Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another "Mini Interior Facelift"

My clients wanted to do a mini interior facelift before they moved in. They were overwhelmed and not sure where to begin but we were sure that the kitchen would be the area with the most impact so we started there. Because they were starting with builder standard, it was easy to identify what needed to be upgraded. Our recommendations were new cabinets, counters, flooring, appliances, backsplash, paint, knobs and a larger island. They agreed with most of these except for the new cabinets and new appliances, which were out of their budget. Plan B for the cabinets were to have them stained and glazed a darker wood color to make them current. The other discussion with the client was that they wanted granite countertops. Because they cook so much the bigger island was a must. We removed the old one and replaced it with a nice big island. Here are the before and after photos of the kitchen. What a difference a “mini interior-lift” makes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Top 10 Design Mistakes

Being in the interior design business, I have lived these mistakes/ tips and have added my own commentary to each one, from real experiences.

Top 10 Design Mistakes - Writer: Jeffrey Bilhuber (Designer) House Beautiful, August 2004

  1. Always think about your house as a complete experience, not as a group of individual rooms. A common mistake is to decorate one room completely over the course of a year and then attack the room adjacent to it the next year. When the whole house is finally finished, everyone wonders why it doesn’t go together. Instead, make strategic decorating decisions on a smaller scale in different rooms simultaneously during your decorating program. PR Design Group: What that means is uncover your style…or styles, but keep that style consistent through every room (except kid rooms).
  2. Just because the library has a different feeling than the dining room doesn’t mean you should paint each room in colors that are completely and totally unrelated. Always be certain there is at least one color that runs throughout all the rooms in your house. This can be easily achieved with a consistent trim or ceiling color. For example, the living room can be pale coral, the library lacquered tobacco, and the breakfast room sky blue, but the baseboards and crown moldings in all the rooms are dove white. PR Design Group: This is what I tell clients. Make a color plan. Keep all colors that you want to have the same tone or base. I believe kids should have a say in the color of their room, but not the tone. So even though my kids’ rooms are pink, orange and navy, they are all the same tone. I picked those colors that all worked together side by side. They all have a lot of blue base. So when I painted my hallways to the rooms, I went with a camel color with a blue base. It’s subtle, but really makes a difference when trying to pull a house together.
  3. When hanging pictures, don’t start by attacking the obvious and expected blank wall above the sofa. Instead, take a mere objective view of your paintings, drawings, and photographs. Collect them all and lay them out on the floor to understand which ones have a cohesive relationship with one another in terms of size and subject. Then assemble them room by room, as if you were creating a collage. This “unifying” will ensure a positive result. PR Design Group: Or for bigger walls, hang four of the same medium size pictures that you might hang as a single, in a square above say a sofa or along a hallway. Now you have eclectic and interesting art…unexpected and is more personal.
  4. White rooms don’t make light rooms. If you like light-filled rooms as much as I do, paint the walls dark and then add furniture with light, neutral or pastel colored upholstery. You will be amazed at how your eyes draw to the light colored pieces first. PR Design Group: This is the contrast rule at its best.
  5. Be careful what you buy. Just because you can afford a new work of art or piece of furniture doesn’t mean its right for your house. A sound decorative purchase should have longevity and serve you well for an extended period of time, even through successive design evolutions. PR Design Group: When my clients hire me, we go on a buying “freeze”. If you don’t need it or have a spot and budget already figured out, it doesn’t get purchased. This lets you focus on what design element you really want and you want it bad enough to have figured it into your design plan (Top Ten Always…No.1 – Have a Design Plan).
  6. Anything you love is never out of style. Don’t make the mistake of falling for someone else’s idea of what gives you comfort, pleasure, and a visual sense of beauty. Stick with your instincts. No one knows what you really love better than you do. PR Design Group: Interior Design is personal and your home should make you happy right? I believe there is a trick to how you arrange personal things to create a more clean-lined, less cluttered look, but personal is what makes a home feel like a home.
  7. Lighting, especially with lamps can make or break a room. Did you know there is a difference between translucent and opaque shakes? Translucent allows light to emit through the shade; opaque prevents it. If you want to light a room use translucent shades. If you want task lighting, use opaque. This will avoid the common mistake of creating a living room that has all the allure of a lamp store. PR Design Group: This was my favorite class in design school. When you have a great feeling room, it is almost always created by the mood of the lighting. Play around, but know the basics - know the difference between ambient lighting (lamps, dimmers etc) and task lighting (can lights, track lighting and desk lamps). Every room usually has a need for both!
  8. Just because you like shine or luster doesn’t mean your house should look like it’s been underwritten by Slip ‘N Slide. The best way to appreciate that quality is to complement it with a contrasting material that has density, texture, and a matte finish. Think silk satin against hand woven linen. Remember the old adage: opposites attract. PR Design Group: I love mixing traditional base with bling, bling accessories. It keeps the traditional fun and the bling, bling on the classier side!
  9. When decorating your mantelpiece, keep it simple, use discretion, and remember that a four-foot-tall candelabra does not a better fireplace make. PR Design Group: Less is more and simple is elegant and if you don’t over accessorize your mantel, your fireplace may actually be the belle of the ball!
  10. If you’re going to buy a sofa, chair, mattress, or lamp without trying it out first, you might as well buy your shoes through the shop window. Always remember: Great decoration is about function first, beauty second. PR Design Group: Ok, so this one I disagree with. My desk is from Thailand where they are a small demographic. It’s old, exotic vintage, too short, too small and I love it…I deal with the bruises and the tiny desk surface because every time I walk in my office, this ‘personal item’ makes me smile! See Number 6!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What is a Virtual Re-Design?

