The Portola Court Apartment Homes clubhouse in Irvine recently hosted an event that I attended. In fact, you may have seen the video showing the fun we had on Day 22 of my Facebook Live 30 Day Challenge. It reminded me of a blog post I wrote about three easy apartment decorating secrets. Yes, your apartment can be decorated as if it was built just for you. What a perfect excuse to share more pictures from the Portola Court Apartment Homes to illustrate that point.
Use Color to express your character. The draperies have a pattern, although they are not too busy. The vibrant blue chairs and pops of the color orange in this living room gives a clue that this is a high energy, fun loving family. No blah, blah beige life being live here.
Go big and go home! Your art and accessories need to rise to the life you want to live. This gallery wall shows the sum total of life experiences in this home’s art collection. Your art collection deserves the same care and focus as that homeowner who has a mortgage.
I hope that you are not waiting for a “real” home to buy functional furniture that you like. These night stands, lamps and bedding are of the moment, though in correct proportion to the size of the room.
Yes, I have designed and installed custom draperies like the drapery panel in this apartment home’s bath. Custom drapery panels like this and the ones in the living room and bedroom give an air of luxury to your apartment. Custom window treatments designed just for you combined with matched accessories are classic luxuries that you and your family deserve.
Living in Portola Apartment Homes affords you additional amenities like that gorgeous pool at the top of the page. And Friday nights will be on and popping in a clubhouse outfitted like this. Loving you life starts now!
Looking for a simple way to add elegance in your home? Custom drapes elevate a room and gives it a polished look. Recently, a couple I worked with sold their home. They traded it for a shiny, newer model in the same tony suburb. The couple proceeded to buy decorative window shades for privacy and light control. But something was missing. Both the husband and the wife felt that they needed to elevate their rooms with custom window treatments. Their home needed the finishing touch that only a custom design can provide.
As you can see in the “before” picture, the room was suitable for a good night’s rest. They soon discovered, however, that well-made drapes and cornices can make all the difference between a home that is “just ok” and one that says you are glad that you get to live there. The cornices and custom drapes elevate this master bedroom to an elegant one. Opting for sill length drapes, adding fabric at the window softens noises in the room allowing for peaceful nights. And fabric smoothes the hard rectangular edges. We chose soft colors tones that are not trendy. The blue tint achieves the calm feeling that they seek at day’s end. And, like a cool body of water, the look is one that they will love for years to come.
“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” I love this quote from the movie, Steel Magnolias. We chose accessories that were warm and comforting in a bedroom. We added art with peaceful themes (not shown here), florals and snuggly throws tell a subtle story of their travels, culture and life experiences. The colorful Persian rug grounds the bed and keeps the room from feeling cold and lifeless. These accessories are inviting and easy to change as the seasons.
On the first floor, no cornices and drapes were used. In the family room we opted for beautiful navy draperies, this time on decorative wood rods to match the grand piano. Along with the books about California are also glass sculptures of fish and decorative plates made of shells from the ocean. And smack dab in the middle is a snow globe of the wife’s hometown of New York City. Further proof that accessories tell our life stories. Area rugs, flowers and pillows all do their part to be the supporting cast to the major players in this home.
Again, the couple requested that the drapes be shorter. But if you want to up your elegance quota, I recommend floor length drapes. They make the room feel grander. At Mary Etta Designs, we work with designer fabrics and show you options in drapery hardware and trim to elegantly finish the rooms in your home. Call 714.340.3214 if you are local to Orange County, California.
Stay Cool Naturally
You are ready to stay cool naturally! It’s getting hot in here. And you”re ready to take off all your clothes! Whoa…. before you drop it like its hot, get your solar heat gain under control. What is solar heat gain? It’s the increase in temperature in a space that results from solar radiation. In plain English – the sun’s rays are warming the glass on your windows. And, well, that heats up your home. Read on if you want to reduce the price of running your air conditioner in summer.
