3 Important Questions That I Ask Before Designing Custom Window Treatments

Designing custom window treatments

Everyone gets excited when selecting window treatments. Especially if you are looking at custom options, there are so many fabrics to choose from with beautiful patterns, colors, and textures. There are thousands of embellishments and options when it comes to custom window treatments. The excitement soon leads to overwhelm when it comes to deciding among the various options. What pattern do you like, what colors do you like, what type of window treatment do you want?

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 There are so many things to consider when choosing window treatments for a room or your entire home. The design and selection of any window treatment can change the look of any room.  There is more to consider than just whether or not you like the fabric or trim. 

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Let’s begin by asking a few questions to see what your goals are:

ONE

What function will your window treatment have for this room?  If your window faces a busy road, you might be looking for this window treatment to provide you some level of privacy.  If this is a bedroom, you might be looking for this window treatment to provide necessary lighting control as well as privacy.  If you have older windows and you live in a colder climate, you might be looking for some insulating qualities.  Defining the function of your window treatments will help you choose one of the many available options.

TWO 

Choose window treatments after your main furniture selections finalized.  The selection of window treatments and furniture for any room can be difficult. I often go into a home of a new client and see that they might have put up some beautiful window treatments, because this seemed like the more straightforward task to complete, but then there is nothing else in the space. Homeowners can sometimes remain stuck at this point because they have drastically limited their furniture options by doing their window treatments first. 

If you choose window treatments first, even the highest quality custom window treatment can look out of place if you cannot find furniture that complements your selections. It’s always better to choose your main furniture first, as your options might be a little bit more limited to furniture selections. Once you finalize your main fabrics in the space, then look at custom window treatments. Now you can create a beautifully designed window treatment that will complement your furnishing perfectly. You will still get a more cohesively designed space by doing the furniture first and then moving on to the selection of window treatments.

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THREE

Consider the view. If you have a beautiful view, I like to treat it like artwork and create window treatments that provide all of the functional needs of my client but something that frames and complements the view instead of competes with it.  If you have a less than ideal view from that window, then you might want to bring more attention to the treatment itself.

Custom window treatments can elevate the look of any space. I hope this helps inspire you to think about the entire area as a whole when thinking about dressing your windows.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Personalizing Your Wall Decor

Personalizing Your Wall Decor

There are so many options when it comes to artwork for your home. You can certainly adorn your walls with any number of options, inexpensive artwork, creating one-of-a-kind pieces, beautiful antique mirrors, or wall sculptures. Some of the most beautiful and meaningful wall decor selections are when we can assist a client with personalizing a piece of wall decor. 

Many of us have meaningful objects or photos tucked away somewhere in our homes. Things that we love and that brings great joy whenever we see them. However many of these objects are stored away, out of sight, in a drawer or closet. 

As a designer, I love to incorporate a client’s personal cherished items and meaningful mementos into a space that I’m designing in their home. Whether it’s something meaningful that you have that’s very personal or something that you just find that you really love, most of these items can be made into something that complements your decor and could be created into something that you could display in your home.

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Recently, I visited my local professional framing shop to frame some interesting pieces for one of my client’s projects. Although we have many options available to us to frame items ourselves, never underestimate the skill and expertise of your local framer. They can look at an item and know exactly how to translate and highlight a piece of artwork and provide you with many options for frames matting and glass that you might not have thought about using.

I love working with a custom framer and there are so many options available to really customize a framed project. Whether it be a gallery wall of a homeowner’s photos, an interesting piece of art that a client found on vacation, or a grouping of prints that I’m using for a project which can be made into a collection that is exactly right for the project that I’m working on. There is a huge difference in the finished project when you compliment the decor with a beautifully professionally framed piece from the client’s own personal collection.

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Here are a few ways that you can incorporate a personal item into your wall decor:

ONE

Create a grouping of photos. Family photos are great to display in your home but sometimes the colors and the different types of photography don’t always blend well together when mixed together for a grouping or gallery wall. The best solution for this is to select some photos that you love and have them all printed in black-and-white. Once you come up with a group of photos that you love, you can enlarge them and make them all the same size. Now you can have a fresh, contemporary spin on a group of photos that might all be from different decades. Now, these can be all matted and framed alike so that they now relate to each other. This is a simple way to create personalized artwork for your home.

TWO

Find one important photo or meaningful photo from your travels, look at the colors in the photo, and see if it might be a good fit for your home’s decor. If it is and the photo is good quality, you can enlarge this photo into one focal point piece for a room. This is a great tip for personalizing your wall decor.

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THREE

Find some unframed prints or photos that you love. This could be a random photo from a calendar, a book or something from your collection, or a high-quality PDF that you purchased online. When printed out on high-quality photo paper something like this could make a great piece of art for your wall. Once you customize these prints with a mat and a frame they could make the perfect piece for your wall decor.

FOUR

Don’t be afraid to think out-of-the-box. Any arrangement of items or mementos in the hands of a professional framer could be into a magnificent piece of wall decor for your home. So look around your home, pull out some of those things that might be meaningful and see if there’s a use that allows you to see them more often and complement your space.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Preparing For Your First Meeting With A Designer

Why can't a renovation go any faster?

I get many questions about the process of working with a designer. Once I have an initial appointment set with a new client. I typically get asked if there’s something that they need to do to prepare for our first visit, so, I thought I might share a few thoughts about this today.

Congratulations, you’ve booked an appointment with a designer! You’ve done your homework, searched for a designer that specializes in some of the projects that you might want to consider in your home and now you’re on your way. You’ve committed to the process of working with a professional and you will reap the benefits throughout the process. Of course, with the finished results.

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Some people feel a little intimidated at first when inviting a designer into their home. Clients want to be sure that their ideas are heard and then, of course, the end product is going to be something that they love. Rest assured, as a designer, I am here to help you reach your goals, certainly not to judge you for your past design decisions or your current furniture. As a professional, my focus is to listen to your thoughts, frustrations, and ideas about your home and to prepare a design that gets you the best results. 

Most professional designers, like myself, have a process that they walk clients through. In the first initial appointment its best to talk about the ideas and to assess the project goals. This also lends help to other areas of the home that might be affected.

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In preparation for this meeting it can be helpful to think about a few things:

Your overall goal for your home, will you stay in the home for a while or will you be preparing the home to sell in a few years?

If you have an overall goal for the property, it is helpful to share these ideas with your designer as well.

Is there an area of your home that you want to focus on in the design process? Are you considering a kitchen or bath renovation or are you looking for a few design suggestions throughout your space?

If you have numerous renovation projects that you would like to tackle, then your designer can help you to develop a phased plan. Considering you might be living in your home at the time of the renovations. Or you might consider a temporary living space so that you can renovate your entire space at once. These are things to discuss with your designer so that you can approach the design and renovation process in the right order for you and the building process.

Think about the overall budget for the project. If you have an idea of what you would be able to spend on the project, this will help the designer to direct you toward a scope of work that is in line with your budget.

Project costs cannot be accurately figured without a detailed design or without a thorough inspection by trade professionals to assess the conditions of the home. However, if your designer has an idea of your budget, they can assist you with containing the scope of work. For instance, working on one room at a time or containing the project in other ways. You might feel like a project should cost a certain amount of money, however, construction cost, material costs, and code issues will dictate the reality of what a project cost will be.

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Now is the time to bring out that folder or idea board that you have been saving.

If you have ideas and design thoughts that you might like to see in your home, mention them or show them to your designer in that initial meeting. Your designer is gathering information about your likes and dislikes and about how you live. It is best to put all your ideas and thoughts into the conversation. Your designer will help you to keep the ideas that work for your situation and bring additional ideas to you that might suit your likes and home even better. The more information you share the more the design can be tailored to your tastes and needs.

Ask for suggestions, you might not have any idea what to do in your home, that’s why you called in a designer, right?

This is fine, in fact, it allows the designer to really do their best work, suggesting designs and ideas that you might not ever have imagined, keeping an open mind and trusting the process, giving feedback to your designer, these are all things that lead to incredible design results. If you have a designer on board that you can communicate with easily, this process will be very rewarding.

 Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Are you thinking about redesigning and renovating a vacation home? Well, summertime is here and many people look forward to spending the season visiting their vacation home. Whether that be a lakeside cabin, an oceanfront home, or mountain retreat, a vacation home can be a place that greets you with all the comforts of home in a location that you love, where you can relax and spend time with family.  Or it can become a place that provides you with a burden of unfinished projects, maintenance issues and endless wish lists. 

A vacation home could be a property that’s been handed down for generations. If that’s the case, trying to design the space for modern living but keep the charm and history of this cherished property should be considered in the new design. Many times these properties have evolved over time with numerous additions or temporary design elements, a professional designer will be able to create a cohesive look knowing what to keep and what to change in the new design. 

Unlike renovating a main residence, with a vacation home, you have the freedom to plan the timing so that your vacation home is ready for you during the season that you want to use it. This involves careful planning. Timing is everything! For instance, if you’re planning on renovating a beach home it would be great if those renovations could be done in the winter. However, if the home is not a four-season home this could be problematic especially since proper temperatures are needed in order to work in the home or on his plumbing systems.

This is the case of one of our current projects located on the Northern coast of Massachusetts. Some vacation home properties require certain specific zoning requirements, conservation boards, or specialized code requirements, especially some waterfront locations, so extra planning time is needed to get specific approvals or permits.

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For this reason, it’s always best to involve a professional when renovating these types of properties as a professional can best advise you based on your set of circumstances and needs as to the best time of year to renovate your property.

Resources and Implementation

A professional also can bring in a team of tradespeople, as sometimes your vacation home is located outside of an area where you normally live. This can also be problematic as far as overseeing your renovation and finding local reliable tradespeople. Hiring a team that can take the project from design right through to completion overseeing all of the details will provide you with the best results, a professionally finished look, and planned with the most optimized timeline for the scope of your type of project. Transportation and deliveries to a vacation property could also have some challenges, these are things that pros deal with on a daily basis and will anticipate before they cause problems with your project.

Design

There are many things to consider as far as the design of a vacation property as your needs for the space might be very different from a home that is being used year-round. This might be a place where numerous family members gather or share the property, you might need to provide additional sleeping quarters for the family. You might entertain a lot more at this property so in some cases your kitchen might work harder in this home.

It is always best to start out with a thorough discussion as to a client’s needs for any property that we design and renovate. However, when beginning a vacation home project we discuss even further the unique needs with the homeowner while using this property and how we can design the space to meet those needs. 

When designing a vacation home (from a design perspective), I love to consider the outdoor environment’s influence on the design of the interior spaces. For instance, a color scheme of a beachfront property might be very different than that of a mountain cabin, and for good reason. I am a firm believer that the view of a property should influence, not compete, with the view. This is especially true for properties with prominent views.

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I love working with clients on vacation homes! It’s especially exciting when we have already designed another property for the client and now we can explore additional design projects with this client or a family that we have enjoyed working with during their previous project. 

I’ll be anxious to show you the final results of our current vacation home project! 

Remember that the design of any home can give you all the comforts of a vacation! Especially if it’s designed to do so! 

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Truly great design is not just visually impactful. Yes, it must be visually appealing, but It must also be functional and appeal to the other senses. I believe that a truly great design must impact all of our senses.

The sense of touch can be impacted while wrapping yourself in a soft fluffy throw blanket in your living room. The sense of Fragrance is one of the final details that can complete the feel of a room and bring a sense of comfort to your home.

Recently my adult son walked into my home and commented on how the house smelled like he remembered his childhood home smelling. This is a different home than where we lived when he was a child, but the scented candle that I was burning in the living room was a familiar scent that I commonly used in that previous home. For him, it was the scent of home. The sense of smell can be very strong and it really is amazing how a familiar fragrance can bring up memories of space and give you a feeling of comfort.

I certainly believe that scents can be used in the design of a space to touch all of the senses. A few years ago while designing an oceanfront designer show house (click to read the blog), I enhanced the coastal ambiance of that coastal design that I created in that home with coastal scented candles. The scent was a mix of salty water air and fresh cotton which complemented the design for that space. This certainly enhanced the experience for those touring the newly designed home.
At last year’s local holiday house home tour, I decorated a beautiful home for the holidays (click to read the blog) that many people came to tour and enjoy the decorations, it was no coincidence that the home was filled with the scents of pine and gingerbread. I used scents to complement the decor once again. I placed the scent of pine in the main living room and gingerbread in the home’s kitchen, which was decorated with an assortment of Christmas confections.
This is an example of how, as a designer, I use scents to enhance the experience of a space.
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1. Choose a single fragrance that you love.

The fragrance that you choose for your home is a very personal choice.  You might have to experiment to find that fragrance. But when you do then you know you have a place to start. This main fragrance might be the fragrance that you use in your living room or the main spaces of your home.

2. Fragrances can come in many forms.

Scented candles in all varieties, including soy, beeswax, and coconut oil-based candles. You could also use diffusers that disperse essential oils in a mist, these work great, just remember to size the diffuser properly to the size of the space that you will be using it in. The diffuser should tell you the size of the room that it should cover. Reed diffusers, scented room sprays, even fresh mixtures of assorted fruits and spices can be used to scent a room. A pot of water simmering on the stove with a mixture of fresh fruits spices or essential oils can be very fragrant. Experiment to see which form of fragrance you prefer or layer them to experience the same scent in different forms.

3. Don’t mix different scents in the same room.

This can be done, but it can be tricky and it takes some practice. Think of a bouquet of beautifully arranged fresh flowers. The mix of complementary fragrances can be fabulous. But when working with scented candles or scented oils the fragrance can be much more concentrated or it might already be mixed with several other scents so this takes some experimentation.

4. Use different but complementary scents throughout your home.

If you a using a scented candle in your living room, the diffuser in the kitchen can be using a different scent, just make sure it’s appealing when walking from one room into the other.

At the end of a long day when the world seems crazy, adding a little detail like fragrance might not seem important but it does help you to feel good about being in your home. It’s so nice to walk into a space that’s been well thought out for you and your lifestyle, adding the touch of a scent that you love will bring you comfort whenever you walk into your home.

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.

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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

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