Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Bassett Makeover: Before + After

After sneak peek ... a favorite of mine from Bassett, the “Pippa”

Before: great architectural details, lots of natural light, plenty of room to entertain

THE CHALLENGE: with post-teenage children about to leave the nest, this family had outgrown the existing furnishings and were ready for a fresh update. The homeowners, a very nice local couple, came to Bassett to look for a new sofa and we ended up scheduling a room makeover in order to accomplish their goals of working with what they had. A number of pieces with sentimental value and some lovely decorative items were staying in the room. The wall color, a warm tone faux finish, plus the custom window treatments (which I discovered by coincidence were made by a very talented friend of mine!) were used as a starting point in choosing the color palette and traditional design direction for this family room makeover. 

After visiting the clients home, I used the measurements that I took while there to create a revised floor plan with Room Planner which is a free design tool available to anyone who visits the Bassett website. Most of the furniture and accessory pieces from the extensive Bassett collections are loaded into this easy to navigate program, allowing them to be efficiently dropped into place to check that a layout works best for desired function while keeping traffic flow in mind.

THE BIG REVEAL: to accomplish this makeover, we selected the very comfortable New American Living chair in a crisp striped fabric, a tight back Custom Classics sofa in a warm olive green with two sets of designer pillows, a pair of Pippa classic spindle chairs in a richly woven gold fabric accented with leopard print kidney pillows, a tufted chocolate brown leather ottoman with storage shelf, then anchored this updated sitting area with a more appropriate sized hand tufted wool carpet in a colorful, bold print.  

THE KEY: choosing patterns and colors that would complement the existing fabrics and finishes in this open floor plan.

THE BONUS FEATURE: all Bassett makeovers are delivered in around 30 days. For the custom furniture industry, this is quite a feat. How does Bassett do it? The majority of the custom manufacturing takes place in North Carolina. Beautiful on-trend fabrics plus strong built-to-last frames are at the ready. A highly-trained custom upholstery team is in place. The delivery process is streamlined. Customer service experts are in house to ensure complete satisfaction. Design consultants like myself follow each project, from beginning to end, as we would if running our own individual businesses. As a group, we just happen to have the support of the Bassett/HGTV Design Studio behind us : )

What did my Bassett clients think of their makeover? It looks absolutely beautiful. We are so happy!

Are you ready for a custom makeover? Email me at Bassett in Burlington to schedule a home visit, or stop by our showroom to see what we have to offer. This weekend, starting on Friday, July 18th, we are having a 3-day Summer Sale with one item offered at 30% off original price. Bassett is also hosting a “Pin It To Win It” event on Pinterest. Click here to find out how you can enter to win a $5,000 Gift Card to Bassett! 

Follow me on Houzz to see the Bassett makeover above, plus lots more to come ... 

And watch for my regular posts on Instagram to see what’s new in our Bassett showroom and elsewhere in the world of design.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Design How-To: Hang Art Like a Pro

Hanging art is one of the decorating road blocks I come across a lot when consulting with residential clients. The fear of leaving a trail of swiss cheese holes on freshly painted walls while looking for the perfect spot to position artwork or framed photography prevents many people from even starting their wall styling projects. I have even seen some people just use the “well the nail was there so that is where I hung it method of art installation which often results in art hanging without any relationship to the layout of the room.

Getting it Right with Scale and Proportion

The best way to determine where to hang a piece of art is to anchor it with a piece of furniture below it. The piece below should be the same size or wider. If the anchor piece is smaller, it will appear as if the art above is teetering precariously over it.

Don’t make the mistake of hanging your artwork too high. When people think of eye-level, they are usually hanging it higher than it should be. Try to keep the work of art close to the furniture piece below it instead of floating it so far above it that it does not seem like the two pieces go together.

Keep your desired focal point in mind. An eye-catching piece of artwork on every wall in the room will create visual chaos. It is better to select one main star and include supporting pieces that don’t fight for attention. Intentionally leave a wall free from art for a bit of breathing room.

Gallery Walls

When creating a gallery wall consider using the same type of frame on each piece for a cohesive look. Varying mat sizes can keep the arrangement interesting. Another approach is to completely mix it up by using an eclectic combination of frame styles. Vintage and modern frames of different finishes can co-exist nicely if grouped together in a confident manner.

Tracing the shape of a frame onto a piece of brown kraft paper then hanging this one dimensional template on the wall with the help of removable tape is a good way to establish where to hammer in the first nail.

Whether you are installing one, a few, or many works of art, step back to view its placement in relationship to the other items in the room before you commit to the arrangement’s final position on the wall.

Special Challenges and Considerations

Wall surfaces that feature fireplace bricks or architectural curves present structural challenges as do older walls without predictable stud placement. Likewise, after investing in custom murals or expensive wallpapers or grass cloth, the fear of making a mistake is intensified. When face to face with these challenges, it’s easy to see why many choose to avoid hanging art all together.

Traditional picture rail moldings that are installed close to ceiling height are a great way to hang art without damaging walls. A simple hook is placed over the rail allowing the art to be hung at a desired position using picture hanging hardware.

A clip and rod system at the Bassett showroom in
Burlington makes changing art super easy.

Likewise, flexible art hanging systems that utilize tracks, rails, clips, cables and rods can provide the freedom to arrange (and rearrange) artful images without worry, even on the most challenging surfaces.

Use the Right Tools

There are all kinds of great wall design solutions out there, whether you are hanging the finest oil painting, a cherished family photo, or a child’s mini-masterpiece (visit my Pinterest board to see some of my favorites). The key is to choose the type of system that will safely allow your works of art to get the attention they deserve.

