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Ways to Dress Up a Drab Hallway

The hallways that connect living spaces to sleeping spaces to the exterior of a home are just as important as bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Whether you’re working with a short hallway, a hallway with a sharp turn, a spacious hallway or one that’s a tight squeeze, you can make it feel just as special as the rest of your home. Make your hallways come alive with built-ins, lighting, colorful rugs and more.

1. A colorful rug. If your hallway could use a pick-me-up, add a colorful rug for instant style. The horizontal stripes on this rug help a narrow hallway feel wider. The long rug, which extends from one end of the hallway to the other, has a dramatic impact. Can’t find a rug that’s long enough? Try sewing several of the same rugs together to create a faux runner.

2. A picture gallery. This designer took advantage of an extra-long hallway by hanging a row of family photos and art. While identical frames and matting can look graphic and bold, this eclectic mix of colors and sizes adds warmth to the space.

3. Cabinetry. Take advantage of a wider hallway and build in some custom cabinetry for extra storage and display space. The cabinet in this photo serves as a display shelf for collectibles. Its neutral shade of paint keeps the hanging artwork as the focal point.

4. Pendant lighting. Most interior hallways don’t have windows, which means adequate artificial lighting is a necessity. Try adding hanging pendants instead of the standard surface-mounted lighting. The right pendant will light up your hallway while adding design flair, too.

5. Bookcases. Some avid readers can never have enough room for books. Extend a library out to the hallway to create extra display space for beloved books. Whether built-in or purchased, bookcases can add a functional and aesthetic element to wider hallways.

6. Murals. A floor-to-ceiling map installation can transform an awkward hallway into an educational opportunity. Don’t like the look? Wall decals and murals come in all sorts of customizable options, and they’re often more affordable than wallpaper.

7. Framed mirrors. For those who love the gallery look but don’t know what to put in their frames, a hall of mirrors can be the perfect solution. An installation like this can highlight a great collection of frames, or simply bring additional light and visual space into a small and dark hallway.

These are some great ideas!

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Tustin, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, area of Orange County, California.

How to Start a Decorating Project

Whether you’re furnishing your first place or redoing the house you’ve owned for decades, decorating can be a challenging task, filled with costly decisions whose outcomes could haunt you for years. How do you figure out what style is right for you? Should you tackle the job yourself or hire a pro? How much should you spend? And what steps can you take to ensure you’ll be happy with the results?

Take a critical look at your current home. What do you like about it? What do you dislike? Are your feelings prompted by the aesthetics of the decor? The comfort? The fabrics? The colors?

Write your list for Santa. Create a wish list — your Santa Claus list. Write down everything you would like to do if money were no object. Then figure out which things you can do, which things you can’t do, which things have to be done now and which things can wait.

Collect photos. Start collecting pictures of rooms you like. Even if you’re going to hire an interior designer, this will help him or her get a sense of your taste.

“I don’t know what I like.” Many people find it difficult to articulate what they want. Don’t let that bother you. Let those photos you’ve collected convey that information for you. Look at the characteristics that pop up again and again: the style of furnishings, the color palettes, the patterns, the materials, the quantity of furniture in each room. Let those characteristics guide you.

Take another look around. Now that you’ve started to zero in on the look you want your interior to have, make a list of all your significant pieces and figure out which items should stay and which should go.

Keep in mind that if you love a piece of upholstered furniture but hate its fabric, it can be reupholstered. Wood pieces can be painted or stained. Objects can be repurposed. And if there’s an inherited piece that has great sentimental value but you can’t stand to look at it … well, life’s too short to live with things you don’t love.

All at once or in stages? If you have the budget to do everything at once, by all means go for it. If you want everything done at once but can’t afford that now, save your money and do it all at once later.

If you can’t afford to do it all at once and don’t care if everything is done at the same time, then you’ll be better off doing the project in phases. Complete one room before moving on to the next one, rather than doing a little bit in one room and a little bit in another.

The living room is a good place to start. It can set the tone for all your other rooms you want to redo.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin Mission Viejo, and all areas of Orange County, California.

America Celebrates Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most influential and visionary architects of the 20th century. The Wisconsin-born Wright pioneered the Prairie style of residential design, which was inspired by the broad, flat landscape of the American Midwest. He also became known for what he called “organic architecture,” which aimed to create harmony between buildings, their inhabitants and the natural surroundings. The prolific architect designed some 1,000 buildings, several hundred of which were built.

To commemorate Wright’s June 8 birthday, his work is being celebrated around the country with museum shows, home tours, lectures and parties. Join us on an armchair tour of some of his noted designs. Be sure to check ticket availability if you plan on visiting any of the sites.

You can both visit and tour Wright’s New York architectural masterwork, which he started designing in the mid-1940s. The building was completed in 1959, a few months after Wright’s death at age 91. He designed the Guggenheim as a spiral ramp without separate floor levels. Visitors take an elevator to the top of the building and descend down the gently sloping ramp as they view the art.

