Design Tips | What To Consider Before a Design Meeting

Working with a designer can be scary and exciting all at once.  It requires taking a risk, a lot of trust & patience, and money.  The results are oftentimes worth the risk, wait, and cost but the entire time you're working with your designer, it's a two-way street.  It's a relationship that requires involvement from both parties in some form or another.  And if you want to get the most out of that relationship, it's important to be prepared from the beginning. 

The initial meeting with a designer is key.  There's a whole lot of information exchanged that can make a major impact the overall direction of your design and how the relationship functions.  As a designer, I can say that I've interacted with many people who feel that I should just be able to come up with a design that's perfect for them, fits within their budget, and meets their timeline requirements without them communicating their style, design needs, budget or timeline.  And while I do think I'm good at what I do, I'm not a I don't think any designer is a mind-reader, so we need your help.

There will be a few things that, even if you communicate with me as perfectly and clearly as possible, I still might fight you on, but I can promise I will do my best to work within your requests while still creating the best design possible for you.

All that being said, here are a few things to consider before an initial design meeting:

Who are the decision makers and are they all present?  Anyone who's going to have an input that matters to the design should be present.  And this is not just at the initial design meeting, it's at every meeting.  Otherwise, the dialogue that needs to happen about design decisions can't take place when everyone is present which will cause a set-back.

How and who is going to be using this space.  What are the major functions of it?  This will affect the type of furniture selected and furniture placement.  It also dictates style direction (more dressy or more casual).  


What type of lighting would you prefer to have in the space--keep the natural light, lots of can lighting, do you need more lamp lighting?  Will this be a space that you read in?  Lighting is super important to a space from a design perspective so it's important that your needs are met while we are able to address it on the style side too.


Storage?  While we're not personal organizers, we do want to streamline the look of your space.  If it's already cramped and dark feeling, we may want to eliminate some furniture however, we'll want to make sure your storage needs are still covered so we need to see all the stuff.


What's your style?  Yes, you have a style.  Everyone has a style.  You may not be able to put a name on it or a specific title, but you have design elements that you'd like to see or are drawn to and it's important to pinpoint those for your designer.  

What's your budget.  Yes, you have a budget.  Everyone has a budget. :)  You may not know exactly how much something like this costs, but you know your pocketbook and know what you're willing to spend on your home's interior so please, please, please, think about that factor.  Otherwise, everyone's time will be wasted.  

Like we said at the beginning, working with a designer is a relationship and is a two-way street so be prepared to hold up your end of the bargain.

Bathroom Trends | According to KBIS

The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show was held just recently here in Orlando.  Vendors, builders, designers, and tons of other professionals in the home industry attended to see all the new offerings available.  Since Kitchen & Bath is such a huge part of the interior design industry because....well, like we always say, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, this is a big deal event where many trends within the industry are displayed and forecasted.

According to this article in Houzz, there were a number of trends that presented themselves very prominently so we wanted to share these with you!

Just like in the kitchen, furniture style pieces are becoming popular in the bathroom as well.  While vanities have always been a necessity in a fully-functioning bathroom (that needs storage), many bathrooms have built-in cabinetry vanities. Now, according to what was shown at KBIS, many people are moving towards the wooden, furniture style vanity look that isn't necessarily built-in.  We've seen this style a lot in a number of the California Coastal homes that are covering the pages of Pinterest.


It's pretty much set that quartz is the preferred countertop for bathrooms.  The durability of it is hard to beat and the price is becoming more and more competitive.  Colors and movement has also increased in variety because so many different vendors are offering their version.  


Keeping colors neutral is still the trend for bathrooms according to KBIS.  Greys and whites haven't gone away yet and with the increasing availability of stone-look porcelain that has it's own grey veining, neutral colors blend well with these materials.  Black is popping up more and more, though, in vanity style and we think black is going to be the new neutral for cabinetry in 2018.


Shockingly enough, according to what was shown at KBIS, nickel is still holding it's own for faucet finishes.  Brass isn't gone yet but nickel is creeping back into the scene.  Many people are even mixing finishes in a bathroom using a nickel faucet with gold light fixtures.  The nice thing about nickel is that it mixes well with other finishes too, like bronze and even black. 


In other, less surprising news, under mount sinks and free standing bathtubs are still going strong in bathrooms.  The functionality of an under mount sink is hard to beat and it's always a clean look when coupled with a nice eased edge quartz.  Free standing tubs are holding their own to create that focal point in bathrooms that feels more like furniture and less like part of the floor.  There are also a huge variety of free standing tubs to pick from now, making it easier for consumers to incorporate it into their own homes.


Finally, and this is really the trend within interiors, LED lighting is super popular.  LED lights last longer, are more energy efficient and are much brighter which makes seeing yourself in the mirror much easier!

Overall, we're excited about the way kitchen trends are moving.  Some of it is more of the same holding it's own, but the design elements that are doing this are solid elements that make for a beautiful bathroom.


Upcoming Kitchen Trends | Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are a big deal in a kitchen...while the countertop and backsplash are the finishers, the cabinets are the foundation of the space that set the tone.  Shaker style kitchen cabinets have been the forerunner of cabinet styles for a long, long time now.  And honestly. we really don't think they're going away any time soon.  However, that doesn't mean there isn't room for other styles and trends in cabinetry to make their debut in the design world and hold some sort of position of preference! 

