The Process to Design a Room

Here we are at the beginning of the year and it’s a Leap Year! That gives us a little more time for planning. I thought I would write about “process” as many clients get confused as to which steps to take first. Currently I am working on a living room and the clients did get lost in the process. So I am going to outline what steps are involved for a project. I hope you find it helpful.

The first thing that has to happen in a room – is to measure and create a floorplan. From that you can decide on what, where and how big the furniture pieces need to be. In our large showrooms it is easy to get carried away and purchase items that are too large for the space.

Next choose the upholstery pieces- sofa, chairs, ect. If you are staying within a furniture line choose your fabrics for the piece. If it is a custom fabric then that is called COM- customers own fabric (slightly more expensive) and then you order and ship this fabric to the vendor. By choosing your fabrics you have determined your color palette!

If an area rug is being used then select it to go with the fabrics, it actually can come first but then you must choose the fabrics to go with the rug. Neither way is right or wrong.

Now you have enough information to select paint colors.

Next look at what kinds of casegoods- or tables you need. Use the floorplan and decide if they need to be edited. Generally speaking you already know the size so now you just select the finishes. I like to mix the woods and finishes.

Now move onto window treatments. Select the style and the type of fabric based on your color scheme. Some treatments can be for function the others for effect, such as side panels. Fabric gives the room warmth.

I like to do art at this stage. You can add in pops of color and keep to your scheme. Don’t make the mistake of art being too small. You don’t have to fill every wall but it needs to give some impact.

Lastly, I do the accessories. Many people fade here or think it is too expensive. This is the jewelry of the home. It’s like buying a little black dress but then forgetting the jewelry and shoes. Take your time and purchase things you like- some expensive some not. They should add some character to the room. There are many local places to shop or order. Don’t clutter too much. Find some larger and smaller pieces. Look at magazines for inspiration. You can add on as you go but have a goal in mind.

Putting an entire room together takes time. Don’t hurry. Enjoy the process!


New Years Trends for 2016

New Years Trends for 2016


We are starting a New Year of 2016 and what are the latest trends going to be in design?

Pantone the marketing guru for color chooses a new color forecast every year but this year they broke tradition and selected two colors! First is a soft pale shade of blue, Serenity. Here in the Northwest we always like to use blues as we have so many shades in our sky and water surrounding us. Blue is calming and easy to use as accents in our home. The second color is called Rose Quartz, a soft powdery pink. You will be seeing it in both fashion and design. Grays are still an important neutral but may be mixed more with soft shades of sky, blush and lilac giving it some warmth.

It seems we just can’t get enough of those animal prints so they will still be around just like our basic black has lasted so will these prints but some will be larger and bolder than before.

Nailhead trim continues to be popular in metallic colors, gold and silver. Many furniture manufactures will provide this trim as an add on so always ask for your upgrade options.

In kitchens you will see more pairing of two different types of cabinet styles, colors, textures or use of raw materials. Base cabinet drawers instead of doors that are deep are wanted for more storage.     New appliance colors are the black stainless steel by LG or the Sunset Bronze by Whirlpool. Niche appliances like steam ovens will be more popular and a good use of space for Aging in Place homes.

Bathrooms will be increasing in size to allow for “living” areas with a chair and table vignette. The use of bold wallpaper and mirrors as a statement will be popular. Bidets are gaining in popularity.

Living areas will include use of a formal dining area or an unplugged family room for a family gathering area. Continued use of outdoor fabrics for furnishings. Sunrooms are desired if you have the space to carve one out. Heated floors are used more in entryways and mudrooms. And extra large format tiles are popular for flooring options.

What have you seen recently on the fashion runway or in design articles about the new and continuing trends? What will be your favorite “go to” and how can you add it to your style? Remember if you are decorating your home in some basic neutrals it is always easy to add in punches of the latest trend. If you need help with updating your style just call Patty @ 425-793-6380 for a consultation.  2dbff96ac85f3bd67c1ddbb231484e01[1]


A Planned DIY Kitchen


The end of this year I would like to wrap up with a DIY lesson.

Recently my daughter and her husband did a remodel of their kitchen. Now they have done prior work so they are experienced at construction. As I watched them go through the process I thought of a couple of tips to help you with your own projects.

