Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Rug or Not To Rug - the sequel!

So today my client and I met and I showed her the purple zebra rug and she loved it but her daughter didn't like it at all. She thought it was too busy and too flashy and she wanted a rug that was simpler and less contemporary - not a traditional rug, but a transitional rug that would be in style for many years to come. Well, I couldn't argue with that. So we looked and found a fabulous gray Tibetan rug that was 9' by 12' with a lot of texture and brought it first to the mom's home to see if it matched the baby grand piano that we were going to put in under yesterday. It did! So we brought it to the daughter's home and low and behold, we decided that it looked perfect in her family room - NOT the room off of the entryway with the piano. So we bought it! And the great news was that the Design Center in Houston was having a fabulous sale, so we got a great deal on it as well.  Here it is!

The only problem is that we still need a rug to go under the piano. So the saga continues! We will keep looking and I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To Rug Or Not To Rug?

Today one of my clients called me and asked me if her 30 year old daughter who is remodeling her apartment should keep her gray stained concrete floors or replace a section of those stained concrete floors off  her entryway (which will house a baby grand piano) with carpet. I was surprised. For the last few years my clients were only calling to ask me to rip out their carpet and replace it with either wood floors, natural stone floors or stained concrete floors - so I wondered if people are beginning to want a softer, more comfortable look or if my client was just not familiar with the new anti-carpet trends. I decided to be honest and told her that in my opinion, if her daughter wanted to carpet her bedroom, I'd agree that was a good idea but that most people and especially most young people today prefer stained concrete floors over carpet. I recommended that if she wanted to soften up the look of the stained concrete, that her daughter get a rug to put underneath her baby grand piano. And since her daughter is young and fun, she should purchase a fun looking rug like this marvelous purple zebra rug that I saw at Post Modern Traditions in the Design Center today. I think purple and gray look wonderful together so this rug will look fabulous atop gray stained concrete floors and I think the fact that the rug has black accents means it would complement and look fabulous sitting underneath an ebony baby grand piano! What do you think? Let me know at

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What's wrong with our plumbing fixtures?

I am an Interior Designer who also teaches Continuing Education to Interior Designers and one of my classes this year is a class on Water Efficiency in the Home. I was surprised to discover that home owners today consume so much water… supposedly 400 gallons of water per day per home, which means that an average family of 4 consumes 100 gallons per day per person!  While in Africa, some people don’t even get allotted 1 gallon of water per day! We consume way too much water! And since only 1% of all the water on earth is actually potable or drinkable, we need to stop depleting our water supply if we wish to have enough water to support our earth as we know it,  for future generations. The government has mandated that we use “Water Sense”   plumbing fixtures which use up to 32% less water than conventional toilets and plumbing fixtures, but many of these “Water Sense” plumbing fixtures don’t really do what they are supposed to do.   “Water Sense” kitchen faucets and lavatory faucets sold in the U.S. are now required to have flow rates that are no more than of 2.2 g/pm (gallons per minute), many have flow rates as low as 1.5 g/pm and pressure-compensating faucets have flow rates as low as 1.0 g/pm.  Shower heads and spray rinse valves sold in the USA  are also required to have flow rates that are no more than 2.5 g/pm and now have flow rates as low as  1.5 gallons per minute per 80 psi (pounds per sq inch).  All these “Water Sense” plumbing fixtures use up to 32% less water  because their flow rates are lowered by the aerators, laminar flow devices and restrictors placed in them , that constrict their water flow.  Aerators add air into the water stream to increase the sensation of flow, laminar flow devices force the water through small openings to produce dozens of parallel water streams, creating a more uniform flow and potentially reducing splash, and restrictors control water flow through other means.    But we all know that most people take those aerators and restrictors out as soon as the plumbing has passed  inspection …so once those aerators and restrictors have been removed, those plumbing fixtures don’t really save ANY water at all.  We need to both create plumbing fixtures that actually DO conserve water and simply tell our clients not let the water run for such a long time, when they wash their  faces, brushing their teeth and clean their pots and pans.  Don’t you agree?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trends for 2013

I have been an Interior Designer for over 25 years, and in the beginning of every year, my clients always ask me “what is trendy this year?.“ My first reaction is that they should do what THEY love in their homes and not worry about trends, but realistically everyone wants their home to look “in style”, so knowing and keeping up with today’s trends is very useful if not essential.
So what is trendy in 2013? 
Today people want their homes to be clean, simple and sparsely furnished. Negative space is in… and clutter is totally out. First and foremost, homes need to be open and spacious; they need to exude an aura of comfort and well being and make people feel welcome. People want their homes to be a haven of refuge that shield them from the outside world. 
Today people love texture rather than lots of color; monochromatic color schemes with lots of texture  is “in”.  Everywhere you look in a home, everything is white…. white… white; white walls, white trim, white upholstery and even white cabinetry which exudes a clean, pure yet comfortable feeling..  And everything that is not white is gray…Gray is the new black  - especially a soft light  blue grey… which is soothing and restful and makes people want to sit down and relax. For awhile color was “out” altogether, but today some color is back and people are complementing their monochromatic color schemes with punches of color.  The pantone color for 2013 is emerald green and greens of all shades are soothing, restful, calming and natural and look fabulous juxtaposed against a white background. So the trend is to upholster your large soft furnishings in white or grey and add green pillows, green accents and maybe even green chairs to create the “punch”. Below is a photo of a family room in the heights that I just finished with exactly this color scheme. It is clean looking yet fresh and welcoming.

And to contrast with the all this white and light gray, all the floors are now dark and wood. Years ago, people ripped out the wall to wall carpet in their downstairs areas, their living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms and replaced it with wood flooring. Now wall to wall carpet is being touted as a harbinger for mold and bacteria and is considered “bad” for sick people, elderly people, babies and people with allergies. So people are ripping out the carpet in their master bedrooms and in their entire upstairs –  and replacing it with wood flooring – and they love wide plank (5” or even wider) dark  wood floors. Another new trend is “green design” and people are  either re-using old wood floors from dilapidated homes…which look marvelous and make the home seem “lived in” or purchasing new hand scraped floors which give off the same “comfortable, lived in look”.  The only problem with dark wood floors is that they make a space look smaller and darker… so beware of installing dark wood flooring in small dark spaces as they will look smaller and darker. I have found that using a medium colored stain such as a walnut will still look dark enough to look “trendy” without being so dark as to shrink the space.

Once the wood flooring has been installed, people realize that from both a visual and an acoustical viewpoint, rugs are a welcome addition to warm up the space. Rugs are also soft to the touch when we walk barefoot, so are comfortable and make us feel good and today everyone wants to “feel good”. Years ago people loved Oriental Rugs but today they can be too patterned and appear busy. New Tibetan wood/silk rugs that are textured rather than patterned, or that have some pattern but lots of negative space are very popular and are in keeping with this open uncluttered un-patterned look that is so popular today

Dark kitchen cabinets are also very popular today, especially if paired with white countertops. White carerra marble countertops are very popular but they are not such a good choice for a busy active family that actually cooks, because they are porous and will absorb oil, dirt, wine etc and stain easily. A new popular choice that is “sustainable and green” as well as “white” is using white quartz countertops that are not porous so will not stain.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Repurposing - The New Black

Repurposing - The New Black

Today we are really finally beginning to Go Green! Instead of continuing to  fill our landfills, people are finally beginning to do something "Green" from a design point of view! Now for the first time, when an item breaks, instead of just throwing it out, people are thinking of ways to reuse it and instead of discarding items that have lost their use, people are coming up with new uses for that item that really work!  For example, we are re-using antiques such as this tall candle-stand, combining them with popular circular drum lamp shades and giving them new life by making them into floor lamps.
But re-using antiques is something that we have been doing for ages. 
We are now taking this "re-using" concept one step further, and creating fabulous lamps from discarded old pipes, topping them with trendy circular drum lamp shades and creating lamps that are focal points that add interest to any room, like this lamp below.
And we are even converting old discarded pipes into marvelous new ceiling fixtures that we think are so trendy today! Once upon a time, this pipe would have gone into a landfill but today it has been converted into a trendy lamp that will grace someones lovely home. 
And these discarded old pipes have been converted into pendants that may light a lovely kitchen island or decorate a fabulous restaurant or trendy bar...
What a wonderful new concept this is! And what fabulous new items we have!
Don't you agree? I'd love to hear your comments..... email me at and tell me what you think...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whats new in Lighting? Everything!

