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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Should I get a sofa & loveseat set, or a pair of chairs? 6 pros and cons.

Are you trying to decide whether to get a matching sofa & loveseat set? Hopefully the furniture store won't insist you purchase a "complete set only". It's often advantageous to pick & chose the pieces that you like best, rather than get a "matching set".

Here are 6 pros and cons of a sofa & loveseat set:

1) Notice how two large adults rarely share a loveseat during a party? Check it out next time you're at a social. More often than not you'll notice that normally only one person will sit on a loveseat, unless of course it's a couple. It takes up a good deal of space but often goes unused.  However, if you have plenty of room for a Set PLUS chairs as well, then this wouldn't apply to you.

2) It's harder to add color, patterns, textures etc if you get a matching "set". If you get a pair of chairs, (or several chairs) you can add a new fabric, for a custom look.

3) A loveseat doesn't allow you to have a table in between to set down drinks. Also, notice below the loveseat (Before) blocked more daylight that the two chairs. I'm not referring to overstuffed huge chairs of course, but rather chairs like the styles below.

4) Furniture stores sell sets because it's cheaper to make a loveseat than to make two chairs.  It's a way to mass produce, and more importantly it saves the salesperson time, because they don't have to help you select fabric coordinates. It's a quick sale for a commission sales person. That's good for the furniture store - but keep in mind # 1 above, and ask yourself how many adults you want to seat.

5) Last but not least - it's harder to rearrange furniture when you have a matching loveseat. Every room is different of course, you can layout your room to see if this would apply to you.

6) And here's a pro for the loveseat - it's normally less expensive than buying two chairs!
After  Pair of chairs instead of a sofa and loveseat 

This Greensboro, NC client's sofa felt large and "dense", crowding the area
There was only room for one end table, which left one adult without 
a place to set down a drink or a book. 

BELOW - this Oakridge, NC client asked if they should get rid of their sofa & loveseat "set". They were tired of everything matching. We made use of their current sofa & added two chairs. Notice how our chairs (without a skirt) feel less crowded than a loveseat with a skirt. 
The loveseat blocked daylight
For more tips about purchasing furniture, or living room furniture layouts, click on this link

If you'd like to share your thoughts on sofa and loveseat sets, we'd love to hear from you. Or, if you have a question, be sure to email instead.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What are the Pros & cons of becoming an interior designer? 5 advantages & disadvantages of becoming a designer.

The pros and cons, or advantages and disadvantages of becoming an interior designer are endless of course, but I'll cover the top few here. I'm not just speaking from experience, (I have been an interior designer for many years), I'm also listing what I hear others in the industry say. Step one is understanding what we actually do everyday, which helps me explain the pros and cons.

First let me say that every single day people tell me they want to become an interior designer, saying things like "that's my dream job, I love picking out pretty items!" 

So here's the main advantage of becoming an interior designer, we'll call it PRO # 1

It's very rewarding to hear good comments from clients, and I must admit, after years of experience I do get to hear these statements every week! It's so rewarding to be told you've affected their life, by creating a home environment they love coming home to! We hear things like.....

"I LOVE coming home now!!" 
"Even my husband loves it, and he used to think it would be a waste of money!"
"I love the way you were able to use our existing things, and make it look fresh."
"It's like you read my mind, how did you nail my taste so well?!"
"It's even better than I imagined"  
"My friends can't get over the change! We actually want to have people over now."   
Interior design room

PRO # 2, or Advantage #2 of becoming an interior designer. 

Flexible hours, you can set your own hours. Now, don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean you'll work less hours, you'll probably work MANY more than a normal 40 hour work week, probably up to 55 or 65 hours, or more. Your busiest time of year will be August through Christmas, when people want their home to look amazing for the holidays, (and when kids are back in school). 

Advantage # 3 of becoming an interior designer:
You can often work out of your home, that is, if you are very disciplined, and if you have assistance for child care.  

Now instead of a pro, lets state the #1 disadvantage of becoming an interior designer: 

....wouldn't you rather know what you're really getting into?  

It's not just creative artistic work, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but picking out nice looking things is only about 20% of what you'll actually do. Below I listed what you'll really spend your time doing.

1) Communication - 
You must be efficient and prompt to follow up with installers, seamstresses, upholsterers, electricians, painters, builders, the tile store, the light fixture store, etc.  
2) Scheduling -
It's tough to narrow down the people listed above, to get realistic answers about delivery times, then even more so to schedule the two professionals (the husband & wife or people who hired you). 
3) Budgeting -
Trying to get the homeowners or office manager to be realistic, so they don't make impulse purchases!

See "How much should I budget for furniture and Decorating" here:

4) Encouraging cooperation -
Between the husband and wife, the homeowner and the builder, the supplier and the homeowner, since they normally have opposite views regarding taste, pricig, timelines, & what is a "necessity". 
5) Computer work - 
Such as Web development - writing blogs, editing before & after photos for files, status reports, for each client with paper trails & emails. Creating files for measurements, rug sizes, architectural details, etc etc. 

Disadvantage number 2 of becoming an interior designer:

 Unless you are willing to spend money on expensive advertising (I've never advertised). You probably can't dive into it as your main source of income until you've paid your dues by working for someone else.  You could start by working at a high end furniture store, fabric store, or perhaps an art gallery? During this time, you could do interior design part time so you can create a web site or portfolio of your work.
I learned a great deal by working at a very high end furniture store for many years before going out on my own!  After all, you'll need to be able to understand furniture size & scale, durability & fabric content, architectural specifications, rug qualities, color tones, terms of styles, etc.

Disadvantage number 3 of becoming an interior designer:

Tough clients, I don't mean rude clients, most of them are very nice!! What I'm referring to is clients who hire you, but don't listen, they continue to make impulse buys. There's times when I tell people a furniture piece is the wrong size, to later hear them say "you were right, I just hate it now that it's in the room, it looked so different in the store". Or, I explain things about sofa cushion content, or fabric durability (lack of) and they still make an impulse buy - to later say they wish they hadn't.
Or there's clients that say "look what I bought, can you find a place for it? I can't seem to find a place for it".  They admit it wasn't a wise choice, but now that they've paid for it, they aren't able to return it  - perhaps from that local art gallery that gave them several glasses of wine? :) Or perhaps from that commission sales person who insisted it would be perfect! It's the wrong size and scale, or style, but we're stuck with it. 

Advantage number 3 of becoming and interior designer. 

Unlike many fields such as accounting, computer work, etc. your degree doesn't have to be in interior design. I highly recommend a bachelor degree in business or some field, but I believe that you either have a gift for interior design or you don't. You can either spot what's wrong with a room or you can't! You either have amazing attention to detail or you don't! You can either pick a perfect wall paint color every time, or you can't. You either have a strong work ethic and are willing to study architecture, period design, etc. or you're not. If you have all these traits, then you have a major advantage over the competition.
If you are willing to find a mentor, you can learn a great deal. Every week I have someone offer to work for our design team  "for free so I can learn" but each time I tried it, they weren't willing to really listen and learn.

Do you want to share your thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages that I haven't listed here? After all, it's a subject in which one could go on and on for hours -

For beautiful interior designer room photos "8 designer rooms you won't want to miss" 
See this link:

  • How to hire a good interior designer?
  • How to communicate with your interior designer? 
  • What questions to ask a designer before your remodeling or new construction begins?
  • How much will it cost to decorate and furnish my home?

For answers to these:

COMMENTS? We love reading your thoughts & opinions....Just click the word "comments" below......

Friday, March 14, 2014

Should I replace my oriental rug? Is it out of style or can I make it work?

If you are wondering whether to keep your oriental rug, or if you can update your home and still keep it? If you feel the colors in your oriental rugs are dated, know that you're not alone. Many people invested in an oriental rug before meeting us, and they ask if we can update their rooms while keeping the rugs.

