Saturday, September 23, 2023

Easy living in Merchants Square

Two interior designers offer tips to make home decorating simple

Most people can piece together a stylish outfit, at least on occasion, but designing for the home is a different story. The canvas is bigger, the accessories more expensive and the look is long lasting. But interior design doesn’t have to be daunting. Two Merchants Square shop owners weigh in on where to start.

Bring in a Professional

When it comes to designing for the home, Vicki Bristow recommends consulting a professional. She and her sister, Deanne David, own Blink, a home design and gift store in Merchants Square whose name was inspired by the Malcolm Gladwell book on first impressions.

Vicki Bristow (back right) and Deanne David (front right)

“You want to create a home, not just a house,” she says, “but without a trained eye for design, you may miss some key elements.”

“Lighting, for instance, is one area that people tend to neglect,” Bristow says. “But lighting is so hugely, hugely important to any space.”

To get started, Bristow recommends looking at photos of spaces you like and imagining yourself living there. Consider how you would use the space and the furniture. Do you envision a plush sofa the whole family can snuggle up on for movie night, or a sitting area that will serve to welcome guests only on formal occasions? Be sure to seek your spouse’s input, too.

“It’s important for couples to do this exercise separately and then come together, so you can create an environment that everyone’s happy with,” Bristow says.

She suggests clients bring aspirational photos with them when they come for design consultations.

“We’ll break it down to figure out why you love something,” she says. “Then, without copying the photo, we can begin to create a plan using the elements you like to design a space that’s unique to you.”

Sometimes all it takes is a single piece to inspire a room. Bristow says she’s designed many spaces around an heirloom rug or cherished piece of art.

“There’s always a launch point of what’s going to inspire you,” she says.

Blink offers plenty of inspiration in the form of furniture lines from Lee Industries and original wall art by renowned artists, including Katie Loxton, Connie Desaulniers and Anita Peghini-Räber. “Art should be purchased with passion, whether it’s $5 or $50,000,” she says.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Debbie McCarter, owner of ModVinTique Interiors, also emphasizes the importance of visualizing how you’ll live in a space. The name of her shop, whose second location opened in Merchants Square in 2016, came to her one evening out of the blue.

Debbie McCarter

“Everyone I decorate for has something modern, something vintage and something antique — pieces they love and want to incorporate,” she says. “Every room I’ve ever decorated has had a mix of these elements.”

McCarter works with clients from the very beginning stages, often while a house is still being built. Her Merchants Square showroom is where she helps clients define their style.

But not all projects start from the ground up.

“A lot of my clients are looking to redo a space that doesn’t work for them anymore after 10 or 15 years,” she says. “Or they just want to freshen things up.”

McCarter says changing even one element such as a rug, window treatment or paint color can make a huge difference.

“I recently went into a home and changed out the window treatment on a sliding glass door,” she says. “It addressed the client’s concerns about a draft coming in and cut down the glare, and it really freshened up the room’s aesthetic. It just goes to show how simple changes can make a big impact.”

McCarter says one thing homeowners can do on their own is lightening up spaces wherever possible.

“I would suggest taking anything off the windows that may be too heavy or too strong,” she says. “Pull excess things out of book cases, and add wallpaper to the back of bookcases to create visual interest. Try rearranging the furniture or removing a piece or two. Small things like that can make a huge impact to change the look and feel.”

Both Blink and ModVinTique Interiors are open to the public in Merchants Square. Stop in to shop their unique selections of home décor and gifts.

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