Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to update your interiors effortlessly for this Summer season

As the snow begins to melt, and the stormy, 30 degree skies turn bright and sunny, most people get the itch to redecorate. I often tell clients to style their homes with versatility in mind, especially when they start making purchases. But keep in mind that if you redecorate your home during a particular season, such as Fall, you will often choose fabrics, colors and accessories that are warm in color, and heavy in context.

Kenneth Brown
And if you redecorate in the Spring or Summer, most often you will choose fabrics that are light and bright, furniture that is easy, and colors that cool and calming.
This is perfectly natural. We are attracted to the things that bring us the most comfort. So when it is 20 degrees outside, and we are redecorating, we have a tendency to be drawn to warm colors of burnt orange, warm sage greens, and deep reds. And when it is 90 degrees with 80% humidity we will gravitate towards colors of soft aqua blue, mint green, pink, and white. It just feels refreshing. 
So what can you do to adapt your home sinuously into this upcoming Spring and Summer season? Add pops of fresh bright colors like orange, and yellow, such as the photo below did.

Judith Balis
Change out dark lampshades, of brown or black, (like the ones shown below) to crisp white, or cream. Choose lamp shades without boning or ribbing to keep them more casual, which is perfect for summer!

Shelly Riehl
Always design with flexibility in mind. Whether you do your purchasing in the Spring or Fall there are things that can be thought of ahead of time, for the upcoming season. For instance, when you purchase a sofa, or a chair, find out if it is available in a slipcover. If it is, you can have two looks for the price of one. 

Make custom draperies reversible. This allows versatility for the seasons, and they can easily be switched around for a fresh new look thats blends gracefully into this upcoming summer season.

If you have an open floor plan in your home, can the dining chairs become a part of the family room seating? If so, do you typically entertain more in the Fall or in the Spring? Choose dining chairs that work for the season you entertain in the most. If you do more entertaining in the Spring and Summer then purchase chairs that are light and bright. (such as the captains chairs in the photo above. The side chairs are neutral, but the captains chairs are bright and fun and they would work beautifully in a family room for extra seating; such as the family room pictured below.)

Updating your home for this Spring/Summer season can be easy and effortless. With the help of a few key pieces your room can be transformed in a matter of minutes. My top items for updating a room for this Spring/Summer are as follows:
1) Bright and colorful toss pillows (preferably with down inserts)
2) Add a lightweight throw in a crisp summer hue.
3) Accessories in pops of orange, green, blue and white.
4) Scented candles in fresh scents of jasmine, cilantro, lemonwood, or gardenia
5) Colorful artwork in blues, whites, greens, pinks, and orange
6) Fresh plants such as succulents, orchids, or wheat grass
7) And flip those reversible draperies over 

Just a few easy items and your family room will look smashing! One of my favorite books that has an enormous array of inspiring photos for spring is the Domino book of room by room decorating! And Amazon currently has it on sale for $20 bucks! Does it get any better than this? Happy Spring to you!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

#1 question of an interior designer~What exactly do you do?

When I went to school to be an interior designer, it never crossed my mind that for the next 12 or so years of my life, I would spend a good portion of that time explaining what it is I DO. I think as designers we take for granted or assume that people know what our job entails. I was recently inspired by an article that Tom Beasley wrote on his blog pertaining to this very subject. In addition to this articles points, I think it is also very important for consumers/potential clients to know how valuable our creativity is. If it wasn't valuable then no one would ever hire us for help. Our intellectual property is worth it's weight in gold. And the more years a designer has, the more valuable that gold is. (keep this in mind when you are evaluating a green pea fresh out of school at $25 an hour versus a seasoned designer of 10 years who charges $100) Fees are all relevant to level of experience, and competency. For example, a few years ago a green pea that I was mentoring came to me and said she wanted me to take over one of her projects. Unsure of the reasoning I contacted the client. They were exasperated. After 10 hours of work with her they felt they has accomplished nothing. I went in, determined the issues, developed a plan, set up my trades and solved the problem, all in 2 hours. So at first glance I may seem more expensive, but my competency saves you time and money.

Not only do we evaluate blueprints, specify fixtures, meet with builders, architects, and cabinet makers, build space plans, select furniture, design window treatments, select fabrics, choose paint, evaluate reflective ceiling plans, act as purchasing agents,... and many other services- at the end of the day, we creatively and cohesively put together an original vision, unique only to your home.

When my mama comes to town she always comes to the office with me. (she has no choice) She is completely taken away at hard we work, and how many INFINITE details we take care of in my office, to make your house into a home. "I could NEVER do what you do!" she says to me. "Well, I could never do what YOU do!" I say to her. (she is an E.R. Nurse.yucky!)

