Interior Design Photos on our web site

Interior Design Photos on our web site
For More Interior Design Photos: ^ Click Above ^ - Hundreds of Before & After photos

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to make a master bedroom more luxurious without changing the furniture?

A master bedroom should feel more luxurious than the other bedrooms in the house. When we first toured the home below, it wasn't obvious if the room was a guest room or a master bedroom. With the addition of custom bedding (shams and duvet) and functioning drapes, the room felt more luxurious.

AFTER above

BEFORE above

A sitting area with a cocktail ottoman makes
this bedroom more luxurious and cozy
By hanging the window treatments above the windows, the ceilings feel taller

A chandelier makes this master bedroom more luxurious and cozy, notice how a soothing wall paint
makes the room feel richer. A pair of chairs in the master bedroom is a nice addition
Forget about the dressers and nightstands!! People often think they need to buy a new bedroom "set",
this will not have the impact you think it will. Check out the link to other bedroom blogs below, you'll find we often keep the old nightstands and dresser and add other items which create MUCH more impact - perhaps a new headboard like below? Perhaps a pair of comfy chairs like above? How about a pretty bench at the foot of the bed? Colors and textures will demand attention!! People always tell us
"I'm suprised to say this, I don't even notice the wood furniture anymore"
This bedroom is more luxurious through the addition of an upholstered
headboard, custom drapes, and soothing tone on tone colors
For other before/after bedroom ideas and photos, click on this link:

Comments? We love to hear from you! OR, for questions, 
be sure to email us instead. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roman shade or drapes? Which is better for privacy?

If you're trying to decide between shades and drapes for window treatments, know that they both have advantages. 

A roman shade will raise and lower for privacy, but one disadvantages is if it's an inside mount (as shown here) it will block some view even when it's raised. 

Roman shade (right), full length drapes (left)
combination of roman shade with drapes make a nice combination on
the window treatment above

Mock Roman Shade
(which does not raise and lower)
Full length drapes with roman shades. The drapes can open and close, and the labor for drapes is less expensive to make than functioning roman shades. Also, unlike the photo shown below, it's nearly impossible to get four roman shades to open to the exact same height. The photo below are mock roman shades (non functioning). They create the illusion of height, to make your ceilings feel taller.
This Valance has a mock roman shade look

Mock roman shade (does not raise and lower)
Three mock roman shades work well in this bay window

For hundreds more window photos (before and after adding window treatments), see this link: 

Questions? Be sure to email us at
Comments? We love to hear your comments, but we cannot reply to them. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The slanted wall under a stairway, how to utilize the area under stairs for storage or furnishings.

The photos below show challenging stairway walls. Here are some ideas to make the area under your stairs functional for storage, with tips for furnishing them as well.

Area under an angled stairway 
Notice how a lamp and console make the area under your stairs an inviting space

Under stairway walls make an excellent place for storing shoes 

This slide out cabinet for storage under a stairway is a great way to optimize the space

People often ask if they can put large furniture in front of the slanted stairway wall
Notice how we used the lamp and pottery to make the space less awkward, so the
sofa could still be centered in front of the flat screen TV

We replaced the short loveseat with a full size linen sofa
and added two comfortable chairs
For more photos regarding furniture layouts, or placement for TV viewing and 
conversation areas, etc. see this link:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to become an interior designer, 4 tips from an interior designer.

To become an interior designer, here are some helpful tips for building a referral base. 

a) It's very helpful to have a MENTOR! In my early years, I spent endless hours offering to file, or make photocopies while I learned from the sales manager at a very high end showroom. There's so much to learn, to obtain good listening skills, and to help spouses who may have completely different taste or ideas regarding budgets.

b) You'll want to gather photos for a web site showcasing your work. To develop a large variety, you could consider working part time if need be, until you have a large enough portfolio.

c) Learn as much as you can before you go out on your own! Perhaps you could work at an art gallery? A high end furniture store? Or for an architect? I learned a great deal about size and scale, architecture, art styles, fabric durability, etc. Say for example a client says, "I want craftsmen style" or "I want mid century modern"....or "I prefer a Queen Anne Leg instead of Chippendale"'ll want to study periods, styles, and terms. 

d) To meet people, it's helpful to create a booth and display your work at a trade show. It's a great place to show people what you're all about!

As for a degree from a design school, it's certainly helpful. However,
  • You probably either have a natural gift or you don't. 
  • You either know what's wrong with a room or you'll struggle with it! 
  • You either have amazing attention to detail or you don't! 
  • You can either pick the perfect wall paint color every time, or you can't. 
  • You can either get a husband and wife to combine styles and taste or you can't. Often their taste is complete opposite of each other!   
These are things that can't be taught. Every week I have someone offer to work for our design staff "for free so I can learn" but often they weren't willing to really listen and learn.  Design is more about hands on real life than what you memorized from a text book!

