Patrick Sutton is a Baltimore-based interior designer whose work excels in telling stories. His first book, "Storied Interiors", was released in October 2018. He joined staff writer Jura Koncius for a Washington Post Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.
I'd like to redecorate my living room by replacing my earth-toned furniture to make it lighter and brighter, but I can't afford to replace it all at once. If I do it a bit at a time, it will look totally unmatched. Any advice?
Try to replace the furnishing in groups so at least sections of the room are cohesive. Life is a process, and changes are just part of it, so, by all means, go bit by bit, have a consistent vision of what it will look like complete, and stick to it.
How do you cut down on your furniture collection from your large family home to a smaller setting? Do you just start from scratch as some folks do and go all modern/ more current?
Find the pieces you love or have significant meaning to you, keep those and get rid of the rest. Things you love and make you happy should travel with you. Then build around that with something fresh and new.
I recently came across an article on painting ceilings pink, an idea that I immediately pounced on, because I'm trying to redo a small bedroom into a sweet feminine guest bedroom for my young granddaughter. But I'm really stuck when it comes to wall and trim colours. Are warm whites the way to go here? Can you please recommend colours, including a nice pink, preferably by Sherwin-Williams (but I can go with Benjamin Moore, too)?
I love white walls because they are happy and bright and a great canvas for all the other colours to show off against. My go-to white is Benjamin Moore White Dove because it has just a hint of grey to keep it from being too cold. It also won't look yellow or beige in waning light. For the ceiling, however, I would lean toward something soft rather than a hot pink as it could get a bit tiresome.
I own a lot of art and furniture I like, mostly collected from living in different places around the world. How do I combine them into a cohesive look?
Art and artistic furnishings are like the melody in music. But to keep the whole thing pulled together, you need a consistent beat that repeats. Try to weave your rooms together by using common fabrics, textures and colours that repeat. In my home, I have a bunch of neutrals that tie together things I have culled from around the world. Also, try to curate how you place your unique pieces so they aren't all grouped in one place. Give them some breathing space and surround them with a consistent supporting cast of background pieces that are consistent in colour and style.
Please help settle a debate between myself and my husband. We are ripping up our old ugly vinyl flooring in the kitchen and installing hardwood. We're also replacing our dishwasher, which just broke. Do you put hardwood under the dishwasher? The company we're using for the install wants the dishwasher in first and said the hardwood will go up to it but not under. I sort of feel like the hardwood needs to be under it to protect the subfloor if there are leaks. I know our subfloor is shot, so I'm expecting under the dishwasher to be bad.
We generally run the flooring of the kitchen under the appliances to make it easier to access them for service (easier to slide in or out), but that can be done by running plywood flush under them as well. I would run the hardwood under the dishwasher.
Hardwood floors in the kitchen look great, but if you cook or have dogs and children, is it really practical? A good friend who has hardwood in her kitchen has dents from dropped pots, scrapes, etc. I prefer real linoleum or a commercial-grade kitchen floor.
The biggest challenge with hardwood floors in a kitchen is dog claws scratching them and water dripping. People like them because it is easier on their feet than tile or stone. I personally don't think they are impractical if you are OK with having to buff and coat them every three to five years.