Thursday, October 30, 2008

Master Bath Redesign

Over the next several posts I will be reporting on the progress of a master bathroom redesign. I'll detail the various resources used, discuss the various projects undertaken and outline the design decision process.

The master bath is shown in the photo, prior to any work. It is actually a very nice bathroom in a recently built home, with no real problems. However...can any sense of style be found?! No. Therefore, my aim is to infuse the room with a wonderful sense of style, a bit of whimsy and drama, through decorating. Let's see how I succeed!

If I had been involved with the original design of this room I would have made different tile and finish choices, but I wasn't and will need to work with these previous selections. I think, even with these restrictions, a significant change can be achieved. So, to that end, the following tasks are planned for this project:

1)paint/wall design
2)replace recessed lighting with light fixtures
3)window coverings
5)dressing mirror
6)mill work around vanity mirror
7)vanity lighting
8)painting of the cabinetry
9)bath accessories and artwork....and anything else I dream up along the way!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Love Devine Color!

Choosing a paint color can be overwhelming, there can be just too many choices. This is unfortunate, because bringing color into a room is the easiest and least expensive path to transforming a space!

That is one of the many reasons Devine Color paint is a wonderful choice when starting a painting project. They have fabulous colors, cluster colors in beautiful palettes to inspire you, have mini pouches to sample all the colors you think might work, (without spending a fortune), and now all their paint is 99% VOC free. As a bonus, you can now purchase their products online, at, and shipping is free! Above is a room using one of my favorite Devine Colors, Devine Coco. Remember, it's only paint, don't be afraid to experiment and try out some of your favorite colors on any walls begging for attention!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buy the Floor Model...Save $$$!

I am a fan of well designed, quality furniture and accessories. Unfortunately good design often is accompanied by not so attractive price tags. One way to get around this road block is to buy the floor model, which often offers an opportunity to purchase an item at substantial savings. If you are shopping and find the item you've been looking for, ask if you can purchase the floor model. If it is not yet for sale, ask to be called when it is. Also, become familiar with the markdown habits of your favorite stores and watch for your items to be placed on sale. When considering purchasing a floor model, examine every inch of the piece for damage. If you find any, decide if you can live with it or repair it...if so start bargaining for further reductions!

Using this approach I recently was able to purchase a beautifully upholstered settee, originally listed at $1200.00, for $386.00. Another example is the mirror pictured above, originally listed for $379.00, I paid a mere $59.00! Now those are discounts worth the effort required to shop with this strategy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wonderful fabrics designed by Thomas Paul

Thomas Paul designs are a delight. Last year I hung one of his melamine plates as art in a powder bath and used his pillows in a master bedroom design for another client. So, when sourcing fabrics yesterday, I was virtually gleeful to discover his designs are now available in upholstery grade fabrics.

Thanks to Duralee Fabrics, over 40 patterns and colors can now be purchased. I ordered the Aviary style in Earth, shown in the photo, from Calico Corners. The fabric will be used to reupholster the seat cushions of some chairs I am refinishing...I'll show photos of that project when it gets underway!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Decorating With Art...Your Children's

If you are a parent, you probably have your children's art posted on the fridge and more stashed away in a pile somewhere. With just a small investment of time and money, you can transform your favorite master pieces into 'real' art. Select several stock frames from a store such as Michael's or Aaron Brothers. They are always running sales, or look for their coupons, and frames like the ones I am showing in the photo will run you under $10 each. Hang the frames in groups of two, or even up to eight, for more impact.

Now you can have a revolving art gallery of your children's latest artwork. Not only does this add a wonderful light hearted quality to your home's decor, but your children will be proud to have their work featured in this way!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Latest Design Project

Here is my latest completed project, a master bedroom. This room has shaded natural light and is on the smaller side, so I decided to play up those qualities rather than fight them.

