Archive for February, 2011

February 22, 2011

Why it’s a big mistake not to include an interior designer at the start of the building process.

by rebecca elisabeth design
The Key of my mind...


Interior designer are sometimes only thought of in terms of helping with furnishings. While this is a part of what we do, consider the knowledge we have about how your space will really function once you are in it. We have an intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of how spaces are used and therefore can contribute greatly to the process from the start – even before you go for a building permit! Architects, builders, cabinet-maker and other contractors are finished with their work when they finish their part and the builder hands you the keys to the shell of your house. Let’s face it, when you get those keys, it will feel like you only just started unless you have had a designer involved from the start helping design the space that will be ready for you and your things.

A house isn’t a home until you can sleep in your bed, bathe in your tub, cook in your kitchen and relax in your living room. When a designer can give input all along the way, then “work arounds” and a “less than perfect” feel won’t be necessary. You should consider a professional designer as a part of the design/build team.

February 21, 2011

Photo Diary of a San Diego Designer in Europe: Modernist Architecture

by rebecca elisabeth design
Main Entry: mod·ern·ist architecture
Pronunciation: \ˈmä-dər-ˌnist\ \ˈär-kə-ˌtek-chər\
Function: noun
Definition: Modernist architecture emphasizes function. It attempts to provide for specific needs rather than imitate nature. The roots of Modernism may be found in the work of Berthold Luberkin (1901-1990), a Russian architect who settled in London and founded a group called Tecton. The Tecton architects believed in applying scientific, analytical methods to design. Their stark buildings ran counter to expectations and often seemed to defy gravity.

Modernist architecture can express a number of stylistic ideas, including Structuralism, Formalism, Bauhaus; The International Style, Desert Modernism, Mid-Century Modern, Brutalism and Minimalism.

Modernist architecture has these features:

  • Little or no ornamentation
  • Factory-made parts
  • Man-made materials such as metal and concrete
  • Emphasis on function
  • Rebellion against traditional styles


More Photo Diary Series>

February 21, 2011

Photo Diary of a San Diego Designer in Europe: Architectural Embellishments of Europe

by rebecca elisabeth design
Main Entry:  em·bel·lish·ment
Pronunciation:  \em-bel-lish-mənt\
Function: adjective
Definition: To make beautiful with ornamentation, to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative or fanciful details
February 21, 2011

Photo Diary of a San Diego Designer in Europe: Balustrades

by rebecca elisabeth design
Main Entry: bal·us·trade
Pronunciation: \ˈba-lə-ˌstrād\
Function: noun
Definition: A balustrade is a row of repeating balusters – small posts that support the upper rail of a railing. Staircases and porches often have balustrades.
February 15, 2011

Showroom Designer vs. Independent Designer

by rebecca elisabeth design
When furnishing a home, there are a plethora of options that you can find at retailers and even more that exist offered “to the trade” (this means not offered to non-designers). While you can do it yourself, turn to a showroom designer or rely on an independent designer for help, I will explain the pros and cons of each so you can decide what is right for you.

Hire a independent professional designer. Be sure to look for certifications to ensure you are getting a professional designer.
The pros:
  • help from someone with years of training, experience, and education in design
  • some one who knows the best contacts and contractors
  • some one who has insider tips and industry tricks
  • some one who has day in and day out experience solving problems and come up with creative solutions to get your end results faster and with less cost and frustration
  • design unique to you
  • limitless options for design and guidance through those choices
  • knowledge of space planning
  • breadth of knowledge in multiple lines
  • no affiliation with specific product lines and therefore not biased
  • furnishings made to fit your space
  • “to the trade” lines which are only offered to designers so your neighbor won’t have the same things in their home
  • help with making all the detailed finish selections when building or remodeling (kitchen, baths, even the whole house)
  • access to quality crafts people for custom furnishings
  • get products at or below retail with design help.

The cons:

  • if a designer charges hourly plus product mark-up it can cost nominally more than high end retail (but often saves you in time and mistakes)
  • you can’t sit on custom designed furniture, so you have to rely on your designer understanding your needs and likes

Retail Designer. Designers found at retail shops.
The pros:
  • you get some help from people who work with their product day in and day out
  • expertise in a few product lines
  • you can see, sit on and touch a model of what you will buy

The cons:

  • these designers only make money if they sell you their product not what is necessarily best for you

Go it alone. Head out to retailers in your area and make your selection based on what you see in the store.
The pros:
  • you get things that are mass produced so you could wind up with furnishings your friends and neighbors have
  • you see, sit and touch exactly what you are going to order
  • economies of scale – retailers reduce their prices because they produce in mass and therefore the cost to you is usually low

The down sides:

  • your neighbors can get the exact same item at any time
  • limited by fabric selections offered
  • a lack of training in movement/flow of a well designed room, and the principles of scale and proportion of furnishings in a room
February 8, 2011

Interior Design: Kitchen Trends for 2011

by rebecca elisabeth design
A stainless steel countertop

Image via Wikipedia

The down turn in the economy has been a catalyst for design creativity. Kitchens are no exception, even the ultra contemporary and the ultra traditional kitchens are doing something to make their space a little different than they’ve seen before. According to Formica new kitchen trends include:

  • Exotic woods, as well as the classics like pine and oak
  • Less staining and painting to the woods – allowing the grain to show through
  • Granite, marble and synthetic granite and stone look countertops
  • All white kitchens with bright pops of red, yellow, orange
  • Cabinets in stronger colors like French Blue and Turquoise
  • Natural light earth tones like sand, cream and driftwood gray
  • Muted shades of olive-green paired with stone looks for a grounded palette
  • More texture—combining materials to create an interesting mix

Kitchens can, of course, go with or against the trends.  Kitchen cabinetry is running wild with an anything goes approach, from sleek cherry red lacquer finishes paired with grey granite countertops for high drama, to cabinets coated with classic white paint matched with creamy marble counters.  Cabinets with metal finish doors complemented by concrete or concrete look countertops and traditional wood cabinets in finishes that range from light oak to dark mahogany paired with textured finishes are still happening too.  Let’s not forget ceramic tile, glass, stainless steel and chrome, all still very dominant in the marketplace. Anything is possible in today’s kitchen. No matter your style, make your space your own.

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