decorating styles

The unsexy part of design

Bell Ave Floor Plan.jpg

I'll admit when I first thought about doing interior design I imagined fabric swatches and paint samples, hunting down treasures at antique stores and going shopping with clients. 

The reality is that you have to do the hard parts first before you can start playing with fabric samples. The rest of the design falls apart if you do not have a solid base. 

I'm working with a fabulous couple and they have done what I usually recommend-which is to live in the home for awhile so they could decide what they wanted to do. That and they've set a budget.  The home has a kitchen with a dining area and a living area in the back of the house. The front living room and dining room, would generally be more formal, but they decided they don't want a formal dining room. They have a record player and love to listen to records but beyond that they just want a space to entertain and hang out in. 

I'm a pretty intuitive and empathetic person, which I feel helps me suss out people's design styles pretty easily. I also have my clients fill out a questionnaire, share a Houzz or Pinterest board with me and I take a look at the rest of the house. 

The very first thing I do when I meet with a client is to measure their space. We do also talk about their design style, living needs and color preferences. Then I'll pull together a first draft of a mood board. Here's a sample of some of the pins I pulled. 

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Sometimes, I rely on pinterest for a little inspiration, but in this case I already knew what the style was and I needed some layout ideas. My clients definitely have a mid-century modern clean vibe with a color palette of blues and greens. Since we were nixing the dining room I needed a way to pull the two rooms together and create separate spaces without the room feeling like a bowling alley or disconnected. The core request was for a space for the record player and records, and I started pinning ideas.

The floor plan and searching for furniture sometimes happen simultaneously. In this case I mapped out a first draft of a floor plan. A general idea of where things are going to go. 

RoomSketcher 2D Floor Plan.jpg

I liked the general direction this was going but I didn't quite like how it was flowing. Plus the window behind the couch has a low ledge and the couch was blocking some of the light. 

I pivoted the couch which made a huge difference and it felt like the rooms were a little more connected. Once I get the core furniture placement down then I hone in on how I want the room to feel. I'll start to pull furniture based on their style and color and adjust the furniture layout with those measurements in mind.

While a floor plan is extremely helpful to get an idea of how the room is going to look, it's also helpful to mark out where the furniture is going to be on the floor. This room is a little tricky because the entryway is right behind the chairs, there is a hallway through to the back of the house, a staircase and a bar. When I met with the clients to present the plan, I measured out and taped off where the furniture would be. At that point I realized that while there was physically enough clearance between the chair and the entryway, it just wasn't enough. I shifted everything a little closer to the window and that opened up the space a bit. 

Next up is choosing the furniture and wallpaper. 

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Cohesive Home Design

A mood board with fabric, flowers, and paint swatches for interior design

How to Make it Work.

It's challenging enough to figure out colors and furniture and design a room, let alone make the whole house flow together. But it is possible to do. I'll admit that when I first started designing my home I didn't really focus on this. Gradually over time I'm seeing how I can make the rooms talk together and not feel jarring when you go from space to space. There have been a couple of small tweaks I've made that have made a big difference. 

I'm talking on the podcast this week about how to a create cohesive design style throughout your home. I'll go into greater detail about it on the podcast, but I wanted to give you a few ideas to get you started. 
 

  1. Find your interior design style. When  you hone in on your style and create a mood board that gives you the overall design plan for your home it means making decisions become so much easier. You have a plan to guide you. The picture above is a mood board I created for a Scandinavian inspired home. It is full of natural materials, handmade items, and muted colors with a splash of something bold. That mood board guides all of the furniture and accessory choices for the home. If you need help finding your interior design style then check out my class. Use the code JustForYou for 20% off the class. 
  2. Use color to create cohesion. You don't have to pick one color and use it on everything throughout the home, but I recommend picking a palette of colors. For example, my living room colors are green and pink (I'm actually in the middle of changing things up!), the dining room has a bit of green, green/blue and hints of pink and the kitchen is green/blue with an orange rug that also has some pink in it. There are touches of the color palette in every room. 
  3. Use furniture styles or accessories to create cohesion. For example, I have an Eames plywood molded chair in my living room and an Eames plywood molded leg splint from World War II hanging as art in my dining room. I also have Scandinavian pottery and glass pieces throughout my house that have a very distinct style. 
  4. Finally use what nature gave you. Use rocks, birds nests, feathers, wood and antlers throughout your home. A bit of nature is always a good thing. 

