A Fresh Traditional Look



Fresh traditional

Want to try something new and traditional?  This might seem contradictory but think again. Traditional style elements include dated (not to be confused with outdated) period pieces, along with architectural moldings that frame the elegant symmetry of a room.  While a traditional color pallet usually showcases rich darker colors, it can also feature lighter, fresh, vibrant colors like this powder room renovation.







Lively colors and pattern of the wallpaper add movement and excitement.  The client especially loved the touch of gold color on the ceiling.  A traditional deep red window treatment pops against the colorful wallpaper. Golden hues of the brass lighting and plumbing fixtures are bright, playful, and trending.  Pure white porcelain fixtures, with their traditional styling, complement the crisp white classic crown and baseboard molding that perfectly frames this updated fresh traditional décor. Everything old is new again with a fresh take on the timeless aesthetic of traditional décor.








In search of a good night’s sleep and a quality mattress–do they exist?

My husband and I just celebrated our 24th anniversary.  In those 24 years we have had 3 or 4 mattresses—so many I’ve lost count!  This doesn’t include the early Tempurpedic we tried and sent back within the month.  That means the mattresses lasted on average about 6 years, but each one started getting body impressions well within the first year.  They would get worse and worse, I’d live with it for a while, and then I’d finally get tired of the “rolling hills” of my mattress, sore back and neck, tossing and turning all night, and buy a new one.  Full disclosure—my husband could sleep on a rock, so every time I’d start complaining he would just roll his eyes.  None of the mattresses we bought were cheap, either.  All were in the $2000.-$2700. range, generally the innerspring, pillow-top variety.  Our last venture was an all-natural latex mattress.  While the concept of sleeping on a natural product that won’t off-gas bad chemicals was appealing to me, the fact that there were no springs was a big mistake.  This one lasted not quite 7 years, but again, my back has been bothering me for a while.  

My research, experience, and knowledge of furniture (and now mattresses) led me to want a good quality innerspring mattress with a topper that could be added or replaced.  The company I found had a local showroom where I could go test all of their mattresses.  Their base models were pretty well rated in Consumer Reports, which is how I started looking at them.  All of their base mattresses are the same, and they just offer differently configured toppers.  All of the toppers are removable and replaceable.  Of course, the salesman recommended the most expensive one, which has two layers of smaller springs in the topper.  I laid on it for a while and it was very comfortable.  It evenly supported my back and was also comfortable lying on my side, more so than their other mattresses.  The coils in the base are supposedly stronger so hopefully, they’ll last longer.  All of the mattresses have a 25-year warranty—much higher than most.  They’re assembled in the US, and the materials are “natural” but I don’t think they are “organic”.  They use Talalay Latex in the topper (a product derived from the rubber plant).  The cost of this mattress was much less than the cost of comparable mattresses sold in department stores, which I also tried.  It is a thick mattress (15”) so it sits higher than what I’m used to.  

I just slept on it for the first time last night, and definitely got a better night’s sleep.  All that tossing and turning meant that I wasn’t getting enough REM sleep, but last night I did.  I didn’t have to set my alarm this morning and was surprised that I woke up after 8:00.  Usually, I’m so uncomfortable that I wake up around 6 or 6:30 and have to get out of bed just to get comfortable and stretch my back. 

I really hope this is the last mattress I’ll ever have to buy (or at least second-to-last).  The real test is whether or not it starts to sag after 3 years or so.  Let’s hope not!  But, what makes me feel good about this purchase is not only the warranty (the usual 1-1/2” sag factor applies here, too) but the fact that the company is a smaller company that cares about their reputation and wants to please their customers.  If the topper becomes uncomfortable after so many years of use, I can get another one without replacing the entire mattress.  

The takeaway from this: make sure you consider what position you like to sleep in, do your research (including laying on it for a while), and make sure you’re not spending good money on a mattress that won’t last more than 5 or 6 years.  Wishing you all a better night’s sleep!!!

Note: it is not my intention for this to be a promotional piece for this company which is why I omitted the name, but if you would like more information, please feel free to email me:  krista@mcgrathinteriors.com

“Game of Thrones” in your Kingdom?

Adding furniture and decor further envelops you in the world of a time gone by.   Inviting you into the space is a hand carved, wood and metal name plaque. A rustic built-in banquette and pub table have handmade inlayed tile. The … Continue reading

A fresh, new look

  Gray has been a popular neutral color for decorating as of late, and if a sleek, cool and contemporary look is what you’re after, then using various shades of gray is a no-brainer.   But, if you want to … Continue reading

Choosing exterior colors

When redoing the exterior of a home, there are lots of great choices in materials, and when painting, you have your choice of any color you wish.  But, oftentimes you are working with existing stone, brick or roof color.  So, where to begin?

For this charming home in town, the clients wanted to start over with a new color palette, and really liked the idea of using shingles somewhere.  As the shingles are more of an accent, we put them on the upper dormer, chose a medium blue to paint the brick on the bottom, selected a creamy yellow siding, and kept the trim white so the colors popped.  The shutters on the side of the house were custom-stained to work with the shingle color and front door color, then we added a bit of burgundy and red as an accent to the side metal roof, cushions on the porch and flowers.  Eliminating the shutters on the front helped to simplify the look, and other details like new lighting, add a nice finishing touch.  (See below for details).

Exterior Before

Before Photo

Exterior After

Front View-After

After Side view

Side View-After

This next house had a nice, “hunt country” theme to it, but the owners wanted a slightly different, more classic look.  We chose a lighter beige siding and went with black shutters.  Not super-exciting, but that’s the point.  A home’s exterior should relate to it’s surroundings, and not necessarily jump out at you.  If you do use color, consider using bolder colors in smaller doses (on the front door, for example).  A little bit goes a long way.  The last consideration is how much color you’ll have from flowers and plants.  If you have a beautiful garden, then keep the house relatively simple so that the focus is on the garden.  However, if you would rather have the house itself make a statement, then by all means, jazz it up a little.


Before Photo

Kennedy After

After Photo


Color selection and vendor notes for first house:

Siding color: Desert Tan, Paint: SW6249 Storm Cloud, Cedar: Cedar Impressions-Blend.

Painter: Hi-Tek Painting, West Chester PA

Siding and trim: Certitude, Malvern PA

The new “classic” kitchen

Choosing to renovate a perfectly serviceable kitchen is a huge decision, and that renovation requires many other decisions throughout the entire process.  I was brought into this Malvern, PA kitchen project by Hunter Kitchen and Bath to help the homeowners … Continue reading

The right room layout makes a difference

Enjoy browsing the photos below to see the finished product of this renovation. The new furniture layout definitely makes more sense for the existing space.   The overall look has really come together, completed in a refined style with classic navy blue armchairs and softer, more neutral colors throughout. The red bench brings out an exciting pop of color and is complemented by the black and white elements throughout the room.



My clients had tried several different scenarios for this living room’s layout before coming to us for help.  Since the room is fairly large (23′ x 20′), putting all the furniture against the walls created a “frat house” look, as the client said.  Our solution was to move the TV to the other side of the fireplace, and have a sectional sofa in the middle of the space where they could lay down and watch tv, entertain a fairly large group, and even pull up the bench and other dining chairs if the group grows even larger.  There is still room to circulate through the space (the many doors were a bit of a challenge), and there was also room to put a cozy chair and ottoman by the window for reading and gazing at the beautiful view.

I’m excited about the color direction–keeping the area rug and sectional neutral which works with the existing greige on the walls, and creates a calm, cohesive look, but then we added some darker blues, and one red bench for color pop and visual interest.  I look forward to getting everything in and seeing it all put together.  Like Tom Petty said, “the waiting is the hardest part”!



Living Room-Before

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Floor Plan

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Proposed Room-3D View

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Proposed Room-View 2, 3D View

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Furniture and Finishes


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Area Rug

Second chance for a classic chintz

When my client told me that she had purchased some curtains off of e-bay and didn’t know how to make them work in her bedroom, my first thought was “uh-oh”.  The uncertainty of repurposing something is always a little scary … Continue reading

Transformation of a fireplace wall

This is just a small portion of a main-floor renovation that we’re working on, but it was an important aspect, as the wall is a focal point, and can be easily seen from many parts of the house.  In order … Continue reading