Art and Accessories

Good Design Takes TIME!

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Color, Furnishings, Space |

Good Design Takes TIME!

It’s Summertime—Is Your Home Ready for Thanksgiving? Yes, that sounds like a strange question.  The kids just got out of school, there are vacations to take and barbecues to attend.  Probably the last things you want to think about are the winter holidays.  And, if your home is already furnished and decorated the way you want it to be for indoor entertaining, then you don’t have to think about them now. However, if you are dissatisfied with the way your home looks and/or functions, and would like to freshen or redo or update it for the gathering(s) you plan to host this coming holiday season, NOW is the time to begin planning the improvements.  There are many reasons for this: 1) GOOD DESIGN OFTEN TAKES TIME.  Why do it in a state of panic when we can do it with less stress (and more enjoyment)? 2) It can take a while to find just the right fabric or trim for a particular piece of upholstered furniture or custom window treatment.  If stock is low at the warehouse, it will have to be back-ordered.  If the back-order is late coming in, we may have to choose a replacement that is less fabulous! 3) Fabrics are often shipped via UPS or other similar companies.  We all know how overloaded they can get during the holiday season. 4) Workrooms and tradespeople book up fast.  If we want window treatments fabricated or walls papered/painted/faux finished, we have to get on their schedules early. 5) Perhaps some remodeling or electrical work has to be done before the space is painted, or the window treatments are installed. 6) Due to heavy volume, Custom Furniture lead times are longer than usual.  Showrooms often post a list of the dates by which pieces must be ordered to guarantee delivery by a particular holiday.  Those deadlines may be in late September or Early October! The dates of spring and summer events are not as “fixed” as those of many of the winter holidays.  However, weddings, graduations and other warm-weather celebrations call for similar amounts of planning, sourcing and lead time.  It’s a good idea to begin these Interior Design projects during the winter months, after the chaos of the holidays is behind you.  Spring and summer entertaining often takes place both indoors AND OUTDOORS, so why not work on Exterior Design, too?  Your outside paint scheme may need to be freshened.  Planning and/or furnishing a deck or patio requires a similar thought process to planning/furnishing a room.  If landscaping is needed, that has to be designed and scheduled.  Interior Inspiration can help you feel more “at home” OUTSIDE your home, too! Wow!  This is a lot to think about, isn’t it?  Not to worry—if you have any questions related to design in or around your home, please e-mail them to me at randi@interiorinspiration.com or give me a call at 847-854-2966.  It’s never too early to start planning your next design project.  I look forward to hearing from...

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Treat Yourself to Quality Interior Design

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Color, Furnishings, Space |

Treat Yourself to Quality Interior Design

Here’s how it works: I interview you in your home.  The questions I ask will help me figure out what your wants and/or needs are for the project at hand.  We tour the space in question and discuss possibilities.  We discuss the order in which different elements of the project might be completed.  We discuss whether you can fund the entire project at once or in stages. Interior Inspiration is an independent design firm.  I have no obligations to particular products or brands; no minimum amount I have to spend with a vendor to maintain my account.  I have virtually NO limitations to the products available to me.  Anything that can be purchased through the Merchandise Mart in Chicago OR the Arlington (Heights) Design Center is at my fingertips.  And there are products that I can acquire directly from various suppliers, as well.  In this global economy those suppliers might be in the next town, or they may be on another continent! The world is my “oyster.”  This means the world is YOUR oyster, too. Here are some misconceptions about working with an Interior Designer: “I’m not ready to call a Designer in because I don’t know what I want.” Believe it or not, you ARE ready!  That’s the best time to call in the expert.  It’s MY job to help you figure out what to do with a space and develop a good plan to accomplish that goal. “I’ve been to all the stores, and I can’t find anything I like.  I guess this isn’t the time to work on this room.” What you see in retail stores is the “tip of the iceberg.”  There are furniture pieces, fabrics, accessories, window treatment styles and flooring options that are unavailable to the general public.  The Merchandise Mart and the Arlington Design Center are open to Design Professionals only.  As your Designer, I use these wonderful resources to evaluate, customize and narrow down the choices.  I show you a manageable number of options that will work in your situation.  I bring the samples and photos and drawings to YOU.  In many cases, all of the decisions can be made in the comfort of your own home. “I thought Interior Designers had to start with an empty room.  I can’t afford start from scratch!” While “starting from scratch” is a fantasy for many clients and Designers, the reality is that most people do not do this.  Many people have pieces they love that they want to incorporate into the room.  Or, they have heirlooms with sentimental value that they choose to keep.  I will work with you to incorporate your favorite/cherished piece(s) into the new design, or explain why they might be better used in another space in your...

