Jessica Bonness takes a crack at some of your interior design questions

Photo by PoPville flickr user ewilfong

Jessica Bonness runs JGB Interiors and writes at Paint It What I Tell You.

I was perusing the forum this week and noticed several questions pertaining to interior decorating and general home stuff, which is awesome. I took a crack at posting my suggestions and hope others do, too. There are recommendations on here that are new to me (always need a good carpenter…) so I’m finding it really resourceful.

Cheap framing shop? This poster seems to be looking for “just a very basic frame,” which I interpret to mean no mat. If you have an odd-sized piece, this can be a tough and expensive search. One thing you can do is find a frame that’s just slightly the wrong size (so, if your piece is a weird 22 x 33.5, you may find a frame that’s 24 x 36, or 21 x 33). If your off-the-rack frame is smaller than the piece, you can carefully trim the artwork to fit it (use a straight edge and a knife for this). If the frame you find is larger than the art, you can try to purchase a mat to cover up the space. You can also cut your own mat out of a large piece of mat board (available at art supply stores); again, use a knife to cut…not scissors. Mat board is typically white-ish, but you can use paint to change the color (house paint, acrylic paint, wrap it in craft paper…anything goes). If all else fails, try a custom site like American Frame to build your own frame as cheaply as possible, or start clipping those 40% off Michael’s coupons.

Fine Art Auctioneer? Somebody’s got a lucky friend who wants to sell a seemingly valuable painting. PoP advises Weschler’s, which is a good idea. Also, you could try popping into your neighborhood art gallery (never mind what they specialize in) and asking for a referral.

Custom Interior Doors? Try Community Forklift in PG County (no, it’s not very far). And if you go the custom route, be SURE to check out the carpenter’s previous similar projects to make sure you like what they do.

Window Shades/Blinds? Lots of good advice here. Personally, I like to refer economizing clients to Select Blinds. Don’t be fooled by the website’s urgency: there is ALWAYS a 30% off sale. But do be sure to request a sample set (which they express-mail to you) before ordering; if you don’t, they won’t allow a return.

Someone in need of Wood Furniture Refinishing has two recommendations already. Another person looking for an Upholsterer in DC has a few sources to check out. Someone else is searching for Marble Thresholds. Anyone else have ideas?

7 Comment

  • Can you recommend any websites for kitchen design tailored to urban living – specifically the long, narrow kitchens common in DC rowhouses? Most sites just offer 12 horrific square acres of granite islands and extreme appliances.

  • RE: upholsterers in DC. There is one right in Bloomingdale at 80 RI Ave NW (hard to spot, they are right behind the dry cleaner on that corner). Brooks Upholsterers. I have not used them personally, but they’ve been recommended. It’s looks to be a pretty old school shop.

  • I recently got an oddly shaped pieced done at Frame of Mine on Barracks Row. I forget the exact dimensions, but it was something like a foot high and 5 feet long. The price, $286, seemed reasonable to me. It’s still a lot of money for a painting that I bought for $5 in India, but they did a stellar job and I’m sure it would have cost more elsewhere. They also have a do-it-yourself framing option which I was told could save you $20-30. If you go check their website for the first time customer discount coupon.

    • Oh and one more thing. They have a Chinese New Year sale during the month of February. You draw a fortune cookie which tells you whether your framing is 10, 50, 100% off… so if you’re planning on getting something framed you should definitely wait three weeks.

  • Thanks Jessica. I appreciate the post & will totally be checking out Select Blinds. Next question – any tips for picking out fabric. I’m sort of a Sarah Richardson addict & love how she manges to match 5 totally different fabrics in one room. She makes it look so easy & I always wimp out when I’m in the fabric store. New throw pillows for the living room & seat covers for the dining are my plan to “refresh” my living space for 2012.

    • Re: choosing a coordinated collection of fabrics, I’m a fan of Calico Corners for easy-to-match and nicely priced textiles. You can walk into one of their retail stores (Arlington, Rockville, also online – they carry Dwell Studio!) and it’s all laid out for you in coordinating bolts. In general though, when putting together a collection you’ll want a solid or two (one can be flat like a silk or cotton, the other textured like a chunky linen), a stripe, a big print, and a small print. Start with the busiest or most colorful pattern and work backwards, paying chose attention to the colors (warm red and cool red don’t work…they’ve gotta have the same undertones to be “coordinated.”) Good luck!

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