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, June 30, 2016

Professional lighting or do it yourself exterior lighting kits?

Thinking about  "do it yourself" exterior lighting? We tried to. After all, we did a landscape plan that people rave about. I love our shrubs and plants so much more than what the local landscape architect recommended. His plan was going to be very high maintenance, even though we made specific requests that the shrubs would not grow large, and that it would not require constant pruning. So, we thought surely we could do our own outdoor lights too?

This light was possible since they did wiring went under the sidewalk 
With our shrubs and flowers in place ...we were ready for outdoor lighting. We tried several sets.
1st)  An inexpensive solar lighting set, which didn't put off enough light and never worked well.
2nd) A set from Home Depot. It only had 4 lights, which were not far enough apart to "balance" the entire yard. Plus, we couldn't get the system under the driveway and under the sidewalk, so the placement of the lights felt wrong.
3rd) We got quotes for professional lighting, and found that they varied. So did the willingness to light up the other side of the driveway, and willingness to go the extra mile.

And finally - we ended up hiring Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, here in NC.  Let me say, as an interior designer, I pride myself in providing excellent service, and paying attention to the details to make sure everything runs smoothly. I like to hire companies that have the same attention to detail. Well - that's my opinion of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we are thrilled with the result!

We have light to the far left (other side of the driveway) and light to the far right. They showed us that it's all about  placement, quality, and LED. The LED lights are so reasonable, your won't feel the impact when you get your electric bill! With LED lights, we get the same generous amount of light, all with a reasonable electric bill.

I almost forgot to mention the best part, before we hired them, they provided a demo one evening - of how it would all look, by bringing battery operated lights! Yes, we're very happy with our exterior lighting! So I thought I'd share it with you!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Make your home feel like a beach home! 5 unique design tips that are timeless.

Would you like your home to have a "beach vacation" feeling without going overboard on a beach theme? Here we'll show you styles that are both timeless and very popular. A coastal type look is the reason Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and others capitalize on distressed wood, light gray or whitewashed wood tones. Here's a few more ways interior designers use color to give homes a beach style. 

1) Add art in the colors of the ocean!

Notice below is not a beach scene, no sea shells or beach umbrellas. But when you look at the art below, it reminds me of the colors of the ocean! This photo from House of Turquoise is a soothing choice. 

Art, a throw and shams add soothing blue and turquoise to this white and gray bedroom

2) Add bright beach type colors through fabrics!

If you don't want to replace it all, how about the shams and headboard only? For this Winston Salem, NC client, we replaced her dark brown headboard with a beautiful turquoise fabric, and made bright cheerful shams to go with the ready made comforter.

We made a turquoise upholstered headboard with nail head trim in Winston Salem, NC

3) Replace dark bedroom furniture with a light gray or whitewashed wood!

True it's wise not to go overboard on this, as it could be trendy and go out of style. If you steer away from a "matching bedroom set" and only use a couple of light wood pieces you can achieve a fun beach vibe. Notice how the bright color lamp, cheerful art, and a live plant to add greenery really make an impact!
Light distressed woods, white walls, with pops of blue and green

4) Bring the outdoors in!

Nothing makes you feel like you're vacationing outdoors as much as live greenery and trees.
Any room looks better with a live plant, just like any room looks better with a puppy or a kitty cat!

If you want your home to have that cheerful "staying at the beach" feeling without going overboard and having to much of a beach theme. Don't forget to mix and match, after all, every piece doesn't have to be a beach theme. Notice in the photo above, there's a mix of blues, greens, yellows, leather, wood, and metal. It's the combination of materials that make you appreciate the color tones!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How many inches between bookcase shelves?

How many inches apart should bookshelves be? 
How about letting the following determine the height or distance between your shelves:

1) The height of your books
2) The quantity of books you want to display
3) The height of your favorite art or accessories
4) Whether you prefer a clean uncluttered look, or prefer lots of storage.

The built in bookshelves below look good due to symmetry, and the beautiful baby grand piano and gray and white living room. 

Notice above the bookcase shelves are mainly for books. Below, the homeowner preferred to display their favorite collectibles, which meant the bookcase needed very few shelves.

How many inches apart should bookshelves be? 
How about letting the following determine the height or distance between your shelves:

1) The height of your books
2) The quantity of books you want to display
3) The height of your favorite art or accessoires
4) Whether you prefer a clean uncluttered look, or prefer lots of storage.

See below, in this Greensboro NC Irving Park home, we gave the client the clean uncluttered look they requested. 

AFTER Above, 


Bookcases can look amazing, or they can be filled with lots of "stuff" that requires dusting. It all depends on what you want to display. One thing for sure, a large room or one with tall ceilings will look much better with larger accessories and taller bookcases.

Questions? We hope you'll email us today! Have fun finding the perfect items to display in your built in shelving area!

Friday, May 27, 2016

My spouse wants stained moldings, I prefer white. Which is best?

If you like painted woodwork, and your spouse likes stain - here we'll show you ways to compromise!

And if you're wondering what color stain to use for woodwork and beam ceilings, we'll show a variety of stains, from golden honey to darker stains. 

