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February 2016

Which Should I Choose, A Decorator Or An Interior Designer

Interior DesignerWhether you hire a decorator or interior designer depends on the type of project you have, and the scope of the project. If what you’re doing isn’t really a big deal, or it’s something that isn’t going to have a huge impact on the space, or you don’t see your project developing much further than say a coat of paint, or maybe it’s just a freshening up, then I would advise you to use or hire a decorator.

In the past, painters were called decorators. They were the ones that actually did the work. Then later, decorators were known as those who could help you furnish or decorate a room. As things became increasingly more sophisticated, especially in businesses and then in homes, designers came on the scene that had more education in the technical and architectural realm, as well as the health, safety, and welfare of the public. If you have the desire to, you can do further research into the development of the interior decorating and design profession, from the beginning until the present time.

Interior decorating and design is a very easily infiltrated field. It seems that anybody with a flair for color or pattern can get in to this profession and call themselves a professional. Many have just enough knowledge to make themselves dangerous to a client or potential client.

When I graduated from design school, I garnered my first job with a very high-end furniture store. My passion was for design first, and then selling the furniture and furnishings to bring out the design concept as well as the personality of the client. Store employed salespeople that had some degree of skill in decorating, while others came from very different careers and backgrounds. I found out fairly quickly, that furniture stores including very high-end furniture stores, do not really care about design or what you will get in terms of design. As furniture stores, whether or not they employ decorators or designers, their number one concern is selling you furniture. Period. I don’t care what they tell you otherwise. Their profit comes from selling you the furniture.

Independent decorators and interior designers are usually not beholden to any one particular furniture store or line of furniture. Some work through furniture stores even though they are on their own. Some work through showrooms.

Some independent decorators and interior designers, only work in their own style and look. They are comfortable working in only a certain genre. Or, they are only comfortable working with the types of furniture and styles that they personally like and are comfortable with. If you want to work with them, you are basically buying their look or what they like. So, in essence, you are buying their look or brand. In addition, everyone else that uses them gets their look and brand. So, your house may well look very similar to someone else’s house. Where is the individuality and uniqueness in that? Therefore, your personality and the look and ambiance that you want or need is partially or totally submerged by the look the decorator or designer would prefer to impose on you based on the personality and aesthetic preferences of the decorator or designer! So, whose houses it anyway? Who pays the house payment? I think you get my point here.

When it comes to selecting an interior decorator or designer, you must be careful. Realize that you can rank interior decorators and designers, in categories from kindergarten level, all the way up to Masters, Ph.D., and Doctorate. Or if you prefer, you can rank them from 1 to 10; 10 being the highest. To judge properly you have to know what you’re looking for and what constitutes the top-level in interior design.

If you need a level 8 to 10 interior, don’t mistakenly hire a level 7 designer. Taking a quote from one of Clint Eastwood’s movies, “A man (or woman’s) got to know their limitations.” If you as a client don’t know the decorator or designers limitations, relative to what you need, then the next line from one of Clint Eastwood’s movies is appropriate to you. “Are you feeling lucky?” Well, you’re going to need a lot a luck if your interior decorator or designer is underpowered and lacking in talent and ability. It’s, like the buying good sports car. You’re buying it for the excitement and pleasure of driving it, as well as looking at it, and admiring it.

To use the sports car analogy further, you always want a car with more horsepower and speed than you really need. This is important especially if you need to get out of a bind real quick, vs. getting stuck between a guard-rail and a truck and ultimately getting squished. That would be a bad day.

It’s also will very much like health or life insurance. It’s better to have it and not need it; than to need it and not have it. Both analogies point to the fact that it’s better to have more than less. This is also important from a peace-of-mind and safety aspect. I know that there’s a famous design saying that, “Less is more,” as it applies to minimalist design. However, in most categories of life, it is much better to have more than less, as well as having more than you need. This applies to oxygen, money, health, and food, etc. It’s also kind of like the saying, “There’s safety in numbers.”

A lot of the automotive commercials say, “Best in its class.” My first question is “What class you are in?” or “What class are you in, which you are the best in?” This is what you have to do with every interior decorator or designer that you are considering for hire. You need to find out what “class” they are in, what they actually do, how they do it, how they think, what is their design philosophy, and how do they set you up for success.

Getting the right designer for you and your project is critical to your success! In truth, it is very much like a mini marriage. Therefore, you had better get it right! You don’t want to end up in design divorce court. There’s too much at stake and your money needs to be invested wisely for design, as well as furniture and furnishings. As they say, “You get what to pay for.”

