decorating

Exciting New Projects

Posted on February 3, 2011. Filed under: Baltimore, decorating |

I have been working with several new clients since December and I am ready to start sharing them with you. They each present me with different challenges that I find are quite common. I have one couple that is a young family trying to create a multi-functional space for children and adults. I have another couple that have down-sized now that their second child has left for college. I another couple that bought new furniture when the down-sized and now they don’t know how to pull it all together in a fresh way. Then there is the family with a young teenage son and an enormous house. They up-sized and need help making their new spaces feel warm and inviting. Finally, I am working with a bachelor who bought his home a few years ago. He admits that he doesn’t have a clue how to make his space feel comfortable and functional. Lucky for him, he won a sweepstakes sponsored by the people who make STAINMASTER carpet.

I was chosen by the company to work with the winner to re-design his space using STAINMASTER  carpet and a budget of $15,000. He has chosen his family room. He is an excellent candidate for this because when he bought his house, it came with wall-to-wall mauve carpeting (ver 1980’s) in every room except his kitchen. Seriously. The mauve is in the family room, living room and all 3 bedrooms. He is so grateful to know it will be gone from one level of his home.

I have been working with him to determine his wish-list and we have already started working with a local craftsman on a custom media cabinet. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I will share with you one before picture and a few of my ideas for the space.

stainmaster sweepstakes winer before 1

He has a great fireplace and natural light. This family room will focus on the custom media cabinet, flat panel tv, fireplace and personal art.

None of what you see here is staying except the sofa. The sofa won’t be in this location and you will be amazed at the transformation I have planned. Some of my concept includes:

 

This is a single man who likes to entertain in small groups. He likes clean lines and minimal accessories. He has a collection of pottery and art that he has accumulated over the years and this will be used on the mantle and walls to create a personal space that only contains objects with emotional significance. The wall color will likely be a warm taupe or khaki. It will be chosen after we choose the carpet which will be based on the wood tones in the custom cabinet.

I am very excited to be working with STAINMASTER Carpet and their sweepstakes winner. I look forward to updating you as we move this project forward.

’til next time,
Make yours a
Welcome Home

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Newly completed design project for Baltimore area client

Posted on December 27, 2010. Filed under: decorating |

I have been working with R on her master bedroom suite since the end of October. She contacted me after she purchased new (massive) furniture for her room. She was a very good customer and the furniture salesperson must have been pleased. She bought the entire suite and even bought two of the tall chests and a third nightstand.

master bedroom's massive bed

The master bedroom's massive bed

There was no overhead lighting and only 2 small bedside lamps. The ceiling fan had no light and was a very modern style. The bed visually merged into the floor. The space was all dark finishes and hard surfaces. R wanted a more feminine space where she could relax.

New furniture lined up against the wall

New furniture lined up against the wall

All of the furniture was lined up on the wall.The furniture feels like it is standing at attention. There was no sense of balance. Again, a very dark elevation.

There was also this space. It was probably supposed to be a sitting area but it had 2 single and one double door as well as a large window. This space did not offer an obvious solution for furniture placement.

An awkward space in the master bedroom

An awkward space in the master bedroom

Her master suite is very large but it still felt overwhelmed. You never would have expected me to bring in even more furniture.Through careful furniture placement and editing (I removed the third nightstand) we were able to create the bedroom area, a dressing area and a sitting area in a space that was previously only comfortable when you were in bed.

These photos were taken today right after I hung all of the art. The room is not styled and the camera is not professional. I just couldn’t wait to share these images!

Baltimore area master bedroom

The master bedroom now has a sitting area at the foot of the bed.

The awkward space is now a dressing area. I moved both tall dressers into this space, added a rug, bench and mirror. This is now a convenient, comfortable and elegant space for R and her husband to begin and end each day.I chose a second, more traditional rug for the space in front of the bed.

Awkward space turned into a dressing area

Awkward space turned into a dressing area

 The traditional rug incorporates the gray, yellow, and chocolate colors found in the art and the bedding. It also coordinated well with her existing custom curtain panels.

