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accessories, Ask the Designer Detective, Back to School, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Before & After, Benjamin Moore, black, Charity, chevron, Courageous Color, CR Laine, custom, Dallas, design, Design Cases, Design Crimes, Design Dilemmas, design ideas, Design Styles, Designer Dictionary, Designer Friends, Dining Rooms, Entertaining, Entryways, Fabulous Fabrics, Family, Frisco, furniture, get it now, GMT, Holidays, IBB, ibbdesign, inspiration, instant gratification, interior design, Kid's Room, Kid's Rooms, lighting, Living Rooms, Model Homes, neutral, On Magazine, One Room Challenge, Outdoor Living, pattern, Perfect Paint, Pinterest, polka dot, Products I love!, Recipes, Scene Stealer, Shay Geyer, Shay's Favs!, Shay's House, Sneak Peek Saturday, sophisticated, Study/Home Office, This Just In!!!, Tip in a Zip, To Market, trend, Uncategorized, unique, Video, Wall Treatments, Wallpaper Wednesday, Wedding, white

New Video: Stylish Family Friendly Design


Tips for a Stylish Family Friendly Design:

1)    Keep your larger pieces neutral to allow you flexibility to switch out your accent colors more easily in the future.

2)    Use an upholstered ottoman as a cocktail table.  This is great for family’s with little ones.  There are no sharp edges for them to get hurt on.  Leather is super durable & you won’t worry when your kids or hubby kick their feet up on it.

3)    Make it unique.  The lamp shades on these lamps can be painted any Benjamin Moore paint color.  It’s a great way to make a statement & bring color into your space.  Feel like changing your accent color in the future?  Just paint the shades to go with your new palette.

4) Play with pattern on your chairs, pillows & accessories.  Polka dots are the latest pattern trend.  We love this sophisticated version on the chairs we’ve used in this vignette.

Get inspired to start your family room makeover today!  Everything featured in our set on GMT on Friday is now in stock at IBB!

For your daily dose of design inspiration, follow us on instagram & facebook!

Miss the segment last Friday?  Click here to watch it.  For more design tv, tune in to Good Morning Texas every Friday morning on WFAA channel 8 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM.

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accessories, Before & After, bookshelves, Dallas, Dallas interior designer, Design Dilemmas, design tips, Designer Friends, Frisco, how to accessorize a bookshelf, IBB Design, interior decorator, interior designer, James Turner, Uncategorized

Beautify your Bookshelves!

JT is back on the blog again today with some great advice on accessorizing your bookshelves.

So often clients send out a “911” when it comes to accessorizing bookshelves.  It can be tricky ~ figuring out what to put in them and such.  Here are some things that I try to incorporate when I’m decorating bookshelves.

This is a monster!  A big dark empty wall unit.  First of all, don’t keep all of the shelves the same height.  I think mixing it up makes it more interesting, so adjust them for varying interest.  You can see in the second picture how many I removed from my client’s wall unit. Play with the scale of your accessories.  To avoid monotony, make sure you choose items of different sizes.  Create an opening large enough for artwork or a sculpture.  Place your larger items in the shelves, not all together, maybe one in the middle left, another on the top right and then fill in the other spaces.


You’ll notice that I also incorporated some colorful things into this client’s wall unit to make it come alive.  In the smaller openings use a great box or group of books.  I also wanted to make it personal.  Showcase something that was brought back from your trip to Venice or found on a beach.  Using items that have meaning to you will also help tell your story and reflect your life in your home’s design.  I also love family photos mixed in, with some great new picture frames you found at IBB Design Fine Furnishings.


Be unconventional, if you have grandma’s china or a great collection of silver, use this has a springboard for your display design.  Things look better grouped in a collection, rather than spread out.  It makes more of an impact.

Place your larger items in the shelves, not all together, maybe one in the middle left, another on the top right and then fill in the other spaces.

You can also choose a color pallet and keep it say Turquoise, Yellow and Green.  Then when you’re out shopping you know what you need to buy and what to look out for.  This is a great look for a more transitional space.

I hope that a few of these tips and tricks will help with your bookshelf design and remember IBB Design Fine Furnishings has gorgeous accessories to help with the process.

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decor, design, Design Dilemmas, Designer Friends, eglomise, fresh, gold leaf, Guy Chaddock, interior design, John Richard, Kevin Wild, mirror, pattern, Uncategorized, update, wallpaper

Making the most of what you have!

Happy Friday design devotees!  I have a treat in store for you today!  I’ve asked Kevin Wild, one of IBB’s designers, to guest blog for us today.  He’s giving us a quick peek into a project he is working on with a client to show us how to make the most of what you have.  Take it away Kevin…

Design is all about putting your unique personal touch in your home.

Sometimes you even have to “work with whatchya got!”   This is exactly what I did in my client’s new home.  A few months back my clients moved in, and like many of my clients, she had wallpaper in her formal dining room. She was ready to rip it down and paint.   I told her, “No way.”   Her wallpaper was fabulous!

I used their wallpaper as the inspiration for the entire design.  A lot of times you may feel like patterns are too busy. Sometimes this is true with an all-over pattern on a chair or wallpaper.   An easy tip and trick is to break up the pattern to give your eye somewhere to rest!

In this dining room I broke up the busy pattern of the wallpaper with two fantastic John Richards elgomise floor mirrors.  This also allowed the dining room to bounce light all around the room.  In addition, the mirrors are gold leafed which helps tie in the gold from the wallpaper at the same time contrasting with the darkeness of the wallpaper.

The real icing on the cake in this room is the unique designer chairs from Guy Chaddock.   The tone-on-tone structured pattern contrasts with the more natural curves of the rest of the room.  The lighter fabric also provides a fresh contrast with the darker patterned wallpaper.  The clean lines of the chairs give the room an updated feel.

At the end of the day, using elements and details that are currently in your space to your advantage and adding a few new pieces to freshen it up can lead you to the design that fits you uniquely.

-Kevin Wild

Thank you Kevin!  It’s fun to see how just by changing things a bit & adding a few new pieces can give a room’s design a whole new perspective.   A room can still look fabulous even if you’re forced to work with what you’ve got!

Happy weekend & happy decorating everyone!

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art, Courageous Color, Design Dilemmas, Designer Deals, fine art, Joss and Main, Picasso, reproduction, Shay's Favs!, Starry Night, The Dream, Uncategorized, Vincent Van Gogh

Fine art on a tight budget

If you’re like me, you love art! Art can be a jumping off point to start a room or the finishing touch that ties your whole look together. Unfortunately my taste in art doesn’t always fit my budget. While I have attended fine art auctions on behalf of clients in the past, I certainly won’t be in the position to bid on a Van Gogh or Picasso for myself any time soon.

So what’s a girl to do? The next best thing to an original piece of artwork is a giclee or a reproduction. And, you’re in luck! I’ve selected two of my all time favorite paintings to be a part of my “Statement & Style” curation going on now through November 1st over at Joss and Main.

The Dream” by Pablo Picasso
Framed hand painted reproduction
Regular price $158
“Statement & Style” curation price $88.95

Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh
Framed hand painted reproduction (comes with certificate of authenticity)
Regular Price $579
“Statement & Style” curation price $229.95

Items in the curation are selling out fast, so jump on over to Joss & Main to take a look and get a little “Statement & Style” for your own home!

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Ask the Designer Detective, decorating ideas, design dilemma, Design Dilemmas, design questions, design tip, question, Uncategorized

Got a design question?

Do you have a design dilemma that you need to have solved?  On Friday, March 23rd on Good Morning Texas I’ll be answering viewer questions.  You can submit your questions here by leaving a comment or email them to me at  Please include your name, email & the city you live in.

Happy designing!

