ask a designer – blending southern/western preferences

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ask a designer  –  blending southern/western preferences

Q. Help!  My husband and I want to furnish our new house together, but it seems impossible.

This is a second marriage for us both. He is from Texas, and I’m from Virginia, so we have very different ideas.  We have placed both of our things in the house without making any decisions for a year. Two rooms are empty. We thought we would have a better idea how to blend our tastes as time passed, but it seems worse than ever. He teases me for my “frou-frou” things, and I hate, hate, hate his deer heads and Aztec blankets. We haven’t even begun to choose colors let alone furniture. What can we do?—P.J.

A. Tell me you have a cabin on the lake! If not, then, we will have to get to work. It looks like you are willing to compromise if you know how. Take a look at the bare bones of the design preferences each of you have and keep what is most important to you.  Texans like things in bold, simple, large shapes with finishes, leather, and fabrics that can be used and reused.Virginians like historical elegance with a fair amount of opulent detail. What you have in common is that you both like tradition. Choose colors from a historical palette. Avoid pink and aqua colors which look Colonial  
and limit brown which looks like a ranch. Soft reds are likely to please you both. Go for larger scale if the house can take it. Any Texan will appreciate that.

Tufted furniture is sure to please you both. Choose all primary furnishings in relaxed versions of traditional motifs and then accent with pieces that are on your side or his. For instance, this hair-on-hide chair has elegant curving lines which make it fit within a moderately formal traditional room. A lovely drapery in the dining room with a little fringe is something men appreciate when it is time to entertain. If you have enough rooms, make one truly his and one truly yours. Otherwise, enjoy the common threads that tie you. solving a room’s echoing problem

Q. My house has a big echoing problem. We have leather furniture and some area rugs, but with all the tile and tall walls, it isn’t enough. I’m thinking about putting draperies on the windows that give us a panoramic view of the lake. I don’t want to cover the view at all. Will a drapery treatment of some sort be enough or is there another way to stop the echo?—L.W.

A. Sound studios are made with walls and ceiling that are not parallel to each other so that sound waves don’t bounce indefinitely.  Houses can’t ask_a_designer_tall_drapes_159x220be made that way, but you can see why furnishing only the floor will never do the trick: the walls let the sound bounce and bounce. In your case, the floor plane has only moderate sound absorption since leather is not as absorbent as fabric, and some of the tile is still exposed.

Usually placing textiles on any two walls will stop echo. Framing the gorgeous view is something you are likely to enjoy. Simple panels will get the job done, but other styles will enhance your room at the same time. Here is photo of a treatment around a fireplace we did for a couple from Florida who like a clean-lined look. The tapered and layered look is easy-going and provides a directional framing of the window.

The drawing of a formal swag treatment is for a bow window 22 ft. high leaving most of the glass open. Similar designs can be less formal. The trick is to design for the entire wall and room and not just the window. Choose another wall to place a wall hanging made from a rug, and the echo will be gone for good! (We sent “how to” tips for rug wall hangings in our last newsletter. Sign up at Rugs are ideal, but tapestries and leather hangings will improve the sound quality, too.

Editor’s Note:
We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting  
furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has  
operated her award winning interior design practice, Trends & Traditions, in Nashville for 18 years. Visit or call 615-601-0552.

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