To use a quote from John Ruskin, “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money; that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little in getting a lot-it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the rest of you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Finally, a great quote from Red Adair that is so appropriate to hiring the right designer for you. “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

How to Achieve Excellence in Interior Design

Interior DesignExcellence in design is not as simple as many would think. It is a complex composition made up of many interrelated elements, which are both aesthetic and practical. It is the sensitive and expertly orchestrated endeavor of creating correct relationships. When done well, great design will delight the eyes, satisfy the soul, and engage the intellect.

In a perfectly furnished room, the parts are so congruous and harmonious in line, proportion and coloring that the room appears to have actually grown that way. Nevertheless, it is a purely artistic creation, made up of many separate elements. These elements include floor and wall coverings, furniture, hangings, and decorative accessories of many kinds. It’s about expertly choosing and combining all these various elements, while at the same time recognizing excellence, or lack of it within each individual element.

Studying the principles of design, established centuries ago is the foundation for excellence in interior design. The Greeks established most of the architectural orders, along with their mastery of the elements of form, shape, line, and proportion, plus their ministry of the freeform curved line. These elements constitute some of the tools in the “toolbox” of the designer.

Writing of the art of painting, Leonardo Da Vinci long ago observed, that “Those who become enamored of the practice of the art without having previously applied themselves to the diligent study of the scientific part of it, may be compared to mariners who put to sea without rudder or compass, and therefore cannot be certain of arriving at the wished-for port. Practice must always be founded on good theory.”

Every design, whatever its character or style, consists essentially of a plan and details. It cannot be good design unless the details are subordinate to and orchestrated with the overall plan and concept. In addition, the details must be very coordinated with the overall concept, thereby eliminating anything inharmonious in the design.

The process of combining all the components and elements of interior design into a holistic presentation is all about the “art of composition.” For example, poetry combines words into phrases, lines and stanzas in such ways that each word and each phrase helps all the others. Musical composition combines notes and tones into delightful relationships known as chords, and these chords into rhythm, tonality, melody and expression. Interior design and decoration takes lines, shapes, colors and textures; or, more concretely, rugs, wall coverings, fabrics, furniture, pictures, statuary, pottery, and lamps, and “weaves” them all together in such a way that each of them are helping the other look more beautiful. The total composition is not only holistic, but synergistic as well.

What does the statement mean that words or tones help each other? It means that each contributes, according to its own nature and in the most effective and aesthetically enhancing way possible, toward the expression of a common idea or concept.

When things harmonize, or go well together, they share a common significance and therefore concur in the expression of a common idea or concept. Orchestrating and directing everything to say one thing is important, so the room does not “mumble,” but communicates clearly the intent of the design in terms of the look, feel, and ambiance.

A room, however, is not like a picture or a sculpture. It is not complete in and of itself. It is complete and fulfilled, only when there are people in it and enjoying it. It is not in existence solely for itself, but primarily to provide a sympathetic and pleasing background for the people who live in it and to be supportive of them in every way possible.

It is, as it is, on my business card; “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” Moreover, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.”

Colour Therapy for Your Dream Homes

Colour Therapy for Your Dream HomesThe power of colours not only changes one’s mood but also has therapeutic powers. It is believed by many Feng Shui practitioners that if colours are used in a proper fashion, they will have the ability to bring positive vibes into your home. Let’s take a look at some basic guidelines on Colours for you to start implementing in your home which will affect your mood and behavior and in turn majorly influence your happiness, health and well-being.

Let’s start with some basic facts on how different colours influence our lives. Colours can be divided into two groups – warm colours (red, orange, yellow) and cool colours (blue, green, violet). General factors that characterize each group are that warm colours are warming by nature and add coziness and warmth to a room, generally stimulating the mind and emotions. Cool colours are known to induce a peaceful atmosphere with a sense of spaciousness and openness. Energising colours such as red, orange and yellow brings in warmth to a room, and blues and purples will evoke a sense of calm. Now let’s take a closer look at some of the major colours and their effect on the mind, emotions, and body.

Red

In Feng Shui, the colour red denotes the fire element. One can use red colour as a feature wall of the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. It is advisable not to use this colour as the dominant shade in the bedroom as it is a very powerful colour. Add red to a room if you are tired or feeling low because it is a colour of passion and high energy. Reds are to be used in balance with calm colours.

Orange

Orange is an optimistic colour which also denotes the fire element. Use of this colour enhances productivity, keenness, and enjoyment. The colour keeps you lively and playful, so it is always a good choice to use this colour in your living room or the children’s room. According to Feng Shui, orange enhances lively conversations and good times in your home. It’s a mixture of red and yellow, so it imbibes the qualities of both, the energy of red and the cheerfulness of yellow.

