Friday, August 10, 2012

Color Concept Theory: Hiring a Interior Designer? What do we do? What ...

Color Concept Theory: Hiring a Interior Designer? What do we do? What ...: Fall's coming...Do you know what that means???  Interior designers busy season.  This is the time that everyone wants things done for the...

Hiring a Interior Designer? What do we do? What questions to ask?

Fall's coming...Do you know what that means???  Interior designers busy season.  This is the time when everyone wants things done for the Holiday's. Since items have an average lead time of 6-12 weeks Interior Designers get the opportunity to meet new prospects "NOW".

One question that I'm commonly asked is, "How do you work?" "What is the process?"  Of course I answer the questions from a designer's perspective.  However, I haven't really thought about it from a consumers point of view and maybe I need to be better at answering this question.  So I decided to blog it and hopefully help you (and I)...

The first thing to ask a designer in the initial call is "How do you charge?"  The three most common ways are a flat rate, per square footage and hourly rate.  There are so many variations of how designers charge and in many cases designers offer all of the above.  Flat rate is the actual design for the entire job. There is usually certain criterion's with a flat rate such as how many floor plans/changes your entitled to?  Per square footage is a certain dollar amount per square foot of the entire space being designed and hourly is an hourly rate throughout the duration of the entire job. If it's hourly ask "What is your hourly rate?" "Do you have a minimum?" "Do you pass on your trade discounts?" "If so at what percentage?"  Many designers have a minimum budget they need to work with since they have overhead and only can take on so many projects per year. Some hourly rates are higher than others but offer a greater trade discount.  Finally always look at their background (are you in a State that requires a license from a designer, is the design firm insured, did they study interior design?) .  If you want to find out what designers charge prior to calling look at these resources and search for their name, many times it's listed for you ( and  

What is the process?  It really depends on what type of job and how large the job is (commercial versus residential).  These are the basic steps that usually take place.  The initial meeting with the client and the space being designed. Several questions will be asked to get a sense of the client and their taste (contemporary, traditional or eclectic).  Many times clients have tear sheets of what they like.  Some have no idea where to start and need the designer to develop the concept.  Then the space is surveyed (measured precisely) and placed in a software program (AutoCAD or Revit).  Once this is accomplished, we can begin the next steps whether it be demolition plans, new construction plans, lighting plan or space planning.  Many times clients have a hard time visualizing the results. Therefore, we convert the 2D floor plan into a 3D plan so the client can see what the space will look like.  Finally we put together a concept board and materials board of the actual furniture we would like to use and the color palette with the materials/fabrics. Once the client approves, the items are purchased and we follow up until the items arrive.  Then it's project management time which means we check each item prior to signing off to ensure there is no damage, make sure each item is placed in the appropriate spot and ensure no damage is done to the floors or walls during the installment.  Once everything is installed we develop a punch list of any items missed or things that need to be tweaked.  Finally..your completed space!

Hopefully this helps those of you who are searching for a designer.  If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's time to discuss an important component of design that I find lacking on a consistent!!!!

One of the most interesting pieces of art in a home is lighting.  It captures the attention of everyone that walks in a room when it's unique.  I always encourage my clients to change their lighting.  Why spend so much money on furniture and accessories yet buy a standard looking light fixture that kills the excitement of the room?  You mine as well hang a flashlight from the ceiling and call it a day...

I recently came back from Market Week in High Point and was in awe with the lighting in the showrooms. Obviously the furniture is stunning and the upcoming trends are breathtaking yet without lighting everything looks rather blah.  A room isn't complete until it has all the important elements of design. So instead of looking at what your neighbors have or browsing the Internet for what "looks nice" visit a local showroom.  Go and personally see the impact a room has when incorporating the "art" of lighting.  I can't tell how many times I've walked into a space and saw the same light fixtures from another residence....yawn.  Their are thousands of lights and all you have to do is find ONE that stands out and makes a statement.  Lighting is a form of art so whether you're trying to sell your home or complete a room, look for fixtures that inspire you not bore you. 

Now stop wasting time on purchasing the lights that "look nice" and buy the light fixture that has the "WOW" factor! 

Take a look at some of the lighting I found at market week that inspired me (courtesy of Four Hands). They're even more stunning in person!  

