Friday, June 14, 2013

Big shout out to Vantage Properties, NY for giving me the opportunity to redesign the apartment units, models and pools!

Just finished project in Voorhees, NJ - what great fun it was!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

25 Designer Secrets from Lisa Furey – Your Barefoot Designer

      A bed should be no higher than 23” off the floor

        A simple sisal rug in natural or gray is the best way to make a room look elegant and clean
        Leather carpet borders always make a room look richer

        The bigger the rug, the better it is – if the rug is undersized for the room, it creates the illusion that the room is very small – best rule of thumb is to keep about 12” exposed around the perimeter

         Use wallpaper in unexpected places: on the ceiling in a paneled room, in your favorite closet, hallways and small foyers – there’s nothing better than a great pattern in small places

         Use an antique table as a kitchen island – it gives the room so much character

         Never push furniture up against the walls. Pull your seating arrangement in (even if just a few inches) – this instantly warms up the space and creates flow

         Use recessed lighting sparingly

         Dining room rugs should extend a minimum of 3’ from the edge of a dining table – dining chairs should always be fully on the rug – not two legs on and two off

         If great art isn’t in your budget, have a framed cutting of a beautiful fabric or wallpaper

         When installing curtains or shades, take them all the way up to the ceiling – it will make it feel  as though the height of the room has increased

         Narrow staircases and narrow hallways look best with runners, not wall to wall carpet – take care to install leaving a 3” border on both sides to make the space seem wider

         If you love a fabric but it seems too strong, check the reverse side – it may just fit the bill

         Install outlets 28” high behind console tables to enable you to add lamps without unsightly dangling cords

         The perfect amount of space between a mirror and the top of a mantle is 7”Don’t hang a mirror between windows – it creates an unpleasant void – and try not to use mirrors as art in every room – mirrors are not art, and rooms need art

         Start your furniture plan with the best seat in the room and work from there

         Hang your chandeliers 60”- 66” above the floor

         A rectangular table is ideal at about 30” in width – this enables easy conversation with your immediate neighbors and those across the table

         Every room needs a touch of something black, just as it needs at least one antique piece

         Typical sconce height for a bathroom is 66”above the finished floor to the center of the fixture

         Optimal coffee table height is between 18” and 20”; however, tea table height (24” to 26”) is a perfect height to set drinks down with ease

         All 36” of space minimum around your dining room table to give your chairs enough room to pull back

         The days of twin beds are coming to an end. Consider a pair of full sized beds instead – they are only 15” wider than twins and much more comfortable

         If you paint your walls white, you need art

         Hang art 63” on center above the floor – this is a great viewing height for most pieces


Monday, January 21, 2013

Simple Ways to Spruce up your Home

Whether it's in preparation for a backyard barbecue or a black tie ball , we should use all of the exterior design elements available to create something that brings the exterior of our homes to life.
From flower boxes to shutters, lights to cupolas, the exterior of our homes offers a continual opportunity for sprucing up. 
Much in the way that cufflinks and earrings add sparkle and punch to a stylishly dressed person, well-scaled light fixtures, plants and brightly colored furniture can enliven the exterior of a home.
Shutters should be real, operable and a wonderful color. Steer clear of shutters that are too small and permanently nailed open. Bring them to life by having them look as if they've been touched by human hands. Add shutter dogs, hinges and rings.
Shutters and window boxes surround the windows with shape, texture and color. Hang the shutters with hinges to create space, shadow and an authentic feel. Make certain that your window boxes are sized to scale with your windows.
Keep the interior cooler during the hot summer months by installing a brise soleil to shade windows from the sun.
For a more traditional aesthetic, install a trellis to shade the windows and reduce your energy consumption. 
Use a bright color at the window frames to add a welcoming splash of color.
Add a cupola that can be seen from the surrounding landscape to announce where the entry is.
Install light fixtures that have the correct scale and proportion to add some sparkle and complement the surrounding architecture and the home's style.
Install house numbers that are large and well-lit and a beautiful and unusual door knocker.
Window boxes planted with bright flowers connect the house to the land and add personality and interest to even the simplest exterior.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Living Room Tips

