Linen, Linen, Linen

So I happen to be absolutely in love with linen fabrics. Finally, my fabrics vendors are just as much in love. This week I saw some amazing linen fabrics from Cowtan & Tout. These are beautiful high quality fabrics with amazing patterns. They can be used as window treatments, pillows and bedding. Please enjoy!

Window Treatments

Window treatments are the finishing touches to a room. Most people think of window treatments as a functional necessity that they have to keep the sun from waking them up too early in the morning. But window treatments really are a major part of what gives a room its feeling. Have you ever walked into a room and felt like it was incomplete? Looked around the room and saw that there was the proper amount of furniture, an area rug, artwork and accessories. Then realized that there was nothing covering the windows? Or if there was something it completely did not go with the rest of the room. How many times have you walked into a room and there is a beautiful sofa in designer fabrics, with leather chairs, an oriental rug, and antique tables but verticals blinds on the windows? I see this all the time. Maybe not in that exact combination but something similar. Great furnishings and windows left to an after thought and one that only consisted of we need something to block the sun, or give us privacy. Well I am here to say that you can have function and style in window treatments.

Let’s step out of the mindset that it is just for function and into the thinking that window treatments are what ties your room together. And there are many different styles of window treatments. There are blinds, shades, shutters, draperies, cornices and valances.

Blinds can be horizontal or vertical and can be made from many different materials to give you different looks and functions. When blinds are used they are mostly for function. They can be made from wood, plastics, or fabric. These are your horizontal wood/faux wood blinds, vertical blinds, mini blinds etc. These are functional treatments and in my opinion usually need another softer treatment to make them feel finished in a room. The reason being is that they are usually set inside the window and without a decorative molding they do little more that block the window. They also tend to feel harsh since they are generally made from hard materials. So instead of adding a finishing touch that flows with the room they simply add function. This can be changed by adding a cornice or valence to the top or draperies along the side. Blinds can also be made in fabric for a softer touch but on the majority I feel they still need something to finish them.

Because of the harsh feelings that blinds tend to give there are shades. Shades came from the need to have a functional way to block light and give privacy while having a decorative side.  And since they are generally made from fabrics they are softer feeling to begin with. Also shades tend to be a more finished look. Shades can consist of roman shades, roller shades, woven woods, and cellular shades. The roman shades and woven woods can be finished treatments on their own. Roman shades are made from fabric and can be hobbled or flat. Since they are made from fabric as designers we can add lots of details to give that finished look. It can be decorative banding, a decorative fabric, or trim that makes these treatments really complete the look of the room. Woven woods can also be done in either flat or hobbled and they come with an additional valence to their top to hide the workings and give a finished look. These can also be banded in fabric for a finished look. They have great function in which they can be raised from the bottom but also can go down from the top. This gives the home owner the ability to still have light and privacy at the same time.

Roller shades have come a long way since the days of the white vinyl that half the time when you pulled the bottom instead of going back up would just unwind itself. Do you remember these? How many times did you have to climb up and take it off the bracket and roll it back up manually? Ok they are very different now. The biggest trend in roller shades now is solar shades. These are great and they give the functionality of blocking the sun and uv rays while also giving a finished contemporary look.  These can be banded and I prefer to do them with a matching valence. Roller shades can also be done in fabrics to match the style of decor in the room or home. They can also be used underneath decorative cornices, valances and draperies.

Of the shades cellulars are the only ones that I feel are the functional option that must have a softer finishing treatment with them. Cellular shades are exactly what they sound like. They look like a honeycomb and to me are basically a mini blind made out of fabric. These are not one of my favorite options for window treatments and do not bring much to the room.

Shutters are another option when it comes to window treatments. These are a great clean-looking treatment. When shutters are installed they have a decorative molding that goes around the window for the finishing touch. I love using these in tropical styled homes, Key West looks, cottage looks and beach looks. They can be made for every kind of window including doors and give a great continuous look throughout the home. They can be made of either wood or faux wood. The climate of the home takes a large part in the decision-making as to use wood or faux wood.

Now we come to my favorite kinds of window treatments. Draperies, cornices and valances. These treatments all add those finishing touches that really make a room pop. There are many different styles of draperies from the traditional pinch pleat, to inverted pleats, to grommetted and rod pockets and many versions in between. These treatments can be made from all different kinds of fabrics. They can be lined, banded or sheer. They can be functional or decorative. You can also have workable draperies underneath stationary draperies. And draperies can hang on their own or underneath cornices and valances. When hanging draperies there are many options for decorative hardware, everything from wood to wrought iron and tons in between.

