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Archive for the ‘Think Outside the Box’ Category

Design Primers: Stretching Your Design Dollar

Time after time, we hear our clients say, in an embarrassed tone,

“Now, I should tell you…I’ve got a limited budget.”

“I think I’ll have to phase this out.”

“My house isn’t very big, but I still can’t do it all at once.”
Don’t be embarrassed! Most people can’t do it all at once. When you have a limited budget, you have to figure out how to make lots of impact with the money you have available to spend.

If you’ve been pinching your pennies in hopes of a remodel or a little home facelift, try these design “dos” out:

Do Know the Rules (Just to Break Them): People often ask if there are certain rules for design. While some exist, I love to break them. No dark colors in small spaces? Please. Dark colors recede, let’s put something rich and dark on every surface. Find out all you can , then take your chances and do the opposite.

Do It Right (The First Time): Spending a little bit more on the front end for great quality carpet cushion, choosing cabinets with a conversion varnish rather than a urethane finish, tile underlayment, and quality installation can allow you to stick with your choices for years and years to come.

Do What Makes You Nervous: If you’re thinking of going outside the box with your kitchen splash choice, or wanting a really loud or exotic granite, or thinking you might just go for the canary colored cabinetry rather than playing it safe, go for it! The things that make you the most nervous, and the places that your designer wants to push the envelope are usually the most fabulous.

Do What You Love (and it will be timeless): The majority of our clients ask for a timeless space for their design. While few of them end up with the timeless favorites, like an all white kitchen or subway tile, they end up with something the love so much and that so reflects their taste, that it will stand the test of time. It won’t look like their neighbors kitchen or bath but be personal and reflective of what they love.

Think Outside the Box: Coffee Tables

If your coffee table is about to make you scream due to its sheer lack of creativity, take a peek at a few of these “think outside the box” upgrades:


If you’re a dinner around the coffee table kind of mom, this classically styled piece will be perfect. The table, from Paula Deen’s collection, rises and falls for TV dinners and homework.

This piece, made by Lorts, is the perfect hybrid between a coffee table and an ottoman.
The driftwood finish is ultra-trendy right now. Pick up this beautiful steel topped Lexington piece and add it to your collection!
This sophisticated, streamlined Lexington piece would look great in a more contemporary interior.
This Sherrill Occasional coffee table has a couple of ottomans that tuck conveniently in the corners. Pull them out for extra seating in a pinch!

Rethink Your Furniture Arrangement, Part 1

Today is the day to bring your sofa off of the wall and try it out a different way. This week, we’re showing you ways to Rethink your furniture arrangement. You don’t have to settle for a sofa with an end table on either side and matching lamps! It’s time to think about your options (you have them, we promise!!).

Today, let’s chat about a little design term called Radial Symmetry. What this means is simply that your room is symmetrical from a central axis point. Take a look at this furniture layout, for example:

Four cozy chairs surround a round tufted ottoman. The lake view is still clear, because tall furniture pieces have been avoided and the pieces have been scaled in their width. The traffic pattern of this odd space is not interrupted because the seating is kept clustered around a circular ottoman (a coffee table would work as well).

Uncomfortable with round? No big deal. The same concept would work with pieces that feel a bit more rectilinear. Perhaps a longer rectangular ottoman would work between 4 of these chairs:

With a layout that displays Radial Symmetry, one key is utilizing pieces that are beautiful, even from behind. Choosing unique chairs that have just as much to offer from back as they do from the front will create a wow factor that invites people into your fun out of the box furniture arrangement.

Try it out and let us know how you do. Stay for more ideas all this week!

Beyond Utility Utility Rooms

Why not make your utility room something you enjoy going into to spend time?

Utility Rooms can be areas for many home functions. You can have a place to drop your jacket, shoes, skis, or a place to do your laundry, ironing, sewing, painting, crafts, or do your household accounting. Think about the things you have to do at home that you would love to have a more functional work space in which to implement and plan from. What are the specific tasks? Those are the things you can plan your utility area around.
This is an area you can do unique features in that will just make you smile! You can be a little out of the box in this area! Paint the space your favorite color, feature pictures of fun events, calendar of family or personal schedules, vacations etc. Just make this a place you really enjoy spending time or passing through.
Give us a call if you would like to have Utility put back in your Utility Room! Make us your Master of Organization Coach! After all, you deserve to have it the way you want it!

Custom Closets

We designed this closet for a 2009 Parade of Homes residence. With sleek veneer doors and a monochromatic palette, there’s plenty of space to store it all! Adjacent to a secondary laundry facility, practicality is king in this 7,000 square foot home.

If you, like me, were drooling over the celebrity closets Vickie posted about the other day, you’ll love hearing about how a custom closet system can be practical for you, too! As you begin your spring cleaning, why not get a custom closet in the works? Take stock of what you store in your closet (and what you’re storing elsewhere but would like to store in your closet!). Do you have a shoe collection that you’d like to see easily? Do you store seasonal clothing in your closet all year ’round, or prefer to swap it in as the seasons change? What is dressing like for you? Is it an experience where you take your time every morning or are you just trying to get out of the door efficiently? Your answers to these questions will help you determine exactly what your priorities are as you design your dream closet. And, designed carefully, your husband may not even have to know how big that shoe collection really is!
Shoe cubbies allow storage for the bulk of your collection…

…while tilted shoe shelves allow you to display your favorites.

How about a pull out hamper to keep your laundry out of sight?

Don’t forget the amenities! A built in coffee maker or espresso machine (plumed into the wall) to start your day off right or a just-right chair or bench can make all the difference! Fun lighting and a beautifully framed full length mirror are a must!

Have fun with the finishes in your closet. Try a bold patterned carpet or a playful paint color. Or, my personal favorite…wallpapered closets: