Kathryn Ivey, who owns Haddon Interiors in the District, joined the weekly chat.

Oct 27, 2011

Kathryn Ivey, who owns Haddon Interiors in the District, joined Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza on the weekly Home Front chat. Together, they gave advice on interior decorating and home improvement.

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Thanks everyone for sticking with us last week with our technical difficulties. This week,we do have Kathryn Ivey of Washington's Haddon Interiors here. She is great at ideas for first apartments, condos or houses. Plus she has just returned from the furniture market at High Point so she's up on the latest design trends. I hear there were too many antlers down there this year in the showrooms! I'm sure she has a lot to tell us. So let's get going.

Hi, everyone. I'm excited to be here this morning, and I hope I can be of help to you.

I unfortunately have little storage space in my apartment and I find that either things just get shoved into cabinets and closets or they just end up on the floor with nowhere to go. Everyone keeps talking about the basket storage method which is great when you have things like towels. But what about toiletries? Luggage? Two large coolers? And random knicknacks? I really want to change my "messy girl" habits and I know the problem is that I just don't have a place for everything.

You have mentioned all the stuff that is very tough to store unless you have a garage, attic and basement. Many people in small apartments just keep one piece of luggage - and somehow they find a spot for it in their closet or under their bed. Two large coolers could be used as storage for other things but they are hard to hide! I would say, spend a few hours going thru all your toiletries and get rid of old things or things you don't really need and donate all your hotel shampoos, etc to a homeless shelter. Only keep things that you really use. Baskets are a good place to keep things like that and make sure in your shower you have a large shampoo, soap etc organizer hanging over your shower fixture. I bought a small mesh organizer unit with two trays that I keep on the floor by the sink in my guest bathroom. You can store hair dryers and extra toiletries in there too - I got mine at the Container Store. Go to websites such as stacksandstacks.com to look for organizers that will fit in small spaces all over your apartment's cabinets and closets.  

You have mentioned all the stuff that is very tough to store unless you have a garage, attic and basement. Many people in small apartments just keep one piece of luggage - and somehow they find a spot for it in their closet or under their bed. Two large coolers could be used as storage for other things but they are hard to hide! I would say, spend a few hours going thru all your toiletries and get rid of old things or things you don't really need and donate all your hotel shampoos, etc to a homeless shelter. Only keep things that you really use. Baskets are a good place to keep things like that and make sure in your shower you have a large shampoo, soap etc organizer hanging over your shower fixture. I bought a small mesh organizer unit with two trays that I keep on the floor by the sink in my guest bathroom. You can store hair dryers and extra toiletries in there too - I got mine at the Container Store. Go to websites such as stacksandstacks.com to look for organizers that will fit in small spaces all over your apartment's cabinets and closets.  

I absolutely love this chat and finally have a question! We recently renovated an old, small full bathroom getting rid of the lovely yellow/brown/black tile combo and replacing it with a classic white subway tile with black glass tile accents and a white hexagon tile floor with black glass accents. We need to choose a paint color and I'm totally lost! There is very little wall space so I wouldn't mind a deep or bright wall color. There is a ton of light and the bathroom will be shared by our two sons (now ages 1 and 3).

Believe it or not, but a black and white combo acts like a neutral, so you are in luck. Almost any color is going to look great with that combination of tile. Since the bathroom is being shared by boys, I'd chose a fun, handsome color. Try Ben. Moore Yarmouth Blue HC-150

I am looking for a very specific sectional configuration. Do you know of any where in the DC metro area where I could find a store that offers customizable sectional configurations. I would prefer leather and a sleeper would be nice too. I have seen some online furniture stores that do this, but I do not know if they are reputable. Thanks for your help!

American Leather Sofas are quality sofas and they offer sectionals. They are sold through Theodore's Furniture on Wisconsin Ave. or Creative Classics in Alexandria.

American Leather also offers sleepers, and they are extremely comfortable.

Any idea where I can buy gray pillar candles online? Thank you!

