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.

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.

Lighting – Is it Time to Update? Tuesday, Feb 2 2016 

In January there is such a huge push for the new year new you, but by the time we get to February there is a tendency to have fallen behind in all the things that you were going to do. So let’s look at updating your home in small bits, little things that will make a huge impact. One of those areas is lighting. The right lighting will be like a facelift for your home. There are many places where you can update your lighting.

The first are your hanging fixtures. Maybe you still have the builders fixtures in your home. Maybe you selected lights when you first moved in but haven’t thought about changing them in years. Maybe you still have the capped plate at the box where a chandelier is supposed to be hanging. Here are some great newly released hanging lights that will update your home.01193-default 07951 08367 06228 06923 07661 08539 08545 (2)

How fun are these lights? There are lights for every flavor and many, many more whether you are contemporary, traditional or transitional there are the right hanging lights for every home.

Do you have places where you were going to hang sconces but never got around to it? Or maybe you have a room that could use more light but are not sure where to get it from. Sconces can be a great place to add more light and change the feeling of the room. Here are some new sconces that would really change the design of the space.

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Can you see your room changing?

The last area where lighting will change the design of the room are in your table lamps. There are many different styles and compositions of table lamps. So no matter what you love there are great options. Here are some of the new lamps that have been released recently.

07866-default 08520-default 08527-default 07745-default 08524-default 07978-default 08505-default Are you updating your home in your mind? Can you see how little changes will make a big impact? Start small, work on one thing at a time and you will see your resolution of updating your home start to come into realization.

 

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!

Staging is not Designing Tuesday, Jun 16 2015 

In recent years we have had a huge amount of buzz about staging. Staging is a fantastic tool for selling a home. Unfortunately there have been many times in which staging is confused with interior design. So I thought I would clear up some of the very important differences between staging and designing.

Staging is all about how to sell a product. It is about how to best market an display a product. It is a sales tool. It is usually about how to sell a home but it can be about how to sell a product or service. When we apply staging to a residential home it is used to sell a home faster and for more money. This means that the house must be put together to attract the most people and offend almost no one. This means that whomever owns the house is not important. Whomever is using the house is not important. What is important is the mind set of the potential purchasers. This means that it is about depersonalizing the home so as to allow potential buyers to be able to see themselves in the home. The best way to say it is that staging is nothing about the owner and everything about the buyer.

Designing on the other hand is all about the home owner. Jessica Mann Amato defines design as “Design is the expression of the envelope that surrounds you at work, at home, at play, everywhere. It’s creating an experience, an emotion, or a story of your surroundings; helping life’s functions to be pleasing to the senses while organizing you.” NCIDQ defines design as “Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project.” As you can see both definitions talk about function and how that relates to the end user. Designing is about getting to know the client and creating the perfect space for them.

Staging is more about trends than function. When staging a home it is important to make sure it is relevant and evokes the current trends in design and fashion. Again it is about appealing to a buyer not about how it actually functions. When staging a home the furniture and treatments are solely for the look. They are not made to last, they are not made to function for someone to actually use them.

Designing is just as much about function if not more than, it is trends and fashion. The space has to function for the user. If it doesn’t it is simply bad design. So that means that even if there are certain trends that are popular or in fashion they simply may not work for the design. A good designer would advise their client of this and work to incorporate as much of the trend as is functional. This may mean that a better option and not the current trend is elected for the design to function properly. A stager never has to take this into consideration.

So when you think about staging know it is about the buyer not the home owner. When you think about design it is about the home owner not about anyone else and that includes the designer. So when you are looking for the right designer for you, remember to ask them how they work and how they feel about staging. It will be very enlightening about how they will treat your project. Staging has a wonderful purpose and it is a great real estate tool, however it is not designing.

The Right Piece Tuesday, Jun 9 2015 

There are many times that I am asked what piece must every room have. And yes there was a time in which it was true in design that there were specific layouts and pieces that were required in rooms to complete a style or design. Today, I don’t feel that this is really true. There are some guidelines that I tend to go by when designing a space. These include adding a touch of black to every space, mixing elements such as fabric, leather, wood, metals and glass, and having a natural element in each space. So I thought that I would post some pictures of items that I love to use. They are not all meant to be used together and they are meant for many different styles. I have found that over the years I have learned to appreciate and love many different styles so that I can truly create the space of my client’s dreams.

Here are some great light fixtures that bring drama and sophistication to just about any space. The right light, chandelier, pendant or ceiling mount will define the space and add an insight into the owner.

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Here are some of my favorite furniture elements at add to a space. Furnishings with the right curves and angles will add interest to a space while helping to define the use of the room.

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Accessories can make the room. Here are some accessories designed to create the perfect image and feel for a space. Use them and remember it Si better to have one big awesome piece than a bunch of small ones.

4.20024 Fincastle Hall Mirror

308GU356P2 Ribbon Vase

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Creating the perfectly designed space is about creating around the people that will be using it. The right piece can change everything just as a wasted piece can ruin it. I don’t use a piece just to use it. There has to be a reason to add an element to the room, and it is ok for the reason to be that you love the piece. Not sure how to make it work for you? Call us or check out the website to shop from our favorite things.

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