Posts belonging to Category Home Design



DOES A ROOM HAVE 4 WALLS OR 6?

OK, that’s a trick question.

Strictly speaking, most rooms have just four walls.

However, it’s important not to overlook the floor and ceiling – the other ‘walls’ in the room.

It’s what we call looking at the big picture.

So the correct answer here – you guessed it – is six.

Yes, whether walls, floors or ceilings – when designing a home, everything counts.

It’s the ceiling, though, that tends to get overlooked.

Other than a coat of paint, and a light fixture, you might be thinking what more does it need?

As with everything else, the details matter.

This means careful consideration of the paint color, specifically whether to go with a lighter shade, or dark.

Usually, the advice is to use a slightly lighter shade, especially if your ceilings are low.

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ARE YOU STALLING?

“Ambivalence – is the liminal point between the problem and the solution.”

 

It’s that point of uncertainty, when you’re not sure what to do next and perhaps terrified of making a mistake.

Let’s say you’ve been thinking about a kitchen remodel, or are toying with the idea of re-decorating your home.

Let’s also say you’re feeling overwhelmed by the details and not sure where to even begin.

Could be you’re stalling.

A few days ago, I was talking to a couple of friends, both interior designers. The one friend is planning to remodel her townhouse and is brimming with new ideas.

She’s a designer, after all.

Still, she’s not sure where to begin.

She’s stalling for time.

The intentions are usually good.

Still, you might be feeling stuck, not sure what to do with the old furniture for starters.

(It’s a classic case of “Designer’s Own Dilemma”) .

For many of us, that is the BIG question,  i.e  what to do with the old furniture?

Do we donate it, sell it or give away?

And to whom?

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HAVE YOURSELF A COLOR PARTY

Early in my design career, a client presented me with a challenge for re-designing her living room.

She wanted a new look, with lots of COLOR!

Per her instructions, she wanted to keep two existing chairs , one red and one blue, and replace most of the remaining furnishings, including the sofa.

(In design parlance, that’s what we refer to as the scope of the Project).

Did you catch the part about the chairs – one red, the other blue?

The real challenge here, was to connect these seemingly disparate pieces into a harmonious color scheme.

Well, I love a challenge, and every project has one.

It’s what usually gets the creative juices flowing.

It is also where the ‘Color Party’ comes in.

Let me explain.

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THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

I’m a big fan of multi-functional furniture, and ottomans certainly fit that description.

I think every home should have at least one.

In the world of furniture, the word ‘ottoman’ originally referred to a particular sofa style.

I kid you not.

Of course, this was back in the 18th century, and things have changed somewhat since then.

Furniture historians aren’t exactly sure why this one-time sofa morphed into a padded stool, but there you have it.

Now, you might be wondering what’s so great about an ottoman, so let me explain.

In my living room, we have a large ottoman that is roughly 4 ft x 5 ft in size.

This one piece of furniture can hold multiple stacks of books and magazines, thereby serving as a coffee table.

Yet it can just as easily fill the need for extra seating.

In addition, if the top surface is flat and sturdy, it can even hold a tray of food.

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WHAT DO TRAVEL AGENTS & INTERIOR DESIGNERS HAVE IN COMMON?

“Hiring a professional to do something you could yourself can be a good idea or a bad one. It comes down to the value you receive.”The Seattle Times, July 2011

 

I just got off the phone with my travel agent. 

Yes, I might be one of the few who still resort to this ‘dated’ practice, when it’s so easy to book your own travel plans online.

But here’s the thing.

Spur of the moment, my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Hawaii.

We called our favorite hotel and were told there was limited room availability at the start of the holidays – plus prices would be higher than usual.

Then we attempted to reserve a flight on the airline’s website, only to learn there was only room for one of us on any given flight.

Clearly, this wouldn’t do.

Enter the travel agent.

The beauty of working with a travel agent is that, for a minimal fee ($35 in our case) she was able to book a flight – for both of us – plus a hotel room at a reasonable rate.

She did all this, and saved us about $2000.

I compare hiring a travel agent to hiring an interior designer. I think you’ll be amazed by the similarities!

 

Expensive? Says Who?

Hiring a travel agent, or interior designer – or any professional, for that matter – won’t necessarily cost you more.

Changes are, you will even save money in the end.

This is because interior designers not only know the ins and outs of their business, they also know where to find you the best deals.

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WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM TV SITCOMS

Many years ago, I snapped a random photograph of my young son standing on the beach in Hawaii.

When my photos came back from the printers, I was surprised to find that not only did I capture him by the water’s edge – but also his shadow in the water.

Inadvertently, I’d even captured his shadow on the sand!

It was uncanny.

I called the photo “Ashley 3Ways” –because I’d unintentionally captured three different aspects of him.

I was thinking about that photo a few days ago while watching The Big Bang Theory on TV.

Have you ever watched that show?

