Showing posts from 2008

Interior Decorating for Christmas

Christmas is the one time of year that almost everyone changes the decor in their home.

For better or for worse?

That is often up for debate, but I know from experience that watching people decorate their homes for Christmas brings them a great deal of pleasure. From the simplest wreath on the front door to the whole house being lit up like a Christmas tree, the scope of Christmas home decorating is vast.

Why do people go to so much trouble to turn their homes into living, flashing Christmas trees?

I believe that it is because they love to see the delight in people's faces when they see what they have done. A smile is a contagiousdisease! Once there is one, it usually gets passed along pretty quickly. Christmas isn't all about giving and receiving as many young today believe. It is all about new beginnings, reflection, families, happiness and of course merriness, why else do we all say "Merry Christmas".

This year I have seen my daughter get so much pleasure from making C…

Choosing Color By Name - A Good Decision or Not?

Choosing Color By Name - A Good Decision or Not?

I have just come back from a meeting to choose some colors for an office fitout, and I am amazed. I must say after all the years of choosing colors for interiors, I have just been introduced to a new method.

This method has no particular theory behind it except that they liked the names of the colors and they looked good side by side.

In New Zealand we have a paint company called Dulux, they have created a color palette where the colors are named after places in New Zealand.

My clients chose their colors based on New Zealand locations! Yes, I am amazed, and I must admit it was quite refreshing for a change to have all the color theory that I have ignored and this new way of choosing colors revealed.

Obviously I did have some input into guiding them to their color combinations, but if it didn't have the right name they weren't interested.

So who needs an interior designer when we can choose the color scheme by the paint color name?


How to Cure Interior Designer's Block

You have heard of writer's block, but what about interior designer's block?

Boy, it's worse by far.


Because people employ us to be creative and we don't have years to do it like some novel writers have, we can't just walk away and come back in a few weeks. People are waiting for something exciting and new, a creation that will fulfill their dreams, and they want it now. They want fresh new ideas, something different to everyone else, and why shouldn't they get it?

They should, but sometimes you feel that you just don't have anything more to give. Your ideas have dried up, the brief you have to work with is boring and uninspiring or worst of all you just can't be bothered. Oh no......what do you do?

What do you do when you just can't create anymore?

Take a holiday!

Yes, go and do something completely different. You don't have to jump on a plane and take a weeks long vacation, but take some time out and recharge you batteries. Have a change of scene…

Texture - The Designer's Best Friend

Texture - The Designer's Best Friend

Imagine a world without texture?

It would be flat and without interest.

Color alone would not be enough to make it look appealing.

So we have to remember texture as a vital word in the interior designer's vocabulary. By ensuring we add texture to an interior, we can pretty much guarantee that there will be something to look at in the room! This photograph is a good example. The rock or stone wall surrounding the fireplace has provided a textured focal point to the room. If you glance around the room you will also find more subtle textures, area rug under the dining table, textured floor, ribbed ceramic urn with a plant. Imagine the room now with flat surfaces in their place? Let's look at another example.

Texture once again the focal point, the woven reed coffee table is where your eye is lead to, even though the bold blue of the sofa also appears dominant. Remove the texture from the table and replace it with a solid white lacquered block c…

Savor the Moment!

Savor the Moment!

Over time I have talked about putting design projects together, taught you all things about interiors, discussed pitfalls of some clients, the importance of documentation, and I have just realized that I have never touched on the most important thing about being an interior designer or decorator......

Admiring the finished product!

So what I want to talk about today is to make sure that you make the effort to "Savor the Moment" of your completed design or decoration. Visit it, take photos, thank the contractor and client, and most of all feel very proud of what you have achieved. It takes a special skill to visualize what a room can look like and then make it happen.
Never underestimate your skills. It doesn't come naturally for most people and that is why they employ an interior designer or decorator.

Make sure you keep a "Brag Book" or a portfolio of your work, so you can show it to prospective clients, it's also great to flick through when y…

Free Curtain and Drapery Design Ecourse Online

Hi loyal readers!

You can be the first to sign up to our new free ecourse in Curtain and Drapery Design

Find out what is involved in this free curtain design and drapery ecourse here.

If you enjoyed your ecourse in Interior Decoration, then you will love this!

What's the free ecourse all about?

Curtains are a major part of home interior decoration and design, so it is vital you gain these skills as an interior decorator or designer.

With this ecourse you will learn how to take a client brief (some of you have already perfected this!), how to decide on which style of curtain you need, how to deal with unusual window shapes, the basics on how to hang curtains with tracks and rods, the type of curtain headings, choosing fabrics and how to tie in your curtain design with the remainder of your interior color scheme. All you need to know about curtains and more!

Go take a look and get back into learning now!

kind regards
Lee Brown

You are only as Good a Designer as Your Client Brief!

For those of you who have completed the interior decorating ecourse, you will know how I stress about the importance of "extracting"a good client brief.

It has hit home again this week!

We have been working on a project through a project manager, who took the client brief and gave it to us to work on. It was focused on existing fitouts that the client had done that worked and didn't want to change too much as the formula worked and once when it had been changed, it was a disaster. The budget was also a major part of the design brief, and was an achievable figure but no way over the top! So we set to work on this project, keeping things similar but adding fresher new ideas, not too far from the existing fitouts as requested.

We though we had done a great job, as it is always difficult to design to a tight budget and create something with originality and flair that is not much different from the existing.

We experienced a first for us and it threw us into turmoil! They hated i…

Please Help Me with Curtain Design!

Help me!

I am currently writing a brand new ecourse for you.....Curtain Design!

I was over half way through when I had a brain wave! Why not ask you, my future curtain design ecourse reader, what you want to learn.

So before I set my ecourse in concrete and send you out all the details, I want to make sure that you will be 100% satisfied with what you will learn.

I know I complain often about the amount of emails I get (they are great, keep them coming, it's just I can't always guarantee a reply!), so this time I am asking you to make comments after this article and then I will have all the information in one spot!

I have also set up 2 polls on the right hand column of this blog so that you can simply click on the answer to a couple of questions.

You can visit the website to see what you think is missing and let me know! Or if you have any questions about curtains, list them up below and I will work them into the ecourse.

I realise that many of you are as …

A room in it's underwear is not the finished product!

A room in it's underwear is not the finished product!

One of the hardest things to deal with when an interior design or decorating project is underway is the client making comments and wanting to make changes because they aren't sure that what they see is what they had expected!

This can be draining on time and your energy.

What I suggest you do is tell them at the beginning to have faith in your expertise. Then during the project remind them that you know what you are doing and when the job is finished, you will then love the end result! Don't back down and make changes willy nilly! This will compromise your design, but if you believe they have a valid point or some of the items specified are not available and you have to make subtle changes, then go ahead, but in general, stick to your scheme.

Remember if it looks good on paper, then it should look good in real life!

What I mean here is that you have already been through your design process, taken your client brief so you kno…

Confusion over Interiors Looking Even

Confusion over interiors looking even

What do I mean?

I will explain.

I currently have a client with a building that has numerous different width windows in the same room. He is very concerned about how I am going to get them to look even.
Does this make sense? Not really, the only way I can make them look even is to change the position of the windows. I can however make them look balanced in the room. This is the key word. We are installing drapes at the windows and I have make a sketch of where the drapes will sit, I have strategically placed them so that the room will look balanced to the eye. The windows are all still odd sizes, but by using drapery we have created a rhythmic and balanced wall, you don't notice the different sizes of the windows, and I am sure my client will be able to rest easy! I had better be off now to show him how I will make his interior look "even".

Just a little something to remember when decorating interiors!
for more information on curtains visit…

Redecorating on a budget - learn how to save money without reducing the quality.

As you may well know by now, I like the finer things in life when it comes to interior design and decorating. Sometimes, more often than not these are not in an achievable price bracket for me! I know I am not alone in this, so I thought I would share how I achieved high quality without the high quality price tag in my own home! This sounds strange coming from an interior designer, but I always think of my client's budget when I design, and of course, scrutinize it even more when it's my own!!

So how did I get what I wanted for the right price? Simple, careful planning, and taking my time.

What I did was decide on the look I wanted to achieve, then I made a note of how I was going to do this. What were the key factors in the design that would pull the interior scheme off?

Then I waited, this is the magical factor in achieving the quality that you want at the price you can afford. Others may call this shopping around, but how many times have you impulsively purchased something and…

Stair, Staircase or Stairway? What do you call it?

This is a common question, which name do you use? I use all of them and I don't think it matters!

To me they all mean the same thing, I guess it all comes down to what your parents taught you! If anyone knows other wise, feel free to comment below!

The reason I am discussing stairs is because I have recently been up to my armpits in stair terminology. I have just made live a lovely little website on stairs, it is in it's infancy, like all our little websites, but I have loads to keep adding to help everyone with their stair design education.

There are examples of staircases, with comments about their makeup and design features and pitfalls, the definition of a stair, parts of a staircase, the differences between stairs, ramps and lifts and in the future there will be information about ergonomics of stairs, lighting for stairs, materials for use on stairs and many more photographs of staircase design ideas.

So instead of reading this, move over to the stairs website and see what yo…

You Must Choose Quality Fittings and Fixtures For Your Home

When it comes to what you can see in a room, make it look good! When it comes to what you can touch in a room, make it quality!

There is nothing worse than visiting a lovely big new home that your friends are proud of and you turn the lever of the door and it springs back at you! Ugh, cheap hardware. I say this as a designer but also a lover of things that work in a home interior.
Firstly, using the door hardware example, it is an expensive item no matter what, but a few extra dollars per door can make the experience of opening and closing a door just that much better.
Secondly, just think how many times a day this happens? How long before the economical (cheap) hardware wears out? Then you have to replace it all. Good quality hardware in high use areas is essential, not only because it feels good but because it will save you money in the long run. Think about the faucets or taps in the kitchen, main bathroom and laundry, how often do you use them? All day every day. It's not suc…

Can we ever choose the perfect floor product?

Can we ever choose the perfect floor?

I am totally disillusioned. With all my experience and product knowledge, I still get goose bumps when a new floor product is laid. Will it live up to expectations, is it worth the extra cost, can I repair it if it gets damaged....the questions are endless.

I have just experienced a scenario that I thought I would share with you, because it was my worst nightmare as a designer. The client moves into their newly renovated home only to find that the floor looks like it has been attacked by razor blades! It is the sunniest room of the house where every little deviation is visible. This wouldn't have been so bad to handle if the contractor had informed me of the problem, oh, no they were trying to fix it before they told me in conjunction with the client, so I was left out of the loop. Not a good look as I turned up with new fabrics because the original fabrics specified for some of the curtains were unavailable. I must admit, I felt very unprofessi…

Home Sweet Home and the Bed Snob!

Happy New Year everyone!

I know I am a little late with that message but I am just back from holiday and haven't been near a computer for some time!

What I want to talk about today is how a simple thing like your comfortable bed can spoil you for life and that you don't appreciate it until you leave and stay in a hotel, motel, caravan, tent, someone else's home, holiday home....the list goes on.

I haven't slept properly for please excuse the spelling mistakes and bad grammar!

The reason I haven't slept is because I have been away from home, visiting people around the country and site seeing the beautiful New Zealand. There is the obvious reason I haven't slept, a foreign bed! I felt a bit like Goldilocks, this one is too hard, this one is too soft, but unfortunately the remaining was not just right, like the story says, it was too bouncy. Anyway, I would wake up stiff every morning, and tired, then there is the bathrooms, showers, toilets etc, espec…