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interior design

Design Tips for Coming Out of Hibernation

No matter what we do to Planet Earth, she just seems to be relentless in her unconditional giving to us. Once again, she is bringing us Spring. A time of new birth, renewal and all things green and glorious. Every time I walk around my garden, I am pleasantly surprised with little shoots of green popping up out of the dirt that has been frozen for way too long (in my humble opinion). So I find myself once again feeling that bubbling of youthful joy that comes with the first sighting of daffodils and crocuses.  Knowing that azaleas are just around the corner and warm afternoons will be gracing us soon. Ahhhhh.

In Imperial China, the Emperor appointed a messenger to bury a 3 foot bamboo pole in the ground. This hollow tube was set in the Earth vertically with a feather placed at the bottom. It is said that when the Earth warmed up the feather would float to the top of the bamboo pole. At this moment, the messenger would pluck the feather from the bamboo tube and run with it to the Emperor. The Emperor would then declare that Spring had arrived.

Well the feather has risen for me and I am ready to come out of hibernation. Here are some ideas for sprucing up your space… a sort of rites of Spring, if you will.

  • Wash your front door. Wipe away the winter blues and trim back any dead branches from surrounding plants.
  • Walk through your house and gather up any items that are cluttering your space and either store them or give them away.
  • Touch up paint on walls that are showing wear.
  • Change your bed linens to lighter and brighter colors.
  • Make a refreshing drink for yourself and sit in the sunniest spot in your house.

Happy Spring!

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5 Reasons for Hiring an Interior Designer To Help with Your Renovation

Interior Design Plans

Number 1:

A professional Interior Designer is experienced and will save you time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.

Number 2:

They know what to expect during the renovation and design process so they can help you organize and plan the process.

Number 3:

They will coach you along the way and help guide you through the many decisions you will be making.

Number 4:

An Interior Designer will keep you on schedule which keeps cost down.

Number 5:

And finally they have contacts and references that can help you get the job done by responsible, trained pros.

How To Know What’s Green + What’s Not

Here are some great ideas from an article by John-David Hutchisonon to help you determine if a building product is really green or not……

When assessing the “greeness” of an environmentally friendly  building product I generally look at the following criteria:

1) Where does it come from – Is it a readily renewable resource? Is it locally manufactured? How are the raw materials and final products transported?

2) How is it made – What are the ingredients in the manufacturing process? Is there fair trade involved? Does it have a large amount of recycled content? How much energy does it take to produce?

3) How does it effect the environment after it is used – Does the material off gas? What is its care and life span? Is it recyclable at the end of it initial use? Very few materials can meet all of these criteria and this is not an exhaustive list, but these are essential issues to be weighed initially and balance out for the best options for each product – one product may work for a certain project but not be feasible for another.

Consumer demand for greener products is on the rise as the general public becomes more informed. This is a beginning. We have a long way to go and along the road there will be challenges. Green washing, resistance to change, and comparatively high initial cost are just a few of these hurdles. Among the bigger challenges will be the inherent human trait of not wanting to change; we have been building the same way with the same materials for quite some time.

Conversely, as consumers, we have become accustomed to the Wal-Mart World. We want it cheap and we want it now. The perception of “saving” may cost us more due to the lack of quality and shorter life span of these goods. An important aspect of green building is longevity and quality of product. At first this may seem expensive but over the long run green may be “cheaper.”

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inspiring design + renovation

If you are just joining us, welcome to inspiring design + renovation.

Within these blogs, I hope you will find inspiration for your home and office. The subjects are varied and random, however the intention focuses on helping you create a home that is both beautiful and supportive to you and your family. Please let me know if you are in search of any particular design solutions as this is also meant to develop into a dialog. Happy designing.

Surviving A Kitchen Remodel

With economic times as they are, many of my clients have decided to fore go the expense of moving or building a new home. Instead they have decided to renovate their existing homes.

One of the best ways to get good return on your renovation investment is to update your kitchen. This can be an overwhelming project but with a few preparations and a good design strategy, you can withstand the ups and downs of having your kitchen torn apart and put back together again. Here are a few tips for surviving a kitchen remodel. Hope they help. Perhaps you have some you would like to post to this list. (Source:

  • Keep essential items handy: microwave meals and non-perishables like soup; condiments; cereal; microwave-safe dishes and utensils; dishcloths; dishwasher soap; paper plates and cups; coffee; coffee pot and sugar/creamer; paper towels; napkins; and garbage bags.
  • You’ll be without water in the kitchen for a time, so plan to do the dishes in another sink or the bathtub. Or stock up on eco friendly disposable plates and cups, paper towels. Be sure to have some disinfectant cleanse handy.
  • Move your old refrigerator or a small mini-fridge to a convenient space close to a water source. Add a table with a microwave above and a trash can below.

Obviously, small appliances such as microwaves, toasters or toaster ovens, hot plates, and small electric grills will be immensely helpful in preparing home-cooked meals. Just remember, the area where you set up your temporary kitchen might not be able to support multiple appliances running at the same time, not to mention any other electronic items typically used in that room. You might need to have only one thing plugged in at a time to prevent blown fuses.

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Refrigerator Dimensions

If you are about to renovate or design your kitchen, here are some helpful dimensions for popular refrigerator styles.    (Source: Dimensions


Refrigerators have three standard styles and these are the bottom freezer, top freezer, and side-by-side. There is a style called French door refrigerator which has a double door bottom freezer. Refrigerator dimensions are dependent on the style and cubic feet capacity of each one.

Comparing the three standard styles with similar capacity, the most energy efficient is the top freezer, next in line is the bottom freezer, and the least energy efficient is the side-by-side style. Refrigerators are also less energy efficient when they have indoor water and ice dispenser compared to those that have none.

Side-by-Side Refrigerator Dimensions

A. Free Standing Side-by-Side
Width: 32 inches to 36.5 inches
Height: 66 inches to 70 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 28 inches to 29.5 inches

B. Counter-Depth Side-by-Side
Width: 35 inches to 36.5 inches
Height: 68.5 inches to 72.5 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 24 inches

C. Built-In Side-by-Side
Width: 42 inches to 48 inches
Height: 83 and 3/8 inches to 84 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 23.5 inches to 25 inches

French Door Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Dimensions

A. Free Standing French Door Bottom Freezer
Width: 33 inches to 36 inches
Height: 68 and 5/8 inches to 70 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 28.25 inches to 29.5 inches

B. Counter-Depth French Door Bottom Freezer
Width: 35 and 3/4 inches to 36 inches
Height: 69 and 5/8 inches to 71 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 23 and 3/4 inches to 24 inches

C. Built-In French Door Bottom Freezer
Width: 42 inches to 48 inches
Height: 83 and 1/8 inches to 84 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 23.5 inches to 25 inches

Bottom Freezer Refrigerator Dimensions

A. Free Standing Bottom Freezer
Width: 29 and 5/8 inches to 36 inches
Height: 66 and 3/4 inches to 70 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 28 inches to 30 and 7/8 inches

B. Counter-Depth Bottom Freezer
Width: 35 and 5/8 inches to 36 inches
Height: 69 and 3/4 inches to 70 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 23 and 3/4 inches to 24 inches

C. Built-In Bottom Freezer
Width: 35 inches to 36.25 inches
Height: 82 and 3/4 inches to 84 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 23.5 inches to 24 inches

Top Freezer Refrigerator Dimensions

Width: 28 inches to 36 inches
Height: 61 and 3/4 inches to 69 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 25 and 7/8 inches to 28 inches

Compact (Under-Counter) Refrigerator Dimensions

Width: 17 and 3/8 inches to 24 inches
Height: 19.5 inches to 34 and 1/8 inches
Depth without the door and handle: 13.5 inches to 18 and 3/4 inches

In selecting a specific refrigerator unit to purchase, the dimensions play a major part on the decision making. Measure the allotted refrigerator space in your kitchen so that the unit that you will purchase will really fit into the specified kitchen space.

Interior Design Tips-Lighting Design on a Budget

Chandelier -Lighting DesignHere is a great way to add atmosphere and sophistication to your interior design without having to spend a lot of money. This simple tip can enhance your room design immediately.

Check out this video:
Lighting Design On A Budget

Resource For Interior Design in Asheville, NC
Lou Stewart

Outdoor Room Design

What is it about eating outdoors that makes the food taste even better? Love this outdoor room design with the bold red fireplace and metal pergola that frames the joyous occasions. Let your interior design spill out into the garden. Here in Asheville, NC, we love our outdoor rooms.