Friday, June 20, 2014

Interior Design...Making A Career From What You Love

Interior Design & Staging students at Debbe Daley Designs

Last week's interior design and home staging course was one of the best I've had the pleasure of teaching. Realizing my hobby as a little girl has not only turned into a business but also a passionate career of helping others.  I especially enjoy watching women achieve their dreams working in a field they would learn to love.

The course was packed with many field trips and hands-on training experiences jammed into a 5 day extravaganza.  From playing with fabrics and furnishings in our own classroom studio to learning all about rugs from our friends at Persian Rug Gallery.  A trip to Harmon's Paint and Wallpaper in our own lovely historic city of downtown Lowell, MA was such a treat.  With the trending return of wallpaper and with my background in the field, it was fun and exciting to share with the students the different styles and patterns available for residential as well as commercial applications.  We also staged a home in Lowell for the Sears family which goes on the market today.  What a pleasure!  It was the perfect house to stage.
Manual & Classroom Time 

Learning about rugs from Sy Mahfuz at Persian Rug Nashua, NH
Learning about rental furniture for the home staging industry was also an experience with Jessica Miller of Churchill Furniture.  Jessica is most knowledgeable about the process of renting furnishings for vacant homes.  She is always so gracious in taking the time to spend with our students walking them through the process.
Jessica Miller of Churchill Furniture with Students

Churchill Furniture Showroom

Churchill Furniture Showroom

Our grand hurrah was when the students were involved in an all day custom client installation in Andover, MA.  One of my most pleasant clients allowed us to spend the day from 8:00 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon.  Students experienced the process of a custom furniture installation, custom window treatment installation and physically assisting our installers through the completion of the design.

Furniture Installation

Window Treatment Installation

Students Take a Break in Client's Media Room

Thank you to all our business associates, vendors and colleagues for participating and sharing your invaluable knowledge. All in all it was one of the best design courses of the year thus far offering hands-on design and staging experience to the max!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What To Do About Father's Day

Lets face it, it's much easier to figure out moms than dads.  What do you do for Father's Day?  Yes, the Mother's Day Picnic was a big smash! How do you top that for dad?  Well my dad loves to have his family all around and he loves to stay at home and appreciate what he has in a family.  Yes, we are doing the Father's Day Cookout at mom and dad's.

Just like the Mother's Day Picnic, dad will have his day in his back yard with the family cookout.  However, the plan will be to build him an outdoor shower where he can refresh after a long day of working in his garden and cutting the grass.  This is an easy project that takes only a garden hose.  Adding hot water is easy with a propane outdoor water heater.  The outdoor shower is not just for the oceanside beach house.  This is my and my siblings personal plan for dad.  In turn, here are some other easy Father's Day gifts and DIY ideas that you can create on your own.

Dad's Cookout Bucket
If dad loves the grill, create a bucket with all his favorite grilling utensils and accessories.  Don't forget to fill it with spicy marinades and rubs for his grilling pleasure.

Photo in a Bottle

Family photo in a bottle. This is a fun DIY project for children as well as adults.  Create a theme oriented bottle.  Beach, golf or fishing.  Capture the moment in a bottle filled with sand, shells, fishing lures or golf tees.  Add a photo that captures dads favorite pastime moment.  He'll treasure this one forever.

Generation Photo
This is one of my favorites.  If you're lucky enough to have four generations around to grace you with their presence or not, create a generational photo.  This gift will be an heirloom creation to be passed on.

I find Father's Day to become harder every year when it comes to gift giving, especially for the dad who needs nothing.  Going back to your roots and giving a gift from the heart is what really matters.  Happy Father's Day to all fathers, dads, step-dads and every man who sincerely plays the part from their heart.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sleeping Solutions for Loft Living and Studio Dwellers

sleeping loft with work space under
How cool is loft living?  I've lived in my loft space now for almost 6 years.  The ambiance of living in an 1800's industrial mill building has never been more satisfying for the unique and unconventional lifestyle seeker.

My vision was made a reality when I found myself on my own, not wanting the responsibility of the large home, yard maintenance, repair bills and a yearning for a simpler way of living for my already busy lifestyle. Needing the convenience of public transportation to the city of Boston as well as the Interstate nearby were large factors in my decision.  Lowell would be my next home.  In addition, how fitting was it to be able to build out a space in the American History Textile Museum being that I am in the field of designing, sewing and creating with fabrics and textiles every day.

Although planning out my space was easy for me, some struggle with the openness of loft or studio living. Small living spaces have their challenges.  Making use of the high ceiling space for sleeping lofts is one way to achieve success in maximizing your new living area.  Let's face it, if you're moving to a unique loft or studio, the bedroom is not going to be the focus in this space.  Building out a suspended sleeping loft where a mattress can be used doesn't have to be complicated.  The space under the raised bed area can be used for built-in closet space, a desk area for a home office or even a TV viewing area with smaller furniture.
loft living  platform sleeping loft

sleeping loft with closet space under

Framing out a brace on all side walls will give support for the sleeping loft platform.  Many ideas for lower support can be used depending on your style preference. Old architectural salvage columns or steel iron beams for the industrial looking loft will add character to your space.  Adding a stairway could be a bit challenging if ample floor space is not available.  Smaller sets of stairs can be built using custom ordered stair stringers or open stairs with a cable railing system for a lighter more contemporary feel.  Another space saving idea for a stairway to the sleeping loft would be a telescopic attic stair system. This system folds up and stores neatly into the ceiling or opening into the sleeping platform.  Making the stairway disappear and allowing for better use of the floor space.
telescoping attic stair system
open stairs with cable rail system
Sleeping spaces are just that in a unique living space.  Making the most of your living space is where your creativity comes into play.  Utilizing the space under the sleeping loft is of major importance.  Set up a home office or work space area with a desk, chair, and a small filing cabinet for that cozy work at home environment. This space can also be used for storage. A closet system can easily be created with shelving for bins as well as a clothes hanging system.