Ethnic art chosen by my client

Ethnic art chosen by my client

This is one of 3 new pieces of art that R chose for her room. She requested ethnic pieces. I sent her links to several choices and she selected the ones that spoke to her. Art is a very personal thing that should be chosen with input from the client to be certain that it has the right emotional impact.The inspiration piece is the framed picture on the wall in the photo below. She already owned it but we had it re-framed with a triple mat. Originally there was no mat and the frame was right up against the image.
Bed-facing wall in master bedroom

The furniture is no longer lined up like soldiers

 
The furniture is no longer lined up like soldiers I still need to add some stacked rattan cases beneath the picture for balance (and storage). They will be in a dark rattan finish and have the added benefit of covering the outlet.
 
 
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the results of this project. It was a lot of fun and R has been a joy to work with.
 
If you would like help creating a welcome home, please contact me at jill.valeri@verizon.net.
‘Til next time,
Make yours a
Welcome Home
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Holiday Cleaning Tips and Advice from a Pro

Posted on December 21, 2010. Filed under: decorating |

 I recently interviewed Donna Reilly, Owner of Molly Maid of Central Anne Arundel County. I really don’t like cleaning my home. However, I really like having a clean home. I asked Donna how I can get more cleaning done with less effort and dread. Her answers were very helpful for me. I hope they help you too.
 

1.       In order to most efficiently clean our homes in these final  moments before the holidays, what is the best order to clean your home? (ie: dust before vacuum)

You should first walk around each room and straighten – pick up toys and clothes, clear spaces of all clutter, etc.  Then, work from top to bottom around the room. Start by dusting cobwebs, dusting furniture, then work your way down to the baseboards and leave the floors for last.  It is most efficient to move left to right or right to left around the room. As far as the order of rooms goes, I suggest tackling the job you hate most first.  For me, that means bathrooms; I clean them first and then I dust and vacuum and save the kitchen (my favorite room) for last.  It will seem that tasks become easier as you go along.

2.       Do you use or recommend using scented cleaners?

 Using scented cleaners is a personal preference.  I personally believe a clean home smells fresh; however, some customers prefer scented cleaners.  If you are having company, you may want to ensure that no one has any serious allergies, which can be aggravated by scented cleaners or air fresheners.  Dryer sheets in your vacuum bag will keep your vacuum smelling fresh while providing a subtle scent in your home.

3.       Are there any tips for keeping your home clean when you are having a large group of house guests? 

 You can touch up your bathrooms each day by squeegeeing the shower/bath walls to keep soap scum from building up after each use.  Wipe off countertops and sinks and do a quick swish with a toilet brush and toilet cleaner to keep the toilets fresh.  Use a swiffer or mop on hardwood floors to keep the dust in control and vacuum high-traffic areas of carpets to keep them looking fresh.

4.       If someone really dislikes cleaning, what can they do to make it more tolerable? 

 Hire Molly Maid!  Cleaning can become overwhelming, but if you tackle one room per day vs. the entire house, the cleaning chores becomes much more tolerable.  I like to turn on the music and dance while cleaning, which makes the tasks much more enjoyable and also is great exercise! If you have small kids, get them involved by making cleaning a fun game (i.e. have them race to pick up toys, see who can dust the dresser fastest, time them on making the bed) then reward them with hugs and kisses!

5.       Do you have a top 5 tips for holiday cleaning? Post-holiday cleaning?

1.    Utilize paper products for simple meals like breakfast and lunch to cut down on washing dishes.

2.    Pick up as you go – don’t leave the mail or clutter on the countertops – throw away the junk, file the bills, etc.

3.    Squeegee showers after each use to keep them shining

4.    Don’t put up too many decorations – too many knick knacks requires more upkeep for dusting and can make your home look cluttered.

5.    Don’t stress over it – your guests are there to enjoy your company, not inspect your home.

 

So apply Donna’s tips and have a happy (cleaner) holiday!

‘Til next time

Make yours a

Welcome Home

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