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Accessorizing - How Professional Interior Designers Do It

My start in the interior design world focused on the remodeling/construction side of the industry. Over the past nearly 8 years I've learned the importance the other decorative elements and how they can finish a new remodeled space so it feels complete. When starting a project, interior designers not only evaluate the construction needs of a space, but also come up with an accessories plan that 1) fits the aesthetic and 2) beautifies the space without distracting from the key design elements in the room. The "accessories" plan will help finish out the space beyond what surfaces are able to. The team at JASON BALL interiors is known for a clean and uncluttered look. We like to minimize the "extras" and create a perfect balance between the finishing touches and other features in the room ~ furniture, architectural details, artwork, etc. The accessories should compliment, not take away. Here are some wonderful examples pulled from on accessory styling that we love. The simplicity of the accessories in this beautifully appointed sitting room focuses on a sophisticated color story more than anything. The teal and lemon yellow from the artwork is carried throughout the room in subtle ways.

Portland Oregon interior designer talks about colorful simple accessories


A subtle palette of taupe, browns and whites in this living room's accessories helps in highlighting the architectural details of the fireplace and coffered ceiling. Meaningful groupings of vases on the fireplace mantle, a collection of books on the coffee table are all that's really needed to round out this beautiful space.

Portland Oregon interior designer talks about accessories


Sometimes a space needs almost nothing extra because of the architectural details present. I envision this home on a tree-lined street in Manhattan or Boston or D.C. The contemporary furnishings and simple accessories are perfect compliments to the ornate moldings and weighty architectural details. Notice the lack of extras. Each accessory used is sculptural and unique in it's own rite. This creates a room with a more art-focused feel where all the design elements work together beautifully.

Portland Oregon interior designer likes contemporary accessory groupings in traditional space


Kitchens are one of those rooms that home owners often forget about in terms of accessorizing. But, these rooms are the ones most often in need of a strong accessory plan to help soften the "hardness" of the space. Kitchens are typically constructed with stone, tile and wood. Mixing some color and softer details in the space plays an important role in personalizing and humanizing the room. These two examples are very different from each other. The first kitchen uses soft colors and heirloom objects to compliment the traditional feel of the kitchen. In the second kitchen (and in complete opposition to the first example), accessories are used to move color around the room and create a harmonious decorative scheme. While there are a number of accessories, the consistency in shape in the groupings keeps the overall contemporary design elements in tact.

Portland Oregon interior designer talks about accessories in kitchen design

Interior designer in Portland Oregon shows example of contemporary accessory groupings


As you are tackling your project, remember the accessories and their importance in finishing out your space. Keep the groupings interesting, tight and make sure they compliment the other design elements for that professional look. More than anything, have fun selecting your accessories and don't be afraid to take a risk.

And, now how I accessorize my own home. I personally love to surround myself with objects collected from travels, from my childhood and special art pieces. Here's a picture that was published in Oregon Home earlier this year (read the full article here). In this room I have deer antlers from Ohio (my wife just saw them laying in a field), some great coffee table books, flowers, a vase from my childhood and an Irish cross commemorating our trip to Ireland in 2001. The range of objects fits the eclectic style of our 1908 farmhouse in NE Portland.

Jason Ball's own home showing accessories

Detail pics of accessories

So, what is accessorizing style?



A Lesson in Interior Design - The Phoebe Howard Showroom in Charlotte, NC

During my recent trip to Highpoint, NC for the International Furniture Market, it was recommended that I also visit the Phoebe Howard (aka Mrs. Howard or Max & Co.) showroom in Charlotte. Furniture stores and showrooms from all over the country send their merchandisers to see a Phoebe Howard creation to learn how it should really be done. However, there is nothing like seeing the beautiful interior design of the original. A designer friend and I spent several hours in a home that was built as a high society women's club, converted into a furniture store/showroom. To call this place a store should almost be blasphemy. This is not a store by any stretch of the imagination. This beautifully and tastefully designed/decorated home is a lesson in interior design. Every room has it's own individual aesthetic and color story, yet the flow from one space to another is seamless. And, the lighting design throughout the space is nearly perfect. While the look is not really the JBi look, there are still individual design elements that speak to me. If you're ever in the Charlotte area and have an afternoon to kill, take a walk through this fabulous space.

In case you never get a chance to see this in person, here's just a taste (I snapped all these with my iPhone, by the way).

Seeing a space like this reminds me how we all want to be surrounded by beauty, in one form or another.



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Lessons from Amsterdam: The Use of Large Scale Art in Interior Design

In designing a new space, I often look for ways to personalize it for my clients. Interior designers use art as an important way to add personality to any interior environment. During my and my wife's recent trip to Amsterdam, I was inspired to look into the use of large scale art. Our hotel room at the Arthur Frommer Hotel in the canal neighborhood was a mixture of classical elements and modern design. The headboard in our hotel room was a piece of art printed on canvas and upholstered as a headboard. This type of large art creates an immediate modern impact in any space. So, let's investigate different ways to use large art as a design element.

As an interior designer, it's a pleasure to take lessons I've learned from travels abroad and implement them for our clients. In this project, our clients are a young couple expecting their first child (actually children - twin girls). Since their life is about to change in a dramatic way, it was important that we create a romantic and personal master bedroom. We worked with a local muralist to create a mural of the Vietnamese coastline (the wife's homeland) behind the headboard. To really create some drama, we even took the sky up onto the ceiling, adding height to the room and a peaceful environment.

Have you ever thought of using a mural in your home. I would love to hear about it.

Check out JASON BALL interiors for more interior design inspiration (link).

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