Interior Design Photos on our web site

Interior Design Photos on our web site
See our Portfolio! ^ Click Above ^ - Hundreds of Before & After photos

Friday, January 29, 2016

Does every window need the same window treatment?

Do all my windows have to have drapes or the same style window treatment? Often people are concerned that they have to put the same style drape on every window. Perhaps the person who sells the custom window treatments told you to keep them all the same? Or perhaps you're having trouble visualizing what it will look like to mix and match valances with drapes, or roman shades with drapes? You're not alone on this!

Here's a couple of good questions to ask yourself:
1) Do we only need privacy on one wall?
2) Are we trying to keep a "light" (not heavy or formal) look.

It's totally acceptable to leave some windows blank, or to combine different window treatments in the same room. The more room photos you look through, the more you'll find it's done quite often!

Below we'll show designer rooms in which they only put window treatments or drapes on some of the windows, not all of them. In some cases the windows are a different shape or size, in other cases they are all the same. Either way, it can look great to mix and match, or to leave some windows bare. 
The sitting area has drapes, but more drapes would've overpowered the area where the baby grand piano is.
Roman shades were a good alternative in that section.

Below, the RIGHT window was to the screened in porch, so there was no need for privacy. On the LEFT  side (not shown), there was not a privacy need. So, the only wall that needed drapes was the main focal point wall, on each side of the fireplace, as shown.  

Now, if we hadn't pointed out the fact that we put window treatments on one wall only, you probably wouldn't even have noticed. Either way, it's totally acceptable to do what you prefer, and only cover the windows where you need light control or privacy.

Once you start looking at beautiful room photos on line, you'll notice there are often rooms which have window treatments on some windows, but not others. Whether it be a roman shade, drapes, shutters, or valances, there are times when it's not necessary to put them on all the windows. And best of all - if you don't like the partial look, you can always add window treatments to the rest of the windows!! Looking through older blogs you'll get lots of window treatment ideas!

AFTER above, BEFORE below
In this Greensboro, NC home, the windows looked narrow on each side of the fireplace! (Before)
The windows looked much bigger after adding an outside mounted drape. 
The triple windows on the other hand, did not need drapes, it faced the screened in porch. 

The back wall has drapes, but the triple window (left side) does not have a window treatment.

The more room room photos you look at, the more combination of window treatment styles you'll see! Windows without a window treatment can look fine if it's in a room where they're only needed in certain areas.

Questions about our custom window treatments or want window treatment ideas? Email or call us. Comments? Click the word "comment" below...

To see more before and after ideas, for rooms with different shaped windows, or a combination of different window treatment styles, check out this blog link!

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to furnish a game room so the entire family will enjoy it!

Do you have a basement or bonus room which would make a great game room? Do you want a room that can have fun activities for both children and adults? 

In trying to decide how to lay out the room, perhaps you're considering theater seating, a sectional, a game table, a pool table? Here, we'll pass along feedback we've heard through the years. 

6 tips to read before furnishing your basement or bonus room! 

1) Fooze ball, air hockey, pool table?  
These are all things children, teenagers and adults can enjoy. This is the feedback we hear - people often spend so much of the budget on their TV, surround sound stereo system, and theater seating that they forgot to budget for things that allow you to play games and stay active! 

If you're overwhelmed with the choices, know that the dimensions required for each table may make the decision for you. If not, then budget decisions will. A ping pong table is very inexpensive, a pool table is the priciest of all the above options.  

This pool table made the basement fun for the entire family!
2) Add color!  

This is not a space to be conservative! It's the room to go daring, fun, and cheerful! In the Greensboro, NC home, the client originally asked for a wall paint color to repaint the walls. We suggested using the budget towards colorful art instead! The walls were in great condition, and the room would've lacked personality without the addition of large colorful art. Also, a couple of pieces of art is often less expensive than labor for repainting. 

3) Comfortable seating in durable leather or fabric!

The best way to seat a large group is with a sectional. The sofa shown below is a durable leather, so teenagers can entertain without worrying about spills! A qualified designers can make recommendations about the durability of fabrics, it all boils down to the content (example rayon versus cotton etc) and the "rub factor". Manufacturers today list the rub factor after strenuous testing of fabrics.

4) Add a mini bar or kitchen!

