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!