Monday, March 28, 2011

When design must meet lifestyle

2FOYERImage by dawnella66 via Flickr

Many homeowners find themselves struggling between trying to create a home that meets their living needs while incorporating design and decor that will please them on an emotional level. Add to that a limited budget and you have for a less than ideal home life. So how do we find ways to make our lifestyle work and look good with such limited resources? 

It all starts with what you already have. That brass light fixture in the garage doesn't have to be a thing of  the past,  a simple can of spray paint can bring it back into the right century. Change out the light bulbs and glass globes/shades with updated ones. Take a visit online to Ebay and Amazon and type into your search "vintage". Chances are you will find hidden inexpensive treasures that you didn't even think existed anymore. Let your mind go where it will.

It's all about big ideas. Big ideas always seem to translate into big money, however the best ideas are the ones that cost little or nothing at all. Go around your home, delve into the old attic, look for those things you thought were "dated" and see if they can't be re-purposed. Think out of the box, take a risk. Lets say you love Roman themes..who is to say that the garden statue wouldn't be just as lovely inside as out? Or that the old bird bath, with a glass topper wouldn't make an extraordinary night table? 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA APARTMENT 1960Image by roberthuffstutter via FlickrImproving your surroundings at home, believe it or not have  a big impact on how you feel. If your home isn't feeding you well from the outside, it is a reflection of your  unhappiness on the inside. Try rearranging furniture, adding or taking away furniture and accessories.  The change in the energy will make all the difference and as always, remember to take care of yourself. Pamper the person on the inside in the simple comforts of life.  Isn't that what your home is supposed to do? After all it is more than shelter, or a place to hang your hat, it is the womb we can always retreat to.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

HGTV 2011 Dream Home Winner revealed

HGTV (Canada)Image via Wikipedia

South Carolina residents along with millions of other HGTV fans no doubt sat on the edge of their seats Saturday for the announcement of the HGTV 2011 Dream Home Giveaway. Many may have entered this year to win a dream home. We all can't win a dream home in Vermont, however if you are interested in having your own dream home built in South Carolina, you can always go to Columbia Home Builders to have your dreams built.
The 2011 Dream home offered by HGTV this year was situated in picturesque Stowe, Vermont. This past Saturday, Monica Pedersen paid a visit to Hinsdale, Illinois, resident Eric Makstenieks to share the news that he had won the HGTV Dream Home 2011 grand prize package. He won the modern mountain lodge, the SUV and the $500,000 cash!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HGTV to surprise latest dream home winner Saturday night

HGTV logo premiered on March 1, 2010Image via WikipediaIt has always been the American dream to own a home, and if you live in South Carolina and missed the deadline for the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, check out South Carolina Builders and have your own dream home built. They have a list of the top ten builders in the state of South Carolina and this is a great time to have a dream home built, especially if you didn't win the HGTV Dream Home for 2011.

Photograph of a Gondola lift at Stowe, VermontImage via WikipediaHome and Garden television will be surprising the latest winner of the HGTV Dream Home 2011 Giveaway Sweepstakes this March 19th at 8 pm ET/PT.
The 15th annual HGTV Dream Home is located at Spruce Peak in Vermont's Stowe Mountain Resort. The 3,000-square-foot mountain lodge is nestled in the gaze of Mount Mansfield and features three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and creative living spaces.

The home's architect, Paul Robert Rouselle stated that his inspiration for the design of the home was to make it like a "tree house" in it's look and feel. "We wanted to create something that was unusually relaxing and paly the sense of place." This years dream home certainly delivers this and more for the lucky dream home winner for 2011.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Some easy kitchen design ideas

