Decorating With Neutrals
We’re back for our second installment of the Tryon Equestrian Center blog series and ready to unveil the beautiful model condo! If you need a refresher, check out last week’s blog post, here. Today we’re chatting with interior designer, Cheryl Gaydas-Eng on all things neutral and her experience working with Rug & Home on this amazing project.
Cheryl is responsible for the overall feel and interior decor at many of Tryon International Equestrian Center's facility as well as the Winter Equestrian Festival, including: Legend's Club, Legend's Grill, Log Cabins, Condominiums, motel as well as many special events. She sets the tone for the whole facility and aims to create a cohesiveness throughout the property.
In addition to her interior design projects, Cheryl also designs large events including: The Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Trump International Horse Show and WEF. In addition she designs corporate parties for such companies as: Rolex, Fidelity Investments, Humane Society, Autism Speaks, Bainbridge, VDL Horse Auction as well as personal and private celebrations. Her touch reaches out to the competition arenas as well with her floral arrangements which are also found in many of the common areas in Tryon, NC as well as in Wellington, Fl.
Recently, Cheryl was featured by Veranda Magazine for her decor at the Central Park Horse Show this past September 2015.
Cheryl previously had a fashion company based in NYC with her sister in the 90's. She now takes her fashion experience and philosophies and applies it to her interiors.
It’s so nice to virtually meet you all! Now that you know a little about me, who’s ready to learn about decorating with neutrals?
Neutrals can be a great way to open up a space and make it feel fresh and inviting. As architecture has evolved to accommodate our new more casual lifestyles with "great rooms" largely taking the place of our formal living rooms of the past, so has our use of neutrals. Not only do we want our homes to be luxuriously beautiful, but they also must be functional and comfortable as well! With those thoughts in mind, I have outlined some guidelines using my latest project as an example to make your neutral designs come to life.
i. Neutrals do not have to be "plain vanilla!"
When picking your color palette, I find that using a number of neutral colors just a couple of shades apart work really well with the addition of one possibly in a bit of a warmer cast. The latest color in interior design today is "gray." Gray has been a classic since the 18th and 19th century. It was often used in wallpaper and woodworking. Today gray is to interiors what the little black dress is to fashion and in the right tones it lends itself well to a neutral color palette.
ii. Create a flow.
I find it works well to interconnect the rooms of your house by playing within the same color palette. You can take your main color theme and flip it around from room to room morphing it along the way. There is no easier way to do that than with paint selection. For example, in my latest project, you start out in the Foyer which is painted in a beautiful Cloud White. This then leads into the Great Room where the same creamy white is continued on the moldings and trim while the wall and ceiling are painted an inviting medium gray (Benjamin Moore Branton Black). The connecting Study once again uses that same Cloud White color for the trim and ceiling but is now paired with a slightly lighter shade of gray (Bruton White). Continuing onto the Master Bedroom, we now take the creamy white and use it for the walls and paint the ceiling a fabulous lighter gray (Abalone). Interrelating these colors like this not only gives you continuity and flow, but it creates an easy transition for the eye and makes your space appear and feel even larger.
iii. Overall Style.
Now you have your canvas set, and you are ready to create your masterpiece. This is the time when you get to decide what style you want your house to have: classic, shabby chic, mid-century, eclectic, etc. One of the best ways to set the mood and to bring your color palette together is with a rug. The rug can set the tone and anchor the room. For example, in the rooms I discussed earlier, I went with beautiful classic style area rugs with a muted palette, which set an estate type of feel. However, if I had wanted a beachy vibe I could have used a sisal, or if I wanted a more contemporary feel maybe a soft colored chevron or abstract pattern. So even within the same color palette the choices are limitless.
iv. Furniture Selection.
Now you can start filling your space, but an important thing to keep in mind is that when rooms are neutral, architectural elements and shapes become more prominent. So when selecting your furniture, look for a couple of pieces that are interesting. Remember that the light airy feeling we are after comes not only from the colors we select but the furniture we select as well. Keep a sort of yin-yang balance between your larger pieces, like your sofas and lighter pieces like the glass coffee table above or the lantern chandeliers in the Foyer. These particular pieces check two of our boxes: they are "light" and as a bonus they add some architectural interest. With each piece, another layer of interest is created. For example, using a classic off-white sofa against the gray walls, as in the picture above, adds complexity to the palette. What might otherwise be seen as a safe or dull choice becomes dynamic when placed in the room against that backdrop.
v. Make it Pop!
It's time to accessorize and continue to add more layers of interest. Here is when texture can play an important role. When working with neutrals, tone-on-tone is always a very elegant look but I believe that, like blonde hair, one always looks better with highlights! So play within your color pallet and possibly add a pillow that punctuates the space and gives it dimension. For example, in the photo above, if the gray pillow was not on the bed, the palette would appear dead and lifeless. Just by adding that bit of contrast makes everything around it look better. While I personally am not a huge fan of prints, I love mixing textures to create interest. You can achieve this with pillows, throws, rugs, art, etc. And the best part of it all, is that these items may be easily changed out or added to down the road.
While our focus has been on the visual interest of texture, you should never forget comfort! Your space not only needs to look luxurious and beautiful, it needs to feel that way too. As such whenever you are able to, you should choose items that are comfortable to the touch including down or down alternative pillows. For example, the chair below is a feast for the senses. It not only looks plush, but you have the velvet throw, the curly lamb pillow, and the comfy linen chair. All different textures but all of them are pleasing to the touch. After all, you want everyone to be comfortable, relaxed and live in the space not just look at it from afar like a painting. Good luck and don't forget, your home is your reflection, and should evolve right along with you!
Until next time....Cheryl Gaydas-Eng
Cheryl’s Rug & Home Review
I have nothing but good things to say about the staff and merchandise at Rug & Home. Having decorated many factions of the TIEC facility now I have shopped in many stores and I always find myself coming back to yours. It is a real treat to be able to purchase quality furniture right off the floor and not have to wait 6-8 weeks or longer. Your store makes my life much easier!!! It is rare that one is able to buy quality furniture like that in your store, right off the floor. For example Theodore Alexander's pieces look like original antiques without the dust! The quality of workmanship and materials used are phenomenal as they are on all of your pieces in your store. It is not a "McFurniture" store which sell disposable furniture at a price. While there is definitely a place for those stores too, I am so happy that Rug & Home keeps their quality standards high and makes luxuriously well-made furniture accessible. My favorite piece in the condo? Great question. Of course, I love all of your rugs, but in particular the 13' runner that is in the Foyer. However, in addition to that I would have to say the desk. The desk is by Theodore Alexander and I have previously purchased a couple of pieces of his collection from your store and I just love, love them. You have numerous pieces by him and I think I like each and every one of them. I enjoyed the experience and I plan on working with Rug & Home again in the future!