Author Archives: Jeff Rice

About Jeff Rice

Jeff is a Certified Interior Decorator & Redesigner, Real Estate Stager and Color Specifier. His award-winning work has been featured in numerous publications including From House to Home™ & Home Improvement™ as well as other local and online media sources. He is a three time recipient of the Houzz.com 'Best in Service' Award. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL and has been serving the greater Chicago area since 2004.

REDESIGN IS GREEN DESIGN

HAPPY EARTH DAY 2019!

Everywhere you look, it seems people are coming up with new and exciting ways to help our planet. Folks who are old enough probably remember the anti-littering & anti-pollution campaigns of the ’70s. No doubt, those kinds of programs have evolved into countless world-wide green initiatives to help reduce our negative impact on our planet and the environment.

Every effort, no matter how small, multiplied by a large enough group of people can make a difference. Grassroots efforts help change our collective consciousness as it applies to our planet. And going green is as much about that shift in awareness as any one thing we might do to reduce our carbon footprint on the world. Going green is so much more than just replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDS, recycling empty cans or reusing shopping bags. But those do help.

Most ecologists and other planetary experts agree that we are already experiencing some of the devastating consequences as a result of the last 100 years of industrialization and waste.  If it took us that long to dig into this hole, we’re not going to dig ourselves out overnight!

Being aware of how much energy and pollution is created by redecorating with new is part of the consciousness shift we need in order to have a larger, positive impact on our planet.   In truth, asking questions like these more frequently represents the awareness we should all adopt in order to truly create significant change in greening our daily lives.

The interior design and home decorating industries have a huge opportunity and responsibility to help save our planet from unnecessary pollution and waste. For every item we replace in our homes, we directly and indirectly have an impact on our environment. Considering how much energy and resources are required to to produce, package and transport home furnishings and decor, it should be pretty obvious. And that’s even before you counting how much energy and landfill space will be needed to dispose of discarded items. With a different mindset about interior design, there is definitely room for improvement.

Of course, we’re not advocating doing without.  But, by simply asking some of these questions prior to running out to chase the latest design trend, it might help develop a different set of priorities when decorating. Can you use something a little longer?  Can you repurpose something else? Are you buying just for the sake of buying?

Redesigners and Home Stagers are your best resources for creating a fresh, new-to-you look for your home while keeping the planet in mind. By reusing and repurposing items that might otherwise be discarded, these trained professional help you see the hidden potential in your “old” stuff. And while it’s normal to have to replace things that are worn out or dangerous; like a tube of toothpaste, maybe you can squeeze just out a little more usefulness out which is both good for the planet and your wallet. At the end of the day, anything you can reuse or repurpose makes you and your household footprint that much greener!

So again, Happy Earth Day 2019. Celebrate by challenging yourself today to be more mindful of the impact your decorating choices have on our world and not just your home. Consider repurposing, redesigning and restyling with what you already own. And don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals if you feel stuck or overwhelmed. A fresh pair of eyes and perspective may be all you need to fall in love with the look and feel of your home all over again. And Mother Earth will thank you too!

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NOT JUST ANOTHER MOVE

Like it or not, life is full of adventure. With work, family or other responsibilities, sometimes it’s hard to keep up or even guess what’s around the next corner. Sometimes those adventures result in a move either across town, across the country or even the world. And for some, depending on their circumstances, a move can happen more frequently than you might imagine.

Living Room After

Since last November, we’ve had fun working with just such a family. If memory serves, these folks have uprooted and moved more than nine times in almost as many years. Their latest move came last fall when they returned to Crystal Lake from Lake Geneva, WI to be closer to work and family.

If there’s an upside to frequent moves, it’s that you don’t tend to accumulate “stuff”. As anyone whose lived in the same home for years can tell you, staying put in one spot, you accumulate a heck of a lot more than just dust. Moving frequently usually means you stay lean and mean ready for the next move. The downside to frequent moves, of course, is that you never really allow yourself to collect many of the things you need to create a finished feel in your home.

With this move, our family wanted to “put down roots”. So, they chose a home they plan to live in for the foreseeable future. And so, it was time to finally focus on decorating and creating a “nest” that feels more like a permanent home rather than just another temporary move.

After their color consultation and painting were completed, we returned just before the holidays to talk decor. Not only did we need to buy a lot of furniture, we also needed most of the finishing touches as well. After months of planning, shopping and waiting, a few weeks ago we were finally ready to give this family the “forever” home of their dreams.

In the Living Room, we created a multi-purpose space. One half of the space was styled as a cozy sitting area for adults. A new love seat, pair of swivel, barrel chairs and tables were added along with a new media cabinet for the tv. On the other half, we created a play area for their young son and his friends incorporating a small table and chairs for lego and leaving a space for a future reading tent. Extra toy storage was hidden in plain site using a beautiful bent-wood chest as a coffee table. We also tucked an additional trunk behind the furniture for overflow.

Living Room Before
Living Room After

In the adjoining Den, separated by French doors, we created a comfortable adults-only space. We added two tufted club chairs and a small side table perfect for reading or listening to the piano. We also added matching bookcases on either side of the window for a library and other collectibles.

Den Before
Den After

The floor plan in the Family Room made it difficult to create a space that feels cozy and inviting. With doorways and a fireplace in the middle of the room, we were forced to create two spaces rather than one large one. A new sectional, end tables, rug, and ottoman were added on one end of the long, rectangular space. On the other side of the fireplace, we added a denim oversized chair and ottoman. Another etagere adds much needed space for more books, family photos and tchotchkes.

Family Room Before
Family Room After
Kitchen & Family Room Before
Kitchen & Family Room After

Most of the existing family room furniture was reused in the finished basement.

Basement Before
Basement After

In the Master Bedroom, we added new bedding, window treatments, lamps and artwork to help finish the space. New dressers and nightstands are also on order and will help turn this large bedroom into a masterful retreat.

Master Bedroom Before
Master Bedroom After

In a world that’s constantly moving, it’s always nice to come home to a space that feels permanent. Helping these homeowners create a space that feels rooted in the present with a nod to the past is what this project was all about. With the basics in place, the stage is set for this family to create years and years of special memories. Happy Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc. 815-245-2433

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FOR EVERY ROOM A PURPOSE

Every room needs a purpose. After all, you’re paying a mortgage & taxes on every square foot of your home. Why not try to make the best use of every square foot of your investment? Sometimes, however, deciding how to make the best use of a space can be a challenge for homeowners.

It’s always great when folks are willing to think outside the box. Using a room or items in unexpected ways is definitely a trademark of good design. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to stray too far from a room’s intended function. Doing so can have an unintended, snowball effect that negatively impacts the look and feel of other rooms in the home.

This week, we helped a young family in Roselle struggling with how to best use & decorate their home’s family room. They’d tried everything to make the space feel functional and pulled together. But, nothing seemed to be working quite the way they wanted. Finally, they reached out to us for help.

Their last failed attempt had been flipping the family & dining rooms. And while functional, both spaces were left suffering from what we called an “identity crisis”. The dining room furniture didn’t quite work in the long, narrow family room. And their small sitting area looked lost and out of place in the dining room.

Family Room Before
Dining Room Before

While applauding their efforts, swapping the furniture was actually creating more problems that it was solving. And so, we decided the dining set really belonged back in the dining room. That way, we could make more progress creating a new, inviting and more functional space in the family room.

Dining Furniture Removed and New Chairs Delivered

Giving the family room purpose, we decided to reuse our client’s bar cabinet and create a sitting area to compliment it either for reading or enjoying cocktails in front of the fireplace.

We started by ordering two, larger scale-appropriate club chairs from Pier One. While waiting for those to be delivered, we set to work buying all of the other things we’d need to finish the space and bring it to life.

We found a large, tufted ottoman that worked perfectly for a cocktail table as well as additional seating if needed. Matching harp tables by each chair were found offering a place to put a drink or book. Next, we found a 5×7 area rug to brighten the space and anchor the seating group in front of the fireplace.

Family Room After

Drapery panels were purchased to soften the faux wood blinds in the corner window. And since no room is complete without them, we bought finishing touches included a floor lamp for additional lighting, a fiddle leaf fig tree for height and organic texture, large wall mirror to make the space feel wider as well as a throw and accent pillows.

A few new accessories were also purchased to compliment existing pieces and tie into the homeowner’s existing farmhouse and shabby chic decor.

The progress we made in solving this room’s identity crisis is clear. A new and inviting sitting area now greats the family and guests and makes for a better use of this space.

Never be afraid to think outside the box. It’s better to make use of a space than to leave it empty and a wasted investment. But, keep in mind that the rooms in a home are generally designed with specific purposes in mind. Straying too far from those intended purposes can create more headaches than it solves.