I hope that inspires you to see what you can do to create some cohesion in your home. Tie things together through style, color and materials. 

Have fun designing!! 

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How to Work with an Interior Designer on your Home Design

A marble coffee table and navy sofa in a high rise building in Chicago

What It's Like to Work with an Interior Designer

Working with an interior designer is a collaborative experience with a lot of communication. It's a little bit like dating. 

I'm talking more in depth about my process on the podcast today, but here's a peek. 

You reach out to me and say 'hey'. I send you a questionnaire to get an idea of what your style is and to start a conversation. Then we schedule a time to chat. I want to get to know you and, more importantly, you need to make sure that I'm the right fit for you. At that time we decide what plan works best for you. Some people need a little help figuring out the way forward, but they want to be involved in the process and do some of the work themselves. That's awesome and I have a DIY plan that will work for them. Some people just want it done. They want a plan to approve and for the work to be done behind the scenes. I'll admit that as life has gotten busy, I've been looking for some things to be taken off my plate. If that is how you are feeling about design, then I can take care of everything for you as well. 

Next, I come to your house and take pictures and measurements. We talk more about your design style and what you need in your home. I really want to get a sense of who you are, how you want your home to feel and how you want your home to function.  

Then I go to the drawing board and draft a mood board and floor plan. This is the blue print for your home design. This is the first draft and often we make tweaks to the plan to make it just right for you. 

Finally the fun stuff begins and we go shopping. FYI this takes time. There are lead times for furniture and sometimes it takes awhile to find the exact right piece for your home. So, don't expect a tv renovation show turnaround and reveal in 2 days! 

Throughout this whole process I'm checking in to see if things are going as planned and to make sure we are on track with the project. I get lots of great ideas and input from my clients. Sometimes I push their design boundaries and sometimes they push mine, which I thoroughly enjoy. 

 

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Home Decor Style-Why Hiring an Expert Pays Off

Mood Board of fabric, jewelry, dishes, and flowers

Why Should You Hire an Interior Designer?

Before I give you my top three reasons why you should hire an interior designer I'd suggest hopping over to my podcast where I am diving much deeper into this topic. Give it a listen. In the meantime here are three reasons why hiring an expert pays off. 

  1. You are stuck. We've all been there. Either you don't know where to start or you just can't quite get the room over the finish line. I'll freely admit that I've had rooms languish for years because of lack of time, resources or energy. Yet, I can tell you finishing up a room feels good. It makes your home come together. I had a client yesterday say he loves coming home. That is what I strive for. 
  2. You are in transition. You've moved into your very first apartment (yay you) and it's time to jettison your college furniture, you are moving in with someone (congrats) and you need to figure out how to get it all to work together, you are downsizing and you aren't sure how to make it all fit, or you are about to have a baby and need to rearrange somethings in your home to make space for the newest member of your family. An interior designer can help you through the decisions you have to make, on your own or with your partner. I have to admit that getting couples across the design finish line is kind of one of my specialties. Change can be good and it also can be stressful, so don't let your home stress you out. Hire someone to help. 
  3. It just isn't working. I've had some funky rooms in the apartments I've rented over the years that are either too small, too long or there just isn't a good place to put the couch because of all the windows and doorways. I've swapped rooms, moved couches around until I finally feel like the flow is right. Except, I do that after I've done a floor plan and mocked up how everything is going to look, because moving furniture isn't fun and I only want to do it once. If you aren't sure how to make a space work then bring in a professional. 

When I work with clients it is a collaborative process. I am not the type of person that comes in and tells you your furniture is all wrong and you must have this that and the other thing. This is your home, your style and most importantly your budget. If you love your sofa, then keep it, we'll make it work. If you have great-grandma's dining room table and it needs to stay in the family, then yes, keep it. I also believe that interior design should support your life and your lifestyle. A big part of my process is to see how you are living and how you want your home to support your life. Finally, I work within any budget. I offer a DIY option where I give you a floor plan and a mood board to hone in on your style and give you direction, or I can come in and do it all. I'll even hang the art. 

Another reason to hire an interior designer is we can help you avoid any costly mistakes. Laying out a floor plan and taking into account the space and needs of my client are one of the first things I do. I also save people from having to repaint rooms by getting color right the first time. So save yourself the headache and hire an interior designer. 

An Interior Designer should help you with what you need. They should work with you on your home to make it some place you love coming home to. That's my goal and if you need some design assistance please feel free to contact me and I'll be happy to help. 

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