Thursday, February 23, 2017

Downsizing Design Is In

The latest trend in interior design is downsizing. People of all ages and demographics find that a change in lifestyle to smaller living spaces is the answer to their present needs. Couples are finding themselves in large homes where they raised their family and now have too many bedrooms and rec room spaces. Many people who retire find they would rather have a smaller living space to keep up, so they will be free to travel more on vacation and visit family and friends. Suddenly, single men and women are moving to smaller spaces that feel cozy for one.

But the change to downsizing can be unsettling. Many people believe the process is too challenging and are hesitant to move ahead. If you want to be excited about your move from a large residence to a smaller home, condo or apartment---you may need help. A professional interior designer can help you to alleviate your concerns and cross the barrier with new enthusiasm and confidence.

I have worked with many clients who are downsizing for many reasons. Here are just a few of the services that I can provide to you:
 - review of present furnishings
 - analysis of your lifestyle and budget
 - study of the floor plan of your new space to determine fit of current furniture
 - proposal outline for design of your new home
 - accompany you to retail or wholesale suppliers to select new furnishings
 - recommendations for estate sales, movers and remodelers

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do You Reupholster Or Replace Your Furniture?

When redecorating a home, often the question comes up to either reupholster a sofa and chairs or buy new. Begin by answering the following questions.

Does the size compliment your furniture plan and accommodate your seating needs? Is it structurally sound? Is it comfortable? Does it support your back? If you answer "yes" to these questions, your furniture is salvageable.

If you plan to reupholster yourself, a DIY project will save you a lot of money versus buying new. If you need your sofa professionally reupholstered the price difference will not be as great. However there are other considerations.

If your sofa or chairs were built at least 10 years ago you will find the quality of the structure is better than most newer furniture. For instance, older furniture was made with hardwood frames free of knots, glued and dowelled joints, eight-way hand-tied coil springs, heavy gauge sinuous springs spaced close together, cotton or horsehair padding, or superior high-density foam.

Newer furniture is typically made with inferior knotty woods, plywood or particle board, joints stapled and sometimes fast-drying epoxy is used, light-weight sinuous springs and less of them per seat, low density foam which looks nice at first but breaks down after little use.

In my experience a new sofa covered in an average fabric costs about the same as a professionally reupholstered sofa covered in a superior quality fabric. Reupholstering is a great way to own a sofa in a luxurious, high-end fabric, you'd love to live with.

In selecting a professional reupholsterer, always use a source whose work you have seen or recommendation. You can visit the upholstery shop to see work in progress and completed.  I have recommended Vito Upholstery of Chicago to my clients for over 25 years, with excellent results and customer satisfaction.
Vito Upholstery, 7425 W. Addison, Chicago, IL 60634, telephone 773.637.7012.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top Tips To Work From Home

Does it get any better than having a 20 step commute to work? Actually, some people flourish working in an office at home while others find it frustrating.  However, the trend is that each year hundred of workers move from a traditional workplace to working from their home.

Creating a home workplace is a unique decorating challenge. You want your office space to look effortlessly beautiful, but how do you accommodate less than beautiful computers and printers? If you do not have a dedicated room for your home office, it can be integrated into other rooms such as infrequently used dining rooms or spare bedrooms.  Where space is tight or awkwardly shaped, like space under the stairs or a kitchen corner, the best option may be built-in furniture. To start you should decide on the function of the space. A room that is primarily a workspace is different from one that is used only for short periods at a time.

The ergonomics of your design are important. You need to find a position for yourself that doesn't involve you stretching at awkward angles for what you need. Think about what you will be able to reach from a sitting position and what will require you to get up from your seat. Finding the right adjustable chair is essential.

Work table or desk placement will be influenced by the natural light as your screen will need to be positioned away from the window to prevent glare. Think about powering your workstation. Do you have enough plug sockets? Plan to manage your cable for safety. Do you have enough or too much light? Don't forget about task lighting. Will you need an extra phone line?

Color will also have an impact on the success of your space. Fresh or muted shades of yellow, blue, green, beiges and creams are easy on the eye and can be uplifting and conducive to work. Bold, inky colors tend to be more oppressive and less inspirational.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating the ideal space. Your choice will depend on how you plan to use the area, how much room is available and what your budget is.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 Color of the Year

Greenery was named by Pantone as 2017 color of the year.

It's described as a fresh, yellow-green shade that is reminiscent of the first few weeks of  spring seen in nature's trees, plants and leaves.

This annual tradition in design and home fashion presents a new trend for the interior design fan.  Do you like the color?  Do you want to bring this new tone into your home? More importantly, does the new trend color even look good with your home décor? 

If you like the color and want to bring it's zest into your home, I think bits of it can add a lot.  And you don't have to break the budget or replace what you already have.

Think of adding the new color in accessories like throw pillows, an area rug, a vase, candles, a sofa throw, table runner or table cloth and napkins, poster art, bed spread, bathroom towels with shower curtain.  I'm sure you can find many ways to bring Greenery color into your home.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DIY Tips for Interior Decorating

If you enjoy all things about interior design, then you know what it feels like when you walk into a well-designed room.  You can sense how everything feels put together just right. There are principles that professional interior designers use to create those fabulous rooms. And I've got some of their secrets for you.

When you know the basic interior design principles, you can transform any room to look like a pro did it. With knowledge, practice and experimentation you're on your way to creating a beautiful home.

