Artist and designer Susan Hable recently joined Post staff writer Jura Koncius on our Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.
Do you recommend using pattern only on decorative pieces, or can it be used on bigger pieces of furniture, too? I’m scared of overdoing it.
I look at this depending on the pattern, room and person who will be living there. I love it when someone takes a risk and puts a great pattern on a sofa. It makes a statement and can be an amazing grounding piece. If you are more of a minimalist, then side chairs are a great option for a pattern. If your chairs don’t match, then upholstering one is fine, too! Another fun way to bring pattern into a room is to have a lampshade covered in a wild fabric. My suggestion would be to get all of your components together, ask a few friends, or be patient and think on it a little longer. Make sure those friends are like-minded, though!
I am planning to decorate my living room. The walls are still builder white, and I have an Oriental rug and chair I’d like to replace. Where should I start: the chair and its fabric, the rug, or the curtain fabric?
I would suggest rug and curtain fabric first, as those are the core of the living room and you could easily live with those items for a while. I did just this in some rooms when I first moved in and filled in as I could. I would also choose a paint color at this point and work that into the overall color palette.
My husband and I want to expose brick in our turn-of-the-century rowhouse. Who can best help us with this kind of thing - a contractor, a handyman or someone who specializes in masonry? Also, is there anything we should know about the process or aesthetic?
This is a messy endeavor, but it can be done by a contractor or brick mason. I have seen it done, and it’s basically pressure-washed off. Make sure that you do this before moving in, as it will kick up debris and dust throughout the house, and that the bricks are in good condition.
I notice you make duvet covers. How often should those be changed and washed?
I think it depends on how close the duvet cover is to your skin. If it’s purely decorative, I think once a month is fine, but if you use it like a sheet, then once every two weeks is probably good. Printed bedding takes a beating in the dryer, so air dry to save it from aging faster.
I’d like to do part tile, part wallpaper in my powder room, which I’ll be gutting. Do you have any favorite sources? I’m looking for something that works in a period home but still feels fresh.
There is a great website called Walnut Wallpaper that has many kinds of papers.
I have a cute, vintage-style black iron bed in my guest room, and I’m looking to add some upholstery in the room, either in the form of a padded bench at the foot of the bed or a small accent chair. Any suggested styles or sources?
I like both of these ideas for your room. A bench and chair make a bedroom seem so much more inviting! I would look at design centers, as shopping online will bring up many options. If you don’t like the hunt, then I would suggest hiring a designer to do it for you.
I am shopping for art to hang over my king-size bed. How big should it be?
You can use the overall dimensions of the headboard to determine an outside dimension for your art. Because it is a king, I would suggest one piece hung horizontally or two pieces that are partner paintings. Look on Pinterest to get ideas of scale.