Last week, I was contacted by the Patriot News, our local newspaper here in Harrisburg, for an interview on a story about Home Design Trends for the New Year. I, of course, was happy to help and therefore participated in a phone interview with a reporter from the Patriot. Well, today the article was published on the front page of the Life section of the newspaper! Yay! Check it out below. The images aren't the best, I know. I snapped them on my iphone (which is due for an upgrade)!
Overall, I am really excited to be featured in such a big way and, of course, get some exposure for our design studio and hopefully reach out to people who may not know about us and our services. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% pleased with the article content, but that's just probably the perfectionist and control freak in me, ha. I think with the nature of interviews, and specifically phone interviews, things often get misunderstood, misquoted or taken out of context - which happened in this case. Bummer.
Nonetheless, I know it's an awesome opportunity, and I am grateful!
So, I've copied the article below (reformatted for the blog) for those of you who can't pick up the Patriot today. You'll also see that I've striked through the quotes that were misquoted or misunderstood.
This Year, Home Design is all About You!
Wondering what the hot home design trends will be for 2012? The answer, at least in some instances, is whatever you want it to be.
"2012 is going to be an eclectic mix. It's not going to be something that's very definable," said interior designer Valerie Betz of StudioVB, at 218 Verbeke St. in Harrisburg (studiovbdesign.com). "It's not going to be
this style or this country. It's more about taking a deviationand being more eclectic."
Still, Betz did note a number of home trends appearing on the horizon.
Being green in the home was a big trend last year and will continue to stay popular in 2012 according to Betz.
"Green design crosses the entire gamut of products used in the home or in decorating your home," she said. "It's everything from
how the flooring is laid out to how it's painted. It's huge, up and coming and hopefully will be here to stay."
Most green design involves using furniture or other products that produce less waste in the manufacturing process or use more rapidly renewable materials like bamboo or cork (instead of, say, mahogany, which doesn't grow back as quickly).
Part of this trend includes using "reclaimed" materials, such as wood from a salvage yard or an old building, which can then be incorporated into new furniture or accessories. "A lot of designers are making new furniture out of reclaimed wood to give their work a rustic charm," Betz said.
Instead of picking an item out of a catalog or buying factory made matching furniture set, more and more homeowners are selecting items that match their own unique personal tastes, Betz said.
"I think clients and homeowners are leaning toward wanting to express themselves and are less about what's hot right now or what's in the catalog," she said. "It's more, 'I like this unique piece' or 'I want to hang my own artwork' versus what's in stores."
That can take many different forms, from hand-painting a dresser or vase (a new coat of paint could revive an old piece of furniture) to making throw pillows out of fabric scraps.
Not everyone is going D.I.Y. though. Those less inclined to be crafty are simply purchasing handmade items that appeal to them on websites such as Etsy. It's more about finding a look that reflects your own individual tastes rather than being able to to make your own pottery. "It's about looking for that one of a kind
thing," Betz said.
The continued growth of the Internet has expanded the reach of many designers, according to Betz, as they are now able to offer their services to clients that traditionally might not have
been able to afford them.
Using videoconferencing tools such as Skype, interior designers can provide concepts, plans and ideas to help homeowners get started on a project that they can then create on their own time and within their own budget. Because there's no travel involved and the designer isn't taking on the whole project, the cost for their services is much lower.
"It's making design more affordable and accessible," she said.
Along with stainless steel appliances, open-area kitchens continue to be a trend, Betz said. More and more people are opening up their kitchens to the other areas of their house so they can visit and talk with their guests while cooking.
Gray is the New Beige
Beige was the big neutral color for a long time, but gray is starting to push it aside, particularly when it's paired with rich colors such as mustard,
golden yellow,violet or turquoise. The idea is to use colors that pop out and provide a striking contrast when paired with gray.
New Seating Styles
Puffy, overstuffed, bulky chairs are out. In their place, Betz said, are lower and more streamlined or tailored seats. "It's more
casual and comfortable," she said.
Wallpaper is Back
Decades of bad patterns have scared many homeowners away from it, but a wave of bold patterns and textures are pushing wallpaper back to the forefront. "It's taken awhile to convince clients, but definitely higher-end houses and designers are using wallpaper," Betz said.
Well, there you have it!
And, if you were inspired to update the design of your home utilizing some of the current design ideas and trends described in the article, feel free to contact us! Also, the article only included a handful of the design trends I discussed, so maybe I'll post about some others in the coming weeks.
Working with a client this afternoon on light fixture selections for the first floor of their home, I got to thinking that this is one area where clients often get lost. Now, I'm not saying that these particular clients are lost; in fact, they have actually been doing their homework on all the many things to consider when choosing, purchasing and installing light fixtures. But, because light fixtures can be such a difficult thing, I thought I'd share some designer insights that might be beneficial. So here they are!
