New in Window Fashions

Fabulous Jewels for the Home

I had a wonderful meeting today with my RM CoCo rep along with the Executive VP of the Finial Company. And I have to share some of the new designs that they are coming out with. First is the gorgeous picture to the left showing new finial designs and rods for window treatments. The middle rod and finial to the right is from a Picasso design. How amazing! While the finial to the left on the middle rod completely reminds me of CoCo Chanel. There is nothing better to me then to have a bit of classic to go along with contemporary to make for a truly timeless design. And if you are looking closely you will see that the bottom rod is made out of lucite! It is absolutely the kind of jaw dropping, statement making, cutting edge design that we have been waiting for. And here is my favorite part it is all made in the USA. Did you hear me it is AMERICAN MADE PRODUCT. So many companies have sent their business overseas for cheap labor it is just a wonderful thing to see a company that has chosen to keep their manufacturing here in the US. And because they are manufacturing and designing here in the US I can get any custom finish, custom size or design in a matter of weeks NOT months!

Now if you remember the news reports about the recalls on blinds and window treatments with cords? Guess what the Finial Company through one of their brands (Paris Texas) has already found an answer. You can still get traversing draperies, without the wand look, without the issue of a cord that a child could get hurt on. And let me tell you the new system works better than any of the old pulley systems. It is just a single cords pull and keeps up to five feet of cord in the handle. It is amazing. And of course it look better than the old styles that had to be screwed into the wall.

So needless to say I am very excited about the Finial Company and their new lines and what they can do for my clients. But what does this mean if you are my client? It means that I am getting cutting edge product, of top quality in a quick turn around. It also means that I am able to offer my clients not only my knowledge and experience when I am doing their window treatments, but also the knowledge and experience of a great, long time in business American company.

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Color – Are you using it correctly?

Color can be the most talked about love/hate topic when it comes to interior design. Some people loves colors and want to have lots of color all over. While others are quite timid when it coms to color and want everything neutral. But why are colors so controversal? Color evokes strong emotions. Color can make a work space more productive. It can make a home feel warm and enjoyable. It can make a spa relaxing. And the food taste better in a restaurant.

However, color can also do the opposite if used incorrectly. Color can make a work place seem hostile and uninviting, a home cold and sad. A spa agitating and take away your appetite in a restaurant. Color is linked to us and our emotions through psychology, anthropology, and our own personal history.

Have you ever heard someone say they hate a certain color? For instance I had a client who hated orange but if you said pumpkin or terra-cotta she loved it. Do you have the same reaction to certain colors? Chances are you do and so do your clients. This is because we relate colors to situations and memories. We also have physiological responses to colors. There are colors that will increase your heat rate and appetite. There are colors that can decrease your heart rate and appetite. There are colors that can increase your metabolism.

Are you having a hard time focusing in your office, or find that your staff is constantly getting off track. It could actually be the color on the walls that is creating the lack of production. One of the best colors for productivity is yellow. Ok I can hear the dissonance from here – not everyone likes yellow. Isn’t that a really partisan color? Well that’s where a good interior designer comes in. Because yellow can mean a lot of different things. Like I spoke about before with orange there are different shades of yellow and each shade has a different meaning and effect on the individual. So where one shade of yellow can be agitating, or seem out of style, or too bright another can be warm and inviting, muted and peaceful or exhilarating. So does this all sound really confusing?

Here is what you need to remember – a good interior designer is going to know how colors affect people on both psychological and physiological levels. They are also going to interview you to know what effects you want you clients to feel when they are in your business. And also how you feel about color and if you have any strong attachment/dislike of certain colors. Not to say that one can’t determine their own feelings on color but isn’t it better to know ahead of time that you are going to hit the mark the first time. In this day and age any head start on your competition should be taken and an area that business people don’t always think about is whether their colors are having the right impact on their consumer.

Mirrors – do you have the right one?

So as I work with more clients in the process of building custom homes there always seems to be a stumbling point when it comes to the mirrors in the bathrooms.  The questions that usually come up are: What is in style? Is it better to have one large mirror or two separate mirrors? Do  want a bevel? What is the difference between the mirror a framer does and one that I pick up at a discount store? And many, many more.

Number one rule for bathroom mirrors is go ahead a put a little extra money in the budget and go for the framed mirror. Flat, frameless mirrors are way out!

So here we go lets talk about what is in style. First I want everyone to take style with a grain of salt because there is one thing that everyone needs to consider above style and that is what works for you. As the home owner who has to live in the house, trends sometimes need to take a back burner for what is going to function for everyday life.  The trend right now is definitely the dual mirrors in the master bath, if the vanity is a double sink. But if you have a large enough master bath where the his/hers sink are in separate vanities then one large mirror apiece. Here is the one issue that a great deal of home owners are finding with this trend. If you made the adjustment to have a sitting/makeup area between the two sinks then what do you do for a mirror? There are a few ways to handle this. First is if the space is large enough then three mirrors with the center mirror dropped down is the remedy. The reason that we need a larger expanse for this option is that a space that is too small can look cluttered with frames. If we do have a smaller expanse then one large mirror with a small standing mirror for the vanity area is the answer.

