Category Archives: Resources

West Elm Opening Celebration

Rob, Katerina, Lauren and I attended an exciting preview party at the new West Elm store in Durham last night. We, along with numerous other excited party goers had a marvelous time experiencing their products L-I-V-E rather than just drooling over the catalog. A DJ was spinning tunes and we noshed on food and local drinks while selecting our must have home items!

Above- their living green wall we’re obsessing over, and the gorgeous invitation to the event printed on wood veneer.


Above- A few favorite items from the store.

Go check out the new Bull City store for yourself!



What West Elm products can you not live without?

I’m a huge fan of their Parsons desks and consoles- I have one in my room and the lacquered finish still looks new! -Brittany


Surface Doctors: Protecting Your Investment

I am in the process of finishing up my personal kitchen remodeling project and recently discovered Allan and Eric from Surface Doctors, who applied Granite Shield’s sealing process to my new Honed Carrera Marble countertops.  I was first introduced to them by Laura at Rock ‘interiors who fabricated the countertops.

Our before and after kitchen transformation, I have to say, is amazing!! Now, I am just waiting on the final component to be installed – the tile backsplash!

Countertops are a worthwhile investment to your home and for us; we wanted the marble to withstand life’s little accidents in the kitchen with acidic juices, red wine and vinegar.

(Above) Allen and Eric applying the sealer, and then buffing the surface with a cotton cloth to ensure the sealer is properly applied. Overall this is a 4 step process that takes about an hour and half.

Care and maintenance is another part to maintaining your investment. Allen and Eric were great in providing us with two natural stone cleaners recommended by Granite Shield.

Curious about natural stone on the surface areas of your home give us a call. Be sure to also check DLL’s previous blog post Lauren wrote about marble countertops.

I’ll keep you posted on the final result of our kitchen–so stay tuned!


Images: DLL

Sunday Dreaming: Meisterstuck

In our new series, Sunday Dreaming, we’ll bring you something we love every week.

First up, the Meisterstuck Roller Ball by Mont Blanc.  Solid, stylish, and perfectly engineered, it creates the bold, smooth lines that make it Robert’s favorite drawing tool.  For the best effect, be sure to try the felt-tip refills.  (pens starting around $250, felt-tip refills: $14 for a pack of three at

Branded Spaces: Task Lighting

Good lighting is one of the most important components of any work space – whether at the office or at home.  For a clean modern look, choose the perfectly-engineered Tolomeo desk lamp by Artemide.  Or for something more traditional, check out the Frasier desk lamp from Arteriors Home.  The below task lights are some of our favorites, and they are sure to brighten up any space:

The Tolomeo task light by Artemide can be mounted on a desk, the wall, or even the ceiling.  Designed over 20 years ago, it became an instant classic.  But the advanced engineering and perfect balance of this original will never go out of style.

If you want a modern design that makes a statment, the Leaf Personal Light by Herman Miller is a great choice.  Utilizing efficient LED technology, the color temperature of this lamp can be adjusted at will.  It’s no surprise this fixture is in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

 The Graduate Lamp by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Company is a great option if you’re looking for a classic fixture at an affordable price.  Its mid-century modern lines means it can fit in with a variety of styles. 


The Sabine Desk Lamp from Arteriors Home is stylish and sophisticated, without sacrificing flair.

 Arteriors Home Fraiser Antique Silver Adjustable Desk Lamp

For a more traditional look with endless adjustability, the Frasier lamp by Arteriors Home is an excellent choice.


image 1: lighting universe

image 2: herman miller

image 3: schoolhouse electric

image 4: arteriors home

image 5: arteriors home

A Closer Look: Art Inspiraton for the Chancellor’s House at NC State

The Chancellor’s house at NC State is coming along nicely, and we’re starting to think about the decorative touches that will make this house feel like a home.  In such a large house, with both public and private areas, we had to get creative about where to find the right pieces.

We’ve mined the University Archives, Gregg Musuem, and the work of local artists to find the perfect collection worthy of such a grand building.  Below are some pieces that have inspired us….

Mining the Musuem

One of the best sources of art for the Chancellor’s house is the Gregg Museum at NC State.  We will adorn the walls with several loans from their permanent collection.

Some of my favorite pieces are the photographs of esteemed North Carolina Photographer Elizabeth Matheson (above).  Her work is currently in a show at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and we hope to place similar work on the main floor of the Chancellor’s House.

Another great artist in the Gregg Collection is George Bireline, whose abstract expressionist painting (above) will look amazing in the Chancellor’s study.


Mining the Archives

Another great source of art will be reproductions made from the University Archives.  This vast collection includes all sorts of wonderful images.

An illustrated Entomology book by E.A. Seguy (above) is one of our favorite finds.  These large prints of insects and butterflies are striking.

We also discovered the archive’s collection of printed sports memorabilia.  We’d love to incorporate some of this fun and colorful artwork.

The university also has an impressive collection of glass slides from botanist B.W. Wells.  He used these hand-colored slides to instruct his students on the biodiversity of natural ecosystems.  These slides can add a touch of beauty to the house, while also bringing to mind NC State’s role in the sciences.


Finding Local Talent

One of our main goals was to incorporate the work of local artists.  Below are two examples of the artists who have inspired us, and who we hope to work with.

Ashlynn Browning (above) is a talented painter based in Raleigh.  Her bold, colorful paintings are masterfully produced, and can add a punch of color to any wall.

Steve Staresina (above) is a local artist who creates large-scale frescoes.  He is creating a large-scale work commissioned specifically for the Chancellor’s Parlour.


Decorative Touches

To round out the collection, we’re looking to additional sources to add diversity to the collection.

We love the (above) wall piece from Ironies.  Cast resin painted with a metallic pigment make this wall-sculpture look like formed metal.

Another great source for decorative pieces is Natural Curiosities.  They offer many interesting works in a variety of formats, and can add a sophisticated touch to any home.  The abstract paper collection (above) is one of our favorites.

The Jean Baptiste Collection (also from Natural Curiosities) is another collection we’d like to use in the home (above).  The same set of prints was featured in this month’s issue of House Beautiful magazine (below).

We look forward to updating you as the art collection continues to come together.



image 1:

image 2, 3:

image 4, 5, 6: North Carolina State University Archives

image 7:

image 8:

image 9:

image 10, 11, 12:


Light Fair 2011: All about LEDs


When Judy and I visited Light Fair International this year, one thing was immediately obvious – the future of lighting is LED technology.  In fact, more than 90% of the new products we saw used some sort of LED as a light source.

So what exactly is an LED?  And what are the advantages/disadvantages of using them?  I’ll answer these questions so that you can feel comfortable about bringing LED technology into your life.  It’s just a matter of time before we see them everywhere!


What is an LED?

LED stands for “light emitting diode.”  It is a semiconductor light source that has been used since 1962 as indicator lights in many devices.   Recent advances in technology have increased the color range and brightness of LEDs, so that they are now widely used in all types of lighting – from street lamps to desk lamps.

Advantages of LEDs

LEDs have two main advantages – they are extremely energy efficient, and they have a very long life.  It only takes about 13Watts to power an LED with the light output of a 100Watt Incandescent!  And they have a life span of 50,000-100,000 hours.   These attributes make LEDs a favorite among green designers.

LEDs can be very compact and give off little heat.  This allows them to be used in places where traditional light sources would not work.  Flexible LED strips are available that are paper thin and can be placed in almost any location – including outdoors.

Disadvantages (and things to watch out for)

Despite advances in technology, many LEDs are known to have inconsistent light color output.  This means that two “identical” LED fixtures placed side-by-side could give off different colors of light.  Usually, the differences are small.   But in some cases the differences can be noticeable and ugly.  The only way to be sure is to order samples or see the products in person before you buy.

LEDs can also be prone to “flicker,” a phenomenon where the diode turns on and off in rapid succession.  Flicker can lead to all sorts of problems – hyperactivity or distraction in children, migraines, and even epileptic seizures.  In most cases, flicker can be avoided by choosing a better ballast for your light fixture.  As with fluorescent lights, electronic ballasts are usually better than magnetic ballasts.

LEDs are typically more expensive than older lighting technologies.  But their increased efficiency means that they will “pay for themselves” in the form of reduced electricity bills.

There’s no avoiding LEDs – they are quickly becoming the future of lighting.  I hope these tips will make the transition easier for you!


image 1 &  6:

image 2: wikipedia

image 3: frogdesign

image 4: google

image 5: tech lighting

High Point Furniture Market: Trend #2 Mirrors Galore

2011 Spring High Point Furniture Market Mirrors Trends 2

Sometimes elegance can be found in a reflection, which is why we chose mirrors for our second trend this season at High Point Furniture Market. We saw so many shapes and sizes mounted on the wall or casually leaning on the floor – mirrors can totally change an entire space.

2011 Spring High Point Furniture Market Mirror Trends

So come back tomorrow as we take you through a color adventure for trend #3.

Showroom images: 1″ (left to CW) Bolier & Co. , 2:Lee Industries, 3&4:  Hickory Chair 5: Barbara Cosgrove 6: Artistica

Out, Darned Spot! A Few Tips on Cleaning Area Rugs & Carpet


We laugh around the studio as it is inevitably the clients I work with that end up with spills on their upholstery or rugs.  (I think that’s because they know how to throw the best parties!) Today we’ll share a few Design Lines tips on cleaning up those rugs.

1- Firstly, consider “insurance” on your purchases. It’s worth it to have rugs and upholstered goods treated by a Fiber services company – some manufacturers even provide this service before the item is shipped to you.

2- Do it Yourself

Wool: Blot spills immediately with a white cloth. Do not scrub the wool carpet, as that can be damaging to the weave.  For stubborn spills you may use this homemade cleaning solution that is safe: Add a teaspoon of mild detergent and a teaspoon of pure white vinegar to two quarts of warm water.

Sisal: For cleaning a sisal rug- look to Molly’s tried & true recipe. I have to say first that Molly has 3 fun kids & a dog.

  • Mix a solution of 1/4th part Vinegar & 3/4th part water and put into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the mixture onto the stain generously. Allow it to soak into the carpet for a few seconds.
  • Press a paper towel stack against the stain and blot so that the staining ingredient will lift onto the paper towels.
  • Continue spraying the carpet with the vinegar solution and blotting carpet until no stain remains. To ease handling, you may choose to spray the paper towels with the solution before blotting as long as you continue to spray the carpet, too.
  • Allow the carpet to dry. The scent of vinegar should fade away while it evaporates. It may take a few days for it to dry thoroughly

Residential carpet (mostly nylon products): Our jaws dropped when we found this I-phone app from Shaw floors– The Mobile Stain Center is impressive:  “This app contains stain removal procedures for some of the most common household spills. These stain removal and cleaning procedures have been carefully developed for use on Shaw Floors’ carpet made with Shaw Floors’ carpet fibers and may not be appropriate for use on other types of carpet. The stain removal procedures are provided to assist in maintaining your Shaw Floors’ carpet and reflect the best information available.”

3- Call in a Pro

Remember, no carpet is stain proof – your home is not a museum. It’s where life happens.  You can contact your designer for care instructions or recommendations for a carpet cleaning service.

Click here to check out today’s Apartment Therapy post on Household Cleaning Urban Myths- interesting methods!


Guest Blogger Series: Ginna from 27Ground

The Design Lines team first met Ginna; the Founder of 27Ground back in 2010. We immediately were drawn to Ginna’s beautiful rug collections and her enthusiastic entrepreneur business sense.

Ginna founded 27Ground in February 2010, after visiting rug factories in Nepal and India. It is through these trips and adventures of discovery that she realized rugs are truly pieces of artwork. Her collection ranges from eco-friendly to transitional rugs. These are some of our favorites from her collection.

While she is based out of Los Angeles she is not a stranger to the East Coast. Being a native to North Carolina, Ginna is extremely aware of the varying aesthetics apparent across the country. To her, business is about making strategic partnerships and creating connections with interior designers across the country. “When I saw the Design Lines website, I knew I had to work with you guys, I fell in love,” says Ginna. We couldn’t agree more!


 With established partnerships like the Desousa Hughes Showroom in San Francisco and sales reps already in Texas and New Jersey, Ginna is definitely on her way to bringing 27Ground to the national level. Look into these national press mentions- gorgeous!

Yet, one thing that caught the team’s attention is that amidst all these rugs, Ginna has another passion; which is quickly visible on her website, her support for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

Ginna has a strong belief in sustainability and providing children with the proper nutrient enriched foods. “If I can use my business as a vehicle to promote a cause like the Food Revolution then I know I am doing something good.”  We couldn’t agree more.

We thoroughly have enjoyed getting to know Ginna and can’t wait for more opportunities to collaborate.