How Covid19 Will Change The Design Of Our Homes

How Covid19 Will Begin to Change the Design of our Home Interiors

In the past few months, as we have watched the world change in many ways, we will also begin to see changes and evolutions in many industries. Those of us in the design industry has been busy preparing for and anticipating some of the many ways that Covid19 will eventually change the interiors of our homes. Why? Because the needs of homeowners have changed.

Many homeowners can already see how their home needs to be functioning differently than they were a few months ago. As an industry professional, our job is to stay ahead and anticipate not only design trends but the design needs of our clients as far as function. Think about it, what are you requiring from your home now that you weren’t two months ago? Well, most of us are requiring many new things from our homes and are seeing the limitations of our current home design.

Here are just a few that many of us in the design industry are anticipating and are ready to design as we see homeowners asking for these new features.

1. Workspace

Working from home has become a necessity right now but those of us in the design industry are anticipating that there might be many people that either continue to work from home, actually really enjoy working from home and will continue, and many new people starting businesses that do not require a brick and mortar location will be operating from home might be seen in the few next few months.

This is interesting because in the last decade, for those of us who have been around awhile, we’ve seen the designated home office disappear over previous years.  We’ve seen the development of technology which keeps us from being tied down to a desk being able to work from the kitchen or living room area for the little bit of time that you have to work from home. But now the appearance of the designated separate home office will be making a comeback. Those beautiful open floorplans don’t really function as well if you’re having a zoom meeting and your family is running through the background. So, Industry professionals agree we will definitely be seeing a return of the separate home office.

Add rich color.

2. Pantry Storage Space

This is something that’s been on everybody’s dream list when we design a new kitchen, but we anticipate the need for pantry storage to be a much more important requirement moving forward. Lessening those trips to the grocery store and stocking up on necessities or cleaning supplies might actually become the new normal when it comes to kitchen design. Designers will start to work even harder to carve out that additional storage space moving forward with in the area of kitchen design.

3. The Material Selection

The focus of cleanliness, hygiene, and additional worries about sanitizing surfaces makes us think that we might see some of the products that we use in our homes changing. Porous surfaces like marble which is quite popular right now might be taking a backseat to man-made products like quartz for countertops. Quartz has been gaining popularity for several years because of its durability and now designers, including myself, are convinced that this will steer homeowners towards quartz for their countertops when making decisions for their kitchens and bathrooms.

4. Touch-less

Faucets that are motion activated or touch-less might be the new norm in kitchen design. Many years ago I remember installing one of the very first touch-less faucets in one of my kitchen design projects. The technology was so new at the time the plumbing supply house was actually calling me to see how it worked and ask questions about it once it was installed. Since then, many companies have come out with this feature offering a variety of touch-less functions. It’s always been a nice little added function for some clients. But I anticipate that the touchless faucet is going to become an important necessity in kitchen and bathroom design and that we will be installing and incorporating a lot more of these features in kitchen and bathroom designs.

5. Outdoor Living & Dining

Already we are seeing that the uses of outdoor furniture are skyrocketing. Although, I believe, many people are ready to get back to their favorite restaurant and will be doing so shortly, outdoor living, dining, and entertaining at home is on the increase. I believe we are going to see an increase in building outdoor kitchens to defects these changes.

Add rich color.

6. The Entryway

Here in New England we always see a strong need for mudroom or entry space for coats, boots, and outwear, a transitional space from the outdoors. I think that entryway storage will become an important change in every home and we shed our shoes and outerwear, receive more online deliveries, and change our patterns to keep the germs of the outside world outside.

