When Ann and I sealed the deal to go into business 15 years ago, we were thrilled to find how many things in common we had. Raised in Europe? Check. Love art? Check. Love wine? Check (and check.) Crazy about travel, especially to France? Check. Obsessed with all things interior design? Yep, check, check and check.
Fast forward to 2020 and the love of interior design that we share has become kind of a big deal around here. Huff Harrington Design launched last year and we're delighted to say it's already graduated from crawling to running. It helps that we have a stellar team of designers, from Trudy who runs the division (an alum of West Elm and Serena and Lily) to designers Heather, Wren, Sam and Debbie.
Our Huff Harrington design team
Who knew that 2020 would become the year of the home and all things house-related? We're looking at our kitchens, living spaces (both inside and outside) and bedrooms thinking that now's as good a time as ever to refresh and refluff. Don't even get us started on home offices. And guess what: using a designer will save you time, money and lots of aggravation because they don't make mistakes.
A darling little bungalow project we recently wrapped up.
Here's how our designers handle some common design blunders (can you relate to any of these? I can!)
Q: I just bought this piece and it's too small/too big/looks awful in my room! Help!
A: That's okay. It's actually a really normal mistake to make and we see it all the time. The lure of buying instant-gratification furniture online is hard to resist but what so many of us don't realize is the importance of proportion. Chairs arrive too small and coffee tables show up as twice the size we envisioned on the computer screen. We've actually all been trained to work with spatial planning whether it's a floor plan or a furniture plan. Solution: return the piece and try again, maybe with the advice of a designer.
You can never underestimate the importance of scale and proportion. This is an elegant little midtown condo that we just loved working on.
Q: Oh no, I was overly confident in measuring for my new window-treatments. They've arrived - and they're way too short!
A: I confess, I am guilty of this blunder. I politely shooed off offers of measuring help from our designers - and was horrified when my beautiful curtains were installed and were a good five inches from the ground. Where did I go wrong? I won't bore you with the details but I failed to take into account the size of the rod and the rings. I had to endure a hit on the wallet to re-sew (not to mention a couple of eye-rolls.)
Details, details, details.
Our designers have relationships with a whole stable of workrooms and subcontractors who are experts in their fields. Our curtain/pillow person is the most precise, exacting professional who measures down to the millimeter. Our wallpaper guy is a dream and ditto for the other guy who can hang and install everything from paintings to toilet paper holders to yards and yards of curtains.
These are actually the curtains I had to redo because I mis-measured.
Q: I'm ready to update my family room, but I'm completely overwhelmed by the options that are out there.
A: Designers know how and where to source.
First of all, sourcing takes hours and hours and hours. Even our design team, which has has an enormous library of sources at their fingertips, will spend days identifying the perfect pieces for our clients. While the rest of us are still clicking away on the computer, they've already tracked down upholstery that offers the best bang for the buck or the dining chairs that are gorgeous and comfortable. They have relationships with vendors and manufacturers so they're on the front lines of delivery information and updates that are so crucial right now.
Second, interior design is so much more than simply clicking a button to order furniture. Not only is scale and proportion tantamount to a successful design, but there's the whole delicate balance of mixing the elements of texture and pattern. And what about deciding on the hard surfaces: countertops, cabinetry detail and color, flooring, lighting and hardware? I know we're a little biased but the list of value that designers bring to the table is so long.
A high-rise condo in midtown. Wide open spaces and art galore.
Q: I'm trying to arrange my bookshelves but it's just not working. I can't get them to look like the ones I see in my favorite design magazines. What am I doing wrong?
A: Believe it or not, styling bookshelves and coffee tables is harder than it looks. Interior designers have honed the skill of accessorizing. They understand the ying and yang of design and know when and how to add layers of complementary elements and objects. They can arrange bookshelves and coffee tables in their sleep and the results are always interesting and visually pleasing.
Q: Okay, I'm ready to hand my project off to a professional. What's the next step?
A: That's an easy one. Just shoot us an email here and we'll be happy to get the ball rolling on your interior design project. We'll save you time and money and we can assure you'll we'll all have a blast during the process. The end result? Your gorgeous, updated space that's perfect for 2020 living.