January 2014 Posts

Design Philosophy

By: Stephanie Andrews
Sometimes I ponder why interior design exists. It may appear trivial on the surface, especially if I am talking to a heart specialist or a teacher. But when I stop to think about it, we as interior designers can fulfill some very important emotional needs and solve some very complex problems.

Each week I meet a potential client looking for something: better family time, more order, more joy, more beauty, more pride, more fun. Everyone gravitates to different styles: eclectic, classic, fashion-forward, dramatic, mid-century. The underlying reason they call on us is because they believe we can help them fulfill their needs.  How we create a solution becomes our art.  For us to succeed, we need to truly listen and understand what our clients are saying (or not saying).

Here are some examples of Balance Design’s emotional problem solving:
Improved Family Time: With teenagers at home, this was the room off the kitchen where everybody congregated to lounge – with its central location and cozy fireplace. The goal was to comfortably hold their family of four carrying out a myriad of different things: web-surfing, watching tv, reading, playing games and napping. We believed if this room could be comfortable, beautiful and functional, it would encourage the family to hang out together.
Collected Order: This client had a rather small home for a family of five. She had many books, art and family treasures that needed order in a beautiful way. We designed her dining room with custom details like a pull-down bar, desk and bookshelves and curated her pieces to remind her of her family’s long history.
A Sense of Pride: This client just purchased a beautiful new home. She wanted to create an unique and dramatic entrance where her family and guests experienced the sense that they had truly arrived.  We created a foyer that did just that – with figurines from their trip to China, dramatic stripes in the window treatments and vibrant blue stools.
Youthful Merriment: Kids rooms are truly areas to have fun. From favorite colors, to roll-around carpets, to a picture of a deer in tube socks!  Sometimes good design is capturing the quirky just enough to make you smile when you are in the room.
Whatever your motivation: order, fun, recognition, improved family time or simply beauty – good design can help fulfill those needs in ways you may have never thought of.

The Most Important Seat in the House

By: Elisabeth Paulson

Whether your dining table seats your family at breakfast or your most fabulous on Friday night, dining chairs already seat the ones you love. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to turn them into striking design elements for your home? Here are some options that are sure to delight any dinner guest:


Starting with my new favorite, this teak and rattan chair from Noir has an updated Danish look. The curved back provides awe from every view.


We love a simple leather chair for a family dining room – it provides versatility and timelessness. This is a new slate gray option from Room & Board – more colors available.

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This Windsor chair is updated with a splash of color- pair this with a traditional table and you have just brought your dining room into this century. This one is the Willa Chair from Crate & Barrel.

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The devil’s in the details: here is a simple-lined Parson-esque chair with beautiful attention to the legs and upholstery. This piece from Vanguard Furniture could work in any transitional home – hundreds of fabrics available.

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Ending with my other new favorite – a completely new look with classic inspiration and comfort to boot – and look at this back! Jonathan Adler does it again.

Feel free to contact Balance Design with questions about these chairs and more! Also, check our our Pinterest page for more inspiration: http://www.pinterest.com/balance/

5 Ways to Heat Up Your Home under $40

By: Stephanie Andrews

As the New Year turns, I think about inexpensive ways to update our homes, highlight a trend, or just make us feel warmer in this cool weather. Here are some ideas starting with the lowest cost. What do you do to give your home an affordable lift?

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1.  $9.00 Amazon Lily Bulbs.
These little guys make me so happy when they pop their little heads out of the dirt!  It’s a gentle reminder that spring is coming. Since these unique beauties are tropical, the bulbs don’t need winter-forcing. Go ahead and plant in a pot and wait for the blooms!
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2. $14 Mid-Century Bowls from West Elm
The cold weather inspires me to pull out the crock pot for soup and nothing accompanies like these colorful soup bowls.  I know I cheated a bit on this price –  they are priced individually but you are going to want at least two!
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3. $9.99 Fuchsia Tea Kettle from World Market
A teapot is not only beautiful, but a way to enjoy a tradition that has been around for centuries.  When I drink hot tea at night, I feel like I have slowed down my life in a meaningful way.  (Especially if my tea accompanies Downton Abbey.) Beware: this hot fuchsia example may energize more than calm…!
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4. $28.00 Mekong Tea Towel from Anthropologie
This little tea towel is a splurge, but what better way to enjoy doing dishes than by drying them with something fresh and colorful? I admit that tea towels are a weakness of mine – but my kitchen has never looked happier.
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5.  $35 Accent Wall Paint (costs will vary)
In my home, we have a painted wall that changes fairly regularly depending on the color phase that I am in. Currently it is blue-gray, before that it was red-orange, next I am contemplating a deep turquoise. Picking one wall removes the anxiety and cost of changing color with whimsy. (Photo credit from Houzz.com)