I have a big ol' blue leather sofa that isn't my style but I can't afford to replace it - is putting nailhead trim on the front a terrible idea? Will it be impossible to remove if I decide it makes matters worse? Also, what's the cheapest place to find natural carpeting? Is sisal, jute, or seagrass best in your opinion? (I have dogs and cats, fyi)

I'm not sure what style your sofa is which would determine if nailhead would look appropriate, but if you apply nailhead trim and not like it, it will damage the upholstery. In terms of natural carpeting, sisal, jute and seagrass are all great economic options. Seagrass will be less expensive then Sisal. I would go for a seagrass since you have dogs and cats. It holds up better and does not stain.

 

The fringe of my oriental rug is rather filthy. What's the best way to clean this at home? I cannot afford the professional cleaning and the rest of the rug is in really good shape.

It really is a good idea to use a professional. But if you are careful, you can probably clean up the fringe a bit. I might suggest taking the rug outside on a warmish day (good luck on that one!) and put it on your driveway or sidewalk. Get a small bowl filled with warm water and mild dish soap. Using a brush, try and clean up the fringe using the soapy water. Then rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

What is the blue paint used in today's House Calls bedroom, please?

Hi there. The designer for this week's House Calls decided not to select an exact paint color for the space. Close colors would be Benjamin Moore's Sea Life & Old Country. Thank you!

Hi ladies--I moved into a new apartment a few months ago and it has taken me forever to decorate (life and other financial responsibilities always seem to get in the way). Anyway, I'm sick of still living with some boxes and with mismatched furniture. I've been trying to scour craigslist for some furniture that I can repaint and fix up myself but alas, I'm so afraid that I won't do it well or won't make the time to finish it. I'm in a rental so I can't paint the walls but I could use some help with resources for inexpensive furniture and/or how-tos on rehabbing some things on my own.

I don't know where you live, but your post reminded me that this morning, I saw a Ruff  & Ready sign on 14th St. up by the Metro offices, not far from Missouri. I know they closed their longtime location in the hip 14th and U Street corridor this summer. This is a great spot to find old furniture at very reasonable prices and the stock changes constantly. I'm going to try and find out when they will open. Try yard sales. Whatever you do, make sure you unpack those boxes. Put stuff in closets, in underbed storage boxes or in nice big baskets. Boxes are awful and depressing when they are unpacked. Mismatched furniture is okay - nobody has matching furniture these days anyway! Just try and tie it together somehow using colors or textures. Get yourself some inexpensive pillows or small rugs at HomeGoods or Ikea or Target.  Do not despair.

Good morning. I have a living room with a cathedral ceiling, pale carpet and ligth grey walls. There is a large plate-glass window and 2 smaller windows. They are covered with the sheer shades that have vertical (plate-glass) and horizontal (side windows) inserted in them. We also have a black upright piano that needs to stay. I have a navy sofa, a navy paisley chair and ottoman, a barrel-back arm chair that is a family piece, a dark antique low chest of drawers. How can I warm up this room? If feels cold and uninviting.

Believe it or not, colors in the orange color range pair with navy and gray very well. I would consider adding a coral color or even a deep orange if you aren't afraid of color to warm up the space.

Hi! Love these chats, thanks for doing them each week! I have kind of a strange question. I'm getting ready to decorate for the holidays over the next few weeks, and I want to AVOID holiday cliches. I live on a new block with gorgeous townhomes and want to make a chic impression. So, to make this fun, what are the WORST holiday decorations that you've seen?

I am looking for help here so please chime in everyone! I take it you are talking about the OUTSIDE of houses aren't you. Personally, I have had it with those grapevine deer that light up. I also hate over decorated wreaths with cheap red bows on them. Inflatables - please no.

You guys?

I'm a freelance editor/writer/researcher and work out of a home office. I'd really like to decorate my office with art related to writing. Currently, I have a bulletin board over my desk, but it looks cluttered which makes my brain feel cluttered, so I'd like a more streamlined, inspirational look. Does anyone have any good sources that might have interesting prints/posters in this area? For example, I love this poster from the NaNoWriMo website: https://store.lettersandlight.org/merchandise/nanowrimo-typewriter-poster Thank you so much.

