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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Does Your Home Reflect Your Personality? By: Scott Powers

 When you walk into your home does it reflect your personality? What does your home say about you, and what do you want it to say?  "Here I am with my beige walls, the required linen sofa from the big store, that every city seems to have. The big flat-screen over the fireplace." And don't forget the alphabet soup letters that seem to dot so many walls today. 

 Now there isn't anything wrong with any of these items, but do they reflect who you are, or is it just like every other house on the block?

 What about your love of travel? Perhaps you have photo's that you have taken that could be printed, or artwork that you enjoy. Now here is the start of showing your personality, it's telling a story of who you are; what you have experienced, where you have been.

 Now throw in the mask that you found at the flea market in Brazil, or the water color that you bought on the street corner in Paris. Where is that menu from the first dinner date you went on with your spouse? Now you are starting to see your personality in your home. 

 As an example, one of the favorite spaces I ever designed involved apple green kitchen cabinets. Now this doesn't mean that the entire kitchen had green cabinets, but there was an approximate 12' run of green cabinets in this particular kitchen. The remainder of the cabinetry was a rather quiet, dark walnut stain. The space was tempered with beautiful wood floors, and quartz countertops that resemble marble. This particular client loved color, so the backsplash was made up of various hand painted colors on custom tiles that reflected the client's love of color and personality. The space is peppered with collected art that means something to the home owner. Their personality in all its largeness, is upfront and evident when you walk into their home. It reflects a love for family, fun, and living for today.

Let your home reveal a little bit about who you are, and how you have become the person that you are today. 
Are you the lively and colorful type, or the cool, calm, neutral type? 

Your home can speak volumes about you !

Monday, February 27, 2017


 There is a state in Tango when everything flows flawlessly - each motion balanced and synchronized. To achieve this state of connection, the complicated footwork must be executed smoothly and mindfully.
 This flawless performance is achieved only after countless hours of practice, gaining experience. The dancers are willing to dedicate themselves and are in sink with each other. 

Great design requires a similar dedication! 

 The dancer performs, the artist paints, the designer creates an environment. Each has their art form and all strive for a "flawless performance". They live for the applause..... "the roar of the crowd"; however, we want our clients to be our biggest fans! 

 As interior designers, our palette is not the stage or ballroom floor, it is the structure itself; the client's home is our stage, our canvas. A flawless execution is only achieved if you the client, the "audience", is pleased with the performance; the creation of a beautiful space. 

 A truly unique design is a collaboration of all elements; architecture, lighting, furniture layout, color, pattern, and the finishing touch....accessorizing. The designer is a choreographer, and their job is to arrange all the elements of design in a cohesive, functional and aesthetically pleasing manner. Every step forward is critical and taken mindfully; creating total unity.

 As the choreographer, the designer must orchestrate every step and each persons roll in the project is critical in achieving a flawless performance. The "performance" begins with the construction process and only ends when the last accessory has been placed. 

 As an interior designer it is my responsibility to challenge myself, as well as my client; to seek out the best. The experienced designer has a vision and knows, for example, when a wall needs a piece of art and when it should be blank, creating open space.

 I dedicate myself; I owe it to my clients, as well as to myself. I challenge myself; focusing on my client's needs, expectations, and trust. I respect my client and their project will be a success if there is a connection; a collaboration between us. This collaboration needs to be executed smoothly and mindfully.....synchronized, like a well-executed Tango. 

Every Step Counts! 

Vote for your Best of the East Bay!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


  Think of window treatments in a room as a nice hairdo. Works for a while, right? Then it's time for a change.

Changing out the window treatments is one of the best ways to make a change in a room without breaking the bank. 

  Custom window treatments can be the focal point of a room as well as provide sun and light control, along with giving you privacy, insulation, beauty, and texture. Window treatments can reflect both your home's architectural and personal style. 

There are endless fabrics, patterns, styles, and hardware options available.