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You Can Have Whatever You Want…!

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Color, Furnishings, Recent, Space |

There’s a commercial on TV these days, for the VistaPrint Company.  This company helps people without graphic design or marketing experience create business cards and other advertising materials for their own companies.  One of the “actual users” in the commercial praises VistaPrint for being able to provide him with “anything he wants,” relative to his business materials. This commercial and others like it seem disingenuous to me.  They tout being able to “get whatever you want” as a great benefit.  The problem with that is MANY PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT!  And how can they?  They are not trained graphic designers or marketing experts.  They are Massage Therapists, or Personal Trainers, or Dentists, or members of other professions, the training for which does not necessarily include how to market themselves. Similarly, many people want to decorate their homes, but THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT!  They may have a favorite color, or a vague idea of what impression they would like to make (if they are decorating for others’ enjoyment and not their own) (which I wouldn’t recommend–do it for YOU).  But not everyone knows what they want or how to get it!  Actually, I would guess that MOST people don’t know what they want.  And, there’s no shame in that. This is is where Interior Designers like me come in.  I can look at your surroundings and ask questions you may never have thought of.  I can take your answers and convert them to a color scheme, or a style of design, or a window treatment–whatever it is you are looking for…AND, I can even HELP YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR!  I can help you get the most “bang” for your buck.  You may think your Living Room is screaming for a new sofa, when in reality, more can be accomplished with a fresh coat of paint and an area rug.  Or, you feel certain that your Kitchen would be completely updated by the replacement of the countertop (a potentially expensive undertaking) when in fact, painting your cabinets and replacing the hardware would do more to freshen up the space.  It’s not your job to know this–it’s MINE! So, I implore you to cut yourself a break, and not get sucked into anyone’s pronouncement that you should know what you want.  If you do, that’s great.  But if you DON’T, call me.  It’s MY JOB to help you figure that out!...

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Cabinet Hardware Makes a Difference

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Furnishings |

Cabinet Hardware Makes a Difference

Cabinet Hardware can make such a difference! About 15 years ago, when I was in my “Country/Traditional” mode, I purchased a used breakfront/hutch from a friend-of-a-friend who was moving to California and wanted to change her style.  It’s solid Oak, and fit what was my taste at the time. Now I’m redoing my Dining Room (finally!).  My taste has changed a LOT over the years.  I’m much more contemporary now.  However, the breakfront is in great shape, and I really can’t afford to replace it.  What’s a girl to do? I changed the hardware!  The original door knobs were antique brass lion’s heads with rings in their mouths, and the drawer pulls were sort of Colonial Williamsburg-looking.  This is something that can work with your Kitchen cabinets, and any furniture that has doors or drawers.  Even if the piece doesn’t have pulls or knobs, you can add them.  That’s what power drills are for!  😉 One word of caution:  With drawer pulls, the distance between the screws on most American pieces is 3” on center.  Make sure the distance on the new ones is the same as the distance on the old ones.  If they’re not, you may end up drilling when you weren’t prepared to, and filling in open holes, which if not done properly will make your piece look tacky. Take a look around your house and see if there are any pieces that can be updated and therefore improved by changing the hardware.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.  And if you need my help with this, or any other design project, I’m only a phone call or email...

