Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored post by Reston interior designer Cindy Beyer, a Reston Now Best Reston Business winner.

Most often in my practice I try to recommend to my clients that they purchase high-quality upholstered pieces.

There is nothing worse than your sofa or chair cushions breaking down and your frame coming apart after a few years of use. A good sofa should last practically forever.

The frame should be made of kiln dried hardwood. Kiln drying removes all the moisture in the wood thus helping it to maintain its shape and stability. The joints should be dowelled, glued and screwed. In addition, the springs on high quality pieces should be eight-string hand tied.  This means the craftsman has connected each spring to the adjoining one with a strong twine and secured on the corner and sides of the frame.

Cushions are a personal preference, however I generally try to steer my clients to an upgraded spring blend down seat. A full down cushion is hard to maintain and requires constant fluffing. You can save the pure down for accent pillows if you choose.

The fabric is also a personal preference, however I try to guide my clients to a fabric which has at least 15,000 “double rubs.” A double rub is a measurement of a fabric’s abrasion resistance and is sometimes noted as the Wyzenbeek method.

Heavy duty fabrics have at least 15,000 double rubs, medium duty have 9,000-15,000 and light have 3,000-9,000. I have found that most fabrics on the market have a greater double rub number — the higher the better. Sometimes the fabric you choose will need to be backed. A good manufacturer will advise you if you need to back the fabric with a latex backing.

A good cushion should last for the life of your sofa, however you must perform a maintenance check periodically such as, adjusting the fabric cover over your cushion so the welts line back up. This will require unzipping the fabric cover and maneuvering the cushion back into position. The back cushions should be plumped weekly or after sitting.  Don’t be shy about beating or stomping on the backs. Try to flip your cushions weekly.

If you find your cushions are not holding up, ask your manufacturer to replace them or have your local upholsterer to replace them.

If you need more information regarding high-quality upholstery pieces, please contact me at [email protected] – or visit my web site at

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Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored post by Reston interior designer Cindy Beyer, a Reston Now Best Reston Business winner.

By this time of year, we are all feeling cooped up after a very long, long winter. All of us can’t wait to open up the house to the spring and summer warm winds.

Now it is time to invite springtime into your home. The first thing to do: Fill your vases with fresh tulips, irises, daffodils, gerbera daisies, lilies, etc.

It does not matter what vase you use, the more original the better. Try different glass vases and urns filled with stones or glass marbles or just plain water. Small lemons and limes in the bottom of the vase can also add punch and color. At this point of the BLAH winter, who cares? To keep your cut flowers looking fresh, remember to change the water every day and every few days give them a fresh cut.

Did you know you can even buy fresh flowers at Home Depot? Send the hubby there for some fertilizer, you never know what you are going to get.

The next thing you can do is to bring out the summer linens (if you change for summer or winter, I do not). There is nothing like crisp white bed sheets and towels, maybe with a yellow or lime chartreuse accent pillowcases and hand towels. The big color this year is chartreuse, so anything in the green/ yellow or yellow/green will do. Don’t forget to add bright yellows and bright oranges to the mix.

Think nature…Spring nature. Enough of the grey and white, we will address those colors next December. It is also time to retire the winter door wreath for a new spring wreath. Remember that your new purchase may be shared with the robin family just waiting for a new home. Therefore, it is a good idea to get one you can hose off after nesting season.

Also remember to bring out your spring planters and pot them with frostproof spring flowers such as pansies.

It is a good time to think about your outdoor furniture and if you need to replace those worn-out cushions. Contact your furniture manufacturer for replacement options or google some local fabricators. Remember to use a Sunbrella type fabric with mold-resistant cushion foam. Spruce your seating up with bright outdoor pillows available mostly anywhere.

If your outside deck needs help and you can’t replace or refinish it, just throw a bright indoor/outdoor area rug to brighten it up. Now is the time to order.

Happy spring. If you want spring design tips visit me at [email protected].


