Tag Archive for "decorate

Posts Tagged ‘decorate’

Home Office Serenity- OLIOHOP #2

In Need of Creating the Ideal Home Office?

For details on Olioboard shown here: http://olioboard.com/boards/116216-office-organizing-gone-chic

Here are some steps to consider when you are converting that guest room or basement into that much needed home office.

The trend in homes is having a home office. Whether you are an executive that needs to check emails and send correspondence in the evening or just can’t ever take a full day off or a stay at home mom looking for some extra income, you need a space that you can call your own and is organized.

STEP 1: CHUCK THE CHAOS: Make sure everything in your Office is relevant.

I’m sure there are random trophies, old textbooks from college, unfinished projects and old product samples; you think you’ll one day need. NEWS FLASH: chuck it!! It’s liberating and just cluttering up your life. Move on and make space for more relevant and new fresh décor items or the latest Apple gadget!

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Hiring an Interior Designer? Consider This:

If you have never worked with an Interior Designer before, the task can feel daunting and you may have your inhibitions and uncertainties.

Like hiring any other service provider, there are some basic things to consider:

1) Personality:

There may be aspects of the design process that may get complicated and you want to have someone always looking for your best interest. Someone that has a good sense of humor and makes sure they put a positive aspect on things is important. They will consider your financial constraints seriously but when it comes to the daunting task of making numerous selections, they need to be sensitive of your personal style.

2) Experience:

It’s important to ask questions when you are interviewing your designer. Have you worked on a similar project? Are you comfortable with my task? Do you work with certain contractors and vendors? Are you affiliated with any professional design organizations?

3) Financial:

Do you have a total budget in mind for the project? If you don’t, an experienced designer can help you put one together or give you an idea of the components that are the larger ticket items. For newbie clients, you may have no idea of how much fabric costs per yard, how detailed certain custom products that are needed for your particular space can run. Make sure you are clear with your designer about the items that you value more and are willing to spend more on. Such as if you have young children, investing in high end upholstery may not be a priority. If you love lighting and really want an impact with beautiful lighting, make sure your designer knows this about you. A great designer will ask you a lot of questions and listen to what you prioritize but since it’s your home, you want to make sure you clearly communicate your want list.

4) Respect:

Treat others how you’d like to be treated applies with your designer. Understanding the design process will help you understand how complicated the designer’s job can be. They not only have to ensure your wishes are met, they keep your budget into consideration, but also use their expertise to maximize your space to be functional and beautiful. A designer’s job is not as luxurious as you may expect. Creative fields can get a bad rap with looking out for their best interests. There are designers out there that will select things without looking at price tags, which may be fine if you have an unlimited budget. Designers with a business background or savvy designers that keep up with trends and research will truly have your best interest at heart.

5) Benefits:

Your designer will bring you a space that is exactly what you were looking for that you couldn’t quite pull together yourself or don’t have the time or the resources to pull together. Your space will serve you functionally but also be very appealing to you and your family. You will finally have that space that feels comfortable and looks beautiful too. You will be proud to entertain and show off that visually appealing space!

Do not view that you are adding to your costs by hiring an interior designer but you are investing in expertise that will ensure the project gets done right the first time around. You are investing in improving your home, which typically is your largest asset and investment. Make sure you have a professional advising you, so you can maximize the money you spend on improving it! Do it right, do it tasteful and do it as you intended!

I hope these tips will help facilitate the process of searching for the right interior designer and understand the process a little better. If you like what you have read, please contact Selma Hammer Designs. I serve the Greater Rochester, NY Area and am open to traveling for special projects. www.selmahammer.com

Adult Kid, Kid & Pet Friendly Man Cave

So most American families have 2.5 children. Is that you? 2 Kids and an animal? Well, most pet lovers consider their dogs/cats, etc… as their babies! It’s so important to really listen to your client to see how they use their space. Not just talking to the paying client but listening and watching how their family and pets interact in the space. Honestly, if you were to walk into my house right now, what you’d see is a Lightning McQueen Power Wheel parked next to my great, new Stickley Sofa (from my son’s 2nd birthday), LOL! Hey, as designers we have to be realistic. We can make the house pretty and posh but can we design the space to really accommodate the homeowner’s needs. That is the big challenge that all great designers consider and can base their execution on.

Okay, so when you hear Man Cave, you think of chest bumping macho man sitting around drinking beers and yelling at the TV, right? Maybe not everyone…but “man cave” refers to the Cave Man Era where the men carried around their spears and weapons. Survival of the fittest, right? Well, in design, survival of the fittest applies. The good designers that listen to their clients and really get to know the family, the children’s names, ages, pets, relatives, live-in family members (in my house, Aunt Sufi), parents, etc… It’s always great to carry around some dog biscuits in your car for that giant beast that wants to tackle you. 

