Do you have high ceilings?

The Milano Drape Style is a great way to ground your space.  This dramatic style creates an intimate feeling by drawing the eye to the 19″ band along the lower portion of the drape.  The Milano works well in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings by humanizing and balancing the overall space.


This drape is in the Milano Style with Rings in Dolphin Fabric (A) and Marble Fabric (B).




This drape is in the Milano Style with Grommets in Marble Fabric (A) and Dolphin Fabric (B).


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Ever found the perfect piece of furniture to order, just to find out that not even one of the fabric choices work for you?

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find the right fabric for your upholstered furniture – there is a solution!  It’s called C.O.M. or Customer’s Own Material.  Many furniture retailers don’t like to share this option as it makes the order a bit more complicated, but this is something we regularly specify and coordinate for our clients.

Graded-in fabrics, or fabrics offered through furniture manufacturers are typically not high-style.  They are usually very common textiles that appeal to a wide range of people.  Which is understandable as manufacturers can’t afford to stock specific fabric that only a small percentage of customers will purchase.  This is why most people’s furniture looks the same as their neighbors.  The good news is, you don’t have to settle for the ho-hum fabric options offered, you can bring a custom element to your pieces and let your style shine!

As most quality furniture manufacturers are willing to upholster their furniture pieces with fabric you send them, the C.O.M. process is fairly straight forward.  It’s a matter of verifying with the manufacturer that the fabric you want to use is appropriate for the piece.  Once you have their approval for the specific fabric they will provide the yardage based on the repeat of the fabric and an address to send the fabric to.  It’s that easy!

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Be sure your fabric is suitable for upholstery, many lightweight fabrics are not.
  2. Be sure your fabric is of high quality, so it will last.
  3. Going C.O.M. might cost slightly more as you purchase the fabric separately, pay to ship it to the manufacturer, and pay the base price for the piece of furniture.
  4. An extended delivery time is common, due to the fact that the manufacturer will not put your piece into production until your fabric is received.
  5. C.O.M. is one of the best ways to customize your furniture and show your unique style!


The Design Team


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It’s confusing, I know – interior designers, interior decorators, entertainers on HGTV, contemporary interior design, traditional interior design.  So, what is the truth about interior design and how do you know you are hiring a true professional?  Interior designers are qualified through education, experience and examination.  Be sure you are hiring someone who has a bachelor’s degree in interior design and has years of experience in every facet of a project.

Contemporary Interior Design

A professional interior designer provides a wide range of services including, analyzing your needs to determine project objectives, preparing drawings and specifications relative to the design of your interior space and managing your project.

With the internet today, there are a lot of places to learn about interior design.  This can be a starting point; however, it’s often challenging to put what you learn about interior design into practice without some guidance from a professional.  A professional can at a minimum provide interior design tips in a consultation or provide full services of managing the entire process for you.

contemporary kitchen

A good interior designer will guide you through this process, allowing you to learn about interior design and support you in making the decisions that are right for you.  Whether your style is contemporary interior design or traditional, a qualified designer will design based on your preferences, not theirs. If you prefer contemporary interior design, they will only present contemporary design ideas.

Many rewards come with retaining the services of a professional interior designer for your home or business.  According to ASID, “an interior designer has aesthetic, practical and technical expertise in all the elements that make up an interior environment.  When you hire an interior designer, you get the benefit of an experienced professional who can solve problems, help avoid costly mistakes and create an attractive, affordable space designed specifically to meet your lifestyle needs.”  Interior designers are trained to integrate your needs and goals with their design knowledge to create a functional and safe environment.  Whether you are looking for general interior design tips, specific contemporary design ideas, access to the right resources, or recommendations for appropriate contractors, working with a professional also saves you time.

red living room

Hiring a professional interior designer is a wise investment.  Not only do their services add value to your quality of life but they also add value to your property.  The professional fees an interior designer charges are usually small in comparison to the benefits and return on investment.

The Design Team


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When identifying a client’s style requirements, we narrow down very quickly if their style is Traditional, Transitional, or Contemporary.

So how do you identify which style you are?

Traditional styles incorporate added ornamentation, moldings, or intricate detailing.  Traditional cabinetry typically has raised panels or added trim.  While chairs and sofas will have rolled arms, nail heads, or carved wood legs.  Traditional fabrics often have prints with multiple colors, such as plaids or florals.

The picture below shows a Traditional Kitchen we designed where the cabinets have raised panel doors and added molding.  What do you think – is this your style?