By recovering chairs in a cheerful fabric color, and by adding a contemporary cocktail table,
this client said the room feels more updated, less serious
It boils down to TWO OPTIONS:

A) this is how you can update the room if you keep your rugs
B) this is what you can do if you start with a clean slate - look at inspirations designer room photos, the sky is the limit!

Here are 3 must read suggestions for your options:

1) Keep some of the oriental rugs, but replace one or two with a natural fiber rug, perhaps a tone on tone soothing rug? or perhaps an inexpensive sisal? By bringing in less formal or busy rugs, the feeling of the entire home will change.

2) Find a color in the rug that you love!! Perhaps you can get rid of some of your dated burgundy fabrics, and recover furniture or replace window treatments in a lighter more cheerful fabric such as the soothing "spa blue green"?

The bright color on the chairs gives this oriental rug an updated feeling
3) Do the math! Ask yourself what year you bought the rugs, then divide the purchase price by the number of years -
Say for example you bought a rug 12 years ago, and paid $3,400, are you willing to sell it on ebay or at a consignment store for $500? If so, do you think you've enjoyed them and made good use of them to the tune of $241 per year?


This room would look much better if the chairs didn't "compete with" the busy
pattern in the rug. It's a good example of how several patterns make the room feel too busy!
For articles about what size rug, or how to tell if a rug will be durable, just type "rug" in the search box, all the prior articles will appear.

We hope you'll share your comments, OR for questions, be sure to email us instead.

View our other articles about rugs.

Friday, March 7, 2014

What privacy solutions are best for uneven height windows or two story windows, without blocking the view?! Six interior design solutions!

Do you have uneven height windows or two story windows that seem impossible to create privacy solutions without blocking your view? 6 must read tips from an interior designer.

1) Often the choice of window treatment hardware is what matters - it can make or break whether window treatments are possible. Notice the small finials on the top photo, so the finials can still fit inside the slanted ceiling.

2) In the top photo, the use of traverse rods allow the drapes to open and close. The brackets for the side windows are adjustable in depth (protrusion from the wall) which made it possible for us to hide them behind the center panels. This homeowner had problems with airplane lights, which are now solved by the drapes we custom made!

 3) Keep in mind that it's not always necessary to have 2 panels (a left and right) for every window. In the photo below, we did OUTSIDE panels only, so we wouldn't block the client's amazing mountain view. If your designer and seamstress are qualified, they can plan the drapes to meet in the middle without having a huge stack back that looks heavy and blocks views.
4) People often fret about whether drapes will "block their view", as you can see from the photo below, when the window treatments are made in the correct width & style, you can achieve both privacy AND the option of no blocked views. Notice how the drapes actually soften the harsh "unfinished look" (see below). And best of all, they have amazing sound absorption and help with cold drafts in the winter and harsh heat in the summer. 

 5) It's acceptable to ignore the height difference, (see below).....and if you want it to be less noticeable, you can always use drapery rods that are a light color so they blend with the wall.
 6) In the cathedral windows below, the use of two story drapes actually draws attention to the beautiful arched transom window.

For Many more BEFORE and AFTER window treatment and draperies,
 from BAY WINDOWS, to VALANCES, to TWO STORY DRAPES, to KITCHEN windows, or UNIQUE WINDOW TREATMENT IDEAS - you can see it all here:

Have a question? Send us an email (scroll to the top)! Or for comments only, know that we love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to get your cat to stop scratching furniture, tips from a Veterinarian that really work!

Want to stop having your furniture and fabrics ruined by cat scratching and pet stains? To get your cat to stop scratching furniture here are effective tips - and they're from a veterinarian!   Plus, our clients have provided feedback on some below that really worked! 

It's wonderful when a client tells me they can finally enjoy coming home to a nice home, entertain friends, and not be ashamed of how their pet destroyed their furniture and fabrics. And.....if you're thinking this will never work - not for MY cat!, know that we've had clients tell us they were successful with these tips, especially "G" below, which worked for quite a few people in as little as one weekend of training. 
Get cats to scratch a post instead of furniture

Provide your cat with an appropriate scratching post.

