As all Interior Designers will tell you one of the joys, and banes, of our industry is fabric. You’ve got to love fabric to be in the business – but at some point it starts to get a little overwhelming.
Last week my daughter was redecorating our guest bedroom (which also doubles as my fabric showroom) and we decided to take the opportunity to get rid of the fabric samples that had expired during the past year. Needless to say this became much more of an effort than we initially anticipated due to the amount of fabric books and samples that I have; books from Kravet, Lafayette, Stout, Greenhouse Fabrics, Duralee, RMCoCo, d’Kei, Samuel & Sons, Horizons, Comfortex – and even paint books from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams and California Paints. I have to tell you, moving, sorting and restacking all the books felt like a monumental effort.
Here are some photos of what things looked like as a “work in progress” (after we sorted everything out, and put it all back where it belonged, it got a lot neater):
So, if you’re searching for a new look, or just a splash of color, give me a call – I have lots of fabric samples for you to look at…………(but definitely not too many)............................
We’ve all been there. We have ideas for a great new decorating scheme for a room in our house – but don’t have the time to look for all the pieces of the puzzle; paint colors, fabrics, rugs, chairs, tables, light fixtures, art, wallpaper, accessories and all of the other odds and ends. Well I can help.
Since many of my clients are too busy to spend the time required to track everything down, or don’t have the trade resources to locate the furniture that they need to transform their decorating visions into finished rooms, one of the services that I often provide is shopping for them to find what they are looking for, or to narrow down the options, then shopping with them to make the final selections.
Here’s how it works. I meet with my client and review what their decorating issues and style are. We then decide on the priority of the items needed and the budget targets. With that information I start looking at my preferred vendor stores and websites for the desired items. When I’ve found some interesting pieces, and narrowed the choices down to a manageable number, I either send my client photos and the details about the item (or a link to the website if it’s online) or we go shopping together to evaluate what would best meet their vision. From a pricing point of view I can either work based on a commission tied to purchases, on an hourly fee basis, or a hybrid of the two.
Where do we look? Well if it’s an item that my client physically wants to see we go to the stores that best fit their design vision in the Boston Metro area. Stores like: Mitchell Gold, Arhaus, Stickley Audi & Co, Darby Road Home, the Boston Design Center (BDC), Ballard Designs, Ethan Allen, Crate and Barrel, Needham Decorative Hardware, and Carpet Carousel. If it’s something that can be purchased online, we use the vendors that I’ve found over the years that have quality products and good delivery track records. Vendors like Uttermost for accessories, Surya for rugs and Philip Jeffries for Wallpaper. You can see a complete list of my preferred vendors on my website’s “Vendors & Resources” page.
Here are some photos from my recent shopping expeditions:
Furniture Shopping (click in any image to enlarge it or to start a slideshow):
Accessories and Art Shopping (click in any image to enlarge it or to start a slideshow):
Fabric and Wallcovering Shopping (click in any image to enlarge it or to start a slideshow):
Carpet Shopping (click in any image to enlarge it or to start a slideshow):
Light Shopping (click in any image to enlarge it or to start a slideshow):
Over the years I’ve found that this holistic approach allows my clients to see the big picture and then choose specific items that fit into their desired design esthetic. It’s an approach that saves my clients both time and money since I know which stores/vendors have what they might be looking for and my trade accounts normally allow my clients to purchase what they find at a discount.
So, if you want to redo a room, or start an entire new project, but don’t know where to begin, I can help! Call me and we’ll figure out what approach works best for you.
For the first 5 months of 2019 my workroom has been buzzing with an unbelievable amount of activity. I am extremely lucky to have so many new and repeat clients that want to work with me to transform their decorating visions into finished rooms. Here are a some photos from a few of the projects that I have recently completed; from an entire 2 bedroom apartment, to custom motorized woven grass and light filtering shades, to kid's rooms and bathrooms, to window seats and benches.
While you’re looking at the photos if you see anything that strikes your fancy, and you want to embark on a project of your own, give me a call. I would love to work with you too!
Greenhouse Fabrics just introduced a fresh new fabric line called “Anna Elisabeth” which I am very happy to bring to you. The Anna Elisabeth brand “is brought to you by a diverse team of women here to assist you with fabric selection, research, and insight. Each with a unique design background, ….”
I love the tag line on their website: “It’s time to make a statement.” Yes, indeed!
The Anna Elisabeth line is inspired by Paris, and the Greenhouse website will delight your sense of adventure for fabric and travel. I really love that you can use their website to easily sort the line by color, style, category and usage – or search it by keywords.
I have the complete Anna Elisabeth sample collection in my inventory, so let’s explore this new line together for your indoor or patio decorating project. If you are not sure if Paris is a good source of inspiration - here are some of my photos of a wonderful trip that I took to France with my family a couple of years ago. It was truly inspiring.
So give me a call and let’s bring a touch of Paris to your interiors.
If you install window treatments, like I do, you have to be a dog lover!
Here are a few of the furry friends that I’ve met during some recent installations: Champ, Maverick, Tucker, Bubbles, Curly and Barkley. They are always very curious about my sample bags, and tools - and of course whether or not I have any treats stashed away.
I just love these furry residents of the beautiful homes that I decorate. It’s always nice to make new friends.
We have a fun shop here in Sudbury named “Laurel Grove” where owners Michelle Palmer and Isabelle Palmer sell vintage furniture and home décor items. Here’s a photo of Laurel Grove’s location at 339 Boston Post Road (Route 20) on the east side of town. Their website is: https://laurelgroveshop.com/
They were awarded Best of Boston Home 2019 - congratulations! It’s nice to have Sudbury on the map for an outstanding retail home décor shop (as well as many other redeeming qualities which I totally enjoy in my home town.)
After touring through their large 2-level shop just this past week, I spoke with owner Michelle Palmer. Michelle told me about how she and her daughter Isabelle Palmer, an interior designer, rotate the shop’s offerings and products seasonally. With the Summer season coming up they’ll feature many beach and nautically-inspired items, perfect for all of the Metro-west residents who spend their summer vacations at the Cape or up the coast in Maine. Several on-line reviewers have described the shop as having a “farm house” or shabby chic vibe, and I concur. Plus, there lots of clever and ingenious gift items with inspirational messages that are sure to delight. I just couldn’t resist snapping a photo of an adage I totally identify with.
The Laurel Grove website describes the shop as "… a special place where we hope our community can gather to find gorgeous, unique home décor and gifts and also inspiration and warmth. In it, you will find an eclectic mix of home accents and gifts ranging from vintage to handmade to new.” I agree with that, especially since the offerings at Laurel Grove change dramatically with the seasons, so they're always introducing new things that warrant a look-see.
One of the other things that I like about the store is that Laurel Grove is a retailer for chalk paints, including Maison Blanche. For those who are skilled and adventurous enough to paint their own furniture pieces, I suggest you check out Laurel Grove and their extensive selection of paints, finishes, supplies, and samples with various techniques applied.
If you love the vintage look in painted furniture, but wish to have Laurel Grove do your painting for you, they are happy to do that too - https://laurelgroveshop.com/pages/laurel-grove-custom-painting
For other tutorials on painting furniture, I recommend you check out Jann Newton’s website. I'm connected to Jann through our work on window coverings and soft fashions for your home (with textiles), and this gifted lady has lots of talents, that she shares with her blog readers, related to painting furniture.
With antique season coming up, Laurel Grove is the perfect place to visit beforehand to consider the range of painting possibilities (and colors) available. It’s nice to have that info in mind when you shop the Antique fairs and mentally assess just what you will do with the treasures you find. For those of you in the Boston area........
2019 Brimfield Show dates in Brimfield, MA:
- May 14-19, 2019 (only a month away!!)
- July 9-14, 2019
- Sept 3-8, 2019
I certainly enjoyed shopping at Laurel Grove this week and hope you stop in yourself during your upcoming travels through Sudbury. You'll be glad you did!
So, you've set up an appointment with an Interior Designer to get the ball rolling on your newest project, and now you’re starting to wonder what to do next. Rest assured that everyone has this question. Since I see things from the other side (e.g. the Designer’s side), here are some suggestions for you to effectively prepare for a discussion about your ideas and needs during your initial appointment.
If you follow these tips then you and your Designer will have a much more productive initial meeting – and that will allow you to get rolling on your project even faster. During your initial meeting your Designer will be happy to discuss all your preferences and needs, and your preparation ahead of time can make it a truly enjoyable and productive session!
We’ve all heard about staging a home to prepare it for a faster and higher priced sale by transforming the home into a more welcoming, attractive and visually appealing offering that anyone might want. Traditionally you would either declutter your home and rearrange your furniture to the best of your ability, or you would hire a professional staging company to sort everything out and truck in other furniture, art, lights, carpets and greenery to make your home more photogenic. There’s lots of online information about how to go about staging a home. For example, here’s a great article from Herd: The Houlihan Lawrence Blog entitled “21 Home Staging Tips and Tricks to Sell Your Home Fast”:
But its 2019, so technology has now started to edge its way in to the home staging business with “Virtual Home Staging”. After all, why spend time and effort decluttering knick knacks, repainting walls and rearranging furniture when you can do it all digitally? The photo editing technology has gotten so good that you can start with an empty room and fill it with whatever furniture you desire. You can show how a room would look if it was repainted or remodeled. You can even make the grass greener, the sky bluer and the time of day sunset. It’s easy; all you need to get started is to take a photo and upload it so that it can be edited.
