Diva Design Diary

By Holly Peterson

Diva Design Diary is about bringing the latest interior design trends and tips to our existing clients, as well as future clients...enjoy!

Fishing For Presents

By Holly Peterson

Fishlips Recycled Gift Wrap

Wrapping paper can be as big of a deal as buying the present itself. New paper seems wasteful, old newspapers and magazines are a good option until you realize that the news is too sordid (um, Octomom?) to actually put on an item meant to bring joy, and plain brown paper says “delivery” more than “present.” There’s just something about most green wrapping that’s too much function, not enough fun – except Fishlips Recycled Gift Wrap. With 18 satin-finished designs to choose from (all printed on 100% recycled paper using soy inks), there's something interesting for any occasion. Starfish, hibiscus, and puppies in cool colors and curious patterns? They beat that brown paper any day.

See the entire line at fishlipspaperdesigns.com

Just the Facts

By Holly Peterson

Do you ever feel like you're learning another language, when trying to understand all the "energy efficient" lighting terms???
Not to worry... Thanks to the Department of Energy, anyone can "get with it"!

The Department of Energy (DOE) is taking a page from the Food and Drug Administration's playbook. Since 1994, most food products have featured the Nutrition Facts label, and the DOE is pushing for the lighting industry to follow that lead for LED products. The label (below) is part of the DOE's SSL Quality Advocates program and is meant to encourage manufacturers to simplify information about LED products for consumers. Using the industry-standard IESNA LM-79-2008 to measure product performance, the label displays the metrics in an easily digested and consistent format. Lumens, efficacy, watts, correlated color temperature, and color rendering index are all shown.

Times Square Ball Is Here to Stay

By Holly Peterson

What has 32,000 LEDs, is 12-feet wide, weighs 11,875 pounds, produces 4.3 billion color options, has 2,668 Waterford Crystals, and will be staying around all year?

The Times Square Ball, of course. Revealed on Dec. 31, 2008, the new design from Focus Lighting will be a permanent fixture atop One Times Square. As Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkis said in a statement, “Like Times Square, it's not afraid to show off. That's why we're proudly putting it on display year-round so visitors to the neighborhood can enjoy a true Crossroads of the World icon.”


By Holly Peterson

Green Depot's Grand Opening in New York

Home Depots are so 2005. Everybody knows that Green Depot is where all the cool DIYers go. The new retail store, in the lighting district of New York City, just opened last week and is the first from an existing green building-supply giant of the same name. It has all the comforts of a Home Depot (by the way, no relation): flooring, roofing, siding, paint, nails...only greener. And it also has features that serve to answer some common eco home dilemmas. Liquid soap, laundry detergent, and window cleaner refill stations help you reuse all those existing bottles in your house. And a dark room helps you figure out, once and for all, the difference between LED and incandescent lighting. With this one stop shop, you can sand, shingle, and spackle to your delight knowing that you won’t be introducing harsh chemicals to your house or planet.

For store hours and location, go to greendepot.com

All Good Things Come To An End...

By Holly Peterson

SAD NEWS: domino magazine NO LONGER as of March 2009 issue

Here's a letter from the editors:

"It is with very heavy hearts that we say farewell. Over the last 4 years, in 28 issues, we have done our best to create a great magazine. We started with a real idea—that style is for everyone—and tried to carry it out with stories that provide inspiration and empower you to act on it. From your tremendous response, we know that we were onto something. In this tough economy, however, we simply weren't able to get the advertising support we needed.

As domino evolved, we never lost sight of our original democratic premise. Looking back at the manifesto we published in the premiere issue, the first tenet of domino is still the truest: Home should make you happy. We hope we have played a part in making this come true for you.

All the editors of domino"

We'll miss you domino!
All the best,
Design Diva Interiors

Looking For A New Refrigerator?

By Holly Peterson

The NEW Refrigerator from Bosch...Not an inch wasted!!!

Linea 800 Side-by-Side refrigerator

Linea Refrigeration is the new Energy Star rated counter-depth, Side-by-Side refrigerator line from Bosch Appliances, that is designed to deliver superior food preservation and inventive interior features, combined with a clean, modern design. Available in a 300, 500 and 800 Series, the new lineup complements Bosch full product suite of Eco-friendly and highly efficient home appliances. All models feature the DualCool system that enables independently controlled temperature settings. This system ensures consistent temperatures within each side, while eliminating the transfer of odors between compartments for more hygienic storage of food. When combined with the quiet speed compressor that quickly responds to temperature needs, the Linea Side-by-Side refrigerators ensures maximum, yet efficient cooling performance to keep foods fresher longer. Multiple sensors throughout the refrigerator and freezer also help to maintain consistent temperatures, while the noFrost system doesn't require defrosting, which saves time and energy.

The Linea has a clean and sophisticated exterior look achieved by its door extending all the way to the floor. This distinctive long door eliminates the appearance of a bulky grill, which as you can see from our recent Side by Side refrigerator review is quite common in many premium refrigerators. Hidden hinges also contribute into a seamless built-in look. Illuminated flush and frameless ice and water dispenser with exterior display is perfectly integrated into the freezer door. The lockable and easy to clean dispenser is tall enough to accommodate large container sizes.

The SuperCool and SuperFreeze functions enable you to quickly chill warm and fresh foods straight from the supermarket by dropping the interior temperature to the lowest possible setting. Once this temperature has been reached, the refrigerator or freezer will then automatically return to its original setting. The Multi-Flow system provides high circulation of cold air throughout many openings in each compartment of these Side-by-Side refrigerators for more uniform and constant temperatures, ensuring that foods remain fresher longer.

Linea 800 Interior View

The top-of-the-line 800 Series features the unique and bright CoolGlow lighting system. This U-shaped LED lighting is integrated flush along the back wall and throughout the unit to offer stunningly clear visibility of foods and easy cleaning. Separate LED lighting in the freezer and the top of the refrigerator, as well as in the exclusive FreshProtect box temperature controlled drawer, serve to further brighten up the interior. This FreshProtect keeps humidity and temperatures accurate and customized for fish, meat/poultry or produce. Resistant to external temperature fluctuations, foods kept in this drawer will stay fresher up to 3 times longer. The interior can also be customized to accommodate maximum storage space. The 2 exclusive EasyLift glass shelves hold 25 lbs each and are on a circular track, making it very easy to adjust their height by up to 2". The EasyGlide door bins are fixed onto a rail system and seamlessly glide up and down to accommodate large gallon bottles. Other features are sliding frameless InfinityGlass shelf, a can door and bottle rack, and an AirFresh Filter and Ionisator that offer the best protection against odor.

The freezer includes 2 cooling packs stored behind the ice and water dispenser. They can be utilized to not only protect food longer in case of a power outage, but can also be removed and used for travel coolers. A large full-extension freezer basket can accommodate a Thanksgiving turkey. The exterior LCD display and control panel allow you to activate functions like Quick Ice, which cools the freezer as cold as possible to produce more ice in a 24-hour period, ECO mode, which saves energy and reduces lighting on the display and Vacation mode, which further saves on energy usage when the refrigerator is not needed for long periods of time.

The 500 Series Side-by-Side refrigerators include many of the premium features offered in the 800 models including the flush LCD exterior control panel, AirFresh carbon air filter and a FreshProtect box for customized food storage. Additional design features include 1 adjustable EasyLift glass shelf, 2 slide-out glass shelves, tilt out freezer door bins for better access, 2 cooling packs and spill proof glass shelves with a metallic front trim for a more premium look.

A perfect introduction to the efficient refrigerators from Bosch Appliances, the 300 Series Linea offers a flush LED control panel on the exterior, 3 slide-out spill proof shelves that can be height adjusted according to the storage needs at hand, full-extension refrigerator drawers, gallon door bins and tilt-out freezer door bins for maximum customization.

Available in April 2009! For store locations visit: boschappliances.com

Oh, How I LOVE Tiffany's...

By Holly Peterson

Tiffany Blue: How to successfully use this color in your home.

Every girl loves to see that pretty little blue Tiffany's box, but when it comes to using "Tiffany Blue" for your interior, be careful!

In the March 2009 issue of House Beautiful, they had an interesting article on who could achieve this color best!

Read on, you might be just as surprised as I was... HouseBeautiful.com

Let's FIND A CURE!!! ♥

By Holly Peterson

Let's FIND A CURE!!! ♥

I recently received an email from a contractor of mine, asking me to help with a donation to support in the fight against breast cancer.

