Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lighting-Do Not Overlook It!

One of the easiest yet most important tricks designers use to make any home look fresh, updated and custom is one that anyone can use no matter your home’s size or style, whether it’s a new build, a remodel, or just new décor.  Lighting, as in the actual light cast from fixture, not the fixture itself, is an integral part of any design and is very often overlooked by the DIYer. The layering of lighting in any space is the real key to adding depth, function and comfort. We’ve all heard about the three general layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. But knowing where to use what, how much of it, and how to make it as functional as it is decorative are more difficult to figure out. The following advice will give the explanations you need to layout your lighting like a pro!

Just like furniture, finishes, architectural details and other elements define a style, lighting has a huge stylistic impact on a space for several reasons. It casts out shadows, making a room look bigger, or creates shadows, which adds depth and leaves certain points or pieces highlighted. It enhances textures and creates reflections that add to the interest of a space.

Lighting creates a mood or atmosphere: a chandelier centered over a table with dim recessed lights arrayed around the rest of the ceiling can make a dining room intimate; uplights and under cabinet lights in a kitchen make it look alive and highlight the finishes, as well as make it more functional; combining recessed can lights with tall windows make for a bright, welcoming living space any time of day. The more you layer the lighting using recessed cans, ceiling mounted fixtures, track lighting, uplights, table and floor lamps, natural lighting, and dimmers, the more you will enhance and control your look.

Remember what automatically happens when someone walks into a dark room where a movie is playing and switches on the only light? Kinda made you squint just thinking about it, huh? Layering can and should be functional as well as beautiful. Dimmers are a great way to make almost any ambient light functional. They are inexpensive and not as difficult to install as you would think! (Or you could hire an electrician for around $65). During the different times of day, whoever is in the room can adjust the lights to the changing amounts of natural daylight coming in as well as to their task and preferences. You don’t have to be remodeling and tearing out the walls in order to replace the dimmer switches either. Just note that you will have to pay more attention to the bulb you put in the fixture now! Not all bulbs are dimmable. Now your annoying movie disruption will hardly be noticeable.
Now, my pet peeve: when it comes to light switches, dimmers and plugs, make sure they make sense. In one room of my house, you don’t hit the main light until you get to the furthest of three switches! Still haven’t figured out what the others are for. This is, of course, easiest to control when you are building or remodeling, but if you can, really pay attention to the order and location of the controls. Putting certain switches further into the room, or using the on/off switches on a lamp rather than connecting it to a switch are both easy ways to simplify the controls. Many designers say there is no such thing as too much lighting! As long as you can adjust it.

Your Local Interior Designer,

Friday, March 7, 2014


WHITE-the absence of color, can be as powerful as any color !

White is in fact a trend not only in fashion, but  in home furnishings as well.

Washable fabrics such as micro fibers and Crypton fabrics along with fabric protection and warrantees have enabled us to rest easy and live with beautiful, soothing,refreshing white! 

Thinking ahead to Spring, a time of renewal, not only for our soul, but for what surrounds us in our home.

Monochromatic palettes are always in style. White can be your jumping off point for clean minimal spaces. 

Touches of color can become more exciting with a white background.

Use a white accent wall to highlight and showcase an important piece of art.

Furniture is an easy way to bring white into a room

A white sofa, chair, or area rug will make a bold statement on dark hardwood floors.

Looking forward to Spring!

Friday, January 24, 2014


It’s finally 2014 and with the budget emptying out after a wonderful holiday season, here are some fun and easy ways a new paint job can update and refresh a space in a big way, while allowing your bank account some time to recuperate.

We’re not just talking about a fresh coat of white paint: these paint jobs can make a big statement and be pieces of artwork on their own. With free tutorials offered online and in some home improvement stores, this once overwhelming task can now become a fun and useful skill. Below are some of my favorite patterns, both subtle and bold. We can start with my number one choice of print: chevron!

gray and white chevron wall

This pattern is one of my personal favorites because it combines strict, clean geometry with busy movement that leads your eye through a space. Depending on the colors and scale you choose, you can make it youthful and funky, modern and chic, or classy and subtle. The trick to this pattern is not only having good clean tape (which is the key to any good paint job!), but you need to have a template. Without that, it becomes tricky to keep the same angle and width and you lose your clean consistency.  It’s also best to draw any pattern on the wall before painting. Note that when you are repeating colors, it’s easiest to paint the wall in the lightest color first, then you only have to add the accent color or colors.

This is another amazing technique that tops my favorites list! Often times, people turn to bright contrasting colors to make things interesting. But that is only one way to add contrast: try alternating matte and glossy paints of the same color in a striped pattern, or any pattern you like! The sheens will catch light in different ways and even change with the moving daylight and other lighting. This works with both bright colors and neutrals. When it comes to the direction of your stripe, run it horizontally if you would like to elongate or unite a space and run it vertically if you would like it to look taller or draw your eye upward.

