As Seen in The Electric City News: Pillow Play

Pillows are one of the most important finishing elements in most rooms and a great opportunity to add personality and interest. While coming up with the perfect combination may seem intimidating, there is a pretty straightforward formula to getting a mix that works. Listed below are some guidelines for ‘pillow play’.

Begin by developing a color scheme. Pull colors from your rug, other prominent textiles in the room like curtains, or art. Your color scheme can incorporate multiple colors if the room is already saturated or be completely neutral. Then, use different size pillows. The size of your pillows will depend on the area that you’re planning for, sofa or bed, but in any scenario, you should use a couple of different sizes. For a sofa, for example, a couple of 22” squares, one or two 20” squares and a lumbar is a good size variation. Next, when selecting the patterns, mix it up. Use large scale pattern, small scale pattern, a stripe or a solid. A multicolored pillow with soft lines or block print will add interest and movement, a stripe or geometric print will give structure and balance and a solid pillow will give a break from the pattern. Finally, incorporate interesting textures. Good texture is important for all of the pillows, but most important for the solid. A solid pillow can have as much appeal as a pattern if it’s in a great texture like velvet, linen, faux fur, thick woven wool, hide or adorned with fringe or tassel. Put the larger pillows on the end or in the back, fill in with the smaller pillows, put the lumbar in front and, voila!

If you’re feeling bored with your bedroom or living room, pillows are a quick and affordable update. Play around with different options and styles. And as always, if it’s not quite right, throw in something unexpected! An offbeat color or something vintage is often just what your design needs. After all, these are only guidelines, and design rules are meant to be broken!

For inspiration, I’ve put together some different pillow combinations. Contact Amie for pillow information.

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As Seen in The Electric City News: Design Books, A Few of My Favorites

Design inspiration is everywhere. You turn on HGTV, open up a blog or look at social media and chances are you are loaded with ideas, pictures, DIYs and current trends. While I love seeing what other designers are up to while scrolling through Instagram or reading up on a new ‘How To’ on a favorite designer’s blog, nothing is more inspirational (or educational) to me that reading through a great design book. So, I have rounded up a few of my most beloved.

Domino: The Book of Decorating by Domino Editors (Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello & Dara Caponigro)

               This is one of the first design books that I owned. Given to me by my Mom when I was in design school it has guides for decorating and styling every room as well as a decorator’s handbook to window treatments and upholstery.

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves by Emily Henderson

               Written by stylist Emily Henderson, this book helps you determine your own style and gives ideas on incorporating that style into your home. Complete with her signature quirky touches each space feels unique and interesting.

Mark Hampton: On Decorating by Mark Hampton

               On Decorating is an incredible guidebook on the basics of decorating and creating a home in a timeless way. This book is a compilation of essays and watercolor illustrations written for House and Garden.

Michael S Smith: Houses by Michael Smith with Christine Pittel

               Michael Smith has a way of layering a room together like no one else. In this book he walks the reader through some of his projects, including his own home, teaching us his method to creating the ideal home.

The Great American House: Tradition for the Way We Live Now by Gil Schafer with Marc Kristal

               Written by traditional architect, Gil Schafer, this book gives beautiful examples of renovating and building homes in an updated way, while respecting their historic qualities. He breaks down a house into three elements: Architecture, Decoration and Landscape and showcases four homes designed by him.

Each of these books are very different, offering an abundance of knowledge and inspiration. Whether you are new to your interest of design, eager to expertly style each room, looking for time honored instruction delivered in an entertaining way, ready to learn from one of the greats or a lover of historical architecture and traditional design, one of these books is for you. Not to mention any of them would look great on your coffee table. See, win-win!

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As Seen in The Electric City News: Hanging Curtains

Curtains are one of the fastest ways to make a room feel complete. In the right space, they add softness, warmth and texture. Curtains can be ready made, custom, installed on their own or paired with shades but in any execution, there is a proper way to hang them. Hanging curtains with these tips in mind will guarantee that they will be the (seemingly) effortless touch that finishes your room.

