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Old 12-13-2014, 12:55 PM
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,519 posts, read 1,270,133 times
Reputation: 3810


I just purchased my retirement home. I have a year and 1/2 to decorate it. I'm starting slow. I will need almost every piece of furniture since I am moving cross country and not taking anything but my clothes, kitchen stuff, my bedroom set (for use in the guest bedroom) and my artwork.
3 bedroom, 3 bath open floorplan for kitchen, dining and living room. I love Impressionism art - if I can I will upload my inspiration piece.
This will be my first (and probably only) decorating project, so any advice on how to approach this would be helpful.
Attached Thumbnails
So I bought a house - let the decorating begin-artinstituteshop-lamp.jpg  
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:41 PM
1,315 posts, read 1,676,781 times
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Start with making up a budget and add about 15% to what you think something will cost.

Depending upon how old the house is, look at what systems might need replacing within the next few years- so that you have a budget going out for the next 4 or 5 years.

For example, if the water heater is 12 yrs old do you want to replace it now or hope you can get another year or two out of it before it springs a leak?

Same thing for all of the appliances- if the refrigerator is 15 years old- it might be cheaper to replace it now with a much more energy efficient model when you move in rather than wait for it to die.

Evaluate the heating/cooling system, roof etc. and if it may need repairs in the next 4 or 5 years.

Once you account for these items in your budget over the next 4 or 5 years you can determine how much is left to do the fun stuff like painting, carpeting, furniture, lighting fixtures etc.

Since you are artistic, you know that the light you get in each room has a huge impact on what a color looks like in that room. So, evaluate the direct light each room receives and how it impacts colors in that room.

Since you have 18 months, I would start with the existing lighting fixtures that might need to be replaced or added before I considered doing any painting or selection of flooring.

When it comes to furniture, lamps etc. I would locate all the nearby thrift shops and estate sales when you are in town to pick up some quality pieces at a great price.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:01 PM
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The lamp you posted is from the Art Institute of Chicago shop, artinstituteshop.org, thanks for providing that info (not). The best way to get advice is to be forth coming with what ever information you can provide.

They called it a jeweled swirl lamp. It is styled after Louis Comfort Tiffany, but I wouldn't really call it a 'Tiffany' lamp.

The first thing you could do is define what is it that you like about this piece. This is a no-right-answer question. So, don't think about what other people might think, just what is it that YOU like about it. Period.

You might do well to start developing a mood board. Download images from the internet and image searches into a Mood Folder on your Desk top that you can refer to. It might help to rename the images or make sub folders like "color" "mood" "textile" "rug" "couch" "Wall art" so you can easily skim through your inspirations.

The style of that lamp is very Traditional and Arts and Crafts (A&C). That style is out right now. So, you may be in luck as excellant antique and repro pieces are being dumped on the market. I recently saw a solid oak, repro, A&C dresser for $125 from a brand that Restoration Hard. had been selling for $1,000. A&C is a ridgid and masculine style. Sharp edged oak, aged bronze, stained glass, art glass, art pottery, leather. None of these textures have a very friendly "hand". (They don't feel soft to the touch). So, a lot of the design, for me, depends on how you soften that look. Traditionally, folks use indian blankets and ethnic kilim carpets or fur. At that point you run the risk of being a cliche. The whole design is stale.

For your mood board I would suggest you first look at textiles you like. There is a possibility that you will find something that hasn't necessarily been used with A&C before. I would direct you to find a favorite color and image search for ethnic textiles: If your color is red, try

Textile Ethnic Red
Textile African Red
Textile Middle Eastern Red
Textile South American Red
Textile Asian Red.

Not only download the images, but look at the pages to see if these textile have a name, and record that name on a rtf file in your files.

Do the same searches but exchange the word "textile" with "Fabric"

The reason to start here is to give you a broader sense of what you may like.

Next search for "Arts and Crafts" in quotes with various words, like Interior, Design, Home, Living Room, Rug, Couch, Dinning Room, Bed Room, etc.

In those pictures look for elements that you are attracted to. It may be the way the furniture is arranged, it may be the colors or textures, it may be the way the art work is displayed. These little bits can help you, like a *** saw puzzle, to put together your own room.
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:13 PM
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,519 posts, read 1,270,133 times
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Mary2014 - thank you for your response. That's incredibly useful information.
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:17 PM
Location: Floyd Co, VA
3,466 posts, read 5,364,350 times
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You might want to start with a trip to the library - search sections 727, 728 and 747 for books on home decorating & interior design. Christopher Lowell has a good one on The Seven Layers of Design.

Another resource would be a fabric store, even if you have no desire or ability to sew for your new place. You can peruse the books on home dec. and see good photos of lots of different styles of window treatments, color and texture of fabrics, etc and that should help you figure out what you do and don't like.

If you'll be staying in SF a trip to Sal Beressi's fabric warehouse on Bryant St. is in order (at least for this fabric junkie who got some stuff there years ago for bedroom drapes that have moved several times and I still love them).

Most important of all - take your time, have fun and hopefully wind up with a place that's uniquely your own.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:06 PM
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Buy what you like!!

Though I think living in MB... you may find your tastes changing.

It's funny, lots of folks bring their stuff down from the Northeast...........some it REALLY nice stuff.. then after awhile they jettison it for a more beachy look.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:10 PM
Location: Coastal Georgia
39,058 posts, read 48,006,211 times
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So, you are moving from SF to where?
I found that moving from one area of the country to the other, for me it was the Midwest to the south, caused a sharp shift in aesthetics. The things that felt right in the frozen north, no longer fit in the hot beachy southern climate.
Also, in retirement, I felt more freedom to be less serious and more whimsical. I only surround myself with what makes me comfortable and happy.
We bought a lot of regional art where we lived before, and found it too heavy and inappropriate in the south.
My point is that you are smart to not drag a lot of things from the old house, and give yourself time to listen to what seems right in your new place.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:02 PM
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,519 posts, read 1,270,133 times
Reputation: 3810
I'll be moving to South Carolina, so it will be a big change from my current Victorian. I have spent a lot of time in the South and know the general style I want (and don't want). I'm starting to put the budget together. Luckily the new home is only 2 years old, so I won't have to worry about major appliance replacement too soon.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:20 PM
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
8,489 posts, read 11,399,637 times
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My advice to you, since I assume MB is Myrtle Beach, is to first decide if you will have a Beach home or a Home at the beach. I live at the beach too, but my home is not coastal, with the exception of the outdoor deck in the summer time.

Next, forget about what the style is or isn't unless you are planning on selling in the near future. Buy what you love and can afford and make your home yours. After all you are the one who has to live there. I have a several personal art pieces that are a reflection of who I am, such as, the lace wrist point sleeve of my mothers' wedding gown. It never fails to get attention and is a great conversation piece. Find YOUR style.

Another poster suggested the Christopher Lowell "Seven layers of Design", it is a wonderful resource and a favorite of mine. But there are many.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:21 PM
Location: Myrtle Beach
1,519 posts, read 1,270,133 times
Reputation: 3810
Yes it is Myrtle Beach. I'm not enthralled with the "beachy" look for my permanent home. I also don't like the overstuffed furniture that I saw in some of the homes I looked at before I bought mine. I like the cleaner lines without a lot of fuss. I'I definitely want a white rocker for my porch.
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