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, February 28, 2016

Do I need an interior designer and a kitchen designer both? 6 designer tips!

Do I need an Interior Designer as well as a kitchen designer? The kitchen planner will normally provide kitchen layout options and spec in certain cabinets that fit in the space. The interior designer will help you with decisions that affect the "overall" plan. An interior designer will make suggestions that are "outside the box" to make sure your tile back splash, cabinets, or remodeling changes will look their best, for the best possible price. 

A few examples of what the interior designer will solve. For a few examples:
  • How to make a kitchen remodel blend with the home's existing style. 
  • Combining your taste with your spouse's taste. 
  • Which cabinets will compliment the hardwoods or existing trim paint?
  • What wall paint color is best? 
  • Which pendant lights work well with the light over the table? 
  • Ways to save money!!! 

Here are 7 changes we made to recent kitchen designer's specifications:   

1) Which white for kitchen cabinets. 
There are hundreds of whites and off whites. It's important to consider how the kitchen cabinet white will work with the trim in the rest of the house! By recommending the correct white, we helped homeowners avoid the expense of repainting all their trim, or having their trim look dingy. 

2) The cabinet style.   
Oh all the choices! Craftsmen versus traditional. Bead board versus raised panels. Formal versus casual. Period versus modern. An interior designer can help make sure a remodeled kitchen flows with the rest of the home. They should know your taste and style, then help you achieve it!

3) Size and scale adjustments.  
Cad drawings can be misleading, for example, if you've been used to 9' ceilings in your old home, but will have 10' ceilings in your new's not easy to visualize since the day you order the custom cabinets the room will be wall studs! This can affect many decisions, such as the stove hood shape the pendant light size, the height of the cabinets, and much more. 

4) The kitchen budget versus the overall budget.
This one is crucial!! If a client tells us they are ready to update their old living room furniture, or that they're tired of their dated style throughout the home, it's our job to make sure they don't go over budget in a kitchen remodel. 
If the only advice you get is from people who SELL the kitchen cabinets, the granite & tile, etc. you may end up going over budget. The old saying "two heads are better than one" is true. It never hurts to get an hour or two of design assistance, it may save you a great deal of money in the long run. 

5) Hiding electrical outlets. 
There's no need for them ruin the look of your tile back splash! A qualified designer can guide electricians to the best ways to hide electrical outlets. This can make or break the look of an island and a backsplash! 

6) Mood lighting.
Lights above and below the cabinets. These are more expensive to add once the room is done, but easy if you specify them in the early stages before the cabinets are installed. 

7) A better looking stove hood!! 
Designer's will think in creative ways, so you aren't limited to what the kitchen store "normally sells"

Tile, lighting, cabinet stain colors make this basement kitchen perfect for a man cave. 
 Ceiling heights affect the stove hood and lighting choices, below. 

A modern kitchen fits this modern loft (below) 

Below is how the home looked when recent Greensboro, NC homeowners had to sign off on a custom kitchen cabinet order, as well as the tile & lighting order. It is often hard for a home owner to visualize at this stage. 

Be sure to check out the photos and tips on this popular blog
- How to update a kitchen on a budget?

A second set of eyes can be very helpful when planning a kitchen. An interior designer can help you visualize and make decisions, ones the kitchen designer may not do.
Unless you've remodeled several kitchens or built a few homes, know that a designer's experience can be invaluable. They can point out things the kitchen planner may not have time to go over, regarding color tones, size and scale, style options, budgeting for the remodel, and more. They can help you narrow it down so the decision process is easier.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Individual window treatments or one continuous wall of drapes?

Do you have a wall with several windows which may or may not be treated with one continuous wall of drapes?   should put separate window treatments on each window? Here we'll share before and after photos to help you visualize some options. We'll also go over some pros and cons and factors regarding one wall of drapes versus separate drapes for each window.

Advantages of treating the entire wall with one window treatment or drape:

1) Drapes can look luxurious!

Not sure if it would be overpowering? Check out the before and after photo below! Full length wall of window treatments always looks luxurious. It can make a small bedroom feel cozy.

One word of warning - a busy print could be overwhelming, while a solid fabric is always safe, that is, if you want it to be timeless

2) A drape wall can solve lack or symmetry or different size and shape windows. 

Perhaps one window is shorter than the rest? Or not symmetrical in placement? Any odd shaped windows can be disguised by covering the entire wall with drapes! And if you don't want to block daylight, you can hang a double rod, with sheers and drapes combined.

3) Drapes allow you to place the bed in front of the window, even if the windows are not centered or in the wrong place. 

Notice it's no longer an issue if the bed isn't centered on the wall? And notice that if the bed is only in front of PART of the window it's no longer a problem? The long continuous wall of drapes is now a nice backdrop for any size bed.

Above, the window placement is no longer an issue, the bed can be in front of part of the windows.

Notice the separate windows are dressed as one long window in this after photo 
Drapes along the entire wall made separate windows feel like one large wall of windows.
See before photo below.

BEFORE, the drapes were placed a each separate window. 

Now for the flip side. Here are disadvantages of covering the entire wall with drapes:

1) Covering the entire wall with fabric will be more expensive. 
  • You'll need more yards of fabric & labor
  • The hardware will be wider, therefore more expensive
2) You won't like big or tall furniture in front of the drapes. 

However, keep in mind you could place a pair of chairs, a console table, or a low piece like the desk shown right in front of the window. Furniture that can be pulled a few inches out from the window can look great in front of a drape or sheers! 

Would you like more window treatment ideas? For the popular blog and best before and after window treatments - see this link:

Treating each window with a window treatment versus the entire wall is an easy decision if you consider the pros and cons listed above. It can make or break a room, so it's wise to spread the fabric out, and consider the advantages of each. A continuous wall of sheers and drape combination can be an ideal solution.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Can the bed be in the corner? 4 clever solutions to layout bedroom furniture!

A bed in the corner may seem like the only solution, here we'll show you alternative solutions! Or, for those times when the corner IS truly the only option, we'll show you ways to make it look more attractive. 

1) Omit the headboard.
Perhaps you have another room you could use it? Notice below, by removing the headboard the room doesn't look unbalanced. With a headboard, it would make it obvious that the bed is not in the center of the wall. 

Bed in the corner
When the bed can't be centered on the wall, consider an entire wall treatment of wood, wallpaper or fabric
2) Scale back on large furnishings! 

Maybe that means giving away part of the bedroom set to a family member? Or to someone in need. Maybe it means moving the large piece to a bigger room. Try to visualize the space as a welcoming guest room, one that feels spacious! This will help you feel open to change. 

Before, the bed in the corner was not the best use of space
After, the small dresser and drapes at the window made this small bedroom feel larger 
3) Put the bed in front of a window.
This might mean getting a lower headboard, or using the other means explained in "can the bed be in front of the window?"
Notice all the possibilities this open for how to layout your small bedroom!

4) Create a corner headboard.
See below, This makes the bed feel cozy in the corner!

The best way to decide what bedroom layout you like best is to try out different options! Home Depot sells plastic pads to place under the furniture which make the furniture slide easily... they can be very helpful as it's not worth injuring yourself moving furniture!

Questions? Call or email us today!

Comments? We LOVE your feedback, thoughts and the word "comment" below!

 There are lots of ways to layout your furniture in a small bedroom, and a bed in the corner may just be your best option to make the room feel larger!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Four best ways to decorate each side of the fireplace!

Decorating each side of the fireplace the best way will insure it compliments the fireplace mantle. Here we'll show 4 clever design ideas to furnish and decorate the recessed niche areas beside the fireplace.

First, know that you have several options. You are not limited to the normal built in bookcases.

1) Wall to wall mirrors with consoles
This will make your room feel more open, as if it has more windows. Mirrors reflect light and add a sheen that compliments all the flat dull items such as a wool rug.

Beside this fireplace, the mercury mirrors add reflection, but the mercury mirrors make it more SUBTLE reflection, so you won't see yourself clearly. It's a great alternative option! Better yet, you can even choose heavy or light finish.

2) Chests for storage, to create symmetry.
You don't have to built in wall units. Consider matching chests! That way, you can take them with you when you move to a new home! Often called "Bachelor chests"...if you're ordering them just make sure they're large enough in size and scale to hold their own next to a substantial size mantle.

3) A tall tree, as shown below. 
Some people like to be unique, and they don't need symmetry. See below, you can do whatever you like on the left or right side of your fireplace.

4) A serving area or mini bar. 
It could be built in, like below, or free standing bar so you can take with you when you move. This works great if one area is plenty long enough for plenty of counter space and storage.

For a recessed niche on each side of the fireplace, be unique. It's nice to think outside the box. You are not limited to the typical built in wall unit or bookshelves. Don't get me wrong, built in wall units can be a great way to display collectibles! But they can be very expensive to build, so it's nice consider all your options.

