How about rearranging your living or family area to create a comfortable and inviting space? Here are some tips to get you started:

Always create a conversation area to allow for a face to face chat

If there is a fireplace in the center of the room, allow it to be the focal point and arrange around it

If there is no focal point then create one by using windows, TV, art or an interesting display on a table

If there is a view then pull the furniture back to the wall to face the windows

Plan for traffic flow; allow walkways to be at least 30” between pieces

Allow 18” between a coffee table and a sofa for sitting and reaching the table with beverages

Anchor the arrangement with a rug, coffee table or ottoman

If the space is tight try nesting tables or round tables since they are easier to maneuver around

For TV viewing, plan 8-12’ distance from the TV, best viewing angle is about 30 degrees, allow traffic to flow behind the TV if possible

Plan for built in’s or freestanding pieces to house the TV

Use storage pieces for the perimeter of the room such as: a desk, hutch, buffet, and console with doors

For a larger space or irregular room with no free walls pull the furniture toward the center of the room and float it

For a conversation group place pieces about 8’ apart in a larger space, try 2 sofa’s facing each other. Then create a separate conversation area with a grouping of 2 chairs and a table

For a long narrow room create a comfortable grouping with a sofa and 2 chairs opposite each other that are lightweight with open legs (not skirted). Allows you to move the furniture easier and is less bulky

Use good lighting for ambient and task activities

Create some personality by adding colorful pillows, throws, artwork and accessories                             100185265.jpg.rendition.largest[1]

As always- good luck with your arranging. If you need help with your spaces call me.

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!




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.

How To Size An Area Rug

How To Size An Area Rug

article-new-thumbnail_ehow_images_a08_2o_c3_size-should-used-size-room-800x800Let’s talk about area rugs. Adding an area rug to your room is an effective way to add warmth and color to your space. Rugs come in many shapes, sizes and colors or patterns. So the first thing you must do is determine the size of the rug you need before you go shopping. Rugs are available in retail stores, at showrooms to the trade and on-line. Be sure and read first though about what the rug is made of and the maintenance. When you purchase a rug you will need a pad also, either a carpet to rug pad or a floor (hardwood/tile) to rug pad, these will help to hold the rug in place. Generally it is best to place an area rug on a hard surface rather than on another carpet. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to thousands depending upon the quality and material of the rug.

Here are some tips for deciding on the size of rug:

  • Decide how and where you want to use an area rug. Sometimes you will need 2 in an open space so you will want them to complement each other.
  • Determine the shape of the area rug you plan to use. Common shapes of area rugs are square, rectangle, oval and a circle. The shape of the rug affects the size of the area of the rug.
  • Measure the area or space in the room where you plan to use the area rug. To do this take a tape measure and measure the width and length of where the furniture needs to sit and decide how many extra inches will go beyond the furniture pieces. At least 4-6” should go under the front feet of the main piece, which is usually the sofa and then try to place the front legs of the chairs on it as well.
  • You want to anchor the area rug with furniture, such as end tables or chairs. This creates a grouping and unity for the furniture by tying it together.
  • Record the measurements on graph paper or a note pad. You can layout your room on graph paper which is a ¼” scale where each box equals 1 foot. So if you count over 8 boxes you are at 8’ vertical and then count 10 boxes horizontal and you have 10’.
  •  Area rugs come in standard sizes, but occasionally they are a bit off the standard size of 8’x10’ and might be 7’6”x 9’. If that happens just reevaluate your space to see if the furniture will fit as above on the rug.
  • You can also bind a broadloom carpet with tape through either the store or a rug source such as DA Burns and then you can custom fit it to your space if you have an unusual or extra large space.

Now you are ready to take your plan and start shopping. Select the size rug that best corresponds to your space measurement. Take a photo of the rug so when you go home you have something to look at before you purchase.

What’s Your Style?

What’s Your Style?

  • 101694126.jpg.rendition.largest[1] 101694145.jpg.rendition.largest[1]102043205.jpg.rendition.largest[1]         What’s your design personality? Tobi Fairley’s views on style were simplified. She divided style selections into 4 groups, each group containing several more. By defining which style group you are in it will make it easier for you to purchase furnishings for your home. Often we enjoy several styles but it might be best to stick to 1 or 2 styles. Yes, you can do all four together but it takes a little more talent to achieve a finished look that is cohesive and not distracting. Try using these ideas in your own homes. What style personality are you?

A. Classic Traditionalist: can be formal or casual. Enjoys classic furniture shapes- sofa and chairs have skirts. Heritage pieces- such as china, knick-knack’s,  room can tell a story. Layering of fabrics. Darker wood tones. This can include: Farmhouse, Shaker, Cottage, Shabby Chic, French Country, English and more.

B. Cool Urban: modern, sleek in scale, shape and form. Streamlined without ornamentation; urban or cosmopolitan, current/trendy; materials are metal, glass; medium toned woods. This includes: Mid-Century modern, Scandinavian, Graphic, Organic forms, Edgy styles.

C. Artistic Traveler: A collected look, BoHo, Trend but not Trendy, Global, Layered, Exotic, Textured & rich, layered, patterned textiles, overdyed rugs, strong pigments. This includes items from travels, different cultures, any sort of style. Can be eclectic but is more global.

D. Sophisticated Stylista: Luxe, drama, fashionable, chic, glamorous, Gold finishes, mirrors, bone inlay, tufting, animal print, lacquer, Lucite, crystals. This style embraces scale- such as an overscale headboard and trends- such as quatrefoil architecture. This includes: Art Deco, Hollywood styles.

