Sunday, April 26, 2009

Interior Designer, Amanda Gates on her favorite BAR CARTS

Bar carts have always been a chic and stylish way to store booze. In the 50's, 60's and 70's everyone had cocktail parties in their home, unlike the recent past where it became more popular to meet at a restaurant or bar. In recent months however, I have noticed an increasing trend and rising popularity in the request for bar carts. With the economy kicking the bucket and more people spending time at home, parties with friends and neighbors is once again in vogue. Here are some tips from Tara Guerard, one of the South's leading event designers, on stocking the perfect five-o'clock bar.

1) Always have liquor on hand and stock the classics;Vodka, gin, scotch and bourbon, rum is optional.
2) Have a basic red and white wine.
3) Having tequila and a bottle of Champagne as well as a cabinet of tonic, club soda, Coke and ginger ale prepares you for any occasion and provides your guests a drink of their preference, making you a successful host.
4) Keep the season in consideration. Refreshing drinks like gin and tonic for summer, and dark liquors are popular in winter months.
5) Most importantly always have something available thats fresh and enjoyable for non-drinkers.

Additional tips for a successful party.
1) Always use glass instead of plastic for drinks.
2) Have some appetizers.
3) Be clear to your guests what you are serving and have stocked
4) Make no apologies for what you don't have. When people are in your home they expect a common drink that is always served.

Pics courtesy of domino magazine, restoration hardware, and southern accents. Updated tips on a well stocked bar..

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Upcoming Color Trends for 09

We have noticed an overwhelming saturation in earth tone colors mixed with alarming brights. But what we love most about this upcoming design trend, is the back-to-basics feel. Limed oaks mixed with post-it-note yellows, and sophisticated grays mixed with yellows, rose and khaki greens. We have also noticed the sticking power of cool blues, and hershey browns. Another up and coming trend is the influx of industrial chic which we posted on a few weeks ago, Notable Design Trend. Pics courtesy of

Amanda Burdge talks about Upholstery updates

Upholstery can make a drab piece of old furniture come to life in an instant. And upholstery doesn't stop at the sofa. Headboards, barstools, even a wall can be upholstered. Everyone is on a tight budget these days, so doing a little research at a garage sale, grandmas house, or even craigslist can produce some really great finds! Select a fabric that meets your budget and head down to the upholstery shop. You will be surprised at what a little TLC and new fabric can do to an over loved item. The best part is by reusing an existing piece it also helps the environment. Now that is a green idea! Photos courtesy of house beautiful and cottage living.

With some great sailcloth these wing chairs have been given a second chance at life.

A simple upholstered headboard adds softness to a room and also provides comfort for reading in bed.
Upholstered barstools add comfort, style and functionality. Many barstools like these have additional storage inside.

A banquette is uber chic, and adds a sophistication to a plate of pancakes and a cup of joe like no dining chair can. It's more intimate and easier to work around in small spaces.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Graduation and Mother's Day Must haves!!

Simple and easy, make your favorite cupcakes and attach flags of encouragement, love, or party fun! Click here for some simple templates. Print, cut and add to tooth pick

Flower-Wrapped Favors How-To
1. Fill a 3 5/8-inch-high acetate cylinder with candy.
2. To make flower, cut a 9-by- 30-inch piece of tissue paper. Fold, style, in 5-inch-wide layers. Cut petals in smaller end; unfold and lay on flat surface.

3. Place cylinder on paper with bottom about 1 inch from uncut end, and roll; tape sides and bottom with double-sided tape. Tie ribbon above top of cylinder.

4. Gently peel petals down to open flower. If you use a shorter cylinder, reduce height of paper; for a multicolored blossom, wrap a second layer of paper around cylinder.

Wrapping it up
Bright stripes revive even your lamest wrap attempt much better than a sad pile of scissor-curled ribbon. Use fluorescent artist's tape or plastic lacing (that stuff you braided into key chains during recess). Colors really sizzle when they're contrasted against paper in a rich, muted shade, like brown or mustard, or a more organic texture, such as a marbled pattern (top right). Tiny cards with matching envelopes make nice gift tags, or you can multipurpose some mini Post-its for a neat post-modern touch,or go to

Southern Spring Home and Garden Show in Charlotte!

Casual, sophisticated warm and above all simple!

Love the frame behind the TV and the wall pocket for magazines.

Love the colors and the nail heads!

Photos courtesy of Star Miller Design. To view her blog visit her at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pics of our Studio in Brentwood

Everyone needs a little pink in their lives!

Some of our favorite things! Handmade artwork, garage sale chairs and flea market finds mixed with smart accessories and furniture.

Our favorite etageres. Perfect for displays we recently sprayed them white to give them some pop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bunny Williams has launched her first furniture collection. She was motivated to design a line that is a collection of traditional and modern pieces that can be combined in many ways to create any style and make a personal statement. Each piece is meaningful to her and was inspired by something either she coveted or owned. The collection consists of limited editions of each item and her goal is to introduce a new collection every year, to keep the product “fresh” and interesting. BeeLine Home will be available in shops across the country beginning in March of 2009.
For more info visit her website at

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Say good-bye to winter!

As we approach spring and gently glide into summer people always gravitate towards bright fun colors. And who wouldn't after the dreary days of winter. It freshens our interiors, and reflects the long sunny days driving us to summer solstice. I always tend to gravitate towards oranges. To me it is the epitome of a July afternoon with a summer dress and margarita in hand.
Summer is also one of my favorite times to decorate. It creates a fun, flirty mood in all clients, and we all crave cool soothing colors. Clients are always the most adventurous during summer months too. But don't let the economy get you down. These items above will lift anyones moods and also shows you how by adding a few simple things to your interiors we can get your house a summer face lift! Ole'
pics courtesy of Elle decor, and abhomeinteriors

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Amanda Burdge discusses the Items we love

The mod graphic prints from Swedish designer Orla Kiely will soon be available at Target. A new and fantastically affordable home wares line will include serving trays, tumblers, mugs and chic aprons. Kiely’s retro-inspired designs will be available starting February, both in stores and online.

Inspiration for the Brush Vase started with a tin can full of brushes in my studio," says designer Harry Allen. Known for his unique and often quirky artistic vision—his gold-leafed replica of a baby pig became a must-have piece for any adventurous designer—Allen asks us to look at ordinary items in a new light. The vase includes a custom form fitting glass insert to hold water and is available in both chrome and white.

Fireplaces by Napoleon. Available in gas or electric these beautiful fireplaces are now available in numerous contemporary options.

Let your drapes take shape with magnetic curtains from swiss designer Florian Krautli. The fabric has embedded magnets so the pliable fabric can be gathered into a variety of fun shapes.

The hand-carved Raw chairs are Swedish designer Jens Fager’s spin on traditional seating for Muuto (special order;

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Skamper Ramp, pool saftey for pets

Growing up in the desert everyone including myself had a pool. More times than I care to recall we would find animals in our pool that fought the good fight but in the end lost their battle. Insert the skamper ramp here! This ingenious product is lightweight, easy to install, and works on any pool, dock or pond. The product comes in white ( which any animal can see day or night) and never molds, mildews, fades, grows barnacles, or cracks in harsh weather. It is available in two sizes the skamper ramp, and the super skamper ramp. Either ramp prevents animals from drowning when installed properly.
The Super Skamper-Ramp is lightweight with excellent strength-to-weight ratios, low-cost, and simple. It attaches to the deck of the pool, walled pond, stock tank or water trough to prevent unwanted wild animals from drowning as well as pets! The ramps range in price of $65-$100. For more info visit their site @

High Style Dining Rooms

At AB HOME INTERIORS we decorate and create a lot of dining rooms. We love to decorate a tablescape for a party to set a mood. However, these rooms show that when there isnt a party a simple decoration will do. And while the first picture does show a well decorated table for soon to arrive guests, the other three tables are great examples of dining rooms that are high on style, with dramatic color combos with little decoration. The focus is more on the rooms as a whole. They are warm, easy to read, and easy on the eyes!
Photos courtesy of Phoenix Home.

