Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family To Yours

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Casa Vilora Interiors. We hope your holidays will be filled with joy and blessings.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Decorating in Stages

In today's economy where consumers are trying to get the most for their money, decorating a living space is no exception. There is a great hesitation, however when it comes to taking on a decorating project. The common misconception is that it all needs to be done at once, and it will cost a small fortune. Enhancing a room can be easy and cost conscious if it is carefully planned and evolves as time and budget allows.There are great benefits to decorating in stages:  (1) by taking the time to get to know the space and how you want it to function will leave no doubt in your mind about what pieces of funiture the space needs. (2) by assembling a room in stages you have more time to do research, comparison shop and take advantage of seasonal sales and markdowns.

While the end result can be beautiful, the process can be a bit haphazard. Here are a few ways to simplify the process and still end up with the same great results.

Stage One

Painting the room will give you instant gratification and the biggest impact in the space. Paint is a very inexpensive way to change the look and mood of a room. If you are handy with a roller and paint brush, then it is a great do-it-yourselfer project which will save you the expense of hiring a paint contractor.

Adding window treatments is also a great way to give a big impact right away. Most drapery workrooms can customize simple drapery panels for not a lot of money. If a custom workroom is still beyond your budget, try purchasing ready-made panels at any home decor store. The draw back to this is that you have to work around the color schemes they have available, and they are usually a bit shorter than most standard windows require. If choosing a color becomes an issue, then stick to something neutral that will work with any color scheme. If the panels are shorter than what you need, you may be able to attach a coordinating fabric to the top or bottom for a custom look. If you are handy with a sewing machine, then the sky is the limit!

Arranging the existing furniture you have is the next step in stage one. If you only have a few pieces of furniture, it's best to arrange them in one main conversation area for the biggest impact, instead of lined up against walls. Later as you acquire new pieces, you can arrange secondary seating areas throughout the room. It is best to always start with a scaled floorplan. It doesn't have to be a professional floorplan; all that is needed is a piece of graph paper and a tape measure. Play with different arrangements to find the one that's right for the room.

Finally in stage one, arranging your existing accessories in a pleasing way. Remember that sometimes less is more, so resist the temptation to bring too many small scaled pieces back into the room. Adding pillows to a sofa is a very inexpensive way to make a big impact and enhance your color scheme.

Stage two

Bringing in an area rug at this stage is a great way to define the conversation area and anchor the furniture arrangement. It is important not to skimp on quality when it comes to area rugs, but with some good research you can find great quality rugs for under $1000 and have money in your budget for some more accessories or even an accent chair or two. Keep in mind you are always tweaking your floorplan for each new piece of furniture you add.

Stage three

Bringing in some art work at this stage will get the room to the "fiinished" look. Also adding a secondary seating area complete with an occasional table will finish off the room. This is the stage where you can consider reupholstering the sofa if it was a bit more worn than you would like. Maybe replacing the ceiling fan with a fun new light fixture or adding another layer to your window treatment.

Each stage should be an improvement and should take you one step closer to a full makeover. At the end of these stages, you will have a beautiful and well pulled together room. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be systematic and organized. Start by arranging the furniture you have. Evaluate it to see where the holes are, then make a shopping list and prioritize it. When shopping, always carry a list of measurements (doorways, windows, etc.), samples of fabric or carpet, and paint or wood chips.

2. Give furniture a test drive. Take furniture out on approval when possible. The best way to see if it really fits in a room is to try it there.

3. Watch for bargains. Showroom sample sales are great places to pick up designer furniture at good prices. To find out when these sales happen, call your local design center or check the website of a showroom you like. Add your name to the mailing lists of favorite retail stores to be notified of big sales.

4. Don't settle. It's tempting to buy furniture as a quick fix to fill a room, but such purchases often are unsuccessful long-term solutions. Only buy furniture you really love.

