3 Biggest Design Mistakes Release

Hi! I am keeping the blog post short this week! I’ve just released a free gift on my website called “The 3 Biggest Design Mistakes & How to Avoid Them”. These are the things that I see my clients struggle with over and over. I give you a few easy, simple to follow tips on how to avoid these pitfalls. I also start showing you how to build your own unique style brand!

You can grab the booklet here.

I’m taking a break for the month of July to plan my posts for the next year. I’ll be launching my new blog topics! I’m going to be featuring interviews with  design experts on some of your favorite topics. As always I’ll be focused on exceptional quality and creating highly functional spaces!

Make sure you tune into my Facebook page or You Tube channel for live videos and images from Las Vegas Market. I’ll be visiting some of my favorite furniture vendors and attending educational sessions and can’t wait to share with you what I learn!

Right after Las Vegas Market, I’ll be taking a trip to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix with my family. This Florida girl is looking forward to seeing those beautiful desert landscapes in person. Not looking forward to the heat, but I hear it’s dry, so that’s supposed to be better??

In the meantime, you can keep up with the progress on #LampeHouse via my Facebook page or You Tube Channel. You can watch as we progress through the stages of demolition and remodeling in our own home! In these videos, I also give some great tips and advice.

If you feel like you need help with your interiors, help is only a phone call away! You can schedule your complimentary Design Plan phone consultation here.

Have a great Fourth of July! Hope you get to enjoy some scenery like the one below! See you in August!!

Part II of What’s My Design Style: Your [Style] Roots Are Showing!

Welcome back to Part II of What’s My Design Style! To quickly recap last week, I talked about why design style quizzes don’t work. I talked a little about trends that you connect with and how making a real emotional connection is what creates a lasting style. This week I’m going to cover why we react to beautiful spaces and how to use that to create your own personal style brand. These are actual techniques I use with my clients.

First and foremost let’s get something out of the way – all trends aren’t bad and just because something is popular does not mean it’s “trendy”. By definition a trend is a general direction in which something is developing AND it also means in fashion or “en vogue”. So, when we say there is a trend toward using subway tile on the backsplash, it does not mean that subway tile is “trendy” and will go out of fashion. Subway tile is sort of like the black pants of the interior design world. Classic with a million ways to dress it up!

Subway tile is a classic!

However, there may be some things that are in fashion that are not classic. Think of things like distressed and glazed kitchen cabinets.  They were super trendy about 10 years ago. They were absolutely gorgeous in many homes, but now in most homes, they look outdated… and worn out! However, for people who love shabby chic and farmhouse looks, they would (and should) never have anything else!

Unless it’s a style that really resonates with you, distressed cabinets may feel outdated long before they are ready for replacement

Think of these in terms of distressed and ripped denim. Jeans are ALWAYS in style. They’re a classic. Ripped and distressed denim comes in and out of fashion, but for people who love a bohemian or rocker look, they never look out of fashion. The ripped and distressed look will always look great on them because they know how to wear it.

Blue jeans are a classic…
… but only some people can “pull it off” perennially

And we all know people like that… They can have a living room straight out of 1983, but still somehow manage to make it look awesome!

So what’s the common denominator there? The people who can “pull off a look” that is not in fashion or even outdated? They are emotionally connected to the style have cultivated because they love it. They’re not concerned with what is en vogue. They’re concerned with does this feel like me… It’s sort of a non-minimalist version of the KonMari phenomenon.  Seriously, I believe that people will be happier and more satisfied with their homes, waste less money, produce less garbage, and have fewer yard sales if they did this work.

So, what is the first step?

Make a list of what you love. Go all the way back to your child hood if you need to. Think about things that have always appealed to you. Your favorite TV homes. Your favorite houses in your hometown. Your favorite buildings. Your favorite vacations. Favorite colors, foods, cars, dresses, shoes…  The items that always seem to make their way into your closet. Think across your life and make a list of the things that stand out in your mind as things that give you an emotional reaction. Literally, what brings you joy!

Mmmmmkay… How do I do that???

Let me give you an example from my own personal design style. (Yes, I did this work for myself!)

