Tips on How to Style Accessories for Any Room

Accessories are the key to rounding out a space. It is a critical piece to create a “well lived in” feeling and to personalizes a room. Accessories are much like a great pair of heels or chunky cuff bracelet to punch up a look. We are forever on the search for great accessories and have a private Pinterest board devoted to special finds we stumble on in our research in designing a home.

The happy combination of accessories is size, texture and layering. Key to any well styled accessory book shelf or coffee table is:

  1. 4-5 small to medium solid shapes.

  2. Open and woven shapes, such as small sculptures, baskets, etc.

  3. No glass vases. Solid colors create better silhouettes. Mix of the color and shapes, unless you are going for an intentional all white look. It will feel more organic and natural if they are different sizes and shapes.

  4. Personal items, such as a clients collection of vintage coins or memories from travels.

  5. Coffee table books and varied sizes of decorative storage boxes. These make great opportunities to create height.

Check out a couple of our current obsessions.

small dish.jpg
bl.jpg
craft.jpg
chain.jpg

Truth about Restoration Hardware’s Cloud Sofa

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Endless times have clients requested the cloud sofa. While the 100% down feather filled cushion wrapped in your “custom” choice of upholstery sounds lovely on paper, it does function as lovely in real life. Clients are often drawn towards the modern and relaxed look of the cloud. While there is nothing wrong with modernity and a relaxed setting, this sofa creates a lot of stress due to its construction. 

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

The first, simpler issue is that the oversized frame makes it difficult to install in homes - you need to double check your door widths to ensure it will fit in your home. 

Taller clients, or those that like to cuddle up and watch movies on their sofa, are often attracted to the oversized depth of the sofa. Deep cushions are actually one of the things RH is famous for. While you may think the cloud is  cuddly and wraps you like a hug, your grandmother or great aunt might think different. Comparable to a bean bag chair, this sofa sits very low to the ground and is very hard to get out of.

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

Its 100% down feather cushion fill does not help with this either. Each time you sit on it, the feathers relax and compress, similar to your down feather bedding. Only issue is that since there are so many feathers needed to fill it, its own weight compresses it down and doesn’t allow it to fluff back up after you sit up. As a result, each sofa cushion should be regularly fulled after every use to ensure it keeps its fluff. If that wasn’t annoying enough, try lifting one of those cushions yourself. If you don’t believe how much these feathers can weigh, stop by an RH near you and try for yourself. You are NOT going to want to lift that daily. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

This blog post isn’t meant to bash Restoration Hardware. I simply believe you have the right to know these things that sales associates won’t share with people willing to spend $14K on a sofa. 

Since I am being honest with you, I should tell you that 100% linen upholstery on this sofa is also a nightmare. Since the sofa does not bounce back once you sit in it, the fabric stays depressed and wrinkles with every touch. Not to mention, linen is also a stain magnet for children. 

Photo Courtesy of Google

Photo Courtesy of Google

To summarize, remember that bigger is not always better. Remember to check your cushion fill to ensure you have the appropriate balance of synthetic materials and down. It should be noted that the exact percentage will be different based off of personal preferences. And always bring home a sample of fabric before you agree to custom terms of agreement. Rub it on your dog to see how much hair it collects, let your two year old play with it for an afternoon and see how hard it is to clean - you will not regret it. 

5 Tips to Custom Furniture and Millwork

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Often for whom this is their first time working with an Interior Designer freak out at the idea of custom furniture. They want to see in front of them exactly what they are paying for, before they pay for it. This is often not the case in our practice. Nearly all of the millwork (cabinets and built ins) we design are custom. This means combinations of designs, colors, and patterns never done before. By nature, you will not be able to understand its full glory until completion. If you are working with a good and transparent designer, she/he will take the appropriate measures to ensure you have all the tools necessary to feel comfortable with your investment. 

To create peace of mind for our clients at JTD, I have come up with a 5 step system to ensure you are happy with your purchase. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

  1. Adequate drawings

Not every interior designer has experience with construction drawings or details. It is important that no matter how creative your designer is that they are able to successfully communicate their design intent in these drawings. This will maintain total control of the design and limit the amount of miscommunications and damage control later. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

2. Renderings

Some more complex or large installations should be conveyed in 3D or color 2D renderings. This will help you start to imagine how form and function are working together in your piece. Some designers who do not offer this as a service should be able to outsource it or complete themselves at an additional service fee. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

3. Samples

If your designer does not provide you with samples for all materials, they are not doing their job. You should see all finish materials for metal, woods, and upholstery. It is custom that they do not show you building materials that are not visible in the finished product though. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

4. Contractor’s portfolio

For those who are hesitant to pay for an additional service or contractor for their custom piece, it helps to review their existing portfolio. You can see their craftsmanship and previous experience this was to create peace of mind. 

