Chapter Review of House Beautiful’s 750 Designer Secrets

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I am surprised how much I learned about decorating, and so quickly, mind you, by reading this book. The design ideas in 750 Designer’s Secrets pack a real punch. The average design idea is only about 12 words but every idea is so powerful and straight to the point, it makes decorating quick, fun, and easy.
Here’s what I learned from reading this book…
how to create trends in design how to decorate in large rooms and increase their functionality how to know when I’m “done” decorating, and how to add character, personality, an element of surprise to a room. I also learned how, where, and when to decorate with antiques (which is decor I’ve never purchased before). As a reference, a common thread in all the design ideas in this book is to maintain control and deliver the character you desire to the room. I’ve learned a lot with this book and I can’t wait to start designing for the upcoming holidays.
#85 “Use a bold color sparingly to punctuate a room.”
#86 “Use white and one other neutral color, like brown, in a room, then add a little bit of another really beautiful color like lime green, or turquoise or red for pop-Doug Meyer”
These design ideas show how to add energy to a bland, neutral-based decor. They show with the use of color as an accent, you can breathe new life into a room. For example, in a room of neutrals, like white, tan and gray, with a lively mix of coordinating throw pillows in turquoise or red, or…even, hand crocheted table top coverings in any of the three colors above; color can be the tool to turn a ho-hum room into one with interest. I like this design idea especially because your home’s decor can be 1) livened up quickly, 2) at moment’s notice, and 3) with minimal expense. Now here’s another design that’s the obverse of the above…

#87 “For a soothing quality, use different values of the same hue.
#97 “To maintain serenity, avoid high contrasts-establish a rich variation within a narrow tonal range.” -Mariette Himes-Gomez
I can really appreciate both design ideas. Let me tell you a story…Not too long ago, I lived in an apartment where I had a dining room that was neutral based in color. It was furnished with rattan style chairs, white sheer curtains, white walls, beige lamps, light hardwood floors, etc. It also had a large potted floor plant, that would catch the breeze whenever the windows were open. Everyone, when they entered this room, proclaimed it “peaceful.” That’s was always the resounding conclusion. Also, I particularly enjoyed the dining room, because to me, it just seemed light and airy and…it was peaceful. Since, moving from that apartment, I have often wondered what made that room so special. Everyone loved it. I did too. Many times, I wanted to re-create the peaceful atmosphere of that room but did not know how. What I discovered with 750 Designer Secrets is I just did not know the elements that created the peaceful character-solved!-it was the “soft” neutrals combined with the absence of strong color. Now I know how to re-create peacefulness wherever and whenever I want it.
#27 “Generous proportions and repetitive details create high drama.”
#126 “I often use a large scale print in small-scale upholstered furniture.” -Tom Scheerer
This design idea shows a Chippendale chair upholstered in a bright, taxicab-yellow fabric with large, red and black stencil-style coronets. And really…with the red walls in the background, high drama is created. The Chippendale chair with its yellow fabric, pattern repeat, and, too, the coronets are really large compared to the size of the chair; wow!–the chair does this room justice. I tried a preliminary test to determine whether the Chippendale chair was responsible for the high drama effect by covering the chair portion of the picture with my hand while looking at the balance of furnishings in the room. And the balance of the furnishings (and room) was mediocre at best. Yes, the Chippendale chair put the finish on this room and created the drama.
Too, remember, reds are the most powerful color in the color spectrum. Reds equate to power, strength and, red is the “color” of love. Reds are stimulating physically, too, causing the heart to beat faster and causing an increase in breathing. This physiological reaction can be attributed to red being associated with danger, fire and blood. See also, Color Wheel Pro-See Color Theory in Action So, where you may not be a fan of an all red room, red used in measured doses, as a color punch, delivers a makeover like no other color.
Next Week, Shaping the Shell, a review of walls, floors, windows and doors, molding and woodwork Last Week, Style and Lifestyle

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How to Transfer Designs to the Wall

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Transferring a design to the wall accurately requires careful planning and correct measurements. The two most successful methods of design transfer are (a) projecting your design onto the wall using a slide projector or (b) manually transferring your design to the wall with careful, meticulous measurements.
The slide projector method is the easier and less time consuming of the two methods. To use it, carefully draw your design on a piece of paper, paying close attention to capturing the proportions exactly. This may not be necessary if your design already appears in graphic detail. Draw the design exactly as it is to appear on the wall, utilizing every measuring tool at your disposal to ensure straight, decisive lines.
Next, take a photograph of your design and have it developed as a slide. Project the image of your slide onto the wall where you wish it to appear. After determining its exact position on the wall, trace your super-graphic in pencil. A freehand rendering of the form is inadvisable. Once painted, small irregularities made in a free hand sketch will be amplified with the application of color. Instead, use all measuring aids available to you.
To transfer a design manually, measure the surface on which the design will be applied and draw its perimeters on a piece of paper, using a scale of ½ inch equals 1 foot. Draw your design on the paper in the same position it is to appear on the wall, using the same 1/2-inch scale. Next, transfer your design to the wall surface by measuring one foot on the super-graphic surface for every ½ inch on the paper.
An easy way to draw arcs and circles is to measure the diameter of the size circle you want on the wall and mark the center. Tie a piece of string measured out to the size you want to a pencil. Then, tie the loose end of the string to a nail, leaving the knot loose enough to rotate around the nail. Place the nail’s head against the mark and draw the full circle or arc with the pencil. This technique works best when one person holds the nail and another draws the design.

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From Grammy’s to Greeting Cards: New Designs Added to Taylor Swift’s Greeting Card Line

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Pop country star Taylor Swift is turning into one of the busiest celebs on the planet. The Grammy award winning singer-songwriter (and sometime actress) added “Greeting Card Designer ” to her list of career choices recently, when she launched a line of greeting cards for American Greetings earlier this year. Now, just in time for summer, 14 new designs have been added to the collection. And just like Taylor Swift, these greeting cards are sweet as pie.
Most of the cards in Swift’s greeting card line do not feature photos of the star. Instead, these cards are adorned with sweet pictures of things like butterflies, bicycles, kittens, cupcakes, roller skates and swings. All come with cute sayings that aren’t too too mushy, sometime featuring lyrics from her hit songs.

Best of all, if you’re in a jam and need to send a last minute card, there are also Taylor Swift E-Cards that feature music , such as her hit songs “Love Story” and “Fearless”. The Taylor Swift American Greetings line also includes gift packaging and stationery.

Back in January, Swift told Us Magazine , “I’ve always been fascinated by how we express feelings to each other…My idea of a great song is a song that says how I feel better than I could. I feel the same way about cards.”

Tween girls love Taylor Swift, so it’s no surprise that some of the designs favor that age group. But after taking a peek at these cards recently, I’d say the cards are really suitable for anyone who just wants to send a little cheer to a friend or loved one.

So where can you buy the Taylor Swift greeting cards? Across the country they can be found at K Mart, Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ralphs and card shops wherever American Greetings brand cards are sold. You can check out the Taylor Swift greeting card designs at American Greetings.com

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