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A look at home decor lessons learned in first half of 2017 |

A look at home decor lessons learned in first half of 2017

It’s that time of year when I look back at the columns I have shared with you over the past 12 months — which is a bit like watching “I Love Lucy” reruns backwards, and trying to glean the one best piece of advice I stumbled upon each month. Then I wrap up those lessons up for you here in 12-days-of-Christmas style. Here are lessons 1-6:


In a month that practically dares us to get organized, I got serious about taming the tough stuff. For instance, I had yard tools propped in the garage like assault weapons. Every time I bumped one, it threatened to behead me. So I uncovered tricks to tame my most unruly possessions, from scarves, kitchen utensils and shoes to toys and, yes, those garden tools. I mounted pegboard on my garage walls. Then, using an adjustable hook system, I hung the gardening tools, saws, mechanics lights, extension cords and lawn chairs. Off the floor, these items no longer could lie in wait. Lesson: You can make anything orderly, even your most unruly possessions. See the complete article here.


I revived my dated dining room without buying new furniture, only accessories. By trading a pair of round carved mirrors for modern clean-edged ones, painting the room and switching out a traditional area rug and light fixture for contemporary ones, I took the room from traditional to transitional. What a difference! Lesson: Many people live with outdated decor because they think the only alternative is to start from scratch. But changing the accessories can be enough. See the complete article here.


I said good-bye to my Colorado home. Selling the place where I’d raised my family for eight years was bittersweet. I realized this was the first moment in 14 years that I was no longer responsible for this house. A weight lifted. I shook the new owners’ hands, and told them I was glad my house was going to a good home. Before heading to the airport, I drove by the old house and sat out front, taking a minute to thank the house for the shelter it provided my family, the celebrations it oversaw and its embrace. Lessons: It is possible to very much want something that makes you sad, and we should always say a proper good-bye to the places we’ve lived. See the complete article here.


Chaos came to our once orderly home. Toys were everywhere. A full-night’s sleep became a bygone luxury, and my husband’s and my deepest conversations revolved around potty training, feeding schedules, naps and detailed reports of what went in and came out, when. We got a puppy. Lesson: If pets are part of your home life, design with them in mind. I splurged on handsome food bowls, a gorgeous porcelain treat jar with a ceramic bone handle and good-looking beds. This article actually ran in March, but you’ll forgive me. See the complete article here.


A rug dealer DC and I had met months earlier while on a cruise that stopped in Turkey called to say he was in Florida, with a large collection of rugs. I’d always been suspicious of foreign rug dealers. But DC said, “If you want to step up our decor, this would be a good way to do it. The next afternoon, Hakan Zor and his partner Sam pulled up with a van full of rugs, and so began one of the most memorable evenings we’ve ever had — spent talking over sandwiches and wine about Turkish and American politics, our families and, of course, handmade rugs. By the end, Hakan and Sam had turned this once resistant, distrusting rug shopper into an enlightened consumer of this ancient art form — and sold us three rugs. Lesson: I now understand why designers say, if you can splurge on only one item in your home, make it a great rug. See the complete article here.


DC and I had been taking wine-tasting classes. At one class, a fifth-generation winemaker explained the difference between a young wine and an old one. “A young wine,” he said, “is nice to have dinner with, once. A middle-aged wine makes for a more interesting dinner companion because it has more to talk about. An old, well-preserved wine has even more complexity, and is one you want to have dinner with again and again.” This made me feel better, since I had been lamenting my bygone youth when my skin would hold itself up, when I could read the fine print without rummaging for glasses and when my knees did what I asked them to without argument. My new mantra: I’m not getting older — I’m getting more interesting! Lesson: When storing wines at home, keep them dark, cool and lying down. See the complete article here.

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