I'd take a look on Etsy. You'll find some talented artists on there who make their own unique posters/prints and there are some great letter pressed items too.

I've seen handsome leather suitcases stacked and used as a side table, but most of us don't have that kind of luggage. For the coolers, you could try covering them with something and making them into a coffee table. A plywood box around them with fabric over that might not look too bad. Right now I don't trust my dog in the house alone so her crate is in the living room with a tablecloth over it, so I feel your pain!

I like the idea about the suitcases and i do know someone who has attractive old boxy leather suitcases used in this way. I fear that most people's beat-up roll-on bags would not make attractive coffee tables.

GET RID OF THE JUNK! You would think better to get rid of it now than have your friends and relatives go through it all when you are dead. They will either trash it or sell it on ebay for profit if they can and what you hold near and dear would be junk to them. Take it from me who just went through her dead father's house with 50 years full of stuff collected - you can't take it with you so why keep spending money you don't have for stuff you don't need or want? Foolish.

Yes. You are totally right. I preach the mantra of decluttering daily and try to get rid of stuff every weekend. Meanwhile, a shout out to the DC government, who showed up right on time yesterday to pick up the pile of furniture I decluttered from my garage. I made a date with them and they kept it. YIPPEE and now my garage looks great, thanks to my husband who took a day off from work to totally clean it out and reorganize it after the garage door broke off! Nothing like an emergency to make you do something you have put off for years...

Hi there. My three-year-old son has a lot of hats and I hate how they're just stored under a little table in his room. But I can't find any good solutions for storing hats; do you have any ideas? We can't do back of closet door (folding doors) nor back of bedroom door (towels already there). Thanks!

A cute way to store hats is to put them into a tall, somewhat wide clear cylinder vase.  You may be able to find one made of plastic so you don't have to worry about the possibility of broken glass. I'd try HomeGoods or Michael's.

Don't forget to LOOK UP when considering storage options. In the bathroom, get one of those storage cabinets that can go above the toilet and reach to the ceiling--lots of storage there. I also remember seeing an apartment that had a bookshelf installed above the door frames--it ran the length of the hall on both sides and that used a lot of generally wasted space. If you have a bike, consider hanging it on a wall and call it "instillation art." Take your coolers, put table cloths over them and use them as end tables or extra seating (and use the coolers to store stuff in them). Good luck and hope this helps.

Love these ideas. Yes, a cooler would make a better table than most suitcases! The storage cabinets for the bathroom is also a good idea. I recently did a story on a tiny 1926 bungalow in Chevy Chase  that had shelves everywhere - lots of books that the family loved and did not want to part with. Here it is.

 

We also live in a condo with limited storage. I managed to put smaller carry-on luggage inside the larger suitcase along with all the duffels stuffed inside the little one. It's a bit of a pain when I have to get it all out, but saves on storage. Coolers can live on a balcony if you have one.

Good idea about the coolers on the balcony. You guys are sharing great ideas here, love it! And do you really need two coolers anyway? I think we all have to reevaluate everything we have bought in the past decade of spending and consuming.

Hello - I took the advice of one of your weekly designer guests and hired an interior designer to help with lighting in my house. I chose someone who had done great work for a friend of mine. The consultation session went really well. Problem is, I can't seem to get her to send me anything or really communicate at all. It has been two months and nothing has been suggested. We are not looking for detailed plans, just suggestions (to be billed by the hour for work and finding the pieces). I even said repeately we could go only one room at a time (and gave a list of priorities) to try to get something. I have heard nothing. At what point do I cut my losses? How long should this normally take? Any suggestions? Thanks!

Professionally speaking, I think you have given them plenty of time. A designer should always keep their client updated and in the loop. There should be a somewhat constant stream of communication. I'm so sorry you had this experience!

