Arkansas, Where Jesus Saved Elvis

Travel and design are two of my favorite things. I recently went on an incredible journey across the United States. I visited 19 states and drove 9000 miles (actually 8999) in a month.

I did research on a few “Mecca destinations” like the Florida Keys and Sedona, Arizona, but a lot of my trip was not too thoroughly researched. In the case of Arkansas, I’d say it was under-researched. The internet led me to believe there’d be adorable mountain cabin getaways where I’d want to sit enjoying the views and writing my memoir. I’m quite sure there are but my decision to not research Arkansas in advance resulted in a bit of disappointment. I learned from this trip that going to a city without reservations, for the most part, is okay but going to the country or small towns without can be an issue.

I drove through the Ozarks National Forest in Arkansas which was beautiful and reminded me a bit of the Catskill or Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. The only difference was that there was no one around for miles and miles, let alone adorable mountain cabins for memoir writing. To be honest, this city girl was a little freaked out with no cell coverage and no GPS for much of the 2+ hour drive. I’m all for nature and, at first, it was enjoyable but then as I continued on the twisty-turny roads not certain where I’d be coming out or when, I began to get a little nervous. As soon as I saw signs for a highway and had a signal again, I said “Hey Siri, Where’s the nearest city?”. Siri answered with “Fort Smith, Arkansas”.

Fort Smith sits on the banks of the Arkansas River and is known for being an important destination for outfitting 49ers in the Gold Rush of 1848 and 1849. When I asked my bartender at the Courtyard by Marriott what I should see while I was in town, he directed me to a “fun club” called the Electric Cowboy, which I did not go to, and a brothel museum called Miss Annie’s Welcome Center, which I drove by, but sadly it wasn’t open. He also told me about some street murals. I did check those out and enjoyed them very much. I especially loved the big guy with the small head walking out of a cell phone and the octopus with wings….tattoo inspo anyone?

Not too sad to leave Fort Smith but also grateful for the comfortable hotel and cool street art, I headed for Little Rock. My trusty bartender from Fort Smith suggested I check out the River Walk Market. Sadly, it wasn’t open; I’m guessing because it was midday midweek and 4,000,000 degrees with 400% humidity (actually 103*). After watching an artist paint a mural for a little while and marveling at her skill and tolerance for the heat, I found my way to a cool little club (with a/c) and enjoyed the kitschy décor. Maybe it was the Howlin’ Wolf talking, a whisky mule that I ordered and enjoyed, but as I sat there looking at the décor, it made me think I should dig out some of my kids’ art from decades ago and frame it. I bet it could be cool if framed and displayed well. That wasn’t meant as a jab to the club or my kids…I’m being serious. And I also love a good cowprint mixed in with pretty much any other décor style. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with the Jesus Saves Elvis painting. Can we please find a client or a friend who has a space where this would work?

People were friendly in Little Rock and I really loved the combination of Southern, modern and old world charm. Cafes were adorned with lush flowers and plants and the Capital Building and grounds were beautiful and impressive. From a design perspective, I’d say Little Rock was eclectic, which is my favorite type of design….. and also my favorite type of people. An eclectic person would proudly display that Jesus Saves Elvis painting. Where are you friends?

The Psychology of Color

We had an especially warm last few days of winter in Seattle and the daffodils and flowering cherry and plum trees are starting to bloom. It’s about to be color time!

As designers, we are often focused on color and learning about what resonates with our clients. Color is a powerful tool in the world of home design, capable of evoking emotions, influencing moods, and transforming spaces. Understanding the psychology of color allows for the creation of environments that resonate with inhabitants on a deeper level.

Every color has its own psychological associations, which can vary based on cultural context and personal experiences. Here’s a brief overview of some common colors and their psychological effects:

Blue: Known for its calming and serene qualities, blue is often used in bedrooms and living rooms to promote relaxation and tranquility. Lighter shades can create an airy and spacious feel, while darker blues can add depth and sophistication.

Green: Symbolizing growth, harmony and nature, green is ideal for spaces where rejuvenation and balance are desired. It’s particularly well-suited for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices.

Yellow: As the color of sunshine, yellow is associated with happiness, optimism, and energy. Incorporating yellow accents or using it as a primary color can brighten up any room and create a cheerful atmosphere. However, too much yellow can be overwhelming, so it’s best used in moderation.

Red: Bold and passionate, red stimulates the senses and encourages action. It’s often used in dining rooms and areas where socialization and activity are encouraged. Excessive use of red can also lead to feelings of agitation so it’s important to balance it with more calming hues.

Neutral Colors: Colors like white, beige and gray are versatile and timeless, providing a neutral backdrop that can complement any style or aesthetic. Neutral colors create a sense of balance and simplicity, allowing other elements in the room to stand out.

When designing a home, it’s essential to consider the psychological impact of color and how it contributes to the overall ambiance of each space. By choosing colors that resonate with the desired mood and atmosphere, homeowners can create environments that promote well-being, productivity, and comfort.

Ultimately, the key to successful home design lies in finding the perfect balance of colors that not only reflect personal preferences but also enhance the functionality and livability of the space Whether it’s a cozy bedroom retreat or an inviting living area, harnessing the psychology of color can truly transform a house into a home.

 

A fresh blue in this West Seattle bathroom creates an airiness that showcases the natural light. Designed by Housewarming

 

This burnt orange accent wall paired with blue-toned furnishings provides a warmth and depth to this Burien living/dining area. Designed by Housewarming

 

Pale blue walls and white built-ins and millwork allow this beautiful tiled fireplace to be the show stopper in this North Seattle living room. Designed by Housewarming

We’ll Take the Pain Out of Permitting

Most housing construction projects need a permit in the City of Seattle and the surrounding municipalities. The permitting process can be a bit of a bear and we often hear from our contractor clients that it can sometimes be a real roadblock in their process and a drain on their teams.

Did you know that our Housewarming design team handles permitting for our contractor clients? Well, we do!

We create the drawings and manage all communications with the city, address any redlines and then send final permit documents once completed. With many of our clients, we handle 99% of their permitting. The few exceptions are the energy form and salvage forms; those tend to be easier for the builder to do themselves. But for the rest of it, we’ve got you covered.

If your project needs engineering, we can coordinate with one of our many trusted engineering partners or work with yours. It is our goal to be sure that we have all drawings required by the city and the permit moves forward without issue.

Mayra is our resident permit expert and here to help your project run smoothly.

We know that this business can be tough, but we pride ourselves in partnering with our clients to help streamline the processes in any ways we can. When things go smoothly, the homeowners are happy and we all benefit.

We’d love to connect to learn about how you work and see if there are ways that we can add value to your business.

 

Dear Dear Santa Fe

Travel and design are two of my favorite things. I recently went on an incredible journey across the United States. I visited 19 states and drove 9000 miles (actually 8999) in a month.

To quote Bob Dylan, “Santa Fe, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear Santa Fe.” Those are pretty much the only lyrics of that song that I really understand but I like the song nonetheless and I absolutely LOVED dear, dear, dear, dear, dear Santa Fe. It’s no surprise that this Mecca of art and architecture would be inspiring but truly I hadn’t thought too much about it before the trip. This was one of those under-researched happy surprises.

Santa Fe is the home of the original Meow Wolf. This could be an unpopular confession but I didn’t love it. Maybe it was the altitude and it’s probably just me, but I couldn’t really get into it (kind of like the rest of Bob Dylan’s Santa Fe lyrics—look them up or better yet, listen to the song). I cannot deny that Meow Wolf was amazing and the work of the artists who contributed to it was out of this world but honestly, it made me feel dizzy and slightly claustrophobic. Forgive me Meow Wolf fans, it was probably just the altitude. By the way, Santa Fe is the 3rd highest city in the United States—7000 feet above sea level. Gasp!

 

I did, however, adore the Georgia O’Keefe museum. Can I just say it….I’m note sure she was painting pictures of flowers… but once again, that might just be me and whatever she had in mind, I love her art so much. Beauty in nature! Her artwork should be displayed in a romantic primary suite or maybe a boudoir—beautiful sexy nature. She was an inspiring independent renaissance woman.

The exhibit in Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keefe Museum was entitled Georgia O’Keeffe: Making a Life, and according to the museum, it explores the artist’s identity as a “Maker” – an individual who carefully curated her life, personal style and artistic practice.

Let’s read this again: carefully curated her life, personal style and artistic practice. Was G.O. an OG influencer? Perhaps, but obviously the internet did not exist in her lifetime so even if she wanted to, which I don’t really think she did, she would not have been broadcasting how she was curating herself. I think G.O. just did what G.O. wanted to do. I say she was the O.G. You GO Girl.

I really enjoyed the local artists who were displaying and selling their work in the plaza. The food was fabulous in Santa Fe and the weather was in the 70s which was such a nice break from the 100s I had been in for a couple weeks in the south.

I went to an awesome place called the Pottery Pub where you can make your own pottery pieces while you have a drink. I didn’t make my own but I did a tasting of some locally distilled Reposado and coffee liquor, which were both fabulous. I bought a bottle of each and the Western-themed decanters I purchased in Wyoming are the perfect vessels for them in my bar back home. I also bought a beautiful cup made by a local artist. Next time I go back, I will get some lovely companions for it. While it’s often in my hand, it still feels lonely. I can’t have that. I must go back to Santa Fe to find some companions for my new favorite cup.

