Decorating Mistakes to Avoid - Page 2

For best results, designers say make a real plan—don't just parrot magazine spreads
Fridays On the Homefront
Fridays On the Homefront
Lucile Glessner discourages Eichler owners who are tempted to
use several shades of white with different undertones. Two views above: A "monochromatic design" approach by Glessner for a Sunnyvale Eichler kitchen. Photos: Lucile Glessner Design

Glessner recalled a client who was determined to fit an oversized island with stools into their kitchen, adding, "People don't know that, for [circulation] clearance, you have to have at least 24 inches per person." Likewise, she says, clients frequently underestimate how much a job is going to cost.

"I deal with that all the time…especially in this [geographic] area. With Eichlers, things can cost more," says Glessner, referring to the unanticipated costs in decorating older homes, such as finding asbestos or dry rot. "Some people have visions. I don't want to temper the vision, but I at least want to enlighten them as to the cost."

Both decorators cited use of the 'wrong' materials as another error particularly common to Eichler interiors, including flooring that doesn't effectively conduct radiant heating, and other problems.

"Oftentimes, they buy a lot of plastics because they see it in a magazine," says Secret. "They buy them because they think, 'It's an Eichler, this is what it's supposed to look like,' and not making it your space."

"I think it's almost a bigger design job with the Eichlers because you have to think of the exterior as well as the interior," observed Glessner, referencing the visual integration of one to the other created by large panels of glass.

Glessner also finds many Eichler owners who are tempted to use several shades of white with different undertones, which she tries to discourage.

"I try to keep [using] the same white, because I don't like to mix a yellowish, cream-colored white with a grayish white," she explains. "The undertone of your color needs to work together."

At the same time, Secret finds many homeowners reticent to think outside the boxes they see in magazine spreads.

"They're not taking the extra steps to make the space transform to its potential," she laments, noting that some clients rule out certain colors, textures, and materials—especially the ones with which they are unfamiliar.

"If you're hiring a professional, let them push you, let them show you the potential," Secret urges. "There are no rules. It has to be your space. It needs to be personal."

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