Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Holiday Decorating Beyond A Christmas Tree

Maybe this year you have re-scaled your living space and don't want to move furniture to fit in a holiday tree.  There are many ideas to put a twist on the traditional Christmas tree. 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 around 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---and place them on a side table or a 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 into 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 choosing 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 bells.
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 and fasten in place with floral wire and wrap with extra-wide ribbon.
And keep in mind that these ideas can also be fashioned for any holiday, birthday, anniversary or special celebration.
 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Budget Accessories Can Transform A Room

If you want to per up the color palette or character of your home but don't have the budget to redecorate every room, here are some ideas on how a few small touches can get big results.
 - Be inspired by the seasons.  Use object that reflect the weather outside.
 - Stools are perfect accessories. The are a great spot for extra guest seating or to place a tray with food and drinks.
 - Begin with a rug. An area rug becomes a focal point and can define an area in a room.
 - Pillows.  The easiest way to add color and textures to a room is by placing some interesting pillows on your sofa and chairs.
 - Display your favorite accessories.
 - Artful display. Organize accessories into groupings to have visual impact.
 - Table accessories.  Set your table as if you were dressing it---accessorize.
 -

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Preparing For The Construction Crew

You are remodeling your home, and you are going to be living in the home during the construction.  It is not only the physical changes but it emotionally feels like your nest is being torn apart.
    
There are a few things you can do to make life easier during the transition to your dream home space:
     1.  If you are remodeling the kitchen, you need to create a space where you can prepare foods you need like, coffee, light breakfast, lunch and dinner---even if it is reheating to-go food or frozen dinner. A coffee maker and microwave are essential.
     2.  If you are remodeling your bathroom, you need to know from the plumber how long your toilet and shower will be unusable, and maybe plan your day to shower at your gym after your workout, or everyone who lives in the home uses the same bathroom.
     3.  When redoing your floors you need to get all items off the floor, so you can store these items on temporary shelving or rolling clothes racks in rooms that are not effected by the flooring---even bathrooms or laundry rooms or the garage.
     4.  When remodeling a basement you can plan to bring the items usually stored there into a temporary storage locker.  And it may be a great time to toss items that you no longer need.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Expert Tips For Hanging Artwork

Now that you purchased the perfect piece of artwork or mirror, you'll want to place it to the best advantage visually and safely.  Deciding where to hang artwork is a two-person job---one to hold the artwork and another to ponder it.
Here are some tips from art hanging experts.
1. The center of the picture should be at eye level, approximately 60" from the floor.
2. Leave a least a 3" to 6" gap between the top of a sofa and the bottom of the picture frame, and 4" to 8" from a tabletop.
 3. A grouping of pictures should be treated as a single composition. Hint: make paper templates of each piece and tape the templates to the wall using painter's tape. Rearrange until you get it right for your eye.
4. Center the picture or grouping across the wall or over a piece of furniture.

Measuring and making your mark.
1. While holding the picture in place where you want it on the wall, put a strip of painter's tape on the wall, making the bottom edge of the tape even with the top of the frame. Mark each end of the frame on the tape. Then remove the picture from the wall.
2. If the picture will use only one wall hanger, you want to place that hanger at center-of-frame. Measure the width of the frame and divide by two.. Then measure this distance in from the marks on the painter's tape.  Now turn the picture over and measure from the top of the frame to the point the picture will hang. If the picture has hanging wire, hook the metal end of a tape measure under the center of the wire. Pull up until the wire is taut and measure up to the top of the frame. If the picture has D-rings or sawtooth hangers, hook the tape over the top of the frame and measure down to the ring or hanger. Then transfer that number onto a hanging location on the wall by measuring down from the bottom edge of the painter's tape at the center point. Use a level to make sure your new mark is plumb with the mark on the painter's tape.

