Thursday, September 29, 2011

The contractor- friend or foe?

First off, this posting is not meant to offend contractors.  In my thirteen years as a designer I have met a number of contractors that I respect and who are genuinly trying to do their best.  This is my take on the relationship between designers and contractors on a jobsite.  

A designer's role within a project is to represent the client on the job site and to make sure that the project that is finished represents the project that was designed and approved up-front.  That means that we are hired to be the bad guy and to nitpick and to point out any variations from the design plan or slight inadequacies.  All of this is done in the hopes that the finished product will be taken to a higher aesthetic and quality level.  In my mind this relationship is MEANT to be tenuous at times with each party working toward their absolute best interests.  

So, is it really possible to find successful "teams" of contractors and designers?   Does this mean that a designer can't work repeatedly with the same company?  No, but in my opinion it does make it hard to find a company that you want to align with, because that means staking your professional reputation on the work of another organization.  If a designer does get into a "partnership" with another company the challenge would be to maintain objectivity.

This is why I choose foe.  Because looking from the eyes of a client- I want the creme de la creme and if you want to keep us happy then you need to bring your A game!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This chair needs help STAT!

I am a recycler.  You name it, I recycle it.  Ink tanks, tech equipment, batteries, pots and pans, and all the typical items like paper and plastic.  So it is only natural that I want to try to reuse as much of my client's furniture as I can during a project.

One of the most forgiving items to repurpose is upholstery.  I frequently come into contact with patients that seem to be on their last leg.  With the help of my upholsterer and armed with a good design plan I have snatched these lucky pieces from the big garbage heap in the sky!

Sixties era swivel rocker.  Good size but the years have not been nice to it.  Notice the unattractive low kick pleat skirt and awkwardly shaped back cushion.

Let's admire the new floor to seat tailored kick pleat skirt.  A tight channel back replaces the loose back cushion.  The arm shape did not change but let's say this patient has made it through surgery with flying colors.

An early 80's gem.  The gathered ruching on the outside back is reminiscent of flash dance leggings.  The skirt is the same unattractive low kick pleat as in patient #1.  The client typically used arm caps so there was severe farmer's tan fading on the arms and the entire piece looked in need of a good bath.

Here is our patient freshly upholstered in a up-to-date print that channels the same color vibe as the original.  Notice the new skirt and the smooth, clean back.  This former flash dancer is updated and ready for a night on the town!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh Missoni- you make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning!

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I dislike mornings.  So it takes a real event to make me bolt out of bed at 5:30am without an alarm.  That event Tuesday was the unveiling of the Missoni for Target collection!!!

The collection was met with a crazy frenzy that I can only compare to a Black Friday event.  Within minutes products were sold out.  The website was so overloaded it crashed a number of times.  But I had success scoring a number of the home and clothing items that I have been eying for months!  My sister needed more instant gratification and waited in line to go into the store to see and buy in-person.  She came over Tuesday evening so we could divvy up some of the loot.  The quality is pretty amazing and this little taste of what is to come has only made me more excited to get my packages in a few days!

Even if you missed out on this event you can still have Missoni in your home at a reasonable cost.  Check out their beautiful display at the DCDC photographed above.  Stark carries this gorgeous collection of fabrics that is worth a splurge.  My budget trick to making a beautiful expensive fabric go a long way is to use it for the face only on several pillows.  Find an inexpensive coordinate for the back and cording.  You will get more impact this way than if you use the fabric on both sides of only one pillow.  Another great budget move is to have your tailor finish the raw edges of your fabric to turn it into an instant throw.

Think how beautiful these fabrics would be in your home!  I think I want that one and that one, oh and that one.....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Perfectly Poirot!

I love the clean lines and elegant forms of the Art Deco period.  I also have a weakness for cheesy murder mysteries.  And who combines these two elements better than Agatha Christie? 1/2 of what I love about the Poirot series is the amazing set design.  Poirot's apartment is as perfectly appointed as his impeccably upturned moustache!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just say no to fake (or at least do it right)!

Call me a snob, but I like products that are genuine, so in that vein I generally dislike imitations.  Sometimes however, I need to make exceptions.  In the case of window treatments there is nothing that can replace the effect of a well designed, well proportioned window treatment.  But you may not require the privacy of a full functioning drapery treatment, or a full functioning window treatment may not be in the project budget (Gasp, there is more to life to spend money on than kids and interiors?!).  If this describes you then you can still have beautiful panels that look natural.

Here's how:
1.  Splurge for custom or semi-custom treatments.  This is usually so necessary because houses, like people, rarely come in a "standard" size.  If you are wise with your fabric choice then you can usually keep your costs similar to upper end ready made panels.  Have your drapery work room make them long enough so that they can be hung a few inches lower than the ceiling height or a few inches lower than the crown molding.  For higher ceilings you can get away with hanging them a little bit further from the ceiling.  Use one width of fabric on each side of the window, this means that you will likely need 6-8 yards of fabric for one window in a room with a 8'-10' ceiling height.
2.  Order your drapery rod 3-6 inches wider than the full width of the window, including the trim.  Avoid the urge to try to save a few bucks by ordering two short rods.  For one thing, your cost savings is going to be little, if anything because you may need less rod, but you will need to order two extra sets of brackets.  Secondly- nothing screams "I'M FAKE" like seeing these little side rods.

Take a look at this in-process project.  We are doing it in stages and we just brought in the draperies.  Just see what a difference a little change makes!