Country Living: Infinite Possibilities

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, June 23, 2015


By Gillian Drummond
Life in Our Foothills, January 2015

The holiday season is behind us and the new year of 2015 is poised to open before us. The new year, for me, doesn’t mean lists of new accomplishments and goals, but rather a feeling of a door opening on infinite possibilities. This feeling, along with looking at my house through new eyes now that the holiday decorations are down, brings me to yearning for some transformation. And in a house, nothing brings transformation more easily or more completely than color.

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Now that interior design has become a fashion commodity much more than it has in the past, the color authorities tell us what colors are “in” for each year and each season of the year. 2015’s colors are cooler and softer. As Leatrice Eisman of Pantone, the color forecasters say, “An eclectic, ethereal mix of understated brights, pale pastels and nature-like neutrals as designers draw from daydreams of simpler times. Remembrances of retro delights, folkloric and floral art, and the magical worlds of tropical landscapes restore a sense of well being. Many feel compelled to be connected around the clock because we are afraid we’ll miss something important. There is a growing movement to step out and create ‘quiet zones’ to disconnect from technology and unwind, giving ourselves time to stop and be still. Color choices follow the same minimalistic ‘en plein air’ theme, taking a cue from nature rather than being reinvented or mechanically manipulated. Soft, cool hues blend with subtle warm tones to create a soothing escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.”

This forecast tells us what we will be seeing in fashion and home furnishings during the coming year. If you are thinking about designing a room in your home you might want to think about whether this is something that you would like to incorporate into your lifestyle. I am finally going to paint my bedroom and have chosen a soft aquamarine blue for the walls. I already have floral printed linen chairs in soft green, blue and pink. Adding a pale pink duvet and sheer curtains embroidered with blue and green trailing vines will give me a quiet but warm place to rest and relax in.

Other easy transformations you can make in a room are to bring in nature with a tree or some plants, this will give it life. Reshuffle your art. We get stuck with hanging art or placing accessories in certain places and then leave them there for years. Move things around. I had a client at one time who collected art. They had a large closet where they stored the art that was not hanging at the time. Three times a year we got together and went through everything and changed the art in all their rooms. This way they could keep collecting and still enjoy everything. This also forced us to move furniture into different arrangements. Just remember that art should be hung at eye level. The middle of the painting should be at about 66” from the floor. A painting behind a sofa should be big enough to balance the sofa and hung low enough on the wall so that it has a clear relationship with the sofa and doesn’t appear to float above the sofa.  The same rule applies to a group of pictures hung above a sofa or another piece of furniture.

This brings us to another transformation. Move your furniture around. This can totally bring a different feel to a room. You might have a summer and winter arrangement.   People often move a piece of furniture to get a Christmas tree into a room but rearranging the whole room to incorporate a Christmas tree is sometimes much more beautiful.

Another easy transformation is a new rug.  Rugs can be used to pull a room together.  People often make the mistake of using rugs that are too small.  Your furniture should be all on or all off the rug.  My rule of thumb is that when you are sitting down your feet should be on the rug, if they are not then the rug is too small.  In a dining room, the rug should be big enough so that the chairs are on the rug when they are pulled out and people are sitting on them. A larger rug always makes a room look larger.

Many homes here have beautiful views and therefore no curtains on the window. This can be like hanging a painting on a wall without a frame. Curtains create a beautiful frame for your view, often times they will enhance it when done in the proper manner.

Curtains and window shades that are hung outside your window frame should be hung high and wide. They should go up to the ceiling or just under you crown molding unless you have exceptionally high ceilings. This makes the ceiling seem higher and in a room with an eight foot ceiling it is a definite plus. On either side of the window hang the rod at least seven inches wider than the window, where you have the space, so that the curtains can clear the glass when open. Your curtains should be made two times the fullness of the length of the rod for nice fullness. Interlining curtains is another way to make them look luxurious and full. If you have both window shades and curtains, the shades should hang either under the rod or valance not at the top of the window leaving bare wall between the top of the shade and the rod.

My last easy transformation is beautiful pillows. They bring color, pattern, luxury and charm to any setting. Unless you are allergic to down and feathers they should be filled with a 50/50 combination of the two. Pillows take so little fabric that this is a good place to splurge and spend more of your budget on a luxurious or very interesting choice.  Sometimes, when using an expensive fabric I use it only on the front with a contrasting or compatible fabric on the back. I know that trim is not all the rage, at the moment, but I do think it can be as simple as a ribbon, a Greek key patterned tape or large contrasting welt and it will make your pillows that much more special. It is always the details that finish off a room and give it its personal and individual look.

So now that your Christmas decorations are down look around and see where you can make some refreshing changes to your home, give it some new style or bring it one step closer to your dream home.

Gillian Drummond has her design studio, Drummond House, in Tryon, N.C. Contact her at 828-859-9895 or or visit