If your bonus room or basement is a flight away from the kitchen, you'll want a closer source for snacks, ice, or cold drinks. It doesn't have to be a full kitchen, but it's handy to have a microwave, a small sink and a mini refrigerator. If your play area is a long way from the main kitchen, it's even better if you can add a small dishwasher as shown. As for the cabinets in your game room kitchen, they don't have to be the quality of your main level. It's amazing what Ikea has lately, if you're up for the task. Or, as shown below, the client thought they had to remodel the entire kitchen because the cabinets were not attractive. We solved what they didn't like for thousands less than starting over and remodeling!

This mini kitchen with bar stools makes a basement functional

5) Think about sound!

Want a place where people can cheer on their partner, play music and not worry about sound? A place children will truly enjoy? Then it's important to make sure you consider acoustic solutions.

People often remove walls at stairways to bonus rooms and basements, then tell us the rooms are too noisy to be able to relax in other areas of the home! Let's face it, you won't encourage your children to have friends over if the game room is too noisy. So, before removing walls and doors, ask yourself how noisy it will be when your children have friends over!

If you don't have the walls to help with sound control, and you're not ready to sink money into remodeling, here's 3 solutions that help reduce noise:
a) large rugs
b) window treatments (they absorb sound)
c) fabric on the walls (think padded areas inside molding)

6) Add recessed lighting in the ceiling molding!

As shown below, it's not as expensive as one would think, it can make a major impact. Also shown below is a flat screen TV in the bar area.

A play room or game room needs optimum seating, cheerful colors, sound solutions and durability. Rather than spend the entire budget on a basement or bonus room kitchen, or the theater system, make a list of all the things you'll want in the room. Whether it be a pool table, ping pong table, game table, fooze ball, any combination of these can make the room more fun! A priority list will help you keep the biggest goals in mind, so you can get those things you know you'll use the most and have fun using!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to find the right art for my space, 10 helpful design tips!

Art can make or break a room! Do your friends tell you "your art makes the room!" If not, know that once you find the right art it can be the touch that brings the room to life!  If it's the right size & shape, it can even make a room feel larger, or make your furniture feel correct in scale.  Below we'll share 10 interior design tips to find art.

Selecting art that is the correct is not easy! In fact, it makes shopping for rugs or furniture seem like a piece of cake!  
Perhaps you've been searching for art for years? Do you get caught up in the question  "do I like the subject matter?"  That's the reason most people don't buy art. They wait for a scene they created in their mind that just doesn't exist! They imagine a hillside or pond which again, just doesn't exist. Or they find art they like but the color combination is wrong, or the price is too high.

Unexpected art makes the space unique!

Are you tempted to give up the search for the correct art, to throw in the towel & and do one of these 3 things?

1) Settle for a mirror -
After all, it would be easier! But you have to ask yourself, is the mirror going to reflect something beautiful? Or is it just a reflection of the ceiling fan, the plain ceiling, or a busy bookcase? Could the room look more interesting with color and texture? Something more unique than a mirror? Check out our blog link below, which shows rooms where we replaced a mirror with art!! It can make a huge impact.

2) Hang a grouping of small art - 
Sometimes a grouping or collage can end up looking like a hodgepodge. Don't get me wrong, they're great in the right spot, perhaps a hallway, or a small wall. But a collage is not the best option in a large room or a room with large furniture (such as a big sofa or a fireplace). Large art helps "balance" the size and scale of large furniture, and yes, even that big flat screen TV! Also, framing 4 to 5 small pieces can add up to just as much money as one amazing piece of art.

3) Hang a "temporary" piece -
People often tell us they've searched for years for art they love. In the mean time, they hang "temporary" art. But if the art is too small, or too stuffy, or not adventurous enough, it will ruin the room. If art doesn't fit your personality, or if it's staid, it's best to not hang anything at all!

