Category Archives: Redesign

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS REDESIGN

Interior Redesign offers homeowners the opportunity for a fresh, new look in their homes using what they already own.  Surprisingly, it can usually be accomplished in a single day with amazing results.

Staircase ledge

One of my favorite parts of this job is seeing the bewildered, yet ecstatic, look on a redesign client’s face when we’re done with a job.  In every room we touch,  we manage to reveal the hidden beauty in their home.  Sometimes that means being very creative, working magic to create something out of nothing.  Sometimes, it means taking something that was already good and making it great.

Last week we helped a young couple in Naperville, IL.  They had already had a lot of help from mom and aunt styling their beautiful home.  But, they felt like it could still use a few tweaks to make it just right.  As difficult as it is to create something out of nothing, it’s actually MORE challenging to improve upon an already beautiful space.

Starting in the living room, we added a few new layers including an area rug, new floor to ceiling drapery panels, taller lamps and a larger, brighter piece of art.  We suggested adding an armchair to complete the furniture group when budget allows.

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In the family room, we rearranged the furniture to make better use of the space while still addressing the combo tv/fireplace focal point.  Angling furniture is a great way to make a long and narrow space feel wider and more cozy.  As we re-accessorized, we eliminated several of the symmetrical elements in the space which generally feel more appropriate in a formal living area.

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We also reworked the family photo wall at the top of the stairs creating a focal point using an old window from the grandparents.  We disguised the rope we used to hang the window with a piece of metal art.  And finally, we used Velcro dots to attach the K to the glass.

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The changes, while not overly dramatic, took something that was already very nice and added the few finishing touches they wanted to make it perfect.  With the help of mom and a very few purchases, we were able to surprise the homeowners when they came home from work with a new to them look, redesigning and restyling with 90% of what they already owned and in only one day.

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If you’re interested in seeing the undiscovered potential in your own home, give us a call.  We can put a different spin on what you already have to create a fresh look that exposes your home’s hidden beauty!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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).

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

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

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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!)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER

Who hasn’t changed part of their home decor only to realize redoing one thing leads to another… and another?  No matter how small the change, it usually has a domino effect.  Perhaps it starts with remodeling the master bathroom.  Beautiful new vanities, an amazing double shower and beautiful tile… all the things any spa would love to have.

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But, unfortunately, that fresh, new look stops at the bedroom door.  Looking around you realize you could probably use some new bedding.  Then, of course, the window treatments would need updating.  The seating in the room that blended well before is now a no-go.  New night stands and lamps would be nice.  Before you know it, the entire room is in play.

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We’ve been working with new clients in Crystal Lake who faced that very dilemma.  After she and her DIYer husband finished the master bath update, the decor in the adjoining master bedroom no longer flowed.

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At somewhat of a loss, she reached out for help restyling the master bedroom so everything would flow with the newly updated bath.  New hardwood floors and fresh paint became the backdrop for the new sanctuary.  Our client added new nightstands and we brought in bedding, lamps, window panels and artwork.  Along with furniture relocated from elsewhere in the home, the space now feels refreshed and inviting flowing perfectly with the renovated bath.

While we were at it, our clients asked us to redesign the living room, dining room and family room.  Reusing and repurposing a treasure trove of goodies, we maximized each room’s function and visual appeal just in time for Easter guests.  The end result in every space was a nice update without spending a ton of money or bringing in lots of new things.

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In our client’s kind words, “Decor Designs just finished an interior design of our master bedroom and a redesign of our whole house! I am speechless and thrilled with the finished project! Jeff was spot on to our decorating personality and repurposed so many things, I was amazed! He made our house feel like a home and I cannot wait to entertain! He was timely, courteous, and truly delivered a finished product that inspires me and makes me smile!”

So what if one thing leads to another?   Sometimes that’s all the motivation you need to finish something you’ve probably been putting off for a long time.

Here’s to letting one thing lead to another creating beautiful spaces in your own home!  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

PERFECT PARTNERSHIP

Every now and then, a client like Stacey comes along.  Several years ago, we met when she hired us for a redesign in the family’s former home.  Since then, our professional relationship has turned into the perfect partnership on numerous decorating projects.

As the saying goes, two heads really are better than one!  That couldn’t be more true when we’ve worked with Stacey.  While most clients prefer sharing their ideas and then leaving us to bring their vision to life, Stacey enjoys being more involved in the process.  By being open to direction and willing to do some of the work, her sweat equity lets us stretch the budget even further than we might have been able to otherwise.  And when it’s all said and done, she can honestly say the beautiful results are as much her doing as our own.

These days, we’ve been working with Stacey on her family’s new home in Huntley.  Decorating room by room as budget allowed, we’ve transformed their blank, new-construction house into a beautiful home.  Most recently, after finishing the living areas, we’ve turned our attention to the family’s bedrooms, giving each its own personality and style .

SON’S BEDROOM

Over the years, we’ve fine tuned our process to perfection!  First, we meet to brainstorm ideas.  We discuss her vision, make adjustments as needed, and come up with a plan.  Next, we outline a time frame and desired budget.  Finally, we assign tasks for one another to accomplish prior to “the day” when it all comes together.  While Stacey goes shopping for the key elements we know we’ll need, we’ve moved on to our own list which usually involves finding the perfect, little details we know will bring it all together.

Not to be forgotten, her husband is always a good sport.  We know he dreads when we get together.  It usually means he has his own ‘honey-do’ list when we’re done!  Whether hanging window panels or painting walls, he always helps things along saving us time and money.

DAUGHTER’S BEDROOM

On the day of install, or what Stacey says feels like ‘Christmas Day’, she reveals what’s been accomplished and bought since our initial consult.  We, in turn, bring in all the goodies we’ve found.  Then we go to work weaving her purchases in with our own to put it all together.  You’d think it might be difficult for different people to work independently and arrive at the same goal.  But, that’s where Stacey really rocks!

Most things work perfectly and our collective efforts are usually spot on.  Anything that is duplicated, doesn’t work or isn’t needed is returned.  The final result is always a beautifully styled space that has Stacey’s personal taste and vision throughout.  Our job was simply to make sense of it all and guide everything into place so that everything works together.

MASTER BEDROOM

Decorator-client partnerships come in all forms.   Each client is unique and approaches the process differently.  Every now and again, you find that unique client who is open to the process but also capable of hands-on involvement to put his/her own spin on pulling together the perfect look!

If you like the idea of a hands-on partnership with a decorator who can work with you to create the space of your dreams, give us a call @ 815-245-2433.  Here’s to many future decorating partnerships with Decor Designs!

 

 

COUPLES DECORATING

Decorating for couples is always a complex dance of giving one what s/he wants without alienating the other.  Invariably, you often find yourself caught between two distinctly different sets of likes and wants.

As generalities go, ‘male’ energy in the home prefers function over form, neutral bests bold, and old (think broken in) wins over new.  Female energy, on the other hand, can be quite the opposite.  Form is equal to if not more important than function.  Trendy and colorful are more appealing.  New and neat wins out over worn and tired.  Again… generalities being what they are, it’s rare to find two people in any household (especially of the opposite sex) who can agree on all things decorating.

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This couldn’t have been more true of a project we just finished in Cary.  First, let me say that one couldn’t ask for better clients.  Even-tempered and polite, both were open to the process.  While the wife of this empty-nester duo was more than ready for the refresh, the husband agreed somewhat begrudgingly.  But, with a little reassurance that ‘his’ likes and wants would also be respected, he too embraced the changes.

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Once underway, we were almost given carte blanche in our choices. Furniture additions were suggested and approved of course.  But the rest was up to us to pull it all together. Working within the existing color palette of warmer tans and creams and incorporating both the older and newer furniture, our goal was simple…. update everything and tie it together!

Fortunately, with two distinct ‘styles’ in play, the primary seating areas in the home were on opposite ends of the house.  The living room was already more a statement to her likes while the family room was definitely more to his.  And while far apart in style, the separation made it easier to give both what they wanted while staying true to our goals.

In the living room, a new coffee table, window treatments, rug, lamps, artwork and accessories helped refresh and finish ‘her’ space reflecting her likes & sensibilities.

In the family room, a new leather ottoman, end tables, window treatments, rug, lamps, artwork and accessories brought ‘his’ old west inspired motif into the new millennium!

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The dining room and kitchen served as a nice bridge between the two living areas, reflecting elements from both spaces to tie it all together.

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Sharing her experience on Houzz.com, our client wrote:  “When we saw our outdated home brought to something that could be featured in a magazine, it brought tears to my eyes.   We could not be more thrilled with the outcome.”

Finding the happy medium between ‘male’ and ‘female’ is always a challenge for any decorator or designer.  In reality, as in life however, the perfect decor is a marriage of the two.

Happy His & Hers Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433