Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chicago Hi-Rise Remodel - Reveal

Early this summer I completed the Chicago hi-rise I was hired to remodel. I can honestly say it was one of the most difficult jobs I have had to date. Not only was it a total gut, the building presented some unique challenges when it came to design. 

One of my first hurdles was the design. The unit before the flip was stuck in a time warp, complete with a seventies parquet floor, an outdated closed off kitchen with blue floral wallpaper, and a dark and awkward, space starved master bathroom that definitely had seen better days. After reviewing the space, we decided on a modern design. First off, modern is not in my comfort zone. My style typically falls in the transitional range so I was venturing into new territory on this one. In addition, as this was a flip, it was important to keep it from being too modern to ensure the design didn't alienate any potential buyers.

I also had to find solutions to some ideas I wanted to incorporate, but couldn't due to the structure of the building. Plumbing could not be moved, so changing the bathroom layouts was certainly a challenge. Unfortunately, the unit had no overhead lighting. Adding it was difficult to say the least. Since it is a hi-rise, all the ceilings are concrete beneath the drywall so nothing could be recessed into it. To make matters worse, the ceilings were only eight feet high. Therefore, dropping the entire ceiling to add recessed lighting was not an option.

In the end, I am very happy with how it turned out and am excited to say it sold within a few days of hitting the market. I feel it reflects my vision of a modern space with a transitional twist to keep it warm and inviting.

In the photos below, I designed every detail of the space from the cabinets, to flooring, to the wall color. The furniture and decor however, were done by our amazing stager who listened intently to my vision for the space and executed it perfectly. In addition, all the photos are courtesy of VHT Studios. And now, for the big reveal . . .

In the foyer, a charcoal gray grasscloth wallpaper gives texture and interest to the entry. A modern crystal ceiling fixture adds style without emphasizing the low ceilings. New doors painted charcoal gray add a modern flair. Simple white trim, and a sleek but low profile crown molding, pull it back to transitional.

In the living and dining room, I kept the color palate light and neutral so as to not compete with the incredible view of Lake Michigan. To create a focal point, I added a fireplace clad in vein cut travertine. While I would have preferred a gas fireplace, we had to go with electric as gas was not allowed in the building. The custom floor stain gives the room depth without being too dark. The brushed gold chandelier adds a modern flair. In an effort to give much needed light to the living room, we dropped a small soffit and installed low profile recessed LED can lights.

The kitchen design included gray flat front glossy upper cabinets that pair beautifully with the gray oak wood grain lowers. White quartz countertops and a white hexagonal backsplash gives the eye somewhere to rest.  We dropped a similar soffit in the kitchen to add much needed overhead lighting. A slim linear pendant provides light for the island without obstructing the view of the lake.

The powder room got an eye catching focal point with floor to ceiling gray oak marble chevron tile. Two pendant lights on either side of the mirror add glamour and an unexpected twist.

A  medium gray paint color warms up the master bedroom and provides a neutral backdrop for the furnishings. We added a small soffit along the back wall to incorporate recessed lighting to highlight the wall and provide extra light.

Storage is vital in hi-rise buildings. I redesigned the master bedroom and bathroom layout to add this amazing custom closet.

The completely redesigned master bath is stunning. Marble tile, a floating vanity and a custom framed mirror with wall mounted sconces give the space a boutique hotel feel. To save space we added a large recessed medicine cabinet to the wall next to the vanity. A towel warmer and floor lighting add to the luxurious feel.

The second bedroom was converted into a den. A dark charcoal focal wall adds interest and keeps with the theme throughout the unit. We dropped another soffit along the sofa wall to add lighting and architectural interest. Modern french doors with frosted glass replaced the standard door.

The guest bathroom also got the royal treatment with floor to ceiling marble tile and glass shower enclosure. A dark glossy wood grain vanity and crisp white quartz countertop offset the marble tile.

A soothing neutral paint color and new trim updated this previously dark and out of date space.

I learned a few lessons along the way with this project. First, you can find solutions to any problem if you think outside the box. Second, going outