Interior Design By Mail Order – Does It Really Work

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Anyone who is used to the traditional approach to interior design may immediately question such a proposition but the idea has real attractions and merits. Just how can a traditional interior designer become a product sold at a distance by mail order or over the internet?

Traditional Interior Design

Interior design is one of the visual and tactile arts. Its practitioners work with fabric, wood, glass, metal and colour and the finished product always needs to be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated. Photographs rarely do justice to real room settings, which is why many photographs of rooms are in fact staged settings in a photo studio.

Despite this, interior designers usually work in a logical and progressive way, starting with two key points:

  • The room as it currently is. In particular those aspects which cannot change, such as the direction of sunlight or position of a chimney.
  • The aspirations and goals of the client, including personal taste, budget and the desire to retain certain items or themes from the existing environment.
  • Traditionally, it may seem that an interior designer somehow effortlessly absorbs the key points. However in reality they are merely building up a clear mental picture, supported by notes, photos, sketches and measurements.

    Interior Design at a Distance

    Just how can a designer build up a picture of a room without actually visiting it? Well, it is entirely practical for much of the first stage of the interior design process to be treated as a structured process. This applies to capturing all the factual information about the existing room which can be recorded on a survey form or questionnaire.

    In fact a survey form or questionnaire is a great tool for capturing the client’s personal tastes, preferences and lifestyle aspirations. Often partners living together have differing requirements, goals and tastes, but one may be more assertive. If both use identical survey questionnaires and then compare their thoughts it will help enormously in reaching a suitable compromise less a lot of argument or suppressed anger.

    Even if two partners use this approach to interior design and do agree a compromise, both sets of information would be analysed by the interior designer so that the resultant design proposal will be attractive to both parties, rather than a neutral watered-down design.

    How does it work

    The more information the client provides about their room and tastes the better the final design will be. It helps considerably if the client can provide swatches or samples of fabric (e.g. from a three piece suite or carpet) that are already in use or planned.

    Similarly the interior designer will appreciate it if the client collects magazine clippings that illustrate styles that they particularly like and dislike. These can be submitted with the survey or questionnaire.

    Once the questionnaire is complete the client usually packs this up with material samples, magazine clippings, room photographs and sketch floor plans. The whole pack is sent to the interior designer.

    Based on the information received the designer starts work putting together a personal plan for the client. Often the designer will phone the client to make sure they understand the requirements or clarify some detail. Also once the designer starts to formulate a design they will run it past the client to test whether the solution is a good match to the requirement.

    Finally the designer will formulate a detailed plan which will be sent to the client by post. This may include some or all of the following:

  • Mood board with samples of proposed fabric, carpet, paint, wood-work etc.
  • Computer aided design of the room
  • Inventory of materials required; description, quantity, source and price.
  • Once the client receives their room design by post hopefully it will meet all their requirements, but there is always room for refinement with the designer. The client then has several options:

  • They can implement the design themselves. Perhaps they are confident at decorating and “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) but lack confidence in the design process? The client would then source the materials and any help from contractors locally.
  • Alternatively they may be able to order some or all of the recommended materials from the interior designer. Everything from a tin of paint, through finished curtains, right up to items of furniture could be delivered to the client’s door!
  • A third possibility would be to revert back to a more traditional interior design model. If the client really liked the design that arrived by post they could still call in the designer to manage the implementation on site, assuming the travelling distance was still practical!
  • Why do interior design at a distance?

    Mail-order design is ideal for clients who are leading busy lives. Perhaps the client wants to re-style their home but they spend most of their time away on international business. In the normal course of business it can be very difficult for the client and the designer to synchronise appointments on site. Working by post, e-mail and phone can actually speed up the process considerably.

    Other clients are somewhat shy or embarrassed at having an interior designer in their home. Perhaps they feel the designer will criticise their existing home or their taste. Interior design at a distance can be a good solution and it certainly can break down barriers.

    It may come as a surprise, but mail order interior design can be a very cost effective way of getting a unique personal interior design for your home.

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    Source by Bronia Suszczenia

    Flags For Home and Garden Decor

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    Have you ever wanted to add creative elegance to your porch, garden, deck or wall? Decorative flags may be just the right ingredient for that special finishing touch. A friend of mine has a home with a tall wooden fence next to the garden path. She hung large rainbow flags from the top of the fence. The result was absolutely stunning. The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating with flags. Today designers have created flags that are beautiful works of art. There are colors, themes and sizes that will enhance any area of your home. For those of you who have an entry porch that would benefit from an uplifting splash of color a flag may be just the ticket for you. If you have a wall that is boring, then consider hanging a banner to cheer it up. It is easy to be creative when decorating with flags. Whether you choose to be flashy or understated you will find the flag fits the bill.