To find the right art for your space, here are 10 helpful questions to ask yourself:
  1. Is it the correct Size and Scale?  - Does it make my room look cluttered?
  2. Does it convey the MOOD I want? Example, does it make the room less formal, or less traditional, more personality filled & fresh.   
  3. Shape  - Avoid a horizontal, unless you have high ceilings and a large room. Horizontal art can stop the eye to where you don't appreciate architecture or tall ceilings!  
  4.  Color combination - do the colors flow well? With the rug? The sofa? Other art? Granted, the colors do not have to match the space! But do they compliment your fabrics, rug and other artwork!
  5. Texture ? original art with texture is always a bonus! 
  6. Flow? Does it fight with or compete with existing art? 
  7. Price - is it within my budget goals? 
  8. Picture frame? Art that is already in a quality frame will save you from expensive custom framing! Have you priced a custom frame job lately? One large frame & matting job can easily be over $750 to $800 or more! 
  9.  Unique? Example not from the local Pier One Imports or a mail order source that everyone else is using. Ask yourself, do I want to walk into a friend or neighbor's house and see the exact same piece? 
  10. Not too busy?  Are my rugs or fabrics busy?  
  11. Is it staid? Stuffy? 
  12. Is it a reflection of good taste for high end interior design? 
To find art for this Greensboro, NC home, we found a local artist. This two story height needed large art.
The fireplace (left) and tumbled stone was beautiful, so we found a soothing water scene that didn't compete.
Best of all, this art came in under budget for the space!  

      Now, where to find great art? 
  •        You can look at a local art gallery, though the prices will be steep
  •        You can ask a qualified interior designer in your area. Be sure to ask if they have art in stock. It's best to see art in person, in your actual home, instead of ordering it! Viewing the actual piece instead of a web site or catalog can save you from costly mistakes!
  •       You can have it commissioned by a local artist. However, if you request custom that can take awhile and the artist's vision might be completely different than what you had in mind. It's best to have your designer show you art that is already complete, perhaps from Local artists in the Greensboro and Winston Salem, NC area?

To find local art for this High Point, NC home, we found a local artist.
This contemporary art helped add a fresh vibe to the clients very traditional furniture.

Contemporary art in a craftsmen style very traditional home.  

    As a design firm we search for art from local artists in Greensboro, NC and Winston Salem, NC. We also search through galleries and showrooms in California, Vegas, Atlanta, Chicago and High Point Markets. After all, art can make or break a room! 

      Are you trying to decide between art and a mirror? Or what art to put over a mantle? 

      Here's a popular blog to address that question - with before and after photos!

Monday, January 18, 2016

How to make my rooms look more upscale and contemporary without replacing the furniture?

Want your rooms to convey fun, sexy, fresh, updated, contemporary, and higher quality? Well you're not alone! Every week clients ask for unique exciting styles, and a home that doesn't feel like their great grand parent's home. They tell us they want their home to be a place they love to come home to and love to entertain! And the good news is, you don't have to remodel,  or take on extensive home improvement project, or replace your furniture in order to make a big impact!  

It's possible to give a traditional home a fresh attractive vibe with just a few quick changes! And since a picture is worth a thousand words, it's easier to SHOW you how to accomplish this with photos - which we'll do below.  And yes, you can accomplish this fresh new look even if you can't replace all your furniture. 

Here's 5 quick change design tips which help create a fun fresh look!  

1) Large abstract art!

We list this as number one because large colorful abstract art is the master for updating a room!  

When we hold up large abstract art like in the photo below, the entire "mood" of the room changes! People normally GASP when they see the impact this type of art makes. Notice how it adds much needed color and texture? This especially works if the art is a large size and scale! 

In the space below, (left of the fireplace), many people place a console table with accessories. Instead, notice how vertical art draws the eye up, to compliment the tall fireplace surround. 

Nothing updates a room faster than large abstract art 

2) A rich deep wall color..... like below:

Perhaps you're ready for a daring wall color in at least one area of the house? This can look great on one accent wall or in a recessed niche, or on the back of your built in wall unit.   In the room below the dark gray or charcoal wall color gives the room a sexy masculine feeling. And the reason it looks so good? Again, due to the large contemporary art! Another great place to experiment is the wall behind the bed, or the wall behind your desk in a study or home office.

A rich paint color makes for an exciting room

3) Less is more!

Perhaps you need to toss some of your existing hand me down furniture? Ask yourself, is my furniture dragging down the style of the room? Do they reflect my taste and style? If not, edit!

Then take it a step further, is the big old fashioned lounge chair overpowering my room? Could I borrow a chair from another room? Think outside the box, and go for a "less is more" clean look!

If your goal is to have a sexy fresh updated room, perhaps all you have to do is edit! This sensuous style is the same reason we like a 5 star hotel room, with a clean contemporary look.

This bedroom feels spacious due to the built in wall shelf as a nightstand

4) Add TEXTURE!! 

Think Leather, fur, chenille, sisal, linen, and most of all - original artwork! If it's like the textures below, you'll want to run your fingers through them, which will instantly give a room a sexy vibe. From the sheer white drapes on the window treatment to the fur pillows and leather ottoman, this room has a metropolitan appeal. 

If you prefer not to add as many as shown below, try adding a leather ottoman (as shown), or a sisal rug, and linen sheers on the window.  If you aren't game for a fur pillow, perhaps once you run your toes through one you'll be willing to have a fur Rug beside the bed!  See fur rug below. 

The faux fur, leather, white linen and soft rug add much needed textures to an otherwise bland room

A fur rug or leather hide feel great on bare feet. Notice the
personality it adds to make this bedroom more unique and fun!
5) A sexy light fixture!

This is important in the bedroom, and even in the living room. The room below could've felt country cottage, but with this stunning light fixture, it's instantly fun and  unique. And, sorry to be repetitive, but once again - notice abstract art adds to the fresh updated vibe.

Nothing dates a room faster than leaving the original chandelier or ceiling fan the builder used. The original chandelier was probably not the best pick, because when building a new home, the lighting selections are often about staying within the lighting allowance!

A sexy fun light fixture is an unexpected touch 

Maybe you feel like your sofa, bed, dining table or other pieces are too "expected" or too traditional for your current taste? Maybe you want a fun exciting look, but don't want it to look like a bachelor pad? You can try any combination of the above 5 steps, and we're confident you'll see a huge improvement. And if you're only willing to try a couple of them, know that #1 and #3 are pretty much non negotiable for a fresh exciting look.

For more rooms photos of unique art and colors, see this link:

If you want to instantly create an exciting style without replacing your traditional furniture, try any combination of these 5 design tips.  Abstract art, light fixtures, texture, and a unique wall colors can transform a room from serious to sexy instantly!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Best designs tips to build a bookshelf or built in wall unit, 6 must read tips!

A bookshelf can look amazing, if you plan well before you build it. A built in bookcase is often in a room you spend a lot of time in, so you'll want to enjoy looking at them! There are several things that people tell us they love, each of which has to be done before you start construction.  

Before doing photos shoots with magazines, we used to ask ourselves, what if they point the camera towards the built in cabinets? Is that wall unit up to par? Or what if they zoom in on the bookshelves? Does it look artistic and fresh? Or does it look like an after thought? 

Here's 6 tips for construction of built in shelving or book cases so you'll get the look you want!

1) Add electrical wiring for lights!
Now is the time, it's much easier to do now than after the built ins are finshed. Base the location of the wiring on the location of the bookcase lights, either a or b. 
 a) Inside mount. meaning recessed can lights with glass shelves which allow the light to shine all the way down to the bottom shelf.  
b) Outside mount, per the photo. Notice the lights above the bookcase. 

2) Build the bookcase or built in shelving around an interior door, window or french doors. 

Notice how this surround shelving blends into the architecture? It looks as if it was always there.  If you don't have a good spot to build a surround with windows or doorways, consider a "niche surround" for your sofa, like this photo. 

bookcase surrounding the sofa, this creates a cozy niche for the sofa 

BEFORE below

2) Remove some shelves!!

People normally put far too many shelves, more than they need. Unless you have a LOT of books, you can probably cut your first thought for shelves in half! Notice above, we left larger openings between larger, higher quality accessories can be on display. Perhaps your built in bookcases were already built? If the builder left lots of shelves, you certainly don't have to keep it that way. By removing shelves you open up possibilities for larger items!

Darker paint on the back wall of this bookcase helped tremendously!
It's much warmer than a big stark white bookshelf!
4) Paint the background of your wall unit a darker color! (see above)

5) Put wallpaper or mercury mirrors on the back of your built in shelves.

We've done this inside the back wall of a hutch, a breakfront, and other furniture that felt too dark. It's a great way to fix a piece of furniture when you aren't willing to paint over that expensive wood! You can inserted upholstered thin boards, which can be removed.

