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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

I often run into a local Home Goods or Home Sense store in whatever town I might be working in at the time. I might be looking for a few odds and...

read more

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