Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Happy Room For the Grandkids!

I am so excited to announce the birth of my second granddaughter, Ellen, who was born on December 3.  She is such a beautiful little baby and I already love her dearly!  It is in her honor that I am sharing a grandkid's room that I recently designed for two of my favorite clients.  These sweet grandparents recently downsized from the home where they raised their three children to a lovely town home just a couple blocks away.

I first met with them this past summer, just before they moved to their new place.  We went through the house and took inventory of what they would like to keep and what would need to go.  This was not an easy move for my clients because this was the home where they had raised their children,  and where many fond memories had been made.

I felt my main goal was to make this new place feel like home to them!  I wanted to give them a place where they would look forward to coming home each day!  In the end, I believe they would say we accomplished that goal!

For this grandkid's room, the homeowners wanted a space where their grandsons would be excited about coming over and playing.  My client said she wanted this to be a happy room!  The room was not very large and yet it needed to function as a place where the boys could have sleepovers, and a place where they could play, and also just hang out to watch TV.  The boys are young now, but we wanted to design a space that could grow with them.  The first thing we did was paint those gold walls a pretty Benjamin Moore color called "Classic Gray".  We then divided the room into three zones: one for sleeping, one for playing, and one for working.

This is how the room looked when I saw it for the first time.  

We used the client's beds, and we had the desk and upper cabinets built in for needed storage

This corner would become the sleep zone.

This small sectional from Bassett was the perfect solution for this small space.  The ottoman provides some extra storage.  The beds
are a cozy place for sleepovers.  The large world map is from Ikea.  

This corner would become the play area/TV viewing area.
There are a few details that had not been completed when this photo was taken.  We had not hung the cork boards or added the hardware to the cabinets.  Notice the little dorm fridge?  What a fun space!

We added some play clothes to the coat rack that included a fireman's jacket and some boots!
The room has ended up being such a fun, happy space that the grandparents are reporting that they find themselves spending a lot of time up here watching TV, even when the grandkids are not there!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Decorating Duo in Savannah!

I recently returned from a special trip down to the historic town of Savannah, Georgia!  I was visiting my youngest daughter, who is an Interior Design major at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).  The two of us worked together to decorate her very first apartment!  We had so much fun teaming up on this personal project, and both of us were happy about the way everything turned out!  There are still a few things that are not finished, but I thought I would show you what we've done, so far.

The apartment is located in one of my favorite Savannah neighborhoods.  Her building was built in 1854, and oozes with that southern charm and personality!  The  building has a street level apartment that the owner is currently remodeling for his family.  Then, there are three floors above the street.  My daughter's place is on the second floor, and has a beautiful view of the cobblestone street, lined with large oak trees.

The street view from her bedroom window.  The spanish moss hanging from the trees is so pretty.

  Because this is a rental, there was not a lot we could change.  My daughter was able to paint her bedroom Benjamin Moore Simply White, however, the whole apartment could have used a coat of paint.   It was okay once we decorated everything, because the walls sort of disappeared.  Here are some Before and Afters:

This is the Living Room on the first day we looked at the apartment. 
We found the perfect mirror for over that mantel at my favorite consignment store.  Much of the furniture was leftover from my staging stash.  The Audrey art was hanging in her dorm room last year.
This is standing in the Living Room, looking into the kitchen and breakfast nook.

The heart art and gold feather are from HomeGoods.

Standing in the kitchen looking through the living room, into the bedroom. (that was our realtor talking to my daughter about the apartment).

This place feels so cozy!

Standing in the Living Room, looking into the kitchen.
We found the modern art piece on sale at a local Savannah shop.  It had been marked down below half price!  The glass lamps are from Target.  The chairs and the tables are from Ikea.  The sofa is an Ethan Allen brand that we found at the consignment store and reupholstered in a performance fabric.

The breakfast nook has a pretty view of Savannah. (My son was entertaining
himself with my phone, while we looked at the apartment for the first time).

We enjoyed eating supper here one night, and watching people walking by down below.

The kitchen cabinets are screaming for a coat of paint and some new hardware, but we just don't have the energy to put that kind of time and money into a rental. 
It is a very functional little kitchen!