What is a Virtual Re-Design? This is a re-design of a client's home based on photographs sent to us. This is our most value added service we now offer. Instead of going to the residence and walking and talking the consult, we virtually re-design the property and provide them with a detailed plan of action so they can do the project themselves. In some cases, the client wants to do a weekend facelift and sometimes it's simply to get the property market ready. Either way, it's a cost effective tool.

We wanted to invite you along on our most recent Virtual Re-Design from start to finish. It began with an email from a couple who expressed frustration with their living room and dining room. The client took some shots and sent them to us and here they are.

Of course, we can't re-design with just a couple of pictures, so we asked the client to send us several more angles of these two spaces. She was even gracious enough to send us video as well. The problem with her living room was simply that she didn't feel that the space was pulled together. In the dining room, the main issue is the water treatment cooler because there is no place else for it to go. She also felt that the table was too big for the space. Knowing what her parameters were and after reviewing all the photos and video we are now ready to provide the virtual re-design recommendations.

Within 48 hours this is what we emailed the client.

Living Room:

  1. Get a rod for the small window & drape two of the same curtains. If you can't get the same curtains, then use two of the four and use two sheers (cool sheers) on the inside of the big window. Now we have created bigger windows (seemingly)
  2. The best and cheapest solution for the niche is adding floating accessory shelves that are flush with the TV. The TV would sit on the mid-shelf then you'd still have three other 15 lb accessory shelves for space. Please check out the reserve on web-site (formal living room shelves). The cost was $300 per niche, so this is the best solution until you build them out. Painting is not included in price, but that could be a weekend project for you guysJ
  3. Build out a mantel for $150 - 175. Custom. We can discuss further should you want to go down this path. Modern and clean lined. Start looking at mantels in the style you like. Even if it's down the road. Get comfortable with what you want.
  4. Love the trunk but it's so big. I've asked for more pictures of every room so I can figure out a great purpose and space for this piece...like end of bed? Again, the piece is great but too big for the space most certainly.
  5. Get super creative. Coffee tables are a great conversation piece, so have fun with this piece. I have a chow table that may be amazing, but it's not inside of the box, so I don't want to scare you. I think long and rectangle is going to suit the space better. So, short, long and modern style.
  6. 6. I need measurements on the rug that is inset in the tile. How do you feel about a rug on a rug? I think a 5 x 7, maybe 8 x 10 depending, would help bring this LR together. Start getting comfortable with rugs (what you like and what you don't). Check IKEA, HomeGoods, CL for sure, but you have to begin with your style. I keep bringing up that word.
  7. ] love the ottomans and think you should slipcover them. Are they storage? Let me know. I think you should add feet to the ottoman to give them more presence. We can discuss further should you want to go down that path. Cost to slipcover would be about 100 each including fabric. Feet are about 6 to 8 buck each. But then you can use them forever! You pet toys, kid toys whatever...forever. If they are storage of course.
  8. No accessories at the fireplace. Less is more and I like the small cases maybe on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. Black vase should be on the bar at the wall coming in from the front door. Tall skinny wall, then bar...?
  9. 86 the brass look on the fireplace to get a more modern look. Go to Home Depot - buy a can of black heat resistantspray paint - tape off the glass and general area and get rid of the brass. This is a flat black spray paint made for this area! This takes 15 minutes and then there is no more brass. 6 bucks, the best six bucks spent. If it's a rental...call me.
  10. 86 table and lamp on left side of sofa; too small and you need to add a tall floor lamp. Maybe two on each side of sofa but ditch the side tables - clutter - stay simple. My store in Temecula was Halo Interiors - Simply unique - simply elegant. I believe less is more and the more should be way cool pieces anyway. I have two tall lamps that you can work with. If this appeals to you then let me know and we'll go from there.
  11. Add a round piece (big star, or starburst type mirror), something really WOW. I love the piece you have but I'd like to re-commit it to another space. It's not enough punchJ

