Friday, October 30, 2015

The Cutting "Ledge" of Home Design

by Toni Berry I.F.D.A. of Marie Antoinette Interiors

We all have photos and artwork in frames that we’d love to display in our homes. The problem is arranging them nicely on the wall without going overboard. However, when hanging anything on the wall, we run into the problem of not really being able to make changes without leaving small holes throughout. Enter the ledge – or a narrow shelf just deep enough to hold a frame.

Ledges and wall color can be the same to give the staircase a casual effect!

A ledge along the stairs helps keep your frames organized and accessible. You can keep your stairwell clean, simple, and interesting by adding ledges.

Clean and organized white is used as a "pop" color against the neutral wall color!

For a cohesive look, have the ledges match the railings of your stairs. You can even have the frame match so it appears as a set instead of individual frames.

It's all about the pictures, NOT the ledges!
A counter height ledge is a great way to border wainscoting and display all of your favorite photos. Your houseguests will have an easy time viewing all of your wonderful photos.

Besides the art/photos leaning on the ledges you can hang more art/photos in the void wall spaces!
Ledges can be used anywhere in your home. They make a great gallery wall and you can add depth to your design which you cannot do if you simply hang frames.

On wide short walls, use ledges to break up the space.
Ledges add a versatile element to your room design, and they are easily installed!
Having a hard time knowing the length, the color, how many and how to space your ledges? Call for a "Design/Decorating" appointment! 925 862-9064 or email

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Fall Table, A Feast for the Eyes

From Justina Blackeney
I love this edible centerpiece, seriously dramatic yet deceptively simple in its ingredients:
 pomegranates, grapefruit, persimmons and tangerines.
Now that fall has officially arrived, my thoughts (like the leaves) have already turned to the upcoming season and all the many entertaining occasions that go along with it. It’s the season for setting a table, so get ready.
 You already know I love to cook but I thoroughly enjoy, sometimes to a fault, setting a beautifully arranged table. In fact I plan the table décor even before I plan the menu!  And while a few people still formally entertain – complete with finger bowls, butter knives and five different kinds of spoons – there are still plenty of other more casual ways to bring together a memorable gathering, a visual “Feast for the Eyes”, so to speak.

From Country Living
Simply white linens are a fabulous backdrop for darker tableware.
I'm a big fan of the artfully arranged buffet like the one pictured above, serving both as conversation starter and generally making for a more casual, easy-going dinner party.

Via Coco Kelly and Decoist
Use a tiny bit of orange holly to set off the purple!
Anything purple is good for me, and it's a perfect color change for Fall. Pick your favorite hue: aubergine, mauve, lilac, eggplant...

From ShutterChic Photography
Hang the rosemary and feathers well off the table ends!
This season I'm seeing a lot of antlers, burlap, feathers and a lots and lots of  sprigs of fragrant rosemary.

Via Ruffled Blog
Use an apple as a name holder!

The wise concept of “eating what's in season” should really apply to the table décor as well. And there are plenty of seasonable items to choose from, other than the ordinary pumpkin: think apples, pears, chestnuts, berries, mushrooms, and rosemary!

Feeling festive but need some help? Make an appointment with Toni at Marie Antoinette Interiors today!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hunter Douglas PowerView Motorization...We have an App for that!

Wouldn’t it be nice to close your window shades by pushing a button? Better yet, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to worry about the shades at all because they are on a schedule and will move on their own? That can be achieved with PowerView, the new motorization system from Hunter Douglas!

PowerView does more than just opening and closing. It brings simplicity and technology into your home - with the added benefit of safety since there are no messy cords hanging around. With multiple control options including an app for your smartphone or tablet, creating the perfect light control for your home is even easier.

The greatest thing about PowerView is the app! Available on most smartphones and tablets, the PowerView app lets you customize each shade individually or entire rooms. With the app, you can set up different scenes, like all of your shades rising when the sun does (or perhaps a little later!).

Another great feature of the app is RemoteConnect. It allows you to control your shades from anywhere. Did you arrive at work and realize you forgot to close your shade? Not a problem, just open the app and close them! Or maybe you left on vacation and didn’t schedule your scene to open and close your shades as if you were home. Again, just open the app and schedule that scene! Then enjoy your vacation knowing your shades will open and close like you never left.

For those of you who don’t consider yourself tech savvy, fear not. PowerView is extremely easy to set up. All you have to do is plug the PowerView Hub into a power source and your wireless router and you’re in business!

If apps just aren’t for you, PowerView does have a remote as well and it’s called the Pebble. Each remote can control up to six windows, and you can set favorite positions for each window. The remote can be mounted on the wall, or in the handheld Pebble. The Pebble is ergonomically designed and available in seven great colors to match your house. If you lose remotes often, the bright green color might be a good choice for you, it will stand out!

Don’t worry if your windows aren’t wired for motors. PowerView runs on 12 AA batteries in an easily accessible little compartment that sits behind the shade.

Here at Marie Antoinette Interiors, we offer the full range of Hunter Douglas products, and almost all are available with the motorized PowerView! So give us a call if you’re ready to simplify your life with the ease of PowerView.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Does your living room look like this “Before” picture? OK, then allow me break down the “professional” decorating choices of the “After” living room picture in a way that you and everybody else can understand! Ready, set, go!
  1. Think in Color Families. Work with a small color palette. Three colors in any one room is plenty in my book. In this case grey, navy, and green is all that is needed to bring the room out of the gloomy “Before” photo. Working within a streamlined color palette not only helps the room feel cohesive, but also helps to eliminate the chaos and calm the space.

  1. Fix Proportion Problems. Here the room’s windows are placed too high on the wall and are too small for the room. Make them appear larger and better suited to the space size by placing the drapery rods as high as possible, hanging art below each of the windows, and hanging four drapery panels to unify the three windows into one large one. Yes, it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors, but it works!

  1. Repeat, Repeat & Repeat. Use the three-times rule: repeat the accent color three times. Look closely at the “After” picture; navy is used once on the back wall of the bookcases, again in the throw pillows, and finally on the bench top and dining chairs. Bookcase wall, pillows, upholstery that’s three times!

  1. Do the Math in Percentages. In the “Before” picture the room is a boring, builder beige and brown. In the “After” picture the room is 70% soft grey (walls, upholstered sofa, arm chairs, and cabinetry), 20% navy (bookcase wall, pillows and upholstery) and 10% green (drapery panels and accessories). 70 + 20 + 10 = 100%. Easy-peasy math.

  1. Use White to Freshen Things Up. A brighter, creamier white (for the trim) will stand up better against the soft grey than the white used in the “Before” picture. Here in the “After” picture it’s used on the fireplace, the crown and baseboards.  Note that the ceiling color is painted in a lighter tint of the grey wall color, not just defaulting to plain white.  This is a sure sign that a professional decorator has chosen the room’s color palette. It completes the final “ta-da” of the room!

  1. Accessorize In a Way That Suits YOUR Interests. There’s no need to try for trendy, fashionable, or mainstream. Pull from the room’s color palette and proportions. Notice the accessories on the bookcases are grouped by the colors of the room. They also fit nicely on the shelves, not oversized but not so small that they get lost in the space. And yes, “less is more” when it comes to accessorizing.

And if you have no time or patience for any of these lessons, give me a call for a “Design Consultation”! Yes, I really do love decorating!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

No More Monkey Business With Mircrofiber Fabrics

"I have a set of dining chairs that are over 30 years old and I was looking to replace them with new ones. I was unable to find any chairs that I liked as well as these or would be suitable to go with the table that came with them! Therefore I have decided to keep them and have them re-upholstered. After hours of hunting for upholstery fabric I’ve just about given up! We use these chairs daily and we have a large family, pets and grandchildren that come often so I need a really good fabric that will look nice with the rest of the room. Can you suggest what fabric would be best in terms of durability and style? "

Fear not, I have just what you need!  Durable, cleanable, Microfiber! You might have seen this fabric on many name brand sofas, loveseats, recliners, sectional and other upholstered furnishings. These soft and luscious fabrics endure all life has to throw at them.  With passes of “100,000 Double Rubs” it’s resistant to wear and fading, and the nylon "miracle fibers “give these fabrics extra life and durability. 

Cleaning is simple.  Liquids bead up and repelled on the surface for easy-blotting with a clean cloth. A barrier of protection is built into each fabric to prevent stains.  
While the home furnishing industry is flooded and saturated with Chinese imports, the beauty of these fabrics is made complete with one essential feature...Made in the USA.

 You don’t have to “monkey around” anymore…Check out the video, then call me for a private In-Home Consultation to see samples of these amazing fabric! We’ll choose just the right shade of color to go with your existing furnishings and your dining set will look brand new!

These are just a few of the hundreds of colors available!

Monday, June 29, 2015

I want that exact color on my walls! Color Consultation Please!

Fabric by Robert Allen Fabrics,
colors by Benjamin Moore Paint
“I like the colors in this scarf”, she said! “Oh I love the print colors in this Hallmark wrapping paper!”  Or let’s not forget this one, “I want the colors of the pattern printed on my sun dress, the yellow in the lemons, that’s the one!”  These are just a few of the requests I hear from folks when they ask me to chose a wall color for their homes. I’ve been known to get it just right 99% of the time, but it usually takes a close look at that scarf, wrapping paper and lemons to translate the colors to wall paint colors! This task is typically done in the client’s home by pulling many color memo samples to choose just the right shade for the walls, ceilings, trim and accent walls!

But now I have a “Decorator’s Assistant” to make this task more exciting and definitely more fun! No, the assistant is not a human being that I bring with me to your home. This “Decorator’s Assistant” is a handy-dandy little App on my iPhone. I take a picture with the iPhone of the print, pattern or color and it sorts, copies, and chooses the paint colors that appear in the print, pattern or color.  How’s that for an assistant?

Dinner Plate from Bed Bath and Beyond,
Colors by Benjamin Moore Paint
In most instances this little assistant gets the colors spot on correct, and that’s wonderful! But it still takes a trained eye and years of experience to know how much of the color, the placement of the color, the sheen of the color and if the color needs adjusting in saturation or undertone to make it work!  The combinations are limitless for instance, but the real trick is choosing the right combination for the space in the right light!

So although this little “Decorator’s Assistant” is a great help, you still need the “Professional Decorator” to master the color decisions. Thank Goodness!

Same Dinner Plate photographed in a different room
will result in a different color palette.
If you need a Color Consultation for your next email or call to schedule an appointment in your home, and see this little “Decorator’s Assistant” in action, you’ll be amazed!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Table Top Take Over

I love a pretty table! Any table will do really, I don’t even need a reason to dress a table but having one does help my imagination run wild with possible theme ideas! Don’t feel confident in dressing your table for that next event or occasion you have coming up? No worries!

Here are 4 basic design elements to guide you through dressing your table.

  • The Foundation. Start with the linen color. Choose a color that may fit the theme of the event.  This was a ladies luncheon and the Tiffany Blue seemed fitting and fun for an afternoon and a departure from plain white linens. Party and event rental companies have thousands of colored tablecloths and accessories for the table. I use Pleasanton Rentals, and the price can be surprisingly inexpensive when you consider the time and effort of pressing, washing and then pressing again to store it.  

  • The Contrast.  Dishes, glasses, flatware. Here is the place for an interesting eye catching contrast. If the table linens are pale in color go with a darker dish, if dark in color go with a lighter dish color. Here I used small light colored luncheon plates that had a strong graphic design on them which played perfectly into the stylish Tiffany Blue color. Stemware or glasses can be clear or frosted, and the flatware can be simple or elaborate which ever fits the occasion.
  • The Layered Effect. Napkins choose the napkin according to the dishes and flatware being used. If the dishes have a busy themed graphic design (as these do) or a scrolled border, I use a simple napkin. If the dishes are plain I use a napkin with some sort of border or contrast color on it to add interest and depth to the table top. A fancy folded napkin can make for a wonderful artfully dressed table and there are many on-line tutorials you can watch to lean how. The napkin ring is considered the jewelry on the table.  Interesting shapes and colors that work well with the theme can be fabulous and exciting. Here we used Pearl napkin rings playing into the Tiffany Jewelry theme.  Runners over the foundation linens also work to add depth and scale to the table as well. You can use several napkins, a silk scarf, or any other piece of fabric folded length wise for a runner.
  • The Crown. This is the last and final element that can make or break a beautifully dressed table top the Centerpiece. But before you decide on how much, or what size, or how many, or what color the centerpiece is to be try different size vases or containers on the table “after it is set” with all the above elements. If the table is long in length several small containers will keep the scale proportion better. If it’s a large round table one large in the center will do nicely. The content of the centerpiece should be fitting to the occasion, here plain white hydrangeas in low profile clear vases showed up the color of the table linens better than colored flowers would have. Also the white hydrangeas color supported the pearl white napkin rings beautifully.  
Dress your table for success with these guidelines in mind and you’re sure to be a hit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How to choose colors for your home in your home!

This joyous season it the perfect time to say..."it's a pleasure to have served each and every one of you!"

And in the spirit of Easter, Spring and New Beginnings I'd like to invite you to take advantage of a little discount I'm offering for the *month of April.
25% Off on "Color Consultations"!

If you are about to paint the interior or exterior of your home and dreading the thought of going into the paint store and looking at all those tiny little paint chips, here is the solution to save you time, frustration and possible costly mistakes!

A "Color Consultation" will give you a chance to see the colors right in the very space they will be painted, your home! I will help you choose the right colors based on your furnishings, lighting and architecture. You will receive color options and choices as to where to apply that color, and large color chips of the paint with a detailed paint color schedule!

Just my way of saying "Thank You" and wishing you and yours a joyous Easter!


Save 25% On The One Hour Color Consultation in Your Home!
*offer expires April 30th, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Case For The Drape

As a designer I know how important drapery can be in a room. And as a consumer I know how important it is to get the best value for my dollar when I make a purchase for my home. So when a new client calls for drapery and says she has been living without them, for the past 7 years I was surprised. After all, you can’t miss what you’ve never had, right? Well not in this case. She clearly knew that her space looked sparse, cold and unfinished and needed drapery. Perfect timing for her as we were having a “Drapery Sale” and she wanted in on the savings. Smart girl!

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER
After the initial phone conversation and some photos she sent by email, I was able to define her style and the room’s color palette so that I could choose fabrics for the drapery project. She also mentioned that there were existing drapery rods above the windows that once held draperies from the previous home owners and that she would like to keep them. And making the project even more interesting, she mentioned that she wanted orange draperies! I paused and asked her why and she said “because I have orange accessories in the room”. Now I’m really interested!

Living Room Sofa Wall BEFORE

Living Room Sofa Wall AFTER
Arriving at her home with several fabric books, I find a beautiful living and dining room! Lovely neutral carpeting, exquisite custom painted walls, wonderful original wall art, handsome furniture and last but not least, several unadorned windows with wooden drapery hardware placed above them and no draperies! All that was needed to make this space come alive were the draperies!

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER
After looking over several fabrics in the room, I convinced her that “orange” might not be the best choice for drapery panels but that a deep, earthy, flax color, with just a bit of orange embroidery, would be best and give the room some dimension, warmth, and texture. She trusted me and agreed! The finished project speaks for itself and my client wrote this;

 “Toni I absolutely love the drapery! You said it all, it finishes the room! I didn't realize how stark naked it looked until I came home last night and I thought, YES it’s finished, Perfect!  The result was absolutely fantastic and provided the finishing touch to our living and dining room. Thank you Toni for all your help”!

If you have a room or rooms in your home that look “almost” there but just “not quite”, maybe it’s draperies that you are missing.  Trust me when I say, “let me make a case for the drape”!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Drapery Color by Tiffany & Co.

We adored it! The color, No. 1837 on the Pantone Matching System chart. Tiffany & Co.’s color, the cardboard packaging and even the ribbon is trademarked. I discovered this while working with a graphic artist in creating a new logo and choosing a similar color for my decorating business, Marie Antoinette Interiors. 

Some call it Robins Egg Blue or Forget Me Not Blue, I call it delightful! The Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman said, “It evokes positive thoughts and reactions”. Loving the color so much I just couldn’t resist using a comparable color for the new draperies in my interior design office.  After all, my work is all about “positive thoughts (my designs), and positive reactions (from you and in your home)!
Here are the steps taken to creating any custom window treatment, for myself or for my clients.
Find the right fabric!  This is the first step and the one that takes the longest. I research many fabric company’s offerings in a color close to the Tiffany & Co. blue. This entails combing through lots of fabric books. I have 17 possible fabrics!
Order the fabric sample memos from the fabric company! I tape them to the wall close to the window in which they will hang. I have 9 possible fabrics and by process of elimination I have a winner!
Design the window treatment! A classic style, straight French Pleated panels flanking both sides of the french door on a simple brass rod. I added off white sheer between the panels in the same style, again harkening back to Tiffany’s white bow color combination. And in the spirit of my logo’s tag line, “fashionably tailored spaces”, I added a Tiffany Blue banding on the sheers to give them a tailored look.
Fabricate the drapery! Once the fabric, linings and hardware are ordered, a detailed work order is given to our workroom that carefully and skillfully cut and sews the drapery according to my custom measurements.
Installation Day! This is the day we see the vision come to fruition. All the work in steps 1 through 4 is realized when we hang the drapery and dress the window.

Color is a very big part of a room’s ambiance, and in this case it set the stage for a sophisticated elegance that the room required. I couldn’t be more pleased with my new draperies in my favorite Tiffany & Co.  color. And yes, it seems that Kate Spade also liked the color and  used a comparable color on their "work tote bag" (as seen on the floor in the photos above)!