Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Powderoom Project Finale

Well, you have seen the orchid sink that inspired this project. Then you followed us as we paired it with a beautiful bamboo faucet and then we found a lovely tropical floral paper with a dramatic chocolate background. The exquisite Harbin Ice marble counter top was the perfect solution to surround our sink. But what has happened since?
As the design unfolded we wanted the feeling to express an Oriental Chippendale Garden style but where would we find such a vanity to reflect that? I decided in order to get what we wanted I would have to design it myself and have our cabinet maker fabricate it. So that's precisely what we did. I sketched several options to show our client and she made the ultimate decision. We found bamboo hardware for the doors as well as the custom mirrored bifold doors that conceal a washer and dryer. We framed them to look like just a pair of doors and accented the corners of the molding with the same motif as the base of the vanity.

Our final decision was the mirror. This was tricky. Many of them were either too big or small or in an inappropriate color. But then we came upon a mirror that was totally different than the original concept. The color was great and tied in with the gold in the floral wallpaper. It was just the right thing to break away from the matchy- matchy look that sometimes feels contrived. This elegant mirror reminds me of a great antique discovered in the attic.
This project was a collaboration with my partner Ellie and Caimano Interiors. We had wonderful contractors who made us look really good and terrific clents who were such a pleasure to work for. It was truely a team effort. It is so important for the successful outcome of any design project to have a team of professionals who can help see the project through from concept to completion.
I wish were able to take a photo of the whole room but photographing bathrooms is difficult, especially with all those mirrors! Any tips for me? What kind of renovation projects have you been challenged with? Did you have a team to work with? How did it turn out?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Fashion Inspired Design

I had the pleasure of discovering a great new fashion item yesterday. Shoes! Of course shoes are not new but these are a new twist on an old shoe...the sandal. Check out http://www.junoshoegirl.com/ These look like an ordinary sandal....but wait there's more! Created by an artist the devine decorations that accessorize these sandals are interchangeable. Snap them on and you have a totally new look.

Two things come to mind when I think of these fun fashion items. First the designs of the snap on doo dads are fabulous and could easily inspire the interior design of any room. There are turtles, starfish, bows, sailboats, flowers and bejeweled designs. A seaside cottage or hip garden room or elagant dining room could all be inspired by these beautiful shoe ornaments. The flowers could be enlarged and used as a pattern on pillows or rugs or on drapery hardware or as wall art. There is no end to it!

The next thing that I think about is why not make interchangeable decorating accessories. Of course you can always change out accessories or art but what about taking it a step further. Why not a removable skirt on a sofa or chair or changeable fringe on draperies or pillows. What about ...... You fill in the blank.

If you are old enough you may remember changing decor with the seasons, especially summer. White or floral slip covers on upholstery offered a welcome lighter look. We took down heavy drapes and left the sheers. We rolled up rugs and left the bare wood floors or put down sisal area rugs. You could take it a step further. Change the lampshades, change accessories, even artwork. I can see living in warmer climates a lighter cooler feeling interior would certainly be welcome in the dog days of summer.

But I am going to think about taking the idea of snap on ornamentation of Juno Shoe Girl a step further.....no pun intended.

What do you think?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fashion Inspiration

In my last blog I wrote about how fashion designers can be equally talented at interior design, a la Coco Chanel, but fashion itself can be an inspiration for decorating. Take the recent winner of HGTV's Design Star, Emily Henderson. Her whole design theory is that you can create an interior based on your wardrobe. On one of the final episodes of Design Star she created an interior based on a man's wardrobe. One of the ways she accomplished this was by doing a navy pin stripe on an accent wall. She incorporated the feel of the clothes with texture, color, pattern and accents. It was great! See more on Emily at http://www.hgtv.com/

On a recent visit to Rodeo Drive I saw an incredible store front display at Prada. Here are maniquins dressed in blues and blacks....navys, turquoise and soft blues, with ribbons, lace and plaids and prints. Now this could be a great inspiration for any decor. I can imagine it as a coastal cottage or urban loft, sophisticated or just fun.