All furniture and wall art available via Bassett Furniture

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Weekend with Country Living

This weekend, the colorful pages of Country Living will be coming to life in Rhinebeck, NY at the Country Living Fair and Country Living 2014 House of the Year. This three-day shopping (aka treasure hunting) event opens on Friday, June 6 and closes on Sunday, June 8. From the looks of the attending presenter list, it reads like a celebrity version of Brimfield, coordinated with all kinds of guest appearances from the interior design and DIY/craft world.

Below are just a couple of the highlights ...

All Rhinebeck Country Living Fair ticket holders are invited to visit the Country Living 2014 House of the Year created by Catskill Farms builders. “This year’s project is a 1,500 square foot ‘new old home’ that captures the charm, beauty, and character of the past.” The interior of this year’s House was a design collaboration between the Country Living editors and guest designers Tilton Fenwick. A complimentary shuttle bus is provided to and from the tour via the fairgrounds.

Suysel dePedro Cunningham and
Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton Fenwick
photo via

I recently had the opportunity to see Anne and Suysel of Tilton Fenwick present their new line of Duralee fabrics at the Boston Design Center. Anne is actually a Boston College alum just like myself. The “Fenwick” in their firm’s name references her first dorm on the BC campus. I heard Anne and Suysel chose to feature a piece from friend Stacy Kunstel’s Dunes and Duchess collection in the house, so look for it if you go!

Also at the Fair will be Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash and Cari who will be selling antiques and repurposed goods in Barn 34 all weekend. Check out the fun sneak peek video of the Country Living Fair below (with appearance by another HGTV design-star Emily Henderson) and let me know if you make it there! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Get the Look: Magazines + Makeovers

Blue + Orange Living Room

California brights ...

House Beautiful // April 2014
design Matthew Leverone // Lisa Romerein photos

The past four months at Bassett Furniture/HGTV Home Design Studio have flown by! I have had the creative opportunity to help so many new clients with their room makeovers and custom furniture selections. Getting familiar with the full range of Bassett collections and home accents took some time, both on the showroom floor and via many online class hours (provided through Bassett University) but it was fun to get to know all that we have to offer. At Bassett, we are constantly receiving new pieces at our Burlington location and even more are introduced regularly on our website which keeps our design inventory current and exciting. I am loving my new home/design studio! As soon as I photograph my client room makeovers that have been delivered, I will share pics.

In the meantime, here are some Get the Look sets that I created based on rooms I loved in House Beautiful and Traditional Home magazines. All furnishings (upholstery, lighting, art, carpets, etc.) in these sets are available from Bassett. Whether you like bright colors or neutral palettes, geometric patterns or rich velvets, traditional or modern pieces, we can help you create the look you want.

Boston pied-a-tere ...

Traditional Home Magazine // September 2013
design by Joseph Abboud // Eric Roth photos

Rustic Equestrian Inspired Living Room

Rustic Equestrian Inspired Living Room by designvignettes

House Beautiful Magazine // May 2014
design by Ellen Niven // Simon Watson photos

French flair ...

Rich Jewel Toned Living Room

Rich Jewel Toned Living Room by designvignettes 

If you have a room you would like to be magazine-worthy, schedule a complimentary makeover visit and room reveal via my contact link on Bassett. I also work with local interior design professionals who want to source quality pieces for their own client projects that can be custom-made and delivered in about 30 days. We are able to specify COM (customers own material) on all our custom upholstery pieces provided it passes our upholstery durability testing. I love projects small or large and am happy to help as much as needed. Having so many design resources under one roof makes it easy (and fun!)

In about a month there will be a new Del Friscos Grille steakhouse opening in our parking lot. Summer will be a great time to come visit us : )

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bringing the outside in ...

watercolor landscape by Anne Rogers of Lynnfield Art Guild

Each spring I look forward to participating in “Art in Bloom, the annual collaboration between the Village Home and Garden Club of Lynnfield and local artists. This year, I was inspired by the watercolor above painted by Anne Rogers. To me, the simple landscape was beautiful. With its expansive green lawn, it reminds me of one of the golf courses in town that whenever I drive past it, I vow to take up the sport just to enjoy a close up view of the immaculately landscaped grounds. 

I chose to combine a trio of orchid plants adorned with yellow twigs to represent the small patch of trees in the center of the painting. A small arrangement of green chrysanthemums in a silver vase placed in the foreground stand in for the evergreen bushes that dot the open field.

It seems as if my arranging style has become quite minimalist over the years, favoring groupings of same flowers and repetition of color. This is probably a result of my work schedule taken up more of my free time, but it is still a good example of how a simple flower can add beauty and drama without the fuss. Anyone can do this!

Along with bringing an arrangement for inside the library, I also had the job of decorating the front display window at the entrance of the building. Since our garden club is now a Home and Garden Club (membership has doubled!) I focused on showing ways to “bring the outside in when decorating interiors. I brought one of my favorite prints from home and paired it with fresh lillies in a black vintage teapot. Wallcoverings, paint chips, fabric swatches and garden inspired objects filled the case. 

It was kind of a hodge-podge of design ideas, but in person I believe it looked a little more inspiring. I especially enjoyed being able to include origami birds folded in spring colored papers by my son Owen. Had to pay him $5, but it was worth it! Below are some of my nature inspired decorating ideas ...

Arts + Crafts style wall covering
from Victoria + Albert Museum

from Bassett Furniture

A recent window treatment project I designed with this fabric for a client

White Dogwood, Azalea Flower, Coming up Roses

Lily by Sherwin Williams

Daffodil by Sherwin Williams

Daisy by Sherwin Williams

a bouquet of purples from Sherwin Williams
Obi Lilac, Radiant Lilac, Valiant Violet

origami art by Owen


How do you bring the outside in?