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Teaching the client

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I view a large portion of my job as an interior designer to be that of educator. I’ve never been one to tell people what to do without explaining why they’re doing it. It probably stems from my own need to understand why I am supposed to do something rather than just doing it because I was told to. I’m sure I drove my parents crazy through the years. I often remember my mother telling me I wore her out with all of my questions.

I let clients know things like:

  • odd numbers are more interesting than evens
  • light affects color more than anything else
  • Da Vinci’s rule of thirds applies to everything in design

I don’t typically think about the sharing of this information until I have a client that I’ve been working with for a while repeat it back to me. They always point out that they learned it from me. “See, I was listening to you!” It secretly fills my heart with joy because I realize that I am impacting people in a long term, non-superficial way.

I was thinking about some of the other tips I pass along randomly throughout my days and decided to share a few more with you here.

 

Bookshelves – How to organize

If there is one question that I get the most, it will would be how to organize bookshelves.  For some, bookshelves take up a lot of real estate in a living room and getting it to feel “right” doesn’t come intuitively.

Height of books – While this one seems pretty obvious there is something in us, most likely memories of our elementary school librarian teaching us about the Dewey Decimal System, that overlooks it. Look at your bookshelves and you’ll most likely notice slight visual disarray. (You could also blame your children or spouse for this. I won’t call you out.) By arranging from tallest to shortest it creates a consistent line and is visually more calming.

Line up the spines – This goes along with organizing by height. Pull all of your book spines to the same place on the bookshelf as the deepest book. This will create a clean line along the front edge of the bookcase. Another calming affect – and who couldn’t use more calm in their life?

By Color – This one is a little out there for most people. Visually it is exciting, however, people worry they can’t find the book they are looking for which tends to keep them from considering this option. All of the people I know who do this are very visual people and tend to remember the way a book looks more than the title. If this applies to you, try it.

 

Kitchens

You spend a lot of time here, even if you don’t cook a lot.  There are basic functionality reasons why certain things work better than others, and in the kitchen, efficiency is top priority.

Kitchen Triangle – We’re talking about your major appliances here. Sink, refrigerator and range/oven/stove. Appliances like your microwave or coffee maker don’t fall into this category. If you hate your kitchen as it is right now this could be the reason it doesn’t work. Are the appliances too close so there isn’t ease of movement between them? Are they too far apart so you find that you’re carrying pots a long way from the sink to the stovetop? Think about the “triangle” in your kitchen. It’s most likely the place to start thinking about a redo.

Landing Spaces – This goes along with the triangle. Think about how you use you’re kitchen. Is there counter space close to the refrigerator to set food on as you load or unload for cooking? Where do you rest hot dishes that come from the oven?

Microwave Placement – Microwaves don’t always need to sit on the counter or hang on the wall above the stove. What?! Yeah, they can become part of a bank of ovens. You could get a convection/microwave combo. Or, you can place the microwave under the counter in a cabinet. They even have microwave drawers.

Think outside the box on these.

Dishwasher Placement – Typically dishwashers are placed on the left side of the sink for right handed homeowners and on the right side for left handed homeowners. Think about it – you hold the dish in your non-dominate hand to scrape it into the sink and then you turn your body to that same side in order to place it in the dishwasher. Go ahead. Try it now. I’ll wait. See how much easier and more natural that is?

 General

 

Finish Color – Make sure when looking at a color, no matter what finish (paint, fabric, wood, tile, etc.) you view it on the plain in which it will live. If it is on the wall hold it vertically, the floor – horizontally facing up, or the ceiling – horizontally facing down. Think back to the comment about how light affects color and this will make sense to you.

Wall Color – Leave paint samples out as the lighting changes throughout the day.  The light changes throughout the day and into the evening so your walls will look different. Make sure that you like the color in all of its states.

Wish I had covered other categories or these in further detail? Comment or Email me and I’ll try to help.

New Meaning to Holiday Decorating

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November 4, 2015

Chris and Alissa: the daring duo with great taste

My fearless client:

At this time of year, it isn’t unusual for people to talk with me about decorating for a specific holiday. It is a little unusual for someone to tell me they want their entire house to be designed around a specific holiday. Even more different when that holiday is Dia de los Muertos. (That’s Day of the Dead for you non-Spanish speakers.)

That’s exactly what my friend Alissa Silkwood asked me to help her do. She’s a landscape designer who is fearless with color in her home and in her fashion, so she is drawn to this holiday for visual reasons. Currently, her living room ceiling is a dark brown and her walls are a light emerald green with pops of coral, pink, and peacock in her accessories. I told you she was FEARLESS. It’s beautiful, and she has done a wonderful job of pulling it all together, but she is ready for something new.

 The Self-Discovery: 

It all started when we were discussing colors for her kitchen as she is preparing to gut it and start over. She was continually attracted to high contrast kitchens we saw on Houzz.com. As we discussed her love of color and doing black and white with a punch of one of her signature colors, she realized that she was drawn to this scheme the same as she’s drawn to her costumes for Dia de los Muertos. “That’s it! I want my whole house done like a giant sophisticated Day of the Dead costume!”

I don’t know what I love more about my job, the beautiful spaces I help my clients create or the self-discovery I get to watch as they take the time to think about why they are drawn to specific colors, shapes, textures…beauty.

So, now we’re discovering what sophisticated Day of the Dead will look like in a home.

Have you ever considered using a particular holiday to design a room around? Maybe it was a piece of art, a vacation or a movie? Please share because I’d love to hear about it and you might just inspire someone else.

I’ll keep you posted on what “Sophisticated Day of the Dead” looks like in a home so check back.
Gracias!
A classic Day of the Dead look

A classic Day of the Dead look

Rooms on Houzz.com that inspired Alissa: 

Transitional Powder Room by San Francisco Media & Bloggers Lucy McLintic

Eclectic Powder Room by Malibu Interior Designers & Decorators BGDB Interior Design

Transitional Living Room by Denver Upholstery DC Upholstery & Design Workshop