Monday, March 21, 2016

So You Have Decided to Hire an Interior Decorator… Now What??

After you have made the decision to hire an Interior Decorator for whatever project you are undertaking, you will now be asking yourself and the decorator – what now?

  • The decorator can take over the entire project from start to finish.  They will do up a floor plan, source furnishings, fabrics, window coverings, paint samples, arrange for trades to do any work involved and present this to you for your input and approval.  It will also be the responsibility of the decorator to act as the project manager.  This method works well for those who do not have the time to go about the business of “sourcing” and “managing the project with trades”.
  • Another method of working with a decorator is more hands on for the client. If you have the time and wish to be involved in the sourcing, etc. you can pay your decorator for their time to take you to different suppliers, especially those which are “trades only”, where you are able to find items which are not available through retail available to you the consumer.  Your decorator can either arrange for trades or offer you some options, or you may in fact have someone you wish to use.
  • A third alternative is to have the decorator compile a selection of ideas for the space along with some samples and retail sources available to you, and then you can in turn,  take it from there.  This method works especially well with the “Do-it-Yourself” type client; someone who enjoys the entire project and wants to tackle it themselves, however they may require a little professional guidance from the decorator.
The above are only three ways of working with an Interior Decorator.  Everyone has their own business style.  The most important part of this entire process is to find someone you feel comfortable with; someone who listens to you and your ideas; someone who respects what you have to say; and can understand the type of look you would like, even if you cannot actually verbalize it in “design speak”; and ultimately someone who can offer cost effective alternatives to d├ęcor solutions.  After all, this person will be re-creating your personal space,  which will be a reflection of you, so it really is essential to have a “good fit”.

There are many different approaches to working with a decorator.  You, the client, should have continuous input and, in the end, the final say.

Usually when you first contact a decorator there are questions asked about the type of project you are undertaking, the scope of it, with discussion relating to your preferences, lifestyle, and ultimately the cost involved along the way.

Your decorator will discuss their fee, which is usually an hourly rate or depending on the type of undertaking, could be a total project rate.  For example, if you were having an entire basement renovation and finishing, there could be a project fee based on the total amount of work involved.  For obvious reasons, this is best discussed at your home when outlining the scope of the project. Having discussed fee, the next step is an in home consultation for which payment of said fee is due at the end of the consult.

Now comes setting up a meeting at your home with the decorator.  Many decorators offer the flexibility of evenings and weekends, however you may be required to meet during the daytime, much as you would if you had a repair person coming in or if you were going to the dentist.  This is something based entirely on your decorator’s schedule and method of work.

At the time of the consultation the decorator will sit down in your home with you and discuss your plans.  If you have ideas, these will be noted along with a brief outline of what ideas the decorator may be able to put forth at this initial meeting.  Depending on how much work is to be done now or in the future, the decorator should also be taking a walk through your home to get a feel for your lifestyle and how you use your space.  This is particularly important so as to be able to mesh the newly decorated space with the current surrounding spaces. 

Ultimately an Interior Decorator can take you from discussion and ideas through space planning, sourcing furniture, fabric, floor and window coverings, accessories and art, paint selection, kitchen and bath plans & renovation ideas, appropriate lighting, contracting trades, to managing the project.  You have the choice as to which part of their expertise you can utilize!
Your decorator will give you ideas of their own on how to approach any project.  Depending on your budget you do have much flexibility here. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

How do Interior Decorators create that perfect space?

There are many variables involved – the correct use of colour, textures, lighting along with space planning and creative furniture placement, in order to maximize rooms to their best potential. 

Colour and lighting; whether natural or artificial can impact on how we feel in the space.  By using cool or warm hues we create a feeling for the space.  A variety of textures add interest and depth to the space.  There is no right or wrong opinion about neutrals vs. colour; it’s all a matter of applying the colour in an appropriate manner.

Decorators are able to create functional yet fabulous designs, both being equally important.  A decorator can lend that polished look, with attention to details, creative lighting, custom millwork and window treatments.

A decorator creates innovative designs, manipulating the scale of furnishings and prioritizing features for both function and style, especially in small spaces.  A decorator can transform your space into the dream you have always envisioned. A decorator can take your ideas, make suggestions and in the end transform them into a perfect space.

An Interior Decorator can offer a full range of residential design options such as Color Consultations, Space Planning, Furniture Selection, Custom Draperies and Soft Furnishings, Flooring, Wall Coverings, Kitchen and Bath Planning, New home specifications and preparing the home for Resale, as well as Selection of Artwork and Accessories.  A decorator can assist in the Refreshing of a room by Repurposing and Repositioning pieces to create a new look.

