About Amanda Goldberg

Amanda Goldberg is a design enthusiast and blogger from the US. She is the managing editor of the Erie Construction Better Home Blog and frequently writes about great design and beautiful homes. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter @ErieMidWest

Style Tips from Star Designers

Need some celebrity inspiration for your digs? Check out what some of Hollywood’s biggest names in interior design have to say.

Go Green

Kari Whitman is the designer who decorated Jessica Alba’s Los Angeles home. Both Alba and Whitman are environmentalists and Whitman says, “I incorporate the green aesthetic into my home designs as much as I can.” While going green is important, she believes that there is no need to renovate an entire home. A few smart choices make a difference. Shopping at flea markets, antique shops, and even hotel-liquidation warehouses is a great way to reuse, recycle, and reinvent. “It’s all about working with existing things,” says Whitman.

Break the Rules

Jeff Andrews, Khloe Kardashian-Odom’s interior designer had great advice for DIY decorating. His best advice? “Don’t over design. Don’t follow any current trends too closely, leave room for evolution,” Andrews says. His aesthetic is built on a traditional base without traditional rules. He admires small details in a room like personal photos and mementos that give the space a fresh, personal feeling. He also advises not to neglect the window treatments, as they can really pull a room together.

Be Happy

Barbie’s Malibu Dream House designer, and interior decorator to the stars, Jonathan Adler’s style philosophy is “happy chic.” Adler encourages bright, unpretentious spaces that look chic without being stuffy. He considers himself and his room maximalist (rather than minimalist). “Personal style means having a space that’s comfy, but filled with stuff that has meaning to you. It should hold things created and inspired by passionate people. Personal style should make you feel happy and happiness is chic,” says Adler. He also says that if you’re feeling unsure about a color, always pick orange as it is often the answer to most decorating conundrums.

Reflect your Personality

When Jennifer Lopez needed her California home redecorated, she called on the talents of designer, Michelle Workman. Workman strongly believes that your décor should reflect who you are. For example, her work for Jennifer Lopez was sophisticated, sexy, but not too over the top. What resulted was an Art-Deco glam reminiscent of black and white movies from the forties. She isn’t afraid to mix the masculine together with feminine to create the perfect balance of grace and substantiality.

Be Unexpected

Ruthie Sommers decorated Drew Barrymore’s new office for her production company, Flower Films. Sommers insists that matching, “is for amateurs.” Using a lot of colors to create contrast will make a room feel more accessible and fun. Use color in unexpected places, for example, the ceiling. “It’s the 5th wall,” she says. Whatever your style, as long as you decorate with what you love, you’ll be pulling it off. She also insists that there should be enough seating for at least 8 people in every room. So having extra cushions or makeshift seating is imperative if you like to entertain.

These designers decorate for the trend setters and really know their stuff. If you follow their advice, your home will be looking stylish in no time!

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more tips on home improvement.

Easy Tips for a Hallway Fix

You’ve decorated your bedroom, your kitchen, and your living room, but what about your hallway? Hallways often get neglected in terms of design and are left looking bare and boring. However, there are several ways to make your hallway into a room of its own. Take a look at these easy tips for a hallway fix.

Lighten Up

Many times hallways don’t have windows so they don’t get a lot of natural light. If you’re lucky enough to have windows in your hall, don’t cover them up with heavy treatments. Opt for lightweight fabrics or even sheers. That way you’ll let the light shine through while still maintaining your privacy.

For those with windowless hallways, artificial lighting is the best thing you can do to improve the looks of your hallway. Sconces and ceiling lights are the best options for narrow hallways as they don’t take up floor space or hang too low. If you have the luxury of having a slightly larger hallway, you can afford to go full out fabulous and install a chandelier.

Keep in mind that your paint choices are important here too. Lighter colours will make the hall seem larger and less cramped while darker colours will give the hall drama and a sense of coziness. As always, mirrors give any room more light and can make a huge difference in a too-dark hallway.

Get Arty

Art is a great way to add some personality to the hallway. Consider an arrangement of smaller prints that span the wall for a casual feel. For a more formal hallway, try equally spaced identical frames that reach from one end of the hall to the other.

If you don’t have the budget to buy  a bunch of art for the hallway, try this inexpensive DIY project. Purchase at least 3 pre-primed canvases from your craft store. Apply an even coat of paint in your preferred colour. Once they dry, push all three together so the sides are touching. Using a wide paintbrush and paint of another colour, paint a design across all three canvases. You can hang them in intervals along the hall for personalized art.

Add Texture

You would add different textures to any other room of your home, so why not the hallway? Mixing different textures in a room creates a sense of depth that makes a room seem more put together. Try placing a rug or runner in the hall, or better yet – a runner on top of a rug. Mirrors, plants, and furniture can all add different textures to enhance your hallway.

Plan Carefully

Unlike other rooms, a hallway is more for getting you from one place to another, not for resting. This being said, you should be able to navigate your hallway with ease. Don’t put furniture directly outside of doorways or around tight corners. Bulky items should be avoided in the hall as well.

