Kitchen Trends that Aren’t Trendy

Brought to you via HOUZZ–great article about kitchen design for today’s home owner.

Budget Is Not A Four Letter Word

We received a guest post entitled “Tricks for Decorating on a Budget”.  We suggest that a better title would be “Establishing Your Design Budget”S Interior Design has prospective clients fill out a Client Profile. One of the questions asked is  how much the client is comfortable investing in their project.  A list of ranges are shown to chose from.  Without knowing the level of investment, we cannot make sound design recommendations. Is it an IKEA level furnishing project or a high end strictly custom project? Something in between?

Before embarking on your design project whether a professional interior designer is involved or not, it is a very good idea to assess what you are ready to spend on the project.
Pic 1 blog
Photo Credit: Homebuyers Centre

As there are two sides to everything, the same goes for decorating. On one hand the prospect of having the home refreshed, bathed in new colors and equipped with several new pieces of furniture is definitely a reason for joy, on the other, the preparations are certainly not.

If you have set yourself with a task of redecorating your home and are not in a situation to spend much money, you should know that it can be accomplished according to your wishes and within budget, all it takes is some research, time and taste.

1. Stay within budget. The first thing that needs to be done is determining the budget. Once we know how much we can spend, it is easy to choose within a specific range of items. Things we will pay more for are those that we do not replace so often, like couches, sofas, dining room tables and larger furniture. These are used the most, so they must be of higher quality. However, you can save even on armchairs, dining room and coffee tables, shelves or night stands if you decide to reupholster them.

If there is nothing you can do with your furniture, before resorting to buying retail, you can visit a garage sale or eBay. You can sometimes get a bargin, especially if you go for second hand items which you can transform on your own. (are you creative and handy?)
2. Accessorizing. Guests should feel the owner’s character the moment they enter the home, which is why special attention should be paid to the entry area or hallway. It is easy to stay within the budget by placing a fruit bowl in the hallway or an interesting key stand. Coat hangers, shoe racks, framed pictures or souvenirs from the travels can tell a life story if they are the right color and placed the right way.

Home accessorizing does not have to be expensive. An affordable way of redecorating is using accessories such as cushions, covers, throw blankets, curtains, glass shelves, vases and picture frames for getting the new look of the house.

What is also gained is a possibility to change the interior seasonally or whenever we feel like it without much effect to the home budget. This is easily done by changing accessories or replacing the smaller decor items with the one of different color, but still according to our mood, season or current trend.
Pic 2 blog
Photo Credit: Flickr

3. Rearrange furniture. When people get bored with the furniture they have, instead of starting with redecorating and spending additional money, redesigning the furniture layout is something to consider.

The sense of novelty can be achieved by making one piece of furniture central and organizing other items around it. Changing placement of the flower pots, decorative baskets or paintings from one room of the house to another will instantly refresh the home and give it a dash of originality.

Whenever there is a wish to change something, we can start by changing the focal point of the room. We can also do this by making some other pieces of the furniture stand out through lighting.
4. Renting appliances. If you need a new appliance and you do not have the money to buy it immediately, you can always rent it. With rent to own stores, you have the option of having an appliance for a weekly or monthly fee. There is also an option of signing a contract which will guarantee owning the appliance after a certain time period, with the amount you paid for renting deducted. On the other hand, if you decide that for some reason you no longer need it, it can always be returned.

The reasons why we redecorate are many, from moving to another home or apartment and having a clean start, to just replacing the old furniture with new. However, there does not have to be a reason for redecorating other than indulging the need for creating our private sanctuaries and expressing our creativity.

How To Bring the Outdoors In

Here in AZ it is finally time to throw open the doors, slide open the windows and enjoy time outside.  The following infographic describes some easy ways to create visual and functional flow between the inside of your home and the outside spaces. (please ‘click’ on the image to get a larger, more readable size)

Shutter Co-Outdoor_IG

http://www.shutterco.ie/

Symmetry in Design

I wanted to share a wonderful article published by Fresh Home about why our brains feel innately comfortable with visual symmetry in design plans.

