Behind the Scenes: bb Interiors’ Winter Wonderland

Archive for the ‘Design 101’ Category

Behind the Scenes: bb Interiors’ Winter Wonderland

Posted on: November 8th, 2017 by Claudia Beebe

Tasteful green and gold Christmas decor

Learn how Claudia and the bb Interiors team is transforming the Mehr home for the Geneva House Walk

For anyone who lives in or enjoys visiting Geneva, the Geneva Christmas Walk marks the official beginning of the holiday season. The town-wide celebration brings friends and neighbors together to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year as a community, centered on a celebration of something we hold dear: exquisite interior design.

The hallmark of the festivities is the Holiday House Tour, which showcases five unique homes decked out for the season. We’re honored to be styling the Mehr home for the event, and have been hard at work for weeks pulling together our Winter Wonderland-inspired display. Here, take a peek behind the curtain for a look at our process and a sneak peek of the magic that awaits you Dec. 1 and 2!

A Deeply-Rooted Design Relationship

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be appointing the Mehr family home for this event, because we feel so deeply connected to the Mehrs and their stunning French Provincial estate. The bb Interiors team had the privilege of designing the home’s entire interior, partnering with the family when the house was a blank slate and selecting elegant and versatile furnishings that complemented the exquisite architecture — truly a designer’s dream. As the space came together, it was hard not to imagine how stunning the home would look festooned for the holidays. Inspired by the home’s design features, like the sweeping balcony and commanding fireplace, our vision to create a Winter Wonderland around those focal points began to take shape more than a year before the House Walk decorations will be revealed. Months before we even began installing our seasonal decor, we had been imagining and planning and discussing our theme and ideas.

Steering Clear of the Expected

For any occasion or event with such deeply-rooted design traditions, our first thought is always to seek the unexpected. For the Mehr home’s holiday decorations, that meant steering clear of the typical red and green color scheme. While we love a classic Christmas aesthetic, we wanted to use this occasion to create a more unique, immersive seasonal experience that would be memorable for House Walk attendees. While white is often viewed as an accent in a traditional Christmas palette, we turned that trend on its head and made it the predominant color. The all-white backdrop evokes memories of the first snowfall and the simple joy of admiring pure, untouched snow.

The sophisticated Winter Wonderland theme allowed the natural design elements of the home to shine. We believe that Christmas decorations — or any seasonal decor for that matter — should enhance or embellish a home’s unique structural assets. A flocked white Christmas tree adds subtle drama to the Mehr home, with glittering hints of silver, gold and copper that draw the eye to the beauty of the dramatic staircase and hearth. The final result embodies Principal Designer Claudia Beebe’s contemporary approach to traditional design: elegant, understated, purposeful and unique.

A True Team Effort

To execute our vision, our whole team was involved, and we collaborated with beloved local businesses known for their exemplary creative work. Months before the House Walk, our design team, including Claudia and Ian Essex began sketching and re-sketching, choosing key pieces and assembling displays off-site for future installation. Weeks before the House Walk, we began executing our vision in the home’s interior and exterior. Aiding us in our efforts was Avant Gardenia, who designed and installed the custom greenery that functions as the centerpiece of our vision, and Neri Landscape & Maintenance, who arranged the outside lighting that welcomed visitors to the Mehr home’s holiday display.


We look forward to the holidays all year at bb Interiors, and participating in the Geneva Christmas House Walk has made this year an especially festive occasion for us. We can’t wait for you to see what we’ve created at the Mehr home. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets to the Dec. 1 & 2 event, please visit the Geneva Chamber event page or visit our showroom at 600 S. 1st St. to buy tickets in person and meet the bb Interiors creative team.

Style Your Mantelpiece for the Holidays

Posted on: November 1st, 2017 by Claudia Beebe

Simon Pearce Glass figurines on fireplace mantelpieceAdding a Festive Flair Above Your Fireplace

During the holiday season, the fireplace becomes the centerpiece of time spent with family and friends. If the hearth is the heart of our homes, then it certainly deserves to be dressed up for the occasion. Transforming your mantelpiece into a festive display offers a chance to showcase your personal style. Here are our tips to help guide you in creating a custom mantelpiece display that will WOW.

Tips from bb Interiors to bring holiday cheer to the heart of your home

Tip 1. Think big picture.

