5 Tips for Botanical Arrangements

We’re excited to announce an expansion of our business with the inclusion of our botanical specialist. We’d like you to meet Betsy, our new floral designer.

Growing up in the state of Indiana, Betsy has always been around flowers and gardens. As an adult, she honed her skills and knowledge of botanicals and their compatibility while working in a nursery in Pacific Grove, a town just outside Monterey, California. She developed her design eye, working as a graphic designer for years eventually finding her way exclusively in botanical design. Betsy has extensive experience working in both dried and silk flowers and is very enthusiastic about being a part of our team.

We asked Betsy to give us a few tips on botanicals to help you think about the kind of arrangement that works best for you whether you’re working with a designer or just trying it out on your own.

1. Know Your Style

Do you like more traditional decor? Or, are you a fan of contemporary design? Knowing your taste in design style will help you decide what types of flowers and greenery to choose. Betsy says that: sometimes, you can contrast styles, don’t be afraid of something different from your interior space or your comfort zone. And by all means, don’t be afraid of color!

2. Choose the Right Container

Containers can make or break the space. Choose the appropriate height for the setting. For instance: if it’s going to be on a kitchen table, you want it low enough to see over and around it.

Also, think about the color and texture of the container. These two elements will provide the direction for your design.

3. Choose the Appropriate Botanicals

How will the arrangement be viewed? Will it be just from the front, three sides or from all sides? Knowing this will inform your decision regarding where showier flowers will appear in the arrangement. Keep in mind that you want to contrast size, color and texture to make a more interesting arrangement. At the same time, look for balance in the types of botanicals and foliage you choose. This will help you achieve a more natural design in your arrangement.

4. Allow for Variation in Height

As mentioned above, a more natural look will be achieved if the flowers have variations in height. If you cut your stems too short, you make adjustments. Since these are not live flowers you can always make adjustments with other materials like foam and wire.

5. Try to Create Movement in your Arrangement

When working with silks, know that you can bend the stems to give motion and direction to affect the overall arrangement. This will make the difference between an arrangement that just sits on the table and one that catches your eye and creates interest.

7 Things You Can Do to Freshen up Your Home for Spring

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Winter is slowly fading, bringing us the welcoming signs of spring. The days are growing longer and soon we’ll start seeing the daffodils blooming, trees foliating and the return of robins. With all that going on outside, it’s time to make a few changes inside. Here are some tips for embracing the coming spring inside your home. 

1. Focus on a Focal Point

A focal point can be a permanent fixture in your home like a fireplace or a window. But you can also use something new that reflects the season like a plant or floral arrangement. Sometimes, just rearranging chairs and the sofa to create an area for conversation can help refocus attention on an area of the room that needs a little love. 

Create a center: adding furniture like a coffee table will not only help establish a focal point and establish an anchor to a room but it can also add balance to a space. 

No matter what you do, it’s important to have a place in the room that draws your eye to it. That focus allows the room to feel more cohesive and comfortable to be in. 

2. Create Symmetry 

Along the same lines as our first suggestion, creating symmetry to a room can bring visual harmony and make a space more inviting to be in. 

You might try flanking a sofa with side tables and a pair of lamps on either side, bringing a sense of balance to the room. 

You can also achieve symmetric balance with accessories like pillows. Add an even number of matching pillows (two of a kind) or two of one kind and two of another. Items placed on a mantle may also provide an opportunity for symmetry in your room.

3. Add an Area Rug

If you have floors that aren’t carpeted, then a floor rug can not only help bring balance to a room, it can reflect the season as well through color and texture. 

Make sure that the rug is large enough for the room. Visually, it helps to have all the front legs of all the chairs and sofa sitting on the rug. The rug can anchor the room and provide a focal point that we mentioned in our first tip.  It can also help establish symmetry in a room like our second tip suggests. 

4. Add Organic Elements

Bring in natural elements like a bowl of lemons or tangerines to add texture and color to a room. Accessories or found objects made of wood or organic materials will also add to the room and reflect the spring season of growth and renewal. 

5. Plants and Greenery

To that end, live plants or cut flowers add to the spirit of the season and allow you to introduce vases, pots or containers to your room for added interest or a seasonally-thematic touch.

6. Swap out Pillows

Swapping out pillows is an easy way to welcome the season. We like cotton or linen fabrics for pillows in spring colors of pastel stripes or solids. The lighter colors and textures help set the tone for the freshness of spring.  

7. Pops of Color

Like our other tips, this one fits in with the others above and is always something to think about when adding interest to a room. As mentioned before lighter colors can reflect springtime. But brightly colored accessories like bright yellow daffodils or cobalt blue glass can compliment the softer colors of spring. Springtime more than any other seasons is all about color, so embrace that energy and let it add new life to your home. 

The Most Common Question

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There’s a lot of fear around choosing paint colors for your home and the question we’re asked the most is: “what paint color should I choose?”

Let’s face it color can make or break a room and choosing it can lead to bold choices that don’t quite work out or, the opposite—a conservative choice that doesn’t do much at all. Other times, trying to choose color can stop the process in its tracks through indecision. Not only that but that fear and/or dread around choosing paint can create problems that are often not seen until the project is completed and furnishings are in place.

Although the physical act of painting the room should be done before furnishings and other elements of a room are installed, people don’t realize that choosing paint is last step in the design process. This of course seems counter intuitive. But if you look at it from a budgetary or availability-of-resources perspective it’s best to choose paint color after everything else is selected.

