Interior Design Made Easy

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Weekly Design Tip

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Do you have a low ceiling?  When you’re trying to add height to a room continue the color of your wall paint onto the ceiling or use a vertically striped wall covering or window treatment to help give the illusion of height!

DESIGN TIP OF THE WEEK

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Use wallpaper in unexpected places: on the ceiling, in a paneled room, in closets, hallways and small foyers.  A great pattern or texture is an innovative way to add character to any room!

Design Tip of The Day!

Don’t install carpet wall to wall in a narrow hall or staircase. Instead, install the carpet as a runner and leave at least a 3” border on both sides to make the space seem wider! 

First Signs of Spring: The Daffodils and Crocuses are Blooming

After a long winter the daffodils and crocuses are blooming!   They come at the same time that most people are moving forward on home projects that have been put off after long winters.   Some of these are my clients, which I will call my daffodils and crocuses…:)

 Now let’s take a look at some of the projects that the first sign of Spring motivates us to do.  

With all of the trees and flowers starting to bloom, the curb appeal of your home might be at the top of your list.   The short plan might be to freshen up some flowerbeds, add lighting to your paths, and touch up areas that need painting… ex: railings, entrance doors.   For anyone interested in doing a major exterior landscape project, this would be the time to get started!

Brighten up your rooms with Spring colors.   Maybe my daffodils and crocuses have wanted to change the paint color in a room.  Changing wall colors, sofa pillows or window treatments to brighter colors can transform the feeling of cold winters to warmer and brighter days ahead.   To help achieve a lighter-look use cotton, linens, and silks in neutral colors such as whites, creams and softer pastel shades.  A light colored sisal rug is a nice change to lighten up a floor for the season.

Many of my daffodils and crocuses are motivated to change and de-clutter at this time of the year—-Sometimes in preparation for their upcoming project.   Don’t be afraid to toss anything that you haven’t used in a long time.   Some areas to de-clutter, which we often forget about, are:  The junk drawer…. I know you have one :) , the top shelf of your closet, the linen closet, and the bathroom vanity.   Do all of this after you clean out the shelves in your office, the garage, and the bottom of your closet….haha

You can also lighten the mood by using materials and accessories inspired by nature, such as woven fabrics, grassy plants, pottery.

If you need help getting started with your Spring project, call Karen at Comfort by Design today!

Planning A Renovation? How Your Designer and Project Manager Can Help

The Holidays have passed and there are two things many of us start thinking about when things start to settle down.   How do I take off those excess pounds :) and how to start planning my Spring Renovation and Design for my home.

For those of you who are daunted by the prospect of starting any size renovation here is how your designer/ project manager can help.

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Create your plan.

Creating your plan is the first step.  You will decide on a realistic budget and whether a small or large renovation is in your future.  Your plan may consist of decorating one room, decorating and moving a wall or two, renovating a bathroom or kitchen, an expansion, or all of the above.   An interior designer/project manager should be consulted at the beginning of this process to make sure you don’t make any costly design mistakes once your renovation begins.   The following bullet points are some items your designer/project manager will be doing on your behalf.

  • If walls are being moved, then an architect is needed.  Your designer will review structural space planning with you and your architect to make sure all your design needs are met.
  • Furniture and electrical plans are necessary early on.  Once your renovation begins, the electrician will need to know where to run wires for overhead and task lighting, where outlets and switches are needed, and if there will be any mood lighting.  Lighting is directly correlated with your furniture and cabinetry placement. 
  • Set a realistic budget.  A review of items that will need to be purchased and a plan to stay close to that budget will be discussed.
  • Establish the timeline you would like and incorporate that into your decision process for the contractor.
  • Hire the right Contractor.  Your Project Manager can help you sift through proposals and together you will decide who is the best fit.
  • Your designer will help you with all of your design decisions and purchases in a timely fashion.  Example:  electrical and plumbing fixtures, tile, appliances, door styles, and door lock sets.  Many of these items have long lead times, taking 6 to 10 weeks to arrive.
  • Your designer/project manager will be there when needed to oversee and answer any design question that may come up.  Example:  How high should the shower head go? How will the tile be laid out?
  • Test paint colors.  It seems like a minor detail, but paint jobs are expensive.  Choosing your colors and coordinating a paint schedule for the painters must be done in a timely fashion.  The benefit of having a project manager that is also an interior designer is that your color scheme is already being worked on, and beautiful they will be!            

 Following the Code.

Before undertaking any remodeling project (interior or exterior), find out which permits are necessary.  Check with your local building department or municipality.  Some towns have architectural review boards that must approve your plans.  Without their okay, you could be slapped with hefty fines.

For additional tips on a successful renovation such as: budgets, timeline, responsibilities, punch lists, etc. you may contact Comfort By Design of N.Y. 

Comfort by Design of NY is available for the smallest to the largest project, coordinating all aspects of the design process without a flaw, regardless of the scale of the project. The Comfort by Design of NY team is comprised of the finest interior designers/project managers, architects and contractors, all of whom contribute to your projects success.  If you need help planning your project, give us a call at (631) 351-4673.

Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year.  All the best to you, your family, and your organization!

Choosing The Right Window Treatment

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Choosing the right window treatment for your room can be a scary thought for most people. Here are some tips to help you make a window treatment design decision that you will be happy with for a long time to come.

To start, let’s understand that there are up to three different layers of treatments that can be used…  Starting from the inside and working your way out you can use shades, then sheers, and finally, the soft window treatment and/or cornice, which are made of fabric.  It is your choice to use one or all three for your window. 

To begin, the function of the window needs to be taken into consideration.  Do you get a lot of light from this window?  Is there a view you would like to be able to continuously see?  Do you need privacy?  The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your options.   