My design started with a vintage wrought iron and crystal pagoda chandelier, which inspired me to create a room that has a shimmering quality with a limited color palette. The drapes are silk with a soft sheen, and the color is just two shades darker than the walls, so as to create a more spacious effect in the room. The drapery rod was chosen because it's finish is similar to the chandelier, with the rod's leaf finials repeating the chandelier's charming quality.

I choose the darkest paint for the ceiling, so the chandelier's light would cast a warm glow throughout the room,(Sherwin Williams Dapper Tan) and a lighter beige with gray undertones for the walls so the room would not start to close in (Sherwin Williams Universal Khaki).

The bed frame is upholstered in a textured linen, which inspired the wall treatment on the wall behind the bed. This effect was achieved by layering subsequently lighter tones of paint in a hatched pattern. The result is very subtle, but it brings in a tailored masculine quality to the room, helping balance the feminine and masculine aspects of the design.

With no room for more than the essential furniture, there are two bedside tables. One rectangular with drawers, the other a beautiful round pedestal table. The glass table lamps and candle holders were chosen to continue the design element brought in by the crystal on the chandelier and the silver beads on the mirror echo the silver nail head trim on the bed frame. The last items for the room where an armoire for storage and a TV, and finally, an ivory area rug was place on top of the darker carpet, to bring a bit of light to the room.

The final result is a very tranquil space, which is what most of us crave at the end of a long day!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Designing My San Francisco Boutique

The first interior space I ever designed was the Janell Beals Design boutique I opened on Fillmore street in San Francisco, in 1996. What a mess! Previously used as an office space, its wonderful architectural features including soaring ceilings, pocket doors, moldings and tall windows were hidden beneath commercial carpet, layers upon layers of paint and 70's era ceiling fans.

With the help of my outstanding business partner in this venture, Victoria Renzi, (along with all the friends we could round up) we set out to transform the space on basically no budget. We ripped out the carpet to find gorgeous floors. Victoria and I personally sanded and stained the floors a rich dark walnut. Over weeks everyone took turns stripping a hundred years of paint choices off the 10' tall pocket doors. It was amusing trying to figure out what year we had reached when uncovering a layer of bright turquoise paint. We stripped the original hardware for the doors, brought in gorgeous vintage chandeliers, painted the two public rooms a grey blue and green, built clothing racks, a dressing room along with a design/work area and sewing room.

It was such a delight to go to work each day in a space which had been transformed to meet my vision, and I enjoyed many years designing beautiful garments for a wonderful and memorable list of clientele. My only regret is that I didn't take the time to take more photographs of the store! Next time...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Go Big With Branches

With all the open and tall spaces in many homes today, a challenge I am often asked about is how to decorate a two story space. One option is to go "Big with Branches". Luckily I knew someone who was doing some major pruning recently and I was the lucky recipient of nearly enough branches to create a woods. After a quick spray paint job, the branches were placed in a heavy weight tall glass vase, and layered in front of artwork hung above the entry chest.

Regarding the artwork, for now it works, but the piece I really have in mind was recently spotted at Crate and Barrel. It is a print by Judy Paul, called "Village Print". Look at more of her artwork at

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Paint Treatments

In a master bedroom I wanted to create a subtle treatment on the wall behind the bed and side tables. It was important to balance the feminine and masculine elements in the room, so as to appeal to both room residents. One solution was to create the tailored look of tweed fabric, achieved by layering three graduating shades of paint in a cross hatch pattern. (Small brush, hours and hours of painting!) It was labor intensive, but was worth the effort. Next time, however, I'll consider using a grass wallpaper!

Wallpaper As Inspiration

For the feature wall in this powder bath, I was inspired by this whimsical wallpaper by Neisha Crosland. Look at her wonderful designs (wallpaper, fabric, accessories and even clothing) at For my purpose I simplified the pattern and distilled the color palette to a single color, painting the floral and leaf pattern over Devine Paint's Blade green. The effect is exactly what I was hoping for, delightfully fun without overwhelming the room.