First, hang the curtains as high as possible. When buying ready made curtains you are a little limited with this as you chose from set lengths. But when you can, hang them as high as you can up to a couple of inches below the crown moulding. Installing the curtains high will make your ceilings seem higher and your space feel bigger. If you would like to save money by purchasing readymade curtains but want to hang them high, buy the size up and have them hemmed. This will give you a more custom look without the expense. Second, hang the rods wide enough. Rod hardware should be hung 6-10” on either side of your window trim, allowing more sunlight to pass through and giving the effect that your window is larger. When possible, you want your curtains to cover mostly wall, and only a little bit of window. Third, consider your curtain panel width. Single panel curtains can often look skimpy on larger windows. So, when you have a large window, and adequate wall space on either side, consider doubling the curtain panels on each side.  For ready made curtains you can hang two panels per side or have two panels sewn together. Either way, fuller panels will look well planned and intentional. Fourth, get the curtain length right. Curtains can be installed in several ways; barely grazing the floor, pooled slightly on the floor, or puddled on the floor for a more romantic look. I prefer the tailored and clean look of the first option, skimming the floor, but any of these will work, as long as your curtains aren’t too short. You can have beautiful curtains in a fantastic fabric but if they are too short, it is the first thing that you will notice.

Whether custom or readymade, curtains are an opportunity to add another layer of a beautiful fabric to your room. Whether they be formal or casual, tailored or relaxed, when hung well they will make your room feel more polished and complete. Happy hanging!

As Seen in The Electric City News: A Neutral Color Scheme

I don’t know about you but something about this time of year (the feeling of never-ending rain and cold, perhaps?) always gets me thinking about brightening up my home. Lightening up the dark moody tones of fall and winter with fresh and more neutral colors. I am such a lover of the neutral / monochromatic color palette. I am also a lover of color. In the internal debate that I have over which direction our home should go in, color has always won out. But one day, maybe, I’ll ditch all of my deep colors for warm whites, soft linens and jute rugs galore. In this event, and for those of you currently living the neutral life, I have some good tips for executing this look well. While going monochromatic may seem easy, without depth it can come across as one note. Here are some guidelines that will help in creating a beautiful and interesting neutral room.

To start, use a wide variation of color. Even though you’re sticking to a neutral color scheme, there are millions of colors that fit into this category. By incorporating a range of color, from black to white, you add complexity to your room. Dark tones are great for wood furniture, pillows, throws and accents. Light colors are nice for rugs, upholstery and accessories. In my opinion, all neutrals work together. White and cream, gray and brown, black and beige. Don’t be afraid to intermix the unexpected. Next, bring in lots of texture. This is key in a monochromatic scheme, and one of the fastest ways to add depth to your space. Use a variety of textures in the room, in any application: seagrass, wood, leather, hide, faux fur, chunky wool, smooth linen, rattan, and mixed metals. Giving a room details that show that it has evolved over time with pieces gathered and collected is just as important (if not more) in a room with a neutral palette. Then, add pattern. This is true for any space, but easy to forget in a monochromatic room. The patterns that you use can be bold statements or subdued accents. Very often a soft or small scaled pattern will give the effect of a texture. In either use, multiple patterns will add visual appeal. Last, bring in something green! Bringing in a plant, some fresh flowers, or a tree gives life to any room.

If you’re thinking of taking the neutral plunge, this is the perfect time of year to do it! And if you do, send me photos! Maybe you’ll inspire me to do the same.

As Seen in The Electric City News: The Power of 3D

One of the pivotal stages of the Interior Design process is presenting your concept to the client. It is the point where you decide if your vision brings their ideas to life, and how the project will proceed. Being able to communicate your thoughts in a way that helps the client visualize them is crucial. There are many tools that designers use to convey their ideas, and different tools are appropriate for different scenarios. For example, AutoCad drawings can provide the client with plans for interior architecture, furniture layout, lighting placement, millwork and other spatial details. Power point presentations can show the client your ideas for lighting, furniture combinations, rugs and accessories. Samples of flooring, tile, fabric and paint allow the client to see and touch finish options. And inspiration photos are a great way of showing the client how an idea might look in a room. All of these tools play an important role, depending on where you are in the design process.

