Summer Might Have Just Ended…  But Holiday Decorating Is NOW!

Summer Might Have Just Ended…
But Holiday Decorating Is NOW!

While we’re trying to hang on to the last few days of warm weather, planning the Thanksgiving menu isn’t something we might be ready to do. In reality, autumn is officially here and it’s time to start thinking about decorating for the holidays. The clock is ticking for ordering the new sofa, dining table, and all the window treatments. Why the rush? Because even though we make it a priority to stock a large inventory to make everyone happy this time of year, if you require a special fabric or a custom finish, we recommend you start planning today because we want to make sure your Thanksgiving table is finished in time for your feast.

Don’t take a chance on waiting to buy in-stock pieces either. Everything we have in our showroom and warehouse is first-come first-serve, and you don’t want to miss out on getting that table you saw just last week.

So come on in and get your holiday custom and special orders in now! We’ll help you create the perfect setting for your family and friends this holiday season.

Country Willow Furniture1

Country Willow Furniture2

Entertainment Centers and TV Consoles: 8 Things You Should Know Before You Buy.

Entertainment Centers and TV Consoles:
8 Things You Should Know Before You Buy.

Entertainment Centers, TV Consoles, or Media Centers… they go by many names. Whatever you call it, chances are you have at least one or more in your home, or wish you did. So where do you start? You might be thinking it will depend on the size of your TV, but that is not necessarily so! So, let us help you.

1. What room do you need your entertainment center to go, and where in the room will it be placed?

  • Consider stairs and doorways- this will dictate the size of your entertainment center, so make sure it will fit without having to take out a wall or door frame.
  • Placement- will the unit be centered on a wall? Perhaps there’s an empty corner that would be perfect for a corner unit?
  • Power and wire management- be sure there are available outlets or power strips nearby.

2. Is your seating adequate for watching TV in your new entertainment center?

  • The distance from seating to the TV is an important part of optimizing your viewing experience. In the end it will depend on the size of your room, which will drive TV size.
  • Consider the type of seating you have- is it a large sectional sofa and chair, or are you watching TV from bed?
  • How much seating is really enough? Is it just for the kids, the entire family, or for big game day parties?

3. What size is your TV and will it fit?
Now that you know which room your entertainment center will be in, which wall it will be placed on, and how far you are sitting from the TV, this is the fun part: put some blue painter’s tape up on the wall to represent your TV, and see what size really works. Note that items below can impact this final decision.

Entertainment Center_7

Entertainment Center_6

4. What components do you have or plan to have in your media center? 
You are going to want your entertainment center to hold all your A/V equipment, so make a list of everything with measurements. Cable box, DVD player, Blue-ray player, Apple TV, video game equipment, receiver, left/right speakers, and center channel speaker or soundbar. It would also be a perfect home for your music system, as well as DVDs and CDs. This information will be extremely helpful to your salesperson or designer, so bring your list with you when you go shopping.

5. What is the best design for your entertainment center?
Now that you know your TV size and have compiled your component list, you can decide on a design for your entertainment center. Some choices include a TV Console (base only), Entertainment Center with a Hutch top, or a Multifunction Wall Unit. Each of these designs come in many sizes and have many features. Measure all walls in your room, get the ceiling height, and make notes of all outlets, doors, and windows. Think about the architecture of the room and look online or in magazines for design inspiration. Our website is a great place to start. Do you have a large wall that calls for a large beautiful entertainment center or do you need a stunning smaller unit? Would you like the TV hidden away behind doors when not in use? Would a combination wall unit and desk system be handy for you? Hmmmm…

Media Center_vs2

Entertainment Center_9

Entertainment Center_2

 

6. Now, what is your style, and what is the style of your home?
Country, contemporary, classic, eclectic, traditional, etc. Your entertainment center can be whatever you want it to be, so think about your design inspiration and what styles you like so you’ll be prepared when you go shopping.

Media Console_1

Entertainment Center_8

Media Center_3

Entertainment Center_1

Media Center_1

Entertainment Center_5

7. What about Construction and Quality?
You’ll want this piece of furniture to support, protect, and show off your expensive equipment, and you’ll also want it to last for a long time- so make sure you are getting the quality you want. This unit should be solid and well made, with features like adjustable shelves and drawers with full-extension glides to prevent sinking or wobbling. This is an active piece of furniture, so make sure it is durable enough for your family.

