Monday, December 31, 2012

Featured Line - Fine Art Lamps

At J. Douglas Design - lighting is a huge part of ALL of our designs, as are the lamps and fixtures that deliver it. No design is complete without considering first the important aspect of lighting - and how best to layer in beautiful and timeless accessories that efficiently double as lighting. Think of a simple lamp, that doubles as a piece of art. Their name says it all - with Fine Art Lamps - we are able to achieve this mix.

At J. Douglas Design, we only hand select the finest pieces of furniture and accessories from the best-known lines for our interior design. And we're pleased to have worked with Fine Art Lamps for many years, bringing quality lighting to our clients - while also accessorizing with the 'fine art' of their pieces.

Lighting is an age-old necessity, from ancient flames in cave to Medieval oil lamps, to modern methods of lighting a space, the world has needed light - from the beginning of time. Man has found ways to light the way, and Fine Art Lamps has found a way to stylishly, beautifully, and well - artfully shed light on the topic.

Max Blumberg owned a glass factory in the late 19th century. His son, Jack, founded Fine Art Lamps in the early 40's. (1941) From the beginning - his goal was to employ only the finest craftsmen and artisans from all over the world, inspired by the fine crafts of ancient and Renaissance Italy, to produce top quality lighting - with unparalleled beauty and craftsmanship. It's no wonder that Fine Art Lamps has been a design leader in the lighting and interior design industry from the very start - they have always had the very best craftsmen, used the finest metal, glass and unique materials and offered a huge selection of style - and the most agile and unique designs. In 1965, Jack's son, Max has continued the quality and craftsmanship that Fine Art Lamps created and maintained for the family business.

Their commitment to providing only the best continues to this day in a state of the art facility in Miami. The continued quality and effort on behalf of this family-owned business has won Fine Art Lamps numerous honors and awards, such as the ARTS® Manufacturer of the Year Award (and they've done this 8 TIMES!) and induction into the ARTS® Hall of Fame.

Whether your interior design calls for an extravagant Italian-inspired metal-leaf flush mount design, or a hip and urban modern style chandelier with Asian inspiration - J. Douglas Design turns to Fine Art Lamps to complete the project. Fina Art Lamps has all styles - inspired from all over the world and every era of time to meet the interior design needs of the distinctive J. Douglas Design client.

And why not be efficient in efforts to style and design your space? You have to have light - so why not add a true piece of art at the same time? They picked the perfect name for what they do - FINE ART LAMPS.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Luxury on a Budget

Heavily sprinkled throughout our country are planned communities made up of homes that are identical to each other. With so many cookie-cutter homes, owners often seek out ways to make their interior more unique. Not just unique, but well designed too. Don't we all want our homes to look a little bit like those high end pro decorated mansions? Budget constrictions not withstanding, you can have a place that looks expensive, even luxurious, without breaking the bank. A home that looks professionally designed.

1. Crown Molding 

For very little money, adding crown molding to your home provides a level of richness to the space. Choose wide trim for the biggest impact. The wider the trim the more expensive the room looks.

2. Paint 

Choosing a color is the hardest step when it comes to painting. Painting itself is an easy choice when wanting the most juice for the squeeze. A crisp white or a neutral hue will lend an air of sophistication and affluence to the room. Another trick that adds a luxurious finish to a home is to paint interior doors black. It will instantly give the space a high-end vibe.

3. Pillows 

Throw pillows are always a fabulous accessory for your sofa, love-seat or over-sized chair. But don't settle for pillows you can find at any big box store. If the goal is to look luxurious, pillows that any home can have defeats that idea. Instead, opt for pillows with unique prints or even the over-stuffed variety. Both offer that luxurious feel you desire.

4. Window Treatments 

Avoid cheap-skating on your window treatments. Flimsy or unlined curtains are obvious signs of poor quality. Sure, the price might be nice, but you want your room to look elegant and expensive, right? Consider handpicking fabric and having curtains custom sewn. When you're ready to install them, hang them as close to the ceiling as possible to draw your eye up and project the illusion of fullness.

