Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs, Inc.

How Much Should a Sofa Cost?

If you’re not in the business of sourcing products and designing interiors all day long like we are, you might not have any idea how much products for your home cost these days.  It is common for our clients to hire us without having a clue about how much furniture REALLY costs.

For example, how much should a sofa cost?

We often ask our clients a common analogy – are you interested in good, better or best (think Ford, Toyota, Mercedes or Ikea, Pottery Barn, Henredon)?  How much do you want to spend invest? Think about it – your sofa is the workhorse of the house. Big people, little people, pets, crumbs, spills, clean feet, dirty feet and more will spend time on this particular piece of furniture. Comfort is Queen. Quality is King. As Magnus Breitling, director of product management for Emeco chair company, puts it, “They say only rich people can afford to buy cheap stuff.”

So where to begin?

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Photos courtesy of Houzz.com 

 Personally, I cannot in good conscious advocate going out and buying ANYTHING for your home that is new and cheap (i.e. poor quality). Can you buy a sofa constructed of stapled plywood and foam cushions for $500 that might last a year? Sure – but why?  If you are going to do that, go to a thrift shop or consignment shop, reduce your carbon footprint and get a better quality, more interesting sofa.

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Photo courtesy of vintage revivals.com

If you are willing to spend $1,000 – $1,700, you want to be on the hunt for poly-down or spring down cushions  and a frame constructed of a hardwood like ash or maple.

This sofa from West Elm is a good example.

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Since you won’t catch me recommending crap (just keeping it real) to ANYBODY – EVER, let’s consider this a “good option”.

On to BETTER. Let’s spend $1,800 – $3,500.

The “better” sofa will be constructed with a sturdy frame made of a kiln-dried hardwood, such as oak, maple, and poplar. Kiln-drying removes moisture, helping guard against warping and cracking. High-quality frames are screwed and glued at all the joints, to doubly protect against anything coming apart. Sofa corners should be reinforced with blocks connected with double dowels or staples and screws.

(Boring I know but how the frame is constructed is as important as the materials from which it’s made.)

Look for “8-way hand tied” springs – a hallmark of fine furniture.

Here’s a great example from one of our favorite manufacturers – C.R. Laine.


Now let’s spend $4,000 + on a “Best” Sofa.

The construction won’t vary too much from the “better” sofa but the cost will increase due to the quality of fabrics used and many times the name and reputation of the manufacturer. Names like Baker, Hickory White and Century will command a higher price.

I took this photo of this gorgeous sofa by Lillian August for Hickory White while at the Highpoint Furniture Market last October.

blue sofa

The bottom line? Buy the best QUALITY sofa that you can AFFORD. You won’t regret it!



March 17, 2014   3 Comments

Golden Rules of Interior Design

The great thing about social media (in this case Twitter), is you get to meet interesting creatives from all over the world. Thanks to our friends at Terry’s Blinds in the UK for including us in this quirky and fun infographic called “The Golden Rules of Interior Design”.

If you’d like to follow Terry’s Blinds on Twitter, you can follow them HERE.

Terrys Blinds - The Golden Rules Of Interior Design - 650px Wide

March 13, 2014   1 Comment

Modenus Blogtour Milan – Kandrac & Kole Are Going to Italy!!

We are thrilled to announce we have been invited to participate in the Modenus Blogtour Milan!!


What is a blogtour? – It is a tour sponsored by Veronika Miller of  Modenus for a select group of the best interior design and lifestyle bloggers and invites them to visit the world’s most inspired design venues.

Modenus Blogtour has been connecting brands and influencers since 2011 and has visited New York, Cologne, Amsterdam, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and this year, a trip to Milan and then Paris.  We will spend 6 days reporting on new trends and products as we galavant around Milan AND Venice!


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Here is the official announcement!




From seaside homes to luxury condominiums in Boston’s Back Bay, award-winning interior designer Pamela Copeman is noted for her posh panache and timeless designs that unite classic style with a modern, often colorful twist. Author of Posh Palettes Blog, Pamela has over 20 years of experience designing exceptional living spaces for a variety of clients, Pamela prides herself on keeping up with the latest and greatest products and trends in interior design. By working collaboratively with clients, Pamela ensures that each space she designs is a true reflection of the people who live in it.Pamela is also an accomplished painter and mixed media artist. Describing her artistic style as colorful, eclectic and loose, Pamela paints with a designer’s eye and a firm belief that inspiration is everywhere. Learn more about Pamela’s artistic style via her TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+


Kandrac Kole is a nationally recognized interior design firm founded by principal designers Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole.  This successful duo has established a reputation well known for their approachable, dynamic personalities, signature use of color, and one of a kind, custom designs.  Voted one of Atlanta’s Top 20 Residential Interior Designers in 2013 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, their work has been featured on HGTV, The New York Times, House Beautiful.com, Southern Lady Magazine, Atlanta Home Improvement and Houzz.com. Joann and Kelly’s love and commitment to the power of interior design is also exhibited in their charity work throughout the U.S. and Guatemala and thru their blog, blog.kandrac-kole.com, which was established in 2009. Learn more about this dynamic duo via their TwitterFacebook, Pinterest and Google+.


Carmen Maria Natschke is a new media entrepreneur, freelance writer, social media diva, speaker and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the internationally acclaimed design blog, The Decorating Diva. Her passion for beautiful design has her traveling the globe as a lifestyle and design expert sharing her love of art, architecture, design, and trends with thousands of Decorating Diva fans around the world. Connect with Carmen on TwitterFacebook Pinterest , and Google+.


Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD is the founder of SketchThis.Net. Eric has utilized 3D technology throughout his career. He has taken pencil and paper operations and converted them to 3D, worked with Google on Sketchup’s development, created 3D content for companies large and small, and taught Sketchup to countless students all over the country.He is also an active columnist in Kitchen & Bath Design News, is often hired to teach Sketchup, and speak on emerging technologies for the design field. He is currently touring the country on a three year teaching tour with Ellen Cheever and Kitchen & Bath Design News. Meet Eric and learn more about 3D technology via his TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


Holly Hollingsworth Phillips is a residential interior designer and owner of The English Room in Charlotte, North Carolina. Holly’s style is elegant, eclectic and colorful. She has completed homes all over the East coast that have ranged in style. Holly has been published in many publications in print and digital.  She loves overseeing the design process from beginning to end. “The best part is when your clients really trust you and set you free to do what you do best.” Her love of color, pattern and layering of old and new can be seen in all her work. According to Holly, “Color makes people happy!”  Holly is a Blogtour London 2013 alumni and Blogtour devotee. Learn more about the colorful Holly via her TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


Since 2008 Tamara Matthews Stephenson has been writing Nest by Tamara, a lifestyle blog inspired by her busy life as a NYC interior designer. She muses about all that encompasses “nesting.”  Tamara has also written for Traditional Home Magazine, Venu Magazine, Today’s Equestrian and New York Spaces Magazine. Tamara hopes to help her clients and readers create a stylish yet well-lived in home while putting it all into perspective. Learn how to “nest” with Tamara via her TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


CLOTH & KIND is a boutique interior design firm and blog led by Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Ramsay with offices in Ann Arbor, MI and Athens, GA. They are storytellers that design well-curated, layered and cultured spaces created to reflect the personalities of their clients and how they live their lives. Meet the fabulous partners and learn about their steadfast passion for textiles and cultured spaces via their TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


Robin Plaskoff Horton’s award-winning and Webby-nominated blog, Urban Gardens, is a lifestyle story told from the ground up. A mix of urban style, design, and nature, Urban Gardens is about the whole circle. Urban Gardens explores the world’s most captivating destinations, to see, taste, and experience multi-culturally, what the global creative universe is growing and serving up in their own particular style.Robin has been a featured speaker at the Garden Bloggers Conference, Women at Woodstock, and the Garden Writers Association Annual Meeting. She contributes to Houzz, and has been a featured curator for social commerce sites, Pickie and Luvocracy. In addition to several awards, Mashable named Urban Gardens “One of the Top 10 Must-Follow Home and Garden Twitter Accounts.” Get connected with Robin via her TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


Lisa Smith, interior designer, author, publisher of DecorGirl.net, artist and sportscar driver is more than your average designer. Owner and visionary behind Interior Design Factory, Ltd. a boutique design firm where they design everything from furniture to light fixtures to provide their clients with a completly personalized interior, Lisa lives by her words, “do it once, do it right.“ She brings and artist’s eye for color and composition to everthing she does. Her automotive interests fuel her personality of living outside the box and provide endless inspiration for design solutions. Live outside of the box with Lisa via her Twitter, FacebookPinterest and Google+.

Please stay tuned for some great product information, photos and fun we will be sharing!







March 10, 2014   1 Comment

The 2014 Design Bloggers Conference – My Top 10 Takeaways

We just returned from three packed days at the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference here in Atlanta sponsored by Design Sherpa.  The event at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead was sold out with 350+ attendees from 29 states. This was our second year attending this event (last year it was in L.A.) and we had a…ahem…. REALLY good time (this shouldn’t surprise most of you).


Photo courtesy of Mike Ragan 

Besides the invaluable networking opportunities this event provides for us, the content was very relevant to our everyday operations as well as being inspiring and interesting.  Speakers like Jeffrey Alan Marks, Candice Olson, Timothy Corrigan, Suzanne Kasler, Susanna Salk, Stacey Bewkes, Tobi Fairley, Jennifer Boles and Adam Japko filled our days with information on content management, branding, marketing, social media, trends and more.

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I’m sure there will be endless blogs written about this event so as not to bore our readers with the same information, I thought I’d share my own personal take aways from the conference.

So in no particular order, here we go:

#1 – My favorite quote in a presentation by the creator of the event, Adam Japko: “Y-E-S is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference.” Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

#2 – If you’ve ever yearned to travel to Europe on an antique buying tour and have a blast doing it, you must call Toma Clark Haines, CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co. Likewise, if you are in need of an exceptional PR firm in the design industry, you must call my dear friend Andrew Joseph. Two phenomenally talented, fun and approachable professionals!


#3 – I am a witness – The acclaimed designer Jeffrey Alan Marks indeed said that he would work with my dear friend Pamela Copeman on the Ronald McDonald – Long Island 2014 Project Design House. Beth Greene with Kravet is my 2nd witness. Don’t anybody let him deny it!


#4 – Our blog is a labor of love. Why? Because if I heard it once at this conference, I heard it a dozen times – successful blogs are authentic, engaging, personal and have quality, original content. Take those ingredients and realize that we blog 2-3 times per week in ADDITION to being full time designers, and you see that it is indeed a labor of love.

#5 – For all my foodie friends – Joann and I had the honor of being invited to dine at two private dinners this week. One was at Miller Union and the other at Woodfire Grill. Please take note of these restaurants. Maybe it was because the company I was with was ordering food for the group that I would have normally never eaten (I had to put my big girl pants on in a BIG way), but I must say both dinners were a delectable joy. Thanks to our host and oenophile Adam Japko, I was introduced to several red wines that I actually liked. It’s a miracle.

Please note: The farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread at Miller Union is one of the BEST things I have ever eaten. 


Photo courtesy of Miller Union.  

#6 The iconic Candice Olson was one of the keynote speakers.  She was hilarious, gorgeous and charitable with her advice. She showed an inspiring stream of before and afters of her work. If you’ve seen her popular HGTV show Divine Design, you know that Candice is a connoisseur of lighting.  One point she made that I loved was – be sure to light THINGS not AIR. How many times do you see an overhead light in a room that isn’t lighting anything in particular? Candice emphasized that the intimacy of a room comes from meticulously choosing the right light (and the right bulb) to throw light on a particular THING.


#7 Our host Adam Japko told a personal story about his son Adam who is a soon to be graduating college senior who is fairly laid back about his future and his upcoming leap into the job market.  This attitude is giving his father gray hairs.  For those of us born in the 60′s, it is very difficult to understand this generation born in the 90′s. He recommended the book “The Defining Decade – Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now.” by Meg Jay.

Yup, I ordered two (one for me and one for my twenty year old daughter Emory) on the spot!


#8 Another theme repeated throughout the conference in regards to the success of a blog (and that of a designer too for that matter) is establish yourself as an expert.  This narrows the playing field in the blogosphere so that you are more easily identifiable. Hmmmm…. this really got me thinking. I’ve always considered myself a jill of all trades but a master of none. Add it to the takeaway to do list….

#9  We attended a wrap party hosted by Peacock Alley for Dwell with Dignity, a Dallas based company whose mission is to help families escape poverty and homelessness through design – one household at a time. The founders Lisa Robison and Kim Turner have turned to the Atlanta design community to extend their successful outreach program to the City of Atlanta.  Lisa and Kim – Kandrac & Kole is here whenever you need us!

Here’s a photo of the gorgeous bedroom designed by our good friend Kerry Howard.

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Photo courtesy of Dwell with Dignity on Twitter.

As usual, we had fun at the party.  HA HA.


#10 Sit next to somebody you don’t really know thru a 5 course, 3 1/2 hour dinner and you learn all kinds of things (my mother would be so proud of me). I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cecil Adams who is the Creative Director of one of our favorite lighting manufacturers Currey & Co.  Cecil also designed the gorgeous stage set for the conference. Cecil has travelled all over the world (including India over 40 times) in his product development career and is  a fascinating, sweet and gentle person.


I’m still recovering from the intensity of this event but it was VERY worth it! As a matter of fact, Joann and I were the first to re-register for 2015!

If you are a design blogger and would like to join in on the action, you can pre-register for the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference to be held again in ATLANTA. Woohooo!

Just click HERE.



March 7, 2014   8 Comments

Best Blog Posts of 2013!

We are so thrilled to be named in the Top 100 Blogs by Modenus!! In honor of that, here are a few of our best blog posts of 2013!  To see our best posts of 2012, click here!




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Photo courtesy of Brizo

3.  THE DASHING MEN OF HIGHPOINT - Read post here.


Image via Jeff Mermelstein



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Photography by Jill Buckner Photography.

5.  KANDRAC & KOLE REWIND 2013 – Read post here.

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Thanks to those who voted for us and continue to support and inspire us to share our blog with you!!

Joann & Kelly

March 1, 2014   No Comments