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Specialist in Creating Harmony and Beauty – Melissa Lavigne

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Is the landscaping outside the first representation our home makes or is it the foyer?

Curb appeal is the most important!! Some won’t even want to go inside if the outside of the home is not appealing. Flowers, plants, rocks and bushes are a great way to add some interest to the front of the house.

Could you share what special details make for a for a well-curated entry foyer?

Again, flowers, plants are a nice way to create a warm welcoming. Nice artwork too. If there is a lot of space, I love putting a round table in the entry with a beautiful vase of flowers. Casablanca’s are lovely as they have an aroma that fills the room.

Do you prefer wall art over colorful vases?

I love it all!! Both! Handmade vases are the best, I love color and feel it brings warmth to a home.

What advise do you have for someone who is looking to spruce up there rooms slowly and cost effective, would you suggest starting with the lighting fixtures or hardware?

Lighting is a great way to spruce up a home and not too costly. Outdated lighting is always on my list of things to update when selling a home. It’s the first thing people notice.

What stores or online shopping do you make a point monthly to stop and visit?

I love to support local shops . START Rescue is a second hand store that has amazing home items! I always go there first and I always find something wonderful! Another persons trash is one persons treasure!!

Designer, Coach and Author – Nancy Meadows

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Could you tell us about your book and how you drew inspiration for it?

Both of my co-authored books were not about interior design/decor specifically. They concentrated on women living their best life and giving them the tools to do so. My writings focused on how central our home can be to happiness and success in all areas of our life.

My professional experience and inspiration comes from understanding how vital our environment is to our sense of well-being. Our home is our center, our touchstone from which everything else flows. As an interior designer and certified design psychology coach, I stress that our environment has to match who we are at our core in order to live happily and productively.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been involved in the design industry since 2002.

Do you have other designer’s that help inspire and motivate your work?

I am inspired by other designers every day. My favorite is London designer Kelly Hoppen whose soft, sensual, non-trendy designs appeal to all of the senses.

When traveling do you co-ordinate what shops and vendors you want to connect with or do you throw caution to the wind and explore?

Due to time constraints when traveling both in the U.S. and abroad, I know ahead of time which shops and vendors I need to see. Having said that, some of my best finds have been serendipitous; wandering into an unexpected place that offered exactly what I was looking for as if by magic.

What is the most effective way to create a gallery wall?

Creating a gallery wall can feel daunting, but there are some guidelines that can help. They are as follows:

.  Before hanging anything, create a template using butcher paper that outlines each piece you’ll be hanging on the wall. Tape each one onto the wall until you find an arrangement that pleases your eye.

.  Start by displaying the largest piece first in the center of gallery wall and moving outward from the center.

.  Use frames of a similar design when displaying artwork that crosses themes. This provides a collected and uniform look.

.  Artwork does not need to be attached to a wall. For a more casual look, place art pieces  on shelving and lean and layer on top of each other. Use no more than two ledges.

.  Center of art should be approximately 59 inches from the floor so it sits at average eye level.

.  Keep the lower edge of the frame at 6-8 inches above furniture. Space artwork at approximately 3 inches apart.

.  Collect pieces that share your “story,” and have personal meaning. Whether it’s a framed child’s drawing or a photo from a favorite trip. You’ll smile and feel good each time you look at them.

What is your go to guide for reviewing new items you are looking to add to your inventory?

My go-to-guide for reviewing new items usually comes from listening to and questioning other designers in design forums.

What is a hidden talent most people do not know about you?

My husband says I make world-class toasted cheese sandwiches and roast-beef hash!!

Do you play instruments?

As a young girl, I studied the piano. My “best instrument”, however, is my voice. While not ready for a concert stage, singing makes me feel happy and is a wonderful stress reliever.

More Character, More Soul in Interior Design With Lenora DeMars

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In Orange County, where do you find your best shopping?

At a retail level, I enjoy second hand shops such as consignment. There are also other great options that have been popping up that are nicely curated second hand pieces that have been cleaned, modified or updated with current trends. Some of those favorites are Haskell in Costa Mesa and Heirloom in Newport Beach.

Do you travel outside of Orange County in addition for special finds?

Yes, I love to travel! I head to L.A and to other places outside of Orange County as much as possible to wander around and discover new places to get inspired.

There are three selections for your Perspective Clients to review and select: Design Inspired, Design Acquired and Design Accomplish. It is a great way to introduce clients to a smooth introduction, how did you come up with this idea?

I came up with these design packages a few years ago. Since then I’ve helped to empower my clients to take the necessary steps to create a space they absolutely love with confidence. When speaking to potential clients I felt that some really wanted to be involved but lacked the know how of pulling it all together. Instead of putting them into a box and working with them in a traditional interior design sense. I decided to work with them to come up with a solid road map so they can confidently move forward with their project. I have 2 different tiers to accommodate their needs. Depends on how involved they want to get. I truly enjoy working with my clients in a collaborative way.

Please tell us about the space plan?

A space plan is imperative to every design! When I work with my clients on a space plan, I measure the space and any items that will be incorporated into the design. I create 2-3 options, this really gets my creative juices going. It’s not necessary to have your typical pieces in a room. I ask my clients about their lifestyle and how they see themselves using the space if they get stuck we work on some ideas and options. I do use a 3-D program to convey my thoughts. This is helpful for my clients to see how the space flows. It’s a great tool to have!

From a business development perspective, how keen do you have to be as a designer not only to focus on the creative but to build your business?

It’s definitely a balancing act! I come from a clothing manufacture background and that has helped me in my interior design business today. I designed clothing for 20 years! In the early years I wore a lot of hats while being a designer. Understanding production, design and sales was imperative. You have to understand what product to build for the a specific client base and most importantly at a price point that works for that particular consumer. As an entrepreneur I tend to think outside the box and dig deep as to what is my core and what drives me. That’s is truly my why.

What projects are you motivated to be apart of?

Working with clients that are willing to dive in and discover their style. I tell my client it’s O.K to blend styles. As people we go through many phases in our lives. What we once liked 5 years ago doesn’t mean it’s not relevant. There is a way to update those looks so it still feels current. There is no reason to leave the past behind. The trick is to know the balance and that is where I come in. There is an art form with balancing design. Otherwise you might get something that overshadows all of the other pieces in the room.

Do you have any plans to expand your offices?

At some point I would love to expand! Right now I operate as a solo with some help every now and then. Like any business aligning yourselves with the right people is what it’s about. As a business person it’s important to me to have the best trades people in the business to work with. They may not be in my office but they are definitely an extension of me.

When you are not working, are you able to turn off , no phones, no wifi and really unwind?

If you ask me, yes! If you ask my husband he would say no. I do my best to balance it but at my core I am a designer and when I see shiny objects I will gravitate towards it.

What design(s) or architect design in Southern CA always seems to generate inspiration for you?

I adore old Hollywood buildings the detail and scale fascinate me. I love stories and old buildings and houses have lots of them. When designing I create stories for my clients and when living in their new spaces they create their own stories.

An Expert in Space Planning – Alicia Sass

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During your off time, what is it you enjoy doing?

I am often relaxing. I lead a very busy lifestyle so when I have time off I usually sleep in, go for a nice brunch and read a good book. I like my time off to be relaxing so I am recharged !

Is it true you appreciate an ATV ride? How did you make this discovery?

Yes! It is something I have done since I was 5 years old. When I moved to the city after college I sold my dirt bike for money for rent. After a recent trip to LA with a friend where we drove up the coast; we rented ATV’s at a sand dune spot by the beach and I realized how much I missed riding. I then purchased an ATV when I got home and have been enjoying it every since. It is an unusual activity but it’s something that allows me to disconnect and have me time.

Could you describe the design process for Verkspace?

Verkspace is actually my friends co-working space. When him and his partner were looking for a space to create a co-working environment in they called me to look at a building that had come up for rent. I fell in love with the space. It was unusual and had character which was perfect for me to envision something cool in. They had a very specific feel that they wanted which was “Icelandic”. This was inspired by their recent trip to Iceland. They did a lot of DIY projects and a lot of the work themselves to bring the vision to life. I think it is a perfect balance of a space with character and that modern Icelandic design feel that is very popular right now.

How did it differ from Etobicoke Reno?

The Etobicoke reno was different because it was a family home vs a hip co-working space. This was a young family that wanted their forever home to feel open, airy and timeless. We created a right and neutral space for this client vs a bright and fun interior that they might get sick of in a few years.

Tell us how natural lighting helps dress a room? When designing a space, is the course of natural lighting taken into account?

Natural light is the best thing we can ask for. It can transform any design style into something grand. It brings colors to life and it can make a plain white room have shadows and bright pops of interest. We love when we have a lot of natural light to work with in a space. It means that everything we pick will shine and look even better. Natural light also helps keep indoor plants alive and as we all know; indoor plants are so good for your health and increasing productivity.

Could you describe the Toronto Design Community?

I love how the Toronto design community is changing. It used to be pretty quiet and private. Technology is changing that. We are sharing progress shots and information on where to buy cool things on instagram and facebook. Pinterest is showing us so many new ideas in one day. The millennials are coming out of school and they are excited to learn, grow and share. I am finding that a lot more design events are becoming more about sharing and posting a funny picture on instagram instead of standing around with a glass of wine talking about anything but design. I love this. It makes it so much more collaborative which is what our industry is about.

You select unique home decor, such as the loft living photo featuring the coffee table. Where did you find the coffee table? Do you have special stores that you appreciate and could spend countless hours in?

That coffee table was actually a piece that my client already had. They found the beams from a salvage yard North East of Toronto and fell in love with them so we built the room around this coffee table. I definitely have stores that I could spend countless hours in. Elte would be one of them. They are always bringing new items in and changing up the feel of their store which I appreciate since I am always going in and out. It never feels old or boring there. Black Rooster would be another one in Toronto that I love going in and looking around.

Out of a Magazine Designs of Riki Shafigi

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What is your company motto and philosophy?

My Motto? – “Everyone deserves a beautiful home.” Most people think hiring a designer automatically means putting aside a small fortune, but many are unaware that there are so many resources to find good quality, less expensive furnishings and accessories, and that the design process can be done efficiently and quickly. My goal is to make the design process fun, easy, and affordable for everyone. I educate my clients along the way, and explain why I choose certain design elements. They are very involved in the design process. I really focus on the client. If it’s a family with little kids for instance, they’ll need fabrics that are easy to clean and tables with rounded edges. The space has to look good, but it should also be practical and livable. Most of my clients work full time, or run a household, and I get that, because I do to. My clients have to be able to relate to me. At the end of the day, I design for them, not for myself.

On a typical day out when you are shopping for your a client, where are you visiting and exploring?

A majority of my shopping is done online. There are several sites that offer discount pricing on many similar items you’ll find at high end retail stores. I have the search process down to an exact science, and some go-to favorite sites. I also reach out to my furniture reseller, who has fantastic pricing on larger items like sectionals and tables. For accessories and individual pieces, the discount home stores are a must. I’m there several times a week bargain hunting for art, candles, the perfect pillow, or that must have accent chair.

When you are designing, what can we find on your desk? Do you have music on?

I actually prefer to work in complete silence. I have 4 kids so I’m always around a lot of noise. When I work, I like to filter all the noise out and really concentrate on the design process. On my desk is my laptop, a pantone color chart, the layout of my client’s space, a list of the items I’m shopping for, a tape measure, and of course my cell phone, since most of my clients communicate with me via texting. You’ll probably also find one of my kids’ homework pages. I’m not big on caffeine, so no coffee on this desk!

Is it difficult not to become attached to a Project? Is there a bittersweet when its completed?

I have to get attached. If I don’t, I’m just working on auto-pilot. You have to design with heart, not just mind. My clients invite me into their personal space. They share with me memories they’ve had there, show me certain furniture that’s been passed down for generations. I meet the family members. During the design process I’m in and out of their homes several times. I become an extended family member for some time. So being attached is just a natural part for me. And yes, it is quite bittersweet when a project is done. I still keep in touch with all my clients – some have even become friends.

What do you love most about what you do as a designer?

Nothing is better than the moment my client sees their room completed, and whip out their cell phones to take pictures and share with their friends and family on the spot. I’ve had a client tell me that I’ve made her dreams come true. It’s the satisfaction of knowing that your client is happy. That they get to walk into that room everyday and smile. And for me, seeing my vision come to life is so gratifying.

Could you share one or two of your testimonials?

Here are two 5-star reviews from my facebook page:

“I hired Riki to help me transform our guest room into my daughter’s room, my little girl’s room into my teenage son’s room and redecorate my living room that I was unhappy with for so long. Needless to say, Riki has made all our dreams come true! She has an exquisite eye and great taste. My daughter is in love with her beautiful, classic girl’s room that will last as she grows up. My son has the room that he’s dreamed about for years, he can’t stop smiling and I can finally relax in a living room I love so much. Even better, it was all made within a tight budget!! She is the best at finding gorgeous items at an affordable price! Hiring Riki was the best decision I ever made, I highly recommend her. She’s also a delight to work with.”

“I hired Riki to design my home. She created a space that my husband and I love. We could have never created our home this way without her. The amazing part was that Riki was able to capture “the feel” that we wanted. It was important that we had a home that was elegant but comfortable enough to live in. She hit it out of the park! I was so pleased with Riki’s vision and work that I cant stop telling my family and friends about her! I wholeheartedly recommend Riki for your next home or office project!”

Tell us about your direct approach and full disclosure with your clients?

My clients know that my main goal is to save them money, while giving them a beautifully designed space. I want them to feel comfortable that when I make certain design choices for them, its not because its in MY best interest. Its because its truly what’s best for their space. My approach is simple. My clients should know the true cost of everything they need to purchase. I search for and find the design elements, and they buy direct. I pass on any trade discounts directly to my clients; no up-marking. I only charge for my time. Everything is out on the table and we build trust. It makes the process flow much more smoothly. I design for them, like I would for myself. No need to spend more than you have to.

You mentioned all of your clients at this point have been referrals?

I started out with a simple ad on a Facebook group geared towards Los Angeles mothers, and it quickly took off from there. I’m currently working with several clients who were referred to me by previous clients. I love referrals. It means my clients are pleased with my work, and that is such a great feeling.

What do you planned for 2018?

2017 has been great so far, and I’m looking forward to taking on more projects in the coming year. Since a lot of my design process is done online, I’d like to see if I can design remotely for clients who don’t live locally. Looking to hopefully offer this service towards the end of 2018.

Excitement and Fun in Design Projects – Rachel Waldron

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Have you always lived in the PNW?

Yes. I was born and raised in Seattle, and moved to Eastern Washington to get my degree in interior design. For a short time in college, I thought I’d leave the PNW, but every time I ventured off, I found myself craving home and dreaming of our Seattle skyline.

What is your ideal retreat when decompressing from work?

I love spending time with my family, and I’m definitely a coastal gal. A day at the beach, regardless of weather, is always ideal. Of course, the warmer days are preferable! I really like to run into the waves with my kids when I can bear the cold ocean water. We take a few vacations each year and try to go somewhere sunny and warm so that the cold cannot hold me back. The colors of the tropical waters, sparkling sands, a drink in a lounge chair when I’ve used every ounce of energy so that I can recharge to jump up and run/swim around again are exactly what I need to decompress.

