“Tips Of The Trade” From North Carolina Design Professionals

Posted on | August 30, 2016 | No Comments

From interior designers to kitchen designers and landscape architects – once again, several of our North Carolina Design professionals share some great tips with our readers for all areas of the home. With years of experience creating living spaces that speak to who their clients are and how they live, these design experts are definitely qualified to offer insightful “Tips Of The Trade” on a variety of subjects.

The decision to renovate your existing home or break ground on a new one is certainly an exciting one. Whether the project is a remodel or starting with a clean slate, the value of doing research well in advance and developing a plan is the key to the success of the project. Fortunately, doing the homework has never been easier thanks to the internet and other available resources. Creating folders of home styles and materials selections that you like – as well as those you don’t like – will aid the team of professionals working with you.

Whether you do it old school or new school – have a notebook (paper bound or iPad) in which you keep notes and deadlines on a calendar. Make a directory of names and contact information that you will be needing throughout the project. A master plan can be the key to the success and time line of your project.

Anita Holland
Anita Holland Interiors
Charlotte NC


In the realm of kitchen design, things that are trending right now include soft, ethereal colors (grays, light taupes and, soft whites) as well as cabinet intelligence! Really think about how you’re going to use your cabinetry for storage now and down the road. Today, we frequently recommend deep drawers with pegs for plate storage, which eliminates having to place heavy plates above counters in upper cabinets. As we prepare to age in our homes, these things become more important.

The lighting plan of the kitchen is integral to the design, but too often it is an afterthought for homeowners. It is critical in creating warmth and interest, and in my opinion, this is the most undervalued design element. It’s important to have not only pendant lighting over an island (task lighting) but also recessed lighting in the ceiling. Under cabinet lighting and in–cabinet lights (when you have glass doors) also work to add to your kitchen’s well thought out feeling.

Kendra Tardif White
Pheasant Hill Designs
Charlotte, NC


Your goal as a homeowner, outdoors, is to select the right plant for the right place. So often, this does not happen. Here’s the scenario: In the spring you go online or to the garden center, talk to the clerk and buy the plants that will look best immediately. You then forget about them and they start to grow. Three years later, you are pruning them a little. Then 3 – 6 years later, you are pruning them a lot. At 6 years, you have the shears out, and your landscape now looks like geometric forms or pyramids!

The “right plant for the right place” requires a plan and patience. Too often, people plant for immediate gratification, without giving thought to proper plant selection and how it will look in a few year’s time. Understand your site – the solar orientation, the characteristics of your soil, the rainfall and climate. Study the characteristics of your chosen plants, placing them where they will not be too large when mature and not shading out other sun loving plants. You should also study the maintenance requirements of your planned plantings – not all have the same water requirements.

Dan Sears
Sears Design Group
Raleigh, NC


When setting up your home, remember that a home tells a story and every member of the family is a part of that story – from pets to kids to husband. When planning your home, be sure to consider all the characters and plan accordingly. Choose items that speak well to all family members – knowing for example that a white sofa does not work for a house with dogs and kids, but a soft gray in an indoor outdoor fabric, with a navy welt, will make a beautiful look. Enjoy the time you spend together as a family!

Laura Redd
Laura Redd Interiors
Greensboro, NC


Great lighting can make a humble room look gorgeous, and bad lighting can make a spectacular one look ho–hum. Consider changing out those old recessed can lights with the new LED bulbs that include a fresh, white trim kit. These make a huge difference in light quality, energy usage and appearance. It’s usually a DIY project and generally the 65 watt bulbs are plenty bright. Install dimmers while you’re at it.

Sprinkle light fixtures throughout the room. You should have at least 3 light sources in each room. For example, a floor lamp, a table lamp and a small accent lamp (or a piano lamp, etc.). Three way switches are your best friends. Consider a high gloss finish when painting your trim and door moldings. The effect is not overly shiny and gives a gorgeous glow when natural light hits it, especially in low lit areas.

Anne DeCocco
DeCocco Design
Raleigh, NC

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