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CATEGORY: Decorating Ideas

An Extension, Retreat or Enhancement

There are two main themes often used when decorating. The first is to view your home as an extension of the environment around you. So if you lived in the mountains, your home would reflect that landscape in the decor. But not everyone lives in the mountains, at the beach or on a beautiful vineyard in Italy, which is why the second way of decorating emerged: to decorate your home as a beautiful retreat. When you do that, your home becomes an escape from your environment. So if you live in a busy city, your apartment might be decorated to feel as if you live in a quaint farmhouse in Nebraska.

Both of those methods of decorating are wonderful. They allow those with a perfect view to exploit it and those with a horrible view to escape it. But what about the people with an okay view?

I believe there is a third option, which I've deemed enhancement. Your home can be an enhancement of your natural surroundings. Think of the d├ęcor in your room as makeup, and your view as your eyes. Your eyes may be beautiful on their own. But every woman (and man -- we know you like how it looks) knows the magic of an eyelash curler, a coat of mascara and a hint of eye shadow. When applied, the mascara and eye shadow don't cover your eyes - they enhance your eyes' natural beauty.  

Your home decor can do the same thing. Rather than covering or hiding your view, if you choose wisely, the decor in your room can enhance your view. All you need to do is employ a bit of imagination.

Pretend your window is not a window, but a famous painting on your wall. It's not much of a stretch. I've seen gates, rows of houses, suburban scenes, even skulls painted and considered beautiful. So the view in your window must have some potential. The trick is knowing what to look for and how to make it shine.

For starters, look at your view and make a list of the textures you see. Maybe a house across the street has a cast iron railing your tree has wonderful bark. Whatever those textures are write them down. Next write down the colors you see.

Once you have those two lists, you're halfway there. You'll want to incorporate some of the textures you see outside your window into your view - but rather than choosing something similar, choose something more beautiful. So lets use the cast iron railing as an example. Rather than getting a boring piece of cast iron, choose something gorgeous. Maybe a beautiful cast iron table, a striking cast iron mirror. Use the cast iron in an unexpected way. The same goes for the colors. Don't use the exact colors from your view. Use similar colors that are more beautiful. In some cases that might mean more vibrant colors, in others that may mean duller colors.

When you're finished, the painting on your wall, your window, will look like a glimpse at an exotic retreat - an enhancement of your reality.


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Posted by Meghan Carter on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2008 in Decorating Ideas.

Home Sick

    I spent the weekend home sick with the flu. It was the second time I had the flu in the past three weeks. Yes, I should win the healthiest person award. Thanks for nominating me. Jokes aside, it got me thinking about how prepared are homes are for when we get sick, and let me tell you, they're not.
    The perfect home for a person home sick would have a bathroom, microwave, television and washing machine all within five feet of the comfiest couch in the world. Unfortunately, I've yet to see that house. So when we're sick, we need a plan B, which is why in my delirium I came up with the Sick Kit.
    The sick kit would contain all of the essential items you need when you fall ill, and would be stored stylishly in the place designated as the "sick spot" in your home. For me, that has traditionally been the family room. The biggest perk of the Sick Kit is that it would enable you to actually be "sick" while being sick instead of having to run around taking care of yourself.

    Here are my suggestions for items to include in your sick kit. I'd love to hear your suggestions because I'm bound to have the flu again here in another week or two.

Comfy, Warm Blanket. When you're sick, it's no time to be fooling around with cashmere. You need something that is durable and washable so that if you get "sick" on your sick blanket you can just throw it in the washing machine. Plus, if you have to make one of those dreaded 6 foot walks to the microwave, you can wear the blanket around you without worrying about dragging it across the floor.

DVDs. Some people suggest reading books when you're sick. But I can barely remember my name, let alone concentrate on a book, when feeling bad. So I always opt for mindless entertainment. I've found movies to be good, but TV series are even better. They last longer, which means you're less likely to get bored.

Work and School Numbers. It's bad enough having to call in sick. Don't make it worse by having to find the numbers. Keep a list in your kit to make those dreaded calls easy.  

Electrolyte Drinks. There's no better time to drink efficiently than when you're sick. You should be drinking 8 glasses of water, but drinking one takes all the energy you have. So make sure the one you do drink packs a punch. Not to mention, there's no way you're going to go a get yourself a drink. It better be within an arms reach if you're going to consume it.

Tissues. I never buy tissues. I don't know why. I just don't. But when I'm sick, I need them and always have to resort to using toilet paper. I know. It's not very classy. So stash a box of tissues in your sick kit, and make sure they're the type with aloe. You'll appreciate the extra soft touch.

Take Out Menus or Soup Cans. Unless you have someone to cook for you, you're probably going to need to eat. I normally let myself starve until I'm so famished I have to crawl to the refrigerator. But wouldn't it be nicer to have the phone number of the closest sandwich and soup shop right next to you so that you can have them deliver. What makes the scenario even better is if you already have a $20 stashed in the menu so that you don't have to find your wallet. If a dream shop like that doesn't exist in your neck of the woods, at least have stash a can of soup or two you can heat up in the microwave in your kit.

Vitamins C Pills and Medicine. Those electrolyte drinks will come in handy when it's time to take some vitamins or fever busters. Of course, you could always pop them dry just like House does, but if you've got a sore throat, that won't work so well.

Cough Drops. They're one of those things you don't think to buy until you need them, and then when you do need them, you can't go out and buy them.

Hot Water Bottle or Heat Packs. When you have aches or pains, heat can help - a lot. Using a heat pack is like a small slice of heaven and will make you feel so much better about being home sick.

Achy Muscle Bubble Bath. Nothing makes you feel better like a nice, hot bath, and when you have special bubble bath that takes aches away, it's even better.

Disinfectant Wipes, Sprays and Hand Sanitizers. The only way you're going to keep others from getting sick is if you make it easy. So stock up on cleaning supplies that take no effort at all to use.

Towel or Bucket. In my house, I was taught to put a towel on my pillow in case you get sick in the middle of the night. But I've heard that it's way more common to use a bucket. Either way, it's an essential, because I'm sure you like the current color of your carpet.



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Posted by Meghan Carter on Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007 in Decorating Ideas.

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