Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tips on Picking Paint Colors

1. Paint chips Colors on the chips can look different from how they appear on the way so test two or three samples and live with the samples for a few days before making your selection. This way you can see the colors in a variety of light conditions.

2. Walls A plain coat of paint can do wonders for your walls, but you don't have to stop there. Stamps, stencils, murals, stripes and colors blocks, plus all kinds of faux finishes can bring interest to your walls as well. Let your imagination soar!

3. Trim A consistent choice of trim color throughout the house can add flow. A popular choice is white as it reflects light creating an airy feel. But just about any color can work.

4. Ceilings The standard for years has been to paint the ceiling white. But trends are changing. Why not try a muted sky blue or a percentage of the wall color mixed with white?

5. Furniture High-gloss paint can spruce up tired wood furniture. Paint items alike to create a unified look or choose different colors to add character.

6. Latex or Oil? Unless you are painting floors or bare wood, latex is a greener choice. It has less odor, dries faster, and clean-up is a snap.

7. Materials and Preparation Buy the best materials you can afford. A good brush is an investment worth making. With proper cleaning and storage, it will last for many years and make all the difference in the paint application. Prep your walls well and the paint will go on smoother and look better.

8. Small Spaces Conventional wisdom states that light colors make a small space look bigger. But no amount of white paint will make a diminutive powder room or entry feel palatial. So why not add a touch of spice to your small space, like a pleasant surprise.

9. Kids' Spaces Since children often prefer bold colors that are too bright for adult sensibilities, compromise can be the way to go. Try choosing softer tones in the same family color family of your child's preference. Then you can bring in the drama with accent pieces. What could be more fun than a lipstick-red end table?

10. Take a Risk Even if you are hesitant about darker hues, don't automatically resort to play-it-safe white. For the cost of a can of paint, you can try something different. You may just surprise yourself in how much you like it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Assistant

I often get asked about my "group", my employees. So, I thought I would feature my employee of the week. My absolute favorite employee, my assistant, the fabulous...Oliver. Not only does he bark and warn me of unwelcome visitors like the shifty UPS man, but he has a great eye for colors and fabrics. Which is so strange because dogs only see in black and white!
Its funny how dogs become more than just "dogs" to their owners. I remember about 9 years ago, I had this friend who was crazy about her dogs. Referred to them as her children, made an absolute fool of herself over the dogs. I swore I would NEVER be that way about any pet I ever had. Fast forward a few years when I received my 25th birthday gift from my parents...Oliver! This little guy is certainly more than a "dog" to me and I wouldn't have it any other way! Now, if I really could train him to help me pick out fabrics...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dining room paint

Last week I decided it was time to paint our dining room. After 3 months of gold mustard yellow, I decided it was time to cover up the mistake the previous owner left us to correct. (Forgive me if you love mustard yellow, but as a design professional, I feel it is my duty to help correct the design mistakes of the world.)

Anyway, it took me about 2 weeks to pick the right color. Back and forth between a greenish blue gray color and a soft brown shade. Many days I spent lying on the dining room floor with all my paint chips, trying to find the PERFECT color for my new dining room. I was ready to call a designer myself!

Once I selected the color I thought I wanted to use, I bought 2 quarts of paint to do sample patches on my walls. The original shade as well as a lighter version. I painted patches of color on every wall so I could see what the paint will look like on each wall in every kind of light.

I finished painting over the weekend and now I am waiting on my new furniture to arrive. I am waiting to post pictures until I have the room complete. So…you will just have to visit again to see what color I chose!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hanging Pictures and Mirrors.

I am asked design/decorating questions on a daily basis. What colors are in? What style is in? What size rug should I buy? However, the question I get the most…

How high should I hang a picture/mirror on the wall?????

Hanging pictures too high or too low is a pretty common design mistake that even I have made a time or two.

A good rule of thumb is to hang pictures at eye level. I try to go by the eye level of a person who is about 5’ 6” to 5’8”, which is about average.

Just because your ceilings are 10 feet or more does not mean the pictures need to be higher on the wall. They should still be at eye level.

An important tip to remember when hanging artwork or mirrors; If you strain your neck to look up at the picture, it is too high. If you have to bend your head down to see the picture, it is too low!

Hope this helps!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My little red table!!