When I was young I loved the Brady Bunch house. There was a mid-century house in my hometown that had odd angles and high windows. I loved the way it defiantly stood between all the Ante-bellum and Victorian homes that lined street. Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn are the queens of style to me, especially in the 60’s and 70’s. I love Halston and Diane Von Furstenberg dresses. The sleek, clean lines of that era really appeal to me. The fashion was so timeless and Jackie and Audrey’s brand of glamour was effortless and sophisticated.


I grew up in the Deep South. My grandmother had a collection of chinoiserie that I always admired. The preppy tailored look that is associated with Southern style has always grabbed me. We lived among pines and live oaks and only about an hour from the Gulf Coast. I spent many summers on the Gulf beaches with blue-green water and white sand dunes. I scarfed down more seafood and oysters than I care to admit. The ocean and the beach just have a soft casualness to them that is comforting.

A classic chinoiserie mirror by Worlds Away

In my closet you’ll always find these items: white jeans, brown leather thong sandals, off-white slacks, several pairs of jeans, Chuck Taylors, an LBD, a sailor style striped shirt, red pants, a white oxford, gray cardigan sweater, a black or navy blue blazer, a pair of riding boots, and several wrap dresses.

So, you can get an idea of what I emotionally connect with: Mid-century Modern, Modern design, tailored clothes, preppy clothes, classic wardrobe, chinoiserie, coastal setting, coastal colors.

I love the look soft dunes and blue green water like you find on the Gulf of Mexico

Sounds like a hot mess, right?? We’ll get to cooling it off next week. For now, take out a piece of paper and make two columns. In the first column, I want you to make a list of all of your “things”. For now, leave the second column empty. We’re getting to the roots of your style!

In the meantime, if you want to work on your personal style brand or have a design project to start, you can book your design style consultation here.

Why Interior Design Style Quizzes Don’t Work

If you’ve ever wondered what your interior design  style is you’ve probably stumbled on a design style quiz online. If you took it, you were probably left scratching your head. You may have even accidentally ended up on a mailing list or been offered a deal on an e-Design package. What you probably didn’t get was a good sense of what interior design style is or how to decorate your home to achieve that style.   

Classically Styled Transitional Bedroom; photo credit: Hannah Glogower photography

You’re probably asking two questions:

Question 1: Why didn’t it work?

There are a three simple reasons the style quizzes don’t really work:

First and foremost, style quizzes are marketing tools that businesses use to collect your email address. Yeah, I probably just made a ton of enemies by saying that, but it’s the truth. All good marketing plans have some kind of email marketing aspect. After all email marketing is still the number one digital marketing technique.

Secondly, the business that offered you this free information want you to still be a little confused. They want you to purchase their services. Again, all part of the marketing plan.

Finally, and this is the BIG reason they fail you, they’re not very scientific. Usually, you will have to select your “favorite” room from two (or more) images. What if you don’t like either one? Or you like both equally? There’s no option to select “neither”.  The images they show you are specifically chosen to highlight a particular set of super trendy styles and the style you like best may not even be represented.  So, the quiz is inherently flawed.

Which one? A. or B. Choosing between two similar styles might not yield accurate results. photo credit: Hannah Glogower

Question 2: If they don’t work then how do I find my style? 

There are so many beautiful styles and trends out there, to be sure. However, picking a trend that is appealing to you isn’t going to help you create a home you will love for years. You’ll be redecorating and remodeling every 4-5 years! And honestly, who has the time and money for that?!?

Cultivating a style that is your own goes a lot deeper.  Being a designer, I am privy to a lot of design problems, but because of my background as a researcher, I tend to see trends emerge. Along the way, I have noted the reasons people become frustrated with the interior style of their home. I see people trying to make their homes look nice and stylish, but not really connecting emotionally to the interior spaces in their home. They can see and identify what they like, but they don’t understand why a certain look resonates with them.

A living room with a unique, personalized timeless contemporary look. photo credit: pixabay.com

So, how do you stop the vicious cycle? Take this quiz and find out!

I jest.