    Flags are available in themes for the country home, the traditional home, the contemporary home, the desert home, the log home and the sea side cottage. There are even gorgeous flags that render a touch of Asian inspiration. I personally love the Native American designs that are bright and bold. For those of you who love animals, it is really a banquet of delight. You will be amazed at the fantastic designs that feature cats, dogs, horses, cows, rooster, penguins, polar bears, moose, wolves, geese, sheep, pigs and even flamingos. If you live near the ocean, you might be interested in a lighthouse flag, a boat flag or a flag that paints a picture of marine life. I know of a couple who even flew flamingo flags from the bow of their boat. So whether you are decorating a home, an office, a garden or a barn there is a flag that will meet your needs.

    Are you planning a party? Consider a flag to welcome your guests. You will be happy to know that flags are available for graduations, birthdays, retirements, weddings and every holiday that we celebrate throughout the year. Flags will add a touch of cheer to any celebration.

    You will find flags to enhance every season of the year. Harvest moons, snow capped mountains, spring and sunny beaches are all common flag themes. Fall, winter, spring and summer have not been left out of the equation. Dancing leaves, daffodils, bluebirds, budding iris and colorful ladybugs are just a few of the treasures to be discovered. The possibilities and choices offer a wonderland of decorating ideas for both the home and garden.

    So go ahead and express yourself, be creative and have fun with flags.

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    Source by Jan Hazelton

    Unique Bachelorette Party Venue Ideas in Cape Town

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    A bachelorette party is the bride-to-be’s final night out as a single lady and everyone wants it to be special and unique. Whether you are the bridesmaid or the bride, you want to make the night one to remember for a long time to come, and want to make it something one of a kind.

    Organizing an event for a dozen or so girls, many of whom will be used to nights on the town, is no easy undertaking, some girls may not drink while some may love to party, so it is important to choose something that everyone can enjoy.

    A night out is dressed in style and luxury with a private limousine company such as Limousine Extreme, is a great chance for the girls to get to know each other in style. The bridal party will be transported between the venues in sleek and sassy style, with complimentary chocolates and on-board bar facilities.

    If you are not looking for the nightclub scene, or want to add something special to the evening, consider a luxury cruise on a motorised catamaran, sailing catamaran, schooner or sports cruiser along the Atlantic or Indian Oceans in Cape Town.

    Cruise companies such as Atlantic Cruises offer the ideal venue for Luxury Dinner Cruises where the girls can enjoys 3 hours at sea with a luxury 3 course meal or and Atlantic sunset cruise. All the necessary extras can be arranged to cater for your needs including Live Bands, DJs, photographers and videographers as well as personalised décor throughout the boat.

    There are a number of companies such as Triple Threat Wedding Agents, who offer a unique venue and unique spicy Dancing Workshops for bachelorette parties. You can choose from Pole dancing, Lap dancing and Belly Dancing workshops as well as pamper parties. The Bride to be gets the opportunity to have some fun with the girls while learning a Honeymoon dance, while the others partake in the workshop.

    Alternatively the girls can enjoy a manicure, pedicure, massage, Make-up and hair at a pamper party. The venue is equipped with a DJ to make the night a party and is located in the City Centre, close to Long Street where the party can continue afterwards.

    For the more sedate bachelorette, a pamper day is the ideal choice. Many spas in Cape Town provide tailored day packages, some of them offering a single treatment for each guest and a full package for the bride with champagne and lunch if the spa offers such facilities. Spas such as The Hydro and Romney Park offer customised packages to meet all the needs of a relaxed and special bachelorette party in Cape Town.

    For something a bit different but very meaningful, arrange to hire out a local ceramics studio such as Clay Café in the beautiful valley of Hout Bay or Pot Liz Ceramics in Cape Town and together create an entire range of personally designed cups or plates, created especially for the new bride by her close friends and family.

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    Source by Jonathan B Matthews

    Yo Gabba Gabba Party Ideas For the Best Kids Birthday Party Ever

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    Yo Gabba Gabba party ideas make planning a great kids birthday party easy. You can decorate your home using bright colors, so think orange, pink, yellow and blue balloons, streamers and tablecloths. The Yo Gabba Gabby party supplies range will provide you with the party bags, paper plates and even fun party favors to send home with your guests.

    Confetti plays a big part in the show and can be used when you are playing games. Give the kids a packet when they arrive and let them throw it around as and when they want. Music also plays a big part in this party theme. Let the kids Dancey Dance the party away with some tunes from the Yo Gabba CD.

    The beauty of the Yo Gabba Gabba party is that you can choose one of any number of characters and plan the party theme around them. For example if Brobee is your child’s favorite, your party would have plenty of trees. It is very easy to make sandwiches and fairy cakes look like trees with a little imagination, cookie cutters and some food coloring. If Muno is the favorite, then you need to dig out purple, hot pink and black mountains. You can do this by using beanbags. Use plenty of flowers if Foofa is the one your child loves and use white mountains if it is Toodee.

    If you have a variety of old dress up clothes you could have the kids make up their own versions of the Yo Gabba Gabba characters and get them to put on a play or a puppet show. Have some more of that Yo Gabba Gabba music DVD or CD at hand to help.

    Continue the theme in the party food matching the colors you use for the different characters. You can make rainbow trays using fruit and vegetables in a variety of colors. Jello always goes down well as does brightly colored candy like M&Ms or Skittles. You can create realistic looking grass by dying shredded coconut green. You can use the fairy lights from your Christmas tree to decorate the table.

    For the Birthday cake, I would suggest that you go with your child’s favorite character and decorate it with that in mind. The Yo Gabba Gabba party supplies include a cake topper and some cupcake toppers that will provide you with the props you need to decorate your own homemade birthday cake. Don’t feel like baking? So buy a cake from your local bakery and let them decorate it. Either birthday cake will taste and look great. The kids will love it!

    A Yo Gabba Gabba party needs lots of fun kids games. For starters you can play Three Legged Aliens, a little variation of the old classic three legged race. Simply divide the children into pairs, and tie one set of ankles together. Whoever is first across the finish line wins the race. The Yo Gabba Gabba party supplies range will provide plenty of ideas for prizes for these games as well as small gifts for the guests to take home when the time comes. There are so many Yo Gabba Gabba party ideas to choose from you will want to host this kids birthday party theme every year!

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    Source by Jillian Gallo

    How to Decorate Sunrooms and Porches

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    Attached outdoor spaces that provide total or partial shelter should be considered an extension of the home’s interior design. In most cases these areas embrace an entrance or serve to join two interior areas-a breezeway, for example. Traffic patterns figure importantly in overall furniture arrangements, as does the selection of furniture, durable fabrics, and other elements.

    Document your ideas. Keep a folder full of your inspirations and any ideas you may have. Photograph the area you want to decorate from both inside the house and facing toward it from the outside. Keep clippings of similar spaces and furnishings, shades, and lighting that you like from magazines and product brochures; collect paint color chips and samples of fabric and flooring, too. Don’t forget plantings, including window boxes and potted plants, and anything else influencing the design. Consider all the seasons the space is used. Will you want to add curtains to a sunroom for insulation come winter so that you can continue to use it longer into the cold weather? Will blinds or curtains add to a porch’s comfort by blocking spring and fall winds?

    Make a floor plan. Add special features unique to your space, such as notations indicating good and bad views. You will want to arrange furniture to take advantage of a good view or to face away from an ugly one.

    Indicate the sun’s exposure throughout the day, and note whether it should influence furniture placement. For example, you may need shades for the southern side of a porch, or you may want to group furniture to face fabulous sunsets in the west.

    Make furniture templates. Make templates of the furniture you plan to use, as well as of other elements, that require clearance space, such as planters, window boxes, or blinds. Group them on the floor plan; try different configurations to see which is best.

    Factor in traffic patterns. Indicate pathways to and from the house. Take into account the swing of each door because you cannot place furniture in those spaces. For sliding glass doors, indicate which side is the entrance.

    Arrange furniture so that conversation areas are not interrupted by traffic to and from the house. For instance, a common problem is a porch with a central door and a stepped entrance directly opposite the door. Rather than arranging furniture in one big grouping, create smaller areas at each end of: the porch. Suggestions include a table with chairs on one side and a conversational grouping on the other. A table just outside the door can double as a buffet table. Plot any other traffic aisles, and make sure that you have not blocked passages to the cords for adjusting blinds or for watering plants.

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    Source by Kathy Burns-Millyard

    Cocktail Party Ideas For Summer Cocktail Parties

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    Summer is under way and what isn’t a better time than now to throw cocktail parties. Here are some cocktail party ideas that don’t take much time to produce and won’t break the bank!

    For starters, let’s look at the cocktail party menu. Keep it light and simple. Slice chunks of various kinds of vegetables, skewer them, place the skewers in a simple marinade of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper if desired and then grill or roast the marinated skewers.

    Want to mix it up a bit? For outdoor cocktail parties, stick the finished skewered vegetables in a bed of wheat grass and there you have a grilled vegetable garden! Or place the finished vegetables on a platter and decorate the platter with loose flowers such as Cymbidium orchids or Gerber daisies.

    I recently attended a cocktail party where the caterer created a great cocktail party menu that included Macadamia nut crusted chicken lollipops. Other menu items can include European cheeses with dates and figs, sliced toasts and crackers.

    Have some fun serving your appetizers by using a shot glass at cocktail parties. Create a conversation piece by serving either skewered shrimp with a shot glass of cocktail sauce or soups such as gazpacho or cucumber served in a shot glass. Good old-fashioned milk and cookies where the tray includes shots of cold milk with a side of mini cookies is always fun too.

    And since it is summertime, for your outdoor cocktail parties it’s always fun to include tray-passed mini-burgers (can be beef, turkey or veggie) and of course the all-time favorite mini-hot dogs.

    Other fun cocktail party ideas include creating an all white themed summer event with a white fabric gazebo. You can rent a 10′ x 10′ canopy and then use sheer fabric to swag the sides of the tent. You may need to bring in a tenting company to help with the small tent but you can buy the fabric yourself to create the swags.

    Add some color to your white cocktail parties with colored glass décor items such as vases and marbles for your buffet display as seen in the first picture. Flowers too can be fun and colorful yet simple.

    And for drinks, here are some cocktail party ideas that are refreshing and cool for the summer. One cocktail party menu idea is to make your own spa water. Just add any of the following to water and let sit for a bit:

    • Fresh raspberries or strawberries

    • Citrus such as lemons or oranges

    • Cucumbers

    • Herbs such as mint or basil

    If you prefer serving alcoholic beverages for cocktail parties, think about adding to your beverage menu sangria, mohitos or flavored martinis such as lemon, cucumber or watermelon. (For some cocktail party martini recipes, look at pages 87 and 88 in Budget Bash.)

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    Source by Andrea Wyn

    Over the Hill on a 50th Birthday – Homemade Crafts

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    The 50th birthday is often seen as a huge milestone in anyone’s life. It is so special that it actually has a name; over the hill. You are over the hill and starting the remainder of your life when you hit 50. At least that is the consensus with most people. Whether or not they want to celebrate it, it is imperative that you do something special for your friend or family member on such a monumental occasion.

    Although you can certainly buy them a card or present, nothing beats the creativity and thought that goes into handcrafting something on your own. The most memorable gifts are often in this fashion. A great idea for something homemade to celebrate the 50th birthday of a friend or family member is to make a party hat. Even if they aren’t having a party, this can still be a fun gift to spring on your friend. You can easily make one of these out of construction paper by taping the two ends together, lengthwise. Then, on the paper, write a big ’50’. Or, you could write ‘over the hill.’ Try to get them to wear it all day.

    If you still want to buy store bought gifts for them, you can still personalize it with handmade crafts. Gift tags are great because they are easy to make and very thoughtful. Colorfully write the name of your friend on the tag, as well as your name to indicate who the gift is friend. The more creative you are, the better.

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    Source by Gail Leino

    Tips To Decorate Your Party Setup With Balloons

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    You have a party coming up and you have made the effort of finding the perfect party balloons. Well, it’s one thing to find the best balloons you can and quite another to get it right with decorating to have them positively impact your party setup. The next most important point after you have bought the balloons is to come up with amazing ideas of decorating the entire party area. Here are some helpful ideas to fetch you great results with your balloons.

    Using As Centerpieces

    • Hang helium balloons on strings and short ribbons for attractive colorful centerpieces. You can then place them around rocks or inside mason jars for an amazing look.
    • The balloons can also be tied on weights and clustered with greenery, bling or flowers among other decoration around the base for an enhanced centerpiece look.
    • Use a single stalk and place an oversized balloon on top. You can then wind the stalk with ivy, ribbons, feathers and flower garlands to create an elegant attractive column.
    • Using a large balloon, add small balloon clusters in a coordinating or contrasting color to add a unique twist to the centerpiece. You will find it also amazing to insert small colored balloons into a big translucent balloon before filling with helium for a nested effect.
    • Another great tip for your party centerpiece is to insert glow sticks into balloons. Considering that glow sticks last several hours, you set this up a few hours before the party kicks off so they glow brightly all through. This can be an amazing idea for evening and night parties.

    Using As Canopies and Arches

    • Apart from using the party balloons as centerpieces, you can also design canopies and arches using the balloons. Form the shape you want using a wire or string and then cover it by attaching the inflated balloon onto the shapes for that dramatic effect.
    • Create stunning arches using two spiraling colors or work your arches using a combination of opaque and translucent balloons.
    • Allow scores of the balloons to float up the ceiling to cover it completely. You can add a more festive feel to it by adding dangling streamers, ribbons or string curlicues. You will be surprised at just how amazing the place will look.

    Using As Sculptures and Backgrounds

    • To create elegant backgrounds using your balloons, design stripe series, animal images, colorful geometric patterns and landscapes or even flowers. You can then place the balloon on the rear part of the stage, performance area for a backdrop or backdrop that is still attractive.
    • When decorating for Christmas, create unique shapes a 3D looking tree platform or fill wall spaces.
    • Another great idea is to create palm trees, giant animals and even pyramids among other formations and place them on the specific areas you wish to create a background or sculpture for.
    • Use small balloons on wire frames to form a number of shapes or words that are related to the honoree or the event.

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    Source by David John Martins

    Have a Holiday Home-Spa Party

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    Here’s a unique way to deliver your holiday gifts to your friends, family, clients, or employees – turn your Holiday Party into a Home-Spa Party! Rather than give that gift certificate for the spa visit to all the people on your list (which can really add up), bring the spa to all of them in one night. You can save a fortune, give them the gift they want, and network your entire community together as well. You can even promote yourself if you market a wellness product or offer your own services. This can be a real win-win situation.

    Here are some tips on how to have a Holiday Home-Spa Party:

    –Pick a date in December in the middle of the week and schedule it for the evening. Another good time is during the week between Christmas and New Years.

    –Start it at 5 or 6 PM as the work day is just finishing

    –Have light healthy snacks, but plenty of them. Have one dish that is carb rich for the real hungry. This gives your group the option to eat light or make it their dinner.

    –Hire your favorite massage therapist, foot reflexologist, energy healer, astrologer, and personal coach. Choose one or two of these vendors – or have all of them.

    –Schedule your vendors to offer 10 – 20 minute sessions (depending on the number of people you have).

    –Pay them for the evening with the understanding that this party is a way to promote themselves, so the fees should be minimal.

    –Set up stations in your home or office for each vendor

    –Allow them to have their business cards displayed at their station.

    –If you market, sell, or distribute a health and wellness product – have it featured at the stations or have your vendors use it in their services.

    –Give a pair of fluffy slippers to everyone who comes, so they can slip off their shoes immediately upon arriving.

    –Give a gift bag with small spa items like a pumice stone for feet, nail files, a small bottle of lotion, bath gel or essential oil.

    –If your guests can’t make the date or have to cancel – send them the gift bag with the slippers in the mail. And make sure you get at least one of those services yourself at the party!

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    Source by Marilee Tolen

    Professional Ethics For Interior Designers

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    While we have all heard these things in the past, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a busy design business and forget some of the basics, such as professional ethics and standards. As practicing designers, we should always behave in a way that is ethical and professional.

    That being said, you will not please everyone all the time. Even adhering to the most stringent guidelines, you will likely experience conflict and frustration as well as satisfaction and exhilaration. So be aware of the major areas of professional ethical concerns that could impact your relationships with clients, suppliers and other professionals. A reputation is hard to build and easy to lose so always keep the following in mind:

    o Make full disclosure to your clients, clarifying the scope and cost of the job. For example, do not tell a client that you will only charge a small fee, when you intend to sell furniture retail to a client and make a 50 percent profit.

    o Keep the best interests of your clients in mind at all times, protecting their safety and choosing healthy, earth-friendly solutions when possible. Comply with all laws, codes and regulations.

    o Do not make changes in quality, quantity or materials to increase your fee. This temptation is greatest when a project is over budget. Changing the quality of materials in quoted proposals or specifying excessively expensive items merely to increase one’s total commission is not good practice.

    o Always respect the confidentiality and privacy of your clients. Do not discuss the budget of your client with suppliers and contracted third parties.

    o Treat your suppliers and other professionals with honesty and integrity. Never pass the blame on to someone else if delays or problems are the result of your own errors or lack of timeliness.

    o Always meet your financial obligations. Keep records of all financial dealings.

    o Be honest.

    Following these guidelines will not only keep your conscious clear, enabling you to focus on quality design work, but also earn you many referrals from satisfied clients.

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    Source by Natasha Lima Younts