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February 23, 2012

ATLANTA INTERIOR DESIGNER: Curb appeal & amazing outdoor living...

In the spirit of the upcoming spring season, I wanted to focus on the exterior of our homes. Inviting backyards & curb appeal to be specific. One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is be outside in the yard...there is nothing like relaxing outside on a warm evening with friends at a good cook out! 

For those of you who are looking to sell, rent, or even purchase a new place curb appeal is sometimes just as important, if not more important, than the inside. I say this because I know some people wont even look inside if the exterior is lacking. My husband is a Horticulturist & Landscape Design Consultant so I have heard my fair share about what is takes to spruce up a landscape. Often times just a good clean up along with routine maintenance can do wonders for your outdoor living space.

Here are some examples of homes with great curb appeal.

 Picture Perfect.

 Fresh cut grass with clean shrubbery & surround make a difference.

This one is doable for almost anyone. Freshly painted door in a welcoming golden/wheat tone. An inexpensive DIY wreath or Pier 1 find. Top it off with some fresh flowers from your local nursery & you're finished!

Curving sidewalk lined with greenery graciously invites you to the door.

The always cheery flower boxes.

And just to get us dreaming, check out these amazing backyards & outdoor living spaces!

 I love this simple serene nature of this space.

 My dream backyard for sure...dock living on a lake and big green yard.
Okay, I'll take two.

Modern elegance with a rustic barn twist.
I love that you can dig your toes in the sand while you sit next to the fire pit. 

Ahhhh spring...what keeps you looking forward to this time each year?

Happy Designing!

February 21, 2012

Let's wine a bit...

Lately, I've been looking into ways to repurpose wine corks & bottles for the home. I have definitely found some cute ideas. As usual, most of my inspiration is coming from Pinterest these days. If anyone out there doesn't have Pinterest yet I suggest you get it :)

Okay, let's get inspired!

Wine bottle UPcycles...

Tiki Wine Torches :)

I have got to find the tutorial on how to make this chandelier (above). I absolutely adore it!

Wine cork UPcycles...

All these ideas & more were found on Pinterest.

I guess there's just one thing left for us to do...drink up!

Happy Designing!

February 20, 2012

ATLANTA INTERIOR DESIGNER: Neutral vs. Colorful...

I'm torn completely down the middle on neutral vs. colorful spaces...and that's probably because there is no right or wrong. It completely depends on the mood and atmosphere that you are trying to create for yourself.


Take a look at how three similar spaces transform by going from neutral to colorful...






Has anyone seen the Color Changes Everything
And does.
Happy Monday!

Neutral rooms- DecorPad.
 Colorful rooms - Pinterest.

February 9, 2012

Quote of the day...

"Design is a matter of balancing different needs and outlooks, practical and aesthetic, masculine and feminine, designer and client, dream and reality."

- Alexa Hampton, The Language of Interior Design


February 8, 2012

ATLANTA INTERIOR DESIGNER: Painting large spaces...

Part two, following our tips on how to paint small spaces is naturally, how to paint LARGE spaces. This can seem like a daunting task for the DIYer. I don't find this nearly as complicated as painting small rooms.

Tip One
 Selecting a warm, mid to dark tone for a large space generally makes the room feel more intimate. Try rich chocolates, jewel-tones, or deeper yellows/golds.

Tip Two
Selecting a lighter color can be easier if you are painting yourself...easier to blend and can create an airy look. Be careful of making it too bland!

Tip Three
Textured walls, faux painting, and stenciling work really well in larger areas. Try an accent wall for a focal point. It's nice to have somewhere for the eyes to grip on to in a big space.

Tip Four
Not wanting it to feel too intimate? Try a warmer neutral color, such as Sherwin-William's Hopsack or Benjamin Moore's Caramel apple... two of my all time favorite colors

Caramel Apple

Happy Painting!

February 7, 2012

ATLANTA INTERIOR DESIGNER: Color of the month...


The Pantone color of the year as some of you may know is Tangerine Tango. Adding shades of orange & tangerine can add incredible warmth to a space or add that special pop to your neutral background. What I love is that this is the color of the year so tangerine is not just for fall anymore! Paired with grays, blacks, and even pink, orange is sure to please... Makes this an obvious choice for our color of the month.

Tips from our experts...
  • Designer Christi Holcombe suggests pairing rusty orange with golds, bronzes, or neutrals for a more traditional look.
  • Holcombe also suggests a colorful pink and orange room for a more feminine or modern look.
  • DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux says to add an orange accent wall but avoid painting an entire room orange because it chances being too overwhelming.
My favorite ways to incorporate orange or tangerine...

 Wallpaper behind a neutral room.

I like the depth of the orange here. It starts with the walls, then pillows, and out front and center on the cocktail ottoman.

