I must admit the reality of my job is that a BIG portion of it is shopping.
As a designer and lover of all things home and home decorating I shop ALL -OF -THE -TIME. I may not be looking for anything in particular, but shopping is my thing. Thank goodness for me, it truly is all part of my job. Admittedly these days it is much easier for just about anyone to find just about anything they could reasonably want by simply searching the internet.
The funny thing is though, I still get calls, emails, and texts from friends and family who know what they want but don’t have the first idea where to look when they want something in particular. Or they are completely overwhelmed by the choices they have.
The process of online shopping although it may seem oh so easy, is in reality work and you need to be very careful. Scale, proportion, and color are all difficult to judge online and even more difficult form most to visualize in their own space.
My first thought was to create a post of online shopping ideas for _______ (insert whatever item you need). BUT Before I create a list of websites to visit and catalogs to check out I think it’s only appropriate that I preface that with a list of my suggested do’s and don’ts s of online and catalog purchasing. A check list if you will to minimize mistakes and returns.
I can tell you FOR SURE that ordering, following up, tracking, receiving and dealing with damages, incorrect orders and every other miscellaneous thing is the most difficult and annoying part of the process, but it is a BIG part of the process. The ordering is just the first step.
But Expect that there will be problems. There always are. And if by some slim chance you get through with no issues – consider yourself fortunate!
The photo above almost everything in the room was purchased through onine catalogs
Here are some of my designer tips and good practices for internet shopping and ordering for the home.
1. Make sure you can return it!
Not only do you want to have the security of being able to return any items that don’t work. You need to know How much it will cost to return it. There may be a restocking or repackaging fee. It may only be returnable freight (for larger furniture items) and you will have to schedule for them to come and pick up.
Which leads to the second rule
2. Know how much your freight bill will be and all the details that are required for delivery.
Will they bring the item in the house? Will it require a loading dock? Will an 18-wheeler fit down your street. Will the item come packaged, crated, or blanket wrapped? Will it fit through your door, elevator or up your stairs?
3. Check – Double Check and then Triple check the dimensions.
Everything is misleading in photos. Check the size.
My 6’ 4” brother sent me a great sofa he was considering purchasing. When I looked, it was an overall size of 60” x 22” x 30” which is a love seat, he wouldn’t have even fit in this tiny little love seat. He never even thought to look.
Many websites today have image comparisons that will show another item for reference. It has happened to me so many times! I purchased an outdoor sofa for my house recently and it was delivered and only 12’ high. Even I make mistakes 😊
4. Make sure you know what KD means.
If you don’t know – KD – stands for Knock Down. Which in plain English means you’re going to be putting the thing together. If everything in life went as well in real life as we planned, it would be a carefree and easy experience. However, I can barely put two sticks together! With Directions. When I see KD – I run the opposite direction – or hire someone to do it for me. The advantage to KD is it is usually cheaper because the freight and shipping will be less because it can be packaged nicely in a standard size box. But Beware.
5. But Expect that there will be problems. There always are. And if by some slim chance you get through with no issues – consider yourself fortunate!
Here are some of my top Web Shopping Sites. Most are higher end products, but if you are an internet sleuth or shopper you can always find something similar somewhere else for less.
This is the high-end version of Wayfair. The Perigold site has tons of high-end vendors and the pricing is appropriate for the level of product they have. I was impressed with the white glove delivery they provided. I ordered lamps and they were on time, called prior to arriving, unpacked and even put a light bulb in, placed the lamps and plugged them in. It turned out I didn’t keep them, and the return pick up service was just as professional and convenient.
This is the over the top anything you are looking for – they have site. My thoughts…again -you get what you pay for here. Could it be too good to be true to find a barstool for $89.00? You buy an $89.00 bar stool – you get an $89.00 bar stool! Don’t expect it to be something more than what it is.