Could you share and describe what your design packages involve? and what perspective client this works for.

Of course! Most of the below packages were designed for the homeowner on a budget, who still has every right to be surrounded in beauty. We are a high-end design firm, with a focus on longevity in our designs and quality of materials and selections. So, designing a complete home simply will not fit in everyone’s budget, but that does not mean that we can’t address DIY projects and smaller projects!

Our Snap! Designed service is the quickest and most affordable option for homeowners. This is great for someone who really just needs an idea applied to their space. They talk to me about their space and it’s challenge, send me over a photo via email, and the whole concept happens in about 30 minutes of my time. I will put together a sketch and board illustrating conceptual materiality and ideas (see in below picture).

Color consultations are pretty much what they sound like! We take color a step further than the simple meeting in your home, however. We feel that color should be viewed over time before finalizing. So, we take our ideas back to our office, and put together a color concept that we present to the homeowner in our office.

Designer Redlines is a service we offer for homeowners who have plans already, but would like a second set of eyes to look it over. I see it like the doctor’s second opinion. Maybe these plans were received for free from a sales person (who may or may not be a formally trained designer), they could be from a friend, they could have been drawn out independently. We sit down with them and literally break out our red pen and make notes and suggestions for improvements or questions to ask.

E-design services are brand spanking new! The idea with these services is that we can provide a one-time design service on a flat fee for a space, saving the cost of meeting time, travel time, and the overhead costs of prints, etc. With this service, we ask homeowners to measure and document their own space (and we provide instructions on the best practices when doing this), then we have the homeowner submit a request for a proposal. Unlike many e-design services, we understand that every project is different. Some people want to work with what they have and find the best ways to do this. Others want to start new, and others are looking for simple color and accessorizing advice. These should not be the same fee for each unique service, so we tailor our proposals to meet the homeowner’s needs.

· Pre-Programming & Concept

· Snap! Designed

· Color Consultations

· Designer Redlines

· E-Design

Is it possible to pull off a beautiful design in a small living space?

I sure hope so! I’m working on a 500 square foot living space now, to include a bathroom, kitchen, dining, living, and sleeping space!

What two items add panache to a bathroom?

I love a good built-in niche, and it doesn’t have to be confined to a shower, a lovely built-in niche near the sink is a great place to store accessories without taking up extra space.

The other great panache item in a bathroom is an edgy light fixture. Washrooms are great spaces to get creative with lighting- pendants (damp-rated, of course!) on either side of the mirror rather than sconces are a fun way to do this.

What are your major inspirations to you when it comes to design?

Oh, this is easy… and hard! I love history in design. I initially began designing because of cool old structures, like old empty bunkers and abandoned houses. I loved that after all the neglect and abuse, these spaces still stood and seemed to call to me to explore them. As I got older and studied the history of interiors, I fell in love with the high level of quality and detail that went into historical design. Today, my goal is to create spaces that we will be able to look back at in the same way, intrigued by the level of detail and quality, and the history of how we live today. I will know I am successful when I see our generation’s great grandchildren hesitant to make any changes to the spaces I’ve designed because it is a treasure from the past… a relic.

When visiting Seattle, what is a must see, do and eat?

Our downtown is beautiful, and Pike Place Market is a must for tourists (and locals, really). I love the underground tour of Seattle, because it touches on the history of our city and the buildings are still intact underground. Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe on the Waterfront is a fun and goofy store that I grew up loving and have fond memories of. The museums are small but wonderful, and I just love our ballet and Seattle Symphony!

Innovative Distinctive Designs of Lynn Morris Interiors

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How do you describe Eco Luxury?

Eco luxury is the combination of sustainable design and use of aesthetically beautiful products that create quality and durability without a negative impact on the planet. Luxury is no longer no defined as opulence but as quality.

How important is living in a Eco Friendly designed space?

When you live in a sustainably design space, you are using materials that are better for the health of the home – and you and your family – and that are able to be recycled or up-cycled at the end of their life. They have been made in a sustainable way where the use of limited resources like electricity and water is significantly improved. Why is this important? There will be no off-gassing of volatile organic compounds in that home, products are safer, and they can be recycled at the end of their life; and you’ll notice savings in energy use – water and electricity – using sustainable products.

What surprises your clients the most and appreciate you informing them about?

It often surprises people there is a vast array of products that are durable, aesthetically beautiful, and eco-friendly. They learn that having an eco-friendly home is not expensive. It is desirable for their health, their use of resources is better, and they contribute to sustaining the planet. It makes people feel good to have a gorgeous interior that does not have a negative impact on the environment.

What manufactures and products do you tend to use for projects?

Without delving into specific manufacturers, I use those that have sustainable manufacturing processes that result in safe, non-toxic and recyclable products. Companies that do not use petroleum based products, whose contents are safe without using volatile organic compounds, and who work hard to change their processes to use fewer natural resources and leave no impact on the environment.

What cleaner products do you recommend that people can begin to make and slowly evolve into a full transition of living in an Eco Luxurious Home?

There are many products that are eco-friendly and aesthetically beautiful. Bamboo flooring is one. There are multiple styles and colors that can work with every style home. Wool rugs are durable, eco-friendly, and affordable. LED lighting saves money, uses limited power, and the array of gorgeous fixtures is nearly limitless.

Has there been a shift within companies to offer more options?

Companies want to be a part of a movement that helps sustain the resources of our planet without using or leaving toxic byproducts in their manufacturing process. Traditional companies have changed their processes. For examples, some furniture manufacturers no longer use stains or sealers that off gas VOCs, that still stand up to heavy duty use. Others have removed toxic lead lining from the interiors of faucets and have created plumbing fixtures that use less water yet still deliver a great shower or flushing (LOL) experience. Lighting manufacturers have moved to make more fixtures in more styles using LED bulbs; the energy savings is significant.

You are most happiest when___________________?

I love educating people on smart design; that thoughtful interior design can transform their lives. I show them how to create a beautiful, sustainable interior.

What has been your biggest splurge in creating your own Space? Has it been furniture, Art for instance?

My personal splurge is on amazing LED light fixtures and artwork. LED technology has enabled fixtures to become more artistic and unusual in shape and style. They make a statement while being lightweight, drawing significantly less power, and have a unique configuration. Artwork is an easy way to express personality and I have collected some unusual pieces.

Sophisticated and Timeless Design With Dy Lynne

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What was the inspiration of your store?

I knew it would be packaged into a barn! Both my husband and I have a long history and love affair of barns in our families. Growing up in New England I wanted the barn to have an eastern twist, Jack added a touch of Texas to the side of the barn which houses his company Dabney Homes. I love that inside something so externally simplistic “like a barn” would hold the most curated and transitional interiors. In short, I knew there would always be a blending of todays beautiful furnishings mixed with yesterdays curiosities.

Is the store trade specific or open to the public?

We are a retail store open to the public. We are nestled in the tony neighborhood of Olmos Park. In a community rich with historic homes and buildings. We offer discounts to the trade and enjoy many happy relationships with local

Please tell us about the location and how your vision came to be

We are located in a beautiful older section of San Antonio. My husband and I had been looking for the perfect location to house our companies and start what is now Joyeux Home Decor. One night during a leisurely bike ride my husband called and said I must meet him immediately at on McCulough Avenue where the barn now stands. As I pulled up to meet him I was extremely puzzled. I was staring at three dilapidated individual structures and a smiling
husband. After walking the property and discussing all the cool things we could envision it as a future home for our business, there was a sense of peace in the spot and what sealed the deal was when we looked up to see the street sign indicating we were literally at the corner of Joy and McCullough. The word joy and everything it evokes has always been one of my favorite words. I was sold and after many months of negotiations we were thrilled to learn the family who owned the property chose us to be the new owners. As serendipitous as the whole transaction had been the family revealed the had chosen us because of there fathers love of furniture and design. It was definitely divinely appointed!!

Did you already have your list of favorite or must have’s Furniture?

Every week our store unfolds new and old pieces of furniture and accessories that I fall madly in love with! We cary alll USA made upholstery at Joyeux we do this to be able to give our clients hundred year warranties and finely made products with an emphasis on eco friendly materials and sustainability. As far as favorites I really can’t pick just one but I will say that Square Feathers, Made Goods, and Couture are consistently producing exiting new designs.

What amazing products would be thrilled to find?

Walking through our door you will see a slipcovered white sofa (a Joyuex staple) paired with mid century chairs and vintage stools creating a collected looked in lieu of anything matchy matchy. I think people are most exited to discover the vintage treasures that we incorporate into every vignette on our showroom. You had me at Coffee.These small details matter doesn’t it?

Customer experience is key for you, what sets you apart?

Anyone who knows me knows a mug of good brew is pretty much glued to my hand throughout the day. We worked with a local roaster, Pulp, to develop our own ”Joyeuxful” blend that is complementary severed and savored by our customers as they meander through the barn and take in the furnishings and beauty. We want our store to be an experience, not just a place to shop. We also offer complimentary gift wrap with a multitude of ribbon and
paper choices, we care about every little detail as a small boutique store our goal is to make lasting friendships and memories not just a transaction. Scent is one of the most important senses and its the first thing you experience when walk through our doors. Our signature fragrance has a rich currant infusion and makes people instantly fall in love with its decadence. I guess you could say we aim to ignite all the senses and create lasting impressions on our

Please feature the USA MADE products and tell us why you love ‘em?

Cleary we love to promote any of our USA made goods here at Joyeux. We love supporting our country with top American names like Cisco, BSC, Southern, and Square Feathers.

How is working with your husband on projects? Do you find a good balance with work and family life?

Not to sound corny but we really are a match made in heaven! My husband and I are intertwined in all aspects of business and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Jack is the backbone of Joyeux, not only did he build the barn, he organizes and runs all of the behind the scenes magic. I could not create the stores beautiful vignettes and designs without Jack. He actually implements every crazy design idea that I throw at him! His building expertise and attention to detail is what makes our store so unique.

What have been your most rewarding and a good+ challenging design projects?

Remodeling projects have been very rewarding because you are truly transforming a space and watching someone fall in love with their home all over again. Although I love all of my projects, I feel especially proud of remodeling.

When you are showcasing model homes, what is the process ? Is the collaboration shared with the builder?

Yes, the builder and I work hand-in-hand from day one. From pan designs all the way to the last little details. This is not staging, its full design with turn-key finish. I love being a part of helping so many families achieve the American Dream when buying one of these homes. I hope we inspire them to take design chances and make their house a

Decor Addicting Designer Marie Lacote

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What is your favorite last minute getaway to travel to?

I don’t know if I’d call it a last minute getaway, but recently I fell in love with the island of Paros in Greece, and I’m constantly thinking about going back ever since. Not only is it the most relaxing and beautiful place to escape to, but it almost feels like it’s been decorated by nature. There’s something very distinct about the whole country’s identity through colors, the crisp white walls, the bright blue on the roofs and windows, and within that frame they have such vibrant colors on their flowers and trees – like bright pink for instance. It’s a great lesson in mixing colors. The whole time I felt like I was walking through a curated color palette, which is so wonderful.

What are 3 genius tips that make a room pop?

My design philosophy has always been that your home should be an extension of you, and you should always feel, not only good in your home, but happy in it, and I’m so glad that mainstream design has veered towards that more and more in recent years. To me there are three elements that are usually overlooked by clients to make a room pop, and you can personalise them to keep your space unique.

Art is by far the best place to start, it can be as subdued, or as bold as you feel comfortable with, as long as it’s something that really speaks to you, because art will always be a reflection of the soul.

I also think pattern’s been underused for a long time, because just like colour, you can bring a whole room to life with patterns, so I’m really glad to see more options out there, from classic motifs to really funky stuff. And don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, it’s just like colour : forget the rules !

And last but not least, I would recommend always, always, always : a touch of humour. Having something that makes you smile everyday when you come goes a long way. I’ll take down to earth over luxe anyway of the week. Plus, it’s a great ice-breaker for guests.

Where do you draw your ideas and inspiration from?

My first approach to anything is always through colour. I have such a gut reaction to colours. And whether it’s in nature, or in art, or even food, the colour combinations I see in life tend to inspire my designs. I’m also a big cinema-lover so I’m always on the lookout for great set design in films. The purpose of the set is to make you understand the character living in it in a few frames, which I think comes very close to my own philosophy of decorating, so I’m always looking for new and interesting ideas to add to my repertoire.

Strictly decor-wise I’m extremely inspired by designers from all over the world, especially Australia, Spain and Russia. Their style really pushes the limit and breaks the rules and it constantly inspires me to be bolder. I spent a lot of time online, and on social media – which can be exhausting – but having access to this incredible pool of inspiration from all these different countries is such a gift for me. There’s nothing like being inspired day in and day out to keep your creativity going.

How do you feel about Velvet? It seems like a popular trend what is your take.

In my opinion velvet is a staple, pure and simple. I’ve had a red velvet sofa for 7 years now, velvet pillows, velvet clothes, so I am all in ! I think it’s an instant winner for me because of the way the texture affects the color. It creates instant warmth and interest, and you can literally feel the coziness from yards away. People can’t resist a texture like velvet, it’s like a hug !

Since it’s one of my go-to textures, I’m delighted that it’s back “on trend” at the moment, and in so many bold, amazing colours, because I can seize the opportunity and find amazing furniture or objects that will disappear once the new trend has arrived, and that I’ll get to keep for the next 10 years!

Do you find pillows and throws are a must accessory on a bed and couch/sofa?

I actually do. I am a pillow-and-throw addict and have way too many in my home. But in defence of the pillow, and the throw for that matter, I would say the comfort- colour-texture trifecta is what makes it a must in my mind. It’s like a one-man band! They’re both a blank state for your creativity, you can switch them out so easily and they really do have a tremendous impact in a room. And you’ll hear it time and time again, but it’s the easiest – and cheapest – way to bring to life a neutral palette or a rental to add colour or personality.

However, I have to bring up the now (thankfully!) defunct, trend of “the chop” as a way of styling pillows, which drove me insane. As a PSA to anyone out there still doing it : leave those poor pillows alone.

Please tell us about your Project Mathieu, what was the process in managing to create an open layout in a small space?

Well, with the right layout I think and open concept really is the best way to go in a small space. Sometimes wall separations really box you in, depending on your layout, and it turns out the space would look twice as big without it.

To me, and to Mathieu, the kitchen really is the heart of the home, so improving it was our main goal. It’s a place for helping hands, hanging around for hours after the meal, and long talks surrounded by those delicious smells ! You know that in France we take our food seriously, and I swear every party somehow ends up in the kitchen !

So when you have a bad layout and a cramped space, it’s no fun for the cook to have to spend his time alone in there with no place to sit and no room for other people to join him. With a set-up like Mathieu had, you end up just avoiding the kitchen after a while.

Once we knocked that wall down, we were so happy with the instant potential of the room, it really was a no brainer. We then designed everything around the new bar, and it allowed us to create a better flow for the entire room and to repurpose it completely.

