Tag Archives: Interior Decorating

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.

 

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!

 

 

DECORATE BY NUMBER

Who hasn’t tried at least one paint-by-number?  I remember trying this classic moose masterpiece when I was a kid.  Sadly, I don’t think mine looked much better than this one.  In fact, I’ve never been very good at painting even by the numbers.  Thank goodness, when it comes to decorating, the numbers work in my favor.  In fact, here are some of my favorites. From ONE to SEVEN, these tips take the guesswork out of and might help fill in your own decorating blanks.

ONE:  Arranging any space is easier if you narrow down to ONE focal point.  Whether it’s a fireplace, picture window, piano or tv, picking a focal point to arrange around makes it easier to group furniture and helps a room make sense.

FIREPLACE FOCAL POINT

TWO:   Even numbers, especially pairs of things appear more formal.  Whether it’s a pair of matching wingback chairs, lamps, end tables or even TWO companion art pieces, duos work well symmetrically feeling balanced and more formal.

FORMAL TWOS

THREE:  When deciding the color story for your space, think in THREEs.  A trio of colors, even shades of the same color, add dimension and interest to any space.  Start with a canvas or background color (usually walls).  Enhance your background with a color that compliments it.  That could be another example of the same color or a neutral.  Finally, add a pop of color that is unexpected and seems to fight or clash with the first two.  Following the rule of THREE when picking colors will create a dynamic color palette for your space.

Color Trio

FOUR:  Most rooms have at least 4 corners.  And your room is going to look and feel differently when seen & appreciated from each one.  When you’re decorating, make sure you take a look at your space from as many vantage points as possible… preferably all FOUR corners of the room.  The balance and layout of a room can look great from one side, but might look off from another corner.  As you place furniture, add artwork and accessories always take a look at your composition from each corner making adjustments as you go.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

FIVE:  Even in formal spaces, most accessories look best when grouped in odd numbers.  While pairs of accessories can be dramatic, odd numbers of accessories in varying sizes and shapes add visual interest and layers to your design.  Grouping a tall, short, flat, round and an oddly shaped items is a great formula for accessorizing.

HIGH FIVE ACCESSORIES

SIX:  Great lighting is one of the most important and yet overlooked aspects of decorating.  In order to showcase your decor and eliminate dark corners in your space, ensure at least SIX sources of evenly distributed light in your space.  Natural light from windows in addition to overhead lighting and lamps all count toward your six.

SIX POINTS OF LIGHT

SEVEN:  Artwork makes a strong statement in any space.  If hanging above a sofa, console table or other furniture, it should be ‘mated’ with the object it hangs above.  The rule of thumb is to hang artwork with the bottom roughly 6-8″ above the back of the furniture piece.  If your artwork is hung an average of seven inches above, you’ll insure perfectly hung artwork every time.

ARTWORK OVER SOFA

In many ways, the art of decorating is as straight forward and fool-proof as paint by number.  Incorporating ONE through SEVEN , rest assured your space will look as good or even better than your favorite fool-proof art masterpiece.

Happy Decorating by the Numbers.

SUPER BOWL SUPER BASEMENT

Necessity is the mother of invention.  What could be more necessary than having a super basement to host your buddies in for the Super Bowl?  With the boys coming home from school on the eve of one of the biggest tv watching days of the year, any good mother would want to make sure everything was perfect for the Big Game!

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This particular good mom and I met about three weeks ago to figure out what could be done to spruce up the basement in time for the big game!  No matter how much we tried to repurpose and move things around, it just didn’t feel right.  It quickly became clear what we really needed was some new furniture to bring everything together.  But with only three weeks to pull it off, how were we going to get it done?  Pressed for time and with my full schedule, we decided for mom to do the shopping.  We weren’t sure we could get absolutely everything in time.  But, with a head full of ideas and a big shopping list, mom was off!

Friday before game day, it was time to put it all together.  Miraculously, she had been able to have a new sectional, sofa table and card table delivered.  On top of furniture, she had gone shopping for a new rug, artwork and all the accessories to fit our new “game cave” theme.

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After several hours placing furniture, hanging artwork and accessorizing, the space was game ready!

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We were even able to reuse the previous leather sofa and loveseat in another part of the basement creating a cozy gaming area for the guys.

GAMING AREA

Just in time to kick off the fun!

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

 

 

 

 

FROM HOUSE TO HOME

Young parents have their hands full no doubt.  A toddler and three year old coupled with full time careers leaves little time for space planning and shopping for all the things that make a house a home.  We started off the New Year finishing a project started last fall for a young family in Barrington.  Giving couples more family time to do what they do best is an added bonus of our decorating projects.

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As with most projects, the family needed help making the best use of their living spaces.  But with young children, it was equally important to ensure they were as kid friendly as they were stylish.  Quite a bit of new furniture was needed to replace some older furniture that had outlived its usefulness while reusing a few pieces that still worked in our overall plan.  New kitchen and dining room tables and chairs along with new family room furniture were planned along with new counter stools in the kitchen and additional storage options for the home office.  And while we had inherited a nice color palette from the previous owners, a fresh coat of paint took care of any dings and blemishes.

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Updating the kitchen to better suit our clients more traditional taste meant replacing the more contemporary polished chrome hardware and lighting with warm bronze.

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The hardest part of any project is waiting for custom furniture to be manufactured and delivered.  So we took advantage of the time to find the perfect filler pieces including art, accessories, lighting and rugs.

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Over the course of several days, we were able to style all three floors of the home.  From a kid friendly play space and man cave in the basement to perfectly appointed bedrooms and baths, almost every part of the house came together to say “home” for this wonderful family.

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When it was all said and done, we received the following message from the owners:

Our home looks amazing and it has been the best two days in our house since we moved in! Over the past couple of days we’ve been able to look everything over and enjoy each of the spaces. Our house truly feels likes home because each space is well thought out, cozy, warm and peaceful. It feels amazing to have each room arranged, organized and beautiful. Again, we thank your for all of the time you have spent working with us and helping us along on this journey. We so appreciate you and your amazing ideas. I have literally been smiling all weekend as I walk from room to room. Your work is amazing and we appreciate your dedication to helping us.

A HOUSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR

Decorating a new-to-you house can be a daunting project.  Sometimes it seems like almost everything needs to be changed so it will work.  You have no problem asking for moving help.  But what about asking for decorating help.  Opening that door can help eliminate a lot of the stress and guesswork from the move.  And it goes a long way toward letting you enjoy your new home without being overwhelmed by so many questions and to-dos!

FAMILY ROOM AREA

We just finished the first part of a project in Bull Valley for an awesome young couple moving into their first ‘together’ home.  Just starting out, several friends asked why they were going to the expense of working with an interior decorator.  She explained that she wasn’t sure what to do with the long, rectangular living space.  And, she wanted to make sure it was done right the first time, ultimately saving time & money.  Good Answer!

LIVING AREA

The project began by painting over the previous owner’s colors to unify the space and better compliment our new vision for decor.  We chose a combination of Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray, Mega Greige, Diverse Beige and Realist Beige.  We wanted the trendy and ever-popular warm grays and beiges because they blended well with the Spanish tile and hardwood floors. While both might change in the future, those colors will compliment almost any flooring changes.

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As the homeowners worked on painting, we spent the next several weeks deciding on and ordering furniture for the living and dining areas.  Awaiting delivery, we turned our attention to finding the details that would tie the spaces together with a ‘lived-in’, finished look.  After learning about the couples likes/dislikes, professional lives, hobbies and other interests, we formulated a plan for their space that would reflect as many of those things as possible.  

After what seemed like forever, the patient couple let me know the furniture had started to arrive.  Once everything was delivered, we set to work doing what we do.  From new window treatments to lighting, artwork to accessories, every single element had to be added.

The main living area was a long rectangular space separated by a beautiful wooden spiral staircase to the upstairs bedrooms.  As with seating in any large space, it’s better to break the room up into smaller “rooms” to create useful and cozy furniture groups.  On one side of the spiral stairs we opted for a living area complete with an 8′ round tan/gray jute rug anchoring four new leather chairs.  The focal point for that space would be a reclaimed wood bookcase from Pier 1.  The other side of the staircase would play home to a new sofa and oversized chair with a new antique white t.v. console as the focus.

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Another unique challenge in the space were the numerous sliding doors opening to a large sunroom along the side of the home.  Rather than leaving them all open for use, making it difficult to place furniture, we chose to ignore them.   Instead, we left the one off the kitchen as the primary doorway into the sunroom space.   The others we treated as large windows.  Floor length sheer panels allow the light to pass while softening the hard edges of the doors.

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To brighten the space, we added lighter fabrics, rugs and window treatments where possible.  A new, rough-hewn, wood top with white base dining set complimented the white kitchen cabinets.  New barstools were added at the kitchen counter.

DINING AREA CLOSEUP

With rustic bones and surrounded by lots of woods, the home begged for natural accents.  And working for a large animal vet and pro golfer gave us plenty of inspiration to personalize their artwork and decor.

The completed space feels warm and inviting and received rave reviews from both clients and friends/family.

As we’ve said many times, starting from scratch can be a daunting undertaking.  Don’t let all the minor details take away from the excitement of owning a new home.  We’re happy to help make the most of your good taste!

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

EVER CHANGING SEASONS OF DECOR

Trends and changes in personal taste influence the way we see our homes.  Even if you love what you have, eventually, things wear out or become out-dated and need to be replaced.  So, it’s safe to say your home is constantly evolving.  We like to think it will be done at some point.  In reality however, like the seasons, our homes are always changing.

Living Room Vignette

We had the pleasure of finishing some updates for a client this week whom we’ve worked with several times over the past few years.  As they’ve lived and grown in their home, things have gradually been replaced.  After buying new occasional tables for the living room and a new dining set, this Lake in the Hills, Illinois family wanted our help putting the finishing touches on their refurnished spaces.  They wanted to make sure the new additions flow and work together with their existing decor.  They also wanted to update a few things in the kitchen and family rooms we’d redesigned a few years back.

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As I told them, while new furniture is always nice, the details are really what bring the new furnishings and spaces to life.  After discussing wants, needs and budget, we decided we’d get the biggest bang by adding new window treatments & hardware, lighting, artwork and accessories.

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Window treatments are probably the single most overlooked and under played decorative element in the homes we visit.  Replacing the previous panels with new, extra-long 108″ panels (even in neutral cream and taupe) added more height and drama to every room.

Updated wrought iron lamps in the family room were added to match the scale of the existing sofa.  We repurposed the previous living room lamps on the newly painted and updated sideboard in the dining room.

An area rug, previously purchased by our clients, gave us cues for a new and slightly updated color palette.  Pulling terra cotta red and dusty blue from the rug into the decor, we added new pillows, throws and the dining room window panels.  Existing artwork and mirrors were repositioned adding a few new pieces for a change.  New accessories and greenery also helped bring life to the spaces.

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The updated results helped make these least-used rooms feel more warm, cozy and inviting.

As you can see from the next few photos of the home’s family room, even the simplest updates can change a space and make it feel new again.  We introduced new stationary panels to soften the windows blinds.  We added new artwork over the fireplace.  A few new throw pillows were added on the sofa carrying our living & dining room colors into this space.  Finally, we reworked a few accessories.

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Instead of finished and done, your home’s decor is always changing.  Whether it’s new furniture, kitchen cabinets  or a new rug, something will prompt a change in your decor.  As it often does, one thing usually leads to another.  Before you know it, your home has evolved.  So embrace change.  Enjoy exploring the many different personalities and seasons your rooms can have.  Making a house feel like home is a labor of love that lasts a life time.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

BOHO CONDO

Decorating projects are sometimes full of strange requests.  One such request happened over the summer when long-time clients and friends asked me to help create a new look for their condo in Chicago.  When I asked what kind of personality we wanted to create, the answer was “Boho Chic”.  “What the…?”  While I like to think we’re up on trends, that one threw me.  The latest and greatest is constantly changing.  And while embarrassing, sometimes customers run across these things before we do.

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Anyway, after Googling more about what other designers have dubbed “Bohemian” Chic, I was up to speed and more comfortable blending some boho elements into what I have learned of my client’s likes and dislikes over the years.  Namely, it had to be different from anything we’d done before.  Great!

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The first time I saw the condo in the River North neighborhood, it was in disarray.  The tenant who’d lived there for a couple years was moving out and things were cluttered and disorganized.  None the less, I took some measurements and Before photos and started planning the renovation.

Drawing inspiration from a sofa we were repurposing from their primary residence, I wanted to bring in bold colors to accent a neutral backdrop.  New paint was a given.  We chose Sherwin Williams 7030 “Anew Gray” (one of my favorites) for the entire condo.  A single color unifies the one bedroom space and made it feel larger.  The warm gray also serves as an excellent backdrop for the vibrant pops of color I envisioned with a gypsy inspired motif.

To make the space brighter, we opted to replace the dark kitchen granite with a white and gray quartz.  We also replaced the dated mosaic backsplash with a reflective faux tin backsplash to compliment the existing stainless appliances.

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A complete renovation of the condo’s bathroom was also needed.  New 6×36 inch tile on the floor and 6×24 subway tile in the shower visually enlarge the small space.  An arabesque border in the shower speaks to our bohemian inspiration.  A new, floating vanity enlarges the bathroom footprint.  A new toilet, and brush nickel faucets and hardware were also added.

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In the bedroom floating nightstands continued that look from the bathroom vanity.  Reclaimed wood furniture from Pier 1 and headboard from Wayfair along with bedding from Crate & Barrel completed the basics.  A large elephant print above the bed repeated the elephant pattern in the living room sofa fabric.

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Finally bold punches of color in the sofa, chair, accessories and art brought much needed energy and life to the neutral backdrop.

The resulting bohemian inspired condo is now a great get-away on weekends or a pied-a-terre to avoid a long commute during the week.