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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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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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Keep on Dancing

We had a pretty amazing occurrence of a dumpster fire in the front of my home recently (picture provided for your amusement). A dumpster fire is pretty impressive, not too dangerous and brings all the boys out. But I digress. This little blaze made me think that an update on the renovation project was in order. (To get caught up, see my previous blog (Take A Walk on the Wild Side.)

Keep on Keepin’ On…

While we’re still here in Renovation Jungle, some progress has been made.

At one point we thought we nearing the other side, but it was just a little clearing in the trees – a little blue sky of encouragement. Dry wall was put up, painting was done (beautifully I might add!), counter tops in….then work stopped.

Lighting that was ordered came in wrong, the crane that was supposed to lift our fireplace stone broke and one of our vendors decided to retire abruptly (read – disappear). The blue sky of encouragement suddenly became overcast.

Dancing the Night Away….

Deep in the this darkened place, we discovered a village Each of the villagers had at one time begun a renovation journey, but without their Interior Designer Guide, they had lost their way. Dazed and counting time in 6-week segments, they formed their own little community.

They invited us to sit down with them and share stories. We began to hear strange music.

Drumming on empty paint cans provided Latin beat. A magical melody floated out of copper pipe flutes.

The villagers got up and started to move in this strange little dance

Two steps forward

Two steps back

What was going on? Were they high on paint fumes? Had they lost their minds scrolling through hundreds of websites full of plumbing and lighting fixtures? Is this the result of no interior design guidance?

They never really never went anywhere, just keep moving in the same spot over and over….what we were witnessing is called…

The Renovation Rhumba!!!

Worried, we looked to our designer guide for reassurance. Would we also be stuck here in this design-project version of Hotel California?

No, our Interior Designer Guide reminded us. She knew exactly where we were going and how to get us there. We were just experiencing a minor set-back.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we left the village as quickly as we came.

Do you have a renovation story you’d like to share? Drop us a line below – we’d love to hear it!

Are you looking to start your own Renovation Jungle project and looking for the Perfect Guide? Contact us and we’ll set you up!

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Walk on the Wild Side

I trek my way through dangers underfoot and overhead on a daily basis. Sometimes I can’t see the light of day and more often than not I see sights I’ve never seen before and never want to see again. Unlike my man who ’s acting like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I’m more like

Melissa McCarthy whose plane crash-landed in the Amazon (what a great movie that would be!).

Dr. Livingston, I presume…

Trying to undertake this venture without someone who has the skills and experience to lead us through this rough and uncertain landscape would be just plain CRAZY, right? So before we started this trip, we went out and found us the perfect guide for this insane journey.

Introducing our fantastic, amazing, soul-soothing, talented interior designer who is guiding us through “Renovation Jungle” !!! (cue jungle drums)

In the dark of night...

Traveling through Renovation Jungle is overwhelmingly full of decisions and unexpected “challenges”.

Just trying to get to the one working bathroom on the other side of the house in the middle of night would undo the strongest adventurer.

There are plumbing pipes and electrical wires in unexpected places, floors that need to be leveled so the new shower can drain and dust that would rival the Great Plains Dust Bowl of the 1930”s.

But my interior designer is there for me to lean on. She’s travelled this design path many times before and knows how to handle all the deconstruction and reconstruction pitfalls – the quicksand of home renovation projects.

Lead on…

Pith helmut on, flashlight in one hand and machete in the other, she clears a path through the myriad of showrooms, fights off the wild beasts of plumbers, electricians and carpenters and keeps us moving in the right direction toward our interior design dream.

Do you plan on taking a trip through Renovation Jungle anytime soon? If so, the first decision you should make is to find the right design partner – the perfect guide – to lay out the plan, keep everyone on the same page and heading toward the same design vision.

A little ray of hope….

I’ve shared some of our challenges of home renovation, but there are times that have been really enjoyable:

  • When the deconstruction has been swept away – this is really a big moment!
  • When you walk around the newly-framed out space after everyone has gone home for
    the day and can envision what it will look like when finished.
  • And when you share a laugh with your interior designer over all the dangers of the
    Renovation Jungle that have been avoided or conquered that week.

Now excuse me while I crawl into my tent and get some sleep for tomorrow’s adventure…

Do you have a “Renovation Jungle” story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!