LED Lighting: Pros and Kind of a Con

led light

Below is a guest post on the subject of using LED lighting options for the interior and exterior of your home (or office for that matter!). S Interior Design specifies LED light options for all of our client projects.    Even if it is simply replacing existing recessed can light bulbs with an LED option, the new light output can make a big difference in how the space looks. Continue reading

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?

How to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen Space

Introduction

When it comes to kitchen size, is bigger always better?   If you have optimized your kitchen design and storage space, you many be just fine with a smaller sized kitchen.  The article below is a guest post on the subject of how to make the most of your kitchen space.   At the  end of the day if you determine you do indeed need a larger kitchen space, please make sure to develop a detailed design plan  BEFORE embarking upon a remodel.   Good planning and hiring professionals to assist you in the design and implementation phase will save you time and money and a lot of head aches.  S Interior Design adds their ‘2 cents’ shown in blue color font.

How to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen Space

It seems like there’s never enough room in the kitchen. Between accumulating extra kitchen tools and to learning how to make extravagant recipes, you likely need extra space. It’s no wonder that this is one of the most commonly remodeled room in the home, and homeowners are constantly looking for new kitchen layout ideas. Transforming your entire kitchen takes time if you want to do it right. In the meantime, there are simple steps you can take to make the most out of your small kitchen.

Creative kitchen tools storage

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu

Get Rid of the Clutter

Nothing makes cooking more difficult than a cluttered kitchen. Store unused appliances into cabinets to free up counter space so you can cook properly. Having a set system in place can make using and storing small appliances easy so you aren’t left scrambling to make room at the last minute.

Go Up–It can strain your back to lift heavier appliances down from higher cabinets or up from low cabinets.  There are products that you can retrofit existing cabinets with to address this issue.  Check out Rev-A-Shelf   for ideas. Lift

Some home cooks face a dilemma if they need to use multiple appliances in a small kitchen. If you lack cabinet space, one solution is to temporarily store your appliances on top of the cabinets. This way you can take them down and use the tools when needed, but still have counter space.

 Knock Out Useless Storage

Cabinets can be your best friend when it comes to storing your kitchen goods, but when left unused, they can actually take up space. Knock out any cabinets you aren’t using. You can either leave them open as storage shelves, or take out the whole unit for extra counter space.

Kitchen spice storage

Photo Credit: trendir.com

Create Extra Storage

On the other hand, a lack of storage may be your problem. If fine dishes and other less commonly used items are taking up space, move them out of the kitchen. Use a china cabinet or wall storage in an adjoining room instead. For other less commonly used kitchen tools, such as Christmas tableware, consider moving it into storage until the season comes.

Remove Excess Furniture

Islands, stools and chairs can be useful in the kitchen. If you don’t use them often, however, it may be time to downsize to open up more space in the room. Consider replacing the furniture with smaller versions, or taking them out altogether.

Knock Out a Wall–Please do not knock down any walls before you know the structural implications!

If your kitchen is starting to become a little too claustrophobic for your liking, you can solve this problem by taking out an extra wall. The most common wall to take out is the one that separates the sink area to the dining area or family room. Not only will you create a sense of openness, but you can also add additional counter space on the other side of the room.

Use a Fresh Color—Make sure to use a washable paint finish in the kitchen regardless of the color chosen.  If you do choose to have a lighter paint on the kitchen walls, you can still add color with the back splash tiles, window treatments, kitchen accessories and on the floor.

In some cases, a kitchen might feel small, but the size is actually quite decent. If you are looking for a way to instantly make your kitchen look bigger, consider painting it a light color. Light pastels, beige and white are all good candidates. Before buying white appliances to match, know that your modern stainless steel dishwasher, oven and refrigerator can match any paint color.

 

 

Sara Fletcher is a professional blogger who writes on a variety of topics, ranging from home improvement, décor, and design. She loves to learn about sprucing up her home, and is always looking for the next writing opportunity.

Master Bedroom Makeovers-A Short Video

Master Bedroom Makeovers by S Interior Design- We all love a movie right? Short and sweet with some nice music to go along 🙂

 

Transformative Power of Art

 Trans-formative Value of Art

Below is a guest post about what I will call ‘the power of art’.