This is a fully equipped compact fitted kitche...Image via Wikipedia
Whether your kitchen is looking somewhat worse for wear or you just feel like you need a change, we all enjoy decorating the room and making things look a little better from time to time. At first, decorating a kitchen sounds like a costly and difficult task that involves a lot of chaos and hard work. However, you don’t have to start ripping out your kitchen units to make the place look better.
Here are some simple, yet tasteful kitchen decorating ideas that will not cost you a fortune but will make your life a lot easier and more pleasant, see: Kitchen decorating ideas.
A simple coat of paint goes a long way towards making any room look good. Paint the walls or even paint the kitchen cabinets. As long as you find a pleasant color scheme that blends in with the rest of the room, you may find that this makes all the difference.
Jazz up your tiles with self-adhesive waterproof stickers. This is far less effort  and less costly than replacing the tiles.
Say it with flowers. For a nice decoration that makes any room look great, add some natural greenery. This can be in the form of a pretty vase of flowers placed in the center of the kitchen table or as a cute potted plant on the edge of the kitchen island. Flowers are eco-friendly, they look and smell beautiful, and they add a touch of vitality to every home.
What about changing the decorations on the walls? If you don’t have any pictures, why not add one or two – a poster of your choice or a pretty wall-hanging can give an new touch to your kitchen. You could also go farmhouse style and hang up some pretty china plates on the wall. This kind of look may remind you of the past, but it never goes out of style.
How about adding a neat area rug? This will make the floor look better and also cover up any unpleasant stains on the linoleum or carpet.
Another way to make your kitchen look pretty is to use kitchen accessories. You could, for example, light scented candles. These banish unpleasant cooking smells, look good, and create a special atmosphere. You could also create your own accessories. For example, you might like to keep your glass spice jars, wash them out, and paint them. Then they can be used for a pretty display on one of your shelves or countertops. If you are not sure what to do, there are plenty of kitchen design articles out there that could help you find inspiration.
Another important tip (even if it is not specifically a design idea) is to keep your kitchen at a certain level of tidiness and cleanliness. No matter how well-designed or pretty a kitchen is, if it is messy it will always look terrible. Therefore, if you get into the habit of making sure to put away everything that you use and never to leave dirty dishes lying around, your kitchen will definitely look a lot better.
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Who says a vase has to be a vase?

Rules of design are a starting point but don't get mired down in them...

Interior design is about merging creativity with style and sophistication to product something uniquely lovely. Following rules of design are a good starting point, but to have beautiful unique results calls for creativity. Decorators will tell you that some of the best ideas have been when creativity is allowed breathing room and design takes a quiet back seat. Without creativity there is a death of inspiration.
Find inspiration in as many diverse ways as possible. Magazines, like Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens are flooded with beautiful ideas that showcase personal creativity along with great design. In your own home, look for lovely pieces that have a possible dual function. China sets that sit in a hutch often have pieces that have lovely potential to be something else. After all, how often do you use these pieces? Once, twice a year?
Lovely China tea pots make gorgeous vases, small tea cup dishes make wonderful soap dishes.  See where this is going? Mason jars are not only great for canned food, but they also have a lot of lovely uses, especially old ones found at antique malls and flea markets. Use them in the kitchen for housing wooden spoons on the counter. Large pickle jars can be wonderful for storing nuts, lemons, limes or cookies. Simply cover the lid with a square of cloth cut with pinking shears and a rubber band. Old small watering cans look great next to the fire place with long fireplace matches stored in them.
The idea is to get inspired, expand your mind, and always think dual purposes when looking at what you have right under your nose. You may have the next big idea.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

What does your homes appliances say to your potential buyer?

Wood burning iron stoveImage via Wikipedia

It seems that in spite of the wealth of information out there on how to get your home sold,  there are always a fraction of society unwilling to get on board with the program. One area in particular that is most prevalent is updating old appliances. Many homeowners use the logic that they do not want to invest more money into a home they are selling. Another segment of society believe that the potential buyer will not be deterred by the outdated appliances as long as they work. Yet another think it just isn't important enough to be a deal breaker. Perhaps they bought the home themselves and it didn't bother them? The truth is, you're looking at it from the wrong pair of eyes and with the wrong wallet. Here is the perspective from the buyers eyes on your home.

Where's the incentive?
If you are aware that new construction exists, and in those newer homes exists newer updates and upgrades, where is the incentive for a buyer to choose your home over theirs? Is it the knowledge that possibly soon after moving in they will have to replace major appliances due to breakdown and old age? The knowledge that your old appliances put a drain on the energy bill, forcing them to pay more for the same electricity they'd be getting in a newer home with energy efficient appliances? A buyer is already being asked to make a major purchase on your home. The idea of having to shell out additional money to update is a deal breaker for many, especially when they are viewing other homes besides yours. Lets face it, the same things that make a car a lemon, make a home a lemon. Old worn out parts red flag the buyer that there is problems ahead.

If appliances are this old, what else has to be replaced?
Buyers instinctively know that if a home owner hasn't bothered worrying about their appliances, that they may have neglected other issues too. The "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality becomes apparent and it is a buyers worst nightmare. They will interpret your lack of updates as a sign you haven't made your home's appearance or it's condition a priority. This leads buyers to wonder about hidden issues you haven't even bothered looking into. Plumbing, electrical, septic systems, even termites and rot could all be lingering just out of site, and it will all be looked for all the harder if the homeowner suspects you haven't done a lot to your home in 20 years. Home inspections usually will be used as a bargaining tool for the buyers benefit, so making sure your home is in great shape can only benefit you in the long run. Most offers placed on homes are contingent upon the home passing inspection. Do yourself a favor and spend a little now, or lose a lot later.
I'm going to offer a lower price on this home...
Homeowners will no doubt see an outdated home with old appliances and immediately start thinking how they are going to offset the expense involved with updating. This could mean getting offers well below your asking price. It also could mean a home that sits on the market for an extended amount of time which will force a few scenarios that are not desirable to the seller. Lowering the homes price, taking the home off of the market altogether, or updating the home way after it has been sitting and getting less traffic because it has been for sale so long that buyers will be suspicious about the reasons why.
Selling your home requires savvy, determination and strategy that is effective. If your home has spent over 3 months on the market without a bite, it's time to come up with a new strategy. Do your research, check out your competition by visiting real estate websites in your area, and ask for honest feedback from your real estate agent, family and friends. If you have to spend a little in advance to get the price you need, you will never regret it. If you have lost a possible sale because you didn't take the time to make the changes, it could impact your life for a long time to come.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spice inspired colors for interior spaces in 2011

Shop with spices in MoroccoImage via Wikipedia
We all know that there are some exciting directions neutrals are going into this year, however, there are some spicy color trends also happening for those not trying to sell a home but warm one up to reflect their hunger for warmth and comfort. Trends spotted this year in interior paint colors in South Carolina are everywhere.
Spice inspired colors
The trend for color is going to take a yummy approach for those seeking something less generic. You need not go any further than your own spice cabinet to find inspiration and be ahead of the trends for 2011. Hot interior paint colors right now are Cinnamon shades, Paprika, Saffron, Cummin, Sage, Nutmeg, and Cayenne. These colors invoke warmth, comfort and bold expression while visually a comforting display of earth tones.
Inspiration in the kitchen pantry
If you have been wondering where to look for inspiration, your kitchen pantry may be the smartest move you make. Keep in mind those metal finishes that go oh so well with these spicy colors are all in vogue at the moment such as oil rubbed Bronze and the ever neutral Pewter and Brushed Nickels. Trim out your bold spicy look with something a little new as well this year. Paprika, Cinnamon pair well with dark trims like black and Chocolate colors, as well as glossy cream. Do you see where we are headed this year? Its food inspired obviously. As Spring ever so slowly approaches, start warming up indoors and see where your kitchen's pantry may lead you.
Too much bold color?
A good rule of thumb when painting a room with warm, strong colors is to balance them out with the right neutral shades in the room. Down play the colors of the furnishings and decor to simple colors and textures, using your painted trim accents as a possible color guide. If your new Paprika inspired kitchen has cream colored trim, or cabinets, keep that cream going with the decor. The idea is to have bold balanced with calm. This creates a room that has style, and is pleasing to the eye. Remember, too little is bad, too much is worse.
Spices in Mapusa Market, Goa, India.Image via Wikipedia
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tips for shopping for furniture

American Signature Vineyard Manor dining room ...American Signature Vineyard Manor dining room table and chairs (Photo credit: Dawn Gagnon)

For homeowners and interior decorators nothing feels so great as finding a source for your inspiration that fits your budget, while offering high end quality for the price. South Carolina indeed has many fine furniture stores, however, many have sacrificed wonderful customer service in the process and as a result lose a sale or two as well. When shopping for furniture there are a few key things to look for in a any store you visit.

