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.

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.

Area Rug Construction and What it Means to You Monday, May 26 2014 

I know I have written about area rug construction before but I thought I would do it again as it has been awhile. Area rugs are constructed in five main ways. These construction methods are hand knotted, hand tufted, hand hooked, hand woven, and machine made. I am not going to talk about machine made.

The most desirable and valuable area rugs are hand knotted. These rugs last lifetimes, on average 100+ years depending on the knot count and the construction material. These rugs are usually made from wool and silk. They are constructed by tying a knot around a warp thread. There can be as many as a dozen artisans working on one hand knotted rug and they can take as long as a year to make. One of the major points people look to in determining quality are knots per square inch or kpsi. This can range from 15-2500 depending on the style and quality. For a Peshawar carpet 250 kpsi would be a very high count and be an extremely detailed rug. For a Nain Oriental carpet 250 kpsi would be a very low knot count as most are over 500 kpsi and usually range between 800-1250 kpsi. See below for a reference on how these rugs are made and the different styles if knots.

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The next and the most common style of construction of area rugs are hand tufted. These are constructed by sketching a design on a piece of canvas and then threads are punched threw the canvas. Because there are no knots in this construction method there needs to be an additional backing added to these rugs. These rugs tend to be very plush and will last for years. They are also the rugs that tend to shed in the beginning and need to be vacuumed on a regular basis for the first month of use.

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The next construction method is hand hooked. This is a very similar process to the hand tufted except the thread is pulled up in looped pile and not cut off like the tufted rugs. These do not shed as much as the tufted style but they are also not as plush and thick.

The last construction style of hand made rugs are hand woven. These rugs last almost as long as the hand knotted and are known for being reversible. These are also your tapestries and are many times used as wall hangings as well as carpets. These are thinner carpets and the main ones that you find are flat weaves or soumaks. These can be found made from wool or cotton.

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Area rugs are one of the most important elements to designing the perfect space. When you are selecting your area rugs you need to keep in mind ease of use, longevity, quality and touch. And of course there is always budget. Area rugs can range in price by thousands of dollars so before you purchase think about how you are going to use the rug and what you want to pay for one. If you are looking for a great piece of high quality that will last forever then you should be shopping hand knotted rugs. If you want something for a beach cottage that is going to be getting lots of use, sand and salt water then a hand woven is a better option for you. Still not sure what will work best for you? Ask a designer to help you select the right rug for your home or office.

High Point Spring Market 2014 Friday, Apr 11 2014 

First off I have to say that is was an insanely successful market. I found new brands that I love and was reminded way I love the lines that we carry. This market was definitely all about color. It was everywhere from traditional to contemporary, the neutral look is long gone! It was not only color but bright color. It was a feeling of rejoicing going on at market. A time of celebration not just because it was spring but because the industry seems to have gotten it’s feet back under itself. Gone was the elitist attitude that only large furniture stores were going to receive great deals and service. It was about highlighting what was going well in the industry and an acknowledgement that the designer was helping to change the image. There were concerts in the evening and an all around comradely with a focus on social media and how it was changing the independent showroom into a driving force. In fact I was even interviewed by the Winston-Salem Journal to talk about the how designers are influencing the furniture market. So with all of this in mind I thought I would share some of my favorites from the spring market.

Zuo Modern does a Moroccan outdoor wonderland.

Zuo Modern does a Moroccan outdoor wonderland.

A modern look from Younger.

A modern look from Younger.

Classic doesn't have to be boring.

Classic doesn’t have to be boring.

Beach meets fun in this colorful look from Wesley Hall.

Beach meets fun in this colorful look from Wesley Hall.

Great transitional look from Wesley Hall.

Great transitional look from Wesley Hall.

Wesley Hall reinventing traditional.

Wesley Hall reinventing traditional.

Bright yellow takes this traditional look up another step.

Bright yellow takes this traditional look up another step.

A classic Thibaut tearoom.

A classic Thibaut tearoom.

Glam, glam glam.

Glam, glam glam.

Who knew Magnussen could do entertainment.

