Bedding……..We all know a good night’s sleep is priceless…….and is a function of many variables like…the mattress, the warm body next to you…the sheets…the weight of the covers…and a million other things. To enhance your sleep, having linens that you just want to dive into, and blankets to snuggle under, makes for a refreshing “I can’t wait to go to bed” experience. I can remember back to when I was about 10, my wonderful mom bought me a pretty sunflower patterned sheet set (which was pretty radical for my practical mom), and I literally luxuriated under those sheets every night. It was the 70’s and you can imagine the loud pattern…funny the favorite things we remember.
I’m often asked by my clients for recommendations for new bedding. This is an important question, because you will spend almost 1/3 of your day in a “relationship” with your bedding, and it should be a comfortable, restful and joyful experience. So please get bedding that makes you happy!
When they talk to me my clients are generally looking for my input on a recommended pattern (yay or nay) on the bedspread or duvet cover, since it normally provides a good portion of the visual energy in the a bedroom’s décor. Here are some tips I shared with my clients. First, if my clients are starting with “no pattern” in the room yet, due to changing the bedding, and have only solid or textured fabrics on the headboard and/or chairs, ottoman and window treatments, then I generally recommend researching a ready-made patterned duvet or bedspread as a starting point. I know, I know, I’m all about custom. So how can I tell my clients to head straight to.…..Pottery Barn? But, really, it’s highly impractical for 95% of my clients to have me make them custom bedding when there are retailers with good products at reasonable process like:
If you like bold medallion-type fabrics like Pottery Barn’s Zella duvet (pink and green, sort of Christmas-y, don’t you think?), then you will probably be intrigued by PB’s many options. No, I don’t get any advertising dollars to promote Pottery Barn, just goodwill from my happy clients when they find what they want.
Here are two other Pottery Barn favorites of mine, the Jordana Paisley and the Lucianna Medallion duvet covers.
With the patterns shown above, you can choose many complementary patterns for the other soft furnishings (e.g. fabric items) in your bedroom: textures, stripes, small diamond designs, velvets, plaids.
Solid Bedspread or Duvet? If you already have patterns in your room, and want to make the bed more neutral, restful, and maybe not appear so large (really, a king bed in an apartment bedroom can almost overwhelm the space visually if the pattern is too bold), then look for either a solid color duvet or quilt. There are many options available out there. If you are exclusively shopping on-line, I recommend ordering just a pillow sham first to see how you like the colors, pattern, and the feel of the cloth.
Whatever you choose, just remember two things: 1) the bedspread will probably dominate the room’s visual esthetic, but 2) you can easily change it in the future if you find another bedspread that matches the room and pleases you more. So take a look – and call me if you need any help deciding!
Today I would like to introduce you to Stickley Furniture’s totally ingenious piece of family room furniture - “The Gathering Island.”
As you can see in the photo below, Stickley’s Gathering Island is essentially a high table, perfect for counter-height stools, that can also serve many functions in your family room. It fits behind a sectional or sofa with ease, provides extra seating with stools that tuck away, and serves a perfect storage spot for accessories, remotes, lamps, and other electronic necessities of today. The Gathering Island also comes with electrical outlets so you can perch above the sofa, with your laptop on the tabletop, and plug in all your essential devices. As important as the “kitchen island” is in today’s kitchens, this “Gathering Island” is a stylish and functional piece of hardworking furniture for your family room.
I especially like Stickley’s Gathering Island with the stone top (shown below); so much so that I recently recommended it to one of my clients. I featured that client’s family room in a previous blog post (“Backdrops for a Perfectly Styled Bookshelf”) and in that post you can see the gray Stickley Gathering Island my client eventually selected, with the stone inlay top.
Of course you can replicate this idea on your own by selecting an appropriate-height sofa table (34” tall is ideal), but such a table is not always easy to find. So, if you’re searching online, look for “sofa table” or “console table,” and then narrow down the list to options that give the proper height and have unobstructed space underneath.
Below you can see I utilized this idea in the basement of another client’s home, where the client wanted some extra seating for game-days. My client installed a stone top over the console table we selected, an Uttermost piece she purchased through me, which unfortunately is not available anymore.
However, the currently available Uttermost “Mavis Table”, shown below with a 34” high top, would be perfect for a “Gathering Island”: (https://www.uttermost.com/Mavis-Console-Table-R24894/?SelectedSKU=R24894)
You can see the full selection of Stickley’s Gathering Islands at their website:
I have to say, the term “Gathering Island” makes me smile as I sit in my design studio/workroom and look at the snow-covered scene we have for Christmas this year, since it makes me think of friends and family sharing time together.
Best Wishes to everyone for a wonderful Holiday season! May your family gather, rejoice and be happy in 2020.
Whatever you call it, “Small Business Saturday” or “Shop Sudbury” or “Shop Local”, today (30 November 2019) is the day to see what holiday shopping delights are right there at your doorstep……in the absolutely terrific town of Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Center Stage Interior Designs has had the pleasure of calling Sudbury home for 18 years, and during those years we've developed wonderful relationships with the other local business owners in the Home Décor industry - to the immense benefit of both me and my clients. Here’s a list of our favorite home-related businesses who also call Sudbury home:
Heather Garden Design: Talented Landscape Designer Heather Halsey will make all your landscape dreams come true. https://www.heathergardendesign.com/
Carpet Carousel: Shawn, Melanie and Carol will delight you with the very best in carpet selection and customer service. http://carpetcarousel.net/
Anne Hincks Real Estate: Anne is a delight and will give you expert help and advice about properties in Sudbury. A wonderful person and a wonderful realtor you can trust. https://www.kw.com/kw/agent/annehinckssudburyhomes
Kevin Kennedy, Master Upholsterer: Kevin, another Sudbury resident, offers both spectacular upholstery services and classes. I’ve taken his classes and have learned from a true master. https://www.upholsteryonbroadway.com/home and https://broadwayupholsteryschool.com/
Jana Blanchette, Custom Quilts: Jana creates incredible custom keepsake quilts with an artist’s eye.
Patti and Larry McGlynn of McGlynn Clinton & Hall Insurance Agencies: Patti and Larry’s services will give you peace of mind for your family, home, and business insurance needs. They’re my insurance company and really know their business. https://www.mchinsure.com/
I’ve been a proud member of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce for over 12 years. If you want to check out more of the local businesses their website is a great place to see a complete listing of all of the businesses in town: https://www.sudbury.org/memberslisting
So today, and every day, before you go elsewhere - you should really Shop Sudbury!
Built-in bookcases are a custom touch in any family room, library, or living room, giving the room architecture, storage, and well…a place to put all our, ahem, “collectibles.” Stuff, as my teenage daughter would say. Usually lots of stuff.
Based on my experience I’d like you to consider one idea before you load up your brand-new built-ins right after the contractor has departed. Consider putting a textured wallpaper or an actual paint color at the back of the cabinets or bookshelves! It will make a world of difference, and you’ll be happy with the results, I promise. Seldom does the semi-gloss white trim paint that adorns a whole built-in cabinet look crisp and stunning when it’s glaring across the back of the entire bookshelf.
Pictured below are some examples of my clients’ built-ins where we put wallpaper or fabric as the interesting, but understated “backdrop” for the collectibles they chose to display. My favorite backdrop is grasscloth wallcovering. The blue Phillip Jeffries grasscloth Soho Hemp, 5508, Color Broadway Blues (https://www.phillipjeffries.com/shop/CARD-NAT-SOHOHE/5508/) shown in the photo is a perfect fit for behind the display shelves of this transitional living room. If you use this technique make sure you pay particular attention to the width of the paper in your selections since you don’t want to have any seams from the wallpaper. The Color Broadway Blues grasscloth was perfect since it came in rolls that were 36” wide, which was wide enough for a seamless application.
The next photos are of family room from my client and their beautiful slate gray built-in cabinetry. We put another Phillip Jeffries paper at the back, one that has a metallic/texture combination that is small scale (Metallic Paper Weave 3531 Chromium, https://www.phillipjeffries.com/shop/CARD-4-METWEAVE/3531/). The wonderful thing about this product is that it is an “engineered” grasscloth, so even if there are seams they don’t show very much, or at all.
My client was planning to do more styling on her bookshelves after I took these photos (during the same trip that I installed the faux roman valances I had fabricated), so I am sure the bookshelves are a lot more dressed now. Just gorgeous custom cabinetry, I know she was pleased.
When deciding on a suitable paper or color for the back of shelves, remember that the backdrop should not detract from the “main event.” Sort of like when you take close-up photographs; the background should be fuzzy and the object in front should be the crisp focal point. Your objects should pop like that. A busy wallpaper, especially a larger geometric, will fight your collectibles.
The next photo shows a current project of mine where we are currently selecting the wallcovering for the backs of the bookshelves. When you compare how the white of the shelves in this photo compares with the blue in the first photo you can see what a difference a colored background can make. I’ll update you with an “after” photo when we’re done!
Finally, here’s a photo of a project of mine where the client wanted to accent the gray scheme in red, but in an updated way. We chose to use red very prominently in the area rug (not shown), fabric on the backs of the built-ins, and the same fabric as edging on the cornices. A bold accent color can go a long way. When selecting where you will put the accent color, a bookshelf gives you the opportunity to feature that color in a ceramic or art piece, which will delight the eye as it searches around the room for the accent. As a general design rule you should always strive to use an accent color in at least 3 places in a room; preferably at different heights.
As for styling those new bookshelves with object and books, it looks easy. But it’s not. It takes time and lots of good “raw ingredients” are needed to make your built-in shelves look effortless, stylish and perfect. Unless you’re hiring your designer to style your bookcases, I would recommend you take a first pass yourself, and then invite over trusted friend to make a second pass.
There are lots of websites available that can give you good rules and tips for actually styling a bookcase or bookshelf, so I won’t go into details on that here. Just remember a few key tips as you gather your items to create your masterpiece:
I invite you to browse through my wallpaper vendors to see if you might want me to order some swatches to consider for the back of your bookshelves. Here’s a previous blog on wallpaper to get you started:
You might also want to check out my blog for a super cool idea of how to turn a stack of books into art. This is genius! https://www.centerstageinteriordesigns.com/blog/hospitality-industry-rocks-design
Whatever you do I hope that you have a good experience with your new bookcases. They really do pack a huge decorative punch in a room, and should be thoughtfully and deliberately planned.
Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend! Needless to say, I’m thankful for each and every moment, opportunity, and the wonderful people I meet in my both my professional interior decorating and personal life.
If you want to add window treatments that are cordless to your home, for either their clean aesthetic or for enhanced child safety, now’s the time because from 30 September to 7 December 2019 Lafayette Interior Fashions (www.lafayetteinteriorfashions.com) is offering free cordless upgrades. Here are the details:
Give me a call at 978-440-7264 so that we can get started.
This week I’m showcasing a guest bedroom I recently re-designed for a client who needed to convert the dual 3rd floor husband-man cave/toddler play area into a cozy retreat and guest bedroom for her mother’s visit.
When I toured one of my favorite furniture stores, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (https://www.mgbwhome.com/Natick-Signature-Store.html), during the summer, I just knew that the Celina bed, the Malibu Collection Side Table and the associated 3-drawer chest were perfect for what my client was looking for. The Bella settee, also from Mitchell Gold, provides a perfect solution at the foot of the bed for TV watching, dressing, and overall velvet plush comfort. We used the Indie Shale (stock fabric) on the Celina Bed, and the look and feel is ultra-luxurious. Makes you want to just dive right in.
This week everything was delivered so here’s the current state of my client’s new bedroom retreat. There’s still more accessorizing to be done, but the initial report was that the new setup was very comfortable for her mother’s recent visit.
Many thanks to Dave Cline and Alicia Cross, my Natick Mitchell Gold store representatives, for being such terrific designers and assisting so expertly on this project! Here’s the links to the Mitchell Gold furniture:
Celinea Bed - https://www.mgbwhome.com/search?q=Celina&lang=en_US
Malibu Bedside Tables and Dresser - https://www.mgbwhome.com/malibu-collection/
Bella Setee - https://www.mgbwhome.com/search?q=Bella+settee&lang=en_US
If you’re interested in the wall colors in the room, we didn’t need to repaint this room at all, and kept the paint colors from the previous design (Benjamin Moore Gray Owl [2137-60] and Newburyport Blue [HC-155]) that I had done a couple of years ago when we initially decorated the room as a husband-man cave/toddler play area. Newburyport Blue is a versatile navy that coordinates well with many navy fabrics.
For the window treatment, you will note that this semicircular window is huge (96” across) and really needed something to allow the occupant to get some sleep. My solution? Again, from the original design, was to put a motorized room darkening cellular shade under the display shelf.
