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

Monday, October 16, 2017

What type indoor plant or tree in my living room? 7 designer tips for greenery.

An indoor tree can be a beautiful addition to a living room! The addition of greenery, a touch of nature, not to mention the interesting texture of the bark, the limbs and the leaves! As for the size or type indoor tree that's best, it's good to keep the following in mind:

1) Size and scale
If your room is large, the indoor tree or greenery should be as well. A small plant will look out of place, unless you can place it on a tall pedestal or stand. Notice below, the tree is a nice large size, to go with the large windows, large chandelier, large living room.

2) Is it unique?
The shape, the leaves, the style, just about any indoor tree or plant will look amazing, anything other than a basic fig tree. Fig trees were over used for many years in the 80's and 90's, they were so cheap at just about every discount store like Walmart and deep discount furniture stores. That is the only tree I would not recommend.

3) Does the room need a touch of nature?
There's several ways to incorporate natural elements in a room, you could add a sisal rug, though they're not durable, you can add fresh flowers, though they won't last long, you can add a small plant, that is....if you have enough space on your cocktail table or console table. My favorite choice is an indoor tree or large plant. It can make a bare corner look "complete", see below.

4) The pottery or container.

Consider the pot or container, a beautiful container can add so much to a room! A container with a nice texture is a plus, today's new ones have a concrete like texture, but are lightweight with holes for draining. Know that re-potting an indoor tree is not easy, and not inexpensive, so it's something you might want done before you take the tree home.

5) Does the room look "complete" without it?

An indoor tree can have the same impact as a chandelier or beautiful abstract art, it can actually "make or break" a room.

Think that's an overstatement? Imagine each of these photos of decorated rooms WITHOUT the indoor tree or greenery. They would not be as unique and interesting!

In the two story windows at right, the two story drapes are stunning, but the indoor tree is what really makes the space unique, with it's unique shape.

I love the twists and curves of the three tree trunks on the tree at right. The shape of this live tree helps break up the monotony of all the upholstered pieces.

The tree bark adds lovely tones of gray, brown, and all the colors of nature, while the top of the tree adds
the softness of round shapes to soften the room.

 An indoor tree adds color to the room below, the tree is crooked and oddly shaped, yet beautiful.

 6) Indoor trees are a trick interior designer's use to complete a corner! 
Plants and trees give a corner of a living room so much interest, they somehow make living rooms more inviting! Notice no matter what size, shape, and style tree, the fresh greenery makes an impact.
And if you're having trouble finding a great tree, know that's one of the benefits of working with an interior designer, they often have access to great trees!

7) The amount of sunlight needed.
This is easily found on Google. You'll read from Google bloggers about how "finicky" a tree might be to keep alive.

In this Greensboro, NC home (below), we made custom roman shades for the window, added a new drum chandelier, yet the room didn't truly feel "complete" until the fiddle leaf fig tree was added!
An indoor tree takes this Greensboro NC home to another level!
Just about any type indoor plants or trees are beautiful, as long as the indoor tree is large enough for the space, in a good container, with a unique style. You really can't go wrong by adding greenery, plants, or an indoor tree to give your room an inviting look. After all, who doesn't love nature?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to decorate a downtown condo in an industrial sophisticated style.

An apartment or condo can look sophisticated with great decorative pieces (art, lamps, accessories, rugs, furniture). If they're the right size and scale, quality & finish, they really add to a stylish look! 

You may be thinking that a good designer look should be easy to accomplish, but it's not as easy as one would think, and here's why. It's difficult to know how items will look (in their actual setting) when you buy from photos or catalogs. It helps tremendously if you can hire a designer who will bring actual merchandise for on site viewing, rather than ordering on line or from catalogs.    

With the before and after photos below, we'll feature interior design tips to give your downtown condo a sophisticated style. And what do we mean by sophisticated? Well, everyone's version is different, since it's a matter of opinion, one might say classic, stylish, up to date, cultured. 

See the before photos, the prior designer used a busy print or pattern 4 places: the art, rug, pillow and drapes. These busy patterns were strong, they competed with the brick, making it hard to appreciate the natural beauty of the exposed brick. The new solids rug and fabrics allow a soothing "less busy" look. A subtle or serene environment is nice to come home to after a hectic busy day at work!  

When decorating a downtown apartment, consider window treatment ideas that are timeless, such as tone on tone fabrics, in order to achieve a sophisticated style.  For art, consider large contemporary art, like the local art from Greensboro, NC below. And when possible, have the designer display the actual art, fabric bolts etc, rather than trying to visualize from swatches or photos.
BEFORE below

Below before -  the primary color tones of blue red & yellow were updated to more subtle art, since this dining room area is small. The "Jazz man" art is a tall vertical to accentuate the nice tall ceilings.     

AFTER                                                                               BEFORE - prior designer
Think Function! We added seating by the balcony, for a great view of the city! 
  • Our contemporary leather chair (below) allows the client to enjoy his downtown city view!
  • Before, shelves & lots of "nic nacs" 
  • Our linen drapes compliment the exposed brick. Before - the busy patterned drapes competed with the beauty of the charming brick (which by the way, was original to the building). 
  • For window treatment ideas, it's helpful to spread out fabric by the bolt, so you can visualize how it will look in the room. 
AFTER                                                                                               BEFORE - prior designer

Don't forget bar stools! Stylish bar stools add so much to a modern sophisticated style.

Even a small entrance to a condo can feel like a welcoming foyer! Make it functional:
  • A chest of drawers in distressed wood & steel is handy for keys, gloves, or a brief case,
  • An industrial style steel mirror is handy as you leave for work  
After                                                                               Before 

After, abstract art accentuates the tall ceilings                     Before 
Abstract art & Charlie (their pet) 

The living room now looks much larger, and is more functional, with our updates:
  • Art - This abstract art is much larger than before, in soothing gray, blue and rust tones
  • Large custom pillows with feather & down to replace the tiny red dot pillows
  • Cocktail table - made of galvanized steel, rustic wood & iron - this piece adds to the industrial style we wanted.  
  • Lamps - One is an actual part of a tree trunk & one is concrete. They both add to the industrial style.
  • Rug - A new gray rug for a "less busy" look than the prior designer's rug

Industrial cocktail table. 
After                                                                                           Before 
An apartment or condo looks more masculine with tailored pieces:
  • Below, our masculine distressed wood bed replaced the sleigh bed, and made the room feel  larger. This new bed is an industrial style!
  • Modern lamps are the correct size & scale for tall ceilings
  • Art on canvas replaced a print behind glass (to solve the glare caused by glass)
  • We provided nightstands with ample storage. 
After rustic modern bed

        Before complete bed

For contemporary before & after photos see these articles:
Contemporary Design, with before and after photos! or
How to incorporate a masculine style

A fiddle leaf fig or palm tree can provide the benefit of bringing the outdoors in! This is nice in a downtown condo, since access to a yard or nature can be limited.
downtown condo with exposed brick
We hope these before and after photos gave you some design ideas for achieving a sophisticated style in your downtown apartment or condo! A sophisticated look is achieved with tone on tone fabrics and rugs, natural elements such as steel, wood, concrete, and aluminum. We hope you'll comment and tell us how you achieve a sophisticated style in your decorating. Happy decorating!

AFTER condo bedroom                                                                          BEFORE bedroom                   

Friday, October 6, 2017

Print versus solid, what fabric is best?

Solid or print fabric? Decisions ....decisions.... Often people choose print fabrics because they want to add color or interest. And in small doses that can be beautiful! But there are many other ways to bring in colors and pattern, such as:

1) A patterned rug - see before & after below
2) Prints on colorful pillows
3) Art and pottery
4) Trees & house plants
5) Accessories
6) An OUTDOOR view, keep from blocking beautiful views when possible!
7) Colorful Art, see the abstract art below

We love color and pattern! Especially in easy to change areas such as a throw, or throw pillows, or through art. Those can easily be changed or moved to another room. See the additional rooms of this home on our other sites, we incorporated bright colorful art in the entry and dining room. We painted the bedroom a fabulous green and made custom bedding that was colorful. We added bright beautiful pottery in the kitchen. There are so many ways to add color besides in a busy print fabric.

