Friday, September 25, 2009

Dreaded Decluttering

I get a lot of calls to consult with clients on Decluttering.  Clutter seems to be an American epidemic. Each home and client presents different needs and challenges when it comes to tackling their clutter, but there are some universal tips that I'd like to share, along with some great resources for those that need a little more help and inspiration.

Tip 1: Tackle your clutter in small chunks. Make a list of all the things that need to happen in a room and do one item per day. Or clear out one drawer or one shelf. While you might want to get the entire office clean and clear, tackling the whole room can quickly lead to burnout and kill your motivation. Take baby steps and reward yourself after each completion.
Tip 2: Everything you bring into your home must have a home. If you don't know where it will belong when you acquire it, it will probably end up in the pile on the desk, kitchen counter, or floor. If it doesn't have a defined home, don't bring it in.
Tip 3: When you get home and unload your stuff, or you finish using something, it must be put back in it's home, immediately. MUST  and IMMEDIATELY are the key words here.
Tip 4: All items you keep must be either Beautiful, Useful, or Sentimental. If it doesn't fall into one or more group, it  must go. Now, these feeling must be true.  If your friends say that lamp is beautiful, but you hate it or think it's too dim, then it's not truly beautiful to you. Toss it. Sure those skis are useful, but you haven't skied in 10 years and your knees are shot, and you don't really like the cold.  So those skis aren't truly useful to your life and how you really live. Donate them. Aunt Sally gave you that vase and even though you never liked it, you wouldn't want her to come over (10 years later) and not see it prominently displayed. That's not sentiment, that's guilt. Get rid of the item and that negative energy around it.

Here are some great articles full of tips and inspiration to keep you going.
Fight Household Clutter, from HGTV

4 Simple Tips for Decluttering Your Home, by

 Zen Habits is a great blog and has fantastic articles on clutter and organizing here are a few:
Zen Mind: How to Declutter
18 Five-minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess
15 Great Decluttering Tips
6 Simple Steps to Make Mail & Paperwork Painless

Monday, September 21, 2009

Favorite Things - Mini Mod furniture

The trend of ever increasing home sizes and the McMansions has been waning over the past several years, particularly in the Western US.  The focus is no longer that bigger must be better and we have shifted to focus on quality and lifestyle.  As a result, many of my clients are downsizing and we quickly find that the huge funriture of their past doesn't fit into the downsized home of their future.  Some manufactures are catching on to this trend and are scaling down their furniture.  One of my favorites in this area is the Mini Mod line by Rowe Fine Furniture. The sofas are 80" or shorter in length. The chairs are scaled down and easily movable. There are even modulars included in the collection. So cozy up in your smaller space and enjoy every square inch!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Value of an Interior Designer

I am often asked how much a design project will cost. Price seems to be the first thing that people think of when they think of Interior Design; "it must cost a lot, certainly it is too expensive for me". However, I have realized over and over during these conversations that the inquirers don't know what they are purchasing when they choose to work with a design professional. So I wrote a quick educational piece to help those that may be on the bubble, considering hiring a Designer. Let's call it a "product description" for Interior Design Services.

Benefits of Working with an Interior Designer

The thought of hiring an Interior Designer can be intimidating and seems “expensive”. The truth is that a trained design professional can save you time, money and help you create the room of your dreams.

A designer will

  • save you money by avoiding costly mistakes and bad purchases
  • save you time by doing the legwork for you
  • find innovative and unique solutions to your specific problems and needs
  • spend time focusing on the details, which is the difference between a room that is OK and a room that makes you feel alive
  • make you aware of other choices available and give you the confidence to try something new
  • make the most of what you already have
  • have access to products beyond the chain retail stores, and tried and tested contractors and craftspeople
  • manage & coordinate the work, contractors, and stress of a design project

A well designed space looks like you spent more money than you did; it is pulled together with thought and coherence, and comfortable for your family and lifestyle. This is your home and the design, good or bad, will live there with you for many years.

Working with an Interior Designer

Working with a designer is a collaborative relationship, not one of superior and subordinate. It is important that you have trust and confidence in the designer that you choose for your project. A successful project relies on open communication between client and designer. You should feel free to voice your opinion on all decisions.

Before meeting with your designer, take time to define your likes, dislikes, and ideas. Communicate your ideas with your designer, but keep an open mind; remember your designer is there to help you enhance your style and take it to a new level.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Favorite Things - Berman Rosetti Tables

Berman Rosetti has beautiful tables. It's just that simple. Dining, coffee, console... all beautifully handcrafted with wonderful materials. Here is a small sampling of the options. For more visit All Berman Rosetti products can be purchased locally through the John Brooks showroom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inspiring Images - Istanbul

Istanbul is a wonderfully colorful and vibrant city. From the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sofia, to the ships and sea or local bakery and night life, loads of inspiration can be found there.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Favorite Things - Effervescence Mosaic Tile

You already know my attraction to polka dots and luxury items. Here is a tile that blends them beautifully - the Effervescence tile from Artistic Tile.
"Glass and marble blend beautifully in a contemporary and sophisticated yet whimsical mosaic with an interlocking random bubble pattern that provides for a seamless installation on an interior wall or floor. Custom colorways are available on a special order basis."
I love it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Favorite Things - Art Glass

I love art glass. The way the colors change with the light, or intertwine with the design is stunning. Whether in a bowl, glassware or objet d' art, art glass is a great addition to any design scheme. Here are some extra colorful pieces from The Artful Home. Enjoy!

Sunrise Dish by Robert Woldow

Candy Paperweight by Paul D. Harrie

Shimmy Autumn Glass Basket by Jim Vollmer

Italian Line Boat by Kathleen Ash

Spotted Bottles by Ken Hanson

Round Stepping Stone by Ed Edwards

Tutti Frutti Wine Powder Twist Goblets by Robert Dane

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The most common design "mistake"...

...pushing all the furniture against walls, regardless of the shape of the room.
I see this all the time and I'm often called in on these rooms because my clients are unhappy with the feel and flow of the space. My number one tip: arrange the furniture in comfortable seating configurations and not against the walls.

Below are several before and after photos from a few clients. You will see the before images with furniture forced against walls and lacking comfortable conversation areas or even proper views to the television. The after rearrangements focus on comfortable rooms and logical seating arrangements, which pulls the furniture away from the walls.




Try moving your furniture away from the walls. Does it revive your space; make you want to spend more time there? If you are worried about the furniture feeling like it's "floating", add an area rug to anchor the space. Try it for at least 48 hours to know how you truly feel about it.


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