Okay, relax. The holiday rush is past us, and guests and wrapping paper have gone their own ways. Time to turn your attention indoors. Are you ready for a less fuss approach to decorating? This is your window of opportunity to refresh and renew your home and experience the feel-good results.
With that mission in mind, we searched for ideas that would bring more comfort, ease, and simplicity into personal surroundings.
Hilda "Hildi" Santo-Tomas, an interior designer known for her work on the popular TLC cable television show Trading Spaces, shares a clear-cut strategy that she incorporates in decorating decisions to achieve more relaxed living spaces.
"Architectural and design styles do differ because they reflect personal preferences," Hildi says, "but there is an art to the process of simplifying your home."
She led us to the residence of friend Bob Fehskens, an Atlanta residential developer whose urban loft home is filled with natural light and open views to the outdoors.
"Being in town, I was interested in finding something new yet reasonably priced," Bob explains. "Most important to me was the functionality of the space--whether or not it would work well with my lifestyle and personality. I wanted something unique that would put me at ease but something different from most traditional homes." Clean, distinct lines; richly textured neutrals; and an open floor plan characterize this 2,000-square-foot residence.
"Less is more in this house," he states emphatically. No truer example can be seen than in the architectural design of the home, created by residential designer Franz Schneider, where a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling storefront window is the center of attention. This unifying element replaces a host of frills, which would have conveyed a complicated feel.
In the open-air loft design, everything has a function. There are no tray ceilings, chair rails, or trim. Franz ensured that only simple features prevailed. "He designs with a modern style of architecture," Bob says of his business partner. "The elements I like are a commonsense approach--open, light, and conducive to entertaining."
In an area with few room dividers, the spacious-looking kitchen is an extension of the living space. Franz connected the living area to the kitchen with small rectangular windows along the side walls. "The kitchen and dining area is one dynamic social center," Bob says.