Now is the Time Wednesday, Aug 16 2017 

As many of you that have followed my blog over the years know we are coming up on Furniture Fashion Week. So, what does that mean to you? It means that there are some really great deals right now on items that will be cut from the current lines. So I thought I would share some of the amazing items that I am seeing at fantastic prices and won’t be around for long.

Ottomans and benches made from beautiful rugs. These are just a couple of the options.

Hand knotted rugs make great ottomans and benches.

Have been looking for poufs? There are tons of options for poufs that will not be available after October.

How about rugs? Everything from hand knotted to tufted to woven are available now at some amazing prices.

Accent,entry, and sofa tables are also making their ways onto the discontinued lists. But you have to act quickly as some of these are only available in small amounts.

Lighting options range from chandeliers to floor lamps to sconces and table lamps. You also may want to think about jumping on ones that are going away as the price may increase come October.

In fact, if you were thinking about changing up your furnishings now is the best time. You will be able to take advantage of the sale items and on new items you will get the lower prices before they get their market increases. And even better if you start now you can get it done for the holidays. Yes I said it, it’s August and if you want new furniture for the holidays it is time to order! 

Let’s Talk Outdoor Furniture Wednesday, Jun 28 2017 

Since it is summer time and we all want to be living outside, in amazing weather I thought we would talk outdoor furniture. So what are the major things that everyone wants outside, a place to sit and enjoy company of just a great evening/day with the family. So here are some of my favorite pieces for outdoor summer living. And if you live in Florida like I do these pieces get to be used all year round.

Notice it is all about the spa like style. It is about relaxing and enjoying the space comfortably. It doesn’t mean it has to be boring but serene is a wonderful thing. Don’t for get to add some fire or water features. These great fire pits and fountains are a great way to add elements to your back yard.

Don’t forget about dining, lighting and accessories. Outside is just as much a space to be designing as inside.

And Rugs are absolutely essential to creating that space that is going to give you a hug.

It’s time to be living outdoors. Not sure how to make it work in your home? Let us help you to create a space that you will love all year round whether you live in Florida or anywhere else in the world. And don’t forget to have fun!

A little glam for a Saturday Saturday, Apr 22 2017 

As the glam look continues to get bigger I thought I would share some of my thoughts and favorite pieces.

First, when working with a glam look keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Eglomise, silver leaf, gold leaf and mirrors have a huge impact so one or two pieces can be enough for a while room depending on the size.

Don’t forget that lighting has a huge impact on the space. A glam light can change the feel of any room.

Mix textures to complete the look. Linens combined with silks are great for depth and style.

Have fun! Design should be fun and exciting. Make sure the space has enough contrast so it doesn’t put you to sleep.

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.

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.

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!

College Dorm Must Haves Friday, Aug 14 2015 

It is that time of year. Kids are heading off to college, whether for the first time or the fourth time it is an emotional experience. So let’s talk about great ways to customize that plain white dorm room and make it a personal space.

Go for great seating. Dorm rooms and college apartments are small but they still need to be comfortable. You can have fun with small scale seating and pops of color.

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Make sure you have ways to organize paper and display photos.

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If you can provide your own bed go for something with storage.

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Don’t forget desks and lighting.

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And lastly go for great bedding.

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This will be a home away from home. Make sure to make it your own and have fun.  How are you going to customize that college dorm?

Global Inspiration Friday, Jul 3 2015 

One of the biggest trends right now is the globally inspired space. This has come about with the letting go of traditional ideas that interior design must stay within styles and periods. Personally I have been preaching against this strict idea of what good design is for years. Good design is about the client who lives in or works in the space not what rules say needs to go in the space. So I love the fact that the design community is coming around this idea. So I thought I would give you pictures of some of my favorite products that can be added to just about and space to give a globally inspired look.

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Are you inspired? Just one of these items adds such a fun feeling and changes the room completely. So have fun, add unexpected pieces and be inspired!

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