Hire a professional to help you deal with an unexpected mishap in your home

There’s no such thing as a good time for a burst pipe or any other unexpected disastrous mishap in your home, but when you hire a professional decorator to help and assist in the recovery process, you can save time and stress! Let me give you an example:

Recently, a long-time client of mine woke up to flooding caused by a burst water pipe in an upstairs guest room. Although much of the damage was confined to the guest room, water also flooded into the rooms below, affecting family room, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Before_during

Family Room before and during the restoration process

I have worked with this client since 2005, assisting her to choose paint colours for her whole home, and select and purchase custom furniture, window treatments, light fixtures and other décor accents. Our professional relationship proved very useful during this stressful event.

Below is the redecorated family room with new silver drapery hardware from JF Fabrics, drapery panels made with fabric from Maxwell Fabrics, and new wall colour from Benjamin Moore Paints CSP 830 Peaceful Garden.

Drapery panels on FR windows

Drapery panels and window bench cushion after renovation. Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Insurance and restoration companies often aren’t staffed with decorators who are experts in design, fabric, paint, and how to oversee the making of custom pieces that reflect a homeowner’s style. My client suggested to her restoration company that they bring me on board because she knew I could make sure that the items that needed to be replaced would be of the same quality as those we had originally installed. She also knew I had her information on hand, had her style in mind, and could supply the original purchase paperwork to make this process faster and smoother.

For example, years earlier we had chosen a beautiful light fixture with a lovely amber shade, and my client wanted to replace it when it was ruined in the flood. I still had the product code and contacted the light company to reorder the same style and the same colour. The salesperson confirmed the product via catalog photo and model number. I was assured the same fixture was on its way.

However, after almost six weeks of waiting, the fixture arrived and the “amber” shade was actually a reddish colour! Also, the size of the crystals was different (see photo below – original crystals on the right). The numbers matched, but the product had been revised and the original amber colour was no longer available.

chandelier mismatch crystals

I handled the situation by returning the fixture and taking my client shopping to find a new light that she loves.

Chandelier

 

Situations such as the light fixture can be hard to for a homeowner to handle on their own. It can be difficult and stressful to deal with wholesale companies or manufacturers when something goes wrong. I can handle the stress and deal with the bumps in the road for the homeowner.

I have professional relationships with furniture and design companies and their salespeople. I’ll visit the workrooms, check on the fabric, re-order and re-do things on behalf of my client. I can help speed the restoration and redecoration process so that a client isn’t living with dust and grime for what can feel like forever. It comes down to having a history of experience with my clients and connections in the decorating business that representatives from a restoration or insurance company just won’t have.

Working with the same professional decorator over time also assures that when something is redesigned, due to a change in preference or an unexpected problem such as a burst pipe, it’s easy to keep elements of the previous design and refresh other parts, such as paint colours or window treatments, to update a room. We were able to do that in the guest bedroom. Originally the walls were yellow and had no drapery panels. Now the walls are BM AF 515 Exhale (ironic don’t you think?) and match the drapery panels that were moved there from the master bedroom.

Drapery by UA1

When designs are classic and true to the style of the home, updating here and there is much simpler. And it’s exciting for me as a decorator to see how a client’s style can change over time.

If mishap does happen, be sure you know your insurance contacts, and consider hiring a professional like myself to save you time and stress in the recovery period.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015, and may all your renovations be planned!

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‘Couchsourcing’: The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

When searching for the perfect sofa, people often get stuck on colour and fabric choices and miss the most important aspects of all: size and shape.

The critical first step that’s easy to miss is knowing the measurements of your entry doors or elevator openings. The most stylish sofa imaginable won’t look as cool on your lawn as it will in your living room. So be prepared before going to the showroom or warehouse by writing down your room size and entry point measurements.

Step two is to think about how your sofa will be used. Will two people lounge on it or four? Do you like your sofas firm or plushy soft? Will the dog or cat claim a seat each night, or will this sofa only be used during that much-loved annual visit from your in-laws?

The third step is to look at how the sofa will work within the layout of the room. You need to consider the style and size of all the other furniture pieces in your space to know if the sofa you want will fit in there too. The famous architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright was once quoted as saying some part of his body had been black or blue all of his life from too much intimate contact with his furniture.

Step four is the fun one: researching what kind of styles you like! Here’s my current list of available styles that you might like for your home:

The Chesterfield sofa (yes, this is an actual style description, not just another word for couch that your grandmother would use) involves tight tailoring and tufting with a high back and arms. This particular style is making a modern comeback. Whichever material you choose to use, go with a solid colour instead of a pattern.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Steven & Chris – Decor-Rest

The English Classic Three Seater Sofa has low arms and a deep seat with comfy back cushions. It is perfect for lounging around and feeling like an British country-living aristocrat. This style is also suitable for the all-important Man Cave. Just remember the importance of measurements again if this will be a frequent napping spot.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Barbara Barry

The Tuxedo sofa’s style is luxurious without the frills. The square, straight-line profile gives it a masculine feel. This style suits both modern and traditional settings. It works well with wood edges (as shown below) or upholstered arms and sides with back cushions.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Oly

 

The Camelback sofa, aptly named for its definitive curved back, has an old-world and sophisticated look. Many versions of this style have been made, making it a classic that can be used in both a modern or vintage room.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Cameo – Decor Rest

The Slipper sofa is an option that works best for entertaining rather than lounging. With its lack of arms, lean shape, and direct access to the glass of wine on the end table, the slipper will be ideal if you live in a small space but still want to throw a good party.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

Ethan Allen – Baldwin

The Regency sofa has rolled arms and a rolled back and, even more than the camelback, says retro to the point of royal. This style is formal and architectural, so you can dress it down for a modern approach with a solid colour in linen fabric or go dramatic with a large patterned print. Beware that the rolled back can make this style wider than just the area where you sit, so be sure to measure your entrance points.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

  Regency – Restoration Hardware

The Sectional sofa is a staple of family and TV rooms everywhere. Sectionals come in many configurations and designs, and they can establish a designated sitting area in a large room.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Stylus – Simone

The Modern sofa is often sculptural in design and can stand alone in an open plan layout. It can be a cool piece of art inside a contemporary living space.

'Couchsourcing': The Search For the Perfect Sofa Explained.

 Roche Bobois – Arobase

Follow my steps and you’ll get the sofa that fits your room, works with your style, allows you to indulge in your relaxing, and looks fabulous in your home.

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