You can Pinterest, you can Instagram, you can even Houzz. But if you're looking for rock-solid renovation inspo online, you're going to want to check out the site that has the most tightly edited look on the internet -- Remodelista. The pared down, sometimes minimal aesthetic manages to stay true to its look, yet always timeless and even on trend. Blame it on founder Julie Carlson, who now has the original site and sister sites Gardenista and The Organized Home to her credit, in addition to design and garden books. Carlson's staying power secret? Her instinct for curated classic designs, unimpeachable quality and a healthy dose of practical advice. Here's what she had to say about renovation, limited space, and that pile of papers on your desk.
Best way to deal with a house with limited storage space: "I live in a house with limited storage space, which means I am constantly pruning my possessions. The upside is that I am forced to evaluate every purchase carefully; "Do I really need this beautiful teapot when I already have one at home? And where will I store it?" Limited storage space forces you to live by the "Buy less, buy better" principle."
Thing most likely to launch a redo: "When it comes to rethinking a space, I think the sofa is the key piece that can force a reevaluation. Stylistically, your sofa can determine the look of your living room. Are you a modernist with a love for the classic B&B Italia Charles sofa by Antonio Citterio, choice of architects everywhere? Or are you a lover of the classic English roll arm sofa, the centerpiece of the British country house look? When it comes to getting excited about a kitchen or bath remodel, I think tile can be highly inspirational."
Idea that can center a renovation: "Taking advantage of all opportunities to bring in natural light should be your guiding principle; nothing makes a house more pleasant to be in. When we remodeled our house, our architect, Jerome Buttrick, was completely focused on bringing the outdoors in. As a result, the interiors have a constant 'glowiness.' "
Favorite trick for a small kitchen: "Integrate as much storage space as possible; for instance, you can tuck shallow drawers in the kick space beneath your cabinets for baking sheet storage. Other space-saving tricks we like: pull-out cutting boards, Julia Child-style pegboards for pots and pans, and wall-mounted kitchen faucets, which free up counter space."
Material to choose first when you're renovating: "If you're doing a complete overhaul, choose your flooring first. Are you a fan of rustic reclaimed wood flooring, for instance? That will set the tone of the space and help you make decisions on the rest of the materials you'll be using."
Easiest way to deal with windows you don't love: "I'd advise simple linen curtains (you don't even have to hem them if you like the deconstructed look!) We featured a project where the homeowner bought a length of vintage French linen, cut it to fit her windows, and simply clipped it on a hardware store curtain rod. Genius!"
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First thing to change when you've got the doldrums: "It sounds obvious, but a new set of throw pillows in your living area can make a huge difference. It's the easiest way to add a dash of color and texture (velvet in winter, linen in summer). Also, a new throw in a beautiful pattern or color can make a world of difference."
Best place to start de-cluttering: "I'd take a good, hard look at the space and start with papers, magazines, mail (it's amazing what a difference it makes to simply corral your magazines and newspapers in one place -- preferably an attractive basket or holder). Next, assess your furniture needs and be ruthless. Nothing makes a room feel more claustrophobic than too many awkward, cluttery pieces. Let the room breathe. And finally, prune your accessories; too many framed family photos and snapshots grouped on a tabletop or shelf, for example, can make a room feel crowded. Consider framing your favorites and creating a photo wall in a hallway, for instance."
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