Embrace The Winter Season with These Interior Design Tips
With the festivities of the holidays behind us and February right around the corner, it can sometimes feel bleak and dreary during the winter months. If it were not for our Philadelphia Eagles, and Valentines Day, what would we do to keep our spirits up?
Now is a great time to spice up your home with a spark of winter wonderland and embrace the winter months with a cozy space. Here are a few tried and true interior design tips from Carole Lee, that will not require an entire renovated space, but still help you embrace the winter season.
Begin with adding warmth using your built-in fireplace to instantly increase the coziness factor. If your home lacks a built-in fireplace, you can try a traditional fireplace stove, an electric fireplace insert, or electric fireplace log inserts. For a more custom look turn to a wall mounted fireplace, a mantle and fireplace combination or even an electric fireplace TV stand.
Include Area Rugs
Cozy up any room by styling your rooms with an area rug. The right rug can breathe life into your decor, especially in an open area. But before you start shopping, consider working with an interior designer to help you narrow down both the right size rug and how to place your rug to ground your room or create a seating area and arrange a runner with style.
Use Softer Lighting
Softer lighting creates a warm environment to relax. Try installing scones above a bed, around a bathroom mirror, or over a mantle to cast a pleasant glow. Instead of using a single light source, scatter multiple lower wattage fixtures around the room. Also consider recessed lighting and under cabinet lighting.
In an interior design context, texture refers to the use of furniture, textiles, objects, and finishes in a range of materials that add visual interest and tactile variation to a room design. Add a touch of winter-specific elements that include deep velvets or luxurious jacquard fabrics. Switch out your regular accent pillows, window treatments, and other upholstery with winter-specific elements to give existing decor a lift by building on the textures that are already there and adding more layers.
Carole Lee Interiors is a full-service Interior Design & Build firm that offers an expansive selection of high-quality furnishings, lighting, accessories, and curated art for a complete renovation, or simply updating one area or element in your home. Stay warm!
Five Great Fall Home-Improvement Projects
While home improvement and renovation projects may be done all year, there are some seasons that lend themselves to being more conducive than others to complete these projects. For example, if you live in the South, you know that summer is ideal for many projects, but labor intense projects for a house are not one of them. And here in the Northeast, winter windchills and potential snow can put the end to many projects.
Autumn on the other hand is a great time for tackling home improvements. Temperatures are perfect, not too hot, nor too cold and the humidity no longer feels suffocating. Here are five home improvement projects to consider this fall, that will add value to your house and increase curb appeal.
If you have missed the summer season for your windows, don’t worry too much. Fall is a great time for window replacements. You can still seal up your home to get the most energy savings possible in the winter months to come. And contractor’s may not be as busy so you can finish the job fast.
Replace Your Roof
Fall is the universal go-to season for roof replacement. With spring’s mild temperatures and early summer’s weather consistency, fall is commonly referred to as the best time of year to replace your roof.
Build A New Deck
There is a misconception that spring and summer are the best times to build a new deck. But in autumn there is a shorter wait time, excellent ground conditions and sometimes late season specials.
Install Hardwood Floors
Fall is the best time of year to install hardwood floors because it’s cooler out and there’s less moisture in the air, which can be detrimental to new wood floors. In the Summer, hardwood, being porous, will absorb too much moisture that will cause it to swell. Winters are dry and cause the boards to shrink.
Paint Your Front Door
A fresh coat of paint can hide minor imperfections on your front door, defend it against harsh outdoor elements, and boost curb appeal right away. Not only can it add significant value to your property, but it also provides a welcoming entrance to upcoming holiday guests.
At Carole Lee Interiors we provide general contracting services with an experienced team of licensed and fully insured tradesmen. This fall, why not give us a call?
Interior Designer or General Contractor. Who Does What?
When it comes to a home renovation project, it may be confusing to understand the roles of Interior Designers vs. General Contractors and how they work together. At Carole Lee Interiors we do all these things, but it may be important to understand the benefit of working with one company that can handle all aspects of your project when undergoing a renovation, and that you can hire us for everything or simply for what you need. Below are some of the basics.
An Overall Design for the Space
Interior designers overall tend to be slightly better trained at understanding how you will use your space and can create a holistic design that speaks to your wants and needs. Designers tend to be more artistic and creative, taking the design aesthetic beyond structural components of the renovation to the furnishings and style that will go into the project.
Project Management, Installation and Styling
While both an interior designer and general contractor can serve as project manager, at Carole Lee Interiors Carole Lee is the overall project manager overseeing the general contractors for things like installation of hard materials such as countertops, hardware, and appliances. As an interior designer she handles ordering furnishings, tracking shipments, and receiving and inspecting deliveries while making sure the design plan is being followed.
Electrical Plans & Outlet Placement
This is a perfect example of how working with an interior design firm who also does general contracting greatly benefits the client. In most cases a general contractor will know whether a dedicated space is for a kitchen, bath, bedroom, but they are not planning the furniture layout of the space which is critical for a good outcome. If a general contractor installs outlets without knowing the furnishings plan you might end up with a chandelier centered over your dining room table with no outlet over the chandelier.
Building Codes & Permits
General contractors are the ones who know building codes and can pull permits for a renovation or remodel. Because we do not have to check in with anyone, we can keep the project moving. Interior designers may have to wait to get approval from a GC on these items, which can slow down the project.
Carole Lee Interiors is a full-service interior design and build firm that provides interior and exterior design and general contracting services for both residential and commercial spaces. Give us a call today.
Kitchen Countertops to Consider for Your Kitchen Remodel
The kitchen is the heart of your home; where meals are enjoyed, school bags get tossed, good and bad news is shared, and the place where guests tend to congregate when you entertain, despite having the dining room table set. The workhorse of every kitchen are its countertops. Countertops must be both functional and durable, while completing the design and style of the kitchen.
If you are ready for an update or a complete remodel, here are five popular countertops you should consider based on durability, function, and style. Prices will vary based on availability and fabrication.
Currently a very popular choice in kitchen countertops. Homeowners tend to choose quartz surfacing because of its many advantages. Quartz doesn’t need to be sealed, and its seams blend very well. It is easy to clean and is heat, scratch, and stain resistant. Because of its manufacturing process, quartz is durable and has a seemingly endless choice of colors and patterns.
Granite surfaces are slabs of stone cut from the earth, making each piece unique. It is more porous than quartz and does require a bit more maintenance. You can order granite countertops with a polished, shiny finish; a honed, matte finish; or a specialty finish such as flamed or leather. Because of the many choices in colors and finishes, design flexibility is a significant advantage in choosing granite.
As a counter surface, marble offers a beautiful, timeless look. It has been a preferred stone in architecture throughout the ages. However, as a fair warning, marble is softer and more porous than granite. It is susceptible to stains and scratches so upkeep can be challenging, depending on your lifestyle. Even so, some of the most beautiful countertop installations are in marble.
If you love marble but don’t want the upkeep, you should also consider quartzite because it is a natural stone with similar beauty. Quartzite is a solid, crystalline mass of mineral stone cut from the earth in slabs. It’s harder than most knife blades and is more resistant to etching than marble. The generally lighter, more subtle tones of quartzite give it design versatility.
A durable surface for hard-working kitchens, wood countertops are more sanitary than you may think. Wood offers warmth both visually and tangibly, in contrast to cold stone surfaces. Today it’s possible to design kitchen countertops to be a wood species such as cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, teak, sapele or mahogany. If you use a wood countertop as a cutting or chopping surface, be willing to accept cuts and scratches in the surface and simply apply a food- safe oil to the wood.
A kitchen update or remodel may seem overwhelming. However, working with the right design and build firm can eliminate the stress of a kitchen project. At Carole Lee Interiors we guide you with advice on budgeting and time management during each step to keep your project on track. We combine extensive interior design knowledge with a team of expert craftsmen to ensure your project is executed without sacrificing form or function.
