Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunshine Lucy's: Tiny Apartment Furniture

This past fall Sunshine Lucy's in Somerville opened its doors to furniture scavengers, bargain hunters, and lovers of second-hand items. Located on Holland street, it offers an ever changing selection of vintage and slightly newer refurbished furniture. As the sister store to Eddie's Furniture on Elm Street in Somerville, Sunshine Lucy's exudes the warm and friendly nature of a family run business. Most of their furniture comes from estate sales and dates from the 1930's to the 1980's. It's clear that they take the time to meticulously select each item so that it reflects up coming style trends without looking run of the mill. Though their prices are not Target cheap, their craftsmanship and selection are well worth the cost.
I took some photos recently of items I liked and that were following popular design trends. Then I found similar items on and just to see the price comparison and the design comparison. I happily realized that not only were Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn a lot more expensive, but the furniture felt too predictable, hotel-roomish, almost sterile. Don't' get me wrong, I like what they sell, but when comparing them to one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, it's easy to feel biased. Unique vintage pieces like at Sunshine Lucy's are stylish while also personifying a history and an experience. Click on the link to see what I found:

Sunshine Lucy's
93 Holland Street
Somerville, MA

Other Vintage Furniture Stores:

Eddie's Furniture
95 Elm Street
Somerville, MA

22a College Ave.
Somerville, MA

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Use Paint Color

You probably already know that colors are an important part of decorating your tiny apartment. If you're renting, you probably have blank white walls that seems stark and make your space feel cluttered and furniture out of place. Changing the colors of your walls is an easy way you can instantly transform the look and mood of your space without having to spend lots of money. It’s a good idea to ask permission first from your landlord before you start painting, but usually people are okay with it as long as you paint the walls back before you leave. An understanding of how the color wheel works will give you the knowledge and power to create your own personal color scheme that works with your furniture so that you can visually expand or cozy-up your rooms. There is an increasing trend for bright, saturated wall colors, which may be what you are looking for. As long as you know how to use them, you can adopt any of your favorite colors onto your walls.

The Color Wheel

It’s important to pick a color scheme that is consistent from room to room especially in smaller apartments when chaos and claustrophobia are common problems. You should use the wall colors as the connector as you choose different colored accessories for different rooms. Above, you will find your fundamental tool for choosing colors. Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors are full intensity colors. Here is some important vocabulary for you to know when learning about these colors:

Tint: Adding white to full intensity colors

Shade: Adding black to full intensity colors

Tone: Adding gray to full intensity colors

Complementary colors: Colors opposite of one another on the color wheel. Example: red and green.

After you have an understanding of how the color wheel works, ask your self what you want the purpose or mood to be of the room. You will also want to ask yourself if you prefer warm colors or cool colors.

Cool Colors

Choosing cool colors for your color scheme is a great way to visually expand a room, especially if natural light is lacking. Some of these colors include blues, greens, and violets. These can be very relaxing and non-intrusive colors especially if they are paired with white accents. Violet is a unique color because it merges warm and cool, -since it is a mix of red and blue. Using pastel shades of violet in either warm or cool hues are space enhancing.

Warm Colors

Warm colors advance the walls of your room. Some of these fun and lively colors include reds, yellows, and oranges. You can still use these colors and open up the room a bit by using them in various paler shades such as pink, coral, and pale yellow. If you want to use warm colors but still create a restful feel, pick warm colors that appear naturally on the Earth such as burnt orange, golden yellow, or olive. These colors look rich but weathered. Pick warm colors for high-traffic or high-energy rooms.


Neutrals range from black to white and can include soft shades of brown such as taupe, beige, and ecru. Neutrals are great because they can extend and complement any room, especially if you have brightly colored furniture. Neutrals are flexible because they create contrast without harshness. You can easily change the style and color scheme of a room with neutral walls by changing your accent pieces.

Tips for Using Your Colors

  1. Pay attention to natural light. Use cooler colors in rooms without windows or sunshine. Use warmer colors in rooms that get lots of sunshine.
  2. Paint a wall floor to ceiling to heighten the room
  3. Hide an ugly radiator or any other unsightly architectural element by painting it the same color as the walls
  4. To create consistency, choose a color and use its various shades for other rooms
  5. To highlight a specific furniture piece, paint the walls its contrasting color.
I recently came across a great online tool for testing out wall colors. Use Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer to try out a color scheme. You can save and download as many rooms as you want. Have fun!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boston Design Center Treasure Hunt

This past weekend I attended the Boston Design Center's Treasure Hunt where I was able to see new furniture products made by high-end designers. This seasons hottest trends seem to all be influenced by unique and luxurious textures, falling into three categories: Asian, organic, and modern-contemporary. The beautiful thing about these themes is that they are easy to mix and match and therefore are very versatile. The clean lines of the modern furniture offer a great canvas for incorporating the other elements from this season. Bold and rich paint color (bright greens, blues, reds), elegant light reflecting materials (glass, metal, mirrors, lots of vases), sophisticated light fixtures (made out of unlikely decorations), and three-dimensional fabrics enable the you to apply these aspects to furniture you already have, giving your style a personal touch. The furniture at the Design Center is a little expensive so I took photos of objects that represented the range of the seasons trends and other decor elements that could be easily duplicated. Many of the items from this weekend I have also seen available at used and refurbished furniture stores.