Category Archives: Decor Designs, Inc.

CREATING ADULT SPACES IN KID-FRIENDLY HOMES

Parenting… I’m guessing there’s probably nothing more satisfying or fulfilling.  Then again, there’s probably nothing quite so stressful or frustrating.  Every parent wants to create a safe and supportive environment for their children.  But, that often means sacrificing as an adult, especially with home decor.

Whether it’s child-proofed corners, washable rugs, non-breakable accessories or toys galore, most parents simply give up on having anything too “designer”.  At least they give up until the kids are teenagers or out of the house completely!  Having strictly adult spaces with kids is a challenge for any family.  So, it’s always fun for us when we have the opportunity to help clients create spaces that allow for adult activities while leaving others that are more family-oriented and kid-friendly.

We’ve recently been working with clients in McHenry, IL who wanted to create an adult space in their ground floor bonus room.  With a young son, the couple’s entire three-story town home was very kid-centric to say the least.  They envisioned at least one area in the home where they could de-stress, relax and just be without having to child-proof or sacrifice on any of the creature comforts adults enjoy.

BEFORE

Their vision for the space was a media room for relaxing, taking a nap, reading a book or watching tv & movies.  With a monster 86″ flat-screen tv and killer sound system, this space would be an adult retreat from the organized chaos of family life upstairs.

Wanting several grown up elements, they asked that we incorporate a coffee/wine bar theme in the space.  Since they’d already purchased a new ultra-deep sofa, entertainment center & bookcase, we were asked to simply pull their vision together by bringing in everything else from window coverings to artwork, lighting to accessories.

After several weeks of space planning and shopping for the details, we returned to give the room the adult theme the owners so desperately wanted and deserved.

AFTER

First, we replaced the white, wood blinds with new bamboo roman shades for warmth and privacy.  Then, we added a reclaimed-wood & metal console table to serve as both wine & coffee bar. (espresso machine on order)  To it, we added wine stem storage with wine racks on the floor underneath.  Three gray, leather storage cubes were added.  They can serve as extra seating, tables and storage for unused pillows and throws.  A black, wire mesh chair in the corner offers additional seating.  A new c-table provides a place for a cup of coffee or glass of wine while snuggling on the extra-deep sofa.

BEFORE

AFTER

Without a ceiling fixture, we needed to create a lighting triangle to take care of any dark corners in the room.  So, we added a beautiful floor lamp from Crate & Barrel by the sofa.  Then we placed a pewter teardrop lamp from World Market on the floor by the tv.  Finally, a glass bottle accent lamp from HomeGoods found its spot on the bookcase.

An avid audiophile, the husband wanted acoustic panels in the room to help with sound.  By some miracle, he’d already found some.  Covered with burlap, coffee bean bags, they fit perfectly into our design.  So we used 6 of them above the sofa doubling as artwork.  We added a framed burlap bulletin and chalk board to cover the unsightly electrical panel.  And we added a family photo wall and other metal bowl art from World Market to balance the space.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Every little detail from coffee cups and spoons to serving trays and flavored syrups were added. And lastly, we poured coffee beans into the vintage sugar molds on the window sill.  Good design touches as many of the senses as possible.  So we made sure the wonderful aroma of the coffee beans filled the air as well as any neighborhood coffee house.

The end result is a room that allows for plenty of “adulting”.  Whether it’s for a cup of coffee with the morning news, a game of chess or a great movie, this space went from a sad, underutilized storage area to a media room any adult would enjoy.

The moral of this story is this.  Finding the right combination of kid-friendly spaces, family spaces and adult spaces makes any home feel more balanced.  It offers adults the opportunity to be adults in their own home while still having spaces for kids to be kids.  When everyone’s needs are met, family happiness ensues!

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

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PUTTING IT ALL INTO PERSPECTIVE

It’s rare to find anyone who is excited about moving.  Oh yea!  They might love the idea of a new place.  But, the nuts and bolts of actually moving kind of stink.   And it’s even harder to find someone who is willing to spend some money in order to make improvements to their home just so someone else can benefit.  But, taking the time to put it all into perspective and realizing that staging is a key component of any successful real estate transaction will reap many benefits in the end.

