Staging for an Occasion
My client’s request was to have a warm and inviting entry. It’s not often that I get a direct call from my church pastor. So imagine my surprise when I answered my phone and was greeted with, ‘Hello Sister McCurdy.” True to form, he was on his way to another commitment, But he personally made the time to ask for my help on staging the newly renovated sanctuary’s narthex (lobby).
The occasion was celebration of his 3rd pastoral anniversary. There would be many visitors to our newly remodeled sanctuary. The narthex, an entry where worshippers gather before service, also serves as a holding spot for latecomers to wait during prayer. Before staging it looked like a long hall spanning several sets of double doors leading into the sanctuary. Opposite those doors is a wall of glass and double doors as the entry into the building.
Function is always the first concern when I select furniture for a space. And I knew that it would need to be furniture that would stand up to the traffic of weekly services. But we did not have to sacrifice style. Modular furniture gives total flexibility for changing events. The armless sofas and chairs allow more people to easily and quickly sit while waiting to enter the sanctuary. And they look warm and inviting. A personal touch was to have calligraphy of the church’s mission statement and various bible verses sprinkled on the walls. Some were done by hand and others were pre-printed appliqués.
Staging before you buy is a great way to test the pieces of furniture to see if the investment is good in the long term. “Greeters” hand out the week’s bulletins, flyers, and brochures to worshippers as they leave the building. To that purpose, two credenzas with storage flank either side of the long entry. They are functional and stylish. This piece turned out to be a definite “yes” for a similar future purchase.
And, as always, I am happy when my clients are satisfied. The highest compliment is a testimonial. If you live in the Orange County, California area, contact Mary Etta Designs and let us show you how to warm up the entry in your home or business.
Every April and October for a week, High Point Market is the event to attend. Design professionals make their pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina to see what’s new and what’s next in home decor and furniture design. This fall I made my way to what I call “fashion week for furniture” and it was exciting, enlightening, and exhausting. And it was eye opening as to why it’s necessary for serious design professionals like me to make the trip.
Being on the left coast, I’ve attended Las Vegas Market where many of the vendors and showrooms show their newest products. But even the suppliers that I met in Vegas kicked it up a couple notches for high Point Market. The three mile radius of endless showrooms and party-like atmosphere could have your head spinning. So a plan is a must.
The goal for me during this market was to see how I could educate my clients on what will work in their designs while they incorporate new styling that they will enjoy for years. One recurring theme I noticed was that coffee tables are getting much larger. In addition, there is a visual play so as not to overwhelm the room with such a large piece.
Look at this beautiful live edge wood table that floats glass in the middle. Visually this gives the eye a rest.
High Point Market is known for showing furniture trends for upcoming seasons. We also get to see future innovations in interior design. This beautiful piece by Noir of Los Angeles was actually two separate wood pieces that could be used like you see it here allowing guests to walk through or pull the tables closer for use. The actual footprint of these pieces give you the ability to have more surface space while entertaining. And it also gives you flexibility. How cool that they can be used as side tables too.
Talk about innovation! Who says that the surface has to be all at the same level. Interesting, functional and fun has to be the theme of this coffee table. Put your personality in your home. Give Mary Etta Designs a call for more ideas on how you can decorate with design pieces that will last you for years to come.
Tranquility, Strength, Optimism.
According to the Pantone Color Institute‘s 2016 Fall Colors Trend Report, it’s what we want right now. So look for the fashion and design world to design in these colors this fall and winter. We will see everything from handbag, sweaters and jewelry to dinnerware, throw pillows and area rugs.
Every season, the gurus at Pantone, the go-to color guide for all things in the creative field, give us the predictors of what is to come. The big influencer will be blue in a fresh new way. We welcome blue sky colors. They represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays become steely, give a feeling of stability,
Always confident red tones have a hint of coral warmth. And the Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic. See all the 2016 Fall Colors Trend Report here.
Enjoy fall y’all.
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.
1. Measure The Space
If I could only give you 3 tips to re-design your small space, the first would be to measure the room. You don’t want to end up with a sofa so large that the three people who visit all have to sit side by side to have a conversation. You won’t have room extra seating and tables. Put that picture in your head. The measuring step will guide you in choosing furnishings that are scaled to fit the room.
2. Pull a floor plan together
You need a plan. There’s a reason why the room feels a bit off. Are there too many things crowding one side of the room? Is there a better sized sofa, rug, chair that you could use? This is the most important step to planning a room for furniture. Why? It’s important because the investment you will make is not one you want to repeat too soon.
3. Consider The View Into Adjoining Rooms
This couple is happy with their recently remodeled kitchen and custom window treatments. The beautiful rich green countertop and diamond patterned tile backsplash are focal points of that room. With an open plan, it is very important that the rooms flow seamlessly together. The kitchen and window treatments in the living room/kitchen dictated color choices for the rug and main furniture selections to be made for the living room.
You need to decide what is important about your room. What will be the major activity in that room. My clients use this room for three purposes. They watched television, relaxation by reading, and occasional entertaining. It was very important, therefore, for me to keep all these functions top of mind when helping them decide on space planning and scale.
My favorite part of the room is the new wool blend rug. The warm spice tones complement the kitchen counter and tile backsplash perfectly. I had it custom made to be sure it fit the space. My clients fell in love with the lush feeling and deep colors. Be prepared to experience a bit of shedding when a wool rug is new. The Irving swivel chair from Pottery Barn is the hit of the room. They love the flexibility of being in the room, watching television, swiveling towards guests either in the room or in the kitchen.
The big reveal was worth the wait for furniture that fits the space perfectly. The love seat helps the room feel larger. The squared off arms allowed the illusion of more space as opposed to the larger, roll armed sofa that was there previously. Keeping scale in mind, the French sewing stool doubles as a surface for a beverage and extra seating for guests.
Flexibility is the key to good design. I tell all my clients that time and money will allow you to make all the changes you need to solve your design challenges. This ottoman from Cisco Brothers will soon find a home in my client’s living room. Furniture pieces acquired over time allow you to control your budget and the urge to invest in the wrong thing. I’m proud of the final choices that these two made.
Do you need help with tips to re-design your small space? Contact me here or call 714 974-6571 to schedule time to talk.
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.