Monday, September 23, 2013

Home Decor: Five Questions with Top Designers

Spotlight on Local Designer, Tamara Johnson of Together Interiors, LLC

1) It seems your passion in Design flourishes in Fabrics. How did your love and expertise in Fabrics emerge?
I started out in the furniture industry over 20 years ago and just loved working with fabrics putting together fun palates with mixed patterns, textures, colors, etc.   I then expanded my practice to be an expert window treatment design to include custom bedding and furniture.  I have one of the largest private fabric/trim libraries in the Scottsdale area which allows me to help client’s find the perfect fabric for any application.

2) What’s new for fall with Textiles in Design?
Large Ikat, stripes, and bold colors continue to be a huge success.
Black/Greys blended with Citron, Orange, and Cobalt Blues are really fun for the pop that every space needs.

3) What are your thoughts about Fabric as Wallpaper?
I grew up with my mother using fabric as wallpaper so I think it is really cool.  It adds another dimension to a wall treatment that Faux just can’t do.  Also adds some sound absorption so it is great for bedrooms and entertainment spaces.

 4) What inspires you?
Every day as I go into client’s homes and then go out shopping – the combinations are endless and exciting. I just love finding new things and creating unique arrangements in client’s home.  Sometimes it is just the smallest thing that I find can be the center of a space.   

5) Can you give us a quick Design tip that we can implement right away?
Placing furniture or an area rug on an angle to give the room a fresh perspective is just a simple way to make a huge change by simple moving something on an angle.

Contact Tamara Johnson at (480) 595-1010 or via her website, Together Interiors, LLC 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Home Decor: Five Questions with Top Designers

Spotlight on Lori Carroll of Lori Carroll and Associates

1)Your designs seem to make each space look expansive.  What is your technique?    My technique for making a space seem larger is using subtle, tone on tone patterns and colors.  Keeping the color scheme continuous from floor to walls to ceiling gives the illusion of more space. Using texture and bright pops of color in artwork and accessories personalizes the room. 

2) Is there a particular room you like designing more than any other? Why?
My absolute favorite room to design is the powder room.  One reason; you can splurge in a powder room. Since the space is smaller, you need less material which means you can budget for items that might be too costly for a master bathroom.  In a powder room color and texture both make a big impact; so it’s fun to mix and match finishes. 

3) I've been reading about ‘Reconnecting with our Home’.  Do you have any thoughts on how we can do this?
You can reconnect with your home by doing simple updates like changing out hardware on your cabinets; bringing in some fresh accessories or adding new lighting.  

4) What inspires you?
I use anything and everything around me for inspiration.  It might be as simple as a fabric swatch or as complex as a unique piece of furniture.

5) Can you give us a quick Design tip that we can implement right away?
One of my favorite design tricks is to expand a frameless piece of art by painting around the canvas, adding depth to the art and the room.

Contact Lori Carroll at (520) 886-3443 or via her website, Lori Carroll and Associates. Visit our or

Monday, September 9, 2013

Home Decor: Five Questions with Top Designers

Spotlight on: Kate Smith of Sensational Color

1) What is your personal design style at home?
Over the years my design style has evolved from a mix of treasured pieces that each told a story through color and styles to where it is now. Streamlined, clean, nature-based colors and elements punctuated by color. As my inner world has become more calm and grace-filled so has my environment.

2) How do you interpret Color it based on preference or objective?
I uncover my client’s style through a combination of looking and listening. I find that most people have a good idea in mind but don’t know how to articulate it in design and color. My goal is to get “the beautiful vision they have in their mind and have it show up in their home.” By becoming good at listening actively as they, I often intuitively see what they see in their mind before they even show me the first inspiration piece or room image.

3) What are the most important factors in assessing a Color Strategy?
Balance. As humans we are always seeking balance both consciously and subconsciously. This carries into design and color. Think about how varying amounts and types of color -- warm and cool, light and dark, dull and intense – can create harmony or discord.  It is the characteristics of the color even more than the specific colors that I focus on to create a successful
color strategy.

4) In addition to Sensational Color...What inspires you?
Art! I enjoy simply being in the presence of great art and have spent many hours sitting in a museum soaking up my surroundings. I also enjoy creating art, which for me is a very intimate dialog between the world I see and how I see the world. I create to understand and see not so show or sell.

My love of color and my color-sense ability has always been primarily informed by art. All of the colorist I admire most are either wonderful artist in his or her own right or ardent admirers of art.

Making a few dozen color decisions for a 9’ x 12’ space becomes much easier once you have seen, studied and been inspired by the thousands of color decisions a fine artist has made in creating a 9” x 12” painting. 

5) Can you provide a simple color tip that we can implement right away?
Up the sizzle or sophistication in any design by standing back and checking to see that you have value contrast and balance. 

Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color. One of the mistakes people make is to use colors that are too similar in value when trying to create distinctive spaces. A common mistake is too try to match your colors too closely rather than layering slightly different tones and shades from the same color family, which is much more interesting to the eye.

Color or value contrast gives a room more definition and formality but even a space that uses softer colors to create a soothing environment benefits from adding contrast and making sure it is balanced in a very natural way.

Keep the majority of darker hues lower in the room, the mid-tones in the middle and lighter colors higher. This duplicates the way we are used to seeing color in nature and there is a comfort in that familiarity. The natural balance adds to the soothing qualities of low-key colors. 

Contact Kate Smith of Sensational Color at (631) 630-6263 or via email at Visit our website at or

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Home Decor: Five Questions with Top Designers

Spotlight on: Heather Bates
H. Bates Interior Design

1) What is your personal Design style at home?
My personal design style is a mash up of traditional, transitional, and eclectic. I grew up with British Colonial influences.

2) Did any specific family members influence your choice to get into Design, if not, what did? The females in my family have a long line of artistic ability. This came out in painting and music and tasteful decor. Pretty much from young childhood, I was always thinking on how to improve my spaces and moving items around, repainting furniture and such/. I dabbled in oil painting and was musically inclined. I sang a lot in choirs, and at one time played three instruments: The flute, Violin and Piano, the last of which was my main one.

3) I notice from your portfolio that your designs are minimalistic, i.e. beautiful, purposefully placed pieces with significant space in your total Design. Is that characteristic of your Design style?I'm glad you could figure that out! Yes, I prefer clean site lines and am not one to keep a collection, or have lots of accessories. What I do have is a lot of framed artwork (probably too much) and family heirlooms that have a certain place in my home. I even keep my electrical kitchen appliances in the pantry when not being used. I can't even watch "Hoarders" on TV, it makes my skin crawl and I feel instantly overwhelmed by ALL THE STUFF.

4) What inspires you?
I am inspired by color and what I see as the miraculous work of Mother Nature. Design is in everything from flower petals to the clouds in the sky. My expression of this inspiration is in the full effect of the depth of color, intricacies of design - say in molding,trims or inlaid furniture, and how it relates to our interior and exterior spaces.

5) Can you give us a quick Design tip that we can implement right away?
Break up the monotony of your space by using one item that doesn't normally belong there. This doesn't have to be large. It could be something in a totally unrelated color, or from your travels. You'll get comments and maybe even have a story to tell about how you acquired the piece.

Contact Heather Bates of H. Bates Interior Design at (703) 625-0031 or via her profile on Houzz.  Visit our website: or