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, November 13, 2017

MIrror or art over the mantle, which is best? 5 pros and cons.

To decide between art and a mirror over the mantle, there's one important question to ask yourself: What is the view when I place the mirror over the mantle?

In this room, the reflection of the mirror over the mantle is of a beautiful coffered ceiling!! Notice it's a stunning view of beautiful moldings.
Also, there's art on the left and right side of the mantle, which made a mirror the prefect choice over the mantle.

But sometimes, art is a better choice, and we'll provide before and after photos to show you why.

Pros and cons of a mirror versus art:

1) A mirror is often less expensive than art. 

The above client's room had 21' tall ceilings! Since such as large piece was needed the 64" tall mirror was much less expensive than a large piece of art.

2) A mirror makes accessorizing easy!

Any accessories can go with it, as long as the mirror frame is simple and not too ornate.
A mirror allows you to decorate each season, winter, spring, summer & fall!

3) A mirror can reflect light, if there is a window close by.

It doesn't always work, it depends on the location of the windows. Sometimes a mirror is only a reflection of a messy bookshelf, or a tv, or a blank wall.

ON THE FLIP SIDE, we'll list the advantages of Art instead of a mirror:

1)  Lack of wall space may make art a better choice than a mirror. 

Below, due to all the windows, there wasn't another spot for art. In a case like this, art over the mantle is a nice choice. It's the only option so you can add color and texture on the wall!

Art over this mantle added much desired color, in a room full of windows
2) Is the reflection from the mirror unattractive?

Ask yourself this! If it's reflecting something ugly? Perhaps a messy bookcase? That old ceiling fan you've been meaning to replace? If so, art would be a better option.

In the before and after photos below, though it's hard to capture in a photograph, the room felt Instantly Larger once we moved the small mirror and replaced it with larger art. The client was thrilled with the end result, and when her college age children came home to visit, they couldn't get over the transformation! Art and outside mount drapes really changed the room.

Mantle with art instead of mirror
The mirror reflection was of a dated ceiling fan, one the client did not love
To decide between a mirror and art over the mantle, the decision is really easy after you consider the pros and cons listed above. A mantle is the focal point of the room quite often, it's an important spot to hang just the right piece. 

For other BEFORE and AFTER including beautiful mantle styles, fireplace surrounds, how to cover a brick fireplace, see this blog link:

Questions? Email or call us today!

Comments or ideas of for mantles and fireplaces? Click the word "comment" below....

Friday, November 3, 2017

3 clever solutions for your foyer! With before and after interior design photos.

Clever solutions for a foyer are often quick fix solutions. When you update a foyer it can make a major impact. After all, a foyer is the FIRST IMPRESSION. Your entrance way sets the mood for the entire home, as a reflection of the home's style.

Here's a few tips for decorating and furnishing a foyer so it feels clutter free, fresh, and light. Normally, it's not necessary to do a major overhaul of flooring and wall colors. See what a big impact these 3 changes made in each of the foyers below.

1) Edit & update!
In a small foyer, one or two statement pieces can have a big impact. Notice in the before, there were Six items, in the after there are Two. If your foyer furnishings or art  are dark or more formal than what you love, an updated piece or two might be all you need!

The bench in a foyer below is handy for taking off wet or dirty shoes. Here, we recommended tall vertical art because it makes the ceiling feel taller!

After                                                Before 
2) If  you have an intake vent that is demanding attention.
As long as you don't block the air flow, some furniture pieces can work in front of a vent. See below, the open shelves of this console allow air flow. The mirror and beautiful lamp are a welcoming touch. Our Greensboro, NC homeowner loves this solution to hide her intake vent.  

After                                               Before, intake vent 

3) Consider moving a thermostat or outlet! 
For thermostats or security alarm pads, often you can move them to a less invasive spot. This can open a wall so that you have a nice focal point! Below, the builder had placed the thermostat in an awkward spot that didn't allow us to hang anything decorative on the wall. By moving a thermostat or alarm pad, you can display something beautiful instead of an eye sore! Below, we moved the thermostat closer to the corner, it was a one hour quick fix change!

We hope these clever solutions for making a foyer more functional and pleasing to the eye will get your creative juices flowing! If you'd like to share your ideas, we'd love to read them, just click on comment! Or, for questions, be sure to email instead. 

More fabulous foyers:  Foyer photos you won't want to miss!

After with thermostat moved               Before, thermostat

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

6 quick fix ways to give your home a professionally designed style.

Perhaps you like your furnishings, but want a more pulled together look for a professional designed style. Maybe you'd like all the room flow. The requests we hear are "our home needs some tweaking" or "some of the things we brought from the old home don't look right".

To achieve a professional design look, know that in most cases, you don't need to start all over again! Often you don't even need new furniture! Instead of furniture, consider those pieces that really make a statement, such as art, floor lamps, and fabrics. Here, we'll list 6 quick fix solutions and photos. Hopefully they'll provide inspiration!

1) Upgrade to custom window treatments. 
Below, the store bought valances are small. They "stop the eye at a low height". After, tall custom drapes allow you to appreciate the tall ceilings in this great room.

2) Edit accessories. 
On the hearth and mantle, in the after photo there are only 3 decorative accessories. When you donate small accessories that aren't your favorites, it allows you to really appreciate the remaining items on display. It's important that accessories are large enough in scale for the size of your room. Most people have trouble finding the right size and scale for today's large rooms, that's where an interior design appointment can be helpful.

                                                         After Above,  Before Below 
Before, window valances blocked  the view of the sky, and "stopped the eye" at the 6' high level.

3) Add large art 
A huge piece of art can "solve" a big blank wall. It adds color, texture, and interest. It's almost like adding a window! Notice the scene below, and how the art invites you into the nature scene. Interior designers often have access to art that is much larger than you'd normally find in stores. The large art below is 46" x 46". 

AFTER                                                                                                BEFORE  
Art is 46" x 46". Size & scale is important in a large room with two story cathedral ceilings.  

4) Hang valances high!
The 13" tall valances in the before photo blocked the view of the trees and sky. They block precious daylight. Custom valances are longer than store bought, so they can be hung ABOVE the window (over the sheet rock instead of the window). See the roman shade style valances below.   

After custom valances                                                                      Before 
5) Recover a chair, ottoman or pillows! 
A beautiful fabric can make your chair look brand new! Recovering a chair is less time consuming than searching through furniture stores, sitting in numerous chairs to try to find the all the right criteria. More specifically, to find the right comfort, size, shape, style, quality, and price! If you love the comfort of your current furniture, consider having it reupholstered. 

After                                                                             Before

6) Update Kitchen accessories! 
Below, the glass door kitchen cabinet feels like a work of art! Glass doors in the kitchen allow you to display colorful pottery, which can be functional as well as beautiful.

With these 6 quick fix tips, a home can look more sophisticated overnight, even without replacing furniture! Consider custom window treatments, recovering furniture, large art, and editing accessories. It's amazing what these 6 quick fix changes do to give a home a professional designer style.  

All in all, the 6 quick fix ways a home can be upgraded are based on editing, custom window treatments, large art, recovering furniture you don't love, and adding colorful accessories. Several of these quick fix changes can be done in one weekend. A professionally designed style isn't always based on new furniture, often it's the OTHER things besides furniture (rugs, lighting, accessories, art) that make a huge impact. 

AFTER                                                                             BEFORE Below

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A bench versus dining chairs at the dining table? 9 pros and cons!

In the dining room below, there was once a long bench beside the dining table. The client asked whether we could use any of their old dining furniture in this new home. We felt their dining TABLE was a definite keep! As for the chairs and bench, we pointed out the below pros and cons for a dining bench, and asked them to decide wh
which route they wanted to go.

Disadvantages or Cons of a bench by a dining table:
  1.  It's hard for the adult to get out of a bench if they are seated in the middle. ...unless someone on the end gets up to let them out. The adult in the middle can feel sort of "trapped", perhaps they want to get more water, or go to the buffet line for seconds, but they hate to intrude on others while eating to let them out. 
  2.  A bench is HEAVY to pull out from the table. Did I hear backache reminders from anyone?
  3. If there are hardwoods, a bench can scratch the wood floor, because it's long and heavy. 
  4. If there is a rug, a bench can be so heavy that when you pull it out, the rug will "bunch up". It can be awkward unless you happen to always have one person at each end of the bench.  
  5. A bench doesn't allow you to add a new color or texture that fabric chairs do. 
  6. A bench doesn't allow you to mix in a new style. In the below room, a light contemporary chair next to a dark traditional dining table. The mix of styles was important for our client. the homeowner. 
Advantages or Pros for a dining Bench:
  1. Some people feel a bench is a nice unique change.  
  2. Some people like it to seat a lot of children. So, in a kitchen that might be handy, but in a dining room, not so much. 
  3. A long bench might be less expensive than 2 or 3 chairs. Depending on how many chairs your table can hold, this might be a cost savings. It's worth calculating the price, both ways.  
                                                                  Before Below

A bench versus chairs is definitely personal preference! One client could say they love it, another could say they don't like it at all. A designer should simply provide the pros and cons so that all options are considered. More before and after photos below, in prior blogs! Enjoy and happy dining!

A bench has more disadvantages than dining chairs, but it's certainly personal preference. The cons some might say definitely outweigh the pros. But then, it's personal preference. 

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 >