by the numbers

8 bright design secrets that'll style away winter blues

Snow, rain, sleet, avalanches, snow plows, overflowing rivers, early dusk and late dawn, political imbroglios, holiday withdrawal~ it is all enough to make anyone a little sad/nervous/nauseous. Your home is your castle. Here are some quick, easy ideas that will help brighten your outlook and your keep. 

8. Get a desk chair in a popping' color.

7. Put up a beautiful new light.

6. Refresh your bed with new sheets or new pillows or a new duvet cover or a new throw blanket or all of the above. 

5. Give some love to an old upholstered piece with a yummy new fabric and go for a sexy contrast welt.

4. Replace a boring lampshade with one that has some sass and color.

3. Find and hang a great piece of art. Leave no stone unturned--flea markets, secondhand stores, garage sales, estate auctions, or museum gift shops can get you fab finds.

Tinsel  by ArtHide

Tinsel by ArtHide

2. Throw down an embellished cowhide to liven up your floors.

1. And this is the easiest of them all--take the plunge and paint a stripe or an accent wall or an entire room in a brave, bold color. 

There now, doesn't that feel better? 

xo, Carolyn

p.s. most of the images above were pulled from Instagram and links are attached to the pictures.

10 things interior designers hate (or some great reasons why you should hire an interior designer)

We all have pet peeves. In my official poll of fellow designers and architects, here are some items that came up as strong triggers. SO without further ado, in no particular order:

10. Clutter and too much stuff…(this goes hand-in-hand with too many accessories)

Your interior designer can help hire an organizer, edit and refine your collections and create storage in a myriad of creative ways. These efforts can create a calmer, more peaceful space and who doesn't want that? 

Here are three great reasons to de-clutter.

Here are three great reasons to de-clutter.

9. Black sheets

What are you hiding? Or what are you trying to say? White sheets are good, black sheets are evil.  It is very simple. Let us help you.

No. No. No.

No. No. No.

8. Granite

We are all done with this now. We have used far too much of it. Your designer can help you source beautiful, durable, planet-friendly alternatives for your countertops, backsplashes, tub decks, etc.

This is a GOOD use of granite.

This is a GOOD use of granite.

7. Inadequate, poor packaging and vendors who will not stand behind their products

This lack of attention wastes SO much time and just creates bad energy.  We so appreciate people who do their jobs conscientiously and well and we cultivate these relationships to make our designs seamless and worry-free.

Not the way we wanted it...

Not the way we wanted it...

6. Too many recessed can lights.

We do not need the ceiling to look like an airport runway.  Recessed can lights are not the only way to light a room.  You need to fill the space with layered light and we know just how to help you do that!

Please do not do this. This is too much. Please let us help you.

Please do not do this. This is too much. Please let us help you.

5. Unrealistic expectations and "reality" tv

Expectations that we won't bill for the little things--Life is in the details and the details are what make up an exceptional design.

Anger when a change order costs more money--The reason we try to set up the design in advance of ordering and constructing is that when one changes gears or adds on in the middle of the project, there is a cost associated with that.  We do our best to set up reasonable expectations at the beginning of the project.

Value engineering at the end of a project--This can severely affect the outcome of a project. We can see the forest for the trees and can help you hold the project vision from beginning to end so that the original expectations are not only met but exceeded.

"Reality TV" is not reality--the design, construction, relative costs and timelines on these "reality" shows are pure fiction the way they are presented, about as far from reality as imaginable. What you don't see is the HUGE crew off camera, the prep beforehand and the smoke and mirrors regarding quality of installation and items. Understand that this is made-for-tv-drama and that we can do better, in a different way.

Not everything you see on television is true.

Not everything you see on television is true.

4. The color Mauve

We cannot find a place or purpose for this color. But did you know that it was the color of the first synthetic dye, discovered by William Perkin in 1856?  Some things have a silver lining.

The word   mauve   is the French word for the mallow flower. We think the flower is the best use of the color.

The word mauve is the French word for the mallow flower. We think the flower is the best use of the color.

3. Trendy decor that has been overdone.

Foo dogs, macrame wall hangings, swinging egg chairs, ruffled bedskirts...these items may have been played out. BUT. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  So, if the item is well-considered and the decor demands it, then it will always work.

These  Dedon  swinging chairs hung outside have a corner market on fabulous.

These Dedon swinging chairs hung outside have a corner market on fabulous.

2. Small, cheap throw pillows that are sewn shut with icky inserts

Pillows can be the jewelry in a room but also need to add comfort.  Be generous with your pillows--stuff a 22" down insert (90/10 fill is perfect for a living or family room) into a 20" cover. If down does not work for you, there are remarkable cluster-fiber inserts that provide the same level of comfort. No 12" or 14" or 16" throw pillows, please.  They don't look as nice and really, don't you want good bang for your buck?

Larger pillows make you want to dive in...

Larger pillows make you want to dive in...

1. Lack of gratitude

Well-thought out interiors can give anyone a boost and make life more wonderful. But good interior design is a luxury and there are no emergencies in this business. (Unless the roof is literally caving in…) We all need to be grateful for what we have and no matter how frustrating any of these scenarios are, as long as we have our health, our family and our friends, we are blessed. We all need to spread more love around. So go ahead, just say thank you.

It never hurts to give a little gratitude. xo

It never hurts to give a little gratitude. xo

5 design must-haves that make a house a home

There are some objects that will always warm up an interior. My design world would blow up without the following favorite things:

1. Fresh flowers: Sometimes, you just have to throw down and buy them for yourself, but always remember you are worth it! Pick three types that you like at the grocery store and mix them up like the pro that you are.

or fresh cabbages--your call!

or fresh cabbages--your call!

2. White utility: towels, sheets, linens, china, duvet covers, pitchers--they always look fresh and set off your decor, your flowers and your food perfectly.

Beautiful tableware and linens at  Hudson Grace --job done.

Beautiful tableware and linens at Hudson Grace--job done.

3. Monogrammed everything: Napkins, sheets and towels are the obvious simple choices and add a personal touch to your table, your bedroom and your bathrooms. Monogrammed antique linens are amazing, those canvas totes from Land's End are endlessly practical (always have them monogrammed) and if so inspired, you can monogram your purse or even your bathing suit.

4. A throw: Soft and gorgeous throws on the arm of every couch and at the end of every bed make naps and snuggling easy.

A beautiful set of choices at  Anthem SF

A beautiful set of choices at Anthem SF

5. Candles, candles, candles. Nothing makes us look prettier, feel more romantic and be more festive than lit candles.

some of my favorite scents from my favorite candle supplier,  Votivo

some of my favorite scents from my favorite candle supplier, Votivo

All of these elements help to make a house a home and keep it cozy, personalized and tasteful. And these favorite things always make beautiful, thoughtful gifts!