Category: Decorating

Wood: What it does and doesn’t do

By: Emily Chamberlain – BCH Client Relations Manager

Too often a client comes to me in design and shows me a photo of what I refer to as “taupe” wood. It’s a wood color that seems simple but actually requires several processes to achieve its unnatural color tone and appearance. The trouble is multi-faceted in our business: it’s costly (bleaching wood can be seriously expensive), it seldom meets expectations (social media designers rarely will share their exact stain formulas), and it can run the risk of cheapening an overall aesthetic. So what do we suggest? How do we pivot?

Take a look at the photo above. There are conflicting wood tones in this stunning home built by BCH. Rather than match the flooring to the beams, cabinetry, and dining table, we opted for a curated look where the pieces are singular and the design is versatile. This approach provides a well-rounded and warm design flow.

Interestingly enough, nature has its own rules when it comes to wood. Some of the more beautiful elements of nature are in the imperfections and imbalances. It’s the quotients we can’t control. As builders, we choose to embrace the materials the earth affords us and create beauty with what we’re handed. Over the years, we’ve noticed there are major benefits to this. It’s much easier to set realistic client expectations — stain is far more predictable staying with natural/simple tones —, and this keeps costs down for clients as the materials are typically easier to find and maintain.

So let’s re-cap: Though the ultra-neutral woods are tempting, be advised, they’re not real. Achieving these tones is often expensive and requires forgiveness. Let’s normalize wood again, shall we? Let’s embrace its natural beauty! The benefits are truly are endless.

Selecting Paint for your Home

Is there anything more frustrating than finding a paint color you love, only to find that when it’s on your walls, it’s all wrong?!?!

“But it looked totally different on the paint chip!” — If I had a dime for every time I heard this, I’d be ballin’. Ya know what I mean?

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: If I had just one superpower, I wish it were the ability to select paint colors! The good news is this – I’m pretty sure I found a solution to all of our paint color headaches! Through failure, I’ve learned a lot! 😉 Here are a few tips to help you overcome the paint struggle:

#1: Always remember, less is more!

We’ve heard the saying over and over again, and when it comes to selecting paint colors, this is 100% true. My go-to rule is to keep your paint selections for your entire home at no more than four colors. Select one wall color, one trim color, and two accent colors, and use those colors in different ways around your home. As far as the finish goes, it’s an easy decision to make! Eggshell for the walls and semi-gloss for your trim work. Eggshell is matte and easy to clean, while semi-gloss reflects light in the room, creating just the pop you desire! And remember, just because you’re using only three to four colors doesn’t mean your style is boring! Your style can still be eclectic and unique by incorporating different textures and artwork in your decor!

#2: Consider undertones.

Undertones are those little hints of color that are seen in different lighting conditions. That means Bohemian Black isn’t just black! It’s purplish-black! Before you put that awesome paint color on your wall, look for undertones. Be sure to give that paint chip a second and third look under various lighting conditions to make sure there aren’t any undertones you didn’t see the first time!

3: Transition by shade.

If you’re unsure of the colors you want to use throughout the house, it’s a great idea to select one main color and then transition using the shade of color you love. In one of the projects we are currently working on, we are transitioning from SW Extra White on the trim, to SW Ice Cube on the walls, to SW Krypton on select accent areas, and then SW Naval on accent walls. Extra White is a white-white color (I’m also planning to utilize this in smaller spaces on the trim AND walls), Ice Cube has a subtle blue hue, Krypton has a more distinct blue hue, and Naval is a bold navy blue color. I can’t wait to show you guys how these colors compliment each other throughout the home!

4: And finally, go with what you love!

When you first start gathering paint chips, think about the colors you love. Before I was confident in the design world, I’d always try to seek advice from friends and family. Everyone had their own opinions and styles. Rather than trust my own intuition, I’d go with something I didn’t really love but that was recommended by a friend. I LOVE white and blue! I always have! (I think it’s a generational thing — my mama does too!) White and blue are my two favorite colors!!! Why I ever went with boring beiges or yucky browns, I’ll never understand?!?! I guess I’ll chalk it up to inexperience and self-doubt. But times have changed, and this girl knows what she wants!
Be confident! You know what you want too!!!
You know the colors you love, so don’t be afraid to use those faves in your home.

“Home is the place to do the things you want to do.”

