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.

Designing for Abundance Thursday, Jan 12 2017 

I thought that I would continue about designing with feng shui in mind. As we continue into 2017 I am going to take an area that can be improved through design using principles of feng shui. Abundance is an area that many are wanting to increase. Abundance can mean money or wealth but it can also be abundance of love, family, clients, happiness, or anything in your life that you want to increase. As I shared in the last post you have a wealth or abundance area in your home or office, if you are standing at the front of the space looking in, it is the back left corner. This is using the more modern version of the bagua. If this area in your space is not designed properly or there are flow issues there are some easy ways to get it in order. First, make sure that it is not a neglected space. This could mean that you have not put anything on the walls, or that it has become a catch-all. If that is the case first thing you want to do is clean out the space so that it can be a functioning part of your home.

Now to bring in abundance there are some great items that can go in that space. One of the main cures for a space is a water feature. Water is a symbol of abundance and can quickly change the energy to the space. I love a fountain and there are specific feng shui fountains. I do not feel that you have to go to that extent but having a fountain in the north-west corner will definitely increase the abundance in your home or office. They do not have to be large fountains, it can be as simple as a table top or desk top fountain. Here are some great fountains that I love.

If the area will not fit or work with a water feature look for a painting or image that features water. This could be a landscape with a waterfall or of the ocean. This will also bring in the water element to increase the chi.

You can also bring in other feng shui cures to the space to increase abundance. A vase with lucky bamboo or a healing tree. I make healing trees for my clients an incorporate what they need in the tree. These are made from gems. Each gem has an area that they influence and bring an energy to the space. Some are for protection, abundance, hope, energy, clarity, communication and so on. Placing a healing tree in your abundance region of your home will help to increase whatever area of your life that you want to increase. Here are some that I have made.

When creating these I use raw gems, which include emeralds, rubies, quartz, sapphires, aquamarine amethyst and other gemstones.

If your abundance area is in a challenging space in the house you will need to make sure to be especially diligent on maintaining that area. You will also want to use more than one cure. This could mean that if it is in the bathroom that you have both a painting with a water element and a fountain or healing tree. You can also add lighting that has crystals. There are some great light fixtures that incorporate crystal into them. Just make sure they are actual crystal not just look like crystals. Check these out.

Incorporating feng shui into your home does not mean that it has to be unconventional items. Everyday items in the right placement can completely change the energy in the space.

Balance and Harmony for the New Year Monday, Jan 9 2017 

As 2017 begins it is time to see if our lives are truly in balance with what we want. For interior design that means asking the question is your home or office in alignment for your goals and do you feel a big hug when you walk through your front door? If not then it might be time to do some energy work with your design by employing some Feng Shui principals. Let’s first talk about what Feng Shui is. The words Feng Shui mean wind and water. Which makes sense as it is about using the elements, colors and shapes to create a space that is in balance with the natural world. Feng Shui has a traditional implementation and there is now a more modern implementation. It is this more modern implementation that I use with my clients and what I feel is easier to understand and implement into our everyday lives. Either style, the main purpose is to have your Chi, or energy flow, to stay gently flowing through your space as opposed to flowing straight out or becoming stuck or blocked. Each element must be in balance to create the proper flow of chi.

So let’s talk about what the elements are and how they are represented. The five elements are fire, water, earth, metal, and wood. Each of these elements have shapes, colors and attributes.

Fire – triangle, red, orange, purple, passions, emotion

Earth – square, brown, yellow, grounding, stability

Metal – circle, white, metallic, strength, independence

Water – curvy, blue, black, relaxation, inspiration

Wood – rectangle, green, teal, growth, expansion

In traditional Feng Shui it is about the placement of the Bagua an octagon shaped chart that each section represents areas of your life. It is used to place items in accordance with the elements within your home or office to affect the chi of the space. In a modern approach to Feng Shui a vertical or horizontal chart is used and is based on the shape of your home or office. This new chart is also based on nine areas of your life.