It’s entertaining, in a goofy kind of way – ideal for those times when only something lighthearted will do.

What I noticed about several of the main characters – who all live in the same building, by the way – is that each apartment appears to be identical in layout.

Maybe the floor plan is flipped, but the layout is still the same.

Yet each of their homes looks entirely different from the other.

It’s a little like that photograph – you’re seeing the same thing, but in three distinctly different ways.

In this case, their homes tell a story about their respective characters.

The set designer (as opposed to, say, an interior designer) personalized the space by choosing furnishings which perfectly encompass what each of the characters represents.

(It is a TV sitcom, after all).

For example, in one apartment, you have Sheldon & Leonard, two physics nerds who work together and also share an apartment.

Their home reflects a typical bachelor pad, with leather furnishings, electronics and a subdued, masculine palette of brown and black that says “men live here”.

Across the hall we have Penny, a bubbly blond who lends a much needed feminine touch – and her apartment reflects that.

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HAVE YOU CLEANSED YOUR HOME?

We hear a lot about Cleansing and Detoxing the body.

But have you ever considered a Cleanse for the home?

It’s the same idea, really.

You’re getting rid of the old to make way for the new.

A friend recently suggested that I read a book called “Soul Space” and I wanted to share this with you because I’ve been absolutely captivated by it.

I think it’s a must read for everyone – plus, it so closely resembles my own design philosophy, it’s uncanny.

You see, a few weeks ago, if anyone had asked, I would have said there are very few things in my home I don’t love.

The idea of celebrating the beauty around you and surrounding yourself with things you love is something I’ve written about many times.

After all, it’s a key step in writing you Bio.

(You know, the one that’s written without words).

Until I read this book, I never thought twice about the living room chair that I ‘inherited’ from a former retail space – along with the business – when a former business partner and I parted ways.

So here’s the thing.

I don’t love that chair.

Do I use it?

No.

It’s too big and deep for me, and I avoid sitting in it whenever possible.

When you look at it that way, it’s kind of silly to keep it, isn’t it?

Do you have anything similar to that in your own home?

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A TRUE STORY – MY STINT ON HGTV

A few days, I was talking to a business coach and the conversation went something like this:

She: “You were on HGTV??!!

Me:  “Oh, that…yes, I was.”

She:  “How come you never talk about it? I mean, you were on HGTV!!!!!”

Me:  “It was such a long time ago.”

I have a tendency to play things down, I know.

But yes, I really was on HGTV – about eight years ago now, if memory serves me correctly.

I’d practically forgotten.

She was right, though.

And so, I thought I’d take some time today to share that experience with you.

The way this came about, HGTV was contacting local designers to see who might be interested in being featured on the show “Designer’s Challenge”.

They already had a local family lined up, who were eager to get some professional design advice for their somewhat traditional living room.

The premise of the show was that three different design teams would present a completed concept to the homeowners.

By concept, I’m referring to a fully fleshed out solution to their design challenge, complete with drawings, furniture and fabric recommendations, and any other finishes or materials required to complete the project.

So, I partnered with another designer, and together we took on this project.

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YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

You know that sterile feeling you get in a hotel room?

There’s that sense of expectation – wondering what you’ll find beyond the closed door, before you’ve even stepped over the threshold.

At that moment, your bodies is in full “perception” mode, instinctively taking in everything about your surroundings.

In the end, though, it might feel inviting but completely generic – with no trace whatsoever of the previous occupants.

Last week’s trip to Atlanta was no different.

I did the usual quick assessment of my room, which seemed to be comfortably furnished and attractive.

After I few minutes, I noticed the room was actually speaking to me.

I don’t mean that in a ‘woo woo’ kind of way – it really spoke!

There were messages everywhere that said things like “Drink Me”, “Refresh” or “Need Something?”

Even the bath mat said “Step” – as in “step into the shower”.

It was fun and a bit quirky.

Did it make me feel more at home?

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LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

The dental assistant had a question.

“Is Teal in?”she wanted to know.

She went on to explain that she wanted to repaint her Master Bedroom and the color teal really appealed to her.

She just wasn’t sure it was the “in” color to use.

While I generally don’t hand out free advice, I couldn’t resist this one.

I told her to forget what colors are “in” and paint her bedroom whatever favorite color she wanted.

It was her bedroom, after all!

A few days later, another acquaintance was lamenting the large amount of dark wood in her home – dark oak floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and walls.

Her husband had suggested painting them.

“But,” she wondered aloud, “What happens if ten years from now dark wood is again back in style?”

She wasn’t asking my opinion, so I didn’t provide it, but here’s the thing.

Fads are just that.

They come and go.

What your heart and your gut are telling you – that’s what you want to pay attention to!

Your home needs to be about you and the things you love.

Whether you love teal, or your home is too dark and you want to lighten things up, I say – go for it!

Here’s another example.

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