On of my favorite tools, and one of the most fun to present to a client are 3D drawings. 3D drawings can be used for any space but are particularly effective in showing cabinetry, kitchen and bathroom layouts. They are also great for illustrating changes that you plan to make in interior architecture. When looking at a floorplan of a new kitchen it can be hard for clients to envision how it will look in real life. Will the wall cabinets go to the ceiling? Will the overhang on the island be supported by corbels or legs? Where will the hardware be placed? Where will the backsplash begin and end? What would my cabinets look like in a certain color? How thick should my countertops be? Questions like this are answered easily, and different options can be explored when you can move through the space in 3D form. On top of being a great way of communicating information, nothing gets a client more excited than seeing a room that they have been dreaming about brought to life. One of my wonderful Anderson clients has been kind enough to share one of the images that I created for their kitchen. We explored different possibilities for their kitchen, mud room and sitting area and in the end combined their favorite parts until it was their ideal design. Thanks to the power of 3D this process was fun, exciting and gave the clients a sneak peek into their beautiful new space.

As Seen in The Electric City News: For The Love Of Rugs

Rugs. *Sigh* I love them. In my opinion, a rug makes the room. When designing a room from scratch a rug is the perfect place to start. Rugs can dictate color palette, whether the room is formal or casual, and the general style that you are going for.

It used to (and still can) be that rugs were a huge investment piece. The idea of putting your money towards a hand knotted wool or silk rug that would last a lifetime seemed worth the value. I am not opposed to investing in a beautiful and well-made rug, especially if you are confident in your design style and what you are looking for. A rug that you are in love with, that is classic and will last a lifetime IS worth the value. However, if you are young and still developing your taste in design, have pets and young kiddos out to destroy nice things, or just flat out don’t want to spend that kind of money on a rug then I would make a case for the less expensive (but ever-chic) options out there today.

I am blown away by the gorgeous rugs available at such a reasonable price point. Natural fiber rugs, rugs that are made to look vintage, Moroccan style rugs, stripes, plaids and other great motifs. And while some may be machine made or have synthetic material in them, the qualities that may make some frown upon them are what make them so perfect for many of us today. These rugs are good looking, durable, practical and best of all allow you the option to change your mind as your design style evolves without the “But it was so expensive!” heartache. Rugs like this make it possible to take a risk, or to get the look of an antique rug without the fear of wanting something different one day; or of your dog chewing off the corner!

If you are beginning to redecorate a room but the expense of an investment rug is holding you back, I encourage you to expand your search. Designers who believe in offering affordable options are creating showstopping rugs that can transform your space. Take the plunge! Begin your search for a rug that you love, whether it be understated or bold, that will set the stylish foundation that every room needs.

Just to show you what goodness is out there, I’ve included some of my current favorites. Contact for details!

As Seen in The Electric City News: Designing With Kid's Toys

In many of our homes kid’s toys are a reality. Over the years the supply grows, the clutter spreads and before you know it (especially after Christmas when the pile seems to double) what was once a room with your pretty adult things is now a room with adult things completely covered in less attractive, kiddo things. But do not fret! There are ways for your beautiful pieces to cohabitate with your children’s (grandchildren’s, pets) pieces in a cohesive, pleasant and amicable way.

When organizing toys, the first step is to purge. Go through them, throw out broken ones (so many broken toys!), donate the duplicates and ones that your children no longer have interest in. The next step is to separate the toys into groups: books, cars / trucks, Legos, trains and dolls so that they can be stored by category. I find in our house that when we pull out one or two things at a time that my kids play more intentionally and creatively. Once you have the toys organized, I like to set aside the attractive toys… yes, there are attractive toys! The wooden blocks, whimsical or sculptural toys and nice books. When selecting toys to have out and on display, choose the ones that will elevate your décor. Last, find a home for the remaining toys. When planning furniture for a room, especially a play area, storage is key. You can load up a dresser with clear plastic bins of toys, plan storage drawers under a window seat, or designate a cabinet for toys. For the items that don’t have a home in a piece of furniture, store them in decorative baskets, boxes and jars. I have two boys so in our house, we have a ‘car basket’. It’s a huge basket filled with all of the boy’s cars and trucks that sits under a chair in our Living Room. Never would you know that the pretty basket under the chair is home for monster trucks and Lightening McQueen (except for the wheels that stick out of the top). Pretty baskets in a bookcase are great for small toy storage, a huge basket with a top is great for stuffed animals, markers and pencils become pretty when stored in a nice jar or wooden bowl. Get creative!