Mixing: Usually we tend to like 2 styles or more. When you mix have a point of reference such as color. Think of how the room should flow and function. Pick pieces that inspire you and if they are unique not too chaotic. Make some decisions about the style you want to interpret and decide when even though you like a piece “it just isn’t going to work” in this setting. (It’s like shopping for clothes- not everything we like goes together.)

Try this by deconstructing a room and then replacing items with your new choice in the style that fits you! Are you an A/B, a B/C, a D/A or an C/B? As always, call if you need help. Have fun!

Refreshing Your Home


                                    REFRESHING YOUR HOME FOR 2014


Here we are on the eve of a New Year and I thought it would be good to list the top 5 things I would do and that you can do to “Refresh” your home and make it sparkle or if you are thinking of selling these tips will help too. Most of these tasks are for a DIY’er especially if you are handy with tools, if not try painting and cleaning. Here are the 5 areas to focus on.

  1. Kitchen: If you have a laminate counter use a degreaser to clean the surface, if its granite clean and reseal. Shine the sink with a cleaner approved for the type of surface you have. If it’s not an undermount and it is past its prime consider installing a new sink in the same size so no other changes need to be made. The faucet can be replaced and a nice new higher arched style in chrome will brighten the counter, such as this Kohler-Cruette faucet. Stainless appliances can be polished to remove dull spots. Many appliance stores, such as Albert Lee, carry good products for cleaning. Painting can be done to freshen the walls and hide any grease and grime accumulated.  Product
  2. Bathrooms: Install a new modern light over the vanity and get rid of the outdated light bar. It might require some patching and painting but it is worth the effort. Change the faucet and keep the sink unless you really need a new countertop then an undermount sink can be added. If the room is small and the floor faded and worn it is fairly easy to install a new vinyl floor and is inexpensive, you do have to pull the toilet for this. You can also update the toilet by adding a new seat, some are self closing now. Again painting the walls makes a huge difference.
  3. Storage: Look at all those places in your home that are cluttered and see if there is a simple solution to organize the items. In the closet there are multiple types of closet storage systems. You can purchase through a hardware store or have it installed through a closet company, such as Organized Spaces. There are many metal shelf systems that you can use in the garage, available from Costco, Sam’s or a hardware store. We purchased some tall white cabinets with doors to hide the items from McClendon’s. Check under the stairs too and see what works best for storage there. Clean closets and toy areas to organize your favorite possessions. 
  4. Lighting: Good lighting makes a space really come alive so if you need to add can lighting to a bedroom or family room it can brighten the space. This might require a licensed electrician though. You can change out your lamps, get taller lamps, about 28-33”, and use white shades to allow the light to fan out, these are better for reading by beds and end tables. Also start learning about the types of bulbs available, new law requires the 40 and 60 watt bulbs to stop being produced this year. Now CFL’s, LED’s and Halogen will replace them.
  5. Spruce Up from the Outside in: When weather permits it is time to paint the front door and make it sparkle by adding new door hardware and a kick plate. Clean the entry porch and add colorful pots for future flowers. Add a new doormat. Make your home inviting at the entry. This is especially important if you plan on selling your home.*Just wanted to add that painting is listed more than once as it is the easiest, least expensive thing you can do to change or refresh a room.I hope these suggestions get your mind thinking about what you want to accomplish to “refresh” your home at the start of this year. Keep it simple, plan on one space at a time and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.                      You can do it! As always if you need help just give me a call.
Creating a Budget

Creating a Budget

Here we are coming to the last days of summer. I hope yours was enjoyable. We should still be able to count on some lingering summer weather to finish up our outside projects and fun. As September approaches and we go back inside it is time to think about projects that can be done before the holidays. Refreshing our spaces does not require custom ordering but if you are considering anything like new cabinets, furniture or draperies most of these items requires a 6-10 week lead time.

It seems like the biggest question my clients have is how to calculate a budget for their project.  What I try to do when we meet is go over the list of needs and then assign a dollar amount to it. For example a living room is going to need at least 2 chairs, a sofa, coffee table or ottoman, 1-2 end tables, extra’s are a TV cabinet, a rug and so on.

Step One: To create your budget, make a list of everything that is needed; don’t forget the small stuff like area rugs, lamps, artwork and some accessories.

Then assign an amount in a range of prices: sofa $1500-3000, chair $500-1500 and so on. You will want to spend the most money on the big ticket items and long lasting pieces. You can add in a lump sum for the accessories and lamps, ect as those can be added into the room slowly.

Step Two: Do some homework. Shop at retail stores or online and get a good idea of what your dollars will buy for certain items. Remember to always compare “apples to apples” an IKEA sofa will be less than a Lee sofa.

Step 3: Factor in some extra dollars for the unexpected. There will things like paint and wallpaper or millwork, either a repair is needed or some details added.

Step 4: Time- how much time will all this take and what is it worth to you. Do you want to do all the legwork or have someone help you?

This process works for rooms in a house but is more difficult with a kitchen or bath. But you can still get a good idea of costs by shopping for appliances, cabinets and hard surfaces. To calculate tile or granite costs add up the square foot price (Length x Width) it at least will give you an idea of whether you will do granite or laminate. It is difficult to know what labor costs will be without selecting some products and getting an estimate. But hopefully when someone comes to do a consultation, you won’t be completely unaware of what the costs will be. I have had people who want to spend $10,000-15,000 on a kitchen remodel when you can hardly do a basic kitchen for less than $25,000-30,000. I’ve also had a client tell me they wanted to do an entire room and window treatments for a $5000 budget. There is a lot you can do for a low budget but you can’t complete an entire room, maybe just buy some quality items that you can add onto later.Design-Photo's-188

I hope this will help you start to look at budgeting for your projects and if you need a little help just call and I can get you started.