  As an interior designer, when custom window treatments are created for your home, or business, they are not manufactured in excessive quantities or "churned out".  The design is created with thoughtfulness and consideration in telling your personal design story.  When designing custom window treatments many factors need to be considered, such as style, function, lighting, privacy, and lifestyle. All of which help create a look that is personal to your needs and style.
  There really isn't any hard fast rule in choosing a window treatment style. Think about the feeling you want for any given room. The trend right now is towards a cleaner urban look, or less fussy feel. You may want to use woven wood shades, or roman shades, paired up with stationary panels to the floor. They are simple and are perfect for uncluttered rooms and clean simple lines.



  For  a more classic, traditional, or formal look for your home's style, pleated drapery panels may be just the ticket. These drapes can be embellished with beautiful trims or decorative contrasting banding, and why not a custom decorative rod. Want even more of a formal look? Try layering with sophisticated valances, cornices or swags, and cascades.

   For any style, functionality should come first. Do you want the window coverings to provide privacy or total darkness? If the window coverings are simply decorative, with a soft light filtering look, unlined drapes will work. They are also the most economical window covering to make. 

  Lining the drapes will add more expense but it does have advantages, like shielding the face fabric from sun damage. Also, lining your window treatment will extend the life 10 to 15 years longer. It also protects against drafts and helps the fabric fall nicely to the floor. 

  Selecting the right fabric is another primary consideration when designing window treatments. Do you have children or entertain a lot? High traffic areas like family rooms that have sliding doors may need a more durable, washable fabric made of nylon, polyester, acrylic, cotton, or combination of all of the above. Save those delicate silk fabrics for living rooms, dining areas, and master bedrooms.

   Blackout shades or blackout lining may be needed for theater areas and is also the most popular lining choice for bedrooms. They eliminate unwanted light from entering the room, reduce exterior sounds from outside, and insulate against hot and cold at the same time.

  Custom window treatments are guaranteed to provide long-term performance, style, and design that are as unique as your imagination.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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Does it Bring You Joy? By Michele Malone-Singer

  This is the time of year when we all start thinking about our New Year's Resolutions.  Do we want to work less, make more money, lose weight, get rid of the clutter - or all of the above? 

  I read a book this last year that changed the way I live - "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", by Marie Kondo.  In this impactful book, Kondo encourages people to pull all items of like type together and  touch each item asking:  "Does it bring me joy?" It seems like a silly question to ask when you are standing in the middle of your bedroom touching every sweater you own, but it really works.

  You might wonder why an interior designer is talking to you about your sweaters. Well, I'm getting to that. The goal is to let go of things that don't serve you. The old adage "less is more" really is true. This same approach can be used with our furniture and accessories. Ah, now you see the connection!

  Bay area real estate is at a premium. Many of us would love to have a new or bigger home. Uncluttering your home - getting rid of all of those things we keep because we feel like we should and not because we truly love them - is a huge first step in loving the home you live in. The key sometimes is just clearing out the stuff you don't use and purchasing key items that make your space work.

  Do you have a room in your home that has become the storage spot for the elliptical or kids toys? There are lots of effective and easy apps for your phone (OfferUp and Letgo) where you can easily snap a picture with your phone and list items for sale. There are also professional organizers that can help you clear items out and get organized. Some items might need to be carefully wrapped and stored in a box until you want to give it to the kids or bring it back into the house.

  A room previously filled with kids toys might need to be carefully edited, keeping only those items they play with. Adding a new sofa or sectional, storage ottoman, and a rug can transform it into a family space. 

  Updating your lighting - a floor lamp next to the sofa or a better light by the bed - can create a cozy reading area to enjoy that book you have been putting off reading.

  Often times, open bookcases and built in shelves become a place to store too many books and knick knacks. To create an eye-pleasing display, think of mixing up the heights and textures on the shelves. Do you want the shelves symmetrical or asymmetrical? Lay some of the books on their side and place others vertically. If you don't have any books that are visually interesting, you can cover ones you have in an interesting fabric or hit a local antique fair or flea market to pick up some gems. Need to hide books or games? Consider adding doors to the lower open shelves of a built-in for a designer flair. 

  Your home should be your sanctuary - the place where you go to recharge, entertain, and feel nourished. Once you have made the decision to let go of things that aren't working, you might find that you need some new artwork, accessories, window treatments, or furnishings - we are here to help you.

  We can make sure that the colors and textures - on everything from your walls to your window treatments, flooring, and furnishings, and bedding - are in line with how you want your home to feel.