Pros for a print fabric on a chair or sofa:
1) It can be a statement piece
2) It can give a room personality

Pros for a solid fabric on a sofa
1) It makes it easier to update the rug and pillows
2) It makes it easier to add art
3) It can be soothing and less "busy"
4) It is less likely that you'll grow tired of it.

To make choosing fabrics easier, we spread out fabrics on site in Greensboro, NC. Imagine, yards of fabric spread out across a sofa, which makes choosing a fabric versus a print so much EASIER!!

Notice he texture of the beautiful sheer linen on the window treatments. Even solid fabrics are beautiful, when they have a nice texture!

 After, we recovered the chairs                               Before fabric was a bold print
Solid chairs compliment the rug's chocolate, gray, and oatmeal colors.  

The lovely porch view is very colorful! We love the way the moldings, trim and stained woodwork on this screened in porch really "pop" next to the greenery of the trees outdoor. 
Notice how the solid cushions (instead of a print) allow you to appreciate the architecture of the porch, and the beautiful view. There are no "distractions", nothing "competing" for attention. 

A print versus a solid fabric is certainly a matter of opinion. Some people feel strongly one way, others feel strongly the other. I tend to advise that if it's a "major" purchase, such as a sofa, it's often e wise to get a solid fabric that you'll love for many years!


A neutral linen sofa does not detract from the stone fireplace.      BEFORE right >

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

6 stunning design ideas for a patio!

Think of your patio as an extension of your home. The 6 design ideas for furnishing or decorating a patio below help to make a patio feel unique, and functional. We'll show photos that bring in a variety of colors & textures, using unexpected pieces, such as:
  • A vintage piece - what could be more fun than a vintage sofa or pottery?
  • Stone, Iron, Teak, Concrete, Rattan. TEXTURE is the name of the game!
  • Anything from Nature! Perhaps a planter or rock end table?  
Textures give a patio personality. When a patio is a tad boring, such as a basic square or concrete, it can be transformed in one day with these 6 designer tips!

With these design ideas, you don't have to break the bank. You can find goodies in consignment stores, the local farmer's market, (for local plants and pottery), or at outlets. There are bargains to be found! Or if you want really unique, quick fix and hassle free, consider an interior designer. They stock amazing items, often at great discounts due to their to the trade sources, and have great local craftsmen as sources.

To furnish the patio below, we used a combination of cast aluminum, stone, rock, teak & concrete.

1) Add a rocks, for a touch of nature (Below Left). 
If you can't find an end table you like, make one!

2) Add teak! (Below Right). 
Whether it be a teak bench, teak planters, or teak tables, since it's weatherproof, it is great on a porch or patio. Teak wood is a great new texture to incorporate.

3) Avoid a matching set!
Sure, sometimes furniture stores require you to purchase a matching set. That's why in our design firm we often donate one or two of the pieces that come as part of a "matching set". If you donate an end table or a cocktail table to Veterans or Habitat for Humanity, it allows you to bring in a new texture AND make another family happy! Whether you add something concrete, rattan, stone, or wood, the new texture makes a matching cast aluminum set or wicker patio set more interesting.

4) Think VINTAGE! 
The cool rattan outdoor furniture (below) is a 1958 Cuban look. When we found this, it was covered in an ugly bright orange fabric. Now, with a new cushion and fabric, our Winston Salem client is thrilled with it. So, use your imagination! Try to envision a piece in a new setting, with a new finish or fabric. Sometimes vintage pieces are just what a sun porch or screened in porch needs.

5) Think Muli Function! 
We painted an outdoor dining table top to cover this firepit - so it can be used as a cocktail table!