By intentionally storing and displaying your children’s toys, you and your kids will both have a new appreciation for them. In the end, a home should reflect everyone who lives there, parents and children alike. Turning the storage of your children’s toys into a design project is a great way to allow them to represent the personalities of both you and your littles.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Updates For The Season | A Christmas Mantel

We made it to December! I’ve been ready to bring out our holiday décor for a month; stockings, ornaments, trees and wreaths; all of the special and festive things that make your home feel a few levels happier. Our family waited until the first socially acceptable day (the day after Thanksgiving) to rush out and buy a tree and wreath and have spent the days after adding holiday touches around our house. There is something about a strand of twinkle lights that really does elevate a home – I don’t care what season!

One of the more fun and impactful areas to decorate is the heart of the home; the mantel. There is nothing more festive to me than gathering around a fire, Christmas movie of your choice on in the background, with a beautifully decorated mantel. There are so many directions you could take your mantel décor in: traditional, modern, simple or ornate but with any design there are a few items that should make an appearance.

1.      Candles. Candles are my go-to for adding ‘mood’ to any space. A flickering candle adds a touch of warmth that you can’t create in other ways.

2.      Garland. Using a strand of garland or other Christmas greens will add beautiful color and texture.

3.      Christmas lights. A strand of Christmas lights (in the color of your choice) will give the twinkle that every mantle needs.

4.      Stockings. Whether they are meaningful stockings handmade by your grandmother or a neat set that you come across when shopping they will give a sense of warmth and love for those who live there.

Add these touches to your mantle in a way that works with the holiday décor around your home. Use colors that compliment your other decorations and add in elements that you love or have collected over the years. No mantle? No problem! Incorporate these ideas into bookshelves, up a stair rail or along a table. In any case you will get the same result; an inviting and happy space to enjoy all month… or if you’re like me, straight on into January.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Before + After

Each design project offers its own unique set of parameters; things to consider and design around. In each scenario one of the more important influences is the shell; the exterior and interior architecture of the home. The bones of the home not only give you a peek into its history, but also a direction in which the design should go.

This job description was to update the bathroom and kitchen in a 1930’s home. The house had great bones. An old fireplace, great wood floors and lots of potential. The living room was adjacent to the kitchen and right off the front entry, so we widened the cased opening to create one open space. For the kitchen and the bathroom, I kept the design clean. Classic shaker cabinets painted white with black countertops and carrara subway tile. The goal was to speak to the history of the home while creating a fresh and updated look. A large island in the center of the kitchen incorporated cabinets on the front and back for additional storage, with a countertop overhang that also provided seating. This open approach would encourage connection between the living room and kitchen. The light fixture that I chose to hang above the island was a show stopper. A modern take on a traditional oil lamp, it was finished in matte black with gold leaf on the inside of the shades.

The kitchen was styled with natural wood tones, deep colored rugs and art and fresh greenery. The walls were painted white and the floors refinished in a dark stain; the perfect combination for accentuating architectural details while also creating a nice backdrop for it’s modern updates. This project was so much fun to work on. A home with great structure to work around and lots of opportunity for fresh details; a designer’s dream come true! 

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Mixing Metals

For a time in the interior design world, mixing metal finishes was considered a decorating faux pas. Over the past few years, however, the trend of mixing metals has been on the rise. In many of my articles I write about mixing it up; design periods, furniture styles, textile patterns, anything that will add layers of depth and character to a space. Combining a variety of mixed metals throughout your home is another way to develop a design that looks relaxed, visually interesting and as if the pieces have been collected over time. While this is an easy design to implement when starting from scratch, there are also simple and effective ways to incorporate this look into your existing space. Below I’ve listed a few ideas to help get you started.

1.      Begin with accessories. Picture frames, candle holders and trays are a great way to add a mix of finishes in a subtle way. Stack an antique brass mirror over a simple black frame, pull out a silver tray or incorporate some brass candlesticks.

2.      Update your lighting. Updating pendants, chandeliers or sconces in a contrasting metal will make a big impact in any room. Or, to get the same result with less expense, change out a few lamps. Incorporating something new like a chrome floor lamp or a modern black table lamp will make a big difference.

3.      Change out hardware. Replacing hardware on a piece of furniture or cabinetry is a quick and inexpensive way to add a contrasting metal. If your bathroom finishes are chrome, try replacing the cabinet handles with something brass. Or if the faucets and appliances in your kitchen are stainless, try complimenting them with oil rubbed bronze handles.

It’s important to begin by considering what is existing in your rooms and to coordinate with the colors and finishes that you already have. Choose a few finishes that you like that can be repeated throughout your home. Mixing metals should give an eclectic feel, but also be well composed. Repeating design themes in different rooms helps your house feel well balanced. In the end, have fun and be creative! An unexpected element will always elevate a room and mixing up your finishes is a great place to start. 

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Wallpaper

It’s back! I guess it’s been ‘back’ for a while but as of late I see it everywhere, have clients requesting it and am blown away by the great options and endless resources. What, you may ask, am I referring to? … Wallpaper!

For many, wallpaper may seem like a risky design choice. The options can be daunting, it can be a bit of an investment and not as easy to change your mind on as a paint color. However, when done right, wallpaper can be the thing that not only makes a room but also makes it easier to design. For me, wallpaper is like a rug. It instantly gives you colors, patterns and textures to work around. It can in a subtle or bold way, direct the theme of the room.

Wallpaper can be used in so many ways. It can be a beautiful mural in a dining room, a large-scale animal motif in a kid’s room, a lovely floral in a bathroom or a textured grasscloth in an office. Wallpaper can have a bright and bold pattern for high impact, or a subtle pattern that in an understated way pulls the entire room together. When wallpaper is thoughtfully chosen with the client’s taste in mind it can be a special part of the home that adds warmth and character.

To show the wide range of wallpaper options available I have selected 15 of my favorites in a neutral color way. These patterns come in many colors and as you can see, there is something for everyone! If you feel inspired, give it a try! Wallpaper is a great way to make a big change.

Interested in any of the patterns you see below? Or the perfect wallpaper for a special space? Contact me for details!

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing the paint colors for your home can be one of the most important decisions in the design process. I also find that for many clients it’s the most overwhelming. You can go in so many different directions and once you’ve nailed down your color there are still thousands of options. And like most things, it’s the very subtle differences that make the biggest impact.

When first selecting a color it’s important to consider the pieces that you’ll be working around: upholstery, rugs and textiles, for example. You’ll want a backdrop that compliments the pieces that you have collected and plan to use. The color should also be one that you love. If you aren’t sure, consider your general style. What colors do you find yourself most often wearing? Green? Blue? Neutrals only? This is often a good indicator of what you’re drawn to. Once you’ve chosen a color family, (if you’re brave!) you can pull out a paint deck and start looking. If you’d like a little more guidance, consult a favorite resource: Pinterest! Search for ‘best neutral blue paint colors’ or ‘best warm grey paint colors’. Often you’ll find that designers have posted their favorite colors; the ones that have taken them years (and a lot of trial and error) to discover. After selecting a few colors that you like, search for those specific colors on Pinterst. Many times you can see them used in rooms. A color rarely looks the same as it does on a color chip, so seeing photos of it being used is very helpful. Once you’ve narrowed your search down to several colors, you’ve reached the most important part: SAMPLE. Get samples of each color to either paint on boards or directly on the walls you are going to paint. Paint colors look different in every room, in every lighting scenario; natural versus artificial, north versus south facing, morning versus night, a sunny day versus a rainy one. It is so important to see the colors in the space over the span of a couple of days to see how they change. For instance, a blue that you love in one room could look purple in another. This is the most crucial step in the process and could save you a potential mistake and a few buckets of paint.

Although it can be intimidating, painting the rooms in your house can also be exciting. With these tips I hope that you can carefully select a color that you feel confident in. Enjoy the process! Painting is the fastest and easiest way to transform a space.  

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Updates for the Season: FALL

While the temps outside may indicate otherwise, it’s official: Fall is here! For many this means pumpkin spice lattes, scarves and boots but for me this means a shift in the feel of home.  The sweet transition from long hot days to darker evenings, candles burning, fires crackling (one of these days) and warm cups of coffee. Each season feels like a new beginning, a fresh start, and another opportunity to make subtle changes in your home that reflect a different time in life. So, I’ve rounded up some easy and cost-effective ways to update your home for the season.

-        Get cozy! A new throw in a great plaid or faux fur will instantly add warmth to your living room. Top it off with a couple of pillows in a chunky fabric or velvet and the space is transformed.