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

Designed by Jen Talbot Design

5. Trust your designer

At the end of the day, they know what they are doing. Designers have a muscle in their brain that allows them to envision spaces and forms without any external support. Many people without this muscle struggle to trust. If you have never worked with this designer before, or have never worked with a designer before, it is ok to ask about their experience with custom furniture. Ask to see some of their other work. This will not only allow you to see their capabilities, but the level of originality and practicality of their custom designs. 

Monochromatic Paint Palettes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Something designers across the board talk a lot about is color depth. Whether that is in space, graphics, photography, fashion, etc. it is all very similar. In interiors, people often confuse color depth with having lots of colors. The more is not always merrier people! These monochromatic palettes have me falling in LOVE. Despite each room essentially being painted shades of the exact same color, it creates a sense of visual and architectural depth to a space in a way that just painting it all one color wont do. Take a look at these Inso images to see for your self!

Image Courtesy of Casa Vogue

Image Courtesy of Casa Vogue

Photo Courtesy Casa Vogue

Photo Courtesy Casa Vogue

I absolutely love the way these different paint colors highlight the architectural significance of this wall. Traditionally, people would choose a floral wallpaper to pop in these panels. I have never been a fan for the obvious choices though - be bold, be different.

Designed by Rasmus Larsson

Designed by Rasmus Larsson

This picture needs no introduction. What a great way to highlight the unique arch of the ceiling without drawing the attention up and away from the bathroom features.

Photo Courtesy Casa Vogue

Photo Courtesy Casa Vogue

Palm Wallpaper- Lake Forest Sunroom

After 5 years in NYC transplanted to LA and then migrated to Chicago, this client was craving the sunny, relaxed vibe of Southern California they left behind. The inspiration was to feel as though the outside came in for tea. The space is a central hub of activity of kids and mom play dates., were the family continually gathers. We included a bright palm wallpaper, pop of black and white pattern and boho rug to tie the room together.

Jen+Talbot+Deisgn+1.jpg
Jen+Talbot+Design+6.jpg

5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Early in our lives have we all overpaid for a sofa that barely lasted 5 years. We all felt the cushions start to cave in after a year in our favorite spot… its heart breaking to waste the money. As designers, we have been trained in this knowledge to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck in both aesthetics and quality. To help ensure your sofa will withstand the test of life, I have curated a list of 5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer.

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

  1. Quality Framing

Be sure to look at the materials and reviews. If you are working with a designer like us, you can be sure we are considering these things when we source for you. That cannot be said for all decorators though so be sure to as blatantly. 

pinklove.jpg

2. Cushion Fill 

Not all sofa cushion fills are made equally. If you read one of my recent posts, you will see my review of RH’s Cloud Sofa. Though harsh, it was true. Some cushion fills require much more maintenance while others synthetic blend of fibers are self sufficient. Not to say that poly blend it better though - once you find a compression in the cushion, it is not repairable. You will continue to develop a sink hole till you replace the cushion. This is why it is important to find a balance of the two. I prefer a down feather wrapped poly core with more feathers than synthetic fibers. For everyone the ratio of soft to firm will vary with preference though. 

Budapestair by Paola Navone

Budapestair by Paola Navone

3. Check the Upholstery

Faux leathers will age the fastest and the worst in my opinion. Once you form cracks or minor holes from regular use, there is no going back. The second worst is linen. I love linen to death - I love the way the fabric softens with age, the relaxed and welcoming texture it provides… But I do not have kids yet. One drop of mustard, coffee, tea, or red wine and it is game over. There are several fabric lines, like Perennials, who are creating linen look-alikes that feel and appear to have the same texture, but are far more durable. You will find these synthetic blends are farm more stain resistant, resistant to fading, and easier to clean. 

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

4. Rotate Your Cushions

Some cushions are made reversible so that you can flip them over should there be an issue with the upholstery on one side. This is also helpful to do for maintaining the rate of age. If you are able to rotate the cushions, you will be able to stop the one cushion that gets sat on the most from getting trashed before the rest of them. 

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

5. Ask the Manufacturer

Many furniture manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their products. Even if there is something outside of your warranty, like your dog urinates on your sofa, many offer replacement parts at a fraction of the cost. It is always worth checking with them first before trashing your perfectly good sofa and purchasing new. 