Cornices and valances are what we call toppers. They go on top of the windows to complete the look. Cornices are hard and are built around a wood frame. Valances are soft and flowing and they are built off of a wood rail. Although they both do the same thing they give different looks to the room. Toppers are made from fabrics and can have decorative trim and banding. They can also be shaped to highlight the room. Most people think of rectangles but they can be all different shapes, I have done semi circles, scalloped, and triangles. The beauty of soft window treatments, (draperies, cornices and valances) is that you are only limited by your imagination.

So the next time that you think about windows and how they fit into your room think about what they are saying. Are they speaking of the beauty and warmth that you have created in your home? Are they fun and funky? Do they reflect you? Your windows are the eyes of your home make them work with it!

How Designs Evolve

Many times I am  asked how a design evolves, how did I think that everything was going to work, how do you get from start to finish? So today I thought I would share the process on one of my clients homes. How it evolved what the starting point was and how it finishes. So here is how this project has gone. I first started when the client purchased a vacation home. When I met the client there was nothing in the home except for a folding table and folding chairs. At that time we decided to start on the bedrooms, family room, and breakfast nook. The twist was that we changed the uses of two of those spaces. The family room became the dining room and the breakfast nook became a sitting area. I spent the next few hours measuring the rooms and windows, talking with the clients and their children to get to know them and theirs likes, needs and usage. From there I went back to my office to put together the design for them. Which I had two days to do since they were only in Florida for vacation. I drew scale drawings of each of the rooms, found furniture pieces that fit their style and needs, and selected fabrics for their aesthetic keeping in mind the children and hot sun in Florida. The next step was to design window treatments for the rooms using the fabrics and keeping in mind usage and furniture placement. From there all the drawings, pictures of furniture pieces and fabric samples go on display boards so that the client can get an idea how their home is going to look. The client is then presented the design plan. If there are any changes to be made, this is the time. Once the client okays the plan fabrics and furniture get ordered, painting begins and we are off and running.

Once the painting is done, the furniture and window treatments are installed.

From here the home is starting to take shape and there is a place to sleep and eat but that is far from a completed home. There are still many rooms that we have not yet addressed. The bathrooms, the kitchen, the loft, living room and study are still bare. So the next meeting with the client was to create a plan for the above mentioned rooms. This meant starting with the kitchen and bathrooms. So we went to work.

We selected a tile to highlight the clients style and create a unique back splash. This took a kitchen from simple counters and cabinets to a finished space to match the fun colorful style of the client.

On to the bathrooms – goal have a tropical feel without being the traditional Tommy Bahama and no monkeys!

Wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to completely change the look of a bathroom. This is a room where you are not going to be able to add furniture and window treatments (most of the time) so wallpaper really is a great tool.

Ok so if you are looking at the pictures and wondering what this is all going to look like you are not the only one. Over the time of designing this home many a workman looked at me like I had ten heads. To create a truly unique design it means thinking outside of the box. So as paint and wallpaper goes on the walls and tile is installed there are definitely more than a few moments that an outsider could be very perplexed and positive that is not going to come together. However, as a designer, as I see each stage completed I see where the design is going. What lamps, artwork and accessories I am going to use to finish the design. I see a vision coming together.

Where are we now? We have completed the wallpaper and tile work and it is time to move onto furnishing the empty rooms. So we move ahead with the client’s needs and style in mind. I find fabrics from JAB, and Highlands Court for draperies and furniture. I find furniture pieces from Lee, Palecek, Taylor King and Stanley. I have rugs made to go with the design. And then there is a lot of waiting. Waiting? I know you are thinking to get all of that done how do you have time to wait? But the reality is that with all the products that have to be made we have around 12 weeks of wait time. Once all of the pieces come in, it’s time to install them in the home.

Now we have places to sit and all the rooms have furniture but that still does not equal a completed design. Artwork, lamps, and accessories are needed to have a complete design. So on the next trip to Florida for the client I bring in all the artwork, lamps, and accessories and complete the home. This way the client has the ability to see the home completed and also veto anything that they feel is not them. So my job is to work with art galleries, lighting companies and retailers to find the right pieces to complete the look. Artwork and accessories make a huge difference. They may be the last step but they really are the stage the completes the design. They are the icing on the cake, or the jewelry of the room.