There is great deal of flexibility when working with an Interior Decorator.
A decorator will work with you to develop a decorating plan and establish a realistic budget.  Any project can be broken down into manageable pieces to be completed at a later date.

Ultimately an Interior Decorator’s job is to add the icing to the cake.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Countertops 101

When selecting a countertop for our kitchens or baths we can become overwhelmed by the selections available and which work best for us individually.  If you want low maintenance you would not go for marble.  For the low maintenance crowd, quartz is one of the best products available.

Solid Surface
The generic term, ‘solid surface’ refers to any material that is solid all the way through. This means it doesn’t have a topcoat that is different from the centre core. Solid surface materials are consistent in colour and content throughout. The advantage of this can be durability, hardness, temperature dispersion and edge profile options. Marble, Quartz, Granite and Corian (or similar materials like Gibraltar or Zodiac) are all considered Solid surfaces.

Plastic Laminate
Plastic Laminate‎ is a thin plastic sheet moulded around a particleboard centre with a few options for edge detail. This is not a solid surface material. Although not loved by designers, real estate agents or homeowners alike, laminate can be a practical and inexpensive solution in certain spaces. Also, laminate companies continuously coming out with new colours colours and options. This is the most affordable option.

Corian is a man-made resin product that comes in multiple colours. Corian is well known for its integrated sinks and seamless joints. Less glossy than quartz or natural stones, it has a softer look and feel. An advantage to Corian is that it can have adjustments made to it such as extending a counter top without removing the top or creating seams. ‎Corian is an easy to maintain pliable material with a premium price tag!

As beautiful as Marble is, one must be careful when selecting it.  It stains very easily so in a bathroom it can become damaged by some of the chemicals used.  When used on a kitchen countertop it requires maintenance but as it ages, it is beautiful.  If you want the look but not the maintenance, think about using it for your backsplash. The reason being, it can be very sensitive to wine stains or de-glossing from lemons, tomatoes or vinegar. A matte or leathered-finish marble can be slightly more forgiving, but it’s only for customers who can handle the natural marking that will occur. If you can’t handle this, choose something else!! Marble is expensive, beautiful but sensitive!!

Granite is a different natural stone than marble, in the fact that it is impervious to wine, acidic food and most scratches & wear and tear. ‎(Hence tombstones are now granite and no longer marble!). Granite has more of a pebbled pattern and less veins than marble. .
Quartz is the generic term used to describe a man-made material formulated from the quartz found in granite and then recast in resin. It is very hard, non-porous, scratch resistant and nice looking. It is softer in pattern than granite, but it is not as reliable for heat dispersion. You may want to stay away from quartz around fireplaces and try not to rest hot pots on it. Quartz is a good choice if you want a variety of colours or lots of companies to choose from. It costs about the same as granite.

Soapstone is new to the solid surface lineup, although it’s been around for a long time. It is naturally heat resistant and easy to maintain. You can have integrated sinks, with soapstone, included within the counter top. It is less glossy than marble or granite and offers a variety of pattern, but always in a dark tone. It is an excellent material for dispersing heat so it’s perfect around fireplace openings or in high-wear kitchens. Soapstone is the same in cost as high-grade granite.

Often confused with the name quartz, quartzite is a natural stone that has the durability of granite, but the veining pattern of marble. It is a delicate material during manufacture, so it requires a good fabricator. Once it is installed, it performs well. Slabs generally have soft wave patterns in a full range of largely neutral colours. You can expect premium pricing with Quartzite.

Butcherblock countertops are a breed of countertop all by themselves. They offer the aesthetic warmth that the look of wood provides while at the same time providing a versatile work surface in the kitchen. They bring a distinctive look that's appropriate in a kitchen that's hard at work or "dressed up" for entertaining.
Deciding whether it's the right choice for your kitchen takes an understanding of just what a butcherblock countertop is, how it's made and how you're going to use it.
Remember that butcherblock counters that you will cut and prepare food on will need frequent cleaning and oiling. If you're someone who just isn't up for this level of maintenance, consider getting "non-working" butcherblock countertops and use a separate cutting board for the food preparation. If you neglect the cutting board, you can just toss it out. That's harder to do (and more expensive) when you've neglected your countertops.

The decision about installing a concrete countertop versus granite, marble, corian or laminate can be a difficult one.  When thinking about this keep in mind you will need the correct cabinetry infrastructure to handle the weight so putting concrete on 30 year old cabinets may not be the best idea.  Concrete is both beautiful and budget-friendly. If properly installed and sealed, concrete countertops will last practically forever. Colncrete works well in a modern or industrial looking kitchen.  Concrete is a poreous material and will absorbe liquids and stain.  Acidic substances will etch the concrete and cooking oils can leave dark stains.  Applying a sealer to the surface will lessen the chances of damage.