Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond

Looking for a Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond? Why not build a Koi Pond? It’s Summertime, and if you  are like me, your home is your castle.  We spend just as much time outside in the Summer as we spend inside in the Winter.  That is why decorating outside means so much to me. There is something to be said about having warm and inviting spaces for my family and friend to share when they visit my home.

Whether it is tea on the veranda or sipping on a nice glass of wine by the Koi Pond. I want everyone to feel invited.

Here are some of my favorite memories of this Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond I’d like to share. Included are a few important things to remember when doing attempting this project.

Decide on a budget and plan

Planning is the most important part of the process. Without a plan you might run out of money in the middle of the project. Just to be clear, think about what problems you want to solve and what features you want to enhance. When you have come up with plan decide on how big the budget will be and stick with to that amount.

Planning Your Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond

For this outdoor project the four requirements most important were a garden, the fish pond, fill in sod, and a gravel walking area. Being the yard was tight on space the only real solution was to put the garden in an ugly berm and the pond inside the existing deck. A tired worn out garden turned in to a beautiful raised koi pond? Only with a little imagination and determination  in the hot Carolina sun.

In the designing and budgeting phase it was decided the Koi pond would look out of place and unfinished without a retaining wall for the garden. Building a retaining wall can be expensive. However, with careful planning and budgeting it is sure to make a huge difference .

Not only should your plan consider the possibilities of the finished look but also it should include material, delivery, and labor cost.

Requirements of the garden & retaining wall

  • Brick or Stone?-  For gravel you will need back fill
  • Extra dirt requirement?  Depending on the dirt of the berm you may need to condition the soil with manure, sand and top soil.
  • Make sure to address the water requirements. Will watering be by hand or connected to the watering system for this Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond?
  • Plants and other decorations for the garden?
  • Lots of labor. Stone and loads of dirt is incredibly heavy. After shoveling five yards of dirt and lifting and placing the fifth stone one might begin to think what twice about what they’ve gotten themselves into. So plan on extra help.

Requirements for the Koi pond

Onto designing the Koi Pond and the particular requirements for the pond.

  • Will the pond be above or in ground?
  • Settling tank?
  • Pump requirements?
  • Filtration?
  • Aeration?
  • Heating and Cooling Issues?

In the event a pond is above ground and above freeze level certain precautions have to be considered. If you need you are unable to get you pipes below the freeze zone the pond will need to be heated during the winter.


Know your material requirements and plan should also consider the layout of the drainage, return water, and air hoses and pipes.  With this in mind, in order to do this the right way the first time, plan for  proper drainage, air diffuse hose, and return water pipe . To be sure, you will save yourself a ton of work in the future if this is thought of in advance.

If you are interested in learning more about planning a Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond like this one click here

A Koi toilet or bottom drain is the best solution for maintaining a koi pond. While fish have to eliminate waste as other living animals the waste needs to go somewhere. Fish waste is a big issue. The solution to this issue is the bottom drain. It takes the waste and other  to a settling tank. The waste and other debris settles in this tank can be managed and cleaned easily every two to three weeksSummer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond

Felt underlayment and rubber membrane

It is always a good idea to order more felt underlayment and rubber than you think you will need.  While you have planned and stuck to the plan up until this point you may decide to increase the height if the walls. If your pond is above ground the height of the pond might be more pleasing when it is raised. Perhaps you want to plan for extra seating around the pond with wide stone. With this in mind you may need to raise the pond walls. With extra underlayment and rubber you can make this decisions quickly.

Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond

If you dream of a fish pond in your back yard, I have included a a link to Koi Fish Ponds Made Easy. In it you can learn how to build a  pond for your planned space. It has all the necessary requirements listed to make the process easy and enjoyable. You can read more about the filtration, and pump requirements and so much more.  It’s all in one place and easy to read and put into action.

Make your Summer Outdoor Decorating Project Koi Pond  a family gathering spot. Why not try this this Summer. Happy pond planning.







2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends

Listed here are my 2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends. When thinking about decorating trends for the home the industry is ever changing, altering and transforming. Being a decorator, it is very important to always recognize lifestyle changes. My clients depend on me to provide them with fresh decorating strategies and fashions. Clients deserve only my best. Allow me to share 10 trend changes for 2017 which are happening in your home decorating industry today.

Stop with all the antique on antique.

An incredible period piece will look fantastic any time combined with more recent styles. Invest time to determine your look and style. Toss in couple of a couple of antiques with an interesting and cohesively blends of past and current styles.

Have you been a creature of comfort and ease?

Or have you been just committed to that particular over-sized style? Face the facts. Over-sized products have run their course. Scale it down a little will ya? Manufactures are finally  coming on board. So should you. Small is in and space is tight and require less over-sized pieces.

Marble anyone?

That is correct marble has came back inside a massive way.  While visiting the Surfaces industry show in Vegas  we were impressed by the total amount of marbled products we viewed there. Designers are putting it all over the place, and wow, it is gorgeous. 2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends

2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends

Shinny shinny shinny!

That’s right. You heard it here. Warm shinny metals are earning recognition once again. So get out your sunglasses. NOT!  Seriously, the gleaming metals such as gold, antique gold, shiny bronze are massively moving toward the top of the home fashions list again.  In the next two years it will be Hot, Hot, HOT.  And it will remain around for the next ten years.

Wallpaper anyone?

Ok, I don’t like being the person who told ya so. But… Wallpaper, It’s back folks. I said it wouldn’t take very long. The  millennials grew crazy about  it.  So are we. It makes the perfect backdrop when selected the right way. And it adds warmth to any home.

Still out – Cheap Paneling

Ha, Ha. But wood-grain and heavy trim is moving toward the top of the list of “hot trending materials” for the next ten years. You will want to get the saw and commence cutting and nailing, simply because this trend is here now for some time.

Wood with lots of grainning is hot also. It’s presently being ship-lapped on walls, bleached on cabinets and floors, varnished on counter-tops, heck we have been seeing multi colored, glazed over, paint chipped, recycled wood installed vertically in bathrooms, bedrooms about anywhere a bit of color or texture is necessary.

As for the trim, trim is also being  utilized in a vintage way. It’s being placed on ceilings, wall, and posts and columns as in by-gone days. It so exciting to see. 2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends

Allow me to be the first one to allow you to in on the little secret.

You didn’t receive it from me but… Jewel Tones have returned! Scream! Wow! As if we didn’t get enough during the 80’s. Well, it’s back again and back again in a really strong way. So when your decorator states, “ew! jewel tones”, ask her if she has been to any trade shows as of late.

Glorious White Walls

Having trouble selecting a wall color? Well it just got a bit more complicated. White walls a seriously hot right now. But , which white do you paint your walls? You may need a designer for this to get it right the first time.

You can expect white walls to be the thing for several years to come.  The key to when painting white walls is always to paint in several finishes. Yes, semi to glossy for your trim, for your ceiling, when it is without imperfections, and satin for the walls, to include reflection and lightweight.

Now this is not a new one form me

This is not new for me simply because I have used sub-way tile for a long time . Yes, the subway tile has came back in fact it is searching pretty good. We are using subway tile in bathrooms and kitchen back-splashes.. And also the vintage style is extremely appealing also it looks stunning.

Techies are likely to love that one. Top Ten Decorating Trends 2017

Smart Homes are trending fast so it’s perfect time to jump aboard. From power sources being incorporated into furniture to the ability to lock your homes and manage the air-conditioning from another location; the smart home is getting cheaper to construct nowadays. I only hope the electrical grid doesn’t break down.

There you go my 2017 Top Ten Decorating Trends. Let’s do some decorating.


How Much Does a Bathroom Remodel Cost


 Bathroom Remodel Cost

A bathroom remodel can very from location to location. Determining the real cost of a bathroom remodel is tricky no matter the circumstances? A typical bathroom remodel in Charlotte NC can be very different, from say, a remodel in San Antonio Texas. There are many factors to take into consideration.

What is the plan?

Determine the scope of the project. Know what you want to accomplish is the first step. This  will make the communication with the contractor a lot smoother.  Often, contractors have no idea how the design, space planning, color and other details should flow to achieve your dream bathroom.

Start by asking yourself a few question.

