Monthly Archives: October 2007

The strength of concrete

Something that has always stuck out at me is the amount of concrete located in a cemetery, if you think about it usually cheaper headstones are made of concrete, there are benches and memorial plaques. Even the flower planters are made of concrete. Why? Well concrete is not that expensive, it’s strong and it hold up to weather. It is also cheep to ship. There is a great website you can check out if you want to use concrete at your home, Doty & Sons is a great place to buy concrete items and they do have a good selection of merchandise. Not only can you find a plaque for your loved one, but you can get things for a local park you may be helping with, or a school.

Concrete items are a big thing in design because of there strength and versatility. You see concrete tables at restaurants and in parks. Most of the trash receptacles are concrete. There is a reason that cities are called concrete jungles, concrete is used everywhere. It’s the foundation for your home. It’s fire proof and it’s cheep. So next time your thinking of doing a design project for your home or business take a look at concrete and check out that website, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Personal changes, style changes

Recently an old friend of mine called me. She had just moved to a new place and was starting over with her life. Her boyfriend of 8 years, left her six months ago because she gained weight. She told me the day after he left she went to the store bought some hydroxycut and never looked back. Now she’s down to a size 3 and is smaller then she was before they started dating.

Why am I telling you this? Well the reason is. I find many people who go through a change like this one are also ready to change everything else and in my friends case it was no different. She wanted me to help her find some great things for her new place. She was throwing everything out that she had when she lived with her boyfriend and starting over. I haven’t met with her yet, but I have made a few stops at places and found some great things.

When your going through a change like this the best things to replace are the furniture and if you can afford it the location. She already had the location done, now she’s looking for more. I’ve picked out a nice cushy sofa and recliner for her space. Color hasn’t been decided yet but they comes in cream, red, blue and brown. So something should work. I haven’t found a bed yet, but I think I will have her come with me for that one.

I figure this is a start, we will add some paint and make some of the things she did keep look different. It’s hard moving from one phase of life to another, especially when you thought you were happy with the phase before the new one. Hopefully I can help her see that she does have something to look forward to. I think she does see that already, but some good interior design may just be that kick she needs to get her back up and on her feet.

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Add Art Add Style

Have you been looking for a way to spruce up those bare walls you have? I know I have a problem with boring looking bare walls sometimes. The best way to deal with these bare walls is to use art. There are so many different kinds of art out there and you do need to find a style you like, but also you need to find a style that will fit with your home. Usually they are the same so it’s not a problem.

One of the best places to find good art is the Park West Art Gallery I actually heard of this art gallery a year ago when I was talking to a fellow student of mine and she said it’s a wonderful jewel of a place. They offer art auctions all over the united states and they even have a affiliate company that does art auctions on cruses.

Right there is a great idea for finding art. A cruse, not only can you get a good deal at an auction on a ship, but maybe you could find some great local art in port. Be creative with your choices and you will have a great piece to add to your collection and that bare wall at home.

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The Joy of teaching

One thing I know I will be doing with my design degree is teaching. I hope to be able to come back to a school and teach new designers what I have learned and done over a few year. I actually hope to do this quickly as I have always wanted to be a teacher.

Interior designers learn alot about life though there job. They learn about people, there likes and dislikes and how to make the world a better and more productive place. Why not share that with the next generation in the classroom.  I think of my teachers as my role models. They provide me with knowledge and in site into the real world. They give me the strength to continue what I am doing even if I want to give up and I would like to to the same for others. If you enjoy design and maybe wouldn’t mind teaching. You should think about being an interior design professor. There are also many high schools that offer interior design classes that need teachers to teach them.

Help open the minds of a new group of designers, be a teacher and do something that most people would never think of when they hear the words Interior Designer.

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Personalize your room

Have you ever wanted to sleep on your own face? Well now you can, or you can sleep on any other face you would want to.  There is a new service that will print your photos onto almost anything, you can get a photo pillowcase with your dog or cat on it. Of course you could always put a picture of that hot celebrity or the guy from the gym you have a crush on, but I would recommend hiding it from company if you do that.

You can also get a Photo Shower Curtain and make your bathroom unique. I love this idea as most of the time I hate the shower curtains that are in the stores. They just don’t ever seem to work with that picture I have in my head. I can usually get everything else to work but not the shower curtain. This is the only site that has custom shower curtains!

I think using customizable things like this really helps you put a stamp on your own home since you can personalize it to your likes and dislikes. Just think you could great your guest with a nice pillow with there face on it. Okay that might be kind of scary, but you get the point.

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Give A Gift To Your Home

There are many things you can do for your home that will make it look more appealing from the curb. Many of you know this as curb appeal. This can help increase the value of your home and other homes around you, making it easier to sell and to refinance.

Sometimes it’s just little things that can make your curb appeal better. Adding a personalized doormat can make your home more inviting and make people want to come in and visit. Of course you may just want a generic one if your trying to sell your home.

If your not trying to sell it but are just trying to make it look better for yourself. You may want to spruce up your home front exterior by getting a custom address plate. Not only do these look good but they tell a visitor that they have reached the right place. I personally hate it when homes don’t have numbers on them that you can see from the street. A custom plate can show both the address and your name. That way your guest know there in the right spot. Of course if your looking to sell your home, this again would not be a great idea, but there are address signs and other types of address accessories you can buy that are perfect for selling a home.

The last little tip I have for you is simple and really should already be done at your home. General maintenance is the key to your home looking good. Keep that yard clean and make sure the siding and windows are kept clean also. Paint your home every few years to keep it looking good and fresh.

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Wonderful design?

I ran across a few interesting ideas today. One thing that I liked was the use of fashion jewelry on a lampshade. They took parts of old jewelery and glued them to the lampshade. When they were done it looked like they had a jeweled lamp. I didn’t think it worked well where they put it, but maybe for a child’s bedroom or a craft area it would look great.

There was also an idea to use an old desk. This desk had great detail work on the back of the desk so they made it into a headboard. I loved it as you can buy a bed frame very cheep and just add a headboard. They spent no money whatsoever on this headboard.

The last idea I came across today was actually one I came up with. I had an old lamp that was just sitting around and I decided it would make a great sconce and I could put candles in it. So now I’m working on that idea. Hopefully it will work out okay. Wish me luck.

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More on children’s rooms

A question that was asked during one of my classes this week was how do you design a good room for a pre-teen who loves cars without making it look childish or have a NASCAR theme.

I liked this idea so of course my brain started working and I had to share it with you. This is what I would do. I would start by finding a car shaped chair, then I would find a desk that was metal or glass. Of course it would have to hold a computer.

Then on to the bed. I’m thinking a platform bed, again that modern theme. But here is the fun part. Above the bed would be a car spoiler or maybe two or three going up the wall. They could be just decorative or serve as shelving by putting glass shelves on top of them or under them depending on the style. Of course you could do this anywhere in the room.

Of course you could use any color scheme but if you work the fabrics into the colors of the spoilers you use it would be amazing.

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Design in a small space

This term in class we have to change a home into a business. This is a fun idea and I think the project is going to turn out wonderfully. What is interesting about this project is how we all took a good look at the home we had to change and started space planning the existing home. I have decided that I am going to also do a layout for the existing home for my own use.

The thing that we all noticed about this home was the very small living room. This is common in some homes and I really hate it. Living rooms are where you live, hence the name. But there are ways to keep even a small living room spacious feeling and inviting. One way is to minimize the furniture. Get one good size sofa, but make sure it will fit well in the space. Find other seating that can either easily be moved out of the space or incorporated into it. Such as ottomans that are used as coffee tables or ottomans that can fit under a coffee table or other piece of furniture when not in use. Another tip is a little expensive, buy a projection televisions if you have the money it can help you gain alot of space in a crowded room.

I also would recommend light wall coverings and alot of light. Keep in mind you want the small space to look bigger, not smaller. Keep things simple and you should have a great looking space.

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Chain Store Designer

Have you ever wondered why most stores look almost the same? Well there designed that way. Yes I know Duh, but did you know that this is something interior designers do? Yep those people who only know how to fluff pillows and put paint on a wall actually do come up with designs for these types of stores.

There are many chain stores out there just go to any mall and you’ll find most of them. With many of these types of stores you need to notice them out of a group. That is where an interior designer may come into play. They will chose the layout and colors. The lighting and what the outside will look like. They want something eye catching and stylish. Think of your favorite store, what drew you in to began with? My favorite is hot topic. They have a look that draws your eyes to the store, the same idea is done with the bath and body works stores. I’m not sure if an interior designer did design these stores, but they may have.

As a designer you could be working on many different things you could design a whole store around Nike golf or you could have just a section that is all about the shoes.

Interior designers do so much more then just paint. They really create a way for business to draw in there customers and make them feel like there shopping in an exclusive store.

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Accents steal the show.

One way to really make your room pop is to add accent pieces that fit with the theme of the room or season. A friend of mine recently redid her living room on her own and had me come over and tell her what I thought. Really the room was amazing. She was very proud of herself.

What she did was use all gold accents, she had gold picture frames on the walls and tables. Pillows in a golden fabric and wonderful curtain holders that turned out to be gold bracelets. The gold theme also continued in her rug and in her other metal finishes such as handles on the entertainment center and so on. It really tied the room together and made it complete. If she hadn’t had used the gold to tie everything in. The room would have looked like a mess. She loves animal print and a few of the pieces were done in that type of fabric. She also like dark purple and that is the color her sofa was done in. The gold pillows on the sofa and the gold trimmed animal print pillows on the chair also helped tie the room.

So todays lesson is simple. If you like different styles find one thing that will tie them together, it doesn’t have to be gold or even a metal. It could be the wood color or a fabric type. Most of all enjoy your creativity and make it a room you will love.

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A wedding planner?

One profession that many people my not think a designer would do is be a wedding planner. Really you do a lot of design with weddings, it’s not just announcements, cake and a dress.

Many weddings have huge sets and require a lot of time and energy something today’s busy couples do not have. Now why would someone who does interior design want to do this, after all there are degrees just for being a wedding planner? Well I recently talked to a women who is doing just this. She worked in commercial design for 25 years and even though she loved it, she wanted something that would involve more creativity, but still be a challenge. She thought what is harder then pleasing a bride on her wedding day! So she thought she would try. She’s just getting started and she loves it.

Next week, another profession you would never think of for interior design.

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More lighting!

I need to brighten my day so I’m going to talk about lighting. I have recently fallen in love with a designer, a lighting designer and the designs not the actual person. Murray Feiss has a great selection of lighting that is to die for.

Take a look at this amazing lamp. I would love to have that over an island in my kitchen. The curves are amazing and it has such a calming design. I need calming right now. I also like the color of this one, it’s neutral and would work very well with most types of design. If your going for a modern look though this particular lamp will not work for you, but there are many others to choose from and all of them are wonderful designs.

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Recently my friend just rented a home that has a Michigan basement. This is a unfinished very low basement for those of you who don’t know what that is. Of course you may have another name for it. The problem with an unfinished basement like hers is that you have a good chance of it flooding and an even harder time finishing it. Most basements have a good height and smooth walls. Michigan basements do not.

With a Michigan basement one of the best things you can do is seal it with a paint made for basements. This will help keep the water out. If you want to try to finish it, this is a must, if you don’t do it your basement will flood and you will have to replace the drywall and carpet. I really do not recommend finishing a Michigan basement unless yours never floods.

With other basements finishing is much easier. First you need to have a plan. Just so you know where everything is going to go. Any plumbing needs to be figured out and so does electrical. After that you can start your framing work. Make sure when you do the framing that the bottom piece of wood is treated so that is resist moisture. After that build your frame and attach it to the wall.  Next get your drywall up and your ready for the fun part, the design.

You want to use bright or neutral colors in a basement. Stay away from dark brown or black. If you have windows then you may use darker colors if there is enough sunlight to counteract that dark shade. You also want some great lighting. Basements are usually dark and not very inviting. Using great lighting will make it dramatic and a fun place to be. The big thing to remember when doing a basement is to make it feel like the rest of your home. It is a room and it should be treated as such.

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That time of year.

It seems like all of my friends are having baby’s. Even my sister is having one in December but unlike my sister most of my other friends seem to be huge football fans. So one of them decided to ask me for some decorating help. The hard part, I live in Michigan and they live in Tennessee. 

The problem, her husband wants the entire room done in a Tennessee football theme. Since that is where he went to school. He didn’t play for them, but he wished he could have. So now I’m having to help them find some things for there room. So far I have found some great pictures of games and the campus. Also he has a Jersey a friend gave him that he can use. So there actually doing pretty well with it. The problem is that she doesn’t want it to be too much of a guy room since she will be in there most of the time, so I said we will use the football theme as an accent and use the school colors as a base. I’m working on some drawings so maybe I’ll get those up for you, my readers when I’m done.

