Interior designers bring homes to life by returning to Northwest roots, color palette
by: NICOLE DECOSTA The formal library on the main floor of the “Chateaux Marseille” features a fireplace, built-ins and a box beam ceiling.

Treat this year's Street of Dreams as a shopping spree instead of a museum admission. Take something home. It may not be a new mortgage, but this year's designers said inspiration could come when you least expect it - a color combination; pops of metallic, bird designs; light fixtures or a vow to shop local. Anyone can make their home a show home, but don't complicate things.

'I see a return to clean, refined and more pragmatic lines and details,' said Candace White with The White House Collection who designed the 'con Amore' by Brentwood Estates. 'Less is in fact more if done well.'

Decor needn't be fussy. Choose items with purpose and reveal architectural elements.

'They need to feel (like) they can entertain the grandest of guest or relax with their family,' she said. 'I want them to envision their own belongings in this home - or enjoy the fact that I have selected everything for them, right down to the towels.'

And while the architectural styles may differ between the five homes on tour, the designers agree that an understated look will make quite the statement at this year's show - like letting splashes of color speak for themselves.

'Keep things lighter, easier to care for - thinking of function and technology coordinating with design,' said designer Tammy Lefever with Interior Motives Accents and Design who worked on Pahlisch Homes' 'Paula Deen's NW Retreat.'

Color can coordinate an entire home.

'My one tip for good design in any room is color movement,' said Melanie Sessions with Melanie Sessions Interiors who designed Steel Creek Homes' 'Cascade Splendor' with fellow designer Ruth Chancellor. 'That's where color is carried throughout the room in art, accessories and furnishings. Your eye follows the color.'

Paint and tile treatments are easily replicable and the new fresh color palette can unify a space, Sessions said. Take a return to nature.

'We (chose) colors that are fresh, calming, healing and tranquil,' said Lefever. 'This translates into shades of blue, aqua, green, 'taupey grays' and Earth - layering textures and metallics.'

And what's more of a return to nature than birds - on everything from drapes, to cups and bedspreads? Sandy Van Dorn, designer with Sandy Van Dorn Design and the exclusive designer with Arbor Custom Homes' French-inspired estate 'Chateau Marseille,' said birds are big this summer.

'Right now they're a big deal,' she said. 'And everybody loves birds. Anyone can do simple changes in a house that aren't too expensive - like changing a light fixture. You don't have to do the whole house at once, just do (a little) here and there.'

Sessions said that she and Chancellor - who was also the designer on the Dreambuilder Custom Homes house 'Koderra' - found 'harmony and unity' through local art and furniture vendors.

'Sourcing locally can be rewarding in so many way,' said Chancellor with Chancellor Design. 'It feels good to know your furniture was made by craftsman right here in Portland ... Along with that, purchasing artwork from a local artist can be a very personal and fulfilling experience.'

These homes are all Earth Advantage Certified. At this year's Street of Dreams, be surprised by the least expected design element - like glamorous, energy-efficient light fixtures - and comforted through cohesive flow. What will you replicate at your home to inspire new directions, with a focus on family and entertaining?

'We can all vacation at home,' Lefever said, 'if we love the spaces we live in.'

Van Dorn suggested, 'editing your stuff.'

'People need to edit their possessions so their room doesn't get filled with stuff. They need to pass on what they've had for a long time that they're tired of. Pass it on to someone who can love it,' Van Dorn said. 'You don't have to keep it just because someone gave it to you 10 years ago. If it doesn't fit into your updated style, let it go.'

The Street of Dreams runs through Aug. 18 at the intersection of 155th Terrace and Bull Mountain Road, near the top of Bull Mountain at Brentwood Estates in Tigard.

For more information, visit www.streetofdream

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