5. Hardware 

Tract homes are filled with cheap, lack luster hardware because that's what's most affordable for builders. Oddly enough, economically replacing hardware with personalized options is a breeze. Drawer pulls, door knobs, faucets etc. can all be found at your local hardware store, specialty shop or even at a flea market. The goal is to locate ones you love and not mirror your next-door neighbors.

6. Light Fixtures 

Light fixtures are another building standard that lacks personality, character and style. Toss out nondescript chandeliers and ceiling fans; replace them with a unique designer look. Shop flea markets or second hand stores for budget friendly pieces. A bargain found on a chandelier goes a long way toward creating that expensive designer inspired look. Add table lamps and floor lamps in each room, too.

7. Hardwood 

Flooring is where things get to be a little more pricey. Upgrading your flooring may seem like a budget buster, but it's an investment that lasts for years making it well worth it. Hard wood is a classic choice that comes in many types, some more luxurious than others. A dark wood will add richness to the space, similar to the idea of painting your interior doors black. Layer a beautiful, stylish area rug on top of the wood flooring to anchor the room and tie design elements together.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fall in Love With Maitland-Smith

After a long day working and managing every detail of our lives, we all look forward to having an opportunity to relax in our favorite spot with a book in hand, our favorite show on the television, or our favorite tunes on blast. If you're like most people, when you are ready to relax, you look for a chair or sofa that feels like an old friend. The first thing we typically say to people who visit our home, after we invite them in, is 'have a seat.' Even at cocktail parties you typically see folks gather and perch to have intimate conversations. Sitting while you catch up is preferable to standing, after all.

Although comfort is typically top of the list when it comes to our favorite spot at home, savvy furniture hunters know that a chair needs to be functional too. Not to mention, stylish and complementary to your chosen interior decor. With elegant and distinctive pieces for your home, and quality to last a lifetime, Maitland-Smith is an obvious choice for professional interior designers.

Here are just a few of the reasons why we love Maitland-Smith furnishings:

- A love of details: Nail head accents, a variety of beautiful finishes, tufted leather, gold highlights, wing backs, chenille, jacquards, silks, hair hides, velvets...and the list goes on! The sky is the limit when it comes to detailing!

- Sheer beauty: Maitland-Smith sets a high standard in the interior design world. Inspired by 18th century classics, every piece is stunningly beautiful.

- Handcrafted, limited edition treasures: If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind type piece to accent your home, look no further than Maitland-Smith. Unique, quality pieces destined to become family heirlooms serve as elegant additions to any home.

Do you have a Maitland-Smith treasure? What do you love about it? Tell us in the comments...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seven Quick Tips for Interior Holiday Decor

Did you spend the Thanksgiving weekend getting the Christmas decorations out of storage? Feeling a little uninspired by what you found there? Year after year, making the hodgepodge in the tubs look great becomes a challenge for many folks. A little advice from an interior designer is just what you need. Today we share some tips for making your eclectic collection of holiday decor stretch a little farther.

1. Stick with a single theme and style for your holiday decorating. Shopping for decor becomes easier and it makes your space feel professionally finished.

2. Strategically placing scented candles, near your entry and throughout the home, adds a level of authenticity to your holiday. Or, better yet, bake some holiday cookies shortly before guests arrive. Anything with cinnamon or cloves will do the trick. Homemade gingerbread works beautifully too. Bonus, candlelight is warm and inviting.

3. Choose two to three colors for your holiday palette and keep it consistent. More than one color palette can make your decor appear disjointed and busy.

4. Get creative with your space for this special time of year. Rearrange your furniture so the focal point is the fireplace or wherever you hang stockings. If you don’t have a fireplace, arrange the furniture to create the best layout for cozy conversations.

5. Become a collector. Choose something you can grow through the years and that can be passed on to the next generation.

6. Bring the holiday celebration into every room. Kitchens and bathrooms are a great place to put scented candles and smaller seasonal knickknacks.

