Saturday, August 8, 2015


Does your living room look like this “Before” picture? OK, then allow me break down the “professional” decorating choices of the “After” living room picture in a way that you and everybody else can understand! Ready, set, go!
  1. Think in Color Families. Work with a small color palette. Three colors in any one room is plenty in my book. In this case grey, navy, and green is all that is needed to bring the room out of the gloomy “Before” photo. Working within a streamlined color palette not only helps the room feel cohesive, but also helps to eliminate the chaos and calm the space.

  1. Fix Proportion Problems. Here the room’s windows are placed too high on the wall and are too small for the room. Make them appear larger and better suited to the space size by placing the drapery rods as high as possible, hanging art below each of the windows, and hanging four drapery panels to unify the three windows into one large one. Yes, it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors, but it works!

  1. Repeat, Repeat & Repeat. Use the three-times rule: repeat the accent color three times. Look closely at the “After” picture; navy is used once on the back wall of the bookcases, again in the throw pillows, and finally on the bench top and dining chairs. Bookcase wall, pillows, upholstery that’s three times!

  1. Do the Math in Percentages. In the “Before” picture the room is a boring, builder beige and brown. In the “After” picture the room is 70% soft grey (walls, upholstered sofa, arm chairs, and cabinetry), 20% navy (bookcase wall, pillows and upholstery) and 10% green (drapery panels and accessories). 70 + 20 + 10 = 100%. Easy-peasy math.

  1. Use White to Freshen Things Up. A brighter, creamier white (for the trim) will stand up better against the soft grey than the white used in the “Before” picture. Here in the “After” picture it’s used on the fireplace, the crown and baseboards.  Note that the ceiling color is painted in a lighter tint of the grey wall color, not just defaulting to plain white.  This is a sure sign that a professional decorator has chosen the room’s color palette. It completes the final “ta-da” of the room!

  1. Accessorize In a Way That Suits YOUR Interests. There’s no need to try for trendy, fashionable, or mainstream. Pull from the room’s color palette and proportions. Notice the accessories on the bookcases are grouped by the colors of the room. They also fit nicely on the shelves, not oversized but not so small that they get lost in the space. And yes, “less is more” when it comes to accessorizing.

And if you have no time or patience for any of these lessons, give me a call for a “Design Consultation”! Yes, I really do love decorating!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

No More Monkey Business With Mircrofiber Fabrics

"I have a set of dining chairs that are over 30 years old and I was looking to replace them with new ones. I was unable to find any chairs that I liked as well as these or would be suitable to go with the table that came with them! Therefore I have decided to keep them and have them re-upholstered. After hours of hunting for upholstery fabric I’ve just about given up! We use these chairs daily and we have a large family, pets and grandchildren that come often so I need a really good fabric that will look nice with the rest of the room. Can you suggest what fabric would be best in terms of durability and style? "

Fear not, I have just what you need!  Durable, cleanable, Microfiber! You might have seen this fabric on many name brand sofas, loveseats, recliners, sectional and other upholstered furnishings. These soft and luscious fabrics endure all life has to throw at them.  With passes of “100,000 Double Rubs” it’s resistant to wear and fading, and the nylon "miracle fibers “give these fabrics extra life and durability. 

Cleaning is simple.  Liquids bead up and repelled on the surface for easy-blotting with a clean cloth. A barrier of protection is built into each fabric to prevent stains.  
While the home furnishing industry is flooded and saturated with Chinese imports, the beauty of these fabrics is made complete with one essential feature...Made in the USA.

 You don’t have to “monkey around” anymore…Check out the video, then call me for a private In-Home Consultation to see samples of these amazing fabric! We’ll choose just the right shade of color to go with your existing furnishings and your dining set will look brand new!

These are just a few of the hundreds of colors available!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Does anyone go to the shoe repairman anymore? I think probably not!  Most people will donate to charity or toss shoes out when they are worn or go out of fashion, right? And what does repairing shoes have to do with your sofa anyway?

My favorite shoes are a pair of 13-year-old, classic tan flats whose tops are genuine, hand-tooled leather, with real leather soles, and real wood stack flat heels. But what makes them special is the insides – all lined in kid leather with a leather last! I have taken impeccable care of them through the years but they are showing signs of “wear”. They fit like a good pair of leather gloves and go with just about everything I wear. The thought of having to part with these shoes is dreadful! I bought them in Italy on one of my trips back home so in addition to all of their practical attributes they hold a special memory for me!

Just about to finally toss them, I thought, “No, wait, I’ll take them to the shoe repairman to get an estimate to see if they can be repaired, a new sole and new heel caps!”
After examining them carefully, I thought he’d say they aren’t worth it, but instead he said he could bring them back to life – it would cost me some pretty pennies! I had to think really hard, was the price he quoted really worth it? After all I have bought many new shoes in the past years in hopes of replacing this pair, BUT I always come back to these shoes because I love them. Then he said, For the price of this repair you could go and buy several new pairs of tan flat shoes, but it is nothing compared to the price of a new pair of Italian leather shoes like them of the same quality.”

Well that was it, I had them repaired and now my shoes are like new after all they have new soles, new heels, and he even put a new shine on them so they glow like they use to when I first got them!
I share the story above because in my Design practice I am regularly asked, “Is this sofa worth reupholstering?”. The answer is yes, but only if like my shoe repair, your upholstered sofa or chair is of good quality, has a kiln dried wood framed, and hand tied springs. Because you see, just like my shoe repair, “For the price of re-upholstering you could go and buy several new pieces of furniture, but it is nothing compared to the price of a new sofa or chair like them of the same quality”!


Most recently I am having a 15-year-old Pearson sofa and two arm chairs re-upholstered for one of my clients. These pieces retail today at about $9,000 for the sofa and about $6,000 for the two chairs. She could easily purchase a new sofa and chairs at a local retailer for the price of the labor and material it takes to re-upholster the old ones. But she could not buy a new Pearson sofa and two arm chairs for that price!
So you see, just like my shoes, her sofa and chairs are totally worth the investment of reupholstering. Because it’s worth it!

Having trouble deciding if your furniture pieces are worth re-upholstering?  Let's get together for a Consultation and we can look at your options! 925-862-9064

Monday, June 29, 2015

I want that exact color on my walls! Color Consultation Please!

Fabric by Robert Allen Fabrics,
colors by Benjamin Moore Paint
“I like the colors in this scarf”, she said! “Oh I love the print colors in this Hallmark wrapping paper!”  Or let’s not forget this one, “I want the colors of the pattern printed on my sun dress, the yellow in the lemons, that’s the one!”  These are just a few of the requests I hear from folks when they ask me to chose a wall color for their homes. I’ve been known to get it just right 99% of the time, but it usually takes a close look at that scarf, wrapping paper and lemons to translate the colors to wall paint colors! This task is typically done in the client’s home by pulling many color memo samples to choose just the right shade for the walls, ceilings, trim and accent walls!

But now I have a “Decorator’s Assistant” to make this task more exciting and definitely more fun! No, the assistant is not a human being that I bring with me to your home. This “Decorator’s Assistant” is a handy-dandy little App on my iPhone. I take a picture with the iPhone of the print, pattern or color and it sorts, copies, and chooses the paint colors that appear in the print, pattern or color.  How’s that for an assistant?

Dinner Plate from Bed Bath and Beyond,
Colors by Benjamin Moore Paint
In most instances this little assistant gets the colors spot on correct, and that’s wonderful! But it still takes a trained eye and years of experience to know how much of the color, the placement of the color, the sheen of the color and if the color needs adjusting in saturation or undertone to make it work!  The combinations are limitless for instance, but the real trick is choosing the right combination for the space in the right light!

So although this little “Decorator’s Assistant” is a great help, you still need the “Professional Decorator” to master the color decisions. Thank Goodness!

Same Dinner Plate photographed in a different room
will result in a different color palette.
If you need a Color Consultation for your next email or call to schedule an appointment in your home, and see this little “Decorator’s Assistant” in action, you’ll be amazed!