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Although sometimes sporatic I do my best you up to speed on the ever-changing world of design! Come back often to see new products, suggestions, and completed client projects.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fashion and Home Design

Interior Design and Fashion Design are closely related. I've put this photo of an advertisement for Lee Jofa's newest line from Oscar de la Renta (a fashion designer) to show how fabric houses are trying to get consumers to relate fashion to home design.

At the beginning of a new season do you take stock of your wardrobe and see what pieces no longer work and what needs to be replaced? I do. But rarely do people do this same seasonal editing with their homes.

I am certainly not advocating that you completely redecorate every single season, I am only suggesting that you take inventory each season and rotate things in and out of your home to keep your home looking fresh, new, and inventive each season of the year.

Accessories are the easiest to rotate in and out followed by soft goods like pillows and throws. If you have some smaller furnishings (occasional tables or chairs) you can always swap those out once a year to give some fresh perspective.

Your home is a reflection of you and your personality and it should always be changing just as you are!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Protecting your Investment

The design and purchasing processes are the first steps in any room or home improvement. One step that many consumers neglect is the protection step. I know, it is another expense after you've just spent a hefty amount on a room full or new furniture but imagine how distraught you'll be when a dinner guest dumps a glass of red wine on that new sofa and the stain doesn't come out! There are a few different ways to protect your investments. Usually just doing one or two things will enhance protection but if you want to dot your i's and cross your t's then take care of all of the following items and your furniture will stay in like-new shape for years to come!

1) Fabric protection: You don't have to use Scotch Guard anymore, there are other options as well but be sure that your fabric has been protected from stains in some way. Also be sure you know the limitations of that product. If it needs to be reapplied every 2 years then be sure to do that or you will no longer have the same level of protection!

2) Anti-Fading: The only way to protect your fabric from the sun is to have your windows covered with a special film OR to keep your window treatments drawn during the day when the sun is strong. Window films have come a long way; they no longer appear dark or "black" on windows the way they used to. With professional installation you won't even notice a change with your windows but your fabrics, floors, and art will be safe from the sun.

3) Disaster Ready: Before your new furniture is delivered ensure that you have a proper cleaning kit for emergencies and that it is stocked well. For a well-rounded cleaning kit have these products on hand in an organized container: baking soda, clear all-purpose cleaner, clear dish soap, ammonia, guardsman (dry cleaning solvent), table salt, and soft white cloths.

About your kit:
For tricky stains seek out a professional to help you before you attempt to clean it and then possibly make the problem worse. For red wine stains on fabric dump table salt on the spill and let is sit until the salt wicks up the wine. Clean any remaining spot with mild dish soap and a soft cloth. This technique works on carpet and rugs as well.
Always be sure to spot check a fabric if you're trying to clean it! I have learned my lesson after a rug in our house became discolored after I cleaned a small spot with a strong cleaner. Always test in an inconspicuous spot!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Service for the Holidays

As you make your holiday preparations for entertaining be sure to give proper attention to serving ware. You'll most likely dedicate a lot of time to the construction of the perfect menu so ensuring you have the proper way to serve your foods will make for a flawless dining experience for your guests.
If you're having a buffet of sorts, be sure to place items at different heights - this adds dimension and interest but it always helps people see dishes individually versus one massive plane of food. To create height you can stack books under your table cloth to create ledges or buy dishes with height to display fruits, desserts, or crackers with various cheeses. The display I have pictured above is from Jayson Home & Garden and retails for $150. If you're looking for a budget piece with height check out Pier One as they carry versatile, budget-friendly pieces.
Utensils should not be overlooked either. Instead of buying a serving set I try to find vintage pieces at antique shops, thrift stores, and even rummage sales. Older serving pieces tend to be more ornate which feels special and dressy. Also try mixing intricate pieces with modern, classic pieces to create interest and tell a story of your interests.
Keep your displays personal. Try to use your Grandmother's china or Aunt Susie's crystal vase. When people comment on a given piece you'll be able to tell them a family story of who it came from and why you love it. If you're dining with family they will appreciate the history present at the table.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fantastic Party Decor

This weekend I attended an event for the Courage Center, right here in Golden Valley, MN. Courage Center is an amazing institution that provides physical therapy, rehabilitation services, and outreach to persons with physical challenges. The even this weekend, Celebration of Courage, is their signature annual event and is the major fundraiser for their much needed equipment to aid their clients with rehabilitation services.

The event was at the Earle Brown Heritage Center and I can say I've never seen the inside of that event center looking so wonderful! The event designer did a fantastic job on the decor. I especially loved the light fixtures which I captured on my IPhone to share with my readers! So creative, so cool! It's hard to tell from my primitive photo but there were fans of real tree branches mounted to a circular board. Strung in those branches were small white lights. Hanging from the center were elaborate glass chandeliers. So gorgeous!

Commited for the Long Haul

As I edge up on my own wedding anniversary I find myself reflecting on commitment of the long-term type. Two weeks ago I found myself in New York City at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was astounded as I looked upon fine furniture from 1600 or sooner and I couldn't help but think: what are we making today that will last for thousands of years? Not much. I can assure you that the department store sofa with a cardboard core structure will barely last you three years and certainly not 3,000. As a culture our attitudes on furniture has shifted drastically in the past 40 years. We don't buy "heirloom" furniture, we buy IKEA furniture that lasts a few years. Why?

As we move toward a more green earth and make eco-friendly choices I urge you to consider eco-friendly choices when you purchase furniture. Think about that cheap sofa you bought; in 5 years you're going to need a new sofa because the one you have will be worn out completely. You won't be able to reupholster because the frame itself will be shot. So, where do you think that sofa is going to go after your living room? A landfill and there it will sit..for a long, long time. Consider instead a timeless frame with classic lines that is well-built and will last (without frame repair) for 40+ years. You will be able to upholster that piece several times and save our landfills from those 8 cheap sofas you would have purchased in the same 40 years time.

One of my favorite artisan furniture makers right her in America is Thos Moser. Located on the East Coast their work studio is full of artisans who hand craft each piece of furniture. Each piece of furniture is unique and built to last a lifetime. This is certainly worthy of heirloom status.

I've included a photo of one of my favorite tables by Thos. Moser: Pasadena. Prices start at $5,900 for the dining table in the 74" length.

For more information check out their website: