"Home Love" Interior Design Blog

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Home should be your absolutely favorite place.  It should bring you joy and comfort.  It should rejuvenate your soul and refresh your mind and body.  It should exude your personality.  It should be a place your friends and family love to visit and never seem to want to leave.  You should love your home and it should love you back!      

Creating a Designer Look: Tips for Dressing Your Bed

Creating a Designer Look: Tips for Dressing Your Bed

This month I want to focus on something very intimate, but very important. They say that you should start every day by making your bed. Although I don’t always adhere to this, there is something to be said for those days that my bed does get made. So this month, here are some tips for how to dress your bed so that your morning and your night get off to the right start. Enjoy! - Paola...

Simple Tips for Layering and Accessorizing your Surfaces for Drama

Simple Tips for Layering and Accessorizing your Surfaces for Drama

Here at Olamar Interiors, we’ve been focusing on photography a lot lately, and I’ve been really thinking about how to layer and accessorize for drama. On this blog post, I’ll share some of my tried-and-true tips, as well as some of the new things I’ve learned in my research....

Easy and Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Ups You can Implement this Weekend

Easy and Inexpensive Spring Spruce-Ups You can Implement this Weekend

Spring always seems to bring a desire to spruce up and rearrange our homes. This month I'd like to provide you with simple tips for easy and inexpensive Spring spruce-ups you can do yourself to give your dècor a little kick. Enjoy! - Paola...

Designing with your Four-Legged Family Members in Mind

Designing with your Four-Legged Family Members in Mind

If you are anything like me, your pets live on the furniture and throughout your home as much and as well as the human family members do. Here are a few of the things I consider when my clients ask me to design with their four-legged family members in mind....

The Easiest Things You Can Do to Live in a Healthier, More Eco-Friendly Home

The Easiest Things You Can Do to Live in a Healthier, More Eco-Friendly Home

Many people become overwhelmed when considering how to make their home healthier and more eco-friendly or green. Many feel like they don't know enough about the subject, or don't know what resources are available to them. They aren't sure what questions to ask furniture vendors or designers. Others feel it may become overly expensive. The truth is that, although it could be expensive and overwhelming to undertake a complete overhaul of your home, there are some simple steps you can start taking now to help you move toward a healthier, greener home. Here are a few simple ideas....

2016 Year In Review

2016 Year In Review

Wow! This year has absolutely flown by. It’s been an exciting one for Olamar for sure. From exciting awards and features to new amazing projects and clients, we’ve certainly had a very busy 2016....

Designing for Transformations: Children's Rooms

Designing for Transformations: Children's Rooms

There are several stages children go through that often require transforming their rooms and personal spaces. Whether a toddler is ready for her big girl room, or a tween is ready for his teen room, here are some important things to consider so that the transformation is a success:...

Creative Ways to Jazz up your Fireplace and Mantel

Creative Ways to Jazz up your Fireplace and Mantel

It is a fairly steadfast design rule that fireplaces should be the focal point of a room. If you were to ask most designers, it would be a pretty safe bet that they are going to work hard to make sure that the fireplace creates a statement and draws your attention. Most of us have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to jazzing up a hum-drum fireplace. Here are my favorites....

How to Create a Standout Entryway

How to Create a Standout Entryway

Your entryway, the first space guests see when they step through your door, should set the style mood for your home. It should encompass your personality and create a sense of “Wow, I really want to see more,” for all who enter. And achieving this doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Here are a few quick and easy tips for creating an entryway that is sure to “WOW” you and your guests alike!...

Creating the Perfect Accent Wall

Creating the Perfect Accent Wall

Adding an accent wall to your space is the perfect way to add interest, personality and punch of creativity. It can serve many purposes, from defining a certain area within your space, to drawing the eye towards architectural details, to giving a boring space some pizazz. Try these easy-to-incorporate tips for creating the perfect accent wall....

Styling your Coffee Table

Styling your Coffee Table

Give your living room an easy, stylish update with these decorating tips for a perfectly styled coffee table. ...

A Fresh Start for Summer: Organization and Redecorating Tips

A Fresh Start for Summer: Organization and Redecorating Tips

It's a refreshing, cathartic exercise to clean up, clear out, reorganize, donate and dump all of the things that make up our daily lives at home. It's technically still spring, so get your spring cleaning done and start summer fresh!...

Painting for Effect: Notes on Color

Painting for Effect: Notes on Color

The impact of color can be positive and sometimes negative and it is important to know what those impacts are when choosing colors for specific rooms...

Olamar Featured in Houzz Article

Olamar Featured in Houzz Article

We're so excited to be featured in this new Houzz.com article, 10 Reasons Why You Should Update Your Bed Linen. Our Alexandria master retreat was noted for it's luxe look...

Tips for Bringing the Indoors Outside

Tips for Bringing the Indoors Outside

I’m a firm believer that your outdoor spaces should function as well as your indoor spaces. Whether you want to sit outside with a cold glass of lemonade and enjoy the warmth or invite the neighborhood over for barbecue and margaritas, here are a few tips to make your outdoor spaces feel and function more like your indoor spaces do:...

Spruce Up your Decor for Spring

Spruce Up your Decor for Spring

It's the perfect time of year to give your home and your spirit a little bit of spring energy. Consider taking on any or all of the following easy-to-do projects to get you and your home spring ready....

Trend Watch 2016

Trend Watch 2016

According to Elle Décor and other top design resources, there are a few unexpected and fun interior design trends that you can expect to see in 2016. ...

A Look Back at 2015 for Olamar Interiors

A Look Back at 2015 for Olamar Interiors

Take a little “home tour” with us as we look back through 2015 and our notable news and projects!...

By Paola McDonald   |  December 31, 2015   |  

Creative Ways to Jazz Up your Fireplace

Creative Ways to Jazz Up your Fireplace

It is a fairly steadfast design rule that fireplaces should be the focal point of a room. If you were to ask most designers, it would be a pretty safe bet that they are going to work pretty hard to make sure that the fireplace creates a statement and draws your attention. Most of us have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to jazzing up a hum-drum fireplace. ...

Our Designs Through the Years


This fall marks the nine-year anniversary of Olamar Interiors (formerly Creative Elegance Interiors) as a company. Though I recognize it’s not a milestone anniversary like next year’s tenth, I would still like to take a moment to look back at how far we’ve come in these last nine years. ...

Tips and Tools for Designing a Family- AND Pet-Friendly Space

Tips and Tools for Designing a Family- AND Pet-Friendly Space

Since our new puppy Tucker entered our lives, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our main living areas, at least until his chewing phase has passed and he’s fully house trained. It got me thinking about all of our wonderful clients who share their spaces with their four-legged family members and how we’ve made design decisions for their homes that make their spaces comfortable for everyone. Read on for tips and ideas for designing with and around our four-legged friends. ...

Five Pro Tips to Make Your Outdoor Space Fabulous

Five Pro Tips to Make Your Outdoor Space Fabulous

As things heat up for the summer we know that most of you are thinking about, working on or already using your outdoor spaces. We thought we’d take an opportunity to share with you the tips that pros use to create fantastic outdoor spaces that are stylish and functional. We also wanted to show off our recently completed outdoor design project in order to provide examples of these tips in an actual setting. Enjoy and happy summer! ...

Taking In the 2015 D.C. Design House

Taking In the 2015 D.C. Design House

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the opening day of the 2015 Washington D.C. Design House. It was an amazing, inspiring experience. All of the designers were on hand to discuss their designs and answer questions. Many of the rooms were absolutely exquisite. I particularly loved the living room, powder room and nursery. If you have an opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the design elements that most intrigued me about the design house and why....

What's Hot This Spring in Fashion + Design

What's Hot This Spring in Fashion + Design

These past few weeks, as I searched for inspiration for my design projects, I was taken to several sites talking about what’s hot in fashion and design this spring and how the two are so interrelated. Here are some of my favorites - hopefully these will inspire your idea books for your next interior design project. Trends: Metallics, Ochre, Black and White Graphic Prints, Cobalt and Steep Blues....

You found them their home … now help them make it their own

You found them their home … now help them make it their own

Real Estate Professionals: Are you looking for a unique way to thank your clients? You worked hard for your clients to help find them the perfect home – now give them a gift they will always remember. Olamar Interiors provides options ranging from a simple color consultation up to more detailed interior design package. ...

Five Design “Rules” That Were Made to be Broken

Five Design “Rules” That Were Made to be Broken

When approaching a design project for my clients, I do not focus so much on any particular “rules.” Instead, I focus on what will make my client and her family feel their best in their space. With this in mind, here are five ways that breaking “design rules” can help make your home, well, yours......

When to Give it a Go and When to Hire a Pro for Your Design Project

When to Give it a Go and When to Hire a Pro for Your Design Project

Sometimes taking on aspects of your interior design project yourself can help stretch your budget and can provide a level of personal satisfaction. However, there are a few key things to consider when deciding if you should take on a project yourself or if you should hire an expert to do the work for you....

My Daughter's Bedroom Interior Design Update

My Daughter's Bedroom Interior Design Update

On the personal front I have had the pleasure of updating the design of my daughter's bedroom interior design over the past couple of months. ...

Home Decor for Easy and Creative Entertaining

Home Decor for Easy and Creative Entertaining

Tips, suggestions and ideas from interior designer Paola McDonald of Olamar Interiors in Haymarket, VA for how to design spaces that allow for easy, creative entertaining. ...

Furniture Market Update: What is Trending in the Interior Design and Home Furnishings World

Furniture Market Update: What is Trending in the Interior Design and Home Furnishings World

My yearly market visit is one of my favorite times of the year. In the spirit of sharing what is currently trending in the interior design world, along with my predictions for what colors and new or re-introduced style trends you can expect to see in the home and design magazines in the next couple of years, please read on. Enjoy!...

About Paola

Paola McDonald

My philosophy about design is simple. Your house needs to work for the way you live. I consider myself a designer for real life. I believe that the design of a space should be completely and totally about the people who are going to use that space day in and day out. It should be inclusive of all members of the family, both big and small and even those that are four-legged and furry. Your home should not only reflect who you are as a family unit but work for the way you live in it and use it every day.

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