Homeowner Inspiration

Collect the Beauty

I recently visited Harry’s Beach House on Alki Beach in West Seattle. It was an unusually sunny and clear day for mid-February which made everything in the light and airy café stand out beautifully. I’ve been to Harry’s quite a few times but there was something about the sun and the view of the restaurant interior from where I was seated that really impressed and inspired me this time.

The décor is a combination between beachy and cabinlike with some old school touches thrown in. One side of the bar has this fabulous handmade tile that I could sit and study for hours. Heavy wood furniture and a rustic fireplace combined with the light and buoyant wicker light fixtures provides an appealing balance. The space itself is open and airy with lots of windows, thankfully lacking blinds or treatments of any kind, allowing the light to flood in and the incredible views of Alki Beach and downtown Seattle to steal the show.

I love the gallery wall of old school nautical artwork, which adds a kind of heaviness juxtaposed to the white walls and neutral fixtures. There is so much to look at, yet the space still feels uncluttered and breezy.

 

When trying to define a style or look for your home, you need not limit yourself to home décor. Finding and collecting inspiration from restaurants, hotels, public spaces and even naturescapes is a great way to define your style. Anything that speaks to you and captivates your attention can be inspiration for your home. Consider creating an album in your phone of design inspiration photos. Even if you’re not sure why or where you would use something, the fact that you love it and were caught by it is enough to make it worth saving.

At Housewarming, we love when our clients come in with any kind of inspiration that can help us to help them determine their style. Even if you think you don’t “know your style”, anything you like can be a tool to define the look that will bring you the greatest joy and comfort. Some of our clients have shown us a piece of artwork that they love or some wallpaper they’ve picked out, a piece of fabric, photos of places, even just a few colors that are appealing to them. Personally, I have been inspired by outdoor murals and public art, and colors and textures found in nature on my travels, as well as in my own backyard.

Whether you’re going about your day in your neighborhood or perhaps wandering the globe, keep an eye out for the things that captivate your attention, and collect them. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have an album of images that you find inspiring and beautiful?

Collect the beauty! It may be the style definer that you need to create your perfect space, or it just may be a beautiful place to browse for a few minutes when you need to feed your soul.

Nuts & Bolts of Design

Welcome to our new blog series Nuts & Bolts. This series is geared toward our contractor clients and vendors but, of course, open to all who wish to learn how we work with our industry partners and what makes us an expert in our field.

Relationships First

Relationships are everything to us at Housewarming. We are, of course, in the interior design business but first and foremost, we are in the relationship business. We value the relationships we have with one another internally on our team, with our clients and certainly with our partners with whom we work regularly. Our general contractor and subcontractors are an integral part of who we are. We recognize that when we are brought in to assist with a client that we are like an extension of their company. We are representing our organization as well as the contractor’s organization. We do not take this lightly.

In an effort to continuously improve our internal team’s working relationships with one another, we recently all took a DISC Profile test https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc and shared our results with each other. The purpose of this is so we can better understand how to communicate most effectively with one another. We learned which of us tend to be big picture thinkers and who tend to prefer to study the data and analyze situations before acting on it. It is so great to have a combination of both within our team. And it’s even more important for us to understand each other and know that certain communication styles may not always be right for all of our team members. We respect that about each other and are doing our best to honor it all times.

In a similar way, we take the time to get to know our business partners. We want to know how it’s best to communicate with them and their teams. Are regular weekly meetings the best way to stay in touch? Are email status reports a better solution? Whatever it is, we are happy to accommodate and adapt our systems to work with and within theirs.

With several of our contractor partners, we sit in on their weekly production meetings so we can address in real time the status of

the projects that we are actively engaged with. We are given access to some of their online project tracking tools so we can provide real time status and schedule updates.

The more we can stay in step and in communication with our partners, the better it is for each of us and in turn for our clients. We strive to communicate effectively and professionally with one another and with all of our clients, partners and vendors. We choose relationships first and take the time to get to know the people with whom we work.

If you’d like to learn more about how we at Housewarming work with our general contractor partners, please contact us admin@housewarmingseattle.com or 206-719-1662. We’d love to get to know you better and/or meet you and learn about your organization and what’s important to you and your team. Our office is located in Georgetown next door to the Seattle Design Center. We’d love to host you for a visit but we’d also be happy to come to you. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Cheers to nurturing our relationships and creating new ones in 2024.