Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How do you make color powerful?

It's so amazing to me to see how much in common my oil painting class has to do with the work I do for clients. In thinking about my abstract painting  class, the similarities with the power of color just hit me. So, I asked myself... " How do you make color powerful and how does that relate to our spaces?"

Curt Butler Studio

It all goes back to the color wheel... yes, it's that little tool that teaches us so much about the relationship of colors. The one we either know how to use or not.

In painting, the colors we use to create beautiful pieces of art all relate to color theory and yes, to the Quiller Wheel. ( To understand more about the color wheel read on.) I would try to explain it, but you should probably just read about it.

So, to answer  " How do you make color powerful and how does that relate to our spaces?"  We can begin by selecting a dominant color. This is the hue that dominates about 60% of the color used. In our homes it tends to be the color we use on our walls as the background color.

A subordinate color is one that is used the least amount and tends to be about 10% of the color. In home interiors this color is sometimes the "pop" of color that we add to a room through accessories.

An intermediate color is one that is in between and is a neutral hue. In paintings, it is taking the dominate color and making it a neutral one.

At some point in this equation we have to find a neutral color to tie everything together and avoid visual chaos. It is selecting a color that is neither bright or strong and is used in about 30% of the room, it's the one we typically use on the trim.

This beautiful room by Heather Garrett Interior Designs describes exactly what I am talking about:

1. The dominant color is the apricot colored wallpaper taking up about 60% of the color in the room.
2. The subordinate color, the light peach is used as the accent color or the pop and it represents about 10% of the color.
3. The intermediate color comes in the shades of browns we see in the floor & furniture such as the table, the chair tacks and the shades of antique brass. Yes, even the color floor matters when combining colors in your home.
4. The neutral color is the tan color hinting to a touch of peach you see on the chairs and on the trim, which is about 30% of the color.

Heather Garrett Interior Designs

Don't forget, Color is a Powerful Tool.

How confident are you using color and did any of this make sense to you? Let me know in the comments section below.
Colorfully yours,

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!
As we celebrate this Valentines day  I can't help but remember decorating Valentine boxes in elementary school to be filled with cards from classmates. With these boxes came lots of cards and so much candy. This brings me to a little fun fact on one of my favorites:  SWEETHEARTS

Who doesn’t have fond memories of these  little candy conversation hearts full of sugar?
Did you know  they actually have a shelf life of five whole years? Each year, consumers purchase up to 14 million pounds of Sweethearts, which equates to almost 6.7 billion individual hearts. That's A LOT of sweethearts!
The Sweetheart manufacturers also pride themselves in keeping up with the latest love lingo. Amazingly they continue to introduce  about 10 new sayings each year to stay current with the market.
In addition to loving all of the sugar in these sweethearts I also love all of their COLORS, 
which brings me to the subject of February's newsletter. "When color Clicks"

When color clicks
Have you ever put colors together and they just did not seem to work even though you initially thought they would. There is a big reason as to WHY and that is explained through color theory. I am not going to go into a lot of detail into color theory because that is a very detailed topic that I continue to study and learn from. I will however give you an example that I hope will help you to understand how and why colors click. 
Analagous colors on a color wheel are three colors that are next to each other. When these colors are used together they match well and create a serene and comfortable feeling, for example the blues and green pictured below.

When you add the color directly across the color wheel you are using  a split complementary which give you a POP of color.
If you were to add orange to the blues/green you would have a beautiful palette to work from.

A note of caution:
Using all of these colors in equal amounts simply creates chaos so choose one color to dominate and a second to support it. The third color is used (along with black, white or gray) as an accent color or pop.
This same theory applied to interiors is how beautiful rooms are created.
As I was painting an abstract using analogues colors and adding the split complementary as my accent, my colors clicked. Once I got my colors and their values right, the painting all came together.

By Yours Truly

Remember, colors don't just work together because they do, there is a lot of thought that goes into it.
Let me know if you need help with your colors.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Designer for a Day

I recently had a client ask me about a room in her home...she had packed away all of her decorations and wasn't sure she wanted to put things back the way they were before the holidays. She just didn't know what direction she wanted to take with it and asked for my help with some fresh ideas.  She liked the space, but felt it needed something different to make it a place she and her family could enjoy and love again.  That's when I thought that Designer for a Day would be perfect for her.

Designer for a Day is an intense day dedicated to working with you on one room in your home. I will answer questions, develop a plan, evaluate existing furnishings and make recommendations to resolve issues to best accommodate your lifestyle.  I will help you avoid making costly mistakes!

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then let me know.  I will send you a short questionnaire to assess your needs and once returned, I will schedule your SPECIAL Day. 
I'll arrive at your home ready to go to solve your design problems.

*Consultation, measurements, photographs, suggestions and most importantly a discussion of your needs, wants and budget.
*Once I am back at my office, I will design a complete space plan of your space to include appropriate sizes and scale of furniture. I will create a storyboard with examples of colors, furniture and accessories to complete your room.

*I will email you everything you need to solve your design dilemmas, and finally to create a room you will enjoy!
Below are a couple of examples of a space plan and story board

Example of a Space Plan

Example of a Story Board

Please let me know if this is something you might be interested in. Leave a comment in the comment box below.
Colorfully your,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cozy Up: Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat

I have truly enjoyed being able to call North Carolina throughout the years and especially love memories in the Blue Ridge Mountains!  And what is cozier than a weekend trip to a rustic retreat complete with that idyllic fireplace.  I was flipping through House Beautiful and came across this mountain retreat designed by Stanley Dixon in Cashiers west of Asheville, North Carolina.  So as the weather continues to cool, imagine spending a weekend in this space!