Happy, Purposeful Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433

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DECOR DESIGNS CELEBRATES 15 YEARS

In February, Decor Designs, Inc. will celebrate its 15th Anniversary!   Since 2004, we’ve been invited into hundreds of homes & lives.  We’re so very thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to help with your decorating dilemmas.  We certainly hope we’ve had as much of an impact on you as you’ve had on us.

To celebrate our 15th Birthday, we’ve planned a special Rollback Rate promotion.  New clients (no matter the service) who call and reference the special Promo Code will have their billable hours adjusted to our 2004 Service Rates for the entire month of February.

For Example: 

Consultations (currently $95/hr. with a $195 minimum) will be billed at $25/hr. during the promotional period.  Interior Redesign, Decorating & Staging rates (currently $95/hr. with a 2 hour minimum of $295) will be adjusted to $40/hr. with no minimum.  (All other rates will see similar adjustments for services provided during the month of February, 2019!)

It’s been an AMAZING 15 years!  We’ve helped create a lot of pretty in our little corner of the world.  But, there are still plenty of rooms out there desperately waiting for a fresh, beautiful new look.  Together, we can make that happen!

We are so happy to celebrate this milestone and share these sharply discounted 2004 rates as a thank you for your continued support. This is a rare opportunity to take advantage of 15 years of experience at low, low Start-Up prices.  Don’t let it pass you by!  And don’t forget to share this post with family & friends in the Chicago area.  Call 815-245-2433 TODAY to start your your decorating journey with us.

Living Room After

Additional Promotional Information:

  • Clients must reference Promo Code ROLLBACK15 when booking their initial appointment to take advantage of these Rollback Rates.
  • Rollback Rates do not apply to current contracts or previous invoices. 
  • Service dates & appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis during normal business hours and may be limited due to availability.
  • Rollback Rates only apply to those services provided during the month of February 2019!  Effective March 1, 2019, regular rates will apply.
  • We proudly serve (and this promotion applies only to) clients within a 25 mile radius of our Crystal Lake office.
  • A 3% fee will be added to invoices for clients paying by credit card.
  • Rates for products/ services not provided in 2004 will be adjusted to reflect the rate at the time initially offered.
  • A full list of Rollback Rates is available upon request.
  • Other restrictions and exclusions may apply. Please call 815-245-2433 for details.

 

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NEW YEAR NEW DECOR

It’s hard to believe we’re ready to launch into a New Year!  It seems like only yesterday we were fretting the uncertainty of Y2K.  And yet, here we are almost 20 years later ready to do it again!

Time flies when you’re having fun!  And we’ve had a blast in 2018 helping over three dozen clients make the world and their lives happier & prettier by updating and restyling their homes and businesses.

While we all have a love-hate relationship with Resolutions, you can’t help but admit it’s a logical time of year to set goals for the next twelve months.  Or, at the very least, it’s natural to review the successes and disappointments of the past twelve.

There are the usual suspects:  Job, Health, Relationships & Weight!  But, how many times have you put decorating on your New Year’s to-do list?  If not, why not?  Planning to improve and beautify your surroundings can be just as important as working on more internal goals.  Numerous studies have shown that a person’s living and work environment can play a huge role in overall happiness.

So, as you start checking off the days on a new calendar, what are your decorating resolutions for the New Year?  Will 2019 finally be the year that you take charge of those interior decorating projects you’ve been neglecting?  Or will you finally set a new stage for your life by tackling the updates that have been nagging at you?

Time and tide wait for no man!”  So, what are you waiting on?  Add a few decorating updates to your list of resolutions this year.  And if you’d like some help staying motivated, accountable or just to make sure it gets done and done right, give us a call!  Like all our clients this and previous years, we’ll help ensure 2019 is a beautiful, happier one for you and your family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from All of Us at Decor Designs!!!  815-245-2433

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HIGH-RISE HOME

Homes come in all shapes and sizes.  From trendy “tiny” homes to urban lofts, to high-rise condos to sprawling suburban McMansions, each has its own inherent personality & character.  And while location & architecture certainly play a role, the owner’s personality and style can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a home.

This year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a couple who purchased a two-bedroom condo in historic Lake Point Tower.  For those who don’t know, Lake Point Tower is the only non-public building on the East (lake) side of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.  Completed in 1968, it was the tallest residential building in the world until 1993.

Lake Point Tower

Obviously, this 50 year old high-rise has seen its share of interior updates.  While the home had been updated before, our clients wanted to replace the previous owner’s more traditional taste with more sleek and contemporary stylings.

