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Decorating & Design Tips from Jeff Andrews
Taking bold design ideas and infusing them with warmth
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In 2011 Traditional Home named Los Angeles designer Jeff Andrews one of 20 New Traditional designers to keep an eye on. We described him this way: “He creates sophisticated, livable interiors brimming with vibrant—yet often monochromatic—palettes, clean lines, and a modern-day mix of pieces.” We wouldn’t change a word.
Dramatize the Bedroom
If you’re looking to add drama to your bedroom, a four-poster bed is the way to go. In a soft, feminine master bedroom, choose a four-poster with strong lines and dark wood to strike just the right balance, creating a look that appeals to both husband and wife! The soaring posts add height, accentuating the ceiling line, and serve as the focal point and anchor of the room.
Accessorize for Style
Use unique accessories of varying shapes, colors, and sizes to create interesting snapshots of composition in your home. On the kitchen fireplace mantel in a client’s Minnesota farmhouse, a collection of vintage portraits balances nicely with pieces I found throughout their home. Something as ordinary as fresh fruit and cuttings from your garden become elevated when you combine them artfully with other items of personal meaning. For maximum effect, keep it personal, unfussy and fun—what I like to call “eclectic chic.”
Invigorate Design with Color
Color, especially through paint, is one of easiest and most inexpensive ways to add energy and excitement to any room. In this once formal living room, I layered shades of yellow and green to create an easy, happy, and casual environment that vibrates with personality. By adding the chair rail I was able to use two wall colors, reinforcing the color scheme and tying it all together. The fabrics are a mix of velvet, linen, and green leopard, which bounce lightheartedly from the cream shag rug. The accents of brass enhance the yellow overtone of the room and bring a warm sparkle to the vintage Palm Springs aesthetic.
A Mellow Monochromatic Palette
Create a feeling of tranquility with a monochromatic color palette that sustains interest with varying degrees of texture instead of color. In this sophisticated master bedroom, soft leather balances elegantly against the tone-on-tone chair upholstery. Semi-opaque linen drapes compliment the natural woven shades, seagrass area rug and barely-there wall color. And layers of pillows in silk velvet, linen and cotton add a touch of warmth to the inviting window seat. The mix of subtle pattern, soft gold colors and many textures keeps the room fresh and interesting yet still soothing.
Personalize Your Decor’s Artwork
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to personalizing a room with art. In this client’s playroom, we commissioned artist Matthew Heller to create a one-of-a-kind piece composed of lyrics to the Madonna song “Little Star.” My client would sing it to her little girl when she was a baby. Now it’s the dramatic focal point of the room and a piece the family will always cherish because of its personal meaning.
Make Arrangements with Your Architecture
Use unusual architectural areas (or even “dead” zones) in your home to create unexpected still-lifes with your art and accessories. In this small entry, the staircase wall comes to life with a vintage console and funky leather armchair teamed with a colorful collection of pottery and art. The texture of the metal wall sculpture and rust-hue silk velvet on the ottoman balance perfectly with a vase of organic branches. The hanging light fixtures, like jewelry, complete the overall vignette.
Darken to Enlarge the Decorating Envelope
Forget the myth about dark paint making a room feel smaller. When applied correctly, a dark color can actually open up a space. Use paint with a slight sheen to the finish; this allows light to bounce around the room and visually enlarges it, while the dark tone creates a sense of warmth and drama. By painting the baseboard and cove or crown molding the same color, the height of the room is accentuated and not “chopped up” with a contrasting trim color. A white ceiling and light-colored rug like the sheepskin I used in this Los Angeles living room anchor the room and provide contrast.
Enhance Your Architecture
The arrangement of furniture should enhance the architecture of a room, not compete with it. In this Hollywood Hills living room, I followed the symmetry of the arches, door, and fireplace to create a balanced furniture plan with perfectly paired pieces—sofas, armchairs, ottomans and side chairs as well as accessories. The subdued color palette along with the symmetrical arrangement creates a harmonious feeling of comfort and livability where two is definitely better than one!
Sometime one fantastic and meaningful find can inspire the design for an entire room. In this Minnesota farmhouse kitchen, the design revolved around the 1920s stove. I balanced it with a turn-of the century light fixture we discovered at a nearby architectural salvage yard. The island was constructed from reclaimed barn wood, and the cabinets and walls were slathered in layers of white paint with a cream and black horizontal stripe to complement the stove. Simple basalt countertops completed the look—a modern take on an old-fashioned kitchen. So seek out that one special inspiration and run with it.
Make More of a Small Bath
When faced with the challenge of a small bathroom, make every square inch count. In this penthouse, I maximized the visual space by covering the walls and floors with the same glass mosaic tiles. The wall-suspended cabinet adds to the effect—by eliminating the base, the custom rift-oak vanity seems to float above the tile, light as air. The reflection created in the angled mirrors makes the room appear three times larger than it actually is. The frameless glass shower door seems to disappear against the tile backdrop—another architectural feature that gives an overall impression of space. These design solutions combined with the aqua blue color scheme make this otherwise tiny bathroom feel like a chic mini spa.
Vary Your Seating
Don’t be confined to conventional seating arrangements…mix it up! In this not-so- formal dining room, an oversized upholstered banquette makes the room more personal and inviting, while eliminating the clutter of extra chairs. I personalized the space with plush yet durable fabrics and comfortable pillows to make it warm and inviting for kids and adults alike.
Decorate with an Inspired Palette
Sometimes something as simple as a great piece of artwork or the view out your window can be your color inspiration. Take the time to find it. In this California beach bedroom, I pulled the wall color directly from the vintage abstract painting and the beautiful blue ocean beyond. The vibrant orange color of the accessories is found not only in the painting, but also in a coastal sunset! The overall effect leaves the entire room looking polished and completely in sync with its surroundings.
Harness the Decorating Power of Paint
Paint is the proverbial “rabbit in the hat” when it comes to transforming the look of a room, so unleash its power. In the entry of this Hollywood Hills home, I used a deep burgundy paint to accentuate the architectural details and add a bit of drama. The horizontal stripe around the room and painted base and casings were my take on traditional Tuscan stripes. The overall effect adds a whimsical edge to the space and sets the tone for the rooms beyond.