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5 Reasons to Love Marsala AND How to Build a Color Scheme in 3 Layers


This year I’m actually really excited for the Color of the Year according to Pantone.  Why?  Because of it’s versatility!  The last few Colors of the Year weren’t nearly as usable.

For example, the 2014 Color of the Year – Radiant Orchard – is a beautiful spring-like purple that is a bit red to be a violet, a bit bright to be able to be used in any other way than an accent color, and can really only be used during the Spring and Summer seasons.

In fact, the last time they chose a really versatile color was 2008 with Blue Iris – a lovely mid-tone blue with a touch of purple in the background.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a big believer in neutrals that are also colors.  Don’t get me wrong, you can’t get more versatile than beige, grey, brown, black, white, and taupe; but they don’t add nearly enough life into a design on their own.  So, my method to build a color scheme (to be used for outfits, rooms, and any other project requiring color choices) is to use layers…

Layer 1: The Canvas – pick a nice basic neutral such as the classics like mentioned above or a classic with a hint of a color in it like grey with blue or a taupe with green.  This will act as your backdrop.  Think of this layer like a good suit or a little black dress.  Sometimes you may need more than one (walls and floors, for example).

Layer 2: Adding Richness and Life – this is when you pick a neutral color.  These are colors that occur naturally in nature in larger quantities such as Leaf Green, Navy Blue, Sky Blue, Chocolate Brown, Weathered Brown, Cloud Grey, Moss Green, and Sage Green.  This layer is that fun blouse, cute top, great shoes, and the like.  This is another layer where you can choose multiple colors.

Layer 3: Add Some Pop – this is actually optional depending on how much richness and life was added through the second layer.  Consider this your jewelry layer – scarves and other accessories fall into this layer.  Metallics are excellent choices for this layer as are bright, vibrant colors that would be considered excessive in large quantities.  Most yellows, reds, and oranges tend to fall into this layer.  As do your neons and other attention grabbing tones.

But what does this have to do with Marsala, the 2015 Color of the Year?

Reason #5: Marsala can fit into two of the color scheme layers: 2 and 3.  Want to create a soothing color scheme?  Grab two canvas neutrals for the first two layers and then add in your third layer with smaller doses of Marsala for some soft richness.  Check out the entryway below for an excellent example using an off white, darker weathered brown, and a lovely neutral brown.

Or would you rather create a more vibrant space?  Grab a canvas neutral or two for the first layer (like the dark grey and cream shown in the dinning room below), mix in Marsala for your 2nd layer, and then accent with a complimentary tone like metallics, softer colors like the green shown below, and crisp white.

Reason #4: It is season-less – or, rather, it works with color schemes for all seasons.  Need to warm up during the winter?  Combine it with other rich and warm tones like the browns and creams in the living room below.

Want a bright and cheery spring?  Mix with soft and vibrant tones like spring grass green, buttercup yellow, and lilac.

What about crisp summer?  Combine it with other classic summer tones like nautical blues and fresh linens.

And fall has to be the easiest season to work Marsala in!

Reason #3: It is a classic tone – wine tones have never gone out of style and never will.  You can find it in antique rugs and china designs.  Have you toured a historic home lately?

Reason #2: It is a great way of adding visual texture to a design and you know how much I love using texture to take a design concept to the next level.  Think soft pieces like velvet or even shiny tones like satin; you can go either way especially if you play with various shades.  In fact, the living room below uses it in multiple textures.  Just like colors and tones, texture works best in layers.

Reason #1: It can be casual, formal, and anywhere in-between so it works well with many different personal styles from classic to modern, from rustic to industrial, and – of course – transitional.  If you are looking to create a flattering outfit or a impressive interior (or exterior) home design, this color in all of its shades has loads of potential and flexibility.

What are your thoughts on the color Marsala for the 2015 Color of the Year?  Do you plan on incorporating it into the design of your home or future outfits?  I’d love to see what you do with it!

Have Fun!


P.S. – if there are any questions or you’d like my help with creating the perfect color scheme for your next home improvement project, please reach out to me at katlin@nullmercercarpetone.com or in the comments below!

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As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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How to Choose the Perfect Backsplash


No matter where you want that extra little something – kitchen, bathroom, or an accent wall elsewhere in your home – backplashes are a great way to add depth, dimension, color, pattern, and texture to the design of a space.  And since I know that, while I find playing with colors and patterns and textures immensely enjoyable, it often feels overwhelming; so, here are the steps I take when helping a client choose a backplash.

Step 1:  What is the Atmosphere?

No matter what room/space you’re considering putting the back-splash in, the atmosphere of that space needs to be considered.  Is it more formal or more casual?  Does the style lend itself more towards contemporary or more traditional?

