Posts Tagged ‘Home Improvements’

Reupholstering a Banquette: Snags and Solutions

September 6th, 2012 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

I love banquettes for their coziness and space-saving attributes.  They are more comfortable and capable of seating more people than most kitchen chairs and can be conveniently tucked into an odd corner or nook of your home.  Their comfort and convenience makes them a natural spot for spending relaxing time throughout the day or gathering for a casual and lingering conversation with friends and family.

A good banquette sees a lot of use and will therefore require reupholstering after a while. I was recently commissioned to reupholster a beautiful banquette for a client.  Their banquette had been well-used over the past five years, and the fabric was showing substantial wear and tear.  Though the banquette was nearly twelve feet long, the project itself was simple and straightforward, or so I thought.

We decided to use a strong and durable vinyl for the new upholstery on the banquette, and we found a beautiful upholstered vinyl fabric that looked promising and stood up well to initial tests for durability. Unfortunately, partway through the upholstering process we discovered that the embroidery on the vinyl was too delicate.  The fabric hadn’t even seen use in the home before snags started forming, and I couldn’t let the unraveling, delicate fabric into my client’s home.  I showed the supplier and immediately contacted the client about the issue.  Together we selected a simpler and more durable vinyl fabric, and the supplier was kind enough to cover the cost of the new fabric.


The “problem” vinyl fabric:

Embroidered Vinyl Banquette Cover

We have since finished the banquette and all is well. I used the lessons learned from this experience with the embroidered vinyl when recovering my own banquette in my kitchen nook.  Sometimes even the simplest projects run into their snags, but there is never an excuse to sacrifice quality craftsmanship for an easier solution.


Reselected vinyl-mid installation :

Plain Vinyl

I would love to help you redesign your space.  Contact us at Interior Makeovers Inc. by calling 310-788-0990 or emailing

How To Create A Summer Escape At Home

July 27th, 2010 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Whether you call it a beach house, summer cottage or weekend pied-a-terre – who says you can’t create your own coastal look at home.

  • Beach house style living gives you the luxury of living more casually but with great sophistication and style.
  • White tends to be the most used color in interior design. Is white a true color or rather the lack of it?  Regardless, it’s extremely malleable, easily transitional and highly reflective creating a bright and cheery atmosphere even on the gloomiest days.
  • Using white walls, ceilings, floors, moldings as the dominant color in a home might seem a like a recipe for disaster to some, but the reality is it enlarges small spaces at the same time acting as the ideal backdrop for making every day practical items pop like works of art.  The space feels lighter and airier.
  • Treat your ceiling to some volume if at all possible with exposed beams and truss work, and add some 8” tongue and grooved paneling to your ceilings and/or
  • Everyone loves the dark deep rich tones of wood floors over the past few years, but to achieve that lighter and brighter “beachy” environment consider going blonde.   Sand your floorboards and refinish them in a myriad of ways by using natural linseed oils, white wax oils, lyes or white soaps to get the latest look.  A lighter looking floor allows the wood’s character to show through, which tends to create a more rustic feel.  Top it off with a natural area rug for added texture and comfort.
  • Incorporating a host of organic materials such as bamboos, rattans and natural woods creates a sense of both casual and natural living – perfect for achieving that summer-like cottage environment.
  • Maximize your outdoor views whether it’s your pool, patio, deck or lake, with bi-fold or sliding doors – that tuck neatly away – to extend the interior out to the exterior.
  • Grab inspiration from your home’s natural environment – so when it comes time to select your color palette – let your outdoor property help guide your color inspiration.
  • Use slipcovers on seating – and provide yourself with multiple sets in alternating fabrics and colors for the changing seasons.  Do the same with your accessories – shifting from spring/summer and fall/winter without ever having to leave your vacation home.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

5 Ways to Make Your Home – Dog Friendly

February 3rd, 2010 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

For the 43 million of us who have dogs in our lives we understand that special bond that exists.  Studies have shown that living with pets directly relieves the daily stress and lowers the chances of heart attacks and strokes.

Dogs are loyal, loving and provide us with a sense of protection. They are always excited to see us, never complain, and tolerate our shortcomings.

But lets be honest.   Dogs are messy!

Maintaining a clean and comfortable home without compromising style is important for a successful co-existence between you and your pet.  Combining your family’s needs along with your pooch’s – will provide you with a great sense of satisfaction and relief.

So here are a few pet-friendly design and decorating tips to help simplify your life.

