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Do and Don't

You are here > Do and Don't

Do's and Don'ts are about things I see, or readerís see, which we think are really great, or really awful. (kind of like Glamour magazines fashion doís and doníts.) I welcome you submissions, and will mention your name along with your entries. (Please send your comments by e-mail to mail@CatherineMcGivern.com.) Remember, these are strictly opinions. They are not meant to offend anyone, or dictate right from wrong. They can humorous, or serious. I will list entries from newest to oldest.
From Debbie S. (09/14/2002)
DO:
I am a painter and decorator in England with two young children. My daughter who is now 7, has a lilac bedroom , with silver moons and stars around the top of the walls and round plugs etc and two large notice boards for her posters. She loves it. My son has a light blue room as his is the small room with silver stars and spaceships at the top of the walls painted onto a srip around the top of the wall of dark blue. I Have also painted the doors. My daughter has a rainbow and my son a space man scene. All the kids friends are impressed and I thought it might be helpful for other people as these kinds of themes are ageless.
From Dixie: (08/18/02)
DON'T:  I feel all alone in this since every time I bring it up, no one concurs but how about people who spend 2, 3 ,4 hundred thousand or more on designing and building their new home and half of the front of it (or more sometimes) is a huge garage door. Baffles me... also, all the money being spent on the home they will have some little dinky front door that has no significance. I don't get that !!! This is the first thing that hits everyone who visits !!! 

Another pet peeve I have is toilet paper !! Let's figure out why we spend time and money to make a beautiful bathroom and then right in the middle of it all put a roll of toilet paper ?????????????????????? In many homes you have to repaper the whole room because to take off the holders ruins the wallpaper ... worth the effort to me to repaper and put that ugly white roll of hygiene product in a basket somewhere or a pretty porcelain container with a top ! Is anyone out there with me?
From Suzi Frye:
DON'T: My husband and I wanted to re-do the bedroom . We found what we thought was a really neat paint...not at all what we got. It was suppose to have almost a ruff finish because it had sand in it. Once applied some area's were dark and other areas were extremely light. It looked like we missed some area's but we used two coats on brand new white walls. Don't ever buy this! P.S. We wallpapered the next day!
From Kate McCabe:
DO: Decorate your home in the style you like. It's
     Copy anything you like, you can always alter it differently if you want to be different. Where do you think fashion designers get their idea's from? The 60's,70's,40's etc.
     Think minimalist to start with, you can always get more as you go along, i.e. stamping a border. First paint in the background color, then fill in the corners first. In the middle of each wall put in another stamp. If you want more keep on doing this, just remember to do exactly the same to each wall. Stop when you have the effect you like. NB. Also keep in mind if your stamp is running in the same direction or not. If it's not always put in 2,always back to back or face to face.
DON'T: Believe someone if they tell you can't do something. Test it out first or if it is to do with structural work get more than one opinion from professionals was told by a professional I must lay skirting on a new floor. When I asked what purpose it was for he told me it was for decorative purposes, it's not like the house will fall apart without it!
DO: Display a container of decorative hand soaps in your bathroom for guests to use.
DONíT: Collect soap samples from hotels and use them for this purpose.

DONíT: Design a kitchen with a suspended shelf over an island that is so low it obstructs vision from one side to the other. Secondly, if the shelf has no lip, to prevent items from sliding off and falling, donít place water glasses on it. (Believe it or not, I saw a photo of a kitchen, like this, in a design publication. Needless to say, this was not a safe installation.)
DO: Raise items, above a kitchen island, to a level at which they will not interfere with vision, yet are still accessible, i.e.: a pot rack. Do securely fastened hanging items, so that they will not fall and hurt someone.

DONíT use suspended, horizontal glass surfaces, unless you have a full time cleaning person. (Speaking from personal experience, i.e.: a glass top dining table, and a pendant fixture.) In my opinion, this application of glass is impossible to keep clean and attractive. (Our dining room table is always covered with a tablecloth.)
DO use a thin sheet of glass to protect a quality surface, such as the top of an antique, wooden, credenza or console table. This is especially applicable if you have children. (Again, speaking from experience.)

Here are comments from Fru Teston, one of my loyal readers. Fru is someone I think has a great sense of humor and style. She writes, "The things I dislike are mostly in the category of bad taste (that is, different from mine), rather than bad decorating."
I dislike:
- Immaculately ironed, cross-stitched, lace-trimmed, hankies. These are intimidating and I'd rather dry my hands on my skirt rather than destroy their perfection.
- Calendars hanging on a finishing nail. (Thumbtack is OK. Just kidding.)
- Plastic plants - Painted wooden plaques, hanging way up high on the wall, so you have to strain to read them.
- Elaborate lacy dolls whose skirts hide rolls of toilet paper.
- Cans of room deodorant prominently displayed in bathrooms.
- Anything remotely suggestive or vulgar, i.e.: ashtrays in the form of toilets, anything-denigrating women or reflecting racial stereotypes.- Firearms that are not hidden.
- Ketchup, mustard, etc., bottles on the table, at a formal dinner! Pepper grinders only, please, and place salt in a little dish with a spoon. Or a salt grinder if you can find one.
- Hospital green walls in a home. They make people look sick, or gray.
- When you are a guest in someone's home, and you are given a bedroom without a bedside light. Never mind a missing table; one can always use the floor. But no light? I've been driven to trying to see the pages while holding the book against a light in a ceiling fixture. This is guaranteed to make you hate your host.
- Pottery heads, with green stuff growing out of the scalp.

Decorating I like:
- A landlady, in California, an artist, had a beautiful room...all golden ochre, with brilliant turquoise glassware on shelves against glass brick walls.
- My best friend's living room, her oil paintings were everywhere, with worn sofas, a pile of firewood by the hearth, old used Oriental rugs, big sculpture around in cornersÖ
- A friend's living room with about fifty African violets ranged along the windowsill of the huge window.
- My own condo in Texas, all white/cream/tan/rose/pearl gray, no new furniture, some wicker, white tile floor, white/beige sponge painted walls, lots of mirrors, huge; big wall hangings (my own, bits of mirror and glass, lace, buttons, satin, etc.), big carved Mexican bedstead, white; Flokati rugs by the bed (Flotaki?). Mexican pottery, two huge sofas, one faded Oriental print, one cotton brocade and so on.
- The reception rooms of a monastery. The walls were linen fold carved, the furniture all overstuffed, faded, chintz; the floors were polished, the rugs were the real thing, the views from the mullioned windows were spectacular, all emerald green and the brilliant colors that English flowers so often seem to have. Curtains of heavy brocade, rather worn, hanging from big wood rings.

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