Designing You Saturday, Jan 28 2017 

I am very excited to say that the book is done and now available through Amazon! It has been a project of love and an amazing experience. I had always thought about writing a book but never really thought it was something that I would do. It is done and I thought I would go into a bit more depth as to what the book is about and what is in the book.

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Designing You is about my philosophy on design, what it is like to work with me, and a self evaluation on your personal design style. To me interior design is all about the client. For many years and through much of my early training I heard all about how the client doesn’t know what they want. That is is the designers job to tell them what they should do. That it is the designer and only the designer that has the style and vision to see what should be done. I have always felt that this was not correct. Yes, we as designers much have a vision for what the space is going to be. But we much get that vision from somewhere. And it must come from the client.

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Throughout the book you will learn about how working from a client driven space creates designs that our clients love for many years, because they are all about them.

I also want all of my readers to be able to get to know themselves more. So in the book I have included a color/design quiz that will help each reader to better understand their own personal style. I have dropped the traditional hard to understand design terms and created it in everyday language. Good design is for everyone.

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I will take you on a journey of what it is like to work on clients designs, what Furniture Fashion Week is all about, and why I do what I do. Creating great design, is creating a place that you can soar from. The process includes every emotion out there. When I design I have to get into the heads of my clients. So when I am shopping for them I have to see everything as they would see it. Go through all the options and then present to them only what is best for them.

And of course there are some great pictures of completed spaces. I have included some of my favorite projects in the book to show what it is like when a space is completed. The styles range all over the place, from beach living to traditional to contemporary. And as I designer I feel that I should always be able to pop back and forth between styles because each client is different and deserves to have a design specific to them.

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So please enjoy, check it out. Pick up the paper copy so that you can write in it and mark things that you love. But most of all find out more about who you are and your personal style.

My Favorite Lighting for 2017 Friday, Jan 20 2017 

The right lighting makes such a difference in any space. Lighting is an item that is both functional and beautiful. It influences how we use the space and defines they style. It can be hanging, on tables, or standing on the floor. Every room needs three sources of lighting, one completely functional, one for ambiance and one that is both. Here are my favorite hanging lights that I see being very popular in 2017.

Lamps are extremely important for adding function and ambiance. They can be clean and simple, whimsical, functional, and elegant. Here are some of my favorite new releases.

Sconces are a fantastic place to add light and design to any space. They are all about ambiance and elevate any room. Check out some of the newest sconce designs.

Check out your lighting, is it solely functional? If so, see how you can incorporate some of the above items into your room design. Don’t know where to get them? Give us a call so we can ship them directly to you!

Let’s Talk Color Wednesday, Jan 18 2017 

Color is the one topic that everyone always wants to know more about. Color changes the look and feel of any space, instantly. Color can make a space feel warm and inviting, soft and elegant, soothing and relaxing or energizing. Each year there is a new Pantone color of the year. This year each of the paint companies have also come up with their own colors of the year. This year they are not in alignment with Pantone. So I thought I would post some of my favorite colors and the direction I see my clients currently going when it comes to color.

Neutrals – every design needs some neutral tones. Here are some great starting points for the base of designs. These neutrals give a balance to colors and allow for quick easy changes such as pillows, accessories and artwork.

Notice the tones are on the warmers side. The super cold gray is going away and warmer tones are being added, warming up the cold gray.

Blue is always going to have a place in design. It is a primary color and has a warm place in almost everyone’s hearts.

Green is the color from Pantone this year so lets look at some great greens.

Yellow is a love it or hate it color with a lot of people. Those who love it fine it cheerful. I feel that if you are going to go yellow, go with true yellows.

Purples and reds these are colors that are either in or out. If you have been following me on my design philosophy you know that I feel design is about the client not all about trends. So if you love these tones we can always make them in style.

Now lets talk combinations with these great colors.

I love the stone color mixed with the deep blue, light blue and white. This combination give depth and character to the space.

Complimentary colors come together to create POP and WOW with a balancing from some great neutral tones.

Historic greens mixed with neutral tones give a classic look.

As you think about color and your space think about using color to give depth and influence to the space. Not sure how to combine your favorite colors for your home, reach out for a consultation.

Depth of Color – make your design stand out! Sunday, Oct 9 2016 

As we are getting closer and closer to fall market or “furniture fashion week” I start thinking more and more what trends I am loving in design and where I see things going. We are still seeing lots of grays and neutrals in day to day design, however there are lots of deep jewel tones that are starting to come back. They are going added to neutrals to give a depth that allows for a richer feeling space. I’m in love with all the historic colors and love it when I can pop a design with them. These historic colors are things like peacock blues, deep Jade greens, rich cranberries and lush pumpkins. Here are some of the products I’m in love with and are finding to be go tos for design.

Even just touches of these deep tones add such warmth and balance to a space. Gone are the cold stark spaces, think warm hugs when entering spaces. 

I can’t wait to see what will be new at market this month, but I can definitely say I will be looking for pieces that will add depth and texture to a space.

Interior Design is a Fashion Indutry Monday, Aug 29 2016 

As we start to get ready for Furniture Fashion week (High Point Market) it is time to see what is going on at the fashion runways. I have for a long time talked about how design trends come from the runway. It used to be that we would see a trend on the runway and about a year later it wold be hitting the home furnishing market. As the world has opened up more and more with constant access to what used to be only for the most influential that time-table has become much smaller and we are seeing trends hit us almost immediately so I thought I would introduce the color trends we are seeing on the runway in anticipation of what we will be seeing in October.

The one thing that you will see on all of the trends is that it is all about deep rich colors. I personally think we got a big shock with the calm Pantone colors for 2016 as it was a bit off trend from where the market had been going. I think this is an adjustment back towards the deep rich colors. You will see that neutrals are deep neutrals. These are impactful colors with an opulence all to their own.

This takes pantone's serenity color and adds a depth and richness to be usable on many more projects.

This takes Pantone’s serenity color and adds a depth and richness to be usable on many more projects.

A deep red is always in fashion. This could be an accent or the base for a great design.

A deep red is always in fashion. This could be an accent or the base for a great design.

Think back to pantone's color radiant orchid, this is an off shoot of that color. again deeper and richer and more versatile.

Think back to Pantone’s color radiant orchid, this is an off shoot of that color. again deeper and richer and more versatile.

This reminds me of the 2015 color of the year marsala. It is ther perfect combination of red and brown with a depth and softness.

This reminds me of the 2015 color of the year Marsala. It is the perfect combination of red and brown with a depth and softness.

This green is to die for. It is deep, rich, classic and the perfect accent color.

This green is to die for. It is deep, rich, classic and the perfect accent color.

The new neutral. I love taupe and this is a classic.

The new neutral. I love taupe and this is a classic.

Another great warm color, great as a base color to work from. This color is very prevalent in high end area rugs.

Another great warm color, great as a base color to work from. This color is very prevalent in high-end area rugs.

Blue, blue, blue. How can you go wrong with this classic, always in style. I love the touch of gray.

Blue, blue, blue. How can you go wrong with this classic, always in style. I love the touch of gray.

Lush, rich steel gray. This adds so much to any design and does not lock you into a specific color scheme.

Lush, rich steel-gray. This adds so much to any design and does not lock you into a specific color scheme.

Bold and bright this yellow is not your everyday yellow. Opulent and upscale this the grown up yellow.

Bold and bright this yellow is not your everyday yellow. Opulent and upscale this the grown up yellow. 

So what do you think we will be seeing at market with these great bold colors walking down the runway? I’m expecting to see lots of color. Opulent, deep colors with great textures. I expect there will be lots of velvet and flocking. Tweeds mixed with embroidery, linens and lush cottons are going to be the rage. Expect to see tassels and fringe and other embellishments. It is going to be lots of layering textures and colors and materials such as stone, wood and metal. Look for golds mixed with pewters and iron.  Say goodbye to a lot of the overly minimal design and look for all the extras finding places throughout the industry.

Color is personal and unique. Let your personality shine through the colors you select for your home. Not sure how to do that? It’s time to bring in a designer to help your personality show throughout your home.

Living Rooms Sunday, Jan 31 2016 

So for many years now the trend has been open concept. This is the floor plan where there are very few walls though the interior main rooms of a home. There aren’t any walls blocking the kitchen from the great room and the main areas used by the occupants. In this floor plan the living room went goodbye. The living room became the unused room. So it became the room that was no needed and then eliminated in many of the new home designs.

