4 Design Tips on How to Use Classic Styling that is Timeless

Have you ever marveled at a large, inviting lounge or a sumptuous bedroom in an upscale hotel and wondered how you can give your own home the same look?  If so, you are like countless individuals that appreciate timeless elegance and classic styling. Each season fashion trends in home décor come and go like a warm spring tide, however, there are certain design traditions  that are timeless,  treasured and endured forever.  Here are a few tips on how to give your home a touch of the classic treatment:

Create a focal point

We use the word “classic” to describe something that’s considered outstanding and of the highest quality. This is definitely what makes up the key ingredients in designing classic interiors. The focus is on simple and graceful lines, as opposed to design options that are too busy or too cluttered.

One very popular classic touch is a fireplace as a focal point in a classic living area. You would add your  stylish furniture carefully and symmetrically grouped to accent the fireplace. In the classic bedroom, a bed, would be the focal point of the room.

In both instances, balance and symmetry are extremely important. In the living space, your feature fireplace will be accompanied by matching armchairs, with an ornate mirror or a landscape painting hanging above it. In the bedroom, your bed, would be tastefully adorned with cushions and throws will be placed between matching bedside tables and lamps.

Consider balance and shapes when choosing window treatments

Think again of those matching armchairs around your fireplace and remember they are an important part of emphasizing the symmetry of your classic living room. In the same way you need to ensure that doors and windows throughout your home reflect an equal sense of balance. Matching blinds or curtains can be effective in a room where you have two identical windows. However, if you install full height shutters instead, you can create a stunning, yet fresh, classic interior. Mount these next to doors and windows throughout your home for best effect.

Choose paint colors and tones that are understated and classic

In classic interiors, paint colors are chosen to enhance muted tones or those that reflect natural elements, such as earth, grass, clear skies or wildflower shades. If you want to be creative, you can add interesting colors such as terracotta, maroon, plum or the delightful Pantone Color of the Year 2015, “Marsala”. Contrasting shades that work well with these colors are cream, soft beige or off-white, rather than brighter, more garish tones.

Incorporate elegant textiles into the design

Canvas, cotton, leather, softened linen and velvet fabrics are among the favorites of the top designers who re-create classic interiors – this is as much about how these textiles drape and feel as it is about the look. There’s no need, for example, to overuse any specific element – just as the natural colors of marble, stone and wood look great when used on flooring and walls, so fabrics that absorb light (as in muted) or reflect it (quietly glowing, never brazenly shiny) will perfectly complement these natural surfaces.

Now that you have some of the tricks of the trade at your fingertips you can happily go about recreating those coveted inspirational designs at home. Keep it simple and enjoy creating your very own classic interiors.

The Living Cube – Excellent Multifunction space saving solution


Photos by Rob Lewis –  Idea and Concept by Till Könneker – Build by Remo Zimmerli

I am in awe of the super creative and talented Designer Till Konneker. I absolutely his genius multifunction Living Cube Concept.

If you have not heard of the Living Cube (note: this is trademarked), you definitely must continue reading, I am sure that you will find it fascinating.


Photos by Rob Lewis – Idea and Concept by Till Könneker – Build by Remo Zimmerli

Here is how it started: The concept was created to address a need. Designer Till Konneker was living in a very small studio apartment and needed storage space. Since his small studio apartment, was extremely small, he had to come up with something that provided storage space. After much trial and error, he came up with a design concept that had a bed and a storage unit all in one and decided to call it the Living Cube. Instead of throwing things haphazardly under the bed, the Living cube, features several different size storage concepts. [Read more…]

How to determine if a Quartz countertop will work in your Kitchen

When you are considering a quartz material for your kitchen remodel, there are lots of options to choose from. However, if you are looking for durability, beauty and the best bang for your dollars, you have to take a long hard look at quartz material for your countertop. Although, Quartz is not a new material, it is however, front and center in the modern kitchen countertop design and other countertop surfaces in the home such as a bar top, kitchen island and bathroom vanities.

Let’s take a look at some of the compelling reasons that make a quartz countertop the material of choice for unique, quality and design inspired countertops in a home.

Durability of material.
Quartz is a very strong material. Since quartz is a man-made material, it is made by combining naturally quartz materials and polymer resin. These ingredients together, form a virtually hard material that can handle just about anything that you can put on it, in a kitchen. When you compare quartz to granite, you will find that granite only contains 40-60% quartz, which means that granite is more porous than quartz, hence can be more easily damaged than quartz.

Safety of Material. 
Homeowners that love to cook and entertain will just love how safe quartz countertops are because it is non-porous and has anti microbial properties. This is a great feature because the quartz countertop will not allow that harmful bacteria to linger, from raw or food that is left on the counter during food preparation.

Easy to Care for and Maintain.
The maintenance of quartz countertops is super easy to clean with only soap and water. There is also no need to to seal or polish the quartz material like you need to with other natural stones such as marble and granite. The quartz countertop in your kitchen is virtually a near worry free experience. Of course this does not mean that you can go out of your way to abuse it, however, with normal use and wear, it will look beautiful for quite a long time.

Variety of Color Options and Choices.
When you choose quartz countertop for your home remodel project, you open up the world of possibilities. You can have solid colors, multi colors, blended colors and even custom colors.  This is all possible because quartz is engineered material as opposed to being found in nature, like a natural stone.

I would be remiss, if I did not mention some of the disadvantages of quartz material. The adage that you get what you pay for, definitely holds true for quartz, since it is often more expensive than exotic granite or marble. A quartz countertop also does not do so well with very high heat, so you must be careful with hot pots and plates. If you use common sense and a trivet on the quartz countertop when handling hot items, your quartz countertop will last a very long time,

There are several makers of quartz, but one maker, has impressed me quite a bit in the last year with their quality and unique designs for quartz materials.  This is none other than the American family owned company Cambria, based in Minnesota. Their colors and styles and quality are not duplicated by any other. Seeing is believing, take a look at some of the beautiful new colors in the photos below:

Cambria - Color: Devon  Quartz Countertop

Cambria – Color: Devon
Quartz Countertop

The Cambria Color Devon is a versatile neutral color that works well in a modern kitchen. The consistency of the solid color gives balance to the surroundings in the room.


Cambria – Slab Color: Devon Quartz

The Cambria Langdon Countertop is a multicolor that works well in any kitchen style. The pattern has movement, but is a very consistent pattern that will blend nicely in any kitchen style.

Cambria - Langdon Countertop

Cambria – Color: Langdon
Quartz Countertop


Cambria Langdon

Cambria – Slab Color: Langdon Quartz


If you are looking for something very dramatic and bold for your quartz countertop, look no further than the Cambria Cardigan Red. The color is bold, lively and definitely carries an exciting element of intrigue.

w Cardigan RED SLAB

Cambria – Cardigan RED SLAB



Creative Ways You Can Use to Make a Room Feel Bigger

Do you have a space problem with an area of your home? Do you wish that a certain room was just larger? You are not alone. This is the number one complaint that I hear from clients when working with them on a design project.  However, given the right strategies, you can make your size issue not matter.

Here are some tips that you can use to make any room in your home appear larger and more inviting:

pottery barn - Mirror

pottery barn – Oxford Mirror

  1. Use a Large Mirror in the room. A wall mirror used to highlight a main area of the room really makes a difference. When you use a mirror, it serves to open up a space.  This does not mean that you need to have large mirrored walls like they did in the 70’s, but tasteful large wall mirrors, can bring life to any room and make it feel more inviting and much larger; even though it is an illusion, it works. The Pottery Barn Oxford – wood carved mirror, featured above would make an excellent addition to any room, such as an entrance or even can be used in a bathroom over a vanity.
  2. Add Proper Lighting – Natural light, lamps, or LED lights can take away the darkness of a corner. When you do this, it opens up the space or area and gives it a more welcoming feel. When you can invest in new windows, by all means do so, it really makes the place look different from the outside and the inside. If budget is a problem, invest in good interior lighting, such as spot lights or interesting lamps. Don’t forget that the light bulbs do matter.  Shop smart and invest in LED bulbs when possible. It makes a huge difference with the type of lighting in a room.

    photo credit - Native Trails  Americana Vanity

    photo credit – Native Trails
    Americana Vanity

  3. Add furnishings that have interesting legs – Believe it or not, legs really can make a difference in a room. The height, size, width, color and overall shape of leg furnishings can make a room feel more modern. This may sound strange but it is definitely true. Take a look at an end table or a sofa. The legs help add to the look. This especially holds true for a bathroom vanity. Be sure to check the legs of the vanity when you are doing a bathroom remodel. This can make the bathroom look much larger with the right kind of legs. The beautiful 36 inch vanity by Native Trails, Inc., would be a great addition to a small bathroom looking for something with a unique flair.murphy bed
  4. Add Multifunctional furniture. When you really want to maximize space, it is always wise to use furniture that has multi compartments.  A very popular item is the murphy bed system.  You can have storage, lighting, a desk, a couch, and a bed all in one piece.  They are really stylish today and come in many sizes and colors.


Spruce up Your Home for Spring with New Paint Colors

Photo Credit: Behr Paints

Photo Credit: Behr Paints

Spring is here! Are you looking for a fast and easy way to spruce up your home?  Trying on a new color of paint for your walls can definitely do the trick. Yes, an interior painting project can definitely bring life and style to a room that looks dated and tired.

If you are wondering what colors to use, try out some of the 2015 BEHR Colors Trends. They have some really nice colors to select from. However, there are colors in the new palette that makes you wonder, what were the Behr paint creative design team thinking when they came up with a few of the colors.  You can just ignore those colors, and select from the ones that are definite winners.

The 2015 Behr paint colors are broken up into four categories:


[Read more…]

Hottest Trends Home Design Seminar: Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

Trends DesignSeminar

Home Style & Design Seminar presented by Donco Designs

  • Hottest Trends in Home Design:  Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Seminar: March 28, 2015 at 10:00am
    Description: An exciting FREE event packed with valuable insights from  Project consultants and designers discussing trends in kitchen and bath design.

If you are considering buying a new home or remodeling your existing home, this event is for you.This is a wonderful opportunity to become knowledgeable on the hottest design trends for your home!

Join us for this fun and lively seminar and learn just how easy remodeling can be. Our experts will make sure you leave with new ideas, insight, and inspiration. We will share the latest in kitchen and bath design, appliances, lighting, and fixtures. Home style trends, spaces, & energy efficient designs.

Seating is limited: RSVP is Required – Call- 954-975-7052

Decorating Your Home with Paint & Style – 2015

Benjamin Moore - Color of the Year

Benjamin Moore – Color of the Year

One of the first things that a homeowner is looking for in a new home or existing home, is doing a project that is a winner. Painting is a process that is a hands down winner for decorating with design and style. Freshly painted surfaces in a home gives you a fresh and inviting new look and feel of your interior space.

Each year there are new colors introduced as colors for the year that will inspire design furnishings and designers to use in the home. You should pay special attention to these colors for decorating with style in 2015.

Photo credit - Guilford green - Benjamin Moore

Photo credit – Guilford green – Benjamin Moore

[Read more…]

Window Treatments: Why are they a Necessity for Your Home?

photo credit - Hunter Douglas

photo credit – Hunter Douglas

Making your home more inviting and comfortable does not have to be an expensive, time-consuming and stressful endeavor. If you are looking to steer clear of renovation challenges and don’t want to spend a fortune, you can improve your home simply by installing new window treatments like roller tilt shutters.

It’s a good thing that there are many styles available, and each of them is designed to suit the unique needs of homeowners. You won’t have a hard time finding an option that suits your home’s interior design. Just take your time and do your fair share of research if you want to choose the right products, make the most of their visual appeal
and functionality, and of course, experience their well-known advantages.

Protection against the elements

When the inside of your home is exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, it could
sustain damage. Your furniture could crack and your appliances could overheat and stop working. As a result, you could end up spending a fortune on repairs and replacements.

Fortunately, curtains, drapes, shades, blinds and shutters all offer protection from harsh weather. They can reduce the sunrays that enter your home or block them completely, thus protecting you and your belongings.

[Read more…]

How to Avoid Common Home Building Mistakes

Home Building Mistakes

Avoid Home Building Mistakes with Planning Properly

Horror stories on home building blunders are real and terrifying. These stories are often told by homeowners who miss the recommended meetings with a licensed architect, designer, engineer or contractor and choose builders on account of affordability.

In pure pursuit of economy, you may become a victim of poor workmanship such as these common home building mistakes:

  • Plumbing errors: inadequate drain slope, clean-outs, air gaps, space around toilets and sink, combustion air, etc.
  • Structural issues: foundation, floors, walls, roofs, stairs, insulation and ventilation problems
  • Electrical wiring mistakes and other building code violations: mixing line- and low-voltage wires, fire hazards, burying the splice box
  • Mechanical: faulty duct installation, furnace installation, furnaces installed in the attic.

So if you are constructing, renovating, or buying a house, beware of these potential pitfalls (disastrous mistakes) your trusted builder might make. Are there foolproof ways to steer clear of home building nightmares and ultimately, build the house of your dreams?

Take heart. Think how some people built their houses as they had imagined. For some, the final result has exceeded their expectations. If you knew how they  approached the enormous task of building a decent dwelling, you’d be as satisfied as  they were.

A few valuable lessons to help with your building projects from experienced builders:

  •  Take note and serve all crucial aspects of the site where the house would be built. Structural foundation errors are the costliest and most difficult building mistakes to correct. Smart prospective homeowners know that they need to understand the specific surroundings, conditions, and possible obstacles in the area where they plan to construct the house. For example, they would consult a reputable soil engineer to check whether the construction site can support the type of house they plan to build. Follow their lead by visiting the construction site with a foundation specialist before you tell the builders to begin.
  •  They see the big picture yet manage to keep track of the minutest details. Adequate and affordable house construction demands attention to detail and the ability to put these details together to draw a 3D image of your dream home.  Brilliant homeowners seek the professional with the combined skills and experience of a contractor and an architect to cover planning, costing, and supervision tasks.  You need both creative genius and management skills to build the home you’ve always wanted. Check the previous works of this professional consultant before you hire him.
  • Make sure that you have a project manager working with your builder on the project. When you build a home, it is teamwork, not a one man’s job. By having a skilled project manager overseeing the project, you  have an objective and fail-safe way to monitor the work being done to your satisfaction.   Successful homeowners know understand the importance of having someone on the team that understands how to inspect the work and the project so they ultimately get the job they are paying for in a satisfactory manner.

Use some of these tips and ideas so that you enjoy the fun and exciting period of building the home of your dreams – rather than the home of screams. If you have other concerns or stories about home design projects, please feel free to share them in  the comment section.

Universal Design can help you stay in your home longer

photo credit - Chief Architect

photo credit – Chief Architect – Better Homes & Garden

Did you know that simple little things like fewer steps, wider doors, lower heights of counters, lower thresholds can all help in some ways to allow an older person to live in their home longer. This is all a part of Universal Design, a design principle that is taking the construction world by storm, since it is no longer an issue that is only for older people, but rather a design principle that applies to all ages.

In today’s world, our population is aging. Many contractors today remodel homes for older clients by adding things such as wider doorways and hallways in the kitchens and bathrooms to make these areas more accessible.

One successful Universal Design Contractor, Mark Miller, of Mack Miller design+build in the Twin Cities tries to incorporate accessible design in all of his projects. He states the following:

I propose curbless showers for all my bathroom bids.  The greatest satisfaction for me are the accessible projects that change the family’s quality of life.  Yes, a total home remodel for a typical client change the look and feel and often the functionality of a home for the family, rarely is it life changing the way an accessible bathroom or an elevator is for someone with accessibility issues.

The best part of this is that a creative and skilled contractor and designer can bridge universal design with almost any remodel project.  There is no reason that Universal Design or Aging in Place design need to look outdated and boring. Since you will have a blank canvas and typically larger spaces due to creating this access, you can get creative and your creative talents.

You have so many options when it comes to making a kitchen more functional and universal design friendly instead of sterile and institutional looking. Start with designing an open floor plan that will work for the entire family and one that can work well for someone in a wheelchair to move around in the room confortably.


photo credit - Chief Architect

photo credit – Chief Architect – Better Homes & Garden

[Read more…]