What is Joshua up to these days?

Joshua Jones Aug 2018.jpg

Wow! Where did the time go? In the past three months, I have become really busy which hasn't given me the opportunity to keep up with my blogs. Finally, things are slowing down so I can catch up with you guys about what is going on lately. Here is what I've been up to:

I have worked on over 30 online interior design projects! I will share some of my favorite e-design projects that I have worked on later this blog. :)

My other half, Jeffry, and I made several day trips around Metro Vancouver and northern Washington state to try out new restaurants and farmer markets on our day offs. That is something that we both enjoy doing. Lately, we are obsessed with Steveston Farmer & Artisan Market because they offer really great wines, pastries, fruits & vegetables. We love it when the farmer market offer wine tastings booths - of course, we often end up buying a bottle or 2....or 3. ;-)  And we've had some family visit from central Oregon and wonderful spending some time with them and meeting great new friends.  You know who you are Russ and Melissa!!

Ok, here is some of our favorite online interior design projects that I have worked on in the past few months. 

Modern Boho Deck 1.jpg
Modern Boho Deck 2.jpg

This client recently moved into their new house just before summer time and got excited to decorate their deck for the summer. We created a modern boho style outdoor living/dining space that would meet their needs for their social gatherings. There was a bit challenging about designing this outdoor space - the furniture arrangement that they wanted both living and dining space combined. I managed to find right furniture to make it work for this space without feeling crowded. We love the colors and patterns for this outdoor space and are pleased with the way it turned out. I have to be honest with you, I am actually jealous of this client since I want it for my outdoor living space too(if I had one!). This client is so lucky to have this amazing outdoor living/dining space design! :)

Modern Eclectic Den.jpg

This project is for the same client I worked with for their outdoor space shown above. This time, the client wanted to create a "Girl Boss" type office but didn't want pink, yellow or purple for their office. They, also wanted it to be a modern eclectic style as well. This client wanted this office to be an open and inviting space for social gatherings, business meeting, and work at home. I decided to play with patterns including the wallpaper and draperies to make the space more fun and to tie in some existing furniture pieces the client wanted to repurpose and new pieces like the cowhide rug, and chandelier. We love the way it turned out.

Industrial Living Room.jpg

I worked with a client that is currently doing a major house remodel project to change from a transitional to industrial style home. The previous owner removed the fireplace from the family room so this client wanted to add the fireplace back to the family room. They were concerned about how their new furniture would fit into the space with the fireplace back. I designed wainscoting above the fireplace that works great with the style of the house and new pieces. Can't wait for my client to share pictures on the end result!

Modern Eclectic Family Room.jpg

This client recently bought a new house and was doing some remodel projects around the house. I worked with this client in five different rooms. This particular room, family room - the client wanted this space to be a special space for some quiet time at home as well as for social gatherings since it has access to their outdoor space. The client and their partner both have very different styles and struggled to reach common ground. I found a solution that works great for their personal styles - modern eclectic.  Since the concept and pieces come from different eras and other styles, it allows some more creative freedom to mix and max, blending two different personalities together into something coherent.  You typically see Adobe style homes with a corner fireplace, and many people play it safe with neutral colors or work with natural settings.  We went the opposite direction to make a bold and dramatic look for this space. What you see from this drop-on rendering - the blue walls is wallpaper, not paint. It makes the wall arts, chandelier, and yellow chair stands out more and provides texture to the space. Cool huh? We are in love with the way it turned out. This is one of my all the time favorite online interior design projects. 

Modern Eclectic Office Guest Room.jpg
Modern Eclectic Office Guest Room 2.jpg

I have worked with this client in the past on another e-design project (family/playroom). This time, we worked together on their home office/guest room. The client wanted this space to be a fun place to work in or for their guests to enjoy when they come over for the night. We chose fun colors - blush, midnight blue, white, and gold for this room. I chose a bold wallpaper to make a statement. It does help make the bed and chandelier stand out more. I managed to make this space work without feeling crowded for both office and bedroom furniture combined. It was fun working on this project!

You can see that I have worked with many clients from all over the U.S. and Canada with different styles through our online interior design & decorating services. If you have your own design challenges, please reach out to us.  We'd love to help and potentially feature you in a future blog!

Our Favorite Winter E-Design Projects

Where did the time go? Springtime is almost here! I've lost track of time already. In the last three months, I've been working on a bunch of different kinds of e-design projects with amazing people from all over the US, Canada, and Greece. I'd like to share some of my favorite with you.

Playroom E-Design

Playroom E-Design

Playroom E-Design

Playroom E-Design

This client wanted a nice playroom that can also work for adults. I suggested the client think about long-term design solutions so the playroom would continue to be functional as the children aged. They could turn the playroom into a family room or teenager hangout lounge and use some of the same furniture. I also recommended a wallpaper to create an accent wall for this TV wall so it would look more stylish for the adult's taste.

