Thursday, March 29, 2012

Every Window Needs to be Dressed

When it comes to windows, there are a lot of opinions.  Some people want to leave the windows uncovered and soak in the view.  Others want to blackout any stitch of sunshine.  And still others want to have the option to do either.  I am of the mindset that every window needs some sort of treatment.  Window treatments give the room a completed look.  When windows sit stark naked, it feels like something is missing.  Most people tend to boycott treatments because they remember the old days of draperies and sheers covering every window.  There are so many options beyond heavy draperies or even plain blinds these days. 

Non-functional drapery panels are an easy way to give the look of full draperies but not go the expense.  These panels don’t open and close, but they do frame the window nicely. The fabric coordinates with the rest of the space making the room look well-thought-out.

A unique window calls for a unique treatment.  Despite the tinting on the glass, this homeowner had trouble with the sun beating through his window.  Remote controlled fabric shades work to block out the sun when its rays are too harsh or to roll up completely when the view out the window is desired.  A pretty cornice board along the top hides the mechanics of the shades and matches the d├ęcor of the bathroom.  

For an office suite or a more contemporary home, roller shades are a great solution.  They eliminate all hassle of dusting (something I hate about blinds) and they control the light while still allowing a view.  

My point is that window treatments serve a variety of purposes- light control, privacy, aesthetics, and so on.  You would be mortified for your friends to see you naked, so don’t submit your windows to that shame.

Monday, March 26, 2012

White is for more than your wedding

Lately I have been drawn to anything white.  Other than my wedding dress, I usually shy away from this color in clothing and in furniture for my own home because it is inevitable that I will spill something and stain the crisply colored fabric.  A few weeks ago I began work on a bathroom remodel for a client and white became my go-to color.  This bathroom is pretty small by today’s standards for master baths and there is not feasible way to knock out walls and expand it.   

So, I’m getting creative with ways to make it “feel” larger.  That’s where the white comes in.  Bright white, antique white and gray are the base colors for the tile, cabinet and floor.  Keeping things airy and unified will allow the space to be brighter and appear roomier.   

These are the samples of the items I’ve selected so far.  I’ll post pics when the project gets completed. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Q&A with Josh Clark of Rely Technology

New technology in home theaters and audio visual equipment are hot topics of conversation among homeowners. Many questions arise when planning for technology updates. There are so many options and many people don't know where to start. I went straight to the source, Josh Clark of Rely Technology, for some answers.  

1. What are the most popular products clients are asking you for right now?
By far the most popular product are universal remotes. Each remote is uniquely customized to make it as simple as possible for anyone in the home to use the A/V system. No more cluttered coffee tables or confusing remote instructions. Just press the "Movie" button, sit back and relax.

2. People often think “customized solutions” in the electronics world have to mean big bucks.  It’s been my experience that that is not necessarily true.  What is your take on it?
Obviously, some of our services may not be affordable for everyone, but we try our best to offer a range of products that can fit any income level. For most of the products we sell we offer our clients a good/better/best selection of options to help them find the best quality for their budget. We aren't the cheapest A/V installers, but we aren't the most expensive either. We aim to offer high quality installations at reasonable prices.

3. Lighting control is a unique addition people can put in their home.  Tell us more about that.
Lighting control is, in my opinion, the coolest thing we install. Lighting control gives you the ability to easily and instantly have just the right amount of light for any mood or activity, while saving you money and adding elegance and convenience to your home. The best way to understand it is to see it in action, so head on over to and check out our video demonstrating lighting control and explaining its benefits.

4. What is the average size TV you see in people’s homes?
It's becoming more unlikely to see anything smaller than a 42"-46" TV in a living room, where 50" and 60" sizes are now the popular choice. As new technology makes larger screens more affordable, it's commonplace for a TV upgrade to mean a larger screen. There are formulas to calculate the "optimal screen size" for a space, but in most living rooms it's almost impossible to go too big. We've never had a client say, "I wish I had gotten the smaller screen," but we hear the opposite quite often.

5. Are theater rooms still gaining in popularity?
Definitely. People are watching video content at home more than ever, especially with the arrival of so many online streaming services. They're finding that they can have just as good of a "cinema experience" (or even better) in their own home, while also investing in a space that will add value to their home and convenience to their lives.

