Tea Over Interiors Ep20: Overcoming 3 Common Design Challenges


Feeling stuck because you don’t know how to create the space your heart desires? It’s ok you are not alone, even designers face design dilemmas. The difference is that we know how to overcome them and you can too! Click play to learn from this episode:

1. How to create a focal point

2. How to create scale and proportion

3. How to define a room

Need a little more guidance? Be on our show, we are looking for homeowners with one design challenge they need to overcome to hop on a zoom call with us. We will walk you through it for a future episode of the show. Email us: [email protected]

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Tea Over Interiors Ep 20: How to Overcome 3 Common Design Challenges
Dee: [00:00:00] I’m D
Alicja: And I’m Alicia
Dee: Welcome to Tea Over Interiors today’s topic. We will be discussing three common design challenges, but before we get to that, Alicia, I need to know what you sipping on.
Alicja: You recommended a Tea to me not so long ago. And it is, I hope I say this, right? It’s Cocoa Chai
Dee: I remember that one. That’s cinnamon and ginger and stuff. Yeah.
Alicja: So yummy, delicious.
Dee: So I’m having toasted coconut this morning, which is a black tea with cocoa nibs and apple, ginger cloves, et cetera. It’s very good. I’m enjoying it.
Alicja: I love anything coconut. And to the contrary, my mother, if it has coconut in it, she’s so not feeling it
Dee: I love coconut, but I find it’s either people are allergic. They love [00:01:00] it. Or they hate it. It’s not really people are like, yeah, coconut is okay. It’s either. I love coconut or hate coconut, but anyway, Alicia, it is time for Dee’s randomness.
Alicja: I love that.
Dee: Okay. So remember how I told you about. The Vanta black, which is the blackest black. Do you remember that fact a while ago?
So now the opposite of black is white. And today I am talking about the whitest white that was created last year. October 21st, the paper was released on Purdue University’s website. The researchers there discovered how to make a paint that is 95.5% reflective of light.
Purdue university [00:02:00] researchers, made the whitest paint on record and it’s to help cool off buildings enough, so that AC is not required. This paint is made to keep surfaces 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than their ambient surroundings. Think of how a frigerator does it, but without the use of energy, according to the researchers, the paint would replace the need for AC by absorbing nearly no solar energy and sending the heat away from the building back into outer space. Now, did you know that by sending the heat back into outer space, heat travels indefinitely at the speed of light anyway, and space like apparently a huge heat dump. What this would do is this would keep the Earth’s atmosphere cooler and may help to combat global warming.
Alicja: That’s cool.
Dee: Yeah. Yeah. Love it. So if you want to know more about it, [00:03:00] you can check purdue.edu/me .
E. So Alicia it is on to our topic . Which is three common design challenges that we’ve seen with some of our clients. Would you like to start or would you like me to start?
Alicja: I’ll start. Yeah.
Dee: Okay.
Alicja: The one that I think we should definitely not forget to talk about is scale. I think a lot of times folks, they’re very challenged. I I’m challenged by this myself and I’m in the business. Well, not really challenged by it. I just make the mistake a lot because. Very large-scale.
I just have a, I just lean in the direction of ample. The key here is to make sure that when you are designing a space or decorating, you want to choose the appropriate size objects or furniture. [00:04:00] Initially furniture is really the key. A lot of times people will put this humongous, bed, like the frame of a bed in a room that just can not hold it.
And when I say hold it, there’s just no negative space around. So when you go into the room, it’s all bed, you could barely walk around. Don’t you see that a lot where you can’t even put a little nightstand or if you do put a nightstand, it has to be so tiny. And now the tiny nightstand is not proportionate to the bed and now it just feels like it, it gets swallowed up by the room and you don’t even, you don’t can’t even appreciate it.
And a really spectacular bed. Needs to have some room around it. So you can really appreciate the styling. I’m sure most people put something in a room that they love and what a shame, if you really can’t see it, you have to be able to step back from it, and actually you know, receive that, that aesthetic. And a lot of times that’s not [00:05:00] happening.
I have that going on right now and you can appreciate it, but it’s just a big, old, fabulous piece of woodwork or casement, and it’s a monstrous piece of furniture in my living room. It’s just dramatic. It’s a fabulous piece, but I wish I just had this huge room for it is unfortunately, it’s going to have to go cause I bought it before I bought the house.
But anyway, the other thing is even decorative accessories. Don’t you notice? I call them chotchkies but there will be these little trinket items, like these cute little things on a nice size coffee table. It’s like, what w what was going on there? It really doesn’t add to the coffee table. It doesn’t, I know there are little items that you may like, but they’re just like things, the clean.
So you want to put something that it doesn’t have to be dramatic, but it does have to be.
Dee: In scale. So like, yeah, the coffee table is rectangular and pretty sizable. You don’t want to put like a small one inch [00:06:00] candle or a couple of small one inch candles on there because it, like you said, it just doesn’t even out, you would rather put like either a large bowl or something, right in the center or large vase or a large candle, something that would, you know, Be in proportion to the table and give it some, and also give it some, some life and make it stand out instead of just like, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Alicja: Exactly it swallows it up. It may be something nice, but you’re not going to know that.
Dee: Yeah, because pieces too large. It’s like an ant sitting on top of a whale. Right. I dunno where I get these things from. But so I have a quick story about me and, scale and proportion. So when I was younger, before my days as a designer, I don’t know, I was like 20 or something. I just wanted this bed, this [00:07:00] Victorian mahogany bed. And I was obsessed with it cost me over a thousand dollars and it was a queen size because they didn’t make it any other size.