Entertainment Center_4

Wall Unit Media Center_2

8. How do I find someone to help me with this?
Taking all these things into consideration, you’re ready to shop for your new entertainment center. I know it feels a bit complicated, but Country Willow Home does this all day long. Our staff is excellent and is ready to help you. We have no commissioned sales people and offer complimentary design services. Just pick your style, pick your finish, give us your info and we’ll do the rest. We have a very large selection to choose from in our showroom, and we can also easily design a custom entertainment center for you. And remember that “custom” doesn’t mean it comes with a large price tag!

Farm Table Styles: 6 Great Designs You Should Consider For Your Home.

Farm Table Styles: 6 Great Designs You Should Consider For Your Home.

Farm Tables come in many sizes and shapes. Below are 6 great designs that will help you when considering your options. (There are many more designs, but this is a good place to start.)

1. Double Turned Trestle Farm Table
Our Double Turned Trestle Farm Table is a natural beauty. Substantial in appearance with double turnings, large contoured feet, and a perfectly proportioned stretcher, this table makes every dining experience amazing. It is also available as a single turning. It comes in many sizes and finishes, both reclaimed and new woods, and each one can be custom made to order in as little as 4 weeks to perfectly fit your dining space.

2. Painted Farm Table
An oldie but a goodie, the Painted Farm Table is a classic. It can be made to any size from 4 to 14 feet plus extensions, and is available in 10 leg styles (shown here with turned legs). The contrast between the natural wood top and painted legs makes this beautiful design casual enough to blend in with your decor. Perhaps a French Country cabriolet leg or Shaker style table design suits your home better. No problem! With bench-made details like a beaded apron and bead board ends, it is perfect for any dining space. Also shown here as a coffee table.

3. Garden Pedestal Round Farm Table
Our Garden Pedestal Round Farm Table is a great table for the kitchen. It is available in many sizes from 42” to 96” in diameter, and many finishes. This is a very on-trend style that uses classic elements. It is made from 200-year-old New England Barn Wood, and Made in the USA like all of our tables.

4. 4-Leg Pedestal Farm Table
The 4-Leg Pedestal Farm Table is an original round table design we created in 2001 and is a real statement piece. It is made from 200-year-old New England Barn Wood and is a stunning choice for any dining space. It is available from 42”- great for 4 people and perhaps painted white for the kitchen- and up to 120” in diameter, which can sit 15 people! All of our tables can be made from many species of new wood as well.

5. Thicktop Farm Table
Our Thicktop Farm Tables have a solid feel and presence. Beautifully traditional and available in 10 leg styles and 50 finishes. This table can be custom finished and painted to match your cabinetry and coordinating pieces, as can all of our tables.

6. Tuscan Farm Table
Our Tuscan Dining Table is a striking, timeless design. It can be dressed up or dressed down by various levels of distress, giving you options such as a formal European appearance or a Farmhouse feel. Made from the ground up in every detail, the Tuscan Farm Table is heirloom quality and timeless beauty.

All of our Farm Tables are available in many wood styles including oak, cherry, pine, hemlock, and many others. Our most popular choice is antique reclaimed New England Barn Wood, and we also build from new wood. Our showroom displays all of these tables along with many other designs, so you can shop with confidence- come in and see them in person. Proudly custom building since 1996, Country Willow is your complete home design center with over 30,000 square feet of great design and style for every room in your home, including the kid’s.

Our Favorites: Mouth Watering Holiday Desserts.

Our Favorites: Mouth Watering Holiday Desserts.

Preparing special dishes during the holidays are a tradition for many of us. The smells filling our homes are warming and nostalgic, and add to the memories we make every year. Whether it’s grandma’s oatmeal cookies or the banana bread you found on the internet last year, everyone enjoys a homemade dessert. We asked the staff here at Country Willow to submit some of their favorites to share with you. We hope you enjoy them!

Nanni Rose’s (Age 93) Heirloom Cheesecake. OMG!
Jessica’s 9-year-old daughter Madison has carried on the family tradition of making cheesecake during the holidays.  The recipe is her Great Grandmother’s (who continues to bake at 93 years old!).  Serves 8-10.

16 oz (2 bars) cream cheese
1-1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
24 oz sour cream

For crust:
1-1/3 cup Honeymaid Graham Cracker crumbs
1 stick melted butter
(wrap in foil once pressed into pan firmly)

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer and pour into crust. Bake for 1 hour on 350° and on 375° for the last 3 minutes to brown. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake for 1 more hour with oven door open. Remove from oven and cool on counter for ½ hour, then move to fridge for ½ hour. Time to eat! You can also add any fruit topping- Madison loves cherries!

