Design resolve

Local experts share their professional resolutions for better homes and gardens in the New Year

  • Deborah Gore Dean's resolution for the coming year is to throw out all the new age whoopydo -- the green teak and the mid-century leftovers -- and go back to the basic rules of design: Every room should have two things: a red anything and a bottle tucked away behind the curtains.
Deborah Gore Dean's resolution for the coming year is… (Kim Hairston, The Baltimore…)
December 30, 2010|By Dennis Hockman, ChesapeakeHome

Someone once told me that home design and improvement projects should be fun. But if you've ever built a new house, tried to renovate a bathroom, landscaped the front yard or selected a paint color for the hallway, you know that projects around the house can be stressful. They shouldn't be.

After spending much of my free time over the past 21/2 years fixing up my old house, I need to remind myself of that on a regular basis. So one of my New Year's resolutions is to keep the projects I am working on around the house fun.

Sure, the wood floors underneath the wall-to-wall carpet I just had removed on the second floor look like someone splattered them with driveway tar, tried to ice-skate on them and then scorched random boards with a handheld torch, but I know it could be much, much worse. After all, the distressed look is still "in" right?

To start the New Year off with a healthy dose of perspective, I polled local architects, builders, interior designers, landscapers and others to see what design resolutions they had for themselves … or their clients. Here are some of the responses.

I resolve to …

"Include an edible element in every garden and, with each client engagement, provide something to eat to someone less fortunate." – Arthur Balter, landscape concierge and project manager, Clarksville

"Increase awareness of the critical value of historic buildings and districts to our community and sense of place." — Rob Brennan, AIA, Brennan+Company Architects, Catonsville

"Throw out all the New Age whoop-de-do — the green teak and the 'midcentury' leftovers, and go back to the basic rules of design — every room should have two things: a red anything and a bottle tucked away behind the curtains." — Deborah Gore Dean, president of GoreDean.com and GoreDean Home, Baltimore

"Keep finding new avenues of inspiration that feed my creative soul. Keeping myself inspired enables me to translate that into the work I do for clients." — Kim Eastburn, interior designer, Kimberly A. Eastburn Interiors, Monkton

"Keep up our enthusiasm, optimism and our creativity on each design project, to always bring something new to the table, and to expand the horizons of each client by exposing them to new ideas." — Gina Fitzsimmons, Fitzsimmons Design Associates Inc., Annapolis

"Help every project I'm involved with use only 60 percent of the average regional energy consumption for that building type and, as part of the Architecture 2030 challenge, work toward the goal for all buildings to be 'carbon neutral' by 2030." — Julie Gabrielli, president, Gabrielli Design Studio, Baltimore

"Utilize my newly acquired welding skills by incorporating more architectural metal pieces into my designs." — Marta Hansen, Principal, Hansen Architects, Annapolis

"Launch my new collection of textiles. I have always built and custom-designed furniture and fabrics for my clients. Launching a collection, though, has always taken a back seat to my daily design commitments. Finally, this year I'm going find time to make the exotic and unique fabrics I have created more accessible to my clients." – Mona Hajj, Mona Hajj Interiors, Baltimore

"Encourage fire, water and positive energy in every project we construct this coming year." – Tom Jasick, owner, Quarry Aquatics, Severna Park

"Learn more and worry less" – Jay Jenkins, interior designer, Jenkins Baer Associates, Baltimore

"Not work on more than 10 projects a day and to only work half-days. But I get to decide which 12 hours." — Victor Liberatore, Victor Liberatore Interior Design, Stevenson

"Encourage client-centered design. The best projects/ living spaces come out of clients' quirky requirements of how they want to live, or features they want to incorporate into a design. Too many clients come to us and base their design on "resale value" even though they plan to live in the house for decades (installing a jetted spa tub in a master bathroom with no intention of using it is a common example). Design for yourself, not for others!" – Jeffrey Penza, principal, Penza + Bailey Architects, Baltimore

"Try to teach clients who previously were a bit more trendy and spontaneous to design for the long term, even more so now because of the recession. Longevity in both quality and design will stand the test of time. I would rather my clients spend wisely on fewer quality items that they will carry with them from house to house than purchase a ton of stuff that will be dated in two to three years." — Erin P. Pitts, Erin Paige Pitts Interiors, Gibson Island

"Go into every household in Baltimore, remove the compact fluorescent bulbs, and replace them with bulbs that make people look human again; and while I'm at it, if the plastic has not already been removed from the lampshades, I would clip that off, as well." — Dan Proctor, owner, Kirk Designs, Baltimore

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