For the carpet, I turned to my favorite carpet source, Carpet Carousel of Sudbury (http://carpetcarousel.net/) to source a herringbone bound rug. We selected a 12’ broadloom carpet, and Carpet Carousel bound it to the custom size we needed for the room. Shawn, Melanie, and Carol are simply the best, and I love working with Carpet Carousel for their selection, attention to detail, quality products and quality installation.
Do you have a guest bedroom you would like to refresh? Call me, I can help.
Every client is unique and brings with them different design challenges related to style, color, lighting, accessorizing and a whole host of other Interior Design elements. I am fortunate enough that I have all types of clients. Those with small projects and those with large projects. Those looking to refresh their environment, those looking to change their surroundings, and those starting from scratch.
In my experience some of the most interesting, and challenging, design engagements are when I work for a building contractor - since they know so much about the architectural spaces and have seen so many different layouts and design styles.
I recently completed a Sitting Room project with a wonderful couple, Katie and Chip Eibye. Here are some photos of their completed sitting room, but I can only take credit for the draperies, pillows, and the piano bench seat. Everything else in the room was designed, selected, and constructed by Chip and Katie themselves.
Chip is the Manager of Eibye & Lynch Construction out of Walpole, MA and is a fantastic general contractor – as you can see his by impeccable workmanship in the built-in shelves, fireplace, and the whole room in general. I’ve had the pleasure of working on several projects with Chip, and I highly recommend him - in the stratosphere actually!
It is indeed a pleasure to provide decorating help to contractors on their own homes. One, you know they'll have everything exactly plumb and square. Two, they appreciate detail and fine craftsmanship because that is what they provide their clients every day. Three, they get it - beautiful homes contribute to making people happy, comfortable and serene.
Thanks to Katie and Chip for selecting me to help them deck out their house!
Blogs, Pinterest, Houzz, On-line magazines…... The on-line collection of inspirational home décor resources is astounding. And, many of my clients tell me, overwhelming. Sometimes that’s precisely why clients hire me - because in this digital age, information overload is a constant tax on our attention, time, and psyche – and they want a professional to help them sort the wheat from the chaff.
I’ve discussed this before in my blog…the dizzying array of home décor products and our impetus to track down “just the right one,” which sometimes leads to delay, procrastination, and sadly, not getting it done - except when you get that phone call that you are having out-of-town company for Thanksgiving, and now you really need to get it done.
So, in today’s post, I’d like to share some of my favorite sources of on-line inspiration, specifically other bloggers who I follow (in no particular order, they are all wonderful). The blogs of these four interior designers are my absolute favorites:
All of these women are talented designers and successful entrepreneurs. Enjoy!!!
Erin Gates, Elements of Style
You have heard me enthusiastically compliment Erin Gates, a fellow Boston area designer, for her creativity, design style, authorship of books, entrepreneurial style and all around terrific blog. What an inspirational success story on her life and her work. Anyway, check out her blog and her review of the new Serena and Lily store in Boston.
Yes!! the West-coast “go-to” furniture source has just opened a showroom in Chestnut Hill (220 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-795-5999, serenaandlily.com) I’m looking forward to checking it out very soon myself.
Tobi Fairley, Designer, Entrepreneur, Southern Style Aficionado
Tobi Fairley is one of my favorite designers and I love that she is also an entrepreneur dedicated to helping other designers find a profitable and creatively meaningful place in this digital age which has literally rocked the interior design business, good and bad.
So, we are now seeing famous designers like Tobi reaching out to help other designers through podcasts and coaching. You’ll want to check out her blog, it’s divine!
Sarah Richardson, TV show host, an all-around talented designer, and inspirational interior design professional
I have spoken before on this blog about my admiration for Sarah Richardson, and I have collected all of her design books now. I saw Sarah speak at a Design Conference about 8 years ago, when she was the keynote speaker, and I was struck by how genuine and inspirational she was. Her revamped website and blog are terrific, and she provides the sources of the products she recommends. Just lovely, all around!
Laurel Bern, Laurel Bern Interiors
No presentation of “favorite blogs” would be complete without my absolute favorite, the master, Laurel Bern! You will find Laurel’s wit, design style, and helpful advice right on target. She’s terrific, and I look forward to getting her blogs in my in-box several times per week. I especially love how she combines traditional styling (including historic art) into her posts.