Choosing Hardware
1. For most jobs, use a simple hanging kit (includes a J-hook and nail). The wire on the back of the picture will hang from it. Hanging kits are generally sold according to the weight of the artwork. To find that weight, weigh yourself on a bathroom scale while holding the picture and then subtract your weight from it.
2. Consider using adhesive picture hanging strips for normal-size pictures. They leave no holes in the wall and are easy to remove without damage to walls.
3. If the picture weighs 25 pounds or more and a stud is not present, use a wall anchor on drywall or plaster walls. Anchors that spread out behind the wall, such as toggle or molly bolts, provide the most holding power and help keep plaster from cracking.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

10 Tips For A Luxury Bathroom

Do you want your bathroom to make you feel pampered, the way you feel in luxury bathrooms you enjoy at hotels when traveling? You deserve to feel that wonderful way everyday in your own bathroom. Here are 10 tips to help you to create a luxury bathroom of your own.

1.  Install a heated floor under your tile.
2.  Replace your standard towel bars with an electrical towel warmer.
3.  Proper sizing.  Before you purchase a bathtub or install your shower---try it out dry.
4.  Put a steam unit in your shower.
5.  Toilet with bidet unit attachment.
6.  Make sure you have enough electrical outlets for your daily equipment use.
7.  Install both fixed shower head and a hand-held to double for easier cleaning.
8.  Good lighting is essential for shaving and putting on makeup.
9.  Your vanity should be able to hold all the accessories you need.
10. Before you remodel your bathroom, decide on materials, finishes and color.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Right Sizes Decorating Is Right For Today

An important trend in interior decorating is referred to as "downsizing" however I like to refer to it as "right sizing".  Designers today report that people of all age groups are moving into more right sized arrangements that reflect their current lifestyle and space needs.

The various reasons for home right sizing are:
 - You live in a home that no longer fits your needs.
 - Your home is now an empty nest.
 - You are retired or getting ready to retire.
 - You want to tap into the home equity you have built.
 - You are interested in minimizing stress with less responsibility.
 - You desire a smaller workload.
 - You are interested in an increased cash flow.
 - You want greater lifestyle flexibility.

Right sizing and relocation is a transition and can incur emotional and physical aspects along with the décor changes. To help you with this transition, a designer and/or organize can assist by providing a comprehensive and personalized approach. The process can begin with space planning and organization to coordination of the move through to post move support and decorating. A great plus a designer provides is experience which results in timeliness and getting the most bang for your budget.

Right sizing is uniquely ;personal and does require planning. Hear is a good outline for organizing:
1. Start by assessing your original home versus the layout of your new space.
2. Go through room by room to sort items into the following categories: what to keep, sell, donate or discard.
3. Coordinate moving from your original home to your new location.
4. Pack and label your boxes for ease of moving your belongings into your new location.
5. Prepare for move-in day by having enough assistance to locate belongings into the right rooms.

One of the keys to a successful right sizing with less stress is to start planning early. You will be prepared for any last minute glitches.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

White Or Stainless Appliances With White Kitchen Cabinets?

The number one color for kitchen cabinets is white, according to the Kitchen and Bath Design Association.  Stainless steel has been the most popular finish for appliances, but is white a better option?

I recently visited this question with my own kitchen redecorating project.  I went about the decision-making process the same way I recommend to my clients.  I made a list of pros and cons for each option.

White appliances:  blend in color-wise with the white cabinets seemingly making the kitchen appear larger, white appliances cost less than stainless steel finish, easier to keep clean, timeless classic color.

Stainless steel appliances:  harder to keep clean as they show every fingerprint and smudge, more costly than white appliances, visually stand-out against the white cabinetry, give a more commercial equipment look.

However, I think the bottom line is that white appliances are less expensive and can look cheaper than stainless steel appliances.  Stainless appliances give more of a luxury-look to your kitchen.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Custom Furniture by Vince Chiavetta

What do you do when you need a cabinet, table or chair in a special size, style or finish? You can have it custom made by Vince Chiavetta of Vito's Upholstery.

His work includes custom built-in library walls, kitchens, bathroom vanities, custom office suites and display units for retail stores and restaurants.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reclining Chairs, Not Like Your Father's

Did you ever think that you would want to include a reclining chair as part of your home decorating scheme? Recalling old-school type recliners, I did not think I would ever recommend that my clients include recliners in their interiors.