We’ve been working with a wonderful couple in Barrington who are doing just that.  They are in the process of purging and readying their large 5 bedroom home for sale.  In order to get ready, however, they’ve had to spend a great deal of time sifting through and discarding unwanted items.  In addition, they’ve spent a fair amount of money updating certain areas of the home.  They’ve also been busy fixing issues that will need to be fixed prior to any home inspection.

We came into the process when the frustrated and overwhelmed owner called asking for help with her living room.  She just couldn’t seem to see it any other way and knew it wasn’t right.  After our initial consultation, however, she decided she wanted to do more than just improve the living room.  So, together, we made a list of recommendations for the entire home.  And then the homeowners decided which to-dos they wanted to tackle and which they’d leave.

Lucky for us, not only were they willing to do 99.5% of the recommendations.  But, they were also willing to invest the money they needed to fix key areas like:  replacing dated light fixtures, updating bath vanities and plumbing, changing hardware, painting, and replacing carpet & flooring in other key areas.

Spending money on a home you plan to sell never makes anyone happy.  A better way to think of it is INVESTING in one of the largest financial transactions of your life.  Without investing some time and resources, a home (no matter how perfect and comfortable for you), will never make the BEST first impression when it hits the market.  And in today’s age of instant public opinion, you never get a second change to make a good, first one.

While we touched every room in the home in some way, shape or form, the change in the following rooms was the most notable.  In some rooms, we spent larger amounts of money to neutralize, de-personalize and update.  In others, a little paint and rearranging were all that was needed.

Family Room Before

Family Room Before

Sitting Room Before

Sitting Room After

Office Before

Office After

Finished Basement Before

Finished Basement After

Bedroom Before

Bedroom After

Powder Room 1 Before

Powder Room 1 After

Powder Room 2 Before

Powder Room 2 After

Staging is the best way to make an impression on internet shoppers and entice them to see your property in person.  Fortunately for us, our clients didn’t need to be convinced of its importance.  Unlike some, they were smart enough to take our advice and run with it.  The transformation in several of their spaces is nothing short of amazing.  And several times throughout the process we heard, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”  The good news is they get to live in and enjoy the changes until it does sell!

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different.  Sometimes you simply can’t afford to spend any money getting your house ready to sell.  But, then again, sometimes you simply can’t afford not to.  While your normal knee-jerk reaction might be to sell “as is”, don’t underestimate the power of staging.  In most scenarios, you’ll save money with a faster sale.  And you’ll make more money from higher offers.

Happy Staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

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DECORATING FOR YOUR BEST SELF

Interior decorating is an evolution. Your decor generally evolves along a path that parallels your personal journey. As your income level, lifestyle & interests change over time, so does your decor. With that in mind, all you can do is style your home in a way that reflects the most authentic version of your ‘best self’ at the time.

Disagree? Drag out some old photos of yourself. Were you rocking it with bell bottoms in the late 60s & 70s? Or how about those Farrah Fawcett “wings” or a mullet in the 80s? I’m betting you’re like, “What the hell was I thinking?” But, it happens. At some point, even design professionals look back at photos of their work from years past and ask, “What was I thinking?” Don’t beat yourself up; it’s natural. Trends change, times change & tastes change. And thank goodness they do. Remember olive green appliances?

Over the past few months, we’ve been working with a client who we helped with some redecorating about five years ago. Even in that short amount of time, she has experienced some milestones in life. On top of that, trends and her own taste have changed.

We’ve helped see this client through several different versions of her ‘best self’. Her two-story townhome with volumn ceilings and arched windows has been a perfect backdrop for our stylings. As the story goes, our client decided to buy a new sofa for her living room. And the rest is history. Before we knew it, we had a touched almost every part of the living spaces in her riverfront home.

2014 Living Room Before
2014 Dining Room Before
2014 Basement Before
2014 Sitting Area Before

In 2014, we helped her finishing moving into her new space. After some painting, we reused and repurposed much of her previous furniture and added some finishing touches building off the dark woods and leather. Jewel tone teal accents punched up the tone-on-tone neutrals. We also styled the basement at the time leaving most of the details for a later date.

2014 Living Room After
Living Room 2014 After
Basement 2014 After

In with 2019! Inspired by the current version of her ‘best self’ and a trend toward lighter & brighter, she asked for help making the changes needed to blend her new pieces and bring her inspiration to life.