It takes some work, but you can understand your own personal aesthetic and then build your very own style “brand” from that foundation. I’m going to teach you how to do this over the next four blog posts. It’s going to shake out like this:

  1. Your [Style] Roots are Showing (week 2)
  2. You’ve Got a Way with [Style] Words (week 3)
  3. Building a Foundation for Style (week 4)

Next week we’re going to talk about how to get at the roots of your personal style. So make sure you have pen and paper handy!

Let me know if you want to explore your design style in more detail. The initial Design Style phone consultation is free of charge! You can book yours right here.

3 Tips for Designing Small Spaces

Small spaces, like awkward spaces, are found in homes of all sizes. We all have a hard time figuring out how to use the space and furnishing it appropriately for that function. Often, homeowners feel like their small spaces are overcrowded with furniture. Do you want to use your space to its fullest potential without feeling cramped? Keep reading!


When I am challenged by a small space I always keep the scale of the furniture at the forefront of my mind. I recently finished a small space project that included a living/dining area. Initially, the homeowner thought the space was too small for a sofa. We decided to create a simple sitting area with chairs and ottomans. One the installation was complete, the homeowner realized that she needed more seating. I knew right away that a full-size sofa wasn’t going to be practical. We needed something smaller and opted for an apartment sofa. We “downsized” the sofa and made the seating arrangement work.

The lesson: scale it down, if not in the amount of furniture you have, but in the scale of the furniture itself. The average sofa size is >7 feet long. Most sofas are 8-9 feet in length and 36-40″ deep. Apartments sofas are under 7 feet long and never exceed 36″ in depth.

Another place where you can scale down the portions of furniture in tight spaces is with your bed. In a small bedroom, you may want to use a headboard only instead of a bed that has a headboard and footboard. You can free-up 6″-12″ of space by skipping the footboard.

Platform beds are space savers. No footboard gives you at least an extra 6″. photo credit: Hannah Glogower

Occasional tables, such as coffee tables and side tables can also be scaled to help preserve floorspace. You always need something on which you can rest a book or a drink in your living room, but it doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. For example, if you’re having trouble finding a coffee table in a style you love, you can use two smaller items, like stools or a gardening drums, in place of a large cocktail table. The same goes for nightstands.

Another idea for seating is to use slipper chairs or benches instead of club chairs or arm chairs. The arms on a chair can take-up an extra 6″-18″ of space. A slipper chair with a slim profile can create a lot of floor space and visual space in a small room.

Slipper chairs have a lower profile and work in smaller spaces. What these chair lack in size they make up for it in style! photo credit: Hannah Glogower


My second tip is to select multi-purpose furniture. If you’re short on space, chances are you’re also short on storage, which can lead to clutter. To mediate small space clutter, I recommend using furniture with drawers where you can. For example, instead of a console table, consider using a small 3 drawer dresser that is dimensionally similar to a console table.

Open storage, such as bookshelves and media storage, can create a visually cluttered look. From a volumetric standpoint they take up a lot of space. This is another area where that extra drawer storage can come in handy.

This small space needed some extra storage. Instead of a console we used a 3 drawer chest. photo credit: Hannah Glogower

Beds with drawers in their bases are another great multi-purpose piece. These beds are usually low profile and come with or without a headboard. The great thing about storage beds is that you eliminate the dead space beneath your bed. You can store items beneath a typical bed, but if you have drawer storage, the items will be organized and you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting dusty. Under-bed storage is a great place to store seasonal clothing if your short on closet space.

Welcome to Another Dimension

We tend to think about space in terms of floor space or square footage, but our rooms aren’t flat like a blue print! We have vertical space as well and when you’re room is small, you should use it.

A great example of vertical space that often goes unused is the space above a wall hung television. Instead of a short media console, consider creating a media wall and using all of the space around your TV for storage. There are solutions for any budget, everything from Ikea to custom. Keeping the colors and materials light will keep the space open.

This white shelving extends from floor to ceiling. It’s topped off with cabinets for more concealed storage. 

What are some of your small space challenges? How did you resolve them? What are some creative solutions you’ve seen?

Still pondering how you’ll resolve your space planning issues? You can schedule your complementary Design Style phone consultation here.