An open concept allowed us to make both the living room and the kitchen bigger in one fell swoop – creating one big space for entertaining -, and to bring in a lot more light, so it was a win-win. Now the cook doesn’t have to miss a thing, the kitchen is much more functional, and there’s enough seating for both dinner parties, and the movie-nights that follow !

You mentioned in Paris, clients tend to prefer items that are not on trend and prefer to have a space that purposely feels like a designer was not apart of the design, where do you find these special unique finds in Paris?

To avoid ending up with the same decor as your neighbour, I think you really need to rely on these unique finds and once again inject personality into your space. Every client is different so I don’t have a go-to store that fits everyone but Paris has a great mix of collectors shops, curiosity shops and even boutiques with hand-made and imported objects and furniture that I love using. I grew my personal list while walking around the city time and time again, but things change fast in a big city and there’s new shops everyday. So I’m always on the hunt for new places, and for that, I look to off-beat city guides, and online blogs that explore the city. They usually have all the great new discoveries, but there is a bit of serendipity to finding these pieces I think. You have to be patient. And if I’m being budget-conscious, I’ll hit the smaller, weekly, flea markets and spend hours on our version of Craigslist (“leboncoin”), or even eBay, to score some great deals and stumble upon pieces I never even dreamed of using.

Finding unique items like these really takes time and commitment, but to me it’s what ties the whole room together, so I like making that extra effort to find them. And sometimes the project calls for a personal touch, which is even better : in my latest project I’m having my mother and aunt, both very talented artists, make the art for the space, which is very exciting!

What are neighborhoods that really help spark creativity?

I’m actually very lucky to live in one of my favorite neighbourhoods and a really creative one at that.

I live right in between the “Canal St-Martin” – a very hip and up and coming area, filled with nature, people, street-art, pop-up stores and trendy cafés – and on the other side is our version of chinatown, which is called “Belleville”. On that side, it’s definitely grittier, but full of bright reds and neons, and lined with markets full of exotic fruits and smells, all great for daily inspiration. Belleville is evolving as well though so you’ll find a beautiful and famous graffiti-filled street there, and cozy bookstore-cafés to sit and people-watch.

I do often visit the more known, beautiful places in Paris, like “Le Marais”, or even the amazing “Buttes Chaumont” park not too far from my home, but I think every single neighbourhood in Paris has its hidden gems.

My best inspiration comes from riding the bus everywhere, or walking- when the sun’s out. I go through so many different neighborhoods at once, and pad in hand I just write down every single place I want to come back to and explore, and I make my itinerary that way. It’s a great way to discover new shops as well. The city is full of surprises.

Creator of Functional and Aesthetic Spaces – Caitlin Campbell

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How do you find time to stay informed on the latest trends? What resources are your favorite guides?

Instagram is my favorite way to keep on top of trends. It is a quick way to get a broad swoop of what is going on in the industry as a whole but also to see what trends are popping up in other industries too. Many times fashion trends are the inspiration for future interior trends as well.

Could you tell us a little about your Company?

My company was first started as a dream vision when I was a young girl. I grew up in a family of artists, architects and engineers with design and construction all around me. I knew I wanted a career that would also compliment my desire to be a mom. So after getting valuable experience working for a large design firm on the East Coast, I started my own business in 2006. I provide full design services to clients of every stage of their home remodeling projects. I pride myself on creating functional and aesthetic design solutions for all homeowners. I love working with new homeowners who are new to the remodel process. To me Interior Design is a very personal process and I enjoy manifesting designs that reflect the uniqueness of each of my clients.

For those perspective clients that are not certain about how to go about hiring a designer, you offer consulting? Could you touch on what that process entails? Do you have photos to share of consultation projects? And walk us through the experience please.

All projects are different and I try to be flexible with the services I provide. Many times, homeowners want to be heavily involved in the process but are afraid of making costly mistakes. I provide design consultations to allow my clients to have a sounding board when they need a professional to check in with. These consultations can be held at their home where we go through the selections they have made together. We can also meet at tile and fabric showrooms to make design selections together. I listen to their vision for the space and help guide the selections to fit within the budget and still help create the look they are going for.

How do you incorporate Textiles and Fabrics?

Between shopping for both, which is your favorite and what vendor has you excited about the latest/
Textiles and fabrics are so important to a successful design. You can create a sophisticated room by keeping the colors neutral but mixing up the textures between soft velvets and chunky chenilles. I love playing with color and texture in a way that will be cohesive but unexpected. You can also have fun with pattern and color to make a space unique and playful. I have always felt like a kid in a candy shop when I am around fabrics. Kravet, Clarke & Clarke, Robert Allen & Duralee are some of my favorite go to vendors. They stay on top of trends and lead the trends in many respects.

How crucial is the relationship between yourself the Designer and the Client?

Trust and Communication are important.

How do you manage to keep those two at the forefront from the very first meeting?

As someone who is helping to make decisions that will affect my client’s everyday life, I do think it is important that there is a level of trust between me and my clients. I once had a project where the clients were oversees the entire time I remodeled their 4000 square foot home from top to bottom. I had to maintain constant and clear communication so that they knew I was committed to making sure the project was going to go off without a hitch. I sent photos, design drawings and weekly updates as to the progress of the project.

From the very first meeting, I talk with my client’s about solutions to their every day challenges; how to gain more space, how to add more light, how to create more of a flow, etc. My job is to create a space that is custom and functional for the end user. I do not want my designs to be personalized to my design style. I want to create a space where my client’s voice is heard. I listen to what their struggles are with the existing space and the goals they have for their newly remodeled space. To me, the design process is a collaboration between the designer and the client and I work hard to have everyone involved.

Caitlin Campbell – Principal Designer

Symmetry Designs


Capturing the Spirit of Design With Melinda Slater

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How important is this collaboration with your client?

First, I think it’s important to define what collaboration is and isn’t, at least to me. It seems that all too often collaboration is viewed negatively in our industry, and I think that’s unfortunate. Maybe there’s a fear among designers that if we collaborate with our clients, our creativity will be stifled by the client’s lack of design knowledge. I don’t agree with that. After all, the main reason a client should hire a designer is for his/her expertise. As I see it, collaboration is not about hiring a designer to ‘OK’ a clients’ ideas, it’s working with a designer to express your ideas visually and beautifully and in a way that makes sense for the space and for the client.

I see my role in the collaborative process as learning about my clients needs/wants and then translating that into a design. Yes, it is a little part pushing and prodding because we are the expert and I think we’re hired in part for our point of view. And it’s a little part listening and respecting, because it is, after all, the place where your clients live and therefore must represent them, not the designer.

And beyond collaboration with the client is collaboration with the contractor and subs/vendors on a project. It truly is a team effort and we all have to work together for the client to give them the final results they want and expect. I learned early on that clear communication is the best path to a positive outcome. There will always be problems that occur on every project and it’s how you tackle those problems that bring the desired results.

Do you find many clients surprised by the process and how you welcome their engagement?

I think that so many clients are new to the idea of hiring a designer that they don’t know what the process is or should be. So what I have noticed is that so many of my clients are surprised by how fun this process is. And while it’s true that the number of decisions that need to be made is astonishingly large, they see how helpful it is to have hired me to help them navigate the process, to keep it from being overwhelming, and also, to provide some design education in the process. Hiring a designer really takes away the burden and stress and allows for a more enjoyable process and outcome.

As you create their story and get to know them along the design process, do you find that the discovery evolves? Or do you find it does not change much?

That’s a great question. I definitely think that the discovery evolves. And it comes about, I think, through collaboration. Behind that stands education…about the why behind my design selections and also, behind my solutions to design situations that arise. Instead of me saying, “No, that won’t work,” what they see and understand is ‘why’ it won’t work. I think that helps ease their fears and concerns about having a designer who’s there to take over their house and a designer who’s there to discover who they are and weave that into their house; the first way has a tendency to lead to a sour project ending, whereas the second –the real discovery and evolution—leads to a project with a happy ending.

You were awarded a “Best Customer Service” by Houzz. How did you find out about your win and what does this mean to you?

I was awarded Houzz Best Customer Service by receiving positive reviews from my clients based on the work that I did for them and the overall outcome of their project. The reviews as I see it are less about a review of me personally, and more about how my creative work helped them solve their pain points that existed in their house and how we arrived at the overall end result.

In addition to my Best Customer Service from Houzz is my 2016 Top 20 Interior Designers in Seattle from Freshome.com. This really delighted me as I know there are a lot of great designers in our area and being a great designer is partially about the end result in the design, but it’s also about your behind the scenes communication and project management that gives you that accolade.

Business is booming and you are expanding your portfolio , what projects are excited to tackle and explore?

I’m currently working on the design of a 6-unit townhome project in downtown Bothell (Opening Spring 2018), which is in an up and coming neighborhood north of Seattle/Bellevue. It’s the largest project I’ve worked on so far and it’s exciting to see construction beginning. I have developed a great relationship with the construction company, Moon Construction, a family-owned company, and they’ve really put their trust into my skills. They’ve allowed me to explore and “play” with different layouts and finishes to create a one-of-a-kind project for them.

Beyond that, I really love the puzzle of interior design and how to come up with unique and better solutions to a design problem. To me it’s about putting the specific pieces together for my clients. It’s space planning and I love the challenge and joy of it… taking an awkwardly laid out home and creating more cohesive, workable, livable and enjoyable layout. Or taking an empty commercial space and creating something out of nothing. I’m looking forward to future collaborations with architects and contractors where I get to stretch and hone this passion of mine.

What is on your target list when visiting High Point this year? Anything specific you are hoping to come across?

While it’s always fun getting the chance to see some up and coming trends, I’m really excited to see more lighting and accessories. Lighting is a really difficult thing because it’s hard to get an idea of scale or light output just by looking on the internet, and local lighting stores are few and far between and can only carry a small fraction of what exists. Additionally, I’m looking forward to seeing area rugs and fabric; you can never appreciate the color, texture, quality or feel of a piece through your computer. Hands on is a must for me!

Creator of Lifestyle-Enriching Spaces: Verena Dalati Salme

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How much time to prefer to have on a space if a client is flexible?

In a perfect world I would love to have between 4 to 6 weeks to really sink my teeth into every client’s design – but time isn’t always on our side. These days a typically project lifecycle takes about 3 weeks which is pretty fast. If there was no limit to a project, the design process could go on for months, years even because a design is never really ‘done’!

Do you have a book of samples that you keep and create of items you want to use or reference for upcoming projects?

Absolutely! We’re always on the lookout for inspiration and pieces that capture us. When we are out and about hunting for finishes for our clients and come across a “we need to have this in our library for the future” we grab it! We also tend to use these pieces as inspiration on our social channels. I love putting together mood boards on Pinterest or sharing the treasures we find on Facebook so that current or future clients can get a bit of YB soul– no sense in keeping that stuff to yourself, right? Then the excitement comes as the pieces fall into place as a match for the perfect project!

Could you please share the latest travels and what finds you discovered?

I have to say that I love this question! Last year, my husband and I traveled to Copenhagen and fell even more in love with Scandinavian Design. We came across antiques, iconic fabrics & the minimal interiors that we went crazy over. My favorite discovery was a department store that was exclusively for furniture & home goods, Illums Bolighus. Their designs were mind blowing – everything from the furniture down to the. I also found a new liking for the color pink or ‘dusty rose’ while I was there. I’m not usually a fan, but Scandinavians use it with such sophistication that I couldn’t help starting to obsess about incorporating it into everything! Earlier this year we were able to explore Havana, Cuba – speaking about color, great-unexpected combinations! On our latest trip to Italy and France, we enjoyed the juxtaposition of the simple casual with the ornate elegance found in the interiors, architecture + lifestyle.

You are an avid traveler, what are your must go to and shops when you are out and about?

I was recently asked how I research a city I am about to visit. For me, it really depends on the city. Sometimes I start researching touristy places or dive into blogs etc. In terms of scouting the design scene of a new city, I would have to say that flea markets or antique market are a great place to start and venture off from there. I love visiting local concept stores and shops that originated in the city we are visiting as they have much to say about the history and character of those living and working in the city. We usually have a list of collected design stores before we even arrive to a city, we start adding more to the list as we meet locals or come across stores that lead to others. Honestly the best part is the chase and getting lost – you never know what you will come across!

Is every selection made by you?

Every project is definitely a joint team effort! I would love to say that I personally hand pick every selection for each client but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. I definitely lead the upfront vision for every space based on what my client and I have agreed to – but once that is solid I give my team the reigns and some autonomy to pick the individual pieces. Once they collect everything they run it by me and we collaborate on revisions, tweaks, final touches etc. to create the best design possible. That’s the beauty of a team, I couldn’t do what I do without them!

What is it about your style that sets you apart?

Tough question – honestly, I’m just me. There are days that I love one thing and the next day I could change my mind. What sets me apart is my vision for my clients and adapting accordingly. I’m an equal opportunity designer which means that I love culture, I love the fusion of the different pieces – anything goes so long as you feel it. For me, that sets me apart – there isn’t a way things should be, the possibilities are endless and I want to give that freedom and balance to my clients.

Do you see your offices expanding to other parts of the country?

The beauty of design is that it’s not limited to a single place or an office environment. YB offers e-design services which is mostly remote work – through this service we’ve been able to work with homeowners
and business owners on projects throughout the US and overseas as well. We are based in Atlanta but that doesn’t limit our reach! Even if we work on a project for a client remotely and they want us in person for the installation we are definitely flexible to make that happen.

What keeps you on your toes?

My Yellow Stilettos 😉

How do you challenge yourself when staying on the forefront of trends?

I was never a trend follower honestly. I tell my clients that trends are fun, but the goal is to create a space that is timeless and uniquely them. It is much more exciting to do something original and find that a trend is starting with some ideas you introduce.

What part of the process, is most appreciated by you?

I live for the big reveal! Its two-fold. First, when a homeowner walks into their finished space completely in awe and excited that it is more than they expected and second, when their friends and family come in and say “this is so you” – that’s the moment where it all comes together for me.

What is next for you?

There’s a lot in the works but in the immediate future we are in the process of finding a bigger space! It’s been 2 years since we opened Yellow Bungalow and we quickly outgrew our current office, which we didn’t expect. The plan is to expand into a studio space with a storefront. We’re working on creating an inspiriting work-space for our team that also accommodates our expanding clientele. I love the idea of bringing together a work-space with a tiny boutique showcasing a collection of our finds and creations. This is the natural next step for us!

Design as a Healing Art With Kathleen Garito

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Recognizable for her elegance and style; allow me to introduce Kathleen Garito of KG Interior Design based in Southern California. Kathleen’s distinctive designs are a signature blend of sophistication and seamless combination. Enjoy these selected photographs that take you for a soulful experience. What has made Kathleen’s mark on the industry is the trust she has gained from her clients. Clients understand when they work with Kathleen, the work in itself is going to be exceptionally well curated. What they receive from Kathleen is exactly what separates her and places her in a class on her own. Kathleen strives for quality work, setting a realistic deadline, and first rate customer service. Clients love that Kathleen is hands on in every capacity of the design process and is keen on understanding her client’s design needs. KG Interior Design is a powerhouse in the industry with as many as 13 projects at once, all while still consulting on staging jobs. Customer service and quality work have set this referral only firm onto the path for a busy season inspiring and creating superb designs.