Fern’s Absolutely Amazing Biscotti. Nothing Better!
Roy’s sister Fern is famous for her biscotti! Here is her own recipe for “Chocolate Almond Dipping Biscuits”- a wonderful cookie for all ages.  Makes 20 pieces.

Group 1
2 large eggs
2/3 cups granulated sugar

Group 2
1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup raisins
1 tsp anise seeds
1 cup flour

Group 3
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water
butter to grease pan

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on whip setting, until very thick and pale (group 1).  In a separate bowl, combine the almonds, chocolate chips, raisins, anise seeds and flour (group 2).  Add to group 1.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt (group 3) into the above mixture and stir until it forms a stiff batter.  On greased cookie sheet, pat the batter into a loaf shape (14x4x1), using damp hands (dough will be sticky). Brush the loaf with the egg yolk mixture.  Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.  Cut loaf crosswise into ¾” thick slices, and let the biscotti cool completely.  The biscotti keep in an airtight container for at least one week and freeze very well.

Cindy’s Pumpkin Nut Bread. A Family Classic!
Cindy got this recipe from her mother, and it has been a family favorite for a long time. She also confessed to making it year-round, and just last weekend took another out of the freezer!  She even makes it in mini loaf pans for single servings for her son (what a great idea!).  Makes 2 traditional size loafs.

Preheat oven to 350°

4 eggs
3 cups sugar
(1) 10.5 oz can pure pumpkin
1 ½ cup vegetable oil (can substitute ½ cup applesauce for ½ cup oil)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup water
3-1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Beat eggs and add all moist ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients together and combine, mixing well.  Bake in greased loaf pans at 350° for 1¼ hours. Cool on rack and remove from pan. Freezes well.

Chandeliers: The Perfect Size And Hanging Height

Chandeliers: The Perfect Size And Hanging Height

A chandelier can look great in almost any room. They are pretty over the island in the kitchen, casual in the sunroom, and elegant in the dining room. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to hanging them, but here are some helpful guidelines you can follow for three areas where you might consider a chandelier: the foyer, the dining area, and the hallway.

In general, in most rooms where you will walk under a chandelier, it should be hung so that the bottom is about 7′ from the floor. To estimate the size of your chandelier, add the width and length of the room and convert to inches. For example, if your foyer is 10’ by 12’, add 10 + 12 to get 22- start with a chandelier that is somewhere around 22” diameter.

Foyer & Entryway
A chandelier in the foyer is a great way to light up an entryway, and you’ll want at least 80-84” from the bottom of the chandelier to the floor. If your foyer has a high ceiling, take advantage of it and hang it higher. For example if you can see up the stairs to the second story, the light fixture shouldn’t hang below the second floor. Keep in mind that the higher the fixture is hung the smaller it will look, so don’t be afraid to go bigger in this case. If you’ve got windows, it might be nice to center the fixture in a window so it can be seen from the outside.

Dining Room & Kitchen
The chandelier is often the focal point of any eating area, and this is probably the one space where the ceiling height shouldn’t affect the hanging height. A frequent mistake is that the chandelier is too small and/or hung too high. It should be low enough to illuminate the table surface without interfering with the line of sight while seated. The general rule is that the bottom of the chandelier should be 30” to 34” above the tabletop, also accounting for any dangling crystals or drops. Have someone help you hold the fixture over the table and adjust it until it feels right. As far as size goes, you’ll want to make sure your guests don’t bump their heads when getting up. Keeping it simple, the diameter of your fixture should be about ¾ the width of your table at its widest point (however, this might be too big if you are hanging 2 chandeliers). Also think about your table shape. A round table would call for a single chandelier while a rectangle table could support two fixtures, especially in a large room. Try to position it above the table only, and it shouldn’t be closer than 4’ to any wall if your room is large enough to support this rule of thumb. So your lighting is more conducive to dining, this chandelier should also be on a dimmer.

Hallways & Landings
The hallway is often ignored as a design space, and it is such a great place for a special light fixture or two. Hang them close to the ceiling unless your ceiling is high enough (say 9 or more feet). If you do have a low ceiling, go for a fixture that has a low profile in height and a larger diameter- and the wider the hallway, the wider the fixture can be. For example, start with a 12-14″ diameter chandelier for a 5′ wide hallway, and add 2″ to your fixture for every additional 12″ of hallway width. Whatever your ceiling height, keep the distance from the floor to the bottom of the chandelier at 80-84″ to avoid interference while walking underneath it. Lean toward a less bulky design if your hallway is long and narrow, and to eliminate the feeling of walking down a tunnel, hang a chandelier every 8-10′. If the hallway makes a turn, this is also a good location for a chandelier. Define the space by drawing the attention to a pretty light fixture- functional and beautiful.

