Furnishings

What works best for you may not be how the furniture is “packaged” at the store. Many furniture stores want to sell you groupings that make it easy for them to sell, but may not be the pieces you need, or that will fit in your room. Contents and layout are particular to each family. There is no “one size fits all” in Interior Design!

Take The Guesswork Out Of Choosing Paint Colors

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Color, Furnishings | Comments Off on Take The Guesswork Out Of Choosing Paint Colors

Take The Guesswork Out Of Choosing Paint Colors

When working with a design client, one of the first questions they ask is related to paint color or wall-coverings. With an empty room to decorate, one thinks selecting the wall color is the first thing you should do. Actually, it is the LAST! And here is why: Paint is infinite. It can be mixed in an endless number of colors. Fabric, on the other hand, is relatively limited. Therefore, it is much easier to coordinate paint to the furnishings in the room, than the furnishings to the paint. After purchasing your furniture and waiting for it to be delivered, you may be tempted to borrow a fabric sample from the furniture store to guide you in selecting your paint or wall coverings. But it probably won’t work. Fabrics are produced in different runs or dye lots. The sample fabric you bring home will not be the same fabric used on your furniture. It will be from a different bolt, run or dye lot. This can cause a design disaster. When ordering fabric from my company, we can get a “Cutting For Approval,” which is an actual piece of fabric from the same bolt of fabric that will be used on your furniture. This eliminates the “guessing game” associated with coordinating paint colors. The next problem faced is that ALL colors come in various undertones. You may think “white is white” or “black is black” but that is not the case. Have you ever put on 2 different black garments, thinking that they looked the same but only to discover they are different blacks in the daylight? Perhaps one is “browner” and one is “bluer”. They are both black but different blacks. Usually, the lighting in a paint store is not the same lighting in the room that you are trying to decorate. And a sample paint chip is usually not large enough to determine if that color will be a good fit in your room. The white line between colors on some sample paint chip strips can change the way the color is read by your eyes. Put that all together and once again, you could have a design disaster. As a designer, I have access to paint samples that are much more generous in size and can be put on the wall so you can see the actual color at all times of the day and night as the lighting in the room changes.  I can help you determine the correct color and undertones that will coordinate your furnishings and create the look that you want. Call today so Interior Inspiration can help you feel more ‘at home’ in your...

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Good Design Takes TIME!

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Color, Furnishings, Space | Comments Off on Good Design Takes TIME!

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 | Comments Off on Treat Yourself to Quality Interior Design

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 | Comments Off on You Can Have Whatever You Want…!

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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Custom Furniture

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings | Comments Off on Custom Furniture

Custom Furniture

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 and paint 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. I look forward to tackling more of these issues, and I would be happy to create beautiful, functional solutions to your furniture “situations.” Call for in-house consultation. 847-854-2966 *Not their real...

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Furniture Planning

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings, Recent | Comments Off on Furniture Planning

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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Cabinet Hardware Makes a Difference

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Art and Accessories, Furnishings | Comments Off on Cabinet Hardware Makes a Difference

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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Design Trends

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Color, Furnishings, Space | Comments Off on Design Trends

I get asked about design trends fairly regularly.  People seem curious about them, and there are color trend seminars every year (often sponsored by paint companies). Personally, I don’t pay much attention to the trends.  Unless you have a completely empty house to fill, you probably shouldn’t either (unless it’s just intellectual curiosity, which I’d NEVER want to stifle!)  Chances are that even if you want to do some design work in your home (with or without the assistance of an interior designer) you will be using one, some or many pieces that you already own (including artwork).  Some of them can be modified (reupholstering a sofa, stripping and refinishing a cabinet, re-matting and reframing a picture, for example) but mostly, you’ll be using pieces you have the way they look right now.  Those are the colors you need to work with, and it’s likely that the newest color trend isn’t going to coordinate very well with those pieces. Also, even if you do a room “from scratch,” if you follow the current trend/fad, it’s going to look tired and dated in a couple of years.  Will you be ready to redo that room at that time?  Dressing your room is not like dressing yourself.  I don’t know about how the rest of the world handles this, but I own clothing that I end up wearing for a decade or more.  If I DO purchase something extremely trendy, it is usually inexpensive and doesn’t hold up, anyway.  (As you can tell, I don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on clothing in a year!) I’m going to paraphrase another designer (whose name I can’t remember, and I can’t find the article I read at this time, so If you know who said this, please attribute it to her!):  Interior furnishings aren’t meant to be replaced in a year or two or maybe even five—they’re supposed to be with you for a long time. Please make your selections wisely.  If you don’t know how to do that on your own, call me.  I can...

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Furniture Combinations

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings | Comments Off on Furniture Combinations

Many retail furniture stores want to sell you a sofa, loveseat, and chair-with-ottoman all upholstered in the same fabric.  It’s easier for them, less expensive, and the consumer doesn’t have to think about it.  Sounds like a win-win, right?  WRONG!!! There are so many places this concept can go astray, but let’s discuss a few: 1)    The furniture may be too big for the room; 2)    The pieces may not fit in the room in a visually pleasing grouping; 3)    The furniture may not fit in the door! 4)    The customer’s needs may not be met by that configuration; 5)    The “sameness” of the pieces is boring! The vignettes of furniture set up by furniture stores are very deceiving, where room size is concerned.  Unless you know the dimensions of your room, and measure the grouping in the store (bring your tape measure!), you may be unpleasantly surprised when the pieces are delivered and cannot be arranged decently in your space.  Worse yet, the pieces may not fit in your door!  The width of your door must be considered, but also whether or not the delivery people can aim the sofa straight in the door, or must go around a corner.  OR, you may be able to get the pieces in the front door, but not into the door leading to the room they’ll be living in.  Going up or down stairs to the destination room is a whole other discussion. It’s a good idea to know how the room you’re furnishing will be used, before you select the pieces that will live in it.  If your primary activity in the room is watching TV, perhaps a sectional sofa is a good idea.  Everyone will be lined up and facing the TV, and conversation is not expected.  If you want to use the room to entertain guests with conversation in mind, a sectional is a bad idea.  Everyone is lined up facing in a direction that may or may not be where another person is seated, and it’s hard to talk to people who are right beside you, without turning your body toward them.  If conversation is the goal, perhaps you want two sofas or two loveseats that will face each other.  Or maybe you want four chairs that all face a center point.  There’s no ONE RIGHT WAY to address all of these issues.  It depends on the size and shape of the room, the preferences of the homeowner, and the budget.  In general, the more people one piece can seat, the less expensive per person an upholstered piece will be.  But is squeezing three or four people onto a sofa a comfortable experience? At the very least, I suggest whatever pieces you buy NOT be upholstered in identical fabrics.  COORDINATING fabrics are much more pleasing to the eye.  (INSERT PHOTO OF FABRICS HERE)  Perhaps you opt for two loveseats and two chairs, arranged in a “U” shape.  The loveseats could be identical, and facing each other, and the chairs could be upholstered in the “other” fabric, and placed at the bottom of the “U” with a small table between them.  So much more interesting to look at, and more comfortable for a conversation! Furniture stores will also try to sell you end tables and a coffee table...

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Custom Furniture

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Furnishings, Recent | Comments Off on Custom Furniture

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. I look forward to tackling more of these issues, and I would be happy to create beautiful, functional solutions to your furniture “situations.” Call for in-house consultation. 847-854-2966 *Not their real...

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