  1. What really needs to be changed or be done in the bathroom?
  2. What do I really want out of the remodel?
  3. Am I flexible about the design?
  4. Can I be flexible about the quality?
  5. Am I flexible with the budget of the bathroom remodel?
  6. What is my bottom line? What figure will I not invest to improve the bathroom?

What are your needs and wants? Because needs and wants are two very different beasts especially if you are on a budget. Labor cost is what it is. But ask yourself if you can be flexible on the quality of your selections or are you dead set on getting the very best?  Often, the dream is bigger than the wallet.  And most people have no idea how much the dream can affect the cost of their new bathroom remodel.

Hire an interior designer.

By hiring an interior designer to help with the overall design of the bathroom and they are skilled at planning around budgets. If you hire a  a GC to do the work make sure they have an interior designer on their team.  The designer will act as a kind of project manager and make sure there are no design mishaps.  They will also eliminate multiple trips to the hardware store and endless searching for suppliers. You will have more confidence knowing all the selections work together to build your dream bathroom.

Put Everything in Writing

When hiring the company that will be remodeling the bathroom, make sure their proposals are well written and everything they said is included is included in their proposal. Most carpenters are not necessarily good at writing proposals. By making sure your proposal has a complete list of the details. This will ensure you are not disappointment weeks into the project.

The bottom line to determining the bathroom remodel cost

This starts with the proposal and expect a complete bathroom remodel in Charlotte NC to be $15K to $25K. But this cost is primarily determined by what is involved and how much needs to be done in order to complete the project. What is it going to take to fix a problem or create the dream? Determining what you want to spend on the project to accomplish the dream is the primary question. It is also of the utmost importance. Check how much equity you have in your home. If your home is worth $1M then you certainly don’t want to cut too many corners. On the other hand, a $300k home may not warrant the same consideration.

Talk to a professional designer that specializes in bath and kitchen remodels. Most kitchen and bath designers will consult with you on your remodel at no charge. It is important the designer be given the true dollar amount that you wish to spend on the remodel. Since this will ensure a more successful outcome.  Most of all, with their expertise, they will guide and help you determine a reasonable budget.

Blinds Drapes Shutters Window Treatments

Blinds, Drapes, Shutters & Window Treatments

The window treatments, drapes, blinds or shutters you select for you home can say a lot about who you are and determine the style you prefer to live with in your home. Window coverings can affect the way you feel and the way a space feels as you walk into your room.

When selecting window coverings, blinds, drapes or shutters, consider these 4 things.

1. Small spaces require less while large spaces require more.

Select your window treatments according to the size of your room. Lower ceilings require less fabric. In this case, add narrower fabric panels to each side of the window once you’ve considered the amount of privacy needed for a room. Too increase the appearance of the ceiling height mount the window treatments as high as possible. Having said that, mount the rods no more than 10” above the window frame in rooms with low ceilings. Do not mount the rod over crown molding.

To address the issue of privacy, add roller shades or blinds. However, roller shades are my first choice for privacy, especially when I want to black out the light in the room. Also, when windows have mullions (glass dividers) at the top and bottom I tends to choose roller shades.

When choosing blinds to cover your beautiful window views, my favorite options are either 2” or minis.  This work wonders when the windows have no mullions or the mullions are present only at the top.

2. A lot of pattern can make a small room look even smaller.

Consider the size of the overall room and the patterns going on in the room. Small rooms with busy prints scattered all around the room will be overwhelming to guest if the window treatments are also busy. Choose a color from one of the patterns and opt for solids fabrics with texture on the windows. This will tie things together and settle down the “noise”, if you will.

Using blinds or roller shades by them selves is certainly an option. 

Nothing completes a room like fully dressed windows. Using blinds and roller shaded alone adds a modern feel to a room. Soften the edginess with light weight sheers in place of heavier fabrics. Not only will this soften the stark lines of the trim around the windows, but it will create a airy and softer feel to the room.

3. Large open walls with large windows require fabrics and filter.

If you are fortunate enough to have high ceilings and large rooms then by all means dress those windows with gorgeous fabrics. But what about under the fabrics in this case?  The trend today is to use smaller veins on bigger windows in bigger rooms. This is because larger veins  tend to distract from the overall designs. Layer your window treatments with mini blinds, roller shades or sheers for privacy. This will also protect your furniture and rugs from fading and also reduce heat.

4. More often than not rooms are too dark.

In darker rooms I tend to opt for light colored fabrics with a slight sheen. Keep the colors of the shades or blinds in the neutral family. I like white or  I will match the trim color . Unless privacy is a factor use roller shades with some transparency to help bring in more natural light. During the day, roller shades are light weight so pull them up to let in more light. Or better yet, have them on a timed remote for ease and convenience.

Selecting Pillows for Your Room

 Make a beautiful impact in your rooms with perfectly selected and placed pillows.

 Perfectly selected pillows is a beautiful basic for anyone decorating gorgeous room.

When selecting pillows for your room

  1. Consider the colors going on in the room. Brunt reds and worn browns are time tested on leather sofas and chairs. Soothing medium blue walls that gets very little light is historically selected as a backdrop.  Together these colors can be powerfully welcoming and dramatically dark. Complement this color combination using a complementary color such as dandelion yellow pillows layered with a cooler Carolina blue pillows. 

      2. Next, consider the size of the room and the individual items being paired with the pillows.  Would you place an oversized sofa in a tiny space?  The sofa would be extremely out of sorts. Choose pillows to delightfully fit the space. Most sofas come with two 18″ pillows which is an adequate size in most situations.  Some times increase this to 24″ pillows. Larger pillows can be tricky or at the very least, overkill.

      3. Living in a not so custom world, surprisingly, the sofa pillows will be same fabric as the sofa. A more custom option, hence my starting choice color, is yellow. Why? Most of all, starting with colors such as yellow will complement most other colors. Consider more delicate yellows when less light is required. Punch up reds, greens, browns, purple, and blues with brighter dandelion yellow. 

     4.  Finally, selecting the right pillows is not all that complicated. But most recommended, consider the function of the room. How the room is used should determine the texture of the pillows.  As a designer, I like to consider whether or not there are animals or children using the room. In this case, I like to select a fabric that is soil and animal hair resistant. Silk may not be the right choice for your pillows with young children and fury animals running a muck. Enjoy.

Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home


Why stage your home? Ask yourself why at one end of the road a house sold really fast and at the other end of the road one remains on the market forever? Statistic say it is because the one that sold quickly was staged by a professional staging company and the other was not. Here are my

Top 10 reasons to stage your home.

#10  : Potential house hunters, usually, are not very visual. They will  have a hard time seeing the potential beauty of an empty house.

Buyers, generally, have trouble imaging how rooms will look when they have their personal belongings scattered about in the new dwelling. They wants to know how a king size bed will fit in the master bedroom. Is the living space adequate for a large family gathering? How much seating will the living or dining area hold? Will the home fit all the families needs or not? This is the job for a professional home stager.
A professional home stager will create that vision. Each potential buyer can see just how comfortable they will be gathered by a warm fireplace or in a well appointed kitchen. They can get a feel and vision up front to make that quick offer you so want when selling your home.

 #9 : Professional home stagers will give objectivity when you stage your home. She will looking at your home through a buyers eyes. Give invaluable advice, objectively to help with wise decisions about the home.

#8 :  Homes that are not staged well will cost the seller more in the log run and the home can sit, sit and sit.

Spend a little now to save a lot later.

 #7 :  Photos can say a thousand words. But there is only one truly acceptable word. Isn’t that word…SOLD? Staged rooms create better photos on the realtor’s website. It will get more an more views because it will look nicer and show in it’s best light to thousands of viewers. Isn’t that where a buyer goes first to see if they are even interest in visiting your home in the first place?

 #6 : Crate more traffic and not just the bargain shoppers that want to low ball the price. Sellers can expect more quality qualified buyers guaranteed.

 #5 :  Do you know that when you stage your home it takes an average of  53 days to sell? The un-staged home takes 233 days to sell. WOW! This is huge when you consider how much money this is in monthly cost for the seller..

#4 : You make a lot more money staging your rooms when selling. Just consider the above statistic.

#3 : Staging your castle and selling it fast makes a move so much easier. Sell fast and you won’t be bogged down with worries. Staging your home professionally will take the focus off negatives and enhance to positives.  Smile because that will allow for smoother transition into your new home.

#2 : If you live in a metro area there will be a tremendous amount of competition when selling.  Due to this when stage your home it will cut that competition in half.  Not staging your home only helps your neighbors sell their’s faster.

#1 : Relax! Your Staged Home  is SOLD!!!

Selling your home can be a big decision. As a professional home stager, I show my clients how they can get more bang for the buck to maximize the selling power.

Home Staging is a very big advantage in today’s buyer’s market.  My clients come to me when they want to sell their home fast without reducing asking price. Together I walk with my clients through the home staging process. With buyer’s eyes I show them what a buyer is really expecting and how they can visualize living in the homes I’ve staged.


4 Big Myths About Using an Interior Designer

4 Big Myths About Using an Interior Designer-

Do you often think about hiring an interior designer to help you pull together the plans  in  your home, only to talk yourself out of  it because you think it’s not affordable? Or that it will take too long or that you will never be able to convey to the designer what you really want and expect form her/him.

Here are some of the biggest myths about using an interior designer.

1. Interior designers and interior decorators are really expensive.

Not true.  In most situations designers are not expensive at all. In fact using an interior designer is more cost effective than trying to pull together rooms on your own, especially when someone has no experience decorating. Even if you hire a designer to only pick the colors for your rooms. You will be saving hours of time and in most cases 100’s of dollars on mistakes. Do you know why some colors work together and some do not?

A designers fee is for the service they provide and the experience they offer. Ask the designer how much her fee will be and what you will receive for that fee. An explanation like “Well, the measuring and drawings can take between 10 and 20  hours and my fee is $100 per hour for the design plan”,  is not be the right explanation for the fee.

Ask that designer what is included with the  design plan. A good designer will charge a flat rate for the initial design plan. This plan should include: measuring the room(s), measuring the windows, floor plan and or window treatment drawings, selections and budget.  The designer will apply an hourly fee for any personal shopping experience, visits to the job site and in office visits etc.  This should all be covered and spelled out in your letter of agreement so there are no surprises.

The resources the interior designer provides for furniture, fabric, and accessories is more cost effective than purchasing retail.  In most cases this will save you a boat load of money.

2.  The designer is going to select things I can not afford.

Not true.  Designers are trained to work within reasonably set budgets. If you are unsure how much things cost your designer will be your guide. If you are on a tight budget, communicate this to your designer.   In most cases a designer is going to keep you focused and on budget if you are open about how much you are willing to invest.

3. My home is not pretty enough to spend money on hiring a decorator.

This is a big myth. Most designers have seen the worst of the worst. We are use to taking the ugly ducking and turning it into the SWAN. If you think your home is not worthy, think again. Ugly to Beautiful …That is our job.

4. Designers don’t listen. They will try to design my home around their likes and style and not mine.

Not true. Professional interior designers want your home and space to reflect you and your lifestyle.  Ask the designer questions in the initial meeting. Does he/ she lean more to a signature design style or does the designer really care about you and your project as an individual?  Hire the designer that you feel comfortable with and the designer that values you and your style. If you have not really identified your style then your designer should be asking you a ton of questions so together you both can identify style.








Interior Designer Charlotte NC Video

 Interior Designer Charlotte NC Video

Focal Point Interiors, I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I put together. These demonstrate only a small portion of the designs I enjoy putting together. Some of the services I provide are residential design services, room redesign, do it yourself design, traditional and transitional designs. Some examples of my work. I have included photos of kitchen design, bedroom design, room redesign. I hope you enjoy the music as well.

How to Stop Your Pets From Chewing on Your Furniture

Before the Chewing Began

How to Stop Your Pets From Chewing on Your Furniture

Has your pet ever chewed your leather? This is not an uncommon thing… and there is no way my cute puppies would have ever done something like this…Right? Well, yes they did.  Some dogs just have a innate desire to chew, and one morning I found my chair without it’s bottom fringe. ” My husband swears one of the cats must have been tearing off the leather and handing it off to the dogs in there wire kennels. Something right out of the Garfield comics.  Because how could these sweet little things ever do something so BAD? Right!!!

Chewed Chair

How to Stop Your Pets From Chewing on Your Furniture?

The Guilty Ones

There are three things I learned. One even though these little rascals are almost three years old… Don’t trust them!