Calm image of interior Classic New Year Tree decorated in

The fireplace is the focal point of the room, so start by choosing a single item that will serve as the central focal point of your arrangement. Choose something that will draw the eye: a mirror that can play with the light, a wreath that rekindles fond holiday memories, or a piece of art you love that deserves to be showcased. If you have a television mounted above your mantel, consider instead a pair of larger items that will anchor your display on either side. They don’t have to match or even be symmetrical, but you want to move the focus away from your TV and towards your beautiful objects. Your focal point piece or pieces will help establish the overall style of the display: formal or informal, traditional or modern, a rustic winter wonderland or luxe and glamorous.

christmas tree with white and gold decorations in light room

A Bonus Tip: Arranging your mantelpiece for the holidays doesn’t mean you need to wipe the slate clean and remove all of your year-round decor. By including some of the items you usually display, you’ll provide a sense of balance, a feeling of home, and a familiar background for your pops of holiday spirit—they’re the ensemble, and your holiday additions are the stars.


Tip 2. Layer in texture, pattern and shine for visual interest.

Arrange greenery—real, faux, or non-traditional greens like succulents—to add fullness and dimension to your mantelpiece display. Consider incorporating candles and lights: battery-operated strings will let you skip the unsightly cord. Ornaments and pieces made of glass or metallic materials can bring in extra sparkle. Books, leather boxes and organic or natural pieces like pinecones and berries can provide a variety of textures and seasonally appropriate colors. Patterned pottery or ribbon can supply a splash of interest and are an easy way to emphasize a color scheme.
Tip 3. Group items wisely.

Rustic Fireplace in Log Cabin

Gather like objects in different colors, shapes or sizes for a striking visual effect. These could include a grouping of small presents, candles or tiny decorative pieces. Arrange objects symmetrically on the mantelpiece for a more traditional look, in an unbalanced fashion for a rustic feel or spaced widely for a sleek, modern vibe. Even if you’re aiming for symmetry, vary heights to add interest and group items in odd numbers. The “rule of threes” suggests that groupings of three (or five, seven, and so on) produce a more visually-appealing, memorable design.

Christmas room interior design

A bonus tip: Balance your mantelpiece design with some hearth decor. An attractive stack of firewood, a pile of wrapped gifts, a vintage sled leaning against one side, a big basket of cozy throw blankets, a gorgeous urn or even a small holiday tree can add another layer of holiday spirit to an often overlooked corner of your fireplace.


With a little artistry, you can create a mantelpiece that sets the tone for your home’s holiday season and serves as a central place to gather and celebrate. It will be ready for warm fires, cozy nights and all of your family’s treasured holiday traditions. If you’re looking to expand your collection of holiday decor, or want advice on how to arrange the objects you already own and love, stop by our Geneva showroom for inspiration to shop our curated selection of holiday home goods and to see these design tips in action.

Mix and Match Patterns Like A Design Pro

Posted on: October 18th, 2017 by Claudia Beebe


Celebrate Loud Prints And Avoid Eyesores By Following These Tips

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of bold patterns: if you’ve visited our Geneva showroom you know it’s bursting with luxe textiles printed with chevron and ikat and damask. Too many DIY designers shy away from mixing patterns because they worry their homes will end up looking too overdone—but integrating multiple patterns effectively can actually make a room look more cohesive and intentional. You just have to know how to play by the rules.

Follow the BB Interiors guidelines when choosing prints and we guarantee you’ll be wowed by the results. Here are Claudia’s tips for mixing patterns like a pro.

Pick One Unifying Color

Patterns are a great way to turn the monochrome trend on its head. A geometric rug beneath floral drapes will feels purposeful if both are include large swaths of the same shade of pink. Against a neutral backdrop, pops of yellow scattered around the room—a throw pillow here, a candlestick there, a yellow-print bedspread or painting—are perceived as a unit, even if each element has a different print that incorporates a variety of colors or styles. Trick the eye into viewing an assortment of patterns as a unit by tying them all together with a base color. Try to stick to the same hue; this rule is less effective if some pieces are vibrant and others are pastel.

Keep Intensity Consistent

While we’re on the subject of hue, a uniform color intensity can have the same effect as a single unifying color: scattered, diverse pieces look more cohesive if they come from the same segment of the color wheel. Think: jewel tones with jewel tones, pastels with pastels, metallics with metallics. A selection of bold, deeply-pigmented accents in wine, sapphire and amber add up to a rich, romantic theme.

