10 Ways To Make a Space YOUR Home

So here we are with our “big” announcement, the Beehive Blog’s Inaugural Post! Putting myself out there is very much out of my comfort zone as I am a back-stage kind of gal and self-promotion makes me squirm. But being an entrepreneur requires that one becomes comfortable with being uncomfortable, on a regular basis. That said, we do have a lot to share; hopefully you will follow along, learn a little, and enjoy the journey.

Everyone needs and deserves a safe haven, particularly in this day and age. The pace at which we live requires a place to recharge and refuel. That’s why home is so important, and why you need to make it your own. As the holidays are upon us I am focusing on the hub of our home, our happy space!

How do you define home? What makes you happy? What brings a smile to your face? Your home should tell your story! For some clients, a bit of bling and shine is the remedy, for others an animal print hits the spot, or perhaps a stack of treasured books.  For me, it is a timeless blend of classic design, along with a mish-mash of old and new.

My childhood home wasn’t big or fancy but it was warm and cozy - mom and dad were early pioneers in re-cycling and up-cycling. They turned humble and discarded pieces into treasures. Early on I learned to see good bones, beneath decades of paint and neglect. Our home was filled with pieces that came alive, after just a bit of fine tuning! 

In addition to all the stuff, there is an art to making visitors feel welcome. I confess, I was not a natural at this but I continue to hone the skill. Lucky for me, my better half excels in this area; he makes everyone feel welcome and part of the party. In my early years, my quest for perfection dominated; but uptight and perfect does not make for a good party atmosphere! My Irish aunties were also masters at making one feel like the King or Queen of the castle, in the most humble of environments. 

Our home now, like many, is centered around the kitchen, physically and spiritually. It is filled with imperfection, yet it is a very happy space - our central gathering place for friends and family. The environment suits us perfectly and all feel welcome. Environment and atmosphere are key and it doesn’t hurt to add the aroma of a great meal. Through the years we have collected many items that are meaningful and functional. I am drawn to pretty things but my first generation roots did hone a practical side. Our kitchen built-ins hold a lifetime of treasures which are used on a regular basis. Like many of our clients, our home is a constant work in progress. Until we can afford to do something the right way, we hold off - no shortcuts on cheap stuff. Good stuff cheap is an entirely different thing. We will share our secrets for finding treasures in blogs to come.

What makes this space work, here are a few simple tricks to employ in your home:

  1. The built-in wall color is key to success and those that know the Bees, know we love pops of color. All the white dishes pop against the blue background and help to showcase all the pretty shapes and forms. We often use paint and wallpaper as a bookcase backer - See other examples below. If you don’t have built-ins use your imagination and create them. The photo below features a great piece discovered at (Ramble Market). A little paint and wallpaper from Pierre Frey completed the transformation.

  2. Personalize your space, tell your story - what makes you happy? In this space spying Auntie Eily’s tea set does it for me, along with treasured photos and mementos. For my better half, his collection of cook books hits his happy spot! This is also a great place to show off art, even better if you have a personal connection to the artist.

  3. White is complicated, selecting the “right” white is critically important. Here we paired a warm white to work with all the warm undertones in the floors, furnishings, and solid surfaces. There is no white that “works with everything”. For a great read on this very topic, check out Maria Killam’s guide called “White Is Complicated”.

  4. The built-ins provide form and function, they house dishes that we use to entertain; large platters, tea sets, soup tureens and more, a blend of new and old.

  5. Lighting is key! Small Ralph Lauren lamps add warmth and interest. We are not a huge fans of harsh overhead lighting which we reserve for task areas. We added two Currey Brownlow Chandeliers above the table. The space has a warm ambiance that every cozy dining area needs. Don’t forget the dimmer switch!

  6. Candles, candles, and more candles! Add to the cozy ambiance and engage all the senses.

  7. A great rug grounds the space. This Dash and Albert indoor/outdoor rug by Annie Selke melds form and function and repeats that lovely shade of blue from the built-ins. Clean up is easy with a high performance rug in a high traffic area.

  8. Storage; place everyday tools, pens, and other items into pretty vessels, interesting pitchers, and canisters.

  9. Layer, layer, layer! Photos and memorabilia tell our personal stories. Add interesting textures, patterns and colors - for the holidays I love this block print runner. The table is topped with an antique basket, filled with simple greens clipped from the yard.

  10. Create meaningful pieces from salvage. Many hands contributed to the transformation of our table. Family members gave us the legs, discovered in the basement of their charming new/old home. My crafty husband created the apron and a builder friend tapped into his network to commission the wood top. This budget friendly workhorse is the center of our social hub. If you’re looking for a great place to source salvage treasures check out Governor’s Antiques in Virginia. Or, if you have a creative in your family, ask them to commission you a special one-of-a-kind piece. For me, the Chinoiserie painting in the dining room holds special meaning as my daughter created it. Now, when I enter the room, I am reminded of the special loved ones in my life. And that’s what our home is all about.

Follow along as we embark on this adventure together! Our blog is a bi-weekly subscription in which we’ll talk about all things design and things that make us happy! You’ll also get some technical posts about projects that we’re working on. We will give you a glimpse into how Interior Designers work. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes, and we want to give you an idea of what it takes to get the best end results. We put our heart and soul into each project; it is a whole lot more complex and time consuming than what is depicted on HGTV. Stay tuned.

“Built-in” was discovered at Ramble Market and spruced up with a little paint and wallpaper from Pierre Frey. Light by Currey and Co., Pillow fabric by Manuel Canovas, Chair fabric by Ralph Lauren, Rug by Annie Selke