Perhaps you are considering painting white over your dark woodwork? People often fear they'll hurt resale value, so here we'll share the feedback we hear from clients the majority of the time. 

The vast majority of people tell us they prefer a bright, light look, as opposed to a dark room with extremely dark wood stains. This is especially true for baby boomers, or those whose eyes makes it harder to see in a dark room. The exception is males versus females. Often men prefer stained woodwork. 

If you like painted woodwork, and your spouse likes stain - here's an example of a compromise!

Here are 4 questions we recommend you ask yourself to help with the decision of whether to paint over woodwork and beam ceilings:

1) Is the wood high quality, obviously you'd have to think twice before painting over expensive cherry or mahogany!!

2) Are you going to a lodge look? Or a masculine look? Or for a light look filled with white or color?

3) What rooms do you gravitate toward? When you gather photos on Houzz or Pinterest or designer blogs and Websites?

4) Will it cause a chain reaction? Will you have to paint the wood in adjacent rooms?

Comments? We love hearing your feedback! Click the word "comment" below. Or for questions be sure to call or email us instead.

It's personal preference whether to paint beam ceilings and woodwork, you can go three different routes to make your room brighter:

- Paint some of the woodwork, instead of all of it. Perhaps the window trim and mantle but not the beams on the ceiling?
- Use a light bright color or white on the mantle, the walls, and fabrics.
- Refinish the dark stained woodwork in a lighter tone, like the top photo above.

Your home should be a space you enjoy, so whether wood stains or white trim are your preference, if you'll be there awhile it's good to go with what makes you happy!

Friday, May 20, 2016

6 tips for when dining set feels too small!

Does your dining table feel too small for the space? People often bring the dining set from a prior home, and it feels too small in scale for the room. Sometimes doing one of these 3 will solve it:

1) Add a larger host and hostess chair, as we did in our client's home below! Notice the impact!
2) Add a rug, as we did below, this helps to "ground" the furniture and settle the space.
3) Add full height window treatments, they help fill the room. 
     Better still, adding drapes will absorb sound and make the space feel cozier. 
AFTER above, BEFORE below
In some situations, when a table is too small and you want to replace it, we have one word of advice:

Do not buy a matching "set". It's much more interesting to mix and match so that no one else will have exactly the same set! Notice what we found for our client below.

The table has a rustic weathered gray finish on the top, with a stainless steel base. It fills the space better than the old set, and is more functional too!

 AFTER above, BEFORE below

If your table feels too small in your room, you may be able to solve it by any of the following:

1) updating the chairs to a fully upholstered chair which feel more substantial than a wooden chair (see below)
2) Inserting the leaf in the table & add a larger chandelier
3) Fill the space with a buffet, drapes, valances, or beautiful items that help fill the void.

Keep in mind ceiling heights when shopping, dining tables and chairs often look much different in your home than they do in a furniture store! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Should the window treatmenat fabric match the wall color?

Should the window treatments match the wall color? Well, that depends on several factors - Do you like a tone on tone look? Do you love rooms that only have two or three colors? If so, matching the drapes, valances, or roman shades to the wall color may be just the thing for you!

In the below room, the drape color matches the slanted ceiling color.

Bedroom drapes that blend with the wall color create a soothing tone on tone look 

In the above room the drapes are similar in color to the wall color. This creates a soothing tone on tone room which is especially nice in any of these cases:

a) If the room is small
b) When there are lots of windows and drapes
c) For those who prefer a soothing tone on tone look
d) When the drapes will be functioning. Imagine yards and yards of fabric in an intense color or a bold print - it could be overpowering!

Comments? Click the word "comment" below. Questions? Be sure to email or call us instead!

As to whether the drapes should match the wall color - it's personal preference,. Some people prefer a contrast look, other people prefer a tone on tone look.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How to make a rustic room more contemporary?

It's easier than you'd think to give your home a fresh updated look, one that is less rustic or country.  

If you find yourself drawn to light modern interior, here are a few quick fix ways to transform a dark country style. Best of all, they don't require remodeling or major expenses. 

1) Update a light fixture and/or abstract art. 

Next to the dark rustic beams in the photo below, you wouldn't normally think to put a contemporary white ceiling fan. But the mix of styles is a fresh unique look! It changes the entire mood of the the room!

And check out the abstract contemporary art over the mantle! It's an unexpected twist next to the dark stained woodwork. 

2) Paint the wood work and trim white!

 If you like, you can go crazy with white. The trim, the windows, the walls, all in white! A room like the one below would feel rustic if the window and door trim was stained brown. It gets a more contemporary feeling with white paint. 

3) Add a contemporary furniture piece or contemporary art! 

  • Notice the concrete contemporary cocktail table? 
  • And the contemporary abstract art over the mantle? 
  • These make the room look more modern, even with rustic wood beams. 

To see additional room photos with colorful art or modern with traditional, see this blog:

To update a rustic home, feel free to mix and match and include your favorite contemporary items. It's amazing how combining styles allows you to achieve the look you love!