-        Bring the outside in. Arranging some whimsical branches from your yard in a tall vase, surrounded with acorns and pine cones is a great way to bring the beauty of the season inside.

-        Candles, candles, candles. Stock up on a couple of seasonally scented, and a whole lot of taper and pillar candles. Visit your local thrift shop for some great vintage candle holders and use them! Nothing gives a home more of a warm and welcoming feeling than the glow of a flickering flame.

-        Set up your stoop. Hang a fall wreath on your door, plant a few new flowers in warm tones and layer pumpkins of different sizes and colors on your front steps. A beautiful entrance sets the stage for a beautiful interior.

To finish it off I’ve collected some of my favorite affordable Fall items this season, all available at Target. Below are numbered images with direct links. Now; light a candle, grab that pumpkin spice latte, turn down the air conditioning (only half joking), and enjoy a welcoming atmosphere that will lead us into another beautiful season.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | The Art of Hanging Art

Art is an important part of every home. Whether it be a sentimental relic, a statement piece or a thrifted find it is a component that tells a story, draws conversation and pulls a room together. Hanging art incorrectly is also one of the easiest mistakes you can make. But the good news is, this is an easy fix! Here are a few tips for getting your art hung correctly.

1)     Get the height right. The most common mistake made in hanging art is that it is hung too high. On an open wall a good rule of thumb is that the art should be hung at ‘eye level’. Since ‘eye level’ is different for everyone, a reliable standard is to hang 60” from the center of the artwork to the floor. If the art is hung over a piece of furniture, placing it 4”-8” above should be just right.

2)     Treat a grouping as one piece. One of my favorite ways to hang art is in a vertical grouping of two. A piece of art with a small round mirror above or two matching pieces stacked. Whatever the combination, 2, 3 or 4 pieces of art, treat them as one unit. The center of the grouping should be 60” above the floor. The spacing between each piece should be no more than a few inches apart.

3)     Designing a gallery wall. A gallery wall is a look that never gets old for me. If you have a collection of art and mirrors a great way to display them is to cover your wall. With a gallery the rule is the same, the center should be 60” above the floor and the pieces should be no more than a few inches apart. Smaller pieces can be grouped more tightly, and larger pieces can have a little more space in between. Evenly distribute color and size of the art and frames for balance, allowing your eye to travel through the entire grouping. To avoid excess holes in your wall, you can lay the pieces out on the floor to try different arrangements or cut out the frame sizes on paper to place on your wall with painters’ tape, helping you experiment with layouts.  

In every scenario, the best way to know if art is hung appropriately is to see it. Recruit a partner to hold it in place so that you can see what it will look like. These tips are good guidelines, but every space is different. Ceiling heights vary as do the sizes of your furniture and art. If it doesn’t feel right when you see it, try something else. Experiment with scales and combinations to find the perfect solution for your space.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Before & After

One of my favorite design jobs of 2017 was a house that I worked on for a building company in Greenville. They were renovating a home to sell and hired me to work on the kitchen. This was an exceptionally fun project because unlike most jobs, I had free reign to design the kitchen layout, select the lighting, and choose all of the colors, finishes and hardware. The kitchen space was an unusual one; very long and narrow. The builders original plan was to have a small kitchen with a peninsula for a couple of bar stools along with a small breakfast table and chairs. I gave them several space plan options but my favorite, and theirs in the end, was to combine the kitchen and breakfast room into one cooking, entertaining and eat-in space. The concept felt so natural to me as this is how many of us live now; gathered in the kitchen, around the food that is being prepared, everyone enjoying the process and communion of meal time. The kitchen turned out nicely with ample cabinet space and an island that extended into the breakfast area. The island featured a long table-like counter that gave room for plenty to sit or stand and gather. On the far end we incorporated a wet bar to finish out the vision of a true entertaining kitchen. We expanded the opening into the Living Room and touched up a charming exposed brick wall with a little white paint.

The palette in this kitchen was clean and neutral with a mixture of finishes in lighting and hardware, giving it an eclectic feel. It was styled with warm rugs, cutting boards and flowers to bring character and depth to the space. This project was a great example of how thinking outside of the box when designing a room’s layout can transform not only how a space looks, but also how it is used. In this case we made sure that a small kitchen and breakfast room became what it was  meant to be, the true heart of the home.

