility room and a pantry. The red-and-white pantry highlights Kingsley’s evolved sense of order with rows of spices and teas neatly labeled with her husband’s label maker, a device that she adores.
Of course, for a designer, the furnishings are as important as the layout. Kingsley loves the clean, classic lines of the 1970s. Examples of these in the Kingsleys’ home are the retro upholstered metal stools that Mike Kingsley had cut down to fit the kitchen counter. The home also boasts a Platner table and see-through Lucite “ghost” chairs. In contrast to these streamlined pieces is Mike’s handsome, 1907 Estey grand piano that holds sway in the living room with the good-natured solidity of Winston Churchill at an artist’s colony.
Finding the perfect wall art was no problem for Kingsley, a skilled artist whose paintings and drawings are shown and sold at Interiors of Edmonds. Whatever the theme or size needed for her own rooms, she retired to her backyard studio and created it herself. Recently, her works lean toward big, bold abstracts.
As handy with a sewing machine as a paintbrush, Diana changed out all of the living room fabrics. In the bedrooms, Mike cut the wooden headboard forms and she upholstered them in heavy silk tapestry and made pillows to match.
Both of the Kingsleys are happy in their home at the beach. He enjoys the short walk to the Kingston ferry. She is learning to live retired by the shore of what she describes as a 12-hour-a-day waterfront, meaning there’s always something to see, from raccoons and herons to paddle-boarders and that kid who had to leave his boots behind in the calf-deep mud of the tide flat.
As Mike Kingsley points out, their home is a work in progress. Yet, in the hands of a woman who admits she’s “too hyper to be a good retiree,” there’s no doubt it will all come together.
“People ask me, ‘How do you get it all done?’” Diana Kingsley says with a shrug. “How do I not?”
There are still a few more things we hope to add to the home. Last week we finished a deck by the beach and are awaiting Orange Polywood Adirondack chairs to complete the look. We will be adding privacy panels on one end of the deck and an outdoor fireplace on the other.
I shared the artwork I recently completed the other day, but now it is installed on my newly refinished Entry Hall Wall. I painted the wall orange, after taking down all the boards. When they were once again installed, I did a wash of the wall color in the rest of the house, diluted down with water. The effect worked well, so now the wall is soft, you can see peeks of orange coming through and the new painting likes its new home.
The nice thing about painting is that you can paint at any age. You can change your style, and reinvent what you like. As a senior, you still have lots and lots of creative energy. I now smile when I walk in the front door, as I like the simplicity of the painting with complexity of the brushstrokes.
I took the day to spend in my Art Studio and redid a painting I did last year. Purple was my favorite color for many years and I always put it in paintings. I took the purple out of this one, replaced it with my new neutral – Gray. I defined the flowers a little more with oil crayons and feel the result is much more successful. It really seems to pop!
While I was in the studio, I wanted to paint something new for my entry, as I had repainted the wall and redid the wood. Originally it was fence wood, unpainted with purple on the wall. The new look is shown below, so I think my new painting will be perfect. I had one I was going to use that I was showing at Interiors of Edmonds, but when I called to pick it up for a photo shoot, I found out it had been sold.
So I think this new 30″ x 40″ will work well.
Sometimes knowing you have something coming gets the creativity flowing. Our beach home is going to be featured in West Sound Home and Garden magazine this summer, so I wanted something fun to be on the entry wall. By jove, I think I got it.
For the last about 15 years I have been enjoying the creative pastime of painting and drawing. Over the years I have sold many pieces and with the exception of a doctor’s office, where I helped install the work I seldom get to see it in it’s new environment.
The second photo is of a piece I sold at Interiors of Edmonds and the new owner was kind enough to share a photo of it hanging in her lovely home. All artists should be so lucky to see where their work finds a home.
Everyday in my home I wake up to a variation of this view. It took a long time in life to get to the place where I wake up and can’t wait to see the view of the morning. I kept buying and selling and then building and selling to make a profit on each so I could move to somewhere with a better view. I am in the smallest home, other than my first in Del Mar, California and I love the view the best!
Many do not understand this obsession, but living in the Pacific Northwest we have this incredible opportunity to live our lives with amazing views or using a word I heard for the first time “Fablioso” views. If you don’t live where you love the view you wake up to, then perhaps it is time to think about moving?
That is where I came in to help you find just the right view. As an artist and a professional (ASID & IIDA) interior designer (Yes I passed the two day test) and having worked to earn a PhD in Business Marketing, I can do a great job for you!
Think of me when you think of Real Estate. Join me on one of my Facebook pages:
Picked up my paint brushes for the first time in six months. It felt glorious. This painting has been sitting on the canvas half done for over six months. Life got in the way, and that should never happen to an artist. I truly enjoy selling real estate, but was with a team that wanted you to work 7/24 and cold call people whenever they signed online to look at houses. It made me feel like I was “Big Brother” watching what people were doing. I don’t like it when I get email for months when I was interested for a short amount of time, or now on Facebook anything that you have viewed online or in Amazon shows up on the side bar, till your next choice of searches.
When I finished this painting tonight and photographed it, I could not decide which I liked it best. Horizontal or Vertical. That is when I started thinking we all have choices to make every day of our life. Today I chose to paint after having a wonderful lunch with my beautiful God daughter. She inspired me to get back to what I love doing.
Not that I am not going to help people buy and sell houses, I am just going to take some time for me to do the things I love.
So you choose, which way do you like it better? Vertical or Horizontal? Life is so full of wonderful choices, just take one and get on with it.