Subway tile: Trend or Classic

Do you think subway tile is too trendy? I hear this a lot. It’s not a particularly difficult question to answer, but I always feel like I want to expand on the answer a little.

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s not a classic. There are styles that are acceptable long after their popularity fades. They transcend the contemporaneous constraints that typically define trendiness. Chanel suits. Louis Vuitton handbags. Chippendale chairs. And yes, subway tile.

NYC Subway Ceiling

The reason I say this is that 3″ x 6″ white tile arranged in a running bond or straight bond pattern has been used for almost as long as subways have been around. They’ve been used in kitchens of the industrial type for nearly as long. So, needless to say, classic white subway tiles give a space a specific feeling. Vintage. Rustic. Industrial.

Subway style tiles in a commercial setting

That being said, white subway tile used in a residential kitchen can be used in many different interior styles. However, with the rise in popularity of subway tile, many variations on the classic have started showing up. There are glass versions. Elongated versions. Colorful versions. Each iteration taking the classic subway a little further away from classic.

Glass subway tile in a smoky tan

I’ve had clients worry that their backsplash selection will go out of style. Thereby leaving them with an outdated kitchen and feeling like they wasted money. The thing you have to keep in mind about a backsplash is that you can easily change it down the road. A beautiful backsplash is like a beautiful piece of jewelry, it can really add a lot of style, but it can always be changed!

As for not wasting your money, tile backsplash is a style investment, and like any other investment, the money can be big or small. A simple white ceramic tile backsplash can be as little as $2.00/square foot. Glass tile can be quite a bit more expensive with designer brands costing upwards of $100/square foot. An average kitchen has about 15-30 square feet of backsplash, so it’s easy to see how material costs can quickly add up. However, compared to counter surfaces and cabinets, the backsplash is going to be a smaller investment. Either way, you can switch out a tile backsplash if you want to freshen the look of your kitchen.

Transitional bathroom backsplash with mixed material mosaic and 4×4 white ceramic in a straight lay pattern photo credit: Hannah Glogower

My advice for making your selection: Let your style be your guide. If the style of your kitchen is classic and traditional, you will probably want to stick with more traditional shapes and applications – subway, 4″ square, ceramic, natural stone, neutral colors. However, if your aiming for a transitional, retro, or eclectic look, bring on the color and shape! You can really experiment with mixed surfaces, glass, metals, and handmade tiles! Ultra-contemporary or minimal? You might consider using the counter surface for your backsplash.

Contemporary kitchen with marble counters and backsplash

The Verdict: To make a long story short, subway tile is a classic! Subway tile may come in and out of popularity, but it’s a classic look that can work in many kitchen styles. However, if you feel like being brave, shake things up a little and get creative! You can always update your backsplash later!

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter here. And if you want to set up your complimentary Design Style phone consultation, you can do that here.

Project Share: Boho and Bright Girl’s Room

Boho and Bright Girl’s Bedroom

This girl’s bedroom was such a fun project. The little girl for whom the room was designed is a girly girl, but is she is also artsy, active, outgoing, and makes plenty of messes. She loves the color pink, animals, and the Beatles. Her inspiration room was the bedroom of the Julie Albright American Girl doll, whose storyline takes place in the 1960’s.

Boho & Bright; photo credit- Hannah Glogower


I wanted to incorporate as much pink in her room as possible, but mom wanted to keep the walls neutral. They also wanted to repurpose a few pieces of furniture that were vintage pieces. I used Sherwin Williams “Blush” to paint the vintage nightstand and desk the same color. The mid-century style headboard is upholstered in a bright pink that coordinates with the textiles. She also needed a lot of storage for her toys. We used a cube storage system with brightly colored bins, some with ric-rac detailing.

Storage cubes with ric-rac detail; photo credit – Hannah Glogower

Mom also wanted flooring that was easy to clean and that could be covered or easily removed later. I selected glue-down cork tiles, which can also be used as a sub-flooring. Cork is a great product that helps with acoustics, is always warm underfoot, and helps control dust. It’s easy to keep clean, especially for a kid that does a lot of art projects in her room.

