{books to give to design lovers and DIYers}

Depending on your mindset, this time of year is either fun or stressful. Fun if you like the challenge of finding the perfect gift for each person on your list – stressful if you just never know what to buy.

If there’s someone on your list who loves design or is a big DIY-er – we have some ideas for you. House Beautiful has some great gift ideas including the book “Apartment Therapy Presents.” The book is full of solutions for small spaces that won’t cost a fortune. There are even floor plans and resources listed by the photos inside the book.

We also asked members of the Hirshfield’s family for their favorite design or DIY books. We hope these ideas help – happy shopping!

Kathy from the Design Resource Center lists these as her favorite design books:

  • Barry Dixon Interiors Barry Dixon’s philosophy is that the element of surprise is crucial to good design. That belief comes through in his passion for mixing styles – even putting antiques in a modern design space.
  • Billy Baldwin Decorates This book was published in the 1970s but is considered by many to be one of the most authoritative books on interior design. Billy Baldwin explains taste, how to work with a decorator and the basic elements of a room.
  • The Home Within Us (Bobby McAlpine) This book is from an architect and designer who combines modern living with historical and romantic design. McAlpine showcases more than twenty homes to back up his philosophy of using unexpected materials and spaces.
  • New Classic Interiors (Alessandra Branca) Go inside a designer’s creative process in this book on creating beautiful spaces. Branca walks the reader through the steps of creating a room through it’s form and function, lighting, furniture and decorative elements.

Julia from the Design Resource Center had this suggestion:

  • Downtown Chic: Designing Your Dream Home: From Wreck to Ravishing This book is from a couple in New York City – who happen to be designers. They’ve been renovating and designing unique spaces for families for more than a decade. Think of this book as a practical guide that offers amazing inspiration. It also comes with a healthy dose of humor that you really need if you’re doing a renovation. The authors also just had a show on Bravo called “Nine by Design.”

Both Julia & Kathy love Kelly Wearstler’s books. Kelly is an American interior designer who you might know from being a judge on the reality show “Top Design.”

She has several books that would make great gifts – “Hue” is all about color and “Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style” takes you inside Kelly’s home in Beverly Hills and some projects she’s worked on for celebrities.

What are your favorite design books? What are you hoping to get under the Christmas tree to spark your creativity?

{best colors for your bathroom}

You can spend hours choosing the right sink shape, faucet or mirror when decorating your bathroom. And then it’s time to talk color. Before choosing the color for your bathroom there are a few things to consider.

First, what’s your style? Is the bathroom a place where you quickly get ready for work in the morning and for bed at night? Or is it a sanctuary in your home – where you enjoy a long soak in the tub, relaxing after a busy day?

This spring we talked about House Beautiful’s discussions with designers about their favorite paint colors. The publication looked at different rooms and the colors that can best bring them to life.

Benjamin Moore Fresh Dew

Designers describe the pale wash of green of Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Dew as the “color of the sea,” and the perfect backdrop to a relaxing bath in a spa-like space.

House Beautiful: The Bathroom

Maybe you want your bathroom to be spotless and sparkle. Benjamin Moore’s Brilliant White will really make your fixtures pop. This is a white that isn’t too bright and isn’t too creamy. It’s a great, classic backdrop for any artwork you might have.

Your bathroom can also be a place to really experiment with color, since it may be a smaller room with some wall space taken up by tile. If you want to really kick things up, try Benjamin Moore’s California Blue or maybe even Tangerine Dream.

Benjamin Moore California Blue

California Blue is a rich, dark blue that’s reminiscent of the blue used in blueprints.

Benjamin Moore Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream is definitely not for the faint of heart but can really give you some major wow factor in a small space.

Why not go even bolder? Hirshfield’s Facebook friend Kelly posted that she transformed her 1/2 bath thanks to Benjamin Moore’s rich purple color called Aura Kalamata. Kelly says it’s so rich she thinks it also makes the bathroom look bigger.

This is a look at Aura Kalamata using Benjamin Moore’s personal color viewer. It’s a great tool to use to see how a color will look in your space.

Benjamin Moore Aura Kalamata

No matter which color you choose for your bathroom, remember that it doesn’t have be a utilitarian space. Using color, accessories and artwork, you can really create a space that fits your design personality. What do you think? Log on to our Facebook page and let us know what you thought about this post. We’ll choose one winner at random who will get two gallons of Benjamin Moore paint!

{inspired by nature – decorating with wood}

Here in Minnesota, we love the outdoors. No matter what the weather, we always find a way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery Mother Nature has provided. For many of us, this love of nature is also reflected in our homes with the use of wood.

Now when you think wood, your mind probably pictures a rustic cabin seated near a lake surrounded by tall pine trees with a deer in the background. But through the years, wood has made the transition from modest lake-side cabin to modern city living.