Do you recall landing your first client?

Yes, it was a referral on a 6,000 sq ft home I had to stage and do the landscaping.

What is your philosophy on client relationships and customer service?

I am referral based on my customer service and quality of work. I always check in with clients whether it is there birthday, anniversary or just connecting over lunch or a game of golf. I always get more work when I reconnect.

How has it progressed from then, in attracting new clients and retaining your client base?

We are always updating our inventory. My warehouse is like a showroom clients love to come in and shop. I am always looking for that new cool product or selecting palettes for the season.

To make room for new pieces in your warehouse, do you host annual sales?

Yes, we have semi-annual sales.

What is next for you, do you have any special projects on a personal and professional level that you plan on tacking on?

Yes, we have several kitchens and bath that I love. And we have a few surprises up our sleeves we can’t wait to share!

Contemporary Touch in Designing – Emilie Pechadre

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What textiles or fabrics are your selections for either that you most prefer?

As a French designer, I try to work as much as possible with French fabric designers like Pierre Frey who is my favorite. My grandfather used to work with this fabrics firm during years. While doing my design school in Chicago, I discovered US design firms with a great fabric collection. For example, I really like the Serena & Lily and Restoration Hardware
collections. In terms of patterns, I love the stripes. They can be used in so many different ways and applications. They are timeless and can be modern or traditional.

What projects were you fascinated with that you fulfilled working on?
When I came back to France, after my expatriation in Chicago, I had the opportunity to work on a complete renovation in Paris. This design project was fascinating and challenging. I had to maintain the Parisian style of this apartment: molding, French parquet, marble fireplaces and at the same place bring modernity and coziness. The second challenge was to push my client out their comfort zone and bring wallpaper in the dinning room with a gold geometric pattern. They loved it!

What was your first design with Laurel & Wolf?

My first design project with Laurel & Wolf was in Riverwoods, Illinois. My client just moved into a ranch home and they want to decorate their living and dining area. I love designing living area because it is the place where people live and entertain. I started by dividing the space and then designed a comfy and modern living area. We had great interactions with the client. We had a lot of fun. The client was so happy of the design. And it was a success for this first project at Laurel & Wolf.

What are you hoping to create with Laurel & Wolf that would satisfy a genre of design?

I love working with Laurel & Wolf. The platform is just magic and revolutionary. In all of my design projects I try to bring my French touch and style mixing texture and paying attention to the details.

Is there a difference when working with clients in your native home vs the US?

The design approach is a little bit different between the two countries. In France, people are less used to online interactions both from a shopping and personal point of view (i.e. interaction with designers through e-mails). French people like to see and touch things and meet in person their designers.

Fashion Touches in Interior Design With Giselle Ulmo

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What was your first taste of interior design, that made you aspire to get into the Industry?

I was a fashion designer for many years which I loved and it was not until my husband and I bought our first home that my interior design passion kick into action. Our first home became a experiment design studio in which I tried different techniques and design aesthetics. Then my friends stated to request my help which lead to client referrals and the starting of my interior design business

Working in renovations in addition to interior design, how do prepare for a new project that you are getting off the ground?

I go thru a series of meetings with the client in which we discuss their design in detail. To me is a open dialog that evolves. Is all about finding the right formula for my clients. I do not rush the process but I ask a lot of questions, so it opens my clients mind to the design possibilities

What is the design/build process?

My design process varies with each client but I follow some procedures that include meetings, conversation, research, sketches, drawings and inspirations. I always share a folder with my clients in which we can share design ideas and that becomes the starting point.

Do you hire your craftsmen/women or do the clients find the team?

I have my own crew which includes trade vendors, furniture makers, upholsters, contractors and license skill men. I have also worked with the clients contractors or workers if they want that but I have plenty of good sources in all the areas of interior design and renovations.

How involved are you in the process?

I can be totally involved or just doing parts of it. As an example if a client wants me to design and project manage their whole house then I manage the whole process from design to installation. I also have instances where I am hire to consult or just decorate one room.

Construction schedule? Negotiations? By working with a design/build team, the client will have one point of contact throughout the entire project, which would you be yourself, is that correct and does that make the process easier to work on?

It is always easier for the client to work with a experience designer that understand the process especially when it comes to renovations in NYC. As a firm that has done a good amount of renovations in NYC you have to understand the procedures that are involved like submittals of work of scope, certificates of insurance, and working with reliable crew. There are many steps that many building in NY require and making the process easier and smooth is a good way to start a renovation project.

Could you please share for home owners, who are looking to have a renovation what key questions to ask there designer?

I would ask the designer if they have experience working in these type of renovation in building like they live. Understanding the building guidelines is important. I always ask my clients not only aesthetics questions but I want to know how they want the space to function for their lifestyle. A good design takes many factors into consideration.

Kitchen and bathrooms are the biggest investment in a home, is this accurate?

By far kitchen and bathrooms are the biggest investments in any home. Renovating these important rooms make a big impact and equity to the worth of your home. They are the workhorse of a home and no matter where you live homeowners want kitchens and bathrooms that function and are updated.

What has been your experience working in kitchens and bathrooms, that make this a special niche for your design firm?

After designing kitchen and bathrooms in NYC for years I have found that maximizing space is always important. No matter where you live in the city or suburban homeowners want this room to look beautiful and to function. So is not what you see on the outside is also about how organize and functional they are inside. Homeowners are looking for pull out for everything from spices and pots in the kitchen to blow dryer and toiletry in the bathroom. I say every inch counts and making these rooms work for you with savvy organizations tricks is everything.

What time saving tips could you guide a homeowner who is thinking of getting into renovations?

I say think about all you design vision, do some homework, talk to the designer honestly so she can best help you and most importantly do not rush the job.

Multicultural Flavors in Design by Sasha Bikoff

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If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I am always on a constant chase for the sun and the beach. The sun makes me happy and the ocean allows me to feel inspired. It unclouds my mind and lets my creativity roam free. Because of this, I would live in Miami in the winter and the Hamptons in the summer. I have been visiting Miami since I was a little girl and have always been influenced by the color palettes of the art deco buildings and mesh of cultures – everything in Miami is so happy and vibrant. On the other hand, I have grown up in the Hamptons and feel very connected to the farms, greenery and all American way of life. The combination of this glamorous Miami party playground and rural countryside by the sea both energizes and inspires me.

What is your favorite item to be shopping for, is it lighting , furniture, hardware etc?

My favorite item to be shopping for is fabric. I love to go through historical fabrics from old world weavers or from brands like Lelievre or Pierre Frey and find fresh ways to re-invent them through upholstery or window treatments. The art of textiles and fabric truly make a room come alive. You can add such personality to your home through texture, pattern, and material – just like paint.

How do you tackle the process when it comes to designing living spaces and workspaces in a home?

When I go into a project I look at the architecture of the building, the design, the finishes in the space, etc. Immediately I am brought back to a time and inspiration. I am inspired by iconic rooms and design in history, from paintings, hotels, villas, castles, my travels, etc. From there I interview the client. When it comes time to tackle the process, it is a combination of the architecture, my inspiration, where the space is, who my client and what my client wants. A space can start with a wallpaper, a carpet or even a color of paint – the same way we treat a canvas and pick the grounding color for your first layer. The walls, floor and ceiling are your first layer. Anything from the curtains, couch, coffee table, etc. are the second layer. Lighting is usually my third layer and then I continue to layer, adding more and more.