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored post by Reston interior designer Cindy Beyer, a Reston Now Best Reston Business winner.

I have had the pleasure of working with many contractors — big jobs and small, kitchens, basements, baths or just plain painting.

As an interior designer, it is my job to work closely with the contractor to make sure my clients receive the best possible outcome. Each contractor is different and can offer many different aspects of the job.

Here are some tips and things to think about when hiring a contractor.

Project management: Whether it is a large or smaller contracting company, it is important to have good communication between the project manager, the design professional and you. For many years, I have used one contractor as my main contact. This allowed me to effectively communicate my client needs and easily execute any required change orders. The change order was usually a verbal communication.

Most small contractors are less formal about change orders. If you do use a small contractor, please make sure you know each and every charge associated with each change order. You do not want to be surprised at the end of the job.

On the other hand, larger contractors have the luxury of employing a contract estimator who, if using a good software package, can quickly estimate the cost of your changes. If you are a detail-oriented person, this can be a blessing. If you are not, it can be your worst enemy. Too many change orders can confuse and frustrate the client and could derail a perceived good relationship.

As a designer, it is my job to work closely with each party so be sure you get the most perfect fit between contractor and you.

Billing: Each contractor has their own billing methods. Some require one-third down when starting the project, some require more. Most of the time, the contract is between the paying party and the receiving party so the designer never handles the money, which is a plus for us designers.

I believe a one-third down with the contract is fair. Then comes a payment after the rough-ins and cabinet installs, and the final payment at job completion. I advise all clients to hold back the final payment until you are completely satisfied.

Expectations: With all of my projects, we have the highest expectations. Sometimes these are not communicated between the parties and one or the other feels they have to take on a more hands-on role.

It is important to have written expectations, even if they seem trivial. This will make things easier in the end. I guarantee that 99 percent of the projects have overrides unforeseen to both parties.

Your designer can be an important part of the project management and help manage expectations with your contractor.

If you would like more insight into the hiring of a contractor, please contact me at [email protected].


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored post by Reston interior designer Cindy Beyer, a Reston Now Best Reston Business winner.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of redesigning the interiors of two townhomes in Lake Anne’s historic Waterview Cluster. These lovely townhomes designed by world-renowned architects were built in the early 1960s. The first occupants moved in about 1964.

These homes are approximately 1,600-1,700 square feet and are surprisingly large in feel. They both were cantilevered over the lake with a beautiful view of the fountain, so keeping the view of the lake was very important to us in the design process.

On both occasions, we renovated the kitchen. We found that the perfect kitchen design for this space was to keep the original “galley kitchen.”  I feel that a galley kitchen is one of the most efficient and functional designs, and the beauty about these kitchens is one end is an outside wall with a big picture window thus eliminating the pass-through traffic patterns of most galley kitchens.

The other end is a pass through to the dining room and living room. The pass-through area consists of a closet that houses the HVAC (RELAC) system. We considered moving the system to another part of the home, but after much thought we could not justify the cost associated with such an endeavor. Instead we decided to use that area as a butler’s pantry and brought the feel of the kitchen out into the next room by using the same cabinets and tile backslash. Our kitchen just grew in size.

With the first townhome, we extended the same cabinets into the dining room creating a beautiful built-in buffet cabinet the entire length of the dining room wall. We installed seeded glass upper cabinets with interior lighting as well as under-cabinet lighting. The results were not only spectacular, but also added a substantial amount of storage space.

The second floor has the master bedroom facing the street. We relocated the master bedroom to overlook the lake and enlarged the master bathroom. This was easily done because the original design was such that not a tremendous amount of plumbing relocation was required.

In the second home, we incorporated the laundry room into the large master bathroom.  Imagine sipping your morning coffee looking at the spectacular fountain.

The construction was quite simple, but with older homes you will need to upgrade your electrical panel if you are adding any new appliances. A simple call to Dominion Power and a good contractor can solve any electrical issues. We did not encounter many other big issues.