 

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Pattern Play

One thing that I have loved for as long as I can remember in decorating is layering pattern. Trends come and go but the stylish concept of pattern play is one that I think is here to stay.  I have always been attracted to this look and to the warmth and charm that it brings to a room. It wasn’t until living on my own with the freedom to move things around on a whim (and through a lot of trial and error) that I developed some good strategies for creating a well-balanced, complimentary collection of patterns. This is an approach that you can try out at any time and change often, shifting around pieces that you probably already have at home.   

When starting, choose an inspiration piece. It can be your rug, the fabric on your chair, wallpaper or your favorite pillow. Something to direct the theme. From this vision, develop a color scheme. The colors can be ones that are found in your inspiration piece or of the same tone: muted shades, bright colors, or earth tones. Once you have a collection of patterns that work together in color, select your favorites in varying scales. Maybe the pattern in your rug is large, the curtains have a scale half that size, your sofa is a solid with texture, the chairs are leather with a smooth texture, your throw is striped, and your pillows are in coordinating small scales. Any variation of this will work, as long as you have patterns in different, non-competing textures and scales. Incorporate some solid blocks of color throughout. Using solid colored pieces will give your eyes a rest from the weight of the other elements you have integrated. Last, spread your collection of patterns evenly around the room. You want your eye to travel throughout the space as a whole. By distributing these elements the focus will not be on one corner, but on the room in its entirety.

By moving textiles around in your home, or adding a new throw and some pillows, you can give your rooms the layered look that so many of us are after. Experiment, try multiple options and have fun with it! My final tip is this: Don’t be afraid to try something unusual. It’s often the unexpected combinations that are the most interesting and organic.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | A Child's Masterpiece

An interior element that instantly adds character and personality to a home is art, yet it is also one of the most difficult things to come by. Finding pieces that are your style, the right colors, in your budget, and the right size for your space can be a challenge.  Which is why commissioning pieces from my talented toddler is one of my favorite ways to obtain new art.

Children create such beautiful freeform paintings and drawings. They combine colors you might not think of, apply strokes that are interesting and unusual, and with a pretty frame these pieces can be charming anywhere in your home. Occasionally, however, I find myself looking for something for a specific space. In this case I like to guide the process (just a little). The following tips will help your little artist in creating a unique piece that is perfect for the space you have in mind.

First, give your child good materials to work with. When creating a special piece for framing, use higher quality drawing or watercolor paper and actual paint brushes. If you’re looking for something bold and dramatic, offer a larger paint brush. For a more delicate and understated piece, offer a smaller brush. Second, choose your colors. Offer your child a palette that works for the space that you have in mind. You could choose vivid colors for a statement piece, different shades of one color for a monochromatic piece, a modern combination of black and white, or a collection of colors from your favorite belongings in the room. Let them have free reign but pull the piece, offering a new sheet of paper if they are still feeling inspired, before the colors become too muddy. Third, cut the paper to a standard framing size of your choice, using the most interesting part of the painting. Fourth, take your new work of art to the local craft store for a nice matte and attractive frame that works with your space.

Original art created by little ones that you love; your children, nieces or nephews and grandchildren will add a personal touch to your home that is special and beautiful. In using these tips, you can help them create a true masterpiece to be cherished.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Styling Your Coffee Table

When designing your home, it’s easy to focus on the big pieces. The furniture, rugs, lighting and items that grab your attention immediately. But like most things, the beauty is in the details… right down to the styling of your coffee table. The coffee table is often the center of your living room, a focal point in the space where we all gather. And while it is convenient for housing our various odds and ends like remotes, our kid’s toys, mail or the dog leash there are a few simple tricks for clearing the clutter, adding some interest and creating one more place in your home that is practical and polished.

There are limitless ways to decorate a coffee table, and your design will depend on the size of your table, the items that you would like to include and your personal taste. There is, however, a method to the madness so I have gathered some tried and true tips that should help you create a well-balanced design. The first thing that I like to use on a coffee table or ottoman is a decorative tray or bowl. Something to contain the miscellaneous items that might otherwise look haphazard. On or beside the tray, include a several objects; something for height, something sculptural and something practical. The height component could be a vase with fresh flowers, a small potted plant or a couple of candlesticks. The sculptural piece should be lower than the ‘height’ element, creating different planes of interest. It could be a candle, a piece of pottery, or a small bowl. The practical component should be something useful, that will ultimately end up on the table anyway. For example, if you have a small box to house the remote that will always find its way to your coffee table, or a stack of pretty coasters, use them! The last piece is a stack of ‘coffee table books’, or any interesting books with an attractive cover.  Not only are books a pretty addition, but they are also nice to have for guests to flip through when entertaining.

