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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How to find art for above a tall chair rail or wainscot?

Art above a tall chair rail can be hard to find. In the below photo, the wood frame on the art was a nice thick wood, which made it the correct size & scale for the deep wainscoting. 

AFTER above, BEFORE below
 When you absolutely love a piece of art, you can often find a way to hang it 
directly over the chair rail or wainscoting. After all, it's your home,
you need to love your surroundings and do as you please.

Notice in the photo below, the mirror would've been too far from the buffet, 
- If it had been placed above the chair rail or wainscoting. 

For many more tips and photos about art, such as - How to update a traditional home with abstract art, or What size art? check out this blog link:

Comments? Click the word comment below, we love to hear your feedback!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to make a two story foyer a welcoming and functional space?

In a two story foyer, the art, furniture, mirror & lighting are a guest's first impression. The foyer sets set the mood for the entire home! Whether you prefer traditional and formal, or colorful and unique, or family friendly, these are all things to consider.   

Designers often have access to more options than the general public. So, if you have a huge foyer, it may be beneficial to view their options. We were able to bring the actual painting (top photo) to help the homeowner visualize the art in their foyer. 

Notice we replaced the formal mirror with abstract colorful art. This gave the homeowner the inviting look they requested,the soothing colors in the art are a nice addition to a foyer that was otherwise lacking in color. 

Our craftsman lamp also added a fun touch, to make the console table feel less formal. 

AFTER Above, BEFORE below

B) Consider painting the interior door or the front door! Perhaps a colorful door? 
Or a nice wood stain? Notice below that even  the light fixtures are unique!  
This sets a cozy inviting mood as guests first enter the foyer. 

C) Borrow furniture from another room! Perhaps a host and hostess chair from the dining room? 
Chairs or a bench in a foyer make it functional for taking off shoes.  

C) Add texture! Below: the twigs, rocks, glass, wood, fabric, stone, & linen add wonderful 
colors and textures. This foyer is now a welcoming room. 
The foyer bench allows a nice place to take off your shoes. 
A bowl on the console table is a great place to throw your keys. 

For more before/after foyer photos, or colorful or abstract art, see these links:

Comments? Click the word comment below. We love feedback & hearing your thoughts!!
Questions? Be sure to email us instead. We love 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

How to make my colors flow from room to room?

If you want your home to "Flow" from room to room, use repetition of a color. This client requested gray in the den which you can see at our site on Transforming Rooms - Irving Park Home.

We also had to consider her black and white tile floor in the kitchen, it needed to "make sense". We used fabric to tie it all together.  Notice how we repeated certain colors, yet used art to bring in an element of surprise.


After Above, Before Below

 By spreading out the fabric (instead of just a small swatch) 
we help customers visualize. 

Don't forget the porches and patios! Even the landscaping,.....these are all great places to repeat your favorite colors. If you use powerful colors on pillows, they can easily be changed. Perhaps a spring/summer look and another pillow for fall and winter?

For other blogs about adding color through art and fabrics, enjoy our before after on our web site

Comments? Click the comment word below. OR, for questions, be sure to email us instead. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Six best built in bookcases and bookshelf styles for a home office or den.

Built in bookcases, bookshelves & wall units add a nice architectural look to a den, home office,  a sitting room or a living room. Book shelves are a great place to display not only books, but your collectibles, accessories, or even the television. A TV looks great when it's recessed in a wall unit. 
1) Built in shelving wrapped around a doorway, see below. By surrounding the entrance to the next room with bookcases, the builder created architectural appeal. Craftsmen moldings are a nice style.  

 2) Bookcases and shelving units can wrap around a sofa, daybed, or desk. See the "niche" that is created below, between shelving units you can add a desk or sofa. This is a great touch in a sitting area or a work space that needs to double as a home office and guest room combined.
 3) Wood stained bookshelves create a nice masculine feel for any home office or man cave. In the photo below, the built in bookcases surround a fireplace, to add nice architectural appeal. The doors at the bottom allow ample storage.

4) Recessed bookcases which are flushed with the wall! They look amazing in the photo below. When it's possible to add them to an existing home (and recess them), they look as if the home was built that way. A contrast paint color on the back of the bookcases adds a nice touch.  

 5) Add shelving below cabinet doors! As long as the cabinets are hung high enough on the wall, like in the photo below. The addition gave this home office more interest. Now they can display books and keep them within easy access.

6) If windows can surround the bookcases, it adds light and architectural appeal. Columns beside the bookcases add a nice touch. 