  • Create a floorplan, measure correctly and then remeasure
  • Get the professional cabinetmaker to remeasure and verify your choices; have them explain what type, quality and function of cabinets that you are getting. Who will do the install?
  • Do your homework! Study dimensions for the layout then research the proper products. Plumbing that can be installed according to your vision. Appliances that fit (always selected before ordering cabinets)
  • Decide on materials for countertop, backsplash and flooring. Bring home 2-3 selections and look at it in your space and light. Make decisions like what type corners and radius you want prior to cutting, otherwise the counter/granite installers will make them for you
  • Do learn and follow the proper order of how things are done and installed so that it goes smoothly
  • Hire professionals for the electrical and plumbing work
  • A good cabinet installer is worth his weight in gold! Don’t try it if you are unskilled
  • Do plan on being onsite for much of the work done by those you hire
  • When someone tells you that “you can’t do that” ask why, what other solutions there might be. It is your vision not theirs and they may not see the same resolution that you can, don’t assume there is only one way to do something
  • Do set up a work/kitchen area ahead of time so that your life is easier, keep it away from the dust, move it a couple of times if you are juggling a larger project
  • Try to get a schedule of times that subs will drop by, be available if there are questions/problems
  • Order as much ahead as you can and store it until install

Trust me- a professional can help you from making mistakes, even if it is just a couple of consults

PS: My daughter did all this and more and her project is as she envisioned and picture perfect. (This photo is not it) She had the usual bumps along the way that comes with construction but she was always available to problem solve and monitor progress. So while they hired much of the work to be done they planned it and managed the project well which is a big part of project success.

Good luck with your planning, if you need help feel free to call for a phone interview to see if I can help.




Cabinet & Shelving:Mudroom Storage Bench Ideas With White Series Mudroom Storage Bench Ideas

Mudrooms for storage options

Well it is that time of year where we wear our coats and mittens and boots! A lot of clutter for the cold winter days.

Do you have a spot in your home where you can add storage for all these daily and extra winter items? Many people are choosing to do a mudroom for the clutter. It also helps for the kids daily coats and school backpacks. In just a small space you can organize by adding a shelf and hooks or an entire built in bench.

For those of you who are DIY’ers there are cabinets and shelving in the home centers. Also online shopping for benches and coat racks. But for those who want a custom look it is best to go to a closet company or a kitchen cabinet showroom where they can build to your specifications.

What you need- usually a bench to sit on and a place for items in drawers or open underneath for shoes. Then you will need hooks to hang jackets and backpacks. Be sure it will support the load- these kids backpacks today weight at least 15 pounds! An upper cabinet or shelving area would be nice for extra storage, open areas can be filled with attractive baskets. For decorative details you can add corbels, millwork, fancy hooks and open areas for chalkboards or photos. The best areas for a mudroom is in an entry, a laundry room, a nook in the kitchen or a garage, anyplace that you can get about 4-6’ of space. I try and plan for about 18” a person, that way a backpack or coat won’t bump into the next one. A bench can be a painted or wood top or padded with a cushion. There are so many sites these days with photos to choose from for your special spot. Have fun and get organized- the kids will love it!

If you need help with a custom fit give me a call, I have a lot of vendors that can make your cubby into a creative custom nook and mudroom.





entryway_ideas_021One way to welcome guests into your home is to create a welcoming entryway. This entrance displays your style and sometimes creativity. It is the meeting ground where you say “hello” and offer a warm welcome into our home.

Here are some tips to create your Entry:

