Hunt Country Interior Designers Share Their Secrets


(Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:51 AM EST)

If you've just purchased a new house, or want to give your current abode a face lift, approaching the interior design can be a challenge. Local interior designers may have the key to making your dream home a reality. Here's what they had to say about their craft:

Annie Cleland, a designer for Haute, a fabric and trim shop in Middleburg, believes that creating a comfortable atmosphere, especially through the use of fabrics, is vital in making a house feel like a home for its owners.

“I think fabric plays a huge role in making a beautiful room,” she said. “I think a subtle mix of color and texture is also important. You have to have an overall look - you should never walk into a room and have one single thing jump out at you.”

Proportion is also a very important aspect of design for Cleland. Each piece in a room should be relative to the other pieces. Additionally, items such as artwork or books can make a great difference in the finished look in a room, she said.

In recent years, Cleland has noticed that design trends favor a cleaner, more streamlined look.

“People are tending to want less stuff around,” she said. “We call it a neo-classic look.”

Cleland is an interior designer for Haute, but the store offers much more than just design consulting. Full-service fabrication, upholstering, drape design, as well as high-end discounted fabrics and trim are all available.

Haute is located at 15 E. Federal St. in Middleburg. For more information, call (540) 687-4646.

For Vicki Buswell, an independent window design consultant, her clients' decorative goals are very important.

“You want to ascertain the feeling they're trying to create with the room, whether they want it to be for work or play, relaxation or entertaining,” she said. “Then it's just choosing those fabrics, trims and hardware that will create harmony in the room.”

It's very helpful for Buswell when clients look through magazines and get an idea of their likes and dislikes before talking to her about potential designs. She will sometimes even go to a client's house, to see what colors they choose for their clothing.

“The colors you wear are the ones you're drawn to, and most comfortable with,” she said.

Color trends Buswell sees for this season - bathrooms in particular - are spa-influenced.

“Bathrooms are really big now, and clients want them to be an oasis with a Zen-like quality,” she said. “Seaglass blues and greens, gem-like emeralds and restful colors like pale grays and browns are popular.”

For more information, see the Web site at

Lisa Vella Iantosca is the owner of Baileywyck Shoppes, an antique shop with more than 4,200 square feet of space that also offers lighting, custom furniture and referrals for interior designers, window-treatment specialists and other home-design professionals.

Iantosca's opinion is that “the warmth of furniture and fabrics” is what defines a beautiful home. She notes that many people are turning to antiques to achieve a warm and comfortable look in their homes.

“I'm seeing a lot more people going back to antiques and to history and their background,” she said. “Everyone's mother's and grandmother's furniture have become much more important.”

Iantosca tries to create a comfortable environment for her customers at Baileywyck Shoppes. The converted barn is set up with numerous rooms, so “it looks like you're walking into several homes,” she said.

Iantosca, a former pastry chef, even serves homemade cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne and other treats to her customers.

The Baileywyck Shoppes are located at 21197 St. Louis Road in Middleburg. For more information, call (540) 687-6097.

Maria Price, an interior designer at the Fabric Emporium in Warrenton, focuses her attention on the needs of her clients.

“Clients have to have a comfortable line of communication with their designer,” she said. “Personal service is crucial. Without personal service in design, you're always going to fail.”

Creating interest in a space is a priority for Price, and she tries to accomplish this by “mixing different styles, putting some transitional with traditional.”

Transitional styles use cleaner lines than traditional, and lean more toward the contemporary side, without being fully contemporary. This style is one of the biggest trends in recent years, Price said.

The Fabric Emporium offers full home decoration, including support for historic homes, and will custom-design anything needed in a house. It is located at 78 Main St. in Old Town Warrenton. For more information, call (540) 349-9467.

It's all about fabric for Pamela Baker, an interior designer at The Final Yard in Winchester.

“Fabrics carry your room, set the tone and create your home,” she said. “When decorating your home, my suggestion is to choose fabrics first. Fall in love and be inspired by your fabric and let the paint color follow.”

Baker has observed that black and white, aqua blue and white and aubergine and yellow are all popular color combinations for home design. Lime green is a favorite stand-alone color choice.

Although following trends is an important part of being a designer, Baker enjoys the traditional styles of the Hunt Country.

“It's reminiscent of Old World English styles, which are classic, timeless and comforting,” she said.

Coming up on its one-year anniversary at the end of February, The Final Yard proudly offers a workroom on site, where staff upholster furniture and make draperies, bedding and any other custom-designed home products a client might need.

The store also sells lamps and accessories and will soon have a line of furniture available for purchase.

The store prides itself on its vast fabric selection and its pricing.

“We have quality, current styles in stock and at exceptional prices - you could even call it outlet pricing,” Baker said. “Most places you have to special order, but we have such a huge selection. We have become a great resource for local and area designers.”

The Final Yard is located at 33 E. Gerrard St. in Winchester. For more information, call (540) 678-0085.

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