Matroishka dolls and a vintage porcelain lamp with butterflies remind us that a little girl lives here; photo credit – Hannah Glogower

Inspiration & Details

She’s also a big fan of the Beatles so I wanted to incorporate some hippie elements. The wicker hanging chair, peacock paisley fabric, lava lamp, and faux fur accents give the room a boho-psychedelic vibe, but the cool calming colors, vintage bookends, matroishka dolls, and ric-rac details on the storage bins remind you that a little girl lives here.

Another girly vintage find; photo credit – Hannah Glogower

My favorite detail is the pom pom trim on the custom window treatments and the peek-a-boo contrast fabric in the pleats. What’s your favorite detail? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re thinking about redecorating or re-styling a space in your home, call Paradigm Interiors! You can schedule your Design Style phone consultation here. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!


Trend or Classic: Mixed Cabinet Colors

One of the top questions when I work with clients on kitchen remodels: Is mixing cabinet colors too trendy?

It’s such a great look, that’s why you’ve seen it everywhere for the past 7 or 8 years. Most frequently, you’ve probably seen it in a transitional-farmhouse style. Usually, it’s a gray and white kitchen. However, the look has also been popular in other color combinations and in contemporary style kitchens as well. Popular combinations of this trend are the top-bottom combo, where the bottom cabinets are one color and the upper cabinets are another color. The accent furniture combination, where a china display or accent area area is a different color than the rest of the kitchen. The other combination, and probably the most popular, is the island-as-furniture combination. Images of these looks are below with photo credits hyperlinked.

The top-bottom combination: This kitchen has dark gray base cabinets and white lower cabinets. The darker color on the bottom helps ground the cabinets.



The “Accent Piece” Look: This kitchen divides the two-tone look by using white for the majority of the kitchen and gray for the plate racks and espresso station.


Island-as-furniture option: This island is stained a deep walnut color and looks like a piece of furniture compared to the cream colored kitchen.


Of these three looks the island-as-furniture look probably has the most staying power. Historically speaking, the island got its humble and practical start as a work table in 19th century Victorian kitchens. Thus, an island that is a different color and looks like a separate piece of furniture is nod to history.

My verdict on mixing cabinet colors: Classic, but it depends on how you do it!

Because I believe in creating timeless spaces, I think of “trendy” as something that looks outdated fairly quickly. Just because something is popular doesn’t always make it trendy. A lot of things can make a kitchen look dated: color scheme, counter surfaces, backsplashes. However, a true classic is something that speaks to the past in a timeless way. Kitchen islands with a furniture look are classic because they have they do just that.

If you’re ready to create a timeless classic look in your kitchen or bath, you can schedule your Design Style Consultation here.


Should I Re-Upholster or Buy New?

Should I re-upholster or buy new?

It is decided. You’re going to remodel your downstairs. You’ve been living in the 90’s for way too long. You want a whole new look: new kitchen, new window treatments, new powder room, new color scheme, new furniture…

On second thought, wait… I really love that sofa and those chairs are classic and if I just re-upholstered them then it might shave a few bucks from the project…

Maybe. Maybe not. Re-upholstering a piece of furniture can be a great idea if you are doing it for the right reasons. I am always for anything that keeps old sofas out of our ever expanding landfills. However, re-upholstering your favorite sofa isn’t always the best move. First of all, your beloved sofa may not be a great candidate for re-upholstery. Secondly, it may not save you a lot of money. Upholstery work and upholstery fabric can be quite expensive. If, your sofa or chair isn’t of sufficient quality, then no amount of fabric will extend its life. It can be hard to assess the quality of a piece of furniture when it’s covered in textiles. Determining if re-upholstery is a good option (or not) can be quite the design dilemma.

So, how do designers decide which pieces are fit for re-upholstery?  These are a couple of the things that help me decide if re-upholstering a piece is a sound option.

