Designer Q&A: Your Questions, Answered

This week, Linsi from RedefineHome answers some of our best reader-submitted questions.

Designer Q&A: Your Questions, Answered

Happy Monday fellow design lovers. Last week, I put out a request for your design dilemmas and today I’m here to help. 

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, I wish I could have answered them all, and so I hope we get to do this again sometime…

The first question is from dantimdad:

created at: 06/24/2011

My home is gradually being remodeled.  Since I love mid-century modern, it's being set back to it's 60's roots. My question comes from a gift of 8 franciscan starburst salad plates.  I can't fathom paying the prices being asked for the rest of the set except for a few key serving pieces.  What currently available dishes would you think would coordinate well with this pattern and not break the bank? BTW,  I will be building an MCM china cabinet soon to hold the dishes.


I’ve always believed in having a basic collection of white plates and servingware and playing it up with colorful, pattered dishes and linens.  I think this concept works perfectly with your Franciscan collection because you definitely want them to be the star (pardon the pun) of the show.  

I recommend purchasing a set of white pieces from a Restaurant Supply – they are durable and aren’t typically a stark white, which works better with the colors in the midcentury pieces.  My vote is a style similar to this, a mostly flat plate with a lip versus the thin bowl-like pieces.  But it’s up to you, there are tons of styles to choose from.

created at: 06/24/2011

If you don’t want to go with white, look for a light grey stoneware collection.  It’s also a classic, simple style and will contrast nicely with the colors of the starbursts.

created at: 06/24/2011

Then you can play up the collection by adding pieces with color like these from Crate and Barrel.  These pieces range from $4.95-5.95.  The teal is brighter than the mid-century blue but will play it up a bit.  The glossy top and matte bottom lends a nice texture.

Use vintage fabrics to have custom linens made or look on Etsy.com.  It’s okay to mix patterns and colors a bit.   This era was all about it.  


From Marthalynn:

I love your design philosophy of curate vs. decorate. That makes so much sense! Here's my design dilemma - I want to put a chandelier in our bedroom, but my husband really loves having a ceiling fan. I have to admit, the breeze from the fan is nice on a hot summer night and since we live near a busy interstate opening the windows is not an option. Do you have any ideas on how we can both get what we want?

created at: 06/24/2011

Why don’t you upgrade your fan to one that has a chandelier fixture built in?  Depending on the style and your DIY skills, you could fashion your own fandelier with the light fixture of your choice.  Like this project from House*Tweaking.

If your current fan isn’t gonna cut it, or you would rather just do some shopping, there are so many options out there now with stylized lights.  This piece (below) is only $299 at Lamps Plus – it may or may not be the right look for your room but it has sort of a minimal fan and an emphasis on the chandelier.

created at: 06/24/2011


From Beth N:

My Mom is giving me my Grandmothers old singer and the cabinet that went with it. I need a chair that easy to sew in but also looks great, a little funky and can double as a place for me to sit when we have guests. Due to my small apartment I will have to keep it in the living room. My couch is gray, dining room table is black and I use blue as an accent color. I also hate to sit on a hard chair so I need something with a cushion. What do you think?

My recommendation would be a refurbished antique dining chair – something that has character in the wood frame and legs, and a fun fabric.  It could be painted or left natural if the wood is in good condition and doesn’t conflict with your contemporary color scheme.  I assume you’re leaving the sewing cabinet as-is?  If it’s a lighter wood cabinet, the chair could be painted black.  If it’s a traditional dark wood, maybe a matte grey (or even your accent blue) would work better.  Then add some color and pattern in with the fabric.

If there is an arm it needs to be low so that you have plenty of room to move your elbows.  I love the shape of this Victorian chair from Chairloom 

created at: 06/24/2011

If you’re looking for a ready-made piece, the Abacus Chair from Redefine Home is a beautiful one.  With spindly legs and a glossy black finish it’s  a nice mix between traditional and contemporary.

Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions.  I hope my ideas give you some inspiration to get started, or finished, with your own home projects. Have a great week!

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Marthalynn on Jun 27, 2011:

Thanks so much for the design advice! I had no idea ceiling fans could be so stylish. Since our current fan is pretty nice, we're going to give that DIY a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

Beth N. on Jun 27, 2011:

Thank you so much for the help! I will be on the lookout for a good chair, I love the victorian one in you post!

dantimdad on Jun 27, 2011:

Thanks so much for the input!

Oddly enough, I went by the local restaurant supply and liked a lot of what they had in the white.  They call it bone. 

Should work out well.  

Now I just need to find some fabric I like and whip up some napkins and placemats!


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