Neutral colors and natural materials, like stone and metal, lend themselves to both traditional and modern settings as well as a lot of styles, so these are great options to consider especially if you’re worried about trends fading out.  Glass is a wonderful idea to be used as an accent piece or to be mixed in with stones.

Step 2:  Where is it Going?

How will the space nearest the back splash be used?  Will it be near a ‘messy’ area like a sink or stove?  Or will it be in an area that doesn’t see lots of splashes or other oopsies?  Will you be touching it on a regular basis or will it be more like artwork on the wall?

If the back splash is in an area that is a messier than normal area like a shower or near a stove, think of clean-ability as well as camouflage.  For example: if you like the look of glass, but don’t want to see every speck of soap scum, try frosted glass.

Step 3:  Should it Lean More Light, Dark, or Medium?

What is near it that isn’t changing.  Thankfully paint is easy to change out, cabinets aren’t however.  For example, in a kitchen, if you have dark cabinets and go with a mid to light backsplash.  If you have light cabinets go with a mid to dark backsplash.  Contrast is always good as it adds depth and interest, plus you’re going to want your beautiful new backsplash to shine!

However, in the right setting, don’t be afraid to break the ‘rules’ for a stunning effect like shown below.

Step 4:  What Colors Will it Be Working With?

Again, first take into account the pieces that aren’t changing like big pieces of furniture, counter tops, cabinets, fixtures, etc.  Then focus on pieces that you love and would love to decorate a space around.  Is there a hint of green that you’d like to focus on a bit more?

Step 5:  What Pattern?

Thankfully mosaics build that in, though you can choose which direction to run them (maybe run a rectangle on a diagonal vs. straight?)  But if you’re working with larger pieces like 3″x6″ pieces or 6″x6″ pieces you should think about patterns simple and complex.  Which pattern will enable the back-splash to add the dimension it needs to the space?

Step 6:  Any Texture?

Do you like the sleekness of glass or metals?  Or would you rather the rougher texture of stone?  When it comes to texture, don’t forget clean-ability depending on where it is going!  Stacked stone is beautiful but would be a trap for oil behind a stove.

Remember: natural stones should always be sealed (typically prior to installation)!  Due to minimal wear it will take years for a good seal to wear off (a good way of checking is taking droplets of water and seeing if they bead up or soak in.)

Step 7:  Will It Need Accent Pieces?

If you’re going with something that is simpler overall, think about throwing in an accent piece or medallion.  Liners are a nice way to frame a design out or add dimension without going too flashy also.

A good thing to keep in mind when choosing if and where you want accent pieces is your line of sight and neighboring architectural details (like stove hoods).

Step 8:  How Will It End?

Will the backsplash end at an inside corner, allowing the architecture of the home to act as a frame?  Or will it end at the edge of a countertop or at an outside corner?  Does it need a frame to cover any raw edges or will the nature of the product eliminate that need?

Step 9:  How Will It Work Around And With Existing Finishes?

Is there a window to keep in mind?  Built in?  Vanity?  Shower door?  Mirror?  Architectural details?  How will you want the backsplash to work with existing finishes like those?

What a great idea: a shelf behind the stove!

I hope this helps!  Do you have any tips that I missed?  Any questions I can help with?

Have Fun,

Katlin Farrell
Flooring Consultant
Mercer Floor and Home of Ellicott City, Maryland
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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Fall Fashion for the Home – 2012 Trends


Fall is my favorite season: warm fires, turtleneck sweaters, hot cocoa, boots, brightly colored leaves, brisk winds, crystal blue skies, and the list goes on.

But what does this have to do with home design and the current fashion trends?   Well, despite the outlandish things that designers put on the runway, they all seem to focus on particular colors, patterns, and textures which are easy to turn into home fashions.  And, thankfully, this season they stuck with the classics.


Black and Blue

Classic colors: often considered to be neutrals on their own, while blue can also act as a beautiful accent color.  Together they create a sophisticated, timeless palette.  Do you have any favorite black and blue scenes?

Burgundy/Wine Red

Also a classic color and can play the role as accent color or neutral.  Burgundy adds a richness to any color palette.  While it can be used (and often is) in traditional settings, take a look at this contemporary kitchen!


Tested and true, gold comes in many forms from soft antiqued gold to bright royal gold.  It can act as a tiny detail as well as pull off the big wow factor some designs ask for.  Take a look at the vanity below.  They could have just had the sink and fixtures gold, but decided to amp up the pizzazz by splashing it along the wall also.


Another tried and true, white is a wonderful neutral backdrop.  It can also be used as an accent to brighten a design.   For some a pure white room is airy, soothing, and clean.  Personally, I prefer color like the warming orange in the picture below.  What is your preference?

