Do’s and Don’ts for 2018, Scarlett style

Current Favorite House – Sarah Waller, Australia 

Hi Friends, 

I’ve many times written posts about what I would like to see (and no longer see) in design. I never publish them because

  1. I prefer to always be positive.
  2. I do not want to offend anyone who may have and enjoy the things I no longer want to see.
  3. It’s already out there . (Great post but read it after you read this, because it is loooong.
  4. Times are tough and many people don’t have a home, and there are so many other things to care about. 
  5. I don’t like to preach. You’ve been warned, I am about to get all preachy on you.

But of course I realize that my viewpoint is different from others, and perhaps you would like to hear it. This is not a debate about traditional vs modern, you like what you like and I like what I like, that keeps life interesting. I recently met new clients in their new home to choose colors and offer ideas. They are both from Europe, and asked me questions about why we in America do so many odd things in a home. Why the texture on the walls, why all of the trim and molding, etc. I believe most of it came from cheap solutions from quickly built tract homes, and then became the norm for many. These clients expressed that they would like their home to feel more European, it would make them more comfortable. I am the perfect designer for them! For years I have been working to push my “agenda” on old school painters, cabinet makers, flooring professionals, tile setters and homeowners. “This is how we do it, this is how we’ve always done it” is not acceptable. As long as it does not affect the function, the form can be changed. I advised them to change out the traditional baseboards, remove the home depot crown molding and remove altogether the window and door trim. They had already decided to make the walls smooth. I also told them they could remove the lonely floating upper cabinet (one of my favorite tricks), and their minds were blown! Down the road they will replace the ubiquitous speckled granite with carrara marble and replace the cabinetry with a more clean, modern style that looks less like a kitchen and more like an extension of the dining room.

So here it is, in all it’s glory, my dos and don’ts 2018. All of the links are to Pinterest, and safe to click on. Many of them have to do with building or remodling, so bear with me, it’s what I am working on most right now.

  1. Don’t buy throwaway furniture, accessories, rugs, etc. Think about your footprint. Think about the process of making the particle board, plastic doodads, synthetic fibers that will never break down. You don’t have to be a minimalist, but you do not need to fill every space. Stop with all of the TJ Maxx candlesticks, vases and STUFF. This goes for clothing too, but I digress.
  2. Do buy quality, try to shop locally, and buy less.
  3. When choosing tile, do think about better ways to trim and finish the edges. The metal schluter strip only works on rare occasions. Be creative (but not crafty).
  4. Do budget for a radiant heat system if you are installing new floor tile. You will not be sorry.
  5. Do think about using the prettiest ground tile you can afford, with no accent (I bet you save money this way). Better too few than too many different tiles. If you want accents, use cool lights, art, or a special accessory.
  6. Speaking of cool lights – forget it, you know how I feel about Edison bulbs and “put a bulb in it” fixtures.
  7. Do update the ugly side of a builders cabinet (example of a fix here).
  8. Do tell your drywall guy (or gal) no knock down drywall texture (we are making walls smoother these days, level 4 or 5).
  9. Do not put an accent (paint/wallpaper, etc) on a wall that does not want to or need to be an accent wall. Here is a good example of a proper accent wall, and unique trim. 
  10. Do not let anyone use quarter round trim (interesting discussion here, the force is strong in favor of, because it’s what people are used to). There are better ways to hide gaps.
  11. Do better than boring off the shelf crown molding, trim and baseboards. For the same price you could get simple, classic wood to use as trim. Look at this no door trim gorgeousness. More and more builders are doing a flush molding, but even I, with my love of clean modern,  am not there yet.
  12. Either make the cabinetry deeper for a standard refrigerator, or buy a counter depth version. See why here, this could be flush. This common mistake baffles me.
  13. Do not use live edge, reclaimed wood, barn doors, etc. in a house that does not fit that style. NO, please stop. If you love the look, use it as furniture, do not make them a permanent part of your home, it will date it.
  14. Speaking of dated, if you really want to use those faux wood tiles, do not have real wood in the vicinity.
  15. Speaking of real wood – when possible, use solid wood floors over engineered, and never those faux “hand scraped” boards. Sorry.
  16. Speaking of real – my vote goes for real stone over resin “quartz” countertops any day. There are exceptions to this rule (the dark charcoal color is ok if you really can’t deal with stone).
  17. Don’t forget to think about your terra.
  18. Do not hold on to items that do not bring you joy. More on that here.
  19. Do think about a 13″ deep wall pantry, a more efficient use of space than a walk in.
  20. Don’t pay too much attention to the color of the year and what’s hot. Use colors and accents that make you happy. However, if you do love a color that is outdated, you may be hard pressed to find it.
  21. Do remember that if you are building or remodeling, you have options! You do not have to do things simply because everyone else does. This goes for any part of design. And life. And it’s kinda my motto.
  22. Do hire a designer, even for a short consult, to make sure you’ve thought of all of the details and make sure you are on the right track.
  23. Don’t follow these rules if you strongly disagree. This is only my opinion and my (admittedly exquisite) taste.
  24. Do remember that peace begins with you, be the best version of yourself. Let go of anything negative and focus on the positive. More words of wisdom and inspiration (and preachiness) here, on my tru dat page.

Peace and love to you, 








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