The lamp on the chest is missing the shade!  It's from the Nate Berkus collection at Target and they were sold out of the shades.  We've ordered one online.

One of our favorite finds were these horse lamps from HomeGoods!  

We had such a good time fixing up her first little place, exploring the city, browsing some neat shops, and eating at some great restaurants!  It was hard to say goodbye, but I look forward to seeing her again, soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Playing House at the Kitchen Showroom!

When I was a young girl, I used to love to go to furniture stores or kitchen showrooms where my younger sister and I would play house while Mama and Daddy did their shopping.  We loved pretending that the kitchen displays or the living room settings were our own homes and we could have played for hours in there!  I will never forget the first time I staged a condo for a real estate developer.  At the end of the day, after I had set up the entire condo and stepped back to make sure the finished product was perfect, I felt a very familiar feeling of satisfaction.  It was the same feeling I had as a little girl after spending hours setting up my "house" and arranging everything just so.  I really didn't care so much about playing house, once my house was finished.  The fun for me was setting everything up!  Often, when I close out a job with a client, I will sign my email with something like, "It's been a pleasure working with you!".  But what I really want to write is, "It's been a pleasure "playing" with you"!  I have never gotten the nerve to write that for fear that my client may think I am a little strange.

Recently, I was hired to play house in two kitchen showrooms:  one in Graham and the other in High Point.  I really enjoyed staging these kitchen displays.  Many of the fixtures and finishes had already been selected.  I did help with some of the paint colors, and choosing some of the backsplash tiles, but mostly, my job was to make these kitchens look like someone lived in them!  So much fun!  Below, are a few photos from some of those kitchens.  These photos were taken with my iPad, so the quality is not great, but you will get the idea:

Installation day!  Many of the dishes, cookbooks, and small appliances I used
were purchased from Goodwill or consignment stores.
The Entry Before:  I had them remove the dated pediment from above the opening
at the end of the alleyway and enclose that opening so we could hang a nice piece of art there.
The Entry After

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Design Gift

I recently completed a fun office makeover for a young professional couple.  The wife emailed me in December and asked if I would redesign her husband's office at a local university.  She planned to surprise him for his January birthday.  This would be the second design project with this sweet couple, so I was excited for the opportunity to work with them again.

As you can see in this photo from our initial consultation, the husband  brought in  items that he planned to use for decorating his office, but just never quite got around to arranging them:

My first job was to assess the space and gather information from the client so that I could suggest what items should stay, and what needed to be removed.  The office had recently been painted, so we would work with the existing color.

The husband's wish list was short:  he wanted a small conference table for student meetings and a new, comfortable desk chair.

After taking the necessary measurements and snapping a few photos, I was ready to get to work on the design plan!  

Once we agreed on the plan, I began sourcing the items we needed.  My first stop was The Red Collection, one of my favorite consignment stores, where I found most everything we needed at great prices!  I shopped Craigslist and found the remaining items on my list.

One month after our initial meeting, I met the wife again for the installation! This is the surprise her husband found when he returned to his office (Happy Birthday!):

Most of the accessories that you see throughout the space were his.  I found the desk chair and the small 36-in round table in the foreground, at the consignment store.  The two banker's chairs were found on Raleigh Craigslist from a lawyer's office who was remodeling.  I picked up the succulent plant on his desk from a design studio.  We removed one bookshelf and moved the remaining two into the recessed area behind his desk, which was a great space saver!
I found the credenza and the lamp at The Red Collection consignment.  The framed art pieces all belonged to my client, so I just needed to find the best way to display them.  A gallery wall above his credenza was the perfect solution!
The small 36-in round table and the banker's chairs are working beautifully for teacher/student conferences.  The rug is another Red Collection find.
 I picked up the live plant on the table from Lowes.  
My favorite  part of this project was the reveal!  I wish I had turned on my camera as soon as the husband walked into his "new" office!  His happy reaction is just one of the reasons  I love my job so much!  He was beyond excited and I hope this makeover will add a little cheer to his workdays! 

I am looking forward to working with them both again next month as we  begin Phase 2 of their own home design project.