Spring is in the air!

You may be looking to freshen up your design to match your enthusiasm for the new season upon us. Here are a few well known tricks that designers employ to make the greatest impact. First, remember all good interior designers will tell you that the most important aspect in designing your home is that it reflects your personality and style.

Sometimes the smallest things can make the greatest impact. Mirrors, paint and lighting can truly transform a room. Paint smaller rooms in softer lighter colors to help make the room feel larger to maximize a small living space. On the other hand, if you have a small powder room, go dramatic in color. A bold color will make more of an impact. Mirrors create an optical illusion of space, making a room seem larger than it actually is. Be sure to look across from the mirror to ensure it will reflect light or something of interest.  Reflecting a blank wall will defeat your purpose.  Placing a mirror directly across from a window will add instant light.  Decorative mirrors can be used in lieu of art to fill empty wall space.

To satisfy your spring cleaning goals, integrate storage as a design element. Wicker baskets and old wooden boxes are economical yet stylish.  The natural materials add texture and warmth to a space. You can add them to any room to store collections you would like to hide such as magazines, towels, blankets and toys, just to name a few. They can also be useful on your kitchen counter to store fruits and vegetables while allowing them to breathe and ripen.

A shopping trip is not required. One of my favorite places to shop can be another room in my home. Be creative; just because an item always has been in one area that doesn’t mean that special object or piece of furniture can’t find a new home. An old dresser or credenza can make a great buffet. Take a good look around; silver platters and wooden trays can make a great addition to a luggage rack or tea cart. If you have old books such as your childhood stories, copy pages to use as framed art for a nursery. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with what you already have. Pieces that may never have been noticed before can come to life in a new space.

Don’t forget to pull out your table cloths.  Bright, crisp cloths can change the look of any room. Then top off your table with some fresh flowers for that spring feeling.  You also may want to reconsider slip covers. They can serve as a means of changing your furniture to reflect the various seasons. Slipcovers have gotten a bad rap, but these easily removed coverings allow you to have a sophisticated look without constantly worrying about people damaging your furniture. Slipcovers are ideal for rooms used frequently for children.

Mix it up! Combine patterns, color tones, and textures.  Merge the old with the new and the inexpensive with the lavish. There is nothing wrong with placing a family heirloom alongside your modern sofa. Your home should tell a story of your past, present and future. Pieces should coexist beautifully together reflecting your style. Your fabrics can do the same whether they are in your furniture, rugs or pillows. Varied colors that complement each other along with textures and patterns can bring warmth and interest to your living space.

Bring in an area rug to anchor a setting and give added texture color and personality. Tile, hardwood and other hard surfaces cry out for an area rug, especially in the cooler months. An area rug can add fun and functionality. You can change your area rug, throws and pillows to reflect the seasons, using warmer tones and fabrics for cooler months and lighter, brighter ones for the warmer seasons of the year. There are many lovely cotton washable rugs which are ideal for homes with children.

Live, laugh and make memories  in your home.

Posted on May 1, 2018 .


Over decorating:

Using too many different materials and/or patterns can make the atmosphere of a space feel overwhelming and stressful.  Try to keep with a clean timeless look and use accents of a pattern or color to bring flair to a room. Don't be too “matchy”; mix up your style and pieces. Buying all of your design elements from one collection or one store makes for an uncreative and uninspired interior. Take a little time to check out an antique store or artesian company to add interesting pieces.  Also keep in mind that some of my best finds have come from another room in my house.

Improper use of Scale:

A very common mistake begins with mounting curtains to low. Aim to mount the rod as close to the ceiling as possible; it will make the ceiling look higher. If you are lucky enough to have real tall ceilings as an architectural reference, add a tall book case or cabinet to the room to accentuate the height. Using two small of furniture in small spaces is another improper use of scale. The volume of the elements in the room can trick the eye into seeing a larger scale and make a design statement more meaningful. An easy tip is to size the coffee table at 2/3 of the sofa size and place them 15 to 18 inches apart.  When decorating with an area rug, be sure to choose a size large enough for the room and furniture in it. An under-scaled rug can make the room feel smaller and unbalanced. For example, a dining room chair should never fall off the dining room area rug when pulled out from the table. The same rule applies with the scale of the flooring you choose. A larger scale will actually make the room look larger and provide a better balance for the base of a room. Remember the rule of threes: if you can repeat a pattern three times in a certain space, the scale will work. Try using that larger tile format or wider planked hardwood.

My pet peeve:

Hanging art too high is a very common mistake. Art should be hung at eye level or a few inches below. A great rule of thumb is to hang your art work so its center rests at 60 to 66 inches from the floor.

Too little lighting:

When a room doesn't have the proper amount of natural light, you will need to bring in artificial light. The easiest way to do this is with lamps, of course.  Installing canned lighting and solar sun tubes is another great way to add the proper amount of task lighting.  Chandeliers are an expressive way to bring in more light, but many people choose a chandelier that is too small and hang it too high. How to get the perfect chandelier… start by measuring the length of two walls in the room you're going to be hanging it in. Add the feet dimensions together and you will get the diameter, in inches, of the chandelier.  Another quick reference is to choose a chandelier that is half the size of your dining room table.  Hang your chandelier 32 inches from the table.

Neglecting the Ceiling:

Don't forget your ceiling is the fifth wall or the “hat” of the room. Don't settle for boring white. Go for light or a medium tone mix of your wall colors. Mix 1/4 of the wall color to 3/4 white to get the perfect coordination.  Use a pearl paint finish with a little luminosity or shine.  Now you’ve breathed a bit of color into the room for a beautiful coordinated look that is unique and different.

Don't be afraid to take a risk and incorporate your personality even if it is a mistake. All designers have made some big mistakes, but some of them have turned into our most creative work. As your designer, I'll give you advice, but so will your mother, girlfriend, neighbor and any other person when you ask. But, you are the one who as to come home to your design every day, so the end result should reflect your personality and match your lifestyle.

Posted on October 18, 2017 .


Window Coverings main purpose is privacy and protection, but beauty and style don’t have to be compromised. There are so many treatments on the market that it can be hard to choose the right one. When choosing, consider exposure from outside elements, the need for cross ventilation, and the degree of privacy desired.  Next, pick your style….

Shutters are manufactured in several available mediums.  Real hardwood shutters carry the maximum strength and durability. The most popular shutter today is the Polysatin with UV resistant construction.  These shutters are guaranteed to never warp, crack, fade, chip, peel or discolor. With this strong resistance toward heat and moisture, the polysatin shutter is great for kitchens, bathrooms, and Westward facing windows. Each style of shutter comes in different sized louvers to work best with the scale of your design while adding resale value to your home.

Wood blinds and faux wood blinds give the appearance of a shutter with a more flexible application.  These blinds will rise up and lower down, not requiring the wall space that a shutter panel needs when opening.  Wood blinds are very suitable for bay windows and lower windows that may have furniture placed in front of them. The louvers can be tilted to play with the light yet still allowing cross ventilation. 

Aluminum blinds are making a comeback with their wide range of colors and metal finishes.  These offer the maximum light control and a contemporary flair while maintaining a more economic price.

Honeycomb shades also known as cellular shades, are a streamline shade that fuses function with style while offering the most energy efficiency.  The Hunter Douglas Architella Duette® offers the highest energy savings in both winter and summer.  The cellular shade comes in a wonderful array of unique fabrics, textures and operating systems in either a horizontal or vertical orientation with the minimum amount of stacking space.

 Hunter Douglas’ Silhouette® is a shade that creates a beautiful ambient light to a room with a signature “S” vane floating between two shears.  The soft adjustable fabric vane diffuses the harsh sunlight, yet when tilted, allows varying levels of light and privacy. The Luminette® is the vertical option of this shade making it a great solution for wide expansive windows and sliding glass doors.

Natural Roman Shades are handcrafted of natural and sustainable materials.  With a wide variety of fabric choices, custom-made Roman shades have the softness of draperies with the practicality of a shade.  With clean lines and classic tailoring, roman shades are still a popular choice for everyone.

Today, just about any window covering can be cordless or even motorized at a surprising lower cost than ever before. Offering safety and convenience, The Hunter Douglas PowerView® application is a brilliant new wireless operating system that gives you the power to control and schedule your window treatments from your smart phone, tablet or by remote control.

Come to Barron's Flooring and Design, the area’s exclusive Hunter Douglas Centurian Gallery, to see and try all of our window coverings.  With over 40 year of experience, we are happy to help you personalize your home.

Posted on April 20, 2017 .


Your Christmas Tree Isn’t The Only Item In Your Home Worthy of Decorations.

Decorating for the holidays doesn’t have to be elaborate. Make it simple and fun.  Start at the front door with an eye-catching wreath. Nothing says “welcome to my home” like a wreath garnished with greenery, ribbon and twinkle lights.  Add a few lanterns filled with greenery and worry-free, battery-operated candles to brighten your entry.  If you already have planters on your front porch, simply wrap those shrubs with a bit of garland.

