Interior Design Styles – Tampa Bay

There are quite a few interior design styles. And as interior design grows in popularity due to the tv and other media exposure the amount of sub styles increase. Ten years ago we mostly tried to determine if a client was traditional or contemporary. Which meant figuring out if their interior design style was about curves, muted colors, cherry woods and antiques. Or determining that their interior design style was all about clean, simple lines, little to no clutter, and light wood. Now we have a great deal more influences on interior design styles. And here in the Tampa Bay area we have not only continental influences but also global influences. Contemporary interior design style has now been divided into modern, transitional, global modern, modern loft, and urban to name a few. While traditional interior design style has been broken up into country, french country, english garden, european, and transitional.

We also have interior design styles specific to the Tampa Bay area. These interior design styles include the West Indies/Tommy Bahama, Key West, and coastal styles.

And of course there is the most ambiguous style of all – Eclectic. This interior design style is the incorporation of many of the above named styles with little to no rules as to how to incorporate each style.

There are a great deal more interior design styles but these are the main interior design style seen in the Tampa Bay area.

Classic Tampa Bay Traditional

This is a great example of classic traditional Tampa bay interior design style. It includes soft muted colors, with metal and rattan elements. It also highlights a traditional balanced style with the matching lamps and artwork. It has been made cozy with the use of an ottoman instead of the traditional cocktail table. The use of shear drapery also adds to the warm and inviting atmosphere by defusing the bright Florida sun. While the traditional silk swags and drapery panels add a sense of class. The room is completed with a dark traditional oriental rug which not only grounds the room but also juxtaposes the light upholstery creating interest.

Tampa Bay's new traditional interior design style

Tampa Bay’s new traditional interior design style is all about color. It is about creating the warm, inviting, and memorable outside, inside. This room is about the Tampa bay dawn. It uses the colors of dawn, the warm reds, yellows, oranges and purples. The colors that the sun brings to life. The sofa has a great swoop to the back playing with the classic curves of traditional styles and modernizing traditional. The wing chairs are updated with clean lines. And made luscious with a warm and opulent velvet. All the colors are pulled together with the great pillow fabric. The pillow fabric is a modern floral. It has all the great Tampa bay dawn colors with the playful attitude. The room is completed with the cream colors that represent the Tampa bay white sand beaches.

Tampa Bay Modern

Tampa Bay modern is taking the contemporary interior design style and adding Florida warmth. Warmth is created in the colors and textures. This home started as a great modern concrete and glass home. It sits on the water which is reflected in the home’s structure. The warm woods offset the cool concrete. The white leather keeps the upholstery clean and reminds one of the white crests of the waves.

Tampa Bay Modern

The loft is modern and cozy. This is an interior design style specific to Tampa Bay. It is taking the classically cold, modern style and making it warm and cozy. The red leather is juxtaposed with the soft pillows. The metal railings are complimented by the warm cherry wood. And the contemporary wool rug not only ties it all together but makes one just want to dig their toes into it. It is a great place to work and also to just watch the sunset.

Interior design styles are as different as the people who live in them. Here in Tampa bay we bring the beautiful outside in. We create style that is welcoming and a reflection of all that Tampa bay is about. What interior design style do you fall into?

Organic fabrics vs Green fabrics

When you hear green fabrics do you automatically assume that they are made from natural fibers? I believe that the inclination is to assume that green fabrics are always made from natural fibers. Green fabrics can be made from natural fibers but they are not always. Green fabrics can be made from recycled plastics, paper and old fabrics. I know that the idea of plastic seems weird to think of as a component in fabric. Actually most fabrics contain some kind of petroleum product. Nylon and polyester are petroleum-based products. Kravet has a great line of green fabrics that are made from plastic soda bottles. In fact one yard Kravet’s green fabric is made from twelve two liter soda bottles. Way to go Kravet on helping our enviroment and being inventive at the same time.

Now if you are the consumer who is really looking for natural fibers when you went looking for green fabrics, then what you really want are organic fabrics. Organic fabrics are made from natural fibers, cotton, linen and hemp. They also do not have the heavy chemical treatments that traditional fabrics contain. Traditional fabrics are treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde. By using organic fabrics such as Duralee’s Clodagh collection one can get rid of the heavy chemicals. These are great fabrics to use with clients that have allergies, asthma or just want a more natural lifestyle. I am so excited to see the fabric world more in this direction. As an interior designer it is great to open a box of new fabrics and not have to air out my office from the chemical smells. When I was running large showroom and the new fabrics would come in by the hundreds it would be days before the smell of the chemicals would go away. And if you have ever wondered what the smell was when your brand new furniture was delivered this is your answer. Thank you Duralee for offering another option. I am in love with their organic line and can’t wait to see more.

To wrap up green does not equal organic but organic does equal green. There are now options for those that are interested in helping to make a smaller impact on th enviroment. It can mean completely organic natural fibers or green. Recycle! Reduce! Redesign!

Great Fabrics

Great Accent Fabric

I got the opportunity to see some amazing fabrics. The fabrics ranged in everything from classic everyday fabrics to opulent accent fabrics. There were cottons, linens, silks, wools, and polyesters. There were matching wallpapers and leathers. It was like being in interior design heaven.

The menswear as home furnishings is still going really strong. And it is being shown in wovens, twills, stripes, and silks. They have a great hand and an amazing depth of color.  And great color combinations. Greys and raspberries are still hot but so is taupe and mango. In some cases the raspberry is either jumping high-octane and going to fuchsia or mellowing to a soft rose. And my favorite, I mean I die for, is the taupey chocolate. It is magnificent! It has so much more depth and sophistication than the regular old chocolate and can be used in so many more color combinations. It is fabulous with greens, blues and greys. And it plays beautifully with reds, pinks, and oranges. Sophistication is definitely in!

The English garden has also gotten a big pick me up from Jane Churchill fabrics. I saw embroidery with such depth it looked like it was done by hand. And it was affordable! There were designs that must have had twenty plus colors of thread for one leaf. I die! And the wallpapers…..absolutely fabulous. They looked like an artist painted each individual roll.

Opulence is still out there. I saw amazing flocked, metallic damask wallpaper with matching fabric! Nothing like traditional done with a contemporary flair! Classic is being redefined and if you’re not on the cutting edge you are way behind. The lush, rich vibrant colors turned traditionally demure fabrics into a show stopping WOW factor.

All in all the fabric industry is making up for the slow housing market. They are coming out with new trend setting fabrics that are affordable and memorable. The facelift that the new fabrics can do for a business or home make it worth staying longer and remodeling instead of finding a new location.

Great Everyday Fabric

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.

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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