Monday, May 1, 2017

The Holy Grail of Decorating, the Throw Pillow

We decorators are always telling our clients how easy it is to breathe new life into that “beige neutral” sofa simply by switching out throw pillows.

I admit, a group of new fabric pillows in beautiful colors can give your sofa a totally different feel, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to go through all of the thousands of great throw pillows out there in every shade and size imaginable to find 4 or 5 that will work well for on the sofa. There’s a huge selection out there, which makes the process overwhelming! But I’d like to make things easier for you. Keep these 5 tips in mind while choosing the right throw pillows for your sofa.

Colors in the pillows echo the chair and ottoman and the lamps. Via Pinterest
1. Choose one cohesive color palette and do not deviate from it. You’re going to get the most impact if  your pillows are either in the same shade or in colors that pick up other colors already in the room.

The softness of the art is portrayed in the pillow color! Perfect symmetry! Via Pinterest  
2. Shoot for a symmetrical arrangement. When you’re layering several different fabrics on top of each other, things can get really busy, really fast. I like a symmetrical arrangement because it keeps things feeling orderly and polished. But if your style is Bohemian skip this tip and go for the asymmetrical arrangement, and mix it up.

The asymmetrical arrangement works well in a modern room. Via Pinterest
3. One simple print, one busy print, and one solid. This is a basic formula that’ll help you narrow down your options. Another way to think about it is — one small print, one big print, one solid. Your busy/large print should be on your largest pillows or the pillow that is front and center, as this print will usually set the tone for not just your pillow arrangement but the rest of your room. Plaids and stripes work well as small/simple prints.

Two prints, two solids and one stripe, placed in a fun arrangement. Via Pinterest  
4. As your move towards the inside of the sofa, the pillows should get smaller. Visually, your largest pillows should be in the far corners, and your smaller pillow should be on the inside. But also for comfort, it makes the most sense to add the large 22 or 24″ pillows on the sides, where you won’t need to move them out of the way. A small 12×20″ pillow right in the center won’t make you feel like you’re perched on the edge of the couch because the pillows are taking up all of the room!

The art here is wider and larger than the sofa, so to balance the scale pillows are used to anchor the art and give the sofa a stronger presence. Via Pinterest
5. Although decorative, pillows are really meant to add comfort to your upholstered furniture pieces, keep comfort in mind! We’ve all sat down on that couch that is so packed to the gills with throw pillows that you feel like you’re being shoved into a bag of marshmallows. This is not the ideal situation, so if you have to ask if you have too many, take on or two away!

Pillows are a wonderful way to add new life to your neutral sofa and consequently new life to your  room, be it living, family or bedroom. If you are still struggling choosing the right pillow, in the right size and in the right fabric, I can help! We do "custom" pillows, and we make them in the exact size needed for your sofa or chair and we select the perfect fabric that compliments your room's accessories!

 Call today to get started on switching out your pillows! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

What color should we paint?

Spring is here! Time to evaluate the colors in your home? Do they still work for your lifestyle, or are you ready to do something different?

Call today for your Color Consultation
At Marie Antoinette Interiors, we will choose colors and paints best-suited for your interior and exterior spaces, taking into consideration the room’s dimensions, furniture and lighting.
During your appointment, we’ll assess every room in your home or office and take detailed notes. Whether you prefer soft-spoken colors such as pastels or you’re ready for an onslaught of change with more vivid hues, we will create an appealing and wonderfully personal palette.

We promise to keep the process engaging, informative and fun — as it should be! After finalizing our choices, Marie Antoinette Interiors will provide you with a color schedule listing each room, its respective color choices, the paint sheen, and any other required detail in the design. We also will give you large sample cards of each color. In addition, we will email the color schedule to your  paint contractor on your behalf. Our goal? To ensure the group of colors reflects your personality and is efficiently applied.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Exterior House Color or Your Home's Most Valuble Curb Appeal

Beautiful, well chosen exterior color can add significant value to any home investment, not to mention fill its owners with a sense of pride. But finding the right colors through trial and error isn't an any task. A color that looks good on a tiny paint chip won't necessarily look great on your home!

Before, just a plain little Split Level with lots of
visual breaks and no warm "welcome"!
Such was the case with my clients in Castro Valley, California.  Their American classic “Split Level” home was just crying out for a new look.   Randy and Brenda had a loose idea of what color they might like for the body, but at a loss as to trim, accent, sheen, and “what goes where” had them stumped. So they did what many are doing, they called out for help, suggestions, options, solutions and instruction for paint color selection from a Color Consultant….me.

After, continuity, sophistication, and
soft subtle contrast makes this home
a handsome statement!
After printing a photo of the home in the “Before” stage I could see that it needed a color palette that was strong and would ground the home to the land. I then gave them the address of another home I choose similar colors for so they could actually see it on a large home. This one exercise really helps them visualize the color tone, saturation and application in action so to speak.

In the “color consultation” appointment at their home with the client we evaluated several color scheme options.  I have large 4” x 5” cards of all the Benjamin Moore Paint colors and we simply hold them up in different locations on the body of the home.  We both agreed that using the HC-85 Fairview Taupe by Benjamin Moore was the color that seemed to anchor the home’s body to the land. This rich dark color makes a handsome statement, and with so many of the pale colored homes on the block, it stands out as a 1st place winner.

The trim, which isn’t much on this type of architecture, needs to have a subtle contrast to the body.  We tried 3 different white colors and ultimately choose 855 Cloud Cover a white with a little tint of gray, for eves/overhangs, gutters, window frames, door frame, garage door, and the porch pedestal cap. The right trim color is as important as the body color as it adds charm and sophistication to a home’s overall look.

The front door says,
"Welcome Home"!
The white front door, that matched the old trim color was in great shape, but didn’t say much as a welcoming committee to the home.   I recommended HC-154 Hale Navy; it’s one of my favorite front door accent colors.   And color studies show that a blue front door signals that the homeowner views his or her home as a place of refuge -- calm, serene, and relaxing, the perfect retreat from an often harsh and demanding world. I choose to paint the door frame in the trim’s Cloud Cover to really make it pop against the Fairview Taupe body color.  Voilà…a new look!
Yes, I agree, it’s truly a visual transformation and one that Randy, Brenda and their family will enjoy for years to come. 
Just click on the color names links above to see the colors up close at Benjamin Moore Paints.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Got a Case of Color Paralysis and Anxiety...

If there’s one thing that creates utter fear and panic when decorating, it’s the process of choosing the right paint colors!

100,000 colors to choose from! But which one is right for the space?
THE DIAGNOSIS: Color paralysis - frozen in fear of using paint color inappropriately. But we make color choices every day - and often with confidence. We may be able to dress ourselves, the children and our husbands, but an entire wall of color can be irrationally intimidating. It seems so easy to get it all wrong, so you freeze, right! Breathe easy, don’t panic!

A Color Consultation can make create a feeling and an ambiance in the room that had none!
f you're losing your way in the quest for color, agonizing over countless paint chips that are now looking all the same and overwhelmed at the amount of time you're spending on indecisiveness, then you'd be wise to enlist the help of a color consultant. If you think this might be too expensive, think again. The cost of a color consultation will save you countless hours of time in repainting when you don't like it and find you've made a colossal mistake in the color choice.

A Color Consultant should supply you with color sample cards clearing up any confusion.
THE TREATMENT PLAN: in a little over an hour, the color consultant visits you in your home, takes an overview of your spaces, your lifestyle and your personality. From this discussion, the consultant develops a painting strategy that will tie everything together by:
*enhancing your home's decor through the use of well-chosen paint colors for the walls, ceiling and trim

*creating a beautiful space making the most of your existing furnishings and your homes architectural features
*developing an entire color plan which you can work on room by room over time or all at once 
The family plan!
A simple game plan, uniting the home's interior colors with the family spaces.

At the end of the color consultant’s visit they should leave you with a sample color card of each of the colors chosen.  You will also receive a “color specification sheet” so you and your painting contractor will know exactly where and on what surface each color is to be painted, trim, ceilings, niches, baseboards, windows, the paint sheen, etc. etc.
This knowledge goes a long way in keeping the paralysis and anxiety at a minimum!

Are you paralyzed and anxious about what color to paint your rooms? Have you painted only to be unhappy with the results? Get some peace of mind and CALL to make a Paint Color Consultation appointment. Let me help you choose just the right color that you and your family can live with for years to come! Call 925.862.9064 or email me here at .

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Still not satisfied with the look of just shutters? 
Marie Antoinette Interiors
Via Houzz and Pinterest

Many of my clients believe that, with shutters on their windows, draperies are not necessary. But shuttered windows with draperies can still function perfectly, and the draperies serve to warm the room physically and aesthetically!

Marie Antoinette Interiors
Via Pinterest and Houzz

When it comes to window treatments I must admit I am a lover of drapery. To me, they finish off a room, make it look tailored and elegant and add coziness that is hard to recreate with other window treatments.
Via Pinterest
Draperies don’t necessarily suit every room of every house or every budget, and they don’t have to be voluminous and puddling all over the floor, but they do have their advantages, and not just for privacy. Not forgetting they are also another opportunity to use a lot of gorgeous fabric.
via Pinterest
Often we assume you have to have one or the other, drapery or shutters. But why not have both? Have you considered combining plantation shutters with draperies in your home? We often have blinds and drapery, but most of the time shutters are used on their own.

Toni Berry IFDA Marie Antoinette Interiors
via Pinterest
If you are concerned about expense, and who isn’t, you don’t have to be able to draw them open or closed, just a hanging panel either side  of the window is enough to get the effect without having the a huge cost.

via Houzz
So, if you decide to use plantation shutters for their functional features, think about using drapery as well, for the aesthetic benefits. In fact, I think draperies are a great way to soften the look of shutters and bring a warmth, softness and cosines to a room. They just finish off the room completely.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment if "you are still NOT satisfied with the look of just shutters"!
925.862.9064 or email

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Designer Living Room Made Livable

by Toni Berry IFDA
The livable living room, a retreat from the business of living busy!

How long can you live in a home before you realize you’ll never get to make the living room LIVABLE?

For this family of four, the realization came in their 8th year of living in their home! They tried to attempt doing it themselves but they just didn't know where or how to begin! And so after visiting a neighbor’s home and loving what they saw, they asked that neighbor how she did it! After all, they knew the neighbors also both worked long hours, had 2 active children and many family commitments just as they have. And that's when they discovered they hired an Interior Designer to do it! 
Enter the designer/decorator….moi! Upon seeing the space and discussing the needs of the family, the style, the budget, the colors, what stays, and what goes, I came up with a plan that suited their means!

In this case, and this is not unusual, the living room that is clearly the first room seen upon entering in most homes is often ignored and put last in the lineup of rooms to decorate to be functional and useful. In most part because large family rooms and kitchens are now the places families gather. Life is much more casual now than a generation ago. But many still want the living room to be casual, useful and beautiful.  
And so that is how we approached this project….here are the footnotes on each selection of furnishings we used and why!
by Toni Berry IFDA
The living room still had the previous home owners draperies at the windows. With only a loveseat for sitting, the room became a sort of a play room for the children! The transformation, a beautiful yet functional room for all to enjoy regularly because it's not's useful!

by Toni Berry IFDA
 Finding fabrics that complemented the rich brown floor color and the wall color Benjamin Moore's #226 "Twisted Oak Path" was made simple! The sofa is a deep brown tweed, the two chairs have a print fabric that ties the rooms colors and wood elements together!

by Toni Berry
The new Hunter Douglas Silhouettes were a perfect choice for a room that needs light control. This room faces west and the new furnishings need protection from the sun.
by Toni Berry IFDA

Sensibility prevailed! The Bassett Furniture pieces were nicely priced and within our budget. Sofa, tables and two arm chairs were selected for comfort, met the room size restraints and the fabrics durability.

by Toni Berry IFDA

Accessories mean every thing to a room. And in this room we added many but each accessory had a job to do by either adding texture, color, visual interest and a sense of fun to the room. Above, the casual wall art, the fun buttoned pillows, the family pictures and a beautiful orchid arrangement all lend a hand in giving the room it's beauty. And three sources of much needed light were also included!

by Toni Berry IFDA
The mantle, AKA as "the heart of the home" was topped with a round wooden framed mirror and two simple sconces. Perfect focal point to a not too formal room, not too casual room, a just right room for a young, active and busy family. A place to get away from the business of living busy! The livable Designer living room!
Surprise,surprise. Designers are not only for the wealthy. In reality, an interior designer will not only save you money but will also save you hours of frustration and stress. We know where and how to begin and how to see it to the finish!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pantone's "Greenery" How To Use It and How To Love It!

