Category Archives for "Interior Decorating and E-Design"

Cathy Di Leo Interior Decorating Trends, Tips and Advice.  Certified in online E-Design and Interior Decorating

Tampa Interior Decorator, Cathy Di Leo wins Best of the Best for February 2021!

As a Tampa and Wesley Chapel interior decorator I was so honored to be named the one of the “Best of the Best Home Interior” decorators for the month of February 2021 by Home Staging Resources.

The HSR Best of the Best awards showcase the decorators and stagers that are among those certified by Home Staging Resource under the guidance of Audra Slinkey. Winners are hand-picked by four judges out of hundreds of photos every month!

The winning photo (featured above) has a really funny backstory you can read all about by clicking here. I’ve been so fortunate over the last year to have the opportunity to decorate and stage some amazing homes. Even with the pandemic, my clients have been amazing and business has been fantastic!

What an honor it is to be on this list and to have the opportunity to create beautiful homes!

E-Design?… What The Heck Is It?

click here to learn more about E-Design Packages

When I tell my clients that I offer E-Design services, the first thing they ask is… “What is E-Design?”.  Think of this as the most convenient, collaborative way for you to redecorate your space!  Many people have heard it called Virtual Decorating or Online Interior Decorating.  E-Design is convenient, affordable, and faster than traditional design services because there is a true partnership and collaboration between the client and designer.  Most of the work is done virtually through email, video calls, text, pinterest and the Design Files program so the benefits to the client are flexibility, faster turn arounds and affordability.

How Does It Work?

The Questionnaire

A questionnaire is filled out online which covers everything from timeline, budget, color, style, who will use the space and why you’re wanting to decorate.  From there, I schedule a video call with you so that I can see your space and go more in depth about the goals for your project.

Your Homework

I give you directions to measure your space and take plenty of good photos and make note of any existing pieces you want to work into the new design.

Secret Pinterest Board

I create a secret Pinterest board that only you and I can see.  This is a GREAT resource for us to share inspirational ideas for your room, and to make sure we’re traveling down the right path to creating the perfect design.  The more information we share, the better your design will be!  (This is particularly important if you purchase my Basic Eye for E-Design package because you only receive one board with NO revisions).

Mood Board Creation

Based on the package purchased, you’ll receive a set number of mood boards.  A mood board is created in my Design Files program virtually and will be the core to turning inspiration and ideas into your room design. Boards are created based on answers in your questionnaire, your Pinterest saves and inspiration photos.  My signature Lay It Out For Me E-Design package is the best value and allows for 1 revision.  I like to make sure we are vibing with the color, pattern and general direction of the space before delivering your final board. Have fun with this and take the time to provide feedback! This is as much your design as it is mine so the more feedback the better!

The Deliverables

I have several package options that will fit the needs of a variety of clients.  I also offer a-la-carte services such as shopping, lighting mood board, rug mood boards etc. If you have a room that is in need of a little extra help, just let me know and I can better customize your package to your specific needs

The Execution

All my packages include shopping lists and links to purchase product.  After receiving the final mood board, you’re responsible for purchasing the recommended items at your leisure and decorating the room once product is received.  I offer an optional Post-Design virtual call with my signature packages that allows you go call me for decorating advice if needed.  This call is for me to advise you on hanging artwork, styling your accessories or to address any remaining questions you have about finishing your space.

Is E-Design Right for Me?

Hire An E-Designer If…

  • You can measure and photograph your space
  • Pinterest is your friend and you’re able to use this as a tool to communicate your vision, inspiration, furniture and décor ideas.
  • You want a design plan narrowed down within a few weeks
  • You want to shop retail, can order products on your own and are able to handle any returns/exchange

Talk To Me About Traditional Design Services If…

  • You need or want more of a personal touch
  • Desire in-home consultations
  • Need or want someone to take detailed room measurements and photos
  • Would like to receive a discount on furniture purchases
  • Would like for someone to handle purchasing product for you

Common E-Design Misconceptions

Even if you are just now hearing about virtual interior design it is already causing a stir in the design community and beyond.  I think it’s important to address some of the impressions that are currently out there and provide a bit more background about E-Designers in general.

If you’re new to E-Design, it doesn’t necessarily mean that E-Design is a new concept.  Online decorating sites have been around for a few years and are increasing in popularity; giving more credibility to E-Design as a decorating option.  With the recent COVID epidemic, virtual/ online decorating has exploded and gained even more popularity since it’s business model supports social distancing and online collaboration.

We Are Stealing Traditional Designers’ Work

E-design and Traditional Interior Decorating appeal to different types of clients.  E-Design clients are typically very savvy decorators that just need some professional pointers or the confidence in knowing their ideas will come together with a beautiful result.  Because online design boards are very fluid, results are immediate. Clients have full visibility to budget, sourcing, and design elements and when completed, the decision to purchase everything at once, or in stages based on their timeline.

E-Design Decorators Are Uneducated

My path to interior decorating has not been a straight line and it’s not something I keep secret.  I was an art major in college for 2 years studying design, painting, drawing and architecture prior to earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Major in Marketing. After college I was fortunate enough to follow my dream of being a retail buyer and working for some of the top fashion retailers in New York and San Francisco in their corporate buying offices.  My responsibilities ranged from product development, sourcing, buying, strategic planning, and merchandise planning, to store management.  From this experience I was able to create products and dictate fashion trends that translated nationwide. If any of you purchased polar fleece from Old Navy in the 90s as an “Item of the Week”… you’re welcome!

At this point you’re probably wondering how this is all related to E-Design… WELL… After 15 years in fashion I found myself in Tampa Florida, which is not exactly known as the fashion hub of the US.  I went to work in the corporate buying office for a large local furniture and décor company, that I realized much of my fashion industry experience translated to home décor.  I immediately started to get my education and certifications in Interior Decorating, Home staging, Interior Color Application and E-Design.  I built my business because, like my clients I wanted flexibility in location and hours.  I love that I can work conveniently and affordably with clients and still create the perfect space for them!

E-Design Is Easy

False. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to create design boards.  I customize each board based on my client’s vision.  Just because I’m not coming to your home with samples doesn’t mean the boards are easy.  The design process of getting room inspiration, shopping, and working with clients is still the same and takes hours behind the scenes to complete.  The method of procurement and way we interact are the only things that change E-Design vs traditional decorating.

I Can Perform Miracles

I pride myself on working within my clients’ specific budget requirements and curating product from multiple sources.  However, I cannot realistically furnish an entire living room from scratch for $1000. Technically I could, but in the end the quality of the furniture would suffer, and your design would look like a college dorm room.  Because of this, I provide a budget calculator so we can level-set the budget expectations together and create a result everyone is happy with.   

I’ve Personally Seen and Tested All The Products I Recommend

I’ve work with many products and have a list of preferred, trusted vendors that I trust.  Have I seen and touched all the items on your boards? NO.  If I have any questions about quality, texture, or colors I’ll sometimes order swatches or do more research, YES.  But this is an exception and not the rule.  At the end of the day, I cannot personally guarantee the color/texture/quality of every item.  Nor can I guarantee the availability or the shipping times for products.  I seek out companies that offer preferred terms for designers, reliable delivery and returns but have no -authority over the third-party companies.

I Can Read Minds

I ask a lot of questions of my clients and have both written questionnaires and Facetime meetings to understand the specifics of each project.  I even take it a step further in setting up a collaborative Pinterest board for each client to pin inspiration or specific elements they want included into their design.  These tools are used for me to deliver the perfect design for my client, not for my clients to do my job.  I’m very upfront that E-Design involves more client collaboration than traditional decorating since we work virtually.  If you desire direct communication with me, I offer packages that address this need.  My goal with all clients is to deliver the perfect design and I’m unable to do that if I don’t know what the client wants the end result to look like.

E-Design is not for everyone, but it’s a GREAT option for the right client.  If you want design direction and expertise but don’t mind being involved in the process to prepare, manage and execute the project, then E-Design is the perfect service for you!

Time’s Up on Tuscany Decor!

Peanut butter brown…gold or burgundy paint…Faux Finishes…

wrought iron chandeliers with 12 tiers weighing 800 pounds, window treatments with fringe, fake plants on the tops of your cabinets, metal wall décor, dark wood kitchens…oh how the Tuscany Style from the year 2000 haunts us!  

If you’re like the majority of my clients, you’re watching HGTV getting depressed.  Moving or building a new home seems easier than remodeling, but is not always the answer.  If you’re in a great neighborhood and love the bones of your Tuscan style home, fear not! Updating is not as difficult as you may imagine.  You can go at it alone or click here to schedule a free discover call with me.  

The first step in updating your home, is to determine your style and have a plan.  Whether your home is Transitional, Mid-Century Modern, Farmhouse or Contemporary, the style should be curated to reflect both your family’s personality and the style of the home.  Also remember to keep the chosen style cohesive throughout the entire home so there is a flow rather than a disruption to that flow.  

Updated paint creates a fresh bright look

“Update a home by using an outdated color or palette”, said no one EVER!  A good rule of thumb is that if it resembles peanut butter, you should repaint.  The tricky thing with homes built 15 years ago, is that the trim and wood colors are not compatible to today’s trends.  Many homeowners want to paint in the grays or cool colors that are trending and end up getting a result that doesn’t quite feel right.  This leads to having to repaint or live with a bad result.  There are some great warm neutrals that will give your home an updated look, but still match the undertones in granite and travertine used in Tuscan homes. Painted Accent walls and faux finishes are highly discouraged! Many people add an accent wall when they want a pop of color.  However, many times this is not done purposefully so it ends up giving a less than desired results.  Accent wall are a great idea, but need to be used to accent architectural features, or improve the space.  They are the exception, not the norm!

Consider table and buffet lamps for entryways to create a warm welcome.

Many of the mid 2000 homes I go into have very ornate vanities with gilded gold or tile encased mirrors. Even worse, they have a builder mirror that’s glued to the plaster!     Replacing this type of mirror with an oval or round mirror is an easy way to lighten up and modernize the bathroom. When considering paint for the bath, painting the walls and vanities will easily add value to your home.  Walls in blue are always a good choice and bathroom cabinets will benefit from paint if you’ve got dated, dark wood.  Add updated and coordinated cabinet hardware, towel racks, toilet paper holders, lighting and Voila!  No more Tuscany!

Bathrooms can be easily updated with paint, new lighting and fixtures

Kitchens are definitely an area of the home that echo the century in which the home was built. If you have carved grapes, ornate columns, or other decorative cabinetry, you may want to consider some updates.  While it can be more expensive and time consuming to update your kitchen, cabinets can be painted to completely change the look of a home.  If you’re not yet ready to commit to painting your cabinets, consider an accent color on the island.  These changes can be made easier than completing an entire kitchen renovation, and it’s a lot less expensive.  Even a simple change to the cabinets such adding or updating hardware can completely makeover the kitchen and get you a little closer to the modern era 

Kitchen update with paint, tile, cabinet and fixtures

Updating your lighting is another great way to give your space an updated look.  Change out that heavy iron multi-tiered chandelier with an orb or visually lighter iron pendant.  Lighting should create a focal point in a room without overpowering.  Pay attention to scale when selecting chandeliers. A good rule of thumb is to measure the length plus width of the room in feet. This should equal the width of a chandelier in inches.  It’s also a good idea to check the height of chandeliers above tables which should be no lower than 30 inches above the tabletop 

Pay attention to scale when choosing new chandeliers and pendants

A makeover would not be complete if we didn’t touch on furniture and accessories.  It’s time to say bye-bye to the leather furniture! Nothing sucks up the light in a room or screams Tuscany like a leather sofa.  I get it! Leather is exceptionally durable for families and easy to clean with pets.  However, leather isn’t your only option.  There are many performance fabrics in the market like Crypton and Sunbrella brands, for durable, stain resistant upholstered furniture.  Cream, Ivory or oatmeal are great color choices in updated silhouettes with track arms.  This can be as little as an $800 investment and will catapult you into this decade quickly. Keep the leather to a minimum and consider using it for an accent chair or a beautiful ottoman.  Add the finishing touch with metal, wood, glass and white accessories with a pop of color in your pillows and rug.. and you’ve got a fantastic looking space! 

Occupied home staged in Tampa FL

De-Tuscanizing your home may take some time, but keep in mind simple, clean lines with lighter colors is the key to catapulting your home into this century and adding value!

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