IS YOUR HOME DECOR AN ECLECTIC STYLE OR JUST A MISMATCH?

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Have you ever heard of “eclectic style” but are not sure what it is about?

There is a movement in the field of Art called “Eclecticism” that combines elements of particular styles from different time periods and origins with a single project.

Although there is no strict rules for designing in an eclectic style, the goal of creating such an environment is not to put together your grand-mother’s armoire and mix it with IKEA furniture but to design a great look in an artistic manner with specific connected elements that make the whole space look like one piece of work.

 So, how do you put together an eclectic room?

1-   Compose your room:

Artful composition is a difficult concept to define. When creating a room, think of it as a painter would when creating a painting. Check the foreground and background, light and shadow, and balance of furnishings in the room.  

Here are a few pointers:

-       Paint walls in different tones to make shapes appear to be on different planes

-       Group similar items in odd numbers and avoid too many similar shapes

-       Vary the placement of furniture and other objects in term of shape, color and texture.

-       Try not to have everything at the same height. Go for balance rather than symmetry.

 

2-   Make it work through…

-       Color: The palette can vary but it is usually recommended to stick with a few neutrals to help the elements tie all together. Pick a few colors and repeat them in a variety of ways – in upholstery, pottery, art, paint, etc. Avoid pristine white walls, as they will make it harder on you to find the right balance of shapes, textures and colors.

-       Pattern: They are a great starting point for designing an eclectic room. Look for an appealing pattern in textiles, rugs, wallpaper, or even artwork. Be also mindful of varying the scale of the patterns in the room.

-       Texture: This can be introduced through furniture, walls, floors or accessories. Wall coverings (wallpaper or woven fabrics) add warmth to a room. Consider the textural quality of a piece of furniture as well as its style and color. Vary textures so one material doesn’t dominate.

If the process gets overwhelming, feel free to reach to me for a free private consultation. I will be glad to bring your dream project – reflecting your unique “Eclectic” personality and lifestyle 

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THE MODERN HOME: SPACIOUS, OPEN, AIRY AND…NOISY!!

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Open floor plans have been the rage in residential architecture and design for years. They however have an unintended side effect: A noisy household! Homeowners and architects are sometimes so focused on the nitty-gritty of a construction project that something intangible, like the acoustics, often gets ignored.

I had this conversation with a client last week that was looking to furnish a beautiful loft on the Miami waterfront. He had fell in love and purchased his place because of the large room with big windows, no wall separation, high ceiling and the minimalist type of look but didn’t realize how noisy it was until he moved in and could hear his steps echo in the room while walking.

So, how do you address this? 

Well, the old standbys for dampening noise in a room, like wall to wall carpeting and thick drapes, would feel outdated in a loft.

Here are a few tips:

1.   CREATE TEMPORARY NOOKS:

Shades are getting a new look as silk-looking screens, offer homeowners a way to create makeshift enclosure. Gliding fabric panels sliding on a track can divide a room while keeping a big, open feel. The manufacturer Hunter Douglas is a great resource for these shades.

2.   THINK FIBERGLASS…:

In a living room, a custom-designed stereo system, with speakers strategically placed in different parts of the room will disperse sound evenly. To bring out pure tone from the speakers, you may install compressed fiberglass in the back of a bookshelf to absorb sound and dampen any echoing.  The fiberglass also helps keep noise from carrying to other rooms.

3.   …OR SLIDING PANELS:

If you are looking for some privacy screen while hosting guests in your home, check retractable panels. Those fabric panels give people privacy and help dampen sound in a large space. When not in use, they easily stack behind a cabinet.

So remember, trendy open floor plans where rooms aren’t separated by walls mean voices carry. Hard surfaces like granite countertops, ceramic tile and hardwood floors can also amplify sound. But there is always solution to every problem I guess, so call me and let’s talk about this!

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THE MODERN HOME: SPACIOUS, OPEN, AIRY AND…NOISY!!

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Open floor plans have been the rage in residential architecture and design for years. They however have an unintended side effect: A noisy household! Homeowners and architects are sometimes so focused on the nitty-gritty of a construction project that something intangible, like the acoustics, often gets ignored.

I had this conversation with a client last week that was looking to furnish a beautiful loft on the Miami waterfront. He had fell in love and purchased his place because of the large room with big windows, no wall separation, high ceiling and the minimalist type of look but didn’t realize how noisy it was until he moved in and could hear his steps echo in the room while walking.

So, how do you address this? 

Well, the old standbys for dampening noise in a room, like wall to wall carpeting and thick drapes, would feel outdated in a loft.

Here are a few tips:

1.   CREATE TEMPORARY NOOKS:

Shades are getting a new look as silk-looking screens, offer homeowners a way to create makeshift enclosure. Gliding fabric panels sliding on a track can divide a room while keeping a big, open feel. The manufacturer Hunter Douglas is a great resource for these shades.

2.   THINK FIBERGLASS…:

In a living room, a custom-designed stereo system, with speakers strategically placed in different parts of the room will disperse sound evenly. To bring out pure tone from the speakers, you may install compressed fiberglass in the back of a bookshelf to absorb sound and dampen any echoing.  The fiberglass also helps keep noise from carrying to other rooms.

3.   …OR SLIDING PANELS:

If you are looking for some privacy screen while hosting guests in your home, check retractable panels. Those fabric panels give people privacy and help dampen sound in a large space. When not in use, they easily stack behind a cabinet.

So remember, trendy open floor plans where rooms aren’t separated by walls mean voices carry. Hard surfaces like granite countertops, ceramic tile and hardwood floors can also amplify sound. But there is always solution to every problem I guess, so call me and let’s talk about this!

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Flat screen TV & living room: How do I look?

ImageThat’s a fact of American life: The average television is on a staggering seven hours a day!

So, as a designer, one of the first things I review with my clients when helping them with their living room is to ask about their lifestyle and viewing habits, because that tells me about how much importance to give the TV in the design of the space.

So, how do you design such a space and integrate the TV?

The trick is to design a space that allows for pleasant, comfortable watching while ensuring that the room will serve its other purposes. The best way for this is to create a flexible seating arrangement and avoid turning the family room into a home theater, where everyone just stares at the television without interacting.

Let’s look at this closer:

1-   Set up a multipurpose floor plan:

Since the idea is to bring everyone together, here are a few tricks for setting up a TV without disrupting the environment:

-       Keep the TV at a 90-degree angle to the main windows. That way, it doesn’t interfere with anyone’s ability to look over and enjoy the views

-       Screen size: The biggest TV is not necessarily the right one for your space.  The general rule is a viewing distance of roughly two to three times the screen diagonal.

-       Acoustics: Use carpeting and drapes to absorb some of the sound but since the room will be used for entertaining as well as for watching TV, don’t overdo it with carpeting the floors wall to wall and covering every window with heavy drapery.

-       Lighting: Think dimmable lighting for the multifunctional room so you may use soft light for entertaining, and task lighting for reading or homework. 

2-   Should I hang it or hide it?

A good thing about flat screen TV’s is that they look good even when turned off, so they don’t necessarily need to be hidden behind expensive custom cabinets. But if you are worried your family will gravitate to the TV if it is in plain sight, house it in an entertainment center. It will also hide visual clutter.

If you decide to mount the TV on the wall, you will need to keep all other components in a cabinet below and run the wires behind the wall.

3-   Out of sight, out of mind:

If your family is in the minority that watches television infrequently, keep the set out of the family room altogether and instead move the TV in a separate space that can also double as a den or study area.  Close off the space with a solid wood door to keep it acoustically and psychologically separated from the rest of the home.

As always, feel free to call me if you still struggle with where to place your television within your home. I will be glad to help!

 

Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at brigitte@fs2ddesigngroup.com. www.fs2ddesigngroup.com

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Open kitchen design for today’s lifestyle

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Designing your home with an open floor plan is very popular today. In addition to creating an illusion of a much larger space, combining a kitchen with another room makes your place more practical for entertaining and interaction.

Now, when designing a kitchen remodel to create a more open feel, there are several physical and visual changes to consider. Some options will work for certain kitchens and others will not.

Let’s look below at what those options are:

1-   Remove a wall:

 One of the easiest and more obvious ways to open up your kitchen is to remove a wall right? Well, not always…wall removal is not systematically possible and several things must be checked before construction can start. First, you will need to figure out whether the wall is a load-bearing wall, which are walls that supports weight from the top part of the house and are needed to keep the house standing. Therefore it cannot be removed! There are ways to address this with support beams but it needs to be taken care of by professionals.  You will also need to figure out any electrical, plumbing, or venting and how it runs through the wall.

2-   Upper cabinet & peninsula removal:

Many homes from the 80s and 90s were built with kitchen that includes a peninsula with upper and lower cabinets. An easy way to open up the kitchen is to remove the upper cabinets to increase your line of sight, making the space seem larger. This strategy also removes the need to bend down to look between the cabinets.

Another idea is to remove the entire peninsula in addition to the cabinets. This is similar to removing an entire wall and the results are immediately apparent. If you need the storage and countertop space, you may add a kitchen island, which doesn’t separate a room like a peninsula and influences an open feel.

3-   Try a lighter color pallet

Darker colors make a room feel smaller. When remodeling a kitchen, especially one that is smaller, using lighter colors will help create an open feeling. Light colored paint on the walls and light toned wood will make a room feel open and not as crowded. You may also use light painted cabinets. Busy textures also create an enclosed feeling. Use smooth, cleaner textures to address this.

4-   If storage is a necessity:

Eliminating cabinets is a good strategy to create an open kitchen but not always a feasible one. Cabinets with glass door inserts can be used to give the impression that a room is more open. This works because natural light is allowed to enter more of the room and is not blocked by dark wood. Your line of sight is often extended through the glass inserts as well, which makes a room feel larger.

So, don’t be afraid to use these tips for not only the kitchen but other areas in the house as well. Be creative and as always, feel free to call me at 786.223.8476 for a free consultation.

Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at brigitte@fs2ddesigngroup.com. www.fs2ddesigngroup.com

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HOME SWEET HOME: SHOULD I REMODEL OR SHOULD I MOVE?

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I recently visited with a prospective client who was debating whether to stay in his home and remodel or move into a new place.

An Architect had previously drawn some plans for an addition to the existing structure. After discussing with the client the family use of the rooms in the house and analyzing their spatial needs, it made more sense to update the existing interior design layout into a functional open floor plan. They didn’t have the need for more square footage and saved an unnecessary costly addition.

Now, many home improvement projects don’t add value to your home, especially in a down market. So, which ones should you invest in? Below are some helpful tips for projects that will increase the value of your home:

1.   REMODELING THE KITCHEN:

Most people consider the kitchen the heart of the home and because of this, updates in this room pay off.  On average, you can expect to recoup 60 to 100% of your investment on a kitchen, as long as you don’t go overboard. Fresh paint in modern colors can go a long way towards updating the look of this room. Plus paint is relatively cheap. Finally, replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Energy Star rated appliances will help you save money.

2.   BATHROOM ADDITION:

If your home only has one bathroom, you can recoup a large chunk of your investment by adding another one. You can recoup 80 to 100% of whatever you spend adding a bathroom. Like any project, the cost of adding a bathroom depends largely on the type of additions and accessories you want to use, and the cost of each of these items.

3.   REINVENTING A ROOM:

Adding more square footage to your home with a new room can be an expensive project. Although you can recoup some of your investment, anywhere from 50 to 83%, this project’s costs quickly spin out of control.

 

Reinvent the existing space in your home to save money. Finish a basement, or convert the attic to a bedroom. Many homeowners can also add small apartments in, or over, their garages. 

Before you demolish walls and rafters, try to think about the ways that you, and potential buyers can use the space:

-       Versatile rooms have a greater appeal to potential buyers

-       Basements frequently work well as second living rooms, or game rooms.

-       Attic spaces often work well for craft rooms and game rooms.

4.   BASIC UPDATES:

Basic updates add the most value to your home. Keep the paint fresh, fix the roof when it leaks, replace wood that rots, and get rid of any mold that you find. These types of chores keep your home from deteriorating over time. Buyers will see a well kept home.

 There are several other options for home improvement projects that add value to your home. But if you plan to remodel, concentrate your efforts on smaller projects that make your home more appealing to buyers. So, what home improvement projects will you work on this year that I can help you with?

 Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in South Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at brigitte@fs2ddesigngroup.com. http://www.fs2ddesigngroup.com

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Preventing Interior Design disasters

ImageHave you ever cringed when walking through a particular home or saw a showcase for a room in an Interior Design magazine that was just over the top? 

I believe that interior design is not simply a set of arbitrary ideas, an eclectic assortment of favorite objects, or a mimicking of current trends. Good design has a clear vocabulary; it is grounded in logic, aesthetic, and the work of well-trained eyes of architects, artists, builders and designers.

In every project I undertake my design philosophy works to blend

four basic elements of design: contrast, proportion, color and balance.

So, how do you avoid those design disasters when designing your interiors yourself?

 1-   Avoid overlooking room size:

Nothing appears to be far more out of position than household furniture previously bought for a small room installed in a fantastic family room. The furnishings that labored as part of your old home or condo could purely end up being out of scale for your spaces inside your new property, so bite the bullet and replace those items with furniture that makes sense.

2-   Wanting to match the modern trends:

Be careful to not produce a decorating template around the most current movements and fashions. Take the time to determine your personal style. Ways to explore this would be to research interior design publications, browse through home interior showrooms or look at online resources to determine which colors and styles you most favor. 

3-   Enabling someone else to make selections for you

Your home is your personal sanctuary. Don’t allow someone else to tell you what you MUST do. If you want support, ask for recommendations. However when the moment arrives to generate selections, they must be your own. It is your place and you should be comfortable with the options. 

4-   Avoid color mix up:

Never buy material, flooring or paint on your original visit at a store. Compare samples of paint and floor coverings to help you see how they look in your home under day and night lights with lighting fixtures.

5-   Running a project without a budget and a plan:

Survey your existing household furniture, establish a budget upfront and the time you will set aside for your project. Make a summary of your requirements and start working.

If the process gets overwhelming, feel free to reach to me for a private consultation. I will be glad to bring your dream project – reflecting your unique personality and lifestyle – home to stay!

 

Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at brigitte@fs2ddesigngroup.com. www.fs2ddesigngroup.com

 

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