You could use bits of lace as trim on pillows, a bold plaid rug on the floor or how about a band of color all around the room like the waist bands on the dresses. I can see lots of white with splashes of brilliant blues in lamps, art, glass, or tile. Yes, in a kitchen with white cabinetry and countertops a dramatic cobalt blue glass backspash, table settings with plaid napkins and blue goblets, or the backsplash could be a fun mosaic of multiple shades of blue. The feeling I get from these chic frocks is casual sophistication so that might be what I would strive to express.

How would you interpret these dresses in decorating a room? The possibilities are endless.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Coco Chanel in Black and White

How much more classic can you be than Coco Chanel. And how much more classic can an interior be in black and white? I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Coco and Igor recently. It is the story of the love affair between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, a struggling composer at the time......and married with a family too.

Coco invited the Stravinsky family to stay in her French chateau. As she was showing them around the incredible home I could not help notice the amazing interior design. The setting was in the 1920s but the decorating was so contemporary and wonderful I was really taken by it.

Every room she showed the Stravinskys were done in black and white. Mrs. Stravinsky commented.....don't you like color? Of course replied Coco...as long as it is black or white.

As far as color schemes go there is nothing more failsafe than black and white. It can be contemporary or traditional but either way it is mostly a very dramatic result. Black lends formality and contrast lends drama. So if you are wondering how to decide on a color scheme, are looking to make a statement and want to keep it simple, nothing beats black and white.

Of course there are many components to a successful interior design. Color is just one. To pull it all together there needs to be a careful balance of line, form and texture. There can be pattern as in a fabric but pattern can ocurr in flooring such as carpets, rugs, or hard surfaces like wood, stone or tile. Wall treatment like wallpaper or a specialty finish can provide pattern as well. But don't forget the pattern that art and accessories can achieve, too. Sometimes just the interplay among the various elements of the room can be the pattern.

But for now I am just so inspired by the elegant and dramatic interiors of Coco Chanel. It is no surprise that such a cutting edge fashion designer also have a talent for interior design. Even today many fashion designers have expanded into home furnishings. Think, Ralph Lauren or Oscar de La Renta.

Has fashion ever been an inspiration for an interior decorating project for you? I would love to hear about your experience.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Granite, it's all natural

Choosing granite for a counter top can be very tricky. If your counter is small, like a vanity, a remnant is the way to go.

If you need more material then you will need to select full slabs. What? When you go to a showroom they will have small samples to show you but many times they are old and from slabs that are not available. Also many marbles and granites have a lot of variation and you need to see the whole slab. Some are very dramatic and have a lot of "movement" or large strong pattern. Some will have areas you do not like and many times the fabricator can work around that. Others may have flaws. It is really important to inspect every slab you are going to use.

Looking at slabs for me is great fun. It never ceases to amaze me that these slabs are cut out of the side of a mountain somewhere in the world. It is Mother Nature in her glory. When you go, bring anything that will help you make a good decision....they might even be an interior designer, a friend who has experience with choosing a counter top ....but also a drawer or door or sample of your cabinet finish, sample of your wallpaper or floor tile or even a photo from a magazine of your inspiration room. Can't bring samples? Take a photo.

Where to go? Ask your contractor or get a referral to a fabricator. Don't have one? Stop in several marble and granite showrooms and they will refer you to one. Go prepared not just with your samples but many times these granite yards are outside.....if you are wearing sunglasses....take them off when you look at the slabs so you can see the true colors. I like to bring water to drink...or sometimes they have bottled water for you to drink. Not only can it be hot but dusty.......and don't wear black, like I sometimes do, because the dust gets all over you!

Have fun! I would love to know your slab selecting stories and send photos of the end results.

