Take a classic ’50s custom-built house, add a terrific floor plan with 3,300 square feet of living space, stir in creative owners unafraid of taking design risks, and you have the perfect recipe for do-it-yourself decorating at its best.
We asked three local interior designers how any homeowner can get the look of the local midcentury gem featured on these pages.
DIY experts, the owners of this home bought it five years ago with a “What can we make of it” approach. They painted all of the rooms themselves. Their décor — a mix of antiques, estate sale finds, flea market discoveries, family hand-me-downs and furniture store splurges — combines for sophisticated results. Some pieces of furniture were diamonds in the rough, such as an old chair with great structure and lousy upholstery. A simple recover in designer fabric nets a fabulous new chair at a fraction of the cost.
How can you use these tips in your own house? Using this home as inspiration, Yakima magazine asked our panel of experts for some DIY advice. Here’s what they had to say.
Marissa Tegen, design specialist for Standard Paint, said that paint — of course — can make all the difference.
“Look through magazines to find paint colors that jump out at you,” she said. Emotions can play an important role in picking paint, and Tegen advises choosing a color that makes you happy or at ease. Don’t jump on the exciting or edgy bandwagon too quickly; some colors that seem fun but out of your comfort zone may end up irritating you later. If you see a color you like at a business or at a friend’s house, don’t hesitate to ask what it is. Our feature home uses “Marie Yellow” in its living room. A friend of the owners suggested the paint formula, insisting that “everyone looked better” in a room painted this color.
Tegen added that gray is becoming the new neutral beige, and darker or even metallic paint is becoming popular for ceilings as well as high gloss for moldings.
Nancy Melcher calls herself a “re-designer.” She said she often finds herself inadvertently teaching clients about DIY decorating while helping them with their interior décor. She encourages DIY decorators to ask themselves: “What’s my goal? What mood do I want to create? How do I want my home to reflect my interests?” Simplifying and editing objects and furniture in a room can be a first step.
A master at finding great furniture bargains, Melcher said, “If you’re willing to hunt, you can find a good piece of furniture in the most unusual places. I once bought a great book shelf, used for display in a clothing store, because I talked the owner into it!”
She feels “collections” reflect the homeowner’s interests, but should be meaningful and small. Family photos can personalize any décor, but using the same color frame and grouping black and white or color photos together creates more impact. “Not so long ago I helped redesign a hallway with a wall of photos. Unfortunately the frames were all different colors, so I spray-painted all of them black and arranged them on a caramel colored wall … they literally popped,” she said.
Judy Lyon, design partner for The Village Shoppe, gives this advice to DIY decorators: “We often find that the addition of one very special item of furniture can be the ‘spark’ that brings a room to life,” she said. “Although it may be a splurge, a well-chosen piece will help define a design style, and always reflects the homeowner’s unique taste and personality.”
If you’re bent on DIY decorating, arm yourself with plenty of home and garden magazines for ideas on what you want to achieve, be brutal about what stays and what goes, pick colors that make you happy, don’t be afraid to mix and match, think about original artwork (Yakima has so many wonderful local artists) and, most importantly, have fun. Often the easiest and least expensive solution turns into the best DIY design choice.