Blues, grays and . . . orange!

We recently staged a lovely renovated home that reminds us of a Scandinavian farmhouse. From the all-white/cream exterior, to the barn wood porch, to the soft colors used inside, it feels like it could be located on a rural farm in Sweden—instead of on an urban street in Oakland!



46 DR

The walls in the living room and dining room are painted a soft gray called Moonshine (I love that name!). We stuck to blues, whites and grays in our decor for these rooms. The master bedroom, office and guest rooms also feature light blues, from aqua to more of a periwinkle blue.

46 master

46 office

46 guest

But when we moved into the family room, we had a little fun by adding something unexpected—orange!

46 FR

We carried the orange accent color into the stairway and the finished attic, which we dubbed “the playroom.”


46 attic

It’s always a good idea to inject one bold color into your home’s palette. Orange is the perfect complement to blue (they are opposites on the color wheel), and is especially relevant during autumn months. What’s your favorite bold accent color? Let us know in the comments below.

All photography courtesy of John Hayes

Fall 2014 decorating trends & inspiration

It sure doesn’t feel like Fall here in Berkeley, but the reality is that school starts in less than 2 weeks! The home stores are introducing their new Fall lines, and on the newsstand you’ll see  “Fall fashion” on almost every magazine cover. We thought it would be fun to go through it all and present the trends that we see for Fall 2014. You can see more of our inspiration on the Visual Jill Fall Decorating Trends pinboard, too.

1. The Naturals: Colors from nature (soft grays, whites and creams); leather; rattan; live plants; wood. Items that are noticeable for their texture and detail, rather than color.


Naturals LR1

image via Apartment Therapy

avenue lifestyle bedroom

via Avenue Lifestyle

Nate Berkus DR

Designed by Nate Berkus, via Garrison Hullinger

comfy wood

via Wooninspiratie 

2. Color: A surprise for Fall — soft blues and greens! Clean brights (like orange), neutrals, and black and white are still strong too.


we blueswest elm blue LR

 Two images above via West Elm


via Remodelista, via boligcious

orange pillow

peggy sofa

 Two images above via West Elm

cb2 fall pillows

cb2 bandw

Two images above via CB2

3. Creative Collections: Personal artifacts hung next to art in gallery walls; mixing one-of-a-kind mementos alongside books on shelves.


kitchen shelves collected

via The Grit and Polish


via Because I’m Addicted, via One King’s Lane


via Batixa.tumblr

4. Abstracts: Artwork, pillows and textiles in unusual graphics.


abstract art, Apt. Therapy

via Apartment Therapy

steve alan pillow

via West Elm

5. Geometric: Symmetrical patterns covering rugs, pillows and textiles.


dot & bo rug copy

Via Dot and Bo

geometric CB2


6. Round rugs: A new shape that’s surprisingly versatile.


round Jute rug

West Elm

round SL jute rug

Serena & Lily (note that this combines two trends: round and natural!

7. Mixed metals: Brass, copper and bronze are staying strong for Fall, outshining chrome and nickel.


swivel bar stool

West Elm

vega 5 chandelier

Schoolhouse Electric






Adding color to all-white rooms

We just finished staging a renovated Oakland home. Unlike many of the homes we stage and decorate, every single room in this house has white walls. Because the agent selling the home is a “color minimalist”, there was not a single green, blue or yellow accent wall to be seen. Our challenge was to bring in color through accessories, artwork, and even some furniture. Here’s what we did.

Montell LR-Mel O.-©

The beautiful painting by Amiguel set the orange and blue color scheme for the living room.

montell DR-Mel O.-©

Because the living room with its orange and blue highlights flows directly into the dining space, we chose to stick to neutrals with our table, chairs, rug and artwork in this room.

Montell FR-Mel O.-©

But in the downstairs family room, it’s all about the turquoise on the Ikea sofa trim and CB2 rug. Hits of yellow also brighten the space.

Montell office-Mel O.-©

We had fun with multiple colors in the office, inspired by the variation in the vibrant original diptych by artist Mel.O. Note how the solid pillow and white desk keeps the room from being too frenetic.

Montell master-Mel O.-©

We chose to use a simple white duvet in the master bedroom so we could feature the orange, blue and orchid colors in the rest of the room.

IMG_9086-Mel O.-©

The cooler tones of green and blue in the guest room furnishings are also well-represented in the mixed-media piece by Amiguel.

The great thing about neutral walls (white and light gray are our favorites) is that you can completely alter the feeling of the room with a simple change of the rug or bedding.

All photography by Mel O.