Monthly Archives: December 2009

Color of the Year 2010

Pantone, color authority for graphic, interior, product and fashion designers around the world, has announced that turquoise is the “it” color for 2010.

I don’t know.  This turquoise feels a little bit old to me; add a little peach or mauve, and you have the healthcare and senior living design colors of the early 1990s!

While turquoise is easy to work with, I’m not finding too many clients who are overly excited about its return.  It does take the Midwest a little longer than the East and West Coasts to embrace trends.  However, I find that the people who have lived through a strong trend the first time don’t wish to do it again in their homes.

Nonetheless, I’m sure we will soon be seeing this hue in home decor and accessories in large quantities.  It does have a timeworn feel, picking up that design trend for the year – old, tested, worn, bringing back our roots.  (See my color trend post for more info on trends for 2010).  I would like to pair it with a lovely terra cotta or a tomato red for maximum impact.

What do you think?  Are you ready for turquoise again?

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Contractor Horror Stories

Have you ever hired a contractor for a home improvement project, only to have the project go terribly wrong?  I have heard numerous horror stories from my clients over the years, and I have unfortunately experienced some of my own!

I am so very thankful to have a fantastic group of local contractors I can recommend to my clients.  There are some ways you can check out your contractor prior to hiring him for the job.  I just wrote an article on the subject, and you can find it here.

Of course, to avoid disappointment, you need to do your homework in finding a quality contractor to work with.  Also, be sure you have realistic expectations of how long your project should take, how much it will cost and the headaches that are inevitable during any home improvement project!  Sometimes, the contractor is bad.  Sometimes, headaches are just a part of the deal.

Share your contracctor horror stories here – feel free to vent (politely) and we can all commiserate together.

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New Poll: Why Don’t You Hire an Interior Designer?

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Made in the USA

I was browsing around the Greenhouse Design website, looking for some trendy new fabrics for a class I will be teaching in February.  They have some great stuff – as always.  But, what caught my eye was a section labeled “Fabrics Made in the USA.”

Over the past half-dozen years, it seems that all the fabric mills in the United States have closed down, moving fabric production to China, Korea or Thailand.  I really hate seeing that happen, as all the factory jobs move with the factories!  Take a look at clothing labels; most everything is made in Asia these days.

I was pleasantly surprised to see many options for home decor fabrics, including the Outdoor Fabrics collection, that are actually made in the US!  If I have the option to purchase a fabric made in the US, or one woven in China, I will certainly be choosing the one made stateside.  Without our support and purchases, these mills cannot stay in business, and the migration of our nation’s jobs will continue.

Obviously, as a designer, the color, pattern and price have much to do with my selections; clients don’t want a fabric that won’t work in their homes, no matter where it’s made.

How about you?  If you have the option to choose a product made locally, or at least within the US, do you choose that product because of the place it’s made?  Or, do you even check labels anymore?  And, what do you think of some of the Greenhouse Fabrics options made in this country?  Leave me a comment, and let me know your thoughts.

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Community Ed Classes Coming Up

I have been asked to share my design expertise with you, by teaching several community education classes in the Baldwin, WI, area!  I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I hope you will join me for the following classes in February 2010:

Tuesday, February 9, 7-8 pm:  Room Rescue

  *  This class will allow a limited number of participants, as I will lead a discussion regarding YOUR problem rooms!  Bring your photos, floor plans, dimensions, and other information, and we will work through your design dilemmas.

Tuesday, February 16, 7-8 pm:  Color Trends 2010

  *  I will present the color, pattern and design trends for the upcoming year.  You will see paint samples, fabric swatches, room photos and more, and learn how to incorporate these trends into your home without spending a fortune on redecorating.

Tuesday, February 23, 7-8 pm:  Window Treatments 101

  *  I will present the different types of window treatment products available, both hard and soft treatments, as well as offer suggestions on where they will best be used.  Participants are encouraged to bring photos of their problem windows!

The cost for each class is $10, or you can take all 3 for $25.  Please register early, as the space is limited.  Email the community education director for more information or to register:  commed@bwsd.k12.wi.us.  I hope to see you there – it’s sure to be a fun month, and will get you ready for your spring home decor projects!

If you have an idea for a future class, please leave me a comment here.  I love to teach others about good design, and would be happy to teach other courses if you are interested!  Let me know what you want to know…

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Green Design: Save the Earth or Save Money?

I read an interesting article in the October 2009 issue of Architect Magazine the other day.  (Yes, I am WAY behind on reading my stack of magazines!)  They did a survey of US architects, to find out whether they feel world climate change is caused by human sources, whether it is not really occuring at all, and how those beliefs factor into green design in their practices.

It was interesting to see that nearly half of the architects surveyed did not choose green design because of climate change issues.  In fact, many of them felt mankind had little to do with climate change!  Instead, they choose green design features, such as water-saving plumbing fixtures or the addition of solar collection systems because of the cost savings involved.

What do you think?  Do you feel climate change is a bunch of garbage?  Or, do you feel that mankind is causing horrific changes to our planet?  If you are an architect or interior designer, what changes do you make to your designs to make them more “green?”  And, do you make those changes for cost savings or to save the planet?   I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this controversial issue.

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Online Interior Design Services are Here!

I want to let you know about an exciting new program now offered through Ava Living – Online Designer Services!  No longer are you required to work with an interior designer in your local area.  Cut down on travel costs and check out the Designer Services offered through Ava Living! 

Services begin with a Designer Room Review, where the designer of your choice offers a critique of your room based on photos you upload.  This is not a chance to get free design advice; rather, it’s a chance to see what a professional designer thinks of what you have accomplished in your space so far.

After requesting a Designer Room Review – which is free of charge – you can request any of a number of paid Designer Services.  From a 3-d Floor Plan to a Shopping List, fees are clearly listed for you up front.  This program is brand new, and I am so excited to be a part of it!  I am currently working with my first online client, and I’ll post back about the process as I work through her bathroom finishing project.

What do you think about online design services?  Is this something you would like to try?  Do you think it’s silly and will never work?  Let me know – I’d love to know what potential clients think of this new frontier in design!

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