Boy Bedroom E-Design

Boy Bedroom E-Design

I work with a client that needed my help to redesign her guest room into a bedroom for her son. He loves sports and is a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons and wanted me to include it in his bedroom design. Spacially, it was a bit challenging to design because there are two doors and large closets which made it almost impossible to fit a bunk bed into this bedroom.  After a lot of searching, I found the perfect bunk bed that fits the space without blocking access to any doors. Regardless of the challenge, it was fun to work on this project since I don't work with this type of project very often. 

Loft Living & Dining Areas E-Design

Loft Living & Dining Areas E-Design

Loft Living & Dining Area Other Side E-Design

Loft Living & Dining Area Other Side E-Design

I was really excited to work on this unique e-design project because I'm a huge fan of high rise lofts with exposed ceilings, visible plumbing/venting, and it had an amazing view of Chicago. The challenging aspect of this project was that the client was considering removing the fireplace to make the space feel bigger.  It didn't really take up much space and I was concerned that they would lose a bit of home value if they removed it. Secondly, how to fit all the living and dining furniture into a medium sized area between the windows and kitchen. The client wanted to keep some of their furniture and include the speakers around the space. We managed it to make it work for the family of four without making it look too cluttered. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.   As was the client!

Modern Boho Office E-Design

Modern Boho Office E-Design

When I was assigned to this project - I got really excited because the client wanted a modern boho style home office/guest room and this is currently one of my favorite styles to work with. I was pleased how the project turned out and it was a dream to work with the client because we were always on the same page with the direction I wanted to go. It was a bit challenging to find a sleeper sofa that would fit in this space since it is is very small and I couldn't block access to the doors when the bed is pulled. This is one of my all the time e-design project favorites. 

Modern Boho Master Bedroom E-Design

Modern Boho Master Bedroom E-Design

The modern boho office client was so thrilled with the result they re-hired me to design their master bedroom. This was a complete design since the client only had a matress to start and no furniture at all! I made the suggestion to do a blue accent wall, a unique open latticework bed and a fabric billowy chandelier to be the statement pieces for the design. The client loved the furniture and went forward with this design plan for their master bedroom project. 

Modern Glam Living Room E-Design

Modern Glam Living Room E-Design

This client had just moved into a beautiful new house and needed my help to figure out which furniture layout for the living room space and update the look. They were debating between a layout of two sofas facing each other or having a large sectional and which of the two would make the most sense for this space. I created two different floor plans with both furniture layouts to show. We decided two sofas facing each other would work best for this space because it created more open space and flow in the room. 

Eclectic Home Office E-Design

Eclectic Home Office E-Design

This client had just moved into her new apartment and got a new job that required her to work from home.  She needed my help with the home office layout and furniture. It was challenging work on this project because this client wanted a large table that would work with her current table lifter. When she gets tired of sitting all day she needed the option of standing and working. The space wasn't large enough to fit everything that she wanted for this project. I had to look around for right storage/filing cabinets solution that would fit her chair between the table and window wall. I managed to make it work for her needs so she would be able to work in and feel comfortable with the new work environment. 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some our latest work this past season!  I have some really cool e-design projects in the pipeline so stay tuned for that early summer. :)

If you're feeling inspired and need my help for your own projects - you can get started here

Update Your Rental to Drive Increased Rates

The tourist season is still a few months away but it's a great time to start thinking about updating your vacation rental property. It is good time to explore your options to update it to better attract tourists to maximize your revenue generating potential from your property.

Entry area inspiration by  William Sonoma Home

Entry area inspiration by William Sonoma Home

The most important part of attracting people to rent your vacation home is the first impression. When most people today are using the web and room sharing websites like Airbnb to find a place to rent, people do judge a book by the cover. The web has opened up a wealth of rental opportunities and expanded marketplace but there is also lots of competition now for the renters' dollar. 

I totally get that you might have some emotional connection with your vacation rental property from seasons spent there in the past, but renters would think otherwise. If you want to have a successful vacation rental property business - you have to be honest with yourself by asking this question yourself - is your vacation rental home in great shape? If not, then you need to seriously consider an update. Let's not get ourselves overwhelmed with what to improve the property - let focus on one room at a time.

Living room inspiration by  Serena & Lily

Living room inspiration by Serena & Lily

The living room is where most people typically spend their time in to relax, have a conversation or watch a movie together. In general, the living room should be simple but a comfortable space for anyone. As for the living room design, stay away from themes because it tends to come across cheesy and probably will turn off many potential renters. You want a stylish living room with designer touches. As for which style - think about the reason that people are coming to your area.  People often travel to experience what an area is known for.  I said to stay away from themes, but that doesn't mean not doing a New England beach cottage vibe if your property is on Cape Cod, MA.  People are traveling to your area to experience what is authentically local.  Look at other popular vacation rental properties in your area and see what kind of style that attracts people. Use that style in your own way to make it stand out from your competitors. It will help you get more people to rent your property out.

Dining room inspiration by   Anthropologie

Dining room inspiration by  Anthropologie

Lots of people prefer to cook from their vacation rental to save money or just as a way to bond with family and friends. It is important to think about updating both the kitchen and dining area. If renting out a full home, often a large family group of friends will rent it out to enjoy cooking meals together so you want to make sure your kitchen has a larger counter or island for more prep stations. Here is my designer tip: you want a timeless kitchen design by making it lighter and airy and avoid using dark colors. A kitchen update can be a big investment. Keep in mind that in current times the kitchen is the most important room of the home for both social gatherings and preparing meals. Just like if you were to sell the house, you will see a return on this investment when you rent it out. 

For the dining area - you want to keep it simple so it would be easier for anyone to clean up after meals. The dining room design should be understated elegance and comfortable since that is where people will take their meals, have a conversation or play a board game together.

I understand it can be challenging to figure out how many dining chairs are good enough for the dining area. Here is my tip - for the first bedroom start with four seats then add two more chairs for each additional bedroom. You're welcome! ;-)

Master bedroom inspiration by  West Elm

Master bedroom inspiration by West Elm

For the bedroom, obviously a comfortable bed with a quality mattress is a must, but think about making a bedroom a special space; a retreat within a retreat. Some people might want to use your property for a romantic getaway trip as a couple or have an experience like they're staying at a luxury villa. You want to consider investing in decent bedroom furniture to improve the guest experience. And think about making sure the bathrooms are updated as well. Bathrooms are often the second most important rooms after a kitchen and will net a return on your investment as well.

The bottom line - when people have a wonderful experience renting out your vacation home - they are more likely to tell their relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about it and give you a positive review. That would be great for your vacation rental property business as it allows you to increase your rental rate.  If you're inspired to update your vacation rental home and need design help - you can get started here.

2D Rendering vs 3D Rendering

Many of you guys probably have seen a lot of our 2D rendering boards and some of 3D rendering images post on both Facebook and Instagram. I want to discuss with you about behind the e-design works.

A little over three years ago, just before I started my e-design business, I had to teach myself how to do 3D renderings of my interior design work so I can show the clients what their space would look like when the makeover is completed. In my college days, my school didn't teach us how to do 3D rendering because it was brand new and wasn't available in my school at that time. Over time I learned a few programs that perform 3D layouts and renderings to do photo-realistic pictures of the space to give people a more realistic idea of what their space could look like after makeover/remodel; it's like the designer's version of CG in movies. I still am in awe that even though I am not a tech savvy person but managed to learn how to do it on my own without taking any classes or have a mentor.

After a little over a year of being in e-design business, I decided to join some online design platforms to learn more about e-design industry and expand our client base. They required all designers, including myself, to do 2D rendering boards (it is often called style board, concept board, or look board) via Photoshop. At the beginning, it was a bit challenging for me since I was used to doing 3D renderings. I had to teach myself and master Photoshop in order to create a room with furniture and accessories.

Now, after doing lots of 2D and 3D rendering works for our clients, I have some observations about the pros and cons about each type of rendering:

2D Rendering - It includes real life images from vendors to display the furniture and accessories but the background often gets chopped off and put on the board. It can be challenging to include some items on the board due to poor image quality or the picture I want to copy sets the furniture piece at awkward position for my need. In my experience, sometime 2D rendering can be confusing for some people due to awkward positioning and doesn't offer photo-realistic image to envision the space. 2D rendering is very popular though for e-design industry today since it is much more affordable compared to 3D rendering. Here is an example of what 2D rendering looks like:

2D Rendering of Dining Room

2D Rendering of Dining Room

3D Rendering - It offers a photo-realistic image of your space. It will help you to understand the space better by showing you exactly where to put items. It can be challenging because some items not available in the 3D library or they may be difficult to build. This means the designer may have to use a 3D model that is not exactly the same as the item selected.  Because of the detail and skill involved in creating the model, it takes much more time compared to a 2D rendering. Here is an example of what a 3D rendering image:

3D Rendering of Dining Room

3D Rendering of Dining Room

In my own opinion, 2D rendering is ideal for anyone that can envision the space or understand the design plan well. 2D rendering is not always helpful for someone who struggles to envision the space but 3D renderings will definitely help anyone to envision the space and able to understand the design plan better.