Design Hack: Bathrooms for Teens

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I did it myself as a kid, every year I wanted to re-do my room. For me, that was the first sign I wanted to become a designer, but for most it is the growing character and evolving taste of impressionable teens and pre-teens. This often leaves parents feeling frustrated as they just re-painted their room, or bought a new bed spread, new drapes, etc. We have all learned the hard way that a key to success in kids spaces is VERSATILITY.

There a few places though that the term versatility doesn’t apply. One of them being Bathrooms… tile, wallpaper, plumbing, oh my… all so permanent. This is why it is important that you feel confident that the bathroom design and palette reflects the culture of your family. Whether it be more sophisticated or young and playful. The key to getting the most out of your space is to make sure it matches you and your life style.

I have broken down design for teens into three palettes to match your family’s character. Check them out below and some Inso images for each!

Bold + Playful:

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Clean + Monochromatic

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Bright + Cheery

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Designer Unknown.

Designer Unknown.

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Design Details: Contrast Piping

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Many of you may remember Jen’s previous post with her Hope for Autism submission. If you didn’t see it, I want to remind you to check it out, here. I bring it up because Jen and I are obsessed with contrast piping. It is such a simple, uncommon, and genius way to add character to furniture. Whether it is a simple color palette or something gold and colorful, we believe it is one of the easiest ways to turn an “eh” piece of furniture into a “WOW” piece. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Applications

  1. To emphasize form

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

2. To give depth

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

3. To by playful

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

4. To be different

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

5. Cause why not?!

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

5 Monochromatic Tile Color Palettes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I call it the “Modern Mural”. Artists used large scale murals to tell the most elaborate, and beautiful, stories through tile mosaics. So many different cultures have done this through the years and I think America has found its own. It features clean lines, purposeful choice of grout colors, and a hand made nature, expressing the amazing new technologies we have to impact our spaces. I have curated a few of my favorite images and combinations to inspire you and a tile guide to inspire your next renovation.

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

2x4-Jade-single-rendering.jpg
2x4-Tidewater.jpg
2x4_Moonstone_Single.jpeg
2x4-Sea-Foam.jpg
0f1bda9479fce72c4411ba2e04e67385.jpg
2x4-French-Linen.jpg
2x4-Rainy-Day.jpg
519d1e4ac66dc667cba9cdba3dc01a21.jpg
dark_turquoise_vein_marble_look_ceramic_tile-r674c083fcbaa4934a03aaff79f0ea1f5_agtk1_8byvr_540.jpg
evergreen_2x4_single-1.jpg
2x4-Nutmeg.jpg
2x4-Mushroom.jpg
a89ab93bc2d88c2334e16ca08243b359.jpg
2x4-Persimmon.jpg
2x4-Sorbet.jpg
2x4-Claypot.jpg

3 Tips To A Perfect Dry Bar

Author: Sydney Piwowar

As society modernizes, I believe the perception of alcohol in the home does as well. Where once the home parlor was filled with cocktails and conversation, it turned to a plastic covered furniture living room. Now I believe we are in a full swing back to the original cocktail room we all knew and loved. Not every once looking to implement these in-home bars has the ability to add plumbing for a wet bar… This is where the Dry Bar steps in. It is the perfect space to call home for your best drink ware, wines and spirits. To elevate yours to the next level, I have curated 3 tips to make your Dry Bar the topic of the night!

Build It In

I know it isn’t a wet bar, so there is no need for built in components, but is important that it feels integrated into the home. If you are trying to add one into an existing structure, the easiest way to do this is to replace a built-in or unnecessary closet.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Make It Feel Special

The most unsuccessful dry bars are the ones that feel left over kitchen cabinets you just put in the living room. They key to a good dry bar is to make it feel special. Consider special finishes on the cabinets, an upgraded stone counter top, a backsplash (could be tile, wallpaper, paint, etc.), and even lighting.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Add Lots of Storage

At first it will seem overwhelming because you have not began to curate your collection, but over time you will need it. Whether you need shelves for your Whiskey collection, or racks for your wine bottles, be sure to maximize on storage. Consider how your collection might change over time as well. For example, purchasing more glasses, changing from a red wine to white wine collection, will you need refrigeration?

By Greg Natale

By Greg Natale

For more bar ideas, check out my painters page HERE!

Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Tired of white subway tile? We are too.. While it is a great budget friendly option, we encourage you to find creative ways to give your space more character. You should feel free to explore color, pattern, and material! Here are our Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas to inspire you in your kitchen makeover.

The Unexpected:

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

The Trend Setter

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

The Pattern Lover

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

The Luxurious

Designed by Grant Gibson

Designed by Grant Gibson

The Glamorous 

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Winter Blues Solved: 15 Low-Light House Plants

Author: Sydney Piwowar

It is officially Winter and in the Mid-West, we get to know something called the January Blues. Yep... thats the time right after the holidays, when there is nothing else to get you through the grey skies. This year, I refuse to let them get to me though. My trick to keeping positive is to surround myself with Green. It proven that people who expose themselves to more plants and trees are happier.

  1. Snake Plant

Snake plants thrive on neglect and are considered “unkillable”. They don’t mind low light and they only need to be watered once every couple of weeks.

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

2. Spider Plant

Spider plants actually prefer you keep them away from direct sunlight. They are also pet friendly and sprout with babies you can re-plant.

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

3. ZZ Plant

Even if your a serial plant killer, you’ll do just fine with a ZZ plant. It hails from Eastern Africa and it is conditioned to survive months of low light and drought.

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

4. Monstera Deliciosa

You’ve probably seen these all over trendy instagram pages. Monstera Deliciosa loves basking in gentle sunlight - keeping it 5-10 feet away from a bright window is key.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

5. Peace Lilly

If you’d prefer a plant with flowers, peace lillies are for you! They thrive in shade, indirect light, and even windowless rooms. You’ll know if your peace lilly is getting too much light because they’ll show brown streaks.

Photo Courtesy of Domino

Photo Courtesy of Domino

6. Moss Terrarium

Terrariums hit the trends a few years ago and you can easily DIY one at home. With a little moss and rocks, they will survive on little to no sunlight. It does need moisture though and some indirect light to live at its brightest green. Place it near a window where it can receive a bit of reflected light.

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

7. Dracaena Reflexa

There are lots of types of dracaena, but reflexa is the most common. It is also the best choice for a dark room. They can survive in low to medium light, but are their boldest, yellow in indirect sun. However, too much will make them brown so don’t let them sunbathe all day.

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

8. Nerve Plant

Yes it is PINK! Be careful though and keep them out of direct exposure or their leaves will start to brown. They do need constant moisture, so don’t skimp on the watering. Another plus about this one is that they are non-toxic for pets!

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

9. Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plants are native to the forest floors of japan and Taiwan so they are used to very little light. As a matter of fact, direct sunlight will burn their leaves so keep them close to north facing windows or away from windows in general. Best of all, it is another pet friendly plant.

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

10. Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena Sanderiana, aka “lucky bamboo”, is not only cool for its shape, but also because it survives in low to moderate light conditions. Just don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will burn their leaves.

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

11. Birds Nest Fern

Filtered or indirect sunlight will do them well. East or north facing windows are ideal. Avoid exposing to direct light to prevent burn marks.

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

12. Chinese Evergreen

The pattern on these leaves are amazing. This one needs a bit more light than the rest, desiring low to bright indirect sunlight. they’re part of a family with 20 different species, but the general rule with all of them is that the darker their leaves and stalks are, the lower light they can handle.

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

13. Pothos

Pothos won’t complain if you only have moderate indoor light. It can also tolerate fluorescent lighting which makes it great for your office.

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

14. Prayer Plant

The name of this plant stems from the fact that prayer plants leaves lay flat during the day and then fold upward at night. Another cool point about them is that they are safe for pets and dimmer rooms.

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

15. Philodendron

This one is super easy for beginner plant parents as it does well in low to medium light and wont freak out if you forget to water it from time to time. The cascading leaves look beautiful on a high shelf or a hanging basket.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

See our pinterest board for more house plant ideas HERE!

The Truth about Inset vs. Overlay Cabinets

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Inset Cabinets

Inset doors are set into the frame and provide a custom and smooth overall appearance. The doors, drawers, and frame all sit flush when closed.

Inset cabinets are priced quite a bit higher than overlay cabinets, and they do require hardware (or a push system) because you can’t simply open them with your fingers.

Pros: Custom and high end look and cleaner lines. Hinges can be visible or hidden.

Cons: Higher cost. Gaps can be obvious in places. Can be less storage space because the doors are inset.

Full Overlay Cabinets

Full Overlay cabinets offer a similar appearance to that of inset doors but with a lower price tag (yes, please!). The doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet face, providing a flat cabinet front similar to inset cabinets.