The worst Halloween decorations are the one bought by adults. Let the kids do it. Hacked up jack-o-lanterns, little ghosts made from old cut-up sheets, etc. There's something to be said for genuine.

Well said.

It gets it out of the apartment (if you have a car.)

Haha. I guess a lot of stuff can be stored in your trunk if you are desperate. But that does clutter your car!

Be green and eco friendly and quit supporting the big box stores and cheap imported goods we see for sale everywhere. If you have too much stuff, something says you have too much time on your hands to spend it buying items to hoard. Spend time exercising or volunteering or helping those in need. You will feel better about yourself, lose the fat rolls and help the environment too. A win-win. Quit hoarding!

I like your spirit.

With my suitcases I store the smaller ones inside the larger ones. And anything that I don't need until I travel is put inside them too. Large coolers can make great storage for out-of-season clothing, too. Just pack them and stack them, then cover them with something colorful for decoration.

Great idea about the out of season clothing.

Why is it that most high end designer homes show only white or very light neutral grey walls while most lower end homes show color? I know red, yellow and orange Tuscany colors were in vogue a few years back and are now passe but most show homes or multi million dollar mansions are show with white walls and the color is found in the art work and accessories. Is that the trend? And for those of us wanting a high-end look, we should opt for the best paint money can buy in white or variations of the neutral paint? I am sick of red walls! Thanks!

That is an interesting observation to note. Whites and creams have always been considered a sophisticated palette, and they are a great backdrop to beautiful works of art and antiques. The neutral pallette is also a bit harder to keep clean, and the rooms in many designer showrooms do not take into consideration kids!  In terms of paint, I do believe the old adage of "you get what you pay for." More expensive paint does apply better and usually you don't need as many coats. One of my favorite brands is Farrow and Ball.

 

younghouselove.com is a fun blog about decorating chic-ly (is that a word?) on a budget. Great projects with DIY guidance.

Thanks. Terri did a story about them too. Young House Love

Dont tell me the poster is ready to display her Xmas decorations the first week of November??? To me thats worst then flatable Santa or ribbon wreaths!

We don't know the answer to that. On another subject, I hate seeing rotten pumpkins sitting on people's porches in December dusted with snow.

Love the question. I've also had about enough of the icicle lights that look all tangled hanging off the eaves. With you, Jura, on all items you listed! what about a more wintry palate of colors on the wreaths/ribbons (light turquoise-ish blue and lavendar maybe?) with icy white lights? Of course that won't look right on just every exterior, though--it would look awful on my own house, actually!

Yes. The tangled lights have more of a Halloween feel to them.

I decorate with just greens and golds :-)

Tasteful.

I found a great four poster twin bed in a thrift shop for -- wait for it -- $5.00. I plan to paint it black (my daughter's room is a vibrant carribbean blue with a black and white embroidered quilt). Do you recommend an eggshell or semi-gloss? It is pretty beat up and will require lots of sanding and prep work.

What an amazing deal! Lucky you. I would suggest going with a semi-gloss to give it a bit of pop in the room. Especially since it's for your daughter's room, you can lean toward a more youthful, bolder look.

Glad everyone joined us and I think we had some great decorating ideas from Kathryn plus a lot of fun chatter about living with coolers and suitcases in small spaces! That's what fun about this chat, we go all over the place. Well, enjoy the rest of this day and hope it's less dreary for the weekend. Thanks for being with us , Kathryn, and everyone else too.

Thank you for writing in this morning. I enjoyed answering everyone's questions, and I hope you feel inspired to tackle your project.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius uses her years of experience as a home expert and her network of well-placed sources to help you choose everything from paint type and colors to how to de-shed sofas from pet hair to where to find the best designer fabrics at a discount.

Home Q&A archive
Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Kathryn Ivey
Kathryn Ivey received a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After years of working with various designers in the Washington, DC area and co-creating an online furnishing boutique, Kathryn decided to launch her own interior design firm: www.haddoninteriors.com.
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