If you need function add a mini bar. If you want a more open feeling, create the above look with mirrors! If you prefer symmetry, you have lots of options such as matching chests, a matching pair of console tables, or a pair of chairs.

For many more photos of options for each side of the fireplace or mantle, see this link:

Friday, February 12, 2016

7 effective ways keep interior design fees low, a few of them will surprise you!

Everyone would like to keep interior design fees low, and it is possible with these 7 tips! People often ask how much design services will cost, and how to keep the interior design fees low. The total will depend a great deal on you, the homeowner, and it's not at all based on what you'd think!

Below we list 7 tips to help insure that design consultations are an efficient use of time. An efficient use of time will benefit both you and the designer!

7 helpful tips to keep design fees reasonable:

1) Communicate with your spouse beforehand.
Anyone who is involved in the decision making process should talk before your first meeting with a designer. You may even want to provide two separate lists for each of your goals. A qualified designer will find ways to provide solutions that appeal to both parties!

2) Convey your personality.
Gather photos, a few that convey your favorite colors and rooms. This is much more helpful than general words such as "we like greens and tans". You know the saving, "A picture is worth a THOUSAND words".

3) Communicate Function. 
How will you use the room? Think about how you need the room to function. Do you need to seat 8 to 10 people, or is it more important to your that the lounge chairs are generous in size? Do you need the sofa & rug to be child and pet friendly? Do you have allergies? All this can be helpful information for an interior designer.

4) Don't make impulse purchases!!  
This one may surprise you, often people think it's smart to do some shopping before the designer starts the project. But this one is the biggest and most important cause for a designer to have to work MORE hours. Here's some examples.... 

Often we'll walk into a home for the first time, to see what a homeowner already had delivered. They'll express words like "it's way too big, isn't it?" or "the swatch looked so different that it does on the entire window", or "The furniture store designer said the fabric is durable, do you agree? People often spend money on things they regret, then call a designer after they realize it doesn't look the way they hoped it would, or isn't as durable as they hoped... It would be much more cost effective to see what sofa (or rug or lighting or drapes) the designer can provide. Why?
Because of the following ...

a) Designers have access to more. They are constantly in showrooms, trade shows, and stores. Often they travel to markets all over the nation. Sources that sell to the trade only open a vast new window of amazing options. Once the designer knows your budget, they can tell you what options will fit within the budget.
b) A qualified designer has years of experience. They have learned what people love and what size/scale/colors/textures work well together.
c) An experienced designer has seen thousands of BEFORE and AFTER rooms. They can help you visualize end results and their "vision".
d) They know what to avoid!! 
Those things that would back you into a corner. For example that rug which is VERY hard to work with, or not durable, or too trendy. These type purchases makes the designer have to work harder and more hours "to pull it all together" and to make the rooms "make sense" or "flow". So, before assuming the designer's furniture, art or fabrics will be too expensive, ask them what they can provide! You may just be pleasantly surprised!

5) Use the time wisely.
Designers can cover a tremendous amount of information in an hour. We cover so much, in fact, that homeowners often say they wish they had taken notes.

6) Use them for their talent. 
People often ask us to find things like a metal bed frame, or a washer and dryer. It's fine if that's your choice, if not, it's a great place to save money. If you're willing to do some technical research about sizes, reviews (such as which washing machine is rated high by consumer reports and which one will fit in your space) this is an area you can save money.

7) Find a designer that stocks product.
If you have trouble visualizing, you'll appreciate a designer that can show you actual merchandise (such as art, lighting, fabrics, end tables) actually in your home. This is much easier than trying to order from photos!

Traditional Home (below cover) said it best, a qualified designer can have "a discerning design eye - the ability to walk into a house and see past it's glaring design flaws to the potential beyond".

A good interior designer will help you think outside the box. To find the best one in your area, check their portfolio, web site, and blog.  Look at their before and after pictures which show what they're capable of, even when the client's budget forced them to keep the old mantle, or the same sofa, etc.

A good portfolio should reflect all of the following:

1) That the designer can work with a variety of styles. 
Does their web site show modern to traditional? Family friendly to luxurious?

2) That they can work with a variety of budgets!
Is their experience with high end only? Or does their portfolio show they made strides even when they were forced to use certain elements the client could not change?

3) That they will LISTEN to you, and understand your goals. 
Do their reviews indicate they truly listen regarding budgets, timing, function, and your taste?

To keep interior design fees low, it's all about using time efficiently, and good communication. Find a designer who will really listen and communicate well. Their experience will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What window treatment is best for an arched window?

