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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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Paint Issues

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Color, Recent |

“Pretty Color” Syndrome •    You may look at a paint chip and think the color is pretty. •    It may be pretty, but does it work with what’s in your room? •    “Prettiness” really doesn’t matter! •    Coordination with contents of room (and adjacent rooms) matters. •    Some rooms are painted with colors that are downright UGLY by themselves, but are perfect with the other things in the room. SELECT PAINT COLOR LAST!!! •    Paint color selection is INFINITE! •    Everything else that goes in a room is FINITE. •    It’s much easier to match/coordinate paint to other products than to paint first and try to match/coordinate other things to the paint. •    You may have an idea what color you want the walls to be, but WHICH VERSION OF THAT COLOR will depend on what else is in the room. •    Paint can be applied to the walls while the room is empty, but must be selected AFTER at least some of the contents are in possession of homeowner. •    If you’re trying to match a paint color to a color in a piece of furniture that you don’t yet have in your house, DO NOT borrow the fabric sample from the furniture store.  Dye lots of fabrics can vary; your sofa/chair fabric may not match the swatch. •    Don’t forget to consider the color of the floor in the room.  Even if the floor is wood, remember it’s a color, and not all wood floors are the same color! •    UNDERTONES, UNDERTONES, UNDERTONES!!! •    Evaluate the paint color on the same plane as it will be painted on (meaning, don’t lay the chip on the floor unless you are planning to paint the...

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Furniture Planning

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings, Recent |

Sofa/Loveseat/Chair-with-Ottoman:  BORING!  IMPRACTICAL! •    Retailers sell that combo because it’s EASY. •    Few rooms can handle that combination comfortably. •    Few families NEED those pieces in that combination! •    Review how room will be used (and by how many) to determine which upholstered pieces are needed. DON’T ‘MATCH’—COORDINATE!!!  MIXING PATTERNS IS OK!!! •    Same fabric on all upholstered pieces is BORING. •    Mix patterns and scales of fabric. •    As long as colors coordinate with each other, mixing is GREAT. •    Fabric patterns should be different levels of “power.” •    Floral + tweed + stripe can be VERY attractive. Example:  Consider when a man wears a pinstripe suit with a paisley tie—if the colors coordinate, it’s a beautiful...

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Same Foyer Different Styles

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Before and After, Recent |

Same Foyer Different Styles

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Custom Furniture

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings, Recent |

All kinds of furniture can be custom-designed. From beds, to case pieces (dressers, nightstands, hutches, bookcases), to seating (sofas, chairs, ottomans), any product can be designed to meet your particular needs and wants. Here are two examples: John & Mary Smith* had a sleigh bed in their Master Bedroom. They wanted nightstands to coordinate with it. Mary searched unsuccessfully for 10 years, looking for just the right pieces. She tried furniture retailers all over Chicagoland, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. Her sister referred her to me. I took Mary to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. We found lovely (and costly) pieces in various showrooms, but they didn’t meet our size, color and use requirements. Many were too tall. Nobody would guarantee a match for the stain color that was already on their bed. Few of the pieces had enough storage space. (The Smiths read in bed, and they need lots of room for books, as well as the usual nightstand items–lamp, clock, tissue box, etc.) The Smiths were willing to spend the money, but didn’t want to compromise on the product. So, I designed two different nightstands, incorporating the features we liked from the ones we saw at the Mart. One piece had a bookcase-like area, with one drawer under it. The other piece had three drawers. The top surfaces were large enough to hold books, a lamp, etc., and still not overwhelm the bed. The overall heights were appropriate. Each nightstand had a pull-out shelf, near the top, to give the Smiths more surface area on which to pile their books. Each piece was a combination of the brown stain from the bed and a distressed, sage green paint finish that Mary liked. The cabinetmaker built the pieces to my specifications, and custom-matched the stain andpaint colors. We added rust-finished drawer pulls to coordinate with the stain. The Smiths were very pleased. Bill and Cindy Jones* had different nightstand “issues.” Many ready-made pieces were the right size and height for their four-poster bed, and the Joneses did not have specific storage needs. What they DID have, were architectural and color issues. Their Master Bedroom, at ground level, had only one wall on which the bed could be located. Any nightstands would back up to windows, which were low enough to the floor that the backs of the nightstands could be seen from the outside! And, with a distressed-black bureau and bed, and a yellow pine TV armoire, I suggested that the nightstands incorporate both colors. Once again, I designed two different nightstands that coordinated with each other, and with the other furniture in the room. Each piece had both wood colors in it. Bill wanted mostly shelves, and Cindy wanted drawers with a pull-out shelf. The backs of the nightstands were fully finished, so if they showed through the windows, they wouldn’t be unsightly. Happily, I had another set of satisfied customers! These are just two examples of how custom furniture can solve a problem....

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