Knowledgeable staff is key
When you visit any furniture store it is imperative that you have knowledgeable staff to help you in your selections. High pressure tactics, those trying to make you purchase something you aren't comfortable with will only make you regret the purchase and the experience. Explain to the staff what the furniture you need will be used for, whether you have children and pets and how often you will be using the furniture. If you have a professional staff, they will be able to guide you perfectly as to what sort of furniture fits best with your lifestyle. 

Make clear what you can afford
Stick to your budget. There is no satisfaction to be gained if you overspend just to make your salesperson happy, while you end up with a purchase that didn't fit your budget. Weigh the factors about what is worth the extra money versus what isn't. Remember also, cheapest isn't always smarter, and most expensive isn't always better.  

Solid wood construction
Always look for solid wood construction when purchasing furniture and make sure to ask your salesperson what is the best way to care for your purchase. Heavy solid wood furniture is an investment, but if it lasts 25 years, then you have spent your money wisely in the long run. Take into account the weight of the pieces, most heavier pieces tend to last a very long time. Also consider when looking at living room furniture the fabrics used, along with the shape. Clean lines, and straight edges are usually easier to slip cover, especially if you are trying to preserve your furniture while your children are young.

  • Tip: Sleeper sofas tend to outlast regular sofas due to the extra construction involved in their manufacturing. If you truly want a lasting piece this is something to factor in and many sales persons won't necessarily tell you this. Not to mention, sleeper sofas are always handy when you have over night guests.

  • Don't be afraid to give furniture a thorough inspection

    Most furniture is attractive in the furniture store. Retailers use accessories and staging to optimize the appeal of the furniture they sell. Sit on the pieces, look underneath the dining room tables, and the chairs and see the construction with your own eyes. This goes also for mattresses. Always test them out. Be on the look out for squeaks, noises, uneven chairs and table legs and things that suggest shoddy craftsmanship. If your family are larger than average people, make sure you explain this to your salesperson. Buying cheap, lightweight furniture that looks pretty in the showroom is a waste of money if your larger family members can't sit comfortably in them. Bring your measuring tape and your measurements from your home to ensure that each piece will fit in the intended space. Nothing is quite as aggravating as buying pieces that are out of scale with your home, the room or can't fit where you need them to fit.

  • When in doubt stick with traditional

    It is easy to get caught up in the chic styles that are out there today, however, the traditional pieces that you grew up with in fine woods like Cherry, Mahogany and Maple will last a lifetime and tend to never go out of style. Good quality pieces should have hidden screws, and tight joints. Always inquire as to the warranties of the furniture you select beforehand.

  • Related articles by this author:

  • Defining spaces with an open floor plan

    Interior design color trends of 2011

    Defining fabrics commonly used in interior decorating

    Pulling together a room design with your local Pier 1 Import store

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    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Interior design experts on television not in touch with real people

    Stainless steel table with eucalyptus wood FSC...Image via Wikipedia
    Toilet Stainless Steel Vessel Sink standing on...Image via Wikipedia
    Not everyone can afford decor suggestions
    offered by designers on television
    Interior decorating and design is no simple field of just theme rooms and stainless steel appliance upgrades. Interior designers on television often in their infinite wisdom forget they are speaking to the general masses, and that means, the every day home owner, not their colleagues or wealthy peers.