6. What are some of the needs that drive people to call you to put in OR make changes to their AV equipment?
I'd say the top 3 reasons people call us are:
1) Simplicity. They say their A/V system is confusing, or that only one person really knows how to operate it, or "it's never really worked right." We get everything hooked up correctly, add a universal remote to make it extremely easy to use, and educate the whole family on how to do the things they want to do.
2) Aesthetics. This may just be mounting a TV and hiding the wiring, or replacing bulky speakers with subtle in-ceiling ones. Another new trend is hiding all of the equipment. It used to be popular to show off all the gear you had, but now no one wants to see it, so we're moving it all to a closet, rewiring everything and adding a wireless remote to control it all.
3) Quality. Everyone wants to have the clearest TV and the best sound with their music and movies. Now there are a variety of options, many of them affordable, for adding quality sound to any room, or for adding a TV in a nook just about anywhere.

7. What are the most important factors for people to consider when planning their homes AV capabilities?
Wiring is a big one. If you're building a home or remodeling part of your existing one, consult an A/V expert first. Tell them all of the possible things you might want to do in that space, and get the wiring put in for anything you may ever need. Wiring is cheap to add during construction, but can be difficult (and thus, expensive) to add later.
Other things to consider include energy savings, convenience, room layout, and whether a purchase will be a good investment for the future. There are so many things to consider I can't recommend enough that someone consult an A/V expert before making a big change in their home.

Company Description:
Rely Technology Group provides the Lexington, Kentucky area with expert audio/video service. Our core service line-up includes home theater, multi-room audio and video, lighting control and home automation. We aim to simplify our clients' lives by the use and enjoyment of technology. Learn more at

Monday, March 19, 2012

The art of a home office

I was perusing Pinterest the other day.  At this point, you’re thinking, “again with the Pinterest”.  I know, I know.  I just can’t take my eyes away from this site!  It offers so much inspiration and great ideas for future projects.  This time I got sucked in by home offices.  It can be really tricky to carve out a space in your home designated for work.  Sometimes there isn’t a lot of spare room and you end up shoving a desk in corner of the living room or guest bedroom.  Personally, I can’t work in a cluttered space so these photos were a breath of fresh air.
 Photo from
A true working office that capitalizes on the height of the room by building in storage shelves.
 Photo from Young House Love
A window with a view makes this corner space feel larger. 

I’m always tempted to paint my office walls a bold color but I know softer shades are a more conducive work environment for me.  The soft rose and warm straw color in these pictures are pretty and not too bland.

This home office is the most creative use of space I have seen!  Take an underutilized closet or reading nook and turn it into a functional space.  Genius!
 Photo from

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Color Blocking

I love the current trend of color blocking!  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  It’s when you pair a few solid colored items together to create an outfit.  Here’s a great example I found on Pinterest. 

This dress combines three colors to make a bold statement!  I’m so engrossed in the trend because if you take inventory of my closet, you will see that I own a lot of solid color clothing.  Color blocking gives me an excuse to pair it all together and look chic.

Color blocking is just as popular in the home decorating world.  You can pair a few bold colors together through wall color, sofa fabric and throw pillows to create an energizing space that is beautiful to look at.  

This bed exemplifies color blocking and it has a serene, peaceful look to it.  I’m ready to curl up on it with a good book right now!

Provided everything goes as planned tonight, I will be doing some color blocking with my outfit on Saturday- some green for St Patty’s day and some blue for the UK game.

Happy color blocking to you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guest Blogger: Gina Hopper of State Farm with important insurance tips

This topic was planned weeks in advance.  Given the recent tornado here in KY, I think the topic of insurance is even more relevant.  Here is what Gina has to share:

Insurance…I call it the necessary evil.  We pay for something we hope we’ll never use.  But picture this, you come home from your family vacation ready to return to life as usual (almost) and you open the door to see water standing in the floor and dripping from the ceiling.  What happens now?  The simple answer is to call your insurance agent (hopefully they’re local) and they will walk you through the next steps…from getting someone to stop the water and clean it up to making repairs and replacing furniture.

A few questions to consider: 
Do you have an adequate amount of coverage to rebuild your home and replace your belongings if the unthinkable happens?  Even though it’s not required, it’s a good idea to use a digital or video camera to make an inventory of your belongings to be kept in a fireproof box or safe deposit box.  This will help when documenting items that have been damaged or destroyed.  If you have valuable items such as jewelry, rugs, artwork, or antiques, it’s best to have appraisals on file with your insurance provider.  

Have you recently reviewed your policy with your agent?  If you can’t remember the last time you did, it’s probably a good idea to schedule an appointment soon and then follow up every 2-3 years.  If you do a major renovation or addition to your home, be sure to check with your insurance agent to verify your coverage is still adequate.  

The bottom line is that it’s no fun to pay for something we hope we never use.  However, ask anyone who has experienced the devastation of a fire, a tornado, a burst water pipe or “just” a tree limb on the roof, and you’ll hear how glad the person was that they had paid those premiums and had an insurance agent to help them through the situation.  

Gina has been in the insurance industry for over 10 years.  As your good neighbor agent she offers home, auto and life insurance policies.  Most importantly she helps protect your belongings and loved ones when the unthinkable occurs.  For contact information here is the link to her website .

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Murals Add Signifcance

A few months back I was rummaging through some books at my grandparents house.  I ran across a Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book from 1961.  What a treasure it is!  While trends have changed, the basic concepts found in this 400 page book stand the test of time.

One of the suggestions given was using murals to dress up a space.  It is a misconception that murals are meant only for children's rooms.  Some of the most elegant dining rooms I have been in contained a hand-painted wall mural depicting a hunt scene.  Think about restaurants that use murals to create ambiance.  O'Charley's is painted with items of local significance, Logan's mural places you in a saloon.

One of my clients wanted to create a Tuscan feel in her kitchen.  She had a blank wall that screamed out for attention.  I painted a stone niche with various elements in it to evoke that Tuscan feel she desired.  Most recently I was in a workout facility that has a wall mural of a canyon.  It served as scenery to let those using the facility feel less contained.

All of the examples I shared were spaces used mostly by adults. Wall paintings don't have to be cartoonish.  When used appropriately, a mural can push out the walls of a room and make the space feel larger.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Double Duty Furniture

I say it all the time- I am an efficiency nut!  I adore anything that has more than one purpose. A furniture piece with multiple functions becomes my favorite item in a room that I am working on.  As I was reading up on trends in the design world for 2012, I was delighted to read that multi-purpose furniture is catching on.  I could care less about the fact that I could now be considered trendy.  I’m thrilled to pieces because it means I will have more options for my clients who also love a piece that is full of function!  I had to share a few photos of some items I am in love with.  Enjoy!
 Seats tuck neatly under this cocktail table so they are out of the way until needed for guests.

You won't find dust bunnies under this bed!  Built-in drawers provide a place to store sweaters or maybe even extra bed linens.  (I have a similar piece in my bedroom and cannot say enough good things about it!)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Room to Move

Space plans are the most important thing I do for clients.  Those plans are why I am so helpful to them.  Without a space plan, too much furniture gets shoved into one room leaving very little space to comfortably move about and to enjoy everyday tasks.

The tasks that are most commonly forgotten when placing furniture in a room are:
-Sitting down for conversation.  It's the truth.  People tend to line furniture up along the walls making it difficult to converse with each other without shouting across the room.  Seat groupings allow for easier conversation and a more intimate feeling for guests.  The number of groupings you can fit into a space depends on room size and furniture scale.

-Getting up from the table.  There is a lack of understanding about how much space should be allowed from the edge of the dining table to the wall or even just the edge of the area rug so chairs can be pulled out comfortably.  It is awkward and uncomfortable to have to squeeze into your seat because the chair is backed up against the wall.  How silly do you feel when guests scoot their chair out and end up with uneven chair legs because the front two are placed on the rug and the back two are on the flooring below.  Simple mistakes to avoid, but it requires attention (and a space plan).  30-50 inches of space is recommended around the table edge.

-Sitting in front of a cocktail table.  This can be a bit of a balancing act.  You want the table close enough to be reached when placing a drink or a book on it, but far enough away to allow for legroom when sitting and ample space to pass between the sofa and table.  My typical rule of thumb is 15-18 inches.