adapting design and saving money

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ask a designer – by Tanna Miller – adapting design and saving money

Q. I have two arched windows on either side of my fireplace. I want a pretty window treatment that helps block the light and looks formal.  
I’ve seen a drawing you have done for a pie shaped window that is very elaborate. It looks expensive. Can I do something similar that goes across my glass to block light but doesn’t cost too much? My fireplace trim also cuts into the trim on the windows on both sides, so you can’t put a long drape there. There is plenty of room on the other side. I do have window film to reduce glare and heat, so I am only looking for something decorative. What would you suggest?

A. My two story asymmetrical design is intended for a pair of windows, so it is easily adapted to your pair. The easiest way to cut cost is to eliminate the long panels completely which saves 13 yards of fabric and lining plus labor. Without the panels, the jabots need to be changed to be long enough to be in proportion with the overall height and to be balanced with each other.
The swag changes to the new shape of the half circle instead of the quarter circle. The swags can go on blocks instead of expensive pole sets, and trim can be sewn on only the slanted edges of the jabots rather than the whole treatment. All these things combined will reduce the overall cost by almost 40%! Next, I will transfer the proportions of the drawing to the workroom and make a new pattern just for you!

coordinating kitchen changes
Q. To make a long story short, I inherited this house and it’s time to put it on the market. Just before I inherited it, it received new kitchen counters. While they’re not granite, they’re really attracive and I’d like to keep them and make the rest of the kitchen harmonize with them. I think I need new not-too-expensive cabinets, new tile or wall treatment for the backsplashes, and a new wall color. The hardwood floors are in good shape, and are a pale natural white oak finish. Help! What can I do to make this kitchen more appealing?—CP

A. You are right, the counter tops are very attractive so I’ll start there and let them and the floor dictate a color scheme of a blue-green and natural. To save money, let’s put decorative touches in things that have to be bought anyway: the back splash and stick with plain paint on the wall. The tile we found, although really a neutral small mosaic glass tile picks up the blue grays from the countertop and coordinates beautifully. Any blue-gray, soft aqua, or sage paint will coordinate since there are many tones in the backsplash.  
Cabinets would look good in either a vanilla with chocolate wash or a medium brown. The white accent in the counter tops looks best with the vanilla, but the floors look best with brown. Simple brown is less expensive, so we will go with that.
We want to keep the blocks of color from contrasting strongly so that  the kitchen appears larger. The walls, backsplash, and counter tops will be close to each other in color and depth (photo is of a different color family, but illustrates this concept) while the floor and cabinets will link each other.  This way the kitchen is interupted by only appliances. The backsplash is your place to show some personality. I recommend natural stone or glass or a combination  
to give it a fresh up-to-date look!

We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller,  allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice Trends & Traditions in Nashville for 18 years. Visit http://www.shopdesignnashville.com/ or call 615/ 601-0552.

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