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, a major exhibition on the architect and his work, opens at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on June 12. The show, which runs through Oct. 1, will feature more than 400 works from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, TV broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs and scrapbooks, as well as items that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited.

The show will highlight the major events in Wright’s life and career and will cover such topics as his preoccupation with ornament; his understanding of the relationship between nature, landscape and architecture; and his engagement with Native American design in a search for an original American architecture of the future.

Its spectacular cantilevered design has made Fallingwater perhaps the best-known and most widely admired of Wright’s buildings. The home, commissioned as a weekend retreat in the lush Bear Run Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, was completed in 1938 and today is a museum. Guided tours are offered, with advance ticket purchase essential due to demand.

On display through December at Fallingwater is the exhibition Wright for Wright: The Experimental Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Homes. The 150th-anniversary show explores key design elements of three Wright homes — his Oak Park, Illinois, home and studio; his Taliesin estate in Wisconsin; and his Taliesin West property in Arizona — and their function in the architect’s life and legacy.

Wright made his winter residence in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona. Taliesin West was established in 1937 and today is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. June 8 tours of the site are being offered at $1.50 and are selling out fast so reservations are strongly recommended. The facility also offers tours year-round. On Nov. 4, a 150th birthday gala will honor the architect.

Of course there are other homes and buildings around the county to check into as well.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Irvine, Tustin, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, area of Orange County, California.

Ways to Get Your Home in a Summer Mood

The days are lengthening; the nights are warmer — it’s time to start thinking summer. From white curtains billowing in the breeze, sleeping porches, shell collections and wildflowers to fresh juice in the morning and nautical stripes, certain things just beg to be a part of your summer routine. Here are fun, crafty and creative ways to get your home in the spirit of summer.

Hang Outdoor Curtains

What says summer more clearly than white curtains billowing in a breeze? And as if the tropical-vacation vibe weren’t enough reason to add them to your porch ASAP, they also provide shade and privacy.

Collect Shells in a Big Glass Vase

Start the season by filling a big glass cylindrical vase partway with sand, and gradually add shells as you find them on your beach adventures throughout the summer.

Deck Out Your Deck for Siestas and Fiestas

Colorful cushions, a pottery collection and a guitar set the stage for any relaxed afternoon activity you like, from solo napping to having a mellow party with friends.

Set Up a Summery Bar

A pretty tray with a few glasses and a pile of limes is all you need to be ready for summer drinks — and the glasses don’t even need to be made of glass if your bar is outdoors.

Hang a Swinging Chair

Whether outdoors or in, a swinging chair instantly makes any space feel more relaxed. Try one on the porch or in the living room.

Restyle Your Kitchen Shelves

Give yourself the gift of simplicity this summer by offloading the clutter from your kitchen cabinets into a few boxes and putting them away in a distant closet. The extra breathing space will make it feel like you’re cooking in a vacation home.

Here are some ideas to start out with.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in Tustin, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, and Irvine area of Orange County, California.

Update Your Space With a Big Picture

If you’re seeking a refreshing change of pace from complicated art wall arrangements, consider large-scale photography the perfect palate cleanser. Extra-large (roughly 20 inches and larger) photographs look crisp and modern, and they make decorating your walls a snap. Here are reasons to make space for a large-scale photograph.

One large-scale photo can cost less than a gallery wall. If you are starting from scratch, picking out one statement-making photo to frame (while not cheap) may end up costing less than putting together a wall full of smaller, framed works. Browse online or check local galleries for up-and-coming fine art photographers to find a piece you love.

Have a treasured photograph from a memorable family trip or event that you would love to see blown up to super-size? With so many services available now, it’s easier than you might think to have an extra-large print, poster or even wallpaper made from your own photography.

Tip: If you want to super-size one of your own family photos, be sure to choose one taken on the highest quality camera you own. Phone photo quality is always improving, but when you’re making an enlargement of this magnitude, it’s important to go with the highest possible resolution.

Museums and galleries hang artwork with plenty of white space surrounding each piece to draw the eye to the intended focal point — a concept you can use at home as well. Choose one favorite photograph and hang it with ample breathing space so it can be fully savored.

A single oversize photograph has a big presence in a room yet doesn’t clutter up the space with lots of little frames competing for attention. The overall effect is striking but in a clean, minimal way that works well with sleek, modern interiors.

Whether your heart is calling you to the wilds of Big Sur or the streets of Rome, there’s sure to be a photograph that captures the magic of the place. Keeping a visual reminder of the places you’ve been (and long to visit) is a wonderful way to infuse your home with a spirit of wanderlust.

Simply looking at leafy green trees can help us feel calmer and more peaceful. Try hanging an extra-large (or even wall-size) nature photograph to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world, even if you live in the heart of the city.

Hang one and you’re done — it’s as simple as that. With an oversize photograph, there’s a lot less leveling and hammering to do, so you can get to the best part: kicking back and enjoying your beautiful space.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Tustin, Mission Viejo, Irvine, area of Orange County, California.