It's rewarding to fulfill peoples dreams for a home that is both functional and pleasing to the eye. It is often long hours and hard work, but if you aren't afraid of hard work, it can be so rewarding! Have a comment? We love hearing your thoughts!

How to select the right window treatment rods, 5 mistakes to avoid on your drapery hardware!

1) A rod that is too small in diameter will sag in the middle. If your drapes will open and close, you'll need either a large enough diameter, such as wooden rods, or you'll need a high quality rod that doesn't telescope so much that it will sag.

Some window treatment hardware has more subtle support brackets than others,
the center support on the rods above are a nice choice. 
2) Telescoping rods will be hard to slide the rings over, but it's a good option if you're on a limited budget (in comparison to custom ordered long rods). Note - If you purchase a long rod it might need to ship by common carrier freight line, which is much more expensive than UPS shipping.

3)Wooden rod might be an unnecessary expense, in some cases a metal rod will look just fine.
Here's an example of a situation where even though the dining room was sophisticated, it wasn't necessary to add the expense of a 2" wooden rod and carved wooden finials.

Window treatment hardware
Metal versus Wood
In this formal dining room, this rod looks
great, because it's not too heavy
4) A long rod isn't necessary if you aren't going to open and close the drapes, it will just "cut the room off" and make the ceilings feel short. You can consider two short rods instead, as shown below, with lots more before and after window photos in our window treatment articles. See link below.

5) A dark rod might be too demanding. Often you want the hardware to blend, instead of demand attention. This photo shows a situation in which we got hardware that is unobtrusive, by getting hardware that blended with the window frame.
Window treatment rod in off white to match the woodwork
This hardware is very subtle, so it doesn't
demand too much attention and cut the room off
For BEFORE and AFTER window treatment ideas, see these links. It includes ideas for privacy solutions, styles, and solutions for odd shaped windows! 

Comments? We love your feedback here! Or, for questions be sure to email us instead.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Should I get a shower door or a shower curtain?

Bathroom showers can be amazing with a frame-less glass shower door as well as with a beautiful shower curtain. Trying to decide between a shower door versus a shower curtain?
Below I'll list many of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Shower with frameless glass door and beautiful tile 

Corner shower with beautiful tile and frame less glass shower door

Shower doors:

  • A frameless glass shower is expensive - especially if it's a large area
  • A frameless glass shower requires more maintenance (you know that dull film of soap scum!)
  • A frameless glass shower door can look very pretty
Shower curtains:
  • A custom made shower curtain can add a beautiful texture and colors to a boring room
  • A custom made shower curtain can be hung LEFT and RIGHT to "frame" the space
  • A custom made shower curtain can be hung floor to ceiling to make the ceilings feel taller
  • A custom made shower curtain can hide the multitude of shampoos, razors, & products on shelves!!! Notice how no one ever photographs a glass shower with all the clutter and products in the shower
  • A shower curtain can add interest for MUCH less money than remodeling with expensive tile installation. 
  • The removal of old tile will leave a dusty film in your intake and AC vent and duct work. A shower curtain can make a boring tile look just fine.

I could go on and on --- it's personal preference, but it does help to look at lots of photos, so you can decide what's important to you.

Keep in mind this important fact - if you go over budget on the shower door, you'll have to sacrifice in other areas - lighting? art? bedroom furniture? bathroom cabinet? 
Think big picture!!

Here's a photo of no shower door at all, which is possible when it's a very large area

In this master bathroom,
the shower does not require a shower door - for a nice open feeling

This custom shower curtain adds personality and color to the room 

For beautiful bathroom photos, or tips on remodeling, and tile ideas, check out our other blog links below.  

Comments? We LOVE to hear your opinions and feedback! 

Or, for questions, be sure to email us instead.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is my style reflected in my home decorating? 4 ways to communicate your goals to an interior designer.

When I first met the homeowners of the home below, I could tell they were worldly, fun, hip, and not pretentious. I noticed their rugs, furniture, and fabrics were VERY formal and ornate, which did not fit their personality. The fabrics were velvet damasks, the picture frames and lamps were gold carved, the art was formal & traditional. They requested a much cleaner look, one that would fit their personality.

