Advice from the Experts

Men laying new hardwood flooring

Mary Ellen Badger
Design Trilogy Inc.
(770) 594-0453

Mary Ellen Badger, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is founder and president of Design Trilogy Inc., a firm specializing in interior design, renovation design and space planning. She holds a bachelors degree in interior design and space planning from the American College for the Applied Arts in Atlanta. She sits on the Jury for Thesis at American Intercontinental University, as well as on the board of directors for the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

DO create a love/hate file for your project by tearing pictures from home magazines and writing down why you like or dislike them. DO take time to test paint colorsnot on your walls, but on white poster board. Paint two coats on the board and let it dry, then move the poster board around the room and study it in the morning and evening, rain or shine. Before you hire a contractor, DO make all the selections for your renovation project so you are not stuck with allowances that create cost overruns. DON’T impulse buy major furniture pieces without knowing what size will fit or look best in your home. DON’T try to fill up every corner of a room with stuff. Leave some breathing space and room for future additions. DON’Tever pick the cheapest bid for renovation or repairs. You will get what you pay for.

Melissa Galt
Linea Interior Design Inc.
(770) 650-6528

Melissa Galt founded Linea Interior Design Inc. in Atlanta in 1994. She taps into her rich creative heritage to meet her clients interior design needs. She is the great-granddaughter of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, daughter of the late Academy Award-winning actress Anne Baxter and goddaughter of celebrated costume designer Edith Head. An honors graduate of Southern Institutes interior design program, Melissa also holds a bachelors degree in hotel administration from Cornell University. Melissas projects concentrate on function and aesthetics working together, one never sacrificed for the other.

DO paint all trim with high-gloss paint; architectural molding is intended to frame and finish a space and doesnt often show up well enough in anything less. High-gloss in an oil finish provides a hard, lasting sheen that makes any color, even neutrals, look fresh for years to come. DO paint ceilingsuse a tint of the wall color or a warm neutral. This wraps the room in warmth and creates an important connection from ceiling to wall. It also allows the trim to stand out and be the architectural feature it was intended to be. DO use rugs in every room, over hardwood or wall-to-wall carpet. They define groupings and are artwork for the floor. DON’T ever use colored carpet (no blue, red, green or purple). Carpet is not a design feature, but instead one of the basics of the house. If you invest well in style and neutrality, carpet will be comfortable for years. Neutral isnt boringit spans from white to gold and includes khakis. DON’T clutter up all surfaces with knickknacks and collectibles. That means that a bookcase full of books is fullDON’T try to add stuff in front of the books. You shouldnt have to move things in order to use tables and other surfaces every day. DON’T save things you have no use for or interest in. Use it or lose it! Those white-elephant collectibles and old gifts are better given away or sold than collecting dust and taking up space.

Kim Haire
Kim Haire Interiors
(404) 983-7945

Kim Haire, who holds a design degree from the University of Georgia and has been an interior designer for nearly 10 years, started her own full-service interior design firm in Atlanta in 2000. She believes that style is not only about a well-dressed home, but also about creating comfortable spaces for real living. She designs residential interiors throughout the country for clients ranging from young professionals to corporate executives. Her services include space planning, style development and selection of fabrics, furniture and accessories.

When designing your home on a limited budget, DO concentrate on the most important areas for you and your family, such as the family room, kitchen and bedrooms. DO use a designer from the start. Even if you dont have a ton of money to spend, there are designers to help with the paint selection and the beginning of your furniture collection. DON’T buy ready-made window treatments that dont fit your window. Be careful when purchasing from retail stores. The curtains can look skimpy and short. Look for extra-wide panels. DON’T accept every hand-me-down your family offers. They will become long-term commitments, and restoring these items will cost more than buying new furniture.

Caroline Hale and
Kristi Choate
Harmony Interiors LLC
(678) 486-2400

Caroline Hale and Kristi Choate work together through their design firm, Harmony Interiors. Kristi, an allied member of ASID, graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelors degree in interior design. She has worked as a design assistant with a prominent Atlanta kitchen and bathroom design showroom and as an interior designer for one of the states most respected furniture and design showrooms. Kristis specialty lies in her ability to use color, pattern and texture to transform a space into one that is unique and unified. Caroline studied interior design at American Intercontinental University in Atlanta. She has worked as a project manager for a major telecommunications company. Caroline has a passion for timeless design and pays close attention to details.

DO use color to transform space. Color, whichever you prefer, can visually change the feel and atmosphere of a room and set the tone for your entire home. Scared of color? Consult a professional who can save you from costly mistakes. DO buy the highest quality furniture that you can afford. Furniture is an investment and should be cherished for years to come. DO fill the empty space of your home with accessories that reflect your personality. Create a look that seems as if it has been accumulated over time. DON’T buy suites of furniture. Mix it up to create a more interesting space. Use different types of furnishings and fabrics while keeping in mind the overall design style. DON’T create theme rooms. Your home should flow in color and style from the entry to the back door. (Make exceptions for childrens rooms and recreational areas). DON’T forget to view decks and patios as extensions of the interior. Create outdoor spaces you can enjoy year round.

Linda Pittam, ASID
Pittam Associates Inc.
(404) 373-7375

Linda Pittam, ASID, is a registered interior designer whose services include cabinetry design for kitchens, baths, bedroom storage, libraries, entertainment centers and closets. She is past president of the Georgia chapter of ASID and president of Pittam Associates Inc.