Give us a call today.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Window Treatments
Window treatments are an essential design component in your home’s décor. They add warmth, privacy and help control light. They should never be an afterthought, but instead an important component in your overall interior design. For over 30 years Carole Lee has been working with her clients making certain their windows look professionally dressed. Here is a list of a few Dos and Don’ts of window treatments that will make your windows both attractive and practical.
- Take extremely precise measurements.
- Select the right fabric, order samples and extra fabric.
- Hang curtains above the window.
- Choose length based on function and style.
- Consider Silhouettes when they work with the architecture.
- Consider curb appeal.
- Make the most of natural light.
- Experiment with trim.
- Go for a cohesive look throughout every room.
- Ignore the hardware.
- Hang curtains right above the window.
- Forget neutral liners.
- Hang treatments too low.
- Skimp on using good Silhouettes.
- Neglect your privacy.
- Assume one size fits all.
- Settle for an outdated look.
- Don’t be afraid to hire an expert!
Contact Carole Lee Interiors today to start your window treatment project.
What to Expect During a Master Bath Redo?
Now that there is a chill I the air, people are moving indoors and focusing on interior design and build projects that add a level of comfort to their lives. One highly requested redo is to renovate or upgrade your existing bathroom. And while a bathroom renovation can seem daunting and does require time and an investment, with through planning and an experienced design and build team you can bring your bathroom ideas to life with minimal complications.
For over 30 years the team at Carole Lee Interiors has been renovating bathrooms using a step-by-step workflow process that helps walk each client through what to expect.
Step One: Interview & Inspection
Carole Lee will initially visit your home or office to determine what you are looking for, asking questions such as how many people will be using the room, how much storage you need, how much you want to spend, what you like about your current space and what should be changed.
Step Two: Review Samples
Carole Lee brings samples of all items that will be necessary to complete your project. These may include tile, cabinetry, sinks, tubs, toilets, lighting, flooring, and fixtures. Together we review the basics of the materials, discuss how each item might work within your project goals, and begin to make selections.
Step Three: Meet the Team
By the second or third meeting you will be introduced to all members of the team who will work on your project. For a bathroom project that could include a plumber, cabinet and tile installers, painter, electrician, and additional craftsmen. All tradesmen on the Carole Lee Interiors team are licensed and fully insured.
Step Four: Provide an Estimate
Once all items have been selected you will receive a written estimate for project costs. Carole Lee Interiors requires a 50% deposit to begin all projects. No project begins until all materials such as tile, fixtures, tubs, sinks, toilets etc., are ordered, and RECEIVED by Carole Lee, Interiors to assure you have a minimum amount of time without the use of the room being renovated.
We invite you to contact Carole Lee Interiors today to schedule a consultation for your next project.
Things to Consider When Remodeling Your Laundry Room
Remodeling any room in the house can be a complex process, even functional rooms like laundry rooms take a lot of thought and planning to get from inspiration to result. Here are some specific considerations for laundry rooms. Working with an interior designer who also provides complete general contracting services may be the best way to manage your project.
Know Why You’re Remodeling
When first setting out to renovate your laundry room, it is important to understand the driving motivation behind the project. Is the renovation happening to update the look, or to accommodate a functional aspect of this frequent use room? Keeping this core impetus to renovate in mind leads to a project that suits your wants and needs.
Make Sure the Room Fits Your Life
Whatever the reason for the redesign, the workflow for a functional room like the laundry room is a design element not to be missed. Consider if the room big enough and located in a part of the house that makes sense for your living needs. Renovating the laundry room might include bumping out a wall or moving it to somewhere easier to access.
There are a few considerations unique to how a laundry room fits into varied lifestyles. The physical space of any appliances, as well as sinks, folding boards, and cabinets represent the fixed elements for spacing. Laundry basket space, drying racks, clothes lines or poles, ironing or steaming equipment, and maintaining chemical safety vary more household to household.
