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Flex That Design Muscle…

Hiring an interior designer is ALWAYS a good idea before you tackle a design project.  They have the experience and talent to make your design dreams come true.

But sometimes you just want to do a little something on your own – stretch your personal design muscle with a quick home refresh.  So here are 5 easy design tricks you can be confident doing (and finish in a weekend!)

EDIT  The old saying less is more is true.  Remove visual clutter from your rooms to create a feeling of openness and allows your eye to appreciate a focal point.

A single beautiful sculpture, large plant or treasured vase makes more of an impact than your entire collection of mini snow globes, 15 jelly glasses with plant rootings or all your aunt’s Wedgwood china on display.  The image below is a great example of how one large piece of art can make a design statement – adding the one large dog is just pure genius!

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Artwork by C Ziang

IGNORE  Accept what cannot be changed (in a weekend).

If your fireplace is off-center, stop trying to arrange your furniture directly in front of it.  Ignore it!  Please your furniture were it makes the most sense in the room and for the flow of traffic – the fireplace w becomes an accent feature instead of an awkward design element.

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SWITCH  Change can be a good thing.  Refresh a room with a new purpose.  Let your inner design diva go crazy!

When was the last time you actually used your dining room (holidays don’t count).  Turn that formal, seldom-used space into a library or game room.  And yes, you can still use the table!  Bring in some comfy chairs, soft pillows and the right lighting (see #5).  Or better yet, turn it into a bar where you and your friends can avoid the Naples crowds and have Happy Hour at home!

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CULTIVATE  Real plants add another dimension and great color to a space.  They also give off oxygen, which let’s face it, we’re all addicted to.

Visit your local garden center and pick up few easy to maintain greens like spider, English ivy or asparagus fern. For even more info check out DRIFTWOOD GARDEN CENTER in Naples.  If you really have no green in your thumbs, get some succulents.  They’re the introverts of the plant world and like to be left alone.

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ILLUMINATE  Light up your life!

Create a reading nook with a comfortable chair, small table and interesting reading lamp.  And don’t forget your outdoor space.  Pump up your landscape with some outdoor lighting like this beauty by Llum by Vondom, string up some fairy lights over your patio or add some battery-operated candles and you’ll be sitting outside long after sunset.

 

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Llum by Vondom

So get going – the weekend will be here before you know it!

And please feel free to send us pics or descriptions of your weekend design hacks, ’cause sharing is caring…

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Comfy Cozy

I’ve found the perfect office! Soft, comfortable and soothing – I never want to leave.

It would, however, be a bit awkward trying to get my work done with customers constantly interrupting me.

Guess I’ll just have to settle for the wonderful opportunity I had to interview Angela Lossia, founder of Angela Fine Furnishings in Naples, Fl , lounging around on some of her beautiful luxury bedding.

Angela’s showroom has absolutely beautiful, one-of-a-kind items that will complete your home. She works with clients as well as interior designers to create amazing spaces that people rave about.

They say we’re a nation of sleep deprived individuals. I say lay down on this bedding and problem solved!

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Not Your Mother’s Front Yard

Let’s Just Forget the Garden Gnomes

In our latest episode of “Design Chat”, Ed Westwood, owner and talented landscape architect of Garden Bleu and I had a great conversation.

Garden Bleu is a member of our Design Match team and we couldn’t be happier. We’re all about all things design: interior, architecture, building, and now exterior! Having very little, and it turns out very uneducated impressions of landscape architecture, I came away completely awed.

Ed, who is passionate about turning outside spaces into creative workable and enjoyable “rooms”, chatted with me about what goes into making that magic happen.

It’s not just about making your yard look pretty. It’s about working together with architects and interior designers to make sure that the exterior is telling the same story as the interior. How will that outdoor space be utilized? Who’s living in the house and what do they like to do? And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your driveway can be your own private bistro!!

Because Ed has so much to share (and I have so much to learn), we had enough material to create 2 episodes of Design Chat.

Here’s Part 1. Join Ed and me and we explore the many creative ways to use exterior design through landscape architecture to add beauty and spice to your home.

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In the Hot Seat

Ever hear that expression: Walk a mile in my shoes? Well, in today’s video blog, I get to “walk” in one of my designer’s shoes.

Usually, I interview a Design Match team member, but Diane turned the tables and interviewed me this time.

Now I know what it feels like to be in the hot seat! A little nerve-wracking to say the least. But I also learned how quickly design professionals are asked to create, to answer difficult design questions and to solve problems for their clients.

Design professionals are often put in the hot seat by clients. Each design client is different, with different needs and expectations.

A great designer can take your likes and dislikes, your design dreams and wishes and create a home that is beautifully designed and is YOU.

A great interior designer, architect, landscape architect or builder is able to design a home that is unique to YOUR taste and YOUR lifestyle.

Being in the hot seat as a design professional is part of the job. It’s what our Design Match designers do best – what they excel at. And it’s what I’m going to leave to them.

I’ll just step into those stilettos and wrap that scarf around my neck and keep on matching YOU to the right design professional that will make YOUR design dreams come true.

Would love to hear from you – did you like this video? If so please share it.

Tell us when you’ve had the tables turned on you? Did you learn anything? Who would you like to turn the tables on in your world?

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Differently Alike

Have you seen the movie Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? It’s a light-hearted comedy that depicts the unique relationship between sisters. And while at first glance they seem like complete opposites, we learn just how very much alike they really are.

Meeooowww…

I was thinking about this while I visited my sister in Boston this weekend. Always lots of laughs and shared memories, especially about those years we fought like cats while developing our own personalities.

We really do have a lot in common, the same sense of humor, same mannerisms – some people say we even have the same voice. And we both share the same dream of someday living in France.

But here’s where we’re different. How we want to live in France is quite different. The location and interior design style of our (imagined) French abodes perfectly reflect our personalities.

Marie Antionette Wishes…..

Little sis is most happy being surrounded by a home decor that reflects her idea of the perfect Provence home.

Her bucolic rustic Provence home would be filled with natural fabrics like linen and cotton, antiques found at a country flea market – or marché aux pucesand a big, bright kitchen designed around the distressed farm table (bought at that marché aux puces) and a La Cornue stove. Here she would whip up a deliciously classic French meal made with fresh herbs and served with homemade baguettes (yes she’s that talented – my talent lies in eating that meal).

 

Soft and warm summer breezes would waft through the open doors that lead to the garden filled with lavender, sun flowers and herbs (mais oui!). Family and friends would wander in and out carrying glasses of the local wine and lifting their faces to the sun.

I dream of living in an apartment in Paris where I take the ancient iron-gated elevator to my loft space and look out over Paris from a wrought iron balcony where red geraniums bloom in hanging planters.

A Little Rock & Roll…

My chic interior would have high windows with a view of the city of light. The design would be graphic black and white (think Lenny Kravitz Interior Designs here) with highly polished herringbone wood floors. And look, there’s the obligatory over-sized gilt mirror (which of course reflects a sparkling chandelier) leaning next to the ornately carved fireplace mantle.

In my minuscule kitchen I would prepare little bites of cheese and fois gras and serve with chilled champagne. My guests would relax on lush velvet sofas and we’d discuss the latest risqué novel.

Like Tina and Amy, it’s our differences that make us unique and our sameness that bonds us together.

While you, like many others, may be attracted to French Country or American Mid-Century Modern, it’s how you live in that space and the memories and experiences you bring that will make your home uniquely you.

Working with the right interior designer who gets you is important in creating that special space. If you’re ready to get started, contact us at Design Match and we’ll help you find the Perfect Design Partner!