If you’ve ever imagined a luxurious master bathroom in your home, you might enjoy this classic master bathroom that we recently designed for one of our lovely clients. This bathroom was part of a large design project involving a kitchen, butlers pantry, mud room, several bathrooms, and of course this beautiful master bathroom. This long narrow space designated for the new master bathroom created several design challenges, but it also allowed us to use the length to create a dramatic focal point in the back of the bathroom featuring a freestanding tub with classic lines.
We designed a custom shower with dreamy white tile, seating, rain head, and a custom glass enclosure. We also included 2 separate vanity areas which we topped with beautiful gray and white stone. The homeowner’s beautiful chandelier was the starting point for this elegant bathroom. The black and white color scheme really gives this bathroom a timeless feeling, with the drama of an old classic black and white movie.
There are many ways that you can add luxurious, classic touches to any bathroom. If you are ready to undertake a renovation or new build project, it’s best to work with a design professional as the bathroom is one of the most difficult rooms to plan and design, issues involving space planning, safety, and comfort as well as aesthetics must be addressed when designing any bathroom. There are a few easy ways that you can add a bit of luxury to your existing bathroom if you are not quite ready for a renovation.
1 – Add Artwork
Black and white artwork can look great in a bathroom. With a few complimentary pieces of inexpensive art, you can create a classic or modern look in your existing bathroom. Expensive art should be placed strategically to avoid moisture damage.
2 – Add Plush Cotton Towels
Plush towels create a filing of luxury. Choose solid black and white and mix stacks of towels together. This gives a clean look without adding more patterns to the room.
3 – Add Unexpected Storage to the Vanity
Use a mirrored or glass tray or collection of small vases to store makeup and organize other small items. This looks better than plastic make-up organizers.
4 – Storage
Store larger necessary items in baskets, vases or cabinets. If an item is going to be visible and necessary, be sure it looks nice and is stored in a way that complements the space.
5 – Add Candles and Fresh Flowers
These small touches can bring a touch of luxury to any space especially the bathroom.
Not a day goes by without receiving an email from someone who’s seen photos of my work, inquiring about a specific paint color used on one of my completed projects. Although I am flattered at their interest, I know for sure that seeing a paint color in another space, on a computer screen, or in print, and then trying it in your space is in fact, the worst way to choose a paint color.
Could you get “ok” results? You could get lucky. But I’m sure most times, people are surprised at how the color looks when it goes up.
Why is this? There are a number of reasons.
First, when you see a paint color in a magazine or on a computer screen, it looks different than the color looks in person. Also, in a photo, it’s very hard to see what the color actually looks like because of the angle that the photo is taken, and the lighting used for the photos. Also, no real strategy is being used when selecting a random paint color. The reason you are drawn to the paint color that you are seeing in a professionally designed finished space is that the paint color you are seeing is being used in context with numerous other elements in the room in a purposeful way.
Most people believe that choosing paint colors is something they should be able to do easily. This process certainly looks easy, but in reality, this process involves a lot more than just trying to find a color that you like.
As designers, we look at natural lighting, the direction a room might be facing, how large the room is, undertones, color intensity, and numerous other things that are going in in the room and adjacent spaces, before deciding on a paint color. Other colors that you are using in the room might slightly alter the way a paint color looks. Knowing how to compensate for this is important.
The real magic happens when color is chosen carefully as part of a plan, marrying colors, undertones, and intensity throughout the space. Designers can often do this quickly because they have many years of experience and an eye trained to see the slightest intricacies of color. Just like anything else that looks easy at first glance choosing the perfect paint color is a lot more complicated than it looks.
So next time you find yourself with 6 different paint test spots on the wall and you are ready to head back to the paint store for more samples, or trying to figure out what color your friend painted her walls, call in the help of a designer who can help you select the perfect paint colors for your project.
This space saving, classic kitchen, that we completed 2 years ago, is loaded with traditional charm. It has recently captured the attention of Houzz viewers making it the 6th most popular kitchen on Houzz in 2019. This kitchen has now been published four times, twice as a featured project on Houzz, and it has also been featured on Bob Vila.com as part of a recent article, and again yesterday as a featured article. Since this kitchen seems to be a viewer favorite right now, so I thought I might take you behind the scenes a bit to tell you a little more about this project and the design of this kitchen.
This kitchen lives in a beautiful classic 1800’s home. The current owners, my clients, were not in love with the 1980s remodel that was done by the previous owners of this home as it stripped the kitchen of any of its traditional architecture. It really didn’t blend well with the rest of this beautiful home. So after working with them on numerous other projects throughout the home, these long-time clients turned to me to design and build their new kitchen space.
I created a design plan creating a beautiful large kitchen, expanding the space into the adjacent rooms and opening up to the backyard. My clients loved this design plan, but other projects took precedence, so after a few additional years, my clients were now ready to proceed with the kitchen project. Their overall goals for the property did change since we first looked at this project, and my clients decided that they did not want to enlarge or expand the small kitchen by opening it up to the adjacent rooms, as this would mean losing an adjacent study and bathroom. So, I went back to the drawing board to create a kitchen in the existing kitchen space that fulfilled their new goals and created a beautiful functional space within the existing kitchen area.
This kitchen design consisted of additional storage and cabinetry, additional countertop space, and a small space to sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We added new cabinetry, which now extends to the ceiling removing the old soffits. We worked around 3 existing doorways which were to remain in place, old radiator piping which remained, and we replaced the 2 existing windows with larger windows which were more proportioned to the space and took full advantage of the natural light. Careful planning allowed for additional cabinetry adjacent to the peninsula, which added more storage. A metal pegboard in cobalt blue created a small pot rack on the side of the refrigerator panel, creating more storage.
This new design, like my former design, honored this home’s traditional architecture but added light, and a fresh feel to the space using updated colors and material selections. A custom mix of glass tile created the backsplash, white quartz with the look of classic marble, created a classic but user-friendly countertop. A white porcelain farmer’s sink is a focal point in this kitchen, custom window treatments, maple flooring, and gleaming hardware added to the milky white cabinetry allowed this kitchen to now blend with the classic architecture in the rest of the home. New stainless steel appliances were also added, and really update the way this kitchen looks and functions.
The adjacent pantry area was also renovated, just off the main kitchen, we removed old dark pine cabinetry, added a doorway to the adjacent dining room which created a better traffic flow through the home. We designed and installed beautiful custom navy blue cabinetry with lots of storage and counter top space, which the owner uses for entertaining.
My clients are now loving this newly renovated kitchen space. This new kitchen contains many of the elements of a much larger kitchen and melds beautifully with the rest of the house which we have also designed renovated over the last few years. Finally, my client’s get to enjoy their new kitchen space as much as they enjoy the rest of this beautiful home.
You’ve spent the last few months searching for a new home. You’ve re-calibrated your wish list several times before finally deciding that in order to get into the neighborhood that you like and stay within your budget, you had better consider a fixer-upper. It looks easy enough, so how hard could it be? Besides, it looks like fun. You know that you would like to add or change some of the features in your new home, so how hard could it be? Well, if you are a first-time homeowner or a first-time renovator, stay tuned, this article is for you!
Fixing up an old or run down home has been a way of life for me and my family for as long as I could remember because I grew up with my parents being fixer-upper renovators. As a child coming home from school and walking through the front door, I was sure of one thing, somewhere in my path, there would be wet paint or freshly poured cement with piles of stone ready for stacking, electrical wires hanging from the ceiling, and of course, the furniture would always be in a different place. The perfect environment for this designer in the making.
Years later, I took it to a whole different level. As my children grew up amidst a full-scale major renovation in what was their childhood home, a 200-year-old historical beauty, and a thriving Interior Design and Renovation business operating at full force by their mother, whose first office was in that home. Now that they are adults, I wonder if this must somehow be in the genes as I see my 3-year-old grandson building “staging” as he climbs carefully with his hammer in hand and my 1 1/2-year-old granddaughter standing in her pink tool belt, smiling as I teach her how to retract her tape measure as they help with the next family project. Future renovators in the making, for sure. Needless to say, after 20 years of renovating clients houses and many more years of living in numerous fixer-upper projects, I do have some advice for anyone who has found themselves head over heels for their vision of what this is going to be like.
1 – Be patient and Listen to the house
I know you want to get into the exciting stuff right away. The kitchen, the bathrooms, taking down walls. But allow yourself a little time to access the property close up. Take your time, go through the details of the house slowly. Allow the house to show you what needs your attention first. Believe me, it will! Sometimes new renovators go right at it tearing into everything on their wish list, only to find, a few days or weeks into the project, that house had other more pressing issues that really should be addressed first. Usually, these are the less exciting projects, like the roof, the furnace, electrical, or plumbing issues. And my personal favorite from past experience in 2 of my own homes, water well or main water line issues. Many issues can be brewing that you are unaware of even when you’ve had a thorough home inspection. So be prepared with your budget to address some of these issues, should they come up sooner than anticipated in your renovation project.
2 – Really access your goals for the house.
Are you hoping to be living in the home for a while? Or are you going to be fixing it up and selling in a few years? Both of these scenarios should be approached very differently with regards to how to approach your plan, renovation, and budget. Be clear on your goals before you start. This will keep you from over-investing in design elements that only you think are great and might hinder the sale of your home if that is your intention. If you are here to stay, then you can create a plan of action based on your goal for you and your family.
3 – Have a detailed plan.
After accessing the house thoroughly addressing any immediate issues, now it’s time to develop a detailed plan. This is a great time to involve a design professional who knows the ins and outs of transforming your home with a renovation. An experienced designer will be able to review your plan and assist with creating a phased plan of action. This is important because you don’t want to find out later when you finally get to do your bathroom renovation, that the adjacent rooms, which you renovated first, will now be affected in order to run plumbing and electrical for your new bathroom project. You certainly don’t want to spend time and money backtracking because you didn’t do things in a logical order.
4 – Life during a renovation.
If you have the opportunity to do some or all of the work on your fixer-upper before you move in, then great. Plan those projects strategically. It’s much easier to address any floor work before you have a house full of furniture unless this doesn’t make sense for your timeline or project goals. If you are going to be living in your home and fixing it up as you go, really think about ways that you can make our life easier by progressing through the house and thinking out the logistics. This is something that I review with every client before a renovation. Even in the best of circumstances, your projects will cause some stress and logistical issues when your lifestyle is disrupted with a renovation.
5 – Don’t try to be your own contractor
Don’t try to be your own contractor unless you have the additional time and money needed to correct expensive errors that you might make by learning as you go. Pick and choose the projects that you know you can compete and that are within your skill set, if you want the hands-on experience. Remember that a poorly done renovation can cost just as much money as a professional renovation, usually takes much more time, and can actually decrease the value of your home if it doesn’t look great in the end. Hiring the pros will ensure you get the desired results without all the stress, guesswork, and endless hours trying to figure it all out.
Step 1- Choose China or Dishware
Creating a beautiful Easter table starts with choosing dishware. You can mix a few china or dishware patterns together or use just one pattern. If you are starting from scratch, white plates are a great choice because they are so versatile. You can use white plates and dishware with so many different tablecloths and flower options to create different looks for every holiday throughout the year.
Step 2- Choose a Tablecloth
Use a solid color or a boldly patterned fabric that will complement your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t want to use a tablecloth, look for some inexpensive placemats. You could also add color and texture with a table runner. Choose something that pulls together your color scheme.
Step 3- Create a Centerpiece
Arrangements of spring flowers make a great centerpiece. Individual blossoms of spring color and also be grouped in individual vases to create a great Spring table arrangement. Choose one color or use a mix of 2-3 colors. Use something unusual to hold your flowers, an old antique pitcher, a clear canister filled with jellybeans can add lots of colors and create a fresh springtime look. Also, remember to create a centerpiece that allows you to see everyone at the table.
Step 4- Choosing Glassware
When creating an Easter table design, we can’t forget about the glassware. I believe that glassware one of the most important details of your whole table design. Whether you are doing a simple table setting for a casual gathering with just one piece of glassware per table setting, or a formal dinner with numerous pieces, this adds sparkle and dimension to your table design. If numerous pieces of glassware are being used, I like to vary the heights as much as possible, but be sure to keep all glassware pieces proportioned to each other, this creates movement and balance across your table. Choose clear glassware or a color that complements your table, I like to mix colors to create a nice balanced yet interesting look. Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many options to choose from when purchasing, think about your china colors coordinate your selections with items that you already own. Sometimes I use different items at each place setting, don’t be afraid to mix and match. You might only have 3 glasses of one style and 3 of another but if you alternate each place setting, it will look cohesive.
Step 5- Decorative Details
Add personality to your table by adding decorative details. With the addition of 2 young grandchildren in my family, numerous types of bunnies, both chocolate and gilded, have once again appeared on my Easter table. Use what you have, heirloom salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, unique items that pull together the entire look of your table. It can be fun to incorporate meaningful items from family members, like great grandma’s crystal bowl, filled with candy or flowers. Just be sure it all ties in together in theme, color and proportion. Too many different things together will look cluttered and messy. Layer your table carefully, and just like putting on jewelry, if you are not sure, remove a piece. A little decorative detail goes a long way when mixed with the other elements of your table.
I really enjoy having guests in my home. I enjoy the late night dinners and laughter, I also enjoy the early morning chats over coffee. But I do know that anticipating guests can cause a lot of anxiety, even those of us that love having guests can feel anxious because we want our homes to be comfortable for them. They key is to be prepared, spend a little time preparing well before your guests arrive and you will be free to welcome your guests knowing that you and your home are ready for their visit.
If you have an actual guest room, great. Even a small space in an office can serve as a luxurious guest retreat if it’s well thought out.
Furnish your guest room with flexible furniture, if this is a dual purpose room, think about the floor plan and traffic pattern when it’s not being used for an office and how it will be used as a guest room when it’s needed. Will you need to access items in this room when it’s being used for guests. Plan ahead. Leave a little closet space, with a few empty hangers, and some drawer space in the room so guests can unpack a few things.
Before guests arrive, give your room a thorough cleaning, and dress the bed with fresh linens. If this room is seldom used, it might need a little freshening up a few days before your guests arrive.
I love to welcome guests with some fresh flowers and a candle in the guest room. It’s a small touch, but it really lets your guests know that you have done something special for them.
Try to use some nice quality sheets and bedding for the guest room. Even though this room might not be used regularly, no one wants to sleep on rough sheets, even for a few nights.
Have some extra pillows and blankets nearby, it’s hard to get comfortable in a new place, so having a few extra pillows means that guests can prop themselves perfectly while finishing up that book or video. A few extra blankets will allow guests to get comfortable without searching around for these items in unfamiliar territory.
Most guests will have chargers for their phones and devices, but it’s helpful to have an extra phone charger, or charging station, just in case. I like to have a power strip available for easy access to outlets. I also leave a small note with my home’s WIFI password in the room.
Provide a few personal necessities, stock a basket or a drawer with a few necessities, just in case your guests need them. Some travel sized soaps and lotions, an extra toothbrush and toothpaste, and a few other little necessities, your guests will feel at home and you won’t have to start searching around if someone needs something that they forgot to bring along.
I also add a few bottles of water and a few small snack items, no one wants to go searching through your kitchen for snacks after you’ve gone to bed, so just think ahead and leave a few things up in the guest room, just in case someone gets hungry, or let them know that you left them something special in the kitchen.
I also like to have a full-length mirror somewhere in the guest room, inside the closet door works great, it’s hard enough to live out of a suitcase, a full-length mirror lets guests quickly access their condition before heading down for coffee.
The summer months are just around the corner. That means people start traveling and you might have a few guest overnight guests in your home soon. Even if you don’t have a designated guest room, you could use some of these tips to prepare your home for their stay. Just a little preparation time can eliminate those feelings being overwhelmed, leaving some time to really enjoy your guests.