Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.

As I write this month’s blog, it’s cloudy and snowing. A perfect setting to discuss spreading daylight through the home.  Do you have a dark room or hallway and wonder how to get more light?  Many people have their lights on during the day when there’s no need.  With proper delivery of sunlight, lights would only be used in the dark, completely logical right?

A dark and dreary interior doesn’t have to be with using purposeful historic features that carry daylight through a building while also bringing architectural interest and connectivity.  One method is transom windows.  These windows occur above doors and help spread daylight through to the next room.  Sidelights are another method, often used on front doors.  Any pet owner will recognize the immediate benefit of having a sidelight next to their doors; to alert them their furry friend wants to come in.  Another method for delivering daylight throughout about space and is becoming more common is the interior window.  Simply put, it is a window that is placed on an interior wall between rooms.  Often used in a long horizontal orientation to ease sight lines to entrances, niche corners, or landmarks within a space such as a reception desk. When an interior window is placed in a wall that is adjacent to an exterior window, the daylight is pulled into that next room.  If privacy is an issue, have the window sill placed higher up from the floor.

dream catchers, windows, courtyards

windowsdoors

pantry doors, open floor plans, wood flooring

Beyond spreading daylight throughout the space, it’s also about connecting to the next space.  Transoms, sidelights, and interior windows help pull you through to the next room.  But it’s not just windows that can do this, decorative french doors on pantries, laundries, playrooms, basements, dens and even dressing rooms help connect you, draw you through to the view beyond, and expand the feeling of space.

Whether it’s with a window, a glazed door, or even a mirror, spread the daylight around, appreciate the view, and expand your perspective!  Make a physical connection and engage with what is right next to you, whether it’s a room, your garden, or your neighborhood.  It’s all about connectivity!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Downsizing; finding the right fit.”

Resolutions & Decor Dreaming.  A Designer’s Bucket List of Dream Projects.

First, I need to apologize for missing last month’s blog “Stained Glass, Tales of Color” that was supposed to be published. You see, a week before Christmas, when my blog would have come out, I suffered a technological apocalypse.  My laptop experienced a quick and spontaneous demise.  It turned on once briefly giving me a glimmer of hope but alas it was just enough to quickly harvest files onto a jump drive and then it glowed no more. When I logged onto my blog to complete it for the month on another laptop, I realized it was completely unsaved and was truly lost. I will address the topic again at a later date as it’s already written in my mind, but right now with the help of a new laptop, it’s time for the next scheduled topic of resolutions and decor dreams.


As the hurried pace of the holidays slows and the decorations come down, the focus shifts to the new year before us.  Many people set resolutions; goals or dreams for themselves for the upcoming year.  Most designers have a secret list of project types they would love to do in their professional lifetime.  As a designer, I’ve taken that approach and created a bucket list of projects I aspire to be involved with at some point, may it be this year or in the future.

As an introduction on why these items are on my list, I like places that drip with ambiance.  To make a place memorable and enjoyable, they have to exude character and have a good vibe.  A restaurant for example, has to have a combination of good food and service, plus great atmosphere to bring repeat clients.  If you have one of these food or drink venue related projects, call me today! I would clear my schedule for you…

  1. Wine Bar
  2. Moroccan Restaurant
  3. French Bistro/Bakery
  4. English Pub/Old World Tavern
  5. Jazz Club

Now, here are some pretty pictures, let’s all dream together.

brick wall interior, cafe, renovated historic building, loft living

french bistro, french bakery, restaurant designers

ice cream parlor, cafe, vintage charm restaurants

french bakery, pastries, cafe design, restaurant design, chefs, french menus

cafe design, white wash brick wall, light fixtures, espresso bar design, interior designers in MA

jazz club, pub design, martini lounge, atmospheric establishments

My design resolutions aren’t all food related.  If you have one of these commercial or residential projects I will still excitedly clear my schedule for you…

  1. Modern Office
  2. Mid Century Modern House
  3. Studio Apartment
  4. Tiny House
  5. Restored Cottage
  6. Whimsical Preschool
  7. Surf Shack

officewhite

studio apartment, loft, mid century modern

tiny house living, tiny homes, cottages, downsizing, interior designers in MA

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading my blog!  Set your 2018 goals high and make them happen.  Whether you want to renovate, redecorate, or just rejuvenate, contact my studio, I’d be happy to help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join next time: “Beyond Daylight; it’s all about Connectivity.”

 

color trends, color usage, paint color ideas, interior design

Knowing & Using Color Well

Introduction

T’is the season of color!  From October through February, the holiday season creates a race through the color spectrum.  We kick off with oranges, reds, and golds of autumn, the deep purple and orange of Halloween, moving to plum and brandy colors of Thanksgiving then into deep reds and greens for the Christmas season. The crisp blue and silver of Hanukkah and the bold black, red, and green of Kwanzaa bring even more festivity. We welcome the new year with silver, black and gold and finish the winter with the barren feel of white and brown.  Yes, there is the red and pink show for Valentine’s Day, the green parade of St Patrick’s Day, lavender shower for Easter and the colors of spring and summer flowers, but no other time of year is color ever more present in such a rapid succession. Color is all around us and quite rightly so.  It invokes feeling, reaction, ambiance, mood, and stimulation.  So, take these feelings and bring them indoors.

holiday lights

Paint Selection

The trick to using color well is understanding its undertones, meaning, the colors that are behind the front color.  For example, is it a pure color or does it look “dirty”? By that I mean that the color isn’t a true color, but rather a gray or beige version of it.  Is there another color in the background?  White, for example, is famous for having a second color present.  As an experiment, hold your paint swatch next to a piece of blank printer paper and you’ll see what I mean.  Then, look at how much black or white does your color contain (how far up or down is it on the paint swatch card.) Does it read as a pastel, mid tone, or a deep tone?

Current color trends are getting darker, bolder, and a little dirty.   This works better for walls and lets the furnishings and decor hold the true color versions to accessorize and feature.  These types of paint colors tend to change in the daylight as the day progresses and become moodier as the evening sets in to create ambiance. The black undertones come out allowing the contrast to increase of adjacent white trim  and metallic hardware. If wood trim is your preference, opt for middle tones of the color.

Paint Location

The trend used to be an accent wall, now its more of an accent area or alcove.  Painting a bigger space creates a bigger impact.  The corners of the room blur as the color continues to define to an area rather than a single, flat surface.

home-office

Colors in the Home

The 60’s and 70’s brought avocado and burnt orange.  The 1980’s brought mauve and pastels.  The 90’s brought the golden oak craze paired with jewel tones of hunter green, navy blue, and burgundy.  The 2000’s brought espresso brown and beige, mimicking the Tuscany region in Italy.  The Tuscan influence touched everything from bronze fixtures and lighting to large scale stately furnishings and dark wood trim.  If you didn’t choose the brown Tuscan style, did you have the red accent wall in the kitchen and brushed nickel finishes? Coming out of the 2010’s to present day is the all white kitchen, gray or “greige” walls and shiny chrome metal.

The color trend is moving into drama!  Dark and dirty jewel tones are even showing up in kitchen cabinetry.  Mid tone woods are also raging due to the renaissance of the mid century modern style.  Its time to bring color back. Below are the selected paint colors from various paint manufacturers for 2o17 and 2018.  These colors are where the paint industry believes the trends are headed.  It should be noted that Pantone (considered to be the industry leader in color) at the beginning of every year announces their choice of the “hot” new color, driving influence into all design fields from interiors, to clothing, and graphics.

 

Decor

Sad to say, but the pale neutrals of the Farmhouse style have had their time in the spotlight. Moving in aggressively are neo-classic styles that take the standard furniture profiles and turn them on their heads.  Traditional armchairs are showing up in bold colors with animal prints. Mix in a little bit of the eclectic granny Chic and some feature mid tone antique wood pieces with a bold wall color and you have the new classic.  It’s the navy pin stripe suit with a dark fuchsia tie and caramel color shoes.

Bring in the color, don’t be afraid!  Contact my studio for assistance in selecting the perfect colors for your project.

P.S. Tune into my Facebook page, routinely I post “Design Ideas” featuring a specific color. These montages are great ways to get some inspiration for the specific color you desire. Also if your’re working with the exterior of your home, check out my previous blog Creating curb appeal and exterior detail for additional color tips.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in November: “Designer Tips & Tricks; Creating a Vibe.

minimalist interiors, simple interiors, gallery wall, interior designers in MA, black and white photography

Minimalism & Interiors; Part 2

Welcome Back!

This is part two of my ongoing series regarding minimalism and living simply.  This month I discuss minimalism and interiors.  As I mentioned in my previous month’s blog Minimalism & Living Simply:

“Any style of interior can be minimalist by simply not getting lost in the details and decor.”

Often times in the glossy decor magazines the rooms are filled to the hilt with accessories.  I’ve always felt that when designing an interior that the room needs space to breath and the eye needs a place to  rest.  This is where minimalism shines.

white kitchen, minimalist kitchens, kitchens without upper cabinets, minimalist interiors, interior designers in MA

Simple & Functional Kitchen
brown and white bedrooms, simple bedroom ideas, minimalist bedroom, interior designers in MA
Simple Bedroom
white office design, teal office, minimalist office decor, office interiors, interior designers in MA
Minimal & Modern Office Layout
tropical bedroom, teak wood, simple bedroom interiors, rustic resorts, hotel bedroom ideas, interior designers in MA
Rustic & Natural, Minimal Decoration
loft, simple decor, minimalism, minimalist decor, interior designers in MA
Urban & Simple Minimalist Apartment

See? All different styles of interiors, but they’re ALL minimalist in nature.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, father of modern architecture is credited with the famous design phrase “Less is more.” however after delving in further, I found the phrase, under the same context, first appeared in a line of “Andrea del Sarto, The Faultless Painter”, a poem by Robert Browning.  Regardless of who said it first, the statement remains the same.  Less IS more.

To reiterate my minimalist point even more, this month’s blog even mimics my mantra when approaching minimalism in interiors. Don’t get lost in the details.  If you are developing a minimalist approach to a room, I invite you to share it with me via my contact page.  I would love to see what my readers are doing or work with you on a project!


Next month we step away from minimalism and into the DIY world of kitchen renovations.  If you want your kitchen project finished in time for the Holiday season, you must start now.  You can do it, but let me help you.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Join in September: “10 steps to a budget friendly, DIY kitchen renovation.

 

downsizing, real estate, interior design

Beyond the Beige Box; 6 ways to create curb appeal and exterior detail.

Another season has started, real estate season!  In Massachusetts, this year’s season seemed to start February 1st with the dripping of melting icicles.  Many parts of the country may not get going until May, however out in Boston and the surrounding metro area, people are thirsty for new property as they move up, downsize, or try to shorten their commute by 20 minutes.  Open houses out here are busy and the buyers compete.  Just like a job interview, first impression is key and for property that’s curb appeal.  Even if you’re not preparing to plant that powerful “For Sale” sign in your front yard, creating curb appeal for your home is important for maintaining property value, neighborhood feel and fundamental homeowner pride.

The most expensive purchase you’ll ever make should be made to shine.  As an interior designer, my focus is inside a building, however I also have a background in city planning and urban design where I focus on enhancing the aesthetics of buildings and streetscapes.  So let’s go outside for a minute and take a look at what’s going on out there.

1. Style Basics & Color Schemes

Studying the style and architecture of your home is the first step in analyzing the color scheme.  All styles come with a feel and look that makes them work or makes them clash.  Searching online for the style of your home, you can quickly gather color ideas of tried and true combinations.  Another factor to consider is your weather and climate.  If you’ve traveled anywhere to a different climate you may have noticed the buildings are painted very differently.  Mainly to do with weather conditions, cultural influences, but also to do with the sun, particularly the quality of sunlight.  Northern climates tend to favor gray and beige schemes as the sun intensity is greatly reduced during winter months.  A brightly painted house would almost glow in the dark come January.  Move slowly south, the “Painted Lady” Victorian house starts popping up with bits of colorful trim.  Finally, go to tropical locales and you have fuchsia, turquoise, and canary yellow being acceptable and common place.  Historical and iconic locations such as Rome and Santorini even have building covenants in place limiting the color schemes to maintain the look of the area that visitors and residents expect and love.  Note: if you live in a condo community, check with your HOA for an official list of approved colors prior to painting, many communities have rules regarding color schemes.  Once you have developed a color scheme, use that inspiration throughout your project for continuity.  Painting a house or choosing siding is expensive and not done very often in the lifespan of a home.  This is not a time to reinvent the proverbial wheel in color schemes or combinations.

Washington DC townhomes, row house, historic neighborhood

Santorini Greece
Washington DC vs. Santorini

Caribbean

Netherlands, Amsterdam
Caribbean vs. Netherlands

2. Windows & Doors

Once your color scheme is established, its time to pay attention to the main features of your house, the windows and doors.  Accent colors tend to be used on front doors and shutters (if installed).  Front doors should also indicate what’s to come on the inside. Classic black indicates traditional style, bright colors usually indicate a more modern style, and complimentary or neutrals usually indicate a more transitional or casual interior. Styles of front doors should also be considered when enhancing the architecture of your home.  Cohesion is key to creating strong curb appeal.  Mullion and muntin lines in window profiles lend to the architecture style of the house, choosing the correct one is imperative.  Windows can cost up to 20% of the cost of your home, getting the style wrong is expensive and not a mistake that can be undone.

Yellow front door, curb appeal, historic homes

Notting Hill, Beacon Hill, Black front door, curb appeal

3. Wood Trim & Gingerbread

Victorian homes shine when it comes to wood trim or “gingerbread” when the correct colors are applied.  The term “painted ladies” describes the post card row houses of San Francisco, what many people envision with the term Victorian home.  Craftsman homes are another style where color palettes can greatly improve the wood trim appearance. Using more neutral and earthy tones in addition to stone accents can really enhance these homes.  Like idea #1 above, this is not a time to reinvent the proverbial wheel in color schemes or combinations.

Victorian home, restored homes, historic home, painted ladies

San Francisco, Painted Ladies, row house, historic homes
“Painted Ladies”

4. Details & Hardware

A quick way to enhance to the appearance of your home is with door hardware.  Its an up close detail that can add a lot of charm and character for relatively little cost.  Many home owners think of new door knobs and locks as the only option, however this category also includes items such as door knockers, hinges, brackets, kick plates, and house numbers.  Again, stick to the common architecture style of your house and stay in the same “line” when choosing items at the store.  Decisions to consider are the metal finish, profile, intricacy, and style.  For house numbers, the font choice will also need to be considered.  Just like letters, the font of the letter depicts a feel and style that needs to correlate to the overall style of your house.  If placing it on your house, by your front door or by the garage are typical places, make sure its legible from the curb.  It may be necessary to place another set on your mailbox or on your landscaping nearby as it needs to be functional as well as aesthetic.

door knockers, antique brass, door hardware, hinges

5. Landscaping & Hardscaping

Flowers and landscaping is usually what most people think of when they think spring house projects outdoors.  Many people enjoy adding the bright colors to pots and along their walkways and driveways.  Don’t think you have a “green thumb”? You don’t have to be an avid gardener to plant a pot of flowers.  Start simple with one bright color in one pot on your front step.  When starting out, look for two things on the flower’s label: 1) amount of sun needed and 2) duration of flowers.  You don’t want to buy a flower that requires all day sun that stops blooming in June when you have a semi shady spot and want color all summer long.  If you’ve planted flowers before start analyzing your arrangement style.  Do you want more height or like trailing flowers that seem to overflow?  Hanging baskets and window boxes allow for the trailing feel on porches, while planting spike plants in the center of pots creates a sculptural feeling and provide height.  Consider colors that coordinate like your clothes but also add drama from the curb.  Consider your house color as a backdrop for the flowers and choose contrasting colors to add drama or similar colors for a more serene, calmer feel.

When it comes to hardscape, price quickly adds up.  Paved patios of rock and brick can become pricey.  Many revered English gardens use basic gravel for walkways, trailing into simple stone steps then disappear into the lawn.  Trimming the edge of a perennial garden with bricks or stones end to end can create a crisp border line and ease lawn mowing.  Build your garden slowly, maybe the first season you plant a couple of trees and outline the flower bed with some bushes, then add some perennials and a couple of potted annuals by the front door, finally adding the trim, decor and details.

colorful planters, purple flowers, petunias

English garden, landscaping ideas, park flowers

6. Fencing & Mailboxes 

Whether for safety or privacy, the aesthetic of the fence you choose is important.  Cost directly correlates to the material chosen.  Are you dealing with an existing fence or a mixture of fence styles? Consider adding tall shrubbery to the side you don’t like or want to block and open style pickets or rails to the side you want the view.  Specific rules need to be considered when installing a fence in consideration to the neighbors and location on property line.  Generally, the “finished” side faces the neighbors and the “back” side faces you.  Fence companies in your area should be familiar with these courtesy rules as well as your local building department regarding fence permits and allowable styles.

Finally, your mailbox should be considered.  This is the first thing someone notices when pulling into your driveway, don’t just stick a box on a post in a bucket of Quikrete and call it good.  If your mailbox is leaning and peeling, or the numbers are faded or missing its time for a face lift.  Also consider posts with planters included.  Flowers at the mailbox add obvious curb appeal because its…at the curb!

fencing, white lawn furniture, day lilies, mixed fencing ideas

mailbox ideas, flower pot mailboxes, yellow flowers, curb appeal

 

Using all or any of these six areas can get the creative curb appeal juices flowing.  Plant a flower, add some new numbers and paint your front door.  Maybe you spray paint your old patio furniture, replace your mailbox, and throw down some fresh mulch.  The point is to refresh and revitalize your home.  The exterior of your home takes a beating from the weather and needs care.  Landscaping needs grooming and the painted finishes need refreshing.  The curb appeal of a house is like a person’s face, make sure its smiling.

Next month, I’ll move back inside as I focus on what to look for when you’re shopping for a new house.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Check out my previous blog regarding preparing the inside of your home for a showing here.

Join in April: “Buying the Right Home.

house boat, tiny house movement, tiny house designers in Massachusetts, tiny home designers in MA, interior designer in Medway

TINY Housing Alternatives

Beyond single family homes, apartments, condos, and downtown lofts there are many housing alternatives for those who desire something different.  Cottages, cabins, houseboats, dome homes, earth homes, and even communal living are all decades old concepts but are still a niche market.  However, within this niche market there is a growing movement raging on called Tiny Homes. Occurring world wide, tiny homes (commonly defined as being less than 500 sf) are offering incredibly sensible solutions to a diverse population for many reasons.  The main factors driving this trend are:

  • Those looking to buy are priced out of the market to shoulder the crippling and heavy mortgage burden, however still desire the high demand locations.
  • Those wanting to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint, live off grid, or live a sustainable lifestyle more in tune with nature.
  • Those yearning for a simpler life with less stress by reducing the required upkeep of a larger home, limiting the consumerism ideals of wanting and buying more, or living minimally with only necessities and truly desired items.
  • Those desiring to travel and need a home base to return to at the end of a journey.  Many tiny homes are mounted on trailers for this reason, thus the owners can then take their home with them on road trips.cottage, tiny house movement, tiny homes, tiny house designers in MA, tiny home designers in Medway, MA, interior designers in Medway, MA

Whatever the reason is, many of these tiny homes are simply beautiful!  When the concept of a home is streamlined to the basics the finesse of a well thought out design occurs due to spatial necessity.  Still utilizing standard building materials of stud walls, insulation, shingles, double pane windows, skylights, wood floors, tile and so forth these homes can hold their own in style and craft way better when comparing to its cousin the RV, built of plastic, laminates and vinyl.  However, due to the small size of these buildings, creativity is also needed in working with current building codes.

Many of these homes are mounted on trailers for this reason but then cannot be considered homes. Being mounted on trailers, many tiny homes average 8 ft wide by 24 ft long, and 13.5 ft tall due to DOT road regulations.  To maximize interior space within these confines, many work out to be 150 sf-200 sf with the addition of loft spaces.  Placing these homes permanently on a plot of land is another hurdle they face.  In many municipalities they can only be classified as secondary dwellings or auxiliary spaces.  This means they cannot be the primary residence of the land owner and have to locate on someone else’s backyard.  Additional workarounds often have to be considered such as skirting the trailer wheels from sight, proper utility hookups, waste water management and so forth.  However, those who are fortunate enough to be able to locate their tiny homes on open land without zoning restriction and completely off grid are living large!  The lifestyle freedom these tiny homes bring is phenomenal and the views from their windows can be breathtaking.

living on the water, houseboat, longboat living, living on the water, tiny house movement, tiny house, tiny home designers in Massachusetts, tiny home designer in Medway, MA, Boat designer in MA

As I mention on my website, my design studio is also the combination of the hobbies that keep me up at night.  One of my guilty pleasures is watching tiny house videos on YouTube.  As a designer, I analyze the homes’ level of craftsmanship, layout efficiency, and sustainable practices/environmental considerations.  My favorite video producer by far is Bryce Langston and his “Living Big in a Tiny House”  project based in New Zealand.   With many kiwi residents either priced out of the expensive Auckland housing market or have fallen victim to the massive earthquakes in Christchurch, tiny homes are becoming a fast trend and valid housing solution.  With his friendly interview style and genuine interest in tiny homes, Bryce’s videos showcase different tiny homes all over New Zealand.  The additional scenic aerial drone shots are breathtaking and just add to the videos’ charm.  He also includes construction tutorials from his own tiny house building project that are very informative and supportive of those looking to build their own homes.  I can’t wait to see how his tiny house ends up and look forward to viewing his new videos this year.  He’s currently interviewing in Japan and is coming to the USA this spring to learn more about the American tiny home trend.  Learn more about Bryce and his living big project at http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/

There is also a subset within Tiny Homes called Micro Homes.  These differ slightly as they usually average under 100 sf!  These are super stripped down and answer the requirements of absolute basic living.  Extremely portable, these homes have also offered some larger cities solutions with helping the homeless find transitional housing for example.  Watching YouTube videos on this topic, names start to repeat and those in the Tiny House community refer to each other for design assistance or inspiration.  One such name is Dee Williams. Found at https://padtinyhouses.com/, she has downsized her 80 sf micro home to a new vardo gypsy wagon style under 60 sf.  She’s truly a minimalist and revered in the tiny/micro community.

While my design specialty is historic preservation and renovations, I have always enjoyed making floor plans more efficient, analyzing every nook and cranny for unused space, and removing unneeded open space.  My internship back in college was even analyzing the spatial efficiency of a hospital of 3 million sf to see if they were maximizing their space utilization. Buildings are priced out per square foot, so I like to make sure every one of them is used effectively.  Designing a large building is easy but many times the functional space remains the same and circulation space (walking around) is what increases. Many daily activities occur in spaces less than 100 sf and human interactions occur within 10 sf. Shrinking that large building down and still maintaining all functions becomes the challenge, where the creativity begins! Hence, why I love studying tiny homes.

tiny house living, tiny homes, cottages, downsizing, interior designers in MA

The American dream used to be buy a large chunk of land, build a big impressive house and feel satisfied saying “I’ve made it, I’m a success.”  However, I feel that idea is shifting. With land prices soaring, the environmental impact becoming more evident, and lifestyles becoming much more mobile, that dream has new ideas.  Cities are being more gentle with natural resources with recycling programs and encouraging water conservation with many states facing droughts.  Solar panel installations are becoming  increasingly popular and hybrid/high efficient cars are now common place.  Businesses too are downsizing, people are now working remotely or on location, thus reducing the amount of office space the company needs to lease.  Now, with the tiny house movement, cities have a new option to create affordable housing that can also be a lighter burden, if they choose to accept them into their zoning.  I’ve recently read that tiny homes are becoming an appendix to the International Residential Code for 2018.  Its still in the review and adoption process by the International Code Council, but the induction is finally here.   Many building officials currently don’t know how to approve Tiny Homes as they’re in no mans land for building codes. Yes, restrictions will then occur for the DIY’ers but only through code regulations will municipalities be able to bring main stream acceptance. Then, tiny homes could exist on their own yard screaming “I’ve made it, I’m a success!”

house-sketch

The idea of home is many things to many people.  At the end of the day however, all you need is protection from the elements, a cozy place to rest and cuddle with a loved one, a way to prepare nourishing food, and a facility to refresh.  How you define those is what makes your home truly yours, whether its big, tiny, or somewhere in the middle.  Go find your tribe, the home and community for you is out there.

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

Check out my previous blogs regarding making homes multi task here and how to declutter your life here.

Join in March: “Beyond the Beige Box; creating curb appeal and exterior detail.”

Favorite Finishes; a designer’s choice.

I have been looking forward to writing this month’s entry ever since I created my annual list of topics during the summer.  The following is  a culmination of all the finishes that I love to use as an interior designer.  Obviously, not all would make it into every project as the owner/users, project budget and function of a space dictate what’s appropriate.  Also, trying to be a well rounded designer, all interior styles and materials are workable and feasible.  HOWEVER, if I had to pick signature items for myself, these would be it…

 

I’ve grouped my favorite picks into categories.  Many overlap and work in other groups like the texture helps depict the style or color scheme.  But I’ve tried to group them into cohesive ideas.

favs

Please also check out my curated style boards on Pinterest: DDS Style Boards.  I have boards for interior finishes, decor ideas, historic preservation, and mid century modern, as well as plain/simple, modern for the modern shy and a new tiny house board.

Now back to my list… let’s take a look at some examples of my favorite materials assembled together:

brick wall interior, cafe, renovated historic building, loft living

courtyard, white lights, cafe dining, al fresco dining, brick and limestone, restored property

When you layer different elements you create depth and richness, both physical and visual.  Using complimentary colors and a diversity of materials you create a balanced environment.  If you’re like me you enjoy the beauty and richness that can be found in older pieces too.  The trick when using vintage pieces is to mix them with new up to date materials around them bringing the interior to present day.  If using all vintage pieces, the interior will appear just that, dated.

Now, to briefly address items I don’t like: paisley, chevron, and herringbone patterns.  I don’t like polka dots much either, but for the right room I could squeeze a few in here and there.  For reproductions, I’m not a fan of digitally printed or vinyl imitation of materials, it always looks flat and too perfect.  Real authenticity brings dents and dings, scratches and scars, patina and dirt.  However if your budget does not afford all of the real things, don’t worry.  To quote from my July’s blog post Decorator, Designer, Architect…which one to choose? :

Never let a designer tell you that you need a bigger budget for a better impact.  Creativity and imagination can go a long way for a limited budget.”

Real materials can cost more, but can still be showcased just in smaller quantities.  Also,  function often requires something more durable, such as vinyls and polyesters, this is not a problem either.  Today’s commercial materials can deliver a similar desired aesthetic and meet the building code requirements and durability standards for the location.

When choosing materials and finishes, create depth and interest.  Interiors are to be experienced and enjoyed.  The physical environment provides a visual energy, make sure its amazing!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

 

Join in November: “Making room in your rooms

Dust & Debris, Surviving Construction

NEED & PURGE

So you want to change your space, you believe you need different space or you will burst at the seams if you don’t build or remodel.  PAUSE- did you purge all the unnecessary junk from your space?  If not, read my last month’s blog about flexible and evolving rooms. (Blog)  There’s a motivating section about sorting out your stuff.  Constructing new space just to fill it with unused stuff is pointless and expensive.  If you’ve already purged, please have a seat.  Let’s talk…

ESTABLISH the PROJECT

The most helpful step in a construction job is to know exactly what are you wanting in the outcome.  Are you painting and buying new fixtures or are you redoing the whole bathroom?  Are you tearing out empty offices to pave way for an open office layout or just removing cubicles?  It’s important to clearly define the boundaries of the project from the start. If you don’t, the project will “grow legs” and run away from you making your timeline unrealistic and the budget blown.  The phrase “while we’re at it, why don’t we just…”  is a very alluring statement. Yes it is more economical to have the work done all at once, but you don’t want to renovate the whole building if it’s just one room that really needs the work.  Also, consider phasing the work, especially if you are occupying the space during construction.  Enough unknowns will be uncovered while remodeling as it is to delay the project.  If there is additional desired work, it’s best to discuss it with the designer and contractor to figure out when and how to add it to the original scope.

HIRING the PROFESSIONALS

In the beginning stages of contacting professionals it is important to familiarize yourself first with the correct terminology regarding construction. Below are some words that are often times confused.  The subtle differences can greatly affect the impression the professional forms regarding the scope and depth of the project.

Preservation: respecting the historic property in its entirety and efforts are focused on maintaining current conditions without making modifications.

Restoration: returning a property to a specific previous time period using the original materials that are present. Other items not matching the chosen time period are removed.

Rehabilitation: similar to restoration however originals in poor condition may need to be recreated in order to complete the work.

Renovation: aesthetic updates to dated interior finishes such as flooring or wall finishes. Can also include plumbing fixtures, lighting, and appliances.

Remodel: changing physical characteristics like doors and walls as well as finishes mentioned in renovations.

New Construction: either constructing an addition to the existing structure or a new building altogether.

Once familiar with the specific term defining your project, meet with an interior designer. They will know who you need for a project, what plans need to be drawn and help you solidify your ideas.  Refer to my article about hiring a professional. (Blog)  Unless you are a seasoned DIY veteran many construction jobs will require professional design help.  Review their portfolios, discuss past projects, and have them view your space to brainstorm ideas prior to signing a contract.  This will also allow piece of mind that your ideas are aligned.  Items also important to discuss when hiring a  designer are your style inspirations, historic preservation items, environment/sustainability concerns, allergies/health and age range of occupants (infants and elderly specifically).  The designer won’t just help design your space but also assist in managing the construction site and working with you and your contractor.  Specific notes can be written into the plans to address necessary concerns for your project.

In general, you want to get as much work done on paper first before bringing in the sledgehammer.  You may be anxious to get the work started, but it will always be cheaper and more beneficial to work it out on paper first.  Plans, details, schematics, finish schedules, custom orders, contracts, deposits/payments, permits & insurance, workshop space, tool storage, dust mitigation and garbage removal are all items that need to be addressed prior to any hammer getting swung.  A word of caution when reviewing quotes from contractors:  Always get at least three different quotes.  Look for the outlier (extremely high or low).  If one is drastically different than the other two, don’t accept it.  They’re either missing part of the scope, desperate for work, or misunderstanding the project. 

SCHEDULE & BUDGET

You may have established an end date in your mind prior to meeting with your designer and contractor, however they well help fill in the details and make adjustments as necessary.  What may feel like a quick job, may indeed need more time because of unconsidered factors such as plumbing or electrical updates or needing increased structural support for wall openings.  If there’s a big event that the work needs to be completed by that needs to be communicated in the planning stage to have the most impact.

When creating a budget, know your financial limits firmly.  Is there a loan or grant getting used or a fixed cash amount that needs to be maintained?  Yes you’ll sign a quote from a contractor but contingency is there for a reason, make sure it’s part of the quote.  Allocate 8-15% of your budget for contingencies as unknowns are always discovered.   Remember if you “rob Peter to pay Paul” then your budget will need to be adjusted. Meaning your big ticket items need to be covered if they’re necessary and scrapped if they’re not.  For an in depth remodel  imagine a $100 pie; roughly a third should be for the interior work including finishes, non structural wall alterations, and windows.  $5 is allocated for furnishings.  Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC take another $33 of the pie.  The remaining third should be roughly divided into  $25 for the structure itself,  and the remaining $10 of the pie for contingent expenses discovered along the way.  If its just an aesthetic interior renovation the $25 for the structure can be allocated into other pie portions as needed.

DURING CONSTRUCTION

A careful decision is whether to attempt to continue to use the space vs vacate during construction.  Demolition is brutal, especially if nothing is being salvaged and the walls or floors need to be opened up for electrical, plumbing or HVAC work.  If you must remain in the space consider construction phases or scheduled time for excessively noisy work.  Dust partitions and walk off mats should be installed regardless to help reduce tracking dirt elsewhere in the property.  Otherwise, set up a temporary location elsewhere, it will move the work along faster and help you keep your sanity. 

demolition, construction, home remodel, bathroom renovaationconstruction, demolition, bathroom remodel

Also during construction material samples should be available to select remaining finishes such as flooring or paint colors.  With technology 3D models and color renderings are standard practice as well as example photos.  If not possible, ask to visit a showroom or view past projects to visualize an item prior to installation.  The schedule and timeline is very important to continue work progression.  The construction trades follow each other in work sequence so delaying a tile decision, for example, can hold up plumbers and painters.  Decisions need to be made as early as possible as lead times for many items can be 6-12 weeks if not readily available as a stock item.  A single order needs to be placed for finishes to prevent different color batches to occur. If special orders or back orders occur, a faster alternate should be suggested if the delay will cause significant schedule setback. 

It is best to discuss frustrations and problems as they occur to keep the aggravations at a minimum.  Update meetings should occur twice a week for a project that is less than 12 weeks in duration and once a week for jobs longer than 12 weeks.  Once daily phone calls and email exchanges should suffice for quick clarifications but bombarding contractors and designers with hourly issues will complicate matters and can cause more confusion in the back and forth transactions. When walking through the job site, dress appropriately especially footwear.  Sturdy, closed toe shoes should always be worn to avoid tripping and injury.  A dust mask and safety glasses are always wise to have on hand.  A hardhat during heavy demolition and structural construction will be required by the contractor and should be announced ahead of time. 

During construction feel free to document the progress with photos.  Also,  city inspections reports/sign-offs and permits should be posted.  As the owner, copies of these should be provided to you if desired.  When all work is said to be completed a final walk through  should be performed.  The site should appear finished, cleared of all leftover debris and professionally cleaned.  Have your designer perform a “punch list” during the walk through.  This list should only include small items such as paint touch ups and receiving manuals.  If any major issues are evident, consider the work incomplete.  Final payment to the contractor and owner occupancy shall occur after punch list items are completed.

AFTER CONSTRUCTION

The project is finally completed and hopefully successful.  You are excited to move into the space and are pleased with the finished product.  The contractor and designer aren’t finished yet.  Post occupancy surveys, portfolio photos and client references are the last steps to completing your project.  These are the venues to air your exaltation or grievances.  Please complete the surveys, write the references/reviews, and let the photographers take the photos.


As the old adage goes, “only experience brings true confidence”.  However, with the help of a qualified designer and seasoned contractor you should feel comfortable tackling any construction job.  Don’t be afraid, make the jump and improve your life.  After the dust settles it will be awesome!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

 

Join in October: “Favorite Finishes, A Designer’s Choice.

Decorator, Designer, Architect…which one to choose?

interior designer in Medway, MA

So you have a space in either your home or business and you want to change it.  The project is out of your comfort zone so you have to bring in the design pros, but you don’t know who to call.  This is a common question, especially confusion between interior decorators and interior designers.  I’m here to spread a little light on the topic and assist those seeking the professional design assistance they need.

You start your hunt by perusing websites, social media, and the phone book and notice  some being called designer and others decorators as well as abbreviations and letters after the names.  Interior decorators don’t require any formal education.  Anything from selling home decor to window treatments and wall paper usually falls under this domain.  It’s oriented towards aesthetic treatments in homes.  Formal Interior design education is a 2-4 year college program, issuing either an associate or bachelor degree, and work in either residential or light commercial sectors.  Commercial interior designers, in comparison, typically are trained from a 4 year bachelor degree accredited program, many carry the NCIDQ certification and work alongside architects in design firms.  Architects are trained in a bachelor or master degree accredited program and carry the NCARB by state licensed credential.  If you see the initials ASID, IIDA, or AIA, these are professional associations with levels of Professional, Allied, and Associate depicting levels of qualifications.  If you see LEED AP or GA by a person’s name, these letters refer to certified knowledge in sustainable construction methods for building certification by the USGBC.  

Adding to the mix are kitchen and bath designers, showroom associates, and equipment specialists.  These professionals all work in showrooms representing products.  Use caution when working solely with these professionals as they usually work on commission and may not always have your best interest in mind.  Suggestions of custom work, special orders, and tailor made items can wreck havoc on your project’s budget, extend your timeline and may not even be necessary.  Its best to involve a third party decorator, designer, or architect not affiliated with a showroom and agree to a flat fee or hourly rate instead of commission for payment.  It may sound helpful to work with the showrooms’s in house design team but be on guard.

Don’t take design advice from someone who will profit when you spend more money with them.  Use third party assistance that can be a helper not a spender. 

Let’s look at some examples of who to call and when:  Do you need help choosing new curtains or carpet?  Call a decorator.  Are you remodeling your kitchen or bathroom?  Call an interior designer.  Do you want to knock out a wall and build an addition?  Call an architect.  Those should be pretty clear, now let’s muddy the waters.  Do you want to open up your kitchen to your living room, relocate the fixtures in your bathroom, and add furniture to your remodel project?  How about creating zones in your office space, change the visibility through your business lobby, then upgrade your suspended ceiling?  This water is getting murky!  In all examples, you should call an interior designer.  They can handle the kitchen remodel, refer to an architect or even a structural engineer for the living room wall opening if a header is needed by the contractor, work with the plumber to relocate the fixtures in the bathroom,  and then assist you in the retail store to help you select your furniture.  They can rearrange your office zones by function, redesign your business lobby and then suggest products for that new suspended ceiling.

paint swatch, interior designer in Medway,MA,

You now know you need an interior designer for you project, however still some uncertainty and doubt may remain.  Will they want to do it?  How will they possibly reinvent this space?  How long will it take?  Is it possible on my budget?  Can I remain in the space while the work is being done?  Can I even afford to hire one?  All of these questions can be answered in an initial project consultation.  Contact the designer, set up a time to meet and discuss your ideas, from there, the designer will give you feedback and draw up a contract including a scope of work summary and preliminary schedule.  State your timeline as early as possible as some items require 2-3 month lead times, holding up the project.  Budget also needs to get discussed from the beginning as an experienced designer can suggest where in the project to splurge or save to be the most effective while still meeting all end goals.

Never let a designer tell you that you need a bigger budget for a better impact.  Creativity and imagination can go a long way for a limited budget.

All design professionals will have a portfolio of past work, ask to see it. The Internet has made this step much easier with Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and of course websites.  From there you will know whether your selected professional is capable of performing the project.  The designer should be able to draw up plans, show style examples, provide swatches and samples, and guide you through the process to create your dream.   

This is YOUR project, you can succeed in it but you need help.  Don’t be shy, call an interior designer.  Dream it, discuss it, plan it, review it, watch the work, and love the outcome!

Sincerely,

Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ

Studio Owner & Interior Designer

Daricilar Design Studio    –    Medway, MA

 

Join in August: “Evolving rooms and flexible spaces”