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If you have been following me on Instagram, you know I've been picking up furniture from consignment shops with plans on reupholstering.  It's been a while since I've been in furniture buying mode and I'm not super versed in the ways of fabric, so the last few months have been a serious crash course.

If you're set on custom furniture (i.e., a specific piece in the fabric of your choice), get ready to spend some stacks.  I fell down this rabbit hole thinking I would be saving money.   

While treasure hunting, I found two pink chairs that I knew would perfect for my formal living room.  They were a steal at $130/each, but the fabric was worn and in need of replacement.  "Perfect," I thought.  I had been digging in the fabric bin at Paisley House and had several swatches to select from.

 

When I finally selected The Fabric that would wrap around my bargain beauties, I was terribly excited... until I saw the price tag.  $300/yard X 17 yards = over $5,000 for fabric alone.  Can you hear me choking?  Pass the wine.

So my search for the chair fabric continued, but could not get The Fabric out of my head!  On my recent trip to Round Top, I took my precious samples in hopes of finding coordinating accessories.  While digging through towers of pillow covers, a man/angel said, "I can get you pillows in that fabric."  I literally hugged him.  Thanks to Bryan McRae at Botanica my room will include two 22" sofa pillows in The Fabric for under $200!

Thanks also to my new friend Grace Caroline at Paisley House in Houston who has tirelessly reviewed hundreds of text images of my wacky thrift finds and guided me through Designer Fabrics 101.   

Check out this great guideline if you're trying to estimate how many yards a piece would require.  If you're looking to refinish a piece on a tight budget, there are online fabric stores that have a great selection, discounted pricing, and [most of the time] free samples! Yay for free!

 

All About Round Top

Thanks to The Vintage Round Top  and Katie at RoundTop.com for great guides to my very happy place - Round Top Antiques Week!  I've added a few insights of my own to help Houston folks planning day trips!

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Preparing for the Show.

WHERE IS IT?

Round Top is about 90 miles and about a two-hour drive from Houston (quicker if you have a heavy foot... see note about speed traps!). The town has a population of around 90 and is on Texas 237 between Brenham and LaGrange.  Watch for speed traps on 290. Once you're on Highway 237, expect traffic to slow to a crawl as you get near the shopping sites.

DATES & TIMES

-The shows are held twice a year in the Spring (end of March/beginning of April) and the Fall (end of Sept/ beginning of October).

-They span over a fifteen-day period with approx. 60 shows on an eleven-mile stretch of Hwy 237 in Round Top with smaller shows in neighboring towns. 

-Every show is different, most open by 9:00am (however some open even earlier) and close around 6:00pm (or stay open until the last shopper leaves)  

-Some shows have specific hours, primarily the shows with paid entry fees.

REFER TO THESE LINKS FOR SHOW DATES:

http://www.antiqueweekend.com

http://roundtop.org/antique_show_info.php

BEST TIME TO COME?

This all depends on what your goals are at Round Top Antiques week.

Looking for the Best Deals: Come towards the end of the third week of the show. There will be less selection, however vendors will be more inclined to strike a deal or negotiate with you to get rid of their inventory. (Although, this is not always the case. Many dealers pack up from one show to go to the next, so are not in a position to give major discounts.)

Looking for Smaller, Less Chaotic Crowds: Visit the shows Monday-Thursday. During the week, parking is much easier and the crowd is smaller, making it easier to get from one show to another.

Looking for the Best Selection: Plan to be there the very first week. It will not only be less crowded, but you will have the widest selection to choose from before it gets picked through in the following, most popular week. Downside: the prices will be less negotiable and not all vendors are open.

WANT TO BE HERE WHEN ALL OF THE SHOWS ARE OPEN?

Marburger Farm (opens the Tusday of the last week) and Big Red Barn (opens the Monday of the last week) are the only two shows that have an entry fee, however the fee covers parking and the entire length of the show. Both have a variety of dealers, however most of them are higher- end and many are European. The booths are styled and easy to navigate. The Vintage Round Top is a Marburger Farm vendor. 

WHERE TO STAY

Book lodging early! Many B&B/home rentals require a  2-3 night minimum stay.

Regardless if you plan to come once or twice a year, lock the reservation in with your favorite B&B or Home Rental. The Vintage Round Top is, of course, RVT's first pick, but if the home is booked already, go through Round Top Chamber of Commerce or VRBO Vacation Rental to find available lodging.  My girlfriends and I stay at The Main Street House in Brenham.  The owner is super friendly and makes a mean cup of french pressed coffee.

WHAT TO WEAR

Dress comfortably and stylish! Texas weather can be extreme and change overnight, but many days are picture perfect. Shoe choice is key as you will be doing a lot of walking... and walking over rocks, grass, caliche and sometimes through mud.  Sun coverage is also important in regards to staying comfortable while navigating the shows. Wear layers and a light jacket or top to cover your shoulders to avoid sunburn, even if it’s cold. Wear comfortable shoes or if the forecast calls for rain, wear rain boots. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.  I tend to have allergy attacks in Round Top, so I always pack Allegra-D.

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WHAT TO BRING

Carry a large tote bag to carry water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.  I tend to have allergy attacks in Round Top, so I always pack some antihistamine.  Use your tote to carry a notebook and pen or use your cellphone, for writing down your purchases including the location, name and number of the vendor you need to pick up your items from.  You can also use your tote to carry smaller items you have purchased.

If you're on a day trip, you may be looking to save precious shopping time.  I suggest loading a cooler full of cheese, crackers, chicken salad, water, etc.  You can grab a quick bite in your car (with A/C blowing) and avoid the long restaurant lines.

Use your cellphone to take pictures of the items you bought and left behind to pick up later. (Trust me - always ask permission before you take photos of a booth and get the name and contact info to tag the vendor in social media outlets.)

Bring cash from home! Although some dealers accept credit cards and checks, cash is always welcomed. There are banks located in Round Top and the surrounding areas of Carmine, La Grange and Brenham and some show sites do have ATMS.

During the Show.

PARKING

Many parking areas are located between and behind the shows along SH 237. Most parking is free, but there are places that offer paid parking for a small fee, typically $5.

NAVIGATING THE SHOWS

If you come for a day trip, get started as early as possible. Since the shows span over an 11 mile stretch, traffic can slow down the process of getting from one to another. Drive to the furthest show and work your way backwards so you are only dealing with traffic on the way back. However, if you have favorite shows, start there first to get the best selection.

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The Round Top Register has created a Back Roads Guide with information about show locations, times and dates. You can pick up one in Round Top or click here to view and download the PDF.

NEGOTIATING WITH VENDORS

Most vendors will negotiate, but some are firm on prices. You won’t know until you ask and most dealers expect to be asked. You will have better luck negotiating if you are looking to purchase a large ticket item or a large amount of small items. Remember that these vendors have a tough job so be fair in what you offer.

FINDING YOUR HIDDEN TREASURE

As the saying goes, “One’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” We love the hunt, but one issue you have to face when looking for your perfect piece is the decision of when to buy. If you decide to wait and go back later to purchase a piece, it may be gone. The other aspect is that you may buy something in the beginning and then find something even better later so, there is no easy answer. Bottom line: If you LOVE it, BUY it!

TRANSPORTING YOUR PURCHASES

There are several businesses that offer shipping of large purchases but in our experience, the two most reputable are Roll’en Hills and Distinguished Transport. If you aren’t buying large items, simply transport your purchases in the back of your vehicle, in your trunk or even pull a small trailer. If you choose to take your items home with you, bring plastic tarps or blankets to cover the interior of your car in case of rain or if items are dirty, etc.

ROLL'EN HILLS CONTACT INFO
Cindy's Cell : 281 726 2631 or Kevin's Cell:  281 204 7434
2121 South State Hwy 237
Round Top, TX 78954

DISTINGUISHED TRANSPORT CONTACT INFO
Phone: 979 249 3473  or 678 910 1668
2377 South State Hwy 237
Round Top, TX 78954         

After Hours.

Several shows offer late night shopping along with live music.

The most well-known and rockin’ is the “Junk Gypsy Prom” held on a Thursday at the Junk Gypsy tent in Zapp Hall. They have live music, vendors and Zapp Hall has a bubble bar with libations.