Much of the energy in a structure builds up at the windows. Heat (from sunlight in summer or heaters in winter) is attracted to the glass panes by. That fact explains why some rooms are hotter in summer than others (and cooler in winter) depending upon the orientation to the sun. Your air conditioner (or heater) starts working overtime to bring the room to a comfort level you set on the thermostat.
No, that fan does not have to be the only solution for controlling enegery bills. Shades and shadings, like the Pirouette shown here from Hunter Douglas, are a great bet when you want to control the heat or light at the window. There are many ways to cut the heat and preserve some of the view. Choose room darkening for comfy sleeping and better visuals on tv’s and computer screens. Or consider light filtering shades to diffuse the light and give a softer look at your window.
Screen type shades, also known as solar shades, allow you to see out and can cut 86% to 99% of the sun’s damaging UV rays.
The Hunter Douglas Duette Architella shade I had installed in this home office works perfectly for a couple of reasons. The low profile headrail and pleated fabric is a minimalistic look. This works great when you want the shade open completely. It won’t detract from the view. And the top-down-bottom-up feature allows a versatile combination of light with privacy.
Blinds & Shutters
Shutters and blinds offer a level of view-through that solid materials, like a roller shade, don’t allow. The angled slats or louvers can be directed so that you have control over your level of privacy. As a bonus, wood shutters (and faux wood) add value to your home.
You may work in an office where everyone’s body temperature seems to register way below yours. Your desk is by a window and right about 1 p.m., that sun hits you right between the eyes. Maybe you love the feel of the sun shining on you. But glare can be a problem at a computer workstation or when you’re watching television. Blinds and shutters allow you to redirect the light at different angles as the sun moves across the sky.
If you want the bonus of cutting down on noise in a room and adding a touch of softness, draperies work beautifully. The great thing about fully functioning draperies is your almost endless choices you have for framing your windows. A tightly woven fabric, properly lined, can really help to block out sun and its heat in a room. Make sure that the ones you buy overlap at center and extend past the windows on either side. Custom window treatments, like the ones offered by Mary Etta Designs is the best way to make sure they have these features.
Don’t Sweat It
Contact Mary Etta Designs for an in-home appointment in the Orange County, California area – 714.974.6571. Mary Etta Designs will help you select a beautiful quality window covering to cool your home or office for summer that will be attractive all year round.
Hubby and I have put our home of 14 years on the market. And we are learning first hand about letting clutter go. As empty nesters (with an occasional boomerang adult child), we still have some of our adult offspring’s clutter mixed in with our own.
So when our realtor brought along a professional home stager, I figured, no problem. As a design professional, I know staging your home properly will allow potential buyers to more easily see the home as theirs. A couple of tweaks here and there and we’re done, right?
WRONG! We had gotten so used to all the things around us that hold our fondest memories, that they’d become part of the scenery. The bar area above to us looked just fine. But we needed to get rid of the knick knacks and a few art pieces. I must admit it was a big deal to let go of those mementos. Letting clutter go in the form of pictures, books, art, even food items was like saying goodbye to family members.
No drapes at my French doors and nothing on the table to suggest that we actually live here is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. But it allows a potential buyer to imagine their tastes in decor for this room. Make a great first impression to lure buyers to see more of your home. Eliminate clutter whoever possible. I tell my husband there should be no signs that we live here.
The home stager was kind, but ruthless in telling us what should be put in storage and what could stay while showing our house to potential buyers. She even offered to help me pack for a small fee. And though I turned her down, it might have been less painful.
Who knew that emptying a curio would bring tears to my eyes? That packing my angel collection would bring a rush of sentimental thoughts of the gift giver or the vacation that gave me that treasure. Taking down art pieces from my “designer’s gallery” wall was like painfully moving me out of my home before actually selling it. But I have to admit it is a head start on packing.
The anticipation of what’s in store for our future is exciting. I am being forced to let go. I am not only letting clutter go, but I am making way for the next family to make memories here.