Do you have an arched window or a unique shaped window and you're not sure what window treatment or drape would be best? Perhaps you're just looking for window treatment ideas? Here's helpful tips to consider!

Window treatments draw attention to the beautiful curved window!
Drapes that are hung above a window will draw the eye up. This actually draws more attention to the beautiful arch or curved shaped window! Notice the contrast banding on the drapes, the camel and ivory color blends well with the rug and pair of chairs. 

Long drapes draw attention to the beautiful arched window. The drapes provide the option of not blocking any view
or total room darkening in this bedroom.

Below, our Greensboro NC client can still see the beautiful sky through the transom window.
Notice we followed the arch shape with the drapes, and added taupe sheers which can be opened
(and hidden behind drapes) when entertaining guests.

Do you need to block the sun in the arched transom? 
If so, you can add blinds or shades that are custom made for the curve. See below photo. However, keep in mind the huge disadvantage of blocking the beautiful view of the sky, which there's no need to block every evening or those hours when the sun is not a problem!

Prefer to not block the view?
If so, full length drapes are a beautiful option ... because you won't block any of the beautiful sky and sunshine when entertaining or when it's the right time of day to enjoy it! This gives you the option of closing Sheers or drapes only when the sun is too harsh. 
A blind for a curved window, in a half circle shape 
So this sums up the feedback we hear from clients regarding curved or arched or half circle transoms. The most popular choice is for the drape to hang at the very top of the arch. A tall drape will also make your ceilings look taller and your room will feel larger! 

For many more window treatment ideas, check out this popular link with BEFORE and AFTER photos and window treatment solutions for every window shape and style!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How to layout a master bathroom for a remodel, corner shower or tub?

Trying to decide how to layout your bathroom for a remodel? Maybe you're wondering whether it's more important to have a large shower and no bathtub, versus a large bathtub with a small shower? Below we'll list 6 helpful questions to consider, before you begin remodeling!  We'll also show luxurious master bathroom photos for design ideas. These bathroom are bigger than some bedrooms!   
This master bathtub did not require a compromise. 
The room is so large they were still able to have a long vanity and a walk in shower. 
This luxury bathroom was based around a focal point of a large window, with a beautiful private wooded area. 

Helpful questions to decide what features are important for your bathroom remodel:

1) Do you use your current bathtub?  
If not, is it because it's too small? Or perhaps you'd like to use it, once the children are older? There's nothing quite like an Ebson Salt bath to get rid of aches and pains. A large Jacuzzi area can be a soothing oasis, with a window view, like above, or maybe a built in TV. It can be a great place to escape and rewind!

2) Does your bathroom need a focal point?  
Perhaps you want a large window to the outdoor view? What's the first thing you'll see as you enter? This should be considered for the layout. Perhaps you like symmetry?

3) Where are you willing to compromise?   
Does a larger shower mean your vanity area might be a bit crowded? Or will you have to sacrifice a nice large water closet for the toilet?  

4) Which layout will allow you to have more windows?  (more day light) 
Large windows = lots of wonderful daylight!! Lots of light is a universal request, one that's in high demand. Everyone loves a room with lots of natural light!  

5) Do you prefer privacy for shower walls? 
If so, notice how this corner shower worked great! (below) Lots of today's showers are totally open, which do you prefer?

6) Want to avoid costly plumbing issues?
If so, consider where the new plumbing would be in relation to the old plumbing. This is a great way to keep expenses down.

6) Last but certainly not least - Does the layout allow a private room for the commode?
See photo below: LEFT side door to commode. 

After Above, Before Below
Walk in shower in the corner

By turning the entrance door to the commode on an angle, 
we were able to make the room symmetrical

Here's a bathroom with the tub in the corner, which allowed separate his and her sinks on each side,
as well as a private room for the commode.

In this bathroom layout there was ample room for both a large tub (left) as well as a walk in 
This bathroom layout has a beautiful arched window and recessed niche for the large oval tub

For tips on how to update a bathroom on a budget, see this link:

Questions? Be sure to call or email us! Or, do you have a comments? Click the word comment below....

A bathroom layout is often the most most important part of the process!  It's wise to plan the layout well, to avoid any change orders.

As HGTV star Marnie Oursler of "Big Beach Builds" stated "The most expensive mistake you can make when renovating your home - or building a new one - is a choice. If you decide you want something and then change your mind, that's where it gets expensive". 