Contemporary Styles are defined by clean sleek lines and no added ornamentation.  Contemporary cabinetry often has a slab style door.  Chairs and sofas with square arms and straight legs are indicative of a contemporary style; while fabrics are often solid or a pattern with only 2 colors.

In this Contemporary Kitchen the PKB DESIGN team selected slab style cabinet doors with a high gloss finish.  How do you feel about this Kitchen – is this your style?


Many people fall somewhere in between, which we call transitional.  Transitional design blends both contemporary and traditional elements.  For example, cabinetry might have some trim, but overall clean lines.  A slight rolled arm may be combined with straight legs on a chair or sofa.  Fabrics could have a contemporary geometric pattern with more than 2 colors.

For this Kitchen project, the client’s style was neither traditional or contemporary so our design team selected transitional styled cabinets with a recessed panel door and balanced the wood finish with stainless appliances to blend traditional and contemporary elements.  How about this one – is this your style?


Using these straightforward guidelines you too can easily determine your style.  Please let us know what your style is by posting a comment.  Need help finding your style?  Feel free to post your design questions on our social media, our professional interior designers are an active part of our social media and love to answer design questions.

Our Best For Your Best Design!


The Design Team


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Take a peek into a living room that our PKB DESIGN team recently created…. 


The client wanted a space that was comfortable yet elegant for entertaining – enjoying a cocktail and great conversation with friends before a delicious dinner.  We discussed a classic, clean-lined space in neutral white and grey hues with an accent of striking contrast.

After uncovering the client’s unique needs and transforming their vision into a design concept, our Interior Designers dove into creating the best furniture layout for the client’s lifestyle and the architecture of the room.  Specifying a loveseat rather than a sofa created a more intimate conversation area, while ottomans provide additional seating without blocking the fireplace.

The fireplace was updated with the always classic material of white marble.  Carpet was replaced with dark wood floors to add richness and contrast, while walls were painted in a neutral light silver to provide a calming elegance to the space.  In order to give an illusion of height to the 8 foot ceilings, Verticale style drapes were added.  The vertical banding on the leading edge of each drape elongates the windows and creates a feeling of higher ceilings.



The neutral color and light value of walls, drapes, and upholstery contrast beautifully with the dark floors, dark wood accents, and deep grey contemporary pillows to create a sophisticated entertaining space that the client and their guests will enjoy for years to come.

Enjoy the tour!

The Design Team


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PKB DESIGN has been awarded “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.  The “Best of Houzz” award reveals the top-rated building, remodeling and design professionals.  PKB DESIGN was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community for this national award of excellence.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the Houzz community once again.  My team and I are proud to continue having our work published and shared around the world, however we are especially proud to be honored for our client service.  Our clients’ needs are our top priority and it is so rewarding to receive national recognition for that commitment.” said Penny K. Bartlow, President of PKB DESIGN LLC

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including PKB DESIGN LLC,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “They were singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”  You can follow PKB DESIGN LLC on Houzz at


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 technology, 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, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

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Your bedroom is the place where you will spend nearly half of the rest of your life; so, you will need to design every piece of the room carefully. Your bedroom curtains will help you set the right mood and create a sense of harmony in your space. In addition, curtains are responsible for controlling the amount of light entering the room to help you relax and sleep deeply.


In your bedroom, choose colors and patterns that bring you a sense of peace and help ease you into a restful state for the night.  At PKB DESIGN LLC, we usually recommend neutrals, blues, or greens in the bedroom for their calming effect and tone on tone patterns or textures for visual interest.


You may want to add a shade to your window for light control and use the drapes for decorative purposes.  However, if you are using drapes to control the light in your bedroom, we recommend running them floor to ceiling to reduce light gaps.  Whether your drapes are operable or stationary, they should always be lined with high quality liner to maintain their structure and to let the fabric’s true color show in the space.


Fabric is a soft, luxurious material that is essential to creating the perfect bedroom and curtains are one of the best ways to incorporate it.  Installing quality full length drapes in your bedroom creates the feeling of a 5 star hotel room.  You will see and feel a huge difference in your space and have the serene, comforting oasis you’ve always wanted.  Your bedroom is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning, it sets your mood for the day.  Make sure you are creating the mood you want in your home and life!

The Design Team





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There aren’t many interior elements with more style choices than furniture. Take a sofa for example, what style of back, arm, and cushion should you select? Do you want an exposed leg or a skirt? If there is an exposed leg will it be wood or metal, square or round? It’s no wonder that many people have difficulty selecting appropriate furniture for their home, the options can be overwhelming.


We always tell our clients that furniture should not be trendy. If you purchase good quality timeless pieces, specifically those which are referred to as the classics, you will never need to replace your furniture. Classic furnishings elevate the sophistication of a space by acting as functional art. Complimenting many interior styles, these pieces are built to last, from both a structural and aesthetic viewpoint. With exceptional quality construction and a design that will never appear dated, the classics become coveted family heirlooms. They truly are timeless pieces.


There are specific companies that offer classic collections, such as Knoll (KnollStudio), Herman Miller (for the Home), and Cassina (Maestri). They hold the exclusive rights to manufacture these collections according to the original design, which guarantees that you are getting the real thing and not a replica. We recommend working with a qualified interior designer to select appropriate classics for your environment. There are many to choose from but some of our favorites are Mies van der Rohe’s Brno and Barcelona Chairs, Marcel Breuer’s Wassily and Cesca Chairs, and the Eames Lounge Chair.Integrating classic furnishings into your home will ensure a sophisticated quality design that will stand the test of time.


Penny K. Bartlow, ASID

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Paint is an interior product that almost everyone uses. But how do you know which paint is right for you? There are many brands to choose from, some that we specify at PKB DESIGN LLC are Benjamin Moore, California, and Sherwin Williams. Whichever brand you choose you will need to select the type, sheen, and color.

What are VOCs and Why Should You Care?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are carbon-containing chemical compounds. Everyone is familiar with the smell of a freshly painted room. However, most people don’t think about what they’re actually breathing in. VOCs are essentially toxins that are being released into the environment, contributing to poor indoor air quality. The paint manufacturers have addressed this issue by creating low VOC paints. When you paint a room with a low or no VOC paint, there is little to no odor, because there are little to no VOCs to off gas. Low VOC paint has been available for some time and now paint manufacturers are creating additional low VOC options as well as paint certified for allergies and asthma. Originally, low VOC paint was only available in light colors, but that’s changing. No matter what brand of paint you want to use, make sure you ask for the lowVOC option, if they don’t offer it look to another brand.


Selecting The Right Sheen The sheen level you select will have a huge impact on the look and performance of your paint. The four basic sheen levels are flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss (some paint manufacturers offer more sheen options). We rarely specify flat or gloss. Typically for walls we specify an eggshell finish; it has a low sheen level to help hide wall imperfections and it’s washable as opposed to flat. We often specify semi-gloss on wood trim, doors, and windows because it is slightly more durable than eggshell and not nearly as shiny as gloss.

Selecting The Right Color Picking the right paint color is a challenging task. It seems like the options are limitless. There are three main attributes of color: hue or color family (red, blue, green), intensity or saturation (purity of color, vividness, dullness), and value (lightness, darkness).You have to consider all three when selecting the right paint color. We typically use this order when selecting a paint color for a client. First we determine the hue we are interested in and then the intensity we want. This will narrow down the choices to a few paint strips in the fan deck. Then you just have to decide on the value.

Paint is a great way to add color to your life and breathe new life into any room!

If you have questions or want an expert opinion, we can help!  Call us!


Design Team


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The three types of lighting that comprise a lighting system are ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient lighting is the general illumination of a space. Many ambient fixtures are overhead, near or at
the ceiling plane, to provide a fairly uniform distribution of light.
Task lighting supplements ambient lighting to aid performance in a given task, such as reading writing,or cooking. Popular task lights are adjustable desktop fixtures and undercabinet lighting.
Accent lighting highlights a particular item or area, such as a light to draw attention to artwork or displays.
The best lit interiors incorporate aspects of each of these three categories, maximizing flexibility and control. Despite all these artificial lighting options, consumer preference is strongest for natural lighting. Daylight is the most sustainable form of lighting and should be used as much as possible. Using natural lighting as a primary source combined with artificial supplements allows homeowners to enjoy lower energy costs.
Lighting fixtures, or luminaires, take different forms to create various effects. Categories of  luminaries include indirect, semi-indirect, general diffuse, indirect-direct, semi-direct, and direct. These groupings describe the direction the light is channeled by the fixture; indirect fixtures channel light upward toward the ceiling while direct fixtures shine light downward to the users. The other categories shine a given proportion of light upward and downward. A space that has only direct lighting tends to have more glare and a harsher feel while incorporating indirect lighting will create a balanced softer light source. The same space will feel completely different whether direct or indirect lighting is utilized.
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