Designs to Inspire

Great design brings people home. As a residential Interior Designer I think it's important that you love the home you are in, no matter what kind of budget you are on. This site is to help you start thinking about your home in a new way.

Artistic balance… April 8, 2011

Some years ago I had purchased a stone dining table from an Italian manufacture, which will remain un-named, for my client. A sleek 60″ round stone top on three stone legs. When received by my warehouse they immediately notified me of their concerns of the unsteadiness of the tables design. The pegs that held the table top to the base did not fit the holes tightly. With that much wiggle room and too short of pegs we were concerned that the top if leaned on would tip. We were especially concerned as I knew this piece would be going on a hand carved area rug. To stabilize the top we crafted wooden pegs that went deeper into the peg holes and that fit tightly into each. We then glued the top to the base. The glue could be removed if the client chose to relocate. We fixed the problem which was very clear to us. I was amazed that a manufacturer would produce something that could be of danger to its user. Form MUST follow function in all designs! I can’t image having somebody sit at a table they can’t lean against for fear of being crushed.

As Interior Designers it’s very important that we select and specify products that are safe for our clients to use. We not only are looking at products that are better for our health and the environment, but safety in use. When selecting imports the regulations that American manufacturers are required to follow aren’t the same and this was apparent on the above mentioned table design. Thankfully my skilled Furniture Receivers at the warehouse were able to identify a possible disaster.

While I can appreciate the beauty in the designs of these tables I also fear for the safety of its occupants. The Italians put out some very interesting and unique pieces, yet gravity can be their demise. Hopefully they have perfected this in ways unseen in the photos provided.

Enjoy the following designs for what they are. They may be better suited for a museum.

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Country French meets Asian… March 13, 2011

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This project is continued from my December 30th posting called “Just in…Custom Asian Inspired Dining Table and More.” We just completed this project on Thursday, where we hung all of my clients existing artwork and installed some custom floral arrangements. We had a slight delay with the custom sofa delivery due to a defect with the original fabric, so it was wonderful to see everything finally put together.

With careful editing and thoughtful planning we were able to create a luxurious space using much of my clients existing furnishings, artwork, and accessories. All of the upholstery we used from her previous home was updated with new fabrics, giving new life to each piece and a modern touch, thus allowing us to create a cohesive space within her two room apartment.

In the living room we developed a plan that divides the kitchen from the rest of the space by installing a custom built-in bookshelf. This not only defines the space, but allows my client to showcase her important treasures. The bookcase adds elegance and a more natural divide, so that when sitting in the living room you don’t focus on the kitchen appliances. The only new furnishings added to this space were the Asian inspired dining table with French chairs, metal and glass cocktail table, the camel back sofa, buit-in bookshelf, and window valance; everything else was brought by my client from her former home, which made the transition from the West Coast to Minnesota much more comfortable for her.

In the Master Bedroom, I designed the full-size headboard and upholstered it in a solid green cotton sateen, which we repeated on the bedskirt. I found the duvet cover at Bloomingdales and had my drapery workroom custom fit it to the bed. The soft creme of the duvet makes the transition from the living room to the bedroom flow smoothly. The creme of the soft valance echos the bedcover and balances the space. We chose a soft green for the walls and continued this same color into the master bath. To pop the bed, we used richly colored pillows, a yellow floral from Lee Jofa on the shams and a green/gold/pink trellis fabric for the center pillow is highlighted with a hot pink silk welt. All of the pillow colors are found in the corner chair fabric, which is a beautiful gold brocade mini floral from Schumacher.


Tis the season for Outdoor Furniture… February 9, 2011

Filed under: Fabrics,Furniture — sarah bernardy-broman @ 12:59 pm
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If you live in Minnesota or other areas of the country that are getting hit with huge amounts of snow this year, then you are probably not thinking about going out and buying all new patio furniture. My advice is to not wait until you’ve dusted off the patio/deck to go and “test sit” potential pieces.  Now is the time to prepare for the warm months ahead! Yes, in the luxury market of outdoor furniture it can take 4-8 weeks for your custom ordered pieces to arrive, so buying now will mean it’s available when the warm weather hits.

