Sunday, December 11, 2011

5 Fabulous Decorating Solutions For Winter

When the days are short make your rooms long on comfort and style.  Look to create rooms that drive out the chill. And if you haven’t finished decorating your home for the Holidays yet, here’s a few of my warm and cozy ideas that you can implement right now.

·         I love white fabrics and sparkling accessories, they are natural choices for winter decor because they add much-needed light to a home's interior. Softer than the bright whites of summer, winter whites come in a variety of pale colors.  Winter whites will cover a bed's dark shapes the way snow blankets the landscape of the outdoors. Sink into the layers of winter with lavender, pale pink, mint green and white flannel linens, a fluffy featherbed, a winter-weight duvet, and a transparent bedcovering of icy voile.

·         Candles -- and lots of them -- cast a warming glow to every corner of a room, especially when company's coming for dinner. Keep a stock of white candles, mirrored, silver and sparkling accessories, and frosted glasses on hand to keep the look fresh and inviting; simply create new groupings from your stash every time you set the table.

·         And don’t forget the Hearth.  In the winter, rearrange the seating group in your living room so it faces the fireplace.  Winter white lampshades maximize the wattage of every bulb without creating glare.  Add a string of votives to the mantel and a group of pillars on the coffee table to multiply the warmth and power of the fire to ward off the chill.

·         The celebration of the season starts at the front door. Greet family and friends with a wreath that suits the whole season, greenery, sparkling ornaments (inside or out) and the ever-present candles on a console table in your entry/foyer are just as suitable all months as they are for December.

·         Greenery is always visually appreciated, but choose branches of leaves rather than pine boughs. Or, put pine boughs out for the holidays and switch to eucalyptus leaves in January for a fresh change of pace. A sprig of greenery, such as evergreens, on the nightstand is a gentle reminder of nature's cycles

If you keep colors light in winter, your spirit will maintain its lightness longer during the stretches of time that the sun takes its leave.  I know this first hand as I live in a canyon. In the winter months our sun sets here behind the hill at about 2:30 in the afternoon.  So I’m practicing what I preach.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Designing Eye: Understanding the misunderstood room! By Toni Berry Contra Costa Times Correspondent

Make no mistake -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah. This is dining room season.

However, many people don't appreciate how important the dining room -- what decorating professionals call the most misunderstood room in the house -- is all about.

I find the dining room to have the importance of the holiest room in the house. Some women in their 20s and 30s may not understand that, but women of my generation, as well as our mother's and grandmother's generations, know how this room really works.

It's the calm, quiet room with a table and chairs where we pay our bills, fill out tax returns, review report cards and conduct private conversations on important family matters. It's the place where we plan weddings, baby showers, baptisms and christenings. It's where we serve buffets, luncheons and dinners, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and gather for funeral receptions, graduations, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year's celebrations.

All the special events of our lives are all centered in this room.

A very good friend of mine, who is 92 years old, moved from her home of 45 years to a small condo. She was willing to give up everything -- even her mother's antique stove -- for this move; the only thing she would not budge or negotiate on was her dining room. The condo had to have a space large enough for her dining room furniture. All of it -- the table with two leaves, eight chairs, hutch and serving buffet.

She got it. She told me that the memories the dining room and the furniture in it held for her were priceless. When she looked at this furniture in its proper place, she could remember the details of raising her family. It meant so much more to her than just a room.

To some of us, the dining room is a symbol of a little class, manners and good taste. My mother adored her dining room. Whenever we ate in the dining room, I could see the unmistakable pride on her face, her sweet smile as she placed the fabulous Italian food in front of her family. This was the room she could serve us with grace and poise, and we would all be on our best behavior.

The manners she taught us in the kitchen were tested in the dining room. After my father died, she moved from our childhood home and gifted her dining room furniture to my sister. Now another generation is being served; when I sit at that table and in those chairs at my sister's house, the warm memories flood back.

Sometimes the problem with dining rooms that are not used is that you lose the opportunity to make memories and moments. Those are the only things that really make a house a home.

And perhaps that's what is not understood by so many.

Toni Berry is an interior designer at Marie Antoinette Interiors.
Contact her for a Dining Room you'll always remember!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Orange You Glad ?

Because it’s almost Thanksgiving I thought I’d share a few rooms that may inspire you to add a little orange into your life. It’s a beautiful, bright color that works well with blue, (I know that sounds strange but it is one of the newest color combinations being shown now) and when done right, it can add just the right amount of happiness and pizazz. Use the holidays and colors of the season as a guide for color in your home. Color schemes are often right in front of us; we just need to be more observant!

Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue. There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger "love it" or "hate it" response than other colors. Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy.

Interestingly, some tones of orange, such as terra cotta, peach, and rust have very broad appeal.
How the color orange affects us physically

  • Stimulates activity
  • Stimulates appetite
Encourages socialization

Friday, October 7, 2011

Put The Autumn Back In Your Home...5 Easy Tips!

This time of year is perfect for adding seasonal accents to your home. Materials are abundant everywhere. Hang a fall wreath on the front door; throw some gourds and twigs on a side table and it looks fabulous!  You could do a little more if you choose.  But it doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  Especially if you live in a rural area as I do.  I usually pick up leaves, turkey feathers (yes we have wild turkeys running around here in Sunol) buckeyes and walnuts on my morning run.  That’s what I like about a California Autumn; sunny, warm and full of beautiful nature and all for us to bring inside!
Here are a few of my “Autumn Tips” to help you transform your home into a fall delight. 

  1. Remove all table top runners and tablecloths that are in the styling of summer/spring and replace them with runners and tablecloths in autumn colors like rust, green, browns and burgundy.  They don’t have to be expensive these will be used as a back drop for the arrangements under which they set.
  2. Make your own dried leaf arrangements for the runners and tablecloths above.  All you need is a vase and pruners to get this done.  Use clippings of evergreens and cones mixed with twigs and turned leaves to create a focal point for the table or mantel.  Remember that Scale is what makes these types of arrangements striking.  Choose an oversize urn, large pottery from the garden shop, even an umbrella stand can make a striking vase for this arrangement.
  3. Mood lighting…….as the summer sun ebbs and the fall filters the flood of light, try a string of lights or two along the mantel or your sideboard in the dining room.  Wrap the tiny lights, around a fall garland and add gourds and pumpkins.  Keep the lights on for ambiance lighting through the fall season until Christmas rolls around.  If you have large plants or tall trees in your home, whether real or fake, add plant lights to the greenery and direct the light upwards for drama and a warm feeling to the room.
  4. If you have simple hard window treatments like shutters or blinds, you can dress these up a bit to give a warmer feeling to the room.  Hang ready made panels on simple rods at the sides of the windows in a heavy textured fabric. This will add a sense of weight and warmth to the room.  Choose a color like amber, rust or copper brown for an impressive effect.
  5. Add throw pillows and blanket throws on the sofa and arm chairs.  Use the same guide lines as the window treatment panels above for colors and textures.  To get a truly lush look use 5 to 6 pillows for the sofa and 1 or 2 on the arm chairs.  You can even place small rectangular pillows on the dining chairs to soften the look of the dining room. 

Decorating for this season can be minimal or it can be an explosion of decorations.  Less is often more, but in the spirit of true holiday decorating, more is acceptable.  If you plan to grace everything in your home with a reminder of the autumn season, remember to stick to a theme, to develop continuity and always maintain elegance.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to Treat Your Windows!!!

I started in this business 25 years ago designing and manufacturing window treatments. Even though I have worked in this industry for far longer than that my favorite part of interior design has been window treatments. In my opinion they are so important they really do make or break a rooms potential.

    Let me explain. Window treatments have come a long way since animal skins and oilcloths were thrown across the small tiny openings that passed for windows in primitive houses. The word "window" from the Norse, literally means "eye of the house through which the wind enters". Over the past two decades that I have been designing them they have evolved into an art form and have come to be a primary element that can bring beauty and comfort to every room in your house.

    There are many types of window treatments to choose from in a variety of styles, material, colors and fabrics. They include draperies, curtains, blinds, shutters, shades, valance's to name just a few. Each may be adored with decorative curtain rods and finials made in wood, iron, metal, or gilded composition material.

And all the above can be purchased at varying price points. There's something for everyone and every pocket book!

    When a window treatment is a success it will bring a combination of style and decoration to the room. They are called on to be both aesthetic and a functional key in design to not only set or match the tone of a room but also deliver light control, privacy, and views on demand. Not an easy task but when accomplished its wonderful!

    The style of a window treatment will be determined by many factors, size and shape of the window, design theme, furniture used in the room, architectural features, the need to control light and function and privacy needed. I lean towards cleaner lines in my designs, but I always let the clients preferences dictate the finished product.

