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

Sheer fabric window treatments

With so many options to choose from when it comes to dressing windows, it’s fun to be able to get the privacy and light control needed while doing something a little different and unexpected. In this dressing/closet area, the sheer … Continue reading

“Game of Thrones” in your Kingdom?

Step into a world of of mystic intrigue…descending a flight of stairs, you are led into an old-world room where you find a crowd gathered by a fireplace and a full bar.  As you move forward, you are enveloped by … Continue reading

Big changes, dramatic results

We’ve just completed the first phase of this renovation in West Chester, and I’m excited to share the changes so far.  In the foyer, we went big and bold with a new, 60″ diameter light fixture in crystal and nickel.  To add to the drama, we painted the walls a medium green/gray, added a beefy crown molding and decorative boxes with a silvery damask paper inside.  We will finish off the space with a silver-leafed chest and a new rug.  (Will post when the chest comes in).

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In the family room, we added a window to balance the architecture.  We modernized the fireplace by removing the raised hearth and installing stone from floor to ceiling.  We added a beam to the ceiling, and replaced the fan with a simple chandelier.  The large wall was outfitted with large boxes and a gray linen paper.  Simple, sheer blue/gray drapes were hung to soften the look and make the room more cozy.  Our plan is to fill the room with new furniture pieces that better fit the size of the space.

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Family Room-Before

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Family Room-After

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Family Room-Before

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Family Room-After

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Family Room Concept-3D View

Multi-Functional Laundry Room

Redesigning a laundry room may seem like an insignificant project, but this one was certainly complex. The homeowner had a lot of “must-have’s” on her wish list, and we were able to creatively arrange them into one small space. The room is 7’4” by 8’10” and includes a dryer, washer, sink, clothes line, bench, folding table, toilet, multiple laundry baskets, cubbies, and cabinets. Let’s first go through these practicalities and then I’ll give an overview of the design.

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The owner of this home recently installed a backyard pool, but because the first floor powder room is on the other side of the house, she hoped to make a toilet more accessible for swimmers. We moved over the original door opening so as to install a pocket door, creating privacy for the bathroom function while saving space by not having to accommodate a door swing. Adjacent to the toilet is the folding table where laundry baskets fit snugly underneath. Included in this table is a drawer that serves as a dryer for delicate clothing. (Nice that you can hide those “unmentionables” while they’re drying, right?)  Between this table and the far wall, is a bench with cubbies underneath–great for putting on winter boots. Directly across the room the dryer is stacked over the washer and a cabinet is included above. Next to this is a serviceable farm sink, with a skirt to soften the hard lines of the room, and hide more “stuff”.  In the last corner of the room is a full height cabinet with a built-in vacuum duct underneath, completing this multi-functional space.

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Given the dense and dual nature of the room, we had to think creatively to make it more than just practical. Some design features we added are crown molding around the cabinets, porcelain floor tiles, and a backsplash above the sink.  The walls were painted a soft green and the cabinets stained gray, which both compliment the leathered granite counter-tops. The gray also blends nicely with the washer/dryer.  This room serves as an entry to the backyard, a laundry room, a storage room, and a bathroom. It is attractive, orderly, and modern with many homey final touches.

Cabinets and carpentry by the Renovo Group.

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Floor Plan

 

The versatility of window treatments

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This week, we installed new drapes in this Chester Springs master bedroom.  The existing silk drapes, while very pretty, did not add any oomph to the room, and they also didn’t block out the light for better sleeping.  Additionally, because of the strong southern exposure, the sun had deteriorated the fabric in some spots.

The new drapes are blackout lined, they are decorative when opened or closed, and they also block drafts in the winter (or strong light in the summer) which is a nice bonus.   We chose a current, large-scale pattern to add more visual interest to the room.  The solid banding is a nice accent, and will stand up to wear from the client’s dogs rubbing up against them.

We offer many options for window coverings, but I highly recommend a blackout-lined drape for a bedroom.  Other clients just rave about the darkness they can achieve.  Great for people that want to sleep in, or those that work nights and sleep during the day.

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What is your decorating style?

Clients often ask me what my favorite personal decorating style is.  I’m guessing that they want to know if my style closely aligns with theirs.  My short answer is “eclectic”, meaning I really like to mix different styles for a more interesting look.  But, there are many considerations in how this has come about, and my longer answer is this:

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, and my mother loved to decorate our colonial home, then redecorate once things started looking old or outdated.  She loved wallpaper and wasn’t afraid of color and pattern.  Looking back, I would say that she also liked to decorate to the current trends, so there was a lot of gold, brown and rust in our house in the earlier years.  Going through design school meant learning in detail about past styles, and both school and work experience taught me more about current styles and trends.  They also taught how to blend the two, considering line, mass and tonality.  My takeaway from these influences is an appreciation for individual objects for their own particular style and personal meaning.  I also developed an idea for what I don’t like, and even though Baroque, Victorian, and busy/overdone aren’t high on my list, I can still appreciate what some might find appealing about an ornate piece or even a period room.

In the end, what I personally like are rooms that invite you to come in and spend some time.  A sitting room should be comfortable, sunny, and cozy, and project a feeling of warmth.  It should have interesting things to look at and feel balanced, which is calming.  If there is a mix of styles and colors, they should harmonize with each other, and elements should not compete as the main focal point.  I personally don’t like things that are too “fussy”, nor do I like a cold, contemporary look for my own spaces.  I like a house with rich architecture, but can appreciate a clean, modern space provided that it still meets the criteria for what I consider a well-done room.  I like British colonial-style furniture, or anything that reminds me of warmer climates, and a relaxed, coastal lifestyle.  I also like natural materials along with various textures, and it never hurts to bring the outdoors in with some plants (or even palm or citrus trees).  As far as trends are concerned, I do think clean lines and simpler looks are here to stay, but I would prefer to do my own thing and not follow the trends too closely.

What I want my clients to know is that good design can exist within any style, and I consider a successful project one that reflects my clients’ tastes rather than my own.

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Family Room