In the Living Room, we replaced teal and black accents with cream and blush. We added a new tufted gray leather ottoman from Penny Mustard. Matching tiered side tables from Wayfair replaced the oversized side table. Clear glass lamps, a fiddle leaf fig tree, new cream window panels, bright capiz shell artwork and brighter accessories complete the look.

2019 Living Room After

In the Dining Room, we kept the table but replaced the heavy wooden chairs. We repeated the tufted texture from the Living Room ottoman by ordering custom upholstered parsons chairs from Steinhafels. A new cabinet in warm white from Ballard Design serves as a bar cabinet. Our client painted the pub table (introduced in 2014) with off-white chalk paint to match the new cabinet. Three industrial swivel stools from Ballard replace the dark wood sway back bar stools.

2019 Living Room After
2019 Dining Room After

In the basement, we repurposed some of the elements we replaced upstairs. A new reclaimed wood & metal entertainment center from Steinhafels provided a dramatic focal point for the repurposed sectional. We grouped four leather swivel chairs from Pottery Barn near the wet bar area for group conversation. The pub table and chairs offer a great space for drinks or gaming. New custom blinds, drink tables from Crate & Barrel and artwork and accessories complete the warm and inviting space.

2019 Basement After
2019 Basement After
2019 Basement After
2019 Sitting Area After

In the end, by replacing a few key elements and restyling with complimentary artwork and accessories, we were able to give entirely new personality to the spaces. Light and bright suits our client for the next chapter in her life. And we were thrilled to help her pull it all together.

Tastes and trends are always changing. Why not celebrate the current version of your best self? Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433

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A NEW CHAPTER FOR DECORATING

We’ve all heard the analogy; life is like a book. From chapter to chapter, our life stories are written one page at a time. One of our recent projects involved helping a super sweet lady & mom who was flipping the page and starting a new chapter in her life. We joined her story as she was moving from a traditional, four-bedroom English Tudor that had been home for many years into a newly renovated and much more sleek & modern, two-bedroom condo.

Of course, we love helping our clients reuse and repurpose as many cherished things as possible. But, as you can imagine, there are only so many ways to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary styles. In this new chapter for our client, we simply needed to create an updated look that complimented her current personal style as well as her newly renovated space. While it’s sometimes sad to say goodbye to things you’ve enjoyed for years, she was ready to embrace a fresh, modern look in her new home.

Before
After

Inheriting cool gray walls, white and gray cabinetry and reclaimed wood-look flooring throughout after the remodel by the previous owner, our goal was to “warm up” the space and make it feel more inviting and less sterile.

Before
After
Before
After

With the exception of a bakers rack and a few occasional tables from the previous home, we were starting from scratch with all new furniture. Our homeowner had already purchased a beautiful new dining table and chairs as well as a new master bedroom set she loved. To those, we added a new sofa & love seat, multiple accent chairs, office desk & chair, counter stools, guest bedroom headboard and nightstands, console tables and more.

Before
After

While we were able to repurpose a few sentimental art pieces and accessories, we needed much more to complete the large, open-concept space. Floating wall shelves from Ballard Designs were added by the fireplace for additional display space, area and throw rugs were added to soften the tiled floors. New, colorful artwork and accessories were added to help bring the sterile gray to life.

Before
After

Adding punches of color always gives dimension to monochromatic spaces. One element our client was very specific about was adding a blue accent cabinet in her dining area for storage. It took some doing. But, we were able to find the perfect piece. With that strong color statement in place, we only needed a couple more. Since warm gold plays nicely with blue and gray, we added hints here and there. And for contrast, we decided to add blush pink accents in the master bedroom and bath to round out our color palette.

Before
Before
After

In the hallway, just off the Master Bedroom, we used a combination of box & mirrored frames to create a gallery wall for our homeowner’s many family photos. As we often share with clients, no one loves your family more than you. So rather than turning your main living areas into a 3D photo album, why not showcase your favorite family photos in a slightly less conspicuous space where you can still enjoy them all the time?

Before
After

Our homeowner had originally planned to style the guest bedroom with an old set of furniture from Pier 1. With everything else shiny and new, it made this set feel tired and left over. So we simply swapped it out with an upholstered headboard, two new night stands and bedding. Now the room feels current, fresh and inviting to anyone who might stay over.

Before

New chapters in life, especially as we age, can be both exciting and frightening. But, since change is truly the only constant in life, changing your surroundings sometimes means changing your decor as well. The end result is a beautifully-styled, new space that reflects our client’s current interests and lifestyle while incorporating a few nods to her life and history as well.

If you’re turning a page in your own life and need a little help seeing things from a different perspective, give us a call. We’re happy to help. Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433.

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FINISHING TOUCHES DECORATING

Most home decorating is a slow evolution of changes. You might paint a different color, buy a new piece of furniture, add some new accessories or art. But every now and then if the budget allows, you create an entirely new-to-you look complete with all the finishing touches.

We recently finished working on such a project in Bartlett. The homeowners contacted us back in the winter. They’d already finished a few things on their ‘want’ list like painting the kitchen cabinets and adding a dramatic, grass cloth wallpaper accent wall in the Family Room.

Fireplace Before
Fireplace After

With those projects completed, we were asked to help pull it all together with new kitchen and family room furniture as well as new, finishing touches like rugs, lighting, art and accessories. Our shopping list included: a new custom sofa & matching love seat, coffee table, side table, chairs for the kitchen table, window panels for the kitchen and family room, hardware, lamps, light fixtures, mirror, artwork and accessories.

Family Room Before
Corner After

Continuing with the color scheme our clients had already started, we wanted to brighten and lighten the two-story family room while keeping it cozy and inviting.

Volume ceilings can be tricky. Too often, homeowners feel the need to decorate too far up into the space. That usually results in nothing more than a lofty, gallery effect complete with craned necks and a lack of coziness. Rather than decorating all the way up, it’s usually better to simply bridge the gap between the two floors. In this case, we added large scale art above the fireplace, a tall wall mirror and floor plant and extra long window panels to do just that.

Repeating colors, patterns and textures in a space help create visual cohesiveness and flow. So, to bring the textural, organic feel of the grass cloth paper into the space we carefully selected a few “organic” pieces. We used a white, carved wood medallion over the fireplace to contrast with the dark paper and compliment the painted stone. We also added a new coffee table/ottoman made from woven banana leaves topped with an oversized rattan tray.

Hallway Before
Hallway After

While keeping our seating, window panels and secondary furnishings neutral in grays, creams, tans and beiges, we opted for punches of color in the rug, pillows and accessories. We repurposed the client’s coral-orange pillows. A new area rug with hints of orange, teal, yellow and purple helps unify the space with the rest of the home by repeating wall colors also found in the dining room and powder room.

Kitchen & Family Room After

“It looks like a model home!” summed up our client’s satisfaction with the new look.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with decorating as you go. But sometimes, to get it just right, it’s nice to touch everything all at once from the big items all the way down to the finishing touches. That way you’re sure to get a look you’re bound to love.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433

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MEMORIAL DAY HOURS

We are closed today in observance of Memorial Day. Thank you to all our military members, past & present, and their families. Wishing you safe and enjoyable celebrations!

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INNOCENT BEAUTY… IN MEMORY OF AJ FREUND

Those of us who live in our small, suburban town of Crystal Lake, IL, as well as so many others from around the country, have watched in disbelief as the story of innocent, little AJ Freund has unfolded. Five years of an unthinkable existence defying logic, reason and understanding has us all rattled to the core.


While the tragic details of this young boy’s life & horrific death come crashing into public view, we hope to learn from this tragedy and improve our systems so it might never happen again. For right now, however, we as a community and society must renew our efforts to uplift, support and protect those who cannot fend for themselves.

While our mission at Decor Designs has always been to bring beauty to the world around us, we are humbled by the realization there is simply some ugly we will rarely see and may never erase. And while we all struggle to understand how senseless tragedies like this can and are allowed to happen, we lift up AJ as a beacon of hope for others.

For AJ and so many others sadly living in similar conditions, we join in remembering him by wearing blue today. Also, Decor Designs, Inc., will be making a donation in AJ’s honor to CASA of McHenry County. This organization and their Court Appointed Special Advocates help give children like AJ the voice they so desperately need in our imperfect legal system.

And finally, to sweet AJ, we send belated but much deserved love, light and a prayers for a peaceful slumber. 💙 May your innocent beauty shine on!

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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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