 How different the rooms look when the finishing touches are added! All those bold colors now make sense. That vision of contemporary tropical is created. And there is not a monkey in sight!

Lots of hard work and planning along with vision and creativity go into a successful interior design. Without all of those components a design does not evolve nor is it successful.

Fabric Trends for Traditional Fabrics

This week there was a fabulous table top showing of new fabrics. The fabrics were beautiful! The direction in the interior design industry as seen through the new fabrics is a slight move toward the muddy. Ok let me explain. A great deal of the fabric companies are releasing traditional fabrics in which the color hues are very close in value which gives an effect that the patterns are very subdued. This creates very little definition and from far away the pattern and color variances are hard to see. All in all muddy. I am not a big fan of this trend. I love a rich neutral, a soft hue and pattern defined only by texture. And at times the use of a muddy color such as a green with brown and gold background hues or a gold with green and brown backgrounds. But when the only hues used in a fabric are muddy neutrals that blend into each other I am not so in love.

Now on the other hand some of my favorite fabric vendors did release some amazing rich fabrics. Stroheim has always been one of my favorites and because of that I was able to view the new releases from them last week – and they were show stopping. If you want to read more about those fabrics, please check out last weeks post. Romo really showed how to work with a neutral fabric! Instead of neutral being boring they took that great charcoal grey ( my current favorite neutral) and created a wow! Look at how beautiful this neutral is. The use of multi levels in the velvet give it a richness that is opulent. They also were able to create a depth to the fabric making the neutral grey seem to reach out and touch you. This is the kind of fabric that you just want to curl up in and never leave. Way to go Romo you just reminded me why I always have to see your new releases!

Now the other way that some of the fabric companies went was to really do traditional with a POP. And RM Coco really went all out in this area. They said lets take a traditional pattern and make it really stand out. I am in love with the direction that they are going. It really is taking into account the influences from around the world and giving us fabrics that show where the rest of the world is going. This fabric is rich in color and the stitching is amazing. They have put such detail into the fabric and the colors just pop. The colors really show the influence of other cultures while the pattern is like a traditional Amish quilt. How divine!

Blue, blue, blue. Every fabric company came out with blues this season. And as an interior designer I say about time. I am so happy to see true blues. As I am extremely tired of the spa blue or robin’s egg blue. It was definitely about time to see real blue. And even better true blue with white. There is nothing more traditional and classic then blue and white.

Here is one of my favorite new releases of the classic. This is from RM Coco and the knots and embroidery are going to make this a highly sought after fabric.

I am very excited to start working with all the new releases! This has just gotten me so excited to see what is going to be coming out at High Point Market. It is going to be fantastic to see these great fabrics and many others on furniture and in window treatments.

New Releases in Fabric

It’s that time again new fabrics are coming out. This is like Christmas to me! I love it when my fabric reps call and say “new samples have arrived. When are you available to see the new lines?” My answer ASAP! This is part of what separates me from other interior designers. I make sure that when new fabrics are released that I see the showings and pick up what I know my clients are going to love. This also means that I get samples sent immediately of fabrics and wall coverings that will work for certain clients even before they start thinking about that stage of the design.

This week the showings were for Stroheim, S. Harris and Vervain. And even with the changes in ownership of Stroheim I am still in love. This is one line that is like the perfect pair of high heels, no matter what you are wearing they are always the right answer to complete the look. Stroheim has been one of my favorite fabrics lines for ten years and this release is a perfect example why. They have come out with new cutting edge technology for better wear, kept up their well-known name with opulent fabrics, and great color combinations.

Silk with bamboo for added strength and wear

Here is an example of the new technology that Stroheim is using to strengthen silk fabrics. As an interior designer I love using silk fabrics in designs to give them that WOW factor. However, silk fabrics are more delicate than many other natural fibers which means that they cannot always be used due to the lifestyles of the clients. The addition of bamboo to these silks adds stability to the silk and a strength that allows a great deal more applications. This example is just one of the beautiful silk and bamboo combinations. The colors in this line are refined and elegant and are great for window treatments, bedding, and pillows.