Custom Sofa by Lee Industries


The 3 C’s of Re-upholstery:


Coils (& cushions). The first thing I do is attempt to assess the quality of the piece. I start by sitting on it. Seems like a no-brainer, but if there’s too much movement in the piece, then it’s probably not structurally stable and should not be re-upholstered. I walk around the piece and wiggle it. Does it move from side to side? Do all the legs sit evenly on the floor? If there’s too much lateral movement or if the legs are loose and don’t sit evenly, it’s probably not a good candidate. I remove any unattached cushions and rub my hand across the back and seat to feel the spring system. If the springs seem high and tight and aren’t sunken, then re-upholstery might be possible. I l will try to lift the piece to see underneath. I also check the quality of the decking, which is usually a neutral or plain piece of canvas or other sturdy material that covers the spring system. This can give an idea of the overall quality and condition of the structures that support the seat.

Then, I will attempt to examine the underside of the seat. This should be covered in a thin neutral colored cloth called a dust cover. If the client is ok with me taking a peek, using a staple remover, I will pull away part of the dust cover and try to get a look at the springs (coils) from the underside. It can be stapled back in place when I am done. If I see eight way hand-tied springs, this is a great sign. If the eight-way hand tied system is in good shape, then re-upholstering is an option. Sinuous springs, not so much, but a lot depends on the age of the sofa and the condition of the springs, though most seating with sinuous springs won’t be a good candidate for re-upholstery.

The last thing I do is look at the quality of the cushions. This can be accomplished by unzipping the cushions and taking a peek. If The cushions can be re-filled, but high quality sofas will often have an inner coil cushion that is kind of like a little mattress. If the cushions are in good shape and can be re-used, then re-upholstering is a safer bet.

Eight-way Hand Tied Springs


CustomizationThe question here is can you find the sofa you love in the fabric you want. If you want a fabric that doesn’t come on a sofa you can buy in a store, then re-upholstering is probably a good idea, if you meet the quality criteria. Also, if you had a custom sofa with a shape you loved or that specifically fit an area in your home, like a curved sofa, then re-upholstery might be a good option. This is especially true if the custom sofa is still in great condition.

So what should you do if you want a specific fabric and love the shape and size of your current sofa, but the sofa you want isn’t in great condition? Have a custom replica made. A designer who has access to custom upholstery furniture manufacturers can help you place an order for a high quality sofa that meets your needs.

With Re-upholstery, fabric choices are nearly endless!


Cost. If you’re primary reason for re-upholstering a sofa is to save money, you might want to reconsider. It’s not always less expensive to re-upholster. The cost of labor to re-upholster can vary, but it’s pretty consistent among most upholsterers. You can usually expect to spend between $700-1500 for basic re-upholstery labor of a full sized sofa.

If you are re-upholstering a custom sofa that cost $3000+ upon purchase or a cherished heirloom, then re-upholstery will likely be less than buying a new sofa of the same quality and customization. However, a lot depends on the quality, condition, and size of the sofa, and the fabric you select. If any foam needs to be replaced or anything needs to be repaired, the cost will increase. Upholstery fabric can range in cost from $40-50/yard up to $400-500+ per yard. Most sofas require 18-25 yards of fabric, depending on whether the pattern has a print and how large the print is. You could spend thousands of dollars on the print alone. It’s easy to see how those costs can add up, making re-upholstery more a labor of love than a budget friendly option.

In the end, the decision to re-upholster requires a lot of information and careful decision making. What has your experience been with re-upholstering?

If you’re ready to re-decorate a space and want to include re-upholstering a cherished piece of furniture, contact Paradigm Interiors for your complementary Design Plan Consultation (click here).


Good Design Takes Time

The design process is tedious. Well, up front it’s exciting. It goes something like this:

  1. You hire your designer. It’s so exciting. He/she has fantastic ideas.
  2. You get your drawings and boards and you can just see the magazine perfect home of your dreams taking shape.
  3. You get the proposal and after your done choking a little bit at the price tag, you decide it’s totally worth it and you press the “go” button
  4. Then… it’s a lot…of…waiting…
  5. ..and..more waiting…
  6. You feel abandoned, but you’re still getting bills from the designer!!
  7. You start wondering, “Why is this taking so long!!”

I’m not sure if anyone has ever used the exact words, “Why is this taking so long,” but heaven knows it’s been written on the face of every single client with whom I have worked, even when I think I’ve set pretty good expectations of how the process works. Nonetheless, the process is slow and there is a period of time where it feels like it will never end.

It does end and when the final reveal happens its always well worth the wait, but let’s look at the top three reasons interior design projects take so darn long…

Great Room Project by Paradigm Interiors

Reason #1: People, people who need people are the slo-oh-west people in the world…

Isn’t that how the song goes? No? Well, it should be. Most interior design projects involve multiple trades and craftsmen. The more human hands that need to touch your project, the longer it’s going to take because there is a lot of coordination involved. Let’s take a great room (kitchen, family room, breakfast nook) remodel for example. If we were to do a full kitchen remodel, wall coverings, window treatments, lighting, furnishings, and accessories, then there will be no less than 10 different groups of professionals and no less than 10-15 vendors involved in the project. For example, the designer (pro #1) will work with the following trade pros:

  1. Contractor/carpenter to install the cabinets, backsplash, and any flooring
  2. Plumber
  3. Counter surface installer
  4. Electrician
  5. Painter
  6. Wall covering installer
  7. Window treatment work room (at least one)
  8. Window treatment installer
  9. Receiving and delivery warehouse
  10. Her design assistant or a handyman

For every trade, there is usually a vendor to work with who will supply equipment. In this case, those would be:

  1. Cabinet vendor
  2. Appliance vendor
  3. Tile vendor
  4. Counter vendor
  5. Paint vendor
  6. Lighting vendor
  7. Art Vendor(s)
  8. Accessories vendor(s)
  9. Fabric Vendor(s)
  10. Furniture Vendor(s)

With me those last three are likely to be numerous because I pull from many sources for my designs, which gives every room a rich, curated look.

Accent wall covering and custom cabinet give some texture to an otherwise boring wall

Reason #2: Follow my lead

Lead times are the amount of time between ordering a product and delivery. Lead times vary depending on how high-end and custom the products are. Typically, cabinets and custom furniture have the longest lead times, which is usually 4-8 weeks. Other furniture can take a week or two, but when purchased wholesale, as most designer do, the furniture makes a pit stop at a receiving warehouse. Delivery of all of the furniture will be scheduled for one day. Therefore, if you have a mix of custom and non-custom furniture, all of your furniture will be delivered after everything arrives. And forget it if something comes damaged! That extends your lead time by at least 2 weeks. 

Then, there is a systematic order to completing the project. It begins with the design process, the exciting part, and goes into the demolition and construction phases. The demolition happens first, which can’t happen until the cabinets have arrived and been inspected. Then, the rebuild of the kitchen, which will include the electrical and plumbing work. The final pieces of the kitchen remodel are the installation of the counter and then the backsplash. After the remodeling portion is complete, the painters will paint the entire great room area and the wall coverings can be installed. Finally, the furniture, rugs, art and accessories can be installed.

If any one of these pieces is delayed, the whole project goes off course.

This gorgeous fully custom sofa took about 8 weeks from order date to delivery.

Reason #3: Stuff Happens

Murphy’s law, right? When you have this many humans working on a project together, stuff is just going to happen. And I know you know what “stuff” I mean…

I have yet to work on a project where everything was perfect. I listen to the podcasts of top notch multi-million dollar a year designers who’ve been in business for 30 years and you know what they say? Stuff happens. Stuff happens on every project. Even with a sound design process, stuff happens.

Sometimes trade pros have conflicts so they can’t show up on schedule. Sometimes they have to back out of the job. Items show up damaged. Colors don’t turn out right. Vendors don’t put the correct information on an item. Warehouses lose things. Stuff happens, but in the end everything gets done, maybe not on the anticipated timeline, but they’re done and the end result is beautiful.

The best I can do is hold my clients’ hands through the process, reassure them, and try to give them the best experience even with all the “stuff” that can happen.

Let me know when you want to set up your Style Discovery Phone Consultation or In-Home Consultation and see what kind of wonderful stuff we can make happen!

Is That a Trend or a Classic? Matte Brass/Gold

My Client: “Wow! I just saw the most amazing kitchen! It had navy blue cabinets, marble countertops, white subway tile and gorgeous matte brass accents… I love those gold toned accents, but do you think that’s too trendy?”

