Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maximize your house!

Have you ever walked into a room and known immediately that the furniture should be arranged a certain way?  Well stop, this a sure-fire way to cost yourself valuable square footage!
This is how a living room looked before my client purchased it.  There are three identical units that are designed very similarly.
(Photo provided by Washington Fine Properties)

This layout has its positives.  Because the sofa faces the fireplace it does a good job of highlighting the focal point within the seating group.  Both options create a very small, intimate conversation area.  However, if you want your space to look as large as possible here are some things to avoid:

-Do not select an undersized area rug.  This is the biggest mistake that many homeowners and designers make. 
-Don’t squeeze your arrangement toward the fireplace or focal point.
-Avoid creating a walk space behind your conversation area.  This makes the room visually end at the back of the furniture grouping.
-In certain situations angling your furniture closes off the space and visually limits square footage.
-Do not select furniture that is under scaled or over scaled.  Pay attention to the seat and back height of your choices.

Here is an alternate plan that was created for my client and a photo of the in-progress design.

Here are some ideas that we used that may translate to your space:

-One large room sized area rug (NOT installed yet) in the living room defines its function and makes the entire room fair game for seating.  As an alternate you could consider a wall-to-wall or custom fit installation.
-By selecting a sofa with a commanding length we visually balanced the fireplace. 
-Pushing the sofa all the way back to the wall virtually widens the room.  
-Creating two adjacent seating groups is conducive to entertaining because it allows for large groups while still allowing intimate conversations.   
-We designed armless chairs and loveseats in order to promote cross group interactions. 
-Appropriately scaled furniture fills the space without making it feel crowded.

You may not be able to add square footage to your home, but you can certainly maximize it with your furniture arrangement- so explore all of your options.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amanda meets Philip Gorrivan!

(photo from
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Amanda, an associate designer at Ambi Design Studio.  I met Shanon while I was working in the Duralee/ Highland Court showroom at the Washington Design Center.

While I worked at Duralee/ Highland Court, I was introduced to a line of fabrics designed by Philip Gorrivan.  I began to follow his design work, and I loved when his new fabric lines were presented through Highland court.   His fabrics are BEAUTIFUL, and he is a talented designer.  We love how his collections are so unified and can be used together in a space without looking “too designer”.   He has created beautifully bold and colorful fabrics, as well as simply subtle patterns and prints.  

This week he gave a lecture at the Washington Design Center in the Duralee/Highland Court showroom.  We had the privilege to listen to his lecture on his designs, fabrics, and inspirations.  I was amazed at where he drew his inspirations from; anywhere from architectural details to world travel to doorknobs!  He is an inspirational designer, and I was thrilled to get to meet him!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Think of paint as desert, not a starter!

If I told you that paints are the finishing touch on a room design would you be surprised?  You are not alone, most of my clients are bewildered when I inform them of this.  So what is the typical "secret" process used to create a beautiful room and a cohesive color palette?  You can check out my guest blog post for Home and Design Magazine to find out!  Here is the link: Home and Design Guest Blog
Paint is the least expensive change you can make to your room.  So have your desert, just don't skip the rest of your meal!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The colors of $!

Do colors make people happy?  Or do happy people choose to be around color?  This is the chicken or egg question I have been thinking about the last couple of days.

I remember reading a design article (I think in the ASID Icon) a couple of years ago about color trends for interiors.  It discussed how color trends throughout the decades have usually reflected what is going on politically and economically.  Let's explore:

In the 60's and 70's the back-to-earth movement produced the earthy palette of avocado green, harvest gold and pumpkin that later left many homeowners wishing for appliance upgrades.  Although this particular homeowner seems pretty darn pleased....
(photo by GE appliances)

The manic 80's produced crazy neon bright colors and the never-to-be-forgotten salmon pink and teal combo.  The economy was starting to boom and the population in whole was definitely acting like someone with new money.

One of my favorite cartoons EVER!! 
(photo from
Oh and let's not forget the waterbeds!

The 90's were all about beige (very stoic and proper like a family with old money).  Color, what's that?
And now, after it seems we have avoided an economic meltdown on the scale of the great depression by the skin of our teeth, am I seeing another color revolution?  I just bought a pair of pants for my daughter that appeared to be pink on-line.  When they came they were NEON hot pink.  I haven't seen a color like since I gave up my favorite, worn to shreds, t-shirt that I owned in the Jem era (see above)!  Not to mention the severe color beer goggles that I am suffering from after being saturated in the Missoni for Target collection (see my previous blog post Oh Missoni- you make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning!)!  Suddenly, beige just seems boring and color seems amazing.  What does this mean?  Am I unique in this feeling?  Or are we on the verge of another "Material Girl"era?  Who knows, all I can say is that I am enjoying it for now.
Our design for a pre-teen girl's hangout that we designed for the Washington post-
 see the rendering of the room in the paper in a couple of weeks!