Lots of Cool Living Room Tips
Tip #1 for ALL rooms in your home (not just your living room)…Calm, functional, family friendly, spare = less to clean
If you don’t use your living room…
·       Change it into a dining room and make dining room a homework station near the kitchen – now your dining room most likely has a fireplace!
If you do use your living room…
·       Nail molding strips to the walls over the fireplace for a paneled look above the mantel – paint it all out with white semi-gloss paint to unify the drywall and the wood – or cover chimney wall above the mantle with grass cloth for texture
·       Add a TV, stereo and reading lamps
·       Keep your room measurements and swatches in your purse so if you come across something you like you have all your critical info at hand
·       Cocktail table – how big?  2/3 the length of the sofa so that everyone seated can put down a drink
·       Art over sofa - how high? Between 1/2 and 2/3 the sofa length – and centered horizontally over your sofa - 6” b/w top of sofa and bottom of art in general
·       All other art – how high? Eye level – 5 feet up from floor
·       Shop local for art and use painted canvas stretchers – forget the picture frames – a very chic look at a very low cost
·       Start with a small piece of art and build the wall up over time
·       Lighting – your reading lamp should direct light over your shoulder and onto the reading material – shade should be wider than its base and low enough to conceal the socket – 150 watts is ideal for reading – check lamp specifications before you buy – it may look pretty but not work for its intended purpose
·       Bottom of shade should be below eye level and lamp should be in proportion to the table – small table, small lamp and so on
·       An A-line shade is for perfect for reading while drum shades are for ambience – floor lamps provide a good glow without taking up much floor space
·       Wall paint – if you have kids living in the living room, paint with eggshell or satin finish – it will show some slight imperfections in the walls due to its reflective qualities but is also cleanable without leaving a mark – if you don’t want to commit, highlight an architectural feature only (like a paneled insert or the inside of a built in)
·       Before you paint, watch the paint sample at all times of the day – paint a big poster board with 2 full coverage coats and move it around the room for a few days so that you can make sure you like your color – instead of painting color patches all over the walls –
·       Frame wallpaper in tall frames rather than gluing onto the walls - style without commitment
·       Make pillows reversible so you can easily flip them when you get bored – add a zipper to make them washable
·       Add more “no commitment” color with accessories and throw pillows
·       Rug – it will make a warm footpath and provide color and pattern – leave 8-10 inches of space between the rug and the walls of room or get one large enough to place at least 2 legs of each piece of furniture on  – if you leave too much uncovered space, the room will appear to shrink
·       If you can’t find a big enough rug or want to save some money, buy two smaller rugs for a big look
·       Indoor outdoor rugs are readily available, can be soft on the feet and are now even fashionable for indoor use – you can simply hose them off when they get dirty!
·       Consider modular rugs –  these are 19.5 inch pre cut squares that you can mix and match, customize to your mood – if one gets dirty or you get bored, you throw it out and replace just the one tile – change tiles up over time – see
·       Hang drapery rods high enough that the top of the drapery panel covers the top of the window casing and the bottom just touches floor – a slight puddle is ok – if you need to, buy longer panels and hem rather than installing the rod too low
·       To make window seem larger, position one ring outside of the bracket
·       Floor outlets are great if you want to pull furniture into the room without having cords running across floor
·       Use 2 storage cube ottomans as coffee tables and then they will do double duty as extra seating, foot propping or toy storage
·       Armless chairs are always good
·       If one coffee table is too small, buy two and push then together
·       Buy a tall cabinet to set the TV on and store your bar down low behind closed doors
·       Instead of a console table behind a sofa, use a writing table so you can actually work at the spot and tuck a chair underneath
·       Add some shelves to your living room to create a library or make it into a game room
·       Ceiling fan – if you have a ho hum globe shade on your fan, replace it with a drum style shade
·       Keep existing curtain rods but update the drapery panels with more streamlined ring and clip style or install matchstick blinds readymade – or if you don’t need the privacy, take everything down and save big bucks
·       Paint some of your furniture black and change the hardware – this provides a huge impact, especially against newly painted neutral walls
·       …or slap on a coat of white semi gloss paint for chic casual style
·       Dark leather sofas can get heavy – pump them up with light colored, low cost pillows
·       Have an old camel back sofa? Reupholster it in a fun color and add a long bolster across the back in a great fabric for an almost instant update – paint the legs to match the upholstery for a unified silhouette
·       Paint pine 50s paneling or cover it with a brick veneer for a loft style room
·       Look for furniture that can transition from room to room
·       Go to Costco, Home Depot, Macys, Home Goods, Pier 1 for furniture – no need to spend a lot on non essential pieces and rugs – for key pieces, but the best quality you can afford – they will take a beating
·       Fabrics for upholstery – leather – a good quality can last 15 years – easy to clean with vacuum or damp cloth – if pets, know if not properly cared for, it can scratch and discolor
·       Cotton – treat with stain guard – twill or denim – darker color will best camouflage stains, but bleachable white can move in and out of almost any room and any décor, regardless of style
·       Micro suede – mimics suede but is synthetic – durable, essentially stain resistant, easy to clean and affordable – comes in variety of textures and patterns
·       Indoor outdoor – totally durable – stain and fade resistant – a smart choice for kids and pets – variety of styles available including chenille – it is washable and spills bead on it
·       Pick a palette, stick to a style, stick to a budget, don’t forget the art – even a big framed corkboard holding a postcard collection can be art until you can upgrade again
·       Have fun! If you get stuck, call me! 610-389-5231



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2012 Decorating Trends

Hot Decorating Trends 2012

While the recession is still plodding along, homeowners are seeking elegant results on an economic budget. Fortunately, most of the current interior design trends fit the bill. Mixing and matching and revamping the old are popular trends we will continue to see throughout the year. Below is a list a list of the hottest 2012 decorating trends.

