Style, Quality and Value for your Home and Garden

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Minimalism for Maximizing Drama

Min-i-mal-ism - a trend in sculptural and painting that arose in the 1950's and used simple, typically massive forms.  Design and Architecture in a minimalistic approach can create extreme drama when the focus is on the most fundamental feature.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The term corbel was first used in the 15th century as an architectural support dating back as far as the Neolithic era.  Corbels are common on old buildings generally carved and very fancy made of stone or wood support between the exterior wall and the roof.  Although corbels are more prevalent through-out Europe you will also find them in all our great cities right here in the US.  Today corbels are more commonly used in the interior of the home.  From traditional to modern, corbels are used as brackets for fireplace mantels and in kitchens for counter top support and for accenting vent hoods. The most common is the acanthus, it has a large leaf design and comes in various sizes allowing for many uses.  Many styles can be found through most corbel distributers. Also try antique shops or an architectural finds yard; such places can have some real treasures that offer more interesting choices. This is a great way to personalize your home without a huge investment and what a difference it will make!

Tile Designs

     When selecting tile styles and colors I generally recommend simple and neutral patterns in my presentation. The thought behind this is that you want beautiful tile that you will have for a longer period of time and not something trendy that you like today but not next season.   After all its not like a throw pillow that you could put away in your closet when you are tired of looking at it.  However, when you do find a pattern or custom design a tile such as this beautiful design it will have ever lasting beauty and becomes not only a tile but a work of art with a whole other story!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cleaning Crystal Chandeliers

I love chandeliers and use them everywhere, often recommending that they also be added over beds, tubs and even closets. While chandeliers can look beautiful everywhere, they are not always easy to clean. Here are some tips:  1) Remove anything under the chandelier and place a layer of towels under the chandelier. 2) Turn off the power at the wall and put a tape over it as a precaution so someone doesn't turn it on by mistake. 3) You want to avoid getting any cleaner in the sockets so tighten the bulbs and cover each light with a plastic sandwich bag and tie with a twist tie or use rubber band. 4) Mix one part ammonia to three parts water and add to a spray bottle. 5) Spray each crystal carefully avoiding wires and other electrical components. 6) Allow the crystals to drip dry on the towels below. 7) Remove the plastic bags from the lights once the crystals have dried and polish them and the rest of the fixture with a clean soft cloth. 8) Allow the entire fixture to dry before turning the power back on.
By following these simple steps you will be surrounded by sparkling ambiatic lighting!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cover Model

I have always loved this sculpture and have tried to get it noticed for quite some time.  It is a beautiful wrought iron sculpture that can be used in many design settings.
This sculpture never really caught on; however, it has been getting attention recently and has made the cover of a Texas upscale design magazine.  It has always been available through our store at a fantastic value.
What a Super Model!

"How do you like me now?"

Manipulating Finishes

As an interior designer I am always in need of accessories that are the right size, shape and style.  We have time constricts and budgets to follow.  When I find the perfect accessory, candelabra or light fixture, they  are not always the finish that I would like them to be.  In these cases I must do some finish manipulation.  If the items are wrought iron, it is a bit easier.
Here are some tips: Go to your local hardware or paint store and get some spray paint closest to the finish you desire, then just spray it.  If you want more movement with your finish then sponge or rag a darker paint over your base paint.  This is a bit more involved and is an added step, but it is worth it.  You can also enhance special details on your piece by adding gold or silver leafing.  You can get further assistance from the guys at the paint stores and they have all the supplies that you will need.  Soon you will be a pro!  Be brave, start small and before long you will get the hang of it and move on to bigger projects.  This is a great way to recycle items around your home you thought you were tired of so go ahead get started and have fun!

Candelabra Drama

Candelabras bring a dramatic finishing touch to any room!  They can be used in dining rooms for quiet dinner parties with friends or next to a fireplace for fire-side reading.  They are also great in bedrooms for dim romantic lighting or while soaking in a tub in your bathroom.  Use candelabras in your patio while entertaining and remember candelabras can also be used for functions such as weddings and formal gatherings.  Surround yourself with tall floor candelabras, use smaller ones on the dining table or on a buffet.  Don't forget to consider using scented candles to bring a wonderful aroma to any room!  It's all about the ambience!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cleaning Mirrors