Top 5 Things to Consider with Lighting
- Fixture Type/Usage First thing's first, what type of light fixture does your space call for? A ceiling pendant, table lamp, recessed light, wall sconce, floor lamp, or a combination thereof. And, what do you intend to use this space for and, therefore, how will you use the light fixture? For reading, cooking, putting on makeup, mood lighting, overall room lighting, or just for added decoration. With this first consideration, you'll need to answer the above questions and also think about how often you'll use the fixture, at what time of day, etc. This will make the following considerations easier.
- Light Quantity and Quality Next thing to do is, based on the usage determined first, decide how much light you'll need and what feel you want that light to produce. Do you want lots of bright light? Or, do you want soft diffused lighting? This where you'll consider wattage, number of bulbs, incandescent of fluorescent, desired mood, soft or hard lighting, direct or indirect lighting, etc.
- Scale and Proportion Once you have decided what kind of fixture and what kind of light you need, it's time to determine the appropriate size of that fixture. The first question to ask regarding scale and proportion is - How big is the intended space? You can only choose a light fixture that will actually fit in your space. However, that isn't the only size consideration you have. There is a real design decision to be made here. What impact do you want this light fixture to have? Is this a statement (or focal) piece? Or, is this a more functional piece that you want to meld into the rest of the design of the room? Playing with scale is a great tool designers use to add interest and drama to a space.
- Style After you've tackled all the major requirements, you get to the fun part! What style is the light fixture going to be? Again, you'll have to remember its usage and its scale, and whether it's decorative or functional (or hopefully both); but, ultimately, it could be any style you wish, from a really clean, modern, simple fixture to a very traditional and overly decorative fixture. This will be dictated by your style, of course, and the style of your space! Make it work seamlessly with the rest of the design. Also, when choosing the style, you will also have other choices regarding the look of the fixture like color, finish, shade style, etc.
- Placement And, before you can call it done, you must think about the final perfect placement of your fixture. This consideration is really taken into account early on as well, but it's key in the installation process. Exactly where should your fixture be hung, mounted or placed? At what angle or position, and at what height or width apart? It's best to think about lines of sight and any specific axis used in the space. You know, consider if it should be centered on a window, in line with another fixture, at the appropriate standing or seated height, etc.
So, next time you are thinking about switching out a light fixture or adding a new one, first think about these Top 5 Things. There are, of course, several other things to consider with any design element, such as budget, timeline, etc. But this list should get you started and hopefully have you selecting the LIGHT choice, and not the wrong choice!
Images from today's post can be found on DecorPad.
Our last post showed the beginnings of a window cornice DIY project, but we hadn’t showed you the how-to or the result. So, that’s what we are blogging about today. If you’ve got a window that needs a little love, a quick and easy project, that will add some dynamic interest to your space, is just what the design doctor ordered. Okay, that was cheesy, I know!
Anyway, to get started on the project, first you need supplies, right? So, here is a list of what you need (what we used), most of which you probably have lying around the house somewhere.
- a lovely fabric (we only used a yard and a half, bonus!)
- batting (same length)
- a few pieces of wood (you can even use scrap wood, we did!)
- a tape measure
- saw (we used a jig saw)
- spray adhesive
- staple gun and staples (light duty works fine)
- and L-brackets
Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to cornice creation!
Upholstered Window Cornice How-to
- Determine the dimensions. This is a personal design choice and is totally up to you. But, here are a few tips! The cornice should be slightly wider than the window casing, as it will need to fit around it. It can be as tall as you’d like it to be, but just remember to conceal the unsightly window treatment mechanisms (after all, that’s the true purpose of a window cornice). And I would make the depth of the cornice at least 4 inches; again, it will need to allow room for the window casing and any window treatment mechanisms such as the brackets, blinds, rod, etc.
- Construct the cornice frame. This is where you'll use the wood, tape measure, pencil, saw, drill and screws. Measure out the dimensions you’ve determined onto the wood and use an accurate saw to cut into four pieces – the face of the cornice (the biggest piece), two side pieces, and a top piece.
- Cut and wrap the batting. Once you have the cornice constructed, lay out the batting and cut the appropriate amount to cover all three visible sides of the cornice.
Then, wrap it pretty snug the whole way around. The batting really only needs spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, but you can always use the staple gun just to be sure.
- Upholster the cornice. Now that the frame and batting are ready, you can start the upholstery part. Yay! Measure twice and cut once the appropriate amount of fabric to cover all three visible sides of the cornice, just like you did with the batting. Quick tip – if your fabric has a pattern (like ours did), make sure you line up the fabric on the cornice to ensure that the finished product will show the portion of pattern you really want. And if it’s striped, you really need to pay attention to aligning it so that the stripes are straight!
