Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Slow Reveal of My Family Room

The wheels of interior design turn slower in my house than I would like- husband delays! But it is still going forward and I now have the new furniture in place. It is a sofa , chair and a half ( love that!) and an ottoman in grey dolphin microsuede fabric. The comfort level is off the charts now in that room. It is way too easy to to drift off to sleep in there at any time of the day or night. It looks so good with the yellow color on the wall and now I absolutely love it!
I am now looking indigo blue material to make throw pillows that I will border with a greek key ribbon banding. The curtains will follow. I am waiting for one of my mills to create their samples out of the stamped linen fabrics I saw at High Point Market last fall. You know me, once I get an idea in my head, I set out to find it and end up feeling like I am searching for a needle in a haystack!
Stay tuned for more updates on this design soap opera of mine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Senior Color Schemes – Paint Designs for Senior Safety

943080I am not sure if it is a medical miracle or not, but Americans are living longer these days. As a result, our aging population segment is mushrooming. We have a growing need for age restricted communities and to be able to retool existing residences for comfort, safety and independence. Today I will focus on the role of color in design for this stage of life. It is so important.

The human eye changes with age. Its ability to perceive subtle color contrasts diminishes over time. I noticed this with my Mom as she would have trouble seeing the grey and brown colors of the steps in front of her. Using my Mom as my test subject, I challenged myself as an interior decorator to create a color scheme with enough contrast and brightness of hues for the senior eyes. This has become one of my areas of specialization.

Contrast is the key. It is so very important and the concept of contrast can be applied in many situations for older adults. Starting with the walls, I would recommend light color schemes. They are the best colors because their finishes increase light reflectance without glare – a major problem that leads to visual confusion and can be hard on cataract patients. Light colors on walls help show up contrasting furniture, wall switches, etc. Even using dark switch plates on a wall mounted lights is a boon. Also, if you use contrast color on the baseboards and floors, it becomes easier to identify the edges of a room. One last work on walls – using low VOC paints (volatile organic compounds).They are eco-friendly and cut down on the toxic fumes emitted from fresh paint. That is good news for seniors who will be spending a lot of time in their rooms NOT breathing paint fumes!

Skillful use of contrast finishes can define a doorway, outline furniture and indicate the top and bottom steps of a flight of stairs. If the colors are easier to see, the result is a help for mature eyes. Doorframes and baseboards can be painted a darker color or stained a dark wood tone to easily indicate a wall or doorway. Put a colorful tread on the top and bottom step of a set of stairs to separate that area from the rest the floor.

Here’s the rest of the scoop on pattern and color. Patterned wallpaper can be used but skip large stripes. They can appear as bars in motion and affect balance and mobility for mature eyes. Wall coverings in small patterns are always winners. Washable and strippable paper is always best. Be wary when using two intense colors together as their borders often become unstable and jumpy. Definitely use bright intense colors to grab bars, levers and light switches for instance and they will become easy to find.

Making the right interior design color and furnishings decisions can go a long way to a better life and a comfortable living environment. For further information check into and Through my designs, my Mom and I hope to impart a sense of safety, comfort and enjoyment for all seniors.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Buying Green at the White Sales

The white sales that are on now are a great time to stock up on linens and towels for your home. You can be eco-friendly with your purchases by choosing organic fibers such as cotton or bamboo for your sheets and towels. Both are renewable sources. They do not give off toxic odors and feel much softer than synthetic fibers. So go shop the white sales, pick up some really nice linens and help preserve our planet.

So Pretty and Flattering

I just love the way this scalloped valance turned out for one of my clients. She was working with the colors of nature and neutrals and wanted a treatment to complete the decor but not cover the window as blinds were there for privacy.

