Monday, October 18, 2010

Designers (including me) answer your questions

Q: What are the most important pieces of furniture to invest in?

A: Upholstered furniture—well-made sofas and chairs will last for many years.  If you select a classic silhouette,  it will never go out of style—you can pay a little extra for long-term comfort.  Good antique pieces hold their value over time,  so you can think of them as another form of investment.


A: Don’t  be afraid to spend money on your one-of-a-kind pieces like this one seen below, ( this beautiful console my client purchased. . . Restoration Hardware),  your art,  your vintage and antique pieces.  These are the things that will shine in your rooms and,  most likely,  endure.


A: A great sofa is always worth the investment;  it can last forever.


Q: What’s great advice for people who want to redo their homes but don’t know where to start or exactly what they want?

A: The best way to determine what you want is to look for things that appeal to you and compile them.  Tear out ( or copy) images from magazines:  go to show house,  house tours and open houses and take photographs; collect paint samples.  A trend will undoubtedly emerge.

A: Start with observation—purchase design magazines and visit the design section of a book store. 

Q: How does a person update a space with items she or he already owns?

A: Empty the spaces. . . clean, paint and refresh. . . then ask each element as it goes back into the space:  Is this making the space a better place?

Q: I would make a radical change to the background color of the space.  It will alter the appearance of everything else.  Then,  I would rearrange all of the principal Objects in a totally new relationship,  establishing a new focus.  After all that,  I would hide or sell the rest.

A: What colors are a challenge to use in interior design?

A: Blues.  I love blue,  but it can be tricky and requires professional help to get it right.  It looks different everywhere,  because so much blue is reflected from outside.

Q: How do you begin to design a home on a tight budget?

A: Start with master bathrooms and kitchens.  these are the rooms that you use everyday.  These are also the spaces that raise the value of your home when you sell it. Why not enjoy and invest your money well?



A: No matter what the budget: consider functionality,  what are your needs?  How do you spend your time?  How is your home used?  What is going to make this a better home for you?

Q: What should no room be without?

A: All rooms should have a signature item.  This could be a painting,  a sculpture,  an article of furniture,  an antique carpet or a fabulous light fixture.  A truly unique and high- quality piece will anchor and elevate the ambience of your entire room.


Q: What types of upholstery fabrics ( short of industrial) are the best for homes with pets?

A:We have been using a lot of the new outdoor fabrics: 100 percent solution-dyed acrylics.  They look great, and you can just wipe the dog drool off with a sponge.

A: I match the pet color to the upholstery and carpet.

Q: What’s an easy way to achieve stylistic continuity in a home?

A: Choose a theme,  whether modern,  English,  Moroccan, cottage,  French country,  whatever.  Try to buy things that are in relationship to this. 

A:People generally us too many colors and too many textures.  I generally choose one tone for the walls,  and one material for the floors and quite,  subtle changes in fabrics and textures.

A: Use a limited palette of materials—one or two varieties of wood,  stone ,  metal, etc.,  that can be used in very different ways,  but create a unifying theme.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Inspired By You


My blogging friend Kim Kelly - Creative Woman, Animal Advocate, Federal Agent wrote a post on her blog about the charming porch swing, seen below.

Kim Kelly - Creative Woman, Animal Advocate, Federal Agent

She found this swing, on Rachel Halvorson’s ( seen below) blog, The Nest Egg.

Kim this amazingly  talented lady,  plans to build one for her newly purchased southern home. Isn’t it dramatic!

The swing is made of reclaimed barn wood.

  Hummmmm. . .  lets see where would you find reclaimed barn wood?

I love the simple crisp white canvas against the two textured burlap pillows and distressed wood.


Yep, you guessed it guys. . .  I am truly passionate about making one of these stunning porch swings,  and I know just the guy that can help me. lol

It would be a dream to sit and chat with my close friends and relatives on this conversational piece.

Live happily today!




Sunday, October 10, 2010


Now that I am in the process of introducing and representing  my home accessory line,  I have selected a different area for marketing in Southern California each week. After spending most of the week creating and designing my line, I was anxious to bring it to market. I decided to take a short drive north to the beautiful town of Summerland in Santa Barbara County.  An affluent quaint beach neighborhood, nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the blue pacific ocean, with scenic coastal views of the Channel Islands. The enormous mountains seem to melt away into the ocean. . . . truly breathtaking! Oh, by the way did I mention it’s one of my favorite bargain-hunting  destinations for antiques.

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While walking around,  I noticed this newly opened store a little off the beaten path, [click here to enter Leanne’s website] Leanne Michael Florals and Interiors.   It immediately called to me,  when I glimpsed through the window, I saw this airy and inviting bright store.

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 Her store invites you in with charming window boxes, fountains and salvaged Italian architecture.



    Leanne Michael Interiors is perfect  for very chic antiques and striking French country decor.


Leanne,( cuddling her two boys? ) is a successful Interior designer, floral designer, business owner and a resident of Summerland, CA.  Once inside, she greeted me with big-time smiles and a warm friendly vibe. She has a cute, witty personality. Her shop has a very relaxed feeling.  She even plays trendy music. . .  I am now a big  fan of Lisa Presley . . . she rocks!


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Stretching from the front door to the back, it’s amazing the vivid color palette throughout the shop as well as her stunning antique collection. Be still my beating heart. The shop features a  massive French chandelier in the center of the space. It seriously makes me hyperventilate.  

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She used one of my grain sack jute pillows here to anchor this vignette. ( Click here to see more of my home accessory line.)

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I love this 11 ft. rich antique overstuffed sofa it was designed by Leanne,  fabrics are one of the passions of the designer – nothing is ordinary here.

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In this vignette she  paired my vintage linen pillow collection together and tastefully draped my jute table runner as a backdrop. It’s all balanced with soft faded colors from the hydrangeas. Leanne is so talented, I am humbled by this wonderful lady.



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Her floral designs are featured throughout the shop. She gathers natural elements by color and chooses one as the anchor.  She mixes vibrant fresh orchids in a French urn with unexpected succulents. Gorgeous!


club chair 009

This isn’t your typical floral arrangement.

Best wishes to Leanne at her new location.

To see all of Leanne's talents visit her website click here.