Decorating with pets

I just finished vacuuming cat hair....floors, furniture, window blinds....it can be anywhere. Cats, more than dogs, hang out in the tiniest of spaces where I would never think to look for fur, like window sills and sliding glass door track. We had dogs for 30 years and have recently acquired a cat, a long haired cat at that. Living in Florida we have our air conditioning on all the time. My how her fur loves to fly. Even when I just pet her it floats through the air like it had little feather wings. And what does that mean? I must have cat fur on every surface of my home. Do I dare put on my glasses and see the truth?

So this brings me to bring up the subject of decorating with pets....that does not mean using fabrics and wall paper with little puppies and kittens. Of course I am referring to how having a pet or pets can influence your decorating. There are lots of things to consider, not the least of which is fur. What kind of fur? What color of fur? Have a white cat or dog? ...don't get a navy or black sofa, rug or floor. No polished black marble or black lacquer for you! The same could be said for black fur shedding creatures and white surfaces.

I have often had clients who caution.....don't forget my furniture needs to be pet friendly. That could mean practical and easy to clean or no loose weaves that might get caught in little claws. It could mean using window treatments that can be raised up so a curious pet can look out the window or door. Or using a vertical treatment so the sliding door can be drawn open slightly so the door can open slightly to let a furry friend go outside. And, watch out for the cord operating systems that could get tangled in a frisky pet.

Got delicate porcelain figurines or personal treasures that are fragile? Best to keep them off the surfaces where kitties are prone to tip-toeing. I think the situations are as diverse as the personalities of our pets. One thing is certain, if we have pets they are part of our family and will definitely have an impact on how we design our home.

Designing for our pampered pets

Creating a fun environment for a beloved pet is a great "pet project".

I remember seeing a laundry room in a showcase house that was actually turned into a dog room. Dog dishes, dog beds, dog crate and places to store dog food and leashes, a place to give doggy baths or to groom your dog. I am going to assume that this was not a laundry room that saw much laundry being done but the idea was great.

Cat lovers might like to have a little kitty room too where they can hide the litter box or provide interesting climbing condos and scratching boards so they don't ruin your upholstered furniture. (See the "city scape" room above, or should I say "kitty scape".) Most of us don't have the luxury of having a space that can be totally dedicated to our pet but I have heard of people who have turned a spare bedroom into a haven for their pets.

The room in the photo was designed for a kitty play area for a San Diego designer showcase house.

Don't forget that dogs, in particular, may also spend time in their crates. These less than attractive items can also be large space invaders. I have been thinking of creative ways to incorporate them into a home's decor. My partner Ellie and I have come up with some great ideas. We were also selected by Pierre Deux to be in a design contest for a new pet product. We designed the most amazing convertible sofa bed....a recamier.... which is a fancy word to describe a type of French lounging sofa. There are many pet beds on the market. Some elegant canopied creations fit for a princess, a furry princess. Many are very basic cushions that come in the basic colors and fabrics. As a designer I think if a pet has a bed or a crate in a beautifully decorated home, then they should be part of the design too. I am wondering if there is a market for that? We could incorporate the fabrics and color schemes and make these items accent the decor instead of detracting from it. They would be customized to not only compliment the colors of the interior but also the style, formal, informal, contemporary or classic, coastal or country, urban or shabby chic. The possibilities are endless. This fun to think about.

I found some unique pet crates and cat beds on line...see above pics. Look how fun and attractive these pet accessories can be.
How have your pets influenced your decorating? What design challenges are you faced with as a result of having a furry friend in your family? Of course there are lots of kinds of animals besides the typical feline or canine and they can have an impact too. Suppose you have a pot bellied pig, monkey or ferret, or something a bit more creepy crawly? I hope you will share your solutions and challenges with me and my "bleaders" (blog-readers). Photos of cool pet beds and crates courtesy of http://www.digsdigs.com/

Friday, April 16, 2010

Powder Room Project.......Countertop Conumdrum

What material do we want to use for our charming custom vanity? How do we decide what will set off our lovely orchid sink (see photo in previous post)? It is one thing to have an idea in my head but another to find what I am looking for. When your counter top is for a small area it is best to find a remnant of marble, granite, quartz or whatever kind of stone you like because these materials usually come in large slabs. If you want to use corian or another surface that is manufactured to size then it does not matter.