A cocktail table can be handy during the summer when you rarely build fires! And best of all, it's light weight (an outdoor fiberglass material), it can be easily removed to build a fire in the fire pit.
Or, perhaps you have a pedestal base that could easily be converted to a bistro table? Perhaps you have a granite slab you could use to make a garden bench? Think outside the box!

6) Add a porch swing!
Think about a Sunday afternoon in the fall, when you would love to find a place to relax, call a family member or friend, or read a good book. If comfort is key, you'll actually use the spot. We put chickens on the smoker and allow ourselves to appreciate nature's gifts.

Notice the designer below combined stone tables, with a wood porch swing, with cast aluminum or iron chairs. Such a nice combination of textures next to the stained wood ceiling and the brick floor on this screened in porch. Porch swings are also great on a covered patio.

The above screened in porch is so inviting with the wood swing. Notice the chairs are cast aluminum.

We hope you like these 6 design ideas for decorating and furnishing your patio or porch. It can feel like a decorated room that's an extension of your home if you keep the patio area interesting. For hundreds more before and after photos and interior design ideas, we hope you'll check out our prior blogs below. Or, for questions, be sure to email us!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

4 amazing ways to brighten a dark formal room!

Often a traditional home can benefit from a fun and "unexpected" lighter look. Whether it be through art, a unique rug or chair, a contemporary punch, anything lighter in color will change the mood of your home from dark and formal to a fresh updated look. What personality do you feel fits your style? 

 Below, the library had real cherry wood bookcases which we kept exactly the same. The homeowners were accustomed to a brighter home, as their prior home was on the west coast. 

1) Add a contemporary chair! 
  • A modern floor lamp, end table and a contemporary rug rug. 
  • Gray paint below the chair rail (to cover dark brown paint)
    AFTER                                                                                                          BEFORE

It's all personal preference. This contemporary chair certainly changed the entire feeling, and the funky little stainless table and floor lamp added to the fun fresh vibe. 

2) Abstract contemporary art changes the mood of a formal baby grand piano room. 

The architecture in the home is very formal and traditional, the art has a light fresh feel. 

3) A cocktail ottoman in light blue is a fun twist to replace a cocktail table. 

The coffer ceilings and traditional french doors get a fresh update with abstract art above the mantle. 

4) A new chandelier can change the mood of a room! 

The four amazing examples of a contemporary chair, abstract art, new light fixtures, and lighter wall paint colors show how you can brighten a dark formal room! If your home is not conveying the mood you want, it can sometimes be a quick easy fix that can be done over a weekend! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What are the benefits of an interior designer? Six benefits you may not have thought of.

Wondering what benefits there are to using an interior designer? Or what disadvantages? Here we'll list 6 unexpected ways they can make decorating, remodeling or updating a breeze. Sure, there are the obvious reasons, they'll provide ideas from a fresh pair of eyes....experienced eyes. In some cases gifted eyes. But they'll also show you ways to envision colors, size and scale, and most important - an overall plan, due to years of experience!

Not sure you agree? In that case, it's best to try one consultation, to determine whether they "get you". Do they understand what you want your home to convey?  Perhaps you like family friendly? Or simple and sophisticated? Or unique and artistic? A place you love to come home to? A place you'll be proud to entertain? Whatever the mood you want your home to convey, a qualified interior designer can help you achieve it.

And while you're at it, look for a designer who looks out for your best interest financially. How? READ THEIR REVIEWS!!! Even if you have a nice healthy budget, that doesn't mean they should rush out and buy you expensive items without an overall plan. They should first consider your priorities throughout the house. Take for example the home below, the client was considering  remodeling the master bath & kitchen, which can easily use up your entire budget. When we first met, the client expressed that most of the rooms were not as functional as one would hope, nor as appealing, which caused most of the house to be unused space. We provided fun ways to update & improve all 11 rooms on the first floor! Now the entire home is more functional and updated.

