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Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound


Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound

Twice a year, tens of thousands of interior designers and home decor store owners descend upon the small, sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina for High Point Market. The event brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors across 180 buildings in one location. It's a designer's dream! For me and JBi, this is an opportunity to see the latest products from the top manufacturers in the home product industry. I'm looking for new furniture, lighting, accessory and art I can use to put together great rooms for my clients.

While attending a trade show can certainly be fun with numerous parties and meeting leaders in the industry sounds, it's also a ton of work. On average, I'll visit 100 or more showrooms over a 5 day time period - that's 20 or more showrooms per day. It's a lot of walking, talking, sitting (trying out all the furniture from trusted and new manufacturers so I can be assured the highest quality for my clients) and learning about all these products.

And, yes, there are certainly some great moments. This year I had the privilege of meeting Gary Inman, a distinguished designer in the resort and hospitality arena. He gave a great talk on the Art of Collecting (look for something on this topic in later post). Previous years gave me the opportunity to meet Thom Filicia and Barclay Butera, two amazing designers and founders of great brands of products I use on a regular basis.

So, back to Market. Each year, I look for a common thread in the products manufacturers are showing. A few years ago, in the midst of the recession, I noticed that furniture had a distinctly simple feel. Manufacturers had simplified their profiles and used more reclaimed materials. Everything appeared very modest, even for the higher end manufacturers. As the economy continues to improve and the furnishings industry is seeing a great rebound, manufacturers are starting to be bold again in their design choices with an increased use of patterns and finer details in casegoods. I believe these trends will continue for a years to come as the industry continues to bounce back and homeowners want to fill their homes with the finer things in life.

In this room by Thibaut, the wallpaper and chair fabrics  (three different ones, by the way) fill the room with color and pattern. I saw this over and over in manufacturers of all levels and types of products.  


This beautiful use of ribbon by Hancock & Moore is another example of details done the right way. 


Over and over, casegoods are moving away from the overly simple and rustic look to a more refined aesthetic with beautiful details. Taracea's small bar cabinet is created using wood inlays in a houndstooth pattern. A contemporary use of the inlay technique and simply stunning! 


Another example of detail in casegood by Century Furniture shows a bar with stunning chrome details as metal inlays and other details on the base.


And, Bernhardt, one of my favorites, dare not be left out of the game with this stunning aged brass bed and lacquered capiz shell nightstands. 


Even the live edge movement is getting into the groove. This maple table by The Table Factory has a metal zipper detail down the middle that would be the talk of any dinner party or gathering around this table. 


Even art is getting into the game. These screen prints of geodes by Natural Curiosities are highlighted with gold leaf details that make them shine! Literally! 


Upholstered furniture is seeing an increased use in details as well. These two pieces, one by Henredon and one by Taylor King, show the level of detail possible with upholstered furniture.


So, where does this leave us? Well, I believe in a good place. Designers have more and more great products from which to choose and homeowners will likely start desiring an increased use of details in their own homes. That sets us all up for some great design to come down the road in the coming years. 

And, of course, if you're ready to start bringing some extra detail to your home, you know who to call (that would be me, right?!) - go to this page to get started redesigning your home.




Before & After: New Laundry Room Layout for an Active Family

As a follow up to the Before & After entry from a couple of weeks ago, let's look at what happened in the laundry room of this project. As I mentioned before, this house is so typical of many suburban homes built in the 1980s and 1990s. And, when it comes to the laundry room, they clearly didn't have an interior designer help them with the space planning of the room. The standard layout was a large closet with bi-fold, louvered doors on one end, a small laundry room sink and the washer and dryer crammed into the other side. This really is the epitome of an inefficient use of space.

So, what if we get the chance to reconfigure the space for today's lifestyle? What layout changes make sense? And, how can we improve on the traditional, less than optimal layout? Well, let's use this one as a case study and look at the before picture to see what we were dealing with. A poorly designed storage area, an less than optimal laundry area had to be dealt with in a way to not only improved the space, but also was set up for an active family.

As you can see from the "after" picture below, we not only gave the family more functional spaces to work with, but also brought some great style into a room that is usually forgotten. A great two-tone herringbone tile floor, white quartz counters and clean white cabinetry make this a place anyone would want to spend some time working.

ABOUT JASON BALL interiors. Jason is an interior designer based in Portland, Oregon serving residential and commercial clients throughout Oregon and Washington, and beyond. To see examples of his design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at



Designer Notebook: Working With Complimentary Colors

Nearly everyone's favorite holiday, including interior designers, is fast approaching. Stores are filling up with red and green items with which you can decorate your home as fast as you can "Santa Claus is coming." The classic and most recognizable complimentary color combo got me thinking about using the other color pairings in interior design. First, let's get our terminology down so we're all on the same page by examining the color wheel below.

You'll notice there are primary colors, secondary and intermediate (also known as tertiary) colors. A complimentary colors are the primary and secondary colors that are directly across the color wheel from each other: red-green, yellow-purple, blue-orange. A secondary color is created by combining two primary colors - yellow + red =orange, as an example. An intermediate color is created by combining a primary with a secondary either to the left or right. For example, combining yellow and orange creates yellow-orange, or red and purple creates magenta. 

Now that we have the terminology all down. Let's get started with smart ways to use complimentary color combinations in your next design project.

Start with a base of neutrals and decorate with the complimentary colors. In the rooms below, the designs start with neutrals - browns and grays, with the two complimentary colors layered on top as accent colors. The way in which the two colors play off each other makes each one seem more colorful. By starting with neutrals, you can relatively easily switch out colors down the road with changing tastes.

For a bolder look, use the complimentary colors on the furniture pieces. In the room below, you'll notice the structure of the room (walls, floor, ceiling, other surfaces) are all done in neutrals, but the furniture pieces are bold and bright in yellow and purple. The larger piece is done is a toned down purple to keep it from overwhelming the space. Bright canary yellow chairs make a statement.

Use off shades to keep the combinations fresh. This one is the big risk for designers and their clients. If you want to go really bold, go with slightly off colors to keep the look from being too "clown house." In these two rooms, intermediate colors across the wheel from each other were used to make strong color statements. An orange-red is paired with a light teal, and a magenta is paired with lime green for two beautiful room settings. 

I hope these combinations have given you some inspiration in your own homes. Which complimentary color is your favorite? And, which one would you most likely implement in your own home? 

And, if you're unsure how to get the colors just right in your home, you know who to call!


Designing From A Distance


Designing From A Distance

For the past six months, JASON BALL interiors has been working on a project in Eastern Washington. Door-to-door, it's a 5-hour drive, so it's one hike to get there! The project entailed remodeling a kitchen, 3 bathrooms, new paint color scheme and flooring in certain rooms. Along with the construction portion, we also specified furnishings and window treatments for most of the house. So, it's a big project!

When designing and managing a project of this size from this kind of distance, interior designers need to use all the tools at their disposal to ensure the project is constructed as designed. While there have been a couple of site visits and the clients have come to Portland several times, there are still some additional steps we have to take place when working this far away from the project location. Here are our biggest learnings to date.

1. 3-D renderings help everyone visualize the final design. If a designer is not able to be on the job site during the design phase, it's incredibly helpful to create a 3-dimensional drawing of the space as a proxy. A rendering is helpful in knowing how different design elements will interact with each other in the final product. And, by applying different textures and colors to the drawing, it also helps clients see the designer's vision. 

Rendering of a JBi designed kitchen in Orlando, FL

Rendering of a JBi designed kitchen in Orlando, FL

2. Draw, draw, draw. While it's part of our process to draw everything to scale in Autocad, we're finding it necessary to go that extra step and put even the smallest detail down on paper. The lack of close proximity means that we'll be able to stop by the job site less than usual once we enter the construction phase. Documentation needs to be accurate to ensure everything is built according to specifications.

Elevation drawing of range wall

Elevation drawing of range wall

3. Regular communication. Once the building process begin, it's imperative there is regular and frequent communication between the entire building team - interior designer, contractors and clients. With e-mail, text messaging, camera phones, the technology is available to ensure the team is always in communication with each other on what's currently going on and what's coming next. An ounce of prevention is worth everything at this point. 

Distance doesn't have to be a hindrance in hiring an interior designer any longer. Technology and a thorough understanding of the importance of communication will help ensure your project goes off without a hitch. 



You Say "Couch" and I Say "Sofa"

It's the age old question. What is the proper term for that large upholstered piece of furniture in your living room or family room? Well, both are correct. A sofa or couch refers to a piece of furniture for seating two or more people. It has a bench-like shape, comes with or without arms, and is partially or entirely upholstered. "Couch" is more commonly used in North America, Australia and New Zealand, while "sofa" is mostly used in the U.K. and Ireland.

But, what are the different forms of sofa? There are loveseats, sectional sofas, divans, fainting couches, canapés and chaises. Now when you're out shopping for the perfect piece of furniture, you'll know what to call them. Here are examples of each of these.

Loveseat. A small couch specifically designed to only seat two, thus the "love" part of the word.

Sectional sofa. A larger upholstered piece created by combining multiple "sections" that join at an angle (most commonly at a 90 degree angle. This configuration is perfect for outfitting large entertainment rooms.

A Divan has a long history, originating in the Middle East (most specifically Persia and the Ottoman Empire). It is best defined as a seat formed by placing a mattress-like cushion along a wall and a number of pillows to lean against. A divan may or may not be raised up off the floor. The example below is absolutely beautiful - I see many a Saturday afternoon curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

A Fainting Couch (first picture below) and the Chaise Longue (we incorrectly call them "chaise lounge" by the way) are very closely related. The difference is in the placement of arms and back structures. A chaise longue is really just a long chair. It may or may not have arms. In contemporary times, chaises are sometimes attached to sofas, making a sectional sofa with a chaise. The fainting couch was most popular in Victorian times when women because of their corsets would have to carefully lounge so as to not faint (or in case they felt they were going to faint because of a too-tight corset). 

The last two versions of a couch are Settees and Canapés. Think of a settee as a bench with arms and a back. A canapé is a sofa with an exposed wood frame, most often with intricate carved details.

Well, I hope that clarifies everything! So, next time you're looking for a new piece of furniture or you're at a friend's house, you can really impress them with your new found furniture terminology.

And, of course, if you need any help navigating the furniture of world and picking out the perfect piece, feel free to call JASON BALL interiors.