Me: “uuuuuummmmm…” head scratch, reads clients face carefully, “maaaaaaybe…”


A gorgeous blue and gold kitchen by Marie Flanigan Interiors in Houston, TX


Seriously, I walk a very fine tightrope between not offending my clients and telling them the truth. That usually means that I have to suppress my inner Julia Sugarbaker and stop myself from railing about the virtues of timeless, classic design. That is my design philosophy. Build the design with a foundation of timeless classic pieces and add bits of color and trend like sprinkles and the cherry on top of a sundae. I work to help my clients identify on a deep level what their personal aesthetic is. We work together to identify their core style, which trends are resonating with them, and how we can create a unique look using this information.

When I get a request that is filled to the brim with trend, I hit my internal pause button.

To set the record straight, I don’t think marble counters are ultra trendy. Nor do I think subway tiles are trendy. In fact, history tells us that they are very classic looks. Also, don’t misunderstand, I also LOVE the look I’m describing. However, navy blue cabinets and brass fixtures are BOLD choices. Most people would get tired of looking at them day after day. Then, they go into “I HATE this mode”. If you have money to spend re-vamping your kitchen every time you become overwhelmed or bored, then go for it! If you live in a different demographic, my advice is choose one trend that is inexpensive and easy to reverse.

In this case, that item would be the brass fixtures. Although drawer pulls, lighting, and plumbing fixtures are not inexpensive, especially not the new gold toned finishes, they are less expensive and easier to replace than cabinets.

Looking to the past always gives us an idea of what has staying power and what is trendy. In that case silver tones rule, particularly for plumbing fixtures. As we look back in time, the gold tones come and go, but the silver tones seem to be a constant. As hardware for doors and lighting, brass finishes have some staying power, typically the flat or brushed finishes have had a little more staying power. We’ve seen gold tones come and go throughout the American Colonial, Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco periods. The last time brass and gold tones were popular was in the 1980’s and that time around nearly ruined the Baby Boomer and Gen Xers taste for gold metals because that round of brass was somehow extra brass-y… and extra offensive. Alas, 80’s nostalgia is back – music, movies, fashion, television – and with it come the gold tones!


The 1980’s brass we all love to hate!


So, my verdict? TREND

…But, its a good trend, a fun trend that you can implement in small doses and enjoy until it fades. I’m going to give you three tips for incorporating it into your kitchen or bath.

Tip #1: Mix It Up

Right now it’s totally cool to mix metals, so you can add some lovely brass accent lighting to your chrome and stainless kitchen metals. The key is keeping everything balanced. If you add just one gold toned piece, like a matte brass faucet you’ll want to add some accessories in the same tone. You can use a brass toned basket or possibly a multi- brass tiered tray on your counter for a fruit display. Ideally, you’d want to repeat the color a minimum of three times to create harmony.

Gold mixes well with stainless in this beautiful kitchen by Elizabeth Laws Design in Baltimore.


Tip #2: Light Up the Night

Use your lighting fixtures as your brass accent. In the picture below the designer has only used the brass color in the lighting, but the lighting fixtures are large enough to make a substantial contribution to the room. You can also use the above tip to round out the distribution of the color into your accessories if you like. However, the lighting alone is enough to make sense.

Gold lighting provides a delightful accent in this kitchen remodeled by Advanced Renovations in Charlotte, NC and photographed by Jim Schmid.


Tip #3: Get a Handle on It

Do just your door hardware – knobs, handles, and pulls – in a gold tone metal. This will be enough repetition to give a cohesive look, and again, it makes sense to just do these items as a stand alone metal. You can see that the designer only used the gold color in the hardware and used traditional stainless and chrome where they are appropriate. It looks fantastic. Hardware is relatively inexpensive, it can be easily switched out when you get tired of the gold, but they make a big overall impact.


Matte Brass drawer pulls really add some zing to these navy blue drawers.


Do you think you’ll try the matte brass/gold tone metal trend? You can shop the look here and here.

Are you still confused about how to add the look into your next project? Schedule your Design Style Discovery Consultation here.

By the way, none of these GORGEOUS kitchens are work that I have done. I am providing links to the source for each of these under the image. The boards are mine though and feel free to shop the look!