Inside, don’t forget your entry table, which sets the tone for your home with the first impression.  Adorn it with some extra ornaments, fresh-cut greenery and a wonderfully festive-scented candle, like cinnamon, apple or pine.  The aroma of your favorite scent can make you forget your worries of a stressful holiday season, allowing you to relax as soon as you step through the front door. Your décor isn’t just for your guests to appreciate; tailor it to your lifestyle and enjoy.

No space in your home is off limits; place decorations where you see fit.  Fill a platter or silver tray with ornaments and tuck in boughs of evergreen for a simple yet elegant centerpiece. Cut some fresh holly or cedar twigs and place them in red or white vases.  Vary the sizes of the arrangements and make a collection for your mantle or sofa back table. Also, think about keeping those long branches you cut off your Christmas tree. Hang them with gift tags, holiday cards and a few special ornaments over doors and windows, or place them on your buffet. Want to make it a white Christmas? Bring in artificial snow to sprinkle on your centerpieces or fill in your candle holders.

Save time and money by using elements that you already have in your home. Pull your beautiful glassware out of your cabinets. You know... the ones you love, but never use. Fill them with artificial snow, some glass ornaments or pinecones. Don’t forget to pull out those candy dishes…might as well use them too. Wrap a large satin ribbon around a pillow, turning it into a festive present. Or, garnish those guest bathroom towels hanging on the towel bar with a colorful bow. Your candle sticks don’t have to only hold a candle. Use them to showcase ornaments or pine cones. Spend a little extra time on your gifts.  Add a little holly, rosemary or evergreen with a ribbon or twine to turn an average wrapping job into a piece of art; one your receiver will not want to open but add to their décor. Those of you who choose not use your fireplace can fill it with festive birch sticks and a few of those worry-free, battery operated candles to add a warm, romantic glow to your living room.

If that’s not enough, and you want to go the extra mile, add a little “bling, sparkle and glitz”. Remember those battery-operated twinkle lights…put them everywhere.  Incorporate them into your center pieces, drape them on your mantle, and wrap them around your bannister. The lights take any arrangement of décor to the next level, catching everyone’s eye. Spray paint holly leaves, magnolia branches or other pieces of nature’s art in a gold or silver metallic color to add to your décor. Using faux mercury glass candles holders and ornaments also adds a bit of sparkle to any display.

If the glitz is too much for you, keep with those natural elements mentioned earlier.  Combine pine cones, fir, cedar, or magnolia leaves with strands of berries and beads to make a more natural holiday garland.  Add burlap ribbon and bows for a more organic feel as well as a layered linen tree skirt or table cloth.

 Be creative and have fun! Your decorations should reflect your interests and your sense of style. Most importantly, this season is a time to share with family and friends; make it a special one.

Posted on November 22, 2016 .

Whites Are Not Just For Woodwork!

Today consumers have developed a more sophisticated relationship with design and décor with the use of color. Color affects everyone both consciously and subconsciously; it sets the tone for every room of your home.  Some hues are relaxing while others are energizing.  

White is not just for wood work these days.  Layering whites in wall color and décor elements diffuses light while surrendering to the complexity of your striking contrasts and bold line definitions.  Choosing several white hues to create a monochromatic scheme can add interest to a room while maintaining a calming atmosphere, an important element of a home in this very busy world.  The neutrality of the white brings focus to the principal design elements. White can be seen as the designers’ way of incorporating “negative space” into their art.  When designing around the world of art, the paint colors we choose should not compete with, but enhance that art.  White, and various hues of white, can be used as a back drop to guide the eye to multiple color encounters. Choose clean and clear whites to not only frame, but flatter your art.

For those who choose to live in a world of color, taupe is the new neutral standard.  Taupe creates a subtle and natural beauty in today’s design where browns are the new black.  Patone Color Institute says it well, “Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place, where we feel free to express a wittier version of ourselves.” Our energizing accents come from the purple family; we can even find it in the blue hues.  Bright yellow, fuscia, turquoise and orange all add bold statements.  In the future, look for the old orange tone to become a sweeter orange that has a peachy hue to capture more warmth.  When making a statement, we need these bold accents to keep the neutrals looking fresh.  Look to nature for inspiration. Natural and organic hues are interesting when added with combinations of textures and depth. 

This pairing of neutral and bold elevates your design while maintaining a balance that keeps your home current with future trends. Always remember this is your home and your creative palate; express yourself.  Choose colors that feel comfortable with and that you love to be around.

Posted on August 25, 2016 .

Home Makeover, Resale or Redesign: Where do you start?

At the curb…that is always when a first impression begins.  The appearance of a house from the street sets the tone for the home experience.  It’s amazing what a few flowers and a new coat of paint on the front door can do to welcome your guests and/or potential buyers.

When customers ask me, “where is the best bang for the buck?”, I say painting your walls can give your house the face lift it needs… updating a “well-dated” home with a clean and fresh appearance.

But besides the obvious “new coat of paint”, the other areas of a makeover that can improve the value and design of your home are: shutters, granite countertops and hardwood or laminate floors.

While shutters are not always the best option, they add the most value to your home.  Shutters add sophistication and elegance to any window while giving you privacy and allowing cross ventilation in your home.  They finish off a window with architectural detail and provide energy efficiency.  Some argue that a shutter can be an expensive window treatment.  However, in the long run, a shutter is more cost efficient than custom made draperies and less problematic than the traditional mechanical window coverings.

Another way to update your home is by replacing those dated countertops with natural stone.  These days, granite has become much more affordable. Don’t worry…it’s easy to take care of as well.  Most granite is polished and sealed decreasing the amount of maintenance that it requires. Granite needs to be resealed once or twice a year depending on the wear.  Sealing can be as easy as spraying on a sealer and hand-buffing dry. If you choose a leathered or satin finish you will have even less maintenance while hiding everyday living. Natural stone will last a lifetime while adding natural beauty to any home.

Now to the floors….Hardwood is a lifetime floor!  Each lifestyle requires the right selection of hardwood species and finish.  While an engineered floor has more stability, a solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished more throughout the years.  A hand-scrapped or wire –brushed textured finish is the most forgiving choice; it will hide years of wear and tear. If you are lucky enough to have original hardwood floors hidden under that dated carpet, consider refinishing them! You can choose a new stain and finish to fit your life style.

The best flooring for families is not hardwood at all, but laminate flooring.  When I have an active family that may or may not have pets looking for that beautiful wood look, I suggest laminate. It may not add as much value as a hardwood can, but the maintenance and durability can be a significant tradeoff.  New laminates offer a very realistic look, traditional and trendy finishes, and with proper underlayment, noise reduction.  Even most flooring professionals have a hard time telling the difference between a good laminate floor and hardwood after it has been installed.  With a finish that is stronger and much more durable than hardwood, it is scratch resistant, yet it still adds the warmth of hardwood flooring.

New flooring in general can add perceived value to your home.  If selling, it encourages higher offers and even helps a home sell quicker.  For its cost, new flooring is the most dramatic and cost effective home makeover approach.

In design, form always follows function as it should in life. It is important to enjoy the beauty we create while minimizing the maintenance it requires, so that we may focus on the precious parts of life.

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach TruView

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach TruView

Posted on August 25, 2016 .

Four Women Help Feed The County


Executive Director of Interfaith Council of Amador. "This one-day event, a 5K Mid-Town Walk-Run, generated over $35,000 last year to help feed the hungry in our community. These ladies greatly support our vision of 'a time without hunger in Amador County.' Their contribution is truly a blessing to the over 5,500 individuals the Interfaith Food Bank is currently serving. I hope to see everyone at this year's 5K Mid-Town Walk-Run on October 12.

Denise Schaad is the owner of Bodies and Balance, a personal trainer, life coach and fitness expert. Colleen Begovich is a licensed esthetician, owns Skin Deep, as well as works for Jackson Dermatology and represents the John Begovich Memorial Foundation.

Brenda Ristrom is co-owner of Barron’s Floorcovering and an interior designer. Susan Peters is the City Planner for Jackson, as well as a fitness instructor for Bodies and Balance.

This year’s Jackson Mid-Town Run is on Oct. 12. There will be a special T-shirt commemorating the five-year milestone for all participants registered by Sept. 30.

For question, call Begovich, at 223-1618, or Schaad, at 256-1829.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch



Posted on October 13, 2014 .

Hospice’s 2nd Annual “CALAVERAS LIVE!” - A Live Variety Show

On Saturday night evening October 25th, Hospice of Amador & Calaveras is presenting their 2nd Annual “CALAVERAS LIVE!” fundraiser at the Black Bart Playhouse in Murphys.   

Tickets are going fast for this year’s show which begins with a wine reception and hors d’oeuvres provided by The Historic Murphys Hotel at 6:30pm. The evening will include lots of fun, music, laughter, and no doubt a few tears. You will also have the opportunity to bid on fine antiques and art, and purchase raffle tickets at the door. Send us pictures of your loved one and be part of the Memorial Tribute Video finale! There are lots of ways to enjoy the show and lots of opportunities to give and to share!

Hosted by Hospice of Amador & Calaveras’ Executive Director, Dan Riordan, this “Late Nite” type venue is a unique evening of entertainment and fun.  The evening’s entertainment includes Grover Anderson (singer songwriter), Mark Dyken (musician at large), Plan B (the fabulous house band), Ed Stewart from PAWs, a singing doctor and more!! Co-hosting the show is Las Vegas Headliner Todd Paul who, never fails to surprise the audience with his wit and his big heart! Todd will make you laugh till it hurts!


The amazing Memorial Tribute Video is again being created based on pictures submitted by family members and friends of those who have gone before us and will be shown as the show’s finale. If you would like your loved one included, please visit www.hospiceofcalaveras.org or call Hospice at 736-9442 or 223-5500 by October 10th.

Tickets are $45, or $50 at the door.  To get your tickets today to “CALAVERAS LIVE!”call Hospice at 736-9442 or 223-5500 or go online to www.hospiceofcalaveras.org . Tickets are also available at the Hospice Thrift Store in Angels Camp & Jackson and at The Historic Murphys Hotel.

Hospice of Amador & Calaveras is very grateful to their major sponsors who made $1,000 donations this year including; American Legion Ambulance Service, Barron’s Abbey Flooring & Design, and the Mark Twain Medical Center. With $500 donations each we thank AssistCare of Amador & Calaveras Counties, Calaveras Lumber, Danielsen Construction & Energy Management, Edward Jones, Danelle Dix Financial Planner, and Kelly’s Backflow Services!   

You don’t want to miss out on this special evening to support Hospice, with all proceeds benefiting Hospice of Amador & Calaveras; trusted by physicians, patients and families for over 30 years, whose mission is to provide quality end-of-life care to everyone who needs it regardless of their ability to pay! For more event details, please call Hospice at 736-9442 or 223-5500 today or visit them online at www.hospiceofcalaveras.org.

Why Resilient & Why Barron's Offer Resilient...

With modular, stone, slate, and wood designs, Mannington Resilient is the industry’s most awarded resilient line. Our flooring patterns come in a wide variety of colors. They are easy to clean and maintain, durable, and stylish. Floors that are fashionable and practical that appeal to every lifestyle and décor; if Mannington doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.

Resilient Flooring Remains One Of The Most Practical Flooring Solutions:
Today’s resilient floors are beautiful and fashionable, more durable than ever before and easier to clean. Practical and fashionable…that’s a great floor!

Environmentally Responsible:
Mannington resilient is FloorScore certified, complying to strict indoor air-quality standards. It also contributes to green building systems, like LEED and is made in the USA.

Mannington Has More Than 300 Colors & Styles For Customers To Select From:
Resilient flooring has the most styling options of any flooring category. It’s at home in any room in the home. Innovations in design and performance have brought it out of the kitchen and into other living spaces.

Mannington Has Been Voted Best Resilient Manufacturer Since 1998:
Assures your customers they will receive the highest quality floor for their home.

Simplified Selling System:
We continually pursue ways to make it easier to sell for retailers and easier to shop for customers.

The Most Realistic Visuals In Vinyl Flooring:
NatureForm Optix™ is a proprietary process used in “Realistique” and “New Naturals” that combines the beauty of nature with the latest advances in printing, texturing and finishing, creating unparalleled realism.

Many Mannington Resilient Floors Feature Scratch Resist™ In the Wearlayer:
Resistant to everyday household scratches that can make floors look old before their time.

ALL Mannington Resilient Floors Have Guardian™ & Never Yellow Protection:
Guardian is an enhanced performance construction that protects floors from rips, tears, gouges and permanent indentations. Never Yellow protects floors from staining caused by rubber-backed mats.

Competitive Warranties Offered On All Products:
Gives customers added assurance that Mannington will stand behind the product in case of a problem. Warranty time frames range from 5 to 20 years, depending on the product.

Commitment to the Specialty Floor Covering Retailer:
Only Mannington is committed to your long-term success. You won’t see Mannington brand products sold through the “big box” stores.

View Resilient Brochure
View Mannington Resilient

Posted on September 2, 2014 .