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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Glass shower door versus shower curtain? 5 pros and cons.

Thank you for visiting our blog. If you'd like to visit our amazing new Interior Design web site, click on the 6 photos ABOVE.

For today's topic, we thought we'd share the pros and cons (the feedback we hear) from homeowners for shower curtains versus glass.

People feel strong dislikes or likes regarding shower curtains or glass! We've read all about glass shower doors versus shower curtains, on Houzz, Pinterest, and blogs, and narrowed it down to main  pros and cons for a curtain versus a glass door.

Advantage of glass:

1) It can make the room feel larger or more "open".
It can look sophisticated, as an upgrade to a store bought shower curtain.

2) Glass can provide a clean contemporary look. 
This is especially the case with today's seamless shower doors, which are very pricey but attractive.

Disadvantages of glass:

1) It requires daily cleaning with a squeegee. No, that's not my opinion, that's what I read from MANY people who commented on Houzz. As one Houzz person commented,  if you don't clean the glass door with a squeegee after each shower, your "glass can look like a cow licked it" - her words not mine!

2) Glass is a MUCH bigger expense. 
We're talking over $1000 more minimum, sometimes $1,500 more, due to installation. It can even run upwards of several thousand depending on the shape and size of your shower.
If you're planning to move within say 5 or 10 years, know that the next homeowners might like the opposite of you, or may even want to remodel the bathroom, so you're not improving the value if it's say in a guest bathroom where people may prefer a tub for bathing children or pets or for cleaning large items.

3) Glass doesn't allow privacy. If several children are using the bathroom at once, that's another bit of feedback we hear.

So what is an options besides glass ? Or a store bought shower curtain? 
That's easy - a custom shower curtain that is on both the left and right, so it doesn't "block" your beautiful tile wall. Notice how narrow the shower curtain below is, yet you can still HIDE THE PLASTIC LINER!

Or, if your shower is really large, like the one below, you can get by without a door or curtain.

                                                Some showers are so large, they don't require doors!

The general consensus I found was that people like glass shower doors in master bedrooms, but most people do not like them where children or guests might use the room, due to maintenance. Want other bathroom updating ideas with before and after photos? Check out our prior articles: Clever Ideas for bathroom remodeling and updating!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Four unique options for furnishing a living room corner!

 A corner of a room can look unfinished, especially in today's large rooms. In order to create more intimate conversation areas, we pull furniture away from the walls, this can leave the corners looking bare.

Here we'll show you 4 ideas for decorating a corner of a living room. These ideas run from free to upwards of thousands of dollars. There are numerous other options of course, feel free to leave a comment below, with your favorite way to fill a bare corner.

1) An indoor tree - to bring in a touch of nature! 
Anytime we add an indoor tree, or plant stands & a grouping of plants it makes the room come alive. They bring the outdoors in!

2) If music brings you joy, and you want to go extravagant - perhaps a baby grand piano!?

A piano looks great in the corner below. The piano is beautiful, especially with the windows in the background. This is a great way to make an unused corner functional.

3) Twigs or branches from the yard, or any touch of nature! 
This adds a fun artistic touch, with movement and texture. It brings in the feeling of nature! It is something that can be accomplished immediately, for no money. The branches or twigs can be placed in star foam, or spray foam or pebbles, whatever you need to use to keep them upright in your planter.

3) A game table!
A table and chairs makes a corner functional. It creates a cozy space where you can look outdoors, it allows the sofa to be pushed to the center of the room for more intimate conversation.

4) Large artwork, and a cool table
The mid century modern table below is perfect in the corner!
After                                                                 Before
After photo - Living Room Art 
A living room corner can be the most attractive part of the room!

So whatever way you like to design a corner, whether it be a tree,
a bar, or art, have fun with it! 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Should I use solid paint or a wash on my brick fireplace? 6 pros and cons!

Should I do a paint "wash" over my fireplace? If you're wondering whether to paint your brick fireplace, we'll list a few pros and cons to help with the decision process. Every home is different, so every decision is unique. Here's some pros and cons to consider.

1) Pro - white paint can make a room feel brighter!
A white paint or glaze definitely makes a room feel lighter and brighter! A great example is below.
The mantle is still a dark stain, and the art really stands out next to solid white.