Make Sure the Room Fits Your Look
The laundry room may not be the most or least glamorous room in the house, but it is a room that sees frequent use. As with any remodeling job, the end result should be something you’re happy to look at on a regular basis. From lighting options to color profile, there are many ways to make a laundry room uniquely yours.
Though a functional room, the laundry room will still be visited daily by many. Making any regularly used spaces comfortable is an important part of any redesign project. Matching walls, cabinets, and even appliances can be a daunting task well worth the time. Flooring options and potential noise reduction features also increase the quality of use of a laundry room.
Often an interior or basement room, frequently without any natural lighting of any sort, laundry rooms benefit greatly from a well thought out lighting plan. The classic dangling bare bulb fits the functional requirement, while integrated strip lights and time-out options make a visit to the laundry room more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
As a functional space, choosing the right bulb is an important step. Full spectrum white light from LEDs or daylight bulbs help identify stains and reveal the true color of cloth, while softer yellow lights might reveal what something will look like inside.
Choosing the right cabinets for a laundry room is a matter of both form and function. Choosing to have doors on any given cabinet changes both the look and ease of access. Waist-high cabinets can be used as a folding table and staging area, while floor to ceiling cabinets offer more storage without the folding table.
Choosing the right flooring for a space can be a daunting task and choosing the right flooring in a room with as specific a purpose as the laundry room is no exception. Some flooring is great for cleaning up lint but does not stand up to the weight of some appliances, other flooring is comfortable and cozy, but a pain to clean. Add in the complexity of coordinating the flooring with the aesthetic theme of the room, and the value of an expert becomes apparent.
Call or email Carole Lee today to schedule a consultation for all of your interior design, general contracting, and project management needs!
Outdoor Living In 2021
Whether you’re cooking, exercising, or just hanging out, plan to spend more time outside this year as backyards, decks, and patios evolve into comfortable, well-equipped extensions of the home. This year’s outdoor living trends are all about making your backyard, porch, or even balcony a regular part of everyday life. Homeowners can expect to bring indoor conveniences outdoors with smart technology, multipurpose add-ons, and structures that allow us to be outside longer and more often throughout the year. Whether it’s a spot a private patio with plenty of shade, or a place to do the cooking, outdoor living in 2021 is synonymous with time spent at home. Here are a few ideas we like that will enhance your outdoor living experience.
Cooking at home outdoors has become increasingly popular. And we don’t just mean your standard barbeque grill, but instead entire outdoor kitchens. There are many additional cooking elements like pizza ovens and grills to supplement the main interior kitchen. Other options can include prep space, storage, sinks and refrigeration. Space and your renovation budget will determine what type of kitchen we can build and install. And we always recommend additional seating to complete alfresco meals.
In 2020 entertaining was less of a focus, which prompted furniture designers to build multi-functional pieces meant to work in outdoor spaces that accommodate both everyday living and social distancing. Expect newer designed outdoor furnishings to be versatile enough to use in nearly any space you choose. Hidden features and items that are convertible, like modular tables that can be pulled apart with hidden beverage compartments are things to look for.
Products That Extend the Outdoor Living Season
Furniture, accessories, and add-ons that help you stay outside longer are an especially popular upgrade. We like to help our clients extend the days and hours they can enjoy being outside. Amenities like fire pits, heat lamps, misting systems and fans help extend the outdoor living season. To tie it all together we add outdoor rugs, throw blankets, pillows, and lighting, which supply cozy ambience.
Why Carole Lee?
At Carole Lee Interiors, we offer clients a complete approach to satisfy all your outdoor living needs. We provide outdoor kitchen installation, custom firepit installation, outdoor lighting and full-service design and decoration for all furnishings, including selection and purchasing. Give us a call today!
Why Home Improvement Projects Have Surged
The sound of power tools is roaring in neighborhoods across the United States.
And throughout neighborhoods home improvement projects have been in full swing. Once COVID hit, families needed someplace the kids could play and learn. Playhouses went up in the back yard, basements were converted to school rooms, dens were now home offices.
Necessity is one factor driving the home improvement boom. Americans have been forced to use their houses more — and differently. But that doesn’t account for the huge spike in demand documented by Max Anderson, chief economist at Porch.com.
“These are all-time highs,” Anderson says. “In terms of measured history in the United States, these are the highest levels of home improvement spending we’ve ever seen. Anderson says that just over 3 out of 4 homeowners whom Porch.com surveyed have completed a major project since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and roughly the same percentage have one on the drawing board. Homeowners younger than 40 are the most likely to have completed projects this year, though more than half of baby boomers have done home improvement work too.
Rock-bottom interest rates also make home improvements more attractive. And he says that in unsettling times, spending on one’s home can be a comforting investment. People aren’t going on vacations or going out to restaurants, so they’re appreciating their homes more and spending money on them. Many people have money to spare so they are updating their vacation homes and upgrading their primary homes, too.
If it is time for a home improvement project, we hope you will consider Carole Lee Interiors. Our full- service design / build approach provides you the benefit of a trained eye of an interior designer and the increased supervision of a general contractor.
We have extensive general contracting experience in both interior and exterior projects. Full-scale interior projects can be kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, dens, or any room inside your home. Some exterior projects include decks, patios, walkways, outdoor kitchens and firepit installations. And our design services offer a full suite of furnishings to pull your project together.
We work closely with clients to ensure you prevent costly mistakes, while delivering an exceptional customer service experience. Give us a call to discuss your next home improvement project.
2021 Trends in Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring continues to grow in popularity and is one of the most preferred flooring types for homes. Ironically, this is followed by all sorts of products trying to mimic the look of hardwood flooring, regardless of whether it’s porcelain tile that looks like hardwood flooring or engineered vinyl planks.
But many homeowners still prefer the real thing and that is what we recommend. Hardwood floors are timeless, rich looking and a good investment for your home. If well maintained, they last for decades. And you can refinish hardwood floors to update the color or sheen as trends and preferences change. There are so many options to choose from, it can sometimes be daunting. But a good rule of thumb is to choose something you like rather than only something that is on trend. However, if you can do both, that is ideal. Here are a few ideas hardwood flooring trends for 2021 to consider.
Dark and Cool Toned
The trend towards darker tones continues to grow with cool tones preferred. There is a move away from warmer tones with red or red/brown undertones and a preference towards browns that are purer and more natural. For those looking to go darker, there are blends of ebony and dark walnut to true black. While black or ebony floors may look stunning, they do require more maintenance to keep them looking clean.
Gray and Gray Blends
Gray flooring has been on the rise and you can see it everywhere you go in wood, tile that looks like wood and gray vinyl planks that look like wood. There are a range of hues, from charcoals and greiges to brown grays. This is a newer tend and one to watch but may not be the best selection if you want a warmer looking space.
Light, Natural and Muted
The opposite of the popularity of dark woods is the choice of light or natural looking flooring. But the theme is consistent with dark woods in that homeowners still prefer cooler tones that drown out the yellow hues. Light hardwoods have a distinct advantage when it comes to keeping them clean as they tend to show less dirt than darker hardwoods.
Natural Looking Floor Finishes, Sheens and Textures
Matte and satin finishes are the most popular sheens, while semi-gloss and glossy sheens are dated and a bit more difficult to maintain. Flatter finishes have become more popular. And mate and satin finishes are practical, easy to clean a and with proper care look better longer.
Wide Plank Flooring
Wider planks will naturally make room look and feel larger and more spacious. Not only are wide planks wider, but they are also normally longer than the more common sized flooring planks. The combination of width and length tricks the eye into b believing the area looks larger than it actually is. So, it you’re trying to make a small space look larger, consider wider plank hardwood floors.
Carole Lee Interiors provides services in both selection and installation of all types of hardwood flooring. Give us a call today to set up a consultation.