House Calls Fine Interiors

Wake Up Your Style!

Free Consultations Offered March 24, 2009

Filed under: Announcements and Accolades — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 11:39 am
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House Calls is happy to announce the addition of FREE Saturday design consultations!  Our interior design intern, Lisa, will be offering free 20-minute in-studio design consultations on Saturdays until May 9.  These consultations are by appointment only, so please contact us to set up a time for your personal consultation.

During your appointment, you can cover numerous topics – paint colors, furniture arrangement, window treatment ideas – anything!  Bring your photos, room dimensions, layouts and inspiration ideas to your appointment. 

These sessions are a great jumping-off point; after your consultation, we are happy to schedule a full consultation at our standard hourly fee.  Your full consultation would take place at your home, where we can better assess your needs and existing conditions. 

Get a little taste of what House Calls can do for you!  Call or email today for your date and time.


Granite or Quartz?

Filed under: Interior Design news — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 11:32 am
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So, you want to upgrade your countertops.  What to choose:  granite or quartz?  I find that clients tend to gravitate toward one product or the other – with few people willing to go either way!  What are the differences between these products?

Granite, as most people are aware, is mined from the earth.  Granite consists mostly of quartz, which is the second-hardest mineral on earth – second only to diamonds.  The fact that granite is a “found” product means that no two pieces of granite are the same.  It also means that you may find wild variations in color, grain, and pattern, depending on when your particular piece was pulled from the quarry.  To someone who wants his/her home to be especially unique, these wild variations are what draws them to granite!  They like knowing that no one else in the world has the exact same piece of stone that they have.  They like the random swirls and dips that make up their particular granite color – some of them get pretty crazy!

Granite does require some maintenance, however.  Because granite is a natural stone, it does have pores.  These pores will suck in moisture – whether that moisture is in the form of water, red wine or electric blue soft drinks.  Because of this feature, granite has the possibility to stain; stains can often be removed, but it does take some work to do so.  If you have granite countertops and keep them wiped up on a regular basis, you will more than likely be fine; don’t leave spaghetti sauce sitting on the counter for three days, or you may have a staining problem!  Granite can be sealed to prevent staining, and this sealer should be reapplied every year or so.  Some granites are now even claiming to be “stain-free”, since they have been impregnated with a permanent sealer.  I have no experience with these products, but I am always a little skeptical when someone claims stone is stain-free.

Quartz products, on the other hand, are very different from granite.  Products such as Silestone, Cambria and Zodiac, are made from 93% quartz – the basic component of granite.  However, because of the chemical make-up of the quartz products, they tend to be even stronger than granite.  Granite has naturally-occuring fissures, which can be weak points in the stone.

The very best feature of the quartz countertops is that they are maintenance-free!  They are non-porous, so they are impervious to staining.  No sealing is required – just install and live with it!  For this reason alone, we do install a lot of quartz countertops.

Style is another reason some clients prefer quartz over granite.  Some clients are scared of what granite offers – that one-of-a-kind nature of natural stone brings with it the unknowns of exactly what their piece will look like.  They like the control of knowing that the color sample they saw at the showroom will be very close to their actual countertop.  Color can also be a significant selling point.  Nature simply doesn’t produce every color combination in granite; if a client is looking for something in particular, quartz may have a better color option for them.

Quartz countertops have their benefits; however, they will never achieve the same look that nature provides with granite.  My clients tend to have a clear inclination toward one choice over the other.  The key is to educate yourself on the benefits and negatives of each product, so you can make the best choice for your home and lifestyle.

For more information on granite and other stone countertops, check out

For more information on quartz products, visit or

Or, visit our showroom to see all the latest colors in Cambria and Silestone, along with many of the most popular granite colors.


Picking the Perfect Paint February 18, 2009

Filed under: Interior Design news — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 11:08 am
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It’s that perennial problem.  Quite frankly, it’s what keeps us designers in business!  How do you go about selecting just the perfect paint color?  Should you paint your dining room Spicy Hue or Fireweed?  Would your little princess prefer Zany Pink or Insightful Rose in her room?  There are literally thousands of fantastic colors out there – but which one is perfect for you?

First, make sure you look at the big picture.  You have other things in your room that will not be changing, most likely, just because you are painting your walls.  You simply cannot ignore the sofa you have upholstered in plum velvet, or that black walnut wood flooring you installed last year.  Remember, too, to look at the colors in neighboring spaces.  You need to have a bit of continuity throughout your home; this does not mean that every room needs to be the same color.  It does mean that you should coordinate your colors for a cohesive effect.

Next, select a color family you would like to explore.  Are you thinking that a red would add a nice accent to your room?  Would a shade of blue soothe you to sleep at night in your master suite?

Now, narrow those choices further, while looking at your entire space.  Does a light shade make your woodwork disappear?  Does that dark shade seem to create a cave-like effect?  Does your carpet look dingy when you put that shade of gray next to it?  And don’t forget to take your furniture, window treatments and artwork into consideration – if they are staying in the room!

I always recommend that my clients purchase a sample of the color they would like to use, and paint a patch of it on their wall near the wood trim.  Spend a few days with your new color and look at it during the night and evening, in the sunshine and on cloudy days.  This small investment of time and money will save you hours of work – or hundreds of dollars in having it repainted later!

You also want to keep in mind the finish of your paint – that is, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, gloss.  Flat paint can be touched-up fairly easily, but CANNOT be washed.  The exception to this rule is the new washable matte paints, like Sherwin Williams’ Duration Home.  I painted this in my son’s bedroom, and have been very happy with the results – I’ve washed highlighter and marker off the walls with little difficulty!  Eggshell paint is slightly glossier, but washes up much better than a standard flat paint.  However, touching up an eggshell paint is nearly impossible.  You will get “flashing”, where you can see the touched-up areas in certain light and from certain angles.  Keep in mind, also, that the glossier your paint, the more you will see every flaw in your wall.  I don’t recommend either semi-gloss or gloss for wall use – they are best used on wood trim, furniture and for accents.

If all else fails, call me!  Most of the population has a very difficult time selecting paint colors – if they were skilled in that area, they would probably be working in the design field!  Use the expertise of a designer to save yourself time and money when you want to freshen the paint in your home.


FREE Seminars scheduled February 16, 2009

Filed under: Announcements and Accolades — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 3:09 pm
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We have scheduled 2 seminars in March, and you are invited!  Paula Bongartz with Hunter Douglas will be presenting Design Trends 2010.  She will be focusing on the very latest colors, fabrics and interior design trends for the next year, and how you can incorporate these items and colors into your home without completely redecorating everything!  As an added bonus, we will also be incorporating some of the latest fashion trends – Lillian’s of Hudson will be showcasing handbags, scarves and other accessories that tie in with our interior color schemes.

Join us Thursday, March 5, at 5:30 pm at our studio in Downtown Hudson.  Or come out to the Landsted, LLC model home outside of Hudson on Saturday, March 21, at 11:00 am.  You will also get a tour of the model home after the seminar!  Enjoy refreshments, great prizes and special discounts available only to attendees.

Invite a friend – seating is limited, so reserve your seat today.  Call or email Teri at House Calls today to reserve your seat or if you need more information!