Tag Archives: design

Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

My Balsam Hill Home: The ‘New’ in Neo-Victorian

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Traditional Exterior by Downers Grove Design-build Oakley Home Builders


When it comes to bringing old world charm into modern homes, the neo-Victorian design remains a popular choice. What defines this style? The inspiration comes from a diverse mix of Gothic and Baroque as well as Old English influences.

Historic Homes

Victorian homes showcase turrets and towers that hover proudly; jarring asymmetrical facades; and ornate shingles, eaves, porches, and balconies that speak of extravagance. Inside, old Victorian homes exude romance through lavish furnishings and accent pieces in drawing rooms and bedrooms.

Original layouts from this era were, however, convoluted. These had a labyrinth of hallways and small, cramped rooms, particularly bath spaces known at the time simply as “water closets”.

Today’s revival of this classic architecture has prompted designers and builders to create more spacious, more functional dwellings fit for the modern lifestyle. My very own city of San Francisco is well known for breathing life into this old world aesthetic during the 20th century.

How does one incorporate the neo-Victorian look into a Balsam Hill home? Here are five surprising ways to put the “new” in neo-Victorian.

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Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Enchanting Entryways

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The most breathtaking homes charm you the moment you step in. A transit point between the outside world and your own luxurious enclave, the entryway can exude an ambiance that is both intimate and spectacular.

In this example on houzz.com, experts from Rowland Design placed various elements to transform the area into a captivating space. Every piece adds to that lasting impression.

How does one create an enchanting entryway?

Traditional Staircase design by Indianapolis Architect Rowland Design

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Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Decorating Do’s and Don’ts

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Decorating is all about showcasing your sense of style. From furniture choices to wall colors, to the placement of accent pieces, the design aesthetics of your home are influenced greatly by your personality.

Because taste levels vary, every home decorating project can take on a unique character. Incorporating your personality into your project is a great step, but the secret is in achieving balance.

The success of a room’s design theme depends on not just the addition of one or two pieces of décor, but the overall look of the room. Before overhauling the look of a home, remember a few decorating Do’s and Don’ts:

Decorating Do's and Dont's
Image by nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DO add color to your home, but DON’T turn it into a rainbow

Adding color may instantly brighten any space, but always test a few paint swatches first. If you have chosen loud wall colors, re-adjust the color of your furnishings and accent pieces.  Moderation is key.

Use the 60-30-10 rule, where 60 percent of the room reflects one dominant color and another 30 percent a secondary hue, while the last 10 percent highlights the color of your accent pieces. Going overboard with colors could create a harsh effect on the eyes, especially when a room is illuminated.

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Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Basic Principles of Interior Design

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Basic Principles of Interior Design
Image by mrpuen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hiring design professionals allows you the luxury to sit back and witness your dream home come to life. But how well you communicate your vision of this dream home entails your own understanding of the language of interior design.

With these basic principles, homeowners can widen their vocabulary as they recreate their space:


The principle of harmony allows different design elements to converge into an overall look. In creating a theme for your home, ask yourself whether you want the design aesthetics to be classic or contemporary; or the décor to be timeless or trendy.

Furnishings and color schemes need not be the same in every room, but they do need to complement each other in order to exude harmony. For example, you can paint the master bedroom in the calming shade of Columbia blue, and accent it with off-white décor; then paint the baby’s room in a quirkier periwinkle, and accent it in white. The rooms may look different, but their color schemes match each other. This way, your eyes are not jarred by unexpected changes, but are instead eased into each room.


Balance is about arranging items equally within a given space. You can achieve symmetry by having two items mirror each other, such as matching lamps on similar end tables. This technique is usually seen in homes with a traditional style.

Asymmetry, on the other hand, is about placing two equally important objects that contrast each other, such as an ivory white sofa in one area of the living room and an ebony grand piano in another. This often adds a twist to contemporary homes.

The principle of balance allows you to take in various elements within the same space without being overwhelmed.

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