S Interior Design uses a generous definition for the word art.  We believe that art should make you smile   when you look at it. So, that said a nicely framed picture of a vineyard you visited could indeed be great art, as could a child’s drawing.  The key is in the presentation—don’t expect a poster thumb tacked to the wall to be pleasing to the eye.  Invest in the proper mat board and framing and you will be amazed at what can happen to your child’s painting from 5th grade.

Guest Post

Although I’ve always been a big fan of interior design it has only been recently that I’ve truly begun to have a full appreciation for the trans-formative values of art. I must confess, I always thought ill of those overly proud of their new painting, sculpture, or art. I was an avid fan of contemporary styles, with a minimalist approach. I was of the opinion that the sleek look, along with sparse furnishing and sharp lines, gave a real clean, organized, powerful aura.

Recently however, I’ve come to appreciate an appropriately placed piece of art. It can add true depth to a room, granting reflection and meaning where previously there was blank space. Whether you feel the way I once did, or share my current views, here is why I now consider art to be a trans-formative agent in a room.

The greatest way in which a piece of wall art transforms living space is adding a depth of reflection. Artwork inspires reflection for various reasons. Mainly for these three:

The art was made by a human being, and you can’t help but reflect on the thoughts of the human behind the art.

This is one of the most powerful ways art makes one reflect. Art, whether through beauty, abstractness, or sheer uniqueness, makes one wonder. To consider that a human made this piece of wonder causes a further wonder that someone was not only able to, but had deeper motives. Humans, being naturally curious, can’t help but reflect and consider what might have been the motivation and thoughts behind the creation.

The wondrous qualities of the artwork itself.

This is often the initial way that artwork causes us to reflect and wonder. It draws the eye, pulls us in, and suddenly, before we know it, we’re standing and reflecting and staring. Thinking about the amazing, unbelievable qualities of beauty, strength, power, subtlety, or whatever aspect the painting best personifies.

The depths of your own imagination.

A surprisingly large portion of artwork plays off the imagination of the viewer. Almost all abstract art relies on the viewer to draw their own, deep conclusions based upon what can actually be surprisingly simple. This leads the perceiver to wonder and reflect at the depths of their own imagination, and reflect upon not only what lies in the depths of imagination but also what in the artwork causes such a visceral reaction of thought.

To help capture the attention needed for reflection, and further add to the trans-formative value of artwork, one should attempt to subtly orient furniture toward artwork. Many people will throw a painting on a wall and be happy. Or, if someone is over proud of their new painting, they’ll frame it, hang it up, throw a light feature on it, and attempt to force everyone to stare at it. This can, in ways, be worse than hanging art without accentuating it.

Artwork should be subtly brought to attention. To do this, try placing it somewhere where people usually face. For example, place it somewhere it can immediately be seen upon entering the home. Or, if in a bedroom, have it facing the bed. Somewhere where the eye will naturally happen across the artwork.

I still firmly believe in a minimalist approach to interior design. However, I believe with the right piece of art a room gains much-needed depth. Try including a medium-sized piece of art alone in a clean, uncluttered room. Enjoy the reflection, beauty, and depth added. Everyone must follow their own heart’s guidelines when making their own living space, but I hope you have appreciated my own thoughts on the trans-formative properties of art.

Author Bio: Edward Stuart is an interior design aficionado, and follows all things design and fashion. He is an online publisher for the framed art expert www.framedart.com and blogs on the topics of interior design, home decor, and fashion tips.


101 Designer Secrets–#4 and #5

The May issue of House Beautiful magazine has a 4 page spread of 101 Designer Secrets.  We read them and decided to share along with some commentary.  Not all 101 will be shared, but you can click on the link above to HB, or subscribe to their hard copy magazine to read them all if you wish to.

SECRET #4:  

The hang up–where to hang my artwork?  I’ve found that 63″ on center above the floor is a perfect viewing height for most pieces-Hunter Kaiser

Commentary by S Interior Design

It is definitely one of the most common faux pas —hanging the artwork too high on a wall.  If the person doing the hanging is 6′-3″ their perspective is different from someone who is 5′-5″.  This is a good rule of thumb to begin with, 63″ above the floor.  Variables to consider include whether the art is above a piece of furniture and the height of that furniture.