For home office and study photos.... with tips on converting a formal living room into a home office...or to combine a home office with a guest room, see this link:

Comments? Click "comment" word below, we love to hear your thoughts!

 For questions, be sure to email us instead. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Should I paint or stain a color on the ceiling? Pros and cons of painting a ceiling.

There are pros and cons for painting or staining a ceiling. It can be a fun touch either way!

  • If you want to draw attention to coffered ceilings or beautiful moldings, a paint color will do just that!
  • If your ceilings are low, you may want to avoid color on the ceiling.
  • If you crave color, a ceiling is sometimes the only place you can add it - perhaps a lot of windows or brick walls don't allow the use of color elsewhere?
  • A stain allows the natural grain of the wood to show, paint would tend to cover or "hide" the wood.

The gray stained wood ceiling (below) draws attention to the architecture.

In the room below, the coffered ceiling, crown moldings & ceiling are all the same color, that way
the room feels small and cozy.

The designer painted the ceiling to draw attention to the coffered ceiling below.

 A soft gray paint adds color to the porch ceiling below. It accentuates the stone in the fireplace.
It was one of the few places to add color to the room.

 The painted ceiling adds a nice pop of color to an otherwise all white kitchen. 

For before/after ideas for adding color - painting a contrast wall, painting a front door, or how to choose paint colors see this blog:

COMMENTS? Any personal feedback or ideas you'd like to share? Click "comment" below. 

QUESTIONS? email us instead. Click on the top of page "Transforming Rooms" for our web site. 

A painted ceiling is an easy change, if you are unsure, just paint a large poster board with the $7 sample size paint cans from your paint store, tape it on the area to "test" it. And if it's a wood ceiling, remember that stains come in a variety of colors such as gray, taupe, camel, (not just brown).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to incorporate boulders & rocks into a landscape plan or fire pit, 4 must read tips.

To incorporate boulders and rocks into your landscape plan, here's 4 helpful tips we learned during the process. Boulders add texture & color to your lawn, and best of all - they're maintenance free. 
It's so much easier than pruning & maintaining shrubs! 

Boulders mixed with flagstone and pebbles for a natural path or walkway

Here's 4 helpful tips for adding boulders to your landscape plan:

1) Keep size & scale in mind, if your trees are large, you'll want at least a couple of big rocks, when they're on a pallet they'll seem big, but once you get them home they feel smaller. It's good to select some large rocks to mix in with medium size. Rodney at Scott's Stone in Greensboro, NC was great to work with.  

2) Think about where you want them before the delivery arrives, that way you can place the boulders in the best spot with a piggy back forklift. 

AFTER above BEFORE below

The professional landscape company recommended lots of shrubs, which were fine at first, but within a short time, they were too big no matter how often you prune them.  They did not keep in mind our "low maintenance" request. They appear crowded & overgrown, and hide your brick. Rocks & boulders were a nice alternative to add texture & colors. Best of all - they're maintenance free!! 

3) If you place rocks on both sides of the yard it will feel more "balanced".  
4) Drought tolerant perennials or flowers are so much easier than trimming shrubs! 

For sidewalks or patios with flagstone, Gold Dust or grass works nice in my opinion (instead of mortar). With Gold Dust basically you sweep it in with a broom, rinse it several times, and it turns into "mortar". Following Mfg directions, it's easy for a homeowners to patch the joints in case of cracks, instead of requiring a brick mason.  Here's a close up of a fire pit & patio with NC Flagstone: 

In progress patio, just need some plants and boulders to finish it off!
North Carolina Flagstone patio & sidewalk

Comments? Please click the word comment below, we love to hear from you!!
Questions? Be sure to email us instead!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How much will it cost for an interior designer to furnish & decorate my home? 5 must read tips!

The cost for interior designer services for furnishing or decorating a home can be a reasonable part of the budget. 5 must read tips:

1) Read prospective designer reviews.  This homework can greatly affect how much you need to budget for interior design services.
  • Client reviews often explain a lot about  how each design firm works & the cost for their design services.
  • Does their web site reflect numerous homes or is it limited to one or two very expensive homes? Is it limited to the designer's OWN home? --- (the one with the unlimited budget).
  •  Do they have a limited number of reviews? If so - ask yourself why!