Bold Accent Walls
Don’t shy away from bold, beautiful colors in 2012. This is the year to embrace bold wallpaper prints, and bright, unexpected colors. The hottest colors this year are soft greens and bold turquoise blues that are popular in furnishings, decor items and wall colors. Large-scale patterns inspired by retro styles and antique chintz prints are back and bigger than ever. Flamboyant prints and bold colors are popping up again and even in designer interiors. Papering and repainting accent walls are quick and easy ways to transform the appearance of interior spaces.

Mix and Match
In 2012, the new and the old are being combined in harmonious and surprisingly beautiful ways. Eclectic interiors are exceptionally popular, and they fit well in today’s budget-conscious decorating strategy. Flea market finds and thrift-store furnishings are budget friendly and beautiful. Combining a variety of dissimilar objects and mixing styles are prevailing trends. Today, minimalist interiors are decorated with ornate Rococo furniture, neoclassical statement pieces and ostentatious Baroque objects. Combine modern furnishings with rustic rugs, tribal textiles and one-of-a-kind pieces to create an individual interior.

What’s Old is New
Up-cycling is the past, the present and the future of interior design. This is yet another decorating trend influenced by the growing number of homeowners seeking budget-friendly alternatives to high-fashion trends. Whether it’s retro advertising memorabilia, vintage mid-century décor or antique trinkets, nostalgic items are appearing in upscale interiors across the board. Reupholstering is one interior design trend that is here to stay. Having that outdated couch or pair of armchairs professionally reupholstered is a fun, affordable way to transform a room, and it could be cheaper than purchasing brand new furniture. Homeowners have the option to reupholster existing furniture or recover those flea market finds that are begging for a little tender loving care. Unexpected colors, rich textures and bold prints are appearing on sofas, chairs and large furniture items.

Organic, Rustic, Botanic
Sustainability is in style. Organic textiles and linens are in demand as are home décor items made from sustainable wood products. Salvaged and reclaimed wood furniture and items made from hand-hewn logs are growing in popularity. More and more people are seeking out independent craftspeople and companies that offer customizable options. Botanical items and prints inspired by nature are receiving lots of coverage in esteemed interior design publications. These are all part of the individualized aesthetic that rules decorating trends today.

Maximize Texture
Decorating trends in 2012 are all about texture and contrast. Unfinished wood and sleek stainless steel are being paired with industrial brick surfaces and opulent fabrics. Leather, wool, velvet, sensual silks and ethnic textiles from Africa, Asia, India and the Middle East are integral parts of the bohemian-chic aesthetic that is so desirable today. Crystal chandeliers, mirrors, glass surfaces and carved ornaments are in demand thanks to the current fascination with everything shiny, sparkly and sleek. Pillows, rugs, curtains, coverlets and wall decorations featuring textural materials are ideal for creating an elegant bohemian interior that fits current interior design trends. This is the year to transform dull interior spaces with simple, dramatic changes.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What You Need to Know Before Working with Professionals

With all the do-it-yourself hype surrounding home design projects, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and sledgehammer away.

But what happens behind the scenes - the meticulous planning that skilled professionals put into these projects - can be more than you bargained for. Consider hiring a pro to do some of the heavy lifting for you, but first get to know a few basics about contractors and designers:

The designer takes the hard work out of planning your kitchen while you have as much creative input as you want. You dream the kitchen dream, but the designer guides you, translates your ideas into plans, suggests ideas for increased efficiency and functionality, maintains your budget, keeps the project on schedule and handles the logistics.

Look for a contractor by starting with recommendations from friends and family and perform a background check through the Better Business Bureau or Angie's List.

Expect to pay between $100 to$150 per hour for a designer's services, or a retainer of $3,000 to $5,000 per job. Often, the designer's payment will be a percentage of the entire job. There are multiple fee schedules and pricing structures.

Get to know your pro by seeing his or her work. Visit remodeled homes to see the fine details of your potential professionals.

Next blog....How to Choose a Professional....Stay tuned!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clients are always asking me about how much space they should leave between things when arranging a room - here are some quick guidelines....

Traffic Lanes
36” in busy rooms24 to 30” in private or seldom used rooms
Between Sofa and Coffee Table
15” for short sofa
24” for long sofa

Between Television and SeatingBest viewing is within 45 degrees of the straight-on view. Distance depends on screen size.

Chair Pull-Back Space Around Dining Table
Typically 36-40”
42” if the space is also a traffic route

Between Kitchen Island and Other Cabinets

Around Bed
18-24” for ease of changing bedding
36” if someone needs to walk there

In Front of ClosetsWidth of doors if they swing open. 36” to view contents if doors fold or slide open.

In Front of Dressers or Desks
36” for standing room while opening drawers. 42-60” for chair pull-back at desks

Hope that helps!