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When working with this modern approach each item that goes into a space still has impact and is used for specific reasons.

Color is used to represent and balance the elements.

Sound such as music is used to connect to the environment. This can be used to remove stress from a space.

Lighting is used to bring more chi into a space.

Art enhances chi. The placement of the artwork will increase the chi to the area it is placed.

Growing things such as plants connect you to the natural world. if the light is poor in an area that needs a better connection silk plants can be used.

Water features increase the flow of chi throughout your space. These can be fountains or aquariums.

Wind features attract chi into your space. This can be wind chimes, weather vanes, banners, flags and mobiles.

Mirrors and crystals are used to unblock structural elements that cannot be changed.

So how do you incorporate this into your home or office? Start small, if your entry is to a wall add a mirror to remove the blockage that is created with the stop. Make sure that each of your spaces has each of the elements represented. Focus on the one area that you want to increase and make sure that your house is aligned with that focus. As you affect and change your first focused area move on to the next. Remember it is a living space and the energy or chi will always be changing. We want to make sure that you are bringing in the energy you want and keeping it flowing through your space. But it is also understood that as our lives continue to progress we must adapt and incorporate new technologies and how they effect our environments.

Make 2017 your best year yet, start by creating balance and harmony in your home and office. Once this is created you will be able to achieve anything you decide to create.

Holidays Are Coming! Wednesday, Nov 12 2014 

It’s that time of year again, holiday times. That means company and parties and sometimes lots of stress over how to get it right. This year I thought I would give you some tablescape ideas centered around three items. These three easy to find and use items are ornaments, candles and flowers/greenery. These items are all around this time of year which means you can get them inexpensively and have many to choose from. Remember when you are designing your table to have fun, be unique and don’t be afraid to be different.

Here are some great starting points to begin with and then make your own.

Candles mixed with crystal and greenery.

Candles mixed with crystal and greenery.

Candles and crystal - elegant and simple.

Candles and crystal – elegant and simple.

Candles and flowers - have fun with the colors.

Candles and flowers – have fun with the colors.

Traditional candles and greenery

Traditional candles and greenery

Flowers and traditional colors

Flowers and traditional colors

Traditional holiday flowers

Traditional holiday flowers

Succulents as holiday decor

Succulents as holiday decor

Ornaments can make the perfect pop of color

Ornaments can make the perfect pop of color

Have fun! Use all the different ornaments with tons of color for a whimsical tablescape.

Have fun! Use all the different ornaments with tons of color for a whimsical tablescape.

So hopefully I gave you some great ideas to reduce your stress this holiday season. Remember, the holidays are about family, friends and gratitude don’t let a need for perfection stress you out.

Balance is needed Monday, Aug 18 2014 

As the school year begins I am reminded of how caught up in our lives we can become and that without our homes in balance it can create a chaos in the rest of our lives. So I thought I would talk about the principle of balance when it comes to interior design.

Balance does not mean that everything has to be symmetrical. This is probably the biggest mistake or misunderstanding that I see when it comes to design. Symmetry is balanced but it is not the only way to create a balanced design. Balance can be created through color, weight and placement of pieces. For instance if you do a bright, bold accent wall you will want to balance the other side of the room with heavier or larger objects to keep the room in balance. If the majority of your seating is on one side of the room balance the other side with large artwork, accent table/console/buffet, and large accessories. You want your eye to move around the room and the correct balance will achieve that. Don’t leave the tops of furniture empty, this makes them feel out of place and floating in the room.

One of my favorite things to remember when working with balance is to think in triangles. If you can look around your space and draw triangles to connect things then you are most likely in balance. You will have many triangles that can be created. For instance if you have a table with a mirror or artwork above you want to make sure you have pieces to the sides. The side pieces can be on the table if it is long enough or on the floor by the piece. You can also use a combination of wall, table and floor.

There is no need to over do on accessories. Allow color to move through the space in different ways to balance the room.

There is no need to over do on accessories. Allow color to move through the space in different ways to balance the room.