DO make an overall plan to scale of the areas to be designed. DO understand how the room will function and how it will be used. DO select the proper fabrics for function, durability, color and pattern. DON’Tforget to use dimmers on your lightseven in bathrooms. DON’T forget to plan for the traffic pattern through the room. DON’T forget the importance of lighting an area using general, focal and task fixtures.

June Price
Anew Design/KLMcCall Interiors
(404) 364-0628

June Price is founder and president of Anew Design and has more than 18 years of interior design experience. She has a degree in design from the University of Georgia, and she is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Furnishings and Design Association. Her work has been featured in national magazines, newspapers and on HGTV. While most of her clients come from the Atlanta area, she has also worked extensively across the United States. Her major projects outside of Georgia include work in Newport Beach, Calif.; Charleston, S.C.; Houston; Mendham, N.J.; Philadelphia; and Ponte Vedre, Fla.

DO consider using an interior designer! DO consider the function of the room and how you intend to use the room before you make any decisions on design. DO make sure your room is arranged to the correct balance and scale of your space. If you have a large architectural detail, such as a fireplace, youll need a large furniture piece to balance it. DON’T use too many small thingsespecially in large rooms with high ceilings. Lots of small things can make a room look cluttered.

Muriel Sackey
(678) 662-3248

After attending interior design school in Atlanta, Muriel Sackey (ASIDAllied Member) worked with interior design firms before founding her own design firm. With her background in interior decorating, she has grown to enjoy what she does with a passion. Residential services provided by sakInteriors include consultation, space planning, furniture selection, finish selection, lighting design, kitchen and bath design, window treatments, bedding and accessorizing. I believe in keeping things simple, classic and timeless. Her approach to each project is to create aesthetically appealing and functional settings that suit each client. What interests her most about design is the special mix of color, texture, shape and proportion used to create interiors that are detailed, serene and sophisticated.

DO create a floating arrangement by pulling pieces away from walls into close-knit groupings. This avoids a lineup of furniture along the walls of a room. DO combine furniture of different heights and sizes to create visual interest in a room, but avoid placing tall or weighty pieces along the same wall. DO place major furniture pieces crosswise or along a diagonal to break up a skinny room for cozin
ss and to create a sense of grandeur. DON’T invest in new furnishings until you make an inventory of your existing furnishings. DON’T invest in new furniture pieces without taking into consideration the size of the space in which the pieces would be arranged. Also consider the size and scale of the pieces and how they relate to each other as a pleasing whole.

Jenny Thomas
Habersham Home/J. Thomas Designs
(404) 812-6929

Jenny Thomas, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Mississippi, opened Highland Home in 2001 and began offering design services. In April 2004, she added a store in Buckhead, Habersham Home, which offers a wide array of home decor and interior design services. In January, Thomas closed the retail location of Highland Home to concentrate on interior design.

DO decorate with items that are important to you. A souvenir from a trip, old family photos or an important heirloom furniture piece are great things to use to make your home very personalnot something from a catalog page. DO take the time to get quality items for your home. In the long run, you will end up with great pieces that were meant to last. DON’Trush out and fill your home with all cheap furniture. You will spend more time and money replacing items that wear out. Take your time to do it right the first time. DON’T ask the advice of people who have a completely different style from yours. If you are not using a professional, ask people who have a house you admire. DON’T let those TV shows fool you. Rome was not built in a day, and your house will not be decorated in one either! It takes time and patience to decorate.

Pattie Trumbull
Design Inspirations
(404) 229-2278

Pattie Trumbull is realizing her lifelong dream of becoming an interior decorator through her company, Design Inspirations Inc., founded last year. Throughout her adult life, she has given decorating tips to friends and family and was encouraged by many to make decorating her career. She relies on creativity to stretch her clients decorating dollars, delivering the high-cost look at a fraction of the price.

DO consult a designer or decorator for those big projects. It is better to pay for their expertise initially than to make wrong decisions and choices and pay more to correct the mistakes. DO gather all paint, wall covering and fabric samples together to see if your choices complement each other before making the purchases. DO work sentimental objects into your design scheme so you dont lose your personal touch. DON’T think that you need to purchase an entire matching furniture grouping. Add different pieces to the group for interest and pizzazz. DON’T forget to think of traffic flow when placing furniture. You want to invite people into conversation areas. DON’T forget the function of the room. Expensive fabrics are fine for a little-used formal living room, but in family-friendly areas, use fabrics that are easy to clean or replace.

Shadawn Zareh
Zareh Design Studio Inc.
(770) 772-6340

Shadawn Zareh, ASID, CKD, earned her bachelors degree in interior design and housing from Georgia Southern University. Before starting her own design firm, Zareh Design Studio Inc., in 2002, Shadawn worked as a kitchen designer with Brookwood Kitchens Inc., Kitchen & Bath Concepts and The Home Depot. She currently serves on the board of directors for ASID.

DO invest in good quality materials. DO be creative, have fun and try new ideas. DO invest in original art. Atlanta is full of talented artists, and you can find beautiful art to fit every style and budget. DO use lots of dimmers. Being able to control light for different times of the day as well to set a tone is so important to good design. Proper lighting can transform a great space into a fantastic one. DON’T do something just because it seems to be the in thing or because everyone in the neighborhood is doing it. Create your space to reflect your style and personality. DON’T clutter up a space with accessories and unnecessary things. Remember the phrase less is more. DON’T make quick decisions. A good designer will guide you, but this is your home, and you need to make sure that any purchases will service your needs for many years to come.

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