For this project we wanted something beautiful, a natural stone product and something that would not only compliment our scheme but also cost efficient. We need a remnant. So how do we find that? First call our fabricator. This is the person who actually cuts the countertop, finishes the edges and installs it. Frequently they have usable pieces of larger slabs left over from other installations. He said there were several options that sounded like they might work for us so off I went.

He was right. He gave me samples of 4 slabs. I was looking for basically a pure white but that does not exist in granite....so what did I find? There was white quartz, white quartz with dots of green and beige, green granite, and, if you can believe it, fuchsia quartz! The fuchsia quartz was very close to the color of the orchids in our sink and flowers in our wallpaper. That color on the countertop would make a powerful statement for sure. The white quartz had a yellow cast and that would not work, the green granite was a bit muted while the other colors in our palette are more vibrant so that did not work. Hmmmm

As luck would have it I got an email from another supplier about a new product and a follow up phone call. During this call I asked about remnants. Yes, they did have a few and they would email me photos. There were good possibilities. Hopeful, I drove to their showroom and there I spotted a display with a fabulous granite that I had seen in the photo. It looks like stones cut in half. It is mostly whites but also has a bit of gray and a bit of golden brown. How pretty it looks with the wallpaper and faucet! After showing all the samples to our client this last one was it!

When the vanity base is installed the fabricator will measure or make a template for the top. He will fabricate the top and backsplash and finish the exposed edges in the style we select. Some styles are standard and others are an upgrade....which is code for ...more expensive. So when planning for countertops there is alot to take into consideration. Future posts will have more tips and info on granite/marble selecting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cabana Bath.....Asian garden inspired

Inspired by a bowl of goldfish? This delightful cabana bath was a collaboration between myself and my client. In this project we found the wallpaper first. Since the bathroom leads out to the pool we wanted a it to have a touch of whimsy but also sophistication. This is also a guest bathroom so it must be totally functional as well as beautiful.

The first thing that draws your attention is the fabulous coral paper. If you look carefully you will see glass jars with goldfish. We were debating between this paper and another but when we walked into a showroom and spied the glass goldfish vessel sink....we were charmed.

The custom vanity has a simple Asian design. We removed a corner linen closet and had a linen cabinet made to compliment the vanity. A white corian top is lovely and practical too.

When you use vessel sinks there are a few things to keep in mind. Your vanity top needs to be a bit lower and the faucet a bit taller or as we have done....wall mounted. When we found the river rock tile we new it would be a terrific back splash. By wall mounting the faucet it seems like the water is flowing out of the rocks. The floor tile was another great find. The 24 x24 tiles look like grass cloth and we installed them like in an alternating basket weave pattern....like a grass mat. Fun! Speaking of grass cloth, look at the ceiling. Yes, it is grass cloth but a printed grass cloth rather than real woven grass in a vibrant green. Don't forget the ceilings, even in bathrooms.

The tile in the shower is another Asian inspired touch. We found narrow rectangular white tiles, stacked them to look like a shojii screen and accented the walls with green glass tile bordered by a wonderful tile that resembled bamboo. To complete the feel we used the river rock on the shower floor, which we found out when the guests were showering, feels like a foot massage!

One of our goals was to make the shower bigger, so we took down the wall next to the vanity and built a new "knee" wall a few inches further out. This made the shower door larger and with the wall down it opened up the shower tremendously. Our plumber moved the plumbing to the adjacent wall. It was also cost efficient to use an all inclusive shower panel that opens to reveal body sprays! More fun.

