The View From Your Windows

The View From Your Windows

When designing a home, every little detail is important. For instance, when selecting elements for the exterior of your home, like outdoor furniture and landscaping selections, you might love the colors and how everything looks on the exterior when you are standing outside. However, when standing inside your home viewing the exterior elements from within your home, the color selections might not work well with the interior selections of your home.

If you were a client of mine, you might’ve heard me say that windows and the view from your home create artwork for your interiors, and the view from your home or room should influence what goes on inside your space. A very bold exterior view should be treated like a piece of artwork in a room as it will significantly influence your interior.

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Precisely the reason why when you see the interior of a beautiful beachfront property, you often see watery pastel tones and shades of blue and white, creating a seamless field of color blending indoor and outdoor. This also expands the perception of the size of the space. That’s not to say that you can’t use a different colors scheme outside, but the overall look should be harmonious. For those of us who are not living on a beachfront property, our views might be more of a mix of greens reflecting landscaping selections, grays browns, and blacks reflecting a cityscape. What you’re trying to avoid is a jarring mismatch of color.

You could take it a step further if you want to create a seamless view from indoors and outdoors by selecting plants and flowers in colors that look great or that complement your interior color scheme. But remember everything does not need to be the same indoors and outdoors, just complementary, and that your view might change from season to season. There are no hard and fast rules. Depending on your home, view, and how much glass you have in each room, the importance of the exterior selections could vary. In large rooms with lots of glass, this could be an essential design element easily overlooked. What do you see when you look out your windows, and how does it influence the room you are standing in?

Until Next Time,
Gia

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Tips For Starting Out Fresh In A New Home

Tips For Starting Out Fresh In A New Home

As an interior designer, I’ve had the privilege of assisting numerous clients in getting settled into a new home. Whether that is an existing client or a new client, people consider hiring a designer to figure out their new spaces. It’s an exciting time to start fresh, but it could be a monumental task. Not only are you weary from the process of shopping for a home, buying the home, and packing. You now have to think about how you’re going to use that new space and how it will work for your family.

The design of the new home might be very different from your existing space. And you might not have spent a lot of time in this new home as of yet, so it can be hard thinking about how you want to use the different areas and how they will function for you. You also might be thinking about how you can use existing furniture pieces in your home. Do you need to buy new things? Will your area rugs fit in your new furniture arrangement? What about window treatment? If you have time, should you attempt any projects before moving in? These are questions that run through every homebuyers head when thinking about making that transition to a new property.

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ONE

Thoroughly document your new home. Take photos and measure rooms; look at the existing condition in the new home so that you can make a plan before you move. Create a plan of where things will go and what needs to be done in each space. This will help you wrap your head around the numerous tasks that need to be accomplished before transitioning to your new home.

TWO

Decide how you want your daily life to function differently in your new space. Perhaps you have a larger kitchen in your new home and want to new space to be more of the heart of your home. Will that kitchen function the way you need to function as is, or are there other changes you will need to make in the space. The kitchen is one of those areas where numerous tasks are performed daily. Additional space in the kitchen, a larger room, doesn’t always add up to a more functional kitchen. Think about what you are trying to accomplish in your new home and whether or not it could be done with the existing kitchen, or you might require a renovation.

THREE

Look at the storage in your new home. Again larger spaces don’t necessarily add up to better storage. You might have to rethink the way that you store things in your new home. For instance, your existing home might have a large linen closet. Your new home might be larger but without a needed linen closet. You might have to make up for that storage by adding a closet or a piece of furniture that will function as that much-needed linen in storage.

FOUR

Involve a pro before you make expensive mistakes. The most common costly mistakes are jumping into a renovation without a design, purchasing random pieces of new furniture without a well-thought-out plan, selecting new paint colors before you know what will be in the space. These are just a few examples of mistakes that new homeowners make in the early stages of homeownership. It’s understandable because it can be exciting to anticipate moving into your new space, and you want to design and decorate as quickly as possible to settle into your new home. Time taken to review and think out an overall design plan could save thousands of dollars and could produce a more remarkable result in the end.

FIVE

Once you move into your new space, it might feel and function differently than you initially thought it would. Don’t rush to make significant floor plan changes before moving into space, or at least until spending a considerable amount of time in the space.

Until Next Time,
Gia

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Selecting The Right Paint Finish For Your Project

Selecting The Right Paint Finish For Your Project

You’ve spent weeks or months agonizing over selecting a paint color only to realize that you have another decision to make. What finish do you want your paint to have? The finish is important because the paint finish or sheen that your finished paint project has is just as important as the color selection. Paint comes in all types of finishes, a flat or matte finish, a pearl finish, eggshell finish, semi-gloss finish, and high-gloss finishes. Depending on the brand of paint that you are using, those finishes could be called by numerous other names and can be broken down into different finishes.

For instance, Benjamin Moore has a flat finish and an eggshell finish. Somewhere between that falls their pearl finish, slightly less sheen than the eggshell, somewhat more sheen than the flat. All of these various finishes can be used to create a different result. If I wanted a wall to have a more velvety look and texture, I would choose something with less of a sheen. If I were painting a room filled with new custom cabinetry, I might opt for more of a sheen in my finished paint. The cabinets will reflect more light and give you a much different result and a flat or finish paint.

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So how do you know where to start in the selection of a paint finish?
Here are a few tips:

ONE

What are you painting? If you are painting trim in a room and you want to wash it, you would choose a paint finish with more of a sheen, as flat paint finish will not easily wipe down without creating marks or scuffs.

TWO

In what condition are your walls or other items that you are painting? This is a crucial question when painting your walls because just about any paint finish can be used on a wall and will create a different look. However, when you use some of the glossier finishes, they usually work best on a wall with a limited amount of imperfections. If you’re going for a sleek high gloss finish, that finish will not give you the desired results if your walls are bumpy, rough, and imperfect. That high gloss will only highlight those imperfections. However, if you do have an older wall and it’s not in excellent condition. You’re not going to skim coat and improve the condition of those walls. It’s best to go with a flat or matte finish as it will not have a reflective quality, and it will hide those imperfections much better than a higher gloss finish.

THREE

What is the desired look? When I choose a paint finish, it’s usually part of preparing an overall design for a client. Every decision that goes into a room is made very deliberately, whether it be wall color and paint finish or the trim on a sofa, or the smallest detail on the window treatment. Everything is planned to come together to create an overall desired result. When I’m looking at a paint finish, that decision is not independent of all of the other finishes that I’m choosing for the room. Suppose my space has a lot of flat finishes. For instance, a velvet-textured sofa or heavier fabrics, I might want to break up the look of that with a higher gloss on my trim. Depending on the look I’m going for, the condition of the trim, and the type of trim used. I ask myself, do I want it to stand out, or do I want it to take a backseat to some of the other elements in the room?

As you can see, the decision for a paint finish is just as important as any of the other choices that you make for your space.

Until next time,
Gia

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The Benefits Of A Long Term Relationship With An Interior Designer

The Benefits Of A Long Term Relationship With An Interior Designer

The interior design of someone’s home requires a very personal element. As designers, we strive to make our clients happy and to create spaces that are very personalized to our clients, their needs, and their lifestyles. To do our job properly, we get to know our clients, and we spend time in their homes. We meet their families, learn their pets’ names, and invest in those client-designer relationships.

Over the years of designing spaces for many clients, I can say that one of the real benefits of a long-term relationship with an interior designer is that over time a designer learns about your likes, dislikes, and how your home functions, and your tastes. Very beneficial to clients, especially as life brings on numerous changes that require changes to your home; this could involve adding a new family member, changes in stage of life, or even moving to a new home, or adding an additional home.

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This client-designer business relationship usually only improves over time. I love when I hear from a client who has used our services before or has implemented some of my suggestions and has now called upon me to help with additional projects. Seeing a home develop, even over a long period, is very rewarding to me as a designer. What’s even more rewarding is seeing how the home changes improve my clients’ lifestyles. I have recently been reflecting on this as I recently heard from several established clients who are buying new homes and are calling on me to develop a design for their new homes.

Here are some of the benefits of establishing a long-term relationship with the designer.

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ONE

Your designer knows your taste, dislikes, and likes, which will be reflected in any additional projects that are worked on in the future. This requires less of the homeowner’s time, time that could be spent elsewhere. For busy professionals, active parents, or clients that like to travel, this is very important.

TWO

When completing a project with a client, a very familiar designer and your home can continuously help you improve your space by keeping an eye out for specific pieces and design elements that will help you reach your design goals. I love when I am sourcing an item for a project and then stumble upon just the right piece of furniture or artwork for another client. As I always have my clients and projects in mind, this could be an added benefit that continues for my clients even after a project completes.

THREE

The designer who provides a full-service element has contacts with numerous craftsmen. Clients often reach out to me for assistance when trying to complete a simple project. For a client with which I’ve had a long-term relationship, I often can facilitate craftsman much quicker than a client can do on their own. Especially when my craftsman has previously worked on a project in this home. My craftsmen are familiar with the systems in their home and can help resolve simple issues efficiently should they come up for a client involving other issues in their home.