When the art is not being hung above a piece of furniture, the guideline changes.  I like to ‘own the wall visually’ if that is the only element being placed.  Then lower placement and stacked art work higher on the wall often makes more sense.

This artwork is 78"x78" and the ceiling is 12'-0" high

SECRET #5

When you are hanging a series of pictures together, keep the gap between them 2 to 2 1/2″ to really utilized the wall space, and keep a minimum of 9″ between the art and the tops of sofas and chairs-Milly De Cabrol

Commentary by S Interior Design-

Agree and then a small disagree.  Yes to the gap between pieces of art being hung together, but we generally keep the space between the art and tops of sofas and chairs to 7″.  Again, style of the furniture, height of the ceiling and the composition of the art being hung are variables to be considered.

 

Summary-

There are good rules of thumb but all situations should be evaluated as unique to determine the best way to hang and display your artwork.

 

 

Add a Bit of British Cool to Your Home or Apartment on this Side of the Pond!

We love keeping in touch with and learning what’s going on globally with design, be it interiors, architecture, or products. This week’s guest blog brings a bit of the UK to our shores. So much is great design is happening over there now, so why not brighten up a living room, or a bedroom or even your kitchen with some great British inspired, British made products!

The hype around the Royal Wedding last year, the continuing popularity of Downtown Abbey, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics later this year means that once again it is cool to be British and this has been reflected in this years’ hottest interior design trends.

Interior design in 2012 will see a return to traditional British design. We’ve already seen it on the fashion runway with the popularity of Jonathan Saunders and now interior furnishings are favoring British designs with iconic prints, pastel color blocks, floral designs and gingham fabrics being used to complement the clean and sleek furniture trends from 2011.

To achieve this look with the furnishing you already have, add some British flair with oversized pillows in floral prints and pastels or floor length curtains in bold, iconic prints. Liberty offers some great home accessories, like the Edenham Liberty print silk and velvet cushion, as well as some new season fabrics that have been inspired by English nostalgia as well as the upcoming Olympics. The best thing about this trend is that adding a bit of traditional British elegance is as easy as pulling out the sewing machine (think pillowcases!).

British patriotism is also a hot trend continuing on from 2011 with everything from Union Jack pillows to wall decor. The Shoreditch Union Jack Ottoman from The French Bedroom  makes a great statement piece. The ottoman, in vibrant colors, makes a great coffee table with the added benefit of offering a storage space. Alternatively British furniture designer Jennifer Cooper’s Jack Upholstered Storage Box in muted tones is a great British made storage solution at a fraction of the cost.

If lavishing your home in Union Jack’s isn’t your thing try Graham and Brown’s Crown and Coronets wallpaper for a more subtle approach to cool Britannia. Crown and Coronets wallpaper can also be decorated with jewels, perfect for your very own little princess. Recreate the definitive British with Keep Calm and Carry On wall art; variations on the saying can be found everywhere, from Camden market to numerous online outlets.

For something with a bit of an edge have a look at Tobyboo’s range of tea towels and cushions with iconic images of London in bright yellows and oranges. Or if you’re on a budget, add a splash of Olympic Blue (also known as Pantone 19-4056) against some clean contemporary lines to get into the Olympic fever.

Roomservice By CORT is a company that specializes in furniture rentals, furniture packages, and has a passion for all things interior design.

About Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID
Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID, is the owner and founder of S Interior Design, the exclusive provider of Pawprint Design Services™. Suzanne works with her clients to develop a winning combination of design elements that result in warm, comfortable and functional spaces that reflect each client’s personal style. Suzanne and her team specialize in residential, contract and hospitality interior design, from simple color selections, to office build outs, to restaurant, spa and hotel designs. Suzanne shares her years of expertise through the power of social media. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, and at this blog. To speak to Suzanne about your interior design needs, please call 480-220-4659 or visit her website at www.sinteriordesign.com.