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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to make a room feel larger and the ceilings feel taller, 4 designer tricks

To make your room feel larger or your ceilings feel taller, create an optical illusion. During installations,
we always get this feedback "my ceilings look taller" and/or "my room looks bigger". It's very exciting how it tricks the eye, it works every time if the window treatments are done correctly.

It's hard to capture in a photograph - but to find out how it could change your room just tack fabric just under the crown molding (above the window) so you can see how it would change your room. Any fabric hung above the window frame will create the illusion of larger windows, as if you spent good money for transom windows.


We added a Kitchen Valance, hang treatments high to make the room feel larger & the ceilings feel taller 

BELOW - the window looks too short next to the kitchen cabinets. 


The window cut off the room making the ceiling feel low

This kitchen window valance was hung next to the crown molding
We  added cheerful colors to the kitchen
which went well with the  black & white tile floor

The other designer's window treatment made the window
seem shorter, and therefore the room felt smaller 

2) Hang large art, this tricks the eye to make the room feel larger - try it - it works!! This especially works with vertical art or a huge square art piece.

This room felt larger with the addition of a large art piece 
3)  Paint an accent wall, notice how this emphasizes the height. (below photo)

4) Paint the area below the chair rail the same color as above the chair rail, that way you don't chop the room in half.

Do you have tricks for making a room feel larger? We love to hear your comments. Or, for questions,
send us an email instead.

For hundreds more photos, type your area of interest in the search box, Upper left corner. Example
Dining room
interior designer
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Happy decorating!! We hope these tips on making a room feel larger will give you some fun options.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Should I replace the brass and glass shower door with a frameless style?

Remodeled bathroom with a frameless shower door 
A brass trimmed shower door can be replaced with a frameless door (which is the most expensive type by far),  is it worth the expense? When you replace a shower door it can be costly, because it often involves an entire re-do of the shower area. It can require new tile or stone for the surrounding walls, which leads to a new tile floor, etc.

Below we show some beautiful frameless style shower doors. For bathroom upgrades it's importnat to factor in the cost of the materials, don't forget to add the plumber's fees, the tile install labor, and the fee for the plumber to return again after the tile install. There will not be any written guarantees on their quote, in other words the "unforeseen circumstances" they run into may cost more than you budgeted for. I had a friend who installed stone, only to find that the foundation couldn't support the weight - well you get the picture. Quite a costly bathroom remodel! 

A shower door without a frame does not "compete" with the beauty of your
view from a shower window, or with the clean simple look you may want.
This all glass shower door is hardly noticeable! 

A much less expensive option to replacing a shower door is a custom shower curtain,
some are very attractive, they can add color or texture
which is much needed if the tile is boring.
Notice how tall this custom shower curtain is, which makes the ceiling feel taller. 

We replaced this shower door for our Greensboro NC client.
If you get a new shower door, it's important to go with a taller door!!
 To price shower doors, check "glass" and "shower doors" on the internet.
Be sure to ask about the price of the installation portion, and what additional
expenses are involved regarding the sheet rock or the tile of the surrounding the area.
To get a frameless shower door there are more expenses to consider than the door alone. 

We chose to make a custom shower curtain for this beach condo shower
It added more interest (and was MUCH less costly) than a new shower door. The homeowner loved
the personality and color that it added, since the fiberglass shower was boring.  

To decide if it's worth it to replace your shower door, ask yourself these 4 important questions: 

1) have I  priced ALL labor, materials, and the chain reaction of expenses?
2) Will this require new tile? Removal of the old shower? Will I then need to hire a plumber?
3) do the main rooms in my home (living room, kitchen, family room) need upgrades that are even more important? Let's face it - sometimes we get side tracked and we forget to look at the big picture!
4) how long will I be in this home? .....because if you are planning to sell, know that you may not make the changes the next homeowner wants. They may prefer to borrow space from an existing room and make the bathroom much larger, or they may prefer a different tile than what you like you.

Doing your homework will tell you whether it's worth it. It's much better than diving in before you've thought about the big picture (what upgrades are needed throughout the entire home). It's wise to create a priority list, so you know which things are the most important to you, after all it's your home!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to create an outdoor living space, like a Southern Living home.

