Furniture Size and Placement

Furniture placement and selection is so important when planning a room. I love this project before and after because it is such a great example of size and placement. This client was anxious to get new furniture for their new house. They went shopping purchased two large leather sofas because that were in-stock and well priced. Once they were delivered my client knew they weren't right. That's when I came to the rescue, sort of. The leather sofas were sold at a loss. We started over with a floor plan then went shopping together to find pieces that would fit in the space. I designed a built-in for the long wall to help with storage. When the new furniture arrived it was a success and everything worked out beautifully. My client invested in a few hours of my time and got exactly what she wanted in the end. This is a great example of why working with a designer can save you money. Instead of spending money on things that you'll have to sell at a loss, spend it on a professional that can lead and assist you in achieving the style and function you want. When you are shopping for new furnishings for your home know the sizes of pieces. The most common mistake is buying pieces too big or tall for a space. Here are tips to help you choose a sofa: do you want bun feet, exposed legs or a skirt? Do you want high arms or low arms? How high do you want the back? Do you like back cushions attached or do you like no cushions and a smooth upholstered back? Do you like two seat sofa or three seat sofa? Once you know that, then start looking at fabric. There are lots and lots of choices. Hone in on what you like and what will work in your space before you go shopping. Have fun and enjoy it.

Fall Back in Love with Your Home

Whether you have a new home, old home, or vacation home - good decorating and design are important details. Expedite your vision and ideas for your home projects with a new view of your interior. Take snapshots of different rooms from all angles. Print them out, go to a coffee shop and look at them. Analyze them. What do you like? What don't you like? What jumps out at you as a new idea, use or function of the space? Looking at your rooms by photograph instead of in the space will give you an almost objective point of view. Share them with a trusted non-judgmental friend and get honest feedback.

We're also here to help you love your home again. We know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have a budget for a designer or designer enhancements.” But it’s not true. With our help and guidance you can maximize the budget you have and create a home that is beyond your imagination. You deserve to have a home you love. Let us show you how.

Plan, Purge and Paint

The 3 P's of any interior makeover. Plan, Purge and Paint. The most important step is the Planning. Get all of your ideas in order. Create a floor plan to organize your space and to help you make decisions. Purge what you don't use, what is broken and outdated. This will simplify your spaces and make the things left in the room become the feature. Paint!! I can't say it enough. Paint is the BEST way to transform any space! Always use the best quality paints. I strongly recommend Benjamin Moore and California paints.

Simple Makeover

The easiest way to transfrom anything is with paint. In this before and after I use a chair as an example. Dining chairs don't require a lot of fabric so you can splurge a little. Figure 1/2 yard per chair. So for this chair I selected Robert Allen Beach Day in Sprout. Retail price per yard is $66. We de-glossed the finish on the chairs with liquid sandpaper, primed with spray can of Kilz and top coated with Benjamin Moore Linen white and lightly distressed the finish. The end result is an elegant chair with a beautiful finsih and fabric. Look around your home and see what you can transform.

No Where to Put Stuff?

These are actual spaces that cleints have lived in before getting organized.
This is how some people live. No where to put things, or so they think.

Sometimes interior design is not just the task to make spaces pretty, it is to make them organized. Get inspired to make the most of your rooms and spaces.

It is somewhat unfun to have to deal with your stuff. Once you get over the unfun part, you can have an organized home where you can easily find what you are looking for.
This is an example of how I designed an everyday enty.

Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. |

Designer Insight

Designing for everyday living is rewarding because it improves the quality of my client’s lives. Whether it is designing a beautiful kitchen, picking the right paint color or organizing a laundry room, it is rewarding to me because it improves lives. My clients don’t know that I obsess about their projects. I want them to be happy and when they second guess my ideas and personalized solutions it saddens me. I try to convey that I look out for their best interest, but I don’t think they really believe that. I don’t feel the need to be right or force a design on a client. I just know what the best design is for their space and budget. But they often don’t listen and get focused on the mainstream or ordinary solutions because that is all that they know.

I have been practicing interior design for 19 years and have had projects published in several national magazines (which is highly competitive). I live what I do and yet clients second guess my concepts and want me to illustrate their one and only idea as the best solution. I read and peruse about 12 shelter magazines a month. I have the latest and greatest design and decorating books. I surf websites for product information and design trends. I attend national trade shows and watch HGTV and DIY often. I can visualize interesting and innovative designs in my head and I am extremely flexible to work out all kinds of ideas for clients. A project can not be totally successful until the client trusts me and is open to new ideas. Otherwise it is just another makeover – nothing special. I can make a space special fabulous and functional to the individual client's lifestyle if they will just allow me.

Country Chic

Do you have a love of fancy things and elegant style, but are more comfortable living in a casual home? Then Country Chic is the perfect solution for you! It can be described several ways:
  • A fine blend of elegant pieces mixed with relaxed and casual accents.
  • Eye-catching fabrics and fixtures alongside simple, unadorned furniture.
  • The mixture of ease with formal elements for the chic edge.
  • Similar to Cottage Style, but more simplified and eclectic.
Country Chic is my personal design style of choice. My best personal example is my dining room, which I use as the visual for this article. It has symmetry mixed with a little whimsy to create a relaxed feeling. The elements of the room are formal: crystal chandelier and lamps, fine china and serving pieces. Yet the twist comes through placing those items with lightly distressed furniture pieces. The furniture is not a set. It is a mixture of pieces painted the same color for structure and mis-matched formal chairs painted and distressed to invite guests to sit.
In my case, my dining room is my favorite room, yet the one that is least used. To remedy that, I brought in a collection of books and current magazines and placed them in neat and orderly piles. This has created a comfortable and attractive spot for me to take a seat and catch up on my reading, clip articles and enjoy a cup of coffee. I am now able to use the room in an entirely new way yet still display some of my favorite "special" pieces. In the end, Country Chic is a wonderful choice for those who love elegance but live in casual comfort. I encourage you to rethink your dining room and your elegant pieces. Dining rooms and fine china should be used. Make them part of your everyday lifestyle.

Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. |

Successful Cottage Decor

Visualize the perfect spot to spend time relaxing, reading and sipping coffee in a comfortable cottage setting. Now transform this visualization into a style that says relax. The effect is comfortable and inviting, it is Cottage Style.

We know it when we see it, wood and painted furnishings mixed with muted tones of color, mis-matched chairs around a dining table, formal and casual accents blended together, floral fabrics with ruffle details, vintage lighting and architectural remnants. But how do you begin to create your own cottage style?

The starting point to redecorate your home to suit your taste and lifestyle is a floor plan. This will define what will fit into the space. Don’t rely on keeping every detail in your head; write your ideas and intentions on the floor plan. Once your plan is done, focus on things you love and use that as the inspiration for the color palette and decorating details. A great way to establish a color scheme is to find a fabric that wows you and use that as a guide. Once the floor plan and color scheme is established, go shopping. You will know exactly what you are looking for and can easily make decisions. You will avoid buying furnishings that don’t fit into your space.

The photos highlight a real-life example of cottage style. It is relaxed, not perfect and a place where everyone can be comfortable.

Details that make it cottage style:

  • Soothing shades of blue make a bedroom peaceful. A headboard is made from window shutters with a cute cut-out that are painted and distressed. Vintage chenille bedspreads were made into pillows.
  • Hang a formal crystal chandelier over a well-worn farm wood table and you have instant cottage appeal.
  • For a casual seating area, bring the furniture close together, have a place to put your feet up, place lamps for reading and add tables for beverages.

Have fun while creating your cottage décor and remember to design your home to accommodate your everyday lifestyle.

Julie Fergus, ASID is a professional interior designer. Her shop and design studio is American Home Gallery located at 49 Center Street in Wolfeboro, NH. Julie’s design projects have been published in Country Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Yankee and New Hampshire Magazine. To contact Julie visit her website at / 603.569.8989

Start a New Décor from Scratch

What’s the starting point to make an empty room suit your taste and lifestyle? I always start with a floor plan. This will define what will fit into the room. From there I focus on one thing you love and use that as the inspiration for the color palette and design style. In this example the inspiration was the watercolor painting. Once the floor plan and color scheme was established, we went shopping. We knew exactly what were looking for and it was easy to make decisions. In the end, the room came together and the client was very happy. It reflects her personal style.

Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North East. |