Every paint company declares their choice for the "Color of the Year"! Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Fuller O'Brien and the rest have announced their choices at the end of 2016! But the Pantone Co. is the leading color company (not paint) that sets the standard from which all Color is measured and used in paint, print, fabric and plastics. And if you don't already is their choice for 2017 and how to use it in your home! Drum roll please....
Marie Antoinette Interiors
Image Via Kero I Am
Pantone Color Greenery in rich!

Pantone announced the 2017 Color of the Year: "Greenery", which they described as, “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, symbolic of new beginnings. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.” Well said don't you think?
While it took a minute to absorb the sheer power of this color – this is not a subtle hue – it started to grow on me, especially as I explored how such a bold shade could be used in the decorating world.
Photo Via Pinterest  Greenery on the Ceilings
One of the first things I discovered was that Greenery plays surprisingly well with other greens - these are nature's neutrals after all. Pair this shade with blue, emerald and celadon and you'll get a really refreshing color palette that feels very new and very “now”.

Photograph Via Simple Cottage Style
Mid-century modern décor elements are the perfect way to sneak some fresh “greenery” into your home. Offset this strong shade with lots of white to keep your space fresh and uncomplicated

Photograph by Pieter Estersohn Via Pinterest Sophisticated Bed Trappings

Finally, Greenery  has the potential to pair up with some unusual friends, for truly original and intriguing color combos: try marrying Greenery with yellow gold, salmon pink, and a touch of coral – simply sublime. Ultimately, think of these color predictions not so much as a stern order but as an invitation to approach and explore color in your own environment with new eyes, to play and experiment, and discover your own personal palette. Thank you Pantone!
Spring is almost here...time to "evaluate" the colors in your home? Let's get a "color consultation" scheduled for or email or 925-862-9064 !

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Is Your "Decorating Budget"?

You’ve decided! This year, you are going to do “something” with the living room! But….you’ve no idea where to start, after all, the last time you did “something” with the living room was 1997. And now you are going to do what you couldn’t do back then, you hire an interior designer to help breathe new life into that old room and you feel great because this is, after all, doing “something”! 

And one of the first questions she/he politely asks you is “what is the budget for this room”? Like a deer caught in the headlights, you freeze, swallow and answer, “I haven’t a clue”! 

Does the above scenario sound familiar? If so, or if maybe — here is how to determine what the budget should be for your living room or any other room or space.

Via Pinterest
How much would you guess the BUDGET was for this charming living room?
1.    Make a WISH LIST! Write down on paper what you’d like to see in this space and what you wish were not there! Be specific about what you have always really wanted here. 

2.    Set a dollar amount!  Be brutally honest here: Take a look at your monthly financials, as well as any funds you've set aside for rainy-day projects, and see how much you realistically have to spend. Even if money isn't an issue, at the end of the day, your budget should be the amount you're happy to spend on your space without feeling guilty.

3.    Get familiar with price tags!  Get out there and take a look at what home furnishings cost. If it’s been a few years since you’ve furnished anything in your home, you may be surprised. You may get a bit of sticker shock. This step will help you set the amount for each individual item on your Wish List.

4.    Draft the PLAN! Develop a plan with either the designer or on your own. Go back to the Wish List and itemize it with a dollar amount. Don’t forget the cost of labor, shipping and deliveries.  

5.    Prioritize your purchases! Plan to spend the big money on the big “wow” items like the flooring or window treatments or other permanent features that will hold value over time and add value to your home. Once you’ve earmarked the bulk of your budget for the big items, divvy up what’s left for the smaller items like lighting, area rugs and accessories. 

 Below is an example of a Living Room Furnishings Expense Budget. It’s simple and straight forward and dictates what, where and when we purchase anything. 

You can see how quickly the investment $ add up!
The budget or investment is set at $10,000. But we actually only spent $9,337.00 — giving us a $663.00 or 6.6 % surplus!  You can see that many items cost less than anticipated and only the area rug cost more. The investment of $700.00 for the designer kept this client on target, on time and on budget.

 Unless your budget is unlimited, you may not be able to do everything on the Wish List right away. And that’s OK — you can spread out the expenses by making a long-range plan and implementing your design in phases. Just don’t wait another 20 years. If you do the five steps above, your interior designer will love you. And you will feel victorious having stayed within the budget you set. Think of it as an “accountability” tool. Congratulations! You are now doing “something”! 

*Need help drafting a budget? Let’s do “something” together!  Call us at 925-862-9064 for a Budget Consultation.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Interior Design Transformation: Goodbye Clutter! Hello Elegance!

One of my latest projects has been to restyle and update a home in which my client has lived 50 years. In that time, she had accumulated many unrelated items that ultimately cluttered the three main public spaces — the entry, dining room and living room — and sadly distracted from her gorgeous Mid-Century Modern Scandinavian teak furniture. The collection of Asian objets d’art was also lost in the seemingly endless messiness. 

BEFORE: The Entry

AFTER: The Entry
After many years of unsuccessfully trying to tackle this colossal project on her own, she called me for HELP!

The first stage of this restyling job was to eliminate the clutter — and keep preservation and restoration of the high-quality, usable pieces in mind. As an interior designer, I looked at everything with a keen and judicious eye.

BEFORE: The Dining Room
AFTER: The Dining Room
 We cleared out what was not needed and, at the same time, we kept and respected what was good. The key? Using these elements wisely and creatively so they made the three areas appropriately serene and elegant.

BEFORE: The Living Room
AFTER: The Living Room
All 11 pieces of the beautiful mid-century furniture were fully restored and re-upholstered to their original beauty. The walls were painted and given a new luster, using a palette of creams, teal and greens that further enhanced the new sophisticated look.  New flooring, carpet and tile were installed throughout the three living spaces as well and delivered a sense of fresh beauty and energy to the home. I introduced modern lighting, too, to update the space and illuminate the newly arranged accessories the client has owned for years.

Likewise, the living and dining rooms were cleared of their unorderly state. Again, we salvaged the teak furniture and the piano and had them re-upholstered and refinished. I also repositioned the artwork and fashioned new draperies and shades for the living room to complete its much-need transformation.
The dressmaker's detailed drapery treatment added elegance.
Overall, 50 years of clutter were thankfully removed, reused, restyled and restored! To the client’s delight, I was able to usher in a new era of upscale yet easy glamour. Now the rooms have a new life and my client has as well!

Are you ready for a new beginning? How can I help you?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How To Give Your Fireplace a Facelift

We all have that one thing (maybe more than one) that needs updating in our homes don't we? When it's as important a "thing" as the focal point in the main room, as is the fireplace, then we need to stop and really look at it in a creative yet practical way. Here's a follower of my blog that wrote me with her problem fireplace. Read my solutions and maybe you'll look at your fireplace differently now.
HOW DO I….…..update the look of the red brick fireplace in my living room? We just don’t know what to do with it. It’s dirty, rutty, and looks horrible even after I’ve cleaned it! We are updating the rest of the room and our budget won’t allow for much, so what would you suggest as an easy update for it.

DO THIS…….Give it a facelift with paint; it is the first line of defense to updating an old red fireplace that has seen its better days.  Removing and replacing means remodeling and that can hit the pocket book pretty hard, so think along the lines of blending it into the rest of the room’s décor. 
Here are two examples of red brick fireplace facelifts:

The first is a split screen of the before and after on the right.  By simply white washing the brick and the grout in a couple of colors that blend with the walls it suddenly looks clean and new. And adding a nice formal mantel that can be purchased “ready- made” at your local building supply store, will give it a new updated look. Take a look at they have many styles made of MDF and real wood that will suit anyone’s taste.
The second photo is an old red brick fireplace that is painted from floor to ceiling in the same white paint that was used to paint the rest of the trim in the room. In this case it was Benjamin Moore’s, Atrium White, in a Pearl sheen. The Pearl sheen gave it a luster that reflects light and adds just a little drama and adds a little depth to an otherwise flat elevation. No mantle needed or desired here, the beautiful color and sheen was all it took!

Another option, had you been able to clean it, would have been to simply leave it red and update the mantle or add a new modern ledge to it. I’ve seen where some have even sheet rocked over the bricks, above the mantel, creating more wall and reducing its size. All these options are easily doable when you are willing to add some TLC! 

There are countless other ways to "re-style" the dated Fireplace....and a "Design Consultation" for a facelift to yours would be worth the investment to discuss what would be best for you and your family.

Schedual your appointment today for a beautiful Fireplace tomorrow.
925.862.9064 or email