So remember, these are only guidelines. But don’t limit yourself to enjoying a chandelier only in the formal spaces of your home: a beautiful light fixture in the bedroom is charming and romantic, and adding a sparkly chandelier to the bathroom can inject just the right amount of drama to what otherwise might be a dull room. Before you choose a chandelier for any room, take measurements of the space and furniture, and feel free to come to us with any questions you may have.

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home:Part 3- Cool Colors

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home:
Part 3- Cool Colors

As we learned in our  previous post, color has a psychological effect on us that is directly related to the value and intensity of the hue. Colors on the cool side of the spectrum include blue, green and violet. Cool colors are often considered calming and soothing, and encourage a more passive reaction in the brain than warm colors. These powerful colors can make us feel relaxed and subdued, as well as sad or indifferent. In design, cool colors are somewhat recessive and can make a space feel more open and larger than it is.

THE COOL COLORS

BLUE lowers blood pressure and slows respiration and heart rate. It is considered calming, relaxing, and serene, and is often recommended for bedrooms and bathrooms. Light blues indicate health and stability, and dark blues suggest knowledge and integrity. The dark tones can also evoke feelings of sadness, so refrain from them as your main color. To encourage relaxation in the rooms where people gather such as the family room, living room, or kitchen, consider a subtle shade such as periwinkle or a bright blue such as cerulean or turquoise. Be careful when choosing blues, however: a light blue that looks pretty on the paint chip can come across as unpleasantly chilly on the walls and furnishings, especially in a room that receives little warmth from natural light. If you choose a light blue as the main color in a room, balance it with a warm hue in the furnishings and fabrics, such as it’s opposite on the color wheel, orange.

GREEN is considered the most restful color for the eye. It is invigorating and fresh, and tends to feel peaceful when used as a main color for decorating. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited to almost any room in the house. Imagine how a pretty sage green in the kitchen will cool things down; in the family room or living room, the same color encourages unwinding with enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness. In a bedroom, green is relaxing and pleasant (and also believed to aid in fertility!).  Also symbolizing wealth, it would be great for your home office. Green is believed to relieve stress and encourage relaxation. It is considered stable, prosperous and harmonious.

VIOLET in its darkest values (eggplant, for example) is rich, luxurious, dramatic, and sophisticated. It is also associated with creativity, so it might be perfect for a kid’s room or craft room. It can be moody, so violet might suit certain spaces better as an accent or secondary color, giving your color scheme just the right amount of depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, suggest nostalgia and romance. They can bring the same restful quality to bedrooms as blue does, without the risk of feeling chilly.

Remember, choosing a color scheme is all about balance. Whether you lean toward the warm side of the color wheel, or prefer the cool colors, explore the possibilities of color with a scheme that suits your life, décor and home.

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home:Part 2- Warm Colors

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home:
Part 2- Warm Colors

Color is a powerful communication tool. It affects moods, feelings and emotions, and can cause physiological reactions. While perceptions of color are subjective, there are some effects that have universal meaning. Colors in the red area of the color spectrum (red, orange, and yellow) are known as warm colors. In nature they represent change, and evoke emotions ranging from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility. Before we discuss them in depth, let’s have a look at the color wheel and how to approach choosing a color scheme for your interior.

A color wheel is a visual way to organize the colors of the spectrum. In its most basic form, it consists of the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and the secondary colors (green, orange, violet). Becoming familiar with traditional color schemes such as complimentary (colors across from each other), analogous (colors next to each other), and monochromatic (tints and values of a single color) will help you determine if your color combinations will work.

THE WARM COLORS

Warm colors are stimulating and soothing to our emotions. They tend to appear larger than cool colors, as well as closer.

RED increases a room’s energy level. It’s a good choice when you want to stir up excitement and social activity. In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation. In an entryway, it is welcoming and creates a strong first impression. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, and speed respiration and heart rate. It might be too strong as the dominant color for a bedroom, but as an accent color with the indirect lighting of a table lamp in the evening, red will add drama in a rich and elegant way. Red, the most intense, pumps the adrenaline like no other hue.

ORANGE evokes excitement, enthusiasm and energy. It is the color of spontaneity and adventure! You might not choose orange for a living room or bedroom, but it would be great for an exercise room, helping to channel all the emotions you need when jumping into your fitness routine. In ancient cultures orange was used to heal the lungs and increase energy levels.

