Category Archives: Interior Decorating

ANY SEASON ROOM

This summer, we’ve had fun putting the finishing touches on a very unique indoor/outdoor space for a couple in Bull Valley, Illinois.  Our clients, who purchased the home about a year ago, weren’t quite sure how they wanted to use this bright and lofty space.  But with so much space just off the main living areas of the home, they knew it could be something pretty unique.  Why not create an ‘Any Season’ room?

At first glance, you’d think the long, rectangular room was an addition to this secluded, country home.  With skylights, exposed staircase and beams and sliding doors along both sides, it felt like a three-season room.  However, this room was actually part of the original owner’s design.  Comprising over 450 square feet, we knew this room could be so much more than a seasonal space!

BEFORE

AFTER

So, after living in the house for a while, the new owners decided they needed the room to have multiple functions rather than just the sunroom one might expect.  They asked for a small home office/organizational area.  The idea here was to help keep mail and papers off the kitchen counters and dining table.  With the rest of the space, they wanted to add a bar area for storage and display.  They also wanted an additional dining table to be used for morning coffee, casual, intimate meals in addition to doubling as a game table when entertaining friends.

As with a lot of projects, we started with paint.  Woods like oak and pine tend to yellow and/or orange over time.  Any shade of green or blue on the walls nearby will only enhance it.  So, we started by neutralizing the sage/mint green paint on both ends of the room to compliment the wood.  Sherwin Williams 7031 Mega Greige did the trick.  Painting over the wood paneling around the exterior sliding doors also helped unify the space and make it feel more like part of the home rather than an addition.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per our client’s request, on one end of the room, we added a beautiful live-edge desk in keeping with the feel of the space.  To it, we added a distressed black storage cabinet and copper wall pockets for organization.  On the opposite end, we added a beautiful reclaimed-wood bar cabinet from Crate & Barrel.  We paired the bar with two wingback chairs for after-dinner drinks or cocktails.

AFTER

BEFORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the middle of the space, we added a round rug made from recycled denim and jute.  On it, we grouped a rustic 60″ round, cross-frame pedestal table from Houzz.com along with five bleached wood, upholstered chairs from Pier 1.

Reusing artwork from family and friends, adding a few accessories and keeping things clean and minimal, we were able to add warmth and function allowing the family to grow into the space over time.

Rather than using it as expected, this three season room wanna-be is now perfect for ANY season.  Thinking outside the box, we created a space that’s both beautiful and useful.  And since our wonderful couple is paying a mortgage and taxes on the space, why not get the most use out of it?

What rooms in your home aren’t getting used to their full potential?  If you could use some help thinking outside the box, let us know.  Happy Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433

THE COMFORT FOOD OF DECORATING

Thanks to design shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, the vintage, reclaimed, shabby chic trend in decorating is enjoying a long run of popularity.  Given our ever-busy lifestyles, when we do have a moment to sit down and enjoy home, it’s no wonder we want to surround ourselves with what could easily be called the ‘comfort food’ of decorating .

Just as hole-y, worn looking jeans always make a comeback, the trend toward less-than-perfect home decor appears to have lasting power.  It’s really no wonder.  Repurposing and restyling anything is an awesome way to stretch your decorating budget and keep things out of landfills. And it evokes feelings of nostalgia and better, simpler times.

As with any trend in design, however, moderation is the key.  As tempting as it might be to slather everything in your home with chalk paint, it’s probably not the best idea.  Just like all other trends, this too will eventually pass.

If you’ve been bitten by the shabby chic bug, understand that just because it’s shabby doesn’t make it chic.  Like too much meatloaf, pot pie or mac n cheese, too much of a good thing leads to other undesirable problems down the road.

Image courtesy of decoholic.org

Putting the chic in shabby requires restraint.  Still don’t follow?  Do a search for images of “shabby chic” on the internet.  You’ll be inundated with images of distressed, painted furniture smothered in pastel florals and accessories.  While that may speak to a small fraction of the decorating public’s taste, ‘grandma’s tea party’ (in my opinion) is a perfect example of not-so-chic shabby.

Unless your home and lifestyle truly lend themselves to shabby overload, consider only incorporating a few reclaimed elements in your spaces.  The juxtaposition of old and new creates an eclectic mix and your vintage treasures become the conversation starters you want them to be.

Cooking up the right mix of comfort, both in your home and on your table, requires a certain amount of restraint.  Your guests and your arteries will thank you!

Happy Shabby Chic Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

 

 

GOOD DECORATING HITS THE SPOT

You pay a mortgage and taxes on every square inch of your home.  So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to try and use all of them?  Instead, so many formal living rooms in homes are, at best, the “pretty” room.  You know the one; that awkward spot in the home where the family rarely spends time.  Either it’s too far removed from the kitchen and t.v.  Or sometimes, it’s so perfectly decorated, it might as well have museum ropes to maintain perfection.  Form definitely wins over function.

Last week, we put the finishing touches on a few rooms for an Aurora, IL family.  During our consult, we were pleasantly surprised to see the owners had actually started transforming their formal living and dining spaces into a more family-friendly, useable room.  In place of expected decor, they’d built a large reclaimed wood bar.  To that were added wall mounted t.v.s and an extra long, champion shuffleboard.  For a family that loves to entertain, the repurposed space now had the look and feel of a sports bar.

Since the family’s last name begins with a V, friends had already dubbed the fun, new space the “V-spot”.   Needless to say, we were more than happy to build on that idea.

BEFORE

AFTER

Luckily for our clients, a friend of the family with a good “shopping” eye was willing to help source the new furniture and other additions they needed.  After taking a few weeks to find & take delivery of the furniture and other goodies, we went back with a few additions of our own to style and bring everything together.

BEFORE

AFTER

In the bar area, we had the owners replace the white wood blinds with new matchstick roller shades to better compliment the man-cave appeal.  We also asked for an area rug under the bar table.  As a focal point behind the bar, we reused the owner’s polyptych of an airplane.   We also bought lettering from the local hobby story to officially label the space as the V-spot.

Along with adding finishing touches in the bar area, we were asked to help with ideas for the family room as well including furniture, additional window treatments, art and accessories.

For the family room, the owner purchased a new sofa, love seat and t.v. console.  To those we added a repurposed leather chair from the basement and bench from the office.  We also reused their existing coffee and other accent tables.  We added sheer white panels to soften the edges of the window blinds.  And we brought in new artwork and an area rug to mix with the newly purchased accessories.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

Good decorating respects both form and function.  An unused room is sad no matter how great it looks.  Just as the busiest room in your home should be well arranged and beautiful.  Why not look for any underused spaces in your own home.  With the right combination of form and function, you too can hit the V spot.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

 

BEDROOM MEETS STUDIO

Progress comes in many forms, sometimes bringing us full circle back to places we’ve already been.  That can happen, for example, when your adult child needs to move back home for a while.  The challenge, of course, is creating a space that feels like part of the childhood home and yet adult and independent at the same time.  Progress here means it’s probably time to revamp a teenager’s bedroom to serve as a new, adult pied-a-terre which is exactly what we recently finished doing for a client in Deer Park, Illinois.

BEFORE

AFTER

Considering both mom and adult daughter’s input,  we wanted to update this large bedroom to give it the more adult feel of a studio apartment.  We also wanted to make changes which would help the space serve as a guest bedroom in the future.

We began by having the room repainted.  Straying a little from our “go-to” grays, we chose Sherwin Williams “Skyline Steel” SW 1015 as our backdrop.  It turned out to be the perfect choice.

BEFORE

AFTER

In true redesign fashion, we also wanted to incorporate as much of the existing furniture as possible.  Building around the existing espresso-finished modular desk, bookcase and dresser, we replaced a few key pieces and added a few new ones to freshen the look of the space.

Since the bed is obviously the focal point in any bedroom, we decided that was the best place to begin our update.  We started by adding new reclaimed wood & wrought iron nightstands which were a nice tie-in with the darker case goods.  With the matching headboard on backorder for months, we created the illusion of one with a piece of scrolled metal art in the meantime.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

We also needed more accent furniture to help fill the large 15′ x 20′ bedroom.  So, we added a beautiful tufted, gray & teal pinstripe chair to create a corner reading nook.  And we added a tufted gray ottoman at the foot of the bed for extra storage and seating.  New, bright white bedding and window panels added a layer of softness and elegance to the space.  Finally, we layered in a large area rug and some colorful pillows.  Chicago & Illinois themed art, updated string lighting and accessories helped personalize the space for the returning adult.

With plenty of privacy and most of the amenities of a studio apartment, this transformed bedroom now feels like a home within a home.  And our client’s couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

 

 

 

VERTICAL DECORATING

For most suburbanites, we are used to living in our sprawling two-story or ranch style homes.  In the BIG city however, more people and less available space requires homes to be built up, rather than out, to maximize use of the land.  This results in what I often refer to as “vertical living” at it’s best!

EXTERIOR

Cut to a job we just finished for a young couple in Chicago.  Their industrial, loft-style home encompasses 3,000 sq. feet on FOUR floors.  Visitors enter the home from a courtyard into a first floor living space with 30 foot ceilings complete with a fireplace and coat closet.  After climbing 26 steps you arrive at the second floor living area featuring a spacious living room, dining area, galley kitchen with island and powder room.  Another 26 steps and you arrive at the third floor Master & Guest Bedrooms both with full en suite baths.  After a final 20 steps, you reach the fourth floor bonus room featuring laundry and roof top deck access.

Needless to say a home gym or even a gym membership is probably unnecessary in this living arrangement.  As my team and I can attest, a “Buns of Steel” workout dims in comparison to styling 4 floors of living space all in one day!  (One of our phones fitness trackers recorded climbing 47 flights of stairs as we completed the transformation.)

While the couple had already purchased the majority of big ticket items for their home, our job was to add a new dining table and chairs along with a few pieces of accent furniture and more finishing touches like artwork, accessories and greenery.

Likely to be an unused or under-used space on the first floor, the man of the home used the space as his virtual golfing studio.  Complete with tv monitors, putting green and cage, we decided to up the anti in this man-cave space.  To his setup, we added a beer fridge, pub table and three, gray leather bar stools to complete his man cave.

BEFORE

AFTER

Upstairs, in the main living, the couple already had a large charcoal gray sectional for plenty of seating, a rug and a beautiful hammered metal coffee table.  To those, we added a leather recliner, aluminum side table, a distressed console table, and stacked trunks for another side table along with lighting, greenery and accessories.  We took our inspiration from the couple’s Chicago themed artwork including a fantastic replica of the Chicago flag crafted from reclaimed wood.

BEFORE

AFTER

On this floor, it was also time to add a new dining table and chairs to replace the repurposed family set.  We chose the dramatic butcher block sheesham wood Edmund table from Home Depot (of all places).

DINING ROOM

We paired the table with set of six dark gray upholstered contemporary wing back chairs we found at the local HomeGoods.

BEFORE

BEFORE

Upstairs, between the bedrooms we added a console table and created a gallery wall for family photos.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the Master Bedroom, all we needed were a few more accessories, lamps, and 108″ window panels to soften the edges of the large windows.  (We hope to style the Guest Room as a nursery at a later date!)

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Upstairs, to the fourth floor laundry, we added additional storage and a folding area for clothes along with a retractable clothes line for delicates.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the landings between floors, we added large statement artwork to have something beautiful and inspirational to look at as you climbed or descended each set of stairs.

 

As you can see, the key word to this redesign is “upstairs”.  I am so thankful that my crew didn’t rebel when seeing how many flights of stairs were involved in restyling this city home.

While the homeowners would never make as many trips as we did loaded with tubs and furniture, they no doubt get in a good workout each day with their built-in gym.

Whether your living space is spread out in the suburbs or stacked in the city, make use of every single space.  Happy vertical Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

 

 

 

DECORATING FOR FAMILY

Beautiful spaces are a dime a dozen.  Fill a space with the trendiest, most expensive decor you can find.  And while it’s pretty to look at, it still isn’t home.  So, what makes a house a home?  It’s family.

Creating common spaces that suit the needs of a family is probably the single most important task any decorator will tackle.  Of course, you want it to be beautiful.  But, it also has to function well for every member of the household, no matter how young or old.

Consider a home to three young adults and their parents.  The home is a hub of activity for friends and family almost every day of the week.  All are coming and going either from college or work.  Whether just for family or casual entertaining, updating and enhancing the primary living space in this home needed to fit their busy lifestyles.

BEFORE

AFTER

That pretty much describes this project we’ve just finished in Hoffman Estates, IL.  The project focused on restyling a large combo family & living room in this beautiful home.  While we wanted to create two distinctive spaces with their own function and personality, both needed to play together when needed as one unit.

BEFORE

AFTER

Working with a generous budget, we were able to replace dated and worn furniture with all new seating.  Two durably upholstered sofas provide comfortable seating or lounging in the t.v. space.  Nearby, we grouped four new leather club chairs around the fireplace as more of a conversation space.   New reclaimed wood and metal nesting tables were separated to give plenty of spots to set a drink.  New Santa Fe storage trunks double as coffee and end tables.  New lamps, artwork, accessories and area rugs complete the spaces.

BEFORE

AFTER

While each area serves it’s own purpose, with a few simple moves, the leather chairs can be repositioned nearer the television for movie night or game day parties.

As we suggested, the homeowners repositioned one and refinished both built-in bookcases.  Darkening the wood work and mantel with gel stain and painting the brass fireplace surround with heat resistant bronze metallic paint gave the fireplace an updated and much stronger presence in the rooms.