Most of us know that guys have always enjoyed looking forward to relaxing in a reclining chair after a long day, or to spending a day relaxing in their recliner while watching TV or reading. But those old, bulky recliners never seemed to fit the image of an elegantly appointed room.  Current furniture manufacturers have come a long way in the type of reclining chairs on the market. Now recliners come in many styles, limitless fabric choices, various sleek designs, size options and a selection of operating mechanisms.

Today's recliners are great-looking and feel so good. Go to a local furniture store and try some of the new recliners. The only problem you may have is to find the room for two recliners:  one of your partner and one for you!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Design For Lifestyle Trends

Rightsizing Design: Interior design trend to move from a larger residence to a smaller home, condominium or apartment. Design services including:
 - Review of present furnishings
 - Evaluation of current lifestyle and budget
 - Design furnishings plan for new space
 - Recommendations for estate sales, remodelers and movers

Home Styling: Redesigning a room using what you already own.  It's redecorating by arranging and editing your current furniture and accessories in a new way.

Home Staging: Preparing a home for sale. The three D's of home staging are:
 - Decluttering.  A home with a lot of clutter looks like it is too small.
                          A prospective buyer will think their items will not fit in.
 - Depersonalizing. Remove items that relate to the current owner. 
                                This allows the home buyer to envision their items in the space.
 - Deep cleaning.  A clean home is appealing and looks like a well cared-for home.
                             A prospective buyer will picture just moving in.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top 10 Decorating Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, and it is never more evident when it comes to home decorating. Trends come and go, and each brings with it a new set of decorating mistakes.

I have asked a few interior design professional for their opinion of the worst decorating mistakes they see.  Here's a list of the top 10.

1. Too Many Pillows. A little comfort is good but when it is impossible to sit on a sofa because there are too many pillows in the way or if you have to spend a lot of time removing and storing pillow in order to get into bed---you know you have too much of a good thing.

2. Headless Beds. The only thing to say about this is that nothing, repeat nothing, is worse than a bed without a headboard.

3. Furniture That's Out Of Proportion. That gorgeous sofa, love seat and chair looked so good in the large furniture store, but very crowded in your home or apartment. Make sure to take the measurements of your room sizes with you when you are furniture shopping.

4. Too Many Pictures. A grouping of pictures makes an interesting collection, but too many look like clutter.

5. Toilet Surrounding Rug. U-shaped rugs to surround your toilet are out. A much better choice is a small area rug in front of the toilet.

6. Floating Area Rugs. An area rug set in the middle of a room makes the furniture look off-balance, and the rug looks like it lost the furniture that should be sitting on top of it.

7. Keeping Dated Décor You Dislike. If you have a choice between purchasing a new piece of furniture or removing a furnishing that is obviously dated, worn and one you dislike---such as old shag carpeting---remove the out-of-date element.

8. Exposed Cables. Our electronic age has brought with it the problem of many cables and wires in our décor. Cables left out in the open can really destroy the style of a room.  Whenever possible try to hide them with covers or under the baseboards.

9. Overdone Theme And Pattern. Too much is too much. A theme and pattern taken to the extreme makes a room feel like a stage set and not inviting to relax in.

10. Clutter. Always get rid of clutter. It makes a room feel as though you are entering a closet.

The best thing to do in order to avoid interior decorating mistakes is to look at the rooms in home decorating magazines and see how the furnishings are put together. If you need help and have the extra budget, you will find it beneficial to hire a professional interior designer to assist you in creating your beautiful rooms. Most interior designers will work with you on an hourly basis and come in to review your current décor and make suggestion for future purchases. This can give you the most bang for your budget.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Six Elements of Design

I wanted to start out this presentation to anyone who lives in an interior---single-family home, apartment, condo, hotel or tiny home---and wants to feel at home in their space.

There are six elements that comprise a successfully decorated interior that will make you feel great to live in and look at.  These six elements are:

FUNCTION:  what goes on in that room or space? do you need special items to be included in the design?

STYLE:  do you like modern or traditional? a combination/eclectic or ethic design?