Patterns and Textures:

Over sized sweaters

Probably one of my top favorite things about the fall is that I can pull out my big comfy sweaters.  They portray comfort, warmth, and just a bit of indulgence.  Think overstuffed arm chairs where you can curl up with a cup of cocoa and something new by your favorite author like in the picture below.  Throws and welcoming pillows are a great way to bring out this feeling.  Woolly rugs can take this feeling to the next step (rugs can be switched out with the seasons or stay neutral to be used year round).   

Animal print

No matter what, animal prints in all of their forms will not go out of style.  Think of ways you can add feathers, scales, and furs to your design through artwork and other accent pieces.  For example, you can throw some peacock feathers into a vase on their own or with a few other details for a beautiful arrangement (that doesn’t die on you or need watering!)  Or, you can add a huge statement item like the below stair runner for that conversation piece.


I’m glad that the lattice pattern is getting the recognition it deserves.  It’s a classic and has such a light feeling, making it very easy to transform to the season, the design, and/or the purpose.  Take a look at this entryway lattice work for example: if they wanted to make it ready for fall they could attach pine cones or twigs to it with some fall foliage and for the spring time they can hang dried flowers wrapped with bright ribbon from it.


Another main stay.  Leather isn’t going anywhere.  It can be dressed up or down, male or female, and screams wealth with a work ethic.  No matter if you use it on a small scale or in large piece, leather makes a subtle statement that adds to any space.


Hm, the trend I’m seeing this season is luxury.  The two textures that are the most luxurious are silk and velvet – the latter being a great way to add a sense of luxurious warmth to any design.


Now this is interesting.  Seems like the artwork, patterns, and textures of the Renaissance are coming back to the front of designers’ minds.  They bring a sense of elegance  history, and stories to a space.  Think about hanging a tapestry on a wall or upholstering a foot stool with a brocade.   You could also dress up a space with a wall paper or stenciling such as in the room below.

So, what are your thoughts?  How are you thinking of incorporating these timeless details to your design?   If you like, send me pictures and a bit about the project and I can brag a bit about your design here!
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Guest Post] Bringing Autumn Inside

As summer fades and the rich colors of autumn sweep over the trees, you might feel melancholy about losing a beautiful season – but nature still has lots to offer. You don’t have to yearn for the bright summer when your home is decorated with rich, warm fall highlights. A few simple changes in your home décor can get you ready for the new season.
Here are some quick tips to help you bring the outdoors into your home and bask in the glorious fall days without even leaving your home! Add plants to your home. In many parts of the world, the fall is the season where plants start to turn brown and wither away. (Except for the brightly-colored fall foliage, of course!) Rather than resigning yourself to a little less life around you, add plants to your home and it will feel cozy all year round. You can buy plants that suit your indoor gardening style, no matter how low-maintenance you would like them to be.
Put ferns in darker areas for soothing greens and an influx of fresh, clean air in your home. Aloe Vera plants like sunny windowsills and jade plants have leaves that are fun to squeeze. If you want flowers to add a touch of color, a Christmas cactus is very low-maintenance, or an African violet can bloom any time of year if fertilized properly.
Brighten up your textiles. One of the quickest ways to give new life to your living room or bedroom is by changing the floor rugs or curtains. Select a warm autumn color like greens, browns, oranges, or reds and make sure it complements your existing colors, then buy new curtains or an area rug. A soft rug you can squish your toes into will make your home feel much more inviting.
Consider putting a slip or cover over your armchair or couch if you want to take this a step further and refresh your entire living room. A change of bedding can work well to liven up your bedroom, especially if you choose a new duvet cover or sheets with warm fall colors to use until winter, or even until spring comes again. Add a centerpiece. If you’re crafty, you can have a lot of fun gathering autumn leaves, pinecones, and other treasures that are unique to the season. All kinds of craft sites online will give you instructions on creating fall centerpieces for your dining room table. If you’re not crafty, you can buy pinecone wreaths to hang on your doors or over your kitchen entrance, or in another strategic spot.
A simple fall centerpiece that will earn compliments is an arrangement of candles in fall colors or with decorative patterns, all arranged on a fireproof metal plate. You can use artificial flowers or leaves or real ones, if you’re careful not to let them get too close to the flames. You could also tie red, orange, and yellow ribbons around the candleholders or the base of pillar candles.
Decorate outside, too. Even if you’re stuck in an apartment building, you may be able to put a nail in your door and hang a pinecone wreath or another fall decoration (handcrafted or store-bought) on your door; just check your lease first. Homeowners have many more spots to decorate, such as gates, fences, mailboxes, and the front door.
For a quick fall touch, buy miniature pumpkins or gourds and arrange them in a cluster or put one on each step up to your front door. Visitors will instantly be put into a calm, cheery fall mood when they see your porch!
Prepare your home for brisk fall days and fond memories with friends and family by making a few simple changes to your home décor in the spirit of the season. With the warmth of your home, you will feel at home no matter how many degrees it is outside.
Author Bio:
Guest post contributed by Sarah Bolt on behalf of Steel Line Roller Doors. Sarah is a freelance writer with an extensive hands on background in interior design and DIY projects. She writes for various online periodicals where she likes to share her insights.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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[Guest Post] Little Known Ways to Up-sell Your Home by Adding Amenities