Use balance to help bring a balanced look to your interiors. Image Via: Culligan Abraham Architecture

Use balance to help bring a balanced look to your interiors. Image Via: Culligan Abraham Architecture

Here is an excerpt from the full article:

“We all know an example of good interior design when we see it. In fact, most of us can make that judgment almost instantly. Have you ever wondered why that ability seems to come to us so instinctually, even though we may not be professional interior designers?

It all has to do with symmetry, or a sense of balance, that has been achieved within a space. Symmetrical design cues effect our subconscious, even when they are too subtle to be consciously acknowledged with our first glance. All of us are drawn to balanced images and tend to think them more aesthetically pleasing than their off-kilter counterparts.

As for why we love symmetrical spaces so much, you’ll have to read on to find out. Plus, you’ll discover how to bring a harmonious feel into your own interiors, regardless of your personal style.

Minimalistic Design Style

We received this guest post that talks about minimalistic design style.  Clean lines, uncluttered spaces, neutral color schemes and more can define this style of design.  In today’s cluttered world of non-stop media, wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a home with a soothing minimalistic design style?  Not sterile or super modern, but calm in nature, a respite from a busy life.


The Elegance And Practicality Of Minimalism

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Photo credit: Flickr

For those who wish to make a statement with clean lines, interesting furniture and a clutter free environment, minimalism is the way to go. Minimalist interior design became quite popular in the 1960s, with its focus on straight lines, and geometric contrast which resulted in clean and coherent homes.

Surfaces in a minimalist interior are often light coloured, combining to create organised spaces and a sense of airiness. If there are shelves, they usually float in the air; every item having its own space. Storage is hidden and the basic principle is simplicity, inevitably leading to elegance.

Focal point. When decorating in a minimalistic manner, your aim is to create balance between the space, surfaces, and objects, making it all as functional and unobtrusive as possible. Often, there is just one thing in the room that grabs the attention: a piece of furniture, the view from the window, a work of art or just colour. The attention and skill comes in when balancing other objects with it.

Colours of minimalism. There should be a single colour on the walls; two different colours would be a tolerable maximum. The interior itself is organised in a way that no more than three shades of similar colours are present. When choosing colour for walls, white or shades of white are always the right choice for the “clean” impression minimalism aims at. The colour is added to the room with accessories. Favourite colours are accentuated through vases, picture frames, cushions and curtains. These should evoke visual interest in the space and insert the character of the person using the space. As these objects are usually small and not too distracting, their colours and designs should be bolder. Of course, the amount of accessories should be brought to a minimum so as to avoid clutter.

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Photo Credit: Boutique Homes

Use of materials and texture. Sustainable and eco-friendly materials are the ones you wish to use in minimalism, as well as elements such as glass, mirrors, polished cement, architectural fabric, stone and wire. Also, minimalism wants to draw nature into the room and that is usually the one seen through the windows of the apartment or the house. Windows here are very important and are tended to be big, without curtains, blinds or shades, or anything for that matter that blocks the view. If going for a “clean” look then steel and chrome are the right choice, but do not overdo it and create a sterile space. Finishes in minimalism are supposed to be simple, while textures are rough, such as brick, concrete, wood or plaster.

Storage. Minimalism is characteristic for the maximum use of space. Everyday items are to be hidden from sight. Storage is hidden in the walls or furniture itself. Even if there are some cupboards, they are designed to have flat facades made of plastic which can sometimes simulate materials such as wood. In cases where real wood is used, surfaces are textured subtly, but keep in mind that using wood is always more expensive.

Lighting. Some say that lighting is the most important thing when effectively using space and composition in minimalist design. You will often find pendant lights, hidden lighting, or large overhang floor lamps in such homes. The option to dim the lights is a must since minimalist homes can sometimes be harsh during the night. Again, lights are used for making the focal point stand out, whether this is a specific object, angle or part of the room.

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Photo Credit: Flickr

Objects and furniture. Large pieces of furniture should be avoided. The only large piece can be the sofa, if the aim is for the sofa to be the central part of the room. Anything you do not need or use should not be in the room – and that goes both for furniture and decoration. The accent is on spatial freedom, but with interest in details. The colour of the furniture should contrast with the walls or be simply white. Patterns on the textiles are also to be avoided, while fabrics should be cotton or flax in a solid colour. Similarly to other minimalistic furniture, cabinets, sofas, chairs and armchairs are of simple geometrical forms and shapes.

