House Calls Fine Interiors

Wake Up Your Style!

Thinking of Becoming an Interior Designer? March 24, 2009

Filed under: General — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 12:39 pm
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Check out my new blog post at Ava Living for some things to think about!

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section of this post – I’m happy to help you out, if I can!


Did You Know…

interior designers are available to help you on your do-it-yourself project?  We realize that not everyone needs full service interior design – where we coordinate the installation, product ordering and project management for you.  Perhaps you just need a little help in knowing where to start.  What paint colors should you choose?  What about furniture arrangement?  What about designing that new tile backsplash for your kitchen?  Give us a call!  A few hours of design time can save you lots of money and time in the end; having to repaint the entire basement because you hate the color is not going to make your husband a happy man.  We can save you that aggravation; we can provide a simple consultation, or we can also provide product and/or installation services.  Whatever portion of your project you need help with, we are happy to be there for you.  We hope to hear from you soon!


Free Consultations Offered

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.


Magazine Articles March 20, 2009

I am very excited to announce that I will be a monthly contributing writer to the new St. Croix Valley Woman magazine!  I will be answering interior design questions in this monthly column; watch for my first column in the May issue.  Ever wonder if working with an interior designer is REALLY the way it is on TV?  I’ll give you the answers in May!  And, feel free to email your design questions to me; I will be selecting reader questions to answer in future issues.

This publication is FREE – that’s the best part!  You can find it all over the St. Croix Valley area, including Hudson Bagel, Bert’s Coffee, the YMCA, Boomerang Kids, Elan and Back to Books in Hudson, WI.  They also have pick-up locations in Hammond, River Falls and Prescott, WI and Stillwater, Woodbury and Red Wing, MN.  Check it out today!


Glass Jewels for Your Home March 17, 2009

Filed under: Interior Design news,Our Latest Projects — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 4:11 pm
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Glass tiles are all the rage right now, and we have been using a ton of them recently!  From kitchen backsplashes to fireplaces to bathrooms and bars, they can be used almost anywhere to add a little sparkle and a little pizzazz to your home.  One of my current favorite glass tile companies is Oceanside Glass.  They have an amazing array of tile options, in all shapes and sizes.  Some, like the one pictured in this bathroom wall accent, even incorporate slate into the design!  We have a few of the hundreds of Oceanside Glass tiles in our showroom for you to see – stop by sometime and take a peek!

In this complete bathroom remodel, we incorporated glass tile with ceramic subway tile to add a custom accent within our budget.

In this complete bathroom remodel, we incorporated glass tile with ceramic subway tile to add a custom accent within our budget.


Wonderful Words March 6, 2009

Filed under: Fun Stuff,Interior Design news — Teri Larsen, ASID @ 12:17 pm
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I love words!  I love the sounds they make.  I love their forms.  I love their graphic quality.  And, I love the thoughts they convey.  My very favorite way to incorporate words into a space is the put them on walls!  My clients and I have used a great word company on several projects, including the one shown in the photo below.  These vinyl words stick firmly to the wall, and remove easily when you want to change the decor in your room.  And, the website makes designing your graffiti so simple!  Check them out at  I have also put their words on a backer board, framed it, and hung it like a piece of art.  The possibilities are endless!  Go graffiti your walls!