– Zelda Fitzgerald

Remember, selecting paint colors doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple! We’ve always said the very best homes have a story to tell. Think of the colors you choose as a backdrop of your story. What story do you want your walls to tell?

Here are a few of my favorites! Blues are my favorite hues, but I also love the greens to create an airy and serene retreat.

A House or Haven

You’re driving home from a long day of work, and now you’re ready to kick your feet up and unwind. You pull into the driveway, pet the dog as he comes to greet you, and then step inside. Rather than being welcomed into a retreat, you are slammed with an energy-draining mess!

This topic has been on my mind for months now. Do you have a house or a haven?

A house is a structure – the walls, the roof, the flooring, the paint – you get it. You can throw furniture into a structure, but that doesn’t make it a home. It actually makes it a storage space! Some people are fooled to believe that because they have the structure of a house and some furniture in it, they have a home. Don’t be fooled!

A home is a haven – a place of refuge. It’s a place to retreat to at the end of a long day. As a custom builder, I hate to say we simply build houses. I want to believe that we are building homes. And yet, when it comes down to it, we are building the structure, aka “the house,” and you – the person/family living in the house, are the home/haven builders. With that said, building homes remains our passion, so we are here to help you “build” the haven you’ve always dreamed of.

Three reasons why you should take the time to create a haven:

1-It will strengthen bonds in your family, in your marriage, and even in your friendships!

Think about it. When you take a vacation, you retreat to a beautiful space with beautiful scenery. If you’re with your significant other, you both come back rejuvenated. If you retreat with your family or friends, your bonds are restored! Why can’t this be the case at home? It can be. Now I’m not saying you can’t take a vacation to achieve these things; vacations certainly have great benefits, but rejuvenation can be obtained without spending thousands of dollars on several vacations every year. Ample studies have shown that the home environment has a direct correlation to the relationships we build with our families.

2-You will be able to rest better by having control of your environment.

There is science behind this! Creating a haven in your home gives you control of your environment. With this control, anxiety is reduced, and when anxiety is reduced, you are able to rest better.

According to this Cornell study, “101 female undergraduate students participated under standard kitchen conditions or in a chaotic kitchen condition. Participants were also asked to recall and write about a time when they felt particularly in control or particularly out of control. Finally, participants were given cookies, crackers, and carrots to taste and rate.

Participants in the chaotic kitchen condition and the out-of-control mind-set condition consumed more cookies (103 kcal) than did participants who were in the in-control mind-set condition (38 kcal). The chaotic environment had no impact on consumption of crackers or carrots.”

When we create a home environment that is controlled, we are able to rest well and live well.

3-Creating a haven is an energy booster!

Sure vitamins, exercise, and a healthy diet are important to your overall health, but if you’re looking for a daily energy booster, look no further than the space you’re living in.
If you read the abstract above, you can see that by creating a haven (a structured environment of safety and refuge), you’re also creating a healthy environment. Want to live longer and healthier? Create a haven! Need more energy to get you through your day? Create a haven!

That’s great, but how do I create a haven in my house?

Here’s the single, greatest piece of advice I can offer you in getting your haven started: Get rid of clutter!

If you avoid going home because you know you have a mess, that’s the first indicator you’re in need of a serious de-clutter session. Here are a few tips to get you on track to creating your haven:

Start by doing one room at a time and divide your “stuff” into four different piles. (Boxes work great too!) Label your piles or boxes as: stuff to donate, stuff to throw away, stuff to keep, and stuff to store. Here’s my own rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn it or used it in the last 2-3 years, you probably don’t need it. * You can also use the Marie Kondo method if you prefer. If it doesn’t “spark joy,” consider getting rid of it! (I used this method and it helped me eliminate so much more than I expected.)

Once you’ve decided on what you want to keep, find a place for everything and make sure it’s a logical place!

Lastly, work one room at a time and GET IT DONE! So many people give up on de-cluttering. I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s hard work! But so is going to the gym, and so is eating healthy! Anything worth doing takes sacrifice and hard work! Don’t give up! Keep in mind the benefits of making your house a haven! Your relationships are worth it, your health is worth it, and your overall peace of mind is worth it!

Give it a shot and leave us a comment below to let us know you’ve taken the first step in building your haven. We’ll totally toast to that!