interior designer chicago

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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Mix of Modern and Vintage

I had a client who lived in a very modern looking condo in Wicker Park. She had great windows, an open floor plan and enough space but she was struggling to make her existing furniture work. 

The furniture set was relatively new and a contemporary style, but she had bought it before she figured out what her style was. Over the last couple of years she realized that she loved mid-century modern and had been slowly adding pieces to her home in the form of a dresser and dining room table, but overall the home felt, well, kind of cold.

Sometimes open floor plans can be great, but it also can be challenging to define spaces. Her living room felt a bit like it was floating and so I recommended a small armless chaise that would add more seating, define the space, but allow for the open sight lines and not block the room off. 

I also suggested bringing in more wood tones. Her coffee table had seen better days and swapping it out with a wood mid century table would give her the vibe she was going for.  Plus some wood accessories to give the place some more warmth. 

The rooms were bathed in light during the day, but quite dim at night. There were some ceiling lights but the room missed ambient light. I suggested adding an arc lamp for the living room and some side table lamps. 

The last need was color. The walls were light grey, the couch was beige, the rug (which she wanted to keep) was white. While I do love a good neutral room they can be tricky to pull off. Plus she was craving color and so I suggested bringing it in through pillows, fabric covered boxes (which would also provide storage) and a throw blanket. 

If you are struggling with an open floor plan or a room that lacks warmth here is what I would suggest. 

  1. Define the space. Look at your furniture layout. Is it a space that is welcoming or are there pieces blocking the flow of people into the space. If the furniture feels like it is floating can you adjust the furniture to create a zone or add a rug that will help ground the room. 
  2. Add warmth through nature or nature inspired items. Things like geode coasters, wooden bowls or boxes, crystals or stones, sheepskins and plants can really warm up a space. 
  3. Add more lighting. Even if you think you have enough lights add some more. You want there to be overhead light for the room, which should be on a dimmer switch, task lighting (I crochet so there needs to be a light next to the couch in order to see what I'm doing) and ambient light. These are the side table lamps or small lights scattered about a room that give it a great glow. A great way to bring in nature and add light is with a salt rock lamp
  4. Color color color. It doesn't have to be a lot. Bring color into a room through textiles or art. 

Keep an eye out because I'll be talking about color much more in the upcoming weeks. 

I'm only going to be posting once a week because I'm creating a new course and I want to devote some time to finishing that project. Follow along on Instagram where I post daily about what I am doing, creating, eating, designing and thinking about. 

 

 

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An Argument Against Masculine or Feminine Interiors

Image on left via  Hunted Interio r and Image on right via  Life.Style.etc

Image on left via Hunted Interior and Image on right via Life.Style.etc

I've been  frustrated for years by the use of the words 'masculine' or 'feminine' to describe interior design. First off gender is a binary oppositional construct. You are either masculine or feminine. Except, in this day and age gender is fluid. We all fall somewhere on the continuum. There are some people who identify strongly as masculine or feminine, even though that may not be their biological sex, some who choose not to identify either way and some people who flow back and forth across the boundary. It is no longer black and white-in fact it never was, but society chose to ignore people who were more fluid then others.  

Yet, when we keep using an outdated way of viewing the world to define interiors then we are limiting ourselves. 

When a room or a list of things to buy is described as masculine then the inherent belief is that women, or people who prefer overt femininity, are not a part of that group. If I post the picture on the left and describe it as a masculine room (which someone did because I used the term masculine to search for it on Pinterest), then that room is not for me, even though I love that room. I'd wrap myself in its masculine darkness and fur throw all day long. 

On the flip side the same is true when we describe a room as feminine. There is no rule book that says men can't wear pink or have a pink sofa in their home. I actually don't care for the color pink but society seems to keep throwing it at me in hopes that it will stick. Color is a social construct. We have assigned gender to something completely benign like color. 

There are so many words in the English language and it is time to use them. Stop the limiting beliefs and let gender flow. 

I'd describe the room on the left as dark, moody and rustic. And except for the rustic part I just described myself! I'd describe the room on the right as modern, bright and artistic. Look at that! I didn't even need to resort to masculine or feminine. 

I could happily exist in either of those spaces and it doesn't matter what my sex or gender is. 

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Living room redesigned

Kandy was my first experience working with a designer, and it was such a positive one! She is fun, friendly, open, responsive, and very talented and creative! She worked with me to assess my style, my priorities, and really helped get creative to stay within my budget. Not only do I love the spaces she helped me create, but I also feel like she introduced me to valuable resources and design skills that I have used on my own since. I highly recommend her!
— Amy

Amy had a lovely sunny living room, art and accessories from her family and her travels, but she was suffering from long narrow living room syndrome, which is a common Chicago apartment problem. 

She willingly wanted to get rid of her furniture and love seat, which were a little bit too big for the space. They were pieces she had bought used years ago and they never were quite what she wanted. Normally, I try to work with the pieces that owners already have but in this case replacing the oversized sofa was a good call. 

One of her concerns was to make sure that she had enough seating since she was getting rid of the love seat. The love seat was replaced with a chair and she had an additional chair she could pull in from the desk next to the sofa when needed. 

My design plan was to create two zones. One would be centered around the fireplace and be for conversation and people watching, while the other would be for her desk and a reading nook. 

Sometimes you have to play with layouts. The first one I sketched up used the couch to really delineate the space. Unfortunately it just wasn't a very good flow for the apartment. When I did this initial sketch the cable was on the side of the wall by the window, which is why the tv is located there. Ultimately we ran the cable around the room to the other side. 

This is the option that we ended up going with. The couch under the windows and the chair at an angle. It provided enough space to move through the room and get to the door which lead to her bedroom. In this instance it is the rug that helps define the space. 

RoomSketcher Snapshot.jpg

This was definitely a collaborative effort. Amy needed help with layout and ideas for furniture but we worked together to pick items for her space. She was the one who found this fabulous rug which really added color and life to the space. Amy was kind enough to snap a photo on her iphone and send it my way. I'm not always able to get the fancy pictures, but this really gives an idea of how much the flow was improved and a bit of life breathed back into the room. Plus kitty agrees! 

If your space could use a little design help then fill out this form today for an initial complementary fifteen minute consultation to discuss your design needs. 

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