If you would like privacy and/or to darken a room, your first layer- the shade- is the one you will most likely need. The latest trend is toward woven bamboo shades.  Although they don’t offer the ability to open and close like traditional blinds for semi-visibility, they do offer a top down - bottom up feature, which will let sunlight in and still give the privacy needed.  Some shade options are wooden blinds, roman shades or roller shades.

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If you’re looking for semi transparency one option is to use a sheer panel window treatment.  These are a bit more formal and generally used in the living room, dining room or bedroom.  The sheer window treatment has been mostly thought of as traditional in the past, however, there are great trendy sheer fabrics available these days for the transitional to modern home!

Your soft window treatment, which is the final layer, is the drapery and valance.  Depending on the size of the window, this treatment will be a focal point and add warmth to any room.  Some options are long panels hung on a decorative rod, a cornice, or swags and jabots. Add some tassels for a special touch.

 

 For more answers to your questions on window treatments, please contact Comfort by Design of NY  at Karen@comfortbydesignofny.com   

The Process of a Kitchen Design

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Throughout my years as an interior designer I have been faced with many questions from my clients that are renovating their kitchen… Should I go with dark cabinets or light?  Do I pick the floor or the counter first?  The backsplash or the countertop first?  Center Island or Peninsula?  And what kind of hardware do I pick for my cabinets?  In the next few paragraphs I will address all concerns you may have when beginning a major kitchen renovation.

The biggest decision there is to make for your kitchen renovation will be the style you want your kitchen to reflect.  Usually it’s best to start searching through kitchen magazines and even filing pictures you like months before the project begins so that your designer can get a feel for what you like.   It may be country, modern, classic, traditional or a personal style in between.    Your color and door choice should be narrowed down once your style is chosen.  These choices should take priority in the decision making of your design plan, as this will be the focal point of your kitchen. 

In choosing your style, take a look around your home.  Determine whether you will be staying with the present design style in the rest of your home or whether this is due for a change also.  My suggestion is to blend the two styles so that there is a flow throughout your home.  

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The next important phase is planning the space.  This includes sketches, space planning, preliminary floor plans and elevations that will show the layout and cabinet sizes.  Your appliances should be chosen before the schematics are done for appropriate space planning.

Your designer can also help you determine proper lighting at this point.  Placement of high hats, task lighting, and island lighting will need to be determined before the walls are closed up and cabinets are installed.

Determining the floor is also high on the priority list.  There are many choices today!! Tile, wood, laminates are just a few.  If you have a strong preference for flooring material then this decision should be made after cabinets.  Your designer can help you determine the combination of colors that work best.  A little contrast can add some punch.   Sometimes the floor and counters are coordinated and then a backsplash is chosen afterward.  Or sometimes a backsplash is made a secondary focal point and is chosen first.  These are the final details your designer can help you with in order to pull together the kitchen of your dreams.  

For more design tips for your kitchen renovation, please email Karen@comfortbydesignofny.com 

Make Your Home *Sparkle* for the 4th of July!

Summer is upon us, and the Fourth of July holiday opens the summer season with opportunity for BBQ’s, outdoor dining and just simply relaxing outside.  I’d like to share some ideas on how to make your outdoor living space SPARKLE for the 4th..

If I were to think of a few ways I would tell my clients to add POP to their outdoor space, I would say COLOR and LIGHTING.

Cushions, pillows, placemats, and flowers all afford the benefit of changing and adding a new and exciting look for the holiday.   Don’t be afraid to replace your everyday cushions and placemats with brightly colored chair cushions, or even just a few pillows. They can be purchased inexpensively at a variety of Home stores.   Coordinate your placemats, napkins or outdoor glasses with your cushions to tie it all together.

Cut some flowers from your colorful garden to use as a centerpiece for your finishing touch!

 As the sun sets and your guests continue to enjoy the wonderful touches you’ve provided for their enjoyment, your lighting will add another dimension to the evening.   Whether it’s to stay and party the night away, or to settle in with some after dinner drinks and desserts, there are many lighting touches that can work.  Some of these are: torches placed around the perimeter of your patio or deck, or running a string of lighting along the length of your house.  Use up lighting under your trees and patio planters and hang a few lanterns under your umbrella. Your guests will appreciate the extra effort you’ve put into making their visit a memorable one!

The Foyer Sets the Stage

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In my last newsletter I discussed how curb appeal is the exterior entryway into your home and how first impressions are lasting.   As we move through the exterior entrance to the entrance of the interior of your home we come upon the FOYER.  It is the Foyer that sets the stage for the feeling of what is to come.

Here are some tips on how to make your guests want to see more…

Give your foyer the importance that you would to your favorite room.  Design with intention.  Start with the floor and continue up to the ceiling.  

In smaller homes continuing your foyer flooring to adjacent rooms (preferably that do not have breaks in the doorways) will help your foyer seem larger upon entering, as the rooms will appear to flow together.  You may define the foyer space by adding a border.  In a large foyer it is not necessary to keep the same flooring throughout, I suggest just keeping the flow with floors that work together.

You may not be a fan of wall covering, however, if you were going to add some punch to your entrance, a great design of wall covering is the way to go.  

You will find that moldings add a nice finish to your foyer.  Trim your doorways along with your base and crown moldings to give your foyer the character it deserves.

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Warm up the space with a piece of furniture.   A small or medium sized chest under the stairway or a round pedestal table centered under a great chandelier really adds character.

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Don’t underestimate the importance of your stair rail.  It can be treated as a piece of artwork.  There are many choices of spindles, wood or iron to choose from and is an important accessory.  Oh yes, let’s not forget the accessories.  What I call the jewelry of your home.  These are your finishing touches that no room should be without…Including the Foyer!