Who knew Magnussen could do entertainment.

A great design oriented dining look from magnussen.

A great design oriented dining look from magnussen.

Magnussen stepping out with a more design oriented line.

Magnussen stepping out with a more design oriented line.

Lexington updated and adding color to the outdoor line.

Lexington updated and adding color to the outdoor line.

Traditional Lexington.

Traditional Lexington.

A touch of the old Tommy Bahama mixed with the new.

A touch of the old Tommy Bahama mixed with the new.

Lexington updated the beach look.

Lexington updated the beach look.

A great glam look.

A great glam look.

Feizy changed the outdoor rug arena with these great finds.

Feizy changed the outdoor rug arena with these great finds.

A bold new step in the machine made carpets.

A bold new step in the machine made carpets.

Feizy broke free of it's past and brought colors to the fore front.

Feizy broke free of it’s past and brought colors to the fore front.

Cyan design made a huge impact on the accessory market with it's bold showroom front window.

Cyan design made a huge impact on the accessory market with it’s bold showroom front window.

So what is your favorite? I love it all and can’t wait to show pictures of all the items that were purchased for the showroom!

Market Preview Take 2 Friday, Mar 21 2014 

How about a little more of a sneak peek of the upcoming market? One of the great things about market is that there is so much diversity. If it is made for the home furnishing industry it can be found at High Point. So here are a few more sneak peeks into the upcoming market.

An update to a canopy bed

An update to a canopy bed

Elegant with added fun in the lighting.

Elegant with added fun in the lighting.

Country dining with a colorful flair

Country dining with a colorful flair

Grown up color

Grown up color

A great beachy look

A great beachy look

Grey all over

Grey all over

Color the truly pops

Color the truly pops

It's all about finding the right piece.

It’s all about finding the right piece.

Is it making you want to redo your home? More to come……wait until you see the pictures from the market showrooms!

Spring Market Preview Wednesday, Mar 19 2014 

So it is getting to that time of year where all we think about in the design industry is the upcoming market. The one and only, the original furniture fashion week, High Point Market! So I thought I would give my readers a bit of a preview as to where my mind is and what I am thinking about for my showroom and my clients. This year with the expansion of the showroom I am working to highlight a bunch of different home goods areas and to have lots of product that people can purchase and take home with them. So that means the focus for the showroom is going to be on furniture, accessories, artwork, and lamps. When I shop for clients at market I shop based on their style. So this can mean finding the absolute right rug or the perfect chandelier. Or sometimes it is finding the right items that create the perfect feeling for the client. So here are the inspirations and the design trends that are starting to leak out of the upcoming market.

Fantastic accent chest

Fantastic accent chest

Light bright and classic office

Light bright and classic office

Fun and colorful

Fun and colorful

Elegant traditional

Elegant traditional

Classic traditional

Classic traditional

Cyan Design a must stop for every market trip!

Cyan Design a must stop for every market trip!

Color mixed with traditional styles

Color mixed with traditional styles

Feizy - to die for rugs!

Feizy – to die for rugs!

Global Views - great accents and accessories

Global Views – great accents and accessories

Gloster a must for outdoor furniture in Florida

Gloster a must for outdoor furniture in Florida

Rustic modern - perfect for downtown lofts and beach homes

Rustic modern – perfect for downtown lofts and beach homes

Woven outdoor furniture - a Florida must have

Woven outdoor furniture – a Florida must have

Surya an absolute must stop and fill up on accessories and rugs

Surya an absolute must stop and fill up on accessories and rugs

Great new modern glam look

Great new modern glam look

Bedroom bliss

Bedroom bliss

This is just a small window into what one day at market will be like. It will be going from one world to another multiple times a day. It is fantastic, exciting, energizing and exhausting all at the same time. I can’t wait!