We actually get requests for a "clean" and/or "less formal" look every week. It's often due to the fact that other designers provide small sample swatches or catalog photos, which do NOT make it easy to visualize how the rooms will look. That's why we spread out  fabrics by the bolt, and unlike other firms, we bring actual paintings, lamps, & rugs, (instead of catalog photos). This makes the end result much easier to visualize.
IN PROGRESS (above) 
With our custom made leather cocktail ottoman, two custom chairs, oatmeal linen drapes, and a shag rug
A Silk rug (not durable for the dog and children),
uncomfortable formal chairs, gold end table & very busy drapes 
Below are 4 helpful ways to communicate your taste to the people who can make it happen - the interior designer or furniture store salesperson. But first, here's some tips on how to find a designer who will listen to your goals, and know how to implement your taste. 

1) Ask for portfolio or web site link - is it a variety of styles??....From metropolitan .... to old world craftsmen.... to traditional? If so, this normally means they listened to their clients wishes. If it's limited to one look, such as a formal traditional look, they may not be capable of switching gears to work with a variety of styles.

2) What questions did they ask? Do they try to find a common denominator between different photos? Do they try to find ways to please both you and your spouse? (Along with solutions for compromising)? Do they ask about the current items in your home? (what you love, what you don't like).

3) Think of it the same way you look at your wardrobe. Some people have a great sense of personal style that I so admire! I wish I had this gift when it comes to clothing, my gift is only in home design. Yet, some people find themselves in a house with a very formal traditional look....they often tell us it's not the look they love, floral fabrics that are too busy, rugs that are too formal. It's because clients are busy, with children and a full life, so they expect their designer to read them, and to know how to implement their taste. A good designer can do so.

4) Best of all -- study the designer's reviews - are they general with words like "pretty" or do the reviews mention how well the designer fulfilled their goals and implemented their taste?

In this Kernersville, NC home we brought new lamps, pillow fabrics
and colorful art. Notice the nice clean picture frame!

The other designer provided a VERY formal gold frame,
with plaid and floral pillows that were not cheerful nor durable 
Four ways to communicate your goals
  • Show them photos from Designer web sites - express what you like & dislike 
  • Show them what you love in your home, versus what you just keep for budget reasons. Point out what you want to keep for sentimental reasons. The more communication the better!
  • Be SPECIFIC with your feedback, "that is too contemporary for me, I like the other option because it has the cozy casual feeling I want" or "I like A better than B because it's such a big change from what I've had for years". 
  • INSIST on actual bolts of fabrics, never try to visualize from a small swatch. We display bolts (and spread them out in the room) because the color will change in certain lights, and it's impossible to know which fabric is best when selecting from a small swatch. 
Updating your home can be fulfilling and exciting, it's worth it to do some investigating and intense communicating before you dive in! Your home should reflect your style, after all, it is YOUR home!

Have something you want to add? We love to get your comments!

For lots more before/after photos, check out our web site. Or for questions, be sure to email us instead of posting a comment only, we can't respond to comments.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What size should I make my custom bedding so the bed sheets won't show? 4 design solutions.

Here are 4 tips to help you decide what size your bedding should be so you can hide your bed sheets. Bed sheets that hang out - that's a big pet peeve with most people, but it's easily solved. You have 4 options to hide your bed sheets, which are explained below.

1) Add Euro shams. This will solve the sheets showing at the head of the bed. See the before after photo below.

A king bed is 79" wide. Three euro shams are 81" wide. Therefore, if your euro shams are 27" wide each, with nice thick feather and down inserts, it should hide your bed sheets. See before after photos below.

Euro shams in back, king shams in front

King shams only with contrast blue welt
This Greensboro, NC homeowner was thrilled with their upholstered headboard with nail head trim! 
2) Add a contrast flange on the shams. This will add 16" to hide your bed sheets.
4" each x 2 sides x 2 pillows = 16" total. Be sure to add a little stuffing, so they won't "flop".
Euro shams in back
A king sham with a contrast flange in front

Euro shams in back
King shams in front
3) Solution 3 - to hide your bed sheets on the sides of the bed - have a coverlet or bedspread made longer and wider to hide your bed sheets. We suggest using your current coverlet as a guide to determine what size you prefer. Spread a tape measure across the width, and ask yourself how much wider you'd like it to be. Normally we add 10" to the length. The width depends on how deep your mattress is. Be sure to have the blankets etc on the bed, as this will affect the height.

4) To determine the duvet cover size, know that your duvet insert will move around inside (if you make the duvet cover too large), therefore, you'd have to have a flange sewn around the edge of the duvet.  
Above we show king shams WITHOUT A FLANGE
Notice the white sheets and pillows show
Often people turn down the contrast flange option, to keep labor costs down, this would mean you need to use pretty sheets (perhaps taupe or camel instead of white? ). The correct size custom bedding will be a vast improvement, especially with today's deeper mattresses! 

More bedroom questions? We have many before after photos and tips on other blogs: 
How to create a romantic bedroom? 
Can my bed be in front of the window? 
Should I get a bedroom "furniture set"? 
See this link: