Smart Designs for Small Apartments

First thing first: GET MORE LIGHT.

Rooms with more light look bigger and more spacious. Paint your rooms in a light color. Don’t forget the ceilings, too. As the fifth wall is almost always not considered part of the color scheme of the room. However it plays an important role in the design – low ceilings in dark colors make the whole room feel stuffy and cramped. The trick here is to keep the contrast between the walls and the ceiling to a minimum so the room feel airy and larger.

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The Importance of Power Dressing in the Life of a Traveling Interior Designer

If there is one thing that I've learned as a traveling interior designer, it's how important physical appearance is when meeting with clients. You see, I have always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl up until a few years ago. It was very rare that I dressed up for anything. However, that all changed when I started to travel a lot to meet new clients. Let me tell you why.

Back when I was first starting out, I would always meet clients wearing rugged jeans, an over worn t-shirt, and sneakers. On top of that, I never paid any attention to my hair and I almost never wore any make up. As you may have figured out by now, I was a little bit of a tomboy and couldn't care less about how I looked. Besides, I didn't think that how I looked was important because what mattered was I had the skills to make their homes beautiful.

That was okay with my first few clients but I think it was because they were homeowners in the neighborhood I grew up in and knew me since I was in diapers. Things changed when my clientele started to expand to other cities. One time, I traveled to New York to meet a prospective client. As usual, I was dressed very casually and had no makeup on.

When I arrived at their home, I was very surprised to see that the couple I was meeting was dressed very smartly despite the fact that it was a weekend. I suddenly became very self-conscious especially since they were looking me over with a hint of skepticism. I realized that because I was dressed rather poorly, they didn't think I had good enough taste to pull off the "elegantly sophisticated" vibe they wanted for their home. Sure enough, I didn't get the job.

It was at that point when I started to pay more attention to my clothing and the way I looked when I was meeting with clients. I was able to test out my theory when I met another prospective client in Georgia. The man that was meeting was a very reputable cosmetic dentist. If someone wanted their teeth whitened or needed porcelain veneers in Atlanta, his cosmetic dentistry clinic was the best place to go.

Needless to say, he was very sophisticated and like the couple I met in New York, he was dressed very nicely when I arrived for our meeting. On the other hand, I showed up wearing a cream colored pant suit and a pair of designer loafers. After a few pleasantries, he informed me that the job he wanted me to do was give his clinic a whole new look because it was a bit outdated. He jokingly said "I want it to have that sophisticated but edgy vide. Much like your outfit."

That's when I was realized that I was right, how I presented myself to my prospective clients greatly contributes to the chances that I would be able to close the deal. From then on, I made it a point to always dress up no matter where I went but most importantly, when I have a meeting with prospective customers.

I have a meeting with the good dentist from Atlanta next week to discuss the possibility of me working on his new home. During our telephone conversation, I brought up the idea of me getting veneers in Atlanta at his cosmetic dentistry clinic if he decides to hire me to do the interior design of his home. He said that would be great and we can discuss it when I fly over next week. I am very excited about it because I know that a dazzling smile, on top of my portfolio, will do wonders when I'm courting clients to hire me to work on their homes.

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My Life as a Traveling Interior Designer

Even before I graduated from design school, I knew that I wanted to take a different path in my career as an interior designer. Instead of being holed up in an office, I wanted to combine my love for travel and interior design. This is why when I finally graduated, I quickly made arrangements to establish myself as a "traveling interior designer".

First on the list was of course, to get people to know about me and what I was offering. My vision was, instead of getting clients to come to me, I would go to them no matter where they were. To get the word out there, I hired an internet marketing agency to set up my website and get my name across the cloud. It took a couple of months before a client signed me up for a job but from then on, I started receiving a steady flow of customers.

Initially, I traveled from one city to another by plane or by driving my Prius. After a few months of jet setting and driving long distances and staying in motels, I realized that the overhead costs for my airfare and accommodation was too much. I then decided that the best thing to do was to invest in a mobile home. That way, I had a means to drive long distances and I wouldn't have to worry about packing and unpacking my stuff whenever it was time to go because I already had everything I needed.

One thing I learned about being on the road for long periods of time was how important it was to make time to still continue enjoy my hobbies. I have always been fond of kayaking and when I was commissioned to work on a home located in Philpott Lake, I decided I would bring my kayak with me. Problem was, I had no idea how I was going to make that happen. Thankfully, a friend of mine directed me to a website called where I found information on kayak accessories. I decided to invest in a roof rack for my kayak. Today, I am able to bring my kayak with me whenever I have a job somewhere near the water. When I am working on a client's home in a busy city however, I indulge myself in other activities such as photography. It's great because I am able to save memories of my trip through the photos.