As for bevel – always go with the bevel. It makes the mirror look more expensive (which it is) and more finished. With all the options out there for mirrors and places to get them there is never and excuse to go without a bevel.

Speaking of different places to find mirrors. There are many options and these include everything from furniture stores, discount stores, framers, glass manufacturers, and accessory stores. So what is the difference between them. Sometimes not much of a difference. However there is one thing that is different – consistency. A good framer or glass company is going to have a higher quality mirror that will be the same every time that your order from them. The framer will also have a great deal more options for the frame so you really can get whatever you want. So where does that leave your other options? Well it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great mirror in a store already made. And sometimes there isn’t any difference between one that you would find in a furniture store/accessory store and one that you would have made. However, you have to be careful. The one thing that happens with pre-made mirrors is that they can be leftovers or seconds. So what does that mean, well seconds are product that did not meet the quality standards of the manufacturer. So to recoup some of their costs they sell them at a discounted rate. What should you look for? The easiest way to tell if a mirror is inferior is if it waves. That means that when you look in the mirror from different angles that the image moves or does not stay in line.

Another reason that the mirrors that you find at discount stores are such a great price is that sometimes they are not glass. A great deal of product especially from certain overseas markets are plexiglass. Or the frames are made from styrofoam instead of wood or metal.  There is really no reason to be purchasing these mirrors. There are way too many good mirrors out there. Also if you have a good interior designer they are going to have sources to purchase higher quality mirrors at a lower price.

So bottom line is that you need to first keep in mind what is going to function for your lifestyle. Second get a good interior designer this will save you a money and get you a better quality product that you know will look good in your home. Third enjoy your new bathroom that matches your style and lifestyle!

The differences in granites

It has become really popular over the past 5 years to have granite counters. But do people really know what they are getting and all the different kinds of granite and what the different grades mean? The most common granites are your grade one granites. These are the ones that you see at places like Homes Depot. They are usually called Ubatuba, Saint Cecelia, Tropic brown, and New Venetian gold. These are common and affordable granites. They tend to be very consistent in color and design. This can be a good thing if you want a simple, classic look.  However, if you are looking for a statement it will be very hard to find a level one granite that makes a statement. The “statement granites” are what we call exotics. Exotic granites have very little consistency in aeach slab and from one slab to another. These are the granites that have veins, which create beautiful designs. These veins look like rivers and bring the granite to life. There is a large variance in colors, patterns, and price in these granites. They are also well worth the price tag in my opinion. Some of my favorites of the exotics are splendor and Persia blue.

I have found over the years that the more unusual and higher quality granites are coming from Italy. They are not always mined from there but when they are shipped through Italian companies they tend to have a better inspection process leading to better quality.

Granites can be made into countertops as solid slabs or tiles. The solid slabs are more expensive for two main reasons. There is more material being used and more fabrication needed. The granite tiles are an affordable way to get the look of granite without the high fabrication costs. The tiles are thinner pieces of granite and usually your average tile installer can do the installation. However, with slab granite you will need a specialist in fabrication and installation. The major visual differences between slab granite and tiles are the thickness and the grout lines or joints. In slabs you should have very few seams in the granite, while the tiles are installed like tiles with many seams, even when laid groutless.

One draw back to granite counters is the maintenance needed to keep them looking good. Granite needs to be sealed on a regular basis. This is because it is a natural product. And just like all natural products (like leather) granite is porous and germs and food can soak into it if not properly maintained. It is not a hard thing to seal your granite and it is worth the little effort.

So all in all granite counters can really change the way that your home feels and can be done at all price ranges. They are a great investment in a home and can be the focal point. Before you decide what kind of granite person you are look around at your local stone yards and see what is available. There is propbably a lot more out there then you first thought, or if you are only looking at you local home improvement store. If you really want to see all the specialty things being done in granite contact and interior designer.

New products in design

I was at the tile and stone wholesaler today and saw some really great new product. Everything from marble 1″x2″ subway tiles, to new travertine patterns, onyx backsplashes, stone pedestal sinks and metallic porcelain tile. There is some new amazing product out there and I am so excited to use it. I love that builders are building again and clients are building new homes. It’s great to see the interior design field to start bringing new things out again. Last year the products were so much of the same old same old there wasn’t much to get excited about. It was due to start seeing new designs and products.

The housing market and design

The housing market is picking up and that means that the design business is picking up too. It has been fantastic to be meeting new people and working with new clients. The past month has been so busy. I am so excited to be seeing the growth in the industry.

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