Velvet Stripe

 

Velvets are in and they are as beautiful as ever. This season they are dry velvets. What this means is that the texture and hand of the fabric is more dense and stiffer. This is NOT the velvet that when you touch it you see every mark, finger print, and dare I say butt mark. This is a velvet that is rich in texture and depth of color. This is the type of velvet that you want when using it for upholstery. It will last and not crush after many sittings. What better – rich velvets and no crushing! So are you excited? I am. Thank you Stroheim for yet again an amazing release of fantastic, usable, unique, cutting edge fabrics!

Now on to S. Harris. The release that I am most excited about is a line created from metal sculptures. Seem like a weird combination? Let me explain. This line has taken unique metal sculptures and translated them to fabric. There is an amazing depth to these fabrics. They have used pleating to create the layers that would normally have been created by welded metals.

Fabric from metal art

Here is one example of the amazing translation of metal art into fabric. The colors of these designs are mostly in your neutral tones such as cream, gray, and beige. And the unexpected is that some of them have metallic threads running through them. I am hoping that these designs take off so that we can get them in a wider range of colors. I would love to see this design in a vibrant royal blue or high intensity purple.

On to Vervain. I was most excited to see this line however I have to  say it was not what I expected. Normally I expect rich velvets, embroidered silks and a perfect mixture of traditional and contemporary designs. This season we did get some velvets but most of the line was linens and linen like fibers. The line was directed to a more quiet, sedated clientele. The colors on the majority were muddy. And the patterns ranged from Icots to traditional paisley and toiles. They did add some surprises but on the whole it felt scattered and dare I say slightly mundane. Please don’t be upset with me Vervain as I still love your fabrics.

Colorful Icot

Here is a an example of one of the unexpected surprises from Vervain. I love the color in this fabrics. Big thumbs up for taking a traditional pattern like the Icot and adding bold, fun colors. I can’t wait to find the right use for this new fabric!

So in conclusion lots of new fabrics and something for everyone. Stroheim has confirmed that even though they have new owners they are still producing a truly Stroheim line. (I was really afraid that the Stroheim as we had known it was gone). S. Harris is looking towards non traditional avenues for inspiration and Vervain has come out with collection that has something for everyone.

Selecting the Right Upholstered Furniture

So how many people are seriously confused about upholstered furniture and why there is such a large variation in price? Well there is a lot that goes into quality furniture and what determines the price. If you are not working with a good interior designer, who will take into consideration your lifestyle to select the correct, properly made upholstered furniture here are somethings to point you in the right direction.  First lets talk about construction of a sofa and what you want to look for. The first thing to find out is what the frame of the sofa is made from. You want to look for a frame made from northern hardwoods/hardwood solids. What does this mean? Northern woods which include cherry, maple and birch because they are harder woods. You never want to hear that the frame of your sofa is made from pine. Why? Pine is a soft wood and will damage, warp and not hold up. If you hear a sales person say presswood – run. And make sure that you have confirmed that the entire frame is hardwood. There are some manufacturers that will use cardboard to form the arms of a sofa, loveseat or chairs. This is one of the areas where you will see price variances. It will be more expensive for a hardwood solid frame, but it will out live the lesser frames by years. In fact a hardwood solid frame should last 10 – 20 years or more with proper care. 

Now that you have a hardwood frame make sure that it is kiln dried. Kiln drying means that in a temperature controlled atmosphere the wood was dried evenly throughout. This keeps the wood from cracking when it changes climates. For instance if the sofa was made in Florida with a humid climate then shipped to Denver Colorado with and arid climate there could be issues with the wood due to the climate change. But if the wood has been kiln dried there should not be any issues since all moisture has already been removed in a controlled environment. This means no cracking.