Avoid change orders, think through your layout. Once you weigh in function, style, symmetry, budgeting and resale, you can determine which things you are (and are not) willing to compromise on. Whether you want a large shower, a large tub, long counter tops or a large window, the best layout for your bathroom might just work in the space with the right planning! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

How much will an interior designer cost for my remodeling or new construction project?

If you're wondering how to calculate the cost for an interior designer for a new construction or remodeling project, we'll list some guidelines below. 

Or, maybe you're wondering if it's even necessary to hire a designer? Perhaps the builder offered a design service for free? Below we'll list the reasons many people hire an outside source, as well as the times that it is not necessary. 

You'll want to check out both the reviews and the portfolio of the DESIGNER. We're referring to a separate  portfolio & reviews from the builder. Through their personal portfolio and reviews, you can learn a good deal about the designer, such as: 

a) Years of experience.  
Experience which can help you avoid costly mistakes. The more construction projects they've done through the years, the more they've learned ways to save you from expensive "Change Orders" by avoiding issues BEFORE they occur!

b) Innovative solutions - even on a limited budget
Does their portfolio reflect clever solutions? Do their reviews state they helped clients stay within budget? Note that allowances for lighting, flooring, moldings, cabinets, etc are normally low, and very hard to stay within. You'll want a designer who is experienced at knowing which manufacturers and which sources are the best value for your money. This will keep you from going over budget in each allowance, without compromising on style and function!

c)  Will they be your best advocate?
You'll want someone who can communicate your best interests with the builder, the electrician, the carpenters who build the mantle or bookcases, and so on! For some examples, in looking at their portfolio, does the tile back splash have electrical outlets in unattractive locations? Or are the outlets hidden? Do the recessed lights in the coffered ceiling line up nicely within the moldings? Does the portfolio show amazing attention to detail, even on a limited budget?

As for how much Interior design services will cost, there's various ways designers charge for their services:
1) By the job. 
2) A retainer, such as $1,500 or more up front, with a contract
3) By the hour, which gives you freedom to hire them as needed!

A qualified designer will have reviews that express the many ways a designer actually saved client's money! Below we'll list some examples.  

 AFTER above, Before below.

A designer can help you coordinate colors, recommend correct size and scale, recommend the best stain colors, mantle styles, tiles, light fixtures, paint colors, carpet, stone, brick, shingles etc. In this 10,000+ sq ft Greensboro, NC home, we made the building process enjoyable and less time consuming! Keep in mind that oak won't accept the stain the same way maple or walnut will, so there will be a lot of "tweaking" involved to get colors and stains to compliment each other. 

1) Some designers charge an hourly fee, instead of a flat rate. 
If they don't require a contract which would lock you in, perhaps you can hire them for additional work ONLY IF YOU'RE HAPPY after the first consultation? That is, if you feel they're saving you from costly mistakes or redos! For a few examples:
  • Perhaps a room could feel more open by removing an unnecessary (no load bearing) wall?
  • Perhaps a window could be larger without affecting the exterior?
  • Maybe a fireplace wall without symmetry could easily be changed to allow the symmetrical look you love? These are all the type things that must be caught early, before they're too expensive or hard for the builder to change!

2) They'll be your best advocate. 
If they've done enough new construction or remodeling projects, they'll be your best advocate working with the builder or sub contractors to insure things go smoothly. Not sure if you need a designer? READ REVIEWS!! Reviews for a qualified designer will talk about issues they caught - early on so it's not an expensive redo.

3) They'll save you time!
You can have the designer narrow down choices for tile, light fixtures, cabinetry, hardware, stains, colors, mantles, moldings, doors, stone, brick, shingles, carpet, etc.! Or you may choose to get the designer involved for very limited things -- such as wall paint colors only. Because it can vary so much, it's wonderful if you can hire a design firm that will allow you to determine when (or if) you get them involved. One that will allow you to pay for hourly services, only when you need them.

Building or remodeling involves many more decisions than most people realize. An interior designer can catch things that are much easier to change if caught early, but would be very expensive or impossible to change later.

How much the design fees will cost depends totally on how much assistance you want. It could be as little as a few hundred dollars if you don't need much time with the designer. Or, some firms require a minimum retainer of $1,500 or more. If you aren't sure you'll want to be locked in, consider a firm that is willing to work hourly instead.
If you've built several homes or remodeled homes before, you may not need a designer's assistance as much as a person who has never done so. It varies greatly from project to project.

Questions? Email us today!
Comments? We love feedback and hearing your thoughts. Click the word "comment" below...