Home Front

Erin Paige Pitts
Erin Paige Pitts (Today's Guest)
  Enlarge Photo    

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, December 17, 2009; 11:00 AM

Every week, Washington Post Home Section writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. They were online Thursday, Dec. 17, at 11:00 a.m. ET to take your questions and suggestions. Joining them will be Maryland designer Erin Paige Pitts.

Local Living Cover Story: How to make a home look like Christmas

____________________

Jura Koncius: Hi everyone. We've got interior designer Erin Paige Pitts on today talking about her fab coastal home on Gibson Island and how she decorates it for the holidays. Send us your questions! The story is in today's Local Living section. Also - for the new year, we are thinking of changing the name of our chat, which is now called Home Front. We'd love to get your input. Send your ideas to localliving@washpost.com. Thanks guys. We won't have a chat next week on Christmas Eve. But we'll be back on Dec. 31 for the last chat of the year. And our guest will be Stephanie Kenyon, president of Sloans & Kenyon auctioneers and appraisers in Chevy Chase to talk about what all that stuff in your attic and basement might be worth. Have a great holiday everyone. Jura and Terri.

_______________________

Ellicott City, Md.: Hello Ladies! I painted our hall bathroom (full bath) BM's feather gray. It's a great color, but I am having trouble finding towels to go with it. The towels are either too blue to too gray. Any suggestions? We also have white tile and espresso cabinets in that room. Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: I would go with white towels. If you want a little more color, you could always have a monogram sewn on them. You could stick with your neutral palette and go with a gray monogram, or pick any brighter color you like.

_______________________

Jura Koncius: Hey everyone. I want to share a great color story if you are looking for the PERFECT light blue paint for a ceiling or somewhere else in your home. My friend Beth in Richmond who is a perfectionist in home decor and color spent lots of money and time buying quarts of light blues from many different manufacturers! She was getting desperate, she told me, until this month's issue (Dec/Jan)of House Beautiful arrived. The Glidden Clear Blue Sky they featured in their Color column was THE PERFECT BLUE. So if you've been stumped, check it out.

_______________________

Silver Spring, Md.: Last summer, Sales Talk ran an item about Gaylord's Lamps and Shades relocating from its Leland Avenue address in Bethesda. I can't find anything more recent than this, and Google still lists the Leland address. Have they moved?

Jura Koncius: I'm just talking to Gaylord's now - they moved thousands and thousands of lamps and lampshades to their new store. They promise to change their website soon. They closed the old store on Nov 24 and reopened in the new location on the 27th, near Houston's on the other side of downtown Bethesda. They are open five days a week Tuesday through Saturday. Their new address: 7833 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda. 301 986-9680.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I really want to put up a chandelier in my bedroom, the problem is that I rent. Since there is no wiring to the ceiling in my bedroom, I figure I will need to get a swag lamp. I'm having a really hard time finding swag lamps that aren't just a fabric shade...any suggestions?

Terri Sapienza: If you really want an overhead fixture and are willing to pay for it, why not ask your landlord if you can have an electrician install one for you? It's a nice upgrade that he/she may be happy to allow. Never hurts to ask.

_______________________

Jura Koncius: By the way, I meant to say, let's share any other light blue paint colors that have worked for you. I don't want Beth to stop buying quarts!

_______________________

Boonsboro, Md.: Boring bedroom paint question: Yes, our bedroom (paint) is boring. We don't want green, because we already have a lot of it in the house. She keeps coming in with 'rose' colors, which I translate as 'pink.' Would a peach color work? High ceilings with a northern exposure, so the room is not really bright except early in the morning. Thanks for any guidance on this.

Jura Koncius: I can see why you don't want pink or rose... peach is a nice bedroom color - as is pale blue. I like Behr's Champagne Ice or Airy.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: I am looking for a nice paint color for our front door. We recently replaced our storm door -- which was opaque -- with a glass one with white trim. The only problem is that now the front door looks a mess! It's currently white and there are three small windows at the top. We have a brick house and no shutters. What color would you suggest?

Jura Koncius: Drive around your neighborhood and look at the colors of the doors on houses that are a similar style to yours. That is a good way to figure out what color you might like. I did this recently and ended up with a French Blue door for my red brick house that has white trim. I think mine is Sailors Sea Blue from Benjamin Moore. I also liked yellow doors, red doors and dark green doors. Check it out! Does anyone want to share their door color with us?

