Posts by Karman Hotchkiss
Trend: Oversize Art Featuring Animals
Horses galloping through the dining room. A pelican perched on the consol. It seems like every house we consider for publication these days includes a really big piece of art featuring a sketch or black-and-white photograph of an animal. Striking and oversize, these pieces work especially well in today’s neutral-palette rooms, like this gray-and-white bath (below left), this wood-paneled office (below middle), or this almost-all-white living room (below left).
In the really old days (think 1500s), sketches like this were smaller and generally done in preparation for engravings, etchings or woodcuts. Like this greyhound (below) by German artist Albrecht Düter. Nowadays, the pieces are finished artwork in their own right. The massive paintings of Ohio artist Luke Stretar, many featuring nearly lifesize cows, caught my eye at an art festival in East Lansing, Michigan, a few years ago. I was happy to see him again at the recent Des Moines arts festival.
But you don’t have to collect huge (ie: expensive) pieces of art to incorporate this trend into your own home. At my house, we have a couple of beloved animal artworks that hit the same note. This charming sheep was painted by my sister-in-law, Robin Hotchkiss, as a gift for my son when he was born. And this whimsical dancing cat print by Larry Welo is a loving tribute to our dear black kitty, Smokey.
Big or small, I hope you’ll find a way to add some animal art to your house soon.
Do you remember the story of about the cobbler’s children? They had the worst shoes in town because their father the shoemaker was too busy to make anything for his own family. A couple of months ago, I realized that my family is like that—except with our house instead of our shoes.
My husband and I both work in the home improvement industry. (He’s an architect specializing in residential remodels, and I edit shelter magazines.) Yet, our house had become a poster child for “10 Signs You’re Ready for a Home Makeover.”
Here’s a list that may help you spot those places in your house that you’ve become immune to, but that are crying for a refresh!
- You haven’t painted since you moved in. If you signed the paperwork on this place more than 5 years ago, your walls are due for a refresh.
Solution: Give neutral gray a try—or one of the new fresh minty hues.
- You are using a Sharpie marker to color in the bare spots on your dining room rug.
Solution: Try a rug with a contemporary twist, even if the rest of your house is a tad traditional. I dig this brown geometric rug from Hayneedle.
- Your bathroom mirror covers most of the wall above your sink.
Solution: Swap it out for a more contemporary version in a frame, like this one from Bed Bath & Beyond. Or, add a frame from Mirror Mate around your existing mirror.
- Your shower curtain has been deemed a science experiment for mold growth patterns.
Solution: Just buy a new one—finally. Fun to try: Ringo from Target or the Birdcage from Urban Outfitters.
- Shiny brass accessories. Gold finishes are coming back, but your hardware from the ’80s will still look dated.
Solution: Replace your cabinet handles and doorknobs; it only takes a screwdriver. These examples are from Amerock.
- Your toilet is a water hog. If it has been ten years or more since you’ve replaced yours, it’s probably using too much water.
Solution: New models use way less water.
- You’ve had the same living room lamp since before “American Idol” debuted.
Solution: Shop for something colorful and shapely, like this beauty from Kichler.
- There’s a wallpaper border featuring apples or sailboats anywhere in your house.
Solution: Ditch it, then consider a geometric print (like these from Target) on an accent wall or inside a bookcase.
- Your furniture has been in the same place for so long it may have grown roots.
Solution: Try swapping pieces from room to room. Could that living room chair work in your office? What if the bedroom rug moved to the family room?
- In your bedroom, the only thing more tired than you is your comforter.
Solution: Hit the clearance shelf and find something that will put a smile on your face as you fall asleep, like this fresh set from Horchow.
What spaces in your home are in need of a makeover? I hope these tips have inspired you to mix things up this weekend.
-Karman Hotchkiss, Deputy Content Core Director