Timeless Decorating Tips from America’s First Interior Designer

thehouseingoodtaste

Trends come and go, but there are some tenets in decorating that will always stand the test of time. Elsie de Wolfe, America’s first interior designer who was often referred to as the “First Lady of Interior Design,” was a revolutionary and trendsetter and the first to promote a design concept that revolved around a lifestyle.

Her decorating  book, The House in Good Taste (1913), has influenced generations of designers and her impact on style, elegance, and the art of living remain an important influence even today.

The key elements of de Wolfe’s style are as sensible and fresh as ever. These tips from her book are as pertinent today as they were a century ago:

1. Painted Walls

“To me, the most beautiful wall is the plain and dignified painted wall, broken into graceful panels by the use of narrow moldings, with lighting fixtures carefully placed, and every picture and mirror hung with classic precision. This wall is just as appropriate to the six-room cottage as to the twenty-room house. If I could always find perfect walls, I’d always paint them, and never use a yard of paper. Painted walls, when very well done, are dignified and restful, and most sanitary.”

2. The Use of Color

“What a joyous thing is color! How influenced we all are by it, even if we are unconscious of how our sense of restfulness has been brought about. Certain colors are antagonistic to each of us, and I think we should try to learn just what colors are most sympathetic to our own individual emotions, and then make the best of them.”

3. Curtains

“How often do we see masses of draperies looped back and arranged with elaborate dust-catching tassels and fringes that mean nothing. These curtains do not even draw!…
A window is such a gay, animate thing. By day it should be full of sunshine, and if it frames a view worth seeing, the view should be a part of it. By night the window should be hidden by soft curtains that have been drawn to the side during the sunshiny hours.”

4. The Living Room

“Listen a minute while I tell you how I see such a room: Big and restful, making for comfort first and always; a little shabby here and there, perhaps, but all the more satisfactory for that—like an old shoe that goes on easily. Lots of light by night, and not too much drapery to shut out the sunlight by day. Big, welcoming chairs, rather sprawly, and long sofas.”

5. The Dining Room

“In most other rooms we avoid the “pairing” of things, but here pairs and sets of things are most desirable. Two console tables are more impressive than one. There is great decorative value in a pair of mirrors, a pair of candlesticks, a pair of porcelain jars, two cupboards flanking a chimney-piece. You would not be guilty of a pair of wall fountains, or of two wall clocks, just as you would not have two copies of the same portrait in a room. But when things “pair” logically, pair them! They will furnish a backbone of precision to the room.”

 

How to Choose the Right Granite Countertop Color

PMG kitchen with Calacatta
Calacatta Gold Countertops from Prestige Marble & Granite

The availability of numerous granite colors in the current American market can make choosing a granite countertop color  difficult, even overwhelming. Because any natural stone, including granite, is an investment and ultimately a long-lasting decision, it’s important to get it right the first time. While selecting a granite color for a countertop is is a personal thing, you’ll want to coordinate your granite with the cabinets, floor color, and other aspects of your kitchen to achieve your desired result. Here are some guidance and great tips to help you select the right granite for your countertops.

Cabinet Color

We always encourage our customers to bring a cabinet sample when they visit our show room to select their granite. Even if that means temporarily removing a door, it’s well worth it. The ideal cabinet and granite coordination is a granite that contrasts with the cabinets, but with the natural speckles or veins having hues of the cabinet color. If you have two-tone cabinetry, selecting a suitable granite that goes well with the two different colors can pose a challenge. The basic principle is to select a granite that has hues of the both colors.

Other Kitchen Colors 

Making a good selection for countertops requires an eye for detail.  In addition to cabinet samples, you will want to bring samples of wall paint, flooring and kitchen appliances to the showroom. (If samples aren’t available, take pictures in good, natural lighting.) Place your  samples on or around the granite to get a good idea of what different  color combinations look like.

Kitchen Lighting

Don’t forget the kitchen’s lighting when choosing granite colors! If your kitchen has little or no natural light, select granite that has a significant amount of white or gold, or lots of light-reflecting crystals. Dark colors like deep blue and black look best in areas that receive substantial light. Think about using layers of lighting and including Track and pendant lighting, as well as under-cabinet lighting to enhance the beauty of the stone. To learn more about kitchen lighting to best show off your countertops, click here. 

Kitchen Size

Be sure to consider the size of your kitchen when choosing granite colors. In general, smaller kitchens will look larger with lighter colored countertops. But dark-colored granite with lots of lighter colored veins can offer a stunningly beautiful result in small kitchens, too. This where you have to really pay attention to your lighting.

Can’t Decide?

At the end of the day, if you’re torn between two granite colors, consider using both!  Selecting a lighter color for an island and a darker tone for the surrounding cabinets creates a beautiful contrast. Your kitchen will pop even more with contrasting granite colors that perfectly compliment cabinetry that’s also in two different colors.

 

 

 

Colorful Kitchens

You know your kitchen doesn’t have to be all white, right?  While there is no denying white is still one of the most popular kitchen colors, a new color scheme can change your kitchen in a major way. Finessing the right hues can turn the room from drab to sophisticated, add pizzaz to a classic, bring a little drama to a laid-back space, or ground a large room with a robust foundation color  Steal some decorating inspiration with these colorful kitchen design ideas.

Kitchens

The deep glossy blue on the lower cabinets adds unexpected polish and pop, while still feeling classy and classic.

Williams

An earthy red is always appetizing. This orangey-red backsplash provides a dramatic focus in the kitchen.

 

Hart

Aqua tones are perfect for those wanting (and perhaps even needing) the relaxing, transporting blue-green of tropical seas.

 

Bryant Residence
This green is wonderfully retro but surprisingly fresh.
Farmsworth Residence
Pops of white prevent the dark espresso colored cabinetry from overpowering the kitchen.
Surrey House IV
Blue up your grays for a look that’s subtly elegant, yet soothing and inviting.
Kitchen Renovations
Deep gray is very grounding in this spacious traditional kitchen.
Vallejo Street Highrise
Black on black is dramatic and sophisticated.
Kitchen
Navy and white is nautical, crisp, and timeless.
We hope you have enjoyed this look at colorful kitchens. For more kitchen design inspiration of the colorful kind, head over to our Pinterest board.
You can count on Prestige Marble & Granite when it comes to selecting natural stone countertops that will integrate with the latest in design and color trends. Stop by our showroom and speak with our knowledgable staff anytime. Designers, builders, and homeowners are all welcome!

What Affects Granite Countertop Prices?

 

Fusion Granite from Brazil
Gorgeous Fusion granite from Brazil is exotic and rare.

All granite is gorgeous, but not all granite costs the same. This is because, while all granite slabs are inherently beautiful in their own way, they are not all the same. There are several factors that will affect the price. Here’s a look at them.

Granite Slab Size

The size of the slab will always affect the cost. Larger pieces are more desirable for a couple of reasons. It’s best to avoid seams in your countertop when possible because they tend to more visible with granite. From an aesthetic point of view, one large piece without a seam will always look better than two or more smaller pieces. Also, one piece cut from a slab will be more uniform in color and veining than pieces cut from several slabs. Single large countertop pieces have to be cut from large slabs, which are naturally more expensive. Large pieces of granite are also more difficult to install, adding to the installation cost.

Granite Grade

Grade refers to the structural quality of the stone. Slabs with fewer imperfections and defects, like pits and fissures, will be assigned a higher grade. There are no internationally accepted standards that exist, however. The levels and grades for granite are determined by each individual wholesaler, therefore, it’s important to purchase your granite from a well-established, knowledgeable and respected dealer.

Color & Rarity

The  factor that affects the price of granite the most is color and supply and demand. The relative rarity of some granite colors and hues may make them more expensive. But even more importantly, demand will really affect how much the granite will cost. Some rather exotic or rare colors are more expensive in areas where demand for that particular color is high. So in many respects, the price of granite is greatly affected by how popular a color is in a given area at a given time.

Other Factors

Other factors that affect the price of your granite countertops are the number of cutouts that have to be done and any upgraded edges you choose (click here to learn about some of the edges available).

Just because a slab of granite isn’t considered rare or exotic, or isn’t in low supply due to high demand, doesn’t mean it can’t make an attractive countertop in your kitchen. But keep in mind that you are likely to live with your granite countertops for many years to come, and  you’ll be most satisfied with your purchase in the years ahead if you spend a bit more to get the type, color and look you really want.

While we offer a large array of beautiful natural stones to fit all budgets, we specialize in unique, hard-to-find countertop material. We source the most extraordinary, rare, and exotic marble and granite slabs that will enhance your space with a distinctive, one-of-a-kind look. Here in our indoor showroom, you’ll find one of the most extensive selections of the highest quality, designer-grade natural stones available in Middle Tennessee.