Why Designs for Living?
Let's be real, our space (big or small) needs to allow us to LIVE in it!!! It's as simple as that. Designs can be so gorgeous and exquisite, BUT...can that beautiful sofa be sat on time and time again? What if my five year old walks up to that designer upholstery piece with chocolate or even worse... slime!? Can that piece withstand our everyday life? Everyone can and should enjoy the space they live in. Our spaces are refuges from the crazy world that can ensue outside. The day can be long and stressful. We all want to be able to enjoy our spaces even with all of the things LIFE throws at us. Real life, I walked into my son’s mancave this morning and he had his tortoise crawling around on the sectional. Why? He swears up and down that it will not potty on the sectional, but what if it does? I kindly asked him to never put the tortoise on upholstery. What offers me a lot of solace is knowing that IF something happened, the fabric I selected is high-performance, actually repels liquid and the cushion covers can be easily washed. That is why the idea of DESIGNS for LIVING hits home. This is my WHY and I am so excited to share more of my insights with you!
Let me share why DESIGNS FOR LIVING is such a driving force. This practicality comes from being a mother of 5 active children ages 5, 10, 12, 14 & 17! We are an energetic family with a busy lifestyle. I need the most durable, spill-resistant fabrics that can be wiped clean when life happens. Bonus if I can throw it in the washer when wiping is just not enough! Like so many moms it's hard to relax when there's not too much chaos/clutter/dirt in our space.
We recently moved into a larger home allowing us to host our large extended family that has many small children. Even triplets!!! The fabrics that I've selected are perfect for heavy usage, and I am very impressed (mostly awestruck) at the capabilities fabrics have today. We have endured many fabrics and breakables in our 17 years of parenting and wish these products existed long ago!
So the golden question is, "How do you decorate with young kids? What materials do you use? Kids are hard on stuff. They get things dirty and knock things over. How can I design my space to look beautiful NOW?"
MY GUIDE TO CHOOSING DURABLE MATERIALS FOR YOUR SPACE
-FABRICS. I've been taking my clients to Chartreuse Home Furnishings in Los Alamitos for over 10 years. I reached out to the owner, Allison Ward for her expert opinion when it comes to selecting the right fabrics for your home. Allison emphasizes, "There are a lot of factors that have to be considered. Is this a high traffic area, animals, or kids? We offer so many fabrics that are versatile. High performance fabrics and 100% polyester fabrics help maintain not only the look but the function of cleaning. I have two young boys at home who are never-ending busy, and the sofa gets wiped down all of the time. " Chartreuse is currently celebrating 19 YEARS of business!!! What an incredible accomplishment. Take 19% off anything on the floor and free local shipping on orders $1900 or more!!! Hurry, sale ends this Saturday, 9/19.
My sofas and cushions on dining chairs are 100% polyester, have zippers, and can be machine washed on delicate or dry cleaned (I prefer washing and air drying outside) I can spot clean with a damp rag. I love the fabric we selected on our family friendly sectional from Chartreuse!
ProTip: Vacuum upholstery every 2 weeks and turn cushions. I tell the kids up & down, "no eating on the sofa," yet it must be the second I go to bed they decide to spill a ton of crumbs between the cushions.
-PILLOWS. I need accent pillows with removable covers that can be thrown in the wash when needed... I love them! I can't get enough of Sunbelievable, an Indoor/Outdoor line by Pindler. These practical performance fabrics are not only soil & stain resistant but mildew & fade resistant too! "All Unbelievable fabrics are solution-dyed to resist fading, and are designed to be amazingly durable, stain-resistant, and cleanable-even with bleach." YES PLEASE!!! Amy Rex Designs has the best seamstress to create custom pillows with your favorite fabrics. Just email us for pricing.
-PAINT. Depending on your budget, I love Benjamin Moore in Regal Select Collection. Eggshell is my preference and is a paint and primer in one. Retail $64/gal, if you have a ton of little hands on walls and little Picasso's thinking your walls are their canvas, I would definitely suggest Pearl finish at $64/gal.The next best and slightly more affordable is Benjamin Moore and their Ben Collection at $44/gal.
ProTip: Keep your current paints labeled and handy for touch-ups! I've helped many clients choose the right paint colors for them. A simple home call appointment ($175) will ensure you have the perfect color for your space! Book now, to get your painting project completed by the holidays.
-DIRT. It's inevitable, right? Especially since we are spending more time than ever at home-my space is feeling tired! I have a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers upstairs and one downstairs. Costco currently has these on SALE! It's a life-saver and I needed it in my life many many years ago! I also have a monthly subscription for Grove Collaborative. I get my green cleaning products shipped directly to me. It's amazing! A few of my must-haves: METHOD all-purpose cleaner that's antibacterial in Bamboo, Bon Ami Powder De-greaser for kitchen & bathroom, Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap in Rose, and Mrs. Meyer's non-aerosol Room Freshener in Iowa Pine scent (this is mostly used in the boy's bedrooms & bathroom, yikes!) If you're interested in signing up for Grove Collaborative, click on the link here.
-ACCENT decor with little ones is tricky, right? They obviously need to be kept safe. I would suggest books on the lower portion of bookcases, and anything breakable far out of reach. I've seen it ALL and children are like trapeze artists. I have packed items that I don't want to lose until we are out of the DANGER ZONE. As my kids have grown, I have been able to display more. My favorite designers, such as Becki Owens, now has a great product at Homegoods (find a store near you) and Studio McGee has now partnered with Target to offer affordable pieces with incredible style, that doesn’t break the bank. SO SO FRESH, you've got to check them out. My go-to for duvet inserts, pillows, drapery, picture frames, and dish from Ikea for years and it works perfectly with our lifestyle!
Thanks for reading my VERY first blog! I really appreciate you leaning on me for any advice, really! I can't wait to share more with you each week. Comment below what you think and the topics you would love to read about. I'm planning to publish on Mondays! Stay tuned... tell everyone you know and like about Amy Rex Designs and join me in conquering DESIGNS FOR LIVING! I can't do this on my own.
Lots of love,