Dining Room:

  1. Get tea shades for the chandelier - if you don't know where to get them, call. They run about four to seven dollars each. I recommend spray painting the brass away with a specialty metal spay paint that looks like hammered metal. Easy and will make your light fixture look amazing. Also, let's add a chain cover too. Go to Ballard Designs online and see what I'm referring to if you're not sure.
  2. It's important that the light fixture is not hanging above the window treatments. I can't tell if it is or not, but before you lower it, we need to center it over a table...so let's figure out the table solution even if you can't afford to change it. I normally love a round table and maybe I still do as long as it's the right size, but I think this space would benefit from a rectangle type of shape. Let me know your thoughts.
  3. What is the diameter of the table currently? It looks big, but I can't tell. I have several ideas for this space, but let's just begin with what you have. Too many chairs, period. Store someJ
  4. Do you need to seat six at all times? How about seat four and have two or more chairs in the garage or ...? I'd actually like to see super cool seating for TWO. With extra chairs, stored? Let me know your thoughtsJ
  5. Did I already mention the height of the window treatments need to match the LR height? If the drapes (BORING) are good, because pictures can't always convey..., then they may be too short. In that case, add a simple but fun piece of fabric to the bottom so you have a bottom border. This makes them longer and more fun all in one!
  6. Turn the water machine so that it's flush against the wall. Not cornered. Of course facing outJ
  7. Add a tall and full type of plant (yes plant) to the right of the LR window, right of the curtain, at that wall, but cheat it (the plant) over to cover the side of the water machine.... I want to cover the water thingy as you enter the home, right?
  8. ADD three small to medium pictures above the water cooler in place of the glass urn. These I see as 5 x 7's, hanging horizontal. Dark frames for contrast. Fill the glass urn with soap and put it in the bathroom or fill it with lemons and set above the cabinets in kitchen...go to pier one and buy really good looking fruit that is "faux"J
  9. If you add a big mirror, twice the length of the piece of art, it will add so much more light and ambiance to the space. Re-commit the art piece somewhere else.
  10. OK, we need to add a fabric border to the curtains in the DR. right? After you make sure they are the same height as the window treatments in the LR, I want you to get some cool, and I mean super cool, fun fabric that works with the colors you have going on...this is why getting to know your style is important. What is your color pallet? Once you know that then choosing a fabric to create a border on the bottom of your WT won't seem like a daunting task. By making two accent pillows for the sofa in the same material as the DR window treatments we bring the two rooms together ...see? I can get pillows made for about 25 bucks a piece, not including insert.
  11. Discuss how you feel about an area rug under the table in the kitchen. I see a solid color...maybe sea grass or sisal...Discuss and let me know what you think and I can give you sizes and cost options... inexpensive and really brings the room into cozy.
  12. Add a plant to the middle of the table to create even cozier. Nice pot...contemporary. Not fake!

Stay tuned for the after pictures!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Problem with Niches when you're Staging!

When we entered this home for the initial staging consult we couldn't believe how many deep, dark and wide niches there were in the house. It's hard to fill those niches because it always looks like "stuff" filling the niches.

We knew we had to do something to bring a fresh design element to this house on a budget. We called in our finishing carpenter and had him build inexpensive accessory floating shelves for the living room, media shelves in the family room and a server shelf in the dining room.

Everything came together in the end and the house looked as if those shelves were meant to be there.