5 Questions: The Faux Martha

This vintage Rejuvenation light with industrial green shade set the color vibe for the living spaces.

Melissa Coleman, aka The Faux Martha, aka one of our favorite bloggers, takes a thoughtful approach to everything she does, from recipes to home design.

Q1: You’ve said you want your house to be the one you stay in forever, or at least for a good long while. How does that influence the foundation you build today with lights, hardware, furniture, etc. and the pieces you layer in? In other words, in your opinion, what makes a house a home for the long haul?

A: My dad always said don’t by a cheap thing because you’ll end up buying five and paying more in the end. Invest in the good one first. When we can we like to buy solid well-built pieces.

We give things a hierarchy. We have a minimal house so we decided to invest in the statement pieces which for us meant lighting — buy on craigslist — we have a two year old who destroys things and she can’t get to our lights, so that seemed like a good place to invest.

Q2: You toured Rejuvenation recently. What was your favorite part of your Rejuvenation tour and why?

A: What stood out in my mind is that people are putting together pieces — very hands on and personal. Why I love you guys — we wanted our house to feel custom and we needed that to be a possibility — all the options you have make that possible and to see that come to life in the factory from hands touching the pieces blew my mind. In a small place too.

And the Antiques and Vintage department and restoration workshop — oh my gosh! I loved it.
All those pieces have a story. There’s so much thought put into each piece. People don’t know.

Q3: You made a restored antique light a focal point in your kitchen remodel. What guidance would you give someone who wants to mix antique or vintage pieces into their home?

A: I like modern lines but modern can feel cold and sterile so I like to have the universal thought of how do I have modern lines but bring in warmth.

Antiques can go wrong if you use something completely out of step with the rest of your home. Repetition is what I look for in my graphic design work and that's spilled over into my home, too.
Whether it’s shape, color, pattern or something else — the key is that it's repeated throughout.

I pulled the green from the light fixture in the kitchen into the office that sits adjacent to it. I’ll offset it with the rounded Butte in the dining room but it’s larger so it feels like a different statement piece but it's cohesive.

Cedar & Moss in the fauxrest green study, which echoes the kitchen light color.

Brass, brass, green. Repeat.

Q4: What do you find helpful about using mood boards in your remodel process, and how would you recommend someone else go about using them?

A: We started with a pinterest board to gather our thoughts. It felt pretty cohesive to me, but my husband kept saying we needed to put it all in a mood board. He was persistent, and I'm glad he was. It helped me realize some things didn’t look as good as I'd imagined them. Taking the pieces out of their original context and putting them into mine, I could really see the interplay of colors, lines, and textures. I did it old school, in illustrator, but there's also Polyvore. I would also recommend actually cutting and pasting on real paper. However you do it, Rejuvenation's configuration tool is handy to work with. I just chose the light I wanted, changed the finish and shade, and copied it into my mood board.

Dining Room Faux Mood Board

Q5: You do such a great job creating what you’ve called warm and livable minimalism. What are your tips for pulling off that particular combination?

A: My main piece of advice is to layer slowly. Here's why: With minimalism everything counts. You’re going to look at that light fixture a lot because there’s not much to distract. I have to really get to know a room to know how I use it. The function of the room gives it its form. Spend lots of time in any given room and you'll start to figure out exactly what it needs.

Ta da! From mood board to real life.

Also, pay a lot of attention to color and texture. Our house is pretty black and white so we have lots of pops of color. Something a little whimsical and playful does a lot to warm up minimalism, and so does softening with a blanket or throw.

Pop!

Last but not least — let kids' toys be part of the mix. If you have little ones, I think it's good to show that they're here and that they use the space, too.

It's amazing how much redecorating a tiny designer can squeeze in before nap time.

And she's off!