Shift these items around, experimenting with their layout until it feels right to you. In the end, by grouping together a variety of pieces with different textures, heights and shapes you will have created a beautiful vignette that is both stylish and functional.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home | Mix It Up

In my experience, designing a space for someone is different every time. Every client has different priorities, different aesthetics, and a different way of approaching their style. One thing that I stand by in every scenario, however, is to MIX. IT. UP.  

Nothing gives a home more of that effortless, cool, lived in vibe than a collection of pieces that are vintage, modern and classic. And this look is attainable for everyone.

Here’s a breakdown of my approach. In each room, begin with one thing that you love. It can be a sofa, rug, dresser, chair, a piece of china… anything; but be sure that you love it. This piece will guide the decisions you make on color, style and layering in other furnishings. Once your vision is established, start by implementing a cohesive theme throughout your home. When mixing time periods and trends there is a fine line between being interesting and chaotic. A consistent theme in things like paint colors, flooring and finishes is key in pulling the look together. After the foundation of your concept is in place, move to furniture. Focus on the big pieces: sofa, bed or, dining table, for example. Choose these items based on the concept you have created, but making them basic enough to serve as a backdrop to the unique pieces you will add in. Once you have your essentials in place, it’s time to canvass for some vintage elements. Visit local antique stores, flea markets and thrift shops for pieces that will add character and warmth to your space. When I am shopping for something vintage I always have my eyes peeled for dressers, tables and chairs; solid wood pieces that often aren’t made as well or as beautifully as they used to be. Last, but certainly not least, layer in the finishing touches. The eclectic feel that we are after comes from layers of pattern, texture and contrast that you find in textiles, art, rugs and plants. Always be on the lookout for these things, continuously adding them to your home and story through the years.

Even if you’re not starting from scratch, use these tips to rework what you already have. Add in a few new things from your local thrift shop; put a great blanket on the back of your sofa and get a chic plant for your living room. My only rule in this approach is: if you don’t love it, don’t buy it. You will find yourself working around something that isn’t a part of the vision you created. Be patient; this look evolves over time. And it is always worth the wait.

As Seen in The Electric City News: Creating Home

Hi! My name is Amie Speer and I am an Interior Designer living in Greenville, SC. I am excited to be introducing myself in this column of The Electric City News for many reasons, but the biggest is that I grew up in Anderson; it’s my hometown. As a designer, the feeling of home is very important to me. It can come from an object that reminds you of something special, a smell that brings you comfort or the sound of the music you grew up listening to.  Anderson, and the house that I grew up in, will always give me all of the ‘home’ feelings.

It is my ambition as an Interior Designer to create, or help others create this feeling of home. A person's home is sacred ground. It holds our most precious memories, our most personal moments and the key to a good deal of our comfort and happiness. I believe that the blending of styles, old with new, and designing around your most cherished items are what give a space character, warmth, and a connection to the people that live there.

And from this comes my first piece of advice! Something simple that can be done today. Choose an item that brings you joy, holds a memory, or just makes you feel good. Place it somewhere in your home where it will be seen and appreciated on daily basis, and design that area around it. Whether it be on a coffee table, on a bookshelf, or on your mantle; make it the focal point.

Here’s an example. When I was in design school in Charleston, living in an apartment by myself for the first time, my Grandma gave me a blue and white vase that was her mothers. She knew my love for all things blue and white and wanted me to have it. The vase has moved with me to many different houses, giving each one a special sense of home. It currently sits on the dresser in our entry filled with fresh flowers, along with other things that I love. Every time I look at the vase I think of Grandma, that apartment, the moment that she gave it to me, and it makes me happy. Interior Design is different for everyone, and in the end, what is most important is that your home speaks to you. That it is authentically yours. So, give it a try! Pull out an item that you love that may be collecting dust. See if by doing so that your home starts to feel a little more like your own.