7. More Design and Renovation Projects

As in any other world event, it’s hard to know exactly how industries are going to be affected long term. What we are seeing already is an overall increase in the desire to improve our homes with interior design and renovation projects. Clients might not be taking that vacation this year but are ready to put their efforts into improving their lifestyle at home. Some future clients might take some time to re-coup but now have first-hand knowledge of the limitations of their home’s design. This is predicted to fuel the industry as homeowners start to take action on improving the design of their homes.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Adding the Luxury Of Fresh Flowers To Your Home

Adding the Luxury of Fresh Flowers to your Home

I have always loved creating different types of flower arrangements, whether it’s for an event, one of my design projects, a project photo session, or for my own home. Most of my flower arrangements are created by foraging outdoors for flowers and greenery, or a handful of simple grocery store flowers that I’ve arranged in interesting containers. Occasionally, I might order specific blossoms from my favorite florist to weave into my arrangements.

I just love flowers, I think this runs in my family as my mother’s family ran a small flower shop in New York City. My mother followed suit with creating beautiful flower arrangements of every kind. My sister and I seemed to inherit her passion for flowers and decorating.

Now, more than ever we should enjoy the little luxury of having a few fresh flowers in our home. That doesn’t mean we need to have expensive arrangements. But now that spring is upon us we can easily find a few blossoms to create simple arrangements that we can enjoy indoors and outdoors.

Add rich color.

Even a simple arrangement of mixed greenery or branches can create an interesting arrangement.

One.

Use what you have in your own yard. If you have a backyard with some flowers that you can cut then this is perfect, use what is in bloom to start your arrangements. If you don’t have any flowers in your yard and you have some greenery, use a mix of interesting greens to create an arrangement. If you don’t have a yard, a few grocery store flowers can surely be made into a few nice arrangements.

Two.

Find an interesting container. This could be a glass vase, ice bucket, canister, teacups, or a few mugs. You could use a galvanized bucket as an outdoor flower pot, a wine glass, or just about anything can be used to display flowers. As long as it holds water and the proportion is right for the flowers that you have.

Three.

Small arrangements are easier to place in your home. Maybe instead of creating one large arrangement, find a few small containers and create several small arrangements. These can definitely be mixed into your decor easier than a large arrangement. A small vase next to your sink in the kitchen or bathroom, a small arrangement on your desk, or a few small arrangements on the dining table still allow for other items to be on the surface. Smaller Arrangements on the dining table also allow for easier conversation during dinner then a tall arrangement.

Four.

Place arrangements where you can enjoy them. I do love creating one large arrangement for my entry table. I’m counting the minutes until my lilacs bloom in my yard so I can collect hand fulls of beautiful fragrant blossoms to display in my entry. I change out this display depending on the season and what is blooming at the time. This area works great in my home since I can enjoy it whenever I pass through this central location. The fragrance greets me in the morning on the way down the stairs. Think about where you might enjoy fresh flowers in your home.

Five.

Use color. Add a burst of color to any room with fresh flowers. If you have flowers that compliment your decor, then great. But don’t be afraid to add fresh flowers of any color to your decor that splash of color will add interest and give your home the look of a finished designed space.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Adding Houseplants To Your Decor

Adding Houseplants To Your Decor

Every room can benefit from the addition of plants and greenery. Bring the outdoors inside with a simple houseplant which can bring warmth and texture to any room. Houseplants can add an organic and sculptural design element to your space and the use of indoor houseplants has also been credited with reducing stress. With greenery available in every hue variation under the sun, plants can be chosen to complement the space just like any other design detail in your home.

The choices are endless, from flowering plants to exotic potted trees, to low-maintenance succulents in a variety of textures.

Plants can be used as you would use a piece of art in a room.

Add rich color.

A few things to consider when incorporating house plants into your decor:

One. requirements

Consider the unique needs of each plant. Every variety of plant has different needs when it comes to lighting and care requirements. Look at the needs of each variety and place plants in an environment where they will thrive. Some houseplants need direct sun and will not do well without a certain amount of sunlight. 

Two.

Choose your container to blend into the room’s decor. The choice of a plant container is important. First, the proportion of the container must look right with the plant. Containers can be porcelain, terracotta, cement, iron, steel. The material choice should complement the plant as well as the room’s decor. The container adds an extra layer of texture and color. The container should not overpower the plant.

Three.

Placement is key. Use larger plants in areas that need height. Create a grouping of plants. Group a few plants of varying heights and complementary greenery. This creates a larger impact on the room and looks more balanced than a single small plant.

Four.

Live plants bring some health benefits and well as great visual impact. However, if you don’t have the right conditions for live greenery, consider a really well made artificial plant option. You must choose carefully and they are costly but if you are going to use an artificial plant or tree, be sure that it looks like the real thing. There are many realistic options available.

Five.

Plants can create unique shadows in a space. The sun shining through a window during the day can create a certain uplifting mood. At night consider using up-lighting or using accent lighting the enhance or direct the shadows that you plant or tree creates in your room.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Creating An Outdoor Living Space

Creating An Outdoor Living Space

As the first few warm days of Spring arrive. The warmer weather calls us outdoors and we start to evaluate the outdoor areas of our home. This year, especially, our world is practicing social distancing and it seems like we might be spending a lot more time at home in the coming months. You are probably considering giving a little attention to your outdoor areas and wondering where to start.

Your outdoor spaces should be designed the same way that you’re indoors the spaces are designed.

First, think about all of the different activities that are going to happen in these outdoor spaces. Cooking, dining, entertaining, maybe you would like a comfortable spot to curl up with a good book. However large or small your outdoor space is, there is room for great design. My mother, in the later years of her life, created the most beautiful outdoor balcony space in her small New York apartment balcony. It was truly an oasis with everything needed to enjoy the tiny space.

Add rich color.

Once you identify the activities that will go on in these spaces, you then can best figure out where to locate all of the designated areas in your outdoor space. If you are creating an outdoor kitchen or cooking area, consider any electrical, gas, and accessibility needs. As far as furnishings, lounge chairs might sense closer to a pool or water feature if you have one. Consider the lighting of the space, which in an outdoor space is the sun. The sun’s location at different times throughout the day, consider this when planning your space.

Create a quick sketch of your yard, they plan a layout that would function well for your lifestyle. Then and only then should you start looking at outdoor furniture to purchase. Most people overestimate the amount of space that they have and how much can fit into it. This is true of exterior spaces as well as interior spaces. Be sure you measure everything first. Take your time and add pieces slowly.

Be sure to include comfortable seating. Many outdoor seating options are not as comfortable as they look. Again, look at measurements to really understand the pieces and their proportion, especially the seat depths and back height. If you are 6’5” tall, a low seat back will not be comfortable. Look at all the dimensions.

Add personality! Your outdoor spaces can be a reflection of your personality just like your indoor spaces. Use items that you love. Your basic pieces should be weather resistant. But on a day filled with sunshine, you and your family can enjoy your outdoor space like an extension of your indoor living space. Add pillows, decorative accessories, and a splash of color. These are the elements that will make your space inviting and you will enjoy spending time in your new outdoor living area.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Style Your Room With Accessories

How to Style your Room with Accessories

Perhaps you are at the end of a successful major renovation project. You might have had professional help from a design and build firm like mine so you were successful in the process. You didn’t have to spend your days navigating through the endless options of finishes and design details needed for a successful renovation.  You didn’t have to worry about and second guess every design decision. Yet in the end, your design plan reflected the look and feel of what you wanted to have in your new space.

You might have even had your designer prepare a furniture plan making furniture and art selections and design custom window treatments. If this is the case, then definitely consider having your designer finish the space by adding decorative accessories. This allows the designer to provide you with the most cohesive finished space. All decorative elements are chosen strategically by a designer to complement the overall look of your room, reflect YOUR style, and play off all of the other design elements in your well designed and renovated space.

Maybe you renovated your space on your own or would just like to change up the look of your existing space by styling your space with new accessories.

Accessories might be the last thing added to your space but this is an important layer in the design process. This final layer can make or break the look of a space and should be well thought out and should express the homeowner’s personality. Just like how adding jewelry can make or break a fashion look, adding decorative objects and accessories are the jewelry of any room.

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Here are a few tips for adding decorative accessories to your space:

One

Be conscious of scale. The size and bulk of decorative objects should look proportioned to the area where they are placed. Too many small items grouped together can start to look cluttered. A single larger item might work best, whether it’s on the coffee table, mantle, end table, or kitchen countertop, the same principles apply.

Two

Chose items that have similar finishes, colors, and textures. These can be grouped together easily since they have similar elements.

Three

Choose items that have meaning or sentimental value to you and your household. A stack of books of your favorite hobby or a collection of items that you have collected from your last vacation can add a level of personality to your space. Choose pieces that you like to look at and that gives you joy. I have many clients that have meaningful items that they have collected over a period of time. I always try to weave these cherished items into a finished space when I am accessorizing a space. Some of these collections can be a great source of inspiration for your space.

Four

Choose colors that complement your color scheme of the room. Everything doesn’t have to be an exact match to the decor of your room, but it should definitely complement the existing colors and have an element of the rooms color scheme represented in the decor items.

Five

Placement is everything. Mixing like items together works great, but the placement of each item is key. Vary the heights of items as you place them in a grouping.  Each area should be treated as a composition. Take a photo of the grouping that you have created and look at it, this will help you see it as an individual composition. Then look at the room as a whole to see how it complements the overall decor.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Interior Design Ideas For Your Next Zoom Meeting

Interior Design Ideas For Your Next Zoom Meeting

Many Americans are working from home as  stay at home orders are still in place due to the Coronavirus. Thanks to technology many people can continue to work at home virtually. This means being on camera, with a simple iPhone or webcam setup. We can use online platforms like Zoom or Apple’s Facetime to meet with clients or our colleagues.

This is all new to most of us as we are trying to navigate getting our work done, setting up a home office, and learning how to find flattering camera angles and proper lighting. One area that I can help with is the interior background of these video conferences. You are at home so you really need to work within the space that you have, but I have a few tips that will help your virtual meeting backgrounds look much more interesting and flattering.

Add rich color.

1.

Find an area in your home where you have the most natural lighting, preferably the lighting source should be in front of you, not behind you. A window behind you only seems to work if the rest of the room has windows as well. I am not a photographer but I can tell you from years working with my photographer photographing my finished interior design project, lighting matters, and its placement is key. Keep the light on your face, natural lighting is best.

2.

If you have a wall behind you be conscious of what is on it and how it photographs with you in front of it. A blank wall is fine if it has some texture, a wood or brick wall looks great with nothing hung on it. If you have a blank wall with no texture try hanging a large piece of art on it. A large bold colorful piece of art brings character to your space. A small piece of artwork alone looks lost. If you don’t have a large piece of art try to use a grouping of smaller pieces. Be conscious of what colors are behind you when you are being photographed, you don’t have to match your clothing to your background but try not to severely clash.

3.

Personalize your space. You are working from home so you are not trying to create a sleek office environment, some personality and personal items like family photos and books are fine. Stack a few books on a desk behind you or on the wall or shelf behind you. A grouping two or three family photos look best, again if you have a bookshelf or desk behind you group them carefully.  Massive amounts of family photos on a wall behind you can be visually distracting. If you don’t have a desk use a small table next to you with fresh flowers or a small plant

4.

If you have an area in your home with bookshelves, this can make a great background. Just be sure books are stacked neatly and there are a few decorative accessories to break up the look. Bookshelves look better when you have a handful of books together, then a few accessories, then some more books. Rows and rows of books can be distracting and visually overwhelming in general, especially when you are using your bookshelves as a background for a virtual meeting.

5.

All of your work on your beautiful background will be lost if your camera is too low and all you can see is your ceiling and your face at the bottom of the screen. Elevate your camera to eye level so you can film straight in line with your face. Use a tripod or a stack of boxes or books to get things to the right height. This is a flattering angle and your video will look balanced visually.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Like most of us, you might be finding yourself spending a lot more time at home for a while. We are now working, teaching, homeschooling, exercising, and cooking all of our meals at home. 

As we settle into this new norm we might be noticing that certain areas of our homes might not be functioning as well as you might like. That dated kitchen that you have been thinking about renovating is now also revealing all of the design and functionality flaws now that you are giving it so much daily use. You are also probably wishing that you had renovated it last year when you started discussing it.

That family room, the one that you have been thinking about opening up to your kitchen space to give you more flow and function in your home, you are now wishing that you had done this project before your home turned into the center of all daily activities. You are now discovering where your home lacks in function in a whole new way and your home is now a bigger priority than it might have been a few months ago. 

So, how do you proceed with thinking or planning a renovation in the midst of the unknown world situation?

Planning is more important now than ever when renovating. Even under normal conditions, a good renovation takes a few months of thorough planning.

  • Start the process now when your ideas are fresh on your mind.
  • Make notes now while you are home about your thoughts regarding your current space and what you would like to improve. Are you noticing that you are in need of panty space? Or you preparing to re-configure the entry are along with that kitchen renovation.
  • Do you want to include a designated home office space?
     

Involve a Professional early in the process. Even under normal circumstances designing and planning a renovation can take several months. Most of the design and planning processes can be done virtually. A virtual site visit or video tour can get the process started. Then the creation: a design plan for your space is done offsite along with the necessary client meetings. Involving a Professional to design and manage your project is now more important than ever. I can guide you through the ever-changing landscape of the interior design and construction industry.

Look to the future. Plan for a new normal but don’t give up on your dreams! Stay busy moving your dreams forward!

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Create An Oasis In Your Master Bathroom

How to Create an Oasis in your Master Bathroom

Have you ever dreamed of a luxurious bathroom space? Now more than ever we are craving a master bathroom space that is an oasis. A space to which we can retreat at the end of a long and very stressful day. 

I have spent most of my life designing and renovating beautiful master bathroom spaces for my clients. Beautiful retreats with custom showers including all the features that one dreams of in a shower, and some features that you didn’t even know existed. Bathrooms that have been expanded well beyond their original floor plan and footprint, with exciting new layouts to accommodate large freestanding soaking tubs, customized storage, and privacy needs. Of course, using all of the beautiful fixtures, colors, and finishes that you would expect to see in a master bath retreat, marble, porcelain tile, glass, gleaming metals, luxurious fabrics, and soothing colors. Then, of course, all of the finishing touches that add a feeling of comfort to the space that we usually add after a space is fully renovated.

During this time at home, while thinking about and planning for that luxurious master bathroom renovation there are also some small things that you can do to create an oasis in your bathroom until our renovation gets underway.

Buy the best bath towels

100% cotton is the best. They are the most absorbent and durable. Egyptian cotton and Pima tend to be a softer cotton towel. The thicker the better. I love using solid white in most of my bathroom spaces. Sometimes a bathroom design might call for a brightly colored hand towel mixed with stacks of soft cotton bath towels.

Accent with soft textures

If you have space try adding a small chair or bench. A bathroom has lots of hard surfaces, adding a fabric piece can soften the look of the room. If you don’t have space, adding fabric window treatments will also soften the look of the space.

Bring nature indoors

Add fresh flowers or greenery. A few fragrant blossoms in a small vase on your bathroom vanity can make your bathroom feel like an oasis.

Accessorize

A decorative vanity tray can collect and display make-up or personal items. A grouping of decorative glasses or boxes can conceal necessities.

Fill the air with sound

Add a blue tooth speaker so you can stream music into your bathroom easily. The sounds of ocean waves or pouring rain can create a soothing ambiance in your bathroom. Try the CALM app or one of the many streaming music services that offer soothing sounds.

Creative decor

Add some art. Try a new print or canvas art piece in your bathroom. Use a grouping of framed pieces that coordinate with your bathroom’s decor.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

5 Designer Ideas That You Can Do In Your Home To Lift Your Spirits

5 Designer Ideas That You Can Do In Your Home To Lift Your Spirits

I know everyone is going a little stir crazy as we are spending all of our time in our homes right now. Our homes have become our haven and the time that we spend there can be either stressful and emotionally draining or it can be rejuvenating and soothing to our souls.

Here are a few things that we can do in our homes to lift our spirits and make our homes look and feel amazing.

1.

NEW BEDDING
You can add a simple set of soft cotton sheets or completely change out the entire bed. Change out your pillows and try a silk or satin pillowcase (this is great for your skin and your hair as most fabrics pull on your skin and hair when you sleep). Your bed will look great and feel great. Also, making your bed everyday will boost your spirits.

2.

ACCENT DECOR
Add a new throw or blanket to the living room sofa. Choose soft fabrics that you will enjoy curling up in. You can add a few different throws for a luxurious layered look.

3.

AROMATHERAPY
Add fragrance to your home. Scented candles are great or you can use a diffuser with essential oils. The scent of lavender is very relaxing, I use lavender in my office diffuser every day. 

4.

REARRANGE FURNITURE
Move your furniture around. This might be a great time to experiment with a new furniture arrangement. With everyone home, you also might have the needed manpower to move those heavy items.

5.

MOVE TO STYLE
Style your bookshelves. Experiment with different items that you might not have on display. Create groupings of items to break up sections with books. Experiment with heights of items until you find an arrangement that you like. This takes some practice, don’t be afraid to move things around and think out of the box.

Hoping these tips will help to lift your spirits!

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Transitioning Your Home to be a Multi-Functional Space

Transitioning Your Home to be a Multi-Functional Space

With a world that seems to be spinning out of control, we are realizing that if everything else gets taken away, family, faith, friends, health, and our home are most important.

Our homes are now more than ever a refuge from the world.

Our homes also need to function for our lifestyle, something that normally takes some time and experimentation for a homeowner to figure out.

However, in the past few weeks, our homes are now having to function as homeschooling areas, remote working areas for perhaps several different people, home gyms or workout areas, and added storage might be needed in the kitchen. Overnight our homes are being taxed with the new demands without the needed time to prepare. This is adding unneeded stress to an already stressful time.

Here are some tips to help transition your homes to a new multi-functional space:

1.

Take one day to just re-group and contain things. I know this is hard, but take some time just to temporarily organize and get your home feeling more settled. Store the kid’s backpacks and items that you might not need the next few weeks, this will eliminate some of the chaos. Go through each room and eliminate anything that doesn’t need to be out. Put things away and make some room to be able to function better for the next few weeks. Eliminate any unneeded piles of mail, outerwear or items that can take up valuable space.

2.

Designate some areas in your home for work, choose areas that can be closed off easily from noise, well lit (this is important when you are conference calling or meeting with clients virtually; like I often do in my own business), and with a good wifi signal. An extra bedroom or dining room area might work well for this right now.

3.

Work together as a family to schedule your time in designated areas if needed. If you have one space and you must share it with a spouse for work at home-schooling, discuss your needs and create a schedule of blocked time to share the space so that everyone can get there work done. Communicate this to each other and come up with a plan.

4.

Keep an open mind! Last week I took delivery of my new Peloton bike, something I’ve been thinking about purchasing for several years as I hoped to create a home gym in my extra bedroom. Now that all gyms have closed and my regular spin classes will not be happening, I knew I wanted to do this immediately. Because of timing, I set up this temporary home gym in my downstairs study knowing that I can relocate everything upstairs once things settle down and I can remove furniture, paint, etc. However, I realized that I actually love working out in this sunny study, so I definitely will be planning my home gym project and considering using this sunny space instead of my original plan.

Now that you are spending a lot of time in your home, take a moment and make some notes about things that you have noticed about your living/working indoor space during this experience. This can be a great time to make note of changes that you would like to make in the near future.

Until next time,

Gia

 

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