The entire project went extremely smooth. My hats off to Robert Simon and the architects of beautiful Lake Anne!

If you are thinking about renovating any Lake Anne townhouses, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

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cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Now that we are heading into the coldest months of the year, it is time to make your home warm and toasty.

By now, most of us have heard about the benefits of keeping our home energy efficient. There are some simple things you can do, including sealing gaps in windows and doors or installing door sweeps on the bottom of exterior doors. You can also seal the gaps in your attic and basements to make a difference in  heat loss. Don’t forget to check your kitchen vent fan as this is also a source of energy leaks.

You can also try installing a programmable thermostat with numerous setting for various times of the day. That should help reduce the heating bill and get the room all toasty when you preset it.

If you use a wood burning fireplace, make sure you have a glass fireplace front and close the damper when not in use. If you have ceiling fans, switch them on the winter setting. This will reverse the airflow and send more warm air down into the room.

There are many other things you can do from a design point of view. For example, you can install insulated, lined draperies on the leaky windows. Not only are they attractive, they keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Also, when the sun is out, open up your drapes to let the sunlight heat your space. You can close them up at dusk.

You can also add area rugs to those chilly floors, especially the bathroom and bedroom floors. If you  happen to be thinking about bathroom renovations, investigate using a heated floor under your tile. You don’t have to cover much of the room, just enough to get the benefit and the warmth. However, always place a mat on the bathroom floor.

Furniture placement is also a consideration. Make sure you place furniture away from the vents. Also, make sure your vents are open. Clear furniture away from the radiators. You can put foil behind the radiator to reflect more heat into the room. And don’t forget to bring out a lot of nice, furry pillows and throws.

Finally, try firing up the oven and baking some bread and cookies to warm up the kitchen. After the baking, go for a long run on the treadmill to work off the cookie calories. That will surely warm you up.

Remember spring is fewer than 90 days away. If you are thinking about remodeling or simply need a room makeover, please contact me at [email protected].


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

With the New Year approaching, it is time to think about your home projects for upcoming year.  Even I have a list of design improvements to make in my house. Let me share some ideas with you.

Floors: Give your floors a new lift. First, clean your carpets. Cleaning your carpeting on an annual basis not only helps to preserve the fibers, it is good to apply a fresh coat of Stainmaster to prevent stain and soil build up.

Research your carpet cleaner before to make sure it is safe for your children and pets. Also, if you have hard surface floors such as wood, you can have them sanded and refinished. My floors are almost 30 years old and have been refinished at least two times. If you decide to refurnish your floors consider repositioning your furniture. Feel free to shake it up for a new look.

Walls: Try a new coat of paint on an accent wall, ceiling or a small powder room. Next year’s paint trends are a variation of warm grey, soft greens, aqua as well as plums. Benjamin Moore’s 2015 color of the year is HC-116 Guildford Green. Farrow and Ball’s are Ella, Ginko and Cornbread. Kelly Moore’s suggestions are: KM-5049 Swagger (teal) , 5823-City Tower (warm grey), and 4967 Coastal surf ( dark blue).

Remember to always buy a small sample of the paint to test out on a board or on the wall before you commit to the color.

Accessories: After packing up the Christmas tree and all of the greens, your home may suddenly appear bare. Maybe it is time to recycle your old accessories for exciting new ones. Try switching them to different rooms and combining with new ones. If you are bored with some of your old ones, think about trading with a friend or packing them up for a family member. Trends for 2015 include stone, metal (don’t be afraid to mix) and glass. Indoor water features, such as small fountains, are hot and can make your space more relaxing.

Bedding: Try investing in a new set of sheets. If your budget allow,s there is nothing like a crisp, white duvet. Try out some new colors and enjoy some added art to your bedroom.

Kitchen Remodel:  Upgrading your cabinets, or a new design can make a world of difference to your home. Since you spend the most time in your kitchen, why not enjoy your living space and add value to your home? You will be surprised at how a kitchen project can impact other rooms of the house. It would be a good idea to use a professional designer with skills beyond just kitchens and cabinets. I use a software program to design, which is aligned to my cabinet shop sources.

Lower Level Remodel: It is not impossible to move existing walls and to enjoy a new floor plan for your lower level. When drawing floor plans, I spend considerable time understanding how my clients want to use their newly designed area. Depending on the support columns, it is a good idea to have one large area for pool playing and a good size sitting or conversation area. A sitting area is a good place to add a gas fireplace with a direct vent to the outside. Not only does this add a nice focal point to the room, it also keeps you toasty on those damp winter nights.

Video rooms or entertainment rooms can be a luxurious as your purse strings will allow. No man cave is complete without a video room.


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Happy Holidays to all.  By now we are well into the holiday decorating season and after decorating three trees, I thought I’d pass on to you some tips on tree trimming from a designer’s point of view.

To start, I use a pre-lit artificial tree. I prefer an artificial over a real one for many reasons. First, the ornaments stay safe and in place instead of rolling off fragile limbs thus eliminating breakage. Second, the tree never droops. But most of all, we are preserving nature by going with an artificial tree.

I purchased my most recent tree from Balsam Hill, but most places sell pre-lit trees. When choosing your tree, it is important to calculate the bottom diameter as well as the total height (don’t forget the tree topper in your overall height). The bigger the tree, the wider the base.  My ceiling height called for a taller tree, but I did not have the necessary floor space, so I opted for a slim or skinny tree, which is less wide at the bottom.

I also use outlet wireless remotes on my tree, eliminating the need to crawl under the tree to plug it in and out. Wireless plugs are also a great way to plug in all of your other holiday lights inside as well as outside.

A good tip is to label the remotes to the plugs so you are not searching around for the correct remote every time you want to turn it on and off. When I pack up the tree after the holidays, I put all of the plugs, remotes and extension cords in the same storage container.

The first ornament I hang on my pre-lit tree are simple glass balls. I usually use about 6-8 dozen of three similar colors (my tree tends to fall in the bronze, cream and gold hues). The balls serve as a good source of shimmer and color, as well as filler at an affordable price. These can be plain or glittered and any shape or size.  A good tip is to hang the smaller balls near the top of the tree — and don’t forget to hang them inside as well. Standing back from the tree occasionally will help you to determine where you need the balls placed.

Next, I unpack all other ornaments and sort them out on big towels on my table. This way I am able to pick and choose as I go along. It is always fun to unwrap each ornament and remember where you purchased it or who gave it to you. I pick a few and put them in a basket to climb the ladder to hang. This helps save your legs. Trust me, you will thank yourself the next morning.

Don’t forget to hide the pickle ornament. According to tradition, the pickle is the last ornament to hang on the tree. The first child to find it in the morning gets an extra gift from Santa. Actually, there are two stories about the origin of the pickle ornament.  It’s worth a Google.

For the finishing touches, I add feathers and plumes as well as artificial fruit, magnolia blossoms, and glittery stars. Bows are also a good and inexpensive addition to your tree as well. I am always looking for new and different pieces for my trees. The possibilities are endless. Be creative and have fun!

If you would like more tree trimming or design tips feel free to email me at [email protected].


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

I am often asked many questions regarding the interior design profession. Here are some of my most frequently asked questions:

How do you charge? I tailor my fees to each client and work within their needs and budget. There are several ways in which I charge for my design. I can charge on an hourly basis billed monthly. This works for the client who does not want to see a larger bill at the end of the job. Another way is to divide the job into three stages, with one-third charged at signing of contract, one-third at completion of the plans, and the last third due upon completion.

The third way is a two part billing structure. Part I : Design and Planning stage and Part II: Implementation.