2)  Give the designer specific feedback.
  • Sentences like "Our rug is sentimental, we want to use it in the new house" or "I like tone on tone colors, but my spouse prefers warm darker colors like brown". Specific feedback saves time!  
  • Answer emails within 24 hours, this avoids unnecessary follow ups.  
  • Find three or four "dream rooms" you love -  or show them your favorite fabric or piece of art. A photo is worth a thousand words!  
3) See what they can do!  
Request a design consultation and presentation before you sign a contract!  Don't lock yourself in. Ask if you can get a presentation for one area of the home, to view products, fabrics, art, etc. This test area will allow you to find out how well they understand your goals, your taste, and budget.  

I wish I had done this myself on a recent project. We hired a landscape designer, after paying far more than was estimated, we received his plan to find that we were extremely disappointed. We are not going to use any of it.
In retrospect, we wish we had requested a 2 to 3 hour maximum service for one area of the lawn. This would've allowed us to see how well the landscape designer listens! His plan did not respect the main goals we stressed - that we wanted low maintenance shrubs, dwarf in size, with open views instead of lots of shrubs and trees that grow large & require constant pruning. This is similar to how interior design can work. Proceeding with one room or area will tell you if you're a good match with that designer.

4) Consider their experience in relation to their fees.  
A good designer with years of experience and a good portfolio may be expensive per hour, but their years of experience means they'll be able to accomplish a good deal in a brief amount of time. They can help you avoid mistakes regarding size & scale, budgets & timelines, and durability.

A recent furniture salesperson (the store's designer) told our client that a rayon/cotton blend fabric would be "extremely durable". This type of incorrect information could cause the need to spend over a thousand dollars to recover their sectional within a brief time.

What will it cost to hire a designer to furnish and decorate my home? The cost for a designer should be inconsequential. They often get better pricing on high quality merchandise, as well as the 5 tips below. A good interior designer should be able to steer you toward:
  • correct blue print specifications - to avoid costly change orders in remodeling or construction
  • correct size & scale furniture & rugs - to avoid restocking fees 
  • correct colors & merchandise - to avoid repainting & reordering 
  • good communication -  so both spouses are happy 
  • good sources - upholsterers, seamstresses, carpenters, electricians, tile sources, etc
In this mountain home, we made the process easy, with specifications for
tile, hardwoods, granite, lighting, stains, carpets, stone, hardware, and more. 
5) Once you've done your home work and hired the firm you like, trust the process! We've furnished 6,500 sq ft homes with as little as 5 design consultations (due to efficient use of time and excellent communication), while other clients may require several meetings for just one item - due to their inability to visualize or trust the process. It's far more exciting for the budget to go toward amazing items (art, rugs, lamps, furnishings).

The cost to hire an interior designer depends a good deal on you! Your feedback, how you respond to their emails, and how much research you do regarding which design firm will fit your goals. 

To learn how much to budget for furnishing and decorating a home: See this blog

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can I add transom windows? Is a straight transom or arched transom best?

Transom windows can sometimes be added when you remodel. They add light and make the ceilings feel taller.  If you're planning new construction, it's a feature you might consider for at least the front of the house. Builders often omit transom windows, due to the high cost. When you add them to the entire home it adds a good deal to the expense that you may choose to spend elsewhere.

The unltimate transom window has an arch. They are beautiful but very pricey. 

If you don't have transom windows, rather than remodel (which has VERY expensive labor costs due to existing framing and supports) a less expensive option is to trick the eye. You can create the illusion of taller windows by adding window valances (see before and after).
Valances create the illusion of having transom windows & make windows feel taller. 
AFTER above BEFORE below
Far left - kitchen valances make the windows feel taller. In this living room, the transom windows are larger than most. If this is something your builder did during new construction, you may want drapes instead of valances, so you don't hide the beautiful windows.
If you don't have transoms, but wish you did - rather than remodel (which can be very expensive or often impossible due to the framing), another option is to trick the eye, and create the illusion of taller windows with a valance or window treatment.

Whether or not you should add transom windows depends on the following:
1) your budget, they can add a great deal of expense 
2) will it distort the exterior view? For example, you could perhaps add a transom in the center, as long as the exterior view would still be symetrical
3) when a covered porch limits how much light is coming in.  
4) If it's even possible, example, we often cannot add them due to the support (wood framing) above the window. In that case, you may be able to add windows on each SIDE of your french door instead.
The Eclipse transom window below is far more expensive than a straight transom. 
It creates a more traditional look.

This transom window is the focal point of the room 

Do you wish you had transoms? Click "comment", below. We want to hear your feedback!

Whether you can add transom windows will depend on your current support beam needs. Often it depends if there is a 2nd floor above the space. The arched shape is a more traditional look, a straight transom often looks more contemporary.