--All attached pictures were taken at the Four Hands Showroom in High Point, NC

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pictures, pictures and more pictures

How many spaces have you been in which you see wedding pictures that are 20 years old, pictures of children that have grown and moved out, family pets that have passed for years, trips that show families with unique styles from the past, and the list goes on and on.  When do you stop?  

I'm one that loves pictures!  However to many can overwhelm a space so you need to be careful on how much you have in a room as well as the placement. Time goes by so fast and in many situations replacing them with updated ones just takes to much effort.  In other situations their certain moments that you don't want to let go of.  Those are the pictures you should keep and share with others! So go through your room and be selective.  Pick the ones that give you that certain "feel".  Then make it your focal point by creating an art piece.  One material that always gravitates attention is stretched canvas. Their are so many styles you can create on canvas... super old school, black and white, color, sepia, etc.  You can go through a professional photographer who should tell you what color and size you should order since it's pricey or you can order yourself at a significantly lower price at places like Costco.  If you decide to save the money and order yourself don't be shy on the size.  Take a stroll to a local gallery and observe the crowds, you'll notice they gravitate to the big pieces.  Treat your space/wall as it's your personal gallery.  Still stuck?  Choose a wall that doesn't get much traffic (no one will brush up against or bump into) but everyone can see when in the room.  Measure your wall, then measure a size that would take up a good portion of the wall.  Create a sample using paper and tape it to the wall (with painters tape so you don't ruin your paint).  If it's to big make two smaller sample sizes and tape to the wall.  Keep breaking it down until your comfortable.  Then order!  

Once you limit your photos and treat the "special moments" as a work of art, they'll get the attention they deserve.  It'll balance out your space and give it a "gallery" feel.  Good luck! Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mixing patterns and colors

Today someone e-mailed the question, "What is the design rule for mixing and matching patterns and colors?"  
Since this is one of the most common questions asked, I decided to blog it...One thing that I learned from design school (and my colleagues from SVA would agree)...if theirs a rule, break it!  You want people to walk in and get the "WOW" factor not "oh nice..seen that before".  I tend to find when I look at design magazines for idea's I get lost because I'm trying to replicate a trend.  It works in the magazine because it works for that space, not your space. 
So, first question..what style do you like?  Contemporary, Transitional, Shabby Chic, etc?  Second question, what is your concept?  Look at your space, develop a concept and finally work around that specific idea.  Your concept can be anything a painting, your heritage or a theme.  So say your interested in a nautical theme for a concept but have a modern flare.  I'd use lots of light gray tones as the base color and add softer palettes of blue/green for the pattern (color example, look at Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore).   If the style was Shabby Chic then I'd keep the light tones in the furniture and incorporate brighter colors in the pattern.  If your having a tough time and don't know where to begin, start with a big pattern first, like an area rug.  Then pull the colors from the rug and accessorize with smaller patterns.  If your area rug has multiple colors then pull two for your throw pillows and a third color for an accent piece (art work, lamp, coffee table, etc).   Then shop.  Find a few patterns that you like, bring them home and see how they look.  To avoid overwhelming the room, limit yourself with two to three patterns.   
Lastly, mixing geometric patterns can look really nice as long as you coordinate the colors. Keep the intensity of colors on the same of level and they'll work.  Now start shopping!  Good luck!
(An example I found on the internet utilizing various patterns in a monochromatic scheme)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


No not like your grandmothers floral wallcovering that brings back bad memories of you standing in the corner forced to see the horrible images of flowers with borders of birds.  It's back, bold and beautiful!  Here are some classy styles I found on (my favorite) York Wallcoverings website!

                                                                             Leaf Stripe
                                                                           Velvet Paisley
Stacy Garcia Boccaccio Damask

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Pantone Color of the Year: Tangerine Orange 17-1463

To all of you who want to have the interior space that "WOWS" your company...Jump on this color and accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!!! Throw pillows, vases, flowers (always fresh), throw blankets or be bold and incorporate furniture pieces (couches, side chairs, benches, head boards, etc).

Here are some examples that I found. Also check the incredible Donghia NY Flagship Store (URL linkbelow)..Look how they beautifully incorporated the tangerine orange in their line...Gorgeous!!!!!