coffee + cre8tive {aug 30 '06}

It's nearly September, eek! Where does the time go? Sure, summer may be slipping through our fingers, but with the promise of Fall soon to come, there's no need to feel sad. Smile! We have an excuse to perk up our interiors. With each new season, we can edit our space, organize things a bit, and give our homes a deep cleaning to restore that good-as-new glow. When the air starts to cool, I slowly remove summer magazines, add an extra layer of bedding for warmth, rotate (along with vacuum) my mattress, replace a few throw pillows, reconfigure displays, and move furniture (first to clean beneath, but this routine usually results in a new floor plan, I'm sure you can relate). I also like to shuffle my books around to give the bookcase a new look, purchase a few great CDs (music is so important in the home), grab a soy-based candle with a lovely scent for Fall... Or better yet, start baking on the weekends. I also like to heat apple cider on the stove (vs. the microwave) so the entire house smells like baked apples. Mmmm.

How do you approach a new season in your home? Any spruce up tips?

For me, color introduced through art, textiles, paint, these are all ways that I enhance rooms that I either work in or for touching up my own little abode. I also like to use music (or a water feature if you have room for a small fountain) and of course, scent. I think decorating should be performed in several layers so the overall design doesn't appear superficial or so on-trend that it lacks warmth. Walking into a well-arranged space is always a treat, but for me, decorating needs to take on more.

Like our own appearance, it's not enough to just wear a nice outfit. Adding a fresh scent (perfume, after shave, lotion, oils) is important, as well as having a pleasing personality, tone of voice, words that are interesting and make for a pleasant interaction, etc. Same with a room, for me, it needs to stimulate all the senses. It needs to have depth. It needs to have a life.

Bringing nature indoors is important, too. It's fun to venture outdoors to collect pretty things for a simple arrangement - adding what you've collected to a simple glass vase for the coffee table, for instance. Pine-cones, twigs, and acorns (I love their petite berets) are perfect for this. Bring along your trusty camera, too. You need not be a pro to take a beautiful photo that means something to you. Head into the forest or if you're in the city, the local park. Snap whatever moves you. It can even be something as simple as a lone park bench. You could put your handbag on the bench, or a scarf, and step back and take a few photos of it. Think about lighting, composition, color. Perhaps you can 'stage' the shot to include other things you've brought with you, as well. Print out and frame your favorite shots, an inexpensive personal touch to your space.

Another way to enhance your living space for the season - add in spicy rich hues. A little dab of gold, orange, red, teal, chocolate, or shots of black, perhaps. Maybe goldenrod (a lovely yellow) or eggplant? Speaking of eggplant, I also like big bowls of seasonal veggies in the kitchen along with mini pumpkins with stems tied with a simple velvet ribbon and placed upon a shelf - the white mini pumpkins are my favorites.

Are you into art? If it's color you crave, and you'd like to add a beautiful painting to your home, I think you'll love artist Rachel Stuart-Haas who is based in Shreveport, Louisiana and not only has amazing art, but a beautiful little house full of sensational color. Rachel would like to give us a mini tour of her home with hopes that we'll all be inspired to infuse our space with color. Another decor8 reader mini tour, coming up!

(images from rachel stuart-haas)