I love the look of Serena & Lily and with their success of late – so does everyone else! A Cute beachy vibe for sure. I’ve only ordered linens from them but have visited a couple of stores and it is a fun store. I worry though with their popularity soon too many people will recognize their exclusive products and well do you remember the “Friends” episode about Pottery Barn? If you don’t and want to Google it and get a good laugh.
I have been ordering from Rejuvenation since way back in the day! A long time ago it was where to find unique lighting but has now grown to include rugs, furniture and antiques. They have gone through some changes over the years, but still a go-to for me for an industrial vintage vibe. Prices are across the board, some are good some are high, but a well trusted source.
I am a fan. I cannot lie. Again, it’s not anything I would use through an entire house. But I think the accessories are current, priced well and cute. I’ve never left without something. Prices are great for what you get.
Love it. Who doesn’t love an everything in one spot store? They have everything but not much in furniture stays current season after season. I have used pieces of C&B in several of my projects and would use them to this day if still available.
The chandelier in this Dining Room was from Crate & Barrell, I loved it and used it several times before they discontinued it.
I was originally surprised to find so many furniture pieces on Nieman Marcus site. I would have to say I have a 50/50- love/hate feeling about the pieces they offer. Some are great and some I can not even imagine who would Ever want or buy some of the pieces they offer. But still, a good place to look for bones pieces and a great place to get a feeling for pricing if you haven’t been shopping for furniture in a while – it can be a reality check.
I love the products but get tired of them quickly. I am surprised how often I see Mitchell Gold products in TV shows. Again, more of a modern vibe, but good quality. Although we live in an instant gratification society these days, often catalog sites stock products and Mitchell Gold is more of a custom-made product. Which means 1. You get more choices in color – finish and yes – you will have to wait for it.
One of my favorite sites for myself is Overstock.com I have ordered a few items for clients from here and my own personal bed (that I still love, love, love) is a four-poster chrome bed with an upholstered headboard is from here. At the time I paid $800.00 for it. With that said, shipping is free to you. Return shipping if it doesn’t work out is not free.
I cannot stress how important making sure you like it is key to ordering online. You could easily end up paying double for something if you don’t like it and must pay shipping fees.
So, my friends here’s to happy shopping. I will have more to add in the future I am sure.
Transformation Tuesday The Renovation of a Windsor Vero Beach Billard Room
You know how much I love a good before and after story! Today brings the complete transformation of a Billard / Media Room of a Windsor Home.
What was once a dark, green cavern we transformed into a rich textural room without much more than wallcovering, paint and new furniture?
The basic elements of the room are all the same. The dark stained beadboard ceiling and wainscoting. Even the door trim was white previously, you just couldn’t see it behind the dark green damask draperies. All few new light fixtures updated the room although still very traditional, the new light fixtures relate to all the other elements in the room. We used an A-Mazing black and tan color combination along with tons of texture to bring the room a comfortable easy feel. Raffia walls and patterned sisal rugs are a great neutral backdrop while the leather recliners ( yes – I said recliners!) I hate them as a whole, but sometimes I just have to give in. The art on the wall is black and white photos of African wildlife and are grouped in pairs with wall sconces on each side.
The pool table felt was changed to a neutral tan color. It is actually the same pool table, my clients purchased it with the house. Did you know you can change the color of a pool table? There are actually a ton, well ok maybe 15-20 choices in color you can choose from. It makes a big difference in the overall look of the room.
Most importantly, I know everyone wants a Brass Tiffany-esk pool table light fixture that looks like you took it straight out of the honky tonk at the end of town – right?
This wall you see in the photo above is actually the only demolition that was done to the room. It was originally there to divide an office area on the other side from the pool area. We removed it – opened up the room and utilized the old office space a TV/ Media. The room is still on the dark side, great for watching movies but nowhere near as dark and dated as it once was.