This is the way to go if you want a higher-end look but your budget doesn’t allow for inset cabinets.

Pros: Less expensive than inset. Gapping between frame and door (or drawer) is not obvious.

Cons: N/A

Partial Overlay Cabinets

Partial overlay cabinets are the most common and least expensive option. If you have a tight budget, this is the route you want to go! These offer more of a traditional look and do not require hardware because there is finger space between cabinet doors. The door sits on the cabinet face, leaving a gap of about 1” between the doors. 

Pros: Least expensive option.

Cons: Doesn’t look as high-end.

Common Art Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Art is crucial in making a house feel like a home, and good art is not cheap! Nothing ruins your perfectly good piece of art quite like bad nail placement. We have curated the top 3 mistakes that people make when hanging art and are going to share simple solutions.

Hanging Too High 

You have most likely hung your art too high, leaving it to float away from the furniture underneath. To tie the pieces together (and make your room more visually harmonious), shoot for roughly five inches of space between the bottom of your art and the top of your furniture.

Small Art in Large Spaces

Scale is the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship between the walls and furniture. Using a frame that is too small tricks the eye into thinking that is is smaller than it actually is. An easy trick to make it feel proportional is to reset it in a larger frame or to get a larger piece for the space all together. The general guide you should have when approaching art is to chose pieces that are about two-thirds of the length of the furniture.

Grouping Too Far Apart

BlogGraphic_ArtMistakes3.jpg

Separating your art is like separating fighting kids to their time-out corners… Its awkward for all of us. Whether you’re hanging twin paintings or simply grouping pieces, everything should act as one. Make sure that they are close, separating frames no more than 3 inches apart.

5 Steps to Tasteful Family Photo Wall

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We all love our families (mostly) and its hard to tastefully show them off. Oversized canvas oil paintings hung over the fireplace aren’t style anymore... At the same time though, I do not think it is fair to cut all evidence of family in a home… it is after all what makes a house, a home. We were asked in a recent install how to do this successfully. Well, I am here to share with you all my secret: framed prints with oversized mattes. Yes, simple and understated. What makes this method unique is the color quality of the image and the placement of it. Here are the 5 steps to ensure your framed prints turn out perfect:

Curate Your Photos

Go through the old hard drive because you want to plan out your photos ahead of time. The photos don’t all have to contain the same colors or people - feel free to change it up. This is where you get to show off your family’s unique characteristics.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Print With HIGH Quality

The most common mistake that people make is framing pixelated photos. Make sure that you are printing high quality images and don’t be afraid to send them somewhere nice to print - don’t cheap out on this because you will get what you pay for. Something else to consider is if you want to print in color or black and white. For someone who wants to print in color, going to a good printer with high quality color is important.

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Find Frames

Frames can be sourced from anywhere. Whether they are custom or ordered online from Ikea, you will notice a large gap in cost. The most influential decision you make will be upon the frame’s finish. This color and texture will be framing the image, literally and figuratively, in a way it is possible to influence your perception. For example, if your image has LOTS of texture and color, choosing a frame that does as well may only distract form the richness of the image. It would be better to chose a simple frame that allows all attention to be focused on the specialness of your image. The second factor to consider is if you want a more unified or eclectic gallery. For a more unified approach, I would consider finding a store that sells the same profile in several sizes as you may need for your collection. For those that want a more mix-and-matched approach, I suggest shopping resale shops, garage sales, and local boutiques for an interesting combination.

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Find Matte

There are several colors and finishes to matte. I prefer a stark white matte as it gives a certain freshness. Be careful though as they come in several shades of off-white, ivory, and cream - especially if you are trying to match to previously framed images.

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Hang Art

It is hard to generalize for every one when it depends on the size of the frame and the space… My best tip is to map out the wall with painters tape first though to ensure you are happy with your placement - you don’t want to see a dozen holes in the wall from where you moved hung them previously. Some key areas I think it is more peaceful to hang family photos include: hallways, stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Try to stay away from the large print over the living room fireplace - its tacky.

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

For more tips on how to frame family portraits, see my pinterest board HERE!

5 Steps to a Modern Holiday Table Setting

Author: Sydney Piwowar

  1. Pick a Theme

This year, I am keeping a simple Scandinavian winter theme with a neutral palette. Natural textures, greenery and soft candlelight create a relaxed setting where the focus can be on the great food and conversation around the table.

