Getting Started

So many people ask me “how do you get started with a design?”.  That is both an easy and a hard answer because in every case it’s all about the inspiration, and THAT must come from the person the design is for.

One client loves bold color so we start there, another is a photographer so we start with some of their photography, and yet another has a fabulous collection or their love of travel.  Sometimes it starts with an image of another home they have seen.    Here are my top 5 ways for getting started with a design inspiration:

  1. Don’t try and match something exactly.  If it’s an image you found in a magazine, chances are it won’t match your budget or the architecture of the structure may not allow for an exact match, so work with your designer to create the same feeling that comes from your image.  Be specific with what draws you to that image – is it the color, the furniture style, the amount of light?  Those things can be accomplished in just about any space.
  2. Remember that one paint color is not suitable for all spaces.  You LOVE that color of yellow (or gray, or blue, or…) that you saw in your friends home, but you try it in your house and it looks awful.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t use a version of that color, but you need to work with your lighting (both natural and installed) as well as the other items in your space.  By using that beloved color as an inspiration and not a “must have” for your space, you will be more successful in creating a space that you love and gives you the same feeling that you had when you experienced that other space.
  3. Don’t think you have to use every piece in a collection.  So many people who have a large collection, whether it be an art collection, a pottery collection or even a thimble collection want to display all of them and if you have the room for that, great – let’s curate them appropriately, but most of us are limited in space and finding room for a large collection of anything is difficult.  Work with your designer to curate a rotating collection so that whatever is on display can be seen and appreciated.  This allows the collection to be a focal of the design inspiration and not an overwhelming display where they eye doesn’t know what to look at.
  4. Don’t go overly themed when incorporating any inspiration.  Unless you are a child, or you have the architecture to support it, don’t go overboard with that culture you fell in love with while on vacation.  Choose a few key pieces and work the design from there.  They can be highlighted using color, texture and placement without feeling like the inside of your home is divorced from the outside of your home.
  5. If you are using a designer, be prepared to talk about your likes and dislikes.  Not sure where to start?  During that initial consultation, tour your entire home with the designer, sit down and talk about your life, what you like and dislike about the space currently, what your interests are and how you use the space.  By building that relationship, we can help guide you to a design inspiration  that will help you love the space.

If you need help finding an inspiration, I’d love to help you, just give me a call!


Bathroom Highlight

A bit of a dreary spring day calls for a pick me up, and this fun bathroom project always makes me smile!  We took a small walk in closet, a tiny shower room and a toilet room and reworked it to make a spa like experience each time you use it.


This corner used to be a walk in closet!


Opening up the space allowed us to put in a nice large shower and a stand alone tub!


Service Highlight: Designer on Call!

If you are one of those people who know what you want, but need a little help with fine tuning all the details, this service may be for you!

Whether you need one hour or 10, I can help you with an on-site visit or some quick advise while you are on a shopping spree or even meet you at a retail store to help you with your choices.

The Designer on Call program allows you to pay as you go at my regular hourly rate, or you can  purchase a block of time to be used within a calendar year… The more hours you purchase the better your design fee gets.

For other services, take a peek at my services tab or give me a call to see which option might be right for you!

Office Hours are Monday – Friday 9 – 5pm
Evenings & Saturday’s available on a limited basis
Closed for business on Sundays

Before and After

A little before and after post today!

In this kitchen we moved and replaced appliances, new cabinet layout and changed the old closet style pantry into a wine bar.


Even without changing any walls, we were able to increase the functionality of the kitchen as well as update the look.


The new layout is perfect for entertaining as well as meeting the needs of this busy family.

Another after shot

What I love most is that this kitchen fits the personality of the homeowner in such perfect way.  It’s a classic traditional base with a little funky fun thrown in!



4 Key Planning Questions

When starting your new interior project, several things come into play and i’ts important to think through them before you start – this is called the planning phase and will help keep you on track throughout both planning for, and implementing your project.  For example:

  •  What’s the scope of your project? Do you want more space (move walls, add a whole room on,  just updated finishes and/or furnishings?)
  • Will you do the work yourself or hire someone?
  • Are there things you like about the space that you will want to work with or is it a total gut and replace?
  • And most importantly, what is your budget?  In the world of remodeling and updating there are many different price points, and understanding that budget upfront will keep you from over designing.

Understanding these questions before you get started will also help set priorities through out the design process.  If budget is your #1 priority, then any updates, materials, etc. should be presented that fit within that priority.  If your budget is a bit more flexible, because you just have to have THAT tile that is more expensive, then open communication with your designer upfront about that will help get you to your design much quicker.

This was a fun bathroom update project – we didn’t move walls and the client loved the stained ship lap.  Budget was key here and so we found a great tile that helped update the space without breaking the bank, and painted the light fixtures and mirrors to give an updated look to go with the new vanity, counter top and plumbing fixtures.


