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Time For A Home Makeover?  Here’s A Transformed Master Bedroom Gone Sleek and Modern

Time For A Home Makeover? Here’s A Transformed Master Bedroom Gone Sleek and Modern

Finding the perfect house for your family can be fun and exciting, especially when you’re moving from the “burbs” into town.  But many times the houses available to you aren’t exactly your style.  When that happens, it’s time for a home makeover!  I know because I’ve been there a time or two.

Since most homeowners want to move in and get settled before tackling any major renovations, it gives them a chance to get a feel for their new home.  And it also lets them take their time and put some thought into what’s most important to them.  This is exactly the path my client travelled when she hired me to transform her classic white master bedroom into a room that was sleek and modern.

Design Dilemma:

My client purchased this existing home and was never happy with the dental molding throughout the house. Since she preferred clean lines and darker wood, replacing the traditional white bookcases with flutes and rosettes was the number one change to be made.

The open shelves had become a clutter magnet, when what this couple really needed was more storage for clothing and linens.

Because the wet bar was never used, they also wanted it removed and replaced with cabinetry.

                                    cabinets with wet bar

What I noticed immediately in the space, and was anxious to change, was the soffit and cove built around the room.   It was used to house recessed can lighting, but it also made the ceilings seem lower and the room smaller.

 

                                    cove molding image

The last design change my client wanted was a more contemporary fireplace with a TV that blended into the wall.

                                    outdated fireplace wall

What we did:

  • The white traditional bookcases and bar were replaced by smooth, sleek Shaker doors
  • Polished nickel tubular cabinet pulls in sizes proportionate to the cabinets were installed.
  • A new fireplace wall was constructed so that everything is pulled forward and flush.
  • The lower section is stacked split-faced travertine.
  • The black horizontal firebox has a flame strip inside and uses ethanol to burn.
  • The homeowners wanted the fireplace to be high enough to see from the bed.
  • A sleek new mantel was created from cabinet material.
  • This same material was used to frame the new niche for the TV and equipment, keeping cords hidden from view.
  • New carpeting was installed
  • Paint colors were changed

                                master bedroom fireplace wall

Replacing the crown molding around the room became a problem when it came to matching angled corners.  So to stay with the contemporary feel, we all made a decision not add it to the new room.

 

Your Design Action Plan:

Does your home have a room or two that’s in need of a makeover?

Make a list of the features that you don’t like about the room.

Next make a list of the features you do like about the room.

Compare the lists, and start a new list of everything you would like to change.

Create an idea binder or folder where you keep photos from magazines or online sites.

7 Key Ingredients of a Summertime Porch

7 Key Ingredients of a Summertime Porch

Outdoor living spaces, are becoming more and more popular and are a wonderful way to enjoy nature, relax, and watch the world go by.  There was a time when a front porch was the place to greet your neighbors after dinner, or spend a lazy afternoon reading. 

Today the nostalgia of the front porch is showing up not only in new in-town homes and walk-able neighborhoods, but in the way we use our backyards, screened porches, patios, and decks.   What I’ve noticed is there are 7 key ingredients of a summertime porch that seem to show up again and again.  Maybe you’ve discovered this too.

Every spring, as soon as the pollen slows down, I’m craving some time on our porch.  You see, until a few years ago, none of the homes we lived in had a covered porch.  Now I’m making up for lost time by dreaming, planning, and shopping to make even small improvements to what we have.

The best way to get started is by taking an assessment of what you already have. Do you still love your existing colors or would you love to have a brighter color combination?  Ideas are everywhere, including photos of porches in magazines, social media, and websites.  And don’t forget visiting decorator show houses!

Ask yourself, “what do I really want”?  What do you want your porch to look like, feel like? And then let your imagination kick in.

Let’s get started!

porch with hydrangeas

Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Southern Living Magazine

#1:  Seating  

No matter how large or small the space is, seating is the first thing to consider. Whether you prefer a sofa and chairs, or only chairs, it’s your choice.   Do you want a private space that’s just for your family? Do you want a cozy romantic area for two?   

 

#2:  Accent Tables 

We all need a table to place a drink or a book while we’re enjoying our outdoor space.  The size and number of tables you need is based on how many people will use the porch…and how much space you have.

 

pergola with outdoor seating

 

#3 Rugs 

Rugs are the anchoring point for any seating group.  They pull everything together and create a more inviting space.   An added bonus for using a rug is to cover up unsightly decking.

#4 Accessories to Make It Yours 

Adding your own accessories will truly make the space your own.  They also set the tone for how you want your porch to feel.  Pillows, outdoor draperies, and flowers all add to a room that says “Let’s relax here.”

#5 Plants 

Everyone knows that plants and flowers add beauty to our spaces.  But plants add a sense of calm to any space, and outdoor rooms are no exception.

 

porch with swing and plants

Credit: Laurey W, Glenn; Southern Living Magazine

#6 Dining Table and Chairs

 

porch dining table and chairs

 

#7 Lighting (and a ceiling fan)

 

Summers can be hot, humid, and stifling, with no breezes to cool you off.  When you include a ceiling fan into your porch design plans, comfort is always just a click away.

 

porch ceiling fan with light

 

Bonus: Fireplace

 

stone fireplace

 

If have a fireplace on your porch, consider yourself blessed!  Nothing says “cozy” like a roaring fire on a cool evening.

 

 TAKE ACTION:

1. Grab a pencil and note pad and make a list of what you have on your porch.  Then make a list of what you need.

2.  Are you using any of these 7 Essentials in your outdoor living spaces?

2.  Look for ways you can add some of these features to your own porch. 

 

 

 

 

 
How To Choose the Best Sofa For Your Family

How To Choose the Best Sofa For Your Family

It’s crazy, right?  You need a new sofa.  You walk into the furniture store to make your purchase, and BAM!  You’re in sofa decision overload.  There are so many choices and things to think about.  Things that never really crossed your mind before.  How do I choose the best sofa for your family?  “What fabric should I pick?”  “What style of arms do we want?”  “Do we want a skirt or feet?”  “What size is the best fit your our family room?”  Add to this the fact that furniture is so hard to get right now.  Items that used to have a 4 week delivery time are now taking 30 weeks.  There are so many factors that feed into your decision making.  And the bottom line is that you need to make the best decision for your and your family.

These are questions that I see clients stumble over all the time.  And because I see the same questions pop up time and time again, it’s best to start at the beginning with a few of the basics to get off on the right track.

sofa with dimensions

Often we want what we want NOW!  We don’t want to wait.  Maybe you’ve found something online or even in a local furniture store.  You’re tired of what you have and you’re not willing to wait  6 months for the perfect sofa. I can totally relate because I’ve been there myself.  Our 25 year old sofa HAD to go!  It was too dark and dreary for our new home.  So when I found one locally that fit our space, was a color that worked for what we already had, and in a price point that was reasonable, I jumped on it!  But before I made the final purchase I went online and checked all of the specifications, not just the ones listed on the tags at the furniture store. 

Most furniture tags are marked with the overall dimensions of length, width/depth, and height.  This lets you know how it will fit in the room.  Please don’t stop here! There are other important  dimensions that will help you decide if this is the best sofa (or chair) for you and your family.  You need to know the inside dimensions because this will tell you how comfortable it will be when you sit on it depending if you’re tall or short. 

Always be sure to check the length and depth of the cushions.  When you know this, you can easily compare it to what you already have at home.  If 24″ deep has worked for you, and you’re considering a sofa that has 30″ deep cushions, then you know that you will need to have pillows behind you to sit comfortably

sofa with high arms

Arm height is also an important dimension to know.  Do you like to nap on your sofa?  You might need a sofa with a higher arm height.  Again, compare this dimension to one that you know and love before making your final decision.

Cushion height (or seat height) will tell you how high you’ll be sitting from the floor.  Typically, 18-20″ is what you will find.  But if you’re buying from an online website you might find a 17″ height.  So please make sure you check this dimension.  Measure the height of your most comfortable sofa or chair so you have a dimension to compare it to. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who have made online sofa purchases and been disappointed when they arrived.

Back height is the measurement from the seat cushion to the top of the back cushion.  If you’re a tall person who likes to rest your head when you sit, 30″ might be too short.

Always remember to look at both the inside dimensions and the outside dimensions before making your purchase.  Check the amount of space you have in your room.  Last of all take into consideration how many people you want to sit on the sofa at any given time.  A rolled arm sofa that is 88″ overall will have a smaller inside dimensions than the track arm sofa in the photo below. 

Some people love a sofa with only one long cushion.  What I find is that people are more comfortable when only two people are sitting on a sofa.  So a one cushion or two cushion sofa is a good choice.

track arm sofa

In the end, follow this motto:  Measure twice, purchase once!  And ALWAYS, ALWAYS do your due diligence and read all of the specification details before you make the final purchase.

Guest Rooms That Say “We’re Glad You’re Here”

Guest Rooms That Say “We’re Glad You’re Here”

Whenever vacation time and holidays draw near, it’s time to start thinking about the guests that might be staying with us for a night or two…or more.  I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m a little less thoughtful about the way our guest rooms look when I know family will be staying there.  Like the time last summer when our guests thought we had three extra bedrooms and we only have two.  Sadly, the very comfortable inflatable bed popped a seam and the bed collapsed in the middle of the night!  This was definitely NOT a guest room that said “I’m glad you’re here. 

Rule #1: Don’t be so busy that you forget to check out these things before you need them.  On the other hand, when I know that friends will be staying overnight, I might add a pretty new detail or two.  Can you relate to this?

Because I love to travel, I’ve spent many a night staying in hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and with friends.  While I’m there I always notice how I feel when I’m in the space.  Do I feel welcomed?  Does it feel creepy?  Is it adequate, but could use some work?

welcoming bedroom

I know that, as an interior designer, I’m more aware of my surroundings than most people.  And I truly believe that each space has it’s own energy.  But these stays have let me discover a thing or two about what the “perfect” guest bedroom could be.  And in the end, it comes down to these three questions:

  1. Is it Welcoming?
  2. Is it Comfortable?
  3. Is it Private?

A welcoming room will let your guests know that you really want them to be there.  It has little added touches like flowers, magazines, and good lighting.  One friend introduced me to the idea of Pillow Presents, which are gifts you place on your guest’s pillow before they arrive.  I loved this idea, and started doing it when our family comes to visit.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Sometimes I forget, and leave a little bag of candy.  Or completely forget and am reminded by my youngest granddaughter.  And now my daughters have started leaving them on our pillows when we visit!

luxury bedding

To feel comfortable, room size isn’t as important as the bed, the pillows, and the temperature in the room.  Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to these three things. Giving options to your guests is so appreciated…especially aging parents, pregnant daughters, and “hot flashing” girlfriends!!!  We’ve rented a house in Florida for a few weeks, and I’m already wondering if the bed and pillows will give us a good night’s sleep.

Finding a private space for everyone when your home is overflowing with guest can sometimes be a challenge.  When this happens it’s helpful to think out of the box and have a plan before your guests arrive.  But, basically, guest appreciate a place to store their “stuff”, and maybe get away from the crowd for a minute or two.

Do you have a checklist of guest room favorites?  Here is my Top 10 list.   Some were borrowed from my friends, hotels, and inns.  Others were suggested to me by family.

  1.   A comfortable mattress with mattress pad
  2.   Tiny paper cups at the sink, stacked on a pretty plate
  3.   A full length mirror, or at least a mirror for makeup and hair
  4.   A folding screen or some type of room divider if other guests will be walking by or sharing the space
  5.   Bottled water or a small pitcher and glass
  6.   Down pillows, or at least nice fluffy ones (some people sleep with two pillows)
  7.   A throw to cuddle up with for an afternoon nap
  8.   A place to hang your clothes and open your suitcase…and empty hangers
  9.   Lamps tall enough to read in bed
  10.   Blinds or draperies to cover the window at night

Do I have each and every one of these in our guest room?  Not at all!  But I’m working on it with each and every guest.  And when I travel, the list grows as I discover some new little nicety that I hadn’t thought of before.

In the end, it’s all about enjoying your time with house guests, welcoming them into your home, and being together making memories that will last a lifetime!

Your Design Action Steps:

  • Look at your guest room from a visitor’s eye…objectively
  • Make a list of what you see that is welcoming, comfortable, and offers privacy
  • Now make a list of what could be added to the room that would add to your guest’s comfort, and make them feel really welcomed

Remember that it doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top in luxury.