I love working with a client who isn’t afraid of color, and who embraces the idea of bold patterns and color combinations! This client’s family room was already making a strong statement, since it was wrapped in a dramatic red from top to bottom.
However, the deep red really darkened the room and was too much contrast against the white trim. Another tricky part of about the before (above) was an error that a lot of people make in their rooms, which is that the rug is too small for the space. And a small rug has a way of dictating your furniture placement, so that oftentimes people are only using a small portion of the room. That was definitely the case in this room where two sofas were floating in the middle of the space and seating was VERY limited.
Now we have a sectional, two lounge chairs, a large round ottoman, a wing chair, two banquettes (one with a game table) and some floating ottomans. Talk about a place to entertain friends and family!
In the After photo above, a lighter and more neutral paint brings fabulous light into the room, and acts as great backdrop for the bold jewel-toned colors of the upholstery and the art. And a fun patterned rug now fills the space nicely!
Before, the furniture was all either sitting in the center of the room as I mentioned, or was pushed to the corners and walls. It didn’t use the space well and it actually made the room seem smaller. And the clients are avid art collectors and their pieces didn’t show up at all in the dark red room. Now the art is what really brings this space to life!
The reworked room seems much bigger with the new furniture layout, and I added two fabulous banquettes flanking the fireplace to create a great reading nook on the left and a dining or game area with a table on the right. In the finished design, my clients still had the color and “wow factor” that they wanted, but in a lighter and more cohesive look!
So what do you think of this colorful before-and-after? Let me know in the comments section below! Isn’t that acid yellow ceiling a kick? I love how it draws the eye up!
Look for more before-and-afters in the coming weeks!
There is nothing I love more than a good kitchen remodel – especially when the kitchen is transformed from dark and dated to light and lovely! And that’s what I did for some special clients recently. They have adult kids and wanted to rework their home to better serve the way they live today.
They love to entertain friends and family, and the island they had didn’t have much room for gathering people around in this heart of the home. And, as you can see in the “before” photo above, the black appliances and dark counters seemed to trap all the light in the room.
So we not only turned up the “light,” but I also added a great island with more comfortable stools and plenty of work and eating space. Can’t you just imagine a low-key dinner party with guests keeping the host and hostess company here?
I also took out the brick floor and the old and tired cabinetry, again lightening things up and adding a level of quiet sophistication. I also moved the appliances around in the room so the work area is much more efficient and functional.
Note that the cabinets also now go all the way up to the ceiling. This is a design idea I use all the time to not only add more storage, but to also trick the eye into seeing the ceilings as taller than they are. That also gives a feeling of more space in this kitchen.
And finally, of course, we added the fabulous breakfast area that you see in the photo at the top of the page, another great gathering area for friends and family.
So what do you think of this transformation? Let me know in the comments section below! And look for more before-and-afters in the coming weeks!
I love to transform my clients’ homes into gorgeous spaces that function for the way they live – and you know I love to bring a little color in at the same time! The Meadow View project, in particular, was a lot of fun because we reworked the floor plan to get rid of small and outdated rooms to make way for living spaces that really do work for my clients.
In the “before” photo above, you see the smaller living room before we incorporated a porch on the back of the house and moved the fireplace from the exterior wall to an interior one, allowing for more windows across the back of the house. With the porch on the outside of this space and a fireplace in the middle of the wall, there just wasn’t enough natural light coming in. This made the room really dark and the dated paneling on the walls in this room helped add to a more dreary feeling.
I have worked with this family a long time, from my early days in design actually. And this family isn’t afraid of color at all. But they have three sons that are now grown and mostly out of the house, and the family needed updated rooms that are lighter and brighter. They needed spaces that are more open plan, perfect for entertaining at family gatherings and holidays.
As you can see in the “after” photo above, enlarging the space by taking in the previous porch, adding new windows with transoms, moving the fireplace and freshening up the walls and ceiling with new moldings and paint really transformed this space. You would swear the ceilings are taller, too, but they are still just 8 feet. Amazing, right? Giving the walls a gorgeous soft neutral tone and then layering in pops of red and turquoise for great added color was just the right amount of freshness this room needed.
Of course we didn’t forget the large-screen TV and plenty of seating, making this room perfect for football days with their three adult sons and guests. By reworking the layout of the home, we were able to design rooms that make sense for these clients, and that give them a lot of comfort and style!
Don’t you just love a fun “before and after”? I’ll be showing you more of these in the coming months – some of them will be even more dramatic than this one! And let me know in the comments below what was the most surprising to you about this family room transformation!
It’s Before and After Friday and today we’re looking at a living room remodel that is soft and relaxing. This busy house is for a blended family of 6 kids, and with all the hustle and bustle that goes on under this roof, it’s nice to have at least one space that is toned-down and a bit more quiet.
This project included a large addition, but this formal living space is part of the original home. It’s the first space you enter from the front porch (which is now covered and wraps around the house) and there is really no entryway or foyer in this home. The client wanted “pretty and soft” for this room. I often say, “the entry sets the tone for the whole home” and for this home that means this space has to be up to that challenge. Though this household will often be busy and chaotic, that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some calm amongst the chaos. We even took inspiration from their love of the beach (which is their favorite place to relax and escape their busy life) when making fabric, color, and materials selections for this room.
So here is the blank slate before the remodel started. The wall to the right has now opened up to a new hallway.
And here is the soft and subtle after. Soft doesn’t mean we can’t have color. The tones of blue here bring to mind sea and sky, accented with hints of pink for a bit of freshness. We kept the original front door for the charm and contrast it brings to the room.
Here is the view towards what is now the new dining room and a wraparound porch beyond…
I don’t have an official after of this corner of the space, but here’s an “installation shot” that will help you get perspective of how these rooms work together. Decisions on the accessories were being made at this point and the coral lamp didn’t make the final cut. This photo also shows us a glimpse of the Art Deco chandelier the client brought with her, befitting the age of the original part of this home.
And here is what the new dining room looks like that flows seamlessly from this soft living room design to something coordinated but a bit more dramatic.
A look at the living room fireplace wall before. There is now a large opening on the left to access the addition.
And a vignette of this pretty wall with fresh cut forsythia vines waiting to bloom for Spring, plus a better look at that fab antique chandelier!
And here is a tiny glimpse of what I did in the new hallway to transition my soft color palette to the newly remodeled upstairs kids’ zone.
I hope you loved this sweet before and after. These colors have me wishing for Spring!
I 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…
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. Here’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. Here’s the emptied-out space getting ready for our fun drapery made by sewing solid silks into oversized stripes.
And a view of the fireplace with the drapery going in and before we got rid of that palm tree for a cleaner look. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.