Balance With Solids

Whether there are neutrals in the backgrounds or large focal pieces that anchor your accents, neutrals serve as the perfect backdrop for a space that’s incorporating patterns playfully. If your loudest patterns are on the walls, windows or floor, consider toned-down furniture or accessories in the room to limit the competition for a visitor’s attention. If you have many, smaller embellishments arranged throughout the room, a solid backdrop will frame them nicely. Solids can be in complementary colors or in neutrals — the goal is simply to balance the loud and energetic prints with more placid intervals that give them room to breathe.

Distribute Weight Evenly

Even if your bold patterns are on featherweight throw pillows, loud, bright or complicated patterns are “heavy” additions to a room—they’re visual markers that draw attention, making them anchor points in the big picture of a stylized room. One key consideration for designers when playing with prints is visual movement: we want the eye to dance around the room, landing on various points of interest without feeling overwhelmed or, on the other end of the spectrum, unengaged. If too many of your patterns are concentrated in one part of the room, it will throw the whole space off balance. Distribute them evenly, and integrate solids between them to bridge the gaps between each.

Choose Three or More Patterns

Two mismatched patterns can feel like a mistake. With a minimum of three, you have enough elements to appropriately space your printed pieces so they interact across the entirety of the room instead of in one visually-cluttered corner. Aim for diversity in size and scale, and adhere to the rules above when choosing unifying colors or tone. We tend to prefer odd-numbered combinations in general to fight the urge to group accents in pairs both when you’re arranging your room or when a visitor is surveying it. Three to five patterns surrounded by solids or neutrals is often the sweet spot.


As with all design rules, some of these were made to be broken—but if you’re a first-timer trying to dip your toes into the world of interior designing, this framework will help you avoid common pitfalls. Each room is different, and no two homeowners’ styles or needs are alike. If you want to really push the envelope and bend the rules to make a striking statement unique to your home, your best bet is to partner with an interior designer who knows exactly how to balance the delicate and the daring. Visit, or stop into our Geneva showroom to peruse our 2,700 swatch books and find the patterns that speak to you.


Where Form Meets Function: Choosing the Right Window Treatments for Your Room

Posted on: October 11th, 2017 by Claudia Beebe

Where Form Meets Function: Choosing the Right Window Treatments for Your Room

Use Beautiful Window Coverings to Play with Light and Make a Statement

Window treatments are a critical part of a room’s design theme. They present an opportunity to combine materials, mix patterns and create a visual statement that’s customized to your unique decor. Not only do the materials you choose add color and texture to a space, they also allow you to manipulate the overall room tone by blocking or framing the light that filters in from outdoors.

When choosing window coverings for your home, consider the room’s color scheme and feel. Would a bold treatment provide a vibrant contrast, or would something more simple be complementary? Think about the placement of lamps and overhead lighting within the space, as well as how and when you will use the room. Do you need direct light from the windows? Is privacy important?

With these factors in mind, you can choose from this selection of our favorite window treatments to find the best fit for your space. Here’s a primer on the styles we most enjoy incorporating into our clients’ homes.


Drapes often play a central role in the overall design of a room. Eminently customizable, fabric selection alone can create a desired mood in any room. Luxury velvet exudes sophistication, while bold prints can establish a focal point, all while serving the functions of privacy, light control or simply making a design statement.  Drapes are made from heavier fabrics and are often lined and pleated. They can be an effective tool to block out light or provide complete privacy, making them a common choice for bedrooms. The rod itself also adds a design element, offering variety in its materials, finial shape, and placement—from a few inches above the window to just below the ceiling line. Drapes aren’t exclusive to interiors: we love to bring drapery outdoors, taking advantage of the broad selection of indoor/outdoor fabrics available today to create a resort-like setting on any porch, patio or pergola.


Thanks to their extremely versatile nature, sheer fabrics are one of the most common types of window treatments. There are many beautiful sheer fabrics that can create an ethereal look. From embroidered to burnout, they vary from contemporary to traditional (and they certainly don’t look like your grandmother’s sheers!). They come in various lengths and can be hung from a rod or from rings that are strung onto a rod. Sheers can provide light control based on their level of opacity, and choosing a warm or cool hue can alter the glow of a room. Casement fabrics, also a type of sheer, provide an even more unique look and feel. Sheer Roman Shades are popular among millennials who welcome the light day or night.


Valances come in all shapes and sizes and are a decorative accent for any window. They’re often paired with curtains, blinds, or shades, as valences themselves don’t provide privacy. Instead, they’re used to add a touch of color or design flair, or to conceal the hardware of the blinds or shades below. With diverse arrangements available—including flat, gathered, pleated, board or rod mounted—we can create custom styles and sizes to fit your design. Unique valances can be especially fun in a kids room using a theme, monogram, bats or bows; the options are endless. Imaginative cornices, tailored or dripping with fringe, continue to tell the story of a room.


Shades are perhaps the most practical window treatment: If you want to block out light or provide privacy in a room, they’re a straightforward solution. Shades can be made from a variety of materials and are custom fit to the size and shape of a window. The mechanics can vary, from a pull, to a roller, to manual adjustment that lifts and lowers the covering. Our favorite style is the Roman shade, which folds into even, horizontal layers when raised and lays completely smooth when drawn, showcasing the beauty of the material with a crisp silhouette that lets in partial light while providing privacy.


A great option for diffusing light, blinds are infinitely adjustable. They can be tilted to a fully open position, completely closed, or paused at any angle in between. With a quick tug on the cord, horizontal blinds can also be lifted and lowered to expose all or part of the window. For this reason they work well in a space where your light needs vary depending on the time of day or occasion. Materials play a big part in the level of sophistication here: wooden blinds with fabric or ribbon bindings offer a higher quality look than a plastic or metal blind. Vertical blinds are an option for sliding glass doors or very large windows, and they don’t collect quite as much dust as horizontal blinds.


Shutters aren’t exclusively exterior window decor — interior shutters are a non-fabric solution that offer substantial light control and style. Shutter types are distinguished by their size and mobility. Traditional and plantation shutters vary by the width of the slats, or louvers. Cafe height shutters leave the upper portion of the window uncovered, ideal for tall windows in rooms where sunlight is always welcome, while full height shutters fill a window completely. Panel arrangements are also customizable: single-panel shutters fill the length of a window or are divided in half, while bifold shutters can be tucked away on either side of a window. Materials can include wood, composites and plastics.


Window treatments are an incredible tool to set the tone of a room, from manipulating the natural light to complementing your color scheme. With so many types, styles and customizable details—even motorized and cordless options are now available!—there are infinite combinations to complement each room in your home. Need help pinpointing the right one? We are experts in the field will find the perfect window treatment to achieve your decor goals. Come visit or give us a call at bb Interiors today and we’ll find you the perfect fit.


Create a Tablescape: Selecting Fabrics to Set a Beautiful Scene

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 by Claudia Beebe

Create a Tablescape: Selecting Fabrics to Set a Beautiful Scene

Design an Inviting Table with Linens that Showcase your Style

At BB Interiors, we believe that the act of gathering loved ones around the table is itself a special occasion, whether it’s for a holiday party, birthday celebration, charity event or a simple Saturday night dinner with good friends. Setting a beautiful, unique table doesn’t require a shopping spree or event-specific accents: just some thoughtful arranging and mindfulness of color, function and theme can make your guests feel celebrated and create a festive mood.

To design an eye-catching tablescape, start with the largest piece of the puzzle—the fabrics on your tabletop. With a variety of colors, materials and sizes to choose from, picking the perfect linens can take a discerning eye. Here are a few ideas to help you find the right fit.

If you have a gorgeous table to showcase

A stunning table runner is a great solution that lets you customize a table setting to fit your event’s theme, while also allowing the beauty of your furniture to shine through. Depending on your table length and your personal preference, choose a longer runner with ends that hang over the edges of the table, creating a sense of opulence and giving the table surface a more streamlined look or a shorter one, so the entire runner is visible on the tabletop, making it the central statement piece you build upon with smaller accents. Use complementary placemats, chargers, napkins, glassware and silverware to delineate each place setting. A sprinkling of smaller floral arrangements can add a pretty, polished touch without stealing the spotlight away from the runner and the table itself.

If you want to make a statement

A single-layer tablecloth can pack a serious punch. Use one in a wow-worthy fabric to quickly transform the table and emphasize your event theme or color scheme. To accent a rectangular or square table in a unique way, set a square table topper on a diagonal. There’s an infinitely wide range of colors and patterns available, so take the time to find a linen that matches your event’s mood—traditional textiles for a classic look, modern, sleek pieces for contemporary flair or high-end designs and fabrics for a luxe statement. Pair with simple place settings that let the linens stand out: Think strong symmetry, monochromatic colors and clean lines that bring the focus to the fabric.

If you have a big, busy event or table legs you don’t love

Sometimes you have a large guest list (the more, the merrier, right?) and you need to make a temporary table look like a million bucks. The trick to pulling that off? Creating a rich, warm feeling with layered fabrics—a smaller table topper over a longer tablecloth. This technique also helps disguise unsightly table legs. When layering tablecloths, choose one to be the focal point; perhaps a fabric with a complex pattern or bold color scheme. The underlayer should then be complementary but more subtle, such as a solid color or toned-down complementary texture.

To add depth to your final tablescape, consider place settings and centerpieces that combine different colors, patterns, and textures with an extra touch of shine. Accessories like silverware, candlesticks, votive holders and napkin rings are all pieces that can add a bit of sparkle and light to your table.

Once you’ve assembled a breathtaking tablescape, you’ll be ready to greet your guests, gather around the table, and enjoy good food and great conversation. To find more inspiration and browse a gorgeous selection of tabletop fabrics, shop Shine Handmade at BB Interiors’ Geneva showroom.

It Starts With The Rug: Designing A Room From The Ground Up

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by Claudia Beebe

It Starts With The Rug: Building A Room From The Ground Up

The BB Interiors Bottom-Up Approach to Design Considers Your Floorcoverings First

When designing a room, whether it’s a blank slate or a refresh, you work in layers. You have a lot of choices to make, and the best way to work is from the bottom up. That means start with the rug! Before you can choose your furniture or accessories, the rug is the foundation should guide the color and material choices of the space you create around it. This bottom-up approach is central to the BB Interiors method. Here’s how to make it work for you.

Identify Your Budget

Natural materials tend to be more expensive, with wool clocking in as the priciest option compared to cotton and sisal. Synthetic materials including polypropylene and nylon will be less expensive, and some can be styled to mimic the look of pricier, natural material rugs. As you get a sense of the style you’re looking for, limit your search by the boundaries of your budget. Expected wear-and-tear, the lifespan of your rug and how easy or difficult it will be to clean and maintain are also factors to consider when setting your price point: a rug you have to replace in three years may be pricier in the long run than an investment piece that will last a lifetime. Narrowing that down brings us to item two: decide how you will use this rug.

Identify Your Lifestyle Needs

Think about how you will use the room that contains this rug. Will it weather a lot of traffic, like a hallway, mudroom or well-used family room? If so, wool is resilient and stain-repellant; wool and cotton are easy to clean. Jute and its cousin, hemp, are harder to clean, and can be rough and scratchy, so they may not be right for a room where kids will be playing or sitting on the floor. If you have pets, sun exposure or lots of foot traffic, synthetic rugs may be a good choice.

Start With The Material

It may be tempting to begin your rug search with a palette or style in mind, but trust us: material must come first. If you fall in love with a thick, knitted natural wool rug, or the rustic look of jute regardless of how it fits into your color scheme, it won’t matter what your initial vision was. And if your budget just won’t allow for a luxe statement piece, you don’t want to plan your room around one. The main materials you’ll choose from are wool, polypropylene, nylon, cotton, silk and sisal. To help you narrow down your material choices, ask yourself two questions: what is my budget, and what do I need from this rug?

Think About Size and Shape

Now you’ve got a material in mind—but we’re still not ready to shop. Next, we need to nail down the shape and size of the rug you need. If the furniture for the room has already been selected, then those pieces, plus the size and shape of the space, will make a big difference. Do you want your rug to fill the room, or create an area of interest within the larger space? Do you want more than one rug in the room? If there are couches and chairs in the mix, will the rug stop in front of them or extend beneath them? There are also shapes to consider: most common are rectangular, oval, square, round, irregular or long, narrow runners.


With your rug material, size and shape in mind, you’re ready to find The One. Then we can start the work of pulling the rest of your room together. Follow your heart when choosing the right rug for your space, because it will be the centerpiece—figuratively and literally—of everything else you assemble to create that unique space. Finding the right combination of pieces that mix and match to send the right message is part art, part science, and we’re experts at both. Need a hand? Get in touch with BB Interiors today!