The big problem when it comes to decorating or design is that people have different wants and needs. The most important thing is to know how to work those wants into something they will both enjoy.

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More Bathroom Style

Are you still looking for a great way to redo your tired old bathroom? Does it look like it’s right out of the 70’s or 80’s well I have found a great site for you to check out. Not only do they have great bathroom fixtures they also have lighting, access doors and items for your kitchen.

The site called may not sound like a site that has everything you could ever need for a bathroom, but it does. Have you ever thought about doing a tropical theme in your bathroom? You could use a copper rain shower head and wooden accents to make your bathroom feel like your in a tropical Paradise. Add in one of their stone bathroom sinks and you have an oasis all your own. The best part is  you can come back to it daily without having to pay a huge price tag.

If your not sure what you want or what you should get they will help you. They have a whole section for your to learn about there products. If your a do it your selfer this is a great place for information on plumbing and general instillation. This is a great help if your new to bathroom design but don’t want to pay someone to do it for you. They even offer video for those of you who don’t like to read.

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Keep your workspace lit

One place that many people don’t think is involved in interior design is a garage. This area of the home is actually very important in interior design as you have to know where the garage is because of fire codes and also we like to make the garage as appealing as we can.

One way is to use garage lighting. Now I know what your thinking. What is the big deal about that one little light hooked to the pulley system that opens the big door? Well that light is important, but it’s not always the only light in a garage. Some people have collectors cars in their garage and they either like to show them off or they need good lighting to work on them. That is where a good lighting plan comes in handy as you can place spotlights that will either help you work on that car or give your car that showroom look.

Of course other things happen in a garage. If you like carpentry you may want good lighting so that you can actually see what your doing. Well placed lighting helps in doing this and it’s not hard to figure out. Decide where you will be doing most of your work and stick a light there. Also adding a light by the door to your home is always a good idea as it allows you to see into the garage before going into it.

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Color changing water

I know many of you have heard about faucets that change the color of your water based on the heat or coolness of the water. Now there is a shower that does the same thing. Personally I think it’s looks amazing. The benefits are wonderful as they will keep your children or even yourself from getting burned or jumping into a too cold or hot shower.

 The maker of this shower is HANSA and they have designed many great products for your kitchen and bath. This is a great trend that I think will last for a very long time. It’s a useful trend and it could really help people be safe. So when you do your next remodel think about using these color changing fixtures and bring some fun color to your space.

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Style with Tile

One thing I love about tile is that it is very versatile. You can use it in so many places for so many things. You can use it on the floor, the wall, the ceiling, as long is it’s not heavy and counter tops. The hardest part about tile is finding one you really like.

Anchor Bay Tile, offers many different types of tile. One they offer is a personal favorite glass tile. Why do I love glass tile so much? Well because of how it makes a room look. It shines and gives a calming feeling or can really make a room exciting depending on the color used. Glass tile always has a clean well kept look and really updates a design. It also can be used almost anywhere and looks really great as a back splash or in a shower area.

Another type of tile they offer is ceramic tile. This tile is also great for shower stalls and back splashes. It doesn’t have that same shiny effect that the glass tile does, though it does have a shine. Another tile they offer is I think the least used, but the kind of tile that will make a statement. Metal tile has many different uses. It can be used as an accent with other tile or places in random areas for a interesting appearance.

When your looking for tile, look for quality not just price. The website I have talked about today has wonderful quality tile and they do offer good prices. Remember when it comes to your home buy the best not just the most expensive.

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Halloween Decorating Contest.

Okay everyone it’s time for the Halloween Decorating Contest!

There are two prizes one for the best outdoor decoration and one for the best indoor decoration. Prizes are $15 pay pal for each winner. Your pictures will also be posted on this blog with a link to the website or blog of your choosing.

(prize may increase at ABC’s discretion)


You must be in the US.

It must be a picture you took.

Only one submission per category per person. So yes you can submit to both the indoor and outdoor prize, you also have a chance to win both.

All submissions must be in by the 15th of October


Starting on the 16th of October readers can start voting. You can vote as many times as you would like. On the 25th I will then take the top 3 in each category and keep those up then those will be voted on until the 30th. Winners will be announced on the 31st and paid no later then the 2nd of November.

Please email your submissions to

Include your name, paypal email address and the website you would like listed if you win. Please send the photo as an attachment.

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