Another Home-ista…

January 13, 2012

I haven’t known Debbie Warwick for a long time, but I like her a lot. We are kindred spirits. She too is a home-ista.

We first met back in 2007 at a Sherwin Williams paint store. She was shopping for her newly built, painted lady Victorian style home. I was trying to confirm the paint color for the Wilson Tribe’s attic construction project. We struck up a conversation and discovered that both our families were new to the community of Mason, OH and we both had sons in the 5th grade who were transitioning to public school from Christian schools. We exchanged business cards and planned to introduce the boys. Ironically, we didn’t see each other again until our sons were playing on the same football team. By the grace of God, Kyler and Seth had become friends at school, even though their moms were so busy with other pressing needs – that we never introduced them.

Deb is an interior design student at Sinclair College and I asked her if she would share some of the things she’s done in her own home. She said yes and we set a date for me to visit.

Upon my arrival, Debbie led me to the open plan great room, kitchen and dining area. It was readily apparent why she and her husband Randy had chosen this site for their family home. Outside of two large windows was a scenic wooded park and the view included a large attractive stream. It was early spring and the trees were still waking up from winter. The sight really shows off God’s handiwork and has got to enhance the day-to-day activities of cooking, dining, studying and relaxing.

A tall stone fireplace was in between these two windows. Debbie said this spot was one of her favorites places to spend time with her family or to just have a quiet moment. A bar-height counter is situated across from the fireplace where the four kiddos ages 19 to 11 can eat a meal or just hang out together. The kitchen is well appointed and allows those who are preparing the meal to look out into the larger room. How cool is that?

When I speak with fellow home-istas about their dwellings I always listen for things that I can reapply. The Warwick home is great example of style combined with graciousness and warmth. Here are some concepts that you might put to use in your abode…

I mentioned the beautiful windows. They have deep wells that create a place to sit. She used colorful pillows on these “seats” to make them more comfortable for lounging and to add a little blast of color. The result is a beneficial semi-private space within a larger room.

If your home doesn’t have this feature, like mine doesn’t, you can reapply by placing a bench (or toy box) that is close to the width of the window, parallel to the window. Add a few pillows or a soft throw blanket and it can become a cozy little haven for reading or reflection.

  • Debbie’s great room is generous in size. She had the wise insight to purchase furniture that can be rearranged to meet the changing needs of her family. She demonstrated this right before my very eyes. When I first arrived she had two leather club chairs sitting in front of the fireplace, ski-lodge style. The dining room table and chairs were on the far end of the room. Within ten minutes she flip-flopped the layout and positioned the dining table and chairs in front of the fireplace and the club chairs and matching ottoman went to the far end of the room, creating a great conversation place or spot for the siblings or Debbie’s mom to play board games.

In our homes we might reapply this concept by moving furniture and accessories within a room from one spot to another to meet different needs or to just make the space more attractive. Instead of having a sofa table sit behind a sofa, which is against a wall, place the sofa table behind a loveseat that is open to the adjoining room. It can then act as somewhat of a room divider.

We can also move items from one room to a different room altogether. For example, I recently moved a tall storage shelf that had been in my daughter’s room, down to the living room. This unique pyramid shaped metal shelf went from corralling toys and games, to being a handsome display for books and collectibles.

You can enhance the appearance or function of your home by repositioning side tables, sideboards, chairs, lamps, artwork, storage baskets, candle holders, plants, pillows, etc., from one location to another.

Lastly, I noticed that Debbie’s color scheme on the entire first floor was anchored in warm buttery tans and taupes that were complimentary from room to room. These hues work well with the scenic views that bring the ever changing outdoors into the space. Her approach of having a color pallet that is in harmony from one room to the next, makes it easier to move things from one place to another to increase interest without creating visual discord.

By wisdom a house is built,

and through understanding it is established;

by knowledge its rooms are filled

with all kinds of precious and pleasing treasures.

Proverbs 24:3-4 are two of my favorite Bible verses. They reminds us that we can learn (from God directly in His word and by prayer and from other people) how to pull together a beautiful and well functioning home.

If anyone else has ideas and tips they want to share, please let me know. I’d love to interview other home-istas to hear about the things you are learning and doing in your homes as a way to inspire, teach and encourage myself and others.

Grace & Peace,

Home-ista Kelly


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