Sunday, August 23, 2009

ASK A DESIGN QUESTION? Should I reupholster the old, or buy the new?


Q. DEAR TONI: We have a sofa and chair that have seen better days and we're considering reupholstering them. Is it smart to invest in reupholstering or just buy new? Colleen.
A. DEAR COLLEEN: Reupholstering is a great way to refresh your sofa and chair, but you need to take a couple things into consideration first. Reupholstering most times is less expensive than buying new. I say most times because there are a couple price factors involved in reupholstering that will affect the total cost to reupholster a piece. First, are the pieces you're considering the style you want to keep for the next 10 years? If you're going to invest in reupholstering pieces, you'll want to keep them for quite a few years in order to recover the costs.
Were they good quality pieces when you bought them? Are the frame, springs, and cushions still in good condition? In my opinion, unless the pieces were good quality pieces to start with, I would NOT suggest reupholstering them. An exception to that thought is if the piece has sentimental value to you. Today you can purchase fairly inexpensive sofas and chairs, so if you paid less than around $1,500 for the two pieces to begin with, they are probably not worth reupholstering because you can buy new.
In estimating how much it will cost to reupholster, let's look at your sofa and let's assume it is an average size sofa of 86 inches long by 36 inches deep, exposed feet, loose back cushions in good condition. The two costs that you'll have are fabric and labor. If you select a plain solid fabric that is 54 inches wide, you'll need approximately 15 to 17 yards of fabric depending upon the style of the sofa. If you're looking to select a print fabric that has a pattern repeat, you'll need to add another 10% to 35% more fabric depending upon how large the pattern repeat is. Now fabric has a very wide price range, from just dollars per yard to over a hundred. Let's take an average price of $35.00 per yard which will give you a good selection to choose from. Along with the fabric, you have your labor costs. Reupholsters range in price also from about $50.00 to $80.00 per labor yard.
So let's do the math, using the average yardage needed, fabric and labor costs so you can compare reupholstering to buying new. If your sofa needs 16 yards of solid fabric, the fabric costs $35.00 per yard, the reupholster charges $60.00 per yard; it will cost $1,520.00 to reupholster your sofa. If you only paid $1,000 for the piece and it does not hold any special memories, I would suggest buying new. But if you originally purchased a good quality piece for a couple thousand dollars or more, that still has a good tight frame and the springs and cushions are still in excellent condition, YES you should reupholster it. I have many clients that have reupholstered a piece two or three times because it was a good piece or has special sentimental value to them.
Reupholstering is a wonderful way to transform a piece of furniture and extend its life, but do the math first to make sure you're investing wisely!
Do you have a sofa or chair that needs re-covering? I'm offering 20% off Upholstery Fabric for the entire month of September! Call 925.862.9064 to see how much you can save!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Contra Costa Times: Designing Eye: Picking a paint color





Designing Eye: Picking a paint color - By Toni Berry
Contra Costa Times correspondent

Editor's note: Today we launch a new column by interior designer Toni Berry. Each month, Toni will focus on a topic to give us some quick tips to make sure we're spending our money wisely as well as getting the most style that we can. View Full Story



Sunday, August 16, 2009

$ TIPS For The Perfect Porch !


Don't you just love a good porch! Most of us are so busy we sometimes forget to use that outdoor space or room to nurture ourselves. My friend Kate has a sun porch at her home that is to die for! When you have lemonade on her porch you are transported back in time to when life was simpler. You're a child again and it's summer! The level of relaxation you experience is so healing and you don't have to spend a lot to catch that feeling again.


Here are some tips I picked up from Kate and others who have great porches;

· Use old wicker with lots of pillows and cushions for seating. Nothing says "come and nap a while" like an old wicker sofa. $ TIP, any small outdoor settee will do and Orchard Supply has them for under $50. Just make sure you lavish it with pillows.
· Make use of accent and end tables painted in soft colors like sherbet orange and green. $ TIP, don't worry that they don't match, they're not supposed to! Get indoor tables and paint them with outdoor paint.
· Add a sisal or grass rug under the furniture grouping, a clean area designated just for bare feet. $ TIP, Walmart has the most inexpensive outdoor rugs available, but you can use your old indoor rug, that has seen better days, too.
· Include baskets of magazines, books and journals to write in. Once you're settled you may not want to get up again for these things. $ TIP, use an inexpensive laundry basket, they're bigger and look neat and tidy on the porch floor.
· And you simply must have a tray with a pitcher, glasses and festive napkins on one of those tables. $ TIP, you can pick these up at any discount store for $10.00 or less. Just make them colorful and playful, remember the porch is where you unwind.
· Add outdoor candles or small lamps for the evenings. $ TIP, use an old lamp. Paint it a soft cream color. Replace the shade with an inexpensive paper shade from Target. Paint the shade a soft color similar to the color used on the table. Run an extension cord to the nearest outlet.

If you're trying to decorate on your own strength and running out of ideas, enlist the help of a decorator like myself. My "TIPS" could save you time, energy, and $ in the long run. Call Toni Berry at 925.862.9064 to discuss what you're looking for!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blessing On Your Doorpost!


On a recent visit to a new client's home I noticed a funny little brass bar affixed to the frame of her front door sash. I thought it might be a security mechanism and I took note of it because it had some writing on it and I was curious as to what it meant. I didn't ask her about it, but wished I had.
A few days latter I went to another new client's home and there it was again! A little metal bar, the size of a cigarette affixed to the doorpost of the front door. Now that I've encountered two of these in one week, it's time to find out just exactly what these little gizmo's are!

So I asked my client, she smiled and said "why that's my Mezuzah"! She went on to explain that every Jewish home displays them as a sign of their faith. And inside each of these little cylinders or bars is a small piece of parchment inscribed with the biblical passages of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13- 21, "write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates". Because I had never heard of or seen a "Mezuzah" I took a picture of it and thought I'd share it with all you.

As we spend time, money and effort on our homes to make them beautiful it's also nice to stop and regard our homes as a real blessing to ourselves and to others, don't you think?

And here's wishing all of your homes a beautiful blessing;

GOD BLESS THE CORNERS OF THIS HOUSE AND BE THE LINTEL BLESSED. AND BLESS THE HEARTH AND BLESS THE BOARD AND BLESS EACH PLACE OF REST. BLESS EACH DOOR THAT OPENS WIDE TO STRANGERS AND TO KIN.AND BLESS EACH CRYSTAL WINDOWPANE THAT LETS THE SUNSHINE IN. AND BLESS THE ROOFTREE OVERHEAD AND EVERY STURDY WALL. THE PEACE OF MAN, THE PEACE OF GOD, THE PEACE OF LOVE TO ALL. Irish Home Blessing