_______________________

St Paul, Minn.: Hi, I'm submitting early because I always forget on the day of the chat.

I've got a problem with window treatments. I have a fairly small living room with one large window. I've already decided to do a roller shade in a darker bamboo. I'd like to frame the window with panels on either side. Our walls are a lovely warm beige with white trim. I have a large collection of both jadeite and blue pottery, so those are the two colors I'm working with and I'd like to draw them together with the curtains. So far, the only panels I've liked are a chocolate brown with blue and green interlocking rings. My spouse feels the dark color will make the room feel smaller.

Is this the case, or do you think dark curtains could work if we kept everything else in the room lighter?

Terri Sapienza: I have to agree with your spouse on this one - chocolate brown panels do sounds awfully dark, especially with the already dark bamboo roller shade. How about bringing in the blues and greens by buying lighter colored panels and having a blue/green trim sewn on the leading edges?

_______________________

Anonymous: I am interested in floor carpet tiles for my family room, but am a senior citizen and there's no way I'm up for a do-it-yourself project of this magnitude. Are there stores who sell the tiles who will also install them for you? Thanks in advance. Love your chats.

Front Royal, Va.

Terri Sapienza: Unfortunately, I just checked the FLOR website and there are no retailers that sell the carpet tiles in your area. Otherwise, we could have called to ask if they would install them for you. Is there any possibility of having a family member help you with this project?

_______________________

Falls church, Va.: Hello -- I have an attic for the first time. I read online that I am not supposed to store photos, paper, candles or fabric in the attic. One site even said to not put holiday decorations up there. So, what CAN I store up there? Where can I store old photos (4 medium size boxes) and school (grade school and college)yearbooks and papers (6 large boxes). Thanks!

Jura Koncius: There is a terrific book you should get to answer all of your questions about where to store things. It's called Saving Stuff by Don Williams and Louisa Jaggar. $16. Fireside Book published by Simon & Schuster. It is true that the most valuable family treasures should NOT be stored in the attic where it gets very hot and very cold; or in the basement where it could be damp and moldy. You should keep things in a closet or under a bed - a bedroom is a great place.

_______________________

New chat name idea: What about Living@Home? Living for the new section name, Home for the old, and the @ makes it look Internetty. Merry Christmas to both of you! - from your former chat producer, Elizabeth

Jura Koncius: Are you Elizabeth Terry!!! Terri and I LOVE your idea. Please keep 'em coming everyone. This one is very cool.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: The bathroom tile in my condo is yellow, and until I have the money to renovate, I am trying to figure out a color for the walls that will work with it. Right now the walls are just off-white. I was thinking of maybe a light shade of lilac?

Jura Koncius: Lilac is not the color that comes to mind. Terri suggests a pale gray - maybe Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray. I might do navy blue - Ralph Lauren's Washed Navy or Amalfi Blue.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Jura and Terri, We have a south-facing center-hall colonial in which our dining room is on the left (west side). With only two normal-sized windows letting in a moderate amount of light, we're debating what color to paint the room. Oak floors and trim, including a chair rail. I am thinking about painting the lower half a creamy-white, and the upper half something more colorful (like a colonial blue). Spouse thinks that will not look good with the chair rail, so we need a tie breaker and some help on whether to go light/dark on the color. Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: Personally, I think having a different paint color above and below a chair rail in a dining room is a little dated. Sorry. I would paint both portions of the walls the same color and I would also even consider removing the chair rail altogether. Unless you have wainscotting below it, it doesn't really serve much of a purpose.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Please keep in mind with bedroom colors that not only does the pink warm up a northern exposure, but pink (call it blush) makes everyone looks better first thing in the morning or late at night We all want to look our best in the bedroom! Try a very soft pink Farrow and ball paint in pink ground (202) is great

Jura Koncius: Good idea.

_______________________

An Air Tub?: Hi ladies, I'm purchasing my first home, newly built townhouse, closing is New Year's Eve! It comes with a large air tub in the master bathroom. I had never heard of this, am assured it is different/better than a hot tub. What do you know about air tubs and will this increase my home's resale value in the future?

Terri Sapienza: Congrats on your new home! What an exciting way to start a new year. As for the air tub, I don't know much about them and whether or not it will increase your home value is more of a real estate question.

Anyone care to chime in on air tubs?

_______________________

Chevy Chase: Erin -- living by the water, how do you keep your outdoor furniture upholstery clean?

Erin Paige Pitts: I use all sunbrella type fabric. It wears well and I keep it outdoors for about 9 months of the year. I use Oxy Magic to clean if needed. It does a great job!

_______________________

D.C.: Erin -- Your house looks great. What's it like living on Gibson Island? And where is the closest place to shop for home stuff? Do you like the shops in Annapolis? Share some of your sources with us...

Erin Paige Pitts: Living on Gibson is like resort living year round! Very cozy and tranquil in the winter and busy and active in the summer. I go to Annapolis, Maryland Avenue for good shopping. Natalie Stilich is one of my favorite shops. I also have a lot of clients in D.C. and Chevy Chase so I hit shops there as well!

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Erin, all those white walls and three kids -- how do you keep them clean? Fantastik? Mr.Clean Eraser? We have a real problem keeping our light walls looking good.

Erin Paige Pitts: Yes, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my best friend. I also have a great painter who comes and freshens things up once a year. All my upholstery is Sunbrella (some are Ralph Lauren's sunbrella and a host of other companies that offer sunbrella fabrics). They clean well. If it is something you can put in the washer, like a pillow cover, it comes out perfectly clean. If it is an upholstery piece, I use Oxy Magic and most things come out.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: For the yellow tile how about a light coco brown could be very hip or play it safe and do a tone on tone thing with a yellow paint a few shades lighter than the tile

Terri Sapienza: Nice ideas. Thanks!

_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: Good morning. My husband and I just bought a condo, and I really want to decorate it in a way that feels warm, welcoming and cozy for us and guests. We are not formal at all, but I still want the place to like nice. Where do I start? What colors are warm and cozy?

And, what wall color would you recommend with this coverlet that is on our bed, from Crate and Barrel? Crate&Barrel

Thank you so much!

Jura Koncius: Neat color on the bed linens and good price too. I think gray would be a nice paint color for your bedroom. Pavilion Gray by Farrow & Ball is good; also Ralph Lauren's Polaris. Makine a place look cozy is about bringing warm colors, lots of textures and soothing lighting to a place. Velvet upholstery in browns or creams; throws in mohair or cashmere; lots of lamps; overhead lighting on dimmers; wool area rugs; nice pillows in a mix of fabrics. These are the ways you can make your house cozy.

_______________________

Springfield, Va.: For Erin, I really love light blue with lots of white molding. I have painted my bedroom many times when I have moved to a new apartment. However, I am starting to think that my favorite light blue from a few decades ago is a little dated. What light blue do you suggest? I don't like it extremely light -- I want to see a definite blue. I also don't like any green in it, like aqua.

Erin Paige Pitts: I have many favorite blues. If you want something a bit darker, try Benjamin Moore Nimbus Gray 2131-50. It is a great medium blue but with gray. Yes, the blues now are grayer, which is why they are feeling different to you.

_______________________

Rockville, Md.: I love the use of all of the greenery -- but how do you keep it fresh if it is not in vases with water? Your house if beautiful.

Erin Paige Pitts: To be honest, fresh greenery only lasts about two weeks. You can use a spray bottle to give a bit of a mist. I will refreshen the greens with newly cut ones just before Christmas to keep things looking fresh. Nothing smells as good as freshly cut greenery!

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: Erin, I almost went to a light blue-painted living room several years ago but could not find any art that matched that I liked. Everything was those earth tones. I want to try again if I can find the art. Do you have any suggestions or should I just wait until there is another blue cycle? I can't do anything expensive.

Erin Paige Pitts: I don't usually pick my artwork based on wall color. I paint my walls the palette I've selected and then pick my artwork based on emotional appeal. It doesn't have to match, per say but it should "work" together somehow. Blue has been in for a while now, it never really goes out, it just is in different values.

_______________________

Re: Dining room with chair rail: Thank you! It makes buying paint easier, for sure. Any tips on going with a lighter or darker color? Since the room doesn't get a ton of sunlight, I'm thinking a lighter color would work better. It would likely be a shade of blue or green. Yes?

Terri Sapienza: Really hard to say without seeing the room in person. I would just pick some colors you like, light and dark, put some test patches up on the walls and live with them for a few days to see what you think. Then, just go with what you like best. If you're already thinking a lighter shade would work best, then that's probably the way to go. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

_______________________

Alexandria, Va.: Today's feature on the Gibson Island home is, in my opinion, the best yet. It's perfect -- so handsome and tasteful, warm and cozy, and filled with lovely decorating ideas. Bring us more of these homes which are a feast for the decorating eyes...simply delish!