I love the rich, refined, rustic and of course, cozy feel of this home.  I can certainly imagine a getaway there!  I hope you enjoy your weekend and get inspired to retreat yourself soon to the mountains.

Have a great day,

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Diary of a Kiawah Cottage Remodel and Introducing Hillary

Diary of a Kiawah Cottage Remodel

Kiawah, SC a sea island located near Charleston, SC. My husband and I have a cottage in the historic district of Kiawah.  In Kiawah you either have historic cottages or  new homes. This house came into our lives very unexpectedly through a friend of my husbands nine years ago.  It is a very comfortable house and in a perfect location on West beach. We have loved and enjoyed it to the max, but it is in need of being updated.  After much planning we have finally embarked on the challenge of our remodel. I invite you to follow the progress of the remodel over the course of the next few months.

Let me begin the story by giving you some background on the house. Built in 1976, it is an original Kuwaity house. A style typical of the first homes on the island. Ours follows the trend of the location with ranch style homes, usually three bedrooms, a large living space and a screen porch with a deck. 

A home remodel on every job begins with lots of planning.  Our planning began two years ago with big dreams of a complete remodel to enlarge the house in order to accommodate our large family. Our initial plans included adding a garage with a bedroom and bathroom above it, expanding the kitchen, redoing the bathrooms etc.

Reality set in after the bids went out and the contractors came back with pricing. Needless to say after two years we have scaled back the plans and we are now doing a face lift on the house as opposed to a complete remodel.

The packing is done and the demo has begun. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cool Designs for a Hot Summer

Rosa Plaza Dest, Associate ASID, IDS Professional

Cool Designs for a Scorching Hot Summer!
With temperatures over 100 degrees in many areas of the country, many homeowners are moving inside to enjoy cool air conditioning during the day, and they are waiting to host casual dinner parties Al Fresco once the sun has set.
If you enjoy backyard barbecues, this is a great time of year to do a minor renovation on your kitchen and family room to get ready for the holiday season. I know it sounds crazy to talk about the holidays, but we're half way through the year, and it is almost time to get the kids ready for school. Before you know it, you'll be planning your holiday parties and buying gifts.
There is still plenty of time through early fall to cook outdoors and enjoy the adventure of revamping your kitchen's function or aesthetics, so if you're considering a minor refresh, or major overhaul, here are some great cabinet styles you might consider:
Traditional (
Transitional. (
Contemporary. (
This year, we are seeing clean lines and minimal details in kitchens. The real key is to design the kitchen for easy maintenance and timeless design. Here are the "Before" and "After" photos from one of my recent projects.

As you see, we changed the countertop, backsplash, cabinet color and added a new island, appliances, and light fixture. Even though this was not a full-scale remodel, we were able to achieve our client's goal of updating the look of his kitchen by making simple material and aesthetic changes.

My favorite features include the black walnut table that became the island, and the contemporary light fixture that adds an industrial feel. Which are your favorite features? By the way, that's a great question to ask your spouse or friends to get your design projects in motion.

Whether you are planning a simple update or a full-scale remodel, engaging the services of a design professional will ensure that your results are spectacular and that your investment is carefully considered. If you are interested in a design consultation, contact Rosa at
P.S. If you love the idea of being your own designer and need advice from a professional to avoid making costly mistakes, I can review your selections and help you create a design solution that incorporates your vision!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Are You Contemporary?

Sleek clean lines, high sheen, natural finishes, dramatic or colorful finishes, and flat cabinetry are just a few signs you're loving a contemporary kitchen.  To nail this minimalist look your selections are key!  We especially love seeing this look in smaller spaces, as it serves as a highly functional look to maximize your space.  If you’re ready to take the plunge and update your own traditional look, here are a few good places to begin considering the transition.

Carefully selecting your materials can create just the mood you’re looking for.  Metal, concrete, glass, and wood veneer are just a few finishes that look fantastic in contemporary kitchens.  All are highly customizable to represent your tastes and lifestyle.  Selecting finishes with texture and movement can help warm up the more minimalist contemporary look.

This is your place to shine, pun totally intended!  Creating a total look can be achieved through carefully selected lighting fixtures.  Layering your lighting gives you both function and a noteworthy aesthetic that really enhances your space and keeps it from appearing cold.  Adding recessed cans for overall illumination and under cabinet LED strip lights to provide task lighting will help you achieve a thoughtful, layered look.  The minimal nature of a contemporary kitchen is an excellent opportunity to choose an oversized pendant or drum fixture and really make a statement.

Your finish selections here are are crucial to pulling off the look!  Sleek natural finishes and high sheen lacquers accented with frosted glass can help you create that contemporary feel.  There is also so much choice in color.  Think a daring chartreuse or bold cobalt!  And of course your hardware is another excellent way to personalize your kitchen with a variety of finishes in clean, sleek silhouettes.

Here in Charlotte we still love our decorative trim and faux finishes but there is a growing demand for contemporary kitchens, moving with the national and international design trends.  It’s exciting to really get to understand my clients’ and tastes and lifestyles and I always look forward to each unique project and their final unveiling.  Where do you land on contemporary kitchens?  We love to hear about your style!

Have a great day,