Old Things New

More often than you might think, I start an interior with inspiration from a treasured piece of furniture that has meaning and history to my client.  Part of my job is to incorporate it in a fresh way that gives honor to the piece, while making it feel at home in the new design.

Recently, I posted some pictures of a redesigned office space where we pulled in all new furniture to highlight treasures the clients had collected on their travels.

For this project, I found an old piece, and while not an heirloom to them, it was a great starting point for us to pull in some more color and interest to the space.


To complete the transformation, I changed the fabric and stained the legs darker to match the new furniture and now it completes the space perfectly!

For pieces in good condition, re-upholstery, paint and stain can give new life to old pieces that extend the life for years to come!




Home Office – My Top 3 Must Have’s

A client with a love for travel, called and wanted to use these as the inspiration in his home office space.  With treasures from their travels, some new furniture and window treatments, we created this lovely and functional home office.


When creating a home office, there’s more than just looking good, here are my top 3 must haves of a successful office space.

  1. Ample Storage.  This desk has 2 drawers for files, 2 smaller drawers for pencils, pens and other misc. items and a keyboard pullout.  The side credenza is 2 lateral file drawers with more than enough space to keep everything organized.  Don’t need this many files?  Instead of a lateral file, include another more appropriate piece of storage furniture to keep yourself organized.
  2. Good Light.  In addition to the recessed can lighting, we included 2 lamps that not only work in with the theme, but also give great task lighting in key areas – the desk and the accent chair.
  3. Comfortable Desk Chair.  When you are planning to sit at a desk for long periods of time, you want to make sure that your chair is comfortable – for many (most) that means an adjustable chair is key.

Leather…. I found this great deal!

“I found a beautiful leather sectional for $3999.99…. is that a good deal?” is a question that often comes up and a not so easy one to answer.  Yes, getting a beautiful sectional for that price is a good deal, BUT there are other factors to look at when you are shopping for a piece of leather furniture.

Top-grain, Full-grain, Corrected, Bonded, Reconstituted, Split-grain, high grade, low grade are all descriptions used when describing leather furniture and it gets very confusing.  Here I will attempt to give you some quick definitions to help you decide if that good deal is the best value for your lifestyle and budget.

Full-grain leather – This leather has been minimally processed and refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed or snuffed for uniform look.  This is the strongest of all the types of leather because the grains remain virtually untouched and so they are tighter and stronger.

Top-grain leather – This refers to leather that has been sanded, buffed or snuffed to remove imperfections and create a uniform look on the surface of the hide.  This is still desirable for leather fiber strength and durability.

Corrected Leather – This is made from top-grain leathers, but the grain is scraped and then chemically treated or textured for a uniform appearance.  This is durable but is not as soft to the touch as a top or full grain leather.

Bonded or Reconstituted leather – This, in my opinion, is pushing the boundary of truth by calling itself leather.  This is made by blending a thin layer of fabric and leather scraps together and then coating it with a polyurethane on the exposed surface.  This is not very durable and will not be as long lasting as a true leather.

Split-grain leather – When hides are processed at tannery, the hide is split because it is too thick to use in it’s raw form.  So technically, the top-grain is telling you where it’s coming from when it’s split.  The bottom-grain is what they have left over and is  is not as durable is often used for gloves, shoes, belts – those items that are not expected to last more than a few years.  Split leathers are coarser and stiffer and tend to crack more easily.

Leather grade – Many manufacturers will “grade” their leathers, but these systems are set by the manufacturers and there is no industry standard to say what number or letter represents high quality vs. low.  It represents the cost the manufacturer pays for the leather and is determined by where they purchased the hide (Europe vs. USA vs. South America) , the amount of imperfections on the hide (fewer imperfections, the more expensive) & supply and demand.

So what does that mean when looking at that low cost leather sofa/chair?  Watch for phrases like “Top grain leather on all seating areas and front rails with leather splits on outside backs and arms”.  This says you have bottom grain (see above – not as durable for upholstery) leather on the sides and back which will wear differently than the top grain on the other parts of the sofa or chair.   And because those leather splits are not top-grain, they will be harder to match if you need to have a cushion repaired.  The same holds true for “Bonded leather” – that is not a true leather product and you should be aware of what you are buying..

As with all furniture purchases, buy the best quality you can in your price range. It’s not wrong to buy that great deal, but make that purchase informed and know it’s appropriate for how you and your family will live life with that beautiful piece of furniture.

And the winner is….


A glassybaby full of names that were entered and the winner drawn was Gail E.  who says she needs an abundance of help!  And for those who might be wondering…. my lovely mom was the hand that drew the name to keep all things on the up and up!

Congratulations Gail!