6) Go floor to ceiling, instead of doors on the bottom half. 

This is helpful if you have lots of books. If you plan to put hundreds of books in your built in shelving, it's nice when the shelving surrounds a door, window, or niche for other furniture, like in the photo below.  No matter what you put in the shelves this room would be beautiful!

Built in shelves with books on display look great next to this bay window and baby grand piano
Bookshelves and built in shelving units can be pretty, or they can be an eye sore. Take a photo of your wall and and make several copies to sketch patterns - if you prefer to avoid a CAD program. Or, enlist a professional plan from your woodworker or designer. Your bookshelf may need a different color paint on the back wall, it may need less shelves than you originally thought, or it may need to be on a wall that allows you to wrap it around a door or window. Have fun with your built in plan, and make sure you love the style before you build it!

Have a tip of your own? Click the word "comment" below!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to make a small room look larger in one weekend, 4 quick fix tips.

To make a room feel larger, you need to make the ceilings feel taller. But what if you want a quick immediate fix, that can be done in one day? No problem! Interior designers use four methods that "trick the eye" and instantly make a room feel larger. In fact, the change is so amazing that client's actually gasp during installs, saying things like "Wow! I had no idea it would make THAT much of an impact!" 

Solution #1 to make a ceiling feel taller:

1) Add a tall focal piece!

A tall focal piece, just this case a headboard, but you also add a large tall tree. Or if your focal point is already the fireplace, and it looks too short, you can make it look taller with a tall piece of art above the mantle.  Something tall in the room can really make a difference! We don't recommend a BULKY piece, like an Armoire or a massive hutch. Anything that is bulky will make a room feel smaller, because it could overpower the room. For example, if the bed below had a tall foot board, it would have overpowered this small guest bedroom. 

After Above, Before, below

2) Replace those short drapes!  

For a tremendous change, we  replace drapes that are only 84" tall with drapes that are hung all the way up by the crown molding. It never ceases to amaze people how much of an impact this makes! People comment that 8' ceilings now feel like 9' ceilings, or 9' ceilings feel like 10' ceilings..... it's a great way to trick the eye, because it draws the eye up!

 AFTER above, BEFORE below when a drape is hung all the way up by the ceiling, 
it makes the room feel larger and the ceilings feel taller 
The drape is hung all the way up by the ceiling, 
to makes the window seem taller which makes the ceilings feel taller 

3) Hang tall vertical art!

Replace horizontal or low pieces with a vertical or taller piece of art. Everyone dismisses this idea at first, until we hold up a vertical piece of art, then they instantly say things like "Oh - I didn't realize it would make the room look THAT much bigger!"

Notice below the art draws the eye UP - to the arched transom above the front door in this foyer.
The short bench (in the before photo) stopped the eye at the 4' tall level....much like a dark belt stops the eye on a short person. 

Look around your room, are there several piece of furniture that are all waist high? Is the art horizontal? Do the drapes stop at the top of the window? If so, you can dramatically change how big the room looks through these 4 solutions. A combination of all 4 solutions will transform your room to make it look much larger. 
The short furniture "cut off" the room at 4' tall height, which made the ceiling feel lower
foyer with vertical art

Notice how vertical large art draws the eye up to make the ceiling feel taller in this small eating area!

4) Accentuate your moldings and architecture!

 In the above space, the beam ceilings and chandelier draw the eye up! If everything had been painted white, the eye would've stopped at the top of the drapes. Notice how the wood stained beams draw the eye up, to accentuate the height of this room! Ok, so maybe you don't have beautiful beams you can stain, but perhaps you can paint your woodwork?

Why is it even important to accentuate the height of ceilings? Because it makes rooms feel larger! A spacious look allows you to have a sufficient amount of furniture to make the room functional, without looking crowded. And a drape hung high above a window accomplishes the same illusion of a larger room. Do you have a trick of your own for making a ceiling feel taller? Click the word "comment" below to share your thoughts!

5) Get furniture that has exposed wood legs!

This will make a huge impact to make your room feel larger. If your cocktail ottoman or chairs go all the way to the floor, upgrade at least a piece or two to furniture to ones that are up on legs. 