    I noticed that we humans are always drawn to the light source in a room, the window. Let the eyes of your home be adorned with something beautiful to look at.

If your windows need treating, you're in luck! Starting September 5th through the 31st Marie Antoinette Interiors is having a SALE! 20% Off & A Free Design Consultation!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Designing Eye: Working some house paint magic!

The architecture may be remarkable, the setting impressive, yet consciously or not, the first thing we notice about a house is its exterior paint colors.

It captures our attention and speaks to our emotions. Chosen correctly, it can convince us that a small house looks larger, a squat house has height and gives a plain house some much-needed flair. And in a neighborhood full of look-alikes, it can make a single home stand out.

As someone once said, "If the barn needs painting, then paint it." And summer is the best time of year to paint the exterior of your home. But what color?

If the thought of choosing paint colors for your home's exterior paralyzes you to the point of putting it off another year, here are tips to help you get started this summer.

Consider architecture
Look at your home carefully. The architecture and style, or lack there of, often will determine what and how many colors you will need.

One idea that many homeowners have used successfully is to select one primary color for the body, and select a trim color in the same family but a different shade, perhaps two or three shades lighter. This is a safe bet, but if you'd like more interest or drama brought to your home's exterior, choose a trim color that is darker and from a different color family.

A pale yellow home might look more dramatic with a bright white trim and a red front door as opposed to a pale yellow home trimmed in a much lighter version of the same color.

The roof matters
Don't overlook the roof color when selecting the ideal exterior paint colors. You want to ensure that your roof and paint colors flow into a beautiful exterior house design.

Also look at all the existing elements that won't be painted -- the driveway and the chimney, for example. These elements should play a role in shaping your color choices.

For a facade that's partially stone, using a similar color will visually connect the house. If the fixed colors are intense, like a terra-cotta tile roof or a brick red facade, a neutral color such as sand or a warm white will bring balance.

Optical illusions
Remember that when dealing with the major surfaces of your home, a light color will make your house look larger. This may require you to rethink your shade selection and opt for a darker color.

Darker color tones saturated with pigment lend themselves well to very large homes lacking in trim. The color makes the statement, taking the place of missing architectural interests.

It is also a good to choose colors that complement each other. Many paint brands have historical and architectural paint colors already grouped for you.

One such selection that works well here is the "America's Colors, California Expressions" line by Benjamin Moore. The line has great color combinations that work perfectly for most California Ranch, Bungalow and Mission-style homes.

Think big, paint small
Before painting your entire home, consider painting a small area to see how you like the color palette you've chosen. It's a big project, so you don't want to repaint after you realize that those "perfect" colors are making you ill.

I paint two coats on several 20-inch-by-30-inch foam boards and move them to different sides of the home to see how the color changes in alternate lights. The most important side of the house is the front, so make sure you view the painted boards there for several days before making the final decision.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Designing Eye: Big Solutions For Small Spaces

Many people live in a small home, a small room or just a small space. And often these spaces can feel pretty cramped. But if you believe, as I do, that small can be just as beautiful as big, use these guidelines to maximize your space with stylish, transforming and eye-deceiving tips.

Sheer drapery adds an open feeling

• Go vertical. Draw the eye up with vertical lines and tall pieces. Eliminate chair rails, which cut the room visually in half and make it feel smaller. Use vertical striped patterns, and make sure your window treatments go all the way to the ceiling.

• Look through it. Use glass tables, which don't take up much space but also don't stop the eye, creating an illusion of largeness. Sheer or mesh window coverings allow some sunlight in and add a more open feeling.

• Remove or open doors. An open entry between rooms will prevent the space from feeling boxy and broken up.

Larger art and larger scale furniture makes the room appear larger!
• Go big. Hang large artwork on the walls to give the appearance of a larger space.

• Mount lights. Wall-mounted sconces take the place of lamps, saving space while lighting up the room.

Extend the wall color up to the ceiling for a larger appearance!
 • Connect the ceiling. Wall treatments and paint colors that continue onto the ceiling gives the walls the appearance of extending up indefinitely.

• Large furniture. Look for a large-scale piece, such as a round table in a corner or a big, comfy chair, to trick the eye and make the space feel larger. You can make a compact room feel much bigger by choosing a few large, bold pieces rather than many smaller ones.
• Hang mirrors. With mirrors you can play with light and reflections, which creates the illusion of a bigger space. Especially effective placed across from a window.
A smaller space simply requires a more creative approach with decorating. Small is beautiful!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Top 10 Reasons you need a Decorator!

1. You have ideas, but don't know how to implement them.

2. You have a difficult room...too many focal points or details in the wrong places.

3. You don't have the TIME, ENERGY OR DESIRE to do the design or decorating work.

4. You need a major make-over, but you're on a budget.  Decorating mistakes are expensive, and a decorator can make sure they don't happen.

5.You have major work to be done, but you need to work in stages.  A decorator can set you up with a prioritized plan and a time line if needed.

6. You think you know what you want, but are insecure about whether your ideas will work or not.

7. You want to update a room without throwing everything out and starting over. If you don't have a talent for creating an eclectic space, call a professional.

8. You have furniture and accessories that don't quite fit, but you just can't let go of the family heirlooms or you can't afford to replace them.  A decorator can help you "Re-Purpose" old hand-me-downs.

9. You are trying to achieve a specific style or period of design in your decorating, but just can't quite make it happen.

10. You are unsure about color combinations, proportions, mixing patterns, composition, and style.

All the indicators above are reasons to call for help!  A "consultation" will go a long, long, way in avoiding mistakes and regrets!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interior Decorator Finally Finishes Room!

“Toni, I want to give you an update on my living room since I am now enjoying the shock and rave reviews from my friends! The usual comment is, “Oh, you finally finished your living room”, and my usual response is, “Oh yes but actually I just made a phone call”!

As you know we remodeled the house 5 years ago. I had sloooowly been working on the decorating but just could not get it completed. (My advice to anyone contemplating a remodel is to hire an interior designer along with the architect and the contractor!).

I put in new carpet, drapes and reupholstered furniture but it never had the pop that I was hoping for.

Your column, "Why you hire an interior designer" a couple of months ago really gave me an idea, and I am so glad I called you.

I think that column was the most useful one ever written in that it takes care of the big issue of “how to get it finished”!

I have watched decorating shows for years on how to rearrange furniture

(not that I learned very much) but you did it all at once. You rearranged the furniture, brought in pillows in the right colors and fabrics to add that pop of brightness across the room, brought in a tall tree and flower arrangements to finish off the details, and it was done! And all within my modest budget. Thanks so much! ~Roseanne Slingsby, Pleasanton.”




The above letter was sent to me by a reader who actually called on me to help her select a new paint color for her family room addition not the living room she is so joyfully writing about.

It was while she led me from the front door to the back of the house where the family room was located that I quickly glanced to my left and saw the beginnings of a beautiful living room that was almost complete in its decor. It just needed a few finishing touches but I bite my tongue and proceeded to the family room.

At the end of our one hour paint consultation, I mentioned that her living room was far closer to the finishing point than she thought.

I also told her that with little effort on her part, I could provide a few accessories to pull the room together and give her a sense of completion in that room so she could continue on with the new paint we had chosen for the family room. She was so relieved.

She gave me a budget, and I stuck to it. A week later I was back at the house with everything she needed to put the finishing touches in the living room.

How wonderful it was to see her face glow when I finished. She saw her room come to fruition.

The Moral of the story………….It’s the details, the accessories, how and where they are placed in the room that make it warm, inviting and lived in! If you do not know the “how and where”, make a phone call!

Toni Berry at Marie Antoinette Interiors
925 862-9064 or

Friday, May 13, 2011

Transform a Coffee Table to an Ottoman or an Ottoman to a Coffee Table !

I love furniture that can multi-task and be beautiful at the same time. If you are thinking of changing your old coffee table or ottoman for new ones, think again. Perhaps you can keep it by transforming it into something more useful and attractive.

Transformation # 1. When a client told me she and her husband like to put their feet up on their newly purchased, hard surfaced coffee table but were tried of moving throw pillows off the sofa to do so, an idea was born. Why not have a custom cushion made in one of the fabrics used in the room to cover the table on occasion! The cushion transformed the table into an ottoman during TV watching time and it is easily stored away when the need for a coffee table arose.

In this case the same fabric was used that covers the dining chairs and throw pillows on the sofa so it coordinates nicely. It has a “firm” foam core and wrapped in Dacron batting on both top and the bottom, giving it a more structured look and allowing a tray to sit upon it as well. We also made both top and bottom in the same fabric and “Scotch Guarding” it for durability. I designed the fashionable 3” button in the center for a smart tailored look. This can be done to any coffee table, new or old saving you $$$ in the purchase of a new Ottoman/Coffee table that are so popular right now in furniture stores.

Transformation # 2. On the flip side of the story above is the Leather Ottoman in my very own living room. A few years ago I thought I couldn’t live without leather tufted Ottoman Coffee Table and bought a very handsome one. Although it is wonderful to put our feet up on it, it’s not so much for drinks and appetizers when guests come. So in the spirit of the true DIY’er that I am, I transformed it into a hard surfaced coffee table by adding a large wooden table tray to the top.

In this case I went down to my local Home Depot with my measurement and purchased an unfinished wood table top. I stained and finished it in a bronze/gold metallic paint and added two bronze iron drawer pulls (also from Home Depot hardware department) attaching them to the top of the table tray. Viola, now the tray acts as a stable location for drinks and looks great in the room too! This table/tray easily stores away when I want to enjoy the ottoman as an ottoman. This can be done to any shaped ottoman, saving you $$$ in the purchase of a new coffee table.

So keep what you have, be it table or ottoman, and transform it into something more useful and attractive easily!

Call me at 925-862-9064 or if you need someone to help you with your Transformations! 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Save 25% On The One Hour Color Consultation In Your Home, Not In The Paint Store!

This joyous season it the prefect time to's a pleasure to have served each and every one of you!

And in the spirit of Easter, Spring and New Beginnings I'd like to invite you to take advantage of a little discount I'm offering. 25% Off on "Color Consultations"!

If you are thinking of painting and dreading the thought of going into the paint store, looking at all those tiny paint chips, here is a way to save you time, frustration and possible mistakes!

A "Color Consultation" will give you a chance to see actual color chips right in the very space they will be painted, in your home! I will help you choose what color to paint based on the furnishings in your home, give you color options and choices on where to apply that color, and leave you with a large color chip of the paint!

Just my way of saying "Thank You" and wishing you and yours a joyous Easter!

Save 25% On The One Hour Color Consultation
in Your Home, Not In The Paint Store!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brighten the Dark Passage: Decorating Tips for the Hallway

Hallways often become that dark passage way to and from other areas of the home and very often don’t get the attention they deserve. Is your hallway in need of decorating ideas? The hallway of your home may be wide or narrow. You may have architectural interest or you may not. No matter what style or size of hallway you have in your home, there are simple and easy ways to make your hallway passage way a brighter nicer area that is more in keeping with the rest of your home.

You want people to enjoy the journey down the hallway on their way to another destination, so take a bit of time to customize this area with a few (or all) of these hallway decorating ideas.

1. Paint all surfaces in the hall the same color, ceilings and walls to unify it. Choose a rich color tone, one that is neither dark nor light to bring some color to the space. Paint with a semi-gloss finish will reflect light if the hall is dark. If budget permits, add new interior doors with frosted glass inserts, a nice European look, and will light the hall with natural light from the bedrooms. Not for everyone but great for the new modern look in homes. If the hall is too long, paint the end wall 2 or 3 shades darker than the rest of the hall. This will give the illusion that the hallway is shorter. If the hall is too short, paint in the same color and hang a mirror on the end wall for more depth.

2. Lighting, if you have just one ceiling light or bowl type fixture replace it with newly purchased track lighting. You can direct the light fixtures hanging from the track to certain places on the walls (where the art is hanging) to create drama. Wall sconce’s are a good choice also for adding mood and softness to the space and can be placed in a pair flanking one large or a grouping of wall art.

3. The flooring, if possible use the same carpet, tile or wood as the rest of the home. If not one or several carpet runners with some design and color to complement the walls adds a nice touch and gives a finished look to the space.

4. Art or wall accessories. Try a mixed collection of large and small art and or photos leaning on different lengths of the same color ledges. My favorite place for ledges is Pottery Barn, great price and available in many lengths and colors. When using ledges in all the same color your photos or art work can be in different frames, it’s the ledges that give unity to the arrangement. Now direct a light fixture on each grouping for drama as in an art gallery. You can also do a family history wall in the same manner described above on ledges.

You'll be glad you spent the time to incorporate some of these hallway decorating ideas into your space. It just might turn into one of the most inviting spaces in your home!

If your hallway or other room in your home need a "makeover" give me a call to arrange an appointment!
925-862-9064 or and Visit us at YELP !

Monday, March 14, 2011

Re-Upholstery, The Victorian Goes Modern

If you have a chair or sofa in your garage or basement that has seen it's better days, don't throw it out!  No, in this era of "recycling" it's the right thing to do and the most fashionably too!

Meet the Victorian sofa I bought in 1973.  It was broken down then, but what remained in tact was the needlepoint medallion.  It caught my eye and I brought it home thinking I had just made the purchase of my life! I  re-finished the wood, cleaned and repaired the tattered rose needlepoint medallion back.  I had it re-upholstered in a beautiful rose colored velvet with new silk gimp. I loved it and used it in the living room, the bedroom and the hallway.

35 years latter when it became apparent that it's use had long exhausted itself, and the style in my home had changed, I sold it to an antique dealer.  I don't regret having sold it BUT if I had it to do over again...I think this is how I would Re-Upholster it.  A new coat of white paint and a beautiful cotton fabric with big splashes of color would be just right.  So modern and hip!

Here's one I found at . It is almost identical to my old piece isn't it? The fabric is a colourful and vivacious and I love it almost as much as I did my old one in 1973!

Think you'd like to re-upholster one of your old pieces of furniture...give us a call at 925.862.9064.  We have lots of bold, beautiful upholstery fabrics just waiting to be put on your old furniture. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Have you fallen out of love with your home? Are you bored and uninspired by your surroundings? Think a different home might reflect your present taste and lifestyle needs better? Do you wish you could just move out and start over new someplace else? If you answered YES to any of the above questions then perhaps it’s not a “startover” that you need, but a “makeover”!

A room “makeover” will give any space in your home a fresh new look and improved functionality using the things that you already have. I’m not talking here about throwing out all your old things and buying all new things. Because usually it’s not the things you have that are the problem, but rather the way they are arranged or combined. Simple changes, using the basic design principles that I’ll share with you below, will make any room in your home more livable, more coherent and more visually pleasing. And that’s what makes us fall in love!

Pick a room in your home and apply this knowledge. You’ll be surprised at the difference you can make without spending a dime.

1. Locate the Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point. It can be a natural focal point, like a fireplace or a window with a view, the bed, or it can be an entertainment center with a TV. Once you have identified it, everything else in the room should revolve around it and focus on it.

2. Arrange the Seating Area

Form your seating in a U-shaped or L-shaped configuration facing the focal point. Anchor the seating/conversation area with a rug whose color coordinates with the upholstery of your seating, and place a coffee table within easy reach. 


3. Include Two of a Kind

Using pairs of armchairs, end tables and lamps can create a cohesive and balanced look in the room. If you don’t have matching end tables, you can use two of similar height and finish. Just don’t go overboard with pairs. If everything in the room is one of a pair, it can get monotonous, so mix it up a little.

4. Add In the Light

Make sure the room has sufficient light, in the form of general lighting (recessed cans, chandeliers) and task lighting (table and floor lamps). Accent lighting can be used to highlight a painting or as an up light on the foliage of a large plant. Put all the lighting on dimmers so you can control the overall mood and ambiance of the room.

5. Place Art at the Correct Height

Avoid the mistake of hanging your wall art too high. Art should be hung at eye level only in rooms where people are usually standing, like foyers and hallways. Otherwise, art should be 6-8 inches above a sofa back or 8-10 inches above a console, buffet or desk.

6. Group the Accessories in Odd Numbers

Placing accessories in groupings of 3, 5 or 7 is more dynamic and visually interesting than even numbered groupings. Use tall, medium and shorter items in the same grouping and place them in a triangular pattern, with the tallest on the end or in the middle. Don’t let the accessories dominate. Add only those that will enhance the overall look and feel you are going for.

These are the basic design principles used to create a successful room “makeover”! And here’s one last tip; before you begin, empty the room of all clutter and items that are not being used, are broken or worn. I promise you, you’ll LOVE your home again and be amazed at how different all your things will look and not a dime spent! You can do this!

By Toni Berry at Marie Antoinette Interiors

925-862-9064 or

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Don't Forget To Make Your Bed

I almost never leave the house without making the bed! Perhaps because my mother hounded us, when we were children, every morning as though not making the bed was a really bad thing. So the habit continues with me, but with today’s new bed clothes such as duvets, comforters, coverlets and new bed styles it’s so much easier. If you’re longing to update just your bed, now is the time to do it…bedding has never been more beautiful and more attainable.

Here are some ways to combine style and fashion with comfort and ease;

Streamlined beds: Simply upholstered headboards are big plus. Covered in a coordinating fabric, they add another element of softness. Platform beds, also with fully upholstered sides and foot boards give a real Zen Minimal feeling to the room. Tip; if you’re bed has always been somewhat feminine this is a fabulous way to add some masculinity to the bedroom!

Lots of layers: In addition to your spread or comforter use coverlets, duvets and/or a throw folded at the bottom of the bed for warmth as needed. All of the above can be custom made to be reversible, which gives your bed several different seasonal looks for the same price. Tip; Instead of another comforter or throw folded at the bottom of the bed simply fold lengthwise an inexpensive twin blanket in a coordinating or bright color for a luxurious look. Less expensive and easier to keep clean too.

Color: Neutrals are very popular, especially the “chameleon neutrals” that shift and change color with the light. These add a sense of glamour and sophistication to the bed. Keeping the large spread or comforter neutral allows you to add large shams and pillows in brighter colors for more interest. Very bright neon’s are big for young children and teens. Tip; Check out Pottery Barn Teens or Target if your refreshing your child’s bed, they have totally whimsical patterns and graphics of all kinds on their bedding groupings and at great pricing.

Big-scale designs: “Out” are itty, bitty, tiny prints and “In” are big medallion prints, large damask, aviary, paisley, bold horizontal strips and giant floral patterns too. Tip; Often a great pattern is available as a sheet and not a comforter or a spread. No worries just buy 2 sheets and sew them together into a bag, leaving an opening at one end. Make the outside dimensions the size of your old comforter (or new) and insert it into the bag. Sew in Velcro, buttons, ties, or a zipper at the opening and voila, you just made a “Duvet”!

Decorative Pillows: Still the best element of the well dressed bed in my opinion; fewer but bigger pillows are right on trend. The larger 26” x 26” Euro Pillow is very comfortable if your headboard is made of wood or metal and they are great to prop yourself up in bed with. Tip; Good Housekeeping says that your decorative and bed pillows "shouldn't take up more than half of the bed". Ok, but remember you have to schlep them all off and then all back on the next morning, so keep it simple!

By Toni Berry at Marie Antoinette Interiors

925-862-9064 or

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Custom Bedding Sale With a Free Design Consultation

It's no surprise that the perfect bedding does not come in a bag. No, the perfect bedding is custom made for you. It is luxurious, inviting and romantic. It makes the bedroom a retreat from the cares of the world. When bed therapy is needed, there's simply no substitute for custom bedding.

Custom bedding turns an ordinary bedroom into extraordinary. Bed skirts, bedspreads and comforters, pillow shams and duvets - no matter what your style, we'll make custom bedding that fits you (and your bed) perfectly. And all Marie Antoinette Interiors custom bedding is made right here in the USA at our local workrooms.
Here are 4 reasons you should consider Custom Bedding instead of mass produced in a bag bedding;
1. Custom bedding will fit perfectly.
With all the variety in bed and mattress dimensions, it's a challenge to find bedding that fits. Extra deep mattresses require a custom fit. Our bedspreads, comforters, duvets and bed skirts are made for your bed. We measure the bed, the box spring, and the risers or legs for a truly custom fit.

2. Custom bedding is made in fabrics you love.
You don't have to settle for cheap fabrics from big box stores, or catalog ensembles in limited fabrics and pillows. Custom bedding will complement the window treatments and other furnishings in your room — perfectly because you will have the advice of a decorator choosing the right style fabrics and trim. We have thousands of fabric choices and sample swatches will be ordered for your approval before we begin sewing.

3. Custom bedding is made just the way you like it.
Whether you want Euro shams for reading in bed, or a reversible duvet or spread, an extra long bolster pillow,  we'll make everything to your preference. We can add trimmings, banding or other dressmaker details to make your bedding unique to you.

4. Custom bedding is beautifully crafted.
We're obsessed with quality, from the number of stitches per inch to the choices of fill weight in a comforter. We specify how buttons should be sewn and how zippers should be installed.

Are you tired of your miss matched, ill fitting old bedspread and pillows? Imagine your bed with beautiful new Custom Bedding!  Enjoy a FREE in home consultation with Toni Berry ~ Professional Interior Designer to help you choose the best style coverings for your bedroom or guest room.  Yours now and at 20% savings!

This Sale is for a limited time only (sale ends March 11th), so call now to book your FREE appointment.

925.862.9064   or