May you all have a safe and happy New Years Eve! Best wishes to you in 2010!
Year in review… December 24, 2009
As we look to finish up the year and begin another it’s a great time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished both personally and professionally. In January I started my own design business, a year that most businesses were closing their doors. This has been the best move for me even in a tight economy. Being able to fine-tune the way we run our business has helped us greatly in continuing to provide my clients with the best custom design solutions. My partnerships with venders continues to grow stronger– with these tight relationships the end result for my clients is that much more gratifying not only for them, but for all involved with the project.
It has been a great year for cosmetic renovations. I’ve helped many clients update kitchens and bathrooms, whether by adding a single new element or many. It’s amazing what the right tile on a backsplash or floor can do to change the overall presence of a room. Even the right paint color on the walls can create a whole new love for ones space! In March I completed a one month bathroom renovation for my clients that was featured in the October ASID Kitchen and Bath Tour. (This project can be seen on both my website: www.sarahbernardydesign.com and an earlier blog posting featured on Nov 18, 2009, called Bath Before/After.)
The world of design has never been a calm ocean to take a leisurely boat ride. We must constantly seek out new products and materials for our clients to make their lives as comfortable and exciting as we can design. As we look to 2010, we will face new adventures and challenges. I am excited for whatever lies ahead and look forward to another prosperous year doing what I love! Thank you to all who have helped make this a blessed year. Merry Christmas! I wish you all health and happiness in 2010!
Since we all love before and after photos, here are few from two of my projects completed this past year showcasing cosmetic renovations. You’ll see how small changes can really make a room!
-The first is a lower level guest bathroom where we simply changed the wall color and the flooring from vinyl to tile. We used a 6″x20″ ceramic tile on the perimeter and as the “rug inserts” a multi-colored ceramic mosaic tile. Our color inspiration came from the family room where we have created a “Mountain Getaway” that I often refer to as the “Dude Ranch”. (This project is still in progress and will be highlighted at a later post, so stay tuned!)
-The second is a kitchen where we updated the center island to accomodate lifestyle change and family gatherings. My color inspiration for the island came from the rich blue/greens in the foyer slate. We created an island that felt more like a piece of furniture, and selected a new granite that would highlight the piece but work with the existing granite. The floors were changed to oak and matched to the flooring in other areas of the house. We found a mosaic tile that worked with the mid-century modern styling of the home, while pulling all the colors of the new island into the existing elements of the room. The wall color was warmed up to pull out the golden tones in the island granite and mosaic tiles.
Little details… December 3, 2009
Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference with how a room gets pulled together. This is true whether in adding or subtracting objects from a room.
A few ways to Add finishing touches-
Visual distractions with window treatments: An outside mounted shade with drapery panels can be very off-putting. You not only have the rod and the shade header, you also have the trim work, which creates a series of lines that can be very distracting. I had this in my living room and so I designed and installed a wooden valance that extends the entire length of my living room window and patio door. The valance is 17”ht to cover the horizontal shades when fully pulled up. We trimmed it with crown at the ceiling line and enameled it the wall color. This not only finishes off the room with one clean architectural stroke, but also hides all the distracting hardware.
Another way to hide unwanted window hardware is by using fabric to create your valance. This is a common way to treat windows, but can be very special as there are endless design choices to go with your fabric and room style. Or if your home is under construction and you desire a simpler look, have your builder create a soffit or track pocket that tucks the hardware neatly behind, be sure to leave enough room for the window layers you are needing and have the hardware installed before the finished construction. This is a look often found in lofts. I’ve also installed crown moulding in rooms and left a 6” space between the wall and crown in front of the window so that a ceiling track could be installed, leaving a very seamless look.
A few ways to Subtract unneeded elements-
I’ve had several projects I was hired to design where you walk into the room and the energy is all wrong because there is no central focus. By taking away distractions, you can create true harmony. If you have a fireplace in the center of the room that also houses a TV, create built-in cabinets to surround the fireplace or place the TV above the fireplace. This will allow the conversation grouping to focus on one element rather then several. If mounting the TV above a fireplace, make sure it is comfortable for viewing and not a distraction from the architecture.
Too many doors in one space: Several homes built in the 1970s had shared master baths, where one door enters the hall from the bath and another door enters the master bedroom. In small spaces this is cumbersome and often leaves you with less usable space. If the hall door is less then 6 ft away from the master bedroom entry door, omit the door going into the bath from the bedroom. You will create wall space in both rooms and allow for a modified arrangement if the space calls for it. Pocket doors are a great way to save space, but are best if designed into the original construction. They are especially nice where door swing becomes a problem or where many doors are opening into a space.
Area rugs that are too small for a space are better left out. Too often I’ve seen rugs floating in the middle of the room, the main furnishings surrounding it. Not only does this make the room look and feel smaller, makes you wonder where the rest of the rug is. The front legs of your Sofas and chairs should be on the rug. Larger pieces such as bookshelves or armoires as well as tables with 3 legs need to be all on or all off.