You all knew this was coming from Pinterest but cabinet colors are evolving even within the standard door front styles.  Instead of your typical white, espresso, grey, and medium-toned wood, colors like blue (in a variety of shades) are becoming popular too!  Some are being mixed with a neutral tone like white but in other kitchens, all of the cabinets are blue!


Two-tone cabinets are becoming very popular too---just the mix of different color uppers and lowers or an island that's a completely different color than the rest of the wall cabinets.  It all goes back to the discussion about making the kitchen (which is really a common gathering place) feel more like furniture in a family room.


Aside from blue, people are willing to take the risk and go even darker with their cabinets by using black.  This could be a matte black which goes more rustic modern or even a glossy black which is much more contemporary.  Either way, it's a huge statement and we love the impact it makes!  It can also easily be warmed up by mixing in a warm, natural wood tone.


Going back to the discussion on door front styles, a new trend called embossing will become more and more prevalent.  Embossed cabinets are slab front doors with an overlapping pattern.  Usually the pattern is the same color as the slab so it's more of a tone-on-tone look but can really add some interesting depth to cabinets.

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Instead of alternating solid fronts and glass inserts, mesh is becoming a popular cabinet front style.  It still provides coverage so what's in the cabinet doesn't have to look so pretty, but it's a way to add more texture to your cabinets and create something different.  Mesh doesn't have to be silver either, it could be a black, gold or copper mesh in a variety of weave thicknesses.  It just all depends on your style.


None of these things are earth shattering but they are just an example of the ways that kitchens are evolving.  As we've said over and over again, the kitchen is the heart of the home and the design of it should really be addressed with a lot of love and attention.

How To | Stair Landing Spaces

There are always those awkward areas in homes.  Places where builders don't help you out and maximize the space and you're left with unused square footage.  One of the main offenders in this space battle is the staircase landing.  Some staircase landings are exceptionally large and could really be made into useful space.  However, many people just don't know how to address them.  Today we're giving you a few ideas for ways to use that space.

Now a lot of it depends on the size of your landing so use whichever idea best fits your space....but there's a lot to be said for a cozy little window seat/reading nook at the top of the stairs.  It seems like this would be the perfect little greeting to anyone coming up the stairs and it's the perfect spot to set those items you need to bring down the stairs at some point but don't want to do right this second so you need a place to leave it until tomorrow morning... :)  This little window seat can be accomplished by a built-in bench with a cushion and pillows (never forget the pillows!) or a simple freestanding bench or daybed that fits the space well and serves the same purpose!


If you don't have a large space but want to do something with it, consider adding some built-in shelving.  Everyone could use some extra storage so if a space is going to be un-used, you might as well add some extra shelves, at the very least!


If you do have a little more area to work with, try setting up a desk and making a little workstation on that landing.  It doesn't have to be overkill...obviously you won't be spending hours and hours there...but it should look inviting and finished.

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If you really only have a wall and no floor space to build out into, use the wall!  Add a few hooks and shelves and create a mid-way mudroom for the kids.  If your home's floor plan has it where the entrance leads straight up the stairs without taking them through the mudroom, leave an area for them on the landing to hang their stuff.  Now, we'd be lying if we said you wouldn't have to go behind them and straighten it up, but it's still better than ending up on the floor, right?!

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Hope that helps!  Just a few quick ideas to make the most out of your space!

Throw Pillows | Selection and Styling

We love throw pillows...they're kindof a guilty pleasure for us.  There are always so many cool options available that we just want to find a way to use them all!  Some people get it and some people don't.  Men, for example, seem to think throw pillows are a hassle. Ha!  They just don't appreciate the beauty of a well-styled sofa.  Others get it (usually women :) ).  Throw pillows are a way to add color and pattern to a room and often are the textile that brings everything together in a space.  Layering them with different patterns, colors, and textures just seems to be that perfect finishing touch!  So today we're talking about the best way to select and style combinations of pillows.  It's meant to look effortless, but it really isn't (and you know this if you've ever tried to create your own mix), so hopefully these tips will be helpful as you freshen up your home for the new year!

The about throw pillows is that you don't want them to be matchy-matchy.  Mixing colors and patterns is the best way to make a piece of furniture come to life.  There should be some color overlap but not complete matching.  A little bit of matching color will help tie the pillows together even if they have slightly different styles.


Major mistake number one: matching your pillows to your sofa.  Gone are the days of pillows matching sofas.  Now the key to good design is making  different styles and patterns work together which is key when it comes to sofa styling.

Mix large patterns with small patterns to help the eye move over the furniture easily.  A bunch of pillows with just one pattern will look like a heavy, blocked piece of furniture.  If there is a variety of pattern sizes the eye can move swiftly over the entire piece of furniture appreciating the difference and how it all works together.  A lot of small patterned pillows can look busy and too many large patterned pillows can be overwhelming.  A little of each is the perfect blend.


Mix in textures and solids.  It's ok to have some solid colors in your pillow mix.  Every combination needs something solid to ground it, so don't feel like you've failed if you're putting solid colored pillows on your sofa.  The best way to make solid colored pillows more interesting is by mixing in pillows with different textures so that the different weaves create some depth without pattern.


A few extra tips about pillow selection:

Don't buy tiny pillows.  Usually anything from an 18"x18" pillow to a 22"x22" pillow is the best bet for layering.  


Don't use poly-filled pillows unless it's for a eurosham.  All sofa pillows should really be down filled or a poly-down blend.

Do use odd numbered pillows to layer.


Do have fun with your pillow styling!