The project began with construction.  First, the French doors to the guest bedroom were relocated to create more wall space in the living area.  New gray-washed hardwood floors were selected and installed throughout.  New cabinets and countertops as well as a mirrored tile backsplash were added in the kitchen.  Motorized roller shades were installed on the home’s 18 windows.  Finally, new light fixtures were installed and the home got a fresh coat of the ever-popular Sherwin Williams Anew Gray & Agreeable Gray.

Condo Living Room

Dining Room Living Room Before

Dining Room Living Room After

As a secondary residence, our clients were literally starting from scratch.  So, it took several months of shopping to find everything we needed to fill the 1500 sq. foot home.  New dining, living and bedroom furniture were purchased from Room & Board™.   Additional accent pieces were ordered from other local and online retailers including a custom tv lift cabinet to help preserve the city & lakefront views.  Multiple pieces of art, rugs, greenery and accessories were also needed to add the little details that make a house feel like home.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

In order to maximize storage and sleeping space, we purchased furniture with that in mind.  The platform beds in both bedrooms feature pull out drawers at the foot of the bed for added storage.  The full size sofa and matching chair in the living room are both pull out sleepers.

Guest Bedroom Before

Guest Bedroom Before

Guest Bedroom After

The single biggest change in the home, however, is the kitchen.  Gone are the more traditional painted cabinets and marble in favor of sleek, two-tone cabinets with waterfall countertops in pure, white quartz!

Condo Kitchen

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

To quote our clients, the end result is nothing short of “amazing”.  Their newly remodeled and furnished, second home will be the perfect retreat for late nights at the office, weekend getaways to the city and more.  And who could blame them with views like this:

Dining Room with Amazing Lake View

A home’s style usually takes a nod from the location and construction of the building itself.  But, nothing stopped our happy clients from turning their new condo into a space that reflects their vision for their Chicago high-rise home!

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STYLING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Tis the Season!   Just before & after Thanksgiving, the rush is on to transform our homes into the holiday havens we want to share with family and friends this joyous time of year.  Needless to say, we’ve been busy little elves the last two weeks “decking the halls” for clients.

Believe it or not, helping folks with holiday decorations can be even more intimidating than helping with everyday decor.  Since so many memories and family traditions play a part of Seasonal celebrations, we do our best to respect them as we help clients bedazzle their homes for the holidays.

Even though some want a more theme-d look to their decoration, there is almost always some kind of hint to family & tradition.  Whether it’s collected or hand-me-down ornaments, a Christmas village collected over years or hand made ornaments from the grandkids, those items are just as important to achieving the perfect look & feel for the holidays.

Over the years, we’ve found that striking the right balance between a “designer” look and a more traditional, “family” look renders the best result.  So with the vast majority of clients, we do our best to put our designer spin on tradition by “up-styling” collected and other sentimental decorations.

Of course, theme-d trees, with perfectly coordinated ribbons, bows and ornaments, are things of beauty.  But a tree filled with special, one-off ornaments can be just as spectacular!   Simply mixing one color of stock ornaments, picks and/or ribbons into a tree of collected ornaments will help unify the overall look of the tree.

There are a ton of other tricks you can try to give a designer look to your holiday decor.  Here are a few more of our favorites:

BRING THE OUTDOORS INSIDE:  Tucking fresh/ faux evergreens, holly, pinecones, birch logs etc… in with your everyday accessories immediately transforms them for the holidays and adds a touch of elegance to any decor.

GO BIG OR GO HOME:  I’ve been known to say, “It’s not done, ’til it’s overdone”.  In reality, your home doesn’t have to look like an elf threw up in order to feel festive for the holidays.  In fact, limiting your holiday touches to a few large pieces per room, rather than a bunch of small ones, will have a more dramatic, sophisticated impact.

LIGHT IT UP:  Simply changing your lighting will make your home feel more festive for the holidays!  The soft, warm glow coming from candles and twinkle/rice lights on the tree and garlands will set the tone.  Just make sure you turn off or dim overhead lighting and lamps to create a more cozy feel.

With these tricks and more, we reveal the hidden festivity in our client’s traditional holiday decor.  Adding a more refined and stylish touch doesn’t mean sacrificing sentimental holiday treasures and the memories they evoke.

What are your must-haves this time of year?  What can you do to change it up without diminishing the traditions you hold close to heart?  Here’s hoping some of these tips will inspire you as you’re decking your own halls.  Let the joyous celebrations begin!

Happy Holiday Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STAGING EARLY

So many clients wait to tackle home improvement and decorating projects until it’s time to sell their home.  And, more often than not, we hear regrets about wishing they’d done it sooner so they could enjoy the changes.  It seems a shame to go to all the hassle and expense just to turn it to over to someone else.  Of course, not all sales are planned far in advance.  And, believe it or not, some owners move just to avoid the hassle of updating their old home.  But it still seems like there’s a better way.  If there’s even a remote possibility of moving, why not try staging early so you too can enjoy?

We’ve been working recently with a couple in Algonquin, IL who are doing just that!  Already enjoying retirement, they know that their 4 bedroom, split-level home won’t be as practical in a few years and they’ll be moving to a home that better suits their needs.

Before

After

The couple started consulting and working with us over two years ago as they prepared both mentally and financially for the updates they needed and wanted to make.  We started with a few smaller updates in the guest bedrooms and gave the kitchen cabinets a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.  A new deck and other exterior work was also completed.  Finally, this year, they were ready to turn their attention to the main living areas.  We helped unify all three floors with a new color palette for the first floor living room, dining room and kitchen as well as the lower level family room and finished basement.   The homeowners installed new carpet and flooring as needed.  And new light fixtures replaced dated ones in the dining room, foyer and upstairs hallway.

Before

After

Next, we turned to updating furniture and decor.  We began with the heart-heavy task of pairing down a lifetime of accumulated antiques, knick-knacks and other things that no longer fit into the new and updated look.  New living room furniture including a sofa, oversized chair and accent chair were ordered.  A large cocktail table and end tables were added to finish the seating area.  New parsons chairs replaced the original cane back chairs in the dining room.  A new rug, artwork, accessories, and window panels were also purchased.

Before

After

While most people would do all of this work only to turn around and move, this couple did it a better way.  Not only is their home updated, but it’s also pre-staged to sell.

Is it time for you to update some things in your home?  Don’t wait ’til the last minute so you can do it for someone else.  Give us a call and we can help you with staging early.  It’s a win-win!

 

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SMART CHOICES FROM THE START

Working with young couples as they begin their married lives together is one of the most rewarding things we do.  Not only do we have the opportunity to help them make smart choices & avoid some of the pitfalls of early homeownership.  But, by helping with the many decorating choices being made by first-time home buyers, we help save time, money and frustration.  Lending our experience to the mix, we help create the functional and beautifully decorated home of their dreams.  This past week, we added the final touches on one of these projects.

This Palatine, IL couple had recently closed on their first home together when they reached out to us in May of this year.  The ’50s ranch-style house had undergone major interior renovations prior to their purchase.  So, many of the core choices, like flooring and paint color, had already been made for us.  Along with consulting on a few additional renovations, we were asked to help the couple merge their somewhat different decorating styles and fill in the missing pieces for their new home.

Before

After

Before

After

Replacing a sliding door to nowhere in the Living Room was a priority for our clients.  In its place, they wanted a contemporary fireplace.  After discussing several possibilities, we settled on a white granite, stacked stone fireplace flanked by built-in storage and floating shelves.  The homeowners added two skylights in the room to help compensate for the natural light lost by closing in the slider.

Before

After

During our initial consultation, we helped them determine priorities, discussed styles and budget, and made a list of the purchases we needed to compliment the items we’d be reusing from their previous homes.  Then, we went to work sourcing all the new furniture along with window treatments, artwork, rugs, pillows & throws, plants, books & accessories and every other minute detail necessary to style a blank-slate like this one.

Before

After

Before

After

The homeowners wanted to focus their efforts on the main floor, keeping the large finished basement in mind for repurposing older pieces.  Our new furniture purchases included a sofa and matching chair, a pair of club chairs, round cocktail table, trunk style side tables, dining table and chairs, a rollaway kitchen island, nightstands for the Master Bedroom, and desks for the Office.  We also selected new lighting for the Dining Room and Master Suite hallway.

Before

After

After construction on the fireplace wall was done and all of the new furniture delivered, we arrived with our team and a moving van full of finishing touches.  Working at a feverish pace, we arranged furniture and styled the entire house in about 8 hours.

Starting a life together as a newlywed couple is full of all kinds of challenges.  Buying and decorating a new home can add even more unnecessary stress.  While it took several months to get things just right, the end result was well worth the wait.  Making smart choices already, I see many years of happiness ahead for this great couple in their beautiful new home.

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

 

 

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