March 2008

bamboo-bathroom.jpgWe all love spas, and these bamboo accessories from Crate & Barrel allow you to capture a bit of the spa zen in your very own home. Bamboo can conjure up images of a tiki hut to some, but these pieces feature clean modern lines and warm tones. I’ve also found that really nice but simple soap dishes and dispensers can sometimes be tough to find, so when you see great understated pieces like these, grab them!Additionally, bamboo is not only eco-friendly, it is naturally antimicrobial and moisture-resistant making it the perfect material for a bathroom.

If you are looking for an amazing custom furniture designer or want a unique piece made, one of my favorite vendors to work with is Coverdales, Ltd, located in Poway, Calif. I’ve known the owners Gabriela and Harry Coverdale for a few years now and have had them make numerous pieces for some very satisfied clients.I’ve worked with a number of hospitality clients, and this is Coverdales’ area of specialty. When working with hospitality clients, it’s imperative that you have a vendor that can be relied upon to create a large number of quality pieces, on budget and in a reasonable timeframe. Coverdales’ furnishings can be found in countless hotels including the Four Seasons Biltmore (Santa Barbara), Mandalay Bay Resort (Las Vegas), Las Ventanas (Cabo San Lucas), Trump Taj Mahal (Atlantic City), The Grand Del Mar (San Diego) and many more. This piece is from the Ivy Hotel in San Diego.ivy-cocktail-table.jpgThere are a few things that make Coverdales stand out from other custom manufacturers. One is their attention to detail and ability to work with a variety of materials – stone, wood, metal, even fiberglass! Although Coverdales caters predominately to commercial and hospitality clients, they also work on residential products too. This is a custom piece I had them design for me recently:cocktail-table.JPGLastly, Coverdales’ customer service is unrivaled. As an interior designer, my business is all about keeping customers happy, and working with a team that gives as much attention to their customers as they do to their furnishings is a wonderful thing. I highly recommend Coverdales to anyone interested in well made custom furniture pieces.In the upcoming months I will highlight other vendors and products that I have found to be exceptional and think you might enjoy as well!

caboomsign.jpgCA Boom: the West Coast Design Show kicks off this Friday, March 14 – 16, in Santa Monica, CA. If you’ve never attended this event, I highly recommend it for both professional and aspiring designers. The focus of the show is non-traditional, modern and contemporary design and architecture. Besides getting a look at the newest products and furnishings from well-known brands like Herman Miller, Fleetwood and Scavolini, this year’s CA Boom will also feature a new modern kitchen and bathroom section.My favorite part of the show however, is the Design + Architecture Home Tours. Each day CA Boom gives tours of new or newly renovated homes in one of three neighborhoods (Pacific Palisades on Friday, West LA on Saturday, and Venice/Santa Monica on Sunday). Attendees can visit up to five residences each day and meet the architects or designers of each home. Shuttles are provided and it’s an excellent way to meet with top notch architects and get great ideas. This alone makes the show worthwhile. Friday is open to trade only, and Saturday and Sunday are open to the public. Check it out!

As an experienced designer, I’m asked a wide range of questions from people who are looking to hire someone like me. For some, this is the first time they have worked with a designer. Others may have had a negative experience in the past and don’t want a repeat performance.I welcome all questions because if the client feels good about whom they have chosen to redecorate their home, the overall process will run much more smoothly and the end result will meet, if not exceed their expectations.Here are five things I think everyone should take into consideration when choosing and working with a designer in order to ensure the best possible results.1. Ask for references from people you know. If you like someone’s home, ask for the name of their designer. What was their overall experience working with the designer? Did they stay on budget? Was the job completed in the timeframe that was agreed upon? Did the designer come to them with good ideas? Were there any problems on the job and how were they addressed?Although it is good to get references from a designer directly, just know that you will be given the names and numbers of the happiest clients. Ask for references of clients who went through a similar remodel to the one you are considering (i.e. kitchen remodel) so you can compare apples to apples. And don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions that I’ve listed above.2. Make sure your contractors are licensed. If you are remodeling your home, always confirm that the people who will be handling the construction are licensed and that they are covered by insurance. Sometimes the temptation to go with an unlicensed contractor is strong if you are on a tight budget. But, if you work with an unlicensed contractor and something goes wrong, you have no recourse for settling the dispute and it may end up costing more in the end. Licensed contractors are held to a higher standard and will be much more apt to resolve a problem than risk having you take it up with the license board.If a designer doesn’t work with a team of regular contractors already, make sure they have experience handling a project of your size. Otherwise, you may be given an estimate that is way too low than the actual cost of the job and you may run into communication problems between the designer and contractor.3. Pictures are helpful and recommended. I recently began working with a client who told me that their style was contemporary, and I presented a plan based on what I viewed as contemporary. Their definition of contemporary and my definition were quite different. Designers may have good taste and know where to find the best products, but they are not psychic. Pick up a few magazines and cut out pictures of rooms you like and furniture pieces you’re drawn to. This is extremely beneficial to a designer and will ensure that they find the best pieces for your home.4. Track project details and budget. If you are working on a remodel, it is especially important that you hire a designer who provides a detailed schedule as to what will be completed when. In addition, they should also give you regular updates on the budget. The last thing you want is to find out that you’ve blown your budget by 50 percent and the job will take twice as long as expected. You should be communicating with your designer on a regular basis and know where you stand on the project and budget at all times.5. Trust your designer. I don’t advise giving your designer carte blanche to do whatever they want to your home, but I do recommend letting your designer push you out of your comfort zone a bit. One of the benefits of having a good designer is that they can take your vision and make it more than what you could have ever done on your own – you just have to let them. They have expertise on what colors work best in what lighting, access to furniture pieces you’ve never come across, and can help you avoid the most common decorating mistakes.Lastly, choose a designer that you like. In fact, many of my clients I now count among my friends. Is this someone you can see yourself spending time with? If you trust and enjoy your designer’s company, you will have a much more positive overall experience and a result that truly reflects who you are.