Start with the Most Limited Resources

When designing a room or a set of rooms it’s important to start with the most limited resources first: furnishings, lighting, floors, carpets or rugs and window treatments. Availability of items like sofas and chairs, tables or art can be finite and a budget can limit what items or what type of things can be put together in combination.

Paint is an Abundant Resource

In contrast, paint is your most abundant resource. It’s cheaper to buy than a sofa or rugs and a lot of colors are available. Not only that, it’s much easier to choose a color of paint once you have all the other elements in place to work with. That seemingly infinite number of color choices is quickly reduced once the empty room with bare walls has an ensemble of elements to work with. Having that in place makes it much easier to choose your paint.

Light Makes a Difference

Not only that but light and lighting can change the color in a room very quickly. Outside light from windows and the direction that light comes from will effect the overall color of the room. Lighting from lamps or overhead lighting can counteract or change the hue or light temperature of a space. That additional dynamic of light and color makes it even more important to choose the wall colors last in the design process.

What’s Best to do?

So, what color should you choose? Most people don’t have the time or energy to think about all the moving parts of putting a room together. And most people do start with choosing the paint color first. As we mentioned above, these choices can lead to bold mistakes or conservative choices that fall flat. Working with a designer alleviates the fear and prevents those mistakes. A designer looks at all aspects of a space and creates a plan. Color, texture, light and volume all come into play when designing a room. Designers can make small, cramped rooms feel much larger or large rooms more intimate by using the process of design. This takes the fear out of choosing paint and ultimately creates a space that you love to be in.

Do you have questions? Ask us your interior design questions. Go to our Questions page. There, you can leave us your question and we’ll get back to you with our answer.


Total First Floor Renovation

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In our first post for the new year, we wanted to review a project that we did in this past year, one that we’re very proud of.

Often we get called in to solve problems and discover that the solution was much different than our clients ever imagined was possible. In the case of this project, we transformed a home with a more traditional layout and separation of rooms to an open concept home with more flow and open sight lines.

Our clients were at a crossroads, they weren’t sure whether they should sell their home and buy a new one or renovate what they had to get what they wanted. They had lived in the house for some time and lived with things that they didn’t necessarily like. In some cases they tried to solve problems themselves but with mixed results. Although we only worked on the first floor, this project was a big renovation and one in which we were able to bring in a lot of the residential services that we offer to our clients.

The first order of business was to open up the space. The house was from another era and rooms were separated which didn’t allow for the kind of flow contemporary homes provide. This made it hard to entertain and to live a kind lifestyle people are accustomed to today. In this case, the kitchen and dining room were cut off from the living room by walls, walls with doors, but walls all the same. A fireplace was at the center of all these rooms and we decided that this was the place to start.

We proposed opening up the space around the fireplace so that someone could see the dining room and kitchen from the living room, and someone in the kitchen could see the other two rooms as well as anyone in them. At the same time, the fireplace, which after the renovation became a see-through fireplace—remained the central element in the house but didn’t dominate the space.

To do this we needed to take out the load-bearing wall which separated the living room from the dining room and kitchen. This is where the multitude of services we offer came into play and allowed us to provide a solution to what we proposed. Our construction crew installed steel beams to replace the wood headers which allowed us to take out the wall that blocked light and views and the sense of space found in contemporary homes.

The next step was to address issues in the kitchen. Like a lot of kitchens this one suffered from lack of light and a lack of workflow. Two key things helped remedy these issues. The first was to remove the wall between the back porch and the kitchen.

Previously, our clients enclosed the porch with windows which brought in great light but only for that room. By taking out the wall between the porch and kitchen, the space felt lighter and more relaxed, and natural light flowed into the kitchen to create a brighter space.

With the light streaming into the kitchen from the porch, we could now close off a small window that looked out toward a neighboring house and didn’t provide very good light. But by  closing off the window, more space was available to work with in the kitchen and a new home for the stove and hood was found. We then placed an island with a sink and bar to gather around, sit and eat. The circulation in the kitchen became much better and the mood of the room changed, making it a more inviting space to be in.

In all the work we do with our clients we present options and information that allow them to make the decisions and this project was no exception. Many decisions had to be made about materials, colors, textures and about what stayed in place and what had to go. Working with our clients on this project, we pushed boundaries of space and comfort zones which created surprising and pleasant results. All in all our clients were thrilled with their new space. People who knew the house from previous visits, didn’t recognize it. Guests old and new visiting during the holidays loved the results and the feel of the new space.

What are some of the issues you’re having in your home? Are you at a similar crossroads and ready for a reboot? Or, are you looking to just freshen up the look of one or two rooms? In any case, we can help you with making your current or new home into a place that feels right for you.

Check out our Services Page and Contact Us for a consult.

A Holiday Flash Sale

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Looking to do some last minute sprucing up before the holidays? We're holding a flash sale starting today, Tuesday, December 4th, through the end of the day on Thursday, December 6th. We're offering 50% off a selection of beautiful (and festive!) floral arrangements, mirrors, & furniture.

Click here to see what's available!

All items can be here by Christmas, but quantities are limited -- so make sure to act fast! To purchase any of these items or to schedule a one-on-one consultation during Workshop Wednesday, please email us at angela@angelanolfi.com or call 724-816-7144. 

P.S. We're going to have more flash sales featuring some of the different manufacturers & styles that we carry -- stay tuned to see what's next!