5. Consider using a designer. Interior designer fees vary, but you can usually count on their time costing 10 to 15 percent of your budget. Although that means around $300 of a $3,000 budget, a designer's recommendations could help you make sound choices that save money in the long run.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Decorating with Black

We all love black, right? Well did you know that black is not a color, but the absence of color? When we wear black it is sophiscated and powerful and down right sexy! It even makes us look thinner, which is always a good thing. Black is stabilizing, strengthening, authoritive, sophisticated and powerful. So if black is all these wonderful things, why are so many people afraid to use it in their homes?
Black is a very versatile color in home decorating; it makes colors paired with it pop a bit more, it's grounding in a room, it breaks up patterns and lends a bit of weight to a room, and gives the eye a place to rest. The safest way to use black in a room is through accessories and lightweight furniture pieces...but who wants to play it safe all the time? Painting an accent wall in black is a great way to walk on the wild side. Black paint is often used as an accent for front doors for colonial style homes or trim in old victorian homes. But black can be so much more than that. Try painting an accent wall and the result can be very daring and dramatic. The key to using black as a paint color is making sure that you use a matte finish and an absolutely black shade. Many black paints have blue in them so that's something to watch out for. Treat it just like you would when picking out other paint colors, by applying a small sample on the wall and observing it at various times of the day in different lighting. If you still don't like it.... it's only paint.

If you are afraid to commit to black as a paint color, then try using it in small ways that will have impact in the room. I believe that every room needs a bit of black, and I often try to repeat it in three different areas of the room. Some great ways to introduce black are through picture frames, a lamp base, small accessories, an accent table or chair, fabrics and trims on pillows or even in an area rug. Check out these pictures and see what you think.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

When it comes to real estate, any good realtor will introduce you to their industry mantra "Location, Location, Location". When it comes to a well designed room accessories play such a key role, that we ought to make that the design world mantra.....maybe not, try saying it three times fast! Accessories are what give a room personality and provide that finishing touch, just like well chosen jewelry to an outfit. I like using what people have collected on their travels, since they mean something to them, and so the room doesn't appear to be straight from a catalog. You don't want everything to be matchy matchy because that robs the room of character. Groupings of photographs of friends and family in frames of different shapes and sizes is always a great way to add character to the room, keep in mind that there should be a common factor to this grouping to make it more pleasing to the eye...maybe all the frames could be silver, or all the photos done in black and white. When grouping framed photographs, try staying away from 8x10 sizes, which may feel a bit too large sometimes.

Pewter Frames available at

Another rule of thumb for grouping or clustering objects is to stick with odd numbers. For example if you are grouping candlesticks on a mantle, try using one tall, one medium, and one short for a more interesting look. Low baskets or trays are a great way to display a bunch of dissimilar items together and make them cohesive and feel special.

Some of my favorite accessories to use in a room are books, they are relatively inexpensive and a great way to incorporate a clients personality and preferences. You always want to give the appearance of books collected over time, so stay away from color coordinating the spines. Instead alternate the colors for a richer look. Keep in mind that the arrangement is more pleasing to the eye when the books are not lined up on the shelves. Try standing some up, while laying a few down, adding frames and other objects to give a more personal feel instead of a "library" look.

Candles are a great way to bring in some lighting and ambience in the room. Try using scented candles but stick to whites and creams so they are not demanding your attention. Display them in hurricane shades or clustering them on a tray in different heights instead of scattering them about the room. There are great options on the market for wickless candles so you never have to worry about them being a fired hazard.

Fresh flowers are a must in any room, just a simple arrangement of calla lilies is enough to liven up a room.

I usually have trouble convincing my male clients that no room is complete without a couple of pillows in the sofas and chairs; they just can't visualize it until they see the finished product. Pillows and throws are a great way to bring color into the room, and the feeling of homeyness and comfort, especially if you are working with a leather sofa. Just keep in mind that there needs to be comfortable space to sit. Here are some great options from Surya that will set the tone for a beautiful room.

My biggest pet peeve is a room without proper lighting. There needs to be various types of lighting such as an overhead fixture on a dimmer switch for general lighting, lamps for task lighting, accent lighting for adding visual interest to art or a houseplant or to highlight a special texture on a wall, and ambient lighting to create different moods in the room.

Finally, please resist the temptation of overdoing it! If it looks like it's too much, then it's too much! On my decorating projects, I always take more accessories than I think I need. Even though I've done this tons of times, you don't know how a room is going to turn out until you are there. Just remember to keep your receipts for those inevitable returns. Check out these photos and be inspired.

Here are links to finding some of the beautiful items shown above