2) Disadvantage of a wash 
A thin coat often called a "wash", is not full coverage. Some of the brick color will still bleed through, it can often have a slight reddish or pink cast.
Why? Because it's somewhat transparent, so the reddish brick color will still show.

3) Advantage - painted brick can have a more contemporary clean feeling. 
If you don't like the busy tones of red, brown charcoal, and concrete mortar, know that a solid paint
will be less busy.

4) Consider resale. 
Some people like painted brick, other people do not. If you only care about resale, perhaps it's wise to think about that?

5) Your own preference!
If you want to love your room, it all boils down to what YOU prefer and which look you like the best!

6) Consider the surroundings.
See BELOW. the other walls (not shown in photo) were also brick. Therefore, a wash would've made the brick seem as if it didn't blend well with the rest of the room.
Whether you should paint a brick fireplace is certainly personal opinion. Some people like natural brick, while other people prefer painted brick. Above, we used art and candles to help "tie in" the natural paprika color of the brick, because the homeowner chose not to paint it. 

If you consider color tones when you do a wash instead of solid paint, and if you have thought about resale, and how the space flows with other walls, then those might provide your answer. Have fun with it!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

How to mix contemporary furniture in a traditional home? 5 interior design ideas!

Often people think the style of their home's exterior needs to dictate the style of the furniture & the decorating. Here we'll show 5 interior design ideas to mix in contemporary or mid century modern furniture in a traditional home. 

You can use contemporary or modern furniture in an older traditional style home, or you can go with whatever style you like, be it eclectic or craftsmen or mid century modern. There are ways to help unexpected furnishings "blend" with the architecture of the home. 

Our clients in the Winston Salem home (top photo below) preferred a contemporary look. They were tired of the jewel tone rugs and antique furniture they had for years.  Whatever your taste, there are ways to blend the traditional style of your home with a more modern interior, such as: 

1) With unexpected touches!
The chair below gave the homeowners the fresh contemporary feeling their formal study once had. The solid cherry built in wall unit and crown molding was dark and formal, so this unexpected chair changes the mood of the room. Notice in the before photo the brown leather chair was dark and blended in with the dark walls. 

Also unexpected are the light ivory and gray contemporary rug and abstract art, the last thing you'd expected in a formal traditional home.   

2) Today's fresh color tones!
Notice the rug below is a traditional PATTERN, yet the color tones are not the dark burgundy, forest green, camel tones of rugs past. The lighter tone on tone colors of this ivory and blue rug make it feel fresh and updated. The silver cocktail table is also an unexpected color tone to help update this very traditional living room. 

The lounge chairs below are a Traditional SHAPE, but the turquoise leather and silver nail head make them a more updated or contemporary look.  

AFTER above, BEFORE below

Before >>
3) Updated floor lamps & Accessories
Today's high quality floor lamps are often about 5 1/2' to 6' tall, while the floor lamps from the 90's were often about 4' tall. See photo above. The taller floor lamps blend well with today's furnishings. Also notice the after in the bookcases, we removed some shelves, and added larger more contemporary accessories. 

4) Mid Century modern blends with many styles!
The light fixture is traditional, or industrial, the art is abstract, the kitchen table and chairs and the plant stand all have a mid century modern feel. The color pops of orange, teal and a medium wood stain are a nice contrast to the light gray walls in this kitchen. 

5) Light Fixtures can change the mood of a room! 
The home below has a rustic traditional style, with ship lap walls and a contemporary upholstered headboard. Even more unique is the light fixture, which is contemporary. Sometimes unexpected touches make the room more interesting! 

Want more inspiration photos and design ideas? Then you'll LOVE these most popular stories for updating a room: When one spouse is more contemporary than the other!

And here's more great design tips: Popular ideas for updating living rooms!

Modern or contemporary furniture can certainly work n a traditional home! Do you have an idea you'd like to share? We'd love to hear your thoughts, click "comment". Or, for questions, be sure to email us instead! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Will a buffet or server fit in my dining room? 5 options to solve space limitations!

People often ask us to add a server to their dining room, but most dining rooms aren't quite wide enough. In the dining rooms below, we were able to find dining servers that were about 66" long, yet only 12" deep!  But that narrow depth is not easy to find! If you've searched and can't find a narrow piece in the style & price you like, here are 5 possibilities to consider for your dining room!