Minimalism has become an art of balancing the living space with the living utilities and our busy lives. Somewhere in between, elegance has found its way in trying to make it simple. It is not always easy to accomplish but it is worthwhile.

11 Things to Expect During a Remodel

S Interior Design has been working with clients on a lot of remodel projects lately. Folks are investing in their homes, or moving into new homes that need a bit of updating. Below we share a well written article that high lights some of things to expect when you under take a remodeling project.

11 Things to Expect With Your Remodel
Prepare yourself. Knowing what lies ahead during renovations can save your nerves and smooth the process
By: Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS

If you’ve never remodeled before or are taking on a big project, you may feel a little nervous. How much will it cost? How long will it take? Between the large expense and the excitement of anticipating your finished remodel, it’s hard not to feel a little apprehensive. Knowing what to expect can help allay your fears and make you better prepared for what’s to come.

1. Dust.   Even with elaborate ZipWalls, a fine layer of dust can gather in parts of your home far from construction. There are a few ways to control it. If you can, close off the construction area from the rest of your house with a compression-fit temporary wall. Running air filtering systems called air handlers can also pull the dust from the air on the non-construction side of the house. Heat the house without your furnace if possible, or completely block the warm-air and cold-air returns in the construction area. If you don’t, you’ll just be pulling dust from that section of the house into the part where you’re living. Consult an HVAC company before blocking ducts to make sure your furnace will still work effectively.

2. Noise.  It will be incessant. Whining saws, scratching Sheetrock sanders and thumping nail guns followed by bellowing compressors: in short, little peace or quiet. Find another place to nap and don’t count on working from home unless your home office is far away from the construction zone. If you’re sure it couldn’t possibly be that bad, visit someone else’s home under construction and you’ll see.

3. Triumphant highs. For you it may be the demolition of the ugly vinyl floors in your kitchen. For others it may be the installation of the carefully selected back splash tile. Others still may feel elated only when they see Sheetrock go in or get to relax when their project is completely done.

4. Multiple sighs. It may be that you just want to be done, or that you’re tired of answering so many questions and writing so many checks. Or you may just be tired of having so many people in your house. Hang in there — remodeling fatigue will be short lived when you get to move back into your newly remodeled space.

5. The unexpected. If you expect anything, expect this. Asbestos, irregular framing, jerry-rigged wiring, funny plumbing and more unexpected surprises are bound to arise. No, you won’t be laughing, and neither will your contractor. Count on finding something no one could have anticipated in your budget and your time frame, and you will be well prepared when it happens.

6. Change orders. The unexpected’s cousin is the change order, by which any new and changed work is documented, along with added or reduced cost. Change orders can also be used to resolve allowances, which are placeholders in the budget for particular items. But most often change orders occur because of things that clients decide to add or change. When you absolutely positively have to have that Italian tile, you can bet a change order is on the way.

7. Cash concerns.  Even if your project is right on budget, the sheer amount of money you are spending may cause a bit of a freakout. If you’re used to writing four-digit checks, you can easily be writing checks with one or two more zeros during a large remodel. If costs are increasing, along with change orders, it could increase your anxiety. Having cash on hand that’s a bare minimum of 10 percent above contract for contingencies will help alleviate that stress. Have 20 percent if you want to worry less.

8. Delays. Snow falls, people get sick, cars break down and sometimes faucets ordered from the factory take 10 weeks instead of six. You and your contractor will likely be working from a schedule that assumes the world is a perfect place. It’s not, and knowing that will allow you to be resilient when your schedule shifts a bit.

9. Decisions. Where should that outlet be? How high do you want the shower head? Where do you want the cabinet hardware mounted? Oil-rubbed bronze or chrome or brushed nickel or satin nickel? Is your head spinning yet? Count on hundreds of questions that you’ll need to answer as your project proceeds, or select your architect (OR DESIGNER!) as your proxy. Just know that your selection of a contractor is the first of many you will make.

10. Outliers. At the end of your project, expect one or two punch-list items that will take longer to resolve than anything else. It may be a light fixture that arrives broken or the very last two pieces of tile. The important thing is to get the final details right, even if they take a little longer.