Since the back splash was high, we needed mirrors that tilted down. We discovered these, after scouring the Internet, at a local store and took them home with us. The pendant lights resembling coolie hats, the simple hardware and bamboo towel ring and accessories added more detail to enhance our Asian garden theme. My client found a wonderful table/bench to place in front of the white wainscoting that we designed to balance the large vanity. It is so pretty when guests walk in to the room and look right out to the pool through the French door.

Yes it was alot of work and quite a messy job. Don't let anyone tell you that renovation is all laughs. However it does help to keep a sense of humor, too. It was fun to work so closely with my client. We were always on the same creative page resulting in a delightful, beautiful and, if I do say so myself, stunning cabana bath, or as my client would say, "ab fab" (absolutely fabulous)!

What kind of fun have you had renovating or redesigning a guest bath?

Powder Room Project.....The perfect papers

Wallpaper can set the design theme and color scheme. It is a great design element to use on walls, ceilings and in other creative ways. Do you like to use wallpaper when you decorate?...or for your clients' projects?

We decorators are relentless sometimes or should I say obsessed? Not being satisfied with the wallpapers we found at first, I went to a local showroom that carries many lines. There were several great options. We chose this whimsical but sophisticated botanical that has a nod towards tropical. There are orchids somewhere in there.

The brown background gives it alot of drama. The whites will tie in with the sink and toilet. The beiges will work with the marble floor. The fuscia will blend with the color of the orchids on the sink. This is exciting.

Even in this small room I don't want to ignor the ceiling. We picked a little green fretwork design. Since it is on a white back ground it will not lower the ceiling which is important in this room since the ceiling height is only 7 feet.

The original "bamboo" faucet set will work perfectly except for the chrome finish we saw when we first discovered it. So back to the showroom we go to see what other finishes it comes it.

I suggested we design a vanity in a Chippendale or Chinese Chippendale style. Our client loved the idea. So now I have to figure out how to accomplish this. There is also a closet in this room with large bifold doors and we will tie in the Chippendale look on the doors as well.

There is so much to do and decisions to make. Let's see, lighting, mirror, hardware, countertop, towel bar, accessories. When working with a client all this has to be approved and priced. We bettter get back to work.

I would love to hear from anyone who is doing or has done a project like this. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Powder room.......change of plans

Ok, this is how things can change. After searching for wallpaper that had the perfect raspberry/fucia color that would compliment the orchid sink, we seemed to only find papers that had creamy or beige backgrounds. This created a situation. Our beloved sink only comes in white. So now we either have to find other papers or, perish the thought, abandon the orchid sink and perfect bamboo inspired faucet set. We are not exactly back to square one but I believe if we decide on one of the wallpapers we found , then we will need to select another sink and faucet.

Alas, this is the way it goes sometimes. Rest assured the powder room is still going to be sensational!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Redesigning a powder room .....wallpaper

With photos of the orchid sink and bamboo faucet/spout set in hand, Ellie and I set off for DCOTA. That is our local design center. It is 3 buildings of 4 floors each full of design showrooms. National and international manufacturers of every imaginable home furnishing are shown there. Fabrics, furniture, lighting, flooring, accessories and more. One showroom is more incredible than the next. It can be overwhelming. For sure it is exhausting. We wear "sensible" shoes and bring rolling carriers for our samples and files. Yes it is fun but it is still work. Designers spend countless hours going from showroom to showroom....we know what we are embarking on....we need to eat a hardy breakfast....and at least some strong coffee to keep us up to speed. So off we go.

Ellie and I split up to cover more territory. We confer by cell phone and meet up here and there to see what each other has found. The showroom I assume is going to have the best selection proves almost fruitless. I am disappointed. What happens to me sometimes is that I have an idea of what I think will be the perfect thing ( in this case wallpaper) but find it is elusive. Does it exist somewhere? I will search till I find it or change my mind. But I do not give up easily.