7. The holiday season is definitely one time where “less is more” does NOT apply. Have fun and do it up big.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christopher Guy - A Cut Above the Rest

Christopher Guy Harrison
"In every culture, decorative heirlooms define a nation in much the same way as its music, poets and writers do..." says Christopher Guy Harrison, British luxury furniture designer, who founded and heads up the Christopher Guy brand of furniture. Raised in France and Spain, Christopher draws on his international exposure to come up with his award winning designs. As he says, "Elegance, sophistication, and grace have always transcended cultural boundaries; the objective has been to transfer this into distinct, decorative furnishings." If you have ever seen a Christopher Guy piece you'll know exactly why we choose this special brand to decorate with here at J. Douglas Design.

If it’s opulence, drama and unmatched quality of design that you are looking for the Christopher Guy range of furniture is humbly awe inspiring. Each piece has its own magic, projecting its own inner confidence, reflecting the skill and passion of the designer himself.

His furniture has been desired the world over and his work can be found in hotels such as The Savoy, The Hilton and Claridges. The designs have a sculptural and simplistic beauty to them with flowing lines and curves, encompassing you into a design lover’s dream! This is reflected in his Chris-X leg design, shown left, which was inspired by the corseted waist line of Scarlett O'hara in Gone with the Wind. What a stylish, statement making piece for any home!

Christopher's designs have been a part of nearly ten feature films including the Bond movie Casino Royale. Luxury hotels clamor to include his brand in their designs. You'll see his work at The Savoy in London, The Bellegio in Vegas and The Trump Plaza in New York, among others.

Want to see or know more about this spectacular brand? Just make a visit to our showroom.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Enjoying Your Outdoor Living Space During the Winter

You put some serious time and effort into creating a perfect living space to relax in during the spring and summer, and while you may not get many to go outdoors as the temperatures drop, there are still ways you can enjoy your outdoor living quarters in cold weather. Here are some simple design tips to get the most out of your cozy outdoor spaces.

1. Heat it up. Heating is essential if you plan to enjoy time outdoors this winter season. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can warm yourself up. Fire pits are one option and are beneficial year round. Not only can fire pits provide you with the warmth you need, but they are also a good focal point for your space. Another option would be to have an electric patio heater. These don’t take up a lot of space, and while you may not necessarily take off your coat and lounge in a t-shirt, it can provide you with a way to comfortably transition from the indoors to the outdoors without freezing.

2. Close it in. While this may not add ample amounts of heat, it will block out that extra chill you get from wind, not to mention it will protect your living space from potential snow and ice! Not only will this give you a nice wintery view, the natural light can kick up your mood as well.

3. Brighten it up. If you're space is decorated with darker colors, consider adding in some lighter colors to brighten up your space. Have you chosen a deep, dark purple as your theme? Add in some lilac or silver – this will create a beautiful mixture, and can still provide you with an inviting holiday feel. While you probably have already added lights to the front of your house, don’t forget your backyard, where your outdoor living space is most likely located. You can install light fixtures in your deck that can be used year round, or you can also string lights across your patio railing, creating a peaceful, serene environment.

We hope you'll find that incorporating ideas like these will help you enjoy your beautiful outdoor living space through the cold season too!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Julianne Moore - Moonlight Interior Designer

When she's not winning Emmys, Julianne Moore moonlights as an interior designer. This month's issue of Elle features the home of Moore's stylist, Leslie Fremar, a Tribeca loft decorated by the thespian herself. Actually, this is the second of Leslie's homes that Julianne has decorated. Almost five years ago she dressed up Leslie's tiny West Village Apartment. Having recently relocated to a large three-bedroom TriBeCa loft, Fremar once again relied on her famous friend's decorating prowess. The result? Understated. Minimal. Elegant. We love this home.

Here are some simple yet effective design techniques we spotted along the way.
  • Use a dark-hued paint to “carve” smaller areas in large rooms. This allows you to have multiple smaller, more focused areas. For example a reading nook.
  • Reclaim and recycle if it fits the bill. Moore transformed a vintage Marni dress into a chic throw pillow and converted reclaimed-wood into a beautiful dining table.
  • Neutral go with everything. Throw blankets, rugs and more.
  • Everyone looks better by candlelight. Candlelight isn't just for romantic dinners. Make use of them in unexpected ways.
  • Go custom when you need something to fit in that special place. The bench on the cover image, above, is a perfect fit under the bright window. 
Moore proves again that she isn't great just at her day job. Like many truly talented celebrities, her artistic skills transfer to other mediums as well.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stage Your Home for Sale

For the first time since the recession hit, the housing market is making gains. That's music to the ears of home owners who need or want to sell their home. With home prices on the rise, it may be that you need take only a few more steps to get the best possible price for your house. One of the number one techniques in real estate is home staging.

All over the country home owners are paying top dollar to have home staging experts give their homes a per-sale makeover. Realtors will tell you staging is worth the money. But, wait, we just said we're coming out of a recession. Maybe putting funds towards hiring an expert isn't an option for you. That doesn't mean you can't give your house an interior design look to boost your home's selling price.

Staging is what you do after you've cleaned, uncluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it's all about dressing the house for sale. Here are a few of the industry's secrets.

• Work room by room starting at the front door. Your home should feel open and welcoming. Focus on simple accessories. Consider a big, lovely mirror over the console table. Maybe a deep rattan basket for collecting shoes.

• Liven up the living room. Celebrate a great focal point - a view of the backyard garden, lake, or the fireplace. Adjust your furniture to sit toward the focal point. Rather than against the walls, float furniture on an area rug to give the room a spacious feel. No focal point in your room? Use stylish art or a dramatic piece of furniture to create one.

• Kitchens are the heart of the home. Toss or store anything that would be considered kitschy. Clear the counters of small appliances, cooking utensils, canisters. Place a single display of seasonal fruit such as polished apples, bright oranges, or pineapples on the counter or island. The more you put away, the better the kitchen will look. Counter space is a real selling point. Bonus tip: rub orange oil on the cabinets to restore their original luster.

• Dress up the bedroom. Ditch the patterned comforter in the bedroom. Keep it simple with a fresh white duvet or cotton blanket. Trade bold bedroom walls for light grey or putty neutrals. Aim for a light and airy feel by removing heavy curtains and nightstand clutter. Matching lamps and a few art books lend a sense of sophistication. Use a simple lidded box to hide the remote control, tissues, and worn paperback.

• Master the master bath. Replace spec home sink, shower, and light fixtures with something a step up. Use a silver tray to anchor odds and ends that collect on counters. Use artful containers to hide away frequently used items. Small glass jars for swabs and cotton balls make an attractive and practical display.

• Bring the outdoors inside. Live plants like orchids or succulents make a huge difference in a room. Cut branches or large tropical leaves in large vases are very chic. Silk plants and flowers should be avoided unless they appear so real that even touching them leaves doubt.

• Want to stay. Your for-sale home do-over should be so compelling it makes you second think selling.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall 2012 Interior Design Trends

Add a punch of color with the citrus
hues trending for this fall.
With oppressive record heat temperatures, it's a good thing that cooler temperatures are just around the corner. They can't come soon enough, right? 

Along with cooler temps also comes new interior design trends and there are some great ones to look forward to this Fall.

In case you haven't noticed, (don't know how you couldn't!) the spirited neon colors from the 1980s are unabashedly back in a big way. This holds true in both the fashion and Dallas interior design worlds, as the two smartly go hand in hand.

At this year's fashion shows, designers were eager to strut sassy hues such as citron, yellow, hot pink and turquoise — yet the sensible colors like black, white, cream and navy were still standing. Appropriately, this year’s color palette for home design complements what has been seen on the runways.

Looking at New Jersey-based Pantone Color Institute's preview of colors for fall, it is more than apparent the retro vibe reverberates throughout the color reports. The trending colors of this fall include Pink Flambe, Ultramarine Green and Bright Chartreuse.

Here are some other key trends we have discovered while trendspotting:

1. 2012 marks the return of sectional sofas.  Sectional seating creates a warm, inviting space for your family and friends to gather and to be more communal. Remember the so-called pit seating from the 1970s and 1980s? It’s back, only with a deeper sit. It’s all about relaxing and lounging in your space.

2. Fabrics are soft, soft, soft. Trending textures are simply luxurious — from the lightly woven velours and velvets to ultra suede. Ultra-soft fabrics, for instance, appear on overstuffed sofas to create a cozy yet chic seating combination. The style is lounge comfort. You don’t sit on the sofas, you sit in them.

3. Cocooning is still the buzz word. Interior Design experts agree people are entertaining more in their homes, and they are ready to invest in high-quality furnishings. People are eager to create luxury getaway environments in their own homes — whether through high-end home theater systems or spa-inspired bathrooms.

4. Everything old is new again when it comes to pattern. Traditional patterns such as chain link and Ikat are on the return with a present-day color palette. These patterns add a punch of excitement to classic and contemporary room settings.

5. Soft furnishings, including pillows, throws and bedding, and accessories are important — and provide easy ways to inject a dash of the color du jour. Many designers are mixing pillows for a fresh new look: patterns — layered on top of or next to other patterns — are definitely the current trend for home accessories.

6. Vintage is still new. Reproductions of classic pieces and remakes of vintage signs are all the rage.

7. Lastly, never underestimate the elegant durability of leather. It's a major force in the industry for its performance and luxuriance — and the way it can accommodate any lifestyle. A leather sofa, for instance, works perfectly for a family with small children since it's easy to clean. Another perk: leather lasts four times longer than any other fabric.

Want some expert assistance applying these trends? Visit us at our Dallas furniture showroom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trend Alert: Ikat

Ikat (pronounced ee-kat) is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye. The defining characteristic of ikat is the dyeing of patterns, by means of bindings, into the threads before cloth construction, the weaving of the fabric, takes place. Herein lies the difference between ikat and tie-dye. In tie-dye the fabric is woven first and the resist bindings are then applied to the fabric which is dyed.

Ikat fabrics are the oldest known patterned textiles in the world. They appear in cultures as diverse as Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Guatemala, Turkey, and India. Because textiles rarely survive more than a few thousand years, it is unknown how far back Ikat patterns date.

Today’s interior designers are reinventing the Ikat, using the ancient techniques and creating fresh designs. Reproduction Ikat designs allow us to use these exciting patterns in ways that we could never use antique fabrics - upholstery, drapery, area rugs and fashion.

Ikat patterned rug from Madeleine Weinrib Atelier Ikat Fabric from China Seas jazzes up a bedroom by  , courtesy of House Beautiful.
A very modern print, Bali Isle from China Seas, based on ancient Ikat patterns; photo from Domino Magazine Vendela Blue and White Ikat Upholstered Accent Chair

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Color Where?

Are you seeing red in the bedroom, or feeling blue about your bathroom? Maybe it’s got something to do with your interior design. It’s long been recognized that colors are connected with emotions in the brain, and it’s also been proven that the colors of rooms you’re frequently in can affect your frame of mind, concentration and even digestion. 

Getting a hint of the right tint could lead to a healthier, happier, more productive home - so why not dig out your paint brushes and take a look at our rainbow of mood-enhancing possibilities? 

Green: A color that’s often used in hospitals, as it’s associated with health and efficiency. Depending on what shade you settle on, it can create very different effects: bright greens improve vision and create a refreshing atmosphere, while softer, more natural greens are calming. Mint green or heather green are welcoming shades, relaxing colors for hallways - fantastic for patterned wallpaper that’s not overwhelming. Mellower tones are also excellent for children’s bedrooms - pale turquoises and sea greens will settle them but won’t leave them feeling lethargic. As an added bonus, green doesn’t carry any gendered connotations, as do pink and blue. 

Yellow: It’s said that babies cry more in yellow rooms - a very stimulating color, it enhances concentration and speeds the metabolism. It’s often used in schools because it keeps the brain ‘switched on’ – in the home it’s great for studies and kitchens but bad for bedrooms and wind-down rooms. Pale yellow brightens an area where activities happen, giving a happy, positive atmosphere. 

Orange: Orange can make a room look smaller, so if used in excess will make a space feel claustrophobic and stressful: not so good for bedrooms and studies because you might find it hard to sleep or concentrate. However, it aids digestion and increases appetite, as well as engaging the brain. Therefore, it’s great for kitchens, eating and play areas, as well as being good when applied to a single wall in a neutral color scheme – it adds a pop of liveliness and fun. 

Red: Dark red can be a passionate color for bedrooms; rather than going all out with the same shade, it’s best to just have a ruby or maroon feature wall– too much can be unnerving rather than arousing. It’s also an appetite stimulant, so deck out your dining room with red details. 

Purple: Lavender shades are a sedative: use wisely, as they can make a living room or dining room seem drowsy. Dark, dramatic shades are fantastic in moderation but can have a bit of a depressing effect if used too much. 

Blue: Though many people’s favorite color, blue can look cold and unwelcoming. According to a study by Pantone, office workers complained that an office was too cold when it was painted blue – but when it was painted a peachy shade they warmed up even though the temperature had not changed. Blue suppresses the appetite and stimulates thought, so it’s bad for bedrooms and dining rooms; however, it’s an excellent color for studies and exercise areas.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Game on: Four Easy Game Room Design Tips

Whether your game room is a place to entertain, display media or 'play games' and just relax - we've got some do-it-yourself tips to optimizing a space for this purpose. Interior design is about creating comfortable, beautiful and functional spaces.

First, make it relaxing:  Pay attention to color, specifically - and try to keep it warm and light. If it's just a media room, of course you'll want it dark. But we're not talking about just a media room. We're talking about a place where your family meets and relaxes together. Keep it light and friendly.

Have functional furnishings: The furniture in this space should be very usable - seating, games (like pool tables or darts), wet or dry bars, coffee tables and places to sit, relax, drink and engage one another. Keep furniture to proper scale for the room. Guests and occupants will need ample space to move around the room.

Where to put.... your family pictures and memorabilia? In the game room of course! Adding family photos and memorabilia as parts of the decor add a sense of nostalgia and warm family tradition.

Keep it neutral: Accessorize with things the family might use: a throw blanket, comfy soft pillows, a nice big-screen TV and refreshment/bar area.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Backyard Love Affair - Top Five Tips For Designing An Outdoor Space

More Americans are showing their love for the great outdoors with their homes according to the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey.  AIA surveyed architects nationwide to discover home preferences. 

“In the last few years, outdoor living spaces have become the new ‘great room’ in terms of must-have items for home owners,” says Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist. Nearly two-thirds of the architects surveyed said that outdoor living space, covered outdoor space, and outdoor rooms are increasing in popularity. Architects also reported higher demand for exterior and security lighting.

Creating a brilliant outdoor living space can be done on a budget. By using what you already have, limiting purchases to the basics, and creating a focal point, you can easily and inexpensively create a welcoming outdoor living space in your backyard.

Ask yourself how you and your family currently use the space, and how you would like to use the space. The answers will help you determine what you need to take away or add to your current outdoor space.

Focal Point
Similar to creating an inviting indoor living space, the backyard living space needs a focal point. The focal point may already exist, in the home's architecture, in the landscaping, or in a backyard structure including a gazebo. Or, add your own focal point.

Fire Pit Table
One of the most popular and easy additions to the backyard outdoor living space is a fire pit table. The fire pit table can be low to the ground, with a wide perimeter where guests and family members can place cups or glasses. The fire pit adds instant warmth to any backyard.

Water Element
If you already have fire, add water. A water element creates a soothing and pleasant addition to the backyard outdoor living space. It could be a small waterfall as part of the landscaping, or an artificial pond for real fish. Small stand-alone water fountains or bird baths offer inexpensive ways to add a water element to the space.

Mix and Max Outdoor Seating
Invest in an outdoor furniture set with a love seat, chairs and table. Mix and match pieces by shopping at local consignment, used furniture, close out stores and yard sales. The styles and materials do not have to match. You can spray paint all of the pieces the same color to make them appear as a cohesive set. Add outdoor cushions to the pieces to make them more comfortable.

One of the best investments you can make in your outdoor space is a table with an umbrella. With four to six chairs, the table becomes an instant gathering place for your family and friends. Use the table to eat meals, play board games, or just relax, comfortably, while sitting outdoors.

Pick a table and chair set that is easy to clean, is durable and can be folded or easily stored if you live in a seasonal climate.

Lighting is not something home owners would overlook in their indoor spaces, and it should also be considered for outdoor spaces. Invest in solar lawn lights to mark or make pathways to outdoor living spaces which are not adjacent to the house.

Festive string lights add a touch of whimsy to outdoor spaces and can be found in many styles; boxy Asian-inspired lanterns are always fun. Tiki torches, citronella torches, and floating candles in your water element also add soft lighting to backyard outdoor spaces at night.

With some inspiration and a little thought, you can turn your ho-hum yard into a extravagant outdoor entertaining space. 

Photo: Home Channel TV

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

La Barge Furnishings: Elegance, Style, Craftsmanship

This week, we’re stepping back in time to highlight the beauty of the Baroque era.  In the 17th century, European design leaned toward exaggeration, and over-emphasized brilliance.  We, as interior designers - love over-emphasized brilliance. Who doesn't? The spreading Renaissance carried this free manner everywhere, and for two centuries, most European art was Baroque. 

Motion is the essence of Baroque - large curves, fantastic and irregular - twisted columns, broken pediments, and oversized moldings.  Everything was calculated to strike the eye.  Baroque is a masculine style, while its feminine counterpart, Rococo, came in the 18th century substituting prettiness and charm for Baroque magnificence. 

Beautiful mirrors with curves and carved ornamentation are always in style. For example, an over scaled Baroque mirror from La Barge dominates and makes a grand statement in a dining room over a sideboard or in a large entry way. A Grecian crackled gold finish and rub-through set this mirror apart. A mirror such as this can add eclectic interest to a room that is modern and sleek where a statement piece is needed to shake things up a bit.  
If you’re considering the addition of a Baroque piece to your home, look for classic pieces that stand the test of time. And know - that you can’t go wrong with La Barge, a featured line here at J. Douglas Design.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fabric Frenzy - Fall Upholstery Preview

It’s the time of year when textile suppliers and interior designers share their newest fabrics as well as what we can look forward to in upcoming upholstery fabric trends. The exciting news - is that there are lots of new looks and exciting new patterns. 

The beauty of working with upholstery is it gives you the opportunity to keep up with the trends and quickly and easily gives your home a new look.

You can expect to be seeing:
  • Lots of custom patterns that are exclusively being created by fabric designers through digital printing.
  • Summer is all about neon’s and bold bright colors, (rarely do we use in interior design, however) the fall and winter are bringing a darker color palette with black and white patterns, deep purples, emerald greens, and dusky pinks.
  • Velvets are back once again, this time in softer subtle styles and in burnout designs.
  • Leather embossing has reached a whole new level adding weave design illusions, and punch-dot patterns with whimsical touches.
  • We will find that tapestries have been simplified and scaled-down. The overly busy look is on its way out. However, many tapestries are timeless and rich - and typically work well as an accessory both with style, and quite literally with historical significance.
  • Novelty forms like ransom note letters, stylized numbers, vintage album covers, urban landscapes, paper doll patterns, and dog designs. These are great, unique ideas for eclectic types, but be careful with these sorts of trends in your home as they lose favor quickly and date your design. Use these sorts of fabrics/textures in ways other than upholstery, such as framed pieces, wall art and other accessories around your home.  Remember the 'denim sofa' from the 80's? No, you don't; and thank goodness. Luckily, the moment that thing hit the market, it went out of style. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

J Douglas Design: Home Accent Today 2012 Retail Star!

Only 50 independent home furnishings retailers nationwide are honored with the privilege of being on this renowned list. The businesses selected for the list, which honors retailing excellence, have demonstrated that they operate successfully in their marketing areas, exhibit strength in merchandising, display and/or advertising, and have a positive presence in their local communities.

"There has never been a tougher time to be an independent retailer, with ongoing competition from chain stores, the increasingly significant role of online retail and the difficult economic climate," said Jenny Heinzen York, editor in chief, Home Accents Today. "The 2012 Retail Stars have taken on these challenges with a combination of clever entrepreneurship, innovation, merchandising, customer service and marketing. We are delighted to recognize these talented merchants, and, as always, encourage everyone to support their own local businesses." Home Accents Today editors focused on independent and family-run retailers, specifically those considered specialty, home accent or home furnishings stores.

The list, now in its eighth year, was compiled and narrowed down by research analysts and editors of the publication. "Those who are celebrated have created businesses that embrace the powers of excitement, innovation and creative ingenuity," said Jeffrey Portman, Sr., president and COO, AmericasMart Atlanta. "They understand that excitement equals engagement. And engagement delivers sales."J Douglas Design: Home Accent Today 2012 Retail Star!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quick Design Tip: Fresh Branches

When it comes to home d├ęcor, one of the best things about summer is the opportunity to use gorgeous, fragrant branches to decorate the home. You can use them nearly anywhere in the home to add a splash of color, texture and shape to your design.

Here are five tips to help keep yours fresh as long as possible.
  1. Make an inch long slit in the bottom of each branch and then tap the ends of the branches with a hammer. This allows water to be absorbed more easily and will extend the life of your branches. 
  2. Soak the ends of the branches in lukewarm water to wash off excess bark and allow the plant to acclimate to its new environment. 
  3. Add a drop of bleach in the water to keep the water from clouding and from smelling. 
  4. Change water daily. 
  5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How To Select The Right Hardwood Flooring

The widespread popularity of wood flooring continues to grow for one simple reason: There's no substitute for the warmth and natural beauty of real wood. Wood flooring comes in dozens of styles and sizes, but there are only two basic types: solid wood and engineered wood.

Traditional solid-wood flooring is exactly what you'd expect: Each floorboard is milled from a piece of solid wood. Engineered-wood flooring is an all-wood, laminated plank that's manufactured from pieces of wood. Both types of flooring come in a wide variety of colors and wood species. The specific type and style of flooring you'll ultimately choose will depend on several factors, including price, size of the floorboards, wood species, ease of installation, type of subfloor, and the room itself.

Here's a brief look at each type:

Solid-Wood Flooring
Solid-wood flooring is commonly available in narrow strips, wide planks, and parquet squares. Many homeowners choose traditional, unfinished hardwood-strip flooring in either red oak or maple because it's affordable, attractive, and they can choose the stain color or leave it natural. However, unfinished wood requires sanding, staining (if desired), and a clear topcoat finish. Prefinished wood flooring costs more than unfinished flooring, but doesn't require sanding or finishing. As soon as you install the last plank, you can nail up the baseboard trim and carry in the furniture. Remember that while wood is a renewable resource, some species take so long to grow and are being harvested so quickly that they're no longer considered sustainable. To ensure that you are buying responsibly harvested wood, confirm that it's certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or similar environmental agency.

Engineered-Wood Flooring
Engineered-wood flooring was introduced to North America in the mid-1980s and quickly became the most popular type of do-it-yourself wood floor. It's composed of three or more wood layers glued together into long planks, with a top layer composed of a thin solid-wood veneer. This laminated construction creates a floor that's much more dimensionally stable than solid-wood flooring, so it's less likely to cup, split, shrink, or warp. There are more than two dozen wood species to choose from, including both softwood and hardwood. When shopping for engineered-wood flooring, be sure the top veneer is at least 1/8 inch thick, which will allow sanding and refinishing if necessary.

The reason DIY-ers love engineered-wood flooring is that the planks snap together and "float" over a thin foam-rubber underlayment. There's no nailing or gluing, so installation is quick and neat. Plus, the planks can be laid directly over most existing floors, as long as the surface is hard, flat, and in sound condition.

Still not sure what’s right for you?
At J. Douglas Design we’re here to work with you on major interior design and decorating decisions. Our years of expertise will help steer you in the right direction.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Classic Bathroom Charm Endures

If you think bathrooms are boring when it comes to decorating then this post is for you. 

A classic bathroom doesn't have to be dull and safe. Tradition and classicism can be timeless yet updated to meet modern standards. Mixing classic with modern allows for the best of both worlds. 

A few elements of a classic bathroom include pedestal sinks, black and white floor tiles, white subway tiles, lots of white and cream and, of course, claw-foot bathtubs. There are countless contemporary options for creating a classic bathroom with a serene and elegant feel.
As shown above left, a little touch of industrial metal with a dramatic chandelier makes a traditional bathroom anything but boring. 

A claw-foot bathtub and Carrara-marble tile floor bring elegance to the bright white bathroom, left center.

Finally, the bottom image - shows a classic bathroom with an an eclectic edge, with Stark wallpaper adding a fun touch.