Well, when we eliminated the living room we got rid of the technology free room. The room that was used for actually talking to the people in the home. The room where you sat and visited with your company instead of sitting on a sofa with a TV going. When we went to the great room design, rooms began to be designed around TV viewing not the occupants of the home. But guess what, the living room is coming back. People are realizing that it is nice to have a quiet room. It is nice to have a room where the TV is not the dominant force in the design. So how about a view of some great living rooms that don’t have a TV.

A great conversational area created with pops of bright colors.

A great conversational area created with pops of bright colors.

A transitional living room, warm and cozy inviting the occupants to converse.

A transitional living room, warm and cozy inviting the occupants to converse.

Traditional with light earth tones all about conversation.

Traditional with light earth tones all about conversation.

Beach living made to invite conversation.

Beach living made to invite conversation.

Traditional design from top to bottom reminiscent of the colonial styled home.

Traditional design from top to bottom reminiscent of the colonial styled home.

Traditional mixed with a touch of mid century design, bringing back conversation.

Traditional mixed with a touch of mid century design, bringing back conversation.

Modern and contemporary but still all about the conversational space.

Modern and contemporary but still all about the conversational space.

So how fantastic are these rooms that hold no technology and are inviting. These rooms are all about the users and remind us that we need to have quiet time. These living rooms allow for conversation, quiet time and simplicity.

What Does a Designer Actually Do? Tuesday, Dec 1 2015 

It always amazes me when I hear comments like “you don’t need a designer, just google it”. Or how about “I’m just as good as a designer”. Or one of my favorites “oh it won’t take you long, like what 10 minutes to just draw it out”. When I hear these kinds of comments I always think what other profession would you say those kinds of things to? Do people not realize that we go to school for between 4 – 6 years to be able to do what we do? Do they not realize that I can’t just scratch out a drawing because I do have a degree and I need the drawing that I do to be correct in all ways. The drawing that I do needs to be able to be given to a contractor or installer or workroom and made into what I have drawn. Designing isn’t just throwing pretty things together. Designing is creating a functioning work of art. It is creating a living space that people will live in, work in, raise children in, get married in, create a living in. And you want me to just throw it together? Do you ask your Doctor to just give you their best guess without running lab tests? Do you ask your CPA to just fudge the numbers to look good? No, you would never. So here is a look into what we as designers actually do all day.

We meet with reps to learn about the newest products available. These will be products from fabrics, to furniture, to tile, to flooring, to wall treatments, to window coverings, to cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and lighting. We have to know all the latest designs trends, the latest changes to each of these many industries, and we have to know what issues each of these industries are facing at any given time. This could mean an issue with fabrics mills, to shipping disruptions to changes to construction and new laws about components. This alone is a full time job and yet we can allot maybe two hours a week to this section of our jobs.

We meet with clients. We learn their loves and hates, their fears, their needs, their wants and their obsessions. We learn everything we can about that client so that we can make decisions for them when there is a need for a quick decision. We learn their budgets. We learn what is important to them and what isn’t. And most of all we learn how to work in that clients style.

We meet with contractions, architects, electricians, cabinet makers, tilers, floorers, workrooms, HVAC specialists, and plumbers. And at each new meeting we have to go to we jump through hoops to prove to everyone we really do know what we are talking about. Ok, that may be a little harsh, but the reality is that many in these positions still don’t want to believe that we are a valuable part of the process. So when we get a contractor, architect, electrician, installer and such that is happy to be working with a designer, we don’t let that person go. Because it is so much easier to work with those that value what we do and understand that we make their jobs easier.

We design and then redesign. I would love to say that with each project the design just flows and everything we suggest is accepted and created. But that is not reality. First, we probably design a specific space two to three times before we present the best option to the client. We spend hours drawing and redrawing. It doesn’t matter if we do it by hand or on the computer it doesn’t just magically appear on a piece of paper. And even the fastest designer still takes double the time that people think it takes to get it right. We spend hours looking through fabrics, wallpapers, lighting, furniture and flooring. We create multiple options in case one of the suggestions is not what the client loves and we need a back up. We price, reprice and negotiate to get our clients the best price. And then when it is all put together we present the vision to the client.