For something really unique, skip the repeating pattern and go big and artistic. Random angles and abstract shapes don’t have to look like a Picasso painting covering your wall; just a few outlines or shapes  will give the room some excitement and movement. As with all patterns and techniques, the colors you choose will determine the intensity or subtlety of it. One option is to tape off three or four sections of a wall at random angles, then make each section one shade darker than the last. These accents work especially great in dining rooms, entry ways, hallways, offices or anywhere else that has a large empty wall.


To finish my list of favorite big impact paint tricks on a high note, try painting your ceiling! First, you have to determine what effect you want to have on the space. For a more dramatic look, go for a darker or saturated color. Don’t be afraid of black! It looks great with white walls. For something softer that will keep the room bright and open, choose a lighter color. For a seamless, neutral scheme, paint the ceiling the same shade or just one shade lighter than your walls. For a clean, contemporary approach, keep you walls white and add a bright pop of color to just the ceiling. Painting your ceiling will add a lot of depth to a space, especially if you have crown molding or soffits. This will also draw a person’s eye upward as they enter a space. While deep or dark colors may make a small room look intimate, you may need to be careful, as the wrong color or a dark shade can make certain rooms seem even smaller and closed in. Make sure you bring in lots of light and textures to help balance this out.

Check out 100 other amazing wall paint ideas that are clean, modern and easy, as long as you have good tape!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014's Color of the Year! Radiant Orchid

Yes, Orchid, (and I mean purple) is 2014's color of the year! We love it because it's contemporary, vibrant and fresh! We have been using it in our designs for years and it's finally getting it's just reward! Just as we use the color purple to accent our wardrobes with scarves, hats, and jewelry, (not to mention, blouses, sweaters, jeans, coats and so much more!) so should we accent our homes with touches of orchid. Why not a fresh orchid? They last about 3 months with very little care, and they're  easy on the pocketbook.
Many shades of orchid work well with browns, taupes, grays, black and of course,white and creams.

After all the Christmas decorations are taken down, our rooms look a little bare and even uninspired. Time to get to work on those accents! Don't be afraid to paint a wall or find pillows, throws, and area rugs with purple. You'll elevate your mood and maybe even find that long buried creative side you thought you'd never had!
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement that the color of 2014 is “an invitation to innovation” that “encourages expanded creativity and originality.” She also claims it’s a color that Michelle Obama often wears and notes designers like Max Mara, Marc Jacobs, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermengildo Zegnahave have been incorporating orchid hues into their collections in the past year, the AP reports.

Read more: Radiant Orchid Is Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year | you wished you had!
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement that the color of 2014 is “an invitation to innovation” that “encourages expanded creativity and originality.” She also claims it’s a color that Michelle Obama often wears and notes designers like Max Mara, Marc Jacobs, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermengildo Zegnahave have been incorporating orchid hues into their collections in the past year, the AP reports.

Here's to 2014!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Contemporary Christmas

Tradition is very important around Christmas…But making it modern and fresh is easy to do while carrying on that Christmas cheer that we all know and love! This Christmas, try a new color scheme that includes deep, rich browns, saturated apple greens and clean, snowy whites. Combine shimmery golds with shimmery grays and add steel blue accents, or go completely contemporary with more vibrant, youthful teal blues, berry reds, and neon greens wrapping around your tree.

Rather than the traditional trees and Santa’s, dress up the space with abstract forms of familiar winter shapes and figures. White statues of deer, glittering gold Christmas trees, and faux fur owls will not only bring a modern touch to your Christmas décor, but it will add in some unique and contemporary textures and materials!

Bring the outdoors in while going back to basics. Place frosted twigs or branches in vases for centerpieces or use them as part of a mantle arrangement. Use crystals along with faux snow against the natural browns and greens to create a classy pop. Use less ornaments and more natural materials, like pinecones you may find in your backyard. Keeping your décor clean, monochromatic and natural will bring a more contemporary Christmas look into your home.

Think outside the Christmas box and do something unordinary with your ornaments. These little things can be used in a huge variety of ways: arrange them in large glass vases on the dining table, hang them from a chandelier, add them to the garland running along your banister. There are easy instructions on how to make a Christmas tree accent out of ornaments – check out this link! Even just tastefully spreading ornaments along the table runner atop some shimmery organza will add to contemporary Christmas look! 

Have a very Merry Chirstmas!

Your interior designer,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mattress Matters

How often should you replace your mattress? When your old mattress leaves you feeling tired or achy, it’s time to replace it. The Better Sleep Council recommends trading in your mattress every five to seven years. While it’s not surprising to see this suggestion coming from a trade group, others support this theory, both for comfort and for health reasons. (Mattresses accumulate dead skin cells and perspiration over time, which can attract dust mites and pose health risks.)

If you get a quality mattress with a high coil count, you can  expect  10 or 15 years. To prolong the life of any mattress,  buy a waterproof, breathable mattress cover, which will help shield the surface from moisture and skin cells. (They start at less than $25.)

Mattress types. The innerspring mattress is no longer the only game in town. Now you have a bewildering array of mattress options to choose from, including memory foam, gel, latex, inflatables and all natural — just to name a few. 

Innerspring is the most popular choice and the least expensive; it features tempered steel coils wrapped in layers of cushioning.

Memory foam conforms to the shape of your body, so when you move, the rest of the bed doesn’t shake (good for those bothered by a restless partner).

Gel mattresses combine memory foam with a cooling gel, so the body 
doesn't get so warm during sleep.

Latex mattresses blend characteristics of the innerspring and memory foam to deliver great comfort.

Inflatable air mattresses have an air-filled core that you can adjust to the desired firmness. 

All-natural beds trade engineered materials for organic alternatives like wool, cotton and latex.
Firmness. Experts no longer subscribe to the theory that a firm mattress is better for you, so go with what feels comfortable. 
If you’re over age 40, that might be a softer mattress than you've used before, since skin becomes more sensitive to pressure as we age. Firmness designations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so judge a mattress by how it feels, not by what it’s called.
When researching mattresses, check for brand ratings and compare mattress types. Keep in mind when dealing with innerspring mattresses that a mattress will have a different name and cover from one store to the next, even though the product may be identical. This is a longstanding tradition in the mattress world, and it makes it very difficult for consumers to compare products and prices from store to store.
Instead, try to settle on a retailer you like, and compare the merchandise in that showroom. Or narrow the field down to your two or three favorite mattresses, and choose the model with the best price. 
Testing the mattress. Do not buy a mattress without testing it in the store. Dress in comfortable clothes (pants) and wear shoes that are easy to slip off. If you sleep with someone else, bring your partner with you. You’re going to spend a third of your life on this mattress, it is worth spending as much time as needed on the mattress to assure you of its comfort. 

Gauge your initial reaction to each mattress. If you like it, spend time lying on each side, your stomach and your back, giving extra time to the position you generally sleep in. It is not unreasonable to spend 10 or 15 minutes on a mattress you’re seriously interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson to leave you alone while you’re testing out a mattress, so you can focus on the comfort. 
Coil count. A good way to compare one mattress with another is by checking the coil count. Generally, the higher the coil count, the better the support. (That’s not the same thing as firmness.) 

There are three basic types of coils: pocketedhourglass and continuous. Pocketed coils are individually wrapped in a little bag, hourglass have a rounded top and bottom, and continuous are made from sinuous interconnected wire ringlets. The average mattress contains anywhere from 250 to 1,000 coils. Naturally, larger mattresses will have more coils than smaller ones. If you’re shopping for a queen-size mattress, look for a minimum of 600 sinuous coils or 900 pocketed coils. 
Mattress makers may compensate for a low coil count by using a thicker wire. Wire thickness is measured in gauge, with a lower number signifying a thicker coil. 
Mattresses today most often combine coil springs with memory foam or latex with luxurious toppers of wool or silk,which naturally wickes moisture, providing a good nights sleep. Afterall, isn't that what were all looking for?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reflections of You!

More and more, we talk to people and find that they want personalization in their homes. No more cookie cutter matching coffee table, end table, console table set. No more dining sets with the matching hutch, or even the matching chairs!  We all have a yearning to express ourselves, especially now in our ever changing world. We no longer want to look like our next door neighbor.

We dress for success, we dress to impress. 

Our home reflects who we are, and now customization in all areas of Home Furnishings await. 

While we've always had the ability to change fabrics on sofas, it's now a SNAP to add trims, nailheads, down seating ( or conversely, firm seating). We can lengthen or shorten, raise or lower the back of your sofa.

We can customize your dining table to be aubergine or even tangerine, with the help of outstanding paint lacquers on the market today.

It used to be almost be impossible to order a custom area rug that didn't take 16 weeks and be made in India. We now have an amazing custom rug line that is made in California and uses the finest New Zealand wools or the more 
affordable nylon. Your choices are only limited by your imagination!

Our lighting selections are customizable too. Burnished brass, gold, natural iron, chrome and brushed steel , that are made in America.

Here's where our interior design services come in. We can turn your dreams into reality. We can take the worry off your shoulders. We can prevent you from making costly mistakes, by measuring your home to make sure everything fits, right down to the inch.

We know color and we know style! 

We know how to mix vintage and contemporary, as well as mixing modern and transistional.

We know mid century modern and we know arts and crafts.

We know leather and we know how to blend it with gorgeous fabrics.

We are working harder than ever to create environments that truly express your vision other than our own.