Designer Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau says her daughter regularly asks, “What is your favorite color this week?’” A zest for color is just what you see in her new book, Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a Colorful Life. The pages bloom with colorful vintage fabrics, a mix of old and new accessories, and her fearless approach to style. “Just relax—paint a single wall in a crazy color,” writes Charlotte. In any space, she encourages relaxed décor that mixes pieces from a variety of styles—a collection of kitschy souvenirs, a flea market painting and a well-used chest of drawers from grandma.
“I love the mix of old furniture and family heirlooms with modern funky and humorous items,” says Charlotte.
Get Playful for Colorful Vintage Style
Charlotte delivers her color-outside-the-lines style with a passion that’s catching: “Colored walls are one of my darlings,” she says. She similarly enthuses that wallpaper is so magical it “truly feels like waving a magic wand” when you put it up. Even her DIY ideas are playful. Dress up an old stool with a vintage handkerchief cover and ribbon edging. Refresh a tired sofa by neatly packing quilts around the seats and back. Group favorite items in displays that tell a story. Take the formal out of a museum display case by placing quirky oddments and travel finds on the shelves.
Welcome People with Livable Décor
No “perfect” matchy rooms for Charlotte. Create rooms, she says, where your family can “live, love and laugh.” Take stock every few years to make sure your home fits your life at the moment. When her kids were young, she opened up floor space so little people could peddle around on tricycles. Consider how your décor makes people feel when they enter your home. Welcome them with a bright yellow door. Make it easy to hang out on inviting sofas, reach a blanket and set a teacup on a nearby table. Share your personality by displaying books and personal collections in storage units ranging from modern graphic shelves to battered quirky cupboards. Simply put—set the scene for fun.
Get ready to try 4 of Charlotte’s fun ideas to fill your home with colorful vintage style:
1. Try washi tape: Charlotte admits to being obsessed with these colorful rolls of masking tape from Japan. You can wrap presents, label bins, embellish a lampshade—anything.
2. Organize your bathroom using unconventional storage: Who knew those three-tiered wire baskets that usually hold bananas are great for hair supplies, too?
3. Pursue the unexpected: Ask yourself if your personality truly shines in your home or if you’re stuck with what’s expected. For instance, a huge wooden soldier at a front door would give visitors a big clue to the homeowner’s playful spirit.
4. Boost the fun factor: Add a basketball hoop or a hanging chair to a room. Mark out games on the floor with colored masking tape. Keep your hobby supplies nearby so you can create when inspiration hits. Paint salvaged dining chairs mismatched colors.
by Susan Thomas Springer