Do you consider designing an art or science?

I definitely consider designing an art. I am self taught and come from an art background having studied fine art in Paris and worked at the Gagosian gallery. For my projects, I do everything by hand. I make my own mood boards with giant boards and pin fabric samples and inspiration to them. I like to visualize everything in my head and put all of the color themes together – it all comes from within and therefore design really is an art. Having traveled the world and learning all different histories, you can teach yourself so much about the art of interior design.

Are there elements of the redesign that had specific sources of inspiration?

For my project on the Upper East Side, I looked to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and french boudoir for inspiration mixed with elements of Studio 54. For my Hudson project, I took a very homey, natural and down to earth home along the Hudson river and infused glamorous elements of bras, chrome, and fur into the space for my fashionable client. For instance, the coffee table had mirror tops in the shape of rocks and the carpet was made of tufted silk called “River” because it brings to mind a flowing river. The plush, white sofa was called “On the Rocks” as it looked just like a rock formation. All of these statement pieces allowed me to tie in the natural element of the home’s location using luxury materials.

What is your favorite cultural design structure?

For instance the Atrium at Lincoln Center. My favorite cultural design structure would be the Guggenheim. I love its spiral shape as it is exactly the type of furniture I look for. It is a real conversation piece – true architecture. I am always looking for interesting shapes in furniture.

What showroom is a piece of designer gold in your opinion?

I have three. Christopher Hyland in the D&D has amazing, unique showstopper fabrics – essentially, a flea market of the craziest artisanal fabrics. My second is Stark for their old world weavers and a lot of fashion designer fabric mixed with classic, iconic fabrics from Iris Apfel and Scalamandre. My third is Pierre Frey for his prints and wallpapers from new artists.

Architectural Photography From the Shutter of Whitney Kamman

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How is that your photography you are able to capture the energy in the shot?

I try to use as much natural light as possible. I really try to capture the room as close to how the architect or interior designer intended so I don’t over light anything.

It is action and soul filled, the photographs are radiant. How do you prepare for a Shoot?

Make sure I have a back up for every piece of equipment, comfortable shoes, and lots of snacks.

For interior and architects who are looking to hire a photographer, what advise do you share?

Take a look at their style in their portfolio and be sure it is the style you are going for. Also, if you can sit down and meet with them I would recommend it as shoot days tend to be long and you will be working closely together.

Do you prefer to stay local and work or do you travel for projects as well?

I love both!

Could you share a little about your background and how it helped with your photography?

My mom is and interior designer and my dad in an architect and growing up they always taught me to appreciate great design. I have always loved photography so it seemed like a natural thing for me to do and I love it!

What is your favorite photo?

That’s a really hard question. I have lot’s of favorites… some I like because I know the story behind the photo – what it took to get the shot. But one of my favorites are of this contemporary home up in Big Sky, Montana. I love the design, the furnishings and the views.

What other photographers inspire you?

Most photographers inspire me. I love people creating art with a camera!

Decorator, Styler, Stager – Gin Treadwell

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Can you share with us how you started your career in designing?

I’ve always had an interest in home interiors. Throughout my life I have lived in a number of apartments and houses of various styles and sizes and enjoyed creating spaces tailored to my tastes and needs of the time. The catalyst that really put me on the design path was when my husband and I were on the search for a new home. We had outgrown our little house and were looking for something bigger to settle our family into. I must have looked at 30 houses in person and many more online. I was amazed at how many homes weren’t being presented in the best light and started thinking that home staging was a little used resource in my area that maybe I could tap into. I also knew I had a talent for decorating, and not wanting to limit myself, I decided I wanted to offer services both in Staging and Design. It was shortly after that I launched my business “Gin Treadwell HOME”.

Have you seen the industry change from when you began?

I’ve see an increase in stylish furnishings in a wider range of pricing which is great. It allows a client who has a smaller budget to still achieve great design. Home staging is also something that more people are familiar with. Four years ago, very few realtors in my town were interested in pursuing staging for their listing clients. Now, I’m getting calls frequently with requests for consultations and staging quotes.

Are items more accessible and do you prefer how available it is? Online shopping vs having to visit stores and schedule meetings at showrooms?

I do a lot of sourcing and shopping online, which is very convenient and allows me to look at many items and compare pricing without having to drive to multiple locations. However, I still enjoy visiting shops and showrooms- I think it’s important to see the differences between quality pieces. When it comes to upholstered furniture, I always prefer to to see the pieces in person. I like for my clients to sit in and touch the sofas and chairs to make sure the cushions feel soft or firm enough.

Would you please explain what the role of an “Interior Designer” and “Interior Decorator” are?

I think the line that separates the two is becoming a little more blurred… but technically, Interior Decorators tend to focus on decorating within an existing space by bringing in furnishings, decor and accessories. They should have a good eye for detail and assessing spaces overall. Interior Designers have the ability to take the design process further, and can provide suggestions and recommendations for home improvement, remodeling or building. They usually have relationships with various vendors, contractors and pros who can help with home improvement. Many Interior Designer have formal training or a degree in design. But there are a number of very talented Designers who have not had formal training, and formal training doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a Designer will be talented or good at their job.

You also provide Home Staging, have you found Stage homes are easier to Market ?

I do believe staged homes are easier to market. A properly staged home will highlight the positives of any property, showcasing it in the best possible way. The goal with staging is to make the home appealing to as wide a range of buyers as possible, thereby improving the chances of offers and a quicker sale. Empty houses can confuse buyers- they have no perspective on scale and furniture placement. Homes that are too taste specific tend to turn off buyers if the decor style isn’t one they personally find appealing.

Would you describe home staging as an investment for the seller of the house?

Absolutely. Staging is a valuable marketing tool that all sellers should consider. And the higher the listing price of the home, the higher the expectations of the buyer. When I stage homes I always take into account the style of the home, the neighborhood it’s located in and the type of buyer who will be looking at the property.

Have you experienced home prices increase offers and price when a home is staged?

Yes! Many of the homes I have staged have had offers within a couple of weeks at full or above listing price.

Can home sellers reach you directly or is it the real estate agent that hires you?

Yes and Yes. Many times it’s the realtor who reaches out to me first, inquiring about home staging, and then puts me in contact with their clients. But I have had sellers reach out to me directly- they find me online or hear about me through a referral.

Exceptional Design Ideas By Susan Wintersteen

By | Decoration, Design World, Fashion | No Comments

Tell us please the concept behind digital design?

Digital design is for the cost conscious consumer that needs to kick start a design plan or color schematic. This person has a good eye, doesn’t need much custom design influence, just wants a springboard to bring a space to life.

What is the latest design trend you are starting to see?

I am starting to see the return of wood and textures to kitchens, and not all white! Super exciting to see and implement some different colors and styles to our kitchens that have seen white and gray in the past few years.

In designing kitchens, do you find most people afraid of adding colors that pop? I am seeing more textures in kitchens and popping elements of a space in lieu of color. Wood, lighting etc. What in your opinion creates a serene living space?

Filling your space with a balance of color and texture and integrating personal touches and memories, keepsakes throughout bring a space full circle and allow you to surround yourself with elements you love.

Is having a coffee table a must have in a Living Room?

A central focal point in a living room is a must, an ottoman, a assortment of cubes, I believe is essential for overall balance.

What are your favorite Lighting Fixtures that are classic and worthy of the investment?

Robert Abbey’s light fixtures, an assortment of modern traditionally inspired styles are worth the investment. They can take a traditional or modern space and add that wow factor that sets it apart from your neighbor.

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