    I watched a well known popular decorating show that often is helpful and informative the other day, only to be dismayed when the "host" stated to the masses, "not to match furniture pieces, because it looks cheap." He then went on to say "you know those groups you find on sale that end in 99 something." I have to take issue with this. Who does he think he's talking to? Many people have to buy those "sets that end in 99" in the furniture store.  ie: Living room 6 piece set for $1299.99. If you do this, according to this host, its just "being lazy."

    Shame on him. Most average people have to decorate within their means, and additionally, unless you are a professional and know how to group pieces that don't come in matching sets, you could end up with a mish mash of furnishings that look like an indoor antique mall.

    It is extremely doubtful that anyone coming into a neat and clean home with furniture that came in a group will ever offend any onlooker, or potential buyer. What bothers most people when entering a home is when a homeowner decides to go with too many conflicting ideas from designers on television only to end up with an indoor yard sale aesthetic going on.

    Stainless Steel Tub on the Rocks with Teak SlatsImage via Wikipedia
    I would suggest in the future, that all of these interior decorating shows get in touch with their viewer demographic. Realize that they are not speaking to a small select group in New York City, or in Pacific Heights. Chances are, your viewer is an everyday home owner living in a typical suburban setting, middle class America if  you will.

    These are the hard working, blue collar, do it yourself homeowners, they can't have their home professionally decorated, so offer good advice that can help them out. Not that shallow insensitive hogwash interior designers suggest on television.  For those wanting real suggestions meant for the real world, a few shows worthy of mention would be Designed to Sell, Real Estate Intervention etc. They seem to have the right idea,  and focus on practical solutions.
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    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Interior design terms and definitions series T-Z

    Bed made with white bed linen. Four fluffy pil...Image via Wikipedia

    The Interior design and decorating world can be a confusing place to be. If you live in South Carolina and would love to find an Interior designer or decorator, visit: South Carolina Interior Design Scout for available listings in your county.

    Table runner
    A long, narrow, decorative strip of fabric running down the middle of a table. Also used on top of dressers.

    Task lighting
    A lighting system directed to a specific surface or area to provide illumination for visual tasks. Designed to conserve energy by lighting confined work spaces.

    Tall hard wood trees resistant to insects and warping. Originally grow in East India, native to south and southeast Asia, and now planted in Western Africa and tropical America. Yellow-brown, high-quality, durable, heavy, close-grained wood. Used for shipbuilding and furniture.

    A lightweight fabric accessory meant to be used as a light blanket or as a decorative element commonly placed at the foot of a bed or draped over the back of a sofa. Throws usually measure about 64" x 72" in size.

    A French word for cloth or fabric, linen, sailcloth, or canvas. Cotton or linen woven or printed documentary fabric, typically printed in monotone colors on an off-white or white background, originally made in France. The names come from "Toile de Jouy." In 18th century Jouy, France, this new technique of engraved plate printing on linen or cotton cloth was made famous.

    Type of standing floor lamp with a reflector bowl designed to throw indirect light upward.

    Thread count
    This refers to the number of threads in one square inch of fabric. Different levels of softness in bed linens. The higher the thread count, the tighter the weave, making the lines soft and smooth. The minimum that most consumers look for in a comfortable sheet is 250. Luxury linen lines can have as high as a 1200 thread count.

    Traditional furniture
    Classic, elegant, and formal in appearance, this furniture category includes dark polished woods, curves, carvings, and deep rich color. Traditionally styled furniture is available in both original antique pieces and quality reproductions. This type of furniture usually follows a particular period style such as Georgian, Tudor, Regency, French Provincial, or Louis XV. It tends to have a timeless beauty that makes it outlast many trends.

    Traffic pattern
    The flow or direction in which people move through, in, and out of a room.

    Trompe l'oeil
    French word meaning to  "fool the eye." Three-dimensional architectural painting effects. A form of wall painting that creates the illusion of tangible and spatial qualities. Often used to make a room appear to carry on outdoors. First used thousands of years ago in frescoes and murals by the Romans.

    Trundle bed

    Twin bed frame or daybed housing an additional mattress on casters, which is pulled out as needed.

