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Solving a Reader's Decorating Dilemma - From the Ground Up

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My entryway has green tiles with brown speckles (not an easy thing to work with) so... I have no clue what color I should paint the walls or how to decorate this area. Help!

Use the holiday season as an excuse to finally tackle your decorating dilemma. The mix of family and friends dropping in for holiday parties and the cold weather (all of those extra layers and boots need to go somewhere!), makes this season the perfect time to organize and decorate your entryway. This is the first space your guests will see, so you want it to be welcoming, beautiful and functional.

The tiles might not be the easiest medium to work with, but they certainly are not unmanageable. For your walls, choose a paint color that matches the brown speckles in your tile. The space will immediately feel more harmonious - even slightly dramatic, especially if your entryway is small and cozy and the brown is a deep, rich and aesthetically pleasing color.

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If your entrance is a large and open, I suggest you choose a neutral color for the walls (see my post about working with a neutral palette). Balance the color of the tiles even further by decorating with flowers and potted plants in similar green and brown hues.

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Another idea is to cover the floor with exotic, patterned area rugs that have touches of brown and green in them. The layering of patterns will help camouflage your difficult tiles - and it gives you a chance to introduce more color into the space.

I love this quote from Bunny Williams, which I found while reading Sister Parish Design for my book Friday post a couple of weeks ago. It is full of advice, inspiration and motivation for making your entryway just as beautiful as the rest of your home:

"The front hall is important because when you open the door of a house, it pulls you in or it doesn't. It's the first thing you see and it's fun to have a little drama about it. That's why I love to do stenciled or painted floors. You often stand in a front hall. It's your first impression and I think it is a place that should be exciting. It is a great place for a wonderful color; it is a great place for a fabulous floor. It doesn't have to have a lot of furniture in it; I just make sure to have a hall table and a mirror and a beautiful container of flowers... It's the place to welcome people, so make it feel special. Even if I didn't have flowers in any other place in the house, I would want them in the front hall." (Sister Parish Design, by Susan Bartlett Crater and Libby Cameron)

Favorite Gifts For My Favorite People

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For those of you who listened to the first half of my radio show yesterday on Sirius XM's Martha Stewart Channel, I talked about some of my favorite gifts to give during the holidays. As promised, here it is in writing...

Image from John Derian Company Inc.

Image from John Derian Company Inc.

Paperweights & Small Dishes from John Derian Company Inc.

*Small keepsakes will put a smile on anyone’s face – especially when they realize it's from John Derian's store. Their gift-wrapping alone is exquisite, but the real treat is inside.  I love his decoupage trays (pictured left, click here see more), paperweights and small, red letter dishes, which are a perfect way to personalize your holiday gift.

  • Both stores are located on East 2nd Street in downtown Manhattan:
  • John Derian Company: 6 East Second Street, (between 2nd Ave and Bowery), NY NY,  shop@johnderian.com, 212.677.3917
  • John Derian Dry Goods Shop: 10 East Second Street, 6 East Second Street, (between 2nd Ave and Bowery), NYC, drygoods@johnderian.com, 212.677.8408
  • Visit their beautifully curated collection online at http://www.johnderian.com/
Image from William Wayne & Co.

Image from William Wayne & Co.

Small Silver Trays from WILLIAM WAYNE & co.

*A perfect host/hostess gift

William Wayne has two Locations in New York and an online store:

Click "More" to read the full list... Read More...

A John Derian Pick-Me-Up

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I needed an inspiration pick me up so I headed down to John Derian's two shops on East 2nd Street, in Manhattan. I was looking for some apartment ideas but found some holiday love instead in the Company shop and fabric/colors ideas at the Dry Goods shop.

I've written about John before but to visit his shop is the only way to experience the Derian world. Beyond his traditional decoupage moments, John finds the most interesting pieces and has a knack for display. For the holidays, the shop is filled with ornaments, décor ideas and gifts for everyone.

I fell in love with a set of orchid prints and a princely crown (for fun).

He has rows of garland beads hanging in the most glorious array of colors and sizes. Next door in the Dry Goods Shop are rows and rows of fabrics in incredibly vibrant colors and a large-scale bench that I covet. Also, each time I go into the store, there's another lovely flower arrangement so I snapped one as inspiration.

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Known for his decoupage, John Derian's shop is filled with various designs.

1 Known for his decoupage, John Derian's shop is filled with various designs.

Yes, I had to try on the princely crown.

2 Yes, I had to try on the princely crown.

Rows and rows of garland beads for the holiday season. Love the metallic finishes.

3 Rows and rows of garland beads for the holiday season. Love the metallic finishes.

Here are the orchid prints I fell in love with, On my list!

4 Here are the orchid prints I fell in love with, On my list!

The inspirational floral arrangement. Love the glitter butterfly.

5 The inspirational floral arrangement. Love the glitter butterfly.

John Derian has a wonderful way of mixing and matching prints and colors.

6 John Derian has a wonderful way of mixing and matching prints and colors.

I wish I was still styling photos as I would use this large-scale chaise somewhere.

7 I wish I was still styling photos as I would use this large-scale chaise somewhere.

Oh well, I suppose I could just simply rest for a moment.

8 Oh well, I suppose I could just simply rest for a moment.