Beautiful bathrooms

Nothing speaks to me more than a beautiful bathroom. A bathroom that is well designed exploits the senses with exhilaration, excitement and promotes soothing calm with absolute ease. We start and end our day in this porcelain and chrome castle so shouldn't our bathrooms put us in a good mood? One thing is for sure, if one of these rooms was where I started my day I would actually be happy to be up at 7 am, and wouldn't mind slipping into slumber by 8pm!
As a designer I help clients in new construction projects and remodels. Bathrooms are always a major category on the "to do" list of luxuries. But if you don't have a new construction project, or the budget to remodel here are some tips to update your bathroom into "happy to be up at 7 am" category.

1) Update your fixtures. This is an easy category for anyone. As a rule of thumb stick to the current manufacturer that is already in you bathroom. For example, if your fixtures are Moen, update to another Moen fixture. And this doesn't have to be expensive! Look online, home improvement close outs, and plumbing stores.
2) Update your counters. Surfaces are highly competitive. And many natural stone companies have a remnant yard. What does this means to you? You can go to these facilities and select "leftovers" from other jobs that are perfect for a bathroom counter. You can often find high quality, high priced slabs at half the price. The average bathroom remnant will cost $400-$800, compared to the normal $1200 or higher.
3) Update the floors. Most bathrooms have good working tile. But if yours isn't castle worthy, inexpensive tile can be found. But a word of caution. Depending on where you live, inexpensive tile can easily be found, inexpensive labor may not. Do some research of tile installation costs in your area.
4) Paint. The simplest and least expensive update! Paint can make all the difference in any space. And most bathrooms only use 1-2 gallons. So for a few paint rollers, supplies and paint you can put up a new splash of color for under $100 bucks!
5) Knobs. Most of my clients never even think to change out the knobs on their cabinets. But this simple, inexpensive update can easily add personality and style in an instant and generally costs less than $50.
6) Accessories. Add a few new towels, some artwork (bought or made), some candles, and you have yourself a hotel spa in a flash.

Have further questions on how to update your bathroom sanctuary? Email us at

Trailer Park P'nash!

SOLO 8 x 36 $139,900

SOLO Floor Plan

12x 33 BASIC

12 x 33 CUSTOM $220/sf

As an interior designer I am always seeking new ideas to make our quality of life better. So when I came across the idea of reinventing or repurposing the all American trailer park, it raised an eyebrow. Is it possible to take on an American icon of low income, white beater tank tops in combination of the stigma of true white trash, and make it stylish? The architects at ALTIUS ARCHITECTURE + SUSTAIN DESIGN STUDIO think so!

Trailer parks, as a form of housing development are extremely light on the land and their infrastructure is nowhere near as disruptive of landform, soils and flora as any other type of domestic architecture. The great news is Trailers are inexpensive and efficient to heat, can be designed with quality materials and for a contemporary market, use fewer resources to build, and are light on the land. So what would a trailer park look like that were conceived on the basis of sustainable development? And one that sought after an aesthetic of natural beauty, of forest and unpaved streets, community gardens and aquatic facilities powered by solar-thermal and solar-electric panels, and composting toilets? Well the the brains behind ALTIUS ARCHITECTURE + SUSTAIN DESIGN STUDIO claim one thing, "we strive to be 100% energy self-sufficient, using a fraction of the energy and water of conventional residential developments. We place strong emphasis on preserving the natural beauty, flora and fauna of our sites, and re-naturalizing the ecological features of sites that have been compromised. We believe in creating healthy, diverse communities that encourage participation in an organic lifestyle - from our cafe, to our community garden plots!" For more info, photos FAQ go to:

Photos and content courtesy of minipark homes.