  1. In an enclosed space that is small you can add punch by painting the walls a color that compliments your home’s interior
  2. Also in this small space a bold patterned wallpaper can create a statement
  3. Don’t forget that a great use of color is a piece of furniture that is a bold color, ie: red
  4. Use a console or entry table that is about 30-38” high. Taller is better but if you are recycling a piece of furniture that is a good place to start
  5. If the space is small or in a narrow walkway find a piece that is not too deep, about 12-18”
  6. If you are short on storage this is a great place to put a chest that has drawers
  7. Once you have the piece of furniture selected and the proper placement move on to the surroundings
  8. I would start by adding a large mirror or picture over the furniture. Make sure it is big!Always remember that a mirror reflects, so make sure you want to see what it is going to reflect
  9. On occasion you can do a grouping of 4 but start with the center piece
  10. Next place some accessories- a vase, flowers (artificial), an orchid, a unique box, a stack of attractive books, candlesticks, a grouping of pottery or blue/white jars, another picture on a stand, and more. Make sure that the height and scale of the pieces make an impact. If there is an open shelf below the top then accessorize it with some larger pieces.
  11. The accessories can marry the tone and color used in the adjacent room
  12. If the room is dark then add a lamp to the table top, or for symmetry 2 lamps
  13. Don’t forget the floors. A painted floor or pattered area rug can also add warmth and color
  14.  Lighting is also important in the entry, either a lamp or overhead ceiling light or chandelier can be used


Carving out this entry way is the perfect greeting area for guests and can be the beginning of your color palette and style for the adjoining rooms. Go search for fun finds at local stores like HomeGoods, Pier One, WorldMarket, Marshall’s, Ross, TJ Maxx and retails stores with fine furniture. Antique malls are good to find unique and “weathered” items. If you have some “treasures” use them to tell your story.

If you need guidance call for a consultation, Patty at #425-793-6380.


There are so many choices when remodeling and especially a place that centers around the family and cooking. Before you sign on the dotted line and hire a contractor consider some tips to avoid costly mistakes:

  1. DON’T OVERSPEND: What is your budget? Allow for some overage but you can really get carried away with the choices and it could cost more than you wanted because each item is looked at as just “one” entity and not the overall sum of costs.
  2. What is the value of your remodel in terms of resale, are you keeping in track with what the home will bring or are you so intent on “your style” that you are going to lose money?
  3. What is the architecture of the home? Are you trying to put a modern kitchen in a Tudor? How is that going to transition from the entry and room to room?
  4. Keep the floorplan modifications simple, the more you change walls and move plumbing and electrical the higher the costs
  5. What are the costs of the products that you are replacing? Are they top of the line or are you just as happy with the middle of the road? It is very possible to spend and get good quality on some products but save on others
  6. Do not do DIY’er activities if you have no skills! Leave it to the professionals. You can always do clean up and demo to save on costs
  7. Start with your appliances. Get good advice on their function from a qualified showroom. Make sure they fit the space before ordering cabinets and then DON’T make any changes
  8. Plumbing is important. Buy quality sinks and faucets, don’t scrimp as these are the work horses of the kitchen and will be there a long time. People always underestimate their costs
  9. Jewelry. Hardware- Knobs and Pulls help to define the space and style of the kitchen and express its architectural style. They don’t have to be expensive but they should look and feel like it, as they are the final touch of the “outfit” of the kitchen. Don’t forget to look around at the hinges and doorknobs, do they look dated now?
  10. Paint- it really pulls everything together and makes things look fresh and crisp. Choose a good color to accent the other features in the room
  11. Counter tops and Cabinets- educate yourself on their brand and purchase good quality as they are the bones of the kitchen. Check out how the doors and drawers work; learn what makes a good cabinet. Tops can be granite, quartz or laminate- if you blend it all together it will look well designed and feel cohesive no matter the cost
  12. THE BACKSPLASH. It is the main focal point of the room and attention to detail should be placed here. Spend some money on a full height backsplash and create a mood. It can be a spot behind the range as a focal point or an overall feeling

Lastly, it is worth it to hire a professional to help you design and manage your project and schedules to make sure they are no oversights and change orders. You will want this new space to function, be beautiful and last for a very long time.

Ready To Sell- Staging Tips

Ready To Sell- Staging Tips

When you are ready to sell here are 10 tips to help you sell quickly as possible and get your asking price. You can do many of  things on your own, consult with your realtor or get professional help.