From Veterinarian Dr. Christianne Schelling
Since your cat brings you so much joy, you decide to buy her the best scratching post you can find. You take it home and your feline friend gives you a blank stare and walks away. This activates your parental guidance mechanism and you decide to show her how to use the post by taking her front paws and making scratching motions at the post. She of course struggles till she gets free, then treats you with utter disdain for the rest of the day. Never feel the need to  "show her how", you'll only offend her. She knows perfectly well how to do it. She just reserves the right to scratch when and where it suits her.

Remember, we said appropriate.

Bear in mind your idea of desirable and Kitty's may not coincide. Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. (The exception of course is your velvet couch, which has its own particular appeal.) Whatever post you choose, it must be tall enough for her to fully extend her body, & most important, it must be secure. If it topples over even once, she won't go back. 
Sisal scratching posts are ideal for releasing Kitty’s primal urges. This is a material she can shred to pieces with great satisfaction. I am referring to the sisal textile material, not the sisal rope. Sisal material has a perfect texture and grain for kitty to shred, and that is what she wants to do. Be sure not to throw it away when it is shredded, since that’s when she’s broken it in satisfactorily, and she will not appreciate your tidiness.

A good post should be tall enough for your Kitty to fully stretch her body, and should be very stable. An excellent example of an exceptional scratching post is the
 Purrfect Post.

How to get Kitty to prefer the post.

A)   Remember that an important part of scratching is the cat's desire to mark a territory, so a scratching post should be in an area that's used by the family, not hidden in a back corner. After a time you can move the post away to the periphery of the room, but do so gradually.
B)   Initially, put the post where your cat goes to scratch. This may be by a sofa, a chair or wherever Kitty has chosen as her territory, and you may need more than one post to cover her favorite spots. Security is a major factor in making the post appealing to your cat. If it topples or shakes, she won't use it. It should either be secured to the floor or have a base wide enough and heavy enough to keep it stable.
C)   Encourage Kitty to use her post with clever enticements. Feed her and play with her by the post. Rub dried catnip leaves or powder into it. Make all the associations with the post pleasurable. Reward her with a favorite treat when she uses it. Have her chase a string or a toy around the post. Attach toys to it, which will result in her digging her claws into it. Eventually she will learn to love it and regard it as her own. It's also a good idea to put a post where Kitty sleeps. Cats like to scratch when they awaken. 
D)   If at first Kitty is reluctant to give up her old scratching areas, there are means you can use to discourage her. Covering the area with aluminum foil or double-sided tape is a great deterrent. These surfaces don't have a texture that feels good to scratch.
E)   Remember Kitty has marked her favorite spots with her scent as well as her claws. You may need to remove her scent from the areas you want to distract her away from. You will find pet odor removers in pet stores and many supermarkets as well.
F)    Cats have an aversion to citrus odors. Use lemon-scented sprays or a potpourri of lemon and orange peels to make her former scratching sites less agreeable to her.
G)   If Kitty still persists in scratching the furniture, try squirting her with a water gun or a spray bottle set on stream. Another option is a loud whistle or other noise-maker. You must employ these deterrents while she is scratching for them to be effective. The point is to establish an aversion to the spot you don't want her to scratch. I had one client who said it only took one day of this to entice her cat to stop scratching the new furniture.
H)   Do not take her paws and make her scratch the post. This is a major turn-off and will only inspire a bratty "you can't make me" attitude. 
I)      If she starts to scratch an inappropriate object, immediately place her in front of her scratching post and begin petting her. Some cats will begin kneading when petted, thus digging their claws into the desired surface and establishing this as a fine place to scratch.

For tips on durable fabrics for your pet, for sofas, chairs, etc., check out this blog with before and AFTER room photos & fabric descriptions:

Pet friendly fabrics