Working for that wow factor

January 18, 2013 

Diane Makgill

3D by D Designs,


919-413-0181 or

Five words that describe your approach to design: Colorful. Wow factor. Very detailed.

Best way to give you decor a boost during a long, dark winter: When I take down my Christmas decorations, I rearrange and rotate my accessories. I throw many parties and my guests enjoy seeing a new look when they stop by. My accessories are colorful, bold and very sentimental. Collect colorful trays, table runners, pillows and vases and rotate these throughout the year along with your treasures.

Best decor bargain you’re ever scored: I worked in display at Macy’s and the department was throwing out a large red jack. It sits on my stair landing and reminds my family to have fun. It has prompted friends to give me jacks of all sizes. I paint them and use them as doorstops.

Every foyer should have: A mirror to reflect light and a pet to greet you when you come home.

Best use for a 3-yard fabric remnant: A bed scarf. Your bed is a large rectangle; break it up by sewing a colorful 22-inch by 70-inch scarf. Place it at the end of your bed and use coordinating pillows in a bold, contrasting color.

Favorite shelter magazine (and why): Architectural Digest. In the back of every issue, they list design resources and once a year they publish a resource guide.

Best way to bring a dash of “urban chic” to any decor: Black and white photography. Use large white mats and black frames. Try placing the photo in the bottom half or to the left or right instead of the center. You can order custom mats at a frame shop and use standard off-the-shelf frames. Take your color family photos and have a photo lab reproduce them in black and white.

My hardware store must-have: Buy two French doors from the big-box hardware store. Place them side by side. Attach the doors together with a slim metal door threshold at the top and bottom. At the tractor supply store, buy an 8-foot sliding barn door hardware kit. Find a doorway in your house where there is at least 5 feet of wall space beside the door. Take the hinged door off and add the sliding door to the wall. Instant wow! You can paint or stain the door for a custom look.

Biggest design no-no: There are so many! I guess the worst is having a boring, uncolorful space. When I walk into your home I want to see what your passions are. If you are a biker, hang your bikes on a colorful wall. Into music? Place your guitar on top of your piano and frame the songs you have written or your favorites to play on the wall behind them. You can collect coffee-table books about your interests and house them together with accessories that match. Your house will spark conversation.

My best tip for do-it-yourself designers: Hire the best subcontractors you can find. It will bother you everyday if your bathroom tile is crooked or your floors are warped. Know when you can do something yourself, like painting, and when you should hire the best. And if the work isn’t easy and fun, you are using the wrong tool.

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