Practical, durable, kid-friendly and....beautiful? Is this possible? We think so, and Julie Couch of Julie Couch Interiors does too. Today, Julie shares her top ideas for creating fabulous design in a home, while making them conducive to busy, messy, stain-filled family reality! BACKGROUND: Julie is a Tennessee native, currently at home in Nashville. Her love of design and painting began in childhood and has continued to grow. Julie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History. She then studied Interior Design in Atlanta, Georgia at The Art Institute as well as in Franklin, Tennessee at O’More College of Design and Nashville’s Watkins College. Julie is passionate about creating livable, beautiful spaces that convey the homeowners’ personalities and tastes. She has completed projects across the Southeast including those in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee as well vacation homes in Naples and Blue Mountain Beach Florida. Other completed projects include those in New York, Dallas, and San Francisco.
Durable DesignAs a new mom, my heart is bigger and more full than I could have ever imagined! Of course, our house is really full too. With an activity mat, a swing, a basket of diapers, and burp cloths scattered here and there, there’s a lot to look at! And most importantly, with a sweet, fat baby I now truly understand all the requests I’ve had over the past eight years from clients to make their homes “kid friendly!” Luckily, I’ve always tried to be realistic about how people really live. Very few of us have fresh flowers and spotless spaces every single day. But a beautiful, inviting home that also functions for “real life” is achievable! So whether you have one child or five, a puppy, or just a messy spouse, these ideas may make your life a little easier and your home a little more beautiful. Here are half a dozen ways to give you some peace of mind while making things pretty! Upholstery can be a scary word to moms that are imaging pristine white silk sofas, but never fear, Sunbrella is here! Seriously, it’s evolved from very outdoor, black floral motifs to some pretty fabulous velvets. Yes, you read that right. Velvet! Not to mention all the other very stylish patterns and textures now available through numerous manufacturers. At our shop, we have lots of Joe Ruggerioand Perrenials outdoor fabrics that are great looking and look fabulous indoors. Another option is slipcovers. We’ve found tailored, well fitted options made of machine washable fabrics that function well and are easy to maintain especially if you’re drawn to lighter palettes. And finally, “luxury composites,” a.k.a. vinyl has also made huge leaps in look and varieties available. It’s a fun way to add that sexy accent piece in an ivory “snake skin” that is virtually indestructible. And yes, I’m shameless and using this opportunity to show off my little guy comfy on our white Sunbrella sofa! Floor coverings need to serve several purposes. They should soften the room, add pattern or texture, be affordable and not to precious, and be comfy under foot. Some good options include natural wovens like sea grass or jute, indoor/ outdoor rugs, and custom cut carpet in interesting colors and patterns. The latter provides great stain resistance and easy cleanability. Some cut carpets even offer StainGuard protection built-in at the factory. Although I’m hesitant to type indoor/ outdoor as an option, there are some good finds that can actually be taken outside and cleaned with a garden hose! But enter with caution if you choose this route, there are many more not so good-lookin’ examples of indoor/ outdoor designs. We sell Dash and Albert outdoor rugs that have subtle colors and patterns and look great inside! Of course, natural wovens are always my go-to for homes with children or without. They add texture, texture, texture! The look is clean and simple, and animal crackers vacuum right up. However, they are not as great with spills, especially if that spill is spaghetti o’s or another bright red saucy food. To avoid permanent damage, you can find blends that have wool woven in with the natural fibers which makes them easier to clean. Storage is essential for every home. You can never have enough baskets, boxes, or bowls to store all the big and small things lying around. Whether you’re just corralling your keys and sunglasses, the three remote controls on the coffee table, or Thomas the Train, storage is one of the most underrated and easy ways to make your house neater and more orgainzed. Skip the plastic bins and invest in some beautiful woven baskets or simple wood or metal boxes to keep those odds and ends under wraps. Bedding has to be tough enough to withstand dirty little feet jumping on it as well as fight off stains from the occasional pop tart. And it’s true that I absolutely adore the look of white bedding. And contrary to what you may think, white is the easiest to take care of. You can have your cake (in bed) and eat it too! As long as it’s washable, you’re safe. However, tough stains may require a little hydrogen peroxide. Go for a white mattelasse or white duvet cover. You just can’t go wrong with soft, elegant, classic white. And you can choose a more grown up silk in your favorite color for some beautiful bolsters you’ll have a bit of luxe with just a little to clean. Paint--There is a difference. Porter Paints offers environmentally gentle Pure Performance, with low VOCs. It's washable! Sherwin Williams has two comparable products called ProMar 200 and Harmony that also enable you to wash away miniature finger prints. The company states, it’s "an ideal choice for rooms such as nurseries." Benjamin Moore offers Natura which they claim is virtually odorless with zero VOC's. It’s 100% Acrylic which provides a durable, washable film. The color shown here is Sherwin Williams Silver Strand. Display boards are a great way to showcase kids’ art, keep schedules handy, and pin-up party invitations. We also love oversized chalk boards to jot down the grocery list or leave a note for your family about dinner time. Another tried and true option is cork boards. They can be dressed up with custom framing to look a little more grown up and are a great way to display your kids newest works and awards without feeling like you’re being overrun by markers and blue ribbons. And finally, memo boards can be made any size to hang above a mom’s desk or in a mudroom. Photos, cards, and keepsakes are easy to see, and the fabric background and ribbon that holds things in place adds a fun color or pattern to the room! Hopefully, these boards can make the daily to-do lists a little more appealing and a lot more fun to look at! So take a look around your home and see how you could incorporate some of these practical and pretty ideas!
Thank you, Julie! We can definitely relate to needing durable design ideas in our homes! For more information on Julie, see below!
Julie Couch Interiors
Nashville Interior Design Blog