2018 NARI Bay Area Remodeling Awards

On April 11th 2018 at EQ3 in San Francisco CA, Robineve Cole was proud to receive a 2017 NARI Bay Area Remodeling Award. This honor is  fondly known as a “Remmie Award”.

NARI is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and they sponsor the awards. Local awards are the Remmies (a remodeling award). NARI National is in all 50 states, and offers regional awards as well as a national CotY (Contractor of the Year) award.

Achievement Awards recognize outstanding achievements by an individual, company, or NARI chapter because of their work to promote or enhance professional remodeling.


Previous NARI Awards

Robineve has previously won Remmie awards from NARI in 2014, 2016, and 2017  for projects done in Livermore and Piedmont.

he won the 2104 Contractor of the Year Award in the interstate Southwest Region. More impressively, she then won the CotY, or Contractor of the Year Award, from NARI National. She received the National award in New Orleans.

This year Robineve won a Remmie for the Best interior remodeling from East and North Bay and San Francisco, priced from 75-150K.

remodeling award presentation event
John Cole of JC Architecture, Robineve Cole, and Gary Collins of Windows and Beyond. This team worked together on this year’s CotY project.

As an Interior Designer, Robineve is often involved in remodeling projects. She makes an impression in the remodeling community as a source for high quality and highly functional design. Robineve brings professionalism that fosters great working relationships.

NARI Bay Area Remodeling Award presentation
Chris Cook of Cooke Kitchen and Bath with Robineve Cole, at NARI East Bay

Here at Robineve Interiors, we delight in receiving awards. We’re so proud of the work that has gone into earning it. As Robineve continues to use her artful eye and design skill, maybe the future will hold more recognition. We certainly hope so.

If you’re planning a remodel or not sure about what to do next with your home, contact Robineve Interiors for expert help.


Photos credits to Alexandra Malek for Drew Altizer Photography.

Make Windows Look Huge With Smart Use Of Curtains

Why make your windows look bigger? There are many advantages to having larger seeming windows! Your home seems bigger, ceilings may seem higher, the idea that the window is large makes the home seem higher-end, the outdoors seem closer at hand. In generally, windows are a bigger-is-better area of life. There are even entire rooms constructed out of windows, called sunrooms. People love sunrooms.


But what if what you have is a drywall or stucco or other non-window room, with a small window or two in it? It’s probably not ideal, but there are things you can do. Knock the wall out and get bigger windows! If that’s a bit too expensive, you don’t have time for that, or you’re a renter, you can still make the room feel like it has more window. There are aesthetic tricks that’ll trick you into feeling like your windows are bigger. And that’s a good feeling.


Make Windows Seem Taller


make windows look huge with curtains
Ceiling to floor curtains for windows that are not that tall create the illusion of huge windows, which would have looked unremarkable in curtains fit to their size.


Hanging Rod

The rod you hang your curtains from should not be placed right above the top window edge. You can put it from few inches above the actual top of the window all the way up to mounting your hanging rod on the ceiling instead of the wall. Putting space above the window behind a valance or cornice also makes the window seem taller and more impressive.


Fabric Length

Don’t stop your curtain at the bottom of the window. You can let the fabric flow from a foot longer than the window is tall to all the way to the ground. Floor-to-ceiling curtains give the illusion of large vertical scale to windows that are just average size. It’s up to you how extreme to go with length. The longer the curtain, the more powerful the vertical line made by folds in the hanging fabric.


Fabric Selection

To create an illusion of greater height, you can use vertical stripes, of course. Although that’s the obvious choice, it’s not the only one that works. Because the curtains hang in folds when open, any repeating pattern will create vertical lines, as will solid colors. They just each to so in differing amounts. You can also choose to hang panels of more than one fabric, making wider vertical bands.


Give Windows a Wider Appearance


Hanging Rod

For wider appearing windows, you can have your curtain rod extend past the actual width of your window. You can go as far as you’d like, but 60-80% wider than the window is considered reasonable. With your curtains open, expose almost all of the glass, leaving all wall area hidden. The human mind will assume that behind the remaining curtain lies an expansive window! Make sure your curtains are wide enough to cover the whole length of the rob when closed. You can use a straight-bottomed cornice or valance to emphasise the horizontal lines.


Fabric Length

If you want your windows to appear wider and not taller, Then fabric length should be kept to no shorter than 6 inches below the bottom of the window. Light would come through closed curtains if it were any shorter. Longer is not a problem, but the longer the curtain the more it will make the window appear larger in general, as opposed to wider.


Fabric Selection

Horizontal stripes, or even a curtain that has a horizontal color change, can help your windows look panoramic. Otherwise, sticking to solids is best, because any pattern will look like vertical patterning once visually divided by the hanging folds of fabric.


Super Size Them: Make Your Window Look Bigger Both Ways


Hanging Rod

Like when trying to create taller windows, you’ll want to raise the hanging bar above the window top quite a bit. Also, you’ll want to use the window-widening trick and extend the bar far past the natural window edges. This means a high, long bar. It’s a great idea to add a cornice or valance to disguise all that wall space above the window and behind your curtains.


Fabric Length

The longer the better, in this case. Well, almost. Curtains that drag on the floor look great in photoshoots, but are not practical in the home. Pooled curtains are a dangerous tripping hazard. Give your floor some clearance for safety and so that the curtain bottoms don’t became a shelter for dust bunnies.


Fabric Selection

Different stripes: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, will all make your windows seem bigger, but in different ways. Think about what would work best with the space. Solid, light colors can also seem very big and bright, which is a great way to make windows seem large. Really the only way to go terribly wrong with fabric selection is to chose dark colors or large prints.


Getting the look right in your home is a mix of knowledge, skill, and inspiration, not to mention access to the right materials. For expert help creating gorgeous, functional spaces, contact Robineve Interiors. The award-winning talend of Robineve Cole can make your windows shine bigger than ever and so much more.


Why Do Interior Colors Matter in Your Living Space?

How colors are used in your home may affect you more than you realized. It’s been well established that colors affect the human experience. From the color red making people hungry, to yellow making babies cry, and green increasing our feelings of calm and health, there are many documented human responses to color.


Why Does This Matter in Your Home?

Everyone wants their home to feel good to them. Some people want their entire home to feel calm and welcoming. Others would like their home office to feel vibrant and alive. Some hope to create great socializing environments for entertaining. All of these things can happen with the help of color.


You’re Already Being Affected by Color

What you may not have considered is that without making conscious color choices, you are still being influenced by the colors in your home. Colors have power, and they may be creating something other than the emotions you’d hoped to have at home.


You may want a cozy, restful bedroom but have a bright rainbow of colors in your bedding and decor, keeping your body and mind from settling down at night. Or you may want to have friends over for a lively night of games and fun, but your monochromatic beige living space sets the scene for a quiet, almost professional gathering instead. You want the family to gather for great meals in the dining room, and the calm blues you’ve chosen influence the group to lose their appetite before they’ve even started.


monochromatic interior, interior design, ambiance
This bedroom is monochromatic sage green, using an undyed straw color as a neutral.

Before You Start: Color Terms to Know

Tint: A tint is what you get when adding white to a color. Pink is a tint of red, because white has been added.

Shade: A shade is what you get when adding black to a color. Few shade have their own names

Hue: Hues are variations of a color created by adding another color. Generally we describe the color added as a primary color. Teal is a hue of green, because blue is added.

Monochromatic: Monochromatic means “one color” and it refers to decor that is primarily tints and shades of the same color, but may include hues. The key is that notably different colors are absent.

Duochromatic: Duochramatic means “two color” and is a clean but lively look. There are two prominent colors, to the exclusion of others.

Accent Color: An accent color is used sparingly, and is generally very different than the other colors in use, it stands out.

Neutral: A neutral color is one that goes with everything, or fits in well anywhere. Black, white and grey are always neutral, and most people agree that beige, tan, and brown can also be neutrals.

Primary Colors: Red, Blue, Yellow. They are the simplest, most basic colors. All others come from mixing these three.

Secondary Colors: Green, Violet, Orange. These are the equal-part mixes you can make from each pairing of primary colors. They’re still bright and basic, and do well used with primary colors.

How Can You Use Interior Colors Most Effectively?

Knowing the amazing power of color, you may feel the urge to repaint, reupholster, and refinish your whole home. That’s entirely understandable, and doing so would indeed have a great effect on your home and homelife. The question is, how do you choose colors?


There is a lot of color psychology and color theory information out there on the internet, but the truth is that harnessing the power of color takes years to master. Choosing colors is not as straightforward is it seems. You must consider intensity of the color, scale or size of the piece, patterns and textures, ratios of colors present, and the effects of where you place the color. As you can imagine, having a black floor will affect you very differently than having a black ceiling would. A professional interior designer on your side can save you from a lot of pitfalls.


interior colors, interior design, color theory, color effects
This hallway is duochromatic in its most simple form: no shades or hues, no accent colors.


Things to avoid:

  • When looking at paint chips or color samples, bright colors will seem more reasonable in that small form than they would be on a large item. That sorbet orange that looked invigorating on a 2-inch by 3-inch paper card is actually blazingly bright on an entire wall. The larger the space you intend to paint or item you intend to reupholster, the more you need to look to tints, or possibly shades. Because of this, a bright color on a wall will generally look much less exciting on a paint sample card.
  • Be mindful with patterns. Having too few patterns or interesting textures can create a more sterile look than intended, whereas having too many patterns can create feelings of chaos or messiness.
  • It’s not generally a good idea to decorate in all primary or secondary colors. Try to include more complex hues, like dark, rich colors or light, dusty ones.


Orchestrating the interior colors in your home to help create the life you want is something that takes skill and knowledge. And it’s not difficult with the right help. If you have a home decorating or remodeling project coming up and need some guidance on how to use colors to your advantage, contact Robineve Interiors.


Why you can’t afford NOT to hire an Interior Designer

The biggest reason is Time– it saves you so much time.

The next biggest reason is Money– you can’t afford to make costly mistakes.

Followed closely by That Vision Thing– a professional designer knows what it can look like even as you are describing your dream home.

And hundreds more:

  • Spousal negotiations (!!)
  • Design direction
  • Style guidance
  • Fashion trend forecasting
  • Contractor consultations
  • Architectural experience
  • Amazing exclusive resources
  • Budget management
  • Code regulations
  • Building permits
  • Material specifications
  • Fabric selection
  • Color knowledge
  • Complementary patterns
  • Space planning
  • 3-D renderings
  • Lighting expertise
  • Product knowledge
  • Value comparisons
  • Shopping nightmares
  • Purchasing experience
  • Layout efficiencies
  • Delivery coordination
  • Installation supervision
  • Problem solving
  • Project records

And so much more…….

I will love helping you turn your house into the home of your dreams.

Robineve Interiors: Designing Homes for Life

2016 Walnut Creek Interior Design award

Two and a half years ago, I decided to locate my new design firm in Walnut Creek, because the energy is crazy great here-sooo much growth, and the location was perfect for my clients up and down the 680 and Hwy 24 corridors. It was all about the location, but I’ve come to really like this town.

So I was surprised and delighted when I received the Best of 2016 Walnut Creek Interior Design award this summer.

These are the words from the awards committee:

“We focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.” This is really gratifying to me, because serving my clients, and supporting our neighbors in the county ( those who have been economically marginalized), are two of the most important things to me.

I am thrilled to have launched this design business that has been so well received. Thank you Walnut Creek!

Designing Ahead of the Curve

You may not be familiar with the term Universal Design, but I believe it will become the way all homes will be built in the future. Just as Green Design was a niche concept in the 1990s and is now the standard for all savvy, responsible design, I believe Universal Design will become part of our broader understanding of how our homes can enhance the quality of our lives over time. In short, Universal Design just makes sense.

I first became aware of the practical applications of Universal Design seven years ago when I had to redesign parts of my parents’ home because my Mom had Alzheimer’s disease. At that time, I noticed that I was doing some of the same accommodations that had made my own home easier and safer when my daughter was little. I was impressed that the solutions were multi-generational, and could benefit younger families as well as people over 60 who wanted to “Age in Place”. (Have you heard that term? It describes the way active Boomers–aka Zoomers–are looking to the future. I am a Certified Aging in Place and Downsizing Specialist). As a matter of fact, the active 50+ couple who eventually bought my parents’ home were thrilled that it had everything they needed for their future retirement–and because of that, they were willing to pay top dollar. No costly retrofits would be necessary down the road for their ease of living.

However, what finally cemented my commitment to at least introducing Universal Design principles to all of my remodeling clients was an even more ‘up-front and personal’ experience:  I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life changed in the blink of an eye, and I spent the next 5 months in a wheelchair with two broken legs. Trying to maneuver through my home became a ridiculous obstacle course! My architect husband had long ago educated me in accessible design requirements for commercial architecture; suddenly, I was handicapped and these studies made even more sense–even though I only needed the adaptations for a little while. I came out of the experience wanting to apply these really thoughtful, practical principles to other homes as well–and do it in an elegant, almost invisible manner for my discriminating design clients.

TV locations

There are no hard rules about where a TV should be hung or what the maximized viewing distance is, but here are some general guidelines:

For comfortable viewing height that causes the least eye and neck strain, try to have your eye level be about midway-up the screen. Usually, that measures out at +/- 42″ from the ground if you are seated on a chair or sofa. This height changes to about 60-65″ in a game room where people are watching from a standing position.

To know how far back to sit, a general rule is to take the diagonal measurement of the screen and multiply it by 2.5. This gives you the distance in inches that will be comfortable to most people.

What is Universal Design?

Simply put, Universal Design is an architectural approach to designing a home so that it’s user friendly to all occupants, whatever their age, ability or size. It makes the home multi-generational and flexible, so that a 4-year old can use the kitchen counters as easily as a 94-year old, a five-foot woman can access the same shelves as her 6′-2″husband,  and someone with even a temporary disability can make their home work for them. It’s specifically about adapting the basic home to our evolving needs as our bodies change. The breakthrough is that, by designing with these accommodations in mind, the result is a home designed with more thoughtfulness and mindfulness– better for everyone.

As an interior designer, my passion is designing a home with style, beauty, and practical elegance–and to me, practical IS naturally elegant. If my client recognizes the benefits of Universal Design, I integrate these underlying features in a seamless way. Once in place, Universal Design principles are taking care of you and your family even before you ‘need’  them. It bears repeating: I believe that, eventually, every home will be designed with these common sense features. Until then, they can be incorporated into the remodeling process.