Ensuring basic maintenance is taken care of is absolutely essential to creating a more salable home.

There are lots of interesting ways that you can add new amenities to your home without spending a fortune. These amenities are popular in today’s market and will often help you up-sell your home for a higher price. Here, we go beyond the finished basement, which is almost an essential on the lists of many of today’s home buyers, and tell you what less expected amenities you can add to your home:

Converting the attic into usable space – 

These days, more and more homeowners are looking to remodel the space they already have, rather than completing costly additions on their home. If you have an attic or unused space above the garage, consider converting that space into something usable. What you choose will depend on the way your home is set up and the market you’re catering to. Here are a few viable options for your unused attic space:
  • An upstairs laundry room, which is popular when all the bedrooms in the home are upstairs
  • A workout area large
  • An indoor hot tub or extended master bathroom if this space can be connected with the master
  •  A family room or game room
  •  An office space
An attic conversion is much cheaper than an addition, and it can really add some valuable amenities to your home.

Extending living space by building a deck – 

Building a deck is another really simple way to add appeal to your home by extending the living space into the outdoors. Nearly any homeowner would be happy to have a deck, and they aren’t all that expensive to add yourself. Just make sure you either contract the work to a reliable carpenter or do it yourself without taking any shortcuts. You’ll want your deck to look great and to stand the test of time!

Adding kitchen amenities – 

If your kitchen doesn’t need a complete remodel – or if you’re already in the throes of remodeling – consider adding popular amenities that will up-sell your kitchen. Here are some of the more popular kitchen amenities to add:
  • A walk in pantry
  • A built in microwave
  • An island with lots of work space
  • Specialized storage for baking items, spices, and other kitchen items

If you’re creative, you may not have to do a complete overhaul of your kitchen to add some of these amenities. Specialized storage space is particularly easy to add, since you can organize cabinets with post-installation racks and shelves rather easily.

Adding a backup power generator – 

Surprisingly enough, having a backup power generator attached to your home can be a good way to up-sell it. Aging electrical grids are less reliable these days, and future buyers will feel better about buying a home that will have electricity whenever they need it. Compact standby generators these days can be installed next to the air conditioning unit outside and can automatically give your home power just after losing electricity. It’s definitely an unexpected upgrade, but it could be one well worth looking into.

How much will you get back?

The key to deciding which amenities to add to your home if you’re adding them primarily to add to your home’s overall sale value is knowing how much you’re likely to get back by adding these items to your home. Talk to a local realtor about what home buyers are looking for in your area, and don’t let your home outclass others in your neighborhood, either. Getting detailed reports on how much homes have recently sold for in your neighborhood is a good place to start when deciding what amenities to add and how much to spend.

Regardless of how much you decide to do in improving your home before selling it, you may need to check into financing options. Many of these additions aren’t cheap, so knowing how you’re going to pay before you get started is essential. Here are several different financing options for your home renovations:

·         Cash: When it comes to contracting large jobs cash is king and may save you a bundle on the contract prices. Of course, this means you have to actually have cash saved up before you can remodel.
·         Home equity loan: If you have equity built up in your home, you can consider taking out a home equity loan. It’s a very affordable way to get a larger sum of money for home improvements. If you take money out against your home’s equity, though, you will want to be double sure that your improvements will pay you back in the long run when it’s time to sell.
·         Credit cards: For smaller jobs, credit cards tailored for home improvement projects may be ideal. These cards often come with good interest rates and good features, such as cash back or other rewards. You can find home improvement credit cards and comparison charts here.
·         Personal line of credit: Harder to get than a credit card and with higher interest rates than a home equity loan, an unsecured personal line of credit may still be an option for you when it comes to financing your home improvements.

Tiffany Parker is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey.com.  These financing options should put home improvement within your reach, no matter what your circumstances. Just be sure that you double check with a realtor or home value specialist to ensure that you’re choosing the right improvements for your home and neighborhood.
As always, if there are any questions (or ideas), please let me know! Katlin@nullMercerCarpetOne.com Facebook.com/MercerCarpetOne Twitter.com/MercerFloors

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