Lighting has come a long way in the last few years! We used to only want to use incandescent bulbs because of their wonderful warm glow, but now we are getting used to LED’s which are so much more energy efficient! We used to only use very typical lighting fixtures such as crystal or wrought iron chandeliers and lamps, and now we are experimenting with repurposed items such as old used discarded pipes, old used discarded conveyor belts, old used candle-stands and virtually old used discarded anything and converting them into fabulous new lighting fixtures. Interior Designer Beverly Vosko of Beverly Vosko Interiors has long believed that re- using Antiques and discarded used items in her Interior Design schemes means giving those items new life, but ever since she became a L.E.E.D. Green Associate and a Certified Green Professional, “Designing Green” has taken on a new meaning for her. She loves Designing and Remodeling Green and incorporating these unique one of a kind re-purosed items into her design and remodeling schemes.  Not only can using repurposed lighting help the environment by keeping those repurposed items out of landfills, but if used creatively, they can become focal points that add interest and excitement to her clients rooms!  Look at these wonderful photos of new repurposed lighting! And if you like her ideas, please view her website to see some examples of her work  and then phone Beverly Vosko Interiors at 713 464-0055 or email to have her create a marvelous unique look for your home as well.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Designing Green - The New Black

We have a responsibility to sustain if not enhance our earth’s natural environment and our nation’s economy for future generations
Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs We can do this by:
      Limiting Resource Depletion
      Avoiding Environmental Degradation
      Preventing Habitat Loss and Extinction
      Working to Control Sources of Waste
which goes hand in hand with….
      Utilizing Materials that are recycled or that can be reclaimed and reused so they don’t end up as waste in our landfills and instead have new life  
How can we make our earth Sustainable for future generations?
By Designing Green today!
Designing Green is becoming so popular today that I call it “the new black”!
So how can we “Design Green” today?
1. Designing Green Is Using Rapidly Renewable/Sustainable Products that grow quickly – have a 10 year life cycle or less and that we can easily replenish - without using up the world’s natural resources
- Some sustainable/rapidly renewable products are: bamboo, cork, linoleum, natural rubber, straw board and wheat board
- All solid surface products and all quartz products are also sustainable!
- We can purchase Certified Wood which is wood grown in a sustainable manner under the auspices of the Forest Stewardship Council which means that every time we cut down a tree, we replant another one but NO WOOD is Rapidly Renewable because to date we haven’t figured out how to grow a tree back within 10 years or less
 2. Designing Green Is Using Sustainable Fabrics such as linen, hemp, wool, silk, cotton, soybean, bamboo  - These fabrics are made from high quality natural sustainable fibers which are better for everyone and better for the environment as well
 3. Designing Green is Repurposing used things!
We have a problem today- so many broken/discarded items end up in our landfills – Repurposing is the answer.
What does repurposing mean?
Repurposing” is using things for a 2nd time and giving them new life -  converting them from their original use which is no longer viable into something new, different & totally wonderful that people will use and also keeping those items out of landfills
A. Repurposing” is re-using Recycled and Reclaimed Materials
What is the difference between recycled and reclaimed?
-Recycled means crushing/breaking down an item and making it into something else such as glass being crushed and made into kitchens countertops or backsplash/border/wall tiles
-Reclaimed means re-using something exactly as it is , for a 2nd time – such as finding used stone tiles in one home and using those tiles again in another home
When we remodel or redecorate a home, many used items such as used wood, used steel pipes used glass, used brick and other used building materials, end up in a rubbish heap –we need to recycle and reclaim those items instead
And when we redecorate another home, rather than only use new items, we need to incorporate some of those reclaimed items into our overall design schemes        
B. Repurposing re-using Antiques/Used furniture/artifacts/architectural elements