Setting by Ruby and James

Setting by Ruby and James

2. Simple Textures

Layering up textures is very important. Here, starting with a layer of white linen sets a soft tone. A rough grey linen runner lines the table adding needed balance against the perfect white. Notice that the grey and white tones call back to the dive grey dishes set on the table.

Setting by Bukatron

Setting by Bukatron

3. Natural Accents

They say that scent is the strongest memory trigger. The smell of pine at this time of year reminds me of all the great holidays of my past and to come. Using the left over tree trimming is an easy way to add a more festive feel to any holiday table.

Setting by Julie Banner

Setting by Julie Banner

4. Add Height

I don't like focus of a table setting to be down. I like to give the eye eye freedom to travel around the room. One easy trick is to add height which is easily done with the addition of a few tall candlesticks. In the winter months, candlelight is essential to any gathering. Burning candles creates the ultimate cozy ambiance. Another trick to fill up a larger table is to add a combination of tall candlesticks and low tea lights scattered along the table foliage so there's light at different levels. 

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

5. Simple Accessories

Black and brass candle sticks are a simple, yet gutsy way to go. This trend pays homage to traditional candles, but adds a fun and celebratory feel. This is also an opportunity to showcase special occasion cutlery that is more exciting than the everyday stainless steel set. Textured or patterned napkins serve as a pop against the white setting here.. Tying the edgy black stainless steel in with the rest of the clean, elegant, table setting.

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

To see more amazing table setting inspiration images, check out my Pinterest board HERE!

Top 10 Office Chairs

Anyone who has ever worked in an office, designed an office, or sat in an office before knows this struggle. Pretty and practical do not meet in Office chairs. We have all seen the Knoll, Steelcase, an Herman Miller office chair solutions. They are some of the best office chairs on the market. Only issue is that they are not terribly attractive. We searched the market and curated a few chairs we guarantee meet all your needs. 

Baxter

Sedia

Sedia

CB2

Channel Suede Office Chair

Channel Suede Office Chair

Rouka Velvet Office Chair

Rouka Velvet Office Chair

Gubi

Beetle Meeting Chair

Beetle Meeting Chair

West Elm

Steelcase

Arper 

Catifa

Catifa

Kinesit

Kinesit

BuzziFloat

BuzziFloat

Sean Dix

Ronin Pedestal Chair

Ronin Pedestal Chair

Suite NY

90878347f664293d6e106a4008f40626.jpg

For more inspiration, take a look at our Pinterest board: Attractive and Ergonomic Chairs

Best Soft Touch Matte Finish Paint

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Benjamin Moore released a new line of paint in 2017 called Century. It is the world’s first Soft Touch Matte Finish paint with never-before-seen depth in 75 exclusive colors. We are obsessed with the level of depth in these colors and find it is very comparable to the infamously expensive Farrow & Ball line. The best part of these soft, cozy colors is that they are curated to look good all year long. See our Top 5 below!

Q5 Obsidian

Q5 Obsidian

R8 Acai

R8 Acai

C9 Red Mahogony

C9 Red Mahogony

04 Veronese Green

04 Veronese Green

Tips on Subway Tile Patterns

In the last 10 years of its rise, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of subway tile. Everyone loves it though - its simple, easy to clean, and inexpensive! Despite its versatility, I cringe when clients ask for the classic subway pattern. There are so many amazing ways to lay tile, why should we limit our selves to the Running Bond pattern? I say no. I say get creative. If you aren’t sure where to start, I have curated some of my favorite LUXURIOUS & MODERN ways to lay the classic tile.

Cross Hatch

e21b9dba41f2233d00d39896bf3cf740.jpg

The 4-Stack Parquet

Different Scales

c45de987b260f96ef7ac8b9a3744ed6a.jpg

Combination: Traditional + Diagonal Herringbone

210916e4a0835cebd9aa555acf87eb20.jpg

Stacked Bond

8b3dce89c0f63395b672f3b3c85cc8ca.jpg

Vertical Stacked Bond

b01a174d2591cf6ff3e67c541bd1e945.jpg

Top 5 Black Framed Shower Doors

Author: Sydney Piwowar

When they became a trend back in 2017, you had to pay BIG bucks for these beauties. Now that the trend has set in though, there are so many amazing vendors selling them stocked and ready for you! Here is our round up for Top 5 Black Framed Shower Doors.

For Large Showers:

For Small Showers:

For Industrialists:

For Minimalists:

For Those On A Budget:


For inspiration on matching hardware and bathroom accessories, see our blog post on Design Details: Toilet Paper Holder and The Anti-Trend: Black Hardware.