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Embrace Your Uniqueness

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Art and Accessories |

A friend forwarded me this quote the other day: “Embrace your uniqueness.  Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.”  –Kobi Yamada What does this mean with regard to interior design?  Well for one thing, it means that folks should stop trying to make their homes look like their neighbors’ homes.  It’s bad enough that many of us (including me) live in subdivisions that are somewhat “cookie cutter” on the exteriors.  (There are things you can do that make your home different from the others of the same model on your block.  For instance, the colors of the doors and shutters can be made to be unique.)  But it’s much easier to be unique INDOORS.  I encourage you to embrace that quality. Do you have any particular collections that are not being displayed at the moment?  Perhaps you don’t know how to show them off to look their best, so you hide them away in a box or closet.  For example, among other things, I collect teapots and teacups.  I chose to display them in my Dining Room, which is now in the process of being redone.  However, I plan to redisplay them when the painting and window treatments are finished.  I’ll post photos when I’m through with the work. Do you love Disney memorabilia?  Do you have old record albums that you love, but no longer play in this CD/MP3 world?  Do you collect any kind of figurines?  Do you have items from your childhood that are sentimental to you?  These are the kinds of things I’m talking about.  They can be mounted, framed, decoratively displayed on shelves, or can be shown off in any number of ways, depending on what they are. Collections don’t have to be expensive, either.  My teapot/teacup collection began when my grandmother died and my mother retrieved 3 or 4 teacup/saucer combinations from her home.  (Who knows where my grandmother got them in the first place?)  I began adding to the collection myself, often from TJMaxx or other retail establishments that are known for inexpensive goods!  My friends found out about this collection and began giving me gifts of teapots and teacups.  I cherish the original items that belonged to my grandmother, but I love the ones I’ve accumulated since then too.  And, they make a mighty handsome display when they’re all out and arranged artfully.  But almost best of all, nobody else has them.  Even if someone else collects tea things, chances are they don’t have the same ones I...

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Displaying Collections

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Art and Accessories |

Displaying Collections

I’m a “collector.”  Some people equate that with being a “pack rat,” but I collect specific things.  For instance, I collect figurines and images of sheep, mostly the black-faced variety.  (I don’t know why they appeal to me, but they do.  Perhaps it’s the contrast of the dark face to the lighter fleece…) Anyway, I’ve been collecting these things for probably 25 years.  When “country” decorating was popular in the US, these representations were plentiful.  I haunted craft shows and flea markets, looking for additions to my “flock.”  I tried to stay away from the “cutesy” figurines that were so popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but sometimes friends bought them for me, anyway. My collecting has tapered off in recent years, and I have winnowed out the stuffed toy variety of sheep.  Now, I only display the ones I consider artful or sculptural. Before I reduced the size of the collection, I had sheep all over the house, in pretty much every room!  They were artfully displayed, but they were EVERYWHERE.  As my tastes changed, and my interest in dusting these things waned (I’m nothing, if not practical!), I have pretty much confined my collection to my Family Room and Foyer/Upstairs Hallway.  There are a few strays in other rooms (guess I’m not that good a shepherd! 😉 I also collect Cat figurines and images, and all things related to Tea.  (Teacups, teapots, tea strainers, and even a few demitasse cups and saucers, even though they’re not used to drink tea—I’m not THAT literal!  I also collect pitchers.)  Oh, and we use our TV room as our “pop culture” display room.  So we have some autographed photos of musicians, and representations of other favorites in the pop culture of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  As with all of the other collections, most of the pieces were self-purchased, but there are a number of items that have been given to us by friends. In addition, I’ve collected what I can loosely describe as “artwork.”  MY artwork is rarely of any monetary value—in fact the frames are always worth much more than the art itself!  It’s amazing how framing and matting can take a $10 poster and make it look like “a million bucks.”  However, ALWAYS use UV glass when you frame things.  I didn’t know to do this 25 or 30 years ago, and consequently, a few pieces that I love have faded and I can’t replace them.  Please learn from MY mistakes!  (Framing artwork is a topic for another blog entry…I could go on and on, and I usually do!) Hmmm, let’s see:  Miscellaneous Artwork, Sheep, Tea Things, Cats, Pop Culture memorabilia…I think I have it all covered.  None of what we have is worth anything monetarily—it’s all sentimental and a matter of personal taste.  I know some people collect things because they perceive that they’ll increase in cash value.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  It’s just not the route my husband and I have taken. I encourage you...

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