E – Design {The Living Room}

I recently completed a living room e-design for a family looking to bring some updates and changes to their space. Their living room is right off of the main entrance to the home, so it also does double duty as a small foyer. With the space being a bit compact, we had to get creative with space planning, the furniture size we used and accommodate functional design with their two small children. I am happy to say they are thrilled with the design plan!

The Design Plan

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My client loves blue and green and adding those colors into an overall neutral scheme. Perfect, because that’s right up my alley! With their 8′ ceiling height, we wanted to replace their drab overhead light fixture with something fun. The semi flush pendant, shown on the top center of the board, will be a great replacement. The patterns and colors on the board are fresh and current, yet blend in with their traditional, rustic aesthetic, which is the combo they were hoping to achieve. I wanted to add an acrylic coffee table, to not take up too much visual space. Also, the gentle curves are functional with small kids running around. They can easily fit the gray knit pouf {right side of the board} under the table, when not in use. Luckily, we were able to fit a considerable amount of seating in this compact space. Using two upholstered navy blue ottomans {bottom left of board} in front of the fireplace, makes it easy to use as extra seating or a place to rest your feet. They are quick and easy to move around and they also do double duty as storage! Below, you will see the floor plan configuration that was selected…

The Floor Plan

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The door on the top right corner of the floor plan is their main entrance. They already had a gorgeous antique hall tree for their coats and hats. We also used some of their vintage furniture pieces to bring that charm to the space and mix well against the modern fabrics. I can’t wait to see the result!

I am currently booking more e-design projects for 2016, but spots are filling up fast. E-mail me at amberbdesign@gmail.com to get your project on the list. I look forward to working with you!

Progress over at Project Classic Living

Earlier this week, I stopped over at Project Classic Living to check on some amazing progress that has been made and to add some final accessories. You can also continue to check on the progress on instagram, @amberbdesign and search the hash tag #projectclassicliving

You’ll have to excuse these grainy i phone pictures. I hope to get on Sarah’s schedule soon, for a photography session! In the foyer, the sunburst mirrors have been added to the gallery wall going up the stairs, completing that portion of the space.

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mirrors, oversized frames

A driftwood sphere was added to the entry table and a blue tray was relocated from the living room, to add a layering effect.

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mirror, driftwood & lamp- home goods, entry table

The living room has the new drapes and hardware up! I love the greek key fabric and how it finishes off the room.

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drapery fabric, chairs, rug, wall art

I love using petite tables in living rooms, as they are easy to move around, when needed. The small marble top table next to the leather recliner {yes, that’s a recliner!} can easily be relocated to the sectional or gray club chairs at the back of the room. Versatile design is important to me when decorating spaces.

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petite table & leather recliner, coffee table

There is still some styling pieces to be added to the coffee table, but besides that, the room is complete!

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We will work on the sun room through the french doors, next. All of the wood paneling is being painted, from crown molding to baseboards with a deeply saturated navy blue! There are subtle touches of blue throughout this space and their home, so it will be the crown jewel to finish off the first floor. You may remember that last year, we finished the kitchen eating area, where you see lots of that gorgeous blue…

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In the dining room, I can’t get enough of the pink ceiling! It adds that warmth and the space just glows under the soft chandelier light, in the evening.

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To bring those white porcelain pieces front and center, we had the back of the built ins painted a dark color. Now, the accessories really pop.

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into the project! Stay updated with all things Amber B Design on instagram! {@amberbdesign}

A Look Back at 2015

Before I head out to begin 2016, I wanted to look back at the fun, exciting and adventurous year that was 2015. Why not look back and evaluate the past, so you can move forward to better the future?!? So please don’t mind my little self indulgence, while I reflect on the highlights from this past year. :)


I completed Project Vintage Gem… one of the coolest projects I was able to be a part of and one of the most amazing design experiences to date!


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all of the amazing photography skills are by Sarah Heppell Photography

I took the plunge and had my web site redesigned and rebranded! That was one of best decisions I have made for this little business. I feel that this new design truly reflects me and where I want to go with Amber B Design. Britt Douglas knocked it out of the park and gave me a web presence that I could have never dreamed of!

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To better enhance the new web site, I enlisted the help of talented local Photographer, Sarah Heppell, to photograph our home and take some head shots. Sarah is such a true talent and I can’t wait to work with her again in the new year!

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Amber B Design at Home

Amber B Design

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I am also still working on e-design projects and have been having fun completing rooms remotely!

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original post HERE

I had the privilege of working again with Britt Douglas and this time, helping to design her master bedroom for the One Room Challenge.

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To read more about Britt’s ORC journey, visit HERE

And just last month, I was able to make my live TV debut on Syracuse’s Bridge Street, to discuss simple ways to jazz up your home this holiday season!

