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

Top 5 Favorite Zellige Tile Applications

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I am sure you have all seen this trend in the 2018 design magazines and Pinterest. Well news for you, it is not going anywhere in 2019. Truth is, after so much technological innovation, we are all craving a sense of hand crafted work in our spaces. These Zellige Tiles are the epitome of that. The mosaic tilework is made from individually chiseled geometric tiles set into a plaster base. This form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture. To round up some inspiration for you, I have pulled my Top 5 Favorite Applications and specific tile recommendations for those designs.

Bathroom Shower

Cat Skill’s Hayfield Wedding Venue used Cle Tile’s Wheathered White Tile.

Photo Courtesy of Cat Skills’ Hayfield.

Photo Courtesy of Cat Skills’ Hayfield.

Kitchen Backsplash

Nicole Hollis used Cle Tile’s Glossy Black Tile in her Design of the kitchen.

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Hollis

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Hollis

A Nook or Built In

We could not find the source of this design, but pulled a tile we think would we be perfect for this application. The rustic emerald tile in the image looks similar to Riad Tile’s .

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Fireplace

Designed by Georgia Ezra, check out her tile collection, Tile of Ezra. She used her own mosaic for this space.

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Ezra

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Ezra

Flooring

For a similar look, check out this 2x6 subway tile from Zia Tile.

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Design Details: Cement Encaustic

Author Sydney Piwowar

We have seen and heard of cement tiles for years - that is nothing new. What is special about the ones we are seeing today is that they are Encaustics. Encaustics are paintings and ceramics using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay. Each tile is handmade and dries slightly different from the next, with variation in depth or bleed at the edges of the pattern. The inconsistency adds to the overall beauty of the tile when laid. There is a slight variation and shadowing in the tones of each tile, when installed in mass the result is pure sophistication and character! These beauties can be used for indoor/ outdoor flooring, in bathrooms and kitchens on the walls or floor and splash backs.

Check out these uses of my current favorite color: soft dove grey. It literally makes the space glow!

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

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

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.

Exposed Edge Backsplash

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I have been secretly waiting for this trend to gain popularity for years! Because seriously, who actually likes bullnose? Its not exactly an inspiring way to end tile. To prove how amazing exposed edge tile can be, I have curated a few of my favorite applications below. See more inspiration here, on my pinterest board.

Designed By KLH Homes

Designed By KLH Homes

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

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

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The 4-Stack Parquet

Different Scales

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Combination: Traditional + Diagonal Herringbone

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Stacked Bond

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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.



Design Details: Toilet Paper Holder

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I have decided to start a series called Design Details where I touch on the details of a space. There are so many little things that effect your every day life that people don’t think about. This week topic is: Toilet Paper Holders!! Yep. That’s right. Everyone has a specific method they prefer (upright, side ways, open ended, spring bar, etc.) Who knew there were so many options?!

I have curated a list of a few of my favorites to liven up a very practical detail in design.

Design Details- Toilet Paper Holder - JTD.jpg

Top 5 Stylish Mirrored Medicine Cabinets

Author: Sydney Piwowar

It wasn’t until recently that companies like Restoration Hardware emerged, providing aesthetically pleasing options for a very functional piece of decor. Traditionally, stylish mirrors are just surface mount mirrors, with no storage. If you wanted something more practical, you were stuck with the same utilitarian, old fashioned mirrors we have seen since the 50’s. We have curated a list of our top 5 modern medicine cabinet options to provide both aesthetics and needed storage.

  1. Black Framed Mirror

Photo Courtesy of Home Services Directory

Photo Courtesy of Home Services Directory

Photo Courtesy of Felix Forest

Photo Courtesy of Felix Forest

Photo Courtesy of Ema Peter

Photo Courtesy of Ema Peter

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Photo Courtesy of Brooke Holm

Photo Courtesy of Brooke Holm