Posts Tagged ‘tools’

Before and After: Dreamy Living Room

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I used bright and bold colors in so many rooms of my fun farmhouse project that I knew I wanted the more formal living room to be a little soft and dreamy. So I toned down the palette with gray, lavender, and of course the aqua that is used throughout the house. The velvets and patterns still pay homage to the farm theme, but it’s a bit more sophisticated with those amazing French doors and the coffered ceiling. And don’t you just love that chandelier made from vintage milk bottles? That’s a nostalgic touch for this family that I knew they would appreciate.

Since this was a new construction project, we were able to add those architectural elements right from the beginning, and they really make that more formal statement in the room.

Here’s another up-close view of that fab ceiling!

The art helped set the tone for the room, with a more subtle and quiet look than some of the other rooms in the home. I used traditional furnishings, too, with updated forms like the sleek cocktail table to keep it from being too formal.

But the surprise in this room is where I hid the television. You can see the inset panel in the wall above where the TV was going to be housed.

In the “after” photo above, the television is hidden behind panels of art that are hinged to swing open! That keeps the TV out of sight until the family is ready to watch it. And aren’t those chairs fun? I love a good wing chair and I spruced these up with new fabric and a kicky lavender color.

What do you think about this serene living room? And what about that hidden TV? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

The CEO Mindset

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Whether you’re just starting out or have been in this business for years, we all know how stressful owning a design business can be. Not only are we the senior designers, but we’re the CEOs of the company. We have to handle the financials, the employees, our brands, our home life, and try to fit some designing in there somewhere.

Too many designers forget that this is a business, not a hobby. You have to commit to that idea – even if you may have started your business as a side job to begin with. You are the CEO of a company – say that to yourself over and over. Take it very seriously, or you won’t be successful.

It’s tough to be an entrepreneur and a small-business owner. Most of us get into this business by focusing on the parts we love – maybe for you it was a love of color, or the idea that you are transforming people’s homes with gorgeous interiors.

The part we don’t focus on, in most cases, is the enormous amount of hard work, of tough financial times, and of serious business management that it takes to be a CEO. So how can you act like a CEO? Here are a few things you must do:

  • You have to have a business plan. Do you have one?
  • You have to pay yourself – what business leader or CEO do you know that works basically for free?
  • You have to be clear on the goals you’ve set for your company and how you will achieve them.
  • And you must set financial benchmarks that your company has to hit to be profitable.

I can hear you saying: “Wait a minute, I just want to be creative and showcase my talents for the world. I don’t like all of the talk about working on financials or focusing on marketing. Where’s the fun in that?!” You’ll get to have fun in your business – but only if you aren’t constantly stressing about money or where your next client is coming from. And that takes hard work. It takes being a CEO.

In any business, creative or otherwise, a good 80% of your time will be spent on things that are not necessarily at the heart of the reason you started your company in the first place. Instead, you’ll be managing your business, working to attract new clients and customers, researching new revenue streams, and taking a hard look at your financials. If that doesn’t sound like something you can do, then you might want to think about working for another person or at a larger company.

Because these are the facts of owning a business. It is not a hobby or something that you can do halfheartedly. And yes, you can hire people to do some of that work, but that never excuses you from knowing every detail of your company at any given moment. YOU are the CEO.

I’m giving you this reality check because we need to take ourselves, and our business goals seriously. Think of yourself and your company as a start-up that is every bit as important as a Fortune 500 business. The CEO’s vision and commitment are critical to the path that gets a company onto that list – and your vision and commitment are critical to the success of your own company.

That is how you lead a company. That is how you act like a CEO.

Tell me what you think about these ideas in the comments section below! How do YOU take charge and lead your company?

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Cooking Up a Farmhouse Look

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My farmhouse project that was featured in April’s issue of Traditional Home sits on 1,000 acres of gorgeous land. And my clients come from a long line of farmers, too. So they wanted a look that fit the farm setting and would hold up to their kids, but would also be chic and colorful.

This was a completely new build from the ground up, so we were able to add all the function this big family needed, including lots of seating and hardworking materials.

