With a background as a design editor and writer and the experience of helping friends remodel, Julia Carlson launched Remodelista.com, a site devoted to making remodeling easier. The site now has a legion of devoted fans including actress Julianne Moore who penned the intro to Remodelista: A Manual For The Considered Home, a book that captures the site’s mix of practical and whimsical ideas for the home.

Carlson favors a clean aesthetic but one that isn’t overly sterile. The designs she showcases are highly personal, stories of real people with houses that are not perfect, designer showcases but are instead functional and welcoming homes. The book includes advice on planning projects, working with contractors, and knowing when (and when not) to do it yourself.

The book features a variety of projects, some small, some large, some expensive, some cheaper. Through these projects and the stories of the homes’  residents, the site’s overall mission of creating attractive and approachable living spaces is reflected. Some key takeaways:

Don’t fear prints–When combined with clean lines and solid colors, prints can be both modern and fresh. The trick is to combine a busy print with a spare aesthetic so as not to create a design that is overly fusty.

Find the charm in the mismatch–Ruthlessly matched items can be boring and dull the eye. A charming clash of styles and colors can add freshness to a space. Use complementary colors and lines to tie dissimilar pieces together.

Celebrate what you cannot change–Stuck with dated appliances or a terrible floor treatment? What you can’t fix you can learn to live with and maybe even love. Decorate to flatter, not disguise, your appliances even if you have a Harvest Gold wall oven. The same thing goes for older furniture, combined with newer pieces it can hold its own.

Steal from nature–Shells from the beach, bleached branches, trays of river stones, baskets of coral, all these and more can be used to bring the outside in as well as contribute texture and richness to the home.

Show your personality--What do you do? What do you like? Your interests and your preferences are what make your home uniquely yours. Explore your taste , cultivate it, and let it flower independent of what is trendy.

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