However, what I have learned is to keep an open mind because sometimes I discover something that is even better than my original idea.

What we did discover is that fuscia is a hard color to find in wallpaper. Of course we can custom but usually that requires a larger minimum than what we will need. However one showroom carried a line that did have some papers with fuscia. What I was looking for was neither too repitious of the orchid pattern or too busy which would take away from the sink. I had in mind a "silk" or grasscloth background with perhaps a design printed on top....or a scenic pattern or a different type of trellis pattern or butterflies, lotus leaves, bamboo, ....I think you get the picture. Since the sink style we like only comes in white we also need the paper to have white....not off white. We liked the idea of polished chrome with the sink as well, so that will influence the paper too. Did we find it? We found quite a few but we are not finished with our research yet.

When the paper is decided upon I will design the vanity accordingly. I have an idea already about what the hardware might be too. We will need to select a toilet, towel bars, a mirror, lighting and accessories. The floor will be a continuation of the marble floors we are installing in the main areas of the home so that will keep it simple. Keep it simple? Is that possible? There is so much to think about, even in a powder room!

I interested to know what any of my readers have done in their own or their client's powder rooms. What did you use as inspiration? Did you go for the drama or keep it understated? Did you dress it up? Did you make it fun or whimsical? Did it have a theme? It would be great if you would post a comment . I would love to hear from you!

Redesigning a powder room

Inspirations are everywhere. Have you ever seen something and thought, I would love to design a room around this?

Here is what I call a waterfall faucet. It looks like an interpretation of a piece of bamboo sliced to allow water to cascade into a bowl.
In this case a bowl of orchids.

I have embarked on a new project....0r should I say we, because I am partnering on this job with another design firm. Ellie and I have done many projects together. Design jobs frequently require more brainpower and manhours than one person can offer. She is extremely experienced in managing projects both large and small. Hooray for Ellie!

Our new endeavor is a powder room redesign. We will be gutting it and starting over. We need inspiration. We work closely with our clients so we all went on our first scouting trip together to see what would create a spark that would give us direction. There are so many choices. The first thing is to limit those choices by making a few decisions. Sometimes when that first design decision is made the rest falls into place.....sometimes it is not so easy.
Our client had remembered seeing a handpainted sink last year when we were working on another bathroom with her. Since handpainted sinks are more limited than wallpaper we decided to start with the sink and see how that would influence the rest of the room. To our amazment we found the sink in person at the 3rd showroom we visited (Although we had seen it in a catalogue it is even better to see it in person, if possible.) It is what I would call simple elegance. The design is a single stem of orchids in a fabulous fuscia color.
My mind was going in a few directions.....we could create a spa-like feel, an Asian inspired design or even a tropical garden motif. We could get dramatic with a burst of color on the walls or we could keep it light and airy, clean and simple. This is going to be fun. Powderooms are like foyers. They are a place you can do something dramatic. Because you spend little time there, they are not rooms you will get tired of easily.
I visioned a faucet with a spout like a waterfall....but not too contemporary....and the salesperson at the showroom guided us to the perfect one. It is shaped like bamboo. The spout looks like a stalk of bamboo that is cut on an angle that allows the water to cascade into the sink. It comes in lots of finishes too. I can't believe we are so lucky to find this so early in our research.

Now my vision is coming into focus. As I share this with Ellie and our client we talk about the possibilities and agree this could be the direction we want to go. Next stop.......wallpaper.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Day in a Life of a Designer

Sometimes I think there is some mystique about what designers do so I thought I would share what my typical day might involve.

It began with sketching some design revisions for a custom vanity and faxing it to my client for her consideration. Then I faxed a proposal for furniture to another client for her approval. Next off I went to meet another client and my partner for our first scouting trip. Our new project is a powder room, marble floors and more. (Follow this project in future blog.)

