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YOUR HOME   -   INTERIOR LOOKS
Interior Home Beautification Tips from the Experts
May, 2006 - Issue #19
Scroll to the bottom of this page to view a photo gallery of the experts

Maple or walnut? Espresso or burgundy? Full-sets or mix-and-match?

When it comes to decorating your home's interior, it often seems like the choices are overwhelmingly extensive. In the following pages, the newest trends in home interiors will be simplistically described.

The Furniture

Be assured that while the trends in furniture are as varied as the different styles of decor (think Tuscan, Mediterranean, or French), local experts agree: mixing different textures, styles and even centuries is the way to go.

Deno Antonini, owner of Interior Home, has noticed that people are combining styles like never before. "I've seen old vintage chairs reupholstered with graphic, modern fabrics." His suggestion? Move towards contemporary, modern lines that can easily compliment other pieces.

"Darker woods are increasingly more popular," says Greg Etheridge, director of store design and buying for Consumers and Citrus Fine Furniture. "Five or 10 years ago, the light vintage look was in, but now folks are moving to black. Distressed black painted furniture looks timeworn and fits well in all categories," he continues.

Fabric selections for custom furniture reflect the trend away from lighter shades. "Browns are much more popular, like reds were a few years back. In upholstery and drapery, the new color trend is being mixed frequently with spa-inspired shades of blue-greens or gold," says Tom Fisk, owner of Coming Home Fabrics.

"A lot of people are looking for unique, one-of-a-kind accessories and pieces from around the world. Old World Mediterranean and Tuscan are really popular right now because their warm tones create a romantic sentiment and inviting environment," says Tarrie Lane, owner of Plantation Home and Garden.

If price is an issue, consider consignment shops as a good alternative to showroom-new pieces. Jannette Lyon, owner of Consigner Designer, boasts a number of well-made vintage and custom items that sell for half of what you'd pay for them in a traditional retail store.

If you want new but don't want the price tag that usually accompanies it, consider recreations. Kathy Goldstein of Suburban Chateau offers her clients custom creations (including 11,000 different fabric options) at a fraction of the price. "If a sofa is $1,600 to $1,900 at Pottery Barn, it would be about $715 here with an average grade fabric, and the wood used would be of better quality," she boasts.

The Accessories

When it comes to accessorizing, big and bold is in.

Artwork has also taken the "large" movement in stride. "The biggest trend right now is towards large canvas technology. Big pieces fill high ceilings and large white Santa Clarita walls, and large landscapes are like having a picture window in your home," says Bradlee Sweigart, marketing director for B&R Art Gallery.

And speaking of large... Sue Savigar, manager of Orchid Gift Emporium, says, "Iron is now used to border entryways or display plates, hung above doorways, or as a quick way to fill up large wall spaces." Savigar agrees that mixing styles is in: "Iron is contemporary, but blends so well with Country, Modern or Shabby Chic, and it goes great with other current trends."

Janice VanBever, manager of Outdoor Spaces, says, "We have noticed that in addition to shopping for outdoor accessories, our customers have realized the versatility of outdoor pieces. They are incorporating our patio decorations, like iron wine holder pieces and ornamental wall hangings, in the interior of their homes."

Pat McPherson of Pat McPherson Interiors says, "I love fresh flowers - big and bold in design. People can also regroup their artwork or photographs closer together - don't hang them too high - or replace an accent color to create a new look to an old space."

Susie Mullenger, owner of Don't Freak, It's Faux, believes that the perfect accessory is also the one that can be used. Her throws are "the softest things you've ever felt," she says, "and will be the most fought over item in your house."

If a custom accessory is what you are looking for, consider the unusual decor found in Madalian. "We design pillows and accessories that go wonderfully with existing furniture," says Ede Eichmann, owner. "We suggest adding warmth to the home by incorporating billowing pillows, throws and curtains." With the addition of one-of-a-kind vintage-inspired pieces or lamps that double as works of art, a room can be transformed, says the experienced personal design consultant.

Don't underestimate the joys of a well-finished fireplace. "We sell a lot of ceramic logs, as well as fireplace doors that mount directly to the fireplace," says Chuck Romero, a sales consultant at Valley Breeze. Of course, they still sell fans, too. "Bronze and brushed nickel produced by known designers are big sellers," he continues.

Kevin Leahy, owner of Candleman, knows that accessorizing doesn't end at eye level. "A new fragrance in the home makes the space become new to you again, and it's much more affordable," he says. Fruits and florals, especially when disbursed by a diffuser, are very hot right now.

Paint

The move towards rich, deep shades has also affected the painting industry, but if you're looking for what's cool right now, the answer is at your fingertips: texture.

Josh Abramson, owner of A.Allbright Painting, says, "Plaster and Luster Stone, a pearlescent plaster, are unique and becoming very popular textures to incorporate into the home."

Abramson suggests that homeowners serious about results work with a professional for a color consultation. "Having a plan including color schemes provides for a better flow of color throughout the entire house," he says.

If you're already pleased with your home's general paint palate, the addition of a custom mural may be all you need. Kym Cappi, owner of Kym's Kreations, notices that many of her clients utilize murals in otherwise wasted space. "Alcoves are very hard to decorate," she says, "but are a great opportunity to reflect your personal style. You can be transported to a different time and place instead of staring at a blank wall."

Denise Saylor of Designs by Denise agrees that custom work is often the best way to go. "I just completed an entire house: a child's room with ponies, trees, butterflies and flowers; in her sister's room, an oversized mural of her name with soccer balls in the lettering; in the kitchen, I painted bar stools to look like Coca Cola bottle tops; I'm aging the kitchen cabinets and painting a car hop girl on the side of the cabinet with custom lettering and an aged effect."

Kitchens and Baths

Investing in kitchens and baths is a good idea. "People remodel entire kitchens because new home prices are too high, they like their neighborhood, and it increases the value of a home that's 20 or 30 years old," says Nick Oz, owner of Dannick Designs.

"In the industry, there's a strong movement towards darker stains - chocolate, espresso...," says Lisa Woodward, owner of Woodward. "Oak is also back in style - people want to see the grain. The commercial look of stainless steel appliances and clean lines hasn't gone anywhere and is still very popular, as is flat-paneled Metro styling," she continues.

The incorporation of granite and glass into kitchens is growing. "Tumble stone is going strong, especially on kitchen splashes. It saves money; having granite with tile included on the splash may be $40 less a square foot," says Mike Olivas, owner of Olivas Tile. He says that people are now more daring, combining steel, copper and glass accents with traditional stone selections.

In stores like Ventura Marble and Sierra Granite, definite trends have been noted. Granite and natural stone countertops, in gold and neutral tones, with natural travertine floors, accompanied by backsplashes adorned with inserts, murals and mosaics, have been a common theme for the kitchen.

If you're worried about losing months to a remodel, think again. "We can give you a new kitchen in only two days without the chaos of demolition and construction. Our countertops can be installed right over your existing countertops," says Scott Viers, owner of Granite Transformations.

"For kitchens, we're seeing more technology being incorporated, like infared cable/DSL lines, XM radios, dedicated computer areas, and plasma TV's. With everything online today like the Food Channel, people can get their recipes right off the computer instead of opening a cookbook," says Brenda Stoner, owner of Kitchens, Etc.

Don't forget matters of safety in water-friendly parts of the home. Ken Hans, owner of Slip Resistant Technologies, offers do-it-yourself or installed technologies that prevent slipping. The product is invisible and the only sensation is non-slip when wet.

Regardless of what remodeling project you choose, make sure that your contractor is willing to go the extra mile for you. "A full-service design-build contractor can offer you everything your project calls for. It starts with an in-house designer who listens to you and helps you choose the best possible way to feasibly and effectively implement your plans," says David Moshe, owner of City View Construction.

Windows

Older homes may need replacement double-paned windows that will save money in the end. "The primary reason for replacement is heat and cold, or windows that rattle and don't block as much noise," says Mark Borden, owner of Great Outlook. "They'll make a huge difference on energy costs," he continues, "If you can feel air coming through cracks on a window pane, you're losing money."

Shauntel Anderson, owner of Action Window & Door, says that if you're thinking about replacement windows or patio doors, there's no reason to wait. "You'll be enhancing your home's interior and adding to its curb appeal. What's more, they provide one of the best returns on investment of any home improvement project."

Decorating your newly installed or existing windows doesn't have to be difficult. "Shutter installations continue to show double-digit increases each year in every region of the country. The SCV is no exception. Just look in the local real estate ads and you will find plantation shutters listed as a highlighted feature of many homes for sale in the SCV," says Crystal Larochelle of Summit Custom Shutters.

Paul Gatlin, owner of Alpine Shutters, agrees that low-maintenance, popular shutters are key to home decor. "The primary focus is about bringing the light into the house and transforming the home with light. Plantation shutters bring style to a room; a feeling of freshness and cleanliness, a look that's timeless," he says.

When it comes to windows, don't forget the screens. Phantom Screens provide complete ventilation, can protect from UV rays, offer enhanced privacy and insect prevention, plus can fit oversized applications like large windows and balconies - even garages.

Moulding and Stairs

To complete the look of your home, consider moulding installation.

"Wainscoting and crown moulding, especially around entertainment centers, are pretty hot ticket items, especially when combined with stained-oak and maple requests," says Jay Rezendes of Jay Rezendes General Contractor.

Scott Minkler of Westridge Crown Moulding & Woodworks has noticed that clients are looking for a custom look. "People want their homes to be a reflection of themselves, and I'm noticing that classic details and superior quality are what everyone wants," he says.

Moulding can bring simple but dramatic change to a variety of spaces. SCV Moulding & Design Center took a plain white guest bathroom and added paint-grade wainscoting and crown, which completely changed the look of the room for the better. Having design consultants and experienced contractors on staff helps make transformations like these nearly effortless.

When it comes to stairs, dark-stained wood and wrought-iron accents are really popular now, particularly the maple wood with rod-iron banisters," says Martin Luna, owner of L.A. Stairs and Moulding. So is a movement towards the regal circular stair case, says Luna.

Flooring

To carpet or not to carpet? That is the question.

"More people are moving towards hard surfaces, especially for their downstairs. Distressed woods are very popular - maple, hickory, cherry or walnut - as are rich, deep shades. Still, the soft-yarn carpeting for bedrooms and hallways are very popular," says Bill Kirsch, owner of Flooring America.

Garage, Closet Storage and Organization

Yes, the garage counts as an interior, especially when, as Jeff Leatherman says, "It's the last room the man has to himself." Leatherman, owner of SoCal Sports, provides modular flooring in limitless color combinations that are perfect for garage floors. "We do personal logos, sport team colors... We did a four-lane highway in one garage!," he continues.

Ed Pinsky, owner of Closet Crafters, builds closets, home offices, entertainment centers and garage storage options. From beautiful wood-grain closets with matching crown and base moulding to more simplistic storage solutions, Pinsky has noticed that a needs assessment is key to determining the perfect set-up for each home. "You are the best person to design your closet," he says.

You may want to consider roll-outs to increase storage space and help you become more organized. Shelves to Drawers offers roll-out cabinet access that allows you to reach items stored in the back and front of your cabinets and drawers.

Home Entertainment

Auton is always making headway into technology, and when it comes to television concealment, this may be the best yet. The Shadow TRAK boasts easy installation without harming the wall your plasma adorns. Not only a conversation piece, the concealment improves the overall look of the home when your television's not in use.

Not that you'd want to hide your new plasma for long - especially with new speakers. Wilshire Home Entertainment adds performance and panache to your plasma LCD television with specially designed slim-profile speakers.

Photo Gallery of the Experts

A. Allbright Painting
A. Allbright Painting
Action Window & Door
Action Window & Door

Alpine Shutters
Alpine Shutters
Auton
Auton

Dannick Designs
Dannick Designs
Candleman
Candleman

Consigner Designer
Consigner Designer
B&R Gallery - "Olive Tree of Chianti" by June Carey
B&R Gallery - "Olive Tree of Chianti" by June Carey
Designs by Denise
Designs by Denise

City View Construction
City View Construction
Closet Crafters
Closet Crafters

Color Space Murals
Color Space Murals
Coming Home Fabrics
Coming Home Fabrics

Flooring America
Flooring America
Garage Envy
Garage Envy

Jay Rezendes General Contractor
Jay Rezendes General Contractor
Don
Don't Freak, It's Faux
Kym
Kym's Kreations

Granite Transformations
Granite Transformations
Great Outlook Windows & Doors
Great Outlook Windows & Doors

Interior Home, Inc.
Interior Home, Inc.
Kitchen Etc.
Kitchen Etc.

L.A. Stairs & Moulding
L.A. Stairs & Moulding
Madalian
Madalian

Outdoor Spaces
Outdoor Spaces
Orchid Gift Emporium
Orchid Gift Emporium
SCV Design Center
SCV Design Center

Olivas Tile & Stone, Inc.
Olivas Tile & Stone, Inc.
Pardee Homes
Pardee Homes

Pat McPherson Interiors
Pat McPherson Interiors
Phantom Screens of Southern California
Phantom Screens of Southern California

Plantation Home & Garden
Plantation Home & Garden
SoCal Sports
SoCal Sports

Shelves to Drawers
Shelves to Drawers
Sierra Granite & Marble
Sierra Granite & Marble
Stone City
Stone City

Suburbean Chateau
Suburbean Chateau
Westridge Crown Moulding
Westridge Crown Moulding

Wilshire Home Entertainment
Wilshire Home Entertainment
Woodward
Woodward

Summit Custom Shutters
Summit Custom Shutters
Valley Breeze
Valley Breeze
Ventura Marble & Tile
Ventura Marble & Tile
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