I am happy to help in any way that I can and would like to also extend this opportunity to YOU...
Maybe you'd even like to start your own fundraiser for someone you love?

To make a donation or to find out how you can participate, please visit:

Happy Valentine's Day!

By Holly Peterson

Happy Valentine's Day!

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I hate Valentine's Day!
But I love you!

Valentine's Day Gifts For Your Lovey ♥

By Holly Peterson

Stumped on a Valentine's Gift For Your Lovey?

Check out these two companies that have come together to bring you unique floral arrangements and yummy chocolates (straight from Hawaii)... Even better, they'll get the goods to you by the LOVE DAY!

It's not too late, order these fabulous flowers and truffles @ Anuhea Flowers

When life gets crazy...

By Holly Peterson

Just remember to...
One of my most favorite sayings....thought I'd share!!!
Have a great day!

Trash for Treasures

By Holly Peterson

Trash for Teaching Castaways Construction Kits
You see button, they see eyeball. You see pen caps, they see ears. There’s no telling what kids can come up with if you let them stretch their imaginations. This was the thinking behind Trash for Teaching, a nonprofit that brings safe and unused scraps, donated by factories, to art programs in three California school districts. In December, the organization expanded their scope with a line of take-home Castaways Construction Kits that kids could use to create their own precious creatures. Each 32-piece kit of “Dumpster Diamonds” supports the Trash for Teaching mission to maximize education while minimizing trash. Who would have thought that a bunch of discarded pen caps and unused packaging parts could make such great waste?

Learn more about the organization at trashforteaching.org
and purchase the kit at castawaykits.com.

Are You Being Taken Advantage of by Your Contractor?

By Holly Peterson

Are you being taken advantage of by your contractor?

When hiring a contractor on your own, be careful! You as the consumer should know the laws of working with a contractor...and guess what?! The law is on your side!!!

I've posted some information that all consumers should know, READ ON...

What should I look for in a contract and binding agreements?

This step helps you understand contract and binding agreements with your contractor.

Here are some precautions to follow while dealing with contracts and binding agreements. A contract is a legal agreement between two or more people. A written agreement is one of the most important communication tools for both you and the licensed contractor. It insures there are no misunderstandings about what a job will include. A thorough contract tells how the work will be done, when it will be done, what materials will be used and how much it will cost.

Disagreements over home improvement projects can cost time and money. Besides producing bad feelings, they can also lead to lawsuits or other legal action. A well-written contract prevents that.

Tip symbolTIP To learn more about contracts, please read the CSLB publication Terms of Agreement, A Consumer Guide to Home Improvement Contracts.

When you need a written contract

In California, there must be a written contract for all home improvement projects over $500 in labor and materials. That contract must include specific information about your rights and responsibilities. In addition, any changes made to that contract must be in writing, be legible, be easy to understand, and inform you of your rights to cancel or rescind the contract. If you are promised something orally make sure that it is included in writing.

Main things to have in a contract

A contract should contain everything agreed upon by you and your licensed contractor. It should detail the work, price, when payments will be made, who gets the necessary building permits, and when the job will be finished. The contract must also identify the contractor, give their address and license number. A good contract also has warnings and notices about the right to cancel, mechanic's liens, and allowable delays.

Reminder symbolREMEMBER

  • Get it in writing. Since a written contract protects both you and the contractor, all agreements should be put in writing. It should be as specific as possible regarding all materials to be used, such as the quality, quantity, weight, color, size, or brand name as it may apply. For example, the contract should say "install oak kitchen cabinets, manufactured by Company XYZ, model 01381A, as per the plan," not just "install kitchen cabinets."
  • Don't sign anything until you understand the contract and agree to the terms. Just because it may not look like a contract, doesn't mean that it isn't. Anything you sign as authorization to move forward with the project could become the contract. So, ask questions until you understand and agree to all the terms before signing. You may also wish to review the proposed contract with an attorney.
  • Make sure the contract includes everything that is agreed to, up to and including complete cleanup and removal of debris and materials, along with special requests like saving lumber for firewood or saving certain materials or appliances. Also give instructions regarding pets, children or areas where materials may not be stored.
  • Never sign a blank or partially blank contract. Once you sign, both you and the contractor are bound by everything set down in the contract, so read it carefully. Make sure to get a copy of the contract, and keep it for you records.
  • Always update your contract. Even after you have signed the contract and the work has already begun, you may want to make some changes. If you have added or subtracted work, substituted materials or equipment, changed the completion date, etc. make sure not note it in writing on a "change order," being sure to include any price changes. After a change order is signed, it becomes part of the written contract.
  • Verify that you receive a Checklist for Homeowners - Home Improvement. As it must be provided in the contract. The checklist specifies how to check out your contractor and how to check out the contract.
  • For swimming pools, verify that you receive a Checklist for Homeowners - Swimming Pool, as one must be provided in the contract, as well as a plan and scale drawing showing the shape, size dimensions, and construction and equipment specifications. You may wish to refer to Swimming Pool Construction in this section for more information regarding the construction of your swimming pool.
  • Make sure your cancellation is in writing. You may cancel within three days of signing a contract, but it must be mailed before midnight of the third day.
  • Make sure the financial terms are clear. The contract should include the total price, when payments will be made and whether there is a cancellation penalty. You should expect to make a *down payment on any home improvement job. That down payment should never exceed 10% of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.

Alert symbolALERT There is one exception to the down payment rule noted above. That is if the contractor has a "Blanket Performance and Payment Bond" on file with the CSLB. This bond is in the amount of work the contractor does at any one time.

With this bond in place, the contractor can ask you for the entire contract amount up front. Also, they are not required to set-up a schedule of payments and do not have to provide you with information about mechanic's liens. This type of bond does offer consumers a certain level of protection, but are rare. Only about two dozen companies have been approved to use them.

You'll be able to find out if your contractor has this type of bond when you check their license status on this Website.

For more information, go to: www.cslb.ca.gov

***And to really avoid running into problems... Hire an interior designer who screens their contractors for insurance and a valid Contractor's License. Your designer can also make sure that the contractors are following the law when asking for deposits and payments.

Can't afford an addition?

By Holly Peterson

If you can't afford an addition, try division.

Maybe you can't afford to add a bedroom, nursery, guest room, or home office just now. So The Sliding Door Company would like to suggest a different kind of math. Division. By installing their beautiful sliding room dividers, your existing space can do double duty. Think two rooms for the price of one. With many styles and finishes to choose from, you'll discover exactly the look you want. Plus you'll enjoy the safety of tempered glass, sturdy aluminum frames, and the assurance that your doors won't leave their tracks. Room dividers from The Sliding Door Co. do add add up to one thing, though. Value.

Learn more at slidingdoorco.com and contact Design Diva Interiors to help you design YOUR room divider!

Eco Development

By Holly Peterson

Hidden Creek Eco Development

Goodbye, cookie-cutter Brady Bunch houses. Hello, individualized homes with bamboo floors and vegetated roofs. It isn’t exactly standard protocol with the suburban-development set yet. But it’s what you will find at Hidden Creek, a sleek village of 14 houses that sits unassumingly in Omaha, Nebraska. The eco houses are built around existing trees and situated closely together to ensure minimal impact on the environment. With solar panels, composts, sustainable siding, and an extensive list of other options, owners can get as off-the-grid as they'd like, smack dab in the middle of America. Astaire, Brando, and now: eco-villages. Who knew Omaha was home to so much fabulousness?

Learn more at moderneco-homes.com

Missing Males

By Holly Peterson

In the past, I've experienced that when working with couples on their homes, men are usually just NOT as interested as their wives. As the years have passed, I've noticed that this is actually not so true anymore. Men are working from home more, and DO have input on what interior changes are going to take place in their home...

Listen up ladies...he just may have something to say!

This article I just read confirms it, check it out:
"Missing Males" article

The Right Move

By Holly Peterson

Rent a Green Box Moving Company

Cardboard boxes are expensive, flimsy, and the hardest thing in the world to find when it’s time for moving. So we were stoked to learn that companies like Rent a Green Box were springing up to right such wrongs. The new zero-waste moving company, which services most cities between the Orange County and San Diego areas, offers packing materials made of old newsprint and rents out bins made of recycled plastic. You borrow the bins to pack and move your treasures. They come and pick up the empties when you're done. Simple and brilliant. The company has gotten such great responses that they are looking to expand nationwide. Hear that? Get to work, People! Some of us would rather to not have to go dumpster-diving for boxes.

Get moving at earthfriendlymoving.com/greenbox