At the end of the day we have created a piece of art. We created a space where anything can happen. We created the home that will raise children, or fur babies, or dreams. We created the working environment that will make greatness possible, that will welcome clients, or patients, or customers. We created the environment that will entice people to try that new food, or that outfit. We created the space that will inspire people to dream. So when you ask “what does a designer actually do” I have the answer. We create the space where dreams are possible!

The Perfect Pieces for the Holidays and After Monday, Nov 16 2015 

So when it comes to decorating for the holidays I am really big on décor being versatile. It needs to speak of you and it also needs to have a purpose after the event. in these busy time who what to completely redo everything with the change of every holiday or event. So I thought I would share with you some of my go to items at the holiday times that are also fabulous for everyday.

Mercury glass vases are perfect for soft touches that can be perfect for holidays and everyday.

Mercury glass vases are perfect for soft touches that can be perfect for holidays and everyday.

Who doesn't love candles and these mercury glass votive candle holders are just the right touch any time of year.

Who doesn’t love candles and these mercury glass votive candle holders are just the right touch any time of year.

How much fun is this beach inspired candle holder. Change up the candle and other elements and you can go from everyday to holiday.

How much fun is this beach inspired candle holder. Change up the candle and other elements and you can go from everyday to holiday.

Who says holiday is traditional colors. The right elements added to these great vases will make any home feel festive.

Who says holiday is traditional colors. The right elements added to these great vases will make any home feel festive.

Who says Hurricanes are just for storms? The right glass hurricane candle holders are perfect for all occasions.

Who says Hurricanes are just for storms? The right glass hurricane candle holders are perfect for all occasions.

Mercury glass, mercury glass, mercury glass. What can I say it is classic and these bud vases go anywhere and at the same time sing holidays.

Mercury glass, mercury glass, mercury glass. What can I say it is classic and these bud vases go anywhere and at the same time sing holidays.

Silver anything can be made into a holiday décor item and this peanut is no different.

Silver anything can be made into a holiday décor item and this peanut is no different.

You can never have too many pillows and these have just the right amount of shimmer.

You can never have too many pillows and these have just the right amount of shimmer.

What can I say, it's all about the right pillows.

What can I say, it’s all about the right pillows.

Taller hurricanes that are just super elegant and speak to any décor.

Taller hurricanes that are just super elegant and speak to any décor.

You can't have a finished décor without some greenery. I love calla lilies for their elegance and versatility.

You can’t have a finished décor without some greenery. I love calla lilies for their elegance and versatility.

Take the great neutral vase and add your own touches of color for the season.

Take the great neutral vase and add your own touches of color for the season.

Orchids are always the perfect go to all year round.

Orchids are always the perfect go to all year round.

Candle sticks are another great go to for all year round and all you need to change are the pillars.

Candle sticks are another great go to for all year round and all you need to change are the pillars.

There isn't a vanity or buffet that doesn't look great with this mercury glass decanter/perfume bottle.

There isn’t a vanity or buffet that doesn’t look great with this mercury glass decanter/perfume bottle.

Are you getting the idea? Go for great classic items and then adapt to you. Want to see some ways these items can be used around the holidays?

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So are you excited? Go classic, be you and have fun. Don’t know where to find an item you see here give us a call or send an email. We have many of these items in the showroom and can ship anywhere!

Behind the scenes of Taping the Design Tourist Spot for NBC Monday, Sep 28 2015 

I have recently had the pleasure to be filmed for national TV for NBC’s Daytime TV Show. It was quite and experience. It always seems like it is such an easy simple thing but the reality is there is a Greta deal that goes into filming a spot for TV. First to achieve what looks natural on camera actually takes hours and a Tom more makeup and styling than you ever do for everyday. So I thought I would share some of the process for you to see the hours of prep and filming that goes into a three minute spot.

First here are some great shot that Sweet Rose Photography took of the hair and makeup prep before filming.

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The team from Tangle Me Knot did a great job. The process started at 8am to be ready for taping to start at 10am.

There was the outfit checks and getting all mic’d up for the taping.

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Then there was making sure that everything was perfect in the showroom for filming.

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We then needed to walk through the showroom and go over the angles and areas to be filmed along with what we were going to talk about.

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Then comes the actual filming and having fun!

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So after a day of it all the tape goes to editing. Intros and exited are filmed and it turns into a three minute segment. Want to see the final version? Check it out on the website http://www.artfulconceptions.net

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