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   FURNISHINGS The Finishing Touch
2009 - Fall Edition
Interior Design
Article:  Joe Burgess
            Charlotte Tallman
Photos: Bill Faulkner
            Russell Bamert
            Joe Burgess
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Furnishings are the finishing touch that truly reveals the details of the homeowner's character. It is the culmination of the interior design process and should be the most fun. If it starts to become overwhelming, latch onto your designer to help you stay focused on the end results you are trying to accomplish.


5411 N Mesa St
El Paso, TX 79912

El Paso Saddleblanket
6926 Gateway East
El Paso, TX 79915

Renaissance Woodwork
1885 W Boutz Rd
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Riata Home Interiors
200 Mechum Dr
Ruidoso, NM 88345

Rustics for Less
750 N Valley Dr
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Wild West Furniture
10910 Montana Ave
El Paso, TX
Once the general style of furniture, artwork, water features, etc., have been determined, the designer will have recommendations for locating particular pieces. In some cases, designers in both Las Cruces and El Paso have their own stock of beautiful furnishings gathered from trade shows and shopping around the country and even internationally. The homeowner can also begin browsing local furniture stores, galleries, antique shops and online resources in an effort to narrow down the possibilities. How strong of a statement should the furnishings make, how important is the uniqueness and quality of the pieces, how big of a budget will be funneled toward furnishings and the priorities for the purchases are among the questions that should be answered early on.

If you are in a position to support your creative instincts or to take advantage of those who have made that their livelihood, there is simply no end to the possibilities. Master carvers can enhance or boldly support a piece from India or Belgium for a unique ceiling design, a wall hanging or stand-alone display. An end table, a dining set, a mirror frame or a headboard can be the product of your imagination, a replica of something seen in the lobby of a French hotel or the third generation sketch evolving from your designer's original suggestion. Old West, rustic and even "eclectic" may be what best describes you as an individual, but a little personal thought and fresh input from the professionals can help develop an impressive scheme.

Conversations with the Experts

Where does artwork fit into the hierarchy of room design?

Having a degree in art gives me a little different approach to placing art in my client's home. The form, style, scale and presentation are usually decided by the individual client. Art for the sake of art can be appropriate and fitting, relative to the level of appreciation, importance of the piece, collect ability, value, etc. When the art is a part of my scope of design services to the client, I feel I have a responsibility to develop a schematic for projected placement of the piece or pieces of art. This can be very challenging, but with the proper attention, the results can be amazing. –Connie Hines

Art can actually dominate and delegate a room. I have worked the color schemes, and furnishings around a great piece of art. As an example, if you observe a well-painted (executed) painting, many of the colors can be drawn out of the painting and used as primary or accent colors. –Bernadette Valdes

Artwork is a very personal matter to many but it should not be the basis for your home's design. To me it is just the accent, you do not build the room on the blue in a painting but rather the colors should compliment one another. Some of my favorite homes are traditional furnishings with contemporary art. –Fran Timbrook

How important is it to utilize natural lighting in a room along with lighting fixtures, etc.?

Florals are a most enjoyable finishing touch. Of course, I prefer natural, but that isn't always realistic. Flowers and greenery offer to add warmth to a room, fill a void, provide enhancement to a special vase or container or just add enjoyment and ambience to a special area. –Connie Hines

Florals can be added to bring softness or a punch of color to a room design. They can be a focal point for a dining or cocktail table or placed in a niche with a mural or faux finish as a backdrop. A preference when using botanicals is the "water garden arrangement". They are unique and made with the highest quality artificial flowers giving them a "fresh-cut" look. These nature inspired creations elevate floral arrangements into a sublime art. –Lynda Power

Greenery is important, whether natural or silk. Artificial trees are wonderful for adding height to a room. Silk can look natural with no need for the proper light. –Sherry Franzoy

What are the considerations in placement of furniture and accessories?

First and foremost is the function and flow of the space. If it is the gathering spot for the family, consider seating arrangements that work for visiting as well as watching the television. It is not necessary to place furniture on the perimeter of the room. If the space is large enough, "floating" seating areas can be arranged at angles for interest. Area rugs can be used to define these spaces. Accessories become the finishing touch. You want to add enough to complete the room but know when to stop. Too much of a good thing can clutter an otherwise good design project. –Lynda Power

I consider furniture and accessory selections to be a culmination of in-depth discussions and collective and clear understandings of wishes and expectations for the desired project result. It is dependent on client needs and totally subjective to each project. My role in the process is to offer direction and to structure a plan addressing all design elements necessary to furnishing and accessorizing the client's home. –Connie Hines

Furniture should be comfortable. Life is not meant to be spent in an uncomfortable chair. I love to cook and think dining room chairs should be comfortable enough to sit in for several hours. –Anne Steele

When you select furniture, buy the best you can afford. A few good pieces can set the basis for a good design and be easily enhanced with accessories to change the overall effect. The client should consider how the furniture is to be used and its placement in the room. Again, working with a professional helps the client with making the right choices for them and the look they are trying to accomplish. –Fran Timbrook

In what situations would you include a wall or free standing water feature?

I have had the opportunity recently to use a wall water fountain in a professional waiting room and a home entryway. The soft sound of water is very soothing and inviting. Free standing in a patio is also very inviting and relaxing. –Bernadette Valdes

Water features can add a very soothing element to areas of relaxation such as a master bedroom or bathroom. They are available in rock, natural stone, metal or a variety of synthetic materials and are relatively maintenance free. Water features can also be used in a courtyard or entryway to provide a dramatic first impression or incorporated into an outdoor entertainment space to provide a soothing backdrop while enjoying the company of your guests. –Lynda Power

Water features are great used in an entryway, but be careful, the noise can bother some. –Fran Timbrook ///
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