1.  Flooring.

  • Avoid carpeting if at all possible.  It’s a very unforgiving material to have underfoot when it comes to accidents and traipsing in dirt from the outside – not to mention the clumps of fur, hair and bacteria trapped from within.
  • If your dog has regular access to carpeted areas throughout your home have them professionally cleaned every 2 months.  If you insist on carpeting – introduce self-adhesive carpet tiles.  That way you can easily replace one soiled tile rather than an entire carpet.
  • Install easy-to-clean low maintenance materials such as ceramic tile, vinyl, stone, concrete or any hardwoods. Have your pup’s nails trimmed often to keep floor scratches to a minimum.
  • Don’t be afraid to introduce area rugs for warmth and character. Natural sisals and seagrass area rugs are very durable. Depending on the type, they can be easily cleaned and maintained.

2.  Upholstery.

  • Avoid both very light and very dark fabrics – as they tend to show every pet hair and stain known to man.  Warm neutrals and durable fabrics will be somewhat forgiving, and still lets you know when it’s time for a cleaning.
  • Some feel leather is a great upholstery solution.  It’s easily wipe-able and impervious to odors.  The flip side is, if your dog is a nester (like mine) you’ll invariably begin to see scratches and indentations on the cushions.
  • Slipcovers are a perfect solution for soft seating.  Not only will the washable fabric protect your favorite sofa – it will also provide you with an instant interior makeover while the covers are being laundered.

3.  Wall Finish.

  • Re-paint your walls with satin or eggshell paints and avoid flat entirely. Your dog may be prone to drooling and one shake after coming in from the rain will leave your flat finished wall, marked and full of stains.  Satin and eggshell finishes are wipe-able and much easier to clean. (Semi-gloss paint works also, yet shows every wall imperfection)
  • Infuse some instant character into your pets favorite spaces by introducing some wainscoting and molding approx. 42” up the wall. It will protect the wall from stains and dirt.  Paint the wainscoting with a semi-gloss, eggshell or satin finish for easy cleaning and the upper wall portion in a flat contrasting color.
  • Wood paneling, glass and mirrored walls are also easily maintained – not to mention beautiful design elements to implement into any home.

4.  Collectables.

  • Remove your priceless delicate collectables off the sofa back tables, end tables and any other low lying surface, where the swipe of a tail – large or small – will level your living space.
  • Place all these sentimental antique figurines in a special cabinet or shelving area – or in another room entirely – where Sparky isn’t allowed.

5.  Clean Up Corner.

  • This is THE ideal situation for those who have the layout and space.  It can be incorporated into a back hall area, mudroom or existing laundry space.
  • If possible provide a shower floor with a hand held showerhead, making those daily paw baths that much quicker, easier and cleaner!
  • Wall-mount some shelving units from your home improvement store and keep your dog’s food, leashes, toys and towels in one clean corner.
  • Have an absorbent dog mat and towels at the door for an immediate landing spot on those wet and miserable rainy days.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc

10 Ways to Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Weekend!

December 11th, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

We’ve all heard the saying “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” Proudly showing off your home’s exterior sets the stage for what’s to come, and gives the impression that it’s loved inside and out.

Whether you’re planning to sell, or live there for years to come, there are very simple cost effective ways to spruce up your home’s curb appeal. Here are some projects you can do this weekend to give your home the boost it needs. It just takes a bit of creativity and…. elbow grease!

  1. Maintenance. Start by cleaning up your yard. Make sure tools or equipment are neatly stored in your shed or garage. Kill any weeds poking through the cracks in the driveway and walkway, and give those surfaces a good power spray. This will clean away any discoloration and old grease stains. Remove any overgrown weeds, dead plants and flowers throughout your property. Trim all shrubs and trees particularly if they’re obstructing your front door. Have your lawn mowed once a week and add sod to dead spots when needed.
  2. Windows. Clean windows inside and out so they sparkle and shine. Make sure the window coverings used on the interior are not distracting from the exterior. If the style of architecture allows, install some charming window boxes planted with your favorite plants and flowers for a burst of color.
  3. Gutters and Downspouts. Walk around the perimeter of your home and make sure all your gutters and downspouts are clean and tightly connected. If they’re in need of serious repair then replace them. They typically charge per linear foot.
  4. Paint. If the paint on your house looks gray, cracked and weathered then it’s time for a fresh coat of paint. Either tackle it yourself, or hire a professional to help. If cost and time are factors simply paint out the front door, window trims, shutters and any fencing in a fresh new color.
  5. Landscaping. Adding shrubs, flowers or container gardens add instant impact to your front yard. Create an inviting entrance by investing in a pair of architectural pots, fill them with flowering plants, and place them on the landing flanking the front door. Dig a new planting bed for flowers along the driveway or in front of your house.
  6. Details. If the front of your home is void of details, then create some! Draw attention to your entryway by adding some chunky molding. Create some visual interest by installing new window trim and shutters. You may even consider incorporating a charming new fence, trellis, or water feature.
  7. Lighting. If your front entry fixtures are worn, cracked or rusted, replace them. Create a sense of drama by adding some low voltage or solar garden lights along your sidewalk and driveway. It’s a fabulous way to provide you with extra illumination and a little added security.
  8. Hardscaping. If you have a front porch, arbor, or trellis make sure they are in pristine condition and paint or stain the wood to look like new. Consider tiling your front doorstep creating a permanent welcome mat, or introduce a natural stone border along the sidewalk or driveway.
  9. Roofing. If you need a brand new roof then it’s not a weekend project. But make sure you do replace any cracked or missing tiles or shingles where needed. A roof could potentially cover anywhere from 40%-60% of your home’s overall visual appearance, so make sure it’s in good condition.
  10. Hardware. Time to shop. Replace your old front door handle, mailbox, house numbers and knockers for a fresh new look. They don’t need to be expensive pieces. Get rid of the old shiny brass hardware and introduce some antique copper, bronze or brushed nickel. Doesn’t your home deserve some new jewelry?

