4 Independence Day Decorating Tips

Celebrating Independence Day with an outdoor party can be a great way to welcome in the summer season and celebrate the Independence Day holiday.  Whether you’re hosting a backyard cookout or an evening fireworks gathering you can quickly pull together a beautiful gathering with a few touches of red white and blue.  Even if you’re not hosting a gathering you could still add a little Fourth of July red white and blue and your Decor for the season.

Here are a few tips:

1- Display the American Flag-

I love displaying the American flag outside my home. A single flag on a flag pole or small groupings of flags look great around the exterior of your home or lining a pathway or driveway.  Small American flags can be grouped and displayed in a vase, flower pot or just about any container and used on a table.  Don’t forget to honor the American flag protocol. A flag should never be displayed if it’s worn or tattered. An actual American Flag should never be used as clothing or curtains. You could read more about flag protocol at www.usflag.org

2- Use patriotic colors on your table. Groupings of red white and blue candle holders or glasses could be used as vases for beautiful red geraniums or an arrangement of wildflowers or sparklers. Even adding simple white plates to a table with a red or blue tablecloth, will look very patriotic.

3- Decorate the front door- You can add a blast of patriotic decor here with a Patriotic wreath or just a simple wreath with red flowers.

4- Decorate the interior of your home -a few blue and red throw pillows added to a white sofa give a subtle nod to our Independence Day colors. Use a red throw on a chair and a few flag groupings or red and blue accessories. It doesn’t have to be specific to the holiday, just tie everything in with color.

Happy Independence Day!

The Importance Of Having A Realistic Budget For Your Design and Renovation Project

As an interior designer and renovation specialist, I love working with all of our clients, whether that be our full-service clients, our consulting clients, or our social media followers and email list subscribers for whom we provide free resources like our information-packed blog articles. I love helping all of our clients by providing services that meet all of their design needs.

When I first meet with a client they may or may not have a budget for the project that they are desiring, or be willing to share their thoughts about the budget. If they do have a budget, that budget may or may not be realistic for the project that they are thinking about completing and the desired scope of work. Homeowners may look into the cost of cabinetry, fixtures, and counter-tops and then make a guess as to what the overall project might cost. This is a very inaccurate way to determine what the cost of your project might actually be.

When looking at what is actually involved in doing your project the cost of professional services is not usually talked about much on television design shows or in publications, but it’s a big cost when it comes to your project. Professional services include everyone from the designer or architect, structural engineer, contractors, plumbers, electricians, installers, and painters. Additional costs may include all building permits and delivery on all products. So much is involved in putting a project together and there is a cost to that above and beyond products and materials purchase cost.

So in the beginning stages of a project,  I try to discuss budget early on to be sure that my client’s budget and scope of the project are in alignment. If the client is prepared with an idea of their budget for the project that they’re looking at doing, this gives us the ability to know this early on and to prepare design elements or suggest a scope of work that’s more reasonable for their particular goals and budget. Or to determine the costs of the projects that they desire and then schedule the project when they are thoroughly prepared for the cost. This helps the homeowner be more prepared later when estimated costs and quotes for projects are higher than with the customer thought they might be.

Couple managing the debtThis is very successful when being lead through this process with a professional. Sometimes when homeowners attempt to go through this process on their own they quickly wind up in trouble by underestimating expenses or even starting a project before totally figuring everything out with regards to design, professional services, and labor cost. Another issue might be not having planned any contingency funds available for unexpected construction issues, or for things that you might want to add to the project scope. The end result is always spending more money than planned and putting the client over budget.

Preparation and planning is the key here. Just because you think a kitchen might cost $20,000 doesn’t mean that this is realistic considering the desired scope of work, the condition of your existing home and it’s systems, the desire to take down several walls to expand the space, and the professional services needed to accomplish to your finished project. The biggest way to control the cost of your project is to prepare the scope of work that you can afford after accurately investigating costs.

Until next time,

11 Ways To Create Spaces That Spark Joy

One of the questions that I ask when designing a space, after reviewing my client’s list of wants and needs for their new space, is “how do you want this new space to feel?” The answers vary between peaceful, restful, a place that the whole family can gather, and an exciting space to entertain. What most people want is a home that brings them joy.  A space that is intentionally designed to make its homeowner feel joyful. This requires getting to know our client’s likes, dislikes, and lifestyles so that we can personalize their spaces to bring them a feeling of joy when they spend time in these spaces.