5 possible options for your dining room: 

1) Can the chandelier be moved?  
Or is it centered in a doorway or window? The answer is normally NO, therefore 2 through 5 might be a solution.

2) Are you willing to get a dining table that is not as wide as most dining tables? 
Perhaps a custom table? There are some tables that are narrower than others, though they are hard to find.

AFTER                                                                         BEFORE
Left above, we added a long serving console with storage, new art, and comfortable upholstered dining chairs. Before, the room was "too traditional" for our client. She was tired of the dark dining set she had for 22 years. We kept her high quality table, but moved the old chairs to use at a game table in the bonus room, and the remaining two chairs to a bedroom bistro table for morning coffee. 

3) Could you place a server at the end of the table instead of the side?
If so, that might solve your issue. See 2nd to bottom photo (the bay window).

4) Are you able to switch rooms?
Think outside the box! For example, perhaps you could make the living room into a dining room, and vice versa. Sometimes is a much easier change than expected. If you have attic above, it's often easy to add a chandelier. Or, if you have recessed lights close by, that allows the electrician easy access to add a chandelier.

5) Are you willing to have a custom cabinet built?
  • If so, doors would be less expensive than drawers, and the piece could be less deep. 
  • For custom pieces know that a photo is worth a thousand words! The cabinet maker can't truly visualize your stain preference and style preference without photos & finish samples. 
  • If the cabinet has doors but is only 12 or 14" deep, it might have requirements to be bolted to the wall, so that it doesn't pose a tip over factor for young children. 

Below Photo features another dining console that is only 12" deep, which allows just enough space for the chairs to pull out from the table. Notice when they console is this narrow in depth they don't provide much storage. A 12" deep console with doors could pose an issue with tipping over, so some manufacturers are not willing to make them. Those that do make them provide hardware to attach them to the wall, which is strongly recommended for safety.  

Dining servers and consoles can be handy to use as a bar, (for wine) or for dishes that won't fit on the table, such as desserts or long platters. 
If your dining room does not allow room for the people seated to comfortably get out of their chairs, then hopefully one of the 5 options listed above will work. A dining server will only fit (comfortably) if you have at least 28" between the back of the chairs and the front of the dining server. Have an idea? Send us a comment! Have a question? Email us today! 

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to decorate a room in a serene style.

Are you tired of decorating styles in which there's so much to look at that your brain feels like it's on sensory overload? Perhaps you prefer a "serene" or "zen" style, rather than a room that's filled with a lot of decorative items?

For a tranquil look, and if you believe that less is more, know that you can achieve it by stepping back and looking at the big picture! If it's simple and serene you're after, here are 6 design tips:

       Prior designer below:
Six designer tips for a serene look:
1) Limit art. 
The prior designer preferred a grouping of six pieces of art over the mantle. In the after photo, we used one large piece of art.

2) Outside mount drapes.
The before photo had Eight window treatments (drapes). In the after photo, we used Four drapes as outside mount. This has numerous advantages, it's less expensive, it can make a room feel wider, (and larger) and it allows a clean look.

3) Solid fabrics. 
The ivory linen drapes feel light and less formal than the navy striped drapes. Our client preferred a light airy feel, which is less formal.... with no puddling and no dark fabrics.

4) Less is more. 
Perhaps you prefer simple iron rods for the drapery hardware, rather than large wood poles? Perhaps you prefer a casual instead of formal? See the before and after window treatment hardware photos.

5) A matching pair.
Notice below that a matching pair of chairs create symmetry and helps to achieve a clean sophisticated style.

6) Consider comfort! 
The client's sofa (below) was uncomfortable for them, due to the small pillows that came with the sofa. We replaced them with custom made overstuffed feather and down pillows, which provide back support. We also incorporated rich colors & textures of linen and velvet!

In the below home, the room was made more comfortable with the use of a large cocktail ottoman.

The Oakridge homeowners tell us they love being able to prop up their feet, yet still have a tray to set down snacks and drinks! The art has a serene soothing look, with the reflection of water!

For your living room to convey a soothing look, what some people call a "zen" space, know that large art and subtle window treatments can help you achieve the look.  Limiting accessories to a few large
pieces can also create a soothing serene look.

For more before and after photos: Check out these popular room transformations!

