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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

THE ART OF LIGHTING By: Stephanie Yeraka

 In design, lighting is so important that it can make or break a project. Knowing the basics can save you from lighting disasters and pitfalls. With these fun and simple ideas your favorite room will go from so-so to extravagant!

Task lighting 

 Recessed can lights or track lighting can add good overall lighting for a room or light the room with a soft emphasis on the perimeter. Most of the time the light bulbs need to be LED or Fluorescent to meet certain lighting requirements, such as in kitchens or baths. Using warm white LED light bulbs will give off a soft color that will brighten the room. These light bulbs are dimmable and can set the mood for different uses. When considering redoing lighting in a room, always consult a designer that is familiar with lighting design. Floor and table lamps also provide adequate lighting for working, reading, or playing games. 

Spot lighting 

 Directional cans are used to illuminate artwork and draw attention to an important architectural detail. The can should be centered on the piece of art or between two pieces to properly light the desired area. Another form of spot lighting is up lighting, which is can be built in to the floor or movable and can be used to call attention to a tree or sculpture and bring nice light to a somewhat dark corner. In cabinet and under cabinet lighting add another dimension to the interior of the cabinets and counter top. 

Ambient lighting

Natural light from windows and skylights offer a great source of light during  the day. This light washes the room with no real direction. Harness  this light with top-down-bottom-up shades that let light into the room from the top or bottom of the window when it is needed. Without natural lighting a room needs  one main light that can illuminate the room enough for everyday tasks. This light can be on a dimmer switch to control the amount of light it gives off and set the mood for different occasions. A chandelier is a great way to bring sophistication and elegance into a space while lighting it enough for dining or entertaining. 

 There are many options for the style of lighting that will best fit the look you are after. A rustic Napa feel will require metals and woods in chandeliers and sconces. A more traditional look will lead you in the direction of Antique Brass or Polished Nickel with crystals or without for a more updated traditional look. The options are endless but finding the perfect light for your space will make all the difference.

 Make sure to speak with a designer to get the most out of your lighting options and find the best combination for your home! 

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.