I love this space! That rug is gorgeous and I adore that chair fabric. Its interesting how they brought that warm tone all the way up to the crown molding.

 The rug & panels look amazing!

White, Orange, and Baby Blue scheme.

Maybe it's just the brightness or spring weather hinting in the air, but these rooms are happy :)


Happy Designing!

Photos from decorpad

February 6, 2012

ATLANA INTERIOR DESIGNER: How to paint small spaces...

How to paint small spaces!

I've had my fair share of paint color consultations with clients. Often I get questioned on how to paint small spaces to make them appear larger & which colors help this task. No, the only answer isn't white...and no, I don't even think there are certain rules that apply to every small space. I do think that over time I've come across things that work well. Here's some of my best advice on how to paint smaller spaces.

Tip one
Painting the entire room one color, including base moldings, crown moldings, windows, and any paneling. This can make all the planes melt together which helps the eye focus on the color, rather than boundaries & size of a room.

Tip Two
Some of the best advice I was given was choosing sharp colors. According to designer Mark McCauley, choosing a palette of sharper colors as opposed to duller ones are better for smaller rooms. Sharp as in BRIGHT. Hot reds, electric blues, yellows, and greens. This can enhance a rooms clarity and openness.

Try my favorite blue of the day- Fine Paints of Europe Delft Blue 4003
Tip Three
I'm not always a fan of accent walls....most times I feel that if a design is well thought out and complete, there would be no need to add this. But, in a really small space, adding an accent or clear focal wall in a darker, richer color can also trick your eye into thinking the room is more open. Almost like that focal wall is receding.

Tip Four
Go the form of painted vertical stripes on the wall, above your chair rail, or even adding ceiling to floor drapery panels (two shades lighter or darker than paint color) can add vertical interest & expand the look of your room. I usually think the stripes work best with no crown moldings cutting them off short...or even by running them onto the ceiling to add more dimension!
What tricks have you used to create an illusion of a bigger space?
Stay tuned for part two later this week... How to paint large spaces!
Happy Designing!

February 1, 2012

ATLANTA INTERIOR DESIGNER: 5 design mistakes to avoid...

Top 5 Design Mistakes every DIYer has made...

1. Hanging photos and/or artwork too high

This is one of my biggest designer pet peeves. I realize for every design project this could be different, especially when you have a really exquisite piece of art that you want to hang at eye level. However, as a general rule when hanging a piece or art or a mirror above another piece (sofa, console table, bed, etc) I think 8" is about perfect. Having too much negative space between your floored piece & wall piece can be distracting and create some not-so-good harmony. Scale is also very important, check out this website for some great advice on hanging art.

Bad :(


2. Purchasing without a plan

Often times consumers get excited and start purchasing because they really love this shade or purple, because 'it's on sale, or because they can easily redo this antique chair'... After getting it home you realize this purple chair goes with nothing else I had in mind or that antique chair is too small in comparison to everything else in the space. My best advice is to stop, breathe, and allow time for the design process. Having an entire plan for you room, and then purchasing over time is much better than rushing or buying individual pieces without a grand plan of what you want your space to look & feel like. This will save you big bucks...

3. Bad lighting

Lighting is one of the most important, yet most neglected principles in design. Try to incorporate a good variety of the three basic types of lighting.

-Task Lighting: Helping you perform 'tasks' such as reading, cooking, or homework. This comes in the form of desk lamps, under the cabinet lights, or floor lamps.

-Ambient Lighting: General light that illuminates the room or space as a whole. Ambient lighting usually comes in the form of wall or ceiling mounts.

-Accent Lighting: Adds drama and visual interest to a space. Think about drawing the eye to a focal point such as live plants, special piece of art, or the texture of a stone wall. This lighting should be 3 times as bright as your ambient lighting to be effective.

4. Painting first

If you are wanting to provide a quick update, painting can be an inexpensive fix to a dull room. However, when planning to re-decorate or begin a room paint is last.  There are just about as many paint colors as there are blades of grass. I promise it's much easier completing your furniture and accents and then choosing a great color to highlight these, rather than starting with butter yellow and then trying to create a room around it.

5. Getting advice from the wrong people

Such as your bestie, your neighbor, or the cable guy. I know you may trust their opinion on many things, but your home might not be one of them. I say this because they don't live like you live, feel how you feel, and just might not be qualified to give you the correct answers. Often times your friend or neighbor can give you advice as it would relate to them, not you and your family. I have seen it many times...client brings their bff shopping with them and then finds it really difficult to say no to them. Sometimes it can make you second guess your great ideas & feel insecure about your own home. I promise there are affordable ways to get professional design advice. Visit my Ava Living page if you have some questions of your own!

Happy Designing!