New England Renewal

Hello World!

What’s the secret to staying happy, healthy, and vibrant?  Some would say it’s being flexible in attitude and remaining physically active.  For others, it’s laughing often, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, and loving fully.  The wise believe it’s important to ensure that every moment of your life is spent doing things that you actually enjoy.  Wonderful advice that we can all certainly begin to heed a little more as each day, week, month, and year passes.

Personally, I believe that the secret to feeding the soul is a combination of all of the above, continually nourishing the body, mind, and spirit while staying centered in life.  As a retreat designer, I find personal joy in researching other retreat spaces.  I just came across a New England Retreat, the Mayflower Inn.

The Mayflower Inn’s spa is a luxurious retreat in Connecticut.  Sign up and your individual spa advisor will telephone to assess your interests and begin customizing your stay.  Whether you prefer morning walks or canoeing, Pilates or flower arranging, founders Adriana Mnuchin and Lisa Hedley ensure that personalization is the key to your five-day experience.  Expect tailored treatments, a physical well-being plan, and plenty of nurturing to encourage spiritual awareness.  Slip into the seasonally scented Thermal Sanctuary, a fantasia of healing colors (indigo for clarity, gold for energy, green for balance), scented warm mist, and soothing music before indulging in a facial, mud wrap or a red flower ritual.  In case you need more inspiration to visit, specialty weeks include yoga immersion, couples retreats, and memoir writing.

Photos courtesy of Mayflower Inn.

Take a little time out to just be….re-center yourself and perhaps get away for the weekend to the Mayflower Inn and indulge your body and your senses.

Stop by and see what’s new at http://www.delia-designs.com

Tina

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Reduce, Reuse, Hipcycle…

Hello World!

So many of us are becoming environmentally conscious these days and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it.  I have been an advocate for recycling and more importantly for caring for our environment for well over 20 years!  I’m glad that it’s catching on with others.

A fabulous trend in home and household goods is upcycling.  The process of converting waste materials into newly defined materials and products of better quality and higher environmental value.  A company to know and browse is Hipcycle, an online shop that specializes in selling the best eco-friendly upcycled products that don’t sacrifice style or function.  (www.hipcycle.com) One of the things I love most about Hipcycle is that the majority of the products sold are made in the United States.  Other products are purchased with a committment to fair trade practices.

When you get to the site, you can focus your search on either the purpose of the product or the material used, which is great.  Each product has a story about it such as where it came from and or about its creator.

Here are a few of my favorites from the site:

Put the nest in nesting with this set of three reclaimed teak tables. You’ll fall in love with the versatility of these tables, which look adorable (and save space) when stacked. Pull them out when entertaining to provide addiitonal side tables for guests to set their drinks (Just don’t forget the upcycled coasters!)

In an effort to reduce the wastelands of our landfills, this wall mount key rack will keep your keys and mail organized whether you’re just getting home or running out the door. Three hooks provide a visual key organizer, while the mail rack is the perfect size for incoming or outgoing mail. For those that have difficulty keeping track of their wallet, there is space for that as well.

Without glass insulators, it is questionable whether the industrial revolution would have been possible. A frequently overlooked part of this crucial period of time, insulators were used with telegraph lines, telephone lines, and electric power lines. Today’s telecommunication industry would undoubtedly not be the same if these had never been invented. These were produced by the millions until the 1970s, when modern technology deemed them useless. Now considered collectible items, they are again found useful in this suspended pendant light.

Go now to www.hipcycle.com to check out all of the amazing housewares.  You know you can feel good about spending your money here because you will be reducing your environmental impact.

Happy shopping and happy designing.

The Spa Nursery Retreat

The Spa Nursery

Even before your new baby arrives, his or her nursery will become one of the most important rooms in the home.  Within its walls an infant is nurtured, parents provide love and care and families gather to enjoy their little ones.  Most parents want their nursery to be the perfect place for their baby to sleep and grow, the setting of baby’s future childhood memories.  Whatever design decisions you make, your furnishing and décor accessories should complement the main element of your baby’s room, your love and care.  I encourage you to think about the nursery being a place of refuse for you also.  A place where you can go to feel at peace;  a space in the home that is tranquil and serene.  This is the place where you will nurture yourself and your new little one quite a bit during the first year.  The design elements and furnishings that create this special space should be planned with much thought and love for both you and baby.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep function in mind.

Determine at the forefront how you will utilize the space.  Will baby sleep in the space immediately?  Will baby nap in the space?  Will changing take place here?  Now think of the furniture that will be involved with each of these activities. Try to act out in your mind how you will use your furniture and accessories to accomplish these tasks, and how the placement of the furniture will make it go as smoothly and the least awkward as possible.  A quick example of function and furniture placement:   It may be best to group the crib and a chair close together, as it makes it easy to grab baby in the middle of the night and sit down to feed.

2.  Consider heating, cooling, natural light and ventilation.

Keep in mind whether or not you need to install some safe heating.  Does cold air come in through windows?  Will you need to block out light for daytime napping?

3.  Use non-toxic materials which are kind to the environment as well as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and natural fibers.

Every new mom wants to create a beautiful little space for her precious new baby. She paints, carpets, and buys new things. These things contain can harmful chemicals, many of them known to be carcinogenic. When you sleep at night you are breathing in the off-gassing of these poisons. What is toxic to you is about 15 times more toxic to your baby’s tiny body.

I urge you to buy No-Voc (Volatile Organic Compounds) Paint. When these VOCs off-gas, they may cause a variety of health problems like nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and more serious illnesses including heart, lung or kidney damage and even cancer.

Another tip is to buy used whenever possible. Besides being gentler on the planet, these items have already off-gassed. Yard sales, thrift stores craigslist and E-bay are great sources for gently used baby items. (the exception to this would be crib mattresses, as these are found to be more toxic in each subsequent use due to more body fluids mixing with the poison chemicals and creating toxic fumes)

4.  Add personality with lighting.

Lighting sets the mood for any room.  It is especially important in the nursery.  Effective lighting can have a dramatic effect on the perception of space and interaction within it. Often an afterthought, lighting should be considered from the beginning when the nursery space is being planned.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • task lighting,
  • accent lighting and
  • ambient or general lighting.

A well lit nursery will have a pleasing and effective combination of each type.

Task lighting in the nursery is designed to help you perform specific tasks such as reading or changing diapers.  A good choice for task lighting is the stand alone lamp.  It’s a good choice because it’s light and portable.

Accent lighting is designed to add drama and focus attention within a room. By spot lighting items such as paintings, you can highlight your nursery’s  best features.

Ambient lighting provides a room with overall illumination. Ambient lighting serves the same function as sunlight, allowing you to see and walk about safely.

Remember to fit dimmer switches for each type of lighting to help create a soothing effect.

5.  Colorful touches.

Take a cue from nature.  Choose colors that reflect nature in muted shades like sand, pale blues and sages and even dove gray.  Newborns can only see black, white and gray.  As their sight develops, it’s best to introduce them to softer tones. When painting with different colors, choose similar tones. This will enhance the harmony in the space, whereas too-different colors can have an incoherent and hence unsettling effect.

From crib bedding and accent pillows to window treatments & upholstered chairs , fabrics add the finishing touch to the nursery.  Chenile and velvet are cozy, comfortable and help create a special resting place for you and baby when used with extra soft cottons.

6.  Furniture

A must for this space is a good arm chair for breast feeding and later story telling and even later still, lounging on in a teenage kind of way.  It doesn’t need to be a special breast feeding chair, just make sure it’s comfortable, has good back support and low arms.

Other essential furniture items include: a baby changing table, a night stand or table, a nursery hamper and a clock if you are planning to breastfeed.

7.  Listen carefully.

Make sure the room is equipped with music playing capacity.  The right soothing melodies can help melt away the stress and help you feel more removed and can also drown out other household sounds.  This is all very important when caring for a new baby.  It can be a stressful time learning how to care for an infant for the first time, even second.  So, take some steps to minimize that and sooth and calm the nerves with music.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this.  People spend time at spas in order to feel better when they leave than they did when they arrive.  Whether the point of the visit is getting a much needed massage to reduce tension or getting a facial or nails done, all spa visits leave you feeling relaxed and happy.  Reinvent this experience in the nursery to ensure that you have a tranquil retreat for taking care of both yourself and baby.  As always if you need any help designing your spa nursery retreat, consider Delia Designs first.  -Tina

Courtesy of London’s Chic Shack

Achieving successful Spa/Salon design

Whether you are designing or laying out a new space or already have an existing spa/salon, now is the time to take a first look at your business and learn how the interior design of the space can help you grow.  I’ve come up with my top 5 tips to achieving successful design.

  1.  Signage:
  • The only way new clients know you exist is if something attracts their attention and they see you.
  • The way to demonstrate who you are from the exterior is of utmost importance.  In essence, you need to make your windows talk.
  • Decide what your company is about.  If it is beauty, fashion and hair, show that.
  • You need to talk to the street.  Perhaps put a big beauty image in the window, an image that speaks to the “lifestyle” you are portraying.  Tell your prospects through imagery that if they come to you, this is the life they can have.
  • Keep in mind, the actual sign should be clear and legible.  It should be one of the high contrast so that it can be read from a distance.  An important thing to remember is to include spa or salon at the end.  If you don’t do this, no one will know what you are.
  1. Greeting the Client:
  • If at all possible, don’t put the reception desk directly in front or beside the entrance.  It’s important for you to create some space for the client to walk in and start browsing the retail area.  Allow them to feel the energy, hear the music and see people at work.  Let your clients see what they are going to experience, allow them to take control and make their choices.
  1. Reception:
  • Once you have moved your reception desk to a non-threatening position, make a great impression at it.  The receptionist should be well positioned to welcome clients and thank them as they leave.  If the manager sites up front, he or she can also endorse the effectiveness of any recommended products if the client has questions.
  • Remember, the receptionist desk should be a tool to draw customers into the heart of the salon, not stop them short at the front door.
  1. Lighting:
  • You should start and finish in incandescent lighting.  A warm temperature bulb is the most flattering on the complexion and compliments most salon interiors. What is important, especially in salons is to create levels of lighting.
  • The lighting should flatter the complexion and compliment the interior.
  • The lighting should be positioned to eliminate shadows.  How your client looks in the salon chair is crucial in the salon environment.  If the client feels good about your appearance, it reinforces a positive experience for repeat business and increased revenues.  The easiest way to help eliminate shadows on the face is to position wall lighting on either side of the mirror to directly light the complexion.
  • Regarding the work stations.  The front and overhead are where you will get your lighting from.  The wall lighting is for direct illumination on the face to flatter the complexion.  The overhead lighting should be properly designed to help perform all required tasks for hair styling and color application.  Separate task lighting should not be required if the overhead lighting is properly configured.
  1. Color:
  • Color determines the entire visual mood of your space.
  • Use colors that are warm as all color bounces and if you use cool colors, your clients will not look their best.
  • Color is closest to your clients, especially in salons should be in a warm skin tone.  The closer your walls are to skin tone, the better your clients will look.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Hello World!  Happy New Year.

Over the course of the past year I was asked many questions through my website.  For your convenience, I’ve compiled the most popular questions and answers.  If there is a question not listed below that you are dying to know about, give a shout.

What is an Interior Designer?

Today’s interior designer works in a complicated world challenged by a variety of issues ranging from legal responsibilities and building and safety codes to projects that require an ever-increasing amount of skills and training.  “Interior designer” is not just a fancy name for “decorator”.  Interior design in the twenty first century is much more than selecting colors and arranging furniture.

Why hire an Interior Designer?

  • It helps home owners and commercial clients to avoid making unwise decisions and chaos when it comes to purchasing materials, furniture, lights, etc.
  • You can be confident and proud to show off your property or home!  Particularly, if yours is a spa/salon or restaurant where first impressions matter.
  • A professional interior designer sees and conceptualizes the BIG picture, whereas owners/renters more often than not, merely focus on individual issues, materials, and or colors, etc.
  • A professional interior designer can help to advise on an appropriate scheme to suit your lifestyle and budget.
  • Property owners doing their own interior design will usually end up with a miss-match or somewhat chaotic interior; especially by neglecting consideration of color, lighting, furniture and soft furnishings and other crucial details that complete the whole interior.  A professional interior designer will help to ensure and coordinate all the above for you!
  • Owners may feel the pinch when incurring cost on the professional fee. However, just imagine for a moment how much more you will have lost (in terms of money and time) when you make the wrong commitments due to inexperience of choosing fixtures and inaccurate measurements.
  • For a fraction of the cost of your property, it is wise to leverage the knowledge and experience of those who are experts in the industry and to free yourself to do the things that you enjoy doing.
  • Perhaps the most important reason to hire an interior designer is because the interior or your home or commercial space has the ability to affect your psyche.  When you are surrounded by the colors and materials that speak to you, you will feel at ease.  We spend 90 % of our time in interiors.  So, why not hire an interior designer?

When should I use a design professional?

  • When you are contemplating buying or building a new house.
  • When you plan a major addition to your home.
  • When you consider restoring an old home.
  • When you want to renovate or remodel your living space.
  • Whenever you need to relate interior design considerations to an existing or as yet to be formulated architectural plan.
  • When your lifestyle is about to change, such as new baby or even retirement.
  • When your residence will be used for occasional social functions.
  • When your expanding family needs to “reorganize” space allocations.
  • Whenever you need full project coordination.
  • When you like a variety of styles but are not sure how to group them together.
  • When your current furniture arrangement requires an infusion of inspiration.
  • When you feel the collectibles you own and love require more attention.
  • When your rooms needs new drapes, floor coverings, furniture and accessories.
  • Whenever you feel that you need professional guidance.

Does the scale of my project really warrant an interior designer?

Just remember that no project is too small.  Even if you think you could accomplish the redesign, you should ask yourself if you have the time and inclination.  It is important to be realistic about how much money you are willing to spend. Include in this estimate the cost of all raw materials, new furniture, labor for installations, and possibly a designer.

What services can you provide?

I provide my clients with space planning, finish and furniture selection, lighting schemes and plans, and color consultations.  I specialize in creating retreat spaces.  I will work with you to make your home feel like a retreat from the outside world.  I help you achieve” your” vision.

How do you charge for your time?

After meeting with you during the initial consultation and learning about your project, I will determine the scope of your project and determine how long it will take for me to design the space.  Once I determine that, I will formalize the design proposal.  It will be a flat fee based on hourly projections.  A contract will be signed by both of us specifically calling out what will be covered by the design fee.  If for some reason the hours go beyond what I specified in the contract, you will not be billed further.  However, you will be charged by the hour for requesting design services not covered in the initial contract.

What is the process of working with you?

  1.  Research:   The design process begins with discovering your needs.  In the initial consultation, your goals, budget and expectations will be discussed. Through speaking with you, I will discover the basics about your tastes, lifestyle, and the ideas you have for your home.
  2. Schematic Design:  The client’s needs and personality, combined with the interior architecture of the space, provide insight to help us create a new overall look and feel. Multiple floor plan options, furniture and materials selections, and color palettes are presented to the client. A spreadsheet is also presented as a tool to compare options and track how selections will relate to the overall budget.
  3. Design Development:  With your input and decisions, the design is finalized and implemented. Detailed drawings are provided by Delia Designs to the architect, general contractor, or custom furniture fabricator as needed. Lead times for furnishings and custom pieces are determined, and a timeline is developed.
  4. Implementation:  We are almost there. The final step is to coordinate delivery and installation. Your space is now ready to be enjoyed!

Decorating the Designer Christmas Tree

Elaborately adorned Christmas trees are often the focal point of homes during the holiday season, and decorating the tree is a family tradition for many. From the Christmas tree skirt all the way to the topper, make sure your Christmas tree is one of the best this season by learning a few designer tips on how to achieve a more lush, dramatic Christmas tree. The secret happens to be in the layers.  Once you’ve chosen the perfect Christmas tree the fun can begin!

1.   First, the Lights.

  • The sparkle and shine of the tree comes primarily from the lights you put on your tree.  Faceted glass bulbs will refract more light and appear brighter.  Small twinkle lights also have impact when you layer several strands and pair them with ornaments having reflective surfaces.
  • To illuminate the tree from the inside out, string lights around the trunk and the branches.  Starting at the base of the trunk and working up, wrap the lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back.
  • Definitely don’t skimp on lights!  A good rule of thumb is, for every vertical foot of tree, use a strand of 100 lights.

2.  Second, the Garland.

  • There are no firm rules when draping garlands on a tree as long as you don’t create the sausage effect, with branches bulging between tightly – cinched garlands).  Start at the top, stringing less garland, and work your way down, increasing the amount of garland.
  • Thick ribbons or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.  The trick is to avoid the busy look,  for every vertical foot, use about two strands at most.

3.  Third, the Ornaments.

  • To showcase your ornaments, start with the most important ones, the ones that have special significance to you and your family.  Then hang the largest ornaments, spacing them evenly apart.  Fill in around them with medium and small sizes, balancing the overall look.
  • Finish with specialty shapes.  For interesting variety, include all shapes.  Create depth by hanging some ornaments closer to the trunk.

4.  Forth, the Skirt.

  • The tree skirt is the finishing touch to your designer tree.  It helps you to hide the base of the tree in a fashionable way.  It also creates the backdrop for special packages from Santa.

15 Beautiful Christmas Tree Decoration

Sexy Fall Home Organizing

There is nothing more sexy than a clean, organized home.  And guess what?  Fall is a perfect time to get your home in order.  It’s the time when we all start thinking about our home improvement projects and getting our homes in order for the holidays.  The best way to start that process is to get our homes organized.  Once we have organization we can view each space with unbiased eyes and determine what our first project will be.  Even if we don’t need to engage in major renovation, getting our spaces de cluttered and organized will help us to feel less stressed and more comfortable at home.  Here are some tips to help you get organized.

1.        Choose a place to start:

You may have several areas of your home that you would like to organize, but start with just one.  Decide which space gives you the most stress or the biggest headache or perhaps the area in which you entertain or where you have guests.  Whatever your priorities, select one area and stick with it.  Many attempts at organization fail when the task of cleaning the entire house seems daunting.  When you complete one area, celebrate and then move to the next.

2.       Allow plenty of time

Make sure you have realistic goals and expectations.  Don’t expect organization to happen overnight.  Schedule a few hours each day to work on the chosen space.  Of course if you choose the garage over the linen closet, it will take much more time.

3.       Clean house

Once you have selected a space, go through the contents.  Donate or hold a garage sale for anything you don’t need or use anymore.  Use the 2 year rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn or used it in 2 years, it is time to say goodbye.  These items take up valuable space and probably won’t be missed.

4.       Take inventory

After you have removed extraneous items, take a look at what remains and ask yourself some important questions.  Do these things belong in this space?  Does it make sense to keep them here?  Is there another more suitable place for this?

5.       Look for wasted space

If you are in need of more storage space, think creatively about additional areas that you can put to work.  Perfect examples include over doors and underneath beds.  These areas are valuable real estate in your home and are often overlooked.

Once you have completed the first tasks of getting organized, it’s time to do the hard work.  The key rules to organization are visibility, accessibility and flexibility.

Visibility

Choose storage solutions that are transparent or are easily labeled to help immediately identify the contents and will help save valuable time.

Accessibility

Ensure that the items you need most often are the easiest to access.  Likewise, place the items you don’t need to get to as often on a higher shelf or in another space.

Flexibility

Select a storage system that can adapt to your changing needs.  That way, you can reconfigure and reuse solutions to solve a variety of storage and organization problems.

Check out a few inspirational images to help you get started.  And of course if you need a little help from your fairy god designer, just give a shout.  Much love and luck with your projects. – Tina

Photo courtesy of DecoDir

Photo courtesy of Ikea

Photo courtesy of stacks and stands