Ways to Make an Impact With Color in a Room

Often, adding color is one of the things homeowners are most afraid to tackle in their space. After all, it can be easy to love a paint chip or fabric sample in a store only to realize it’s overwhelming or yawn-inducing when applied in real life. But color can be fun and easy to add in just the right dose if you know where to look — and how to get a little creative. Here’s how.

Want to add a bold color to your walls without creating an overwhelming look? There’s no rule that says you have to fill the entire room, or even the entire wall. Paint a wall with a door or window in it (which will break up the color a bit), or leave a panel of white in a funky geometric shape for a fun, contemporary effect.

In a bedroom, try painting a partial wall to create a headboard, or layer a wide stripe behind an actual headboard to add a greater sense of scale and drama.

If you have a bookcase or shelving unit with removable shelves, pull the shelves out, paint the back a fun hue and put the shelves back in after drying. This is especially easy with a unit from a big-box store that you assemble yourself, because you can paint the back piece before putting the unit together.

Replacing all your cabinet doors with brightly colored ones might be a bit of a risky choice (and a big investment), but you don’t really have to go all in to have a little fun. Try swapping just a few doors, such as on a tall cabinet, or just the uppers or lowers.

This is especially easy if you have modern, plain cabinets in a standard size, for which you can easily swap just the door fronts. You can leave the toe kicks and side panels untouched and it’ll still look cohesive.

Often, outdoor furniture is bright and colorful, ready for a garden party and compact in size to fit small decks and patios. This can make such furniture perfect for adding a color splash indoors because you get a saturated hue in a small dose, ready to stand in as a side table, nightstand or extra seat for squeezing in guests.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Irvine, and Tustin area of Orange County, California.

How to Start a Decorating Project

Congratulations. You’ve decided to decorate your home. Now what?

Whether you’re furnishing your first place or redoing the house you’ve owned for decades, decorating can be a challenging task, filled with costly decisions whose outcomes could haunt you for years. How do you figure out what style is right for you? Should you tackle the job yourself or hire a pro? How much should you spend? And what steps can you take to ensure you’ll be happy with the results?

Take a critical look at your current home. What do you like about it? What do you dislike? Are your feelings prompted by the aesthetics of the decor? The comfort? The fabrics? The colors?

Write your list for Santa. Create a wish list — your Santa Claus list. Write down everything you would like to do if money were no object. Then figure out which things you can do, which things you can’t do, which things have to be done now and which things can wait.

Collect photos. Start collecting pictures of rooms you like. Even if you’re going to hire an interior designer, this will help him or her get a sense of your taste.

Get your better half involved. For many couples there’s often one person who’s more interested in decorating than the other. The other person might say, “Do whatever you want.”

Do not do whatever you want. Because as soon as you start buying things, Mr. or Ms. No Opinion will suddenly have an opinion. So make him or her spend some time with you at the very beginning just looking at pictures of interiors. “Spend an hour or two on the computer and look at some things together and talk about them. As you review each room, ask your partner, “What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?”

Alternatively, you can each collect a file of images independently, then sit down and compare what you’ve chosen. This way your initial selections won’t be swayed by the other person. As you review your selections together, your differences and similarities will immediately become apparent.

All at once or in stages? If you have the budget to do everything at once, by all means go for it. If you want everything done at once but can’t afford that now, save your money and do it all at once later.

If you can’t afford to do it all at once and don’t care if everything is done at the same time, then you’ll be better off doing the project in phases. Complete one room before moving on to the next one, rather than doing a little bit in one room and a little bit in another.

Living in a half-finished space isn’t going to make most people happy.  I think it’s better to wait and do your project in phases.

The living room is a good place to start, as it will leave you with something you can be proud of and can share with friends — a good launching point for the other work ahead.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine Tustin, Mission Viejo, areas of Orange County, California.

Sink Into A Cozy Upstairs Lounge

Faced with an empty nest, this couple wanted to feather it. They began with a second-floor sitting room that’s tucked among the bedrooms and a home office. Knowing that they wanted to turn it into a place where they’d want to cozy up and spend time playing games, reading and watching TV together, they needed to find a large sectional sofa to lounge upon, then added all the cozy touches they needed — a soft wool rug, a dash of plaid, good lighting for reading, cushy pillows, light color and soft throw blankets.

A large plaid ottoman can provide a cozy touch and can double as a coffee table when paired with a tray. Also adding an upstairs coffee bar in the hallway, so the couple can get perked up in the morning here before they even hit the stairs. A throw with a geometric print adds color, softness and a favorite wrap for chilly nights.

The sofa is a heavy piece, keep the side tables airy and simple but chose a size that stands up to the sectional’s scale. You can add mercury glass lamps for reading. The mottled, silvery glass adds another interesting texture to the room but continues the light feeling. With the cords tucked away, the lamps are no longer in danger of toppling and shattering if someone trips on a cord.

A new wool rug defines the seating area and adds more warmth underfoot. Books fill the shelves within reach, and favorite objects are displayed on higher shelves.

These are ways to warm up a room and make it more functional and cozy.

Alix Flamm is an interior designer working in the Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Irvine ,and Tustin areas of Orange County, California.