Prost Wine Bar offers live music and a world class selection of wines by glass or bottle.
112 Bauer Rummel, Round Top, Texas 78954

The Stone Cellar has moved to the Old Depot and is known for great music, dancing, and pizza. 550 N Washington St, Round Top, TX 78954

Teague's Tavern offers Texas style comfort food and live music every weekend.
105 N. Live Oak Street, Round Top, Texas 78954

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Round Top Vendor Schedule 2018

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Thinking of a kitchen remodel?

I would love to help with your project!  Did you know kitchens stay at the top of the list when it comes to most popular room to renovate?  Kitchens are the heartbeat of the home, the center of attention, and a worthy investment.  It's a big job, so before you start demo, there are some important things to consider.  Check out these beginner tips if you want to remodel a kitchen.

Set A Realistic Budget.

  • Do your research. Talk to professionals and visit home stores to learn about the cost of items and then figure out what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Set a budget and then add another 10% for unplanned expenses.
  • Consider "hidden" costs. Remember to factor in the cost of labor and materials, as well as taxes and any shipping or delivery costs that might come up. These add up very quickly, so it's important to consider them when you're setting the budget.
  • Quality is #1.  Always buy the best you can afford. When it comes to kitchen renovations, you want to have high-quality, functional items because they are being used daily.
  • Be practical and don't buy unnecessary items. It is tempting to buy gadgets and fancy appliances, but it's better to go with the reliable basics that you know you'll use and get your money's worth out of.

Product Selection.

Knowing what is available in the market can be daunting!  I sell several different lines of cabinetry because not every manufacturer fits every project.  Hiring a professional to help with selections of cabinetry, appliances, and stone materials will help make your remodel enjoyable.

  • Cabinetry.  Talking to a designer about types of cabinetry available will help you decide which product is best for you and your budget.  Cabinetry is available in various price ranges and quality levels.
  • Appliances.  Appliances come in a multitude of finishes, sizes, and performance levels.  Do your research, compile a list of wants & needs and then talk to your designer about working those into your budget and design.
  • Tile & Slabs.  A back splash and counter top can make or break a beautiful kitchen.  Be sure to visit lots of showrooms before making a final decision.  Never select a counter top based on a sample - take the time to view the entire slab!
  • Lighting & Hardware.  I consider these to be the "jewelry of the kitchen".  You can easily change the look of a simple white kitchen with the addition of a modern metal chandelier or a rustic iron fixture.
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Smart Space Planning.

A good designer will make sure things are laid out properly to ensure safety and convenience. Here are a few basics to remember:

  • Counters: Plan to have at least 36" of counter space for food preparation, with 24" on each side of the sink. If you can fit more, do it!
  • Appliances: Leave adequate floor space in front of appliances so the doors can be opened and you can still walk in front of them. 36" to 48" should be sufficient.
  • Walkways: Leave enough room for traffic flow.  There should be 42" between the counters and the island (if there is one) so that people can easily pass by. 
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Once you know what you want, and what you can afford, you can hire a contractor and get started!  Be sure to ask friends for referrals and don't be afraid to ask questions!  You will be working with your contractor and designer for a few months, so having a good working relationship is the key to success!

Try your best to stick to your plan and try not get caught up in the excitement!  There will be lots of ups and downs along the way, so prepare yourself mentally for some setbacks.  Remember, in the end, it WILL be worth it!  

New Digs!

About 18 months ago, we decided it was time to sell our home of ten years and look for a home we liked, in a neighborhood we loved.  November was a busy month for us, as offers to purchase were flying left and right... we finally settled on numbers and simultaneously sold and bought our old and new homes.  Since November, I have been busy erasing a lot of 1994 from the new house.  Still so much work to do, but happy to be settling back into a more "normal" schedule of work, school, and play.  Thank you to EMC Premier Painters and FLOOR for all your beautiful work!

Summer Makeover

I love the beach and I love a renovation.  Put the two together, mixed with awesome clients, and you have summer project on your hands!  This house is in my Galveston neighborhood and was purchased by a couple from Katy looking to create their dream retirement home.  At just under 2,000 sf, this beach retreat was drenched in sunshine yellow paint, but had an open floor plan that was bursting with potential.  The project started with the homeowners requesting new wood flooring on the main level.  Then we started looking at the dated kitchen, scratched Corian counter tops, hardware, and confusing bedroom & bath layout...  Before long, we had a game plan for a whole-house reno that lasted all summer, but the results were worth it.

The mud stops here.

Mud and laundry rooms are one of the utilized spaces in a home, yet are often neglected during the design phase.  If you are building a new house or renovating a home, don't forget to pay attention to this space!  

Things to think about:

  • LIGHTING.  Who wants to fold clothes in a small, dark space? Add a skylight if there isn't a window or, at least, install plenty of overhead LED lighting to make the space bright. I use Aspect recessed LED in my projects.
  • ROUTINES.  Who uses this space?  Are you hanging school bags and sports equipment?  What about mom's tennis gear?  Don't forget pets - dog food storage and a feeding area could help keep Fido organized too!
  • STORAGE, STORAGE, STORAGE.  Install cabinets of various depths to keep vacuum hoses from tangling, towels stacked, and shoes tidy in cubbies.   
  • WATER.  If you can, put a sink!  Having a space to wash & rinse away dirt just may save your life.  This Blanco undermount is one of my favorites.
  • FLOORING.  Make sure you put a durable product on the floor.  Tile is the No. 1 choice, but be creative and use an interesting pattern or texture.  Tile comes in finishes that look like natural stone, wood and even brick!  What I wouldn't give for a herringbone brick floor in my mud room!

The light, for less.

Recently I've been on the hunt for new lighting to update our breakfast room.  I have had the same matching light fixtures hanging over the table and sink since we reno'd the house in 2006.  In my search, I've found some great "get the look for less" items .  Check out the lighting below that is currently offered at World Market and Anthropologie... you may be surprised to find which is the better deal!

It's Rodeo Time!

With #hlsr on the horizon, aren't you tempted to give a room some western flare?  Check out these great art pieces for under $100!  Message me and I'll start hunting treasures for your space.  See y'all at the Cookoff! xo, Kim

Oh, and this rug makes me swoon.  Looks like denim feathers and adds a hint Native American style to your room.  Shhhh... it's yours for under $200.  

Where didya get that?!

I have a problem with just saying "thank you" instead of shouting out the discounted price of a seemingly pricey item.  

Girlfriend: OMG.  That rug is amazing!  Is it new? Where didya get that?
Me: YES!! Isnt' it great!?  You won't believe - I got it at XYZ for less than $300!! 

Who doesn't love the look of a highly styled room!?  It's the designer price tag that gets us all choked up.  My friends and clients are amazed at the great interior accessories, art, carpets, lighting and furniture I find.

My husband loves the rock-bottom prices.  

I've decided to offer Personal Buying to my services.  Let me do the digging for you! I will scour antique stores, thrift shops, local HomeGoods (Oh, how I love HomeGoods!), and Round Top Antique Fair so you don't have to!  Give me a call, send me your Pinterest board, and let me start hunting for some treasures to get your home on-trend and in style! 

These are faux beautiful!

Everyone loves the look of marble, but not the price tag.   It is a great option for applications where you don't want high maintenance products or when you don't want to throw down a ton of cash.  Think laundry, craft or mud rooms, second homes, rentals or flips.  Still not SWOONING over the idea of laminate? Keep reading to see some great faux options that will get you around that $60-$100/sf invoice.  

 Calcutta - The Real Deal.

Calcutta - The Real Deal.

Formica's FX180 line offers some great looking sheets in popular marble, travertine and granite finishes.

Wilsonart HD raises the bar with it's line of realistic options at a killer price of under $15/sf!  They offer hundreds of designs including contemporary graphics.

The best part is you can purchase these products locally at Lowe's or Home Depot!

What's Thanksgiving Without Wine?

I could still enjoy Thanksgiving or any other holiday without wine, but honestly, I don't want to.  I enjoy a beautiful glass of wine with dinner.  I like one with dessert, too, and while preparing the meal, and... - well, you get my point!

Most of my friends would agree their current go-to wines for Thanksgiving dinner are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot is a choice is solid (my personal fav) and possibly brilliant: A high-acid, low-tannin Pinot, can do right by almost all the side dishes a big bird requires. Chardonnay, for me, is a puzzler, at least if it's a buttery and oaky (at the bottom of my choices, for sure).  I'd suggest trying a Rose', which has become one of my favorites over the past few years. Rose's are dry, crisp and bursting with flavor.  I think they will be among the most versatile wines on your table.

The trouble with applying the "I'll drink whatever" principle to Thanksgiving is that there's just so much going on ― herby gravy, tangy cranberry sauce, savory dressing.... And sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, even without marshmallows. 

It seems natural that wine for Thanksgiving should come from American makers.  Above all, for your family at Thanksgiving, the wines shouldn't be intimidating. This isn't the time to show off or get overly complex.  Bring out something familiar and yummy.

Dale Robertson at The Houston Chronicle suggests these wines that can be found locally:

2012 Golden Eye Gowan Creek Pinot Noir

Overall score: 17 (9 for quality, 8 for value)

Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with four scores of 9 or higher. "A big, round and concentrated wine but one that's well-balanced."

Critical acclaim: Earned a score of 92 from Wine Spectator: "Generous, offering ripe plum, black cherry and wild berry flavors, with touches of anise and black licorice. Ends with hints of dusty dried herb and cedar that fold into the finish."

Buy it: $73.99

2012 Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir

Overall score: 18.9 (8.9 for quality, 10 for value)

Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with a high score of 9.2 and two scores of 9. "Cherry and tobacco notes. Well-structured but also yummy."

Critical acclaim: Earned a 90 from Wine Enthusiast: "Beguiling streaks of red cherry surround a light, spicy, food-friendly core that's well balanced and integrated, the oak and tannin elegantly respectful of the red fruit. It offers medium weight amid the smoothness."

Buy it: $21.84

2013 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Overall score: 17.9 (8.9 for quality, 9 for value)

Our tasters: It didn't work for one, but another awarded a 9.3, and two others scored it 9 or higher. "Pronounced dried red fruit. Finishes long."

Critical acclaim: Earned a score of 90 from the Wine Enthusiast: "Made in a full-bodied style, this estate wine is generous in blackberry, black licorice and dark cherry, with classic cola spice dancing around its edges. Smooth and memorable, it is made from a handful of vineyards, including Nicole's, Bow Tie and Robert Thomas, all vineyard-designates of their own for the producer."

Buy it: $32.89

 

Black Friday

I'm getting in the holiday spirit and offering my own Black Friday special!!  I'm giving two hours of design consulting with every local in-home design consultation (a $200 value) OR I will refund 100% of your in-home consultation fee when you purchase cabinetry (a $300 value).  You pick.  Message me before Nov 28!!

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The Right White.

I get this question a lot, but today it was coming from a good girlfriend of mine.  She's buying a new house in my neighborhood (yay!), selling the old one, and still managing a household and busy schedules of four children.  

So the question is: Which white is right?

I could begin searching the fan decks, but off the top of my head, I can think of a few top choices.  With a little research, I can recommend the most popular white paint colors – the ones that decorators and homeowners rave about time and time again.

Out of this sea of whites, I’ve narrowed it down to these proven winners: 

1. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (OC-17) – I used this color in our old house and loved it. Not only is it a great color for walls, but it’s also a favorite for moldings:

 Houzz - James Thomas Interiors

Houzz - James Thomas Interiors

2.Benjamin Moore’s China White (PM-20):

 Tracery Interiors

Tracery Interiors

3. Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White (CC-20):

 Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest

4. Sherwin Williams’ Shoji White (SW7042)- I used this on my Houston home's interior trim work:

 Tobi Fairley Design (TRIM: SW Shoji White;  WALLS: SW Wool Skein )

Tobi Fairley Design (TRIM: SW Shoji White;  WALLS: SW Wool Skein)

5. Benjamin Moore’s Linen White (912):

 Houzz - Tom Stringer Design Partners

Houzz - Tom Stringer Design Partners

6. Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster (SW7008), which is very similar to BM’s White Dove:

 Iris Danker Design

Iris Danker Design

7. Sherwin Williams’ Snowbound (SW7004), which I used on walls at the beach house:

 House of Jade Interiors

House of Jade Interiors

The white paint color that’s best for your room will depend on factors such as lighting and other colors in the space, such as flooring. But instead of going to Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams and blankly staring at the mind-boggling number of white paint swatches, skip straight to these suggestions and I can guarantee that you’ll find one that will look fantastic in your space.

I’m a believer in narrowing it down to at least four choices then applying samples of them on your wall. You can even paint each sample on a large piece of foam board and see how it looks at different times of the day with different amounts of light. Also, move your board to various spots around your room – you may be surprised at how different a paint color can look depending upon where it is in the room.  

Selecting Great Hardware

Selecting hardware is like deciding which jewelry to wear to compliment your little black dress. Hardware isn't cheap, so making the burden of making the best choice can be stressful as you become overloaded with images of pulls, knobs, and finish options.  You may be dizzy because the choices seem endless... and they are!  A designer will help narrow the selection.

First, start with the cabinetry finish and style.  Do you want the hardware to blend or make a statement?  Do you need a contemporary or traditional style?  What other metal finishes are being used in the room (appliances, lighting fixtures, doorknobs, windows)?  Now consider size and scale.  If you have 54" high wall cabinets, don't use a tiny knob in the bottom corner of the door.  Large drawers need either one wide pull centered or two smaller ones.  Don't be afraid to mix styles and finishes - this makes the cabinetry look more custom and interesting.

Here are some great vendors to check out:

      Liberty Hardware  |  Hardware Resources  |  Top Knobs  |  House of Antique Hardware                                                        Amercok  |  Richelieu  |  Eclectic Ware

Round Top Antiques Festival

If you know me, you know I love beautiful things, the thrill of the negotiation, and the hunt for treasure.  All these come together in a perfect trifecta twice a year in Round Top, Texas.  My sweet husband graciously takes over packing lunches and reading good-night stories to our children so I can drive 90 miles to the best antiques festival in the state!  This year I joined some girls from Dallas and stayed at the sweet Ant Street Inn.  This adorable Inn is located in downtown Brenham and sounds like a sorority house once all the ladies return to kick up their feet, sip wine, chatter about their purchases and strategize about the next day's itinerary.  Relishing cheese, wine and a dinner of twice-baked potatoes from Lisa's Aunt Nancy was my favorite time of the day.  I loved catching up and laughing with these ladies!

We kicked off the day at Blue Hills where I met Michael Lawlis and purchased a great looking side table for the beach house.  I can always use more surface area to rest a wine glass or two!

My favorite stop is Arbor Antiques where I always find gorgeous goodies.  I was sad to learn that the Mexican Shirt lady is going out of business.  She had all her inventory 20% off!   I fell in love with a sold item from Susan Horne Antiques, but am crossing fingers that she can source another.   My friend bought a stunning pair of French needlepoint arm chairs from Maison Pernoud that will look amazing in her new home's foyer.  

On my final morning, we hit one more road-side tent and Nancy found a lovely pair of vintage sconces from Galveston!!  My heart sank as I did not see them first...  That sweet woman let me purchase them for Bowen (thank you, Nancy!)!!  I also found two wooden tennis racquets for less than half the price where I saw them at Arbors, so I picked those up as well!  I plan to send them on to House of Lamps so Nancy can work her magic! 

Tapestry Beige

"Tapestry Beige?  Yes or No?!  Should it take three days to respond to this question?" ranted a friend, completely frustrated with the responsiveness of the designer she hired to help with her soon-to-be-stunning Tanglewood renovation.    

I have two girlfriends suffering from designer issues.  Julia's large Memorial renovation began over a year ago and I'm not certain it's actually completed to her satisfaction.  [Sigh.] Elizabeth has a more manageable scope of work, but a tight deadline to get moved in.

Both girls hired professional interior designers and both girls called me with the same flustered conversation and asking for confirmation that terminating services was the right move.  My heart sinks as I empathize with their frustration and disappointment over color choices, material pricing, and general lack of professionalism.  After listening, I have to agree it's time to move on.

I have a very short soap box to shout from because I am not a full-service designer.  I specialize in floor plans, cabinetry and kitchens because those are what I'm really good at!   I do not accept jobs that I do not have time for or that I do not have the capability to execute with excellence. Ladies and Gents, please be mindful and realistic when you hire any professional to assist with your home projects.  Ask for references.  Ask for pictures of their work.  Ask what you get as a client.  Make sure your expectations clear so everyone is on the same page!  

I hope these tips help you in deciding on which designer to hire!  In the end, listen to your instincts, they're usually right.