But my room was a twin size you can say, because if I had a twin size bed, I could make the room look fabulous. Now there’s a day bed in there, but, Yeah, so the room is not a queen size, but I stuffed that queen size bed in there. And like you said, I had no room for anything else? I couldn’t put a nightstand, but I was happy with my bed and I told myself, this is my focal point. And so, I mean, I could have had some end tables you know, some nightstands, but I didn’t have any more money left over after I spent a thousand dollars on the bed, but it’s the life. It was a life lesson. And I was glad that I learned it young.
And then when I started design school and I started learning these things, I knew it didn’t make it sense. You know when I was doing it, but I just couldn’t stop myself. But now,
Alicja: Right.
Dee: [00:08:00] Yeah. But now I have more restraint. So what else do you think, Alicia, what about that? I touched on the focal point. What, that’s another thing that I find people have a challenge about identifying the focal point or the center of attention in the room.
You want to elaborate on that?
Alicja: You choose a focal point. It, it needs to be, so wait a minute. Let’s talk about what the focal point is .
Dee: Basically the focal point is either an architectural feature within the room. Like I E maybe you have a fireplace and then you would situate your furniture around it because you want to draw attention to that area because it’s a nice area to look at.
If you don’t have a focal point or any architectural feature or any specific scenery, you can make up your own focal point by using a piece of art to make it your [00:09:00] focal point. Or some other type of scenery that can serve as your focal point that can give it that nice quality, and then you would design everything around it.
So let’s say you bought this great piece of art and you have a huge wall that’s empty that you can put it on. You put that huge piece of art there, and then you would design everything around it, so that when people walk in or when you walk in your eye is drawn immediately to that scene that you created.
And it creates that focal point. It draws the eye end and then the eye would move around very easily.
Alicja: I agree. I love a focal point to be an architectural element, the fireplace, or a wonderful piece of molding. And I like to do remnant or, pieces that have been pulled out of old houses mansions. I did buy a piece [00:10:00] at one point it was just the most beautiful hand-carved millwork. And I used it in a foyer and I had a mirror inserted in it and it was great too. It was like the greeting or the welcome p iece in that main dramatic foyer. It really has to be like it has to have presence. It has to be strong, not, not necessarily or color color, too. It could be something bold and colorful.
Dee: Exactly if you could, if you wanted to, you can paint, an accent wall or you could paint a large squared surface on your wall. That’s a certain color, or, you know, you could get very creative with creating your own architectural feature or your own scenery or something you want to draw attention to.
That’s basically what it is, but you want to draw good attention and. You know, not [00:11:00] something that you don’t want people to see that you draw the eye away from that, but that’s why, you know that’s where designers, that’s where we’re most skilled, right. Creating those illusions, especially when we stage right. We create those illusions.
So Alicia, what’s the third challenge we can discuss
Alicja: So one function is something that I think we should definitely discuss a lot of our clients get confused about what to call rooms. I’ve had people, especially in, house hunting phase. They’ll go through a space and they’ll say, well, what is this room for?
What do I use this for? And it is a challenge. Especially if there are very interesting and, different types of rooms. Like I have a really tiny room that has a bathroom in it. And I’m like, what was this for? In my old house, it was the maid’s quarters, even though I didn’t have a maid, but that’s what it would have been [00:12:00] back in the day when it was built.
So it’s a really quirky little room. Because the maid or the, house, assistant was not there all the time. So you say, well, what do I do with that room? I noticed during this whole pandemic, a lot of people are working out of their dining rooms. So they’ve turned the dining room into the office. There are so many challenges.
I have a room on the third floor of my house and that room doesn’t have a closet. It feels like it wants to be a bedroom because it has a bathroom up there, but. Instead of making it a bathroom, I’m making it the office and you really have to define what you’re going to do in the room or else the room to will feel confusing.
You won’t feel settled in that room. Normal people who come to visit you or family members who come into the room, it’s going to have, dis-ease or unpleasant [00:13:00] energy. So you want to make sure you’re very clear about what that room was going to be used for, and you can have dual functions, right? D you can than one thing in a room.
Dee: I definitely agree with your summary there. And I think we were going to in a future episode, discuss how to create flex spaces, but like you said, on the face of it, you should be able to clearly define your spaces.
So that way the energy, cause we’re always talking about how you feel in your home, the energy that your home gives off, what messages it tells you. You want to just make sure that you are defining these spaces so that you can feel more, like you said, at ease when you’re home.
So Alicia, I think that we gave people a lot to think about. I loved your assessment of everything, and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. And also we are looking for people that may want to do a quick little online [00:14:00] consultation, where we help them with one design challenge and we put it on the podcast.
So if you have a design challenge, but you have something you’d love to ask a question to a designer about everything’s in the show notes guys, how to contact us.
So just get in touch with us and we would be so excited to have you on the podcast. So Alicia, any last words of wisdom before we wrap this thing up into a nice little bow?
Alicja: Yep. Just want to make sure that the spaces that you’re living in really speak to your style and your energy and your personality.
Get some help. If you feel like you’re too challenged with it, that’s what we’re for or any other professional in, in the field of interior design and architecture, we are the go-to for those types of challenges, but sometimes you do just hit a wall and you don’t know, I’ve even called on a friend or two when I needed some assistance.
So there’s no shame in your game.
Dee: Excellent advice, Alicja. Thanks so much for listening to Tea Over [00:15:00] interiors. We were so happy to have you today. Have a great day.
Alicja: Bye
Dee: Bye guys.

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