Warm & Cool

In recent design projects, we have been finding ways to warm up the cool palettes of the last few seasons. Traditionally, either warm or cool neutrals predominate a space. Cool grays, silver, and washed wood tones still find favor with many homeowners due to their modern and understated sensibilities.  Even so warm neutral tones are making a comeback from their several year hiatus.

 We remember looking through resources during this peak in cool tones and wondering if everything warmer than taupe had  become extinct. Embracing warm tones comes naturally to us as they add a wonderful comfort and richness to a space. We love encouraging a mix of neutrals as we have found that it creates a sophisticated and unexpected palette that our clients love.

Cool Warm Mood Shot

One of our favorite examples of a piece that bridges warm and cool wood tones harmoniously is our beautiful Tusk table.  Don’t underestimate the power of accessorizing to reenforce the striking balance of warm and cool as well. (above). From rugs and gimp tapes to wallpaper, we find that this trend is really taking off within the design community. We had fun arranging a group of our favorites below.

Warm & Cool Collage

Warm & Cool Collage

Here at MakeNest, we love a confident mix. Just like wood tones and accent peices, try mixing neutrals in other materials too! We are looking at you, gold and silver.


Stairway to Heaven

The latest design concept we’re loving is facing stairwell risers with vinyl patterns from Spicher and Company.  These floor covering cut easily with a straight edge and an X-acto knife, so they can conform to just about any curve or twist in the stairs.  The best part is they clean up with lightly sudsy water, so they’re as family-friendly as they are beautiful.

spicher rug mix

Here’s our tip for deciding which pattern and style you like.  Unless you’re a math genius, it may be hard to match the scale exactly with our method, but you can get close enough to help you visualize the outcome.  Simply take a picture of your stairwell in clean crisp lighting (flood with a work lamp if your own light is insufficient) and then use a box cutter and a straight edge to cut the risers out of your printed image. Slide printouts of the patterns that intrigue you under the image so that they appear in the cut away spaces.  We recommend printing the image on card stock to make cutting easier. Below, our own project:

Interior Design, Northern Virginia

Interior Design, Northern Virginia

The vinyl sheeting also makes for unexpected and striking kitchen backsplashes, so you can spread the love to the kitchen, too.  Have fun trying it out yourself!

Happy Nesting!

Bespoke Design

The look of design today is driven by a turn toward modest, meaningful living.  We see the shift mostly in the emerging nester generation, although mature homeowners, in downsizing, are also drawn to simple, customized designs.  In smaller homes it is often easier to focus on multiple details, and to get big impact from less complicated changes.

Presentation C1-3

Most importantly, in considering smaller home living, many of our clients are discovering what we have detected in nesters of all house sizes: that people are naturally happiest in the nest within the nest, those crucial communal spaces such as kitchen and family room, or in restful places like bedrooms and studies.  The endless caverns of lower levels, master bedroom sitting areas and of second family rooms are often neglected in favor of primary rooms close to the hub of the house.

In recent years, many of our clients have purchased and redesigned mid-century homes, where low-slung rooms and sincere use of space is often more satisfying than size for size’s sake.  In newly-built smaller homes, the details speak to function and modesty. Great rooms joined with kitchens are still prized; single level floor plans are more attractive than multi; and storage is compact and organized.

The word often used today in design is ‘bespoke’.  It means to have something made to order, tailored to need. It requires thought to be conceptualized and craftsmanship to be rendered.   Realtors and builders often said to clients in the early 2000s: “With all this countertop, how could you ever run out of workspace?”

Today, we’re better served to approach design another way: “How do we live? Let’s suit that.”


What I’ve Come to Love: Visible Power

There was a time when I would do anything to hide the gritty truth of electricity.  I look back at my early endeavors and cringe at parades of baskets and houseplants I ran along the corners of rooms to hide the lamp cords.  Then I changed and became a person who could embrace it.


Of course, there are still times when hiding a mess of wires is the right choice.  No need to allow a surge protector to peer up at guests from the corner of the sofa like a white rat with a few too many tails.  Yet a vintage wire snaking down from a sconce has a surprising charm to me as I approach forty; it is, after all, the age of forgiving grey hair and crow’s feet with grace.

Maybe, too, I think embracing the forgotten wonder of electricity is a nice, truthy thing to do.  In an era in which we can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime we ought to do a little less griping when the signals are weak and have a little more zen-like gratitude that we’re able to do something like sending a friend across the globe a snapshot of shoes we’re thinking of buying.  Seriously though, these wingtips look great with this soap box, right?


In conclusion, try letting the works show now and again.  There is more style in honesty than in pretense.  This is something like that breezy, amazing person in your life who can throw a poncho over a t-shirt and somehow look cooler than your mother-in-law who always has the perfect brooch to suit her expensive matched knits.