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To read that post and see the complete source list, go HERE

All of these fun experiences would not have been possible without my wonderful family with me, every step of the way! They are my everything and I am so thankful for their support. Here’s to a wonderful 2016 with them by my side! Also, a big thank you to all of you, for your readership and for the positive feedback you always give. You’re the best! Thank you for letting me indulge a bit in this past year’s memories. This blog is a bit of a journal for me and it helps to reflect, before I move ahead into the future. Amber B Design has some fun projects in store for the new year and I am excited to share them all with you, here!

Have a Happy, Healthy New Year and I hope to see you back here soon! 

E-Design Project… The Foyer

I am back today to share a recent e-design project that I completed. I have worked with these wonderful clients before on their kitchen, dining room and den. We have now moved onto the foyer! It’s so fun to be a part of several rooms in a client’s home. Not only do you get to know them and establish a great designer/client relationship, but you also get to tie the design ideas into other rooms in their home. This is one of my favorite room designs as of late. I love how the colors came together, in comparison to the other nearby rooms we decorated. A foyer is your guest’s first impression of your home, so why not pack a fun punch with the design?!?

The Design…


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I wanted to give this family a laid back, coastal style. They love the beach and I hope this design gives subtle nods to their favorite vacation spots! The upholstered bench really brings the color palette together and compliments what we have accomplished in the nearby rooms. The teal/indigo area rug color is pulled from the hues in the bench. The chinoiserie vase prints will go near the front door and it is the continuation of the blue that makes it all flow. The acrylic base of the console lamp allows the room to feel light and airy, not taking up too much visual space. They have already began putting the foyer design together and I can’t wait to see the results!



Bridge Street Source List

In my last post, I mentioned I had fun news to share with you today! I had the amazing opportunity to be on Channel 9 News with Bridge Street! The live segment aired this morning and I went on to talk about simple and fun ways to use some of those holiday decorations all year long.


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It was a blast having this opportunity! Sistina Giordana, the wonderful host that talked with me during the segment, was so warm and sweet. It really felt like talking with a friend that I have known for years. She put me at ease and I actually didn’t feel nervous during the segment. I wanted to include a source list here, of all of the different stores where I have purchased these accessories. It might be helpful if you are looking for Holiday accents this year, or if you want to get a head start and stock up for next season!

{Starting with the items on the right and working towards the left}

The cream chair we have in our living room. I love that it’s upholstered and on casters! The casters helped big time today, when we were moving it into and out of the studio. I also love that feature at home, too. The chair is from TJ Maxx and the festive plaid pillow and snowflake blanket are from Home Goods.

The bookshelf was a find from Target, a couple of years ago. The top of the bookshelf has my favorite faux deer head and photo board, also from Target. The snowman card is from Papyrus. I love that you can use this photo board all year long. It would be great on your kitchen counter for grocery lists and recipes! It would also work well in your family room for family pictures. Pictures would be so easy to change out, when you want to give it a little update! Target no longer carries the deer head {a purchase a couple of years ago}, but the photo board can still be found in their regular frame aisle!

The first shelf on the left shows one of my favorite design books, Elements of Style, by Erin Gates. I love the black and white stripes added into the Holiday mix! I have used the festive red Nutcracker accessories as bookends. They can be found in your local Target stores and come in green and aqua colors, as well.

The first shelf on the right shows a faux evergreen arrangement, wrapped in burlap. That was a TJ Maxx find. They have great Holiday accessories this time of year!

The middle shelf shows a cream tray I bought a few years ago in Target. This shelf also shows another favorite design book of mine… Habitat, by Lauren Liess. I also like to put out my Country Living Christmas book this time of year. It’s a perfect opportunity to have it front and center! The star bookend that sits on top of the books is from Target. There are still some left, in your local stores. I plan to keep this bookend out all year long. I ended up purchasing two, so my kids can each have one on their bookshelf. It’s a fun way to remind them that they are always our shining stars!

The bottom shelves hold two collapsible fabric storage bins from Target. I love using these concealing bins, so not every accessory has to go on display.

And last but not least, the small tree was a local find from Wegmans. It’s real and it smelled so good on the car ride to the studio! I placed it in a woven basket from Target, to bring a rustic charm to the tree. I then balanced the rustic accent with pretty pearl garland from an amazing local shop, Hafner’s. I love to support local businesses and support shopping local. Hafner’s is the quintessential Holiday experience this time of year. I plan to keep this garland up all year long and place it in a glass bowl for our coffee table. It’s just too pretty to put away!

If you would like to watch today’s Bridge Street segment, visit HERE!!




The One Room Challenge Updates!

Happy weekend! I just wanted to check in and update you on how Britt is doing with the One Room Challenge! To catch you up to speed if you are new, Britt is the amazing graphic designer who brought so much style to my site and she has asked me to help her design her master bedroom space for the One Room Challenge. We are in the thick of it and about half way there!! She has added more to her gorgeous gallery wall…


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In this above picture, she did a trick that I also like to use in gallery wall installs. She hung the frame without the print, to see if she liked the layout and arrangement. Even if clients are not sure what prints to put in their frames yet, I like to at least hang the frames and begin the process. Then, if we like the arrangement, we know what size prints to be on the lookout for.


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Britt just added the chalkboard shield and I love the depth it brings to the wall. To see more about Britt’s ORC journey, visit her latest post HERE. And to keep up with all things One Room Challenge related, visit the founder’s blog… Linda, from Calling it Home.

Creating an Eclectic, yet Pulled Together Design

I have always said that I appreciate so many different design styles and believe they can exist together. Mid century can work with bohemian, traditional can work with modern, etc. A space can have a few different styles together and as long as they are carried by a common thread, they work. I try to use art, area rugs or pillow fabrics to pull a color scheme together and have it make sense. Then, the colors found in those accessories can be sprinkled around the room.


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This space above, in the home of Mandy Kellogg Rye, has a blend of modern, traditional, coastal and bohemian and works so well! The ice skating art work pulls together the reds and blues to make it all look cohesive.

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This dining room, above, was designed by Lindsay Speace and is anything but predictable. That’s what I love so much about it! This modern light fixture, in a traditional space, takes it to another level! The white chairs bring a coastal vibe and help to brighten up the space. Large scale items, like this pendant, always makes a room dramatic and stops you in your tracks.

So if you don’t have one particular style, that’s ok! I think it’s more fun to mix it up and find things that truly speak to you and how you live. When you do that, you really feel at home. And if you want to bring a color into a space but don’t already have it in there, bring an art piece or accessory in with all of the colors, to help tie it together and make sense. A good rule of thumb, is if a color can be replicated at least three times in a room, it becomes meaningful to that design.

In other news, I am over the moon thrilled to be featured on the Ballard Designs instagram page! Project Vintage Gem was featured in a flipagram, where they showed six different images from the project. Thank you so much, Ballard! It was definitely a pinch me moment!!

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Have a great day!

Latest E – Design Projects

Lately, I have been showing some local projects, so I thought it would be fun to switch gears today and show some of my latest e-design work. E-design is a remote way of doing design, as it’s all completed through on line correspondence and virtual design presentations. First up, is a project I completed for a couple wanting to update their living space, while also looking for some new storage. They love to travel and also like shades of blues and greens. This was also a fun project, because it is a friend of mine who lives out of town! Here is the design plan…


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They enjoy the outdoors, so I thought the Schumacher Zimba pillow {shown bottom center} was a fun addition, since the modern fabric print is reminiscent of the mountains. The watercolor art print, {shown bottom left corner} will go on the mantel and has the room’s color palette, while also brings another reminder of nature.

Next up is a den for a sweet family that I have worked with, before. This space gets a lot of use from the whole family, so it had to be both functional and stylish. We kept many of the existing pieces for this room, so it was just a matter of selecting the right accessories and color palette to go with the space. They already had a color combo of corals, greens and yellows, so I came in and added some modern elements to balance with the traditional. Here is that design plan…


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Some of these accessories may change, but the overall plan will stay the same. Changing their current yellow wall color to the light blue/gray shade {top left corner} will be a game changer in the room. I like how both of these plans seem so different, yet they carry that common thread… a blend of modern with traditional design. I tend to gravitate towards that combination and it was exciting to work on projects that bring together those styles. And both designs have the same watercolor print!

Reflecting on What I Have Learned

Recently, I was asked by a local college interior design student to take part in an interview for her class. Her class has to interview an interior decorator and ask 10 questions on everything from their beliefs in design, running the day to day business and tips I have learned along the way. I jumped at the chance to participate, but my first reaction was, really? me? are you sure you have the right person for this? ok, here goes! I haven’t had that classroom assignment feeling in many, many years, so it was fun. {I hope I passed!} After I handed in my answers to her, I realized it was also a great self reflection for me, because it gave me the chance to really dissect my day to day happenings and what I value as important for Amber B Design. So I thought it would be fun to share some questions and answers here! I would love to hear your feedback if you’re a designer, to see if you have any different, useful methods. I also thought this could bring up a fun discussion for anyone who loves design. I definitely do not have all the answers or even pretend to think I do. But, this is my honest interpretation of my experiences, so far. Here we go…

A timeline of your accomplishments (ie. schooling, positions held, years of experience).
My name is Amber Balistreri and I am the owner of the boutique interior decorating firm, Amber B Design. I would say that my design career was something that evolved over time. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/concentration in English and a Master’s degree in Early Literacy. Out of college, I became an elementary school teacher in an American school in Germany, when my husband’s job took us overseas. We lived in Germany for three years and it was then that my love for interior design started to evolve. Soon after we moved back to the U.S., I started the design blog Simple Dwellings as a way to bring together two of my favorite pastimes… my love for writing and interior design. My blog started to grow and readers were asking for design help. I then realized I could potentially have a business. After two years of growing my blog, I took some design classes at a local school and worked hard on both my blog and budding business venture. Soon after, Amber B Design was born. I left the teaching profession to pursue my dream. I started my business back in 2012 and I truly enjoy decorating spaces for others.
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Our living room, Sarah Heppell Photography
In your opinion, how important is interior design education in today’s industry?
That is an interesting question. I believe if you have a passion for any artistic profession, such as interior design, you are meant to have that career. Schooling can, however, help to take out a lot of the guess work that comes from being a self taught designer, like myself. In school, you learn so many of the important parts to the profession that I would have liked to learn through a design degree. But sometimes, life goes in different directions and you decide to change course. Since my degrees are in other professions, I worked tirelessly to catch myself up to what I would have learned in design school. The main elements in design have to be learned in order to be successful and I have devoted years to making sure I know just as much. I would suggest that anyone wanting to achieve a successful career in design should constantly learn and evolve. You will never have all the answers. It is important to continue reading and studying your profession, so that you stay current to the trends and happenings in design.
{That was a tough one to answer and I felt that I gave my most honest answer possible. There are definitely times when I wish I had a design degree, but like I said, life goes in different directions sometimes and I wouldn’t change the experiences I had for anything. I do believe, however, that I need to know just as much, in order to be successful. So, that’s what I am trying to do!}
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My client’s cat definitely stole the show during this photo shoot!
What motivated you to enter interior design and your particular specialty?
My motivation to start this career came from a true passion for design. I have always appreciated all forms of design, from fashion to interiors. When you absolutely love what you do, you never work a day in your life! So when I decided to switch paths and follow design, I felt that it was already there with me. The obstacles in front of me were just hard work, determination and a desire to make this come to fruition.
What are the primary responsibilities and duties of your current position?
Amber B Design is a firm that works with clients on everything from conceptual idea to the final install day. Currently, I work by myself, so I wear all hats. From initial consult to the reveal and photography session- I am there through it all. Our first meeting is the client consult, where we meet in their home to discuss the space. After measurements and before photos are taken, I get to work in the studio (my home), designing the space, drawing up the floor plan and coming up with the design vision. About three weeks later, the plans are presented to the client and we go from there. I will do the sourcing, shopping, budget management and style installs. When the space is complete, I schedule a photography session for my portfolio.
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Our dining room
What advice could you offer to someone interested in pursuing an interior design career, especially in your specialty?
My advice would be to stay true to your design self. You have done all of the hard work it takes to get here. So, believe in your design opinion and have confidence. Having said that, also make sure to stay humble and be open to letting the client have their input. When you open up the possibility to really listen to your client, you learn and grow as a designer. It is your work and your name going on the project, so make sure to put your own design spin on it, while also staying true to the client’s needs. That can be tough, because you have to be confident in your own style to do both. The clients have reached out to you because they value your work and like your style. So don’t lose sight of yourself in the project. If you give them a design that you do not stand behind 100%, it shows. Trust your design sense and know that you can give them their style, while also incorporating things they would not have thought of on their own.
{This is an ever evolving process for me and one that takes constant practice.}
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Project Vintage Gem
Sarh Heppell Photography
So that was the interview, in a nutshell. I really believe that working well with your clients and having that positive partnership helps so much in the overall design experience for both of you. It is when your personalities mesh and you both truly listen to each other, that makes the best outcome. Those are the projects when you are sad they have come to an end. It was just that much fun! By no means do I have all the answers. This was just my opinion on my own experiences. This exercise helped me to examine the way I approach design and I was glad to be asked. It was a pretty cool experience!
I would love to hear your thoughts!

Project Vintage Gem – The Reveal Part 4

Welcome back to the final installment of Project Vintage Gem! Today, it’s all about the foyer. My client has a pretty small foyer and we wanted to make it as functional as possible. We wanted to add storage, a place to sit down and a spot for the litter box. You may be worried when you hear that a litter box is going in the main foyer, but no fear… it came out pretty cool and blends right in with the vintage/rustic charm we wanted for her home. Let’s get right to the pictures! It was a tough space to photograph, because of the lack of natural light and compact size. But yet again, Sarah Heppell worked her photography magic!

Heading to the foyer from the living room…

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For a quick before and after, here is how the space was when we began…




I actually forgot the electric box was on that wall! We strategically hung the mirror there, to cover it up!


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After photos by Sarah Heppell

A huge credit goes to my client for finding the custom litter box cover on etsy! It really works with the home’s design aesthetic. We always need functional design too, right?!? Thank you all for your encouraging and sweet feedback from this project. It was truly amazing to work on and I am so thankful to my client for allowing me to share this journey on the blog.