Some products to look at now and get your ideas flowing…

Outdoor fabrics are more beautiful than ever before. Manufacturers have really stepped up the design options. Solids and stripes are still very common, but leopard prints and a variety of botanicals are really taking the spotlight. So many color palettes to choose from! Check out this link from Windward Design Group’s outdoor fabric collection to get your inspiration started:

Donghia has a line of outdoor furnishings by Weatherend Furniture – a manufacturer out of Maine. Check out this link to see one of their chairs displayed in a fuchsia fabric. I love the way they contrasted the welt on the cushions. It’s a very Designer way to make your look more custom:

Century Furniture is not only a leading brand in Upholstery and Case goods for the interior of your home, but a few years back they introduced their own line of outdoor furnishings. One of their leading Designers, Oscar De La Renta, works his magic in the line of outdoor furnishings he created for them. I’ve highlighted a few of his pieces below along with some other leading lines in outdoor furnishings.


Tidy kids… January 7, 2011

Filed under: Furniture,What's innovative! — sarah bernardy-broman @ 2:05 pm
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My sister-in-law sent me a link to this children’s desk from Uncommon Goods. She knew I would appreciate the design. Very functional and tidy, just the way all things kids should be in the dream world of parenting! Enjoy the image or check out the link below for further details and how to buy!

May not be the prettiest thing in the room, but surely functions!

May not be the prettiest thing in the room, but surely functions!



Nature inspired home furnishings… November 5, 2010

Most everything we do in design is inspired by our surroundings. Nature plays a big part in both fashion and interior design. Here are some great finds to help you bring the outdoors in. From wallcoverings to fabrics and furnishings let nature be your guide.


Staying home… October 30, 2010

Staying home means more today then it did years prior. We not only are spending more time at home, but are thinking of staying in our current homes for the long-term. With that in mind, more and more of my clients are updating important rooms in their homes. Kitchen and bath renovations are helping clients feel more comfortable in their current space as this is where the majority of our everyday happens. Wouldn’t getting ready for work and school be much easier if you had a better functioning bath? Night-time meals could be simpler if your kitchen work area functioned for your style of cooking.

We are not always doing major renovations in these important spaces. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing out fixtures: In a bath–it may be a mirror, light fixture or vanity top that needs some updating. In the kitchen–It could be changing out old appliances, adding a backsplash, or updating that boring center island. So, don’t be afraid to make a change. Interior Designers are great at helping you discover where to best put your money so that even the tightest budgets can make improvements.

Check out these island updates recently completed by my contractor. While both are similar in color and design, it’s interesting to see how one clients existing kitchen is complemented by the new furnishing–more modern approach. The others kitchen takes on  a total facelift with the new island furnishing and the perimeter of the existing kitchen having been painted out– an old world approach. 

Special details to add to these spaces:  -lighting in toe-kicks, crown mouldings, and under cabinets -contrast countertops from the perimeter of the room with the island counter -add decorative features to an island or cabinet such as corbels, step moulding, roping or bead mouldings to give the piece personality not present in the rest of the room which will make the piece more special decorative hardware is a great way to change the feeling of cabinetry -changing or adding tile to a backsplash that pulls in the colors from the countertop and/or island -eat-in kitchens are great for families on the go–I’m currently working with a client on taking out her small island and dining table and creating one large eat-in island which she’ll entertain on.


Thomas & Gray Furniture highlights… September 28, 2010

Filed under: Furniture — sarah bernardy-broman @ 12:56 pm

As a Designer, I love classic lines and special details, like being able to change finishes to suit my designs. Thomas and Gray Furniture is a manufacture that is listening to Designers. Furnishings that change per our unique clients is all that a Designer can ask for. Thomas and Gray not only offer their beautiful classic finishes, but they allow you to customize your finish and are highlighting this option in the attached link. Just another great furniture line to add to your favorites!—Gray.html?soid=1103469146602&aid=DNDnvP7NyiY.