I know that interior design mystifies a lot of people. I know that creativity eludes many people. But what we do is pure magic. (can you hear the angels singing?) When you approach us with your project, it is as if we are looking at a blank canvas full of potential. Often times we can see that project six to eight months down the road completed in all it's glory and beauty. 

Interior design is an art form. It takes great talent, consideration, and organization to do what we do, and it is a business. Our time is valuable, and our ideas are our enterprise. We do what we do because we love it, and the creativity keeps us alive. But remember that the intellectual property that we hold is not just for good merit. What is it that we do, you ask? We are entrepreneurial tycoons, promoting and dealing our trades, multi tasking, design mavens that hustle on your behalf to twist, tweak and skillfully accomplish with absolute expertise ~ design magic! So that when you start your day, and end your day, there is a smile on your face because your home makes you genuinely happy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nashville decorator on Family rooms. How to make them versatile.

Family rooms are the most versatile rooms in our house. Whatever your lifeSTYLE, they can be used for watching a movie, entertaining guests, doing homework, listening to music or quietly reading a book~assuming you have purchased the right sized lamps!

The most important thing when putting together a family room is a PLAN or as I like to call, the Design Diarys.  Whether the space is big or small, the right furnishings will put more STYLE, personality, and function into your room.

When designing a family room it is important to capture your STYLE, so the room lives and breathes the way you do. For example, if the room will only be used for entertaining and music then there is no reason to spend thousands of dollars on an entertainment unit that holds a TV. You will put yourself at ease by following your design diarie's and tailoring the furnishings accordingly. 
Once you have determined HOW the room will be used, select fabrics that function appropriately for it's use. Obviously if kids will be involved the fabrics need to be prepared for combat. Different fabrics express different levels of formality and they need to sync well with the rooms purpose.

Always dress your windows with draperies. Draperies play a major role in building your STYLE, and they too can determine the formality of the room. Windows without draperies look naked, and the room will look unfinished. BUT make sure they are the correct SCALE, don't throw some Bed, Bath and Beyond draperies up for the sake of having your windows dressed. As a rule of thumb remember, GO BIG or GO HOME. 
Tell a story with your furniture. Don't select the entire suite from the furniture store. Choose pieces that speak to you and your personality. Stick to your diary, and choose items that read closely to your rooms function without sacrificing the end goals. This will give you your STYLE!
Lori Dennis
Lastly, design with flexibility in mind. Always have lightweight options, like stools, that can be easily  moved around. Or leave open space so that chairs or other seating from other rooms can be added. Small tables are lightweight and can easily be moved for different settings.

Troy Beasly
Mix it up have fun, and remember, stick to your diaries so you don't lose your STYLE!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Style-Does your home reflect who you really are?

How well do you know yourself? Do you know what the elements of your style are? How exactly does one find or create ?
Your home is a snap shot of who you are. A reflection of your personality, your likes and dislikes. Does your home really show you off? Often times when I go to a potential clients home it is like stepping into a 20 year time capsule of their life cycles instead of their life STYLE. Strolling through an ill assorted casket of treasures from the cherished to the unknown. I find it funny how so many of us "hang on" to something from when we were "in college", "first married", or "just because". And we are ALL culprits of this mentality. We ALL do it. But does it really show us off? Show the unique, extraordinary individuals that we are?
Our homes are our havens. Our refuge. A place to come home to after a long day of work, or a place to work from. It is by far THE largest investment that we make in our life times. Our homes bring us peace, security, comfort, and they support us through all our moods. Our homes see the best and the worst of us. They verifiably see and breathe our authentic selves. The old saying of "if these walls could talk" is truest to life. So why is it we allow ourselves to live in life cycles rather than a life STYLE?

(This is a Travel Trailer)

So often consumers want to rush out and BUY as much as possible-ALL AT ONCE! The idea of instant gratification. This is not a lifeSTYLE. This is making a lot of unwise buying choices all at once, and one of two things will happen. 1) You hang onto it for 20 years (for reasons yet to be understood) or 2) After a few years you realize the choices were made in haste, you hate everything, and all those dollars are thrown down the drain, and you start the life cycle over again by running out and making more unwise purchasing decisions. ~insert hiring a Professional Interior Designer here~

Creating a lifeSTYLE isn't as perplexing as Martha Stewart's inability to age. It is about making wise purchasing decisions, and having a plan. (Don't know where to start? Try reading my post on Designing a Room, where to start. )A lifeSTYLE is all about living your best life. Living amongst things that bring you the most joy. Is that inexpensive Ashley sofa really bringing you joy? Or was it appropriate for that particular life cycle two years ago?

You want your home to be a genuine representation of who you ARE, not who you have been or were 20 years ago. Your home should bring a smile to your face and give you undeniable bliss. Don't allow it to become a junkyard of days past that may have been difficult. Our lives are complicated enough. We need to be surrounded by things that are pleasant and agreeable. Things that bring us pleasure whether they be simple or complex. When you live in a life that surrounds you and supports WHO YOU ARE, you become even better. You perform at your best and become your best. This is a lifeSTYLE

So the next time you want to rush out and make a quick buy to update your room ask yourself these questions:
1) Is this a part of my plan?
2) Do I LOVE it? Does it bring me joy?
3) Am I looking at the object or am I looking at the price? (If you are looking at the price you are being sucked into your pattern of life cycle. This will only add to the junk yard casket of treasures)
4) Does this fit my lifestyle? My personality? Does this add to living my best life?

We can all use a little less stuff in our lives and add a little more 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How to select the right lamp shade by Nashville Interior Designer

This room below is what I call DESIGN MAGIC! The scale is beautiful, the colors are striking, and the LAMPS are the perfect size in proportion to the sofa, for reading, knitting, doing crosswords or anything that requires SEEING stuff! A+ for meeting our GO BIG or GO HOME motto!

In an effort to over come all your decorating woes, I thought I would do a follow-up on our 'How to select the right lamp' post. I could not believe the overwhelming response I received! I think that it is truly great that everyone is running out to purchase great lamps, on behalf of my advice. Wow, so this is what Oprah feels like! Ha!

First and for most-Make sure the shade is the right SCALE. Students, if you still haven't gotten this one, I'm in BIG trouble! These lamps are wrong, wrong, wrong:

Too small, too low. What am I suppose to do? Crawl under my lamp to read my cartoons at night? I might as well sit on the floor! Compare these photos, to the beautiful photo above. Do you SEE the difference? The lamps above are tall and will cast light where it needs to be. The lamps shown above are USELESS. The light is so low that it is pointless to have them. I shouldn't have to twist myself into a pretzel to use my lamps at night-or crawl around on the COLD floor!

First-Choose a harp that is the right size for the lamp. The standard height is 10" but they are available in a multitude of sizes.
The size of the harp determines where the shade will sit on the lamp and this is very important. If the shade is too high the socket shell and cap will show. (see diagram above for terminology) These lamps below have their "unmentionables" showing. But by making it a decorative element it extends the lamp shade upward allowing for a taller lamp and offers more light. So in this case, unmentionables are A-ok!

Big Site                                                             Blink decor

Next choosing a lamp shade. Measure your lamp. Find the widest horizontal measurement. The shade you choose should not be more than 2" wider than that measurement. But the BEST rule of thumb-LOOK at it. Here is an example I did in my office. Clearly the first choice is WAY too big!

Remember when you are choosing a lamp shade you have to keep the lamp style in consideration. A  decorative lamp, needs a simple shade (like this one below). Also notice this lamps "unmentionables" are not showing.

Last but not least, Shade types. There are different TYPES of shades that are available (these are THE MOST popular:)

This is an example of a DRUM shade

Real simple      
 BARREL shade (similar to DRUM but has a slight taper)                                                                            



There are numerous more, but the above are most prominent in lamp trends today. The most popular is the barrel and drum shade. They are probably most favored because they are sleek, simple, and produce the most light. I need to SEE stuff!! (if you look back to the first photo above from the New York Times, that shade is a ribbed EMPIRE)

Lamps and shades is a wonderful book on how to view shades in a whole different way. It offers a ton of inspiring ideas and also explains in more detail how to update or improve the lamps in your own home!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nashville Interior Designer~ How to select the right lamp

 Have you ever been out shopping for a lamp only to get underwhelmed? These days it has become increasingly hard to find a good looking lamp that does everything our high multi tasking lifestyle demands. One of THE most important factors in choosing a lamp for a room is selecting one with proper scale. If you are unclear about scale make sure you read this post about Scale and Proportion. As I perused the internet I was amazed to find so many photos with the wrong scale of lamp.
This is a beautiful room, however the lamp is getting lost next to the large sofa. In fact the lamp shade is really the only thing that the eye sees.

Once again, this lamp is too small. It is too close to the adjacent wall color and the size does not work for the large items next to it.

This little floor lamp should go back to her super model days, she is just too skinny and wimpy in this room of high ceilings and large furniture.

When choosing a lamp always remember our motto, "GO BIG or GO HOME". A home doesn't need a lot of accessories. But lamps are a necessity. Choose lamps that are tall, 30" or higher. And pay attention to the wall color that the lamp will be up against. Ask yourself these questions when choosing a lamp.Will there be a contrast? What color is the shade? How large is the shade? Will the type of shade provide the right amount of light for my room? Does the shade work with the wall color, and the furniture next to it? Does the lamp have the right scale in proportion to the other pieces in the room? Here are some examples that will leave you with a bright idea on selecting your next lamp!

Here is a beautiful example of the perfect lamp for this room. It has a wonderful proportion, beautiful contrast with wall color and the shade also has contrast. It applies to our "GBGH" (GO BIG or GO HOME) motto and the shade is the perfect size to diffuse light onto the sofa for an afternoon of guilty pleasures with Nora Ephron.

Perfect symmetry to balance a well decorated room. Black shades are the perfect choice against the handsome burlap colored silk draperies, adding depth and texture. The height is ideal for reading and the lamps will create a bewitching glow and shadowing, in the evening as the light dances in and out of the drapery folds.

Selecting lamps 101
1) Make sure the scale and proportion works for the room you are decorating. ( review the photos above. It is easy to see that the lamps are not "right".
2) Choose a shade and lamp that has contrast with the adjacent surroundings. Contrast can come from direct color variation or simple texture differences.
3) Select a lamp shade that works with the function of the room. Round shades ( also known as drum shades) put out a lot of light in all directions. Ribbed shades that are rectangular, or bell shaped will generally push light down and constrict the light to a focused area.
4) GO BIG or GO HOME. We don't need a lot of accessories. Choose a great sized lamp with a beautiful shade and you don't need any other accessories on the table. Remember 30" or higher is always a good rule of thumb. 

Need to know where to shop? Here are a few of my favorites:

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And the winner is...

I have made it back from the brutal, and crazy weather that was New York over the week end. And as luck would have it, they haven't seen weather like that in thirty years!! Well we have much to discuss, but first I wanted to thank Kelly and Victoria over at Design Ties for their give away a few weeks ago, and yours truly won. Thanks ladies!!



Thank you ladies! It is absolutely beautiful. Have a wonderful day everyone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nashville designer ~Shake it like a polaroid picture

Yup, the BIG "D", cuz that's how I roll...

This week I have been prancing (shakin' like a polaroid picture) around the office, like the BIG "D" that I am, preparing for my trip to New York. (I mean really, does it get any better than this?) Placed on earth on special assignment to create beautiful spaces, I float on candy coated pipe dreams that someday the world will be pleasant and agreeable; oh! and exercise WORLD PEACE! Waving my wand of DESIGN excellence I dream of a perfect world of beauty. A world with perfect drapery, superb lighting, glamourous colour, original art and an expert space plan. Ahhhh...the delight! Im heading off to New York to meet with my business coach and campaign amongst other BIG "D's" to mastermind, plan and orchestrate our evil plan to take over the world...I mean network. So until I return I leave you with some quick tips to update your home for Spring, on a shoestring budget.

 Occasionally, everyone needs to step outside of their Winnebago providence and shake things up. (insert quarters here!) Have you ever looked at your old tired room and wondered what you could do to make it better? Well most people want to shake it up, but not everyone has the budget to achieve shakin' not stirred success. So how can you get a fresh take on your old tired space with the cash in your fourth grade piggy bank?

1) Paint-This has got to be THE easiest solution for the biggest change. Pick a color that coordinates with the items you already have in your room. (For example, if your furniture is brown and green, don't paint the walls blue!) Voila! New Paint, new look.

2) Pillows-easy and inexpensive, changing pillows can add color, pattern and style with one easy swoop. I recommend this to all my clients. Keep a few extra pillows in a closet or under the bed so you can change them up every so often. Mix them up and have fun!

3)Lamps- Change out one or two lamps. Different styles, shades and heights will add dimension, better lighting and add a decorative element to your home.

4) Goodwill-Rummage through goodwill stores to find old furniture that can be painted and updated. PLENTY left over for a trip to Olive Garden AND a package of oreos!
Look at this great piece that Dayka Robinson  from Life and Style found
Or this piece that Tammy from In Stitches found

5) Cabinet hardware-I tell my clients to change hardware ALL the time. It is easy, inexpensive and will create a big change.

6) Declutter-So many homes that I go into are overwhelmed with stuff. Remove the clutter, straighten up and get the clutter out! Look how beautiful this bookshelf looks all organized with color! Whew! It's hard to be ridiculously gorgeous!

7) Add mirrors- Mirrors are reflective and can add sparkle to a room. Designers LOVE shiny, sparkly things! And if it's good for Versaille....

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Maria and I will tell you all about our trip, with pics, when we return next week!!! In the meantime here is a book to help you with your decorating woes:

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Big D photo courtesy ride/2908665