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Design Dilemmas, design ideas, designing a kid's room, Kid's Room, mural, playroom, remodeling, renovation, Shay's House, slider, stage, Uncategorized

Project Renovation: Playroom

You may remember that in our current house I designed a stage for our daughter to dance & sing on.  It’s provided us hours of entertainment & created quite the budding little popstar.  SO, naturally I had to come up with a way to incorporate it into our new house.  We’ve got another little girl on the way & Jaylie has promised, as part of her big sister duties, to teach Brooklyn how to fully utilize the dance stage!  It’s still a work in progress, but check out the progression of this project below. (Click on photos to enlarge)

During renovation:  There was a built in desk, closet & a half wall that overlooked the back staircase in this area before.  We tore out the built in desk & covered up the half wall.  We learned very quickly that this was going to be a hazard with the kiddos & decided it had to go!  When we first went to look at the house, Jaylie sat up on the desk & leaned over dangling & peering over the back staircase.  No bueno!  Unfortunately, when we went to take the closet out, we discovered that the left front side of it consisted of 3 support beams that were part of a load bearing wall.  The closet had to stay.  Mama was not super excited about this.  We had to come up with a plan to conceal it in the design.

During renovation:  I enlisted the help of my handy contractor, who also built the last stage, to tackle this one too.  I love how I can just throw my ideas at him & we formulate a way to turn it into something really cool.  Because of the layout of the room, this stage will be in the shape of a triangle instead of a baseball diamond like the last stage.

Mural Day 1:
You would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when I sat around with the artist (Kris Perry) & muralist  (Dewayne Sheppard) I work with.  The energy & excitement were infectious as we bounced ideas off of each other to create the perfect stage backdrop for the Geyer girls.  Did you notice the load bearing problem closet?  We left one side of it open & added some can lights in the ceiling.  We are going to place hooks inside for the girls to hang costumes on & make it a “secret backstage dressing room”.  We’re concealing it by incorporating the angles of the walls into the mural.

Mural in Progress:
The mural theme is based off of a compilation of scenes from the nutcracker (Jaylie’s favorite ballet).  Bright colors, dancing ballerinas, candies & sweets & a palatial setting will set the tone.  I think Dewayne may be as excited about this project as Jaylie is.  He keeps coming up with more fun ideas to incorporate into the scene.  I just can’t wait to see the finished project!

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basketball, client, custom, Design Dilemmas, fabric, furniture, furniture design, Hickory Chair, IBB Design, interior design, leather, M2M, made to measure, NBA, North Carolina, sectional, Shay's Favs!, Uncategorized

Have it Your Way

Who do you turn to when you need custom upholstery that not only looks hot, but is also comfy & cozy?  On a project I recently completed for a client in California, I turned to Hickory Chair.    Their Made to Measure program allows your clients to truly “Have it Your Way”.  It also gives designers an opportunity to put their personal spin on HC’s pieces.  My young &  hip client, who is a 6’10” NBA player, requested an edgy contemporary yet comfortable feel.  When you are 6’10”, standard size sofas & chairs just don’t work, but as a designer you must also be mindful of the size & scale of the home.  So, I sat down with my friends at Hickory Chair & designed a sensational Made to Measure sectional that showcased all of the details my client wanted.

Since the sectional would “float” in the family room, the back had to be interesting.  We dressed the frame in black Vacona leather & tufted the back using a subtle square pattern (click the photo to enlarge for a better view of the tufting).  (Hickory Chair was kind enough to forward me these photos from the factory before the sectional shipped.  My client could not wait to see it!)

The sectional ended up being 9×12 with a custom depth & height to accomodate my client’s stature.  The seat cushions were covered in a graphite flannel.  We used a COM Ralph Lauren cashmere for the accent pillows.  My client is not a big fan of pattern or color, so the house is layered in shades of black, taupe, gray & cream.  It turned out remarkably sophisticated & chic.

Hickory Chair has invited me to attend a program they are presenting, so I am heading to North Carolina this weekend.  So, if you don’t already, make sure to follow me on facebook & twitter to get a behind the scenes experience of our time at HC & lots of eye candy!

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blog, blog post, California, client, design, design blog, Design Dilemmas, fork lift, furniture, interior design, travel, Uncategorized

Never a dull day!

Hello design friends!  I apologize for being MIA over the last week or so.   After I returned from furniture market in North Carolina, I hopped right back on a plane to go install my client’s home in California.  I’m back in Dallas now (at least for the time being) & wouldn’t you know it ~ I got a terrible sinus infection in the midst of trying to play catch up back at our showroom.  So, please excuse my tardiness in sharing all of my exciting adventures & finds with you.

I have so much to catch you all up on, but it will have to wait for now.  I need to follow up on current projects  & put the finishing touches on an event we’re hosting here at IBB for STAR Children’s Charities next week.   So exciting!  Don’t go far though, because next week will be full of lots of fun on my blog including a guest post from my fabulous friend Shelly Rosenberg.

So, for the time being I will leave you with a little teaser to entice you to come back & read up on my latest adventures…

No, this is not something I normally keep in my designer’s tool kit.  However, I did use this ever-so- handy forklift to get my client’s absolutely favorite piece into his home during my installation in California.  It’s never a dull day in the design world!  Stay tuned for details…

Ask the Designer Detective, color, Dallas, design, design blog, design dilemma, Design Dilemmas, Frisco, furniture store, furniture store in Dallas, GMT, how to decorate, interior design, Outdoor Living, questions, room, Shay Geyer, space, space planning, TX, Uncategorized

Got Questions???

I’ve got answers!!!  I will be answering viewer questions on an upcoming GMT segment.  Post your questions here on the Designer Detective  blog now!  If your question is used on the show, you’ll get a $100 gift certificate to IBB Design Furniture Showroom.

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accessories, art, blog, chair, color, Courageous Color, design, design blog, Design Dilemmas, design ideas, desk, desk chair, fabric, flocking, furniture, home furnishings, IBB Design, interior designer, John Richard, makeover, office, recovering, Shay Sampson, Shay's Favs!, stripe, style, suede, trend, turquoise, Uncategorized, velvet

Mini Make-over

It’s time for a make-over!  It’s a mini project for me.  I’ve finally had it!   My office at IBB is in major need of some TLC.  You see, we’ve been at our current location for more than five years now.  I was pregnant with my daughter & super busy at the time of the move, so I decided to put the task of “officially” designing my office space off for a later date.  Well, five years later, things are still super busy around here (Praise God!)  & my walls are still bare (with the exception of a print of the new studios I was given when I started at Good Morning Texas).  My desk chair is oh-so-comfy, but a MAJOR eye sore!  My guest chairs for clients & other business guests are pretty, but they’re just not me.

Last weekend while I was up here working on a client project, I finally reached my boiling point.  Part of creating inspiring interiors, I believe, is surrounding ourselves with things we find inspiring.  My office, where I spend a great deal of time each day, falls very short of awe inspiring.

I whipped out some fabric books & my Benjamin Moore paint deck & picked out some fabulosity for my new digs.  I wanted something fun, girly, young & hip.  I will be using hints of fuschia (because I love pink & I think my fiance would kill me if I ever tried to use pink in the home we’ll soon be sharing!)  I’ll be re-covering my desk chair & the guest chairs, painting the walls, adding some art & lighting & switching out the big bulky armoire for a sleek mirrored console.  I’ll be keeping my desk unit (even though I probably should eventually update that too) because I love it’s functionality & quite frankly I just don’t want to spend the money right now.  I’ll be tackling this in stages (in my spare time:  note to self; find spare time! ~ LOL!) so I will post the after pictures when it’s complete.  For now,  check out the color palette as well as some before photos below.

These are the fabrics I’ve selected.  Since you haven’t heard me shut up about my excitement that turquoise is the 2010 color of the year, are you even surprised that I’d be using it in my own surroundings?  I’m contrasting it with the rich midnight blue velvet.  I’ll be pulling in hints of my favorite color pink through the fuchsia in the stripe fabric as well as some accessories.  I”ll show you & explain where everything is going in the After post when the room is complete.  Gotta let the reveal be a surprise…


Desk chair before
I know, I know.  Hideous, right?  I use that cozy turquoise throw everyday ( It’s always so dang cold in my office! ), but it actually helps disguise my ugly desk chair too ~ LOL!

My chunky clunky armoire is getting the boot.  It’s really just serving as a storage unit for JUNK!  Hasta la vista baby!


This shows off the wall color before.  I’ll be changing it to a bright white for a cheery update and to bring some life into my office.  I have no windows in here, so I’m ready for a light bright feel.  As of now, I’ve selected Benjamin Moore white dove.  I’ll be painting a test sample this weekend.


I’ll be recovering these chairs & adding some cool detailing to give them a fun playful update.

If I’m feeling a little frisky, I will probably chronicle this makeover via twitter, so make sure you follow me here.

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bella, Bella Rosa, chandelier, crystal chandelier, Design Dilemmas, High Point, lamp shade, lamp. light, North Carolina, shade, Shay's Favs!, Uncategorized

Light Up Your Life: Part 2

I hope you are busy finding all sorts of wonderful ways to light up your life!  As we discussed previously, lighting is a key element to a well-designed room.  During my recent trip to the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina, I found some marvelous way to add style to your home through great lighting.  Check out some of my favs…

Amber Chandelier from Bella Rosa

How cute is this?  So frilly & girly!  I love the elongated shade.

Pure fabulosity!  I call these the “bubble pendants”.  So many creative ways one could use these!

A little glitz.  A little glam.  A whole lotta style.  Love the shape of the shade.  Makes me feel all sparkley just looking at it!

This is totally on my wish list!  It’s a chandelier inside a floor lamp!  One of my very favorite finds at High Point this year.  My wish is to one day place this beside a beautiful baby grand piano in my home.

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accessories, design, Design Dilemmas, lamp, light, natural light, Shay's Favs!, task lighting, Uncategorized

Light Up Your Life

After choosing furniture, colors and accessories, if you’re room still feels lacking the problem may be the lighting. Lighting is a crucial part of home decorating. Beyond helping you see, proper lighting can add beauty and drama to a room. When used properly, lighting enhances color, highlights texture and creates just the right mood for any room in a home.

There are many ways to light a room, and the room’s function greatly determines the way it should be lit. Mixing natural and task lighting makes a room visually interesting.

Natural light: Sunlight, candlelight and firelight. This is light that moves and is sometimes referred to as kinetic. The quality of natural light, sunlight in particular, depends on many things–time of day, weather, what season it is.  The setting sun gives a different kind of light than midday sun.

Task lighting: Task lighting is just that; lighting that’s used to perform daily activities such as reading, cooking, shaving, putting on makeup, etc. Effective task lighting enhances visual clarity and keeps the eyes from getting tired.

Now that we’ve concluded today’s lesson in lighting.  Take a look at some stylish ways to light up your life…

The transparent lamp base was a big trend at furniture market in High Point this fall.  This beauty is from Barbara Cosgrove.  Available at IBB Design Furniture Showroom.

SO stylish!  Perfect task lighting for a desk in a home office or study.  Rectangular shades like this fit so nicely up against a wall because of their flat sides, so this could also work for an entry or hallway on a console.  Barbara Cosgrove.  Available at IBB.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this lamp from Jamie Young!  The shade is made from cork.  Again, we see the transparent base, but with a tinge of yellow this time 🙂

Fabulous floor lamp from Jamie Young.  Great scale & style.  Suitable for a wide range of homes.

Colorful pendant lighting from Jamie Young.

Chatting with designer Jamie Young at furniture market in High Point this fall.  Such energy & spunk ~ which is obviously carried out through her fabulous designs.  I love that you can mix & match all of her shades with any base.  We had fun playing & buying for IBB Design Furniture Showroom!

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Ask the Designer Detective, blinds, Design Dilemmas, draperies, drapery panels, drapery rod, fabric, Roman Shade, Uncategorized, window treatments, wood blinds, woven woods

Windows with Style

Dear Designer Detective,

Need to find out what to do about window coverings in our family room. We don’t want to block or distract from any of wonderful view, but leaving them plain just doesn’t look right.

-Kim Collier

Dear Kim,

Thank you so much for your question!  It’s actually one I get all of the time.  Here are a few solutions that i would suggest for you.

