“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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Foyer-Before

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Foyer-After

 

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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Before

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Before

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Before

 

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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After

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After

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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After

Floor Plan

 

The versatility of window treatments

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Before

 

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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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After

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Some like it cool

We love working on smaller spaces because of the challenges they present, and the fun and interesting solutions that can come from brainstorming with our clients to see what would work best for them.  Our client felt that her Logan … Continue reading

Historic house discovers new world

  It’s hard to explain the feeling you get as you turn off the main road, and start winding down the narrow, tree-lined, Chester County back road until you reach the clearing that is part of this amazing historic property. … Continue reading

Product Review: COREtec Luxury Vinyl

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Before-Laminate flooring being removed

The switch to luxury vinyl flooring in the living room, dining room, powder room, and kitchen became one of the primary changes to this home in New Jersey. The existing floor in the living/dining area was a plastic laminate product. Although appearing acceptable from a distance, this type of flooring carries with it two major drawbacks. First, it tends to buckle when getting wet so putting it in a bathroom or kitchen is not recommended.  Second, it tends to sound hollow when being walked on.  It was for these reasons that we chose to upgrade to a COREtec vinyl product.  

COREtec is completely waterproof and, in contrast with real wood, quite resistant to scratching. The owner of this home has a dog, so this product made more sense for this application.  COREtec products are also easy to install because, having a cork backing, they need no vapor barrier and are resistant to odor, mold, and mildew.  The cork also makes it quieter and warmer.  For these reasons, we were able to install it in all of the rooms on the first floor, including the kitchen and powder room, keeping the desired wood look consistent throughout.

We chose the Montrose Oak product from the Plus XL line, which gives the impression of being aged because of its texture and color variation. Imitating the look of reclaimed wood, it has saw blade marks, nail holes, and the surface is textured as if hand-scraped. It’s the largest LVT plank on the market–9”x72”.   Another great feature is that it’s certified for low chemical emissions.  Although we think this is a fantastic product, if there is one drawback, it’s the fact that it doesn’t have the “depth” of graining that real wood has, but we still feel it’s one of the best-looking wood-look luxury vinyls available right now.

Overall, this COREtec floor has succeeded brilliantly with its simple installation, durability, and rustic appearance.

Kitchen floor

After: COREtec Kitchen Floor

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After: COREtec flooring in powder room

Striking a Balance

When McGrath Interiors began this project on a two-year old home in West Chester, the first impression I got was that there was a dichotomy between the formalness of the house, and the relaxed, updated feel that the clients wanted … Continue reading

Keeping it simple

This West Chester dining room had a traditional/formal feel from the previous homeowner, which didn’t suit the style of my clients.  They wanted a more relaxed, yet elegant feel that would work well with their beautiful table and chairs.  We changed out the chandelier to one with wrought iron and wavy glass, painted the walls in a base of dark brown and glazed it with a subtle copper metallic finish.  The  windows were framed with simple panels made out of a beautiful linen blend with taupe embroidery.  Artwork and accessories were redone, but kept to a minimum to allow the focus  to remain on the few beautiful elements, and the people that will use the room.

Dining Room-Before

Dining Room-Before

Dining Room-After

Dining Room-After

Serving piece

Serving piece

Panel fabric detail

Panel fabric detail

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Restaurant Redesign

Accent wall

Accent wall

Before

Before

Arch

After (Stone arch)

When the owners of Fellini Cafe selected me to design their new West Chester, PA location, I was excited to have the opportunity, and we got started immediately.  Demo work had already begun, and the owners had plans to add columns and arches clad in stone veneer, but needed design direction for everything else.  The floor would remain, but the colors of the walls, trim, and ceiling needed to change from the blue and yellow greek theme, to something much more subdued.  Even though this is a casual dining Italian restaurant, they did not want the decor to be too busy, but rather wanted visual clarity with a warm, welcoming atmosphere conducive to experiencing an enjoyable meal out.

A key design decision was to paint the ceiling a dark color to make it recede as much as possible, and also make the grid less obvious.  The ceiling, trim, and furniture are all a dark brown, although of varying shades.  Another important design component is the accent wall, done in a rich rusty red, in order to play off of the warm hues in the stone and also add warmth and color to the large space.  The remaining walls were painted a warm neutral, providing the perfect background for some interesting decorative pieces.

With plenty of space to dine comfortably, patrons will hopefully find the atmosphere as appetizing as their food!

Hostess stand

Hostess stand

Stone detail

Stone detail