CHEZ MOI

Trending furniture designs for the do-it-yourself home designer

Arranging your personal space is more than just collecting or even purchasing for that matter the next new item in style, it’s about creating your character and pin pointing your personality with a look that says this is ‘you’ and ‘this’ is my style. Every piece of furniture you select and the significance of the accessories you source for your space have all been perfectly arranged to please and entice all of your senses.

For the best of the best in furnishings the place to visit is imm cologne. What is this you say? Only the creme-de-la creme of furniture the premiere of interior design. The event is an annual affair that takes place in – you guessed it Cologne, Germany. Another interesting source for impeccable furnishings of every description is MOM, Maison & Objet and More their expansive variety is such that everyone can benefit they carry decorative furnishings, a wide range of lighting designs and fashion accessories from names like E-MOI and Jardin Secret to name a few.

HANDY HANDMADE FURNITURE
It seems that anything of a handmade nature will be topping the list for furnishings for 2019. Custom made is the go and fine craftsmanship is all the craze this year. Work these exquisite works of art into your design.

THE LOOK OF METAL
Metal never truly goes out of style and is the case this year, the creative use of metal will compliment every aspect of your home, whether it’s polished, rubbed or blackened it will play a very important part in your finished decor.

ART-DECO ON THE MOVE
We expect pink to stand out and be quite compelling this year as it takes center stage we envision it’s complimentary colors to be very prominent as they contribute a good mixture of deep reds, olive green and deep dark blues.

ANTIQUE APPEAL
Home owners are ever looking for something out of the ordinary and such is the appeal of something gotten from the past. Timeless pieces tell a tale of a time once forgotten, a story to be unearthed, a mysterious treasure. Antiques will be gracing our homes and en-livening our expectations for quite some time.

Happy designing everyone!

CHEZ MOI
design blog by Ann Achee-Hoyte
Design & Visual Coordinator @
Simply Exquisite Interiors

Hardwood vs. the all popular MDF Wood Panels

Some may argue that natural wood products are hard to maintain especially in a climate such as ours here in South America where the days are blistering hot and the seductive nights are much cooler with just a hint of mist in the atmosphere especially in the higher elevations.  But the past few nights I beg to differ as it has been warm and humid causing most to crank up their air conditioning units a notch or two just too get a good night’s sleep; and with all the mix in temperatures lately your hardwood furniture and decorative pieces are paying the price.

With the extra moisture in the air and at times switching over to dry air mixed with cooler air from overworked A/C units have caused splits and cracks to appear on some of your most prized hardwood family heirlooms.  We’ve gotten a few frantic calls and repaired quite a few hardwood furnishings in the past few months and something is telling me there are more calls to come.

Split table top
split top
corner table edge

 MDF  “Medium Density Fiberboard”   Laminate and Wood Veneered Panels

The world has gone MDF no doubt and most of everything for that matter seems to be made from the wonder material from tables to doors, bedroom furniture, computer desks and chairs, wall panels, frames you name it and I’m sure there is some measure of MDF behind an appropriately designed veneer covering.  I admit the designs are beautiful if not captivating and unlike its rival counterpart MDF is said to be more adaptable to changing temperatures; easy to work with; exhibiting ready to use smooth surfaces for quicker productivity, and they come in various sizes, thickness gauge, and colors with textured veneers. 

It’s the number one blessing to shop joiners and home furnishing manufacturers everywhere one would say, some MDF’s are even moisture resistant to an extent making them perfect for constructing kitchen cabinetry, floor to ceiling bookcases, podiums, tables and did I mention it was bug resistant too against those carnivorous wood dwellers that wreak havoc on treasured furniture pieces?
With that said “who could ask for more..?”

Well, I could for starters.  Nothing compares to the real deal ‘wood’ many believe that MDF boards have revolutionized wood and wood products, but this is not so and ‘the student in this case does not advance the teacher.’  Even current trends show that wood in all its elegance is refined and timeless! Would you paint the Mona Lisa with an air brush? I think not; So why produce your finest works of art using a material that’s anything but beautifully imperfect the way nature intended.

 

 

 

My husband and I pulled up some MDF base molding strips for a colleague of ours to help him install a kitchen display for his showroom and low and behold there they were not more than one month since  the original install of his moldings were subterranean termites! They had taken hold of their latest victim, the MDF molding strips.  As you can see  [below] the termites got well into the board in the space of just a few weeks.  Not only does he have to worry about replacing the damaged moldings he now has to incur the cost of hiring an exterminator to rid his showroom displays from becoming a gourmet banquet for his newly uninvited guests.

Subterranean Termites:
Picture courtesy The National Pest
Management Association

 

 

 

 

 

So despite popular belief that termites only go after ‘the real deal’ and that MDF takes the headache away from solid or hardwood installations that have been deemed too costly running the risk of termite damage in the long run especially in our hot tropical climate here in the West Indies; truth be told those pesky little bugger also have no hang-ups sampling the competition as well.

 The Beauty of Hardwood Designs …. timeless… elegant!

pedestal table
stool
20180304_100910
carved chest

So, this being the case, why settle for MDF products when you can have the alluring beauty and enjoy the timeless brilliance
of natural wood in all its magnificence and grandeur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose your Own Style … and stand apart from the crowd

In the end I’d rather have a kitchen that was a conversation piece standing on its own merit, strong, bold – ‘the real deal or a piece of furniture I could bequest that stood the test of time, revered for its unique design and renowned craftsmanship than to settle for a product that was fast and lucid a bi-product of its time.

Call me bias, I am a wood enthusiast and proud of it.  Ahh, the beauty of wood! I’ll stand resolute and embolden  to accept nature made over man made any day.

Happy designing everyone!

CHEZ MOI
design blog by  Analee Achee-Hoyte
Design & Visual Coordinator @
Simply Exquisite Interiors

Fall into Fall 2017

Autumn what an exciting time for decor

With the multitude of trends out there it seems almost impossible to keep up with the changing trends between seasons, but it’s my job as a design coordinator and an interior designer to narrow it down for you; so here goes!

The colours get warmer as the seasons draw colder, so bright colours transition into warmer hues, now is the time to get cosy and Fall is the season to do just that as it gets colder outside and we welcome in Thanksgiving and the holidays we want to warm our environment inside as well.  So, we look for warmth in textures, details, accents and accessories and most of all in colour!

Fall Trends to Entice your Palette

ARTISAN:   Earth bound treasures that include hand-finished objects such as wall accents, furniture collectables and unique
hand crafted pieces with lots of detailing; and crafted lighted fixtures with extraordinary dimensions all warm materials made
of wood, natural fibers, ceramics; leather, and etc.

metal circle with lines above
worldmarket cabinet
wooden sofa
t4rattan twigs wall art

TERRACOTTA:    A colour I particularly love, it’s connective, warm and inviting and same can be said for the red tones of clay,
these two colours add volumes of character to your  home or commercial space.  You can opt for any finish to these inviting
colours as all are equally interesting to work with but if you prefer a more modern look you should stick to a more matte finish
to achieve that goal.

wood leather chair
lizard into vase
terracotta living space
terra clay cups
clay wide bowl
wooden seating set

EARTHY GREEN:     The darker the better, and jewel toned ‘Emerald Green’ is perfect to achieve that goal.  Although Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2017 isGreenery’  some say it’s a bit ‘too limy’ for their tastes;  But Greenery is a fresh and alluring pick me up colour to enliven your cherished spaces; by adding accents of natural wood along with the warm boldness of brass is sure to hold the richness of your decor together.

green plants
green takopta cushion
emeral green dog dragon statue
teal living room

SILHOUETTES OF CIRCLES:     These curvy silhouettes are gaining popularity in many seating circles, they are being used everywhere to adorn seating clusters as they tend to bring out a sense of warmth and luxury  and immense comfort for everyone that chooses these popular lines.  Ottomans and chairs pair well with these silhouettes.

jewel blue cushion
half circle sofa
contemporary-living-room
decor spere

RATTAN WEAVE:   Rattan is finding it’s way indoors more and more.  When used indoors it takes on a whole new interest; mix this weave with your choice of plush throws, faux furs, pillows and scarfs and feel the mystery of the tropics come ‘alive’ in you.

unique rattan chair
yellow cushion rattan chair
complete artisan room
rattan mat

JEWELED VELVET’S:     We are looking out for this to be a favourite trend this season.  Living in the tropics doesn’t mean
you can’t experiment with the wonders of textiles and one of my favourites for this season is ( you guessed it … ‘Velvet’).
Velvet adds warmth, texture and comfort all rolled into one.  Now add the exuberance of brass or gold accessories to this
lavish palette and experience the Mystique of the Holiday Season like never before.

sapphire tufted accent wall bedroom
stones cluster
purple-dining-room-ideas-wonderful-photo-video-medium-admirable
red_bathroom
plush throws
jewel toned cushions plain couch

The world of designing trends

Though fascinating can be quite peculiar even predictable, trends come and trends go but we’ve come to realize that everything that demonstrates innovation and uniqueness in designing concepts is perfect and stylish enough for modern interior decorating for 2017.

Retro-spec

A touch of the 70’s is fun and the colours are vibrant with juicy colour schemes to entice your palettes.  We see the use of retro lighting fixtures and bulbs mixed in with modern themes and various vintage clocks and dated art work making a come-back mixing antique with contemporary home furnishings and textures to create the perfect and original decorating experience for modern spaces.

Retro lighting bulbs
pendant
Retro living room
furniture-wonderful-layering-white-tucked-leather-banquette-jewel-tone-aubergine-velvet-side

Green Scene and Recyclable

Eco Friendly up-cycle redesigning and organic designs mixed with new and innovative designing materials and colour palettes are the latest in interior design choices.  Modern design trends for 2017 are hedged on the ability to create new from old – recycled materials, woods, and fabrics; salvaged metals and Eco-friendly re-usables’ are high demand favorites  trending now.

COLOUR THERAPY – JEWEL TONES

jeweled Lanterns
eclectic-living-room
blue quilt
fushia club chair

This Autumn we see a strong gravitation towards darker tones, jeweled tones with lots of berry and plumb hues, picking up where the paler pinks for this Summer left off.  We have rich russet for a touch of drama and the deep blues adding good colour, like the brilliance of peacock!

jeweled bed
grey purple yellow living room

PEACOCK  is taking over interiors with the feathery prints of this bold proud bird to actual feather strewed over and around ‘your nest’ accenting and highlighting otherwise modest rooms.  Go bold with feather prints in wall paper coverings, textiles; soft as well as hard accents for greater impact.

peacock amethyst purse
model blue sari
peacock wall fan

Let’s not forget Teal in all  shades have returned providing a foil for nickel and brass and for a sophisticated plush maximalist look.

model white sari
sapphire plush armless chair
peacock bowl
123rf feathers

BURNT ORANGE  and mustard blend beautifully with Terracotta and makes a wonderful textile colour for linens, throws and cushions, these colour combos are warm and soothing and can be paired with cooper, gold and brass to balance the use of an all white linen or neutral hazelnut theme in the bedroom.

orange handbag
canapy bed
bronze square light fixture
orange metal chair

EMERALD  and forest greens are trending this Fall and these ‘jewel tones’ are earthy and mysterious by nature, a good formula to use for a successful modern interior design decor is the [ 60 – 30 – 10 ] rule, basically it helps you distribute the strong rich colour within your living space.  The strong or dominant colour can utilize as much as 60% of your colour palette while the secondary colour(s) can provide 30% of the designing palette leaving the remaining 10% for you to touch in accent colour combinations.

bronze wall leaves
gold wine bucket
we-love-these-copper-homewares

It’s your space, play around with the textures and hues accredited to this wondersome season and have fun designing and decorating!

CHEZ MOI
design blog by Analee Achee-Hoyte
Design & Visual Coordinator @
Simply Exquisite Interiors

Hottest Market Trends of 2017

We scoured the list and came up with the most shopped trends so far for this Spring/Fall 2017.  So without further ado here is your mid-year Trend Report on top market trends.

Geometric Designs

Geometry  has found its home in 2017 designs from furniture pieces to textiles and wall paper patterns, these stunning patterns are brightening up homes and commercial spaces with classic patterns all given a new flare for the modern decorator.

Seamless-Pattern
Vintage-Retro-Backgrounds
tile pattern

 Rust Affair

The earthy allure of rust tones seem to be coming alive in everything, furnishings, textile collections and the deep shades of rust are making their way in architecture all across the city scapes.

rust-Bedroom
scroll ottoman
rust rug

The Outdoors Come Alive

It’s safe to say that the inspiration for 2017’s natural elements, of  “greenery”, “kale” and even “pale dogwood” are ever present  when it comes to our choice of furnishings!  The outdoor is very vocal with elements floral and galactic patterning, these stary designs are surely making a bold yet comfortable statement.

Light fixture
fractal pattern
Background-Wallpaper

 Smart Homes, Smart Cover

The more wired we become, the less wires we want to see.  Our homes are reflecting our changing lifestyles and are becoming increasingly smarter.  Furniture manufacturers as well as tech companies are inventing products to blend into your own creative designs that is why Samsung has introduced their new Frame TV a masterful piece that hides in plain sight!  This smart TV acts like a picture, equipped with four frame options, that easily mounts to your wall surface like beautiful artwork.  It is so flush and sleek, no one will know the difference.

 Timelessly Aged

‘They say age brings reason’ this may very well be true for Spring/Fall 2017.  Textile designers are revamping their archives to bring you their latest design ideas.  They are not just simply tweaking their colorways, they are pulling out all the stops to bring to you new results from old favorites.

 

texture floral design
texture brown leaf

Continue reading “Hottest Market Trends of 2017”

Bring On Spring!

The alluring scents of fresh flowers in bloom, the crispness of the early morning air coupled with the brilliant burst of colours from every crevice, nook and fissure alerts us that Spring is definitely here.

This season is one of splendour with a vast array of colour choices selected just for you, to brighten your homes, work-spaces, and add a boost of colour to all of your special venues.

I won’t keep you waiting: Let’s start off with the tantalizing effect of PRIMROSE YELLOW, cheerful and fun just like the season!

warmlikesunshine32
mK8vC6fx05zWBBWYqutpOQQ
images
HX_breakfastseating01_35_425x303_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center

Now we move into the vivacious mystique that FLAME has to offer for this Spring:  A great colour for lifting the ambiance  of darker spaces  and adding a touch of fire to otherwise mundane spaces.

473292122
VivaTerra-Bubble-Recycled-Glass-Balloon-Vase
img-thing
wooden-electric-fireplace-free-standing-tv-stand-remote-control-modern-mantel-reviews
1666840c282305e32712e59deb6d0b8f
block_fire_pit_ceba57a5-c3bf-412a-a41c-b5824763df0d_grande

Next we cosy up to NIAGARA-BLUE with soft cool tones that would soothe a raging beast:  This colour is so inviting and easy to utilize that every room in your home can benefit from it’s soothing tones.

a67ae8defe749b4392d72cd820dd3964
2016-delicate-details-menu
myst
7e5ce0b9d2746f556c4a3add4b7c3f0c
images
ab4e36bf-0d2b-4449-882e-f80070c7212e

Still within the  blue family we have LAPIS BLUE, the bold vibrant cousin of Niagara Blue to add pop and a touch of royalty.  It’s a very confident colour and somewhat dramatic in it’s presentation.

10486_bpcmb_a0
Flowers-Pictures-60348
mEuG3rKw_7EhYr2qtuNZWjg
lapis
vintage-upholstered-chairs-16
home-page-slide-show-2
dt95_300wf_r15_web
ashima-leena-22
midnight-blue-medusa-vase-722880

A look at refreshing AQUA BLUE, this blue green hue is calming as well as invigorating and awakens a tropic paradise within to indulge your senses.  It’s refreshingly vibrant and can adorn your walls adding imagery for a surprising new look.  Remember to apply aqua to your accents and upholstery as well.

Outstanding-Butterfly-Background-Free-Downlaod
Le-Soleil-Wave-White-Rose-Suspension-Pendant-Lamps-Modern-Pendant-Lamps-Living-Room-Hotel-Lamps-Free
be5f73c5d1256af848bd96fb9939ff24
zrieyxstraplightblue32-280
10-cyan-blue-color-nice-feather-texture
rBVaGVZBqVWAbbZIAAHYyIUmtQo562

PINK YARROW absolutely the most vibrant colour in the list adds a touch of cheer and enjoyment to any surrounding, mix it in with all our favourite textures and accessories, don’t forget the furniture too.  A pink yarrow side chair could add that extra glam to your décor.

35-Gorgeous-Roses-and-The-Meaning-of-Rose-Colors_03-@-GenCept
APR2013_BALDWIN_CHRS_134_flip
img-thing
Colour_palette51

While we are in the company of ‘Pinks’ let’s not forget the ever subtle PALE DOGWOOD, this shade just speaks femininity but don’t be misled, a very bold statement can be made to boost the presence of this otherwise subtle hue.  Let it carry your room and watch it take over.

superthumb
12-Pantone-Pink-Quartz-Tumblr-Pink-This-Is-Glamorous-400x600
dogwood-hazelnut-683x1024
5-1

Nature is our best colour expert and the true hues of green are alive at every turn with this season’s choice of a TANGY  YELLOW  GREEN.  Makes you ready to welcome in Summer.

004850daf3af9a3cf68b601728169926
zoya4
cHkMaQl4mf0Jed7mBfCHdVl6bAp12rzd-34
5a8754c1e77d0ed73301c83799ba5e15
Emerald_c4ab1c4e-e1ef-47c0-a9a1-8500f81ffbee_large
bubbly_Heathrow
01384ac0ecedcdac76c7256703d29196
43dcc44270b9b17f398f288e086f95de
Green-Butterfly_High_Resolution_Wallpaper_animalplanethd.com_

Our next colour takes us back to our olfactory sense of smell, KALE is a foliage based green that ties us to nature and brings out the earthy aspects of our designs.  It’s a neutral colour that can be used as a primary or accent.

ba9ca02d93be8755bdb1b5b33d122025
Natural-Dark-green-Hand-carved-Chinese-Jade-Pendant-Free
287ed45cd12dfc502a53aa386642ceef
87c104f200ee2b8b_9004-w402-h255-b0-p0--victorian-indoor-chaise-lounge-chairs

NEUTRAL HAZELNUT brings the balance needed to conclude our list of exciting and enlightening colours that adorn our Spring/ Summer Selection 2017.  Like the nut itself this warm brown hue is the perfect transitional colour to take you through the seasons with glam and flare, though it holds a unique softer side that is very much natural and appeasing to every eye.

Happy decorating!

Gold-Yellow-Glitter-Rose-Wedding-Feather-Corsage-Clip-Fascinators-Brooch-Headwear-Hairpin-with-White-Netting-Free
db66cdf9e93d086174f288f36d773c3a
6738259-Dining-room-in-luxury-home-with-gold-walls-Stock-Photo
painting-dining-room-perfect-with-photos-of-painting-dining-creative-fresh-at-ideas

CHEZ MOI
design blog by Analee Achee-Hoyte
Design & Visual Coordinator of
Simply Exquisite Interiors

 

 

 

Autumn Madness or Gladness?!

Ahh, that wonderful time of year when the colours of nature come alive, the trees discard their foliage to make way for the blanketing of winter and the fragrant scents fill the air all around us.  It’s getting close and we know all too well the season of love, laughter and gallantry is knocking on our doorsteps.

cimg1617

 

The holidays are here! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve!  Dinners, dances, parties! And your decor is  graciously welcoming the added attention to add too the seasons festivities.  So let’s get started!

Spice Up Your Decor with the wonderful colours of Fall!

“Sugar and spice and everything nice…” Touches of gold, bronze, orange and cinnamon will help warm us you decor for the season, adding a touch of teal and not to forget red to this mix will warm up your home, maybe even add a smile to ‘Scrooge’ should he come knocking.

Adorn your Table

For those wishing to add new dinnerware to their tables this holiday, Pier 1 Imports www.pier1.com has a beautiful ‘Art Glass Collection‘ that is perfect for showing off your favorite entree at the table and is the perfect conversation piece.  Shop them, you won’t regret it.

Exclusively Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 has a great array of items you can choose from at prices that fit your budget.

 

Also, trending  this season is the elegance of champagne, white and gold Christmas ornaments for around the house and to brighten up your tree. So, check out www. zgallerie.com for a wide assortment of decorations, lots of pillows and throws, wall accents, furniture selections and gift  giving ideas at affordable prices that will take your breathe away.

Gilded Amber PotpourriContinue on and hunt the many avenues that lead you to a thrilling decorating experience this Holiday Season.

Find at ZGallerie.com | Gilded Amer Potpourri – $29.95

The Holidays would not be complete without a visit to William Sonoma Home. I especially love shopping their online stores for just about everything! If you haven’t visited the Sonoma Stores before, then take this as your ‘special invitation’ “I know you’ll thank me later…”

   

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Considering Home Improvement

The things all Home Owners should consider before venturing out on a Home Improvement Project

For one thing, it’s never as easy as it looks!  The Things Home Improvement and Reality TV Shows Neglect to Mention.

Even after several hours of watching your favourite home improvement show, and weeks of mentally preparing yourself to take on this challenge.  And, as much as you might think you’re a self-proclaimed expert on the matter.  Hold some strain!  Most homeowners, old and new take on the perception that with the help of a few neighbours or relatives that have a pretty good idea of construction that they can make the necessary repairs or upgrades to their homes without the cost associated with hiring a qualified building design contractor.  This is usually the first and most costly mistake.

From past experiences I’ve seen homeowners literally in tears, after a project has gone terribly wrong with a gaping fissure down their living room wall, which could have been avoided had they factored in the cost of getting the project handled the right way by hiring  professionals.  In cases like these it ends up costing the homeowner more to rectify the problem presented along with having to complete the original upgrade.

It pays to remember that reality TV shows are just that, shows that are designed to entertain viewers, first and foremost.  I’m not saying that the repairs and remodels conducted are not real but most times the time given to complete the projects are abridged and adjusted to help manage the shows production time constraints.  A project that they list as taking 8 weeks to complete with six guys working diligently in the background, would realistically take three and a half months to complete with six guys on the job.  But, in reality the viewers never see the twenty guys working off screen on the same project to have completion by 8 weeks.

I remember many years ago as a new graduate I got an email one day from an online job placement service that I subscribed to back then, one used by the trades called Coroflot, that I had been selected for a pilot project and the employers (who were not mentioned at the time) were in search of  a Home Improvement Designer to spearhead their project.  Needless to say I was elated to be even considered, so I packed up my portfolio, put on my best ‘designer’ outfit and headed for Connecticut and presented myself for the interview.  To my shock it didn’t look like much, a huge warehouse type of building, with a small desk and an under-dressed person who immediately stuck some papers in my hand while greeting me and told me to quickly memorize the contents.  As I sat and looked around, only to realize that this was a script for a casting and that all the other under-dressed people that were coming in were all actors and actresses.  Not to my knowledge then, but we were all there being screened for the first ever Home Improvement Reality TV Show to be aired on American TV.  Needless to say I never got past the interview process – I’m no actress!  But it goes to show that when Reality TV for Home Improvement Shows first began none of the then said ‘Home Improvement Designers’ were even qualified Designers.

So, if you want to get working on improving your home and surroundings, start by formulating a realistic budget.  Your home in some cases is your major biggest investment so, why put it in the hands of just anybody to conduct repairs or upgrades?  Next, determine how much of your budget is allocated for building materials needed to complete a single phase or the entire project and then set aside an allocated amount to pay a labour force.  Keep in mind that the cost for the labour force is nothing less than an additional (60 – 80%) added to the estimated cost of your building materials.  Now that you have done that, add another (15 -20%) for contingency.  This takes care in the event of social economic shock like unexpected price increases in materials, or an increase in fuel prices which affects building material costs tremendously. Also, for any unforeseen repairs that might pop up during the project and were not allocated initially.  In this event a rider agreement should be prepared along with your original agreement to include any additional work and all parties involved should sign in agreement to continue without upsetting the flow of production.

It is wise that homeowners acquire a quote from a reputable licensed building contractor.  If the extent of your repairs or upgrade is going to have a huge impact on your daily living arrangements, you may have to weigh the odds on whether it is feasible to remain on site while your upgrades are being made, can you cope with the intrusion or does it make better sense for all involved to vacate the premises while your upgrades are being conducted.  Factor in occupants that suffer with respiratory conditions, asthma, those sensitive to dust, younger children and babies and the mobility of the elderly during this time. Though referrals are sort after by many homeowners, it is also a good practice to have an agreement signed by the contractor of your choice. Make sure they provide you with a detailed scope of work, ensure to read your fine prints so you know what you are getting is exactly what you paid for and that all parties are covered throughout the project.

Your home is your castle and whether the upgrades you plan on making are for your own enjoyment or your plan stems further to putting your house on the market these home improvement ideas will certainly give you a better appreciation when planning your budget.  Keep in mind the actual cost of your project will vary some based on many factors including the scope of work to be carried out, the location and demographics of your home and the quality of the materials that you select. The experience of your contractor is another important factor; a contractor with little experience in purchasing may cost you more in raw material wastage.

One important element is the maintenance of your home.  We here in the Caribbean do not pay enough emphasis on the upkeep of our investment.  We tend to adopt the notion ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it…’ preventative maintenance is import for the overall life and durability of a sound and worry free dwelling. It’s good practice to give your home an overall inspection every few months, check your outdoor as well and your indoor plumbing, check your foundations and  walls for signs of cracks, if your electrical is outdated, make the necessary arrangements to have this corrected quickly.  Rotting eves, leaks and fascia boards should be replaced before serious damage sets in that can cost you more in the long term.

And lastly, but by no means least, have a realistic view of the timelines.  Even though you may be given an expected timeline of let’s say (6 – 8 weeks) for completion.  No one can predict ‘Acts of God’, bad weather can severely delay a project and in some cases it could actually help like with the setting of a foundation.  But this is not the case if you are trying to get the cover onto a roof, so it would be wise to keep these in mind.  Also, inflationary shifts can hamper projects especially if they are long term, lasting several months to a year.  Spending costs could increase during this time which is why it’s always good to have a contingency fund.

Question:    Home improvement on a tight budget – what are some of the ways you can improve your home without the expense?

One of our favourite ways of conducting a home improvement project for a client on a tight budget is to recommend what we designers call ‘Face-lifting your Home.’ This is more an uplift than an upgrade and is better suited to most persons on a tight budget.  In the industry we have a term called ‘staging’ and what that is, is basically outfitting your home with props, the same way real estate professional do when trying to woo a potential client to purchase property.  So, why not ‘stage’ your home for your own enjoyment?

Let’s start with organizing – Remove the clutter, it’s easier to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings when you remove all the unnecessary  materials that take up space and often times hide the beauty of fine pieces of furniture, or accents.  So the first step is clear your clutter.  If it doesn’t belong in that room remove it.

Second – Mask it!  Ah, the joys of paint!  A good paint job will hide many ills; a great paint job could make you fall in love with a room!  There are numerous ways to enhance or highlight walls in your home by simply choosing the right wall finish.  Colour washing techniques and wall textures using many applications are all the rage, and one of our favourites is ‘Wood Paneling’ – by accentuating a wall with a beautiful mosaic wood paneling and adding ambient up-lights on either side creating an alluring backdrop for your furniture, is definitely a conversation piece for your guests.

Three – Trick the Eye!  Most homes are not as large as we’d like them to be, and if they are the furniture does not always compliment the space, some end up looking cramped in the space and others lost completely in the expanse.  So, how do we fix this?  Simple – plan your layout, know your space.  Unless you plan on buying new furniture or use the ones you already own, you need to ensure that your furniture is in keeping with the purpose of the room.  You won’t put a sofa in the kitchen, but you can add some stools to a peninsula creating a dining experience to entertain your guests bringing them closer to you in your element while showing off your culinary skills.  Another way to create space is to ‘float your furniture’ keep your furniture 3 -4 inches away from walls in a small space and this will give the illusion that the walls are further away than they actually are.  Use large mirrors to expand a room, placed strategically they reflect light, colours and add dimension.

While we are on the topic of furniture a good make over shaves tons off the cost of buying new furniture, try re-vamping the old ones.  An old chest of drawers or coffee table that is sturdy but has lost its appeal due to wear and tear doesn’t have to be thrown out, with a little creativity and a trip to the paint shop you can make it look like new.  This is especially true with older chairs and sofas.  Look up a good upholsterer, have an idea or carry a picture of what you think the new piece should look like and find out what your options are, you may be able to add plush ribbed cushions as a plus when having a piece re-upholstered.  Or enhance an old living room set by replacing the old legs with newer ones and changing the upholstery making it look completely new.

Four – Spruce up your kitchen.  It’s one of the most popular spots in your home; give it a lift by adding some under-mount cabinet lighting.  This relatively low cost addition is a brilliant way to add – sass to your kitchen without the expense but you should enlist the help of your local electrician to do a simple looping of the lights so they all turn on at once with a simple switch.  Another quick fix is to update the old hardware, buy a new faucet and replace the old hardware on your cabinets with new ones, add a little polish and wha-la!  Your cabinets look like new.  Also re-surfacing your kitchen’s backs-plash tiles or counter-tops using large (2’ x 2’) modern Spanish Porcelain Tiles or Pre-fab Solid Surface counter-tops is cheaper than going for granite or quartz.  It can save you lots of money and change the entire look of your kitchen.

Five – Powder Room Make Over.  If you still have that old vanity or single pedestal sink, and those unattractive tiles and grout mirrored with unsightly dis-coloured caulk in your powder room, then consider a simple upgrade by purchasing a new ‘Vanity & Sink Combo’ at your home improvement store. They have many to choose from that come in different colours, shapes and sizes to fit most vanity spaces; invest in a new faucet, clean out and replace that old dis-coloured silicone or caulk, knock off those old back-splash tiles and at this point you can go a little over board with price and choose some really exquisite tiles, remember you are only covering a small area of ‘back-splash’ so it’s okay to spend a little more.  Use some accents, matching towels, a plush new floor mat, or a teak step mat for those wood enthusiasts!  Some new shower curtains and consider repainting the entire room anchoring all of your accents.  Top off with a beautifully stenciled painted pattern to one of the walls.

Six – Update Lighting Fixtures.  This is a very important element of your home’s design and great lighting will bring your home to life!  Replace ordinary flush mount ceiling fixtures with new hanging pendants or chandelier fixtures that add elegance and class to your home.  The same can be done for wall mounted lights by purchasing elegant wall sconces, but, you will require an electrician to install the new fixtures.  Ask the electrician to have task or ambient lights installed in a location that may not have had one previously.  Lamps are stylish and add illumination that covers those sometimes dark areas in a room or can be used to light task areas for a specific function.  Outdoor lighting fixtures can also benefit from this upgrade.

Seven – Introduce Crown Molding, but if your budget doesn’t allow for you to have it install throughout your home, then settle for having it installed in just the living room and see the difference it makes  in perking up this high traffic spot.  While there are many other types of moldings you can add to your home, to keep cost effective crown moldings add a touch of sophistication without going the extra mile.  Now, they are not as easy to install as they look, so have your Home Improvement Specialist give you a cost on having them properly installed, because badly installed crown moldings are unsightly.

Eight – Uplift your Entrance, one of the first things that catches your eye as you look at a home is the entrance.  Most people spend a lot of money in choosing the right entrance door to their house, which is why an upgrade to this feature could make a vast improvement on the esthetics of your home. Choose an entrance door that reflects what you want people to know about you.  A Sturdy strong Natural Wood Entrance or An Artistically Rustic Wrought Iron design or the combination of both can portray a daring even formidable personality. And, a Bold Brightly Coloured Entrance way can prove that you like standing out from the crowd.

Nine – Curb Appeal.  Homeowners tend to forget that there is a direct connection with their outside landscaping and the inside of their home and it is important to maintain the synergy in their surroundings.  Mirror two shrubs in heavily potted urns on either side of your entrance way to give the look of grandeur and for designing your garden have a floral and shrub plan prepared before you start.  Make a sketch of what you would like your garden to look like or go online and choose one of many options available, do your research.  If you plan on making it a do-it-yourself project, then visit your plant nursery and get the necessary plants and fertilizers needed to start your garden.  If you don’t have a green thumb or a vision then it’s better to enlist help from your local garden shop that offers landscaping assistance at an affordable price.  Their professional team will work with you to create a garden you can personalize and enjoy.

Question:     How can one carry out home improvement on a rental, given the constraints?

Take for instance the long term renter, who has renter most if not all his/her life and probably does not qualify for a mortgage or in some instance because of the nature of his/her employment it is much more feasible for the individual to rent only short term accommodations.  First things that come to mind are:  “Will my landlord approve of me making changes to his house or apartment, and two:  “Why should I spend money on a home that isn’t mine?” To answer those questions simply, it is ‘Your Home’ and sometimes improvements are needed to make where you call home that much more comfortable.

Offer to take care of the Improvement Costs:   In long term rentals, where repairs are needed and the landlord may not be in the position to make the necessary upgrades the tenant  could come to an agreement with his/her landlord to provide the funding for the project and have the cost deducted from their monthly rental agreement.  If the tenant is managing the home improvement  repairs this gives them more leeway to choose the details they want, like paint colours, floor treatments or new cabinet styles for more extensive upgrades like refurbishing of bathroom or kitchen repairs.  Get your landlord’s consent in writing if you are making changes that are prohibited by your lease agreement and have your landlord sign a written document giving you permission to make these modifications.   Enhancing your home’s security features can also be upgraded in this manner.  Persons wishing to spruce up their rental homes can take advantage of the following:

Paint your Walls and Furniture
The easiest and most frugal way to personalize a rental space is to paint the walls, if you enjoy bold and daring colors or even pastels consider painting a small space or accent one or more walls.  Try changing the colour or the finish on a piece of furniture this adds an interesting spin to the rest of the room.

Lamplight It or Dim It!
Lamplight is cozy, romantic and easy on the eyes; it’s perfect for creating the right mood when entertaining so, switch off the overheads and turn on some lamps.  Adding dimmers to your light switches lets you adjust the mood in any room and having control over the lighting lets you make each room your own.

Add Wall Art
You need to personalize your space, after all it’s your home.  How does the saying go?  “Home is where you hang your hat…” well you need to hang a few interesting pieces of artwork that speak to you as a person.  Hanging pictures of family & friends, graduation ceremonies, or your cousins wedding photos whatever your choice make the space your own.

The Floors have It!
The floor you inherit may be depressing and the only thing stopping you from taking a torch to it is the fact that it isn’t yours.  Thanks to new and exciting floor finishes that can be installed right over existing ones without disturbing the old surface; you can have a beautiful wood floor finish to admire for as long as you stay in your rental.  Engineered wood grain floor finishes come in countless styles and board width sizes that are pleasing to look at and a perfect feel under your feet.   They can be installed as ‘Floating Floors’ that go down right over the old one with a cushioned pad that causes no damage to the original floor what-so-ever.

Treat your Windows
They’ll be glad you did! There are endless window embellishes out there so you don’t have to settle for simple.  If you want to go different and not have store bought window drapes then go back to the old days when every holiday would meet you with a trip to the Sew Shop with fabric in hand and have your own personal window treatments made-to- order.  Not only do you ensure that no-one else turns up having your same design, you get to add your own sense of style to your home.

Accessorize
First things first, collect and categorize your décor items for each room you wish to decorate.  “Remember, furniture is furniture, but it’s the accessories you place in a room that makes a space your own.”  – Analee Achee-Hoyte.  Twenty percent of your décor should be apportioned to the purchasing and placing of accessories and ‘tabletop’ touches.  The right placement of accessories define a room and give it that ‘Designer’s Touch.’

Go with the Flow
Without making serious changes to the structure of your rental, you still have the ability to enhance your surroundings.  Just as the seasons change so can your décor keeping the mundane at bay so change as often as you like and as much as your budget will allow.  A bright and happy home makes for a bright and cheery personality. Keep looking for ways to enhance your décor, splash in the brilliantly bright shades of orange throughout your décor this thanksgiving and move into the warm and inviting appeal the holidays bring with its glamorous table dressings; and beautifully adorned window treatments.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with colours, textures and the appeal aromatic scents add to your decorating experience.

Trending in Home Offices

What’s Trending for Home Offices…

Entrepreneurs the world over have one thing in common, they all need an environment in which to plan, cultivate and grow their businesses; and what once started off with a phone, fax and copier at a designated spot in the corner of a living-room or a small desk in one’s bedroom and let’s not forget in some cases the use of the dining room table as one’s home office is no longer relevant for today’s home based business. Businesses need to grow and the need for added space soon becomes an issue especially when you are unable to produce to supply your demand.  Home offices over the years have evolved to incorporate people’s changing lifestyle needs, as well as their businesses portfolio needs.

Real Estate is a key component for all businesses and rings true for home offices as well.  Small business owners need to attract new business and clients like everyone else but how do they accommodate them with the rising cost of real estate or commercial rental costs.  Here in the Caribbean and in our Twin Island the cost of commercial real estate has almost doubled in the past few months.  Renting a location in a Mall Environment offers some advantages for small businesses where business owners get added security with the abundance of shops around the area, they also inherit extra security from the mall’s private security service as well as free parking for their customers but, for some the rental space may be less than adequate for the type of business they are engaged in and the rent can be astronomical.  Finding a location outside of a Mall Environment may pose cheaper on their pockets in one aspect, but can cost them in other areas.  The responsibility to afford a suitable security system is now on the owner and can be costly.  Some of the utility costs that may have been incorporated into their rental at the mall location will now be an addition to their monthly expenses.

The newest trend for home based business are ‘Shedquarters’ these are uniquely designed bungalows specifically designed to meet the needs of the home-based business owner.

It’s becoming more of a trend to keep office spaces at home and for those who have ventured out we’ve noticed they are starting to move back in.  There are many more pluses than negatives in owning a ‘bungalow home office’ for one: you choose your size, you construct a size according to your business needs. You can manage your utility costs better housing everything under one roof relatively speaking; your home property is already secured and if needed extra security systems can be added to beef up vulnerable areas.   Your commute is zero, no stress of traffic to start your day and the very first business call you take, you could be sipping a latte in your pajamas.   Working late just got easier; no longer do you have to commute after a long day.  Some home business owners have dedicated an entire room or rooms of their homes for their businesses while others right here at home, have opted to install completely separate bungalows independent of their homes with separate entrances, and lounging facilities, complete with kitchenettes and bathrooms to accommodate their home business.  Entrepreneurs are becoming more and more innovative and the design requirements of their ‘Shedquarter offices’ not only reflect but showcase their unique style preferences and tastes.

Solid Wood Home Offices exclusively SEI

 

 

 

 

Decorating on a Budget

Simple ways to make your home look like a million bucks!

Make it spectacular, let’s make it grand!  Without putting a drain on your wallet it doesn’t have to cost too much.  Here are a few tricks you can undertake to make your home look fantastic!

Exploit Artwork:  Every room needs a focal point. If you don’t already have one, create one ! Center the room using eye catching wall art.  Your first thought might be art is expensive but it doesn’t have to be, just tasteful!  Rather than commission a custom piece, many home furnishing stores sell beautiful prints already framed and ready to be hung.  Or, try downloading free art from the web, print an extra large image at a local print shop and cut the image into three parts to fit into select frames from any art shop, this makes a perfect picture collage. The key is to hang the panels so that they appear as one oversized piece for the greatest effect.  The outcome is stunning.

Create an Illusion:  With regards to decorating small spaces or enhancing the look of a ceiling, it has more to do with tricking the human eyes by making the space and ceiling appear different than they actually are through the use of color and lighting.  By correctly controlling ground-colors and color stresses, one can visually change space in all three dimensions.  Another option to consider is to choose one furniture piece the same color as the walls, the longest straight line in a room is its diagonal so by placing several pieces at an angle along that wall leads the eye along the longer distance.  Keeping the furniture in the same color family is a plus because broken colors stand out and have a tendency to make a space seem smaller than it really is.

Add flair for Drama:  Banish boring boudoirs with a simple trick;  paint one wall a dark color or apply a faux paint technique.  A textured accent wall adds warmth to any room and gives it a polished look.  Redoing only one wall is perfect for a budget makeover; you’ll save time and lots of money in the process,  and your space will come alive and look renewed, trust me.

CIMG0026

Go Eclectic:  I like to decorate rooms with warm palettes, adding highlights of color and texture with accessories.  My favorite color scheme incorporate shades of blue, greens and reds.  I also like to mix and match designs from different eras, like these Asia inspired bamboo place mat settings with matching appetizer chopsticks paired with a European  touch of hand blown aquamarine cocktail glasses  against Latin American polished stone dishes.  The sleek leather sledge back dinning chairs add a lift to this robust stone base and tempered clear glass top pedestal dining table.  Isn’t it divine!

 

 

 

Accentuate your View:  Add window treatments around a window  using bright colors so the eye is drawn toward the windows.  And, if you face a problem of ‘too much space, try buying two or more tufted center ottomans and joint them together making the perfect cocktail table that will wow your guests.  You not only fill that space but give functionality to your room.

CIMG2858

 Happy Decorating!!

Ann Achee-Hoyte  with your ‘Home Fashion Blog!’