Improving your home’s curb appeal doesn’t need to be extensive or expensive. Some cleaning, fresh paint, accent lighting and a few new accessories may be all it needs. Take pride and enjoy it!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc

What You “Need To Know” About Your Home While Planning For Your Renovation

December 3rd, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Brown Residence, Week 3

Need List_ Inspection 3-2 (1st)Since the Brown’s took their time in assessing their family’s needs by asking themselves a litany of questions, they were able to evaluate their current situation, determine their goals and compile a solid dream home “wish list”.  This is a critical step in the pre-planning process and makes all the difference between a good home renovation project – and a great one!

With a whole house remodel of this magnitude and a potential budget to match, it’s equally important to move on to the next set step of establishing a “need list”. More specifically, we need to determine what condition their house is currently in – and learn as much as we can about its weaknesses – both inside and out.

What we’re looking for:

  • Cracks in the existing foundation.
  • Rotting or splitting around doors and windows.
  • Sagging roof sections or missing shingles.
  • Antiquated wiring – which could potentially become a fire hazard.
  • The current amp capacity (which will need to be increased in order to accommodate their wish list).
  • Check plumbing and water pressure and temperature.  If the pipes are galvanized steel then upgrade them to copper.Need List_Inspection 3-2 (2nd)

If you’re in a similar situation and it seems a bit overwhelming, consider calling in a contractor or building inspector before you even begin the renovation process, and have them conduct a physical inspection of your home.  You’ll have a much better assessment of where you stand.

The “need (to fix it) list” may not be part of the Brown’s original plan – but it’s necessary to ensure their money will be wisely spent.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc

Dare To Dream?

November 27th, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Brown Residence, Week 2
Liz and Mark Brown have gained great insights (over the last eight years) into how their home has worked for them in the past – and more importantly – what obstacles they face now.

Identifying their home’s past successes, living with its present restrictions, and imagining the dream home of their future, provided the Brown’s with a comprehensive “wish list” Dare to Dream Image 2-2which helped define their goals for their home renovation and addition project.

At the onset of every design project, I encourage my clients to do some homework and create a wish list.  This is the stage where you dream big and the sky’s the limit.  Dream about absolutely everything you envision your home could be!

It’s a great exercise and a little indulgent, but if you close your eyes and imagine – every specific detail you’d like to see in your newly renovated dream home – your spacious new master suite, that fabulous kitchen addition with state of the art appliances, or the master bath spa retreat – you may be surprised at what you’re actually able to achieve with the help of a design professional.

Liz was a step ahead and within our second meeting she presented me with a wish list two pages long. She’s extremely well organized, capable and well versed in design and construction – and provided me with a comprehensive set of notes itemizing the challenges that her family currently faced. It was an extensive list documenting what they now wanted to achieve with this home renovation project – and more importantly how it should reflect their family’s lifestyle.

If you Dream It!

You can Live It!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc

Should You Move or Improve?

November 17th, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Brown Residence, Week 1
I have to say that of all the homes and projects I’ve designed over the years, I’m most excited about this one.  I truly believe the transformation of this home will prove to be a phenomenal experience for all involved.

The scope of this renovation project is so vast, that it could almost be considered a new build, so we need to approach this project with precision planning and meticulous detail.  Creating a successful renovation experience and a fabulous end product for these clients require painstaking preparation and a focused mind-set on everyone’s part.

But I now need to share something with you.  There’s a potential glitch looming.  You see, while I’m in the throes of re-planning and re-designing this spectacular home –my clients Liz and Mark Brown are expecting their fourth child (in just a few months)—and while everyone’s aware that there’s no possible way this project will even break ground before summer – Liz is now shopping for homes!  She’s feeling a little anxious, slightly overwhelmed and they’re definitely short a bedroom or two.  So needless to say moving into the perfect house is very appealing to her right now.

contemporary exterior

Will they find that perfect house?

Or will we create their dream home?

Hard hat

I encourage you leave questions or comments below post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc