Category Archives: Decor Designs, Inc.


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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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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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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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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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.





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.



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.





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.



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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Referrals truly are the biggest compliment.  So, when our clients proudly share our decorating work with friends and neighbors and we get the opportunity to work with those folks too, it’s even more special.  Last year, we posted photos of a project in Chicago we called Vertical Decorating.  If you read that post, you’ll remember the layout of this city, loft-style home with four floors of living space separated by a boat-load of stairs.  Thanks to a kind referral from that happy family, this year we’ve had the opportunity to work with their next-door neighbors.

The layout of this home is virtually identical.  For this phase, of what promises to be an ongoing project, we were asked to focus on Redesigning the main living space on the second floor which included the Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen.  Working largely with the homeowners existing furniture, art and accessories, we were asked to create a more finished and pulled-together look in their space.  Even though the family had lived here for some time, when you’re busying working and raising small children, it’s almost impossible to find time to work on your nest.  Luckily for us, these homeowners knew exactly who to call for help.

Living Room with Colorful Rug

Living Room Before

Living Room After

While we had most of what we needed, we still needed a couple more key pieces of furniture.  We wanted a matching chair to go with their existing Room & Board sofa to complete their seating area.  And we also needed a multi-purpose hutch for the dining area to help with organization.   After those were delivered, our team converged with a car load of finishing touches including lamps, a mirror, pillows, throws, storage bins and a few judicious accessories.

Living Room Before

Living Room with bookcase

Living Room After

While our couple of hard-working professionals and their two young sons were at work and daycare, we worked our magic.  And after a full day of decorating and a workout that puts any Stairmaster™ to shame, we were able to reveal the transformation our beaming homeowner called “warm and inviting”!

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Dining table and new multi-use cabinet

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

The Before & After photos might not appear all that different.  But, to the owners, the transformation and ‘feel’ of the space was substantial and exactly what they want.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising for any small business.  And we are forever grateful to those who share our name and work with others.  Your referrals not only mean business.  But they offer us more opportunities to do what we love.

If you or anyone you know is looking for decorating help, we’re here to lend a hand.  And whether you’re starting from scratch or just pulling things together, we do it all.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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Between now and Christmas, your seasonal home decor changes probably more than any other time of year.  Other than a few things in the Spring (aka Easter) or the 4th of July, seasonal decor generally doesn’t change much during the summer months.  Who has time to change up this kinda stuff with the kids out of school and vacations, right?

fall maple leaves


I love decorating for Fall!  Even better, it’s so easy to transition from Fall to Halloween and from Halloween to Thanksgiving without much effort.

Fall for most means colorful leaves, dried grasses, pumpkins, gourds, straw, corn and anything end of Summer.  Creating vignettes in your home with these natural items in mid to late September sets the stage for October and November holidays.

I’ve been known to say, “It’s not done ’til it’s overdone!”  But, with our ever-busier lives, I find we are all looking for ways to simplify both in terms of work and in terms of household accessories.  Less is best is faster, simpler and easier to clean around for any Season!

Adding seasonal touches in key areas will accomplish the same thing as decking the entire house with Fall decor.  Trying creating small displays of Fall in key focal areas like front doors and foyers, mantels and hearths and dining room tables.  Other areas for small touches of Fall can be a console or coffee table and the powder room counter.

autumn basket with gourds and pumpkins

Fall leaves and florals soften any accessories you might add and change throughout the Season.  Add those first!   Then nestle in your favorite “accessories” like gourds, pumpkins, Indian corn, small bales of hay, a vase filled with apples or nuts, candles and more. This list is practically endless.

Halloween Centerpiece


Early to mid-October, change out your Fall accessories with spookier touches for Halloween.  Pumpkins and gourds become Jack-o-lanterns, spiders, bones, bats, black cats, owls and tombstones fit the bill.  Adding touches of black with candles, florals and accessories immediately adds a more somber tone to your Fall decor.


cornucopia with fresh fruit







And, after the last trick-or-treater has rung the doorbell, it’s time to transition for Thanksgiving.

You can probably bring back a few of your previous harvest accessories and then add things associated with giving thanks. Cornucopias, pilgrims & indians and such play up the traditions in your decor for this special family time of year.

With a few simple changes, your Fall decor can transform so you’re ready for each holiday without having to reinvent the wheel.  With roughly 30 days between each, you’ll have time to enjoy each look before it’s time to tear it all down to make room for Christmas and Hanukkah.

We’d love to see your Fall vignettes.  Consider sharing some on our Facebook page: (

Happy Autumnal Equinox from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433







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Many of our decorating projects are house-sized.  Some are room-sized.  And a few projects are nothing more than one wall.  But, when it comes to helping our clients with their decorating dilemmas, no project is too big or too small.

This week, we had fun working with a couple in West Dundee on a gallery wall in their dining room.  Galleries are very popular and make for a dramatic focal point in any space.  Unlike hanging a single piece of art, however, they require a little more effort and planning and can be frustrating to get just right.

Vignette including Groot vase & Industrial Clock

Most galleries are created with framed art or family photos.  But like this one, gallery walls can be made with just about anything you can hang on a wall.  My personal favorites are ones that combine the two.

For this project, we used a group of vintage & industrial items our clients were given or had collected over the last year or more.  Many of them had a unique memory attached to them making them even more special.  From an old drink crate from back ‘home’ to a heart-shaped wine cork holder received as a wedding gift, this gallery (like most) is a visual reminder of family, friends and happy times.

Collections should have a variety of shapes and sizes for best results.  But, they should also have at least one common element to help unify the grouping.  Whether it’s a color, similar frames, a material or a repetitive shape, a common element  will make seemingly random items work together.

Creating an amazing gallery wall requires forethought and patience.  It isn’t an exact science! But, here are a few of our best tips to make it go more smoothly:

1-  Before hammering your first nail, plan your arrangement by laying out your artwork,  frames, shelves, boxes and any other items on the floor.   If you’re hanging a particularly heavy piece, you’ll want to locate studs and keep them in mind when planning your layout.  Otherwise, use a drywall anchor designed to support the weight.

2-  Larger items should be balanced by smaller ones while keeping the spacing between items fairly consistent.  As a general rule, leave more of a gap between larger items while keeping smaller ones closer together.  Play with the arrangement on the floor until you’re satisfied with the overall concept.  There aren’t any hard & fast rules so DON’T OVERTHINK IT!

Snapshot of gallery wall

3-  Once you’re happy with the arrangement, snap a photo of the completed grouping from above.  It’ll come in handy as a reference when you start moving things from the floor to the wall.

4-  Start in the center and work your way out referring to your snapshot.  The center of your main piece should be roughly 60 inches from the floor.  You may need to adjust slightly if your gallery is over a piece of furniture.

5-  Make sure you have appropriate hangers for the job.  Using two hangers per item, especially larger pieces, will keep them from shifting.  (You’ll be frustrated with your finished gallery if you’re constantly having to straighten it).  Velcro™ or Command Strips™ designed for wall surfaces can minimize holes for light-weight items.  They also work to discretely prevent shifting of pieces that just won’t seem to stay put.

6-  As you begin hanging, check for level after every piece.  If you plan to accessorize shelves, boxes or other baskets, do that temporarily as you go to ensure consistent spacing between your hangings.  Then remove these items before hammering your next piece to prevent breakage.

7-   Hanging multiples of artwork is always easier with a buddy.  Having one person hold a piece so the other can step away to get perspective and fine tune, will help avoid unnecessary holes in the wall.

8-  Once you have everything hung, you can go back and re-place accessories.

Completed gallery wall using collection of vintage and industrial items

Creating a gallery wall is essentially creating your own masterpiece using other people’s work.  Again, don’t overthink, be creative and think outside the box. The best results are usually the unpredictable ones!

Here’s to creating your own picture perfect gallery wall!  Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433.

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Decorating inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.  Some designs are simple and understated.  While others are massive and barely comprehendible.  While inspiration can be found almost anywhere in our day to day lives, truly visionary inspiration usually requires looking beyond your everyday surroundings.

We just returned from a trip to North Carolina in search of just such visionary inspiration.  You might expect that we were headed to the “home furnishings capital of the country”, High Point, N.C.  Instead, we made a trip to Biltmore Estate in Asheville.

Biltmore House

After 123 years, Biltmore is still the largest privately owned home in the United States.  This chateau-style mansion nestled beside the French Broad River in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the visionary masterpiece of its original owner George Washington Vanderbilt II.


Indoor Heated Pool

Completed in 1895, after 6 years of construction, this mammoth home contains four acres of floor space and a total of 250 rooms including 35 bedrooms for family and guests, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, and three kitchens.

The home also contains many 19th-century novelties such as electricity, an indoor, heated swimming pool, electric elevators, forced-air heating, centrally controlled clocks, fire alarms and a call-bell system.  All were unheard of luxuries at the time especially when most Americans didn’t even have indoor plumbing.



Main Kitchen

If you think decorating your home is a chore, can you imagine decorating Biltmore’s 135,000 sq. feet of living space?  Instead of hiring an interior decorator, Vanderbilt (a bachelor at the time) took great pride in doing the work himself.  Along with famed Architect and designer of Biltmore, Richard Morris Hunt, the pair tackled the daunting task of sourcing, shipping and installing the vast quantities of furniture, art and accessories needed for Biltmore.

Vanderbilt went on extensive buying trips overseas as the house was being built.  He returned with thousands of furnishings for his newly built home including priceless tapestries, hundreds of rugs, artwork, prints, linens and every sort of decorative object.  Treasures in the home date from the 15th century to the late 19th century and include works by Meissen, Whistler, Renoir, Bitter and many, many more.

Edith Vanderbilt’s Bedroom

One of Vanderbilt’s most impressive acquisitions is the massive oil on canvas ‘Chariots of Aurora’ by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini which graces the ceiling of Biltmore’s library.  The piece is known to have come from the Palazzo Pisani on the Grand Canal in Venice.  It was removed in sections, restored and installed at Biltmore.

Library featuring “The Chariot of Aurora” by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

George W. Vanderbilt was clearly a visionary in his own right.  He was blessed with wealth and good fortune until his untimely death at the age of 51 due to surgical complications after an appendectomy.  Vanderbilt embodies the ideal that if you dream it and believe it, you can achieve it.  Biltmore is a stunning example of one man’s dream to build one of the most impressive and well-appointed homes the world has ever seen.


Music Room


Whether decorating on a vast scale like Biltmore or something more reasonable like your own home, you CAN do it yourself!  Like Vanderbilt, you must be visionary in your own way.  Look for inspiration both near and far as you create a space that is uniquely you.  Don’t take no for an answer and stay the course.  Your own mansion awaits!

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

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A newly finished basement space is full of possibilities.  And for a Palatine, IL family of four, in desperate need of more “living” space, finishing their basement was the perfect solution.

We met with these clients back in March as they were starting construction on the basement.  They envisioned a multi-purpose space including a workout room, media space and bar area.  They also wanted a new powder room and kitchenette in the basement for convenience.

After brainstorming ideas for the buildout, we waited until construction was completed.  Then, we returned in May to help with fixtures & finishes as well as to plan and furnish the newly-finished space.  The homeowners prefer a clean, simple and uncluttered look to make the space feel as large as possible.



While a big, comfy sectional might seem perfect, we didn’t want to be limited by one.  Sectionals are fairly inflexible and limit the possibilities in a room.  (DESIGN TIP:  When planning any space, especially one that’s multi-use, you have to ensure furnishings are size and scale appropriate.)



Instead, we designed the space so that the media area in the middle of the long rectangular space would anchor the room while leaving space for other uses.  Penny Mustard helped us with a new 75″ sofa which faces the t.v.  It is flanked by two low-back, swivel tub chairs which can easily be turned toward the sofa for conversation or the tv for movies and games.  A leather ottoman grounds the seating group.  And topped with a tray, it doubles as both cocktail table and footrest.  X-frame side tables and a matching console table from Pottery Barn provide a spot for drinks and finish the seating group.



In front of the kitchenette, we added an espresso wood table and four stools.  Whether for board games with the kids or game night for the guys, those seated at this counter-height still have a clear view of the television.

The kitchenette was designed with upper and lower cabinets and exposed shelving for storage complete with wine/beer fridge, sink and recycling center.  We selected a mercury-glass subway tile backsplash for the entire wall to reflect light and help the small space feel larger. We added a wall-mount wine rack from to store reds and keep the small countertop as uncluttered as possible.













In the powder room, we used the same white cabinetry and granite countertop as in the adjacent kitchenette.  The bright white cabinet and light granite countertops make the small spaces feel larger.  Using the same finishes in both spaces provides visual continuity and prevents either space from feeling choppy and stand-alone.  The same large 12×36 wood-look floor tile also flows through both spaces.  (DESIGN TIP:  Large tiles with fewer grout lines make small spaces feel bigger.)













In the workout area, as well as the rest of the space, we were asked to reuse as many of the homeowner’s existing art pieces as possible.  Professionally framed golf, sports and marathon prints coupled with a few new pieces add a casual, man-cave feel to the space.










We added cellular shades to hide unsightly window wells.  Greenery and a few accessories add the final touches to a space that has added both value to the home and will serve the family with additional living space for years to come.

If you’re working on a space with overwhelming potential, give us a call.  We can help you make sense of your own basement full of possibilities.  815-245-2433


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