BALANCE
In design, balance creates a feeling of equilibrium. It's all about approximating the visual weight of objects. Balance is created not just through shape but through color, pattern and texture. There are three kinds of balance:
1.  Symmetrical or formal. Traditional spaces call for symmetrical balance where the space is evenly split into two sides that mirror each other. For example, two chairs on either side of an end table can be symmetrically balanced. This kind of balance is easy to achieve as design elements are repeated on each side. If you are not careful, this kind of balance can become boring.
2.  Asymmetrical or informal. The visual weight of lines, colors, forms and textures are balanced without exact duplication. It is not as ordered as symmetrical balance and can be more interesting and complex. For instance, a sofa can be balanced by placing two chairs on the other side.
3. Radial balance is achieved when there is a central focal point with other elements radiating from it or around it. There is a lot of repetition of form, texture and color.

RHYTHM
As in music, rhythm is design is all about creating patterns of repetition and contrast to create visual interest.  You can achieve this by using the same color or shape at different intervals. Its purpose is to move your eye around the room. For instance, you can establish a rhythm by using a color in the pillows, picking it up in the painting and using it again in a rug. These repetitions will help carry your eye around the room.

HARMONY
Harmony is created when all the elements act together to create a unified message. Just as rhythm can create excitement, harmony creates a sense of restfulness. You can create harmony by using just one color, even though your forms vary greatly in shape, size and texture.

EMPHASIS
A room where everything gets equal importance will seem either scattered or boring. You need an anchor. Architectural spaces often have points of interest such as a fireplace or window with a beautiful view. You can choose to enhance the built-in focal point by arranging furniture around it to emphasize it. In a room that lacks a built-in point of interest, you can create one through groupings of furniture or using an unusual or large piece.

PROPORTION AND SCALE
Proportion is the ratio between the size of one part to another and scale is how the size of one object relates to another or to the space in which it is placed. For instance, a large overstuffed sectional in a small room will be out of scale. Some proportional relationships are more pleasing than others. The ancient Greeks came up with the Gold Section which sought to reduce all proportion to a simple formula. The ratio of the smaller section to the larger section should be the same as that of the larger section to the whole. This proportion is present in nature, and artists and architects use is as well.









Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Holiday Decorating Ideas

It's time to decorate your home for the holidays. Maybe this year you don't have room for a holiday tree, you're in a larger space and need additional decoration or you're just in a creative spirit. There are many ideas to put a twist on the traditional Christmas tree décor. Try a few of these inspired holiday decorations.
 - Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.
 - Are you serving holiday dinner buffet style? Wrap each dish in a sheet of parchment paper and tie with a length of ribbon before stacking it. Guests will be rewarded with a pretty presentation.
 - Lush greenery draped around the house, especially doorways, creates an inviting atmosphere and a woodsy aroma.
 - Use a string of pinecones to make an easy swag. Tie a big bow in the middle so you can center it perfectly over a doorway, then tack it up with nails.
 - Decorate a small, artificial white tree with objects that share a color scheme--such as candy canes, peppermints and red bows--then place them on a side table or coffee table.
 - A grouping of old-fashioned ornaments hung from the ceiling makes a whimsical chandelier effect.
 - Tie big silver bells to the front doorknob with festive ribbon. Visitors will jingle all the way in to your home.
 - For an elegant look, trim the mantle with a row of white votives and dramatic white amaryllises.
 - Use leftover ribbon to tie around the stems of your Champagne flutes or wine glasses for an extra bit of festivity. A bonus: choose a different color for every glass will help guests keep track of their drinks.
 - A five-second centerpiece. Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote or a grouping of three.
 - Add a little sparkling style to your dining room table by filling a snifter to the brim with an array of shiny silver balls.
 - Wreath filled with wishes. Hang an unadorned twig wreath in a spot where guests can't miss it. Set out red Magic Markers and small plain cards on a table next to it. Post a little sign asking visitors to scribble a greeting or a wish for the upcoming New Year, along with their names, and have them slip the notes into the wreath.
 - Decorative photo collage. Up on the mantle, collect your family's holiday picture cards from previous years and clothespin them to a long, slim stick suspended between two vases. Put them in chronological order and you can date the pins.
 - A staircase looks lovely with a garland of greenery. Easier than looping it around and around, lay evergreen on top of the banister, fasten in place with floral wire and wrap with extra-wide ribbon.
Have a happy holiday season!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Chicago Source for Right Size Furniture

There is so much focus today on the interior design trend of downsizing. I prefer the term rightsizing because that's really what you're doing---making changes in your living space to reflect your current lifestyle. With this has come the need to adjust the furnishings in your living space.

You still want your furniture to feel comfortable, look luxurious and meet your room functions. You may have smaller rooms. You may have fewer rooms. And your rooms may serve dual purposes, such as, your living room also serves as a family room/den, the dining area doubles as an in-home office or a second bedroom has workout equipment.

One of the solutions is the right size and scale for your furniture pieces. Most retail furniture stores do not offer a variety of sizes for furniture that still has a sumptuous, generous look. That's where A. Rudin Inc. fills this niche nicely.

Located in The Mart in Chicago, A. Rudin Inc. is a family owned furniture manufacturer since 1912. Based in Los Angeles, all A. Rudin furniture is made in the U.S. The line includes upholstery and casegoods, along with fabrics, leather and Novasuede. Their furniture designs have been made larger to fill the scale of Beverly Hills mansions and small enough to fit a New York City pied-a-terre.

To complement the line, the Chicago Showroom also features contemporary stainless steel and wood tables by Henry Royer of Wisconsin, contemporary lighting and casegoods from John Pomp Studios of Philadelphia, Phoenix Day classic lighting from San Francisco and Matsouko of Japan tables and casegoods.