Let’s peek Behind The Scenes Of a Cozy Kitchen Renovation and see what it took to get my client out of overwhelm. My client was concerned. She knew how she wanted to renovate new kitchen. But the choices she had to make on such a large investment led her to ask for my help on some key decisions. Her overwhelm came from what she saw as a small window of time. Home on sick leave for a few weeks, her goal was to have her kitchen pulled together by the time she to returned to work. She wanted to paint the kitchen yellow. At that point, she asked for help on how to get the color selection for the walls, counter top, backsplash and flooring to jibe.
Often what we think we want and what our heart is telling us are two different things. Such was the case with the kitchen for my client. She was having the cabinets built before contacting me for help and this is the wood that she chose for them. A warm honey color, I could see why yellow was her first thought for what she wanted to be a sunny kitchen. I pointed out that balancing the bright color choice that she had made for the cabinets with more muted ones would make her kitchen feel not only sunny but also not overpowering.
After visiting one of my favorite showrooms, we found a perfect balance of warmth and cool neutrals for her counters, backsplash and flooring. Since the counters and backsplash were visually full of color and movement, I suggested the solid flooring pictured here.
This condo kitchen was small, (ok cozy) so it was important to not make the room feel too chopped. We agreed that the grays were perfect neutrals to tie all of the elements together.
Compare how tight the space feels with the darker before cabinets. And the white tile and appliances was too stark a contrast making it feel closed in. And the small tiles, popular when the condo was originally built, emphasized the smallness of the kitchen.
One important lesson that I have learned is that when one spouse says, “No, it’s whatever she (or he) wants,” they still appreciate having played a part in some part of the design. Though the wife was the visionary on this kitchen project, she often made sure that her husband agreed on what were their final choices for the counter tops, flooring and paint color. And he proudly selected the hardware and it is stunning with the cabinets.
More To Come
As the very top picture shows, the colors of this couple’s new kitchen are warm and inviting. And, no, we did not paint the walls yellow. But a kitchen is full of color by way of food, napkins, placemats and candles. I suggested that she use her touches of yellow in accessories. And while we are still (as of the writing of this post) designing the perfect window coverings and considering having the refrigerator powder coated a stainless steel color, my clients are enjoying their new kitchen very much.
1. Make a Good First Impression
Is your home on the market? If so, here are some important steps that will sell your home silently. You’ve heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s even truer when potential buyers are walking up to what you want them to envision as their new front door. Cheery flowers, shrubs and maybe a wreath at the door says, “Welcome. Come on in.” Why not add a mat that suits the season? And while you’re outside, your mailbox needs a little touch up paint. Just saying.
Once inside, lead them into a home that they can’t resist with a foyer or entry that makes them want to see what’s beyond this room. Put a chair or bench with a side table or console. Place a flower or lush plant there and let the potential new home owner imagine their keys on that table.
2. Storage is Your Friend.
Consider renting a storage space to hide the treasures that you may love, but the clutter that buyers see. Buyers want to imagine your home as their home in the future, not you living there now. Do you know why model homes look great? Aside from being beautifully staged, (not a bad idea by the way) most of the extras in life are not in those homes yet. You’re moving anyway. So get rid of about a third of your things to make your house or condo look roomier. Family photos, extensive collections, and especially piles of paper all need to be somewhere else while your home is on the market. Clutter control is one of the most important steps that will sell your home.
3. Repair or Replace
Leaky faucets that you don’t hear anymore can be a quick fix for the new homeowner. “But what else am I going to have fix?” is what they think when you neglect small repairs. Fix it now. Replace that carpet with the dog markings on it that you have walked by for the last couple of years and was going to replace someday. Doorknobs, yucky shower curtains, and blinds with slats missing are not going to show your home in its best light.
4. Man’s Best Friend is Not for Everyone.
Not everyone wants to have had a dog or cat living in the space that they have occupied. Besides, if they do want that, their pooch is so much cleaner than anyone else’s could possibly be. They can’t imagine what yours has done or where it’s done it. You get the picture. Consider Doggie/Kitty Day Care. Or ask a friend or relative to babysit your pet anytime you are out of the house. Or take Fido or Tiger with you. You never know when a last minute showing is going to happen.