We love mirrors!  Mirrors over fireplace mantles, console tables, buffets and chests, framed mirrors in bathrooms and even over headboards.  Mirrors are used to reflect your surroundings, make a room appear larger and to complete a room.  Cleaning mirrors is not always easy.  You want to keep mirrors looking dust free and with a shine.  You also want to be careful not to damage frames with harsh chemicals.  Here are some tips:  Get a spray bottle, fill it with a mixture of distilled water and a small amount of vinegar.  Use a clean paint brush to dust frame first.  Never, ever spray mirror directly.  Spray  your mixture of water and vinegar on a clean cloth and start wiping.  The trick is not to let any water or chemicals run down your frame, this will in time cause damage to your frame.  For a better shine, you can finish wiping with a small sheet of newspaper.  Following these tips will guarantee your mirrors will look beautiful for a lifetime!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lighting and Atmosphere

Working with lighting is very important.  If you are building,
remodeling, or just adding some additional lighting; things
you will need to consider will be cost, placement and effectiveness.
Here are some tips:  Light fixtures do not have to be very expensive, but they must be beautiful.  Never sacrifice quality to save a little money.  Invest well in this area, your lighting choices can make or break a room.  Distribute light in several areas of your rooms, at least in a triangle to start, this will give you balance of light.  Add dimmers to chandeliers, wall sconces, and recessed lights too!  Dimmers will create ambience and set a mood.  Place lamps on buffets, console tables and chests with mirrors behind them.  The lamps will reflect light off the mirror for additional soft lighting.  Remember to consider adding chandeliers over bath tubs, vanities and dressing closets as well.  To finish your total look add shades to chandeliers and wall sconces.  I like neutral shades and I bring color in other areas.  Follow these tips and you will have success.  Have fun!

Garden and Patio

Gardening is a stress reliever!  When I am stressed, thats where you will find me.  Part of my stress is that I work so much and I don't have time for gardening.  When I do take the time, the reward is enjoying the beautiful flowers, plants and herbs that are blooming all around my patio!  It is hard to keep up with sometimes, but I found short cuts along the way to make it easier on me.
Here are some tips: Planters are good for flowers, plants and herbs.  Place them on patios, front porches, and balconies.  Group them in sets of 2 and 3, they look so much better in clusters.  Buy more if you need to and mix them with planters you already have, its worth the investment.  If you are a wanna be green thumb like I am but not so good with the exotic plants, try leaving the plants in their original containers. Place them in your urns and planters. Cover them with moss, mulch or bark.   By leaving them in their original containers, you can remove them easily when the season is over or they just didn't make it.  Several hardware stores and garden nurseries in my area will replace free of charge any dying plants that didn't survive for up to a year with a receipt.  Check your area for the same service.  Have fun and watch your garden bloom!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stained Concrete-Floor Pattern

Staining Concrete floors got off to a slow start about a decade ago. This process was more often used for commercial settings such as restaurants, retail spaces, etc.  Some brave architects and designers were incorporating this look in their own homes.  Staining concrete floors was considered specialty work and not for amateurs, so this was not always feasible and if not done correctly could become very costly. Contractors became aware of the growing demand for staining concrete, some added this service and became masters in this area.  As time went on, new techniques and ideas were introduced such as, engraving and scoring techniques, stenciling, and patterns for motifs, medallions or free-hand painted designs.   This caught the attention of many homeowners and they started to look at staining concrete floors as an alternative to traditional flooring.
Just the other day I was asked to help with a project that had about 400 units.  The investors wanted to stain and pattern all the floors throughout the complex. I started to research for ideas and ran across some really cool stuff!  We have come a long way in 10 years, so if this is something you are considering, Go For It!  Just remember to use a reputable contractor, be creative and have fun!  For more ideas go to

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interior Designers-How they work

     A designer is brought in early on a project to specify materials that will be installed by a contractor. The designer selections to include flooring, granite and other solid surfaces, cabinetry, plumbing, tile and tile patterns for kitchen and bath, electrical fixtures and paint color. Other design services also can provide help with color schemes, style analysis, furniture layout and selection, draperies, placement of art and accessories. Imagine how much time this would take if you are not familiar with all the showrooms and contractors. A designer will also save you money by helping you make the right choices the first time. Remember to interview several designers before choosing one. If hiring a designer is not within your budget and you must do this on your own, just do your homework.
     Here are some tips: Educate yourself before any project. Give thought to what you want, research in magazines, design books and other homes for ideas. Have detailed plans, make sure you are on the same page and are heading in the same direction with your contractor. Use references and reviews of contractors you are thinking of using. Be available when the work is being done, you might need to make changes or adjustments and you don't want to delay the project. Most showrooms have sales people that will help you along the way. Pay attention, get to know your style, and have fun!