Thursday, July 23, 2009

Plants: The Glue that Holds the Design Together

In my eight years spent as a model home designer, I learned very early on in my career that a successful design is only as good as the cohesiveness of the finished product. The installation week of a model home project is a very interesting event. With each item that gets placed, hung or installed, another layer of detail to the interior is introduced. What is unusual about the model home industry is that the project comes to life at a very rapid pace - thus allowing the designer to see the vision become reality in just a matter of days, rather than months or years as it can be with the residential or commercial industry.

One of the last finishing touches during an model home installation is the arrival of the interior plants. I am always amazed at how the addition of foliage seems to light the design up and make it shine. No matter what the design style, or the color scheme, the visual relief that greenery provides, undoubtedly enhances the overall look and mood of the space.

During my transition from the model home industry into the residential and commercial forums I have come to realize how overlooked the value and impact of plants typical are. Since Area Interior Planning began operating in 2006, I have walked many a home and office to find virtually no greenery, whether it be live or artificial. Often times my clients will share their frusteration about not feeling thier space is 'polished' or complete - yet they are unable to determine what is missing. More times that not, the solution is the addition of plantings, florals and trees. The placement of these items offers a visual relief from the 'item-item-item' affect that bare furnishings can sometimes portray. Thus, in my professional opinion - I feel strongly that plants truly are the glue that holds a strong design together.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Defining an Interior Designer vs. an Interior Decorator

The titles of interior designer and interior decorator are often thought to be interchangeable or essentially the same thing. Unfortunately, this is a large misconception and although both professions focus on the enhancement of interior spaces - there are several important distinctions between the two. Understanding what each vocation encompasses will be helpful when considering who to hire for your next project.

Interior Decorator

Interior decorators work in both the residential and commercial fields, but the scope of their services are limited to surface changes that enhance the visual appeal and comfort of a space. Interior decorators tend to focus on elements such as color, fabric, artwork, accessories and do not delve into the more intense aspects such as architectural modifications or major flooring or finish changes. Education and credentials are also a significant contrast between the two titles. An interior decorator is not required to have any formal education, degree or examination in order to legally use the title. Because an interior decorator's skills are less defined, they tend to be more accessible and affordable.

Interior Designer

In order to use the title 'Interior Designer', there are very specific regulations that must be adhered to. Although it varies from state to state, many require a designer to be licensed and most demand that college coursework be completed. The reason the bar is set higher for the interior designer is directly related to the level of knowledge and skill that is needed within the practice. Interior designers are often involved in architectural aspects of the vision as well as more critical facets, such as safety codes, and structural integrity. Because interior designers take on more aggressive projects - their knowledge, expertise and skill level need to be solid and secure and backed up by a strong educational foundation. In addition to the technical considerations of the project, designers still uphold also have a strong sense of color, scale, style and balance - thus when it comes time for the surface enhancement of the project - an interior designer will address the challenge with strong creativity and flair.

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Area Interior Planning is owned and operated by Cari Carter, a professional interior designer that has practiced in Orange County for almost 15 years. Her educational background comes from a B.S. in Interior Design from Colorado State University, which is a FIDER Accredited design program.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Power of Paint

The impact of color is a multi-faceted topic that can range from beauty to psychology and a million avenues in between. When applied to interior design, color influences the entire direction of the style and is always a critical component to the project.

As many of us are 'tightening the belt' on our household spendings these days, the need for budget friendly creativity is in high demand. A complete remodel or re-design of your home or office may not be an option at this time - yet the need for a refreshing change is very apparent. As a frugal-minded interior designer, myself - I have come to love and rely upon the Power of Paint!

Dollar for dollar - the effect that a simple change of paint can have to a space goes far and wide. A basic tone-on-tone pallet of fabrics and furnishings can be completely awakened with a punch of new color on the walls. A bold, aggressive scheme can be calmed and balanced by toning down the walls to a more neutral level. Your room can achieve a completely new attitude with a simple gallon of paint, a ladder and a brush!

Even within the realm of painting there are cost cutting options. Most often, the expensive to hire a professional painter far outweighs the actual material costs - thus, consider doing it yourself. You may find that painting can be quite therapeutic once you get the hang of it. Another cost cutting idea is to choose just one or two walls to paint as an accent rather than the entire space. You'll save on paint and time, yet still walk away with a new flair to your room.

For the sake of sharing a little inspiration I thought I'd show some of the current color trends for 2009 - 2010 that are making quite a statement in the design industry. I find the Sico Paint website to be a wonderful guide to what's hot in the world of paint, or what they like to call "Liquid Inspiration" . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Benefits to Working with a Professional Interior Designer

Apart from the obvious reasons, there are can be many hidden benefits to hiring a Professional Interior Designer, whether it be for residential or commercial work. As you venture into the contemplation of options for your upcoming project, you might want to consider using a Designer if . . .
  • You have virtually no free time to plan, coordinate and implement the vision for your project.
  • You are new the area and are unfamiliar with the bounty of design resources that Orange County has to offer.
  • You find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the never-ending number of options available.
  • You are in need of assistance with the more technical areas of design, such as space planning, lighting design, scale and balance, kitchen and bath configuration, etc.
  • You know that you are creative but just aren't exactly sure where to begin or how to pull it all together.
  • You feel that Orange County's typical interior design resources and retailers just don't offer the unique, 'Never been done before' look that you are envisioning and you'd like to explore what the 'Trade Only' Showrooms offer.
  • You'd prefer not to be bothered with the coordination details and inevitable hassles that arise when placing orders, confirming specifications, monitoring deliveries and overseeing installation.
  • You do not have reliable resources for sub-contract labor and would benefit from 'Tried and True' referrals for painting, electrical, general contracting, plumbing, etc.
  • You are drawn to the idea of having custom furniture and upholstery made but would prefer not to pay the high mark-up that 'Open to the Public' workrooms charge.
  • Your project calls for a very specific look or needs to be designed to compliment the particular period due to the existing structure or 'shell'.
  • You've made costly mistakes before when designing your own project - the sectional didn't fit in the room, the dresser wouldn't fit up the stairwell, the colors looked different once installed than they did in the store . . .
  • and last but not least . . .you really just want a project that is flawlessly carried out, that accommodates every functional and aesthetic demand and provides a cohesive look and style that you will enjoy with pride.

Area Interior Planning is more than qualified to resolve all of these concerns as well as any others that you may have. If you are interested in setting an appointment for a Complimentary 1-Hour Consultation, call 949•294•5769 or log on to:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

• Launch of Area's New Blog •

Welcome to Area Interior Planning's First Blog! I have come to learn in my years of business that in order to stay on the cutting edge of whatever industry you are in, it is imperative to keep up with the trends in both marketing as well as technology. So, with much 'dragging of the feet' I have now surrendered to the world of Blogging and intend to embrace this new daily task in hopes of sharing insight on the fabulous world of interior design. The more I consider my options for daily topics, the more enthusiastic I find myself about writing. Orange County, as a whole, is already such a 'fashion savvy' population which is why I love being an interior designer here. I've been blessed with projects that have allowed me to create some truly unique solutions to design equations, and I accredit a lot of that to the open mindedness of the clientele here in the 'OC'.

My objective for Area's blog will be to offer a wide variety of topics that will enhance each reader's grasp on what good interior design can introduce, both aesthetically, as well as functionally and sometimes even emotionally. I will also shed light on how a professional interior designer can be an asset when attempting to implement a personal vision whether it be a residential or commercial application.

The craft of interior design has been around since the beginning of time and no matter what the state of the world or the economy is, the innate human desire to 'live in beauty' will never fade away.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Area Interior Planning Blog: UNDER CONSTRUCTION !