Here are some general ideas that will help you create a joyful environment in your home.

1. Bring Some Color into Your Space
First, color has an enormous emotional impact on individuals. Using colors that you love can be a great way to make your space feel joyful. Even using small splashes of color can have a dramatic impact on the “feel” of the space. Using a color that you love will make an even greater impact on the way you feel when you enter this space.

2. Make sure your space plan works
The way that your space is planned will have an impact on the way you feel when you are in your room. If you stub your toe every time you try to maneuver around that over-sized coffee table, you might want to take another look at the furniture and traffic patterns in this room and create a space plan that works. Most people underestimate the amount of space needed for function.

3. Choose Textures That You Love
Textures have a huge role in making spaces feel cozy and comforting. Use items and finishes that use textures that you love. Whether it’s a velvet pillow or a sleek glass sculpture, if you love it, seeing these items when you enter a space will create a feeling of joy and comfort.

4. Get Your Space as Organized as Possible
Organize your space. This starts with eliminating anything in the space that you do not need. Then creating an intentional place for all of the necessary items included in your room. Getting organized creates a great sense of peace, allowing you to feel like you are in control of your environment.

5. Choose Lighting that Brightens Your Mood
Lighting can influence your mood and can make us feel either inspired and joyful, or sad and lethargic. The right lighting for the use of space is what is important. Dim lighting in the bedroom can be relaxing, but dim lighting in the kitchen or family space can be uninspiring.

6. Less can be more
Crowding a room with furniture that you do not necessarily love doesn’t create a great feeling in your space. If you really don’t love that end table, remove it and make room for something that you really love. This might take some time but start with pieces that you know you could do without for a while. This will allow your mind to imagine the possibilities instead of focusing on that table that you don’t like.

7. Create a Technology-Free Zone
We love our technology as it’s now helping us manage almost every area of our lives. But it’s important to allow our minds to re-charge and retreat from information overload and overwhelm. If we are intentional about creating a technology free area in our homes this will allow us to experience joy, as we retreat from the compulsion to jump into action every time we hear a notification on our phones or computers.

8. Have Only Items You Love
Surround yourself with items that you love. For everyone this is different. What items in your home are important to you? Are there items that you love that remind you of people that you love or happy times? Are there items in your home that bring back bad memories or bring up negative feelings? Keep what you love, and use it so you will see it daily. Get rid of anything with negative memories, or share it with someone who might look at it differently.

9. Find Art that Inspires You
Art plays a large role in the way a room feels. Artwork should be a very personal choice. A piece of fine art purchased on your last trip to Europe or last weekend’s flea market find, it doesn’t matter, if you love it, use it, it will create a great emotional impact on you as you enjoy your space. My grandson’s first finger painting makes me smile every time I see his framed artwork on my kitchen wall. The artwork is a great way to pull color into a room.

10. Harness the Emotional Impact of Your Favorite Scents
Introduce your favorite scents into your home. All of our senses absorb information that helps us experience a feeling of joy. Seek out a scent or two that fills you with a feeling of bliss. This is a small thing that will help to create a joyful atmosphere.

11. Use Greenery to Liven Up Your Space
Live greenery used in your home creates a life-giving effect. A small arrangement of fresh flowers or a live plant, My arrangement of fresh lilacs is currently bringing me lots of joy and the scent is heavenly.

Just a few small changes in your home or space can bring you lasting joy. We are will benefit if our spaces and homes fill us with joy. Try implementing a few of these steps to create a joyful feeling indoor home.

For more advice and design inspiration, don’t forget to subscribe to my email list!

Happy Decorating!

Making Design Decisions With A Spouse Or Partner

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Have you ever found yourself at odds with your spouse over a certain recliner?  You know, the one that you have been trying to eliminate from your living room for years. That chair with the lived-in look that your partner cannot seem to part with.  Or have you ever come home to find that your spouse has painted a room a particular shade of pink that you absolutely do not share the same enthusiasm for?  How could you possibly not love this color?  One of you might share a love of practical design and function The other might want to totally re-create something they’ve seen in a magazine or on television, but might not be able to articulate the design details needed to create this look.

