“Tips Of The Trade” From North Carolina Design Experts

Posted on | November 1, 2016 | No Comments

Once again, several of our design professionals weigh in, sharing some great tips for the home. With years of experience creating living spaces that speak to who their clients are and how they live, these experts from North Carolina Design are definitely qualified to offer insightful “Tips Of The Trade” on a variety of subjects.

Quartz countertops are a trend that continues to rise in popularity. Its durability and the variety of color and pattern options makes this product rival other natural stones. It is more forgiving than concrete and granite and will not chip or crack as easily. Quartz is non- porous, therefore it will not harbor bacteria and resists staining more than other stone or concrete. It’s much easier to clean and maintain this product. Some quartz patterns mimic Carrara marble, which is especially popular with our clients, because it is less expensive than the marble, and has better cleanability and easier maintenance.

Homeowners are always looking for products that enhance the style of their kitchen without sacrificing practicality. Cleanability is a major concern to clients when selecting textiles for their kitchen. Products such as upholstered bar stools, and banquettes as well as rugs can really add softness and pattern to an otherwise hard kitchen. Performance fabrics have greatly enhanced the market of fabrics we use in kitchens – a place where stains and spills are probable. You will find that the fabric provides a must have contrast to your kitchen, whether in the bar stools, banquettes or underfoot!

June DeLugas
June DeLugas Interiors
Winston–Salem, NC


When it comes to trends in color…there isn’t  a color in the rainbow we haven’t seen or used. I advise homeowners not to succumb to color trends on hard to replace surfaces, like tile, countertops, floor coverings, and major fabrics. In deciding on a color direction with a client – if they haven’t already said, “I love any color, as long as it’s blue” – I begin by finding out how they might want a room, the house, to feel. From there we discuss color.

The complexities of light and shadow are left to me to investigate, after the client has expressed the color (or no color) passion. Pure white on walls situated on the north side of the house often look grey, while white in a glass-enclosed area surrounded by forest may look green. Selecting colors will be made easier if you begin with a focus, perhaps a painting, a Persian carpet, something you want to feature – maybe Grandmother’s china.

If you’re starting from scratch, consider the following: What colors are you told look best on you?  Are you a “glass half full” person or a “glass half empty”? While the “half-fulls” don’t need the warmth, they may like extending their sunny sides with warm whites or yellow-based walls. A “half empty” should be guided away from selecting grey preferences. Instead, certain blues, can work very well.

Minta Bell
Minta Bell Design Group
Durham, NC


As you begin the process of designing and building a new home, the first thing you need to do is honestly think about your lifestyle and daily routines in your existing home. Ask yourselves, what works for you in your current house and what  doesn’t? Browse through websites like North Carolina Design, Houzz and Pinterest to gather pictures of exterior elevations and interior pictures of kitchens, master bedrooms and baths so that you can show your residential designer your style.

Don’t try to piece together your dream home by searching for hours through stock plans online. It’s a frustrating and exhausting  process that doesn’t yield the desired results. When you meet with your residential designer, it is their job to take your desires and wishes, put them all together as creative plans for an inspiring custom home that speaks to who you are and how you live. As a residential designer, I find that it’s still one of the best compliments I get from a custom client when they say at the design meeting, “I absolutely love it and I can see myself living in this house for the rest of my life.”

Todd Crowe
Crow Design & Associates
Charlotte, NC


Often, the kitchen that you want can come from the kitchen that you have. Painting cabinets can create a room worth falling in love with again at a very reasonable cost. You think it’s easy… just buy some paint to do it yourself or maybe hire a professional painter. Kitchen cabinet refinishing is an entirely different process than regular painting, and your average professional painter has just enough confidence to make a real mess of it. To refresh your kitchen the way you want it to look requires a special kind of professional – a cabinet refinisher.

Painting requires 3-4 steps while refinishing typically requires 6-8 steps. A cabinet refinisher knows the essential processes to follow and the necessary material selections to create a look that is durable and lasting. Beyond proper preparation and application methods, a professional cabinet refinisher has an artistic eye needed for color matching, or accenting. In the picture above, an accent glaze that requires a bit of finesse was added to the cabinetry – which a qualified cabinet professional will have.

Nathan Wainscott
Inspire By Color
Greensboro, NC

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