interiors

Seven Tips for Designing on a Budget by Kevin Twitty

It's no secret, if you want that high-end designer look for your home you will pay for it. Truth be told, we do not all have the budget to start from scratch and do everything brand new with the nicest the design world has to offer right now. Even my highest end of clients have rooms in their home they do not want to break the bank on. So, how do you design on a budget? Well, here are my tips that will help budget conscious connoisseurs design on a dime (or two). 

1. Become a "bargainista"

This may be the best advise for anyone who is wanting to save money. Nearly every store has their "scratch and dent" area. Many times the things may not even be damaged, rather discontinued or returned because someone else didn't love it as much as you will. If you are working with a designer, ask them if any of the manufactures they are sourcing from has discontinued and discounted products. 

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2. Mix in Ikea and other budget friendly stores

Ikea has this reputation of "disposable furniture," which is not entirely incorrect, however, their product serves a purpose! Doing an entire home is not going to give you that designer feel, however, mixing in a piece here or their is a great way to save a few dollars while still looking great. My suggestion is to use some of their pictures frames, vases, indoor plants (click here to see how to keep them alive), and even a side table or dresser for a guest bedroom. I even have some Ikea pieces throughout my own home and it doesn't feel cheap because I have mixed it in with other quality designer selections.

Ikea Desk and Chair in a girls bedroom.

Ikea Desk and Chair in a girls bedroom.

These Ikea dining chairs are stunning in the high end home design.

These Ikea dining chairs are stunning in the high end home design.

3. Pop in pillows that show your personality

Ask my clients, I am addicted to fun pillows! While some pillows are jaw droppingly gorgeous and will set you back $500 a piece, for my bargainistas out there, we like a pillow that is $40-$80. By adding in a pillow that shows your personality, you can create the story you want your home to tell guests when they come over. Here are some of my favorite pillows under $80

Stylish pillows Under $80

Stylish pillows Under $80

4. Create your own art

The cardinal sin in my designer book is ignoring your walls. They need just as much, if not more, love then the rest of your house. It is THE way to make a house feel like a completed home. Wall art can be very costly to your design budget, so I say, create your own! You may be thinking, "Kevin, I'm no artist," to which I reply, "hogwash." You do not have to be an artist to create art for your home. If you are scared to take on painting a canvas my suggestion is to take photos from your travels or take photos around your city, and have them developed (yes, that is still a thing). Grab some great, inexpensive picture frames from Target or Ikea, and create a collage. This is such a cost effective way to make a statement and give your walls some love! (click here for how to create a college properly) 

Created a series of art in a home office from my client's travel photos.

Created a series of art in a home office from my client's travel photos.

5. Flea market finds

Confession: I am addicted to the show Flea Market Flip and while you and I may not have an expert team of carpenters willing to give me their services for free, I feel like it has highlighted how upcycling is a great way to not break the bank. An added bonus is you get to bring new life to something that may have been discarded and forgotten. Of course a few things you find may need a little TLC, this is well worth it to have the satisfaction of having a unique piece for your interior design. (click here for more upcycling tips)

Summer Flea Market. Can't wait to see what goodies I can find!

Summer Flea Market. Can't wait to see what goodies I can find!

Fabric scraps can be used to sew fun throw pillows or even as edging on drapes.

Fabric scraps can be used to sew fun throw pillows or even as edging on drapes.

Old Japanese wooden figured could make fantastic bookshelf accessories.

Old Japanese wooden figured could make fantastic bookshelf accessories.

6. Give a new life to things you already have

Similar to a lot of upcycling principals but you already own it! Sometimes you may have things in your house that are underutilized because you stick them in the wrong spot, or even ry to hide them because you don't think they can fit into the designer style you are trying to accomplish. I say to you, think outside of the box! One way I have had friends and clients update something they already had was with a DIY paint party! It's the quickest and easiest way to bring new life into something you already have!

Turning old furniture into something new

Turning old furniture into something new

Before and after furniture transformation

Before and after furniture transformation

7. Declutter 

Sounds easy enough right? Well then, just do it, declutter. The moment you organize your home's interior is the moment you uncover the beauty right in front of you. It will allow you and your guests to see the style you have created. 

Before: cluttered & no focus

Before: cluttered & no focus

After: organized and stunning

After: organized and stunning

 

 

 

New Kelly Wearstler from Lee Jofa Groundworks by Kevin Twitty

Everyone, stop what you are doing and get excited about the new collection of Kelly Wearstler fabrics, leathers, trims, and wallpapers from Lee Jofa Groundworks you will be glad you did!! 

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I have been a huge fan of Wearstler for many years now because of her fearless approach to interior design. She is not afraid to think way outside of the box to create some of the most one-of-a-kind designs I have ever seen. Her style dances on the fringes of what the typical everyday client is comfortable with, but that is what makes her so incredible. I often take bits of inspiration from the tenacity of her designs to challenge my own clients to step outside of their comfort zones and challenge their preconceived notions of what design is. Because of her bold and daring designs, I cannot explain to you my excitement for this new collection. Sit back and enjoy the visual beauty! 

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What I am swooning over is the unique color ways in this collection. This red and teal number has set the bar for the future of color trends. Another fantastic feature of her new collection is the breath of products in a lot of patterns. 

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Tapes and trims are back in style! The best thing about them is how they can add a graphic visual depth to any piece in your home. Kelly's trims have that deconstructed look from familiar patterns. My absolute favorite is the nod to a greek key pattern and the delightful dot tape. 

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An up close look at her wallpapers show how fantastic the aesthetic is. Most of the wallpapers in her new collection are wither on a metallic, paper or printed on fine silk. It is some of the most opulent high quality wallpaper on the market today. 

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The Ooh La La moment for me is with her new leather hides. They feature a laser cut design with a fantastic depth of color. They have a real classic yet modern flavor to them. It's the perfectly refined look for today's design. 

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If bold colors are not your style, their is even fantastic neutrals round off Wearstler's fourth collection with Groundworks. There is for sure something for everyone! If you want to see the new collection with your own eyes, head over to the Kravet | Lee Jofa | Groundworks showroom in Portland, Oregon. It is fabulous.

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Learn to hand render like the pros! by Kevin Twitty

Have you ever seen a hand rendered design and thought, "WOW, how do they do that?" or, "I'll never be able to hand render like that." I am an interior designer and I also have those same thoughts. In college I had to learn the skills of hand rendering, however, with such a fast paced world, it was one of the skills I let slip. 

I recently reconnected with a friend from university, Shannin Williams, and she absolutely  amazed me. Shannin has fine tuned her hand rendering skills since our time as Lumberjacks at SFA in Nacogdoches, TX.  "My goal is to help you learn the basic techniques of hand rendering and sketching and apply those to your client presentation boards in a creative way so you can sell your design proposal." Shannin says. I love how she inspired me to get back to the basics by putting pen to paper and immerse myself into my designs on another level. Here are some of the tips she gave me for sharpening my hand rendering skills that will help you too.

Sannin Williams hand rendering interior design

Tip 1 - Use good quality paper.

Using good quality paper can change the way the final rendering can look. I’ve used several types of marker paper and I discovered the ones I like the most. If I want my hand rendering to have a softer look I use Bienfang Lightweight drawing paper. This paper allows the marker to bleed perfectly for me. If I want a sharper look with defined strokes and marks and no bleeding I use x-press it blending card. Others I use are Canson pro layout marker paper, and Borden& Riley #234 bleedproof paper. I suggest trying a variety of papers until you find the one you like and achieve the look your aiming for. See more of my favorite tools in the link here

Canson marker pro rendering

Tip 2- Use a straight edge when you hand render or draw. 

I always use a triangle that has an inking edge when I draft floor plans or hand render. The purpose is to keep your marker lines straight. I like seeing crisp, straight lines in my illustrations. A crooked line makes me nuts which is why I own several adjustable triangles in different sizes. My favorite is the Staedtler Mars 8” adjustable triangle. I even keep a smaller one in my purse when I travel along with a sketchbook, pen, and pencil. 

Sketches of architectural and design rendering tools

Tip 3 - Use good quality markers. 

I use Copic Sketch markers due to the 380 + colors they offer. I also like Copic Sketch markers because you can refill them and change the tips when they get bad. Buying a $6 marker seems outrageous but I look at it as an investment since I have the ability to refill them when needed. That beats buying a whole new marker like you would with other brands. If you want to start with a set of markers I recommend purchasing any of the Copic Sketch cool, toner, neutral, and warm gray markers first. You can achieve a lot of colors with a range of grays. And don’t be afraid to layer and mix your marker colors to create a new color. 

Markers and Ink rendering

 

Tip 4 - Define your own style of hand rendering. 

There are several architectural illustrators out there that have different hand rendering techniques. I have learned from them all and developed my own rendering style that portrays the look I want to achieve. My style includes a loose and quick mark that is not perfect allowing my final hand rendering to be natural and not forced. It took me months of practice to achieve the style I wanted and I recommend you doing the same. Your style of hand rendering needs to stand out amongst others to get gain attention. 

Hand rendered interior design. Tropical boho style design.
Hand rendered entry design by Shannin Williams
Hand rendering interior architecture and design

To see more of my work visit my website at www.shanninwilliams.com or follow me on instagram @shannin_williams. If you want to practice hand rendering jump on my website and sign up for my mailing list and download your free line drawing or you can see try out my hand rendering course here.

Shannin Williams Interior Designer

TREND ALERT: Is open shelving in a kitchen design in or out? by Kevin Twitty

Design is so fluid and everyone has an opinion about what is in and what is out, including myself. For me, I feel like it is very important to read design magazines and watch home design and renovations shows to keep up to date on what my clients are seeing because this is what they being told they need to do in their own homes. 

One of the trends I have been seeing a lot of lately on the renovation shows is doing open shelving for all of the uppers in a kitchen. Is this a good idea? 

Even though this is a cute curated open shelving kitchen, is it practical or just pretty?

Even though this is a cute curated open shelving kitchen, is it practical or just pretty?

My opinion is NO, DON'T DO IT! I honestly feel like this is the worst recent trend, and I would advise my client's against it. 

I feel like the open concept shelving with the perfectly aligned cups and bowls next to fresh potted greenery on top of a curated stack of cookbooks looks fabulous on TV and magazine photos, but it is not practical nor is it realistic for everyday use. I don't know about you, but I value every square inch of my cabinet space and am very glad I can hide as much away as I can.  Another thing to remember with open shelving...more dusting (my least favorite thing to do) and they tend to get cluttered looking very quickly. 

Cluttered open concept kitchen.

Cluttered open concept kitchen.

Can you imagine dusting all of this?

Can you imagine dusting all of this?

Charming or chaotic?

Charming or chaotic?

So why are so many design and remodel shows pushing this trend? Easy, it's cheaper than traditional closed cabinetry and when you are in the business of buying fixer uppers for cheap, remodeling, and selling for a profit, it is simple to see why flippers are doing this to save costs. 

I will say I am not 100% against any open shelves in the cooking area. I think open shelving can be done properly in small doses to create a nice design aesthetic. Here are some great examples of how they have been used in a tasteful way that makes sense. 

The open shelving around the kitchen sink works great in this design. Because the sink is in the corner of the kitchen, the open shelves allow for a less boxed in feel.

The open shelving around the kitchen sink works great in this design. Because the sink is in the corner of the kitchen, the open shelves allow for a less boxed in feel.

This design has used open shelving at the end of the kitchen to leave the space feeling open without sacrificing a lot cabinet space. I like the blend of closed and open shelving here.

This design has used open shelving at the end of the kitchen to leave the space feeling open without sacrificing a lot cabinet space. I like the blend of closed and open shelving here.

The coffee bar/butler's pantry is a prefect place to have open shelving. It is one area that makes absolute sense for this type of design impact.

The coffee bar/butler's pantry is a prefect place to have open shelving. It is one area that makes absolute sense for this type of design impact.

Remember, this is just my personal opinion. If you are gung-ho about putting up a wall of open shelving around your kitchen, by all means, go for it, because the most important thing to remember when designing is you have to be comfortable and happy in your home. 

The ultimate open kitchen! :-)

The ultimate open kitchen! :-)

Head over Heels for Hide Rug! by Kevin Twitty

Animals play a huge role in interiors spaces. For hundreds of years, hides have been used inside the home from trophies on the wall to hides on chairs. They are perfect for adding natural texture, pattern, and a feisty spice to a room. My favorite way hides have been modernized for today's designs is in the rugs. Here is how you can utilize hide rugs in an updated way!

Metallic Hides

This metallic rug does wonders by reflecting the light flooding in from the windows. I love the dimension.

This metallic rug does wonders by reflecting the light flooding in from the windows. I love the dimension.

Elevation of style is what this metallic hide rug does in this luxurious closet design.

Elevation of style is what this metallic hide rug does in this luxurious closet design.

Patched Together

A client's upstairs landing featuring an all neutral patched together hide rug.

A client's upstairs landing featuring an all neutral patched together hide rug.

Linear designed patched hide rug. Very structured look.

Linear designed patched hide rug. Very structured look.

Dipped in Color

Hides can even work outside... I mean, hows do live outside :-)

Hides can even work outside... I mean, hows do live outside :-)

Light pink dyed hide rug in a kids room. Super durable!

Light pink dyed hide rug in a kids room. Super durable!

Patched Natural and Dipped in Color Blend

Design possibilities are endless with colorfully dyed and patched hides.

Design possibilities are endless with colorfully dyed and patched hides.

How fantastic are these natural colored hide rugs with navy dyed pieces patched in featuring updated designs!

How fantastic are these natural colored hide rugs with navy dyed pieces patched in featuring updated designs!

Animal Print 

How hide rug printed like a zebra.

How hide rug printed like a zebra.

Run free tiger cow...run free.

Run free tiger cow...run free.

Banded

Just a touch of animal in a room can be understated with a simple banding around a sisal rug.

Just a touch of animal in a room can be understated with a simple banding around a sisal rug.

Even more understated hide banded sisal rug because it is tone-on-tone.

Even more understated hide banded sisal rug because it is tone-on-tone.

Walkthrough of a Glamorous Mid Century High-rise by Kevin Twitty

There is a real resurgence of downtown living. People are wanting the ease of walking out of their front door and having everything at their fingertips, which is one of the reason why we moved to Portland, Oregon. To celebrate this shift in lifestyle preferences, I wanted to revisit a project of mine from a few years back.

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Using a Mood Board for an Office Makeover by Kevin Twitty

In the designs I create, my goal is to always bring to life a feeling that reflects the client's personal style. To help me convey this feeling to clients, I make mood boards. I have found it to be the easiest way to visually show my clients how everything in the design is going to talk to one another.

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Potty Mouth by Kevin Twitty

As I was enjoying coffee with a client of mine, we both started laughing about the realization that we talk about toilets entirely too much! Since branching out on my own, the number of remodels and new builds  I have been working on has skyrocketed and with that comes a lot of decisions on the perfect throne for their bathrooms. 

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Color Crush: Shades of Pink by Kevin Twitty

Pink is in the house! I haven't seen an interior color trend take over so quickly since shades of grey and I have to admit, I am on board! Shades of pink even made me Top 5 things I just can't get enough of for Spring. Here are some of my favorite examples of pink being used in todays interiors.

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