Nature’s Palette

Long before “Greenery” became Pantone’s color of the year for 2017, this client wanted green. Their house is nestled among a beautiful throng of trees and she wanted to bring that lushness inside. Green is nature’s neutral so it easily paired with earthy brown,  splashes of teal,  and touches of  Carnelian red to create an inviting palette that mirrored the gorgeousness just beyond the windows.

Washington Post: House Calls- 4/15/2015


Wash Post- House Calls Picture

Designing in 3D

One of the most popular features of design shows on television is when a designer uses computer software to “render” a redesigned room, allowing the homeowner to get a strong visual idea of what the finished room will look like. These computer renderings are especially helpful when the project involves moving walls, enlarging rooms, relocating fixtures, and otherwise changing the shape of a rooms’ footprint.

As designers, we are used to imaging big changes in 3D, but for most homeowners tackling their first major renovation, this can be very difficult. At some point, the homeowner takes a leap of faith and then waits anxiously for the chaos of construction to morph into something wonderful, functional, and reflective of his/her own personality. Even small but expensive changes, like installing plantation shutters, can cause angst as the homeowner tries to imagine all the windows in a room dressed this way.

Unfortunately, many interior designers do not offer computer rendering. It is a time consuming process and requires a high level of competency on one or more computer software packages. Designers tend to be right-brain thinkers – creative, intuitive, artistic. This is what makes us good listeners when a homeowner describes the feeling or look they want in their homes. It’s also what enables us makes us to imagine the changed space and come up with attractive, yet functional, solutions to design dilemmas. Being both skilled and comfortable with computer software is often the provenance of left-brain thinkers, who are organized, systematic, and methodical. A designer who can do both needs to be balanced between right and left brain thinking.

At Studio Starrs Interiors, we’re up to this challenge! Here is an example of a recent project we completed. For this project, the homeowners had a finished basement that wasn’t getting much use. The kids were growing up (one had left for college), and a large children’s play space was no longer a high priority. In the images below, you can see a wall with two doors. Behind these doors were closets – two of several in the basement. The left image is a photo of the wall. The right image is a computer rendering of the same wall. Everything is precisely to scale.



For this project, we suggested the homeowners gut these closets and use the newly exposed recessed area to put in a wet bar. The wet bar would compliment a new theater that was also going in, in a different corner of this large basement.

Here is a rendering of the completed wet bar, done before construction started:


And here is a photo of the finished bar:



As you can see, the bar turned out to be very close to the rendering prepared for the homeowner – before construction even began! Of course, the process doesn’t work like magic. The rendering took several iterations as we changed the cabinetry from black to espresso, selected the stacked stone for the backsplash, and decided on a wall paint color. These iterations take time and money, but the decision making process becomes less of a leap of faith and more about specific design aesthetics, such as the under-cabinet lighting the homeowner opted for, once the project was underway. The confidence in the design, the ability to show your contractor where the project is headed and the peace of mind over the final design are well worth the extra cost.

If you’ve got a big project on the horizon, consider using a designer who can help you come up with a design you love and create renderings of your vision  – before the chaos of construction ever begins!

Author: Sharon Hayden


The Town Courier- Urbana: Freshen up for Spring

Read the article by Elizabeth Starrs for the Town Courier on how to Freshen Up for Spring!

Spring is right around the corner — it’s time to give every room the once-over. Why not freshen up the look of your home? Here are five easy steps to do just that:

Clear the Clutter

Take a picture of your room and see what others see. You walk past the clutter every day. You hardly notice it. But when you examine your room in a picture, you will be surprised how much clutter suddenly appears. Put it away! You don’t need all that “stuff” on your counters. Clean out your cabinets and put it all away. Instant improvement.

Touch Up Your Paint

Take a good look at your doors, moldings, and walls. Lots of scuffs and dirty handprints? There is a product called “Magic Eraser” for that. But maybe you just need a new coat of paint — and maybe a new color? There is no better way to refresh a room than with a pretty new color. If you have had the same shade on your wall for more than 10 years, it’s time to pick a new one.

Reassess Throw Pillows

Does your sofa look tired? Fluff and rotate those cushions. Then take a good, hard look at your throw pillows. Are they stained? Flattened from years of use? Nothing looks more inviting than big, plump pillows. Invest in some new pillows or at least some new inserts — either down or faux down. Purchase an insert that is 2 inches larger than the size of your pillow case to give the pillow a full, plump look.

Clean the Rugs

Are your rugs dirty? Worn or stained? Give them a good cleaning. If that won’t do the trick, consider purchasing a new area rug for the floor or cover the wall-to-wall carpet in a particular area. There are lots of affordable, family-friendly options out there. This is a great way to tie in those new throw pillows and/or the new paint color as well.

Remove Those Dated Curtains

If your window treatments are more than 10 years old, it’s time for those dusty, dated, faded things to go. Now, don’t go without curtains altogether — a well-dressed window is like the frame on a beautiful piece of art or just the right necklace with an elegant dress. Consider adding some simple, lined (they will hang better) panels with grommets on either side of the window. They will not only beautifully frame your window but they will be functional (light and privacy control) in addition to giving you yet another opportunity to tie those pillows, rugs and paint all together.

Happy Spring!


DC Metro Interior Designer: Best of Houzz 2015 in design and customer service

Studio Starrs Interiors of Frederick, Maryland
Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

Frederick, Maryland, January 25, 2015 – Studio Starrs Interiors (formerly Affordable Interiors) has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 11 year old firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Elizabeth Starrs, Allied ASID among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Studio Starrs Interiors on Houzz

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit

When old is new again…..

fabulous Finds (2)Besides being a talented interior designer, Sharon Hayden knows a little something about vintage furniture and how to make it current and cool all over again.
Every year, twice a year, she holds a “Barn Sale”  where she shows off her furniture transformation skills.
This weekend- Saturday 8-4 and Sunday 11-4,  she will have over 50 pieces on display and for sale. Check it out–there are all kinds of treasure to be had!

Welcome to Studio Starrs Interiors!

After almost 10 years as “Affordable Interiors” we have initiated a make-over and we are re-emerging as, “Studio Starrs Interiors”.
Certainly the hallmark of our philosophy remains the same: providing timeless designs which are a reflection your taste and style. However, we are now bigger and better and have more to offer in terms of our design capabilities, our ability to communicate our designs to you, and our project workload capacity. We now have 3 offices: Manassas and Vienna, Virginia as well as Frederick, Maryland. In addition to myself,  Karen Leygraaf, and Sharon Hayden, last month we welcomed Jeanette Ziegler to our team as office manager.
Finally,  we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for inviting us into your homes and businesses over the past 10 years. We have enjoyed getting to know you and have enjoyed each and every project. We are grateful for your referrals to friends, colleagues, and family members. We feel honored that you have been so happy and satisfied with our services that you have passed along our names. Your satisfaction is our greatest measure of success.
We look forward to seeing you in the near future!