We went to several showrooms and amazingly we found our inspiration. We were off to a great start.

After coffee and lunch at Dunkin Donuts...we ate in the car (this is a typical designer working lunch)....we frequently do not have time to for a leisurely meal.....too much to do and too little time. We stopped at the marble vendor and found several options....loaded them into my car...who needs a work out? We made our way to a wonderful new plumbing showroom and found just the perfect thing. It was almost like we were on HGTV. We were so lucky.

After dropping off my client and partner I returned to the office. I re-faxed the sketches and a floorplan. Made some phone calls and then went to a client's office to pick up a check to take to a showroom to place an order and schedule delivery. Of course there is always something.....my motto. One item the client wanted was on the floor at the showroom so I loaded it into my car to deliver it myself. SUV's do come in handy.

This was really a typical day. Designers run run run. We consult, discuss, research, shop, pick up, deliver, fax and phone. Sometimes we live in our cars. But we also create. We get to work with incredible fabrics, materials, furnishings and more. At the end of the day I am exhausted but very happy to be doing what I am doing and very grateful for the clients who hire me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ikea Experience

Well, I have just had my very first Ikea experience. For those of you familiar with Ikea you probably can identify with that statement. Ikea is not just a store it is a destination...a total experience.

One of my current clients is furnishing a new office. Ikea offers some great solutions to accomplish this. Their style is clean, sleek, modern and hip. Luckily my client had already had several Ikea experiences so she was my guide. We followed the arrows on the floor to the areas that had what we needed. We debated and disussed. We found lots of great furniture. There were so many options. We wrote lists of parts and components. Then we took a break. It was time to eat.

Eating at Ikea is also a fun experience because most of the food is Swedish inspired! Even the soda. It was great. Swedish meatbals, almond cake, pear soda. They also had wraps and salads and mac and cheese!

We took the time to go over our choices and make some decisions. I did a layout to scale to see what would go where and then off we went again. After reviewing our selections it was time to go down stairs to the accessory department. OMG What fun. After another hour and 2 shopping carts later we were ready to approach the warehouse. Yes, warehouse. That is where you find that each and every component to the furniture has a row and shelf where it is located. You must get a cart ....flat bed cart....and then load boxes on top of boxes. We needed HELP! Luckily a very helpful Ikea-man was there to save the day. He located many of the things on our lists and filled the first extended cart full of boxes, we found some more. By the time we were done we had 5 carts full!

One thing my client had concern about was that everything would be in stock and...guess what.... it wasn't but it was due in that night somewhere between 1 am and 5 am and would be available the next morning.

We sprinted through check out in about 15 minutes and then it was on to the delivery desk to set up delivery.....for another 45 minutes.

My first Ikea experience ended just 8 short hours after it began. How can that be? Well, you have to go to Ikea to have your own experience.

Yes I did go back the next morning and basically zipped through the warehouse, check out and delivery desk. I celebrated with a tour through their little grocery market called Ikea Food, purchasing a few treats.

What's my take on Ikea as a resource? I think it is great. The look is great. The prices are great. Delivery is great. And they assemble...yes everything is KD or Knock Down and has to be put together. There is a service separate from the store that you can contact to assemble which is helpful. If you are decorating on a budget or even just want to add some fun modern touches Ikea provides alot of possibililties.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Window Treatment

Dazed and Confused in PBG asks,

I am in the process of updating the masterbath in my 12 year old house. I plan to have the cabinets refinished and to frame in the mirrors. There is one large window in the bathroom, which currently has 2" wood slat blinds. They are white and do nothing for the room. My husband and I are always at odds because I like light and he likes privacy. I was considering a plantation shutter since I could open up the top part of the shutter and leave the bottom closed. Do you have any other suggestions? The room really needs something to bring it all together and I am not sure the plantation shutter would do a thing to help that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Window treatment

Dear Dazed and Confused,

There are so many window treatment options out there. It certainly can be confusing. While shutters are lovely they will still look much like blinds. My suggestion is a Silhouette, by Hunter Douglas. They are very functional. When the louvers are open there is a sheer fabric to soften the view and give semi-privacy. Close the louvers and you have total privacy or raise the shade and the view is totally open. There are some other new products on the market that might also be excellent solutions to your situation as well. There is a showroom in your area where you can see the products I am referring to. The best way to know what will work for you is to see an actual working sample.