Now, it's time for the best, and hardest, part. Start in the center of the cornice. Wrap the fabric and staple one staple on each side, pulling the fabric pretty tight. Work your way outward from there, alternating sides to ensure the face of the cornice is evenly smooth. Do this for the entire cornice. As you come to the sides of the cornice, you may want to cut some of the excess fabric as needed.
Here's how it should look when you complete this step!
- Attach L-brackets to the wall. While you are marveling at the beauty of the cornice you’ve just created, prepare the wall for it to be hung. About ¼ of the way in from the outsides of the window casing, screw in two L-brackets that your cornice will rest on.
- Attach the top frame piece. The top board of the cornice does not need to be upholstered since it will not be visible when hung. Slide the top piece in about ¾ inch down from the top. Make sure you know which is top and bottom, you don’t want to end up hanging the cornice upside-down. Once the top piece is in place, attach it to the upholstered cornice with very small screws (that won’t reach through to the pretty face of the cornice) with small L-brackets (we actually used the same size ones we attached to the wall to hang the cornice).
- Hang the cornice, and voila! Slide the cornice into place above the window and reach up under the cornice (it will probably be a tight squeeze) to screw in small screws through the L-brackets that are on the wall, into the top piece of the cornice. That's it!
So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Does it seem easy enough? Did it improve the look and style of the window?
Well, what really matters is that we love it. And we do! It added that extra layer that was missing. Now, we only have to add a few (or more.. haha) layers - we're thinking backsplash, lighting, etc. We'll be bringing you more DIY projects soon!
So, I mentioned in a recent post that I had picked up a great fabric that I just happened to find (while not looking for it.. bonus!). But I hadn’t told you much more than that. So, this post will fill you in! First, here are few pics of the lovely fabric!
While I would probably say my style is more modern than traditional, I would rather say I’m eclectic! To me, it doesn’t necessarily matter the style of something, but more so if you like it and/or if it works within your space. And, that’s where this fabric comes in. It’s sort of a modern take on a traditional pattern – so it’s very crisp and clean but has a bit of whimsy. Also, the color palette is quite current/modern and, while it has many colors, it reads very subtle, and that’s just what I love about it.
Anyway, as soon as I saw the fabric hanging from the store rack, I envisioned it in our kitchen. Every color in this fabric feels like it belongs in our muted blue-green and light ivory kitchen. And although I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring this fabric into the space at that moment, I knew I’d find a purpose. Fabrics can be used in endless ways to layer a room!
Here are a few pics of the fabric in the space. See how seamlessly it works with the kitchen color scheme and how it starts to pull the space together. Love it!
Anyway, after tossing around a few ideas for this fabric in this space (ie. upholstered cork board, upholstered window cornice, café-style window treatments, table runner, etc.), we decided that while we already have the white wooden blinds for privacy on the window above our kitchen sink, it definitely needed another layer!
Here’s a few shots of the window with just the blinds!
Needs some interest right? So, we decided to go with the cornice idea! It’s an easy DIY project, yet it will add a ton of sophistication and style!
Check back soon for our handy how-to and the final result!
So, I’ve mentioned before that on our blog we hope to share with you our design ideas, projects, etc. Well, we will definitely be sharing what we can of our client projects, but we’re also happy to share the design journey of our own home. So, we thought we’d give you some background, or point of reference, on our happy little home before we would delve into any details in the future. So, here goes. Logan and I bought our first house here in midtown Harrisburg about a year and a half ago (wow, seems like just yesterday - time flies!). Like many house hunting stories, we saw the home listed for sale and called the seller to schedule a time to view it. We were told it was in mid-renovation, but we could definitely come check it out. Being the DIYers that we are, and knowing that we could see the potential in anything, we decided to go see the home. Here is what we walked into that day - an over 100 year old city home that had just begun a much needed renovation (forgive the picture quality, it was dusty and dark in some areas).
So, as you can see, we had to use our imaginations quite well to envision this as our home. But, we did, and the ideas were already swarming. I remember standing in what is now our master bedroom whispering to Logan, “I think this is the one!” After months of house hunting, and coming oh-so-close to deciding on another home, we were extremely excited about finding this place. It was in the perfect location, the perfect price and being a blank slate only made the deal more perfect. So we made an offer while there were only studs for walls, it was accepted and we bought the house! We were so excited to finally own our home and have the opportunity to make it ours.
So, over the following 2 months or so, we would travel back and forth from NYC to visit the house, make design decisions and see its renovation progress - so much fun! Eventually, we moved into the house, and began the seemingly never ending journey of designing the spaces, choosing color schemes, finding the right pieces, and working on projects to make this house our home. Well, I’m sad to say that we have unfortunately only made baby steps (in my opinion), okay maybe toddler steps, with so many other things going on and little time and budget allotted for our own home. But, I suppose since I claimed I hadn’t made a New Years resolution, focusing on finishing the design of our home would be a good one. We'll be sure to post any progress!