I also wanted to create continuity with the rest of the house, particularly with the aqua color that can be found from the front door all the way through the rest of the home. And I included farmhouse touches that were fun and unique, like the little cow over the stove.

If you look past the workman here, you’ll see that lovely aqua shade in the dining room that I pulled through into the kitchen.

I used red and navy as complementary colors in the kitchen and breakfast nook, which tied in nicely to the adjoining family room you can see above.

And with such a big family, I wanted to be sure there was enough seating for everyone in the kitchen. You can see the beginnings of the bar in the cabinetry above, where I added some great stools once the kitchen was complete.

In the breakfast area, a collection of transferware and a braided rug add country touches, while the chinoiserie chairs and gorgeous chandelier keep the style quotient high.

What do you think of this country-chic kitchen? How do you honor your heritage or family in your home’s decor? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

4 Ideas for Metropolitan Style

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Modern design enthusiasts may think they will only find “big city” style in places like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. But you can get the chic and sleek look you crave, no matter where you live.

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Right here in Little Rock, Ark., I harnessed that city style for my Riverside Penthouse project, and I’m going to show you exactly how you can use these ideas to give your space a modern look and feel.

That entryway is metro marvelous! Here’s another look at a few tips that will give you a lot of big city style:

  1. Think glam: A velvet and vinyl banquette will definitely add that sophisticated city look to your home. It’s perfect for entertaining or having a few friends over for cocktails.
  2. A gorgeous marbelized wall covering in every shade of blue from cobalt to ink will make your space feel penthouse perfect. And it offers ready-made art, as well!
  3. Black-and-white striped marble floors would make a jailhouse rock – and the high-gloss makes them super-chic.
  4. Blue suede doors would make Elvis proud – add some glass doorknobs and they are definitely fit for a King.

A great city view is a bonus, but even if you live in the suburbs, these tips will help you feel like you’re living large in the big city.

Stay colorful!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Listening?

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Have you ever gone to a party and found yourself drawn to person you’ve never met before, who seemed to be completely interested in you and everything you had to say? It’s like finding a new best friend, someone you seem to click with right away. That person usually only did one simple thing that made you feel special – they listened to you.

Listening seems to be a dying art. In today’s world of social media, oversharing, and selfies, we may be turning into people who want to showcase ourselves, but never really invest the time in learning about others. That can hurt us in our personal lives and in our professional careers. And if you’re want to turn things around in your business, this is one of the simplest things you can do that I promise will pay off. LISTEN.

As an extrovert myself, that’s something I definitely had to work on in my own life and career. Early in my design business, I had so many ideas and thoughts that I wanted to share them immediately with my clients, without actually giving them the space and time to tell me what they wanted and needed. I once even had a client say, “Are you listening to me?” before I actually slowed down and thought about how this was impacting me and my business. Now with 17 years of experience, I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and to really and truly listen to what the other person is saying. It’s made a huge difference in my design work, and in my business as a whole. Who am I kidding – it’s helped my personal life, too!

It’s critical to focus on what another person is telling us. It does more than just make them feel important – you can learn so much about the other person and what they need. But you are also giving them a great customer service experience that will improve your bottom line. After all, according to Jonah Berger in his book Contagious, when people talk about themselves and are given the opportunity to share opinions, it activates their brains like a reward does, like when they are given food or money. And all of those chemicals that make them feel good are giving them a really good feeling about YOU.

Remember though, you can’t sit there thinking about what you’re going to say next while you’re supposedly listening to that other person. You have to really hear them, take in everything they are actually saying, as well as their body language and non-verbal cues. You want to lean in, to ask questions at the appropriate time, and to give them the spotlight that they want and deserve. Imagine what a different world we might have today if we spent more time focusing on someone else rather than taking yet another selfie.

Instead of being selfish with your time and attention, learn to give it away freely and openly. It will make you a better person, a better customer service provider, and a much more effective businessperson!

What do think of this simple but radical idea? Let me know in the comments section below. I’m listening!

xo,