What The Best Windows Are Wearing This Coming Year

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

Surprising News About The Trend in Choosing Window Treatments for 2014

"Back in the day" we had limited choices for dressing windows. Blinds, draperies, shades and curtains didn't offer what today's homeowners can choose for their windows.
 
Today, it's not only about the look or the design of the windows. Today we look at the function of the window before we even consider how it will look. With so much attention to the environment, to healthy lifestyles and to safety in the home, it's important to consider how the window treatments will affect our furnishings but most important - our families health and well-being.
 
Consider the following first before you select your window treatment style -
  • Do your present windows need better energy efficiency? Do your windows help to control the heat or should you add energy enhancing window treatments to keep more of the heat in during the winter and keep your rooms cooler in the summer?
  • Are there issues you need to solve in your home with allergies? You may want to look into the best selections, such as natural fibers, to reduce allergens or dust problems.
  • Have you had damage to floors or upholstery from the sun? Perhaps it's time to add UV film to your windows and to choose window treatments that Hunter Douglas says "enhance UV protection".
  • Has your family changed with the addition of a new baby or animals? Cordless window shades are the answer to your safety concerns at home.
So, to answer the question "What are the best window treatments for the coming year" ?   I would say the best window treatments are ones that are energy and safety efficient. Of course, safety and efficiency does not rule out beauty. There are many ways to get the best of both worlds to ensure your home is the safe haven of your dreams.
 
Stay tuned in this blog about window treatments will feature ideas to go with different styles (Casual, Modern and Traditional) and why they will look great for years to come.

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. Interior Design serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me:
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

 
 
 


Window Treatments - Is It Time For New Window Treatments In Your Home?

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

If Your Window Treatments Are 7 Years Old - It's Time For A New Look

How do you know if it's time for a new look in your home? One of the first things I look at when I visit a home for a design consultation are the window treatments. After about seven years, window treatments may need refreshing. Perhaps the color of the fabric has faded, it's time for a color change in the home or there is a need for more or less privacy in a room.

When done right, window treatments are the finishing touch to a room, like jewelry is to your outfit. So, just like our wardrobes, window treatments need to be updated now and then. For instance, you may want room darkening shades in a new baby's room or maybe you've changed your furniture and want a cleaner, less cluttered decorating style.

Seven years ago window treatments had a different look than today's current style. While some people may still like the look of swags and trims, I find that the' less is more' approach is more up to date with the times. People want simplicity, ease of use and fabrics that are fade resistant, energy efficient, child safe and environmentally friendly.

Do you like your window treatments? Are they working for you or is it time to look into bringing your rooms up to date?

Check back for my next blog post on the questions to consider when looking for a new window treatment for your home.

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. Interior Design serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me:
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

 


How To Finish Decorating Your Home In Time For The Holidays

Photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma

You've discovered there are only days till your favorite holidays. But your days are already crammed with family activities, work and countless other items. What's a go-getter like you to do?

So many of my past, present and future clients are in the same predicament. We want so much to enjoy the holidays (for once!) and yet the clock is ticking, and the list keeps expanding.
 
While I can't whip out a magic wand and solve every problem on your list, there are some ways I help my clients manage their decorating to-do lists to keep them on track with home decorating challenges:
 
  • Make a list!
Take one room at a time and list every item that needs to be replaced, repaired or discarded. For instance, do you need a new sofa or will a new rug give you that new look you want so badly?
  • Prioritize your list
If you love Excel like I do, you can quickly move your decorating list around and even add price points, add a column for dimensions or add a list of people to call (like me) and their phone numbers.
  • Commit to a date to find and purchase the most important item on your list
Remember where there is commitment, there'll be progress!
 
Schedule a date with a friend, your significant other or an interior designer
so you can tackle your list before it's too late.
 
What's at the top of your list this week?

 
Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me:
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

 

Why Use An Interior Designer? How Much Do Interior Designers Charge?

Interior Designers pull it all together
 
While it may be true that years ago an interior designer could make a substantial living marking up goods to sell to their clients, today's interior designer's main focus is to give value to their clients by sharing their expertise and professional experience, rather than depending on selling and marking up goods.

How do we share expertise and provide professional service?
  • We provide professional service to our clients when we visit with our clients to discuss the project at hand and listen and note everything needed to create the best solutions for home or office.
  • We collect information at design centers, research new concepts, visit trade shows and showrooms for noteworthy products that may be used to design a home or office.
  • We design floorplans, concept boards and elevations of rooms, so that our clients can see what their spaces will look like before the project is installed.
For instance, a recent project I worked on was based on a design fee for creating the design of the room. The only markup was a small percentage for administrative handling of the items purchased. I copy all receipts and present my hours and the cost of the items to my client for payment. There are no hidden charges, no over-the-top fees or surprises.

Of course, not all designers want to work this way and some projects may be based on a different fee structure to keep record keeping easier for both client and designer.

But in this day and age with the Internet, clients already know how much some items cost. Keep in mind though that there are many aspects to creating a room beyond picking furniture. You won't have a custom looking room by purchasing items off the shelf.

The rooms you see in Houzz or Pinterest were mostly done by designers who spent hours working on everything including floorplans, window treatments, flooring, furniture, lighting, accessories, artwork.

In essence, our value to our clients as interior designers is in our expertise, our creativity, our experience, professionalism and willingness to create the most beautiful space for our clients.

For more information on what's new in design for the home, check this Blog innovative ideas for new construction, renovation and remodeling.

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith@masmithinteriordesign.com
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York



 





Part II of a Three Part Series on Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

Soft and calm colors courtesy of House Beautiful
How long will it take till I find the right colors for my home?

Last week we discussed the steps taken with clients on a paint consult for their home. While choosing paint colors is not 'rocket science', it should not be taken lightly! Colors have an effect on all of us and we don't share the same response to every color. Color is personal to each individual.
For instance, your favorite colors may remind you of a cruise to the islands where the color of the sea was an incredible blue. Or, you may have a deep need of calming colors in your busy home. If it's a company office, it may be colors that would either soothe or inspire your clients that you'll choose.
So when I visit my clients homes to choose colors, we take time to determine the colors that 'call' to them. While it would be easy to choose a color from a Pinterest board or a Houzz photo they liked, those particular colors or shades may not 'read' well in their home. 

How long will it take to find the right colors for your home? The truth is we'll need at the minimum 2 hours to find the right shade. Ok, we have the time it takes covered, but what about the cost to get professional help?
How much will it cost for professional help in choosing your paint colors?
Let me ask you - do you need help with:
  • Paint colors for one room's walls
  • Choosing a color for a room that 'flows' into another (open plan homes offer a challenge on how to change colors from one space to another)
  • Paint colors for a whole house
  • Paint colors for walls, trim and ceiling
  • Paint colors for homes without furniture (new construction houses)
  • Paint colors to work with existing furnishings
  • Exterior paint colors
As you can see, everyone is unique when it comes to their home. So the best way to answer "how much will it cost for professional help in choosing your paint colors?" is to reply that it depends on the size and scope of the project. In other words, some projects may take an hour and some a few hours to determine the best choices.

So, to keep it simple, typical designer fees run from $75 per hour to whatever the market will bear in the metropolitan cities like New York. Here in Ocean County New Jersey, for a 2 hour meeting the fee is 150.00 (one hundred and fifty dollars) within a 50 mile radius to Toms River. (By the way, I do not charge travel time to and from your home!)

I hope this information helps you. Color is so important in your home. Whatever you do, whomever you rely on for help - just make sure you take the time to choose a color that you love!

How You Can Use Red, White and Blue For An Endless Summer Look At Home

Photo courtesy of House Beautiful

 
Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, sum...summertime. That old song from the sixties has never gone out of style and neither has our love of summer. When I think of the start of summer I remember Long Island Beaches, picnics and watching fireworks in Port Washington.

Mid summer our family would take the trip to Buffalo. On the way we would stop and stay a few days at a cabin on a lake near Cooperstown. Here's where thoughts of Adirondack woodsy campsites, marshmallow roasts, rowboats and swimming in a lake bring me back to a simpler time, a slower pace.

If you're like me and you want to have a summer vibe throughout the year, then consider decorating a room in your home with a summertime theme. Sometimes just the colors - red, white and blue are all you need. Think of adding a few objects like the flag, or the madras pillow to achieve the spirit of summer. Be careful, don't overdo it. Just a few items and a great color scheme will bring back those memories of your happiest summertime days.

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.
M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York



How To Choose The Best Chandelier for Your Home

 

The Do's and Don'ts of Chandelier selection for the Dining Room

When you think of choosing a chandelier for the dining room, it's more than just picking a fixture that you've seen in a magazine or someone's home. Chandeliers are like the jewelry we choose for a certain outfit. Chandeliers define your home's style and the informality or formality of a room. Chandeliers add sparkle, glamour and finish off a room with a flick of a switch (make sure to install a dimmer!).

Photo courtesy of Hinkleylighting.com

Chandelier Sizing 101

Before you start hunting for the perfect chandelier, you need to get your facts straight! First, measure the length and width of the dining room to determine the correct size or diameter of the chandelier. For instance, if your room is 18 feet by 12 feet, the chandelier should be approximately 30 inches in diameter.

But, and there is always a 'but' - if the room has an extra high ceiling, then take that into consideration as well as the size of the table beneath it. The larger volume of space may call for a somewhat larger fixture.

In any case, walking the floor of the lighting store to find the right chandelier is not a walk in the park. Do not plan on finding a chandelier at first sight. I like to take a 'once around' of the store layout to get a feel for what the store has to offer. Then I spend more time and thought till I can hone in on a few that fit my client's unique style.

While you gaze at the almost endless choices, you will find yourself pinpointing styles that work for you and those that are a definite no-no. Do you want glass shades, crystals, a gilded or wrought iron look. Will the chandelier require frequent cleaning? If there are silk shades can they be interchanged with different colors for the seasons? Most of all, what look are you going for - romantic, urban-contemporary, rustic, elegant or glitzy?


 Photo courtesy of William Sonoma Home

What Color Is Your Chandelier?

Last but not least - make sure you have a photo of your dining room table and chairs to refer to while shopping. If nothing suits you, do not feel hopeless! The right chandelier is out there and the hunt makes the catch all the more worthwhile.

Oh and by the way, when you've found the perfect fixture, make sure it is installed between 30 and 36 inches from the dining table top.

Check back soon for the third in this series on Dining Rooms!

For professional interior design for your home, office or commercial project call:

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, including Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.

To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.
M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Allied Member ASID

A Nod and a Wink To Something New For Your Walls





Use then Lose Your Notes without damaging Walls
Photo courtesy of visibleproof.net

Wow, what a neat idea! Imagine never having to tell your kids, class, or employees to "not mark up the walls!!"  Or better yet, think about all the trees you could save by using Wink to post erasable notes instead of using Post-its on the walls.
(Keep Post-its for desk to-do's)

According to 'Wink' this product is "The clear, dry erase coating that lets you turn any paintable surface into a write-and-erase canvas. So let the true color of your wall show through, without the limits of a whiteboard."

Can't wait to use this on my next family oriented design project!

Notes: Wink is a clear substance applied over existing paint - see the link here for details on how you can use this and then order through your favorite designer. (hopefully me!)

http://www.wolfgordon.com/wink

M. A. Smith, Ltd. 
Residential and Commercial Interior Design
1288 Beauchamps Place, Toms River, NJ  08753
E-mail: masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
Board Member Kiwanis Daybreak of Toms River
Member Southern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
HouseZenGarden.com

Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City for over Fifteen Years


What's New In Bathrooms for Remodelers and Renovators

Photo courtesy of Kohler.com

How to Start your Day with a unique Experience in the Shower

Today you don't have to be a celebrity or win an Oscar to have a Hollywood type shower. In fact, if you just want to update and not totally gut your shower - Kohler has the goods to get you going.

You can upgrade your shower experience by adding 8" to 12" Rainheads, or a snazzy handshower.  Imagine the feeling of "big, luxurious water droplets" starting your day. Or, personalize the shower experience for your family with a multifunction handshower with four different sprayfaces.

One of my most memorable experiences as a child was playing in the pouring rain and feeling the droplets pour over me. To think I can have that experience every day without heading to LA - priceless!

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net
M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
Member of Southern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce
Member of Kiwanis Daybreak of Toms River
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York



 



Take Comfort! Take Control! Get This For Your Renovated or New Bathroom If You're Into Innovation

The Spa Like Water Closet for Today Lifestyle

Get Innovation in Your Bath For Your Unique Lifestyle!


Yes, it's true - the bathroom above has more 'Zen' appeal than most of us have in our homes or even our yoga studios. But it does give you a glimpse of the ever changing, improving trends in bathroom products. In 1904, old style toilets were made of enameled cast iron and featured a wooden tank! But today - today's toilets have features that will have your guests talking, if you add one of these tanks to your remodeling, renovating or building lists.

For starters, Kohler's Single-Flush Gravity models enjoy the "widest range of design, shape color or installation options." So, may the 'force' be with you while you save up to $99 per year on your water bill according to their brochure Bathroom - Toilets, Seats and Bidets.

If you really want to go all out on trends, the Numi Toilet is the one for you! Here are some of its features that get people talking:

  • Automatic open, flush and close
  • Self-cleaning wand
  • Precision air dryer
  • Deodorizing filter
  • Ambient lighting
  • Integral speakers
  • Touch-screen remote
  • Heated seat
  • Foot Warmer
If I had the Numi - I would never want to leave my bathroom!

Don't worry if the Numi is not on your list, you can still get innovation like you never dreamed of back in the day. As they say -you can never go back and in the case of the toilets, that's a good thing!

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden and Best Design Coach
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York



 


News and Notes on Kitchen Islands

Photo courtesy of +Christopher Peacock Kitchens

What's new in today's Kitchen when it comes to Kitchen Islands?

 
What's new in kitchen islands these days? Well, besides housing more than just pots and pans, today's kitchen islands incorporate a more classic 'furniture' style look. Also, their good looks not only hide the working parts of the kitchen or add more space for appliances such as microwaves, dishwashers - they have been known to feature special elements such as cushioned niches for the family dog! Through the use of expert design and innovative thinking, the kitchen designers of today keep pushing the boundaries in state-of-the-art kitchen design.
 
Great kitchen island designs incorporate ideas that make islands not only look great but work great from different vantage points. For instance, if your island will be seen as you enter the room, the end of the island can have more than just panels that match the cabinet doors. The ends of the islands of today may actually feature a banquette and its table attached, instead of a free-standing breakfast table.
 
Or, if you long for the look of a china cabinet (but have no room for one in your home), the end of the island can be finished with glass front doors and accent lighting to highlight and punctuate the island. To vary the side of an island, a corner can be finished with bookshelves as shown in the photo above.
 
The most important aspect of today's kitchen islands though, is that their design is made for today's unique homeowner. The island is a great place to set the tone for your style of living, cooking and entertaining. Islands of today allow you to make your home reflect your love of cooking and/or family for years to come.

For professional interior design for your home, office or commercial project call:

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.

To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Blog: HouseZenGarden
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York



 
 
 


Maybe I Shouldn't Share This Story But...

Pillow courtesy of Thomas Baker

How To Keep Problems From Spiraling Out Of Control - The Easy Way

Round and round the discussion went. Should my client change the location of the chandelier in the Dining Room? Or, should she do without the chandelier and forget about the goal to have the chandelier centered over the table?

Would a smaller table help? Can you use two chandeliers instead of one? Obviously this was one of those problems where we needed to not be 'narrow minded' but instead, use one of my favorite concepts - narrow framing.

Narrow framing is a term I was reminded about as I read my newest favorite book, "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath.  In their book they talk about situations where you may look at a problem as a "Yes" or "No" scenario.

But the truth is as a designer, I often work on problems of this type. I actually enjoy situations like this because it challenges my love of "expanding opportunities". I take a step back from the problem then delve into alternate solutions, rather than limiting choices to 'this or that' decision making.

So, the answer to the problem was to move a large china cabinet to another room, so the table could be centered in the room where it looked best. Another plus was that the china cabinet enjoys a more focal point view in its new location than it ever had in the dining room.

For professional interior design for your home, office or commercial project call:
Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer serving New Jersey, including Ocean and Monmouth County, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.
M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Allied Member ASID


Glad That Spring Is Almost Here, But Worried For All You Have To Do?

Philadelphia Flower Show Cottage Garden

Spring Is Almost Here. Are You Ready?

When the start of spring approaches you may be so relieved to be done with winter. But on the other hand, you may feel a sense of anxiety. Your anxiety may be due to all the unfinished projects around your home. You're not sure what to do first, what you should do yourself and when can you find the time to do it all anyway?

Yes, I too have the same problems and here are some of the items on my list:
  • Interior trim that needs to be painted
  • A bathroom that needs painting as well as tub caulk
  • Window blinds that require cleaning (every room!)
  • Porch screening to be replaced (we can do that)
  • Gardening and grass prep (great calorie burner, by the way)
  • Tree branches that need a to be cut (before they fall on our heads)
  • Etc, Etc, Etc !
Just looking at my list may remind you of some of the items on your Spring to-do list. So much to do, so little time.

But, on second thought I have to say that some of the items on my list will be done by professionals. For instance, I will not be climbing that oak tree to pull down that 'widow maker' tree limb. As for the gardening item, I can handle the leaf clean-up (a great de-stressor by the way), but a landscaper will be fertilizing our grass, so I can cross that item off my list.

Why Spring Can Be A Good Thing After All!

See, it's not that bad really. Sure, some of you (a few of my interior design clients, for instance) may be dealing with more difficult to-do's, especially if you were hit hard by the hurricane. But, no matter what you have in front of you, remember it either will or will not get done in time. It's not the end of the world.

It's all about perspective. It's about giving yourself some needed slack. Let professionals handle what they can and what you can afford, so you can actually enjoy Spring - what an idea!

For professional interior design for your home, office or commercial project call:

Mary Alice Smith of M. A. Smith, Ltd. - an interior designer in New Jersey, including Ocean and Monmouth Counties, the Jersey Shore and metropolitan New York areas.
To schedule an appointment call: 732 690-2030 or email me at masmith729@comcast.net.
M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Allied Member ASID




Part VII - The Best Kept Secret to A Successful Renovation

Courtesy of greenriver.edu

Next time you start a new decorating project, new construction project or renovation, make sure you read between the lines.

"Lines, what lines?" you say?


The lines of a floorplan as shown above!  A floorplan is critical to use because it shows where the walls and entryways begin and end in a room or house. Interior designers use architectural floorplans to show you options for furniture placement or built-in cabinetry.

For instance, a floorplan can show if there is enough room to easily walk around furniture. It can show you if there is enough room for two sofas or only one, what size tables work best, or how large a rug should be in a dining room.

Floorplans also show you the traffic pattern between rooms. Traffic patterns from room to room should be designed for your lifestyle. The design of the home or office should make sense so that moving from room to room is efficient.

Efficient design = less steps. Less steps = more time and more energy spent on the important things in life.
When you know how the room will 'work', then you can 'work' the room and get to the fun part of choosing furnishings, fabrics and paint.

Remember the secret to a successful renovation, new construction project or staging your home:

Floorplans are the foundation to create the most beautiful, comfortable and efficient home or office.

Note: if you're restoring your home from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, read my blog - The Concept Board for articles to help you today, tomorrow or when you are ready to start your renovation.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmith729@comcast.net
Allied Member ASID
Member Southern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce
Member Kiwanis Daybreak of Toms River, NJ
http://masmithinteriordesign.com
Serving Ocean and Monmouth County,
the Jersey Shore and Metro NJ and NYC

Join The Trend To Spruce Up Your Home This Season

A Finished Master Bedroom
Photo courtesy of Robert Allen Fabrics

How To Get Things Done At Your Home This Spring

 

One of the joys of living the interior designer life is being involved in someones fresh start and successful renovation.

Sometimes, my work involves a complete re-do and sometimes it's about adding new color, new window treatments or new furnishings such as rugs, pillows or lamps.

Whatever it is, it is a step in the right direction, not only for my client, but for me
as a designer as well. 

While I have years of experience under my belt, there has never been a project, where I haven't learned something valuable to share with other clients.

With Spring approaching in a month or so, I feel the urge to spruce up, pare down and add some pizazz to my own home, and so are my clients. 

Do What My Clients Do

 

To have a beautiful home like theirs, do what they do. Decide to have a fresh start for the promise of a better day, and a happier season. Decide to take on that project that you've been talking about - why not?

What are you waiting for and where do you need a fresh start in your home?

M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Interior Designer - New Jersey including the Jersey Shore, as well as 
Ocean and Monmouth Counties

Call  Mary Alice for your fresh start today - 732 690-2030

masmithinteriordesign.com
bestdesigncoach.com
housezengarden.com



Use This Designer's Secret To Stay On Track And Avoid Stress

Help! I need a shower of ideas for this week's blog!

Roda/Tresor Shower Enclosure Doo
 It's the weekend, a new week is approaching and once again I'm faced with a number of blog posts to write! 
I have many interior design topics I could write about, information to sift through and decisions to be made. But, sometimes it's overwhelming!
Information is everywhere to be found, but how can I decide what to  write about this week?

The answer is to do what I do for my interior design clients. I design a plan in steps. Then we can proceed in an orderly manner and get things done. 


For my blogs, my plan starts with breaking down the week into four days for blog posts. Each day I write on a noteworthy product or a design problem and solution. For instance, this week I might write about bathrooms. I then divide my four days into four products or problems and solutions for bathrooms.

Today, I share information about the Roda Tresor shower enclosure. This enclosure has 3/8" glass, with a sculpted handle and is available in the popular finish of oil rubbed bronze (as shown in the photo). 

See, it wasn't that hard. I went from slightly overwhelmed to satisfied within  minutes. I found a great option for a shower enclosure, if frame-less shower enclosures are not in the budget for my clients.

Most important is that I have a plan and I feel in control of my time. That's why planning in steps is so important. It gives you a 'small win' with every step accomplished.

Did this idea help you? What are some problems you need to resolve with your decorating project?

Call me for a meeting that just might get your project finally on track.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
masmithinteriordesign.com
bestdesigncoach.com
housezengarden.com


Do What The Most Beautiful Homes Do - Use Wallpaper

Photo courtesy of Deco Pad

Do people still use wallpaper in their homes? 

Almost every week someone asks me this question. My answer surprises them and the answer is a resounding - yes! 

In the 'before' people wallpapered almost every room. But, today designers and clients with the most beautiful homes are very selective on where to use wallpaper.

Instead of covering walls with busy patterns and borders we use wallpaper to add a classic touch of warmth, character or texture to walls or ceilings. 


For instance, recently I added grass cloth to a dining room above a chair rail moulding.

The walls could have been painted, but adding grass cloth pulled the room together and balanced the soft blue paint that was added to the ceiling.

Using wallpaper with a large pattern can add whimsy or touch of class that a room or a wall needs  - to make it special, different, alive.

Do you have a boring Foyer? Add a large scale pattern such as a striped wallpaper in beige and cream.

If your Powder Room is tiny- use a whimsical pattern or even a large scale pattern in a great color to give the room a feeling of importance.


M. A. Smith, Ltd., Interior Design
Allied Member ASID
Call for exceptional Interior Design today: 732 690-2030
masmithinteriordesign.com
bestdesigncoach.com
housezengarden.com




Part VI - How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Home

Photo courtesy of House Beautiful

Part VI - What is the most important thing to consider when choosing new flooring for your home?


While some might say 'looks' or what's in are the most important things to consider, function and durability are first on my list when choosing flooring for my clients. Whether tile, rugs, carpet or wood flooring, each type of flooring has attributes as well as pitfalls.

For instance, tile is often the choice for kitchens because of easy maintenance of the tile. While tile itself is durable, grout can be a problem to maintain in the years to come. Sometimes, wood flooring is a better selection for a kitchen.

Rugs and carpet add an element of style to a room but depending on the fiber chosen, the life of the carpet or rug can be short. Is the rug there to protect a wood floor or is it installed in a room that is infrequently used?

Durability is a concern for wood flooring too. With all the selections in wood flooring, you would think choosing your new wood floor would be easy. However, there is much to consider in choice of wood flooring, if you vision a floor that will last decades into the future.

For instance, can the wood floor be sanded and stained once or more times when it starts to show wear? What is the traffic pattern across the wood floor and will you need a rug  or runner to protect it?

Will the wood floor get more use when the family grows from two to four or more with children or extended family? Will it be safe for all generations to walk on, especially if they need a walker for support?

As you can see, selection is not the problem when choosing flooring for your home. However, selecting your flooring for function and durability are key things to consider to protect and preserve your investment in your home.

Choosing your flooring is not about keeping up with the Joneses. It's about selecting the right installation that fits with your life today as well as ten or twenty years into the future.

For more information on flooring check out the following websites:
http://woodfloors.org/
http://www.wfca.org/Pages/Ceramic-Tile-review.aspx
http://www.carpet-rug.org/residential-customers/index.cfm

Stay 'tuned' for the next BestDesignCoach blog post to find out about my Website's list of the most important items to consider when decorating a Home.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York