5. Paint, Paint, and While You’re At It, Paint.
A fresh coat of paint can update your neutrals to the new neutrals. The gray, beige, or greige of the moment are the colors trending trending with Millennials who will be in the home shopping market in the next few years. Appeal to that market’s sensibilities. Hint: It’s anything that doesn’t remind them of Mom’s taste. Clean, fresh, color in paints (whether neutral or accent) says that your home is move-in ready. Painting is a sure fire way to up the ante when taking steps that sell your home.
Well, look here. Your moving van has arrived. Good job prepping for your real estate agent. Now all that’s left is to load it. And, unload at your new home.
Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World
Mary Etta Designs Best of HOZZ 2016 – Anaheim Hills interior design firm, Mary Etta Designs, has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Mary Etta Designs, a 16-year old interior decorating and window treatments firm was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.
Mary Etta Designs’ specialty is creating a space that, provides energy savings, protects your furnishings and preserves your privacy. Our custom window treatments, color consultations and design packages offer solutions for functional and enjoyable living. “Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Mary Etta Designs Best of HOUZZ 2016 as one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”
Three Ways to Trick Out Your Guest Bedroom
Looking for ways to trick out guest bedrooms for wanted out-of-town visitors? Scouring home decor magazines can leave you feeling either hopeful or helpless in where to begin in going from dated and drab to on trend and inviting. I always want my invited guests to feel like they are in for a visit filled with memories and good times. I designed this guest bedroom with just that goal in mind.
The “before’ picture pretty much sums it up. The furniture was not in proportion to the space. The mood and style of the space were all over the place. Finding this beautiful Fabricut fabric in this gray color was a great way to bring the room forward a decade. Since blue is everywhere, I really wanted to incorporate blue by adding bath while tying the two rooms together.
Custom is not custom unless you have professional installers who know how the finished product should luck. At Mary Etta Designs, we use only the best workrooms and installation team.
I wanted this guest bedroom to have a feeling of luxury, yet feel warm and inviting. believe that window treatments can have one of the biggest effects on the mood of a room. The drapery panels and Roman shade are featured in a platinum Ikat pattern, from the Trend line for Fabricut Fabrics. The pattern is luxurious in mood and and adds a layer of texture. Roman Shades give a soft touch to the window near the bed that is too narrow and close to the wall to accommodate a floor to ceiling window covering. And, yes, it is ok to mix panels and top treatments in the same room. Just keep them in the same pattern.
The shower curtain in the guest bath is really two shower curtains from Target Stores. But, this home has 11 foot ceilings. So I added the same contrasting fabric to bridge the two store-bought curtains, added a matching liner and voila! Semi-custom shower curtain with the same custom drapery hardware used in the bedroom stepped up this look from meh to marvelous.
Lighting and Art
All the furniture pieces that we decided to keep were original to the space. Some did not make the cut as they were no longer of use to the homeowner. Some were moved to different parts of the room to better serve the function of the space. Few of us can start all over from scratch. Art work, except for the new piece over the headboard, was repurposed to give use to a lifetime of art collections.
But lighting is one area that can easily bring the look of a room forward a decade. Mercury glass finishes are popular, and classic in feel. So the lamp on the chest of drawers looks fresh but not trendy. I like to keep things fun and luxurious. The turtle shell lamp was a must have for this room.
And finally, nothing says to a guest that they are special like a tray of goodies with just that guest’s personality in mind. Be sure to add seasonal touches to make it feel like the rest of your home.Making your friends and relatives feel special while visiting is not only welcoming, but it also adds a vacation to the time that are spending with you.
And there you have three ways to trick out a guest bedroom to get that magazine worthy custom bedroom look. Do you need a guest bedroom re-design? Call Mary Etta Designs at 714 309-2783 or contact me here to schedule an appointment.
Work With Mary Etta Designs
Call us at 714 974-6571. Or contact us —> here!
Great Last Minute Gifts
Looking for great last minute gifts that only you will give your friends and family? Consider gifting a memento of shared experiences.
My husband and I often travel east to Philadelphia area to see our good friends, Mitch and Laurie. Mitch’s brother is a pretty big deal in the world of casting. (His casting company found the talent for the The Wiz Live shown on NBC recently.) We often are fortunate get good tickets to see Broadway plays that his company has casted. Last September, we were fortunate to see “The King and I” at the Lincoln Center in Tribeca.
Afterwards, our group made our way to The Rosa Mexicano Restaurant. As we entered the bar area, the towering display of individually sculptured wall divers took my breath away. Imagine my thrill, when I found a 10.5″ x 9″ replica of the divers by Global Views. I can give a gift that won’t be duplicated as a memento of that dining experience. This 10.5″ x 9″ piece of replica piece is going to be a hit.
Home Grown Gift
Are you a gardener? Full disclosure, my attempts at growing anything from a bulb is usually an epic fail. Talented designer and gardener, Ivan E. DeGonzalez, photographed the progress of his Red Amaryllis from bulb to bloom. I’d have been too happy to receive bulbs that had been given a good start or even in the final beautiful blooming stages for my birthday!
The Gift of Service
Coupons to walk a friend or relative’s dog lets you sample the real dirty work of owning a dog while gifting. How about putting together a week of healthy menus and recipes for a friend who has little time to plan? Organize a week or month of menus and recipes in a beautifully designed binder with set of mixing spoons and a beautiful plate from a resale store or estate sale. Free babysitting coupons never get turned down by grateful parents.
Interior Design Consultation
Another great last minute gift is one of an interior design consultation from Mary Etta Designs for a loved one who is downsizing, moving or getting married. Design consultations help save time, money and overwhelm when there’s help from a professional interior decorator. Contact me here if you want to give a consultation as a gift of service for Christmas or any other occasion.
There you have it! Three unique and great last minute gifts to give that won’t be duplicated. Art or sculpture reminiscent of shared experiences, a flower or plant that you personally have grown, and the gift of service.
Happy Holidays and May the New Year bring you Joy!
Pantone 2016 Color – Rose Quartz and Serenity
Pantone threw a curveball at us this year. And I’m not ducking. Unlike past years’ choices, these are colors you could live with and not feel too trendy. Rose Quartz and Serenity may look like nursery choices for new Moms and Dads. But look what happens when you blend them together? I don’t know about you but I can use a little serenity.
Pantone’s choices in year’s past have often left me scratching my head. How did Emerald Green sneak into 2013? What made Marsala the color du jour in 2015? Each year, the naysayers cry out that they hate the color and don’t know how we can work it into our interiors. What happens is that we see it quite a bit ahead in clothing and cosmetics, then accessories.Then it’s the color that shows you are on point with the latest trend.
Interiors Follow Fashions
Well, truth be told, we have been getting ginormous hints from the fashion and home decor designers for months. Look at the pink and blue (rose quartz and serenity) Pantone 2016 Color on the September 2015 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Follow the fashion magazines and the trend in home decor will follow. Blush was predicted to be the color to paint our rooms in 2015.
You’re Not Surprised Are You?
Upscale British paint company, Farrow & Ball, predicted it’s Pink Ground as a key color in 2015. Their take is that “this pink is not sugary or infantile, rather it feels more like a diluted plaster color where walls look almost nude”. While not Rose Quartz, the blush colors were moving towards soft hues.
And as for blue. Well, I always say that “Blue’s The Hue”. As designers, we bend the rules. Baby blue, mineral blue, violet blue, we will make it right for your interior spaces.
Want to be on trend and see how the Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year will work in your home? Contact me at 714 974-6571 to schedule an in-home consultation. Or, better still, fill out this form.