Convenience is Key

An entry way is the ideal place for a small bench to rest on while you put on shoes. It’s also a great place for a hutch or catch all for keys, hats, purses, etc. If you can’t find a piece small enough for your hallway, an easy DIY project you can do in a weekend is to craft twin hutches out of a side table. Cut the table in half and after sanding and painting, mount it to either side of the door. Easy DIY his and hers hutches.

Decorating a hallway doesn’t have to cost tons of money or a lot of time. A few simple fixes is all your hallway needs to become a room of its own.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for tips on home improvement.

How to Soundproof with Style

Street traffic, noisy neighbors and pets keeping you up at night? If you’ve finally found the perfect flat but are unable to sleep with all the city noise, don’t fret! If you’ve considered soundproofing but can’t go constructing walls, and you don’t want to  sacrifice style for a sound night’s sleep- check out these chic, easy alternatives for reducing noise in your home.

Without embarking on a major construction project, there are a several ways to soundproof your home. The best place to start is to figure out the source of the noise or where the majority of the noise is coming from. Once you pinpoint the source it will be much simpler to choose the right noise reducing method for the area.

Building Barriers

If you find that the majority of the noise is coming from other rooms of the house via shared walls or from outside traffic, building a barrier could be a good solution. However there is no need to start fooling around with expensive drywall. Floor to ceiling bookshelves or a media rack will minimize sounds when placed against the offending shared wall. Not only does this look nice and minimize noise, but it gives you a lot of extra storage. Who doesn’t love more storage?

If you have ample storage already, or don’t have the extra space to fit a bookshelf, there is still hope yet. MIO Acoustic Weave tiles and Träullit Hexagons are very effective sound reducers. The MIO tiles are eco-friendly and can be painted to match any décor. They give the wall a lot of texture and character and are relatively inexpensive.  The other tile alternative, while still green, is slightly more Swedish. Träullit Hexagons are made from woodwool cement board and look more like art than sound-proofing.

For a less permanent, more customizable approach, try wrapping a few big plywood panels with some fiberfill and faux upholstering them with a beautiful, lux fabric to match your interior. These look great, and are easy to move around. It’s a great option for those of you who are renting flats.

Another way to reduce noise in your room is by spraying texture onto your ceiling. It’s easy to apply, just ask your local hardware store about acoustic ceiling spray. Roughening the surface will help absorb sound waves rather than bounce them around the room. The spray texture is easy to apply and the result is sometimes referred to as popcorn ceiling.

Street Sounds

If street sounds keep you awake at night, it is most likely a result of thin windows. If you’re willing to shell out the extra cash to upgrade to triple pane windows it will make a difference in the room noise-wise. Triple pane windows have three layers of glass cushioned by layers of inert gasses that contribute to overall sound-dampening. However, if new windows are not in your future there is another way to sound proof your old ones. Your window treatments can work to reduce noise in the room. Select heavy fabrics instead of sheers or lightweight cotton. Consider lux fabrics like velvet. If noise is a problem opt for these curtains instead of light sheers or window blinds.

Softer Things, Softer Sounds

Soft, heavy materials are great when it comes to absorbing sound. Think about a big empty room, sounds echo much more readily in an empty room than a full one. The more materials and textures you have in the room, the harder it is for sound to travel.  Simple additions to your décor like throws, wraps and throw pillows will make all the difference. For noise that comes from above or below, consider adding high-pile rugs with thick pads to muffle sounds escaping from other rooms.

So don’t sacrifice style or start tearing apart your home with construction just to muffle some unwanted noise. Instead, try these easy style-friendly noise reducing tricks.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more information about home improvement.

The Look For Less

Living in beautifully styled home that looks like it’s off the page of a magazine doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Take a look at these designers’ digs and the tips on how you can get the same look for your home for much less!

Liza Sherman’s Eclectic Bedroom

This celebrated antiques dealer from NYC knows what she likes and how she likes it. If you don’t get it, she can’t explain it. Her taste and style shines through in this sunny yellow bedroom that radiates warmth and shows off her cool eclectic style.

Get this look for less by starting with paint. Giving your room a fresh coat is an instant transformer. Sherman’s room uses the same color on the wood floors for added interest. Leaving the ceiling and molding white keeps the color from overwhelming. No need for expensive bedding here. Simple white pillow cases and inexpensive batik throws will recreate the look. For the art, stencil some portraits on thin plywood with spray paint and frame a few of your favorite tees. Eclectic style is all about mixing pieces from different eras and styles, so have fun with it!

Robert Couturier’s French-inspired Entry

Couturier’s work has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. His designs can be seen worldwide and his stylistic instincts are legendary. This entry way was designed with a nod to French design. Rich texture and bold color combine to make this space subtle and glamorous.