COLOR:  color is the first thing that someone sees in a room and what do you like to surround yourself with?

TEXTURE:  do you like slick and shiny? or matte and knubby textures? are there special conditions like children playing or older adults?

LIGHTING:  very important considerations for dramatic mood, task lighting for work or reading, bathroom lighting for shaving and makeup application

ACCESSORIES/EQUIPMENT:  artwork and sculpture? hobby collection display? computers? televisions?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Carpet Selection Made Easier

Carpeting is one of those home furnishing items that has more permanence. When you move from your home you leave the carpeting. When you put your home on the market, carpeting might be one of your main concerns for showing to prospective home buyers. And it's one of the more expensive furnishing purchases you make for your home.

In today's market there are many fibers developed to appeal visually, be resilient, stay cleaner longer and be low maintenance. Looking for a certain color is just the beginning. The majority of carpet produced in the United States contains one of six pile fibers: nylon, polypropylene (olefin), acrylic, polyester, wool or cotton. Synthetic fibers make up more than 99 percent of the fiber used in the U.S. market. I have compiled an overview of carpet fibers and their properties to help you make your choice.

WOOL: excellent resiliency, soil and stain resistance, poor resistance to sunlight, poor resistance to mildew, flammability level burns slowly, good abrasion resistance, builds up static in low humidity, hand is warm and soft.

NYLON: excellent resiliency, excellent abrasion resistance, good soil and stain resistance, good resistance to sunlight, builds up static in low humidity, flammability level burns slowly, hand varies from warm and soft to cold and coarse.

POLYPROPYLENE/OLEFIN: excellent resiliency, excellent abrasion resistance, good soil and stain resistance only if treated promptly, poor resistance to sunlight, hand is waxy and soft, excellent resistance to mildew, melts at low temperatuares.

ACRYLIC MODACRYLIC: fair resiliency, fair abrasion resistance, good soil and stain resistance, excellent resistance to sunlight, builds up static in low humidity, hand is warm and soft, excellent resistance to mildew, Acrylic burns readily, Modacrylics are difficult to ignite.

POLYESTER:  good resiliency, good abrasion resistance, good soil and stain resistance only if stains are promptly treated, good resistance to sunlight, builds up static in low humidity, hand varies and finer deniers are soft and silky, excellent resistance to mildew, burns slowly/melts.

COTTON:  poor resiliency and tricky carpet cleaning requirements, extremely beautiful colorations.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Why You Hire An Interior Designer

When it comes to working with an interior designer, there are varied schools of thought. Either you hired an interior designer already, or you are thinking you may like to work with an interior designer or you never want an interior designer in your life. Regardless, if you ever decorated your home, room or apartment, the idea and choice has come up. To make the most of the decision, here are a few things professional interior designers have shared and think you should know.

Designers are not out to take control of you and your home. This is your project and your home. We are here to guide you and to help create your vision. The trick is that you don't always know your vision or what you think you need may not actually be what you really need. But by listening carefully and going through our design process, we can create your ultimate vision. It may be a little different than what you originally thought. This leads to the next part...

Trust us. You hired us because you like our work. And because we know what we're doing. We've got years of experience and education behind us, and we've done several projects like yours. You're going to get the best result when you can let go a little and trust us to do what we've been doing for years. There's a reason you like our work and remember that.

We can save you time, money and stress, if you let us. We are your representative. Our job is to work with you and develop the plan you want, and then to implement it. This means we will communicate with all parties involved, and we will provide the information needed to make it all happen. While we understand that you're excited about the project and you want to be involved, please remember you don't need to take on the stress of it all. Turn that part over to us and let us deal with it. It's what we do. You can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

One interior designer recently received an email form a client that said, "We are sitting here relaxing and loving the new space. It turned out beautiful. I can finally envision it!" The designer explained this was a bit of an inside joke because at the beginning of the project the designer proposed a very unique element to the kitchen layout. Because it was so different, the clients expressed they were having a hard time envisioning it, but they trusted the designer. And, in the end, the clients understood exactly why the designer proposed it and they love it.

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.