Erin Paige Pitts: Thank you for your kind comments!

_______________________

Key West, Fla.: I too live on the water and found Sunbrella the best fabrics for outdoor use. Also, teak is your best friend in the tropics as everything seems to rust here -- that's why no one has stainless steel appliances without problems. Even surgical grade stell rusts here! Ah the tropics -- it's 80 today just to be mean!

Jura Koncius: You are MEAN. It's like 39 here! But thanks for your warm weather tips.

_______________________

Boonsboro, Md. again.: Pink bedrooms are fine for 6-year old girls. Anyone else, not so much. Sorry.

Jura Koncius: !!!!

_______________________

Modern holiday idea: I shy away from "traditional" holiday decorations as I feel they lean a bit too country for my taste. But, I just added the coolest, easiest stairway rail decoration to my home! I bought two strings of white lights (with white cords) and wound them up the rail. Then, I wound white feather garland along the lights, and it looks amazing - very ethereal and cloudlike -- the best mood lighting. It was so easy because the fluffy feathers hide the cords instantly -- no fussing to get it just right. Here's a tip -- I actually used feather boas from my local JoAnn Fabrics instead of real garland (which I couldn't find)!

Jura Koncius: Good for you!

_______________________

Attic Storage: You can buy Rubbermaid tubs at Lowe's/Depot for a few bucks. If you seal the edges with duct tape (the real stuff, not "duck tape"), you have a pretty bulletproof way to store whatnots away from humidity and bugs.

We used about 50 of those tubs as moving boxes, which has taken a lot of the time pressure out of unpacking.

Jura Koncius: But if you keep stuff in the attic, it still can get really really hot - that can be damaging to paper and fabrics.

_______________________

Great Falls, Va.: Love Living @Home! Great name suggestion. Also loved the Gibson Island home story -- great photos.

Jura Koncius: Thank you, Great Falls!!!

_______________________

Chair rail: I agree that the different color above and below the chair rail looks dated. But I don't know that you need to completely remove the chair rail. Our dining room (traditional center hall colonial house) has chair rail and the rail is painted white, as is the ceiling, and the walls are a robin's egg blue both above and below the rail. It's quite cheerful! If the wall color is not too dark (I dislike dark dining rooms), then I think you can paint the chair rail white and not have it look out of date. Just my opinion!

Terri Sapienza: I agree. I think chair rail alone is fine and can look really nice, especially when the walls are all one color and the rail painted the same color as the trim. But in a smaller space, having the walls cut in the middle sometimes makes the room feel smaller. If they don't want to remove the rail, they would also paint it the same color as the walls to make it disappear a little.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I want to paint my powder room a light pink. What do you suggest?

Erin Paige Pitts: Pink with lavender tones would be a great way to go with this. Cinder Rose from Farrow and Ball is a great color. It straddles both pink and lavender for a very current look.

_______________________

for Front Royal: Maybe she could call the nearest ProSource, which I think is in Dulles Tel: 703-673-4100, and she who they recommend to install carpets. They will likely give her a few tradespeople to contact, and surely one of them could do it.

Terri Sapienza: Great idea. Thank you!

_______________________

Front door: Personally I love a glossy red or black front door, especially when the hardware gleams. I'd like to suggest a New Year's resolution to all that everyone check out the front of their home. Is the door/entry welcoming? Is there "curb appeal" or something that makes one's home look well-loved? Are the plantings cared for? I know, just another resolution, but we all benefit from tended space. Thanks.

Jura Koncius: Very well said. I think I'm going to toss the rather ragged little fir I have in a planter on my front stairs.

_______________________

re: floor tile installation: Design Within Reach sells FLOR, so they may know of local/regional installers. Wouldn't hurt to call.

Jura Koncius: True.

_______________________

re: air tubs: Air tubs are better than regular jetted tubs because moisture doesn't get left in the jet areas where the water can get funky. Whether or not it will increase her home value is debatable. It depends whether a potential buyer WANTS a jetted tub. Some don't.

Terri Sapienza: Interesting. I had no idea. Thanks for the input.

_______________________

What colors go with a stone wall?: Hello Ladies, I have the next two weeks off and would love to paint our midcentury ranch. One wall of our living room is all neutral brown, beige, and reddish stones. The ceilings are high. There are lots of windows and the room leads into the den which has french doors. I was thinking some kind of olive or mellow yellow. Any suggestions in the Behr family?

Erin Paige Pitts: I don't work with the Behr line much but a great color that may work for you is Benjamin Moore Sag Harbor Gray HC-95. It isn't gray as the name would suggest but an olive/taupe that has great depth to it.

_______________________

"Anyone care to chime in on air tubs?" : We had one, and it doesn't really get you that clean unless you go ahead and add water, too...

Jura Koncius: Ha!

_______________________

Washington, D..: My hardwood floor installer told me just to damp mop with water. Seems like they wouldn't really be clean with just water -- your thoughts?

Jura Koncius: We have heard that too. It seems the most natural way to clean - no chemicals.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: If you still need to fix up your home for the holidays visit the Habitat ReStores. There is one located in Alexandria, Va., and a new one in Chantilly, Va. They're selling carpet tile for $1.50 per piece that cover 2.25 square feet. They also have 2 panel pre-hung doors for $30 - 18 inch, 30 inch and 34 inch. These are great deals! For more info and to find out about other great items visit their Web site: ReStore

Jura Koncius: These stores have a lot of interesting stuff.

_______________________

Canton in Baltimore: Because my loving husband was stumped for a Christmas present he finally agreed to have an office built for me in our basement -- I originally drew the plans in 2005. I have two questions: Has anyone used the Armstrong vinyl planks on a concrete floor? They come in the peel and stick variety and another "floating floor" type. They are individual "boards" ranging from 4x36 to 6x48 My friend has installed them and says it's easy and I've seen them and thought it was real wood at first glance. I'm looking for a green color-a brightish green tending toward olive. The room has a window with a southern exposure. Furniture colors would be maple in a praline color and black. Suggestions appreciated.

Jura Koncius: Have not used those tiles? Has anyone out there? For a green - olivish color - what about Martha Stewart for Valspar's Sea Glass Green or Mint Gelato?

_______________________

Milwaukee, Wisc.: I do like the bedroom make over in today's Housecalls! I have heard of paint with a hint of sparkle in it. Do you or any posters know what brand that would be? I would like to paint my bedroom a misty grayish color and thought a subdued sparkle might be pretty. I have dark wood furniture (2 dressers and a platform bed) and a neutral berber carpet. Any suggestions? If no one knows about such a product, any colors I could consider, BM or Sherwin Williams? Thanks much and happy, happy holidays to all!

washingtonpost.com: Redecorating a bedroom (Post, Dec. 17)

Erin Paige Pitts: Both Ralph Lauren and Benjamin Moore have paints with metallics in them. The Benjamin Moore paints are called Pearlescent tints. They need to be custom mixed because they come out too sheer if bought as is. If you talk to you paint store and tell them how you are using them, they can help you determine how it needs to be mixed. Some great colors I've used are Liquid Silver, Veil Cream, and Etheral.

_______________________

Chevy Chase, D.C.: For the dinning room check out the green in the dinning room Photo of the design center showhouse really great green and it goes with everything.! The tone on tone thing is also great when working with a chair rail how about a apple geeen with two shade lighter trim on the chair rail Farrow and Ball Green Ground (206)for the walls and Tunsgate green(250) for the trim. So fresh.

Erin Paige Pitts: another terrific green that I use alot is Farrow and Ball's Cooking Apple Green. It is so fresh!

_______________________

Re: Living@Home: I love it! Great name! Expect you'd have to do a quick check to see it isn't used elsewhere by someone else, but if not, grab it!

Terri Sapienza: Agreed! We love it, too.

_______________________

Rochester, N.Y.: How about "The Decorating Jurri"

Jura Koncius: we are not sure what this means?

_______________________

D.C.: Erin -- How do you get your wreaths to stay on your windows without damaging the windows?

Erin Paige Pitts: They are hung with ribbons. I put a small nail in the top of the window (a nail used for hanging photos) and just tap it in slightly. I then reuse the same small hole each year. The wreaths are not on the windy side of my house so they stay put rather well.

_______________________

Jura Koncius: We're done and thanks a lot Erin for being on our show. Terri and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. See you back here again in two weeks.

_______________________

You may also browse an archive of previous Home Front discussions.

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity