Interior Design Ideas For Your Next Zoom Meeting

Interior Design Ideas For Your Next Zoom Meeting

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

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

Add rich color.

1.

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

2.

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

3.

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

4.

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

5.

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

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

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 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

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

Every year the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts holds it’s holiday house tour event. Several house are chosen to be on the tour and interior designers are asked to participate by decorating one of the the homes for the event. This year I was honored to be invited to design one of these beautiful homes on the tour.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Visions of sugarplums dancing in your head”? Well, that’s kind of what it’s like when you’re decorating a holiday house.

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

The Creative Spark.

You have free reign as a designer to put your stamp on a beautiful home. The designer selects, provides and installs all decorations and you have a very small time window in which to do it. You must work swiftly and very creatively to reach the finish line under these circumstances, allowing for any creative pivots along the way.

The incredible home that I chose for the tour, yes sometimes you can choose from the participating houses, already had beautiful architecture as it is one on Concord’s best examples of pedimented, colonnaded classic Greek revival style homes. It was recently renovated and it’s larger sized rooms allowed for the perfect environment to greet holiday house tour guests.

The next step was to meet the homeowner as all of the homes on the tour are private residences.

The beginning.

The homeowner was a beautiful woman who’s smile lit up her home even before I added a single Christmas light. She graciously allowed me to use her beautiful home as my blank palette giving me free rein to create a Christmas Wonderland for the holiday house tour. This lovely homeowner also welcomed me into her home with coffee and breakfast on those 6 AM tree decorating sessions needed to make up for the schedule changes since 2 or the 3 days planned to decorate became days a major snowstorm.

At least the snow was fluffy and white, which worked perfectly with the decor!

The homeowner also allowed me to incorporate some of her beautiful things into the Decor design and volunteered to be an extra set of hands as my assistant throughout the process.

The entry hall provided a beautiful staircase and a gorgeous full-length mirror which I adorned with sparkling white magnolias and gold ornaments. A large vase at the end of the curves entryway directed tour attendees through the living room. The living room was decorated with a rich mix of jewel tones. The glistening of mercury glass and gold antique Christmas trees greet you as a series of festooned garlands hang cheerfully throughout the space. We also get a great view of the dining room where the table is set for Christmas dinner in green velvet and metallic gold. I used a multitude of complementary greens, a harlequin patterned plate and deep rich red accents complement the adjoining living space.

The smell of pine and peppermint draws you into the kitchen where the decor is all about icy pastels. I used homemade custom candy canes and old fashioned candy from Priscilla’s Candy Shop (Located in Concord and Gardner, MA) give this kitchen the feel of a dreamy sugar-coated Christmas. I am so grateful that Priscilla’s was happy to help me by providing candy in the colors I needed for the space. (how lucky am I that I have a client that owns a candy shop?)

The tree was adorned with color and organic elements giving it a fresh but nostalgic feel. The table is set and awaiting a Christmas breakfast and the island allows the perfect place to display a pastel gingerbread house.

Fresh pine wreaths align the far wall, green ribbon sparkles when the morning sun shines through it. This parade of wreaths leads your eye to the back family room. The beautiful blush pink is complemented by changing glass trees and blush pink ornaments. White snow adorns the family room tree for a fresh peaceful space.

People usually think that doing Christmas decorating professionally must be “fun”, although it has its jolly moments, in reality, it’s more like a tactical Defcon mission. In my 20+ years of experience, this must be approached with the precision of a sharpshooter, the stamina of a marathon runner, the shopping strategies of a black Friday shopper, and the ability to visualize and create numerous things at once while being highly productive at the tasks following those creative ideas.

You must also have a great ability to improvise, hang from frozen ladders in the cold, tie perfect bows quickly and efficiently in mid-air, and with a great amount of patience. In the end, it is something that I have a passion for doing.

This year’s Holiday House project was enjoyed by approximately 1,000 guests and I really enjoyed meeting all of them.

In year’s past, I have completed large commercial Christmas decorating projects including one which put me in Boston’s government center decorating Santa’s house through the night, in the rain and high winds for an upcoming event.  In recent years, I focus on only a few select Residential Christmas decorating projects per year, as the time window is small. Usually, this service is reserved for former design clients. We do book these projects in the early fall for the upcoming holiday season.

I hope you enjoy a peek into my holiday house project!

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

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