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

 

From The Blog

How Color Selections Effect Your Well Being

How Color Selections Effect Your Well Being

Have you ever walked into a room and had your spirits immediately lifted by the impact of color used in space? Have you ever walked into a home or business and immediately felt anxious or slightly angered or frustrated?

Color definitely has a psychological effect on us. 

Although some feelings about color are subjective to the individual, based on the individual’s tastes or history with a specific color, there is a scientific pattern to the effects of color on people.

Chromotherapy, also known as color therapy, is the practice of using visible light spectrum color to promote health and wellness by adjusting body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony. Each color addressing a specific need colored light is used to balance emotional and physical energy.

For instance:  RED activates the circulatory and nervous systems. BLUE acts like a nerve relaxant.  GREEN can be calming and promote feelings of optimism.

The effects of color might be temporary but could also be a great way to relax and promote a general good feeling. I recently installed a complete chroma color system in a newly designed steam shower for a client. How nice would it be to get the added soothing effects of color while showering in a beautiful new steam shower? There are many studies about chromotherapy, but there is still much more research needed about how to harness the effects of color.

Here are some easy ways to harness the power of color in your home:

  • Add color in small doses in your home, live with it for a few days to see how it makes you feel. If you like the color after a few days then you can decide if it’s right to add more to your space.
  • Add color in ways that allow you to experiment. For instance, blue might be a calming color, but if it reminds you of a dorm room that you hated or something negative, it might not produce a calming feeling for you. You might not even realize that certain colors bring up bad memories or feelings until you try it out. So experiment in small ways, a few blue accent pillows or accessories might create enough of an impact to help you decide if a color is right for you.
  • Experiment with colors that you might not have any experience with, certain colors might not be colors that you normally use, but if you try adding them to your decor you might fall in love with the effect that they have on you and your home.
  • All colors have different shades, tones, and intensities. Each shade of blue might cause you to react differently. Choosing a color that right for you but also right for your space requires a trained eye. But don’t be afraid to experiment. You might just find that adding some color to your home can be very soothing and therapeutic.

Until next time,

Gia

 

From The Blog

How to create the perfect environment for working from home.

How to create the perfect environment for working from home.

Trying to design a work space that is perfect for working from home? You are not alone. Today’s technology allows so many of us to be able to work from home. I know in the past decade I have certainly seen a huge increase in clients that work from home and that rarely go into an outside office or some that travel to the main office once a week or monthly. Some entrepreneurs run entire empires from their home office. The freedom of working from home is amazing, you can start early in the day if you like. You can work late in the day, as you don’t have to take time from the day for that work commute. This valuable time can be spent producing your work instead of traveling, something that is very important to anyone working on a big deadline. Here in the northeast working from home allows you to avoid many days of traveling on cold, icy roads. Spending those blizzard-like days working from your warm home in your slippers. This is a definite perk.

But as many of us know the challenge of creating a space in your home that’s conducive to productivity can be challenging. If you work from home regularly or you are spending this year’s flu season working from home, here are a few tips that will help you to settle in and become productive while working from home:

Make Work Comfortable.

1. Work from a room that you enjoy being in.
Many people take a dark basement or a seldom-used bedroom and try to set up camp in these rooms. This could be great if you are planning to completely makeover these rooms to suit your needs. But, remember you will always gravitate toward rooms that you like to be in. If you try to work in a room that just doesn’t feel good, you will find yourself wandering out and into the areas of the home that you like best. A few hours working from your kitchen or living room space might provide youth more productivity than a whole day locked away in that spare room.

2. Spend a little time accessing your needs.
Even if you are just working from home temporarily, spend a little time setting up proper surfaces area, lighting, and any electrical needs for you to work with the least amount of frustration.

3. Structure your day.
Working from home comes with many distractions, whether you have a busy household or not. Many people figure that you are “working from home”, so you should be available for their needs. Set some boundaries early on with friends and family members. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean that you can drop everything at a moment’s notice. Treat work time like work time. If you are prone to distraction set up some timelines and structure in your day to keep you on task.

4. Settle in and get comfortable.
Spend some time orienting your furniture in a way that feels good to you when you are working. If you are working from a desk, the placement of that desk is crucial to your productivity. Many people do not work well when facing a desk toward a wall. Most people feel better when the desk is facing outward toward the entrance of a room.

5. Give your work space a warm feel.
One of the biggest advantages of having a home work space is that it can feel like home. Using furniture items that you would use at home and adding personal items that you might have in your home can give you that comfortable feeling that you might not have used office furnishings. If you are designing a home office space from scratch, this can become a highly productive area to work simply by the selection of certain colors, fabrics, and furnishings.

Working from home can be isolating. Be sure to structure your business and personal life with some balance. When creating your weekly schedule allow yourself the opportunity to schedule meetings with coworkers or clients on specific days so that you do get out of your office regularly. Even using co-working space for meetings can break up your routine and increase productivity.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Why most of your design projects don’t produce the desired results

Why Most of Your Design Projects Don't Produce the Desired Results

Why can’t you get the desired results when finishing your own design project?  This is a complaint that I hear over and over from clients. It is especially frustrating for clients that know what they like and have a good artistic eye or “good taste”.

While I am a firm believer in buying items that you love and working them into your home, this does not guarantee a beautifully designed space in the end.

This can be very frustrating for someone that has meticulously selected beautiful items that they love for their home.

Recently, I met with a lovely client of mine, she has the most impeccable taste she’s very knowledgeable about the world of design. This client has the most amazing items in her home, she has a great eye for beautiful pieces and we always enjoy discussing some of the design world news. I have recently been working with this client on completing all of the rooms in her home and preparing the home for sale to a very exclusive market, but also appealing to the client as she is currently living in the space.

Why did this client hire a designer?

Because purchasing beautiful items does not equal a cohesive design in the end. Yet at a recent meeting that I had with her, she made the most profound statement. She said that she realizes that all of these years she has been shopping for each item for its artistic features, having no idea how she’s going to use it in her home, if it’s going to go with everything else she has in her home or how to pull all of these items together.

So, my first task for this unique project was to prepare the entire house for it’s impending photo session using items in this very large home and eliminating or supplementing where needed. This client gave me free rein to reconfigure the entire home and placement of everything. This allowed me to use my skills to transform her home in a way that she could not visualize. Of course, I did this with her lifestyle and taste in mind, and after discussing the overall goal of the transformation.

The Collection.

With so many amazing and unique items in this home, I knew the first step was to reconfigure the home. With my crew’s assistance, we worked tirelessly for several days moving furniture from one end of the house to another, moving and relocating just about every item.

The homeowner’s extensive art collection allowed me to pick and choose the best pieces for each space, finally displaying the homeowner’s favorite pieces, and allowing me to create a cohesive color scheme throughout the house. With 12 rooms to work with, I continue accessorizing and adding window treatments and bedding where needed. As we moved through the process items that instinctively belonged together found their home. In the end, we created a huge transformation in the home. Each room now looked balance with color, proportion, and style. Each room now functioned for the purpose to which it was designed. This homeowner was so pleased with the results and we are currently continuing to work on additional projects for her home.

3 helpful tips:

1: A well-designed room requires professional skills like a thorough knowledge of space planning, proportion, color balance, and lighting. It also requires a thorough knowledge of products and when or what to use where and why.

2: You might have numerous items in your home that you love just waiting to be part of a new design.

3: A great design requires much more thought and planning than it does shopping. Never start with shopping. Especially if you have a goal to complete a space an entire room or home and you have a budget. Plan first, shop last.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Find Inspiration For Your Next Interior Design Project

How To Find Inspiration For Your Next Interior Design Project

There are so many places that you can find inspiration for your next interior design project.

When looking at a new space there are so many options that can be taken when designing a space. All of which can provide a dramatic transformation.

How do professional designers find inspiration for those beautiful rooms that you see and would love to have in your home?

Interior Design.

As an interior designer, I can say that I get my inspiration from conversations with my clients. By listening to my client’s wants and needs and by taking the time to understand the way that they want their room to feel when it has been completed. Even when a client doesn’t have any idea what they want, which is quite common, I listen for clues in our conversation or clues in how I see their current space functioning or not functioning, items, collections, or artwork that they currently own that they might love. Combining information about my clients, their lifestyle, wants/needs and my skill as a designer combine to create spaces that my clients love.

There are so many ways that professional designers find design inspiration. Here are a few ideas on where you can find inspiration for your space:

It’s all about YOU.

Art: A beautiful painting either passed down from a family member or purchased on your last vacation can be a great source of color inspiration for any space in your home. If you love a piece of artwork consider using it as color inspiration.

Personal Items or collections: Do you own an item or collection of items that you love? A collection can be a great source of inspiration for the design of your space. A collection of books, white-ware, glass or china can be a great source of inspiration for a room’s decor. My own home decor is designed around a collection of blue and white transferware. You will also see glimpses of this collection in a recent desire shophouse space that I designed. The important thing is that if you already own something that you love, considering in in your newly designed space.

Travel: Even a quick getaway can provide you with endless inspiration for our home. Be aware of your surroundings as you travel. Even that beautifully lacquered espresso cup at your favorite restaurant could be a source of design inspiration. A color combination on the side of a building, even the architectural detail of a building. I notice all of these details as I travel and I love to absorb them into my creative memory-bank. It might be years later, but when just the right project or circumstance presents itself, I will remember a detail of a molding or a doorway that I have seen while traveling, and draw from that memory to incorporate into the detail of a project.

Fashion: Fashion is a great source of design inspiration. Look at the way fashion designers mix patterns and textures in a piece of clothing or an entire outfit or collection. Study the contrasts of colors and placement of each color. Use this inspiration for your home. A certain mix or finishes or textures can certainly be used in a home design project to create interest.

I hope you start to look for inspiration for your home everywhere!

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

Every homeowner seems to have a list of projects that they would love to do in their home. 

Many of these projects involve organization, small design changes, furnishing purchases, window treatments, or a full-scale interior design and renovation project. One thing seems to read true with all homeowners: The “Project List” seems to build and build over time. Over the years these thoughts and ideas about what we would like to do in our home tend to pile up. We become overwhelmed, which project should we do first?

How To Take Action On Your Interior Design Goals

All the ideas… organized.

There are so many ideas that you have been thinking about. Every time you open a closet or a drawer, you may think about needing to sort and organize these spaces. When you cook a meal, you might think about improving your kitchen’s work-ability and storage. Maybe when you are entertaining you think about the lack of comfortable seating space in your living room. Or when will you ever be able to create that warm, luxurious master bedroom or bathroom space with a custom tiled shower?

Steps to help you to take action on your interior design goals:
4. Choose one project from your list and write down a few action steps toward that one project.

The questions.

Some common questions you might have are: Does it make sense to do these projects in our home? Can these projects actually be done in our home and how much would it cost? Where should you start? Do you need professional help with this project? So many of these questions are really important but so many are homeowners struggle to find answers especially when the list of projects seems to keep building, sometimes for several years.

Steps to help you to take action on your interior design goals:

1. The first step to take action on your goals is to make an actual list.

So many times we mentally drain ourselves by keeping all of the thoughts and ideas for our homes in our head. Try to spend a few minutes and make a list of all of the interior design ideas and improvements that you would like to make in your home. In this first step, your goal is to just get all of your ideas out of your head and on an actual list. You will be able to think more about each project later.

2. What projects on your list would you like to take action on this year?

Review your list and choose a project that you would like to tackle this year. This could be one project or a few. This step will help you prioritize your list and to get into action on some of your projects.

3. Look at the items that you selected step 2. Do any of these items affect each other?

For instance, if one of the items on your list is to organize your kitchen drawers or replace the flooring in your kitchen, and you have a kitchen renovation on your main list, it might be best to hold off on the flooring until you renovate, but organizing your kitchen drawers could certainly be done without affecting a renovation down the road.

Or perhaps you would like to add window treatments to your living room, if you are planning to replace furnishings or professionally design this space later, maybe pre-made inexpensive window treatments are a good solution temporarily, then when the living room is being designed, that is the time for custom window treatments to coordinate with the new space. (If you do not know how any of these projects affect each other or if this step stops you in your tracks, this might be a good time to get input from an interior designer as a plan of action could be discussed helping youth phase your projects in a way that makes sense and keeps you from backtracking and re-doing things.)

4. Choose one project from your list and write down a few action steps toward that one project.

If your one project is to organize your hall closet, your action steps might be:

  • Empty the closet completely and clean
  • Purge unnecessary items
  • Decide exactly what you need to store in this space
  • Measure closet
  • Add shelving if needed
  • Paint closet
  • Add customization and storage items, purchase hooks, hangers, bins, etc., that fit the space (notice that purchasing these items is the last step, not the first, this allows you to purchase only items that you know fit the space and will be used to store specific things.)

5. Meet with a designer.

If you have larger projects that involve large purchases or renovation on your list for the upcoming year, your first step would be meeting with a designer to clarify goals, discuss design ideas and explore costs. This step early on will help you to schedule your project for this year or to plan for it in the upcoming years.

These 5 steps will certainly help you to get into action on your home projects. Even accomplishing a small project will help you to feel good about your home and about making progress on your Interior Design goals.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Work With An Interior Designer – Part 3 – Implementing Your Project

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 3- Implementing Your Project

Part 3 of my series on how to work with an Interior designer. 

Implementing Your Project:  Even the most beautiful and well thought out design plan cannot transform into reality on it’s own. If only we could wave a magic wand and have a space transformed into it’s visionary’s creation. Implementing your project and knowing how to translate that design plan into reality requires numerous project management skills, craftsmen, contractors, and vendors.  What does a professional designer do in the process of implementing a “design”?

How To Work With An Interior Designer - Part 3 - Implementing Your Project

In parts 1 and 2 of my blog series on how to work with an interior designer, we discussed the value of the interior design initial consultation and the preparation of an interior design plan.

This week we discuss step 3: Implementation of the project!

After having a detailed design prepared by a professional, most of our clients then ask us to implement the project. This might include a total renovation, all furnishings, accessories and window treatments. The scope of work might be different for each project, but the process is still the same.

This is where we take on the role of managing the implementation of your project. Designers experienced with construction might do this themselves by taking on the role of the project manager, this creates a seamless experience that ensures the final details are consistent from design to completion.

This week we discuss step 3: Implementation of the project!

Thorough knowledge of the renovation process and the experience managing complete projects will ensure that the construction costs are quoted after contractors have a thorough inspection of the site and an understanding of the design plan. The designer/project manager now presents projected costs to you, oversees the ordering of all product purchases and deliveries. The scheduling of deliveries and labor will be done at the proper times and in the proper order which heads off numerous issues.

If unforeseen construction issues or unexpected problems come up during your renovation, solutions will be developed immediately and presented to you. Any design challenges that these problems present are met with the proper design changes that might be needed to address any challenges presented mid-project. This is often an area where as a homeowner trying to manage your project yourself, could bring your project to a complete standstill!

With a design firm implementing your project, you now have available to you the resources that you would not ordinarily be able to access on your own. Your designer knows how to quickly and efficiently procure materials and products for your project, dealing with reputable vendors. Your designer will also know how to quickly and efficiently deal with any vendor errors, shipping issues or manufacturer problems that often occur when dealing with a large project requiring numerous products and materials.

Craftsmen and contractors that your designer has handpicked and has many years of experience working with might make up a team that blends perfectly with your project. This is exactly how it works in my business. If a homeowner hires me to implement a project, I bring in my team of contractors whose expertise is in line with the scope of the project. This will ensure the level of quality in the finished space.

We hope you are enjoying this series! Although all designers work a bit differently depending on their business model, these series will give you an overview of how a design/build firm will work and some of the ways that you can work with an Interior Designer.

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 2- The Design Plan

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 2- The Design Plan

Part 2 of my series on how to work with an Interior designer. 

THE DESIGN:  The most crucial step in any renovation project. Yet, when homeowners are embarking on a renovation project it is the step that most people tend to skip, moving forward with a few random design ideas. Design planning consists of much more than shopping for products that you would like for your space. What does a professional designer do in the process of creating a “design”?

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 2- The Design Plan

Design Plan

First, what exactly is a “design plan”? Every designer, depending on their area of expertise works a little differently. As a designer who specializes in renovation planning and implementation of our projects, this is my process: After meeting in an initial consulting meeting and after discussing all of my client’s desires and goals during the consultation, I create a realistic design reflecting my recommendations for the space. This is done with my client’s goals and desires in mind.

This design plan will includes

This design plan will include the following:

  • Floor plans
  • Elevations of walls showing all design details
  • Color recommendations
  • Material selections
  • Fixtures
  • Cabinetry design
  • Furnishing
  • Any other customization suggestions

Some or all these details will be included in the plan depending on what we’re trying to achieve within the space. Discussing and incorporating these elements into the conceptual design is crucial for you to understand and visualize the final product before materials are purchased and quoting for construction begins. Space planning is done to ensure that your space has all of the required clearances and space for moving around and functioning in the new space.

This extremely detailed design plan also gives construction professionals all the details needed at this stage of the project to assist with their planning, again giving them the ability to head off problems and prevent backtracking. The ability to head off design and construction problems before they happen is one of the biggest benefits of a professionally designed space.

Then I will present this design to my client in a design presentation meeting where we can discuss the details of the design, receive input and make any changes that might be needed.

Sometimes after seeing this design presentation, clients can have some clarity as to the overall look of the space, they may consider ideas that they might not have considered without this process. Allowing our clients to be rest assured that the finished product will look and function as a professionally designed space.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 1- The On-Site Consultation

How To Work With An Interior Designer

Part 1: The On-Site Consultation

 

This on-site consultation is the first step in the design process and this is where we start every project. This appointment takes about an hour or so and has a high value to the planning of any design and renovation project. Like most highly experienced interior designers, we have a fee for this first appointment.

You might have seen offers of “free design”, usually this is an offer made by a retail company who has an interest in selling you a product, and that free design is not necessarily being done by an experienced interior designer but perhaps a sales professional, and is not necessarily “free” in the end. Keep in mind, the level of design skill needed for a renovation will come at a cost.

This cost could save you thousands of dollars in the end by avoiding expensive mistakes throughout the renovation process.

How To Work With An Interior Designer- Part 1- The On-Site Consultation

So what happens during this first appointment?

First, I walk through the home with the client, then I will discuss the client’s concerns about space, listen to their thoughts, ideas, and goals, addressing any problem areas that the client wants to discuss. During this appointment, we answer specific design questions, make general suggestions, and offer ideas as to the best way a client can reach their goals. A site visit also allows the client to get a general frame of reference for the cost of the projects that they are thinking about so they can prioritize their needs and determine the best use of their funds and the overall project scope.

Add rich color.

During the Site Visit

CLICK and scroll through some BEFORE and AFTER Photos!

For the client that wants our full-service design and build/implementation, we will discuss design fees and review the next step in the process, which would be creating a conceptual design.

For the homeowner who wants to do the project themselves (DIY), this consultation can be very valuable, providing information that will help steer them in the right direction and help them to avoid common pitfalls.

During our site visit, you will walk away with ideas and insights that took me 20 years of experience to develop. From the moment I enter your home, I look for ways to help my clients avoid many of the common and costly mistakes that homeowners make when undertaking an Interior Design or Renovation project.​

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

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