FOUR

You develop an element of trust due to past projects. When you trust that your designer is looking out for your best interests to design and implement your projects, the designer trusts the homeowner to communicate their needs and honor their part in the business relationship. This creates a very successful and low-stress experience for everyone.

Creating a new design for a client we have previously designed for can be a much easier process. We know the space, we know the client, we are familiar with the existing conditions in the home and familiar with the client’s furnishings and overall goals for their home.

This is a great time to reach out and thank all of my long-term clients whom we have serviced for many years. As usual, we appreciate your business, and we value these incredible relationships.

Until Next Time,
Gia

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Creating An Interior Design Plan For Your New Home

Creating An Interior Design Plan For Your New Home.

If you are one of the many people that have recently purchased a new home, congratulations on your new home! Purchasing a new home can be a stressful process. Once you finalize your purchase and begin moving into your home, you realize that there’s much that needs to be figured out. There are so many projects that you would like to do. Whether it’s completely renovating your new home’s kitchen and bathrooms, renovating the entire home, changing paint colors and finishes, or furnishing a room or perhaps your entire home, the process can be overwhelming.

Where do you start? What do you tackle first? You immediately begin making random purchases of furnishings or window treatments, and then you realize that you don’t know what else will happen in each room. Hopefully, this is where you stop and get help from a pro. When I work with new homeowners, I help them put together a plan of action for their new space.

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Here are a few tips that can help you along the way.

ONE

It’s easy to go into your new home with lots of ideas and thoughts about what you could do. Still, somewhere during the early stages of that process, unexpected repairs might come up. New thoughts and ideas about furniture arrangements or renovation come up, which sometimes leads to being more overwhelmed. Think about your goals for your new home. Is this a home that you plan on staying in for a while? Is this a home that you plan to live in for a few years and then move on to something else? Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out just how much to tackle and where you should put your design and renovation money and efforts.

TWO

Know what items you can’t part with. Are you bringing your existing furnishings with you to your new home, and will they work in your new floor plan? Whether you plan on designing your entire home when you move in or over some time, it helps to know what items you currently own and which are important for you to keep. Existing items can be worked into your overall plan.

THREE

Be realistic about how much work or renovation can be done on your home before you actually move in. If you have the luxury of a bit of time after you purchase your new home, you might own an additional home that you can stay in or be planning on moving into your home after a little renovating. Think about the types of projects that you might be able to do during this time. Depending on the home and the types of products you have in mind, something like sanding and refinishing the home’s current wood flooring might be easier done when the home is empty. This is also a dusty, messy project with lots of polyurethane fumes. Suppose this can be done before you move in, great. However, if you plan a more extensive renovation that might involve the rooms that have this existing flooring, you might not want to tackle this project before the renovation. It’s important to know where you’re going with the project. Doing things in the correct order is essential concerning the process of construction, preventing costly backtracking later. Also, sanding and polyurethane floors might not take too long, but a longer lead time is needed for the finish on your new floors to cure. If the furniture is moved in too soon, the new finish will be ruined, so be sure you have a realistic idea of how much time is needed for projects before you move in.

FOUR

Creating an overall color scheme and design for the entire house is a crucial step that often is skipped when you are tackling one room at a time. Creating a cohesive interior design of your home requires a thorough plan connecting all of the spaces in your home visually. Without this, even the most beautiful rooms can feel disjointed from one another when walking through your home. Creating a color scheme is not as simple as choosing colors that match, as your home will involve thousands of finishes and fabrics, all of the various tones of color with multiple undertones and sheens. Also, creating a color scheme is not just about using paint colors. Often homeowners choose paint colors at random only to find it a stumbling block later in the design process when adding furnishings and window treatments. A cohesive well thought out design plan will become a roadmap to success with the interior design of your home.

FIVE

Get a feel for your new space. Sometimes it’s easy to get excited about designing your spaces, and you try to replicate a room that you’ve seen or design ideas from a home that you love. Your new home is as unique as you are. Some design ideas will work in this home, and some will not. The colors that you use at your former home will not look the same in this new home, the colors that your friend used on her walls will look different here in your new home. Good design is a result of combining ideas that are harmonious to a home’s architecture, lighting, view floor plan, needs, desires, and personality of the current homeowner.

SIX

Get help from a professional designer early in the project. A professional designer can help you develop a plan of action for your home, including a phased plan of action that makes sense for your goals. Establishing a relationship with a good designer from the beginning of your project will help you make the best decisions and create an interior design plan that you love right from the very beginning.