If you really want to see the state of the technology, and what can currently be done with today’s software, here are the websites for the 12 market leaders in Virtual Home Staging:
I can see how virtual staging can be a very cost effective and useful tool for realtors and home sellers – but like most technology it can be abused. Here’s a great Wall Street Journal article that highlights the disappointment some buyers are having when they finally visit the properties that have been virtually staged – only to find out that the photoshopped images don’t match the actual home - “Buyer Beware: Hollywood Special Effects Now Permeate Property Listings”:
So, if you’re looking to sell your home, you might want to look into virtual home staging as an option to help speed up your sale and increase your price. Just remember that real buyers are actually going to eventually visit your home so the difference between the online photos and the reality can’t be so far apart that the buyers think they are visiting a totally different property – so perhaps what you really need is an Interior Designer to assist you (hint, hint….).
Every day we use the stools in our kitchens and family rooms. And every day we walk on the carpet runners that we have throughout our houses to protect our floors and give our hallways a splash of color. But when’s the last time that you really looked at your stools and runners? Take a close look. Are they looking a little worn and dated? This happens to all of us since they're hiding in plain sight. So what to do……..
Custom cushions are great way to add color, texture, and seating comfort to your home. Whether on banquettes, window seats, stools, chairs, or other hide-away niches in your home - a custom cushion can truly make your seating look first class. I love to do cushions, and have literally dozens of cushions in my studio right now to attend to. Take a good look at the cushions in your home and determine if a refresh might be in order. While you’re at it – you might want to take a hard look at your runners too.
Here’s a Serena and Lily stool I recently ordered for my client’s new kitchen renovation, with one of my custom cushions on top. We also ordered new wool floor carpet runners from Surya (I’m a Surya dealer – in case you didn’t know), so the whole kitchen color scheme of blue, white, and neutrals came together with a flourish.
Cushions and rugs are definitely high-wear and high-traffic essential décor items for your home. Take a look - perhaps you could use an update? Call me, and I'll show you all the exciting new durable and kid-friendly fabrics and rugs.
Last week I attended a really fun (and snowy) afternoon at the Boston Design Center (BDC) where LuAnn Nigara, of the “A Well Designed Business” podcast fame hosted a panel discussion on “The Next Generation of Design.” LuAnn, a charismatic, entertaining, and insightful host interviewed Kyle Hoepner (Editor-in-chief of New England Home), Tori Mellott (Style Director for the Creative Services of F Schumacher & Co) and Rachel Reider (of Rachel Reider Interiors) about how the design industry has changed in recent years and how we, as designers, can best serve the needs of younger clients today.
The BDC description of the event was:
The panel specifically discussed how millennial clients, in the 20 to 40 age range, have a radically different value proposition for interior design services and a different mindset on how to acquire furnishings for their homes. The panel was unanimous in their conclusion that the younger client today is seeking the design process to be “an experience,” an opinion that I heartily share and have showcased on my website in the “Client Journey”.
What a terrific event, thanks BDC for inviting me to attend! I was joined at this event by many of my Boston area colleagues, and after the panel discussion, I had the pleasure of having lunch with LuAnn and my friends from the Massachusetts Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) Chapter. In the photo below, you’ll see - from left to right - Renee Rucci, Julie Wood (past president of the National WCAA Organization), me (Barbara), Julie Gould, LuAnn Nigara, and Linda Woodard. It was great fun to get all of us drapery people together for an interesting afternoon full of lively discussion. LuAnn, along with her husband Vince and business partner Billy, owns WindowWorks in Livingston, New Jersey – so she had lots of great insights specifically applicable to the window coverings business.
One of the reasons that I really loved the afternoon was that I’ve spent a lot of time listening to LuAnn’s podcasts (especially as I drive to client appointments all over the Boston area). LuAnn interviews top designers and professionals in marketing, law, and other fields that participate in the design industry. Her podcasts are really interesting since the business of design is far more than just the beautiful décor we deliver to our clients. Like any industry, the business side is just as important as the creative side, and that’s why some businesses, like my own, have been around for 18 years, and others don’t last. Thanks, LuAnn, for your dedication to the podcasts and for always finding interesting people to interview -- I learn something new from every one of your podcasts. You can listen to them here:
To cap off the afternoon event at the BDC, Waterworks hosted a reception at their new 1st floor showroom, a gorgeous kitchen and bath showroom you will certainly want to see for yourself. Below are photos of some of the new offerings from Waterworks; first-class designs that will meet the test of time…what I strive for in my designs with my valued clients.
The whole day was so great that I was very glad that the "real" snow held off until we were all out of the BDC and driving home in that wonderful Boston traffic. As always, if you want to tour the Boston Design Center for a project of yours let me know and we can make the trip together.
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.