Stylish spaces

Published 5:06 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Suffolk Living magazine is very much a work in progress. It will always be a definitive source of information about the people and places that make Suffolk unique, with photos and writing that are as lively and interesting as their subjects. But it evolves each month as readers provide feedback and make suggestions about what they would like to see within its pages.

Meet Janice Powell, our stylist for Suffolk Living’s “stylish spaces.” She is the owner and lead decorator at Powell Home, a custom decorating and home furnishings showroom in Suffolk. To learn more about Janice, visit Suffolk Living’s Facebook page.

Part of the plan for the magazine from the beginning has been to highlight the lifestyles that enliven the city and focus on the people who live them. With nearly 430 square miles ranging from urban to country settings, Suffolk plays host to families of all sizes, backgrounds and demographics. Suffolk Living will be a place to learn about them all.

This month, the lifestyle focus is on “Stylish Spaces,” and readers will get a look into the lives of a few families that could live anywhere, but choose to make their special marks in Suffolk. You will see some interesting styles, highlighted by a sampling of products that you can purchase locally to help you create your own personal stylish space. And you’ll get some tips from an expert — as well as the families themselves — about how to make it all come together.

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Finally, thanks to all the families and models involved; to the home stylist, Janice Powell of Powell Home; to photographers Rebecca Keeling Gagnon of Rebecca Keeling Studios and Meghan Morris of MLM Photography; and to the businesses that loaned products and locations for the photo shoots.

Think your home or family has what it takes to be featured in a Suffolk Living lifestyle spread? Send your ideas, photos and/or recommendations to:

The empty-nesters

Once the kids are gone and out of the house, many homeowners decide that it’s time to redecorate. In many cases, the kids have been raised in the home, and the bathrooms are 20 years old. The family room has been home to countless sleepovers, birthday parties, movie nights and teenage parties, and the carpet is showing its age. The pink and purple bedroom colors the kids picked out in their early teens are no longer suited for their visits home from college.

Brian Midgette is wearing clothing provided by Richardson & Nash Clothiers. Lisa Midgette is wearing clothing from her personal collection. Other products used in this shoot, as seen in the photo below, were provided by Bennett’s Creek Market and Uniquely Leo’s Ltd. For more information on the specific products, visit Suffolk Living’s Facebook page.

Knowing that the kids will eventually be coming home for visits with their spouses and then with their children, many homeowners decide that it’s time to prepare the home for the next round of children – their grandchildren.
The same decorating rules apply here as they did when the family first started out. Neutral, family-friendly fabrics in the bedrooms will make the kids and any guests comfortable in the spare bedrooms. A renovated bathroom with new floor tile, a new ceramic shower/tub surround, updated faucets and countertops will make everyone feel right at home.
Kitchen renovations are also a popular choice for empty nesters – particularly for homeowners who can now take the time to entertain their friends at home, rather than spend their weekends taking the kids to and from sporting events, movies and friends’ houses.
The family homestead holds years and years of memories. Updated kitchens and bathrooms, new linens and draperies, fresh paint and carpet won’t eliminate any of those memories. They just provide a canvas for making new ones.

The busy family

A growing, active family like the Runyons’ requires easy-care, easy-to-clean fabrics on upholstered pieces like the family room sofa and chairs.

Chip Runyon is wearing clothing provided by Richardson & Nash Clothiers. Emily Runyon is wearing clothing from Belk and A. Dodson’s., and a pearl necklace from D.B. Bowles Jewelers. Madelyn Kate Runyon is wearing clothing by LuAnn’s for Kids. Jackson Runyon is wearing clothes from his personal collection. Other products used in this shoot, as seen in the photos on these pages, were provided by Powell Home, Bennett’s Creek Market, A Tisket A Tasket, GameStop and Atlas Pizza. For more information on the specific products, visit Suffolk Living’s Facebook page.

It wasn’t long after Chip and Emily purchased their sofa from Powell Home when Emily emailed a photo of Madelyn Kate’s magic-marker masterpiece on the seat cushion. Thankfully, Emily only buys water-based markers for her children, and the fabric was easy to clean with a non-toxic fabric spot remover. It could have been a disaster.

This is the home where Emily and Chip plan to raise their family. It’s a large home with casual spaces to hang out with the kids, and there’s a beautiful formal living room and dining room.

