New Domain! (The virtual kind!)

We've moved to!!   Click here to visit us there!

We've moved to!! Click here to visit us there!

We’ve moved to a new domain!  Please visit The View here!

Choosing an Accent Wall

Part of our design project here is to choose new paint colors for our kitchen/living/dining room combined area.  I’ve written quite a bit about my struggles with choosing paint colors in the past, and the thought of choosing color(s) for one large space is causing my head to spin.  Part of the problem is that I know we should have an accent/anchor wall.  Also, while I want to show the division of say, the dining room and the living space, one continuous color will have to work for both as there is no structural division that would allow for a paint shade change.

I’ve been doing some searching of images for inspiration and have come up with the following:

An accent wall from House Beautiful:

accent wallHBX-color-2-0709-xlg

This gold-leaf wall from HGTV is interesting to say the least, but leaves me wondering what choosing a paint color with a bit of a metallic hue to it would do…. maybe a deep bronze?  Could be very pretty in the evening with the right lighting.  Actually, the more I think about it, the metallic gold leaf is growing on me.

accent wall gold leafHRIPR-107_GoldLeaf_After_lg

As the author at Sunset describes here, very dark accent walls provide a dramatic backdrop for artwork and the other items in your room.

accent wallpaint-ideas-black-wall-1009-l

Our very 90’s style condo doesn’t have many architectural details to show off, so maybe in situations like these you are better off using an accent color inside built-ins or other nooks (also from

accent wallspaint-ideas-turquoise-cupboard-1009-lThe more I think about it, I’m more inclined to stick with one “safe” color and perhaps do smaller accent spaces like the shelving above.  Maybe some stenciling or paint just a few shades darker than the base color on a few walls to define space.  We clearly have a lot of thinking to do in the next few weeks!  To be continued…

Deal of the Day – Striation Clock

The very cool Striation Clock will do much more than keep you on time.  It’s modern cool design makes a fabulous accent to your space.

Striation Wall Clock from Nuevo

Striation Wall Clock from Nuevo

Save 10% off the Striation Wall Clock today!  What a great deal!

Modern Design in DC

Are you a fan of mid-century modern?  If you’re familiar with real estate in the DC area (DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia) you know that traditional is the predominant style of architecture here.  That’s why I appreciate Modern Capital so much – they provide news and information on the communities and homes in the area that can be classified as “mid-century modern”.  To me, this translates into open floor plans, unfussy lines, larger windows and higher ceilings.  Some very lovely things, don’t you think?


A friend of mine turned me onto the site when she learned we were combing the market for a more contemporary home.  (Trust me, the market is dominated by traditional properties!)  Anyway, as you may know we’ve postponed our search at least until the spring but I will be better armed and abreast of the market with access to Modern Capital.

Here are a few images from a cool post last week covering a beautiful modern home in Richmond.  Thanks Michael @ Modern Capital for the great pics and video tour!

Rice House 9-26-09 097

Rice House 9-26-09 106

Rice House 9-26-09 173

Does your city have sources of information on modern or specific styles of real estate?

Product of the Day – Bamboo Shag Rug

These gorgeous bamboo shag rugs are hypo-allergenic and are made using only non-toxic, Azo-free dyes.  A beautiful and healthy choice for your new floor coverings.

Bamboo Shag Rugs

Bamboo Shag Rug

Save an additional 10% today PLUS free shipping!

Exposed Plumbing – A Good Thing?

Seeing this recent post on the real estate blog, Curbed, made me reconsider my normal peace with exposed plumbing in loft-style spaces.  You can see that this San Francisco penthouse condo (currently owned by Twitter founder Evan Williams – side note: “Evan Williams” is also the name of the economically priced Kentucky Bourbon my older brother tends to favor) is not lacking whatsoever in natural light, high ceilings and a generally open feel.  An apartment to covet on nearly every level.  However, something about the pipes is irksome.  I think it’s their size – just larger than the size of, say, a closet rod, makes me want to use them as extra places to hang my clothes.  If they were slightly larger they might have a more architectural feel.   However, I do appreciate the attempts to make them fall into the background with the same color paint as the surrounding walls.

curbed 4



I noticed that someone commented on the pipes as well so I might not be completely alone in my feelings – check out the full article here.  How would you handle having these pipes exposed in your space?

Product of the Day – Snowflake Shade

I know it’s a little early for some of us, but I couldn’t resist showing off the Snowflake Shade.  Delicate and whimsical, it is available with the necessary hardware to use as either a plug-in or hard-wire pendant.

Snowflake Ceiling Pendant

Snowflake Ceiling Pendant

Add a little fun to your space and save 10% through Monday!

Inspiration from a Modern Contemporary Home

Today the Washington Post featured a beautiful new contemporary home located nearby in Chevy Chase, MD.   The owners reluctantly replaced their cozy farmhouse with an entirely modern design after their home was destroyed by a fallen tree.  While many urban dwellers don’t have (anywhere near) this much space to work with, I think something can be learned from their design and layout.

Clean lines and lack of clutter make this already bright and open space feel even more vast.  Also notice how the colors and tones run for full lengths of each of the surfaces – providing an unbroken line.  For instance, the cabinets and wall beam are the same rich chocolate brown, floor to ceiling, and the blonde floors are not disrupted from room to room.  Think of it like wearing solid color slacks that almost brush the floor as opposed to patterned capris.  Sleek, unfussy and gorgeous!

washington post PH2009093002704

In the dining room you continue to see the same use of continuous surfaces.  Also, the moulding in the ceiling, dining table, floor application and windows are situated in a way that accentuates the length of the room.

Modern Dining Room

Modern Dining Room

A continuation of the same technique in the living area – solid sofas in a light oatmeal color also provide a sense of more space.

Modern Living Room

Modern Living Room

Finally, you can imagine the sense of space the solid white vertical stairway creates.  I’m not a fan of cutouts in general, especially in a seemingly random pattern, but I think given the otherwise blank canvas these walls create, it works.   In my own space I might have preferred to utilize some glass, no cutouts / one or two very large cutouts, or at least more of a rhythmic pattern.

Open Contemporary Stairway

Open Contemporary Stairway

So by using some of the techniques used here to emphasize the open look and feel of the space, we can all bring a bit more open feeling to our smaller spaces.

You can view the entire Washington Post article here.

Women Grow Business – New Post on E-commerce!

Thank you again to Jill Foster at Women Grow Business for having me as a regular contributor – despite my not always regular contributions!

Here is our latest post, published today:

From Navigation to Web Video: Increasing Traffic and Conversion Rates for Your E-commerce Site

Sometimes I have a tendency to overcomplicate things.
For example, when creating a strategy for my e-commerce business – an online contemporary furniture store – I became overwhelmed with the perceived complexities of the project.

However, it boils down to a few very basic points.

As an online retailer, it’s fair to say your business is about generating revenue from the sale of goods. Just as in traditional retail, this is the result of ensuring two fundamental activities are taking place – ‘traffic’ and ‘conversion’ i.e. you have shoppers visiting your online store and they are turning into buyers.

On driving traffic
There are many ways that you can drive traffic to your site and many consulting companies that are ready to provide you with expertise in any of them. However as I see it, basic traffic can be derived from the following:

1. Site optimization
The key words you use throughout your website are what ensure that when a shopper uses search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) to find an item that you carry, they will find you. It is simultaneously a simple process (including words that describe your site/products) and more complicated (such as competing for key words with other vendors).

It may help reading-up on a good overview of the basic steps to give a better understanding.

2. Advertising
A popular mode of online advertising is Pay Per Click (PPC), which allows you to obtain prominent page space on search engines. You can also list your products on Amazon to utilize their popularity or place ads on social network sites such as Facebook or MySpace. I’ve found Amazon where your products are viewed by folks (who are actively browsing for products like yours) to be an effective way to generate traffic at a reasonable cost.

3. Customer interaction
It’s important to engage and interact with your customers. The word of mouth factor can be an effective way to create traffic. On top of this, the more you learn about your customers, the better you are able to determine what they are looking for and thereby tailor your site to more effectively meet their needs. Some popular methods of communicating with your customers include your company’s blog, Facebook and Twitter. Distinguish yourself by being quick to respond and be transparent. I also recommend using Google Alerts to track when folks are talking about you/your business so you can be sure to respond.

So now that you have driven visitors to your site, you need to make sure that you convert them into buyers.

On converting traffic to buyers
You can project your sales by utilizing a conversion rate – the percentage of your site’s visitors that will become buyers. A goal of all online retailers is to increase this conversion rate.

Some ways of doing this include:

1. Provide clear product descriptions and quality images. Especially when selling a tangible product, having these are important. It ensures the buyer has a good understanding of the product and thereby the confidence to purchase.

It has also been shown that videos demonstrating the product are also helpful in instilling confidence and thereby converting shoppers into buyers.

Certain manufacturers whose product lines I carry only provide a basic image. From experience, I know shoppers will not purchase an item that’s not clearly portrayed. So often I’ve found in this case, the best option with some of these products and vendors is to not carry them — unless you can obtain better images yourself.

2. It is important to make sure your site is easy to navigate. This includes the checkout process. It is also key your customers can find what they are looking for on your site. Outside of a basic search function, custom search fields can be created to make it easier for people to find exactly what they are looking for.

3. Ensure the visitor will feel comfortable shopping with you i.e. think personality here. Imprint your personality and/or your brand’s persona within the various facets of your site. It is key to have a company blog so you can show the personality behind the storefront and interact with visitors. Videos have proven to be helpful in this aspect as well. User reviews are extremely useful in convincing a shopper about the quality or relevancy of a product for them, as well as sharing positive shopping experiences.

4. Consider that shoppers are concerned about safety when shopping online. It is important to show customers it’s safe for them to disclose their personal information — such as contact and credit card data. Use services that certify the safety of your site and thereby put your visitors at ease. VeriSign, McAfee and Kikscore are a few to consider.

That’s my initial plan to traffic and conversion — both so integral in creating revenue. Approaching the process in this logical way has helped me to create a systematic plan to building my company.

What else do you think is key in growing your online retail operations?  Please feel free to share your thoughts!

No more stress over paint colors!

I am very excited to announce the debut of the new line of Perfect Palettes from Gibson Design Group.  Really, the palettes couldn’t be more ingenious – as soon as I heard about it from Alexandra Gibson I was on board and ready to purchase a palette for myself!

The idea is simple:

The talented and experienced team at Gibson Design Group has chosen eight proven, fool-proof palettes of paint colors and wallcoverings.   Each of the options are carefully chosen to evoke a unique look, whether you feel at home in the chic, sophisticated hues of Central Park or are drawn to the rustic, natural tones of Lake Tahoe.

Kalorama Paint Palette from Gibson Design Group

Kalorama Paint Palette from Gibson Design Group

You will receive a digital version of the palette of your choice as well as a hard-copy by mail.  Both will give you all of the information you need to order the paint and wallcoverings.  The version you receive by mail will include the actual paint and wallcovering swatches so that you can see them in your home.  You can also opt to receive sample cans of paint for all of the colors in your chosen palette for a very reasonable price.  Also available is expert assistance from the team at Gibson Design who will consult with you to determine color and wallcovering placement in your space.

So be done with the stress of the difficulty in choosing paint colors make your home look like you hired an innovative interior designer.   Simply choose a Perfect Palette from Gibson Design and finish your space in a beautifully polished and cohesive way.

Central Park Paint Palette

Central Park Paint Palette