Happy Decorating,

Photo: Hunter Douglas Photo Gallery

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Wow, I just bought a new decorating magazine. It was a skinny thing but seemed full of ideas. I popped it in my grocery basket. Boy was I shocked to find out it was $10! The magazine is about Flea Market finds which is always a fun way to decorate. It could give me some inspiration or even motivation to make over something a client may already have in her/his home.....repurpose, if you will.

So this brings me to a confession......I hoard my decorating magazines. I don't think I am the only one. I have piles of them. I am so reluctant to part with a single one. There could be the perfect resource, idea, photo or article that I might need at some time in the future. So, you say, why don't I just cut out the things that I think I will need? Well, yes I do that from time to time when I am urged to purge. But then I end up with a pile of clippings....so now comes the organizational part. Just make files according to subject and file away. Doesn't that make sense? I will do that some day when I am home with a cold or when I am waiting for the cable guy or something.

But for now I do have a comforting pile or two or three of design magazines. So maybe I can justify my recent $10 purchase if I cut myself some slack. It is not my obsession but my security blanket, right? What can be wrong with that?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Support group

I'm just getting into the blogging world. There are so many blogs. I am going to try to follow some that focus on interior design and decorating. Anyone out there have some recommendations?

Being an independent designer can be isolating, so keeping in touch with other designers is like a life line......for resources, solutions and just sharing common experiences. In fact my friend Lucille founded a group of designers here in South Florida called Designing Women (men are welcome too but none have joined....yet.) We are open to sharing ideas and sources with each other. Many designers covet their sources etc but we are different. We can't wait to let our fellow members know what we know or cry on each others shoulders. Thanks Lucille!

For me one reason for entering the blogging world is to expand the way The Designing Women work.....for networking and support. I am hoping other designers will find this blog a way to be connected. I know I am looking forward to hearing from everyone.

This is going to be fun

So many thoughts, ideas, tips and experiences are going through my head. How do I keep everything organized? Do I keep a notebook by my side at all times? A recording device? How do writers do this?

I am finding starting a blog to be as energizing as beginning a new design project. It's hard to stop my mind from being consumed by ideas and inspirations and questions.

So I guess I should focus on first things first. I owe a big THANK YOU to my talented friend, Victoria ( who happens to be my son's girlfriend) whose patience and skills helped me launch my blog. We had talked about websites but my son, Tim, said, Mom you need a blog. It is less complicated, cheaper and you can do it yourself......well, maybe. I can't thank Victoria enough for her guidance and expertise. (You can visit one of her successful blogs, myveryworstdate.com).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dear Decorator: Color schemes

How can I choose a color scheme? I like some of the colors schemes I see in other peoples homes, models and magazines but how do I know I would want to live with them in my own home?

There are many ways to begin: art, fabric, rug or photo in a magazine, bouquet of flowers etc. but sometimes inspiration is just a closet away. Go to your closet. What colors do you see? Mostly neutrals? Start there. Choose one neutral, beige, black, white, gray, cream or maybe taupe. Pair it with another color you like to wear, one that makes you feel good. Then add a splash of another color, perhaps a brighter or stronger color as an accent. You can add color in patterned fabrics, art, paint or accessories. The choices are endless.

Happy Decorating,

Photo: House Beautiful

Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to My Blog

I'm looking forward to sharing interior decorating dreams and schemes with you. I hope to be a resource for design information and inspiration. I'd love to hear about your own adventures in interior decorating.