The New Face of Artful Conceptions Wednesday, Feb 26 2014 

As many of you have noticed I have been posting pictures of new product that I have been buying for the showroom. So I thought I would talk a bit about how we are growing and expanding here at Artful Conceptions. We are still a full service design firm. What we have done is double the space to our offices. This means that we now have the ability to have a showroom where all are welcome to come in and buy some of our favorite accessories, artwork, lamps and rugs right off the shelves. It also means that with the increase in size that we now have a designated fabric room. This means that not only do we have the ability to showcase all the great brands that we love in the fabric industry but also that it is accessible for all to come in, find fabrics, and order the ones that they love. We can then use those fabrics to make your window treatments, bedding, pillows or furniture. Or if you want to make your own you can simple purchase the fabric. We have also added a room with wallpaper. We have many sample books and swatches from our favorite wallpaper companies including the fantastic handmade wallpapers that I am in love with. We have one wall in the showroom that has been done in one of the wallpapers and there will be two more walls that will also showcase handmade wallpaper for all to see. So if you are considering wallpaper for your home come in and look at all the new options available. We will be happy to install them for you or if your would like to do your own you can simply purchase the papers from us.

In the showroom area we are adding a bedroom to showcase the beautiful handmade and designed headboards that we have made. We design these headboards and they are made locally at our workroom from any of the beautiful designer fabrics that we carry. We will also be adding some upholstered furniture for you to see and sit in so that you can love it as much as we do. All of the upholstered furniture that we carry is made here in North America and can be designed for your home or office. All of the these pieces will be able to be purchased right off the floor or we can make ones for you in your choice of fabric, leather and finish.

We are very excited about the growth and expansion of the firm and look forward to seeing everyone and showing off the new space. There are new pieces arriving every week and I will be doing another buying trip this April at High Point Market or Furniture Fashion Week as I like to call it. Once everything is done here the hours will be Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm and all other times by appointment. Come stop by and see us!

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What’s the difference? How to select the right area rug. Wednesday, Sep 18 2013 

As many people know there are many different levels of quality and prices for home fashions. And sometimes it can be very confusing as to what the difference is, especially when we now have all these stores that claim to have the same quality for less. So I thought I would give you some tips of things to look for when shopping for area rugs and when and where to splurge.

One of the elements that can really change a room is a great area rug. Rugs can be made of many different fibers and techniques. Area rugs are usually made from wool, silk, rayon, polyester or polypropylene. Wool and silk rugs are your highest quality rugs. The fibers last and when you think about antique rugs these are the fibers that were used. Polyester rugs are used for indoor/outdoor rugs because they are easy to clean and if small enough they can go in a washing machine. Rayon is used as what is called art silk. That means it looks like a silk fiber when used but is much less expensive. The last fiber is polypropylene. This fiber is made from petroleum and you should stay far away from this fiber. It attracts dirt and emits chemicals. Usually these are the least expensive rugs and there is a good reason for that. They do not last and you really do not want them around you or your family.

For construction area rugs can be made in a few different way. There is hand-knotted, hand-tufted, hand-woven, and machine-made. As I am sure you figured out machine-made are the least expensive. These are also usually the rugs containing polypropylene. Hand-knotted area rugs are your most expensive and for good reason. They last forever and have different levels depending on how many knots per square inch there are created when making it. The higher the knot count the higher the quality and price. Hand-tufted area rugs are usually the ones you see with the high piles. These are the ones that when you step on them you get that thick plush feeling. These are going to be moderately priced and will last a long time. Woven rugs consist of your flat weaves and boucles. Flat weaves are extremely popular right now and are very well priced. These are a nice mix of style and price. And when you decide to change your mind in a few years you won’t feel bad about getting rid of the rug.

So if you are looking for something that will last forever and always look good go with a hand-knotted wool or wool and silk area rug. This will be on the high-end of price but will be well worth the splurge. These rugs are also intrinsically stain resistant because they are made from wool. For a rug that is going to last but not break the budget go for the hand-tufted. They look great and will last and since they are made from 100% wool that will also resist stains. Stay away for the machine-made they are not worth your money and will not last. And for that fun not break the bank area rug look for those flat weave and boucles.

Coloridas-y-Atrevidas-Alfombras-Sonya-Winner-1 Tuesday, Sep 25 2012 

Coloridas-y-Atrevidas-Alfombras-Sonya-Winner-1

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