6 Design Details That Make A Difference!

Blue and white never goes out of style.

Details make the difference.

They say the devil is in the details, and nowhere is that more true than in decorating.  Paying attention to  details, big and small, makes an enormous difference!  I wrote an article about it for the Raleigh News & Observer that was published this weekend.  Discover my 6 tips by clicking here

The room above was a 2017 project that completely transformed the client's home.  It's packed with details that make a diff.  I wrote about another room in this project here.  

The art on the walls are design details.

One detail that really serves this room well is the stunning artwork by Michelle Woolley Sauter of One Coast Design--it's the piece right above the wingback chair in the left corner.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I'm crazy about how an abstract shakes up a traditional room in the best possible way.

The fabrics and trim are design details.

Using a contrasting fabric on the welt of upholstered seating is my favorite favorite design detail.  I'm the (self proclaimed) Queen of Contrast Welt! Look at the before and after photo of two club chairs in the room below--I'm so pleased with the way they turned out, thanks to an incredibly talented upholsterer.



Now there was nothing wrong with this Ethan Allen chair when it was purchased many years ago.  Good bones, quality construction and very comfortable.  The fabric just needed an update.  This new blue paisley is a showstopper from Kravet and the contrast welt outlines the chair in a pretty khaki/gold shade.  And you can't see it here, but we also took off the skirt to show off pretty legs.  That's another design detail worth it's weight in gold!


Getting design details right is what we do.

Do you find it difficult to add interesting details when decorating your home?  If so, call an interior designer to learn how to do it.  You might only need a two hour consultation to hear ideas that could change the way you decorate every room in your house!



Advice from a design pro: Get the right lighting, ditch clutter, be happy!

I haven't posted in such a long time.  It was a whirlwind summer with lots of great projects and family time (the beach was awesome, but remind me to tell you about our visit to Chicago later).  I'm working on getting you caught up with some yummy photos by the end of the week, but for now here's a post that somehow never got published back in May!  


It's always fun to be featured in print and digital media. The News & Observer here in Raleigh, NC, published this article in May - if you would rather see their page,  Here's the link to the article,   Most of the photos here were taken by the talented Marilyn of Style House Photography.

My design signature: I lean toward clean lines and calm interiors. I urge clients to pare down the “stuff” and focus on small details that build continued interest in the room. Contrast welt on upholstery, interesting lampshades and mixing antiques with new furnishings are always present in my work.

Biggest design mistake you see in homes: Nothing is more important than the right lighting, whether it’s for mood, safety or function, yet it’s often completely overlooked.


Easy ways to address that mistake in three quick tips:

1. Replace the big incandescent or CFL bulbs in your recessed cans with Cree’s TW Series LED replacement bulbs for recessed cans. They’re sold at Home Depot and cost about $10. 65-watt equivalents are usually bright enough. Cree is a local company and those bulbs are fantastic (and dimmable).

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

2. If you’re lucky enough to have 9-foot ceilings or higher in your kitchen plus an island, hang some pretty pendants over it. This will bring light down closer to the surface where meals are being prepared, homework is being done and conversations are happening. A hanging height rule of thumb is for the bottom of your fixture to be 32 to 36 inches from the surface.

3. Scatter light fixtures around the room. Ceiling lights are for navigation, accent light provides a welcoming glow and task lighting lets you read comfortably in your favorite chair. All three need to be in almost every room.

Best design advice you can give: Enjoy your home. Your goal is not to impress anyone with Instagram-worthy décor. Your goal is to smile every time you walk through the door at the end of the day. Add attractive storage to hold stuff that wants to pile up on the counters, put colorful artwork on those neutral walls and display grandma’s treasured china in an old plate rack you find at the Flea Market, SuzAnna’s Antiques or Market Imports.

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Best advice for window treatments: Big, high windows in many Triangle homes are beautiful, but they also make the room feel kind of cold and exposed. Frame your windows – and their lovely views – with drapery panels. They soften the lines, polish up the room and instantly add a note of luxury.

Go-to trim color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster is my favorite white for beautiful moldings – and use a high gloss finish. Light sneaks in from different sources and the lovely sheen of high gloss paint on your trim is a little bit of magic.

Best decorating bang for the buck: Invest in a couple of hours of time with an experienced interior designer. Designers are happy to do consultations and you will get lots of ideas to implement as time and budget allow. The average hourly rate for local designers seems to run between $100 and $175, and many offer a consultation package (2 hours plus some follow-up resources, for example) in the ballpark of $365. Designers can cover a lot of details in one or two rooms in that amount of time and it can easily save homeowners that much in avoided mistakes.

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

How to buy the right things when shopping: I always ask my clients to come up with three or four words that describe how they want their rooms to look when they’re finished decorating. The words cannot be “warm, comfortable and inviting” – too generic. Dig a little deeper to find words that are more meaningful and personal. We all like so many things that we see in magazines, in the stores and on TV, so those three words can really drive the bus when deciding what to buy. Does the item match up with your three words? If not, put it down. You can admire it without having to buy it. This works for everything from sofas to accessories.

Do you have a current design challenge in your own home? I just bought two gold candle sconces from Vintage Vault in Durham. They’ve got big faceted glass prisms hanging from every possible point. Quite fussy, fun and fabulous. However, my house is rather tailored – not fussy at all. But I promise I will soon find a place to showcase those two sparkly sconces.

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!



DeCocco Design among The 15 Best Interior Designers of Raleigh!

How lovely to get a note out of the blue that gives nice news.  I've reprinted the article here for you, and that's where you'll find a poll to vote for your favorite.  Ciao!  Anne

The 15 Best Interior Designers of Raleigh

Written by 



Who is the best designer in Raleigh, NC? Here are 15 contenders. Vote for your favorite and suggest others that we’ve missed in the comments section.


Raleigh is part of the Research Triangle, where notable universities and development centers have contributed to a thriving, diverse locale. This fast growing and family friendly city has a healthy housing market and booming economy. All of this is happy news for the interior designers of the “City of Oaks,” who proudly support Raleigh’s art and design communities.

In every community, there are leaders that stand out from the pack. Raleigh is no exception, and we’ve gathered the top 15 interior designers who have made their mark on the city. They are listed below in no particular order. Vote for your favorite in the poll below, and if you know a designer who should have been mentioned, let us know in the comment section.


bio-judyJudy Pickett

Since founding Design Lines in 1979, Judy has completed hundreds of projects and received numerous awards. She is a consummate professional who loves to share her knowledge and mentor up-and-coming designers. In 2005, Judy received the American Society of Interior Designers’ highest honor, induction into the College of Fellows. Her inspiration comes from nature.

Beverly-Taylor1Beverly Taylor A former elementary school teacher, Beverly returned to college when her children were in high school. Having earned a degree in interior design, she established bT2 Internet Interiors. Her online interior design company caters to DIY-oriented homeowners. Beverly encourages her clients to be true to their lifestyle, and believes that comfort is the essential element of a successful interior.

Elizabeth-Tess1-300x198Elizabeth O’Neal Elizabeth received a BS in interior design from Meredith College, where she was a member of a national honor society. While participating in the 2008 ASID showhouse, she met Angela Crittenden, whom she partnered with to found Teal Interior Design. The duo create sophisticated interiors fused with a youthful flair. Elizabeth is the company’s lead interior designer for the Raleigh area.



Anne DeCocco

With over 25 years in the industry, Anne possesses a wealth of expertise. She has a passion for beautiful spaces that are easy to live in. Anne’s studies in interior design and art provide her with a solid understanding of design principles, and enable her to face the technical challenges that sometimes arise. Her favorite escape is at the beach, where she enjoys sitting out on a screened porch with a book in hand.

Amy LoweAmy Lowe Amy studied at the Art Institute, and completed her bachelor’s degree at Meredith College. Her love of tactile materials drew her to a career in interior design. In addition to operating her own design firm, Amy Lowe Interiors, she is working on a fine furnishings collection. Her items can be viewed in person at the home decor purveyor Hunt & Gather.

sally-williamsSally Williams A multi-cultural heritage and years abroad are reflected in Sally’s creative interiors. With an accounting degree and a background in corporate management, she is equipped to expertly coordinate project details and stay on budget. Comfortable in both modern and traditional spaces, her design aesthetic is timeless and free of stylistic premises. Sally volunteers her time and talents to non-profit organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

JamieJaimie Malone Committed and passionate, Jaimie connects on a personal basis with her clients. So it’s no surprise that her client list includes Kieran Shanahan, Secretary of Department of Public Safety, and team members of the Carolina Hurricanes. With more than 11 years of experience, Jaimie has a network of architects, builders, and other industry professionals who assist in bringing her designs to life. Her work has been published in the Social magazine, Midtown Magazine and Walter Magazine.

alison-5-of-8-copyAlison Crawford Roane For as long as she can remember, Alison has daydreamed up imaginary additions to her bedroom and ways to make a space more comfortable and inviting. Alison has also always been interested in helping others, and uses her eight years of experience and degree in interior design from Meredith College to do just that. She considers herself an interior designer for the budget-minded. Her style icon is Audrey Hepburn; her design icon is Candace Olsen.

rsz_kristen__margo_picture-600x450 (1)Kristen McGhee & Margo Froehlich Kristen Brook McGhee and Margo “Birdie” Froehlich are the energetic partners of Brook and Birdie Interior Design. Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Meredith College, and specializes in renovations. Margo has been a design professional for 20 years, and uses her experience to provide clients with beautiful, yet functional interiors. The firm’s goal is to use the client’s own style as inspiration, and create a comfortable space that never feels “too done.”

db_designs_donnaDonna Blaser In 1996, Donna established db designs in Randolph, New Jersey. When her family relocated to Raleigh, so did the business. The move to a warmer climate provided Donna with an opportunity to specialize in beautiful outdoor living spaces. She continues to provide timeless and exquisite interiors, and services for all aspects of design.

CarolCarole Marcotte The serial renovator had many requests for home “interventions” from family and friends, so she developed Form & Function. Her goal is to help happily-functioning and beautiful dwellings that can be called home. The company offers full service interior design, redesign, and a retail store specializing in vintage, repurposed, and American-made home decor. In addition to her design hat, Carole is also a wife, mother, actress, and community activist.

heatherHeather Garrett Heather attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, and studied under the famous French designer Robert Couturier. In 2001, she moved to Raleigh and opened her own firm. Her accessible signature style combines practicality (think kids, pets, and red wine) with sophisticated texture and extraordinary lighting. Heather’s work has been featured in national publications and she was named one of Traditional Home’s “New Trad Designers” in 2013.

Laura-Covington-333x500Laura Covington Laura developed an appreciation for design early on, while visiting fabric houses, antique stores, and seamstress studios with her mother. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned a second bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Art Institute of Charlotte. Before founding her own firm, Laura worked with several reputable design studios. Along with her husband, children, and labradoodle, she is a resident of Chapel Hill.

PaigePaige Dick Paige began her journey at the New York School of Interior Design. She worked for a prominent design firm in NYC and Greenwich, CT, before founding Paige Designs LLC. Her work on a transitional-style home was recently featured in The News & Observer. Paige is committed to providing great design for her clients.


Lisa StewartLisa Stewart Lisa grew up in Middle America, where she was raised to appreciate a strong work ethic, the finer things in life, and adventure. She has lived in France, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Although her global travels do influence her design aesthetic, her true inspirations come from her clients. Lisa’s internationally inspired interiors accommodate the budget and lifestyle of her clients.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Bill Dickinson

Read more:


  I've been asked by our local media outlets to participate in upcoming  articles or even to write a story on a design topic.  This post contains the ones I could round up in my free time. :-D


Click on the titles to read the article.



how to arrange your bookshelf, interior design, Raleigh interior designer


Bookshelves Lend Style To Storage


bedroom floor plan, furnishing a bay window


This Nook Needs A Look, pg 1

This Nook Needs A Look pg 2


designing for disabilities


Safety With Style pg 1

Safety With Style pg 2


design help, how to find an interior designer


What's In and What's Out for 2013


cable railing, stainles wire railing, modern design, screened porch, patio, porch railings


Cable railing is all the rage.

curtains, drapes, draperies, roman shades, shades, custom curtains, raleigh, durham, chapel hill


Window Treatments Add Warmth, Style


window treatment design, design consultation raleigh


Sparkle And Texture Turn Room From Dull To Dazzling, pg 1

Sparkle and Texture Turn A Room From Dull To Dazzling, pg. 2.

loveseats, houndstooth, mixing colors in the room, design help


Master Class Versatility and Warmth for Lakeside Living

Here's the video that goes with the above article.








Houzz Award - for design!

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World!

Houzz Design winner, Home office, modern traditional update, interior designer raleigh, chapel hill interior design


DeCocco Design has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Anne DeCocco, who is known for creating warm and welcoming spaces throughout the Triangle area, was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

"I believe the design process should always involve a fun and exciting exchange of ideas, and I encourage my clients to think creatively. This is what often produces the best result!"


reading room, library

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize DeCocco Design among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow DeCocco Design on Houzz!