What a thrill! To be Featured as one of 32 Gorgeous Master Bedrooms with Outdoor Spaces on ElleDecor.com
It never ges old seeing my work featured, I’m a little giddy if I do say. This home renovaton was one of my favorite proects. I have posted about the renovaiton in the past and how much fun I had working with clients who had a vision to see the potential the old house had.
To see the before and after images of the Master Bathroom read the story here and to see more before images of the entire house go here and you will see the major transformation the house went through.
There is no denying my love for a good Before and After story. This one is no exception.
My clients came to me after purchasing the waterfront home for the beautiful River view, they loved the lot, location and size of the home. They were not quite as impressed with most of the interior layout, the windows, the Bathroom, the Kitchen and the complete lack of architectural details in the house.
Let’s just say they were prepared for a Major renovation.
It helps to understand that my clients we completely open to any ideas I had for making changes to the house. There were some absolute must-do items on their to-do list which would require reconfiguring the floor plan and some major reworking things like ceilings and flooring. The Master Bathroom was definitely a high priority on the to-do list. The original plan had two separate areas – his with shower and hers with a shower and a tub between both. The bathroom was divided from the Master Bedroom by a hall visible from the Living Room. Passing through the hall you would come to another hallway with closets on each side.
New Construction Home in Orchid Island, Vero Beach
Progress photos and the final result
It’s always great to see the beautiful finished images of my work. In truth, that’s the way I remember them, as the lovely rooms with every last detail in it’s proper place flowers blooming and not one single item that is not just right. But the reality is we work Really hard to create the beautiful final images and we work even harder for a very long time getting to the finals stage of a construction project.
Lucky for me I absolutely LOVE construction projects of all kinds, new builds and renovations are everything to me. I love the creativity of the process, I love the challenges that come up, love the collaboration with talented people from so many different fields. I just love it. But undoubtedly the best part is the finished result.
This project was a new home built for a lovely couple from New York. They decided after many years of having a second home in Arizona to move to Florida to be on the same coast and time zone as their children and grandchildren. We worked together to select all the finishes, furniture, cabinet and colors to create a home for them to entertain and host family gatherings.
The entry to the home is a good sized and mahogany French Doors allow you to see through to the amazing view the home offers. I incorporated one of my ALL-TIME favorite paint techniques, a hand-painted stria which creates an irregular stripe by dragging a brush from top to bottom through a glaze. This process gives a two-toned dimensional effect to the wall which in my opinion is so much more interesting than straight paint on the wall.
As you can see from the photo above the entry like every area starts as a blank canvas. The site superintendent picked the best spot in the house to set up his desk.
The Living Room photo above is what you see walking in from the Entry. I did not want to interfere with the view and created an unconventional seating arrangement to keep the room as open as possible. The outdoor space is an extension of the living room which triples the living space and gives the home a much larger and carefree feel. All of the fabrics we used in the Living Room are Indoor Outdoor so YES! you can go white without the worry! Perennials Fabrics have become my go-to fabric because they are beautiful without the worry.
This is a photo I took while the home was being built. You can see the view is shaping up but the pool has a long way to go yet!
This is another view of the Living Room with a tiny peek at the Dining Room. I do a lot of “Great Rooms” these days and I really like to have a statement chandelier in the center of the room. It makes the room feel all-inclusive and not divided. The natural fiber area rug is a great easy care item as well that is well priced. This rug is from Fibreworks
The homeowners are avid world travelers and in the bookcases we incorporated all the trinkets that they had collected over the years. The Fireplace is a slab marble and more contemporary than your traditional wood mantel. I love the simplicity of the surround.
I opted to use a wood look tile in place of a contrasting stone for the hearth. Code requires noncombustible material 18″ in front of a fireplace. I just couldn’t see putting a white stone ( same as surround) or black granite, the typical application in the middle of the beautiful wood floors. I found a wood tile that matches so well you can’t even tell the wood changes to tile.
The Dining Room has an amazing marble top and brass leg dining table from Theodore Alexander. I waited Months to get this table and it was worth the wait! I can tell you it’s even more beautiful in person. I mixed Host Chairs in a Thibault print fabric with side chairs in a stripe, the back of the chairs is a solid teal and there is a pattern to the back of the chairs. You can see a hint of the chairs in the Living Room photo. The sideboard from Seleamt Furniture has just the right pop of color with the colored raffia.
I love the breakfast nook. It was so much fun to work with clients that wanted a little color everywhere. The Chandelier is an A-Maz-Ing crock crystal and steel fixture from Low Country Originals. You know the truth is originally I ordered this fixture, two of them actually to go over the bar. But it turned out to be too large for that space and it works perfectly here.
The fixture is beautiful but it’s no lightweight! Here the guys are holding it up for me to determine the height to hang. It takes a village!
The Kitchen is open to the Family Room and has a glass tile backsplash. The counters are leathered quartzite.
I just love the antiqued mirror tiles in the bar.
The Family Room sofa and the chairs were made in indoor-outdoor fabrics. The options are unbelievable these days.
The Master Bedroom is a complete sanctuary! Simply white and blue. I am a huge fan of paint techniques to get a bit more out of paint than straight color on the wall. Here I did stripes in the same color white but in different sheens to create a subtle pattern.
These chairs came all the way from Arizona. The did not start out life looking like this but I had them restyled and reupholstered and they are as good as new. There are dual shades for light control, one is blackout and the other is a white striped shade that filters light but allows you to see out. The chandelier by Barbara Barry for Visual Comfort is just the most beautiful thing and SO much more interesting than a ceiling fan (ugh I hate them and hate that we need them in Florida!)
This photo shows the paint stipe a little better.
Bare bedroom before the “magic” happens!
Her Master Bath is separated from His by a double entry shower. The only thing my clients knew absolutely from the beginning was this was the floor they wanted for the bath. It turned out nicely that they each have their own area with different color vanities but the same floor.
A glass mosaic in the shower.
The floor during installation.
The Guest Bedroom is a simple and tranquil space for guests. Instead of painting the walls a color in this room I went with color on the trim. All of the base, door casing, crown moldings, shutters, and doors are a subtle gray-blue and the walls are white.
Color samples on the wall – a MUST – before committing to a color.
The storm before the calm….just those AV guys getting ready to install the TV.
Who says coastal has to be palm trees and fish? How about birds and seashells instead. To get this Traditional yet Casual look I just mixed it all up and created a coastal look with modern elements. Mahogany furniture mixed with casual cane and a light colored traditional runner on a cream polished marble backdrop.
I can hardly believe how long it’s been since we wrapped this Jupiter Island Renovation project up. The images from the project have been among some of my most well received and it is still one of my favorite projects. Although each project I have worked on is like a child of mine and picking a favorite is difficult, I love all of them, each for different reasons.
Fast forward to today and I am back working on on this house again. This time getting to do what we didn’t do the first time around, the Kitchen and Master Bath. Stay tuned to see how they turn out. Still in the planning phase at the moment, but as per far too often a fast-paced project with a deadline quickly approaching!
If you take a look at the before photo below, you can see a cupid style sconce. Yup – that’s about what the whole place looked like when we started.
The area where the terrace is located is above the backyard up a slight hill. The area that has been cleared and readied for a small seating area to take advantage of the views from above. The platform for the terrace is small, just 13 x 13 and the furniture needs to be weather resistant, lightweight and we are looking to create a fun little spot to hang out. These are a few of the selections I sent for my client to take a look at.
I love the retro vibe of this Design Within Reach Chair. It reminds me of the old strap furniture we had when I was a kid, but with a much cooler look.
I just think of Hawaii when I look at these cool chairs from One Kings Lane. Maybe it’s the fabric, but I can hear Don Ho singing….
Teak and woven resin are a great combo for these loungers from One Kings Lane.