House Beautiful April issue

The above floor is done in a Old Masters’s Gel Stain in Pickling White. The walls and ceilings are painted with Benjamin Moore’s primer, Super Spec Flat. The home owner was looking for the starkest white she could find.

Ron Clarin, Hirshfield’s Roseville location, does not recommend using just a primer, as it is not designed as a finish coat, it cannot be washed, and there is no durability without a top coat.

House Beautiful April issue

The walls were sanded and a diluted wash was applied made from leftover gray and white paints and water. The floor was sanded but left untreated.

Wood’s versatile style comes from its ability to be customized in so many ways.There is a rising popularity in painted furniture. Enamels, glazes and a little elbow grease allow you to turn a piece of furniture into a one-of-a-kind show stopper.

knack studio

Let Hirshfields’ staff share their expertise and product knowledge when it comes to your finishing ideas. I know with my own projects it is trial and error. “Often times customers will want to duplicate the look of a higher end piece of furniture, and in some cases, unless you have a spray booth and skill set of a cabinetmaker, the DIY’er will not be able to achieve a factory finish look,” says Ron, of Hirshfield’s Roseville.

Don’t forget wood decor’. Check out ApartmentTherapy.com’s blog on modern and classic wood finds. From flooring to furniture, wood is being used with a wide range of styles and taste.

The April 2010 issue of House Beautiful magazine is dedicated to wood…. new looks, reclaimed, washed , tinted, and packed with photos.

For more design inspiration, check out Hirshfield’s Flickr page.

{what works with yellow?}

Yellow to most people means sunshine and warmth. That would seemingly make it a perfect color to brighten up your home décor, but it can be difficult to know how to use it well, especially along with other colors.


Yellow is a great companion. Include it with a cool palette of blues and grays to perk things up, alongside orange for a summery theme, or combine blue and yellow together for an eye-catching duo. If you want your look to be exciting, and red or orange are too much, bright yellow is the ticket. But you can also mix red and yellow for an electric combination.

Very pale yellows can be considered neutral, and go nicely with darker or richer colors. To create contemporary design, add yellow to neutral grays and black. Olive green, brown and yellow will create a deeper earthy look, and bright or light greens can be paired with yellow if you are going for a natural, fruity color palette.

Thibaut paper

Thibaut paper from Home Heist

So step out into the sunshine with yellow – with these perfect compliments to suit your tastes and home.

Still want to try? House Beautiful will help you get started in the right direction with tips from designers and their favorite yellows.


Decorpad, Thibaut wallpaper

{house beautiful – 500+ favorite paint colors}

House Beautiful has come out with a new publication, 500+ FAVORITE PAINT COLORS, showcasing designers’ favorite paint colors. It is a compilation of House Beautiful’s monthly paint color columns. These columns and the recommendations from designers on paint colors are among their most popular features. Paging through the new pub I was overwhelmed by the wonderful colors from all the national paint companies.

Not surprisingly, over 75% of the colors showcased are from the Benjamin Moore Paint color palettes. While the air waves are not inundated with BM Paint ads — the big boxes are bullish on the bear cans — it appears that those in the know know where to go for color. (Please don’t read this as a segue to the next paragraph.)

My 1/2 bath was just painted last week with a most pleasing color, but I am having a little buyer’s remorse after seeing the most gorgeous lavender from Benjamin Moore, Peace and Happiness 1380. Quoting from the publication’s 25 Colorful Neutrals: ” Some colors are so gentle, you can use them the way you’d use neutrals. You’ll be surprised: they go with everything.” Ooh baby.

They have all the “best ofs”…yellow…pink…best color to paint your floor…north facing rooms…front doors…colors for blondes and brunettes.

It’s a great reference tool to help narrow down your many, many paint color choices. Hirshfield’s retail stores will have a copy in their color center for your viewing pleasure.

If you insist on having your own copy to peruse, fold, and dog-ear, the cost is $9.99 at your local bookstore.

October 10, 2010 Update

You will no longer find this publication in the book stores.  Do not despair, as you can order it on-line at Benjamin Moore. Thank you Benny Moore!

Here is the link: http://ow.ly/2RmWe

{is black the new brown?}

This fascination I have with dark walls started back in April, and it’s still going strong. Apartment Therapy has a great dark wall round-up I’d like to share with you. Make certain you scroll to the end of the article as they have additional photo montages. Pay attention to the sheen of the paints used on the surfaces. I have been seeing a lot more high gloss sheens in shelter magazines. In the past, this would have been a decorating NO-NO. Well, NO more.

house beautiful

House Beautiful

Are Midwesterners at all interested in this color trend? Reading AT’s comments, it appears their readers are embracing the darker colors. I’ll be using some black accents in my soon to be remodeled bathroom, but I’m not brave enough to go black on all four walls.

Here is a short Q & A with the editor-in-chief, Stephen Drucker, of House Beautiful on the subject of dark walls.

What say you? Is this influenced by the vampire craze?


Benjamin Moore photo

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