Interior Design Photos on our web site

Interior Design Photos on our web site
For More Interior Design Photos: ^ Click Above ^ - Hundreds of Before & After photos

Sunday, January 25, 2015

4 interior design solutions for a luxurious romantic bathroom!

Interior designers have 4 solutions to instantly help your bathroom feel more luxurious, inviting and romantic. In no particular order - here we go - 

1) Add a chandelier - it's a quick way to achieve a unique look!
2) Add valances or roman shades. Hang them as high as possible to make the ceilings feel taller.  The valances shown here are in a shimmery silver fabric.
3) Add a soft textured rug - your feet will thank you on cold winter days!
4) Apply a soothing wall paint- try a "spa like" color, or a light color to brighten the room!

AFTER above, below is before
Bathroom BEFORE chandelier and Valance
The valance over this tub adds height, and the beautiful pattern adds interest. 

In this home in the Estates at Lake Jeanette, we made a window valance that solved
the fact that the window was too short. The pewter gray fabric with a gold contrast band
 tied in with the lighting & faucets which the client did not wish to replace. 
For more bathroom photos, with "before & after" see the link to additional blog photos:

Comments? We love to hear from you! 

Have a question? Type a word in the SEARCH box upper left corner such as "update" or "remodeling" or "bedroom". Or, feel free to email us.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Should I paint my wood stained bookcases & mantle?

Are you wondering if you should paint over the wood stained bookcases & mantle? Well you might want to consider the quality of the wood. Is it solid cherry or mahogany? Or is it a lower grade wood that you do not like? Is the room dark? Are you interested in a brighter room?

Keep in mind you can paint your bookshelves other colors (besides white), consider tan, taupe, gray, as shown on the bookcases and TV surround below.

Here's a clients home in Irving Park, the wood on the mantle and bookcases is actually a very high quality solid cherry. When you're not willing to paint the wood, you can always use lighter fabrics - notice how the off white sofa brightens the room more than the brown sofa.
After Above, Before Below

Here are some photos of rooms (before and after) with painted shelves & mantle instead of stained wood.
In this case, the white bookcases and mantle are a much cleaner & brighter look than the before with wood stain. If you aren't willing to paint over your wood just yet, here are 4 compromise solutions:
1) Paint the back wall only, in off white.
2) Apply linen fabric on a thin board inserted on the back wall - this creates a big impact
3) Paint your ceiling trim & doors only, but leave the mantle in brown stain
4) Introduce lighter fabrics (see top photo - we brought an ivory sofa to replace their brown one)

Whether to paint your bookcases and mantle is a personal choice - the majority of people telling us they love a clean lighter look of paint instead of stain, but if your wood is high quality you could try several other options first, to see if it solves what you don't like about the room.

For more mantle and shelf before after photos, click on this link:

Friday, January 9, 2015

5 quick steps to change your traditional style home to a more transitional or contemporary look!

Tired of the traditonal style? Ready to change to a cleaner less formal look?  If you have dark furniture, consider recovering it, or replacing the loveseat with a pair of chairs. Notice the chairs are  up on legs, without a skirt, for an open spacious look.
After Above, Before Below

It's not always necessary to replace furniture, often you can recover it, or update a rug or art for
a more transitional style, that is less formal or traditional.

Sofa AFTER in Gray Linen with chenille pillows
 BEFORE below

  1. Upgrade lamps - make sure the scale is large enough for your big room, & switch to today's linen shades, (no bell shaped lamp shades)
  2. Switch to solid fabrics on large pieces, with punches of color in art & pillows. If you're recovering, now is the time to make the change. 
  3. When possible, remove the skirt and have exposed wood legs. 
  4. If your busy print rug is worn, consider a sisal (which are very low in price) or a tone on tone rug that is not a busy print
  5. Last but not least - Artwork - if you update to cheerful large transitional art (to replace your very serious formal art) the entire mood of your home will change! People tell us they're can't get over the transformation. 
We used Linen for the sofa and chairs, with busy prints on the pillows only.

In summary, consider organic solids like linen and cotton, to replace formal fabrics. When possible, update art to a couple of large soothing landcapes or abstracts. In 5 easy steps your home will feel more contemporary, to bring in the new look that is not so traditional. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Stained wood mantle versus white? Stacked stone versus polished stone?

When the builder asked a recent client to select their stacked stone for their fireplace surround, I reminded them that none of the photos of favoite styles they showed me on, had a stacked stone fireplace. Quite the contrary, they were all white mantles.

A picture is worth a thousand words! Look through Houzz photos, to help you decide which look you're drawn towards. Better still - it will give you the tools to communicate your wish list with the builder or cabinet maker.
The above client's "dream home" photos from Houzz indicated they preferred a white mantle, not a stacked stone fireplace like the builder suggested. If you're unsure which style is for you, save photos in ideabooks on Houzz.  
Here's another stacked stone fireplace surround from Houzz. 

For hundreds more fireplace photos:

For options for your flat screen TV placement (with Pros and Cons):

Have a comment? We'd love to hear from you! Questions? Be sure to email us instead.

Whether you go with a stacked stone fireplace with wood stain or a white mantle is personal preference. Study photos on line and ask yourself which ones you are drawn to. It will set the tone for the style of your room.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to decorate my foyer on a budget?

To decorate or add a designer touch to your foyer, it's an area where you may be able to bring in things from another room, perhaps a bench, a floor lamp, a fun mirror, a table lamp set on a timer, a narrow table with a bowl for your keys.
AFTER above
This client thought they needed to invest thousands in new iron balusters & new tile.
We pointed out that with a fresh coat of paint & a few accessories, they could get an updated
designer look for thousands less than they considered. BEFORE below

A Foyer with fresh white paint is very appealing! Notice
how the white paint draws attention to the light fixture & the stained front door. 

A Foyer with a black console & beautiful light fixtures
Perhaps you have a piece of furniture which would look nice with black paint and new hardware?

A foyer with a host and hostess chair for seating, a beatiful wood stained front
door stands out next to the white trim paint. The art is a nice size & scale for the room.
For many more before/after photos of foyers & entrance areas, see this link

A foyer or entrance area is the first impression someone has of your home, it's a great place to make people feel welcome. To decorate your foyer, look around the house, perhaps you can borrow a chair from another room? Or move art from another wall? Or perhaps all you need is fresh paint on the front door? Have fun with it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Should my Telivision be above the fireplace? Or beside it?

Clients often assume the only logical place to put the TV is above the fireplace.  In the top photo, their mantle was 5 1/2' tall (due to code requirements), so the top of the TV would have been almost 9' tall. According to ergonomic professionals & Physical Therapists, looking up to watch TV causes a strain on the neck. My own TV is above the fireplace, the builder did it before we bought the home. I must admit, we do get a sore neck after football days! 

Today there are more options than in the past, because today's TV brackets pull out & swivel for easy viewing from all angles.

I found several photos on Houzz showing TV's beside the mantle instead of above it (one example on right) - this helped the client visualize options. They tell me they are very happy with the placment they went with (above). 

We feature a list of the pros and cons of below.  

The advantage to a TV over the fireplace is the room will normally be symetrical, and symmetry may be very important to you. Look at photos you've gathered in the past - are the nightstands, bookcases, etc always symetrical?

The disadvantages to the TV over the fireplace:  
1) The big black box is the focal point 
2) It's a strain on your neck, according to ergonomic or PT experts (see below) 
3) The heat is hard on your electronics, according to professionals, (link below)
 ---- see more pros and cons and other room photos at the link at the bottom of the page

Brad Simpson has strong opinions about a TV over the mantle. He is the Clinical Director at Life’s Work PT who treats patients with musculoskeletal problems & is an expert in ergonomics. He says watching TV in an unnatural position will have lasting repercussions. “Having your head forward & up causes a shearing force within your mid-cervical spine. That’s where a lot of pain ends up coming from" 
Read more:

See Below  -Notice how much higher the top of the TV is than someone sitting on the sofa? 
Where to put the TV is personal preference, but before you drill holes & mount that TV, 
be sure to ask youself a couple of questions:

 1) What do you want the main focal point of the room to be? 
 2) Would you rather be watching TV at eye level, or at a level that requires you to look up? 

Clients often tell me they wish they didn't have to look up to a TV that is hung high. So I'd love to hear your comments! We love feedback! 

For more options re TV placement & room layouts, see this link

For questions, be sure to email instead. Whether a Television should be above the fireplace mantle is personal preference, but keep in mind the pros and cons before you drill and hang the TV. If in doubt, perhaps you can try it in a "temporary testing location". 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How much to budget for the dining room furniture, rug, drapes, & chandelier?

People often ask how much they should budget for their dining room furniture, we list some sample budgets below. I like to stress that it's good to shop for discounted furniture, so you can allow room for the drapes, art, rug, accessories, and perhaps a new chandelier!

There are lots of bargains to be found when it comes to dining furniture. Often you can buy a table that is greatly discounted because one of the two leafs is missing, or perhaps it's in the return section, as people often return furniture that was too big for their home. It's fine to mix and match, to get chairs that compliment but do not match the dining table. I saw a breathtaking Henredon dining table recently marked down from $3,400 down to $300!

Dining Room AFTER above 
                                                                  BEFORE below
Before buying a new dining set, or a dining rug keep in mind that furniture is only part of what the room needs to feel "finished", cozy & welcoming. Below are two sample budgets with before and after dining room photos to emphasize the need to plan & budget BEFORE you shop!
AFTER (above)
Our Dining art, lamp, custom drapes, and candlesticks add to the look
Once the chandelier is upgraded the room will be complete!
                                                                      Before (below)
Dining room BEFORE

SAMPLE dining room BUDGETS     A (outlet furniture with accessories) versus B 

Dining room rug 9 x 11 100% wool hand tufted            $  400 (nice)    to $ 1,000 (upgraded)

Dining table & chairs discounted at a furniture outlet   $  3,400   
furniture outlets often have nice returns that wouldn't fit in a home or were canceled before delivery

Chandelier                                                                      $    300 (nice) to $ 1,300 (high end)

Art -  very large, custom wood frame                            $    500 (nice) to $ 1,200  (high end)

Custom Window Treatments                                         $    495 (nice)  to $  790  (upgraded)

Accessories  (high quality)                                            $    150 (nice) to  $  550   
                                                                                         _______               ______
GRAND TOTAL ENTIRE ROOM                                $   4,845        to   $ 7,240  

Versus B 
Order dining room furniture (not at an outlet)               $   9, 900 (more than everything listed above)

What shape or size dining table should I get:

Comments? We love to hear your comments! Do you have a bargain furniture story you'd like to share? ----- For questions, be sure to email us instead.

For more photos, check out your interests by inserting a word in the search box at the top left, such as "living room" or "bedroom" or "window treatment" or "art" or "porch".  Enjoy!

When it comes to budgeting for your dining room, know that even a bargain table from a consignment place or outlet can look amazing if it's in a room with beautiful paint & fabrics. 
A big dining budget doesn't necessarily dictate whether the room will look amazing, it's more the personal touches that count!

Monday, December 8, 2014

What type bed frame for a headboard or upholstered headboard?

There are lots of types of bed frames, from the metal ones you should hide with a dust skirt, to plat form beds which don't allow the use of box springs, to wood frames, which allow you to get a nice open look.
The upholstered headboards show the use of various style frames. We custom made these beds with nail head trim, and they are attached to the wall instead of the bed frame. This allows you to use any type bed frame, from a hidden metal frame (about $50 at a local mattress store) to a wooden frame or matching side rails that are upholstered as shown below.

See the disadvantages listed below - when you get a foot board.

Upholstered Headboard with the same fabric on side
rails and foot rails, this is a nice clean look

Upholstered Headboard on a hidden metal frame
If your dust skirt is plain (not gathered), you rarely notice the dust skirt.
This is a great option if you want to incorporate more fabrics and textures. 

Leather Upholstered headboard with matching side rails and foot rails and nail head trim
NOTE - if you box spring is tall some bed frames may not work for you!
Some brands like the above do not allow space for a box spring.

We made this custom upholstered headboard and added wood side rails and foot board rail.
Notice the legs (far left close up), You can see underneath the bed for a nice open look, even with a box spring.

Upholstered Headboard with nail head trim, close up view

When we ask clients if they like their complete bed, (with foot boards as shown) 99.99% of the time they tell us they do not. If we talk to them before they buy a bed, we make sure we point out several disadvantages of a foot board on the bed:

1) It chops the room off - it makes the room look smaller. In those cases where we change to an upholstered headboard, the clients are amazed at how much more "open" and "spacious" it looks
2) It's harder to make the bed when you have a foot board....
3) The footboard is uncomfortable, it's something your foot hits at night, or WORSE! People often tell us they stub their toes or hit it with their shin in the middle of the night!

When we change to a headboard only, with side rails or a hidden bed frame, the bedroom instantly feels much larger.

To see many BEFORE & AFTER bedrooms, with design tips & ideas for room layouts, 
colors, bedding, privacy solutions, and decorating styles, check out this blog:

Comments? We love to hear your thoughts!

Questions ?  Be sure to email us instead, as we can only reply to emails.