One of my clients has a baby, 4 cats, a large Rottweiler and a mini dog. Their primary requirement is having materials that are easy to clean. One of their cats tends to sneeze all the time and leaves it’s snots on the windows and fabric. Poor kitty! We chose fabrics such a sunbrella and outdoor/indoor rugs for their home.

I try to relate to everyone. I learned this talent from my mom, who tends to take on people’s accents as she is talking to them. It’s funny to hear it but she has this magical ability to relate to people and is very down to earth. I got it from my mommy!

As seen above, I have a lot of comfortable surfaces for children and adult children to hang out and relax. There are 3 huge football bean bags to snuggle into. I’m seeing a trend back to bean bags in my clients’ homes due to the advancement in fabrics, textures and options available. One of my clients told me she ordered some from beanbag.com. There are even bean bags with backrests now too. Amazing how manufacturers are really listening to the needs of the consumers.

Starting the inspiration for the Giants Man Cave, I was thinking about adding some Astro Turf like material so you feel like you are right in the stadium. I found an awesome Giants football field rug to accomplish that feel. I always say that there is a fine line between gaudy and fabulous, so be careful not to overdo it with the collectors’ items and sports paraphernalia. Pick your favorites, whether it is for sentimental value or for the priceless factor. Many Man Caves display autographed framed jerseys or tickets to an attended playoff game.

I grew up with really huge sports fans in my family so I was lucky enough to watch the Super Bowl on a projection TV like the one in my moodboard. The players are giant (pun intended) and you can see all the details. Typically, you can spot who is at the bottom of the fumble pile! 

Every Man Cave needs some sort of bar! This man cave offers some yummy chocolate covered strawberries that look like little footballs, which are a kid favorite. The bar stocks plenty of beer and glasses for the party. A good storage piece of furniture and this one is pretty to look at. It serves as extra seating and a surface to place food.

The Man Cave of today is family friendly. It’s not realistic to ban the rest of the family out of the space. A lot of them have video game consoles for Wii, XBox 360, Kinect, PS3 etc… A fun thing to add is something that everyone in the family enjoys, whether it’s arcade games, dart boards or a pool table as chosen in this Man Cave. So, how do you place all these games, chairs, tables and bar so it doesn’t look like a confusing mess. If you are sitting a lot of people, you want to have ample seating. A great versatile item to add into living spaces, such as media rooms, living rooms, and family rooms are movable cube ottomans. If you can’t spot it in the room, it’s placed in the corner with a Giants garden gnome on it. As you can tell, I like to add a little fun into all my designs. It’s a good talking piece and it would be a good debate on whether it’s creepy, cute, acceptable or just plain weird. 

There are a lot of different kinds of ottomans and cubes. I prefer those that have the option of being on casters. Then, you can easily move the extra seating to anywhere you need it. Other upholstered ottomans, such as the leather one above are versatile. You can place a tray on it and serve food or you can seat an extra person.

You want people to know where they are supposed to sit and where there are supposed to eat and where they are supposed to play. You can guide people with the flow of you rooms by a floor plan. You can have sitting, bar, and game areas. I love using swivel chairs in large open spaces that are versatile because you can swing around and join a different conversation if your heart desires. Kids love swivel chairs too. My kids like to play in the one at the pediatrician’s office which I am so thankful that they have something to keep them occupied.

So what if 5 or 10 extra people show up at your house. Make sure you have enough throw pillows around. I have placed numerous throw pillows around the room. You can always use one to lean back on the side of an occupied chair (if you like the person who is sitting in it and they don’t have smelly feet). Also, people can sit on the soft rug, using a pillow or not. Kids love sitting on pillows. I think it’s because at any moment they can pick it up and start a pillow fight! They are also much more flexible and don’t have those aching, sore backs yet!

The one thing to make your Super Bowl Party or any party stand out is by giving out a prize, whether it’s some money by having a pool or by giving away some team NFL wear. I placed some foam fingers in the room to poke the person who is routing for the wrong team and for the kids to think it’s awesome to have a finger the size of their body. Also, there are some Giants hats in some of the seats for the person who didn’t spill anything, like beer!


I hope I gave you a couple laughs and good advice to make sure you keep your space kid, adult kid and pet-friendly to entertain!

Please visit selmahammer.com to see more of my work and follow me on Twiiter @DesignerSelma. GO GIANTS! What!?! I’m live in Upstate NY and grew up in Jersey!

Get in the Mood to Cre8! Using Olioboard.com- 2D & 3D Moodboard Guide

Ok, so what’s this site that all the buzz is around, especially in the design community? It’s Olioboard.com and if you haven’t heard about it, you are missing out my friends!! I discovered it a couple weeks ago, when I was sick and stuck at home for week with bronchitis. I was on twitter and kept seeing mentions of Pinterest and Olioboard. I saw something about Olioboard being a moodboard tool to create design boards, so automatically a light bulb went off. It can be time consuming coming up with hand made design boards and I do everything on my computer, hence why I’ll be getting carpal tunnel surgery in a couple months!

Okay so what is Olioboard- it’s a tool where you have a blank sheet to add background, products from tons of different vendors, such as Layla Grace, Spirit of Sports, West Elm, Arteriors, Worlds Away, Dwell, Home Decorators, PoshTots etc…

Step One (you’ll have so much fun!): First you need a concept and a plan. Are you going to do a board strictly to compete in the many fun contests the Olioboard community suggests or one sponsored by Olioboard’s affliates, such as PoshTots Nursery contest (ended on 1/30/12) or the “Man Cave” Spirit of Sports contest, starting on 2/1/12? What parameters does the contest have; do you need to feature some of the sponsor’s products? For the majority, you are not competing in a contest. You are probably looking to see how you can put a room together and how all the pieces of the puzzle all come together, such as wall & window treatments, flooring and various products. For designer’s you can use Olioboard to present to your client’s with or without your pricing. For consumer’s, it’s like a fun game! Do you like to craft, scrapbook, stamp, and/or collage, well Olioboard is for YOU!

Step Two (there is so much you can do): You need a background. You can select flooring, wallpaper, windows to enter in the space. The key is enlarging or shrinking items to the size you desire. You drag it from the menu of items to your board after you have chosen to “+create board.” When you click on the specific item it will show a white circle. You can click the solid circle and pull it to the left or right to spin the item so a vertical mirror can be changed to be horizontal such as the one pictured on my board.

Step Three (let out your glee): If you want a 3D board you can google 3D room backgrounds and have some options through sites such as shutterstock. Also, Olioboard has a hand full of backgrounds (more to come according to the company) by clicking on the tab All Sets then scrolling to Rooms. You drag the room picture you want and slide it over your empty board. Tip: Make your board smaller by zooming in on the bottom left hand corner and clicking the minus button or sliding it down so you can see how much room on the board you have to work with  (so you can see that you are covering all the ground you need). You want your background image to cover as much of the board, so you have more room to play.

Step Four (products galore): Tip: Adding large items to your board first will save you lots of tweaking time. If you are going to add window treatments, flooring, wall paper, fireplace, etc.. DO THAT FIRST. Crop the items, if you need to flip them, which flips the item horizontally. If you flop it makes the item upside down. You can make a item bigger by clicking the solid circle and pulling up or down with your mouse (I have a laptop and I use my fingers to open and close like an iPad or iPhone). So if you are placing items on the board on the background and they disappear but you see a dotted circle your item is behind the background. You have to click front on the tool bar and it places the item to the front of all items at the time in your olioboard. Tip: This tool is incredibly important when you are layering items, such as pillows onto a sofa on top of wall paper on top of a background.

Step Five (Hope you are still alive?): The neat thing is you can put any product from the internet on your board. If you can right click on an image from the internet and save as. Then you can upload the .jpeg into My Images (tip: images have to be smaller than 1MB). You then click on My Images, click on upload then add images, upload items. Then name your product, give it tags, put the source, where to purchase (which could be you with your designer pricing), price it and the best part is you can either make this information available to the public or click private. I’ve used both options.

At first, I didn’t realize the thousands of great products already uploaded into Olioboard’s categories and products, which you can easily search for. I would pull them in laboriously one by one from Arteriors, etc… In the olioboard shown here, I used browsed by keyword on olioboard items such as “orange,” “pendants,” “blue rug,” “orange sofa”, etc..

My first moodboard took most of a day, which is not the case if you know what you are doing, which I’m hoping to help you with. Tip: Be careful of objects that have busy backgrounds that you only need the main object from, i.e. if there is a gorgeous vase you would like to use an image of, but it has other vases around it or it is placed on an ugly background that background will show when you upload it to Olioboard. You can use photoshop or try to pick items directly from manufacturer sites, they typically don’t stage their products with tons of objects around it. Another tool is to use cropping to get rid of unwanted bordering items in a picture.

Step Six (get to the mix -ing of textures): How do I create a 3D look? You have to choose items that are angled in the photo to drag over to place on angled side walls. Not all products are on an angle. If they are on an angle you can flip them to be angled differently to place on the opposing wall. Tip: If you need more than one of the same item, first size the original item to the finished size then click duplicate. The duplicate will be on top of the first item so you just click on it and drag to where you need to place it. I use this tool for items such as pillows, pendants, bar stools, etc..

Step Seven (in design heaven?): How do you get that 3D effect in your board with the products you use? So in reality, if you are to stand at the end of a room, the objects that are closest to you are larger and when you are standing far away from things they appear smaller. Use this rule of thumb when placing items on the back wall, you make them smaller. On objects that are at the bottom of the board, the items that are closest to you, you enlarge them. This takes some playing around to get the item to the size you need.

Step Eight (you are doing GREAT!): Don’t forget to save you work along the way. The worst is if you get distracted from your computer or your battery dies and you lose all your work! When done publish your board!! You can tweet it out, facebook like it and download a .jpeg to share with a client, via email, blog post it or pinterest it. Tip: You can download items from Pinterest, in the sample olioboard shown; I downloaded some fun shoes that go with the style and color scheme of the room! How fun! You can really personalize and go crazy to have a fun time. I can hide myself in a room and create Olioboards all day if allowed!!

I hope I have given you enough tips, tools and advice to get you started on making your dream rooms, whether it’s a cute nursery, sophisticated master bedroom or a macho “man cave.” Thanks for reading my blog at blog.selmahammer.com

Follow me on Twitter @DesignerSelma or Like my Facebook page, Selma Hammer Designs or check out my business on selmahammer.com.

For all your shopaholics out there, this satiates my need to spend because I put beautiful rooms together without spending a dime!! That is, until my client approves of the board!! Good times! I have already created one specifically for a client for a master bedroom that was approved! Woot, woot!

Adding MacKenzie-Childs to Your Home

So the big question is when do you have too much of a good thing? Or when have you gone over the limit with too many decorative accents, such as MacKenzie-Childs’ pieces? Is it ever enough?  Is your favorite pattern Courtly Check? You can chose a room or two to put Courtly Check in, but not every accessory in your house.

You don’t want to cross that line that takes you from fabulous to just gaudy. That means, if you have the place-mats, the plate, the charger, the napkins and the glassware all on one place setting, STOP! Step back and look to see where you can add some solid colors. Go for a solid charger, floral stem wear, printed plate then a solid colored napkin and place-mat. If you are stuck in a rut and you want to not only dress to impress yourself but also your home, call a designer, who has the keen eye for mixing and matching. That way you can have a whimsical feel rather than a dizzy mess. 

Don’t go out and buy everything new! Be savvy to sales, especially the once a year Mackenzie-Childs barn sale. Bring a wish-list, have a budget then have fun! Don’t stress about if things have to all be in the same pattern. Tie some floral in with your check, just make sure there are similar colors in the pieces you are buying. When I recently went to the barn sale, I decided I wanted to mix some of the enamel black Flower Market with my courtly check.

My analogy of the barn sale is what Vegas is to a gambler, is what the barn sale is to a MacKenzie collector. You are so excited but overwhelmed with everything to choose from. You don’t want to make the mistake of not get something you will be thinking about every night while you have insomnia. We have all been there. At check out, I put a couple things back, such as this adorable ceramic bird. After I left the barn sale, it was all I could think about. Now, it’s not my standard courtly check or the painted glass vases I collect, but there was something really different and fun about it. After lunch in Aurora, I went back to get it and it made my day. Now every time I look at it, I’m so pleased that I have it and it’s one of my most prized MacKenzie pieces.The general misconception is that you need all Mackenzie-Childs to pull it off and that requires a deep pocket. I feel that you can have splashes of the whimsy accessories and furniture throughout your home by tying in the colors with your existing furniture or paint color. Ideally, it would be amazing to replicate the Mackenzie Child store right in your living room, but in the meantime, add to your collection by adding color, fun and memories.

Sometimes you may walk into TJ Maxx and see a faux Mackenzie-Child piece and think it’s tacky to add to your collection. There is nothing tacky about mixing and matching. Sometimes when you have Gucci sunglasses on and a Michael Kors bag, people may think your whole outfit is designer. Do the same thing with your home decor. The key is to splurge where it matters and find those key pieces.

I love to mix in a whimsical feel to my designs. Be creative and have fun. Add a couple MacKenzie-Childs pieces at first if you are not sure it’s your style. Their pieces are so fun and whimsical. They are bound to stand out!