So we have a hardwood, kiln dried frame next is the spring system. This is where a little knowledge can help you when dealing with a sales person. There are sinuous springs also known as no sag springs, drop in coil systems, and hand tied springs usually 8 or 10 way. A sinuous spring system is one in which wire springs, in a zigzag shape, run front to back. This is a firmer sitting spring system and one that you will find in a lower end upholstery. This spring system will give the illusion of strength however because the springs are just attached to the front and back there is nothing for them to rest on, which leads to faster wear. Now some higher end upholstery companies will use this system in contemporary styles because there is not enough room to put a coil system in. In this case they will use stake wires so that they are reinforced right to left and front to back. Now for the better options drop in coils or hand tied springs. This is again where you will see a price increase and for good reason. This is not only a more comfortable piece of furniture but also will last much longer. Coils springs sit on top of the wood frames so that when you sit in the sofa or chair your weight is supported by the frame of the furniture not just by the screws used to attach the springs. Coil springs look just like how they sound, they are coils similar to mattress springs. These coil springs can come to two forms. Drop in systems, less expensive version, and hand tied. Drop in systems tied the coils together with 8 gauge wire. Each spring is tied to the springs to the right, left and diagonally, and if it is the center spring it is tied to all of the springs. This gives durability and comfort to the user. This is how you get the feeling of sitting in a sofa instead of on the sofa. Now for the top of the line option is the hand tied spring system. This is the most durable and comfortable creation for upholstered furniture. The process is the same as above except instead of wire tying the springs together it is done by hand after the springs have been installed with string or twine. If you have never sat in a hand tied sofa please go find one to sit in. You will feel the difference immediately, and never go back to a sinuous spring sofa again.

Now for the cushions, here is another area that there is a great deal of confusion. I have heard people try to tell the quality by the weight of the cushion, this is never going to get you the right answer. Cushions can be made from a couple different sources. The first is a foam based cushion. This is the most prevalent style of cushion. The second is a spring and down cushion and the third is a down cushion. Now there are many variations of each of these options but these are the main divisions. Foam cushions are found as an option by almost all furniture manufacturers. In these cushions you can get a standard foam with a dacrone wrapping or the new green option is a soy based foam cushion. There is nothing wrong with either of these options. The one thing to watch out for is loaded foam. This is when the manufacturers adds chemicals to the foam to make it heavier. What this does is make the cushion break down quicker make the sofa not last as long.  The foam cushion is your firmest sitting cushion. For softer cushions there are the down options. The spring and down option is the middle of the road for firmness. It sits softer that a foam cushion and firmer than an all down option. This cushion has a spring core that is encased in foam then wrapped in down. This gives you the comfort of a down sit but without the maintenance. When you stand up the cushion with “spring” back into shape. This is my favorite option for a family with kids. The last option is the down cushion. This is usually your most expensive as the materials simply cost more. This can mean that the cushion is completely made from down and feathers like a down pillow, or it can have a small foam core. The small foam core allows the cushion to keep shape better than just down and feathers. The manufacturer can will also sometimes add fiber to the down mix to help the cushion keep it’s shape. This cushion requires maintenance however, with a little fluffing it will always go back to its original shape. Unlike a foam or spring cushion there is nothing to break down so 20 years from now with some fluffing the cushion will look like brand new.

Those are the main parts under the cover of an upholstered piece of furniture. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the information remember a few things: hardwood frames, hand tied springs and non loaded foam. Using this knowledge can help you to purchase a solidly made piece of furniture. And of course please buy American! And if you still are unsure or want to make sure that you are making the right decision for you and your lifestyle a good interior designer can help.

Why interior designers start from the ground up

Over the years I have had many clients, business partners, and friends ask why I always start from the ground up when designing a space. So here are some of my reasons and secrets. When designing a space whether it is a whole house, office or just a room we always want there to be flow and balance. If we start from the ground then we can build up making sure that there is continuity. For instance if a client tells me that the want a mediterranean look I can easily determine which mediterranean style they like based on their likes in flooring. If they like clean white marble and dark wood floors then I know we are going toward Spain. If they like travertine and hand chiseled wood floors then we are looking toward Tuscany for influences. So how does this translate into designing a whole space. Well once we have our floors then that leads to the cabinet styles and trim style. It also tells me what kinds of furniture to look at and how to highlight with the proper lighting.

One of the reasons that a person hires an interior designer is so that they don’t have to look at all the millions of options available. If I can determine a client’s style then I can eliminate three-quarters of the choices. This allows the design to flow and the client to know that they are in good hands. If I were to show a contemporary client traditional options again and again they would become frustrated and probably not continue working with me. Just as it is never my place to push my style on a client I need to be listening and understanding my clients needs. As an interior designer it is my job to take my years of knowledge and taste to the job and create their dreams in the space. This requires I make sure that I have flow and balance. Starting from the bottom allows me to layer the clients style throughout the space.

