“My favorite item(s) that were added to our home are the
amazing living room sofas; they are custom made, and the
fabrics chosen for them are incredible. I like that they are
not only gorgeous, but they are also big and comfy.”
M Most of us are not familiar with the
language of interior design. Words such
Space planning –
What is it, and why is it important?
as space planning, form, scale, and depth “Jim and I take pleasure in entertaining now
sound like a foreign language to anyone because our home feels so spacious and yet
that is not a designer. However, “every intimate at the same time. The living room
one of us has experienced being in a place and family room areas can be opened up
that just feels like ‘home’ from the moment we so our guests can walk around comfortably,
walked in. Although we may not be able to and there are plenty of places for people to
describe why, we know that it is comfortable, sit and talk. Our designer made sure that
or inviting, or simply beautiful,” comments everything fit correctly and coordinated well.”
Peggy Fuller, ASID and licensed designer Unknowingly, Mary was describing the
#3904, of By Design Interiors, Inc. affects of successful space planning, the
first step in a design plan for producing a
Given that your home is more than likely room that flows well.
the principal investment of your lifetime,
the expert advice of a designer is priceless The size of a room and how it is going
to be used, along with the amount and
size of furnishings going into that room
all influence the space plan. Each one
of these elements must be considered
in order to construct an area that is
aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore,
unused spaces and odd shaped rooms
require innovative solutions. A skilled
designer can help ensure the efficient
and creative use of space within a room.
The following are just a few things that
the BDI design team did to contribute to
the above sentiment of the homeowner:
• Custom sofas were arranged within
the great room to delineate the
when it comes to creating an exceptional formal living.
interior. As a consumer, it is sensible • The one of a kind iron and glass
to be informed about the products and oversized cocktail table was designed
services you are purchasing, and knowing to anchor the grouping of furniture
the language associated with them is for ease of conversation and to balance
invaluable. It is the job of a designer to the dimensions of the grand piano.
transform a client’s desires into a plan and • Inside the impressive double front door
define how it will be executed. was placed a marble top table with
by Larissa Caramanidis detailed scroll work to greet guests.
When homeowners, Jim and Mary • A vacant space beneath the winding
of By Design Interiors Inc. Brenner, hired By Design Interiors, staircase was transformed into a cozy
Inc. to redesign their newly purchased corner with the addition of a game
Houston home, they were both excited table and chairs.
and curious; they did not know what
to expect. As their project developed, Pleasingly, Mary states, “There is not one
they soon discovered how “the secret person that has come into my home that has
language of interior design” would affect not given me a compliment about its beauty.”
their home and their lives.
186 Specialty Products & Services Houston Design Resources Issue I 2009 Issue I 2009 Houston Design Resources Specialty Products & Services 187
Photos courtesy of By Desgin Interiors Inc. 281.587.8755
between items within the whole. This • The coordinating buffet was moved deptH –
simply means that everything should work to another room and was replaced How is it created?
together and fit the space appropriately. with an oversized iron and glass china Depth describes the degree of interest,
Therefore, large rooms tend to look cabinet. The curved top mimics the complexity and intensity of something.
better with large furniture and more room’s structural arches, and its height Several of the fundamental elements that
of it. On the other hand, small rooms produces the illusion of lower ceilings. create depth include color, pattern and
are typically more pleasing with smaller • On either side, carved wood pedestals texture. Fabric is the first thing most of
pieces that may serve multiple purposes. embellished with rich gold detailing us think of when we hear these words, but
When the Brenners moved into their were topped with unique ceramic and they apply to other surfaces, too. Walls,
new home, they brought with them brass urns to bring a punch of color to floors, furnishings, window treatments,
a dining set that they wanted to keep; that side of the room. and accessories all contribute to the
however, it did not look right in the depth of a room. About her favorite
space. Soaring ceilings, wood floors, • New host and hostess chairs were
added to the ensemble. Painted in a room, Mary says, “I love all the fabrics
and the open floor plan contributed to that my designer picked out for my bedroom.
the “empty” feeling of the room even distressed black finish and upholstered
The window treatments are spectacular; the
though it had furnishings in it. Wanting in a vibrant fabric, they provide greater
visual impact. bedding is simple yet beautiful, and the wall
to maintain the use of sentimental pieces, tapestry that was added to the room gives it a
the design team worked together to find • An expansive area rug was selected for lot of depth. I just love my bedroom. It’s my
a solution. Several things were done to its interesting pattern and ability to fill favorite place to go and relax.”
create warmth and minimize the vast the space appropriately.
appearance of the room: • The walls, ceiling, and molding were
A cancer survivor, Mary Brenner has painted different shades of gold to
founded “jewelry for Hope” as a way warm up the room and produce a
BEFORE to raise funds for cancer research. She calming atmosphere in this retreat.
often hosts events in her home and is • The matching bedroom furniture was
delighted with how well her dining replaced with pieces that are more to
room accommodates her efforts. “I have scale. None of the items matched, but
a custom jewelry business, and I use they complemented each other, bringing
the dining room to display my pieces diversity and intrigue to the space.
because they really sparkle in there. That • Custom bedding and window
room is spectacular, and it makes my treatments were designed to add an
jewelry look ...well ...exquisite.” element of softness.
Form and Function – However, as demonstrated in the Brenner • The small wooden box on the coffee
can form function? home, form can be incorporated with a table was a simple way to deal with
Form is how something looks; function little forethought and ingenuity. While the unsightly necessity of electronic
is how it works. Form and function researching and selecting furnishings remotes, and the large colorful trunk
work together, and the importance of and other items for this client, Peggy against the wall was able to serve as
each are dictated by the intended use carefully considered the lifestyle needs storage for games and toys.
of a room as well as the desires of the of the family. It was important to
client. A good designer has the ability Mary that every piece be purposeful in As Mary gazed around her family room,
to balance both. “The kitchen/family addition to stylish. she commented, “I think it is very important
room area is where we spend the most time that you feel comfortable with your designer.
together as a family,” explains Mary, “it • The family room sectional was It’s about creating in your home something
functions and flows very well...and it’s a chosen in order to accommodate the that will work for you and make you happy,
pretty room.” This is a perfect example entire family with plenty of space not your designer. I never felt like Peggy was
of how good design impacted this for relaxing. It was constructed with trying to put something in my home that I
family in a positive way. fabrics that are high in durability for did not want.”
this young, active family.
The kitchen and family room are
characteristically the most well utilized • The copper top iron based coffee table Scale and proportion –
rooms in a home because they are was selected for its stability, unique How do they affect the end result?
used by everyone in the family on a appearance, and resiliency to endure Scale is defined as the relative size of an
daily basis. As a result, it would seem the various cups, feet, and bottoms item as a part of the whole. Proportion
that function takes priority over form. that end up resting on it. is the relationship of size or quantity
188 Specialty Products & Services Houston Design Resources Issue I 2009 189
A variety of hard surfaces can be applied
in unique ways in order to create
additional interest in a room. BDI
was able to transform a cramped and
dark closet office into a stunning wine
grotto for Mr. Brenner, complete with a
cooling system. “My husband Jim really
enjoys his wine grotto with the sitting
area. It’s great when we are entertaining,
and it is his place to get away, too. It
really is a neat, neat room.”
• Wood, stone, and a ceramic mosaic
medallion were combined in a unique
way to create a striking end result.
• Lighting was strategically placed to
showcase the wine collection and
create the perfect ambiance.
• Accessories were added as the finishing
touches to create an authentic feel for
In addition to being educated,
experienced, and talented, a professional
designer provides an in-depth knowledge
of products, materials, and finishes that is
invaluable. Mary Brenner states it best,
“I would most definitely recommend using a
designer, because they handle everything, right
down to the last detail. To me, that is priceless
I learned a lot, and it was fun to watch it all
come together.” n