Archive for the ‘Before and After’ Category

Before and After: A Welcoming Living Space

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I think it’s a shame when people don’t use every single square inch of their homes. It’s so sad to see a formal dining room or living room just sitting there and rarely used. I’m all about function, so I want to create spaces for my clients that will work for how they live in their homes.

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That was the challenge when I designed this living room for my client – it was a formal space that they just never sat in. As you can see above, it wasn’t really a welcoming space for them. They had some great pieces, but the room was too formal and a few of the furnishings weren’t comfortable. But it was spacious, with a good sofa and stylish white end tables that I wanted to keep in the room.

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As you can see in the “after” photo above, I changed the scale of the art and brought in some sleeker pieces to edit down the “noise” in the space. The big piece of art was the jumping-off point for the palette in the room, which was cool and calming.

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The chairs before had pretty lines but that weren’t inviting. And I opted out of the tchotchkes in the built-ins in favor of stunning blue chinoiserie vases that you can see below.

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The two new chairs are much more comfortable! I also had a rug custom-made to fit the chamfered corners of the room.

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The other side of the room had a pair of chairs that were shapely, but just didn’t have the impact they needed to in this room because they weren’t the right scale.

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The taller wing chairs brought a better balance to the room, as well as a punch of gorgeous cobalt blue. I always love to have a lamp near seating to make it more functional, so I added one to make these great reading chairs.

The result is a room that welcomes the family into the space, and that makes a fabulous impression on guests – especially since this is the first room they see when they enter the house! So what do you think of the new look for this fabulous living room? Let me know in the comments section below!







Before and After: Light and Bright Nursery

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People often turn to interior designers when there is a big occasion in their lives – like having a little one moving into her own room. And when my clients asked me to turn a little-used upstairs room into a light and bright nursery, I jumped at the chance!

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As you can see in the photos above and below, this space was one of those catch-all rooms that we all have in our homes. It was partly a guest room and partly a storage area.

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It wasn’t really used a lot, and the color was more than a little off-putting. That deep-dark brown wasn’t doing anybody any favors. And it sure wasn’t right for a sweet little girl’s room! It made this room so dark, even though it has a big window.

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So of course I lightened and brightened the color palette, using a lot of the black and white that psychologists say is so good for babies’ growing minds. I even outlined the angles of the room to make it more interesting graphically. And then I popped in some sunny yellows and greens to add fun and whimsy.

What do you think of the transformation? Would you try outlining your room with a bold stripe like I did? Let me know in the comments section below!







Before and After: Bonus Room to Beautiful Bedroom

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A few weeks ago, I talked about transforming a basement, and how all that extra space can be turned into a gorgeous and functional space. Many of you also may have that extra space in an upper floor, like in a “bonus room” or a big room over the garage. Sometimes those can just be a catch-all for extra furniture, and storage for things we aren’t using at the moment. And that’s exactly what happened for a client of mine.

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They had a big space on an upper floor that was kind of a kids’ playroom, and kind of a storage area. And like a lot of my design clients, they had a turning point in their lives that was pushing them towards using this space for something else! Their daughter was getting older and was ready for her own “big girl” room – and I wanted to give her one that was fun and worked for her!

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Like I do with all of my clients’ children, I sat down with her and talked about what her favorite activities were, what colors she really liked, and what she wanted to have that was special in her room. That way, we could take this room that was full of odd angles and blank walls and really give her something amazing!

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She loves purple and pink – so I made sure I gave her plenty of both, along with playful florals that weren’t too “little girl.” I wanted this room to grow with her and I included a few more sophisticated things, like the stools at the end of the bed. And of course all that white fabric is treated so she didn’t have to worry about spills and stains.

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And for this fun nook on the other side of the room, I wanted to give her a little sitting area where she could sit and read, hang out with friends, or just play!

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There’s also a homework station, and lots of storage for all of her toys, books, and clothing! It’s organized and fun at the same time.

So what do you think of this transformation from bonus space to bright bedroom? Let me know in the comments section below!







Before and After: Kitchen Getaway

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Life is so busy for so many of us. And even if our homes are designed and dreamy, it’s often hard to relax at home when we are so close to our jobs and our to do lists.  There is just something about a second home, a get-away, that helps us truly relax. That’s especially true if it has serene views of a lake or ocean or even mountains. And that’s why some of my favorite and long-term clients purchased this retreat and wanted me to whip it into a functional and beautiful backdrop for all their relaxing weekends and holidays with family and friends. And in this home, one of the most important parts of the renovation for them was the kitchen. The place where they would cook and entertain the most and where everyone always seems to gravitate!

Here is what the kitchen looked like when the previous owner lived there just before my clients purchased it. My clients knew it was the house for them because of the size, layout and location. But they couldn’t quite see the design vision, so that’s where I came in!

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There were many perfect things about this home including the views and the size, but the interior design wasn’t one of them. And the lake house kitchen, with it’s lighter wood cabinetry, open soffits, laminate floors and countertops, and lackluster color scheme, had more of a country look than my clients wanted.

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We gave the cabinets a much-needed update, added great hardware, and a warm-toned subway tile backsplash that gave the room a lovely glow and a fresh look.

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The before offered lots of space for dust to gather. So we also took the cabinetry right up to the ceiling so there would be plenty of storage for all the entertaining pieces they need at this vacation home and little room for dusty trinkets and display. And, because this kitchen is open to the rest of the room, we put new flooring into the entire space which looks gorgeous with all that light flooding in.

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The result is a great room (literally) that lets my clients entertain in comfort and style, and a relaxing space that lets them get away from it all in a gorgeous setting!

So what do you think of this kitchen redo in a vacation home? Let me know in the comments section below!







Before and After: An Organized Kitchen

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The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house, especially if you have young kids. It’s the dumping ground for mail and backpacks, the central cooking and eating center, the gathering spot, and often a major spill zone.

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One of my favorite kitchen renovations was definitely that hub for a young family. The kitchen was too small and didn’t have enough storage so, like most homes, it was cluttered and sometimes chaotic. It was also dated, with old light fixtures and cabinetry.

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My number-one goal for the space was to lighten it up and to make it really function for this family, with lots of storage and seating areas. First we expanded the footprint of the kitchen, giving it much-needed extra space by taking in the back porch.

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I also lightened everything up, allowing the natural light to flood in, and giving the kitchen a beautiful palette that is inspired by the seashore (a favorite destination for the family).

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I expanded the windows, making them wider to allow even more light into the room. And I gave the ceiling the illusion of more height by adding the beams and painting the whole thing a gorgeous white.

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I also rearranged the footprint so each appliance was in a more functional zone, all within easy reach of a central cooking spot for the person preparing the meal.

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Adding a ton more storage was the real key! The cabinets go straight up to the ceiling, taking advantage of every square inch and helping to eliminate the clutter that can accumulate in the kitchen.

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Those baskets tucked into the island give the kids a place to drop their papers, bags, and toys so they won’t be dumped on the counter. It’s a great way to hide the clutter when guests come over, too.

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And I also added a built-in banquette in the breakfast area that has storage under the seat, making this a super-organized and high-functioning kitchen for a busy family.

What do you think of this kitchen makeover? Do you have enough storage in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section below!