Since many of you are currently either "working from home", or housebound from all the Government dictates, now might be a good time for you to address some of those home decorating projects that you have been pondering for a while. After all, Spring is arriving and that's a great time to refresh your nest - especially since you and your family are undoubtedly spending more time inside than usual.
An important note: I hope that you and your loved ones are all doing okay in this uncertain and scary time of medical crisis. I also hope that you are okay with me putting out a business blog post that deals with a very non-emergency thing like interior decorating at this time. In my business, there is no such thing as a decorating emergency, and we all know (and appreciate) that. However, like you, I’m trying to get my family through the day in a productive way, abide by all the social distancing and health rules, and support my community and neighbors during this mess. So I think this blog post is reasonable – I hope that you do too.
Thanks for understanding. Now here’s how we can work together - at a distance – over the next few weeks.
My interior design business has always supported “shop-at-home,” and my design studio is located in my home, so I am already very well postured to help you with interior design activities “from a distance.” This means that we don’t have to interact face-to-face to get things that have been on your list for a long time accomplished! Because of how I’ve always operated, I have all my tools and resources at my fingertips right now, including fabrics, paint swatches, samples, sewing machines, woodshop, and my digital rendering software. So I’m ready if you are.
Meet and Home Walk-through via Electronic Means
Normally, I would come to your home in the Boston area, meet you, and discuss the scope of your interior design needs in person. Well, with Facetime and Zoom, we can still accomplish that task exceptionally well, just from a remote stance. After these discussions, to let you know how the proposed design would look, you can email me photos of your home, and I can email you back digital design renderings so that you can envision your home in a new way.
I'm a firm believer in American manufacturing, and my 3 main fabricators of blinds and shades (Lafayette, Horizons, and Comfortex) are all located in the US. Two of these manufacturers, and 95% of my fabric vendors remain open, operating and sending out products as of 27 March 2020; so that part of the interior design pipeline is very much viable and strong. Because they are great, I would very much like these companies to stay in business (and employ their fabulous workforce who always “speak with a smile” on the other end of the phone) during this time of uncertainty. In addition, my furniture vendors are all working remotely, and I have been in contact with my representatives to keep the ball moving on designs for my client’s current projects. For more information on my support to American manufacturing, you can check out my previous blog post.
Working out the Details
Once we have sorted out a design and plan, we can move on to implementing your design vision by taking the next actions remotely:
Samples My fabric vendors are still sending out samples, so I can order samples that can be directly delivered to you. That way you can see, touch and feel whatever fabrics we determine together are contenders for your project.
Taking Measurements Well, that might be a tad more difficult to do remotely, but we can work this out via Facetime and/or Zoom. I know that we can be creative!
Fabrication I am getting lots of sewing/fabrication done while at home! You would not believe the amount of “inventory” of fabrics I have that are just waiting to be made into projects (e.g. valances, pillows, cushions, etc.,).
Dropoff and Installation I am happy to deliver items to your doorstep like the UPS or FedEx driver. I can even install your items in your home (with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols) – or we can get everything made and install it after the crisis wanes. Alternatively I can guide you to install them yourself – by providing you with online installation instructions and by walking you through the installation via Facetime and/or Zoom.
So, if you want to make good use of this break from “normal” life, give me a call at 978-440-7264. As always, I offer a free initial consultation, and that can be via electronic means. During our call we can chat about your needs and set up an electronic walk-through. It’ll be nice to talk to you, whether about decorating, or how fortunate we are to be in Massachusetts in the springtime, or our families, or that “elephant in the room.”
As a note of encouragement, this morning my Lafayette representative, Jackie Ibarguen, sent me a quote that I liked:
A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn."-- Helen Keller
Stay healthy! Personally I’m looking forward to our country and the world making the turn to safer times together with compassion, spirit, and dedication.
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.
It’s glorious summer, and if you have children, perhaps they’ve completed a week or two at camp. What fun! Now they’re home, and you have the results of their creativity - artwork galore - sitting on top of your dining room table. Perhaps at the very bottom of the stack you also have the artwork that came home when school ended this year. Are you wondering what to do with the cream of the crop?? Well, it’s time to display some of your kid’s creations, and there are 4 ways you can do that without adding endless nail holes to your walls or committing to displaying your kid’s “early works” forever. Are you ready? Here’s how!
#1: Walker Display System
You’ve probably seen this kind of display system at libraries and galleries, and it makes total sense to create a hanging system in your home to enable a changing display of your children’s artwork. Yes, you have to have framed pictures to pull off this look, but it’s pretty easy to get inexpensive frames at Michael’s that come with mats, and complete the “framing” yourself. Almost anything looks better with a black frame and a white mat, especially vibrantly colored artwork. As shown below, the vertical rods holding up the pictures slide along a permanent horizontal bar affixed to your wall, thus allowing easy reconfiguration, addition, and subtraction. And it’s quite doable in your own home with simple components you can order on-line at: www.WalkerDisplay.com
Here are the components and how they work together.
Here’s an example of the Walker Display System featuring my client’s artwork in her eating area nook.
Here, on the left, is a third floor play space that has been outfitted with Walker System’s horizontal rails, ready for hanging. On the right you can see the vertical components and hi-hooks, which can catch a saw tooth or wire hanger on a frame. All ready for some terrific artwork….
#2: Easels for Displaying Art
Stand up easels are really handy for displaying your kids smaller pieces of art on tabletops among other photographs and accessories. Here is a still life oil painting my daughter created that feels right at home in our dining room.
#3: Picture Ledges
Pottery Barn, Ikea, and other on-line and retail stores sell inexpensive ledges for displaying pictures. Installing a few picture ledges at various heights on a wall in your kitchen, entry, landing, or playroom can give a nice perch for new art, including sculptures. Here’s a vignette from Pottery Barn using some rustic wood ledges. With the ledges, you can switch out the artwork in the frames and create a new vignette every few months. Maybe each child has their own ledge and makes the decision on what to showcase? You could also put your children’s names (with alphabet blocks) on the ledges to properly attribute the work to the artists. Maybe switch out art at every major holiday through the year—perhaps every time the kids get a Monday holiday off from school? The key is to make it EASY to switch things out…and fun for your kids.
Ikea also has versatile and long picture ledges, and there seems to be a whole part of the internet dedicated to Ikea hacks…ways to upscale and repurpose “basic” Ikea components into clever pieces. In 2015 Lauren Smith of House Beautiful wrote about 12 ways to use Ikea ledges for ingenious organization:
I just love the ideas for hacks, and can envision lots of college students getting their dorm accoutrements together this month… We have an Ikea in Stoughton, and I bet it is super busy with college students this month!
#4: Easy Swap-out Frames
The fourth way to provide an easy way to display kids’ art is with a special frame that allows easy addition and removal of new pieces…without taking the frame off the wall. Available at Amazon, the “Lil Davinci” is a special frame that holds 8.5” x 11” artwork AND stores up to 50 sheets in the frame itself. Gotta love this easy idea and the name!
So, whatever mechanism you decide on to showcase art, I hope you and your little Picassos have a wonderful time creating and arranging your home’s gallery. Kids’ art is so precious and imaginative…and very worthy of display! Ya just gotta do it…
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.