11. A party! Expect that you will want to show off your newly remodeled kitchen, living room or addition. We have had clients throw parties and invite friends, along with us and our trade partners. It’s gratifying for everyone to see a beautifully finished home filled with people enjoying themselves.

Tell us: What have you learned from your latest remodel?

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Great guest post that speaks to the benefits of Green Design in the work space.  Many of these principles and practices are scalable to the residential environment too.

S Interior Design encourages eco-friendly design elements where ever feasible for their projects residential and commercial.

 

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Protecting the environment has become a vital issue for many people. As the need for environmentally conscious ways of living increases, businesses are now doing their part to introduce green initiatives into their workspaces.
Listed here are 5 examples of the most interesting and creative green work environments that have been developed by companies in recent years. Each example goes out to prove the various tactics that industry leaders are tackling in order to accomplish, essentially, their most important job: preserving the environment!

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Seattle’s Bullitt Center
Considered the greenest business building in the world, the Bullitt Center in Seattle has over 50,000 square feet of space and uses a small percentage of the energy normally required for commercial buildings.  It has been designed to create its own energy source by using solar panel technology. But because Seattle has relatively little sunshine throughout the year, the Bullitt Center also utilizes the grid when needed.  The building contains showers on each of its floors and has no automobile parking on its premises. It does provide covered parking for bicycles, encouraging occupants to use bikes in place of cars.

Skanska, Väla Gård 120925Foto: Klas Andersson
Skanska’s Green Building
Skanska’s office building is located on a former farm in Sweeden. It’s the nation’s first Deep Green building and has a net-zero energy consumption level. No hazardous materials were used for its construction, and none of the waste produced during the process ended up in landfills.

Similar to the Bullitt Center, Skanska’s green workspace uses a solar power system for its energy. The building uses heat recovery units that help reuse a large percentage of heat that would otherwise be lost in outgoing air. The building cost $5 million and used locally sourced materials in its construction.

The Jones Lang LaSalle building prioritized non-hazardous materials in its construction and recycled approximately 75 percent of the waste produced. The building uses sensors to monitor daylight and occupancy as a means of controlling its energy requirements. This creative green workspace was able to reduce its water use by 40 percent along with an overall energy reduction of 13 percent. But perhaps more significant was the result it had on the building’s occupants.  When looking at the number of sick days of its employees, the company discovered that absenteeism was lowered by over 30 percent. The green technology led to fewer sick days among workers, pushing the notion that going green isn’t just beneficial for the environment, but for the people as well!
Lohre and Associates
Cincinnati saw the green workplace revolution appear in the workspace of Lohre and Associates. It saved considerable costs both in its construction and in its operation. Scraps from carpet and wood were recycled and composted in the building process, while old window blinds were reused. The building features creative green bathroom technology that uses hand-washing adapters that funnel sink water into toilets, which in turn, reduces massive amounts of water usage.

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Energy Systems Design

Energy Systems Design utilized environmentally-friendly energy controls, plumbing and lighting systems within their green workspace. Although limited in their ability to renovate the existing structure, they found creative ways to design a greener workspace.   Throughout the building, recycled materials such as used glass and wood were utilized in a remarkable act of turning junk into something new. Also, rubber cork tiles were used for the building’s flooring, which helped to further the project’s resourcefulness and aesthetic appeal. The result of is a set of high-efficiency units that save energy and reduce costs.
The possibilities are endless…

Plenty of other companies now, too, are joining the green workspace revolution, by initializing smarter design tactics that consist of recycled and eco-friendly materials. To some it may mean resorting to more heavily involved projects such as harvesting solar power and implementing smart water systems to cut down wasteful consumption, but to others, it may be something as simple as installing glass balustrades, such as those offered by Aqua Vista Glass. A solution like this allows for the use of more natural light to indoor spaces and less dependency on timber resources. This saves energy and costs for business owners, while creating a more naturally lit open space that promotes a smarter, eco-friendly standard.

As more people become conscious of the need to reduce waste and energy consumption, eco-friendly workspaces will become the norm. Employees will reap the benefits of a greener work environment, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of the solution, and not the problem.

Image credit: wikipedia.org and http://www. group.skanska.com/
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who travels frequently. She is interested in all forms of green design, particularly those modern, clever ideas that can help in protecting the environment.