All the rooms are now being used - from the cozy corners to read a book, to the screened in porch which is now very inviting, to the dining room which is used for crafting, meetings, and dining! Our client tells us that every room is now used to it's utmost potential. 

Here's a few of the ways a designer can benefit you. In the below photos, you'll see ways we made the client's home feel updated and new. These methods are quick fix changes. Many of them are inexpensive to achieve! They aren't from the toss out the old, bring in the new way of thinking, they're a more conservative approach, when you already own good quality furniture that is much too nice to get rid of. 

1) A designer can find new uses for existing furniture! Better still, they have the team of upholsterers, seamstresses, and delivery men to make the process easy!

Throughout this blog, you'll see ways we found to re-purpose old furniture including:
  • Armoire converted to a mini bar, 
  • Dining hutches turned into low height servers, 
  • Complete beds made into a modern headboard.... the sky's the limit with a creative designer. 
When your chairs are "before imports" from Hickory Chair, (with 8 way hand tied coil springs) it would be a sin to toss them and buy new. We recovered our client's sofa & chairs. She's thrilled with the new look (while keeping the comfort and quality she loved). Below - we recovered the chair, and omitted the skirt. We relocated it from the living room to the guest room.

AFTER                                                                                                       BEFORE below,with skirt

2) A designer can suggest ways to make your rooms more functional. 

The below dining room was rarely used until we did the following 4 things.... now it's a favorite spot for guests!
  • More Comfortable chairs
  • Server for serving food and storing dishes - and it's only 11" deep!
  • Drapes - for sound absorption
  • Colors - a yummy color on the walls and through large abstract art! 
Our client now hosts church meetings & has friends over. Notice we kept her same dining table!



3) An interior designer can help you think outside the box! 
  • We painted the bathroom cabinets white! (Instead of replacing them) 
  • Added a corner light fixture
  • Updated window valances 
See the before and after below, we saved the client over 10,000 to 20,000 from a bathroom remodel.  With this substantial savings, we were able to do updates to the entire house, with new light fixtures, rugs, furniture, art.... updates of all kinds in every room.

4) An interior designer has access to unique merchandise, at better prices. We added a bathroom light fixture & updated the valances!


                         BEFORE below 

4) An interior design firm has sources! For all your needs: upholsters, installers, contractors, seamstresses and more. Below, we made an upholstered headboard, to replace the four poster bed which overpowered the room. 
Notice the details..... the custom shams are 7" wider than store bought, so they hide your sheets. And the king bed in gray linen looks great with nail head trim and one large custom pillow, instead of a busy print bedspread. 


We replaced the "matching set" bedroom mirror with a new lamp and round mirror!

In each bedroom, we upgraded bedding, headboards, mirrors, bedside lamps, or whatever the room needed so the homeowners could feel like it was a fresh new look (without replacing the  dressers & nightstands, which were nice quality and sentimental to the homeowners.  

BEFORE right >>>
5) An interior designer can provide beautiful fabrics and art!  
They have access to high end designer fabrics, and are often able to sell them at good discounts off retail.  

Often  shelving can be a clutter catcher (see the bookcase before). A corner can be transformed to be a spot you'll love walking by each day. Our client tells us the sunshine colors in this art make her very happy!

Check out these master bedroom updates! We added....
  •  A swivel chair (to enjoy the outdoor view), 
  •  Linen drapes for privacy or room darkening, 
  •  New art and a floor lamp. 
  •  We kept the high end mahogany dresser, which the homeowner loves!                          

AFTER                                                                         BEFORE>>>
6) A designer can help you think "outside the box". 

Below, we made an "awkward unused space" more functional. Beside the refrigerator, we added rustic wood shelves for cookbooks, a plant, favorite pottery, and wine glasses. 

To see the changes we made in the dining room, living room, sun porch & more, 
check out our prior blogs! We hope you enjoy! 
There are ways you can benefit from an interior designer, whether it be for design ideas, budgeting and prioritizing, reducing clutter, adding color, or for remodeling tips, it's often helpful to go to a source that has the experience and vision to make it happen.