Emily has maintained a scrapbook of ideas and photos from magazines, and she has distinct thoughts on color palettes, traffic flow and accessories. With her “vision” clearly defined, Emily can make purchases to furnish and decorate her home with confidence.

When starting out in a new home, it’s really important to take an inventory of what you like and don’t like in colors, furnishings and accessories. Collect brochures, cut out photos from magazines, keep the paint chips you pick up at home improvement stores. Attend home shows and visit model home sites.

When you decide on your paint colors, invest in a good quality paint. Make smart furniture purchases. Invest in products that are made in the USA. A good sofa should last at least 20 years and within that timeframe, you’ll probably reupholster it at least once – not because of wear and tear but because of changing decorating trends.

When purchasing bedroom furniture, dining room tables and chairs, and occasional tables for the living and family rooms, look for dovetail drawers, wooden drawer slides, solid and wood veneers . Be leery of anything containing chipcore or fiberboard, because once it gets wet or is damaged it cannot be repaired.

If you don’t absolutely love something, and if you don’t see yourself owning it in five years, then don’t buy it.

The jet setters

Frequent fliers and smart travelers know that keeping things simple and compact is key to an enjoyable journey. Your closet is the perfect place to start by identifying your favorite and most travel-friendly clothing.

John Chohany is wearing clothing provided by Richardson & Nash Clothiers. Stephanie Douglas is wearing clothing from her personal collection. Other products used in this shoot, as seen in the photos here, were provided by A. Dodson’s; Walgreens – North Suffolk; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Belk Department Store; Dogwood Run and Bennett’s Creek Home Away from Home. For more information on the specific products, visit Suffolk Living’s Facebook page.

Use a space bag to roll your clothes into your carry-on; space bags vacuum seal clothing so you can pack more without the bulk. Keep your clothing colors neutral and easy to interchange.

Use a small, carry-on bag and keep all of your travel toiletries stocked and packed in a plastic travel bag or zip-lock. By keeping all of your travel essentials in one part of your closet, you’ll be ready to roll whenever the opportunity strikes.

Travel for business or pleasure can be exhausting, so it’s important that home be a place of refuge at the end of the journey.

Easy-care, washable bed linens in soft and cozy colors welcome the weary traveler home. Window treatments that provide privacy and darken the room are preferred when sleeping in after a long journey. Therapeutic and aromatic fragrances are calming and can be found as candles, diffuser oils or linen sprays. Many are also available in travel sizes so you can take your favorite fragrances with you.

And when travel leaves your loving pet behind, be sure to find a reliable and loving pet sitter or boarding facility. Nothing says home like the nuzzle of a beloved muzzle.

The young professionals

Young professionals living in an urban environment have the best of it all. Access to great restaurants and shops within walking distance of home. The ability to leave the car at home and walk to work or to the gym. Business and government services all within a stone’s throw. It’s a great way to start out. It’s also the time to find your decorating style.

Mario Faulk is wearing clothing provided by Richardson & Nash Clothiers. Amelia Chung is wearing clothing from her personal collection. Other products used in this shoot, as seen in the photos here, were provided by A. Dodson’s; Main Street Antiques and Auctions; Katody’s; Smithfield Gardens; D.B. Bowles Jewelers; Belk Department Store; and Powell Home. For more information on the specific products, visit Suffolk Living’s Facebook page.

Here are some beautiful antiques and furnishings in a contemporary loft with concrete floors, tall ceilings and exposed pipes. The juxtaposition of textures, fabrics and materials makes the space interesting and comfortable.

Furnishing a space like this is easy, because you can do pretty much anything you want. We selected an old Victorian sofa, painted the frame and reupholstered it in a funky chenille and animal print fabric. Side tables like the ones shown here can be purchased for as little as $75.

Antiques and vintage pieces of furniture are a great investment. They’re extremely well made and can be painted or reupholstered for a fraction of the cost of buying something new. Look at the items closely, make sure the legs are sturdy and secure. Open the drawers and examine the frames.

Antique shops, flea markets, consignment stores and yard sales are abundant in great finds. From furniture to dishes, fabrics to artwork and accessories, if you think you’re getting a good deal – buy it.