Archive for the ‘Before and After’ Category

Before and After: Traditional Living Room Gets an Update

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photos 001I love this room. I designed it several years back (like probably 7 or 8), but I love how it still looks fresh. Good design is timeless, or at least it can withstand trends and design fashions for many years. I would say, on average, my clients get tired of their design – meaning they just want something new – far before the spaces actually become dated or wear out.

And on average, I do hear from my favorite clients again every 7-8 years wanting a refresh or to start a new project. I have 3 of those types of jobs happening as we speak.

The room above didn’t always look so fresh. Let’s take a look back at where we started and what we transformed…

Jennifer Green 001 The “before” was a luxury spec home in a great neighborhood in northwest Arkansas. Many of the details of the home were darker and more traditional than I would have selected had I designed the home. But they certainly weren’t something I couldn’t work around. The clients were newly married and just moved in their “his, mine, and ours” stuff knowing it wasn’t right for the space and then called me to create an atmosphere that blended both their styles. Jennifer Green 002Here’s another look at the before. It’s fun to see that this time period was coming off the “animal print, Hemingway, and Tuscan” trends that were big in the late ’90s and early 2000s in the South. And the client was ready to move into something more updated and fresh. Green Living and Master Bedroom Photos 003 (2) Here’s the emptied-out space getting ready for our fun drapery made by sewing solid silks into oversized stripes. Green Living and Master Bedroom Photos 007 (2)

And a view of the fireplace with the drapery going in and before we got rid of that palm tree for a cleaner look. before Here is a floorplan of the before, when the client was trying to lay out their existing furniture and finding it wasn’t functional. This room is challenging because of all the windows and openings into other rooms. There is literally no wall to anchor large pieces of furniture. after And here is the after floorplan I created to maximize the floor space and include additional seating for friends and family. I added a sectional, 2 extra wing chairs, and replaced the oversized lounge chairs with a more appropriately scaled pair. I added several tables to make the space more functional. There is actually a 5th chair in the final version that isn’t even shown here. It tucks in the bottom right corner normally and pulls in to accommodate another guest.


One half of this couple didn’t want to paint the stained wood and trim. And we’ve all had those clients or we are married to that spouse that is crazy about wood. So, like many of you, we’ve learned to work around it in some cases where it is appropriate for the architecture and the design style we are striving to achieve.

One of my solutions was bringing in this fun hexagon tile on the fireplace (this is the “in progress photo” when the installer is putting it in). It appealed to the more modern flair of the other spouse and I felt like the color palette worked great with the wood. It feels a bit California Bungalow, don’t you think?

And you can get a peek of the great Greek key pattern bound rug in the photo above that I used to fill the space and give us “permission” to use all the floor area for seating and storage.

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Now keep in mind this was a few years back, so the accessories are different than what we might select now, but I still like the composition of the tables flanking the fireplace and the balance of the pieces. And the choices were a blend of the modern and classic styles of the two homeowners, which makes it all work seamlessly.

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Here is a snapshot of the after and it shows how the space is working after the arrival of a new “addition” to the family.

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And here it is again in all its glory. The fresh new version that looks charming and warm with the stained windows. See? Definitely not a deal breaker. I sort of think the stain actually makes this design better in many ways – it adds warmth and charm.

So what do you think about this transformation? It seems much more “REAL” in many ways than some dreamy, clean-slate project, doesn’t it? Since there were some non-negotiables like painting the wood, many of you can probably relate to this couple and the design dilemma.  How does this remind you of solutions you have created that help keep everyone happy in your home or your client’s home? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Want to see more of this family-friendly home and the “after” of this space? Check out this old video. I think my hairstyle is much more dated than the interior. Ha! Ha! But the solutions for hiding baby toys, accommodating guests, and creating spaces that will grow with the family are all still relevant and clever.

Happy Friday, Friends!


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Rue Magazine Feature and a Before and After: Riverside Penthouse

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Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 5.32.56 AMI am thrilled to have one of my favorite projects that I’ve ever designed featured in this month’s Rue Magazine! It’s the magazine’s annual color issue and boy does this project bring the color! Cobalt, teal, lavender, yellow…the palette is scrumptious and edgy!


A penthouse in downtown Little Rock situated along the Arkansas River, this home starts with a WOW right off the elevator when you step into this cobalt, black and white lobby. One of my favorite spaces in the house, I can’t decide what I love most – the black-and-white marble floor, the custom-designed blue marble wallcovering, the white tufted vinyl and velvet banquette, or those blue suede doors with glass door knobs!

But this space wasn’t always so glam. Since it’s Before and After Friday, let me give you a glimpse into how this project started. It was an empty shell with nothing but the perimeter walls. We envisioned the floorplan and the design to make this space function. But it’s the color that I used that really made this home come to life.

Here’s how we took this simple blank wall from this…

living before

To this! A lovely living room in shades of teal, chartreuse, and lavender.


Here’s a view from the back wall of the home looking towards what is now the dining room and the study. It was a blank slate.

Dining Before

But not anymore. Now it’s the hub of the home. And what about that smoked mirror with the TV and modern fireplace set into it?

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The spiral staircase was in place, but that’s about all that was.

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We kept this area simple with some Barcelona chairs and a gorgeous view of the River.


The elevator lobby once looked like this.

Entry 2 before

And now, it’s one of the most stunning parts of the home!

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And looking from the elevator to the roof-top pool, there was nothing but metal doors before.

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Now it’s a mecca of marble print from Black Crow Studios, in shades from cobalt to purple.


The dining room was only interesting because of the views of downtown Little Rock.

dining 2 before

But now the views take a back seat to the details! From the lavender paneled ceiling, that chandelier of floating glass bubbles, the gilded trimmed doors, to those yellow velvet chairs and the stunning chevron rug…every part of this dining room screams glamorous sophistication now.

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Here’s another view so you can see the custom-colored de Gournay wallpaper. A surprise treat for those dining on the South side of the table. Who needs artwork when you have custom Chinoiserie paper, right?


Here’s a view looking from the entry/elevator lobby to what is now the dining room, the study, and the kitchen.

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And here are how those spaces look once the walls and decor were designed and built. Be sure to notice those teal butler’s cabinets in the kitchen with brass shelving and mirrors above. They are too die for!

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The study.



Another look at the kitchen wall before, and the windows where the breakfast area is now.

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Isn’t the final version of this kitchen amazing? The brass-trimmed hood, library ladder, brass pendants, and cabinet hardware are SO chic!

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And again the kitchen wall looking East towards the Old Statehouse Museum with a glimpse of the Clinton Presidential Library through the windows on the left.

kitchen 2 before

Here’s how this wall looks now with a completed kitchen and drapery to frame the views. How about those lavender Kartell barstools? A bit cheeky and fun, I think.


And finally, here is the master suite before. It was filled with tons of insulation and drywall getting ready for the project to begin.

Master before 2

But not anymore! Now it’s wrapped in snakeskin wallpaper, a cobalt lacquered ceiling, and delicious navy drapery. Oh, and that Sputnik chandelier with blue-tipped bulbs is fantastic!


Here’s a before view towards the master bedroom wall with the master bath tucked in behind.

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And here’s how those spaces look today….snakeskin walls, fur bedding, shagreen lamps, chevron flooring and hexagon doors. What’s not to love?

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Thank you for taking this little home tour with me. I hope you love seeing this space. I often dream of living there myself! Leave me a comment and let me know which part you love the most!

And if you missed our announcement yesterday, Tobi U is LIVE! It’s my all new online learning center. So if you are an Interior Designer wanting to catapult your business to more profits and more success in 2015, join us for the first semester of Tobi U at the Early Bird Price while you still can! It will change your business and your life!

Happy Weekend, Friends!


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Before and After: Kitchen and Family Room

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We’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen on my blog in the last week or two, haven’t we? There is nothing I love more than a good kitchen renovation, and this week’s featured project was one of my favorites!

It’s Halloween and I thought a peak at the before of this space might give you a scare! It’s certainly scary when you imagine a family of 8 using this space. As you can see below in the before shot, this tiny little space would never have worked for such a big family. Eek! I took their existing kitchen and, with the help of Carolyn Lindsey of Yeary Lindsey Architects and Contractor Scott Greenwood, we expanded it into a large family room. You can see the work in progress below. The overhead beam and columns (you’ll see them in a moment) are where the back wall of the house used to be. 

Kitchen Before (1)



In the after photo below, it’s more clear how we opened up the kitchen to the larger great room behind it. The turquoise cabinets and matching backsplash coordinate with the rest of the open-concept room. In a large area I like to wrap the space in one color which makes it then work as a neutral. This space may have looked busier with white cabinets because the contrast would cause the eye to stop. This blue wall of lovely cabinetry makes for a seamless transition across the space that’s easy on the eye and this sea-inspired color is easy on the blood pressure with 6 kids in the house.

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To give you more insight, we took out the back wall (on the left of this image below) and expanded beyond what was a super-small kitchen and breakfast area. That’s how we creating the large family room.

Kitchen Before (4)

In the family room’s mid-construction photo, you can see the beginnings of the fireplace, wet bar, and the bookshelves. This was designed to be the focal point of this great gathering space.


The after shot below, looking towards that same set of bookshelves, really showcases the color in this room. The shades of blue offer a serene look, and was inspired by this family’s time spent on or near the water. The home has to work for 8 people–five girls and three guys, so I really wanted it to appeal to all of them, and blue really is everyone’s favorite color.

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As for functionality, I wanted an open plan that would allow each member of the family to be included in meal prep, entertaining, dinner time, and so many more activities. As you can imagine, this small peninsula just was not enough room for everyone.

Kitchen Before

You can see the beginnings of a more spacious gathering area in this photo.


Isn’t it amazing what a transformation color and pattern can make? This after shot really shows that this is an all-inclusive space for a great blended family!

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Let me know what you think of the transformation of this kitchen! Oh, and Happy Halloween! Be safe everyone and I’ll see you for another “Spooky” before and after transformation soon.









Before and After: Playroom

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It’s Before and After Friday, hooray! I gave you a look at this playroom on Monday (including the fun snack bar above) with a nod to all things Americana. Today I want you to see what it looked like before I gave it a facelift.

Before it was a playroom for younger boys. By the time I entered the scene the boys were getting older and needed a space that reflected their age and interests.  Here is the before…


The after is a cool hangout for lots of friends. It’s a perfect place for video games, board games, television and more.


Here’s another before of the space. The air hockey game was hard to access and it really didn’t take advantage of the dormer.


In the after, I used the dormer as a window seat with a game table for board games. You can really see some of my favorite details in this shot including the chambray wall treatment, the rugby style stripes on the ceiling and the fun mix of fabrics including many of my Tobi Fairley Home Fabrics in custom colors for this space.  And don’t you love that Scott Carroll original artwork? I used it in my Richmond, VA show house a few years back and found a permanent home for it in this great space.


And here’s one more before of the space looking towards the back of the room. It had cute storage and a fun mural but the boys had outgrown this look.


I don’t have a professionally styled and photographed look at the back of the room, but I have to at least show you a snapshot. I created a fun wall installation to look like red and white art but it’s actually a magnetic metal dry erase board. So the kids can hang their artwork on it with magnets, use it as a dry erase board for keeping score when playing the air hockey game that I placed underneath or leave it blank and enjoy the graphic pattern.

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As always, I’d love to know what you think. Leave me a comment and tell me your favorite part of the transformation.

Happy Friday Friends! xo,

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Before and After: Gameroom

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I love this little pattern we have going of showing you a before and after each Friday. I think we should make it a habit, don’t you?

So for today’s “Before and After Friday” let’s take a look at this handsome and sophisticated game room. Below is the before shot where the TV built-in was shoved into the corner and the sectional placed directly in front of it. It made the room look heavy on one side and didn’t maximize the floorspace. The Game table was placed in another corner in front of a doorway to a storage room which made for difficult access.


And the after…


I opened up the room by centering the TV on the wall, including 2 sectionals which added seating with 2 storage ottomans. I created a traffic path behind one sectional with easy access to the storage closet door.

Next the before of the wall with walk-out access to the back yard lacked wow factor.


The after is much more architecturally interesting with panel molding added to the walls and then painted in lacquer. The drapery also adds depth and interest to the wall of windows and with black-out lining allows for better light control when watching movies.


And did you notice I painted the storage closet door to match the walls so it virtually disappears? This keeps it from breaking up the focal that holds the TV.

In the before, the stained bar was a strong contrast to the light tone of the wallpaper. With the cabinetry not going to the ceiling, it didn’t take advantage of the nice ceiling height. Plus shorter cabinets can look a bit like a builder spec home and not the appropriate scale for this custom home.  Not to mention the fact that all the open storage was harder to make look neat or store more utilitarian items like extra snacks and glassware.


The after has full-height cabinetry for added storage and the entire room is wrapped in Sherwin Williams “Alchemy” for a retro vibe that is seamless and super cool. The new dark hardwoods speak to the black accents on the drapery and the fab barstools.


And where did the game table go you ask? Well there was a perfect place for it beside the bar that was otherwise a big gaping hole in the room. So I took the opportunity to take full advantage of the floorspace by placing the table here with a great view of the TV and the back yard.


What do you think? Lots of added seating, function, and storage right? I love this space. Leave me a comment and let me know if you do too.

Happy Holiday Weekend. Hope you are relaxing and hanging out in a game room of your own for the next few days.


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