YELLOW invokes the joy of sunshine and happiness. It’s perfect for kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms, where this cheerful color is invigorates and uplifts. In halls, entries, and small spaces, yellow can feel spacious and airy. This warm and radiant color may not be the perfect choice as a main color for a room, as it has been shown to create anxiety. People are more likely to become critical and lose their tempers, and babies seem to cry more in yellow rooms (not good!). This color can create feelings of enthusiasm and confidence, as well as frustration and anger. It is also the most fatiguing on the eyes. In chromotherapy yellow is believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.

Coming up next: the cool side of the color wheel.

How are you doing in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath?

How are you doing in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath?

We hope you are doing ok in Sandy’s aftermath. So many of you have been seriously affected and we would like to offer some help to you if we can. We have power back in our store, so come on in for some warmth, a cup of tea, internet, and charge your cell phones if you need to.

Hopefully our blog posts will help to serve as a minor distraction.

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home: Part 1- Color Basics

Picking The Perfect Colors For Your Home: Part 1- Color Basics

Color is essential in an interior. It is a personal thing, and considers your design style, your home’s aesthetic, and your own taste. In the next two posts we will be discussing color, how it evokes emotions, and how to use it in your home. For now, let’s start with some basics.

When color is right, it can:

  • Enhance feelings of health and well being
  • Modify perceived temperature (make your room feel warm or cool)
  • Modify perceived space (make your room feel larger or more intimate)
  • Stimulate the senses
  • Rejuvenate static areas

Here are three important words to remember about color:

  • Hue is how we distinguish color (red, yellow, blue, etc.)
  • Saturation is the intensity of a color.
  • Value is the lightness or darkness of a color.

Generalizations such as GREEN is relaxing, BLUE is soothing, and RED is energizing, are good places to start but should be used as small steppingstones. Color is affected by its surroundings and light, and choosing the right hue (and value and saturation) is important. For example, a bright kelly green would not be relaxing, an icy blue may not be soothing, and light pink would not be energizing. Think about where the room is and what will it will be used for, and what types of lighting you are using (fluorescents, incandescents, halogen, etc.)

Count the windows and consider the direction they face. The natural light in the room will change throughout the day, and in turn so will the colors in the room. North facing rooms have cool, diffused light coming in; south facing rooms will be sunny and warm; east facing rooms have generally soft light that is strongest in the mornings; and west facing rooms get strong warm light in the afternoons. The landscaping outside the window can also have an effect on the perceived wall color.

The décor and furnishings of a room also affect the spatial perception. Objects that contrast with wall color will seem to fill up the space; where as a monochromatic color scheme will create a sense of openness.

A note about ceilings: The ceiling represents one-sixth of the space in a room. It is often overlooked, and usually gets a coat of white paint. White (or a very near neutral) is the best choice especially in a room with little natural light because it is the most effective color for reflecting light back into the room. But don’t limit yourself! As a general rule, painting the ceiling lighter than the walls will create height, while those that are darker will feel lower (without the claustrophobia) and more intimate.

Coming up next: color schemes and the warm side of the color wheel.

Child Safety Month: Window Treatments and Safety

Child Safety Month: Window Treatments and Safety

As a parent, you always have a million things on your mind when it comes to your kids. Keeping up with active children and making sure they’re safe around the house can be a challenge, and window treatments are a potential safety hazard that may not be on your radar. From seeing dangling cords, tiebacks, or tassels as something to play with to climbing on an accent chair under a window, it is important to know if your window treatments are safe for your children. Here are a few easy tips for creating a safe home:
  • Removing climbable items from all window areas is one of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid window-related hazards. Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces (stuffed animals and toy chests) away from windows.
  • Store window cords well out of reach of children, keeping in mind that there might be cords on the reverse side of your shades.
  • Install only cordless window treatments in homes with young children, especially in their bedroom and play area.
  • Make sure tasseled pull cords are as short and tight as possible.
  • Update old window coverings to safer styles such as shutters, motorized styles or cordless cellular shades.
  • Add safety features to existing cords such as installing the cleats (the piece attached to the wall that you wrap the cord around) out of reach of children.

In case you need some help or are just curious, Country Willow has an exceptional showroom full of Hunter Douglas products- one of the largest in the area- that fully demonstrates all the safety features you need to keep your family safe. Hunter Douglas is also the industry’s largest manufacturer of sheers, shades, honeycombs, blinds, and shutters, all custom and manufactured in the USA, so you can rely on them as your trusted resource for quality window treatments.  Our designers are always ready to address all of your concerns and to help you choose the perfect, and safest window treatments for your entire home. Please give us a call if you have any questions at 914-241-7000. Be well and be safe!