It    Items such as old doors, old brick, old stone, old wood, old hardware, old artifacts and Antique Architectural Elements such as Antique/used columns and Antique/used fireplaces that come from buildings that are being remodeled or dilapidated buildings that are being torn down. These pieces are being discarded /thrown away and would otherwise end up in landfills.   Re-using them is giving these items a new life! And combining two used pieces is a double good green thing to do!
What are some things we can do to re-use them?
      1. Restore them to their original splendor as we have been doing for centuries
      2. Paint/Strip/Bleach them to give them a fresh look
          Painted covers a lot of ills, so you can instantly cover over whatever marks and stains   
         were on a piece and make it look new
         Today, dark wood finishes are not that popular, so stripping a piece and refinishing it in a
        lighter finish or in white or black or bleaching them,  can update it tremendously
      3. Combine 2 used pieces or mix old and new parts on one piece to create a new more
          exciting piece that becomes a focal point and add interest to a room
          Sometimes a used piece is either severely damaged or just ugly, boring an/or out of style
         and won’t be popular as it is no matter what finish it has
         Such a piece can often be dramatically improved by using part of it, and combining that
         part with another new or used section of piece such as taking an old table top and mixing
         it with a different more interesting base  be it old or new, (or vis versa) which adds      
         interest and creates an exciting “new” piece
 C. Repurposing is finding a new use for items that no longer have one  such as industrial  machinery parts, old newspapers, old paperbacks, old steel pipes, used bowling alley flooring and discarded chain link fences
       -We can take discarded items from a trash heap and create amazing things
        -Combining a lovely old table top with a used machinery part base creates an
        amazing “new” table.
       - And creating a table out of a used chain link fence or a used conveyor belt, or creating a
        headboard   out of a discarded bridge railing both creates new exciting “one of a kind”     
        items designed in shapes and textures that couldn’t be found using anything else and keeps     
        those discarded items out of our landfills
   -We taking this one step further, such as a work of art made from a collage of used
           paperback books
         - If we use our imagination, we can make something beautiful out of almost any discarded
D. Repurposing is using items found in nature such as shells, driftwood,petrified wood stumps and storm felled trees and conveting them into furniture and accessories
We now realize that anything and everything can be repurposed!
4. Understanding how to Design Green is a complicated thing
     If an item has to be shipped from far away,  (wasting energy to get it from one place to
     another)  or requires a lot of energy to be created  then it has a large carbon footprint
       and it is not as “Green” as a similar item or substitute item  found locally  near where you
       will be using it
       So items that would otherwise be “Green” such as Seagrass, or Sisal, or Jute are not as 
      “Green”   as we thought they were,  if they have to be shipped long distances from where
       they are made  to their ultimate destination which is to your client’s home
      Conversely something that is built locally and is created by hand without expending a great
      deal of energy, has a small carbon footprint and is Green
      So what is Green to one person in one location may not be Green to another person in a
      different location!
5. Designing Green is buying the Best Quality you can afford
      When we purchase good quality merchandise, it lasts many years
      When we buy inexpensive merchandise, much of it is meant to be thrown out after a few
      years and repurchased  - made with what we call build in obsolescence
     These items then end up in our landfills so are not at all “Green”
6. There are various shades of Green
    We are just learning how to design Green – so Designing Green is a process …
    And there are various shades of Green – meaning that there are various degrees of what is
    considered “Designing Green” and they all work…
     Some clients love the industrial look and want to incorporate repurposed products that
    utilize industrial machinery parts throughout their home while other clients don’t like that
   look at all
   Whatever degree you and your clients choose to “Design Green”,  it is better that doing
   I am an Interior Designer/remodeler who specializes in Green Design. If you have any questions or comments, please email, call 713 269-6909 or visit our website!