When downsizing or moving into a studio space there is no need to take everything from past homes. Most furnishings will be too large for the newer more compact living space.  Have a creative vision and make use of wall and ceiling space.  Remember less is more.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creating a Spa-like Stress-free Room

How do you find time for yourself? For the overachievers of the world it’s not very easy.  Whether life in the corporate world, hands-on contracting industry or running in the public eye most all of us have a difficult time learning how to shut it off.  There’s always one more appointment or networking event that calls your name and sometimes saying no is the hardest thing to do.

When you find yourself overwhelmed and going to the gym or taking a yoga class doesn't fit into your schedule, find some time to call your own in your home.  A bedroom with a sitting area for relaxing and reading next to a fireplace would be nice.  A bathroom with a great soaking tub is another space to create a stress-free zone. Learning how to begin your and end your day early may be the key to becoming a more stress-free you.

Your relaxing spa room should begin with a soothing wall color.  Shades of soft blues and pale greens are more calming.  Neutral beiges and dusty color tones are more relaxing.  

Here is a vision for creating a soothing bedroom:

Paint walls and ceiling:  Sherwin Williams SW6765 Spa
Add beige side panels to the windows and an white bedding  to the space.  Fresh flowers of white tulips, soft music and light a candle of lavender scent.  This will surly begin to relax the weary .

Take advantage of your bathroom. My soaking tub I built my bathroom around never sees me.  Until recently I had to find me time and it was there for the taking.   If your not taking advantage of your soaking  tub, you should.  Create an atmosphere of a luxurious spa bath. 

Fill your soaking tub with foaming bubbles of lavender, toss some fresh flower petals into the water and light as many candles as possible and turn on some spa-like tunes and let the stress relieving process begin.

Life gets busy.  Try to stop, smell the roses and enjoy some "me time" even if it's in the comfort of your own home.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DIY Pillow Making Class in Lowell

The creative juices were flowing at R.A.W. Furnishings showroom in Lowell last night.  The DIY pillow making class turned out to be a mother-daughter event.  Pattern making, pinning, stitching and sewing skills were taught.  Not only straight stitching, these motivated ladies learned how to insert and apply embellishments of cording, bullion and brush fringe and even tassels. 

Congratulation to all these wonderful ladies for their custom pillow creations!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Living Shabby Chic Style

My style likes, needs and wants have definitely changed over the last 10 years.  I've gone through many style transformations from my early twenties and owning my first home and decorating it with a country flair to transitioning into a more formal interior style at one point.  As with life changes one becomes wiser with age. Understanding what is really important is understanding that you've come full circle. Once you've tested the waters of life, the feeling of  finally being settled sets in.

I find myself to be living in a more relaxed world a comfortable place.  I find myself living and loving passions that I did when I was 12.  Which leads me down a road of remembrance.

I loved working with my hands as a kid.  Sewing with my grandmother and mother, trying my hand at refinishing an old oak night stand from my grandfather who was a true picker at heart.  Loving anything that says bead-board, farmer's sink, porcelain top kitchen tables and climbing fruit trees in my grandfather's garden.  I realize that all of these memories have brought me back to living Shabby Chic style.

From the way I dress to the way I shop.  The way I look at people who I interact with on a daily basis all creative not only with their crafty hands but also with their mind. Everyone has an important job  they do no matter what it is.  As for their homes, which may not be elaborately decorated, they are happy because they have come full circle and have found peace with who they are, their style.

It's not the stilettos, the expensive dress, the Italian shoes and silk shirts that make a person.  The best part of my job is going into someone's living space and seeing their "stuff".  One comment always made is "please look beyond the mess".  I never see a mess,  I see a person's personality. One's home should reflect their personality.

I hope to think that when a person walks into my home, my space reflects my personality.  Family memories on the entry hall wall, DIY painted chests, old pieces of furniture mixed with comfortable seating, My collection of old framed mirrors painted shabby white.

My lifestyle is definitely shabby chic and realizing this now from a time of when I was 12 enlightens me.  I don't follow the trends in my lifestyle.  Knowing what they are and implementing them in my job is what I do. Living in your interior, knowing your style and surrounding yourself with beautiful memorabilia of old and new will make for a happier you.  What is your style?

Accent with Parson Chairs

Looking for a quick switch to an otherwise all wood dining set?  Whether formal or casual change an easy change of the two end chairs of the table will add warmth and charm to any eating space casual kitchen or formal dining.

Hear are some interesting and fun upholstered parson chair designs to enjoy and to help get your creative interior design juices flowing.

Bright and funky bird cage slipcover Parson

Sophisticated geometric coastal style Parson
with rolled back and pleated skirt

Fun marigold California style fabric slipcover
Parson with black leg finish

Spa blue and white botanical floral toile parson
with driftwood leg finish

Sling back accent Parson with French writing and espresso wood finish

It doesn't have to cost a lot to to achieve a new look at your table.  Two upholstered chairs and your done!