Simple pleated linen panels on either side of the windows with woven wood shades.  The woven woods can raise & lower for privacy & allow for little or no view obstruction.

Another drapery panel & woven wood example


Simple pleated panels to dress the windows.  This option does not allow for privacy.  However, you could make the panels wide enough to draw closed if you want to be able to have privacy.  This will make the panels hang into the windows on the sides more, but will not obstruct your view.


Here we used 2″ wood blinds with simple pleated drapery panels on either side.  The panels help to dress the windows, draw your eye up & bring color & texture into the room.

Time to get those windows stylin!  Let me know what you end up choosing to make your windows make a fabulous design statement!  Happy decorating!

~ Designer Detective

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accessories, Design Dilemmas, design style, European furniture, furniture, GMT, sofa, traditional design, traditional furniture, Uncategorized

Find your style ~ Traditional

I recently featured a series on Good Morning Texas in helping viewers find their design style.  I decided to put this series together after seeing that 15% of the people polled on my blog had no clue what their design style was.  If you have no idea what your style is, how do you shop for your home?  You’ve got to know what your style is!  Otherwise, you will be making huge costly mistakes when making purchases in furniture & accessories for your home.

Click here to watch the GMT segment on Traditional Design.

If your design style is traditional, you will look for the following:

Characteristics of Traditional design:

  • the largest of the style categories with a dozen or so sub-categories
  • more conservative, sometimes more formal
  • elegant details
  • comfortable & classic
  • graceful carved curves
  • rich color palettes
  • dark polished woods such as cherry or mahogany
  • think wingback chairs, damask, paisley, or floral patterns
  • A familiar look because it’s the most popular design style amongst Americans & Europeans

A few examples of Traditional style furniture & accessories:

advice, answers, Ask the Designer Detective, decorating, design dilemma, Design Dilemmas, design ideas, design project, fabric, furniture, GMT, idea, Perfect Paint, questions, space planning, This Just In!!!, Uncategorized

Viewer Questions Answered!

Have a design dilemma or topic you need help with?  Need some fresh ideas, paint or fabric advice, or just want to be up to date on current design trends?  Need an opinion on your latest design project?  Here’s your chance!  Write in to the Designer Detective.  All next week we’ll be focusing on questions asked by you!  Check in daily to find out what design dilemma we’re solving for that day.

Then, tune in to Good Morning Texas on Friday, February 20th to see the design dilemmas and practical solutions discussed on live television!

I can’t wait to hear from you!  Happy decorating everyone!

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accessories, art, box, coffee table, decor, Design Dilemmas, faux mink, floral, home accessories, home furnishings, IBB Design, ideas, pillow, pottery, Shay's Favs!, Uncategorized, zebra

Accessorize It!

Is something missing from your home?  You’ve bought all of the big furniture pieces, but it just doesn’t seem right.  You may take a look around & realize that you’ve forgotten to accessorize.  Accessories are like jewelry for your home.  They can help tie your whole look together.   Here’s a few ideas to pull your look together & make your home super stylish 😉

Find a fabulous piece of art.  Use a floral and pottery to pull out the dominant colors of your color palette.

Here’s a fresh take for some coffee table decor.  I love the mixture of textures on these decorative balls.  Some are leather, some are smooth & shiny & some are adorned with seashells but they all compliment the same neutral color palette.  Combined in a bowl together, they make a beautiful statement.

Dress up a casual leather recliner with a luxurious faux mink pillow.  Va-va-va-voom!!!

Animal prints are not just for fabrics.  Try these sleek zebra decorative boxes.  They’ll most definitely liven up a bookcase.  Or, try a more practical solution & use it to hide unsightly remote controls in your family or media room.

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design, design blog, Design Dilemmas, eglomise, end table, furniture, Hickory Chair, Hickory White, IBB Design Furniture Showroom, interior design blog, John Richard, luxury home furnishings, side table, table, Uncategorized

Means to an end…

Looking for a fabulous finish to a stylish sofa or a great pair of chairs?  Read on to get the perfect ending…


Neoclassical End table by Hickory Chair
Neoclassical End table by Hickory Chair


round lamp table by Hickory Chair
round lamp table by Hickory Chair

Gold & Metal

Square gold, metal & glass by Hickory White


John Richard End Table
John Richard End Table

Smaller Scaled

John Richard Black Laquer End Table
John Richard Black Laquer End Table


John Richard Eglomise Lamp Table
John Richard Eglomise Lamp Table

Now for the really sweet ending; You can find ALL of these fabulous end tables at IBB Design Furniture Showroom.

Ask the Designer Detective, brass, chandelier, Design Dilemmas, Designer Detective, fixtures, Perfect Paint, Uncategorized, update

Updating Brass Fixtures

Dear Shay,

I love your GMT segments and I am using Jim Morgan from IBB to recover a chair and ottoman for me. I have a very large brass foyer chandelier, I once heard you say that brass can be you have a source for that?

I would be so grateful,

-Debbie C.

Dear Debbie,

I have a fabulous artist that I use all of the time.  She updated two light fixtures in my house for me.  Her name is Kris Perry.  I have some of her other work posted here. She will need to take a look at it & let you know what can be done.  Thank you so much for your question & Happy Decorating!


2009, decorating, design, Design Dilemmas, Designer Detective, New Year, style, Uncategorized

Out with the old & in with the new!

Happy New Year everyone!  Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get your design projects underway!  Hopefully you have completed the daunting task of taking down all of your holiday decorations.  It’s always so much more fun to put them up, isn’t it?  Do you find that with all of your decorations down, there are many empty spaces & blank walls to fill?  Well, don’t fret!  You’re not alone!  Let’s tackle your design projects together!

I hope you will join me this year & stay interactive in the Designer Detective community.  I would love to hear about your design dilemmas, current projects & your fabulous feedback!

Let’s make 2009 a stylish year for you & your home!  Happy New Year & Happy Decorating!!!

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bookcase, Design Dilemmas, desk, mocha, orange, organize, plan, tangerine, Uncategorized, writing desk

Inspiration for Organization

It’s a wonder how one gets inspired simply by being in beautiful surroundings.  Having a sense of order & function in your home will give you the calm and steadiness you need to fulfill your life.  Take this suggestion for example; create a planning area in your home.  We’ve turned this small space located off the kitchen into an oasis of organization.  It’s a place to pay bills, get organized, or sit & read a book.  It’s a home office or study, but on a much smaller scale.  We chose to use tangerine, mocha & white to create the color palette.  The small room contains a writing desk, chair & a bookcase.

We’ve hung a grouping of tangerine prints above the desk for a pop of color.  The walls a painted a rich mocha & offer a beautifully contrast to the white writing desk.  A fabulous lamp is a must-have for your desk.  A small caddy style desk organizer help keep the desk clutter free.  Happy planning!

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Century Furniture, Design Dilemmas, end table, martini table, occasional table, Shay Sampson, Shay's Favs!, Uncategorized

A place to set your drink…

You absolutely MUST have one of these in your home!  They call it a “Martini Table”, a swanky name for a small occasional table.  It seems that it may have also gotten its name from the shape.  Most martini tables have long slender stem like bases with a small top.  They’re made to service one chair or one end of a small sofa or settee.  I’ve seen them in a myriad of designs from eglomaise and other mirrored surfaces to steel or wood (like the one pictured).  They are uber-functional!  Just about every furniture manufacturer offers at least one style .

I love the idea of using a table like this in your formal living area, family, room or study.  Actually, you could use it just about anywhere you need a place to set your drink.  When there is not enough space to use a standard end table, this is the perfect solution!

Gotta have it!!!

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bookcase, design, Design Crimes, Design Dilemmas, greeting cards, organize, solution, storage, Uncategorized

Simple Storage Solution

I like to buy greeting cards in bulk so I have them handy when I need to send a birthday or special occasion card.  My desk drawer was full of them & hunting through the unorganized stack to find the right card was starting to get on my nerves.  So, I came up with a simple solution.  Here’s how I organized my greeting cards & made a decorative statement at the same time.

This is also a really great solution for organizing items other than greeting cards.

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chair, Design Dilemmas, desk, Hickory Chair, home office, secretary, Uncategorized, white

Secret Office…

Today’s Design Dilemma:
Dear Shay,

I need to create a home office, but I don’t have an actual room to use.  We just need a place to pay bills & place a laptop.  How can I create an “office space” in our home?

-Melanie R.

No worries!  Why don’t you try adding a secretary?  No, not a person!  Although, who wouldn’t want that?  I’m referring to a secretary like the one pictured to the left.  You’ll get the office function without taking up much space.  The best part about a secretary piece is that you can conceal all of your “office clutter” by simply closing the drop down desk portion.  A secretary offers all of the functions of a desk in a more compact environment.

This secretary is by Hickory Chair.  It’s so simple and sophisticated.  It could easily be incorporated into your family room, bedroom, or even a wide hallway.  The white finish is so fresh & could work seamlessly with almost any style.  The clean straight lines, ample storage & stylish look make this a fabulous choice for an impromptu home office!  Happy decorating!


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art, color, decorative pillows, Design Dilemmas, family room, functional seating, ottomans design dilemma, pop, stone fireplace, Uncategorized

Add some pop!

Today’s Design Dilemma:  Using color to make your room say WOW!

Take a monochromatic or neutral color palette from drab to fab!  Add a few simple pops of color to create some drama like we have in this cozy family room.  The builder white walls are brought to life by a sophisticated colorful print on the draperies hanging on simple wood rods & rings.  The fireplace is a great focal point, but you really take notice with the addition of the bright artwork.  Notice the ultra-functional red ottomans in front of the coffee table.  Small movable ottomans are one of my favorite “must-have” pieces!  We’ve added a few colorful throw pillows & some accessories to complete the look.  So easy to do!  Try some of these tricks in your family room for a quick makeover.

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built-ins, Design Dilemmas, furniture, home office, study, Uncategorized

Study 101

Dear Shay,
I want to turn an upstairs bedroom into a ladies study with a small desk and lamp etc.  If there is no bed in the room what do you use for an anchor piece?

First, think of the room as a study, not a bedroom.  Make the desk the anchor piece for your room. I would use a writing desk; one that is open at the bottom. If you use a desk that is closed in, it will be very hard to balance the room in a small space because closed bottom desks have a very heavy feel to them. Try angling the desk in the room in one corner & place a small club chair across from it. If you have the room, you could place a floor lamp & small end table beside the club chair & use it as a place for reading. You could also use a small desk lamp on the writing desk. Adding built in bookshelves would offer you a great place to store office supplies (have the cabinet maker build doors across the bottom of the built in) & display treasured mementos.  Adding french doors could really help define the room as a home office, but could also get expensive.  If you have the room in your budget, go for it!  To finish off the room, dress the windows with some draperies in a pleasing feminine print & add a few accessories & some art or framed family photos.  Happy decorating!


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4 poster bed, bench, contrast, dark wood, Design Dilemmas, duvet, gold, green, master bedroom, neutral, simple panels, Uncategorized

Simple Master Bedroom

Today’s Design Dilemma:  Ideas for creating a peaceful master bedroom retreat

Calming colors of gold & green chosen in soothing tones create a peaceful retreat for this master bedroom.  Drama is present with the high contrast of the dark rich woods with the cool tones of the color palette.  The 4 poster bed draws your eye up and makes quite a statement in the room.  Keep it simple on the accessories.  Too much clutter will take away from the restful atmosphere.  Use sleek silver photo frames on nightstands to showcase family photos.  Black & white photos would keep in line with the clean sophisticated look of the room & also offer a classic touch to your decor.    We’ve dressed the windows with simple drapery panels hung on fabulous rich wood rods & rings for a clean sophisticated look.  A small straight lined club chair & end table were added to define a sitting area for the room.  No rug is needed since the flooring that was chosen is a high quality neutral carpet with a sturdy pad.