Can I use my existing furniture? Of course you can. I will take into account all of your favorite pieces in the room and add to as necessary. If you would like all new pieces, even better. We can also recover existing sofas and chairs as well as refinish and repaint or faux existing case goods.

Do you have a common style that you recommend to clients? No. It really depends on the client. I have access to all styles of furniture and furnishings from period, antiques to contemporary sleek lines.

I also believe in mixing different styles in the room. It really depends on the look and piece you wish to use. You will always be in control of what goes in the room. I will present to you many options for furniture, fabrics, drapery treatments and accessories. My clients have the last say on every detail.

How long does the job take? It depends on the project. For example, when ordering furniture directly from the manufacturer, lead times can take as little as three or four weeks or up to 16 weeks. The more exclusive and custom a piece, the longer it takes.

It is important for clients to know the lead times when ordering from manufacturers. Good design and furniture is worth the wait.

What if I don’t want to do the entire job right away, can you work with me a little at a time? Yes. I can work within your schedule. Sometimes it is best to develop a solid design concept and then implement over time. I like to have a lasting relationship with my clients. This enables me to spend time thinking and researching keeping in mind what pieces we will need.

We have a major remodeling project, when should I hire you? As soon as possible for the most successful projects are when I am involved early in the process. I work closely with architects and contractors, and I am comfortable with drawing floor plans as well as understanding the implications of how interiors will be used as it relates to structural and available floor space. All of this adds up to achieving that WOW factor as well as improving the value of your home.

If you have any additional interior design questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].


Design Tips by Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Many of my clients are now in the process of downsizing. I wanted to share with you some ideas to take into consideration when downsizing to a smaller home.

Understand Your New Floor Plan — Before you give everything away, take into consideration what you will need in your new, smaller home. Secure a floor plan of the new place and look at the rooms to furnish. I ask my clients to get a 1/4″ plan of the new place so we can review options regarding the location of existing furniture pieces in new rooms.

Unless your tastes have changed entirely, there is a good chance you are going to reuse most of your furniture pieces. If you have a favorite chair used in  the family room but now will use it in your living room, remember it can be recovered to match whatever is going in that room. Once you have allocated all your needed furniture, you can then give away the rest.

Window Treatments — Most good window coverings are custom designed and cannot be used again.  The rare occasion would be drapery treatments. If your new window is almost the same width, then it would be possible to rehang them in the new place. The rod could be hung a bit higher or lower, or they can possibly be reworked by the window covering workroom. I advise my clients to have their drapery dry cleaned before sending them out for a refitting.

Lighting — I advise my clients to take their favorite chandeliers when relocating, as they are probably the most expensive fixtures in the home. This will require an electrician to disconnect the fixture and a qualified mover to package and crate up the fixture. Don’t be afraid to use your chandelier in different rooms such as the family room, bedroom or kitchen. You will have to add or delete the links or have it rewired if you are hanging it in a different space. Also don’t be afraid to reuse your lamps in different rooms or add a new shade in a different shape and texture and viola you have a new lamp. Sconces can also be removed.

Will my Rug Fit the New Space?  — It is likely your favorite rugs can be worked into your new home space. Most carpets range from 5 x 7,  7 x 9,  8 x 10, 11×13, or 10 x 12.  If you have a large area rug, other than an oriental without boarders, it can be cut down.

Make sure to send your carpets out to be cleaned and reinstalled in your new place with new padding. If you have pets, then I strongly advise replacing your padding, because that is where pet odors originate.  Please do not  place your nice oriental rug on top of wall-to-wall carpet. That is big NO-NO and is one of my all-time pet peeves.

If you need any professional design help, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or visit my web site.


Design Tips by Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Many people ask me questions about various design subjects. Here are some of the most common:

What size chandelier should you use?

Size of chandeliers: A good guide for sizing the chandelier is half the size of the tabletop. For instance, if your table width is 48″, then the diameter of the chandelier should be 24″. If you have a 60″ diameter table, then the diameter should be 30″. Remember, this is just a general rule of thumb.

How high do you mount your chandelier?

A good rule is 2-1/2″ -3″ for each foot. If your ceiling height is 8 feet, then the height of your fixture should be about 24″.  For a 10′ ceiling, your fixture should be about 25-30″.  Mounting over the table is also a question I am often asked. I like to tell my clients that 30″from the table top is perfect.

What is the proper rug size to use in a room?

How far should area rugs be away from the wall? If you want to cover most of the room to create a larger sitting area, then place the area rugs from 6 inches to 2 feet from the wall. I like to place all of the furniture on the rug with the back edges of the legs touching the edge of the carpet.  This way I do not have half of the legs on and half off.

However, if you are using an existing carpet and have a larger sitting area, then make sure you build up under the leg of the furniture on the floor to equal the height of the carpet and pad. I very often will custom size my rug to fit the space.

What size rug do I use under the dining room table?

I use a general rule of thumb to have the carpet extend at least 24-36″ from the edge of the table.  This way your dining chairs will stay on the carpet.

Can I paint my ceiling a color?

Many clients ask me if it is proper to paint the ceilings anything other color than white. I say, never paint it white.

If you must paint it light, I suggest Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. If you are using a wall color from a color card and want to stay in the same family, I suggest either going up the card or down the card for the ceiling color.

Some of my favorite ceiling colors are: Benjamin Moore’ North Shore Green, Woodland White, Sand Dunes and Healing Aloe in the blue and green family.

I also do not mind a faux painted sky in a bedroom. Don’t be afraid of also using a darker color on the ceiling. Think outside of the box, and you will be pleasantly surprised. I just finished having my family room ceiling painted Benjamin Moore’s Baked Pretzel. It turned out fantastic. Always make sure you use a flat finish on your ceilings, unless you are doing something special like Venetian Plaster or a high gloss for a trendy effect.

Please visit my website at If you have any design questions, please feel free to email me at: [email protected]

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Design Tips by Cindy BeyerThis is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Now that summer is over, it’s time to think about how to decorate your home for the fall holidays. Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves are turning their fabulous hues of orange, red, brown and magenta. One of the blessings we have living in Reston is the abundance of trees, so let’s see how to bring the outdoors into your home.

I first store all of my summer items and bring out the fall pillows, throws, candles as well as all of my artificial gourds, wreaths and leaves. I have a large storage space that allows me to keep the items year after year. The great thing about Thanksgiving time is the abundance of natural items to use in your decorations, so if you don’t want to store it, just borrow from Mother Nature. She won’t mind.

For centerpieces, tabletop or mantle decorations, I gather all my ginger jars and vases and fill them with artificial or real acorns, nuts, pinecones or leaves. Try using all shapes and sizes for a casual feel. I suggest using the flameless candles from Luminara to insert into vases. These are the most real-looking flameless candles I have found. Add your smaller pumpkins and various gourds with some nice greens to complete the look.

I have collected various artificial gourds throughout the years, but still use the real ones with fresh flowers and fruit for a more natural centerpiece. I think any fresh flower with the fall colors will do nicely. You can find roses in oranges and rust colors, as well as sunflowers, fresh twigs and berries, mums, Gerbera daisies, wheat sprigs, etc. Try scooping out a large pumpkin and inserting your vase of flowers in the gourd instead of just the vase. If you’re stumped, visit May of Mayflowers, in Reston Town Center. Also, don’t be afraid of using silk leaves and flowers. Michael’s carries an abundance of silks. If you want a more elegant silk, try Merrifield Garden Center. They usually carry more unusual fall silk flowers, as well as real ones.

Don’t forget about the front door and entry decorations. Now is the time to get your real pumpkins as well as mums, kale and fresh greens. Try stacking your pumpkins three high using varying colors: white, green, and orange with fresh bay wreaths in between them. The flatter pumpkins work the best and look great when placed in an urn. You can fill in the space with kale and fresh mums. Add garland around the door with fresh greens to complete the look.

Don’t forget holiday aromas such as cinnamon, cloves, orange and ginger. I combine a small amount of these spices with water in a small boiling pot to fill the house with a wonderful fall scent. Try lighting a fragrant candle to place on your kitchen counter as well. Then, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you need ideas on your fall decorating, I can be reached at [email protected]


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

What is Faux painting?  The word “faux” is a French word meaning fake or false. Faux painting or faux finishing are terms used to describe a decorative paint finish that replicates the appearance of materials such as marble, wood, stone and even raw silk. However, we use it in the interior design trade to describe many finishes done with paint and not necessarily with a paint brush.

Faux finishes can be performed by the common do-it-yourselfer, however it is not as easy as you may think and the outcome may not be what you desired. This is why it is important to hire a professional to create an impressive appearance.

I will recommend a faux artist when my clients desire an appearance beyond strictly paint, wallpaper, or to improve a bad drywall job, cabinet, ceiling as well as to create a mural on a wall. I even had a faux artist create a large mermaid on three walls of a beach house powder room. Faux painting can be used to create impressive appearances for many venues.

Through my experience, I have seen many people attempt to “sponge paint” their walls to create a new look.   Often times, the do-it-yourselfer is unaware that preparation of the wall or material to be faux painted is as important as the faux work itself.

My faux artists are skilled in rendering in addition to the technical skill sets of faux finishing. When visiting my home, it is very common for my clients to ask me if the finishes on the walls they are seeing are wallpaper, because a great faux artist will create a natural impression.

My faux artist, Jill Perla of Jill Perla Art, is a fine artist who specializes in faux finishes on walls as well as cabinets and furniture. She can take an old, ratty piece of furniture (some from dumpsters) and transform it into a piece of art.

“To repurpose and reuse instead of replace” is Jill’s motto. Her techniques vary from job to job. When a mottled, soft look is required, she will use a sea sponge; for a crinkled, parchment paper look, she will use plastic bags.

Stripes can add interest to a wall or cabinet. For a wispy look, Jill will use a dry brush. For a distressed look, she will use a bag of nails and hammers to create dents in the finish. This technique is very successful when used on cabinets and furniture pieces.

The advice I give to my clients is to allow us to use our imagination when designing the faux finish. Paint can be a very limited term, but not it’s creativity. If we can design it, we can faux paint it.

If you would like to learn more about creating an impressive appearance to a room or other materials, or to learn more about the many benefits of using a certified ASID,NCIDQ designer, please visit my website at or contact me at [email protected].


Lighting Can Make The Room

cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

I want to thank Andrew for prompting me to write about this next subject: Lighting

Most homes do not have sufficient lighting. Lighting is often overlooked or sparingly placed. When this happens, it can result in a lack of functional use for areas within the home. Do not let this discourage you, for in most cases, lighting can be added to fit your functional needs. There are several types of lighting: ambient, task and accent.

General lighting is defined as ambient lighting that provides an area with overall illumination. These effects are achieved with fixtures such as recessed fixtures, wall mounted fixtures, tracks, chandeliers, sconces, etc. A recessed down light, also called pot lighting in Canadian English or called a can light canister, is a fixture installed in a hollow opening in the ceiling.

These fixtures can take a floodlight type of a bulb or a spot light type of a bulb. There are several types of recessed light fixtures such as IC (when in contact with insulation), non IC, IC remodel and non IC remodel. A good contractor or electrician should know which type of fixture to use.

Task lighting is used to light a specific task such as kitchen work, office work, sewing, etc. I always specify task lighting under the kitchen cabinets, cabinets in an office as well as a laundry room. Desk lamps and table lamps are also considered task, but can be decorative as well.  In most rooms here there are no recessed ceilings fixtures lamps are used as a task and also as general light.

Accent lighting is usually used to highlight key objects and focal points in the space. It can take the form as track lighting which is highly versatile and can be moved and fixtures changed as needed. It can also be recessed as small spots aimed at a particular object. Wall-mounted fixtures can also be placed above a picture. Where there is no electrical outlet, I use a battery-operated LED fixture.

When working with clients on a renovation, I will draw up an electrical or reflective ceiling plan with all placements of fixture types and switching for the room. I specify dimmers on most of my fixtures, which allows flexibility for the use of the space. Once the ceiling plan is complete, we pick the fixture for the type of lighting we need. These can also be decorative fixtures such as chandeliers, wall sconces, ceiling mounted as well as bathroom lighting. A good lighting plan can really add value to your home.

If you need help with your lighting needs, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or visit me on my website


cindy beyer revised

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

The interior of your home says a lot about you. Your home is your castle.  Many of my clients have said they couldn’t imagine the results after their project was completed. They say it was the WOW factor. I say, that is why you hired a professional designer.

There are many situations that warrant the hiring a professional interior designer. This includes something as simple as choosing paint and window covering to full scale renovation work such as a new kitchen, bath or lower level. In addition to achieving that WOW factor, a professional interior designer will save their clients’ money in many ways, most importantly the avoidance of costly mistakes.

Not only will a professional designer understand the context of the project, they will have access to many resources and their trained eye can make a world of difference in the final result. And those final results also will improve the value of your home.

My interior design credentials:  American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and National Council for Interior Designer Qualification (NCIDQ) indicate both a formal accredited schooling and certification as a professional. ASID and NCIDQ interior designers are credentialed and must pass comprehensive exams. Professional interior designers are able to work closely with architects and contractors and are comfortable with drawing floor plans, as well as understanding the implications of how interiors will be used as it relates to structural and available floor space.

Beyond floor plans, program management, installation and understanding how structural design will be used in a practical setting, a professional interior designer will also be knowledgeable in color and fabric design, space planning, window coverings, furniture design, architecture and much more. So when you see the initials ASID and NCIDQ next to an interior designer’s name, know they have been through significant amount of formal certification.

When hiring a professional interior designer, it is important to have an understanding of the scope of the work to be done. Let me share with you my process which I use when dealing with clients. Before my initial meeting with a new client, I ask them to spend some time making a list of their needs as well as any pictures they saved of items or rooms they like. Read More


Cindy Beyer Design Tips

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Basements do not have to be scary. Bogeymen are finding other places to hang out, especially now that basements are becoming part of the living space.

Years ago, basements were only for storage, some such as a Michigan basement only had a ceiling height of 6-7 feet and a dirt floor. Today’s builders are including basements or lower levels as selling tools. However, keep in mind that the only square footage that can be counted in the total square footage must be above grade. A quick call to your zoning office can explain which rooms count.

When purchasing a house or building one, keep in mind the ability to build out your lower level for extra living space or entertainment space for family play, especially if you are land locked. When building your home, it is wise to instruct your builder to add the extra height to the basement walls. An extra two feet will allow your finished ceiling height to be a standard eight foot, hopefully more. It is also a good idea to pick a house and lot plan that will allow a walk out lower level with full access to you back yard.

Building out your lower level can be done while you are building your house if you are lucky, and the cost can sometimes be rolled into your mortgage. However, with most homeowners this is not the case. Some basements go unfinished for years.

For those of you who choose to build out your lower level, the possibilities of what to put in your space are endless. I have built out many lower levels for clients and strongly urge them to consider certain areas such as a kitchenette and bar area with a microwave; an under-counter refrigerator; a wine refrigerator; ice machine; dishwasher (yes a dishwasher, this saves one the trouble of lugging dirty dishes back up the stairs;  a sink and disposal; and ample storage for dishes, glasses, food and beverages.

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