If the space has already been built and we are looking at furnishing it I start with an area rug. A great area rug will give you everything that you need to center and ground the space. From that area rug we can determine what colors, textures and finishes we want to compliment the space. If we have chosen a contemporary rug in bold colors we may choose one or two colors from the rug to bring throughout the entire home. And based on those colors we will decide on how bold the lighting should be along with how heavy the furniture should be and what kind of window treatments are required. If you have a very heavy feeling rug then there has to be balance created by lightening up on either the upholstery or the casegoods. But there is also a very fine line in which one can lighten the furniture too much and create a dissonance between the ground and the furnishings. A room can feel out of balance very easily when the furnishings are not in harmony with the structure of the space. For instance if you have a country-style home with oak hardwood floors and brick accents you would not want to put in clean lines, low sitting, metal accented furniture. This would be way too modern and there would be a great dissonance.In this instance you would want to start with maybe a braided rug, warm rounded furniture and accents in oaks, pines and wrought iron. And of course a layering of many different fabrics that playoff each other.

By starting from the ground a good interior designer can determine the clients style, create flow and balance, and bring the client’s dreams to life. The floor is what everything starts and ends with and if the room is not in balance with it then you will not have a successful design. Design is like painting, you start with the base and finish with the highlights.

Lighting for Your Home

Have you ever looked at you room and felt that something wasn’t right? Maybe it’s your lighting. Every room should have three sources of light. These lighting sources can come from light fixtures, lamps, recessed lights or can lights, and sconces. Light fixtures can be chandeliers or pendant lights and of course the lights on ceiling fans. If you live here in the Tampa Bay area you probably have at least one ceiling fan in your home and finding the right mix of function and style can be difficult. Today I want to focus on the trends in ceiling fixtures.

Ceiling fixtures or chandeliers are still the trend for living rooms but you may be finding that these chandeliers look very different from traditional chandeliers. The classic traditional crystal chandelier will always be in style. There is nothing wrong with the classic, that’s why it is classic. It is a chic, stylish look and always timeless. However, the new chandeliers that are coming out are bucking that tradition. We are seeing LED lights being used to increase the light and lower electric bills. And with the ability to use LED lights new styles are possible. Schonbek has the Geometrix line that really utilizes the brilliance of new technology with beautiful colorful crystals. 

Not all chandeliers have crystals to make them stand out. Some new styles are using glass formations to bring the wow factor. Curry and company are using glass beads and balls. I recently found their Goddess chandelier for one of my clients that has a lot of fun mixed with a little tradition.

There is also a trend in ceiling lighting to add a softer textile feel to chandeliers. This translates to seeing fabrics and woods combining with metal to create a new trend. Single large pendants are being used for chandeliers to give a softer more approachable home.  These casual looks are a way to get back to a simpler time. We find these trends at many different times, usually after there have been major changes in our society. After the 9 11 tragedy we went to a more homey feeling styles and now as the country is reflecting on their ecconomics we are seeing it again. Home owners are looking to create a sanctuary in their home. It does not mean that homeowners are not spending money it is more of a change in their lifestyle. It is a move toward a casual livable home, and this is reflected in the casual lighting that is showing up.

We are still seeing a great deal of the candle style chandeliers. These are very popular and mix the soft casual with a bit of formality. They are not the traditional crystal fixtures but not as casual as the fabric pendants. They also give off a filtered light that softens the entire room. These are a good answer for the home owner who does not want to be as formal as the crystal chandelier but wants more that simple pendants.

Another trend that I feel will be around for a while is the use of wood in chandeliers. This is again a more causal fixture but in the right setting can be very elegant and chic. I am in love with the living room with sofas in linen fabrics with traditional hand-knotted mahal rugs, glass and metal coffee table and distressed dark wood end tables using these wood chandeliers. It is a causal but timeless look that anyone can be at home in.

The are a few things to remember when deciding on lighting. The first is are you going to have enough light for the room to function. The second is are you going to want to see the fixture for many years to come. And third is do the fixtures work with your furniture style. If you can answer yes to all of these you have the right fixtures for you.

Accessories and artwork are the finishing touches.

Have you ever had new furniture delivered and wondered why it doesn’t look right? Most likely it’s because you have an unfinished picture. Here is what I mean. When you go to a store to purchase new furniture you are not only seeing the sofas an chairs but all the rest of the picture. The store is smartly merchandised with rugs, artwork, plants, flowers, candles, planters, books, vases, lamps, clocks etc. Not to mention the window treatments. So when you go home after purchasing your new sofas and chairs you expect them to look perfect in your home. However, when they are delivered most of the time what they have actually done is make your other furniture look, old or out of date.

So how do you get your new furniture to look like it does in the store? Accessories, accessories, accessories. Accessories are the icing on the cake when it comes to your home. Without them you have an unfinished painting. So how do you know what are the right accessories? The best way is to have an interior designer complete your space. An interior designer will have the ability to know what is going to make your furniture look the best in your home. And even if your didn’t hire a designer when you were purchasing your furniture they can still do all the accessories. And they will save you hours of time running around to all the different stores plus they will have wholesalers in which they can purchase from – saving you money.

If you choose not to hire a designer here are some helpful tips. First start with the artwork. The right painting can carry the entire room. The artwork will determine if you need to go heavier or lighter on the rest of the accessories. If it is a large colorful piece you will want to go simpler on the rest of the accessories. You may only need a floral arrangement on the cocktail/coffee table. If you went with a black and white piece you will wat to bring touches of color in through the remaining accessories.

Don’t forget lamps, rugs and accent tables. A rug will ground your space so that the room doesn’t feel like it is floating. Lamps are a necessity. Every room should have three sources of light. And accent tables can be a fun way to bring in color or a different shape. These pieces can be found in painted finishes and shapes like triangles. Keep in mind what makes a room work is not only the flow through it but also the balance and the ability to keep the eye moving around it. Think of your room as a painting. A painting is effective when it makes th viewer feel something. To be able to feel something the viewer’s eye must be traveling around the painting again and again. The same is true for your room. It should give you a hug when you enter it.

So remember a sofa and chair is not a completed room. A completed room consists of artwork, rugs, tables, lamps, floral arrangements and many other finishing touches. When you plan your budget keep in mind that you will need to also purchase accessories to truly have the room of your dreams.

Why Do You Want to Hire an Interior Designer?

As an interior designer I hear all the time why should I hire an interior designer? And usually right after that the comment comes my spouse (feel free to replace with friend, neighbor, mother etc) is really good with color and did a great job on our last house (replace with their house, friend’s, mother’s, neighbor’s). Or the other response is “aren’t interior designers only for the wealthy?” So my first answer is lets talk about what an interior designer does. If you are building a new home an interior designer can become your project manager. Your designer will not only make sure that your selections flow throughout your home but also that they meet your functional needs. Making sure that you as the client understand how the different materials will react to your lifestyle and give you options that will stay looking beautiful. Also an interior designer can review your blueprints for function and flow. How many time have you walked into a house that the dining room chandelier is either not centered to the table or is swaged? This can be avoided, along with the costly expense of rewiring and moving electrical boxes, with a plan review by an interior designer. An interior designer will also create drawings of how the tile designs will look. This not only allows the client to see how the backsplashes and flooring will flow but also helps the builder. This way the tile setter knows exactly how it should look and is not just left to his own judgement – which may or may not match the clients. Having everything laid out and designed ahead of time saves money not only in time but also supplies and labor.

An interior designer is not only for when you are building or remodeling. An interior designer is also for furnishing and window treatments and bedding. When you work with a designer for furnishings you have access to brands that are not found in all furniture stores. Plus there is always the options of creating a completely custom piece of furniture. Your designer will also create renderings of how the space will look before a single piece of furniture is purchased or created. This allows for a mistake free experience. And when it comes to window treatments and bedding a designer will have thousands of fabrics and trims available along with the knowledge to create unique designs that match the client. An interior designer will give the client a look that represents the client and won’t be found in every home in the neighborhood. Everyone’s home and lifestyles are unique the interiors should be unique to the owner.

An interior designer is not only for the wealthy and confused. A good interior designer will make your construction projects flow easier on time and budget, help you create a unique look designed for the client and save you money. So the next time before you start a home improvement project contact an interior designer to make sure you are heading in the right direction.

Wallpaper is Replacing Faux Painting

Do you cringe when you hear the word wallpaper? A lot of people do. Wallpaper seems to be one of those things that either you love or hate. But I think we need to start taking a new look at wallpaper. It is no longer just those small pastel flowers that your mother or grandmother had all over her kitchen and bathrooms. Wallpaper has changed and so has its uses. There are now metallic, graphic inspired, and flocked wallpapers. This is not your grandma’s wallpaper.

Flocked metallic wallpaper

Is this what you think of when you hear the word wallpaper? I doubt it. Purple velvet flocked metallic is not your grandma’s wallpaper. This is for the cutting edge. It is opulent and contemporary. Stop thinking about kitchens and bathrooms when you look at this level of wallpaper. This is for dining rooms, headboards, nitches and accent walls. It’s not only an update in the colors but also the pattern. This frond is current and updated. It has the graphic feeling that is the trend. Using the metallic inspirations that are all over the fashion runways along with the purple make this wallpaper high fashion for the home. This is the way that we are moving in the industry. Clients are much more aware of the fashion trends walking New York and Paris fashion weeks. This means they want to see those trends translated to their homes. And this is what fashion looks like when translated to the home.

Metallic and mother or pearl wallpaper

If flocking is not your thing how about mother of pearl? That’s right this metallic wallpaper has mother of pearl in the center of the medallion design. Can’t you see the current jewelry trends here? This definitely looks inspired by  Tiffany and Julinda Chia Morgan pendants. No longer is clothes fashion, jewelry and interior design separate. They are all influencing each other and pushing each to look outside of the box for new answers. I am loving the way that wallpaper has been redesigned. We are now seeing these opulent looks and they are a great way to move away from faux painting. As we see faux painting move out something needed to take its place and these new wallpapers are moving in. Wallpaper is something that not only artists can do. So with the move to decorative wallpapers more people are able to participate in the trend.

Graphic designs

If you are more contemporary you have not been left out in the wallpaper trends. Here is a great example of the graphic trends in wallpaper. The colors are trendy and bold. The graphic design reminds us of the popular graphic t’s and dresses. This is what I mean about thinking outside of the box. Taking inspiration from print and translating it to home fashion is how we move ahead and acknowledge the global influence. Nothing is separate anymore.

So when you hear the word wallpaper stop thinking grandma and start thinking cutting edge. Wallpapers are now trendy and fashion forward. They are taking the place of faux painting and the budget doesn’t have to be large to enjoy this new trend.

New Woven Wood Window Treatments

I am in love with Hartmann&Forbes. They have some of the best woven window treatments available. They make not only roman shades but also drapery, panel track, and top treatments out of their beautiful woven products. They still hand weave natural fibers for their hand-woven collection, and hand finish all of their treatments.

ErtheWeave Collection

This is an example of the ErtheWoven collection.  This collection takes its inspiration from the Old World and the use of textiles that were reserved for the elite. The ErtheWoven collection uses the delicate and fine weaves of the Pharaohs seen in museums. The fibers in this collection include European wools and cottons, Asian silks and bamboos, and elegantly refined linens. This example can be used as a roman shade, drapery, an insert into drapery, or a top treatment.

PapyrusWeave Collection

The PapyrusWeave collection is one of the finest uses of the worlds first paper. This Egyptian inspired collection incorporates over twenty different cultures. It has influences from Asian silks, Navajo weaves, Ottoman rugs, and European tapestries. This is just one of Hartmann&Forbes collections that has been Greenspec listed. Only the top 5-10% in the industry are included in this honor and it also shows their committment to environmental quality. This committment is apparent in all aspects of the company. The fibers that they use are not only grown and harvested but they use rapidly renewable fibers. These fibers include bamboo, jute, river reeds, and grasses. They weave by hand using a tradition that has been passed down for generations. It can take days to weave a roll of material but it honors true craftmanship and doesn’t exhaust our planet’s resources. They also have a take-back reuse or recycle program. They are the first in the industry to have a program like this. It allows customers to return used window coverings. If they are fit to be reused they are donated if not they are recycled. It is a great thing to see and American company that is working hard to reduce their footprint while creating a high quality, high design, inspired product.

HandWoven Collection

The HandWoven Collection uses the same techniques that have been dated back to 800 BC. This uses natural fibers woven by hand then finished to the designers’ specifications. Hartmann&Forbes is committed to innovation and design. They not only look back on tradition but also forward to the many upcoming global inspirations. They incorporate automation and motorization with handcrafted window treatments. It is the best of both worlds. Hartmann&Forbes also understands that with such an inspired and high quality product that it needs that they need to be represented by knowledgeably. These are great products only to be found through interior design professionals. Which means that clients will get the best product with the knowledge necessary to highlight the beautiful woven window coverings.

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