Once you can see underneath furniture, you'll be amazed how much bigger the room looks. Often we recover a piece of furniture and omit the skirt. If the legs are not pretty, you can paint them black or stain them a darker color. This may be the last item we're mentioning, but it's certainly not the least. 

Not willing to recover a chair or ottoman? Then find end tables or a cocktail table that are not "dense". Ask yourself -  Can I see under it? Is it nice and airy? Or does it seem bulky and go all the way down to the floor? Designers and furniture store clerks rarely mention this and it's one of the best quick fix solutions available to make your room feel more spacious! It's important that at least two or three pieces in the room are up on legs! 

For many more before & after designer room ideas, check out these:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Drapes on both sides of the window or one side only? 7 pros and cons.

There are advantages to hanging drapes on one side of the window, instead of both sides. They can still function, as a one way draw. 
There's also times when it's more advantageous to hang drapes on both sides of the window, for a center draw. Deciding between the two options is actually pretty easy, once you consider the 7 pros and cons listed below. 

1) One drape will make the room feel wider!

 If the room is narrow, drapes on one side of the window (called outside mount) will make the room feel wider. See Below, if we had used 4 drapes on the mirror wall, it would not have felt as spacious. Two drapes only have a way of "framing" the room. 

Also, we now have enough space to add a serving cart under the mirror (between the windows).

In Progress
BEFORE Below  

2) Less drapes won't over power the room!
There are times when a room needs drapes on both sides of the windows, such as when the windows are too small, or when you need it for privacy. There are other situations when it looks better with just two panels, as shown below.

Below, there was only one panel used on each window flanking the fireplace. (outside mount only). 
EIGHT drapery panels would've overpowered the room, SIX panels was a better look in this small room. 

3) To allow room for ART!

Below, 4 panels would not have allowed sufficient room for artwork. By hanging a single panel on each window instead of two, it allowed plenty of space for art. Hanging drapes on the outsides only often makes the room feel larger. It depends on the room of course, each one room will dictate what will look best. 

Drapes are on one side of the window only in this room (outside mount)

4) Less drape panels = Less expensive!

It's much less expensive to only pay seamstress labor and yardage for two drapes than four, so unless you need the privacy or have a wide window that requires two panels, it's a  great way to save money.

3 advantages of drapes on both sides of a window, for a center draw:

1) The biggest advantage of a pair is they can cover the entire window, when it's a wide window.

2) A pair of drapes allows a symmetrical look, which can be very attractive!

3) If you're getting store bought drapes (instead of custom), you'll have to have a pair on each window instead of one drape, because the drapes will not be nearly as wide, and would look very skimpy.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How to hide drape hardware? 5 interior design tips for a clean contemporary look!

There are ways to hang drapes so that the hardware doesn't show. That can provide a clean contemporary look.

1) Drapery hardware can be hidden behind crown moldings, such as a built in valance.

A boxed in frame is a nice way to hide hardware. You'll need a carpenter to frame in the shape. Check the dept of your hardware to make sure your framed in area allows plenty of clearance.

It can be plain (no decorative molding as shown below) for a contemporary clean look OR for a traditional look it would have crown molding.

2) Drapes can be mounted on ceiling hardware.

Ceiling mount hardware can be white, which pretty much disappears, especially if you plan to keep the sheers or drapes closed.

3) Hardware for drapes can be the same color as the walls. 

The white hardware below blends with the light color walls. This is good if your preference is for a monochromatic look. In the same way, Silver hardware looks nice on a gray wall.

4) Drapery hardware can be behind a roman shade, valance, or cornice.

Notice below this is a very traditional look. It is best used when you prefer a formal traditional look, such as in a library or formal dining room with tall ceilings.

5) A pocket rod will hide the hardware

I do not recommend a rod pocket if you'll be opening and closing drapes. It would require adjusting them to get them to stack back neatly. For functioning drapes, most people prefer wooden rings or a traverse rod.

For questions about how to select drapes, valances, or to see hundreds of BEFORE and AFTER windows, see this link:

When you browse through blogs and home decor sites, you'll see that the vast majority of the time the hardware is not hidden. Hardware that is bronze, black or wooden can be quite attractive. You can always hang the drapes first, knowing you have the ability to add something above it later on. With the 5 solutions for hiding drapery hardware above, you have lots of options!