This valance adds curves and contrast. The color "Leather" adds the highlights in the jabots and top cording. See more images of my work on my online gallery and set up your own personal design consultation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Home is On A Diet

This year's diet resolution is not just for my husband and myself-I have included my home in this losing project! The timing is just perfect. After a holiday season of over-indulging on sweets and goodies, I discovered that my home also had been over-indulged and is "full" of just too much stuff.
We are empty-nesters and need put the house through an organizing and simplifying routine. It takes being a little ruthless when deciding what to get rid off but it is so cathartic. Just thinning a closet feels really good.I like to call it "simple clean" and as a side benefit, it has given me a lot more breathing room.
I have 2 e-books on organizing and living in small spaces that put the best of my advice at your fingertips so you can do it yourself. Click and scroll down to these very reasonably priced e-books!
As Featured On EzineArticles

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

was walking my dog one night last week and noticed that many of my neighbors have put up their tree. It is a sight that I just love - the twinkling tree visible through the window. I guess that means it is time for me to get out my holiday decorations and perform the annual ritual of adorning my house from head to toe. Over the years I have developed a “method to the madness” of decorating my home. I thought I might share some of my thoughts on this subject with you and inspire you to create your own version of the “method”!
Start with the biggest part - the tree. If you have a pre-lit, skip ahead to the next step of tree decorating. You can never have too many lights. Ten strands of 100 lights for a 7 foot tree is a good guideline. Work from the inside of the tree to the outside wrapping lights to the tip of each branch. Sounds like a lot of work - but your tree will shine. Put the topper on next. It needs to be eye-catching as most people tend to look up at the tree top first. It will give you a better feel for how to proceed with the rest of the tree. Garland would come next if you want to add it to the tree. It adds color and texture in an unexpected way. Start at the top and go horizontally leaving enough slack to make the garland swag as it goes across. Drop down for the next row on the back of the tree. Add your ornaments next. As a guide, consider basic ball ornaments as fillers and use 10-20 per 3 feet of your tree. Larger ones should be put toward the back near a light so they will glow from deep inside. Your favorite ornaments should hang in a visible spot and on the outer tips of the outermost branches. Ornaments show off the best when suspended from a branch. The same rule 10-20 per 3 feet of tree applies.
Many of you have collections of angels or Santas that you put out during the holidays. Select 2-3 places in your home to set up your displays. It could be the dining room table, the mantel, or a side table. Remember the “less is more” rule and just display a few pieces in each grouping. Add some greenery and a pretty holiday mat under it all and you are set.
I like to dress up the outside of my home with lots of simple wreathes with big red bows. It is a Christmas tradition and gives a welcoming, homey look to visitors. Since it is on the outside of the house, the bigger wreathes look more proportionally correct.
Homes with lots of outdoor lights look really great too. To me, it says the person who did all that decorating on the outside, loves Christmas as much as I do.
Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A House Hunting Adventure

My son is now looking to buy his first home. He asked me to help him and I jumped at the chance to do what I do best-design. We have seen everything from well kept ranchers to 4 bedroom fixer-uppers. I want to share some nuggets of the advice and visions I gave him after each house visit -usually in the car as we were driving to the next one on his list. I will hit the highlights of our conversations that can help those of you looking to purchase a home.
I have always stated that a fresh coat of paint is easy to do and can cover a multitude of sins from previous owners. Also, if the colors do not flow from room to room, the house may seem chaotic and chopped up. My son will get my”color walk through” service when he picks the home he wants to give it harmony and cohesion without major remodeling. Always inspect the walls before painting for signs of foundation shifting/cracking or mold presence. These issues could be a deal breaker.
Many houses on the market are a little dated. They can become more current with the addition of a few new things. Consider changing door knobs, hinges and cabinet hardware to a more modern finish. Replace interior doors with new 6 panel doors. Change out light fixtures in the ceiling, at the front door and over the bathroom vanity. Carpets that are in bad shape can be replaced or changed to laminate/hardwood floors. They are long lasting and easier for people with allergies especially if the previous owner had pets.
As far as the structure of the house goes, enlist a home inspector to look for things you would not normally notice. They check roofs, utility systems and foundations for any issues that could potentially become a costly repair for the new owner.
Here is my point. I tell my clients that it takes 3-5 years to make a house a “home”. When you are considering purchasing a home, you need to try and see beyond its current décor to what you would like it to be. If it is the size and style you want and is structurally safe, you can move in and slowly change the décor to put your personal style on it. Make your own 3 year plan for remodeling.
Repairs and replacements that are beyond the scope of interior design need to be looked at differently. Necessary repair costs need to be addressed along with the price of the home. For the house of your choice, make a list of what needs to be done and get prices for those items . Consider that cost in relation to the asking price of a home and what you will offer to the seller. Stay within your budget.
Well, there are three more houses on my son’s list to look at tonight. Maybe one of these will “the one”. We shall see.