Different items have different weights so a large piece can be balanced by three lighter feeling pieces.

Different items have different weights so a large piece can be balanced by three lighter feeling pieces.

Another area that needs balancing in your home is usually the work to play areas. What I mean by this is do you have places to put your incoming mail, your outdoor living “toys”, your cookbooks, your kids school work and books, backpacks, and shoes. Do you have an adult only area to unwind? Do your kids have their own spaces? Balance is not just about furniture placement but also how you use it. You need to have places in your home so you are balanced. This does not mean that you have to have a separate room for each of these things, but designated spaces is important. Not sure how to do this, call a designer for a consult. The right space planning will return you to your love of your home and get you on the right path.

Balance a large island and high cabinets with the right light fixtures.

Balance a large island and high cabinets with the right light fixtures.

Balance focal points with the right colors and furniture to highlight the features.

Balance focal points with the right colors and furniture to highlight the features.

Are you balanced? Do you need to re-evaluate how your home and life are working together? If so breathe and take one area at a time. Creating balance is also about learning how to balance need verse want and realizing where your time is best spent.

Quick Tips to Freshen Your Home Monday, Jun 23 2014 

There are many times in which your home needs a quick updating. This can be because you are looking to sell your home, you are having company or you are just plain tired of things. Here are 10 of my favorite ways to freshen up your home without major changes.

1) Change up your pillows. Find some great pattern pillows for your sofas and chairs. The change will make the room feel like a whole new space.

2) Change the area rug. Ok this can be expensive if you are the hand-knotted type so in that case change rooms with the rug. If you are not the hand-knotted type look at changing your rugs to a natural fiber rug to bring in texture.

3) Refinish an accent piece. I love the look of painted pieces. These can be a chest, accent table or a kitchen table. You can completely change the feeling of a place by refinishing a piece or two.

4) De-clutter your space. The number one reason people feel tired with a space is the lack of storage. This usually occurs because there is too much clutter. Add closet storage and multifunctional tables and chests for additional storage to keep the clutter out of eye sight. Also impose a system to get rid of paper clutter.

5) Use a few great large accessories instead of a bunch of small nic-nacks.

6) Incorporate season flowers and greenery to your home. Changing greenery with the season will give you a new feeling many times through out the year.

7) Paint an accent wall. Tired of everything being the same color. Create and accent wall with either paint or wallpaper to give the space a new feeling.

8) Rearrange the furniture. Changing up the way that you use a room can really change the feel to the space. Think outside of the box on this one, it is ok to place sofas on an angle. They do not have to be up against a wall.

9) Add a backsplash to your kitchen. This is a relatively easy update that will give your home much value and wow factor.

10) Change out plate glass bathroom mirrors for nicely framed ones. This will update the entire space and add value to the home.

Lamps, Lamps and Lamps Tuesday, Jun 10 2014 

One of the most important finishing touches to a room is the lighting and most in particular are the lamps. These pieces not only give you function but also they add style to the room. There are many materials that lamps can be made from. Each material gives a different feel to the space.

First there is mercury glass. This is one of my favorite types of material to make lamps from. This is different from regular glass as mercury glass has an old and new feeling at the same time. It will also look silver and gold, while being transparent but opaque at the same time. It is simply a contradiction of a material which makes it fantastic for interior design. Here are some different lamps made from mercury glass.

A touch of a Moroccan feel with this design.

A touch of a Moroccan feel with this design.

A mercury glass floor lamp for a touch of traditional and modern.

A mercury glass floor lamp for a touch of traditional and modern.

A classic mercury glass table lamp.

A classic mercury glass table lamp.

Different shapes make the mercury glass come to life.

Different shapes make the mercury glass come to life.

Ceramic is one of your most popular materials to make lamps from. The great things about ceramic lamps are that you can do any color or shape with them. They can add a softening effect to the room design and tend to stay in style.

Blue ceramic gourd lamp.

Blue ceramic gourd lamp.

Lattice design on a white ceramic lamp, simple and elegant.

