Design Tips

Colorful accents and artwork provided the finishing touches in this black and white space by Phyllis Whitehead.
Colorful accents and artwork provided the finishing touches in this black and white space by Phyllis Whitehead.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Finishing Touch

No room design is complete without the finishing touch – the design elements that complete a room and tie everything together. Whether it be an area rug, artwork, colorful accents, or a unique fabric, these top designers share how they created fully finished spaces for their clients.

“For this space, the classic black and white theme is punctuated with colorful accents and artwork. Painting the ceiling beams in high-gloss black, piping the sofas with black patent leather, and the shiny black lamps are finishing touches that create a cohesive yet exciting spin on a classic theme. The custom cabinets in the back were designed to showcase the owner’s collection of art in a way that does not distract from the overall theme but rather accents it. Small colorful art pieces enliven the space without being overpowering. Overall, being able to successfully incorporate color in a room that has a black and white theme helps create a harmonious and unique space.”
– Phyllis Whitehead, Fifi & Coco Interiors

“A current trend in homes is wood flooring. Area rugs are great for adding color, warmth, and style. In many cases, the area rug is selected first and sets the color scheme for the room. However, sometimes it is added as a finishing touch to a space. Such is the case in the master bedroom of my clients’ lake house. The room has wonderful visual elements: the spectacular view of the lake, the contrast of a deep sable finish on the furniture against the white oak floors, and lush custom silk bedding. But it needed a bit of texture and pattern and softness under foot...a bit of art on the floor. In keeping with the modern Prairie-style architecture of the home, we selected an Arts and Crafts inspired area rug from The Ghiordes Knot. The warm sunset colors of the rug echo the color palette of the home and add depth and a finishing touch to this space.”
– Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

“When adding the finishing touches to any space, it’s important that every piece has a purpose and helps to tie the room together. Finishing touches are not after-thoughts; rather, these details help to make the space feel layered, intentional, and complete. In this room, we used furniture and accessories that complement the cozy elements of the plush sofa and rug while also adding bursts of color and interest that make the space feel dynamic. The window treatments and plump pillows encourage the homeowners to sit down and relax, while the vibrant art and eye-catching coffee table enliven the room with a fun energy. These finishing touches help achieve the perfect balance of inviting and invigorating.”
– Carrie Long, Carrie Long Interiors
Wallpaper: Phillip Jeffries from Tennant & Associates

"The playful vernacular of the cherry blossom fabric set the stage for the midcentury silhouettes in this master suite. With this delightful mix of colors at the forefront, it was the perfect layer to pull the entire space together without leaving any aspect of the design behind. Having this fabric as a focal helped to guide the selections process and created quite the conversation piece."
– Rachel Nelson and Lauren DeLaurentiis, RL Concetti LLC
Lounge chairs and headboard: RJ Thomas
Chair and pillow fabric: Robert Allen Duralee Group

The gray extra-textured rug from The Ghiordes Knot pulled together the elements of the glass table with a metal base and the two sofas with metal legs from The Designer Group Collection.  It also worked well with the stainless metal that I added to the existing 10' tall fireplace.”
– Lois Haron, Lois Haron Designs

“This bedroom is meant to be uncluttered and peaceful, but finishing touches are all important in adding to the overall design of the room. Thibaut fabrics add luxury to the tufted Lancaster bed while Visual Comfort lighting adds unexpected glamour. The RJ Thomas chest is accessorized with assorted objects.”
– Jane Synnestvedt, Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design Inc.

Carrie Long created a seamless flow from living room to outdoor room using a folding door. Photo by Steve Thompson
Carrie Long created a seamless flow from living room to outdoor room using a folding door. Photo by Steve Thompson

Monday, June 3, 2019

Outside Interests

After a long winter and chilly spring, it’s high time to let the sunny outdoors take center stage – even if it’s from an indoor vantage point. Whether it’s a sunroom bathed in light, a veranda to enjoy soft breezes, or a true indoor/outdoor space, some of the area’s top designers have their own unique ideas for making the most of the summer sun.

“We wanted to create an indoor/outdoor living space in its truest form. The flow from the living room to outdoor dining room is made seamless with the use of a Nana Door, which folds into the wall, connecting the two spaces perfectly. A plank ceiling on the exterior lanai complements the beams on the living room ceiling, and the exterior stone is the same used on the living room, creating a cohesive look. Pollack fabrics (available at Tennant & Associates) were used on the interior sofa and chairs.”
– Carrie Long, Carrie Long Interiors

“This home is traditional and beautifully decorated with antiques and custom pieces, so it was important that the sunroom flow with the rest of the house while still making it spring-like. Bursts of color helped to create this environment. The goal was to create a three-season space that made you feel you were experiencing the outdoors. All of the fabrics are practical – easy-care Crypton with the softness of regular fabrics. Window shades were added to protect fabrics in seasons when the room is not used. The Thibaut sofa and chair, as well as the window treatments and trims, are from Duralee, RADG. The rugs are from The Ghiordes Knot, and Decoroom fabricated the chair cushions, pillows, and window treatments.”
– Jane Synnestvedt, Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design

“This sunroom has doors that open up onto a large deck. Although there’s easy access to the outdoors, the large windows permit the sun to pour in all year long, making it seem you’re outside, whatever the season. The two lounge chairs are upholstered in Kravet fabric, while the ottoman is upholstered in a Lee Jofa fabric, also from Kravet. The ceiling fan is from Lighting Resource Studio.”
– Gail Urso, Urso Designs

“This coastal retreat was a much smaller space for our clients, who moved down the beach to a modest 2,400-square-foot bungalow. It was very important for them to continue to have outdoor living spaces to enjoy the Gulf breezes and breathtaking views year-round. The connecting wall is made completely of glass with French doors, so the rooms became one to allow for entertaining. The lanai is enclosed with a special “Phantom” screening material, which makes it virtually invisible. It was important to use outdoor “performance” fabrics in the entire home, including window treatments; furniture had to be weather tolerant. We chose to keep the palette neutral to allow the water and landscaping to be the color stars, but we added complementary colors in the lighting and pillows to remain true to our design style. The sofa is by Kravet; fabric by Pindler; pillows in fabric from Duralee, RADG. McGuire ottomans from Baker Furniture, in Pindler fabric; window treatments from Schumacher. Vintage reed chairs reupholstered in Pindler fabric; pillow fabric from Rozmallin. Outdoor furniture: Lloyd Flanders, Duralee RADG; Outdoor pillows: fabric by Kravet.”
– Kathleen McGovern, Kathleen McGovern Studio of Interior Design

“I used modern efficiencies in the renovation of this 115-year-old lakeside Michigan cottage. For the screened porch, I selected a composite Trex flooring resembling wood that will not fade, rot, or attract insects, and it withstands the elements. A paneled screen and insulated wall system by Sunspace was installed to allow the owners to use the room three seasons. When furnishing indoor-outdoor rooms, I select all-weather fabrics. In this room, I used outdoor furniture from Lloyd Flanders (from Duralee, RADG). Side tables are stone, which are impervious to weather. I chose a zinc dining table in indoor and outside rooms. It is extremely durable, non-porous, and easy to clean, while remaining stylish.”
– Lucy Earl, principal, Jones-Keena & Co.

“We recently enclosed this charming open-air gazebo into a four-season sunroom by adding floor-to-ceiling windows, drywall, new hardwood flooring, and all-new furnishings for our clients, who can unwind and enjoy their beautiful view of the Huron River. We designed the fenestration to include an asymmetrical collection of both tall and shorter windows to give unencumbered views in the best directions. The key to a successful indoor/outdoor space is to choose colors that don’t compete with nature or the view beyond. We stuck to a tight palette of greens, blues, browns, and grays; colors drawn directly from the riverscape outside. We painted the trim green to further direct the eye past the interior space to the view beyond. Each upholstered piece has an indoor/outdoor fabric. The sofa and chair are from Wesley Hall, through RJ Thomas. The sofa fabric is Great Plains, through Tennant & Associates, while the chair fabric is from Pindler. The table, floor lamp, and rug are all from Kravet. The stool and pendant are Palecek, available at RJ Thomas, and the ottoman fabric is Osborne & Little, through Rozmallin.”
– Laura Zender, Laura Zender Design

Jane Synnestvedt used Sherwin-Williams Snowbound and Dhurrie Beige to provide depth. Photo by Beth Singer
Jane Synnestvedt used Sherwin-Williams Snowbound and Dhurrie Beige to provide depth. Photo by Beth Singer

Monday, April 29, 2019

Designers’ Go-to Colors

Whether you’re looking to make a bold statement or create a neutral background, updating a room’s paint color is a simple way to make an immediate impact. Several top designers share their tried-and-true favorite colors they rely on again and again in their design projects.

“The photo above is from a project where I used Sherwin-Williams Snow Bound SW7004 on the ceiling and Dhurrie Beige 7524 on the walls. These are both go-to colors for ceilings and walls as they're both clean and pigment-saturated, which provides a great deal of depth on a neutral palette. Particularly when exposure to natural light influences the hue, these two colors tend to stay true to their value.”
– Jane Synnestvedt, Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design Inc.

“Colors have a voice. They have a physiological effect on our minds, emotions, and bodies. Red, along with its tints, tones, and shades, is a very powerful hue that can stimulate the senses, encourage conversations, and increase the appetite. Hence it is a wonderful color to use in a dining room. For clients who desire dramatic dining rooms, I often suggest the deeper tones of red for the walls – those in the claret or burgundy families. Two of my go-to paint colors are Sherwin-Williams SW7584 Red Theatre and SW7583 Wild Currant. Red Theatre is more of a maroon or dark red-brown. Wild Current is a brighter shade. In the two dining rooms shown above, the particular colors chosen for the walls were influenced by the fabrics used for the window treatments. The Red Theatre walls were inspired by a screen-printed fabric from Vervain; the Wild Currant walls were inspired by a silk-blend fabric from Texture Fabrics.”
– Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

“In the room pictured above, I used Sherwin-Williams #7072 Online on the walls, which provided nice depth and did not wash out with the white ceiling. I needed an accent to complement the color in the pictures and pillows, so I chose Sherwin-Williams #6635 Determined Orange. To make this small corner of the room feel cozy I purchased two swivel chairs, a sofa, and a storage bench from RJ Thomas to use as a footstool as well as storage for throw blankets when not in use. The rug from The Ghiordes Knot was cut down for the area and the rest was used in the foyer entrance.”
– Lois Haron, Lois Haron Designs

“The 'neutral' color I often return to is what I call 'mushroom' or 'stone,' and it's a warm 'greige.' It's pretty in its lightest form as well as when it's deeper and more saturated. Any bright color pop works well with this neutral, but I prefer black or white accents, which are forever, sophisticated, and classic.”
Amy Weinstein, AMW Design Studio

“When putting together a color scheme for a space, we typically gravitate toward a neutral background palette in either warm or cool tones and let the more dominant colors in the space present themselves through items such as area rugs, upholstery, drapery, and artwork. Though, typically, we will start with a specific rug or fabric selection in order to pull out the perfect coordinating background colors, I do have some go-to neutrals by Benjamin Moore that I find very versatile and easy to work with.”
– Kevin Serba and John Rattray, Serba Interiors