Recently, I have been thinking about getting myself certified as a professional electrician. Don't  get me wrong, I don't really have a desire to work with electrical wires. It's just that I noticed how important it is to be trained in this type of work since my job does require me to work with electricians when installing lighting fixtures. I figured I could save my clients a little bit of money if I took care of minor electrical work myself. Also, I am hoping that if the electrician I'm working with knows that I am certified, they wouldn't overprice my clients. I am still looking in electrician courses (the  information is available here, if you're interested) I could take while I'm traveling. However, I'm convinced this is something I can greatly benefit from.

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The Rising Popularity Of Attic Conversions

Throughout my travels I meet a wonderful array of friends, however it always seems that the interior designers of the world are attracted to one another (I guess great minds DO think alike). One commonality that I have noticed throughout the world (and my global network of interior designer buddies would agree) is the rising trend of a traditionally uncommon project: attic conversions.

I’ve also noticed an increasing amount of interior design jobs available relating to attic conversions, and one day I began to wonder: “whats causing this popular wave of attic conversion madness?”

The current state of the housing market means that more and more homeowners are choosing to improve, not move, and I believe that is one of the largest contributing factors.

A popular property adaptation that provides a cost-effective way of maximising space in your home is to undertake an attic conversion. Rather than build an extension to your current home, the attic offers a great opportunity to turn what is usually mainly an empty space, perhaps housing a few suitcases or odds and ends, into an attractive room which can be used for a number of different functions.

This article will help you discover some top tips for ensuring the interior design of your attic results in a wonderfully appealing contemporary living space.

Ensure Adequate Insulation

Being located just under the roof, a poorly insulated attic can become extremely chilly in winter and conversely, remain unpleasantly warm during the summer months. A good insulating layer around the walls and under the roof helps to ensure the attic remains at much the same temperature as the rest of the house. Make sure that there is a source of ventilation, ideally a window, to assist in obtaining a good air flow throughout the room.

Check for Pests/Rodents Before Commencing Work

As attics are normally quiet spaces where creatures can nest and breed undisturbed, it’s not uncommon to find that you’re playing host to an unwelcome number of pests.

Ensure you have a professional pest removal expert check the attic space for attic pests which may be living and breeding up there. It’s very common to find mice in the attic or even bats! Visit this resource to find out more about common signs to look out for, and tips on how to deal with them. It would be a disaster if you had to spray pesticides around and ruin all of your hard work!


Make Use of the Pitched Roof

The unique shape of an attic roof enables it to present a fantastic feature, and gives the room plenty of character. Many people opt for hanging storage in the attic, with a selection of shelves, hooks or organisers suspended from the ceiling to hold their ornaments and books. Using the roof space for storage frees up valuable floor space, enabling every inch of the room to be utilised.

Consider a Paler Palette

Light is always of premium importance in an attic space, as windows can sometimes be small and may not have an aspect which offers much sunlight. If this is the case, a palette which favours pastel shades helps to give an illusion of space and light which is enormously appealing. If the room still looks dark, it’s possible to make good use of artificial lighting to accent key areas, as well as falling back on the old designer’s trick of using wall-mounted mirrors to enhance existing light sources.

With the correct preparatory work and sufficient attention to detail during the decorating process, it’s possible to utterly transform your attic space from the mundane to the magnificent. Why not start planning your attic conversion now and open up a world of new, exciting design possibilities?

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Design Tips and Ideas For a Modern Bathroom

Modern bathroom design is now more complex and sophisticated than ever. Many people who live in high-end houses have bathrooms that resemble extended living areas within their home.

Most of the newly styled bathroom areas are constructed out of expensive tiles such as stone, mosaic, marble, metal and glass. There are an unlimited array of tile colors and pattern styles available at any home improvement or tile shop. Other types of contemporary tiling include metal and glass pieces and high quality moisture resistant woods.

Another feature of modern bathroom design includes the use of stand alone tubs and separate shower areas. Stand alone tubs are arranged at various points within a bathroom. They are often situated next to a large open window or sliding glass door area. The separate shower area is typically located within a corner of the bathroom that is away from the door or window opening, but this can vary from home to home. Clawfoot tubs can be some of the toughest to find accessories for, but if you look hard enough you are sure to find something truly elegant.

Adding an elegant shower curtain is not only functional, it adds a ton of style to your current décor. The main function is to prevent water from splashing over your entire bathroom, but it will also help conceal your shower area for when you are entertaining and guests use your bathroom. There are thousands of designs of shower curtains available today making it easy to find one that suits your taste perfectly. Keep in mind the color scheme you are going for with your design as a shower curtain can really throw off your warm or cool tones if it clashes.

Wide open windows or sliding glass doors are also included in modern bathroom construct. The window or sliding door should give a home’s occupants a clear view of the surrounding environment that lies outdoors. You can also find curtains for your windows that will match your current shower curtain. This can really finish your design off in the end and give it a fabulous overall look.

Large four-faucet sinks with water proof seating and mirrored walls is another design style for modern bathrooms. As a matter of fact the newer bathrooms specialize in long and big sinks that can provide more than enough room for people to perform their daily cleaning routine or to put on their make up.

Features such as temperature changing tiles, flat panel televisions and two separate toilets are now also included in many modern bathroom structures. What is also a popular trend in bathroom design is having a seating area with water proof or moisture resistant furniture. Jacuzzi’s and small swimming pools are also included within many of the newly styled bathrooms.

The days of small and compact bathroom spaces have ended. The trend has definitely moved toward turning a bathroom area into an extended area of the home and this trend will be here to stay for many years into the future.

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Designing a Crossfit Box Changing Room For a Friend

Last month I was approached by a friend of the family (David) to redesign the changing room of a crossfit box! at the time I had no idea what a crossfit box was until it was explained to me that crossfit is a new type of fitness training and a box is a new name for the building where groups of people workout very much like a gym.

I agreed to pay a visit to the box so I could asses the room and take some photos, the room compared to the rest of the building was very run down and required repairs to the floor, ceiling and two of the walls, however the size of the space was good considering it will only ever be used by a maximum of 20 people at a time.

I was given the objective that required the following:

  • 20 lockers that don’t lock, each locker should be more of a closet to hang clothing
  • Wooden benches/chairs, ideally individualized with durable/waterproof padding with our logo
  • Modern LED lighting
  • Wall art of some kind, we like the idea of brick work like the main hallway
  • Heated flooring
  • Place to store used towels
  • A place to store shoes close to the exit so we can change shoes during workouts

Crossfit shoe rack design

Out of all the project requirements one aspect really excited me and that was to design a shoe rack! as a female I love shoes I think along with bags and high quality hats shoes are in a women’s DNA, Last month during a search of pinterest I discovered a range of ideas perfect for this crossfit shoe project. My first idea was to have moon shaped baskets on a brick wall near the exit, the material used in the photo was a plastic mesh similar to a wicker basket but I wanted a materiel more durable and it needed to mirror the rest of the changing room, I opted for stainless steel as it was strong and looked the part, I sketched the shoe rack design and had an example made installation was fine but not all the shoes fit, the main problem was the crossfit weightlifting sized shoes where a lot bigger than a standard pair of crossfit sneakers I didn’t realize this and was left with two options.

  1. I can make the half moon design bigger but this would take up more wall space and add more expense to the project.
  2. Redesign the moon shaped shoe basket

I opted for a redesign as I had remembered another shoe rack design using baskets but this time I would use tubes made from tough plastic painted black, this would reduce the cost, still fit in with the overall design and also look stylish but different, I used plumbing pipe material as the base with 4 internal bracket to secure each one to the wall, each tube stacked on top of each other saving loads of space another bonus was once the entire unit was assembled it was extremely strong perfect for daily use and additional use during workouts.

At the end of this project I was very happy how it all came together and I am pleased the first design didn’t workout as I don’t think it would have looked as good as the tube design. You always learn something new after each project and this time I discovered not to get down if your first, second or third ideas don’t work everything happens for a reason.

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How To Quickly Calculate Babysitting Rates

When I’m traveling throughout the United States with my son on business there are occasions I need a babysitter. Here are a few guidelines that can be used to determine a fair rate of pay (based on a few factors). You can then make any changes, or add a little more if you know the babysitter personally, or if they stayed longer than agreed.

Use these guidelines to take into account the following factors: the location, the experience of the babysitter, the number of children being watched and any other special requirements.

Set a competitive rate – the first guideline to keep in mind is that you need to have a competitive rate to keep the best babysitters. You should start with the minimum wage in your area or state, and then work forward from that point. In any case, ensure that you don’t drop below that rate.

  • Area – if you are living in a rural area, then there will be less competition for babysitters (when compared to urban areas). However, if you are in a rural area and babysitters are less common, you should expect to pay more.
  • Number of children – if you have more than one child that needs to be watched while you are away, then you will need to pay more. Obviously, more children requires more work and more focus. This is especially true if the children are in the age range of two to six years old. So, for each extra child, you should pay your babysitter a few dollars extra.
  • Age of the babysitter – the age of the sitter needs to be considered when calculating the rate of pay. As a general rule, if the babysitter is above high school age, you can expect to pay more as they will compare the rates to other possible jobs and work that they could find. Remember that you are going to be competing for their time, so consider this factor.
  • Time of day – the amount of time that you are leaving your children is another important factor in the pay rate of the sitter. If you are planning to stay out later, then you should expect to pay a higher rate. Also, as a rule, if you are going to be out past midnight, the the hourly rate will increase. It is suggested that you always pay more at this time of night.
  • Short notice – if you need to hire the babysitter on short notice, then you are going to pay a higher rate for the same period of time. This is a common guideline for all types of jobs, and a higher rate of pay is expected.
  • Overall, babysitters are expecting to make from $7 to $10 per hour. This rate will increase if you are living in a major city, or when hiring a sitter from a placement service. Use the guidelines above to set a fair rate and find the best sitters in your area.

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