Lattice design on a white ceramic lamp, simple and elegant.

Orange ceramic gourd lamp

Orange ceramic gourd lamp

pale blue ceramic matching gourd lamps.

pale blue ceramic matching gourd lamps.

Metal lamps can be quite intricate and can be either modern or traditional. They give the space a very distinct look and are a definite WOW piece.

Hand hammered kettle lamp.

Hand hammered kettle lamp.

Modern twisted metal lamp.

Modern twisted metal lamp.

Traditional metal scroll lamp.

Traditional metal scroll lamp.

The last type of material that I am going to talk is glass. This plain material can be transformed into something magnificent. It can be clear, colored or filled with objects. This is a great answer for just about any space and they are usually extremely economical. Here are some different glass lamps.

Colorful glass bubble lamps

Colorful glass bubble lamps

A clear glass lamp that is simple and elegant

A clear glass lamp that is simple and elegant

Filled glass lamps

Filled glass lamps

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A seaside filled glass lamp

A seaside filled glass lamp

Buffet height cylinder glass lamps

Buffet height cylinder glass lamps

A perfume bottle shaped glass lamp

A perfume bottle shaped glass lamp

So the next time you are looking around your space and feel like something is missing or needs to change, look to your lamps to add new life to your room.

5 Rules for Your First Home Monday, Jun 9 2014 

One day it happens you are realizing a dream and owning your first home. This is the time that you get to really do things how you want them, you don’t need to follow a landlords rules about paint color, you can have built ins, you can make changes that work for you and your lifestyle. It also means that without thoughtful planning there can be many mistakes. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when you are designing your first home.

Rule number 1: do not rush things, just because something is a trend doesn’t mean you will still love it in 5 years. This also goes for how you spend your money. Just because you can buy an inexpensive piece now many times it is better to save your money and buy the right piece that will last. Good furniture should last as long as you want to keep it. Cheap furniture needs to be replaced regularly meaning over time it costs a great deal more. If you want to know more about how furniture should be constructed read threw this blog there is a detailed post about construction.

Rule number 2: Find unique pieces that fit your personality. When you have a space that is designed for you it will give you a hug every time you walk through the door. When a space is perfectly designed you won’t get tired of it you will simply feel comfortable. I love using natural organic pieces or antique pieces for those unique touches.

Antique painted chest, great for hallways entries, and bedrooms.

Antique painted chest, great for hallways entries, and bedrooms.

Antique truck, perfect for cocktail tables and end of bed benches.

Antique truck, perfect for cocktail tables and end of bed benches.

Driftwood cocktail table, adds uniqueness and texture to any design.

Driftwood cocktail table, adds uniqueness and texture to any design.

Driftwood console table, perfect for hallways, entries and behind sofas.

Driftwood console table, perfect for hallways, entries and behind sofas.

Rule number 3: Keep you big items neutral. When purchasing furniture think neutral for your large main pieces. This gives you the ability to change other smaller elements in the room for an updated look over time. When you do your largest pieces neutral you also make the room feel larger. This allows your eye to move around the room and not be stopped, which makes the room feel larger.

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Rule number 4: mix textures. When designing a space it is not just about different colors but also about the textures. The same color will look different on different material, so think about mixing cotton, linen, silk, natural grasses, metal, wood, and glass into the same space for depth and dimension.

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Rule number 5: Find places to add functional and unique elements. Have a funky nook space it could be perfect for a bench seat. Use every bit of space in your home, after all you paid for it. Don’t be afraid of built ins, when done properly they function well and give you much needed storage.

A great reading/entertaining corner to take advantage of the view.

A great reading/entertaining corner to take advantage of the view.

Breakfast nook with storage and design.

Breakfast nook with storage and design.

A library with a view

A library with a view

A great seating space to read and take in the view, while working with a space that would normally be empty.

A great seating space to read and take in the view, while working with a space that would normally be empty.

So slow down, think about how you want to use your space and make the most of your budget by buying right!

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