You all know how much I love window treatments, and it appears Laurel does too. I am spot on with all her perspectives on what to do, and what not to do. Here’s a post she wrote that I totally resonate with:
What do all these designers/bloggers have in common? They are generous with their advice, they have all published multiple books, they are excellent designers, and they are truly inspirational. Check them out!
And if you follow other bloggers and want to compare notes personally with me, please email me from my "Contact" page. I don’t have a “comments” section on this blog, but I do respond to email inquiries, just reach out. And of course, keep reading my blog too!
Some of my favorite window treatment designs involve woven wood roman shades and woven wood cornices. Not too familiar with woven woods? Well, think rattan and bamboo, but for the 2019 home, and think of it done in wholly sophisticated way.
I really enjoy using woven woods to add texture to a client’s décor without imparting too much pattern at the window. In addition, woven woods complement patterned fabrics exceptionally well, and as a natural product made from reeds and grasses, they give an organic and cozy feel to a room.
Woven wood roman shades come in all lift mechanisms from motorized to cordless control, to loop cord control. These shades can be layered with draperies or stand-alone as the window treatment and finished “valance” in a room.
My two favorite vendors for Woven Woods are Lafayette Manh Truc and Horizon Shades. Both manufacturers produce their products in the United States (Indiana and Illinois respectively), and I have enjoyed a 10+ year relationship with each of them. As a designer, you have to vet your vendors and find companies that produce top quality products and stand behind them. Over the years Lafayette Manh Truc and Horizon Shades have proven to be great vendors for me and my clients.
One of the interesting technologies that Horizon Shades offers for woven woods is the “Operable Lining” option which you just must see in this video:
I also specialize in creating woven wood cornices like in the photo below. These cornices hide roller shades underneath for a nice option to provide cozy privacy, without a lot of complicated visual fuss.
So if you are looking for something new, call me if you would like to see the complete line of woven wood samples for Horizon Shades and Lafayette Manh Truc. This might be just the right look for window treatments to complement your existing décor or to suit your privacy needs in a beautiful and stylish way.
Last winter I featured some beautiful counter stools sold through Darby Road Home in Waltham, MA (See my blog from 30 November 2018 – “Darby Road Home Delights with Counter Stools and Holiday Cheer”) and remarked that it is hard to find just the right counter stool at just the right height. Well, that challenge still continues; despite a growing number of on-line retailers who offer stools. The purpose of today’s post is to highlight to my wonderful readers that you can’t rely on the name “counter stool” to magically fit your new kitchen island, because there is great variability in the height of stools - much more so than with chairs, in my opinion. So, you must pay attention while shopping! Especially when using catalogs or shopping on-line.
Before you start looking for stools the #1 thing you need to do is to first figure out the optimal seat height that fits for you and your family. The graphic below (from Williams Sonoma) illustrates this point since it shows the variability they have for seat heights where a counter stool seat could be between 23” and 28” tall.
So where have I been shopping for stools for clients recently to solve their design problems? Well, everywhere – and with good success. Here’s the Gage counter stool from Arhaus, a stylish and practical stool that is incredibly comfortable. I love that Arhaus tells you the dimensions (including seat height and overall height); Gage Counter Stool - Dimensions: 19.5" W X 19.5" D X 36.5" H (SEAT 25" H). Here's the link to the Arhaus website's page about the Gage stool:
Arhaus also has an adjustable stool, the Kensington, which is a good solution if you have children who will grow (well, that’s a given, right?) and family members of different heights. But these adjustable stools are somewhat casual and industrial in nature, and won’t fit every situation. Of course, adjustable has its perks. Here's the link to that page:
Frontgate is my #1 catalog/on-line source for stools, and I just saw that they have a new guide related to the subject of choosing just the right stool; their “Bar Stool Guide”:
In addition, here’s another great resource from Frontgate to help you find the perfect stool for your situation and style; “Seat Yourself: Which Types of Bar Stools Work Where”.
You might not think that getting the counter stools “just right” is that hard, or that important. But Fall is just around the corner, kids are going back to school, and I would venture to say that there are many students out there who do their homework at the kitchen island or peninsula. So perhaps you should think about purchasing new counter stools or barstools for your hard-working kitchen as another “back to school” shopping expedition.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.