Yellow

Yellow belonging to the fire element is also used to uplift one’s mood. The colour yellow & its shades belong to the earth element. In Feng Shui, yellow is the ultimate source of positive energy. One can use this colour in any room as it has the power of adaptability, flexibility, clarity, etc. Moreover, it is uplifting, optimistic, and gives one the sense of sunlight indoors.

Blue

Blue is the most calming and peaceful colour to use in your home. Blue has different shades and most of them are all used to relax the mind, promote deep breathing and slow down the body.
Being a trust-me colour, Blue allows one to focus on the task in hand, bringing in peace and serenity and gives us the confidence to communicate. It is a colour of sincerity, truth and loyalty.

Green

Green reflects a natural environment and is a relaxing and balancing colour. Being the most neutral colour on the colour wheel, Green is easy on our eyes and can work in any room to convey a natural, pleasing environment. The colour Green is known to heal headaches and reduce anxiety. It helps in concentration and aids in restful times when stressed. You will notice that the colour green is extensively used in hospitals as it aides in healing the mind, body and spirit.

Violet / Purple

Violet / purple is known as a colour of transformation. Also known as a cool colour which has a calming effect on us. It is proven by research that the colour Violet / Purple stimulates the brain’s problem solving areas, and it encourages creativity, intuition and artistic ability. So we suggest that one can paint the walls of the meditation room with this colour as it creates the perfect atmosphere for some quiet introspection. Want to colour your walls in purple, we suggest you go for light tones such as lavender or light violet. You can also use purple or violet shades in your bedroom for a soothing and restful sleep.

Other than the warm and the cool colours there are some other colours which can be used in your home with care. Some of the other colour facts are –

Pink, Grey, White & Silver

According to Feng Shui, Pink creates a calm environment, so one can paint the walls of your bedroom in a light shade of pink for better sleep. Pink brings strong positive energy into your environment. Grey, white, and silver colours belong to the metal element. Grey is a colour associated with security, reliability, intelligence & solidarity. Sometimes the colour is also used to describe a gloomy, sad and conservative mood. We suggest you avoid the use of too much grey on your walls as this could lead to a dip in your mood & energy levels. White is associated with purity. If you want to go employ white as the principal colour, you can comfortably do so as white is also known for cleanliness & it also opens up a room and makes it look bigger. Silver is a colour that transforms interiors into glamorous, graceful & sleek homes.

Once you are aware about these small but important details about different colours, we are sure you will now go ahead & paint your walls accordingly and bring happiness, positive energy and luck into your abode.

Count Your Heart Beats With Arabescato Carrara Marble

Arabescato Carrara MarbleSome people might find it a problem to choose among the infinite variety of tile patterns that flood the market. Probably the first tendency is to go for the exotic glass-stone-metal blends that can be truly mesmerizing. The choice of colors and patterns can take you on mighty flights of imagination too. Visualizing the property and the surroundings would be possible, based on images online so that a realistic appraisal could be reached on what effects you hope to achieve.

Marble truly is one of the remarkable natural gifts bestowed upon humanity. It is hard to imagine how natural processes through infinite time created such wonders that have transformed our lives. Appreciate the standing monuments of palaces and museums across the world that present living proof of durable marble that will last for all time.

Natural stone tiles like the classic arabescato carrara marble are highly recommended for many utilitarian and aesthetic reasons. The quality of ambiance possible with natural stone is a fabulous world of infinite gentle hues of color and immense variety of ethereal patterns. You synchronize with history because people built their homes with natural stone during earlier centuries when building materials were limited in availability and design. Let us vibe with nature in our midst.

If you love mosaics and the majority does, go for the most cost-effective, popular arabescato carrara marble. The stunning whites and grays deliver the Italian magic within the home or office. Witness the home come to life in dramatic, sizzling gentle hues. You have to live with them day and night and almost perpetually since they will not crack or fade. If you are aware of the technical aspects of finishing, honed, polished, tumbled etc., they refer to the pattern of the edges or the surface being designed to present perfection and smoothness, a grainy texture or naturally chipped.

Some striking samples among many would be the carrara white honed and statuary white polished tiles. Arabescato carrara leaning polished blend, arabescato carrara polished and arabescato carrara waterflow polished represent some superb creations that are guaranteed to enlighten building interiors and exteriors too, since they weather all elements well, whether the immensity of heat or the frigidity of extreme cold. Besides, consider the reasonable costs with all the above fabulous tiles ranging between $8 and $10 per square foot.

Make the decision of a lifetime to install a range of arabescato carrara marble tiles of unlimited designs and magnanimous appeal at the most cost-effective prices. Trust in the tradition of centuries and use the strongest natural materials to carve out a living or work space for an eternity.