The room above was a room that was never used, according to the homeowner. But the interesting thing is, once we made the room feel more inviting, they said they do go in the room to enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine now. It's you have an unused space, perhaps it's because you have other rooms that feels more updated, while your living room feels dated?  Often it's a simple fix, which doesn't require painting the room nor extensive remodeling! 

 At times it could be as simple as replacing pillows on the sofa, or updating your artwork. Getting tips from a fresh pair of eyes can be helpful, to look at the room from an entirely knew viewpoint. And last but not least, what is serene and soothing to you, might not be to someone else. If you love earth tones, then go with it! If you love gray tones, respect your favorite colors! A room will feel serene and soothing once you include pieces you love! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Before adding a window seat, here are 5 helpful designer tips!

In designing your window seat and window seat cushion, consider these designer tips. Window seats can be a great spot for chatting on the phone, or enjoying your morning coffee. They can make a bland window area more inviting. Best of all, they give the room personality - as well as function! They add storage, color, and seating. Window seats are a designer favorite!

After, Rosie loves this spot in the sun!                                           Before 

5 Tips to consider when designing your window seat. 

1) Use thick foam. 
If space allows, preferably about 4" thick. It's not only more comfortable, it's also a more luxurious look! You can "test sit" the foam at your local upholsterer. If you're unsure, "medium" is normally a safer bet than firm or soft.

2) Combine different fabrics! 
We don't use the same fabric on the pillows as the cushion. Sure, keeping it all the same would be easy, but it also doesn't allow your window seat to be as interesting. Notice in the before photo, the cushion and the pillows were the same fabric.  When you coordinate several different fabrics, you'll achieve a "custom" look.

3) Consider a design firm's fabrics.
Interior Designers stock fabrics that are not "main stream", not shown in local fabric stores. It's nice to know your room will be unique. The chance of seeing the same 3 fabrics in your friends homes is less likely than your chances of winning the lottery!

4) Make sure "Fido" loves the spot..... or in the case above, "Rosie". 
After all, your kitty or dog are probably going to bask in the sun there as often as they can! You might just have to share the spot!

Here's a window seat in which the pillows do not match the seat cushion, because the window is  stunning! In this case, the designer did not want to detract from the beautiful window. 

5) When space allows, add a niche for storing books or accessories to your window seat! It's like adding another kitchen cabinet, only better!
If your window seat has storage, unique fabrics, a thick comfortable cushion, you'll love the impact it makes on your kitchen, or hallway, or den. Perhaps your want more than one window seat? Here's more window seat photos and ideas from our most popular articles: Dreamy window seats and window ideas!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

4 design tips to update a kitchen without replacing cabinets, with before & after photos.

Kitchens can look fresh and updated through new lighting, fabric or furniture.  It's not always necessary to replace the kitchen cabinets for a fresh new look. If you'd rather not face the time challenges (and huge budget) that a kitchen remodel costs, Reconsider these 4 quick fix changes that can be done overnight: 

1) New Pendant Lights! 
Notice the major impact when you add color or new lighting! The accessories & pendant lights add personality to a room!

2) Add a window seat! 
Fabrics and accessories add so much to a room, with their lovely colors & textures, not to mention a window seat is a great place to read or watch the children outside. Check out these inviting window seats! 
3) Update a matching dining "set"
Our light gray dining chairs compliment (but do not match) the dining table. Mixing and matching furniture from two different manufacturers keeps your home unique! Furniture can make or break a space, the style of furniture can completely transform the style of a space.  

The light gray chairs (below) have a light bright feel, which changes the feel of the room. See the before photo below, the prior homeowner had dark brown chairs, which made for a darker more traditional feeling.   

Sedgefield home in Greensboro, NC: 
Before Below

4) Window treatments that do not block daylight! 
In the before, the center kitchen valance blocked 28" of daylight and sky, since they were hung inside the frame. In the after photo, custom made valances are hung above the windows, to allow you to see the beautiful trees & sky!
After, valances hung above the window                      Before, valances blocking the view

Want other ideas for updating a kitchen? Including minor kitchen remodeling ideas?  Check out these popular ideas & photos: Update a kitchen on a budget! With amazing before and after photos!

A kitchen update can be more affordable than one might think. New lighting, new colors or fabrics, or new kitchen furniture can make a huge impact. And the best part? These are things you can take WITH YOU when you move to a new home someday. Also, they can be done in days instead of months. They're fun options if an entire kitchen remodel is not in the overall budget.