Barbara Gilbert Interiors. Photo: Michael Hunter Photography

Barbara Gilbert Interiors. Photo: Michael Hunter Photography

The emergence of the open floorplan as a home design standard means more eyes than ever are on our kitchens. Design and function evolve every year, and we’ve asked some of the top Dallas interior designers to dish on 2016 kitchen trends for us.

They say the overall vibe for this year is crisp and uncluttered, with the warmth of wood floors and accents. They’ve also given us some gorgeous photos to show these trends in action. It’s going to be a beautiful year!

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Margaret Chambers downtown Dallas highrise study

The study of a downtown Dallas highrise, designed by Margaret Chambers. Photo: Dan Piassick

Interior designer Margaret Chambers is a pillar in the Dallas design community. She formed Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. 23 years ago after dreaming of having her own business, becoming known for her ability to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures for her clients.

In those years, she’s come to regard Dallas as the ideal place for her thriving business, which employs five professionals, with every designer in the office having a degree in interior design.

Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers

“It is really a perfect place to practice interior design—people are very aware of interior designers and appreciate their ability to transform their home or office into a wonderful place to live and work,” Chambers said. “In Dallas, people can see a difference when a professional interior designer has created a space. In addition, Dallas is an international city and is continuing to grow, making it an exciting place for design to serve a wide range of people.”

Chambers’ work is award-winning, and has been published in more than 20 industry magazines, including Traditional Home, Texas Home & Living, and D Home. She is also a friend of CandysDirt, telling our readers about everything from kitchen design and investing in antiques to picking a chandelier and the best strategies to use to get your home on the market and sold.

You’ll find Chambers’ work in Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Plano, and other North Texas homes of discriminating clients, spanning a range of styles.

“I always try to make my work as classical and timeless as possible, whether I am doing a contemporary, transitional, or traditional home,” she said. “I want each project to have its own unique style that reflects the client’s unique taste. I also love to add in furniture, art, and accessories that are handmade. I feel these add warmth and a soul to the interior; they bring with them a history that enriches a space.”

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There’s a reason that a gorgeously designed kitchen adds tremendous value to a home. Today, kitchens are both major entertaining areas and family hangout rooms. But ultimately, the kitchen’s original purpose — food preparation and storage — is still its most important function.

Whether you’re designing your new kitchen to last a lifetime, or remodeling an old kitchen to sell your home, you want your kitchen to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The following are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin your kitchen design project.

First, a little history: the kitchen has evolved more than any other room in our homes over the past few centuries. The first kitchens were in the center of the house and only had an open fire pit. Over time, the fire pit became a large fireplace with hooks, which were used to hang iron kettles.

Summer Kitchen

Water was brought from an outside well; later, a hand pump was placed at the sink.
In the first kitchens there were only freestanding, handmade cabinets, rather than attached ones.

Summer kitchens, which were used for canning food and preparing meals for harvest workers, were separate buildings on large farms. Then, in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the invention of piped-in gas, electricity, and running water, we began to see the kitchen as we know it today.

 

The first standardized kitchens were built for factory workers in Germany, where researchers developed kitchens that worked in a small space. This is where the working triangle was first developed, which we still use today in planning an efficient kitchen.

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In the 1940s and ’50s, small electrical appliances started coming on the market, such as toasters, mixers, and coffee pots. Today, we’ve found great ways of hiding these appliances and getting them off our countertops.

Has the modern kitchen changed as more hosts invite guests to join in on the fun?
Since the 1980s, kitchens have become a major entertaining area in the home. Because of this, kitchen designs have changed as well: kitchens now have islands for preparing food, an open floor plan, and little separation between the den and breakfast room.

As kitchen areas are growing, the formal living room is dwindling to a small sitting room or multifunctional library and music room. Many kitchens today also have a small office attached, or at least a convenient desk.

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Should I bother incorporating architectural elements into my kitchen design?
When we help our clients design new homes, specifically their kitchens, many times we
incorporate architectural elements such as fireplaces, stone arches, beams, and spectacular vent hoods. Some of the most interesting kitchens incorporate architectural items that need to be purchased while the design process is in its infancy stage. This way, the architect can incorporate these items into the architectural drawings.

How should the kitchen blend with the rest of the house?
Always make sure your kitchen is a continuation of your house’s style, from its color scheme to its basic architectural elements. If you have a traditional French house, you should have a traditional French kitchen, not a neoclassical or Georgian-style kitchen. If your home is modern, your kitchen should be equally modern.

Any advice for cabinets?
Cabinets set the tone for the kitchen. What attracts you: traditional panel doors, Victorian bead board, rustic, totally plain, or glass inserts? As the furniture of the kitchen, cabinets have the greatest impact on the overall look and feel of the kitchen. Choose cabinets with design details, materials, and colors that complement your kitchen style the most exactly.

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How about tiles, slab?
One of the first decisions you should make when you design your kitchen is your countertop and backsplash design. The backsplash has a huge impact on the overall feel of the kitchen. Whether you choose marble, granite, quartz, tile, or another material, there are thousands of combinations, colors, and finishes from which to choose. Make sure to have a tile design drawn up for your tile installer. If you are interested in using green materials, your designer can help you make those selections.

Appliances and flooring: what works?
Appliances are one of the most expensive purchases for your kitchen, so make sure you research brands and styles that best fit your needs.

When it comes to choosing floors, think durability. Wood is great; these days it comes coated in polyurethane and can be mopped down daily, unlike old waxed floors, where mopping took the color out. You also want the kitchen floor to complement your house’s overall color scheme. Again, the choices are endless. Some of my favorites—depending on the style you are going for—are stained scored concrete, terracotta, and slate tiles. Using a dark grout around the tiles helps to make caring for your floors easy.

If you’re thinking of designing a kitchen soon, it might be a good idea to keep a notebook of your favorites. When my clients do this, I start seeing a trend in their preferences, and the whole selection process speeds up. The extra effort you put into designing your kitchen will pay off in the end—whether it’s in creating an entertaining area, a state-of-the-art kitchen with gourmet appliances, or simply a beautiful room in which to enjoy breakfast.

Margaret_portrait_new-smAn interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view her portfolio at www.chambersinteriors.com

As soon as the weather heats up, so with the Dallas real estate market. If you need to refresh your memory on the best strategies to use to get your home on the market and sold, veteran interior designer Margaret Chambers offers her advice.

To find out how to get your home ready for a professional photographer (which we absolutely suggest you invest in), check out what this seasoned professional has to say after the jump!

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If you’re having trouble selling your home, you might wonder what your options are. Home investors and real estate agents know that when you need to sell a home fast and for a profit, staging is the answer. A well-staged home will not only sell two to three times faster than an empty or unattractively furnished home, but turn a higher profit as well.

Not sure if the time is right for you to stage your home? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have you had potential buyers through your home, but no offers?

2. Have similar homes in your neighborhood sold, while your home is still on the market?

3. Have you been thinking about lowering your asking price?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider making a consultation with a home stager. Home staging is not a licensed profession, so it’s important to do your homework. Ask to see a portfolio and a list of references.

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Even if you don’t work with a professional home stager, there are many simple things you can do to give potential buyers a great first impression of your home. Keep the porch clear, and put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Placing pots of flowers and keeping your lawn manicured will help bring prospective buyers to your door.

Make sure to clear your closets and shelves of excess clutter. Potential buyers want to imagine how they’ll use those spaces — they don’t want to see how you’ve filled them up. If your wallpaper is dated, remove it and apply a new coat of paint. If in doubt, choose a neutral color rather than a bold one.

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As a professional interior designer, I have worked with builders, condo developers, and home owners to stage their empty spaces and homes. I have seen first-hand what a differences it makes when a prospective buyer walks through a beautifully staged home. They get excited because they see the house at its best and can imagine themselves living there.

You might have heard that it’s better to show an empty home than a furnished one. Here are three reasons why that’s not true:

1. When a room is empty, potential buyers focus on the house’s flaws instead of falling in love with the overall space.

2. Many people have trouble visualizing how furniture will lay out in a room. If they are uncertain, they won’t buy.

3. When rooms are empty, prospective buyers start asking themselves questions. “Are they selling because they have money problems?” “Is this a divorce?” “Maybe we can put in a lowball bid and get this house.”

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If your home has been sitting on the market longer than you expected, staging is a wise
investment. Home staging is all about packaging a home to show off its best features. More importantly, home staging is about romancing the buyer and getting them excited about your home.

Margaret_portrait_new-sm (1)An interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view her portfolio at www.chambersinteriors.com

As soon as the weather heats up, so with the Dallas real estate market. If you need to refresh your memory on the best strategies to use to get your home on the market and sold, veteran interior designer Margaret Chambers offers her advice.

To find out how to get your home ready for a professional photographer (which we absolutely suggest you invest in), check out what this seasoned professional has to say after the jump!

1223117-R01-002

If you’re having trouble selling your home, you might wonder what your options are. Home investors and real estate agents know that when you need to sell a home fast and for a profit, staging is the answer. A well-staged home will not only sell two to three times faster than an empty or unattractively furnished home, but turn a higher profit as well.

Not sure if the time is right for you to stage your home? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have you had potential buyers through your home, but no offers?

2. Have similar homes in your neighborhood sold, while your home is still on the market?

3. Have you been thinking about lowering your asking price?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, consider making a consultation with a home stager. Home staging is not a licensed profession, so it’s important to do your homework. Ask to see a portfolio and a list of references.

1223117-R01-009 (1)

Even if you don’t work with a professional home stager, there are many simple things you can do to give potential buyers a great first impression of your home. Keep the porch clear, and put a fresh coat of paint on the front door. Placing pots of flowers and keeping your lawn manicured will help bring prospective buyers to your door.

Make sure to clear your closets and shelves of excess clutter. Potential buyers want to imagine how they’ll use those spaces — they don’t want to see how you’ve filled them up. If your wallpaper is dated, remove it and apply a new coat of paint. If in doubt, choose a neutral color rather than a bold one.

1223117-R01-001

As a professional interior designer, I have worked with builders, condo developers, and home owners to stage their empty spaces and homes. I have seen first-hand what a differences it makes when a prospective buyer walks through a beautifully staged home. They get excited because they see the house at its best and can imagine themselves living there.

You might have heard that it’s better to show an empty home than a furnished one. Here are three reasons why that’s not true:

1. When a room is empty, potential buyers focus on the house’s flaws instead of falling in love with the overall space.

2. Many people have trouble visualizing how furniture will lay out in a room. If they are uncertain, they won’t buy.

3. When rooms are empty, prospective buyers start asking themselves questions. “Are they selling because they have money problems?” “Is this a divorce?” “Maybe we can put in a lowball bid and get this house.”

1223117-R01-011

If your home has been sitting on the market longer than you expected, staging is a wise
investment. Home staging is all about packaging a home to show off its best features. More importantly, home staging is about romancing the buyer and getting them excited about your home.

Margaret_portrait_new-sm (1)An interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view her portfolio at www.chambersinteriors.com

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These stockings were hung by the chimney with the utmost care, considering that this Old Preston Hollow living room was decked out by Chambers Interiors. Headed by interior designer Margaret Chambers, this firm works hard to infuse clients’ homes with tasteful and timeless design.

When a design client asked Chambers Interiors to decorate her home for the holidays, Allen Keith says they knew the traditional red color scheme wouldn’t wash with the client’s furniture. Likewise, Keith says they used a lot of copper and ivory, creating warmth and sparkle while keeping the decor inviting. The ribbons on the tree and stockings, along with the evergreen garland on the mantle, blend seamlessly with the upholstery and paint.

It definitely says “Christmas,” without saying “CHRISTMAS!!!!”

Have an amazing holiday design you want to share with the world? Send us your snaps to jo@candysdirt.com.

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By Margaret Chambers

The upcoming holiday season likely will bring a guest or two to stay in your home for a few days. You have some time to create an inviting guest retreat that ensures your family and friends feel both welcome in your home while being able to escape to their own personal retreat to unwind. So, as you contemplate your guest room, follow these suggestions to ensure that your guests have a truly first-class experience.

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The Essentials

Make sure the room has a beautiful, well-thought-out color scheme and design that flows with the rest of your home. The style of furnishings should complement the furnishings throughout – not be filled with your first apartment’s leftovers! Be sure to employ proper light fixtures in the room for reading in a bed or working at a desk on a laptop. Also, provide enough lighting at the bathroom vanity to allow guests to see when putting on makeup, shaving, etc. And, of course, don’t forget a night light.

A queen-sized bed is typically perfect for most guest rooms, but my favorite is using a pair of twins. It’s just more practical if you are hosting two guests who don’t know each other especially well. However, a trundle bed is often ideal for a small room.

I love to use unusual beds, often with an antique canopy and interestingly shaped and upholstered headboards. You don’t want to buy a suite of furniture. It looks boring and doesn’t display a personal touch. Mixing finishes and styles is a more unique way to go. You’ll never see a matching suite of furniture in a major interior-design magazine as a featured article; only in an advertisement for a national furniture maker.

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Creature Comforts

Utilize efficient window treatments to block out the morning light. Also, include lots of amenities, such as a bowl of fruit and iced-down bottled water, fresh flowers and, perhaps, a small coffee maker accompanied by a fragrant roast. You might consider including a few things they are likely to forget: an extra toothbrush, shaver or hair dryer. Be sure to clean out the closet, dresser and night stand, so your guests have ample room for their belongings.

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Another nice touch to have in a guest room is a little sitting area for morning coffee and the latest magazines and newspapers. If a space is available and you are building a new home, include a warm inviting fireplace and an armoire for a flat-screen TV. I am still not a fan of mounting a TV directly on the wall as if it were art – even in contemporary spaces.

Have Fun!

Creating a guest room is an opportunity to let your imagination fly. This is a room where you don’t have to please a spouse or a child. Create a fantasy room, a room that is unforgettable to your guests and one that you can enjoy from time to time. I would also recommend staying a few nights in the room yourself to see how the guests will experience their stay.

When it comes to designing a great guest room, the only limit is your imagination.

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Margaret_portrait_new-sm (1)An interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view her portfolio at www.chambersinteriors.com

By Margaret Chambers

When it comes to interior decorating, you might think that accessories don’t play as great a role as, say, furniture or wall hangings. But the personal touch and creativity that accessories provide make them an indispensable part of the interior designer’s toolkit.

There are endless possibilities available when it comes to accessorizing your home in a unique and unforgettable way. You can start by collecting individual pieces, or add to an existing collection from your travels. Arrange your collections on walls or tabletops around a room. These personal touches make homes more interesting and unify the spaces they inhabit. Plus, it’s fun to find new pieces when you travel: each time you look at that piece, it will bring back memories of an adventure abroad.

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If you have large spaces to fill, cover them with prints—these antique Swedish architectural prints look wonderful hanging together. Add the unexpected, like this carved wooden fragment from an old French chateau. In this room, the doors were much shorter than the ceiling, so I hung oil paintings over them to ease the eye.

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This large Grecian oil painting is flanked by two iron obelisks, which help to compensate for the off-centered fireplace.

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Accessorizing over this brown-and-cream toile wallcovering was a bit of a challenge. By keeping all accessories on the fireplace mantle in browns, creams, and golds, I created a harmonious blend of colors and textures. This way, the toile tapestry plates and wood carvings complemented, rather than opposed, one another.

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Notice the three-foot space over the arched opening in this breakfast room. This was the ideal spot to hang a bull’s eye mirror. It is flanked by a pair of Italian, hand-painted faience chargers.

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This eight-foot French hutch may seem large. But it fits perfectly against a twelve-foot wall, leaving an extra four feet for this large collection of fruit prints. The French hutch’s open shelves are a handy setting to show off the client’s collection of green majolica ceramics.

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A large antique tapestry or mirror creates drama in a room. Also notice the large scale lamps on the console, the Lucite obelisks, and the large bronze bowl with hand-blown glass balls. If these accessories were smaller, they would be out of scale for this dining room’s high ceiling.

Art and accessories are more than just beautiful objects. As you can see, they can solve architectural problems, pull a room’s color scheme together, or add texture and variety to a dull space. Whether you’re decorating a new room or remodeling an old one, don’t forget the details—accessories will add the finishing touch to your room and make it uniquely yours.

An interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view their portfolio at www.chambersinteriors.com.