 1.  Curb appeal is important as people will drive by first and decide if they want to tour the insidefall-curb-appeal-03-highlight-the-front-door-2011-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-12081

  • Power wash driveways, sidewalks, siding and roofs
  • House numbers that are easy to read, painted or clean and attached straight
  • Lawns that are well edged and mowed, reseed if necessary
  • The porch or entrance is clean and stained or painted with a nice matt
  • The FRONT DOOR- painted or stained, dusted and clean, everything fresh
  • Plant pots of flowers or greenery, porch furniture if large enough
  • Good lighting, leave the porch light on at nightCreate an inviting entrance; everything here should say “Welcome Home, Please Come In”
  • 2. This step is Key! Clean everything, all surfaces– carpets, floors, windows, counters, walls, grout, cabinets… You may want to hire a pro to help with the tough stuff. You may need to refinish hardwoods or strategically place area rugs. This is a good time to do minor repairs too.                                                                                                                                gettyimages-608163079-57a0eb0d3df78c3276e6076c1
  1.  3. Furniture placement is important
  • Create open walkways, pull furniture off walls and create inviting conversation areas
  • Symmetry and pairs is a more formal space but can be inviting
  • Use your existing furniture but edit what you have for a more spacious feeling
  • Replace worn or soiled pieces or eliminate all together, even one chair and table can suggest a nice reading area4. Clear away the Clutter. Your style is not their style and you want to appeal to all who tour your home
  • Pack away unnecessary items, if you have collections- leave just 3 pieces or none
  • EDIT- EDIT-EDIT! Leave only a few nice accessories to stage tabletops and surfaces
  • Clear cupboards and closets to look as if there is more space
  • Clear personal effects, such as papers and books, most photos, and store valuables
  • Clean all the furniture and items left behind
  • Rent storage if you need to get boxes and furniture offsite 5. Strike a balance between clean and lived in- I know I just made you clear clutter but try and stage the home so it looks lived in and comfortable.
  • Add a few design accessories, elements that are appealing; a bowl of apples or lemons
  • Style your dining room table with a nice centerpiece or place settings
  • Rehang some artwork, be careful to use the appropriate size
  • Add cut flowers or potted plants in 2 or 3 areas, kitchen/bathroom/bedroom
  • Be careful with items that smell, not everyone likes fragrance 6. Bedrooms
  • Use some fresh crisp bedding in neutral colors, this is not the place to show your personality
  • Create a comfortable seating area with table and lamp
  • Remove personal items, hang nice artwork, add accent pillows or a throw at the end of the bed
  • Don’t forget to clear the closets of excess shoes, clothes, clutter. It has been suggested to have 20-30% of open closet space to give the impression of spaciousness
  • Define what the room is: a child’s room, a guest room, a library, an office 7. Bathrooms
  • Apart from cleaning everything in sight, if it’s outdated just stage it to feel “serene or spa like”
  • Fresh towels and soap and dish, these can be in colors to accent your tile, soft beige, pale blue, spa green. When in doubt white works the best.
  • Hide bath scales, garbage/or empty, toilet paper, an unnecessary items
  • Clear of bathroom furniture if it needs to look more spacious
  • If faucets are worn consider new plumbing fixtures 8. Store Your Stuff
  • Put children’s toys, excess books, unused office equipment, boxes of “stuff” away
  • Organize the garage tools and clutter neatly, make room for a car 9. Beware of pet odors and cooking odors
  • Be diligent about cleaning these spaces, steam rugs, vacuum often, wash surfaces
  • Keep the pet dish and food stored in another area than the kitchen or bath
  • Arrange to have the pet away from buyers
  • Perhaps edit your cooking choices while on the market 10.Outdoor Spaces
  • Create a patio table or seating area that says “how nice it is to sit and eat here”
  • Use colorful pillows, table settings or dishes, rugs, pots, flowers
  • Play up your outdoor area with garden art, a porch swing, a firepit, any extra features
  • Spruce up your garden, weed, plant , bark, whatever it needs to feel beautiful

You are creating a lifestyle for a new owner in your home and neighborhood to love.



Here we are a day before spring begins. We have had some nice sunny but cold days. As everyone starts to get excited for the nice weather they also start to think about changes they can make inside and outside their home. Some of the easiest things to do are to freshen up with the new colors that are in the stores. If you have a fairly neutral background in your upholstered pieces it makes it easy to change out items like pillows and throws. If you have an area rug try and pull out a color that you haven’t used before and now that can become a new accent color. Artwork is harder to change out but if you can find a safe storage space then go ahead and hang a new piece using those same colors. Here are a few pieces to inspire you. In this article I have used orange and turquoise, two fresh colors we are seeing a lot of this year. I love these pillows as they add a pop of color and sometimes both or several colors are used. Then try laying a soft textural throw over the arm or your sofa or chair. Throws can be a solid color or have variations of color. Then add some fun colorful accessories in your favorite new color! A lot are available in the spring. Try placing them on books or boxes. Use some humor to lighten things up for the season. If your carpet is neutral like this one you can layer a smaller rug over top. This canvas artwork displays lots of color and is a fresh botanical for the spring/summer weather. Just store away when the season changes this fall and take out your cozy colors and you have a new look again. Have fun!



photo (10)  The color for this year is named “Marsala” and it is a robust earthy wine red.

Color is used to inject energy and contrast. Marsala has grounding red-brown roots that emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness and is a red infused brown color.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute who has been predicting color globally for many years, it has an emotional concept and feeds our mind, our body and our soul. She believes the color has versatility for both men and women and that we are looking for a nurturing life force.

Since it is equally appealing to men and women you will see it in fashion, especially beauty products such as nails and lips. It is flattering to many skin tones and is dramatic. Men would enjoy a tie or socks in this color.  In home furnishings it 

photo (12)

brings warmth to interiors, look for it in plush, matte and gloss textures, especially used in area rugs and accessories. Play 

It harmonizes with neutrals including warmer taupes and grays. It is compatible with amber, umber, golden yellows, greens in both turquoise and teal and some vibrant blues. All of these pairings are on the Pantone website.the variation in color. Try layering it with metallics, like bronzy tones or copper, anything with the brown or umber undertone.with

Past colors of the year included: Radiant Orchid, Emerald Green, Tangerine Tango, Honeysuckle and Turquoise which were all more vibrant colors than this year’s. Also many paint manufactures name their color of the year not to be confused with this Pantone color. I have to admit when I first saw the color I wasn’t too sure about it, along with a lot of other industry partners, but I must say I am warming up to it. What do you think of this color? Will you use it in your daily life? Here are some examples from The Market in Las Vegas I just attended.

Time to Attend the HomeShows

Time to Attend the HomeShows



It is hard to believe that the New Year is almost upon us, it went so fast this year! I hope you were able to accomplish some of your design goals this year, maybe a new kitchen or bathroom. This is a great time of year to start planning for future projects. Create your list of “Must Haves” and then choose one to start with,  you will most surely complete it this year. Don’t get overwhelmed with ALL the projects just make a list and then pick your top priority, assign a budget, do some homework and enlist some help to make it happen, ask a professional for help if you need it. Even if you are a DIY’er you can use a consultation and an overview from a professional to get you off to a good start.

I am off to what is the first of the Homeshows and there will be many more to follow so check your area.

The Remodel Show is this Fri-Sat-Sun the 2nd thru the 4th at the Seattle Convention Center. Following that in Feb is the Big Seattle Homeshow, and then there are local shows in Tacoma and Everett.

What are the top 5 reasons to go to a homeshow:

  1. There are many serious business owners who show their products and talent, from closets to roofs, interiors and exteriors. It is a great way to make a contact with a professional.
  2. Since there is so much information to pick up and read it is a great way to start your research and homework.
  3. It is educational. Many vendors will tell you about budgeting, true remodel needs and processes.
  4. It is inspiring to see all the new products and vignettes that these professionals have taken the time to display for you,
  5. It is entertaining, lots to see, a lot of people to visit with and keeps you current on the trends.

I will be at NWSID, Northwest Society of Interior Designers, Booth at both shows. We are doing “complimentary consultations” at the Remodel show so bring your ideas, photos and plans. There will be 4 of us each day to give the consultations but we are always ready to talk with you at any of the shows.

I will be there from Fri Jan 2nd 2-6pm, Sat Jan 3rd from 10-7pm and Sunday the 4th from 2-7pm

Consultations are by appointment or drop in: Fri 2-6p, Sat 11-5p, Sun 11-4

Come on by and meet me and chat about your design needs! Or Call Patty at #425-793-6380.