Again, a fresh coat of paint does wonders for a space. White will also make a room seem larger, so if you’re living in a small flat this is a great option. The most unique part of this space is the antler chandeliers, but don’t need to purchase a $900.00 chandelier to get the look. You can get a good faux antler wall mount for under $200 online. Same effect, easier on the wallet. Another way to replicate the look of this room is to hang velvety curtains. The texture is luxurious but they’re really inexpensive. If you have time, reupholster some seat cushions in the velvet fabric in a different jewel tone color.

Stolman & Young’s Contemporary Palm Beach Living Room

These interior designers know how to work with bright colors without overwhelming a room. Shades of yellow and aqua mix perfectly to capture the airy atmosphere of Palm Beach. The colors keep it cool while the accessories bring everything down to earth.

Keep things looking lively in your home by recreating this look by Stolman & Young. Keep the color on the walls and in accessories. By leaving the big furniture neutral, the room looks soft and relaxing rather than too bright. Recovering throw pillows with bright fabric is an easy way to update your living room. Paint a few items to match. In this case the lamps on either side of the sofa match the pillows. Pull the whole room together by framing a painting (or poster) that complements the colors you’ve chosen for the accessories in the room.

Adam Lippes’s Chic Dining Room

Sportswear designer Adam Lippes’s dining room is chic and uncomplicated much like his philosophy on clothing design. No need to clutter up the place, streamlined is the way to go. Grey walls and a decorative floral design keeps this minimalist room looking soft and pretty.

Recreate the look of Lippes’s dining room on a dime with these tips. Clear out any clutter in the room, the key here to keep it simple. A coat of grey paint paired with a vinyl sticker makes the same impression as hand painted wallpaper for much less! Add an organic shaped chandelier to echo the wall. Rouge Living offers a beautiful flower chandelier for under $100.00. Mix and match chairs from other rooms of your house for added interest to your dining room table. Complete the look with short vases of fresh flowers.

Jason Wu’s Cheerful Studio

Fashionistas like Ivana Trump, January Jones and First Lady Michelle Obama have been dressed by designer Jason Wu. Here, in the entrance to his cheerful NYC studio he allows art to shine through with an all-white palette. Pops of color on a blank canvas give make this a refreshing, inspirational space.

Wu’s space is easy to replicate because in this case, less is more. Start with a blank canvas. Keep color to an absolute minimum, using mostly metallics and neutrals. Get the look by neatly hanging some of your most treasured wardrobe pieces as art and to add color to the room. Add a graphic throw pillow for a punch of color on an otherwise muted couch. A lovely bunch of hydrangeas keeps the room feeling extra fresh and softens the stark white walls.

 

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for updates on home improvement.

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

Colour Shock – Go Big or Go Home!

Who said your walls have to be taupe, eggshell or tan? Neutrals are great, but a little colour won’t hurt. In fact, a lot of colour won’t hurt either! Colour is the easiest way to revamp your space. There are unlimited colours to choose from and not a single one is off-limits. There is a big bold world of colour out there just waiting for you, don’t be afraid of it! Check out these tips on working with bold colours for your home.

When you’re ready to leave your dreary world of beige behind, find colour inspiration in the things and places you love. Take a stroll through the museum and have a look at the famous paintings and their colour stories. Flip through a fashion magazine and see what colours you’re most drawn to. One of my favorite places to find colour inspiration is at the market; specifically the produce section. There are so many vibrant colours there that I often find myself bringing home veggies I don’t even like because the colour is so lovely. Don’t be afraid to use a non-traditional colour like tangerine, lime green, or even black. Bold colour isn’t just for kids’ rooms anymore. With the right accessories and secondary colours, you can make any colour look simply chic.

When you’ve been sufficiently inspired and have chosen your colour, run out and buy samples. Most paint brands offer small sample cans of their colours. Paint a small section of your wall and live with it for a week or so. If you’re not in love with it, you can try another colour. Also, keep in mind that if you decide to go with high gloss paint it will be less kind in disguising any painting mistakes or imperfections on the wall. Matte colour will do a better job masking flaws.

Painting the entire space with bold colour is going to make a big impact. They key is to keep the space balanced to prevent it from looking over-the-top. Keep your space looking sophisticated by using a tried and true colour story. It’s very simple to do, just consult the colour wheel.

Bold colour + Neutrals – If you’re not ready to abandon all of your beige, it’s ok. Bold + Beige (or neutrals) is an easy combination to work with. Using a soft backdrop for a bold colour makes your colour choice stand out.

Complementary Colours – When you’re looking at a colour wheel, complementary colours are directly opposite each other. For example, yellow is opposite violet and they are complementary. These colour combinations bring out the best in each other. It works best if one colour is slightly subdued to bring out the richness in the other.

Related Colours – Related colours are located right next to one another on the wheel. For example, green and yellow-green are related.

Monochromatic Colour – A monochromatic colour story uses different tones of the same hue. Subtle variations of a single colour are not difficult to find. The best way to determine the additional colours to use is to check the swatch from your wall paint. Each swatch card has several different tones of the same colour.

Take a look at these amazing colourful rooms for inspiration for your next room colour overhaul. And remember, bold is definitely beautiful.

 

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter.