Thursday, October 7, 2010

Investing In Your Home

In uncertain times like these your home is still a good place to invest your money. There are many projects that you can take on that will increase the value of your home and allow you to enjoy your life more fully.

These are my suggestions.

Bathrooms- Changing fixtures, tile, lighting, faucets and color can give you a totally new bathroom without major remodeling. A fresh look gives you something to look forward to in the morning and a better start to the day.

Kitchens- Although this is one of the most costly projects to invest in it gets the most in return. If your cabinets are in good shape and you still like the layout consider having them professionally painted. You can also change the look by adding a wooden cornice over the sink to connect the other cabinets. Adding large crown molding or decorative appliques will also enhance the look. Changing the cabinet hardware, sink and faucet as well as counter tops will greatly enhance the look and add value. Do lots of research before you dig in even if you are using a professional designer. This is a big undertaking but worth it.
Wood Floors- There are so many options for flooring these days but nothing seems to stand the test of time and add as much value as wood floors. There are a lot of prefinished options now that are absolutely beautiful and a lot less mess. Wooden floors that are finished on site are still great and can save you money. Weigh out the pros and cons and move forward. Remember to consider your family lifestyle especially if you have pets. Medium color floors are usually the most forgiving.
Enjoy your investment!
"Design can have such a positive impact on the way people live and their relationships and moods." Genevieve Gorder
Cultivate Your Individuality!
Celeste Jackson

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is Wallpaper In or Out?

I often have clients' ask "Is wallpaper in or out?" I believe that wallpaper is always in when it is used appropriately. I do think it has been overdone in the past especially during the Waverly era of the late 80's, too many mini prints and large florals gave wallpaper a bad rap. Foil and flocked wallpapers also stir up awful memories as well. The key is to carefully consider your selection and the application.

Bathrooms and powder rooms are usually a great place to hang wallpaper for a couple of reasons. There usually isn't a lot of wall space in these rooms so you don't overdue a good thing yet it's an opportunity to add something decorative without having to force artwork that could feel overbearing in the space. Foyers are also a good place for wallpaper; consider something tone on tone and classic like a damask pattern. By using wallpaper kids rooms can be playful and fun and a laundry room can look more inviting.

The key is to break it up by interspersing it with solid walls. If your home is very large adding faux finishes into the mix is a great way to keep it interesting. I think the most beautiful homes are a mix of all three.
Cultivate Individuality,
Celeste Jackson

Friday, August 20, 2010

Somethings Old Can Be New Again

Many times my clients' have artwork that was purchased when they were younger and stored away in their basement. They will ask me to look at it and decide whether it can be incorporated in one of their rooms. I think the most important thing to consider with these types of pieces is "Do you still like it?" Regardless if it looks dated to someone else if it makes you feel good when you see it and it stirs up good memories then it is worth working into a room or sometimes building a room around it.

In the projects shown in the photo's my client wanted to create a space that would be multi-functional. She wanted it to be her knitting room, home office and a place where guests could sleep. She also asked if we could incorporate her 70's/80's pictures by Patrick Nagel. It was a bit of a challenge since she wanted a "Zen" feeling in this room, Asian art could have worked better. Nagels' work is Art Deco with a modern flair but in the end all that mattered was that she felt good spending time in the room.

She was thrilled with the end result and spends more time in there than she imagined.

"Art gives voice to that which has not been spoken." Unknown
Celeste Jackson
Cultivating Individuality

Friday, June 11, 2010

Working With An Interior Designer

Working with an Interior Designer need not be intimidating or costly. In fact, working with an Interior Designer is a great cost-effective way to transform your home into the living space you have always wanted. No project is too big or too small when it comes to building trust. That is, trust that you will obtain the end results you desire within a realistic budget for your needs.

If you have fears about working with an Interior Designer try a consultation first. Small changes may reveal big impacts in ambience or functionality. Here are some ideas:

Changing paint, lighting, or furniture layout can drastically transform a space.
Adding accessories or accent pieces, such as pillows, candles, mirrors, artwork, vases or floral arrangements also create impact.
Window treatments can drastically change a room as can decorative molding.
De-cluttering or organize.

If you are ready for something more try phasing projects or start one room at a time. An Interior Designer has the knowledge to efficiently handle small consultations, run large scale renovations or anything in between.

A good Interior Designer will help you discover or refine your particular tastes and lifestyle preferences. In addition, Interior Designers can save you from costly mistakes often made from inexperienced choices and selections. An Interior Designer can also save you time, point you in the direction of reputable contractors, manufacturers, and crafts people as well as furniture, accessories and materials from hardware to flooring not generally available to the public.

"Invest in your home by making it your own." Lisa Christians
Celeste Jackson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Purchasing Art When You Are Traveling

Many of you will be taking vacations this summer even if it is driving across the state line. Part of the fun of taking those trips is shopping. Art is always a fun and exciting purchase to make when you are traveling, in fact many times a room design can be inspired by a piece of art or a beautiful hand made rug. But, before you make an expensive purchase there are some things to consider.

I wish I had a nickel for every time a client has dragged a piece of art or rug out of the closet to show me so I can figure out where it should go. Sometimes these purchases have been in their closets for years. So the first thing to do is look around your home before you head out of town to see where you need objects, rugs or artwork and measure the space so you don't have to guess if it will work or not. Better yet...take a picture of the space as well.

Be sure you are aware of what you like. Now that seems like a no brainer, after all if you like the way a piece looks and it inspires you that should be a good enough reason to purchase it. But, it is easy to get caught up in the moment. Everyone around you is buying one so you feel the excitement of the moment and make a hasty decision. Years ago I was working with a client furnishing and accessorizing their entire home. Most of the time my clients' have some artwork that I can play off of but in this case everything was being selected by me. After showing them many pieces of art that they rejected it finally dawned on me that they did not like people in their artwork. Whereas, I prefer artwork with people. Once I figured that out I found several pieces that excited them. Recently, I had another client that did not like pictures of landscapes or floral but she did like pictures of people.

Most of the time you have another person to please, like your spouse so talk it over before you even start looking. That way your purchase will be well thought out and will be treasured as an heirloom to pass on instead of being sold at a garage sale in 5 years.

"A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires." Hedy Lamarr

Celeste Jackson

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Work Triangle

Since most people tend to do more outdoor grilling in the summer than cooking indoors it makes it a great time to update your kitchen. When planning your new kitchen keep this in mind.

Besides storage and counter space, is it easy to work in your kitchen? That is, can you easily get water from your sink to the stove or, access your refrigerator? Although you might not be aware, most likely the major work or access areas of your kitchen are set up in a triangle. This is referred to as the ‘work triangle’. If you plan to redesign your kitchen, it is important to understand or at least be aware of the basic concept.

The work triangle concept is meant to increase the efficiency of the kitchen especially between three major work sites; the sink, cooking surface and refrigerator. Each of these areas is a ‘point’ on the triangle. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association… “the sum of the three traveled distances should total no more than 26’ with no single leg of the triangle measuring less than 4’ nor more than 9’.” There should be no obstacles to the legs of the triangles.

"Pay attention to every detail!" Celeste Jackson
Celeste Jackson

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finding Paint Colors You Can Truly Live With

Ever feel like you want to step out of the box when it comes to color in your home? Taking the plunge from white or pleasantly neutral can feel overwhelming given all the paint choices. Choosing the “proper” color can also feel intimidating.

Although there are some basic rules to color as well various color trends, finding a color scheme that truly suits you is what is ultimately important. Often, the rules can be broken and the outcome will still be surprisingly pleasant if not striking. Therefore, here are some tips to finding colors that suite you personally.

A Color Journal

It is helpful to keep a color journal. The journal may include photos, magazine clippings, art or artifacts, paint or fabric swatches and even flowers, marbles, glass etc.

Look at a Color Palette or Color Swatches

Simply, what color or colors grab your attention or jump out at you. Keep or obtain some samples.


Pay attention to your surroundings such as restaurants, furniture stores, places you have traveled and friend’s homes. How do the colors make you feel? Do you like a warmer environment, brighter or lighter? Do you prefer elegant and simple spaces or more rustic? Do you enjoy patterns and textures or monochromatic (varying shades of one color) and elegant?

The Existing

Do you already love the colors in a rug, a pillow or a piece or art? Use that for inspiration. Do you like a fabric and pattern? Start with what you have and build around it. A colorful inspiration piece allows you to choose warm and cool tones to balance the room and create a pallete to work from in surrounding rooms.

The more you pay attention to some of these simple things, the more you will find you are probably attracted to one or a few of the same colors. Once you have the color or colors, then you can apply some color knowledge such as determining the tones you prefer (varying levels or light or dark, muted or bright) as well as the schemes you prefer such as monochromatic (various shades of the same color), contrasting or complimentary (going from light to dark or colors across from each other on the color wheel) etc. You may even build up naturally off of one piece of inspiration such as that rug or pillow.

If you still feel your a bit unsure, a quick consultation with an Interior Designer, Color Specialist or even your local paint store can help you take the final plunge.

Playing with color; try these websites:

Better Homes and Gardens – Color-A-Room

"White is a non-decision." Celeste Jackson


Friday, February 26, 2010

Does Your Master Bedroom Make You Feel Good?

The master bedroom is one of the most important rooms in our home, yet it is often the last one to be decorated. While we spend many of our waking hours in the family room or kitchen we still spend the most time in the bedroom. This is the room to unwind, connect with our loved one and rejuvenate our spirit. If the room is filled with clutter, beat up mismatched furnishings and accessories it will definitely have a negative affect on the way we feel.

The bed should be accessible from both sides with a night stand on each side for good feng shui. Also, if possible avoid having the head of your bed up against a window, otherwise have a good heavy head board to prevent your energy from being drained.

The lighting should have multiple layers as well as dimmers to adjust the level of light for the right mood. Overhead lighting, floor lamps and table lamps should all be incorporated to provide these layers. Sconces are a beautiful way to accent a wall. Candles are great, but be sure they do not contain toxins that will pollute the air. Place candles on a stone or glass surface and be sure there is nothing flammable directly above them.

The windows should be dressed with shades or draperies that can block out all the light for the best night sleep. When you select shading systems be sure you ask whether they are room darkening or blackout. Room darkening shades still allow some light to filter in so if you are light sensitive it might not be enough. A bed crown can add drama and depth to the head of the bed. Just like a window there are many variations on how the head of the bed can be treated. This is best left to the professionals for a desired look.

The color in the master bedroom should be soft and serene. Neutral tones and cool tones work best to create an environment to unwind.

The accessories should be meaningful to you...such as a piece of art you selected when you were traveling. Anything that invokes good memories will bring positive energy into the room. Although family photo's are important to have in your home limit the photo's in your master bedroom to your significant other or someone that will comfort you. Avoid placing a mirror directly across from the bed, it is said in feng shui that this brings the energy of another person into the space.

Keep this room clutter free. Clutter traps the positive energy and prevents it from flowing. If you like to read in bed don't overwhelm yourself with a stack of books and magazines that will take you a year to read. Just have the books you are reading now or the ones you want to refer to on a regular basis.

"If you fall in love with something that's all that matters." Billy Baldwin, Interior Designer

Celeste Jackson

Monday, February 15, 2010

The TV Dilemma

Furniture placement in the family room can be challenging. The dilemma is the conflict between the television which is the main focus in most American family rooms and the fireplace which is the architectural focal point. The best scenario is when the television can be placed in a armoire or built-in cabinet to the left or right of the fireplace or an adjacent wall. In this situation furniture can be placed pleasingly to compliment the room and view both focal points in clear view.

Another challenge is windows and other openings that limit the placement of the television and cabinetry. In the last decade audio-visual specialists have come up with an innovative way to overcome this by placing the television over the fireplace. However, there are some downsides to this solution. The first one being that the television distracts from the fireplace, no matter how sleek and flat the TV is it is still a big black rectangle and not attractive to look at. Secondly, since the TV is placed higher than it would normally be it can strain the neck because now your head is elevated instead of being held straight.

In the room pictured we overcame those problems by placing the television behind a decorative canvas which rolls up into a headrail with a remote control. The TV appears in a beautiful picture frame. By placing 2 recliners on the far wall opposite the television we were also able to overcome the problem of a strained neck.

If you are in the beginning stages of building a home or an addition be sure to give some consideration to how your furniture can be placed before finalizing your plans. Hiring an interior designer to help you with this process will be money well spent.

"Interior design might not be rocket science but it still takes thought and consideration with a trained eye." Celeste Jackson

Celeste Jackson

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Streamline Your Kitchen

Whether you love to cook or not, updating your kitchen with a clean, sleek design can be a great way to achieve the "less cluttered" look. It doesn't have to be cold and sterile to achieve this. Warm wood tone cabinets, slate and glass mosaic back splash with rich dark granite worked well to give this kitchen an inviting look.
Of course lighting is also crucial! Stay away from the typical 2 x 4 fluorescent fixture that is standard in some new construction homes. Use warm incandescent halogen that will last longer than regular incandescent lamps. If you have 6" recessed openings change them to 4" for a sleeker look. LED under cabinet lighting is the newest and will last almost forever. Be sure to use dimmers on all your lighting so you can set the mood for a dinner party or have great task lighting for cooking.
Stainless appliances are still hot for achieving this look. This will help achieve the sleek look you are going for. Black would also be a good alternative. Select the appliance that is most important to you first and then build around it. It's not important to have them all from the same line. Most manufacturers finishes will work together.
Flooring is another place to warm it up with wood, cork or a natural stone. They all have there assets and shortcomings so be sure to weigh them out first.
"When a party starts in the kitchen and ends in the kitchen you know you have done well." Celeste Jackson
Cultivate Individuality!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Adding Impact to Your Powder Room

The powder room is a great place to make an impact. It is usually the the smallest room in your home or apartment so that makes it cost effective to add the "WOW" factor without breaking the bank. Your guests will likely use this room at least once when entertaining so it's important to make them feel good and look good when they do. They only will spend a few minutes in this room so their first impression will be the one they leave with. Here are some ideas to add the glam to your powder room.
1) A beautiful mirror can add shape and style to any powder room. If you are still using the builders generic mirror recycle it and find one that excites you.
2) Lighting is extremely important! You want yourself and your guests to look and feel good so they continue to enjoy themselves. Flatter them with soft lighting. Sconces and chandeliers work well to add to the glamour. A dimmer switch is essential. Set the correct level before your guests arrive so when they flip on the switch the mood is achieved.
3) This is a great room to add visual interest to the walls with wall paper or a faux finish. Art should be well thought out and reflect the look you want to achieve. Upholstered panels are a great way to add more texture and dimension and add size to a beautiful picture without overwhelming the room.
4) If you still have the basic pedestal sink from the local big box store it's time to step it up. A vanity will not only add beauty and detail but it will fill out the room and add storage. Many vanities are now available with a marble or granite top and are sold at a great value.
5) Install a faucet with style and detail that reflects the room. Don't be too concerned about matching the finish to everything else in your home.
6) Flooring that is deeper in color will add more warmth. Stay away from stark white on the floor and walls. A small rug with pattern will add comfort and pattern to the floor.
7) Fresh flowers or a seasonal flowering plant will give life to the room.
8) A scented candle burning will add a pleasant fragrance and make your guests more comfortable.
9) Make sure you have a clean hand towel for your guests as well as decorative paper towels. This gives your guests the option and helps to prevent the spread of germs.
10) Have the amenities of a country club readily available for your guests. Mouthwash, paper cups, scented hand soap, hand lotion and other personal needs will put your powder room over the top and make every guest feel special.
"Whatever you do be sure that it is a reflection of what you love." Celeste Jackson
"Without emotion, there is no beauty." Diana Vreeland Editor of Harper's Bazaar 1938-1962 Editor of Vogue 1962-1971
Celeste Jackson

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dressing a Window Properly

Many times I have new clients who have shied away from decorative window treatments in the past because they were afraid of losing their beautiful view. That is why it is so important that when you are seeking an interior designer you need to be sure that they are well trained in designing window treatments. The shape and design of a treatment should always enhance the view as well as the architecture in the room. The materials should be carefully considered for the way they will drape and wear with constant sun exposure. Lining is also important to consider because it helps the way the draperies pleat and hold the shape and it can help reduce the amount of light that comes in the room. For that reason sometimes a blackout lining is best for a darker fabric to eliminate the light coming through so that the fabric color is not altered. Hardware and trim are the icing on the cake and will add the final details of a professionally designed window treatment.

If you have been avoiding dressing up your windows it's time to hire a professional to give the finishing touch of a well designed window treatment.

"Pay attention to every detail." Celeste Jackson

Celeste Jackson

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Give Your Fireplace A Facelift

After Before

You don't have to get the demolition crew out to give your fireplace an updated look. There are several options to transform the look of your fireplace without being drastic and costly. In most cases the brick can be covered with a solid surface like granite or marble. If you have a 2 story room the upper half can also be covered with drywall and a recessed area can be created for artwork or an architectural feature. Brick can also be covered with special stone products that look and feel like stone but are smooth on the back side. It is never a good idea to paint the brick. I have been called on after the fact when clients thought this was a good idea. It is never an improvement.

There are a variety of pre-made surrounds available that can be retrofitted to replace the old and outdated ones. Having the interior of the fireplace painted black will give it fresher look so it doesn't show charred spots. Be sure the paint is heat resistant. Glass doors can be replaced with a beautiful iron screen or one with more interest.

Accessories and lighting are also very important details in the face lift process. Installing electric sconces or spot lights can add detail and highlight artwork. Hang artwork that has the appropriate scale in relationship to the mantel so it doesn't overpower the focal point. Add accessories that work well together like greenery for softness and candlesticks for height. Since the fireplace is usually the main architectural focal point in a room be sure to be selective with your accessories. Don't just use something because you have it. This is an area worth investing a little time and money.

"Great design takes a stretch of the imagination." Celeste Jackson

Cultivating Individuality In Your Unique Home

Celeste Jackson