Well, you are not alone.  After 20 years of negotiating design and renovation decisions with couples on a daily basis, I will assure you that even the most loving couples usually don’t share the same ideas, design aesthetic and expectations when it comes to designing their homes.  Normally couples will notice these differences of opinions occasionally….. when choosing paint colors, furniture decisions, or window treatments. Small discussions about all those beautiful accent pillows on the sofa and bed.  But once a couple decides to embark on a major renovation project, these differences can make it difficult to make decisions, putting couples at odds before they even begin the renovation.  When designing and making design decisions for a renovation, there are suddenly hundreds of design decisions to make and depending on how well you planned, sometimes you must make these decisions very quickly.

With the added pressures that come with an impending renovation, some couples can become very passionate about their ideas about what their new space should look like.  Some couples work really well together and are able to come to agreements easily. Bless you!

Others take much longer or might not ever see eye to eye on their project. We understand, Renovation is scary, there are big decisions to be made, decisions that you will be living with for a long time.  Both parties are usually out of their area of expertise and might not know anything about design or construction, or even worse, a little knowledge can be dangerous, one person takes the lead after a few hours on google or watching a few seasons of HGTV and suddenly the couples normal dynamic is flipped on its side. None of this helps to move their visions closer together.  some try to negotiate their different choices.” You get your granite countertops if I get that tile floor” but the end result might not be a cohesive finished design that anyone likes.

One of the things that really helps to navigate through all of these design decisions is to have help from a professional.
A professional designer with experience in your type of project can listen to the couples ideas and can create an entire design that reflects the needs, tastes and desires of both parties.  For instance, I can take the ideas that my clients have, combine them with what is right for their space, lifestyle, and add some ideas that they might not have considered then come up with a beautifully designed cohesive plan that makes both parties happy. Sometimes a fresh set of ideas from a Pro is all that is necessary.

If you are renovating on your own and can’t come to an agreement with your spouse, consider some totally new design ideas that you both might like. This is much more productive than holding onto ideas that might not even be right for your space, goals, budget, or desired outcome.  With a designer leading the ways, ideas can easily be sifted through, leaving only ideas that really work well for the overall goals of your project.  Just having a professional there to lead the way allows everyone to feel as though their ideas are being heard and allows the designer to really dig deep into the ideas and feelings that both parties have about their home and the environment that they wish to create.  The overall goal is always to create a space that the homeowners love and will enjoy together for many years.


6 Benefits of Custom Window Treatments

Although pre-made, off the shelf, window treatments are plentiful, there are numerous reasons why we use and suggest custom window treatments in most of our design projects.

Choosing custom window treatments allows you to have so many options and benefits that you don’t have when choosing pre-made window treatments.

Here are a few of the benefits:

1. Create the perfect size.
Custom window treatments can be made exactly to your specifications as far as size. That means you don’t have to work within the sizes offered in regular pre-made draperies. We can customize the size right down to the exact measurements needed for your windows, creating the best look for your windows. This is a huge benefit as it allows us to design exactly what is right for your space.

2. Choose the perfect fabric.
Next, custom window treatments are exactly that, totally custom, so we can design window treatments with fabric that is exactly right for your space. Designers have access the thousands of decorative fabrics and can suggest only fabrics that are exactly right for your space. Choosing colors and patterns that are perfect for your room design is one of the elements that create a truly beautiful finished space in any room design project.

Designs By Gia Interior Design3. Adding specific decorative details.
The options are limitless, with custom window treatments we can incorporate very specific custom designed details like specific trim, decorative details, and placement of trim that are specific to your window treatment. As a designer, this gives us the ability to create something unique for each space that we design.

4. Superior workmanship and quality.
Window treatments require a substantial investment. This is another reason to go with custom window treatments, Custom is without a doubt a higher quality product. These window treatments will last you for many years, long past the time when you would be replacing a pre-made window treatment. There’s no contest when it comes to quality custom draperies and window treatments are far superior in workmanship and quality.

5. Energy efficient.
Custom window treatments can be designed with insulating linings or black-out, light blocking linings, providing an extra level of energy efficiency for your home, and prolonging the life of your window treatment fabrics when it comes to sun damage and fading.

Designs By Gia Interior Design6. Longevity.
The sky is the limit when it comes to window treatment creation, so we can create a timeless option for your windows, that can outlive any trendy pre-made window treatment option. When it comes to draperies shades, Roman shades, basically any type of window treatment, if you plan on keeping it in your space for at least five years, custom will probably be even more cost-effective as pre-made options are never quite right and I see most people replace them frequently. When you’re doing custom drapery, you have the option of having a designer’s assistance, when this is part of a large renovation project fabric and drapery are discussed and worked into the entire design scheme. This isn’t usually the case when a homeowner purchases their own drapery, as homeowners often purchase them randomly without the strategy of a well thought out design plan. A short time later, this homeowner realizes that they have purchased something that they are really not too excited about, and are once again purchasing window treatments, hoping to get it right.

So for the client that realizes the benefits of custom drapery, working with a designer to design custom window treatments for your home can be a great choice.


Preparing Your Pets For Your Renovation

We all love our pets and we know our client’s want to be sure that their pets are safe and comfortable during their upcoming renovation.

All of us at Designs by Gia Interior Design and Renovation and our team of contractors and tradesmen love interacting with your pets. But we know that it can be startling for pets to have everyone converging on their home at once. We find that it helps to take the time to introduce ourselves slowly to our client’s animals to help them get familiar with us. Construction can be dangerous for animals and workers if pets are underfoot all the time. So as much as we love having them around, our first concern is always for their safety. Most pets actually do quite well with the renovation going on in their homes. Dogs especially seem to like all of the action and most of them quickly except their new construction friends. Cats usually aren’t quite as excited about their owner’s projects but are very good at removing themselves from the daily activity, and reappearing at the end of the workday.

Designs by Gia Interior Design. New England Interior DesignerWe want to share a few tips to help prepare your pet for your upcoming renovation.

1. Provide a safe area for your pets. Construction involves a lot of loud noises, strange power tool sounds, banging of hammers, and unfamiliar voices. This can cause some pets a lot of anxiety.  Always provide a safe area out of the construction zone for your pets to retreat. This can help your pets adjust to a house full of unfamiliar people and noises.

2. Notify your contractors if you have anyone other than yourself coming into the house during the day to feed or walk your animals. If you are not home during the days when construction is taking place, it is helpful to know who else is allowed into your home to interact with your animals.

3. A few days before the renovation starts you might want to relocate your pets food and water bowl if it’s in the area of the renovation. This might help them to adjust to their things being moved on the day of demolition. This is especially important during a kitchen renovation, as their meals might be disrupted.Designs by Gia Interior Design. New England Interior Designer

4. Also, let your contractors know if your animal is an indoor pet or is prone to a quick escape. This will help whoever is working on your home know what is normal for your animal and we will take extra care while entering and exiting the home.

5. During construction always leave a contact phone number where you can be reached if you are not home during the renovation hours. This is important for numerous reasons while renovating, but this also allows us to contact you if there are any issues regarding your pet.

6. Doggie Day Care. Many homeowners worry about their pets during the renovation. But I will say most pets adjust after a few days and actually welcome all of the activity. If you feel as though your pet might not welcome all of the action and it might cause them too much stress, make arrangements in advance for doggy daycare or boarding of some sort during the times of construction that you feel might be the most stressful for your animal.

7. Also, think about your pets needs as far as any accommodations needed in your new design. For instance, maybe a designated area in your new kitchen renovation just for dog food or your dog bowls might be easily worked into the kitchen design. If you have large dogs you might want to make a designated doggy wash station in your new mudroom renovation plan. I once designed a special sunroom for my client’s cats, because cats enjoy a newly designDesigns by Gia Interior Design. New England Interior Designered  and renovated space too.

Usually, after renovation, when everything calms down we often hear that our client’s pets miss all of the activity and construction friends that they’ve gotten used to being in their home all day.  So we know they enjoy it when we stop back in for a quick visit, to finalize details or to discuss the next design project. We remember fondly several of the numerous beautiful pets that we’ve gotten to know over the years, a few of them are not around anymore but all are remembered by us for their love of great design and construction….Gus, Diesel Dog, Sammy, Poncho, Ginger, Henri, Huck, Sig, Oliver, Prada, Willie, and Maggie. Of course, we can’t forget our feline friends including “best team player” Pebbles the cat who endured an entire house renovation, cleared the entire construction space of mice, and was still happy to pose patiently during the final photo session.

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