    A shallow ornamental drapery treatment, i.e. rod picket, box-pleated, kick-pleated, shirred-balloon, etc., hung at the heading of a window or canopy to conceal

    Zen design
    In the simplest terms,  Zen in design is about achieving an environment that embraces minimal ornamentation, natural elements and open spaces that are visually non traditional and non cluttered. Think of simplicity, serenity and harmony.  In decor there may be a few pieces that have a bright color in the interior landscape of the room but primarily it should be serene and calming.  Many people desire the Zen design aesthetic in bedrooms and meditation rooms where it lends itself well to relaxation.

    For more information on interior decorating, visit: Dawns Interior Decor Solutions.
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    Interior design terms and definitions series G-S

    Parsons The New School for DesignImage via Wikipedia
    The Interior design and decorating world can be a confusing place to be. If you live in South Carolina and would love to find an Interior designer or decorator, visit: South Carolina Interior Design Scout for available listings in your county.

    Guimpe braid
    A round or flat narrow decorative braided trim or cord of fabric used on upholstered furniture. Also called gimp or guipure.

    A light that emits true color characteristics unlike fluorescent and other lighting that tend to give a room a yellowish cast. More energy efficient than standard incandescent lamps, but not as energy efficient as fluorescent lights. Developed by General Electric.


    The side portion of a window treatment where fabric is draped vertically in soft folds on either side of a swag or valance.

    The French word "matelasser" means to quilt or to pad. Intricately woven fabric created with two sets of warp and filler threads in a double weave, giving an embossed, puckered, or quilted effect.

    A tall, slender, tapering, four-sided stone pillar with a pyramid top. Reproduced in table-top versions as a decorative accessory and used in high-end interiors.

    Parsons table
    A sturdy square table with block legs and an apron of equal widths. This was developed in the 1950s at the Parsons School of Design.


    A luster or sheen that develops on an object's surface with use, wear, or oxidation over time. Usually associated with fine antiques, vintage, and leather furniture.

    Entrance, porch, or walkway to a building with columns supporting a roof, which can be large enough to enable cars to drive under for protection while exiting a vehicle.

    Primary colors
    Three colors: red, yellow, and blue.

    Ragging off
    A paint technique/effect caused by rubbing/wiping a painted surface with a rag or piece of leather.

    Receding colors
    Cool colors that make surfaces appear more distant or smaller, such as blue, green, violet, gray, or bluish-greens.

    Raised ornamentation that makes a design prominent by lifting it or cutting away the background or surface of a particular design.

    Ready-to-assemble furniture.


    An electric lamp or candlestick fixture attached to a wall. Also called girandole.

    Shoji screen
    A room dividing, translucent wood-framed screen with rice paper panels. Used as a standing art element, for privacy, or to define space.

    Strong fiber from sisal leaves used to create floor coverings.

    Slipper chair
    Used in bedrooms or small rooms, this is a small, armless, high-backed, short-legged upholstered chair.

    Authors note:  Didn't see the term you were looking for?  Don't worry this is the second publishing in a three part series. The third article covering terms T-V is forthcoming, so please keep an eye out for it.
    For more information on interior decorating, visit: Dawns Interior Decor Solutions.
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    Interior design terms and definitions series A-F

    Illustration for Design Portal.Image via Wikipedia
    The Interior design and decorating world can be a confusing place to be. If you live in South Carolina and would love to find an Interior designer or decorator, visit: South Carolina Interior Design Scout for available listings in your county. Here is a list of commonly used interior design terms that may help you with your own interior design quest.

    Advancing colors
    Warm colors that make items and surfaces appear larger or closer, such as red, yellow, orange.

    Ambient lighting
    Lighting throughout an area from any source that produces general illumination, as opposed to task lighting.

    The definition of an antique varies from source to source; however, it is generally agreed that antiques are decorative or functional items that show a degree of craftsmanship or special attention to design elements. Customs officials in most countries deem all items, including furnishings, art, accessories, and personal possessions over 100 years old to be antique and, therefore, duty free. Most collectors use 50 years as a benchmark. Cars in the United States are considered antique if they are 25 years or older.