Two- Animals get bored just like we do. They need to chew on things during the day to entertain themselves. Raw hides are a great substitute for my leather chairs.

Three- Jalapeno or Habenaro, juice is a really safe way to train them to not go back.  No beatings, no screaming, just plain hot pepper juice sprayed on the area. It will need to be repeated every week or so until they have gotten the hint, but it is better that putting them up for adoption…

The repair bill for this chair $375.00

WOW… Bad Puppies….








How to Stop Your Pets From Chewing on Your Furniture

9 Things to Considerations When Buying Antiques

Recently, one of my clients was going on an antique trip with a friend. She had never really explored the idea of buying antiques on her own. Though is was somewhat of an interesting venture into unknown waters, she didn’t want to appear to be truly unknowing on the subject. Not knowing what to look for I offered to help her out and give her some pointers.

With the many tips on buying antiques, she soon had the courage to venture out on her own.

With this post, it is my hope you will be able to venture out on your own as well.

“Every man’s junk is another man’s treasure? ”  Or is it? Buying antiques can be a serious business and knowing what to look for is sometimes as simple as ” see it, love it, buy it”. Having said that, not all antiques are treated with the same respect. 

Consider These 10 Tips When Buying Antiques

1. Just because it is old does not mean it is an antique.

Generally speaking, an antique in the USA, is considered and antique when the piece is 100 years old or older. Especially, if it is furniture or pottery.  If it is less than 100 years old we call the item vintage or nearly an antique.

The piece may be over 100 years old, but if you are buying it and think “Wow this thing must be worth a fortune and I am buying it for only $20.00? I’m going to be rich!”  Think again. The only thing that makes an antique valuable, in terms of   with several hundred are still in existence? Buying junk or antiques can be addictive, so beware. Have a plan and some kind of idea what you are looking for or the piece will end up being just another memory in the addict.

2. Is the piece rare and only a few left floating around or was it mass produced? 

What is priceless to you may not be priceless to the next guy.  Buyer Beware! This is so true and no one knows this more than myself. Know a bargain when you see it, but if you feel it’s a scam run for the hills!

If you are in France, for example, and you are considering the purchase of a beautiful Louis XVI writing desk, and you are unable to tell the difference between a reproduction and an antique, you are more than likely setting yourself up for disappointment.

3.  Don’t be pressured into buying.

 There are a lot of dishonest people out there and just because the antique dealer says he knows his stuff does not mean you buy a piece right on the spot. If you can not make an informed and educated evaluation on an expensive item make sure you have the piece appraised before you purchase. 

4. What is priceless to you may not be priceless to the next guy. 

When buying antiques remember supply and demand are what drives the cost of all antiques.

5.  Check all the Markings  If you are buying pottery check the obvious marks on the back.

These markings can tell you when and where the item was made. But also know that just because it is not marked does not mean it is not authentic. Also keep in mind, supply and demand are the drivers when it comes to how valuable an item will be on the market. 

6. Rain and Sun will change the appearance of anything over a period of time.

 Every month there is a giant outdoor antique haunt in the town of Seckendorf, Germany. You have to get up really early in the morning, with your flashlight in hand, to find the best deals. It is so worth the effort.

On any given month there are hundreds of vendors looking for buyers, rain or shine. But you know what rain and sunshine will do to wood? That’s right. Over time they will make any reproduction look like an antique. This goes back to Buyer Beware.

7.  Knowing the story puts you ahead of the game

A lot of porcelain, pottery, china, ceramic which has been imported from other countries and some in the US tell a story about a specific time in history . The same is true with most art pieces of certain eras. Knowing the story puts you ahead of the game. Do your research.

8.  Take along an informed shopping partner.

  Having a shopping partner when antiquing can be very valuable if you are looking for unique items. What one sees the other may have missed.

9.  Always negotiate the price tag.

The vendor has an overhead and has to take care of their own particular cost. But that doesn’t mean he won’t negotiate. Always ask for a better price.

In conclusion, always remember when buying antiques, unless you are a collector, buy those things that are close to you heart.  If you are buying an item to resell make sure you have room in the purchase price to make a profit. Also, remember to plan for the piece.  Knowing where you are going to store and place the item is always important.