As a designer, I have access to pretty much any piece of furniture or fabric my heart desires. I love when I find furniture that is odd or unusual. Furniture that has a story, or a history. I like to think about who used it and where they placed it in their home. I also love to find a great deal!! This little red table was a great price, and it looks like it has quite a story. It is old and rustic looking. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the table, but I knew I had to have it! I tried it behind my sofa and it looked so great. However, I had been looking for a side table for a long time and this fit the bill. I like it because it is not expected. It is beat up and rough and I bet a little girl used it for her desk or it was in the entryway of an old farm house. Whatever the story, I am just glad it found its way into my family room! (I know, I need to hide my cords!! Don't giv me a design citation!!)

My Old Windows

I bought these old windows in Buffalo Minnesota, having no idea what I would do with them. I tried hanging them on a wall, above a door. I tried to lean them up against a wall on dresser. Nothing worked. Luckily the house we bought when we moved has a mantle and the windows seem to work above it. I love these windows and how they look above my fireplace. Let me know what you think…what would you do differently?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Design in a Box!!

Need a Christmas gift??

Design in a Box makes a great Christmas gift! How nice would it be to give someone special the gift of fabulous design?! It’s a perfect gift for someone who just bought a new home, is getting married, having a baby or maybe just wants to re-do a room in their current home. Design in a Box provides all the knowledge and instructions needed to implement a design project. It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping! This will save you a trip to the mall!!

Save money...hire an interior designer!

In this day and age, everyone wants to save money. Working with a designer often seems out of the question for the budget conscious. What most people don’t know is how much money working with a designer will actually save them. Yes, it’s true! Designers can SAVE you money in the long run. Just think of all the time you spend searching for items yourself. Whether it is the paint color, a sofa or a lamp, you might spend hours looking for an item. Interior designers are trained to find these items quickly and might even have access to an item you don’t even know exists! Designers have a large number of resources that are considered “to the trade” only. That usually means there will be a designer discount as well! So besides saving you time, designers also save you money on your purchases. Interior designers also help you avoid making costly mistakes down the road. Mistakes like buying a sofa that is too big, material for a chair that will not withstand a cat’s claw or even bigger mistakes like the wrong cabinet layout in the kitchen. Interior designers are trained to see mistakes and avoid them. You will actually save more money in the long run by hiring an interior designer!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You need to call a designer!!

Ten Reasons to Work with an Interior Designer:By Jill Kirchner, American Homestyle & Gardening
1. The ability to solve problemsWhether you’re plagued by a featureless room or poor traffic flow, a designer is an expert in understanding color, scale, light and space.

2. Access to a much wider range of resources for ALL budgetsThe world of interior design is limitless; “Trade only” is no longer a closed door.

3. The expertise to prevent costly mistakesAn experienced designer will ensure you journey down a smooth and well traveled path.

4. ContactsDesigners know & work with the best workrooms and trades- people.

5. Guidance Perhaps the most difficult aspect of design is selecting from the choices available. A designer can review the options & offer advice through the process.

6. Better quality & longer-lasting styleTimeless designs & well manufactured furnishings coupled with keen insight = longevity an interior designer can help achieve.

7. Help set prioritiesA designer will give you advice on how best to spend your money now-and plan for future phases of the design process.

8. Arbitration with your significant otherA designer can be the third party with out vested interest and help ease through disagreements.

9. An advocateDesigners work with trades-people, showrooms and manufacturers on a regular basis and have more leverage to get things repaired or replaced when needed.

10. Ability to get the job doneIt is the designer’s job to follow through with every aspect of the process and ensure each detail and element makes you satisfied.

Design in a Box

Now offering "Design in a Box"!!

We are really excited to offer Design in a Box! Not only is it fast, easy and affordable, but it available nationwide! Anyone, anywhere, can have design in a box shipped right to their door. No shopping, no waiting in lines, no interior designers tip toeing through the house! It makes interior design that much easier!

People often have the misconception that interior designers are too expensive and the products that they sell to clients are way over priced. This is simply not true. For starters, with Design in a Box, you pay one lump fee. There are no surprises, no extra costs after wards, no additional hourly rates. Just one fee you pay at the start of the project. That’s all! At Spire Design Group we provide our clients with products that fit into their budgets. We will never specify furniture or accessories that are out of the amount we discuss up front. As interior designers, we receive great design trade discounts that we are happy to pass along to clients, almost always well below the retail price you would pay in a store.

Spire Design Group will always work with you to bring your design vision to life. We never impose a style on you that is not a true reflection of you and the space you live in. Everyone deserves to have a well designed home and with Spire Design Group and Design in a Box, it couldn’t be any easier! Take a look at our website for more details

Tuesday, October 14, 2008