To create an inviting outdoor living space, in Southern Living Style, there are several things you can do. You can add seating, such as a nice bench or rockers, or you can add an entrance gate or a trellis. If you like Southern Living style, check out these Wilmington NC historic homes we found. They are charming in part due to their lovely yards. These yards may be small, but they have a big impact! We hope you find them inspirational, then please email us questions or send us your comments!
Define the area with wrought iron railing or a short fence
which adds to the Southern Living Garden charm

This small yard has ferns, planters, and plants instead of grass.
The winding brick sidewalk makes a nice path.
This Wilmington NC home is charming, due in large part to the inviting yard! 
The ivy covered trellis makes an inviting entrance to this Southern Living outdoor 

The wrought iron railing, rocking chairs, and palms add to the 
Southern Living Charm of this Wilmington Mansion 

Add a brick wall. Using old bricks will create the old world look

If you enjoy updating your exterior, you'll enjoy these articles about front door paint colors, photos of amazing front porch additions, back porch settings, fire pits and more! Click here:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to build the best fire pit, that's durable too! 5 design tips.

A fire pit can be made of thick steel that's durable, one that will last for years!  All it takes is a trip to your local scrap yard, (one that sells scrap metal). We found the one below at DH Griffin for $35. The garden shop wanted $200 for a much thinner metal that would've required replacing after a couple of seasons. Teh thicker metal will with stand hard use for many years.

5 tips for building a build a fire pit on a budget.
52" fire pit, a little manual labor on a Saturday, and look what you can achieve!

1) Mix and match stone colors
We combined 3 color variations above: gray, tan, and natural. These were from Home Depot. As long as they're the same size & shape, it's fun to mix equal parts from several different colors. The fire pit shown above ended up being 52" in diameter, the drum itself is 36". Be sure to ask your local fire dept for city and county laws regarding size.

Also ask your home owner's insurance company how far it should be from the house. Note - If you buy an unusual size drum, it helps to make a paper pattern then lay out the bottom row of pavers, so you'll know how many stone pavers to buy.

Fire pit with steel drum
2) Placing Sand at the bottom will make leveling the blocks much easier!

We did not glue these - which makes it easier to adjust them until you get them just the way you want them. Helpful Tip - the bottom row must be spread out the widest (a couple of inches from the steel drum), the second row closer in, maybe an inch from the drum, then the top row will be the closest to the steel drum.

3) Use an outdoor table top to cover it and keep it dry during rain and snow.

This makes it much easier to start a fire after a hard rain, and it keeps animals out.

As mentioned above, check your local fire codes, and your home insurance. Every county & city has different rules and regulations.

4) Pipe from a local scrap yard is much thicker!

The garden store fire pit was very thin, and it would only last a couple of seasons. Instead, we got  pipe from the local scrap yard, where they sell scrap steel. Just put the crooked side down, with the level side up.

5) If you want to go the extra mile - add a surrounding patio with flagstone (see below)

 Now get out the marsh mellows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars, gather round and enjoy!!

Below are additional styles for fire pits, which professional masons built.
A fire pit is a wonderful addition, whether you have the work done by stone masons, (with mortar)
or whether you make it yourself as a dry stack. 

For photos of outdoor living spaces, patios, outdoor kitchens etc. and tips for remodeling,
See this link:

For Interior Design Tips, with BEFORE and AFTER rooms, please visit our web site:

Friday, August 9, 2013

What is my style? Contemporary, metropolitan, traditional, or eclectic?

Trying to figure out what style you like? It's not uncommon for people to like a variety of styles!

The trick for you (or for your interior designer) is to notice the similarities between them. For example, perhaps you've collected photos of various styles through the years, but the home decorating photos all have something in common - such as a light or bright look, with lots of white or cool color tones. Or perhaps the rooms appear at first glance to be a mix of different styles, but they all tend to be cozy dark rooms?

Contemporary style living room
The clean contemporary fireplace, the chair (right),
this is a fun mix 
Mixing styles can be fun, as long as it's a reflection of YOUR taste. After all, it's your home! 
Traditional style, with the addition of light end tables to
create a light feeling that one could not achieve
with dark walnut or mahogany end tables. 
This bedroom has a metropolitan style, it's not ultra contemporary
but it is definitely not traditional. The pillows and duvet add a
softness that makes it more metropolitan, less contemporary. 

Contemporary style due to the Lucite bar stools, yet the beam ceiling and
drum light fixture lend to
a traditional feel 

This dining room has a contemporary light fixture & contemporary art.
Notice the dining chairs are traditional, they have that Candice Olsen design look which
makes this room overall fall under the category of transitional style. 
Old World European flare, with a twist

Traditional, nail head trim, a tufted chair, with a twist
due to the contemporary piece over the fireplace 
We hope these various styles in contemporary, traditional, & metropolitan styles have inspired you! If you have a question, email us (above). Or, we'd love to hear your comments!