Until Next Time,
Gia

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How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Renovation In 2021 And Beyond

How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Renovation in 2021 and Beyond

Renovating can be a complicated process. If you tackled a renovation before either on your own or with experienced professionals, then you’ve had a little taste for the process. Delays, product issues, shipping issues, inspections, and many decisions need to be made quickly. Now add to this process a global pandemic: additional supply chain issues, long lead times, and labor shortages. However, you have been waiting patiently to tackle a large renovation project in your home. You saved for it, you are tired of looking at the old dated kitchen or bathroom, and you are ready to go.

Especially now that you’re spending more time at home, you are excited about making these much-needed improvements in your space, and you are looking forward to entertaining at home. How could you possibly set yourself up for success in a renovation in the current climate of renovation now and in the future?

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Here are a few tips for setting your renovation up for success:

ONE

Have a realistic idea of the cost involved before starting construction on your projectresearch with local pros. Googling average construction costs in your area and info given HGTV will not give you accurate construction costs for your project, in your area, on your home. Homeowners are often misinformed by general information about renovation costs. You might have an idea or a number in your head as to what you think a project should cost, but unless that number is based on research with actual local professionals and local building code requirements, it’s just a guess. Going into a renovation project with unrealistic cost expectations can be much more problematic than facing the budgeting facts while still planning your project. Looking at the budget early on allows you to pivot or make the scope of work changes while it is still easy to do so; this is especially important now with the current product cost fluctuations.

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TWO

When you meet with local pros, you need to know exactly what you are asking them to build right down to the final details. This is the only way you can get accurate numbers on predicted renovation costs. This leads to the importance of having a complete detailed design. When you have a complete detailed design, the pros can then use it to quote the renovation, labor, and product cost. Without a detailed design, even a pro is forced to guess what the cost might be since they don’t know the details of what you would like to build.

THREE

Planning is everything. Planning has always been the most important part of any renovation. However, it’s usually the part that is quickly rushed through to get to the excitement of demolition and building. Accurate and detailed planning is so important for the success of your project, not only for the budget and to estimate cost, but for the outcome design-wise. The planning is the place where the most time should be spent. Design elements can easily be changed in the planning stage, and ideas can be explored before ground breaks on your project. Allowing for a more seamless construction project since decisions have already been made and products already ordered.

FOUR

Use an experienced project manager. Management of a renovation project is not for the weary or the inexperienced. Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes assume that this is a quick and easy, straightforward process easily done with a few phone calls. Managing renovation projects for more than 20 years, I can tell you that it is anything but simple and easy. Now, trying to navigate the current construction climate, it’s even more important to utilize a pro who is very experienced with the ins and outs of the industry and the daily twists and turns of supply chains. Experienced pros can navigate a renovation seamlessly because they know where to anticipate problems, plan for them, or process solutions quickly when issues do come up. They also deal with vendors and contractors daily and know how to keep things moving efficiently. Moving into the future of renovating, this will be so important in the next few years for the success of any renovation project.

FIVE

Good contractors, craftsmen, are laborers are hard to come by, and when you do find one, they will be busy working on projects and will always have a stream of incoming projects. When a contractor does not have an organized system of processing new projects, you are often forced to keep calling until they can fit you into their schedule. So for many homeowners, this can be frustrating; even getting a phone call back from a contractor can be difficult, especially now in the current climate. Using a complete team for your design and build project is the key and will be the key to renovation projects especially in the next few years. Designers, project managers, and design-build firms have connections with the most skilled and reliable contractors and craftsmen. A precious resource for any homeowner that is considering a renovation. Especially if you are a busy professional with your job to do or business to run. Taking on a renovation project, hiring individual professionals, and navigating the system will be the time equivalent of another full-time job. Hiring a team that usually works together will ensure a seamless process from start to completion. With a design-build firm, your project begins with the initial design, continues throughout construction, and ends with the final details of furnishing your space after construction. This full-service process allows for the necessary planning, purchasing, and implementation of the complete design vision.

SIX

Patience is the key. Getting that designer look involves planning, custom finishes, and products, perhaps furnishings and products made to order, fabrics that are sourced to the trade only. So lead times on these items are often much longer than a quick trip to a local store. The result, patience pays off when the outcome of your project is magazine-worthy and exactly what you had hoped for, a totally unique design to your tastes and lifestyle, with quality craftsmanship and finishes that will stand the test of time.

Until Next Time,
Gia

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How To Make A Luxurious Bed

How To Make A Luxurious Bed

How to make your bed? One question that I frequently get asked as a designer is how to decide what goes on your bed, how to make your bed, and what...

read more