The end result is a space that has already wowed family and friends.  It’s sure to get thorough use in the months and years ahead.

Decorating a room for family is more than just adding trendy furniture and accessories.  It’s about creating a space that blends form with function and provides a hub for friends and family to make a home

Happy Family Decorating from Decor Designs.   815-245-2433.

 

IS HOME DECORATING EVER DONE?

Most of us are goal oriented in some way, whether we realize it or not.  Maybe the goal is to lose weight or get a degree.  Perhaps it’s buy a new car or go on a special trip.  Dreaming, believing and achieving goals gives purpose to our lives, gets things done and keeps us moving forward.

One dream of many homeowners is to “finish” decorating their home.  You’d think that would be a reasonable goal!  While we work hard to help make that dream a reality, the reality is your home is never truly done.

But, don’t despair!  It’s not like there aren’t other elusive goals in life.  Is raising a child ever really a finished proposition?  Is your goal weight ever really permanent?  Some goals in life are constantly changing out of desire or necessity.  With ever evolving personal tastes and new trends in decor, your home is constantly in a state of change as it adapts to your family’s current lifestyle.

There are a few things you can do to help give your home a “finished” feeling even though it might never really be done.

1-  Choose fixtures and finishes with ‘staying’ power.  Rather than buying the latest and greatest, choose tried and true.  If it’s trendy now, chances are it’s going to have a short lifespan in the arc of decor.  Be happy with the fact that no matter what you choose, trends in home decor, as with fashion, are usually cyclical.  If you wait long enough, old becomes new again.

2-  While seemingly boring, neutral wall colors like creams, beiges, taupes, and greiges stand the test of time and changing tastes.  Swapping out colorful accents like rugs, pillows, artwork and window fashions is much easier than painting walls.

3- Along the same line as neutral wall colors, invest in upholstered furniture featuring neutrally colored and patterned fabrics.  Nothing dates upholstery faster than trendy colors or patterns (think paisley).  As with walls, you can always add punch to your ‘Plain Jane’ sofas and chairs with more trendy throw pillows and throws.

No matter what, embrace the fact that your home’s decor is always in a state of flux.  It can provide stability during times of great change in your personal life.  And it can give you the perfect opportunity to express your unique style when change is desired.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

 

 

 

JOYOUS DECORATING

If you think about it, what we do decorating for others is a pretty intimate proposition.  After all, who else gets to spend their money and touch their stuff?  Having the chance to personalize the only part of the planet reserved for our client’s family and friends is a privilege.  So, for us as relative strangers, it’s flattering to be a part of something so personal.

Last week, we finished a decorating project that began back in January.  Just like most of our projects, it involved lots of “spending” and “touching”.  🙂  Time and money were spent sourcing new furniture, reupholstering older, beloved pieces and finding the perfect art and accessories.  And when it was all said and done, we’d touched almost every inch of the family areas in this Schaumburg, Illinois home.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Our shopping & to-do list to refresh and restyle most of the home’s first floor was a long one:  new wall color, carpet, baseboards, light fixtures, lamps, window treatments & hardware, new sofas, chairs, end tables, foyer console, corner media unit, re-upholstering two wingback chairs, matching ottomans and two storage cubes.  As if that weren’t enough, of course we planned to blend a few, new accessories and art pieces with a lifetime of collected treasures to bring everything together.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE

BEFORE

Whether shopping or meeting to discuss our progress, we were in frequent contact with the homeowners, Bernie & Joy.  During major projects like this one, frequent communication helps ensure a successful outcome.  Good communication is the basis for any good relationship.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Over the weeks it took to bring everything together, we received text and email notes about one subject or another.  No matter what was going right or even wrong at the time, Joy kept me updated with photos and notes about our progress.  More often that not, I noticed she signed her messages “Joyous”.

I’ll admit that it’s easy to get lost in the process.  Wanting everything to be just right, I can obsess about every detail.  Each time I read her ‘joyous’ words, I was reminded decorating is largely a privilege rather than a necessity.  And since there’s no such thing as a decorating emergency, it was ok to take time to enjoy the process as much as the end result.

Living Room coffee table vignette

After everything was done, Joy and Bernie sent me a wonderful ‘Thank You’ note.  She told me again how much they love their newly updated home.  She went on to say that, even thought it had only been a few days, she missed all the texts and emails hopeful we’d stay in touch.

Custom faux floral centerpiece

Decorating is definitely an intimate business.  And while I get to spend their money and touch their stuff, when it’s aIl said and done, it feels like I’ve left a small part of myself with every client I help.  Joyous decorating is the best decorating of all!

DECORATING FOR ALL AGES

Every decorating project is different.  While most spaces and their contents are similar, a client’s age and personality always make every job unique.  Most of the spaces we style are more “adult” in nature.  But, every once in a while, we get the chance to work with the youngest members of the family on their rooms.  Adding the finishing touches to a child’s bedroom makes him/her feel special and “grown up”.  For us, it’s a chance to channel our own inner child with more whimsical & playful decor.

Earlier this year, we were invited back by a family we worked with a year ago styling their main living spaces.  This time, we were being asked to work with what mom and dad had already started and put the finishing touches on the kid’s rooms.  Three children at least three years apart offered a variety of personalities and interests to bring to life.

Our youngest was the self-proclaimed royalty of the family.  Anything little princess was right up her alley.  Having outgrown her infant space, she needed a new bed frame and night stand plus most of the finishing touches.  To personalize her enchanted bedroom, we kept the light gray walls and geometric panels adding bright white and pink bedding, accessories and artwork.

BEFORE

AFTER

For our middle child, we were inspired by travel.  Everything trains, planes and automobiles was his thing.  Starting with dark mahogany furniture, Kermit-green walls and dark blue draperies (complete with airplane finial hardware), we added an airplane shelf, art and accessories to transform his bedroom into transportation central.

BEFORE

AFTER

Rounding out the trio, the oldest wanted her own sense of magic.  Too old for the full princess treatment yet not old enough for all things teen, we needed to find the perfect blend of fun and sophistication.  Inspired by her love of purple, pink and butterflies, we added a pre-lit tree, lanterns, art and accessories to give her a slightly older but whimsical finished look.

BEFORE

AFTER

Making the most of what mom and dad had started, we added the unique, finishing touches that really reflected each child’s personality.  The end result, three very happy kids.

Have fun channeling your own inner child as your decorate with your kids.  Need help?  We’d love to play along.  Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

DECLUTTER IN STYLE

A common theme with most clients is the need to declutter.  Whether helping stage for sale or redecorate, too much old stuff can really get in the way of a fresh, new look.  This is especially true of anyone who has lived in the same home for ten years or more.

Image provided by freshome.com

Trying to decorate around tons of stuff, from hand-me-downs to old furniture, art and accessories is a daunting task.  While it’s certainly possible for an experienced Redesigner to work many of these items into an updated look, the average homeowner will struggle.  Either out of sentimental attachment or the thought “I might need that someday!”, it’s hard to let go of the past.  The reality, however, is if you haven’t touched it, looked at it or used it in the last year or so, chances are you will never really need it.

Image by lifeinleggings.com

It’s no secret Americans are a society of consumers.  We are bombarded with ads and sales to entice us to buy things we don’t necessarily need or sometimes even know we want.  While that’s a huge topic all on its own, the real problem is we tend to consume (or dispose) of much less than we collect.  Accumulated treasures, no matter how relevant at the time, can result in a home buried in the past with the look and feel to match.

I met a lady once who had suffered through a tornado.  Her home and its entire contents were essentially swept away in a matter of minutes. Understandably, she was devastated.  Years later, as she was telling me the story,  she said living through the tornado had taught a valuable lesson.  Ultimately, she’d come to appreciate that, while she and her family had escaped with their lives, her home and its contents were just “stuff”.  Rather than getting depressed by the loss of so many things, after a while she felt oddly liberated by the tragedy.  So, she decided that, every year on the anniversary of the tragic event, she would have a ‘tornado’ day!  Anything in her home that hadn’t been used or was just taking up space would either be donated or thrown away.

Courtesy of lifehacker.com

I’ve never forgotten her story.  And while I’m as guilty as the next of accumulating too much ‘stuff’, every so often I feel inspired by her to have my own ‘tornado’ day and I highly recommend the same to my clientele.  If possible, I suggest setting aside a day or two a year, perhaps when you change those smoke detector batteries or change the time on your clocks and have a ‘tornado’ day.

Image courtesy of softeny.com

The moral of the story is it’s ok to let go!  Stop holding on to or trying to decorate with everything you or someone you loved has ever owned.  Life is too short to be buried in a pile of crap that even you don’t want but hold onto out of guilt or perceived obligation.  (Side rant:  If I never see another “grandma’s” piano sitting in a corner covered in dust, it’ll be too soon!)

Your home is constantly evolving and so is your decor.  Out with the old and in with the new only works if you make that first bit (out with the old) a priority!  Declutter your way to style and you’ll be happier for it.

Happy Decluttered Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433