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An Interview with Lyn Peterson

source: china textile prints 2009-04-14  

Q. Most of us are always eager to know what is the "latest" color, design, and furnishings trend. Can you comment on what you see in trends and how homeowners might create interiors that are up-to-date but classic.

Lyn Peterson: "The thing about the latest 'latest' is that you never know if it will stand the test of time. Blue jeans are a classic. Blue jeans with embroidered cuffs are last year's embarrassment. The thing about classic decorating is that it has stood the test of time, not like a pair of embroidered jeans. We can't bury them in the closet and pretend we didn't actually buy them. We want to appear up to date, but not foolish, next year.

"New homeowners are using honed stones for counters in kitchens and baths, and asking for and installing moldings and added detail in their homes. Design is in the details and these sophisticated new homeowners seem to know that.

"Quality never goes out of fashion. I see quality as a trend now. Maybe we're going to be smarter about how we spend our decorating dollar in the new millenium. (I know I plan to be.) Leave the faddy stuff to the smalls. Get that silk, beaded throw pillow, or that sisal tapestry bordered small throw rug. Be safe with the big purchases, and playful with the accessories."

Q. Bookshelves are a wonderful place to display everything from collectibles and photographs to books and boxes. However, many homeowners find accessorizing a bookcase somewhat intimidating. Do you have any tips or advice for someone who would like to avoid the straight rows of books?

Lyn Peterson: "First of all read the books. Then they will find their own homes - a sort of natural order that defies decorating. Don't make the shelves too far apart when you are building a new bookcase. Books are only about 8-10" tall, so when shelves are 15 " apart you have these ridiculous gaps at the tops.

"Keep like items together rather then spreading things like bread crumbs everywhere. Mass a collection of mercury glass on one shelf and use another one or two at the end of a row of books. Same for family photos or finials, or whatever it is that you collect."

Q. What trends are you seeing in room decor for kids in colors, themes, furnishings, etc.?

Lyn Peterson: "Maple furniture and furniture with mixed finishes such as maple tops and painted drawer fronts. Playful mix and match atop the bed -- not just one pattern but rather a happy young jumble such as blue and white truck sheets with red white and blue submarine pillows.

"Don't worry about a second bed for friends to sleepover. I have always had second beds, but kids come today stuttered to sleeping bags and usually end up side by side on the floor.

"Give kids an ample display area. Closed storage is great if you can get them to put anything away. But they also need ledges on which they can build and display their "worlds" whether Barbie dances there or Lego lands burgeon. Kids need this display space. A 20" ledge with storage bins below works well.

"Make window treatments functionally sturdy as they will grab and swing on those cords."

Q. Some people are baffled about where to place color. If their favorite color is blue for example, they don't know if they should buy a blue sofa, paint the walls blue, or order blue carpeting. Can you comment on using our favorite colors and ways to incorporate them into home decor?

Lyn Peterson: "Use the color on the walls. Paint is infinite -- you can get the exact right shade. Whereas carpet is very finite, and it's not easy to find the right blue carpet. Remember it is much easier to contrast than to match. The blue of your couch and the blue of your wall and rug may match perfectly in daylight, but then the sun shifts and something is off, or at night the incandescent light bulb makes one blue too green. How often have I stepped out in what I thought was all khaki only to discover that my pants were pinky, shirt yellow, and my jacket grey, yet all tones of kakhi."

"Rooms have a color character. In my first married apartment my husband and I arrived Friday PM and promptly painted the kitchen bright yellow. Saturday AM the sun came out and we practically had to wear sunglasses in that room! In our next kitchen, in our first home, I was determined not to make the same mistake. I wallpapered in a wonderful greyish blue ticking stripe. And the sun never shined in that one window buried behind pine trees. (Well at least I didn't make the same mistake twice!)

"Be sure to check the exposure of your rooms. Also if it is a room with nighttime use, then check the color at the time of day you will inhabit the room and with the kind of lighting you will be using. If that means candles in the dining room then go ahead and light the candles and dim the lights and see what looks good.

"I believe it was DaVinci who discovered that our light sensors don't fire in low light. Every time Leo (we call him Leo) got down off the scaffolding, he discovered that his painting just disappeared. He had to keep intensifying the colors.

"Use strong colors in rooms with short periods of usefulness: dining room, guest room, powder room, hall that you walk through, and not in rooms that you sit in hour after hour like the TV room."