    A large tall French cabinet originating in the late 16th century and used as a wardrobe for storing clothing. Today, it is commonly used for housing linens, computer or entertainment equipment. It usually has one or two doors with adjustable shelves rather than drawers.

    Art Deco
    A streamlined, geometric style of home furnishings and architecture originating in France in the 1920s and popularized in America in the 1920s and 1930s. Characteristics include rounded fronts, stylized ornamentation, fine traditional craftsmanship, and wood furniture with chrome hardware.

    Ball and claw
    A carved lion's or bird's paw or furniture foot clutching a ball or sphere, usually at the end of a cabriole leg or table base.

    Camel back sofa
    A sofa style characterized by a large symmetrical rise or "hump" located at the center of the back.

    A tall and narrow double door chest of drawers normally used for storing undergarments and lingerie. Lingerie chest.

    A multi-colored, woven, shiny or glazed bright calico cotton printed fabric. Originally manufactured in India for export. Frequently used for upholstery and draperies. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne.

    A decorative style covering many types of furniture that were developed in the latter half of the 1900s. The look includes clean lines, simple contours, and bold colors.

    The zone or decorative treatment on the lower portion of an interior wall between the baseboard and the chair rail or lower part of a window sill.

    Dhurrie rug
    A flat wool or cotton woven rug from India.

    Luxurious 100% silk fabric with fibers from double cocoons using two different colors of threads so that it shimmers or changes color in the light.

    French word for comforter or cover. Fabric casing or removable cover that usually encases a down-filled comforter. Sometimes used on the bed as a blanket.

    A personalized decorative style that combines elements from multiple periods, sources, textures, origins, and styles. Sometimes called "mix and match."

    The study of workplace design and the physical and psychological impact it has on workers. The science of analyzing human beings and how we function in conjunction with a variety of equipment, products, methods, and work circumstances to improve our health, safety, and welfare.

    Euro shams
    Square bed pillow shams, typically 24" x 24", used in combination with other decorative pillows. Commonly seen in most Bed in Bag sets these days.

    Environmental design
    The field of developing physical, spatial environments (interiors and/or exteriors) to solve a particular need or create a specific experience, including air quality and circulation, temperature control, ergonomic layout, and physical circulation plans. This field includes architecture, urban planning, landscape design, interior design, exhibit design, and sometimes event design.

    The face or front exterior of a building given special architectural treatment.

    A French words meaning imitation, false, fake, not genuine. A reproduction or re-interpretation of a finish on another surface, for example faux marble is a marble-like surface painted onto walls or furniture. In interior design, fabrications include faux leather, faux fur, faux suede, etc.

    Feng shui
    Literally translated as "wind" and "water." An ancient Chinese scientific practice based on selecting or positioning a site, structure, or interior so that positive effects are realized and negative effects are minimized. This ancient art of placement was established to achieve comfort, harmony, and balance in and around one's environment and thereby in one's life to enhance health and prosperity. Actively practiced in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

    Decorative hardware, wood, or metal ornaments used to cap drapery rods, newel posts, furnishings, woodwork, etc. Common motifs include leaves, flames, urns, balls, and pineapples.

    Focal point
    Center of interest or point of emphasis in a well-designed room. Something that draws your eye to it.

    A decorated horizontal band with designs or carvings attached to or painted along the top of a wall or above doorways or windows.

    A Japanese-style filled mattress placed on the floor, a folding wooden or raised frame which can be used as both a seating piece and a bed.

    A note from the author: Didn't find the term you were looking for? Don't worry this article is the first in a series, the next publication: Interior design terms and definitions series G-K is forthcoming.
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    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    What are safe trends in decor?

    You may have heard me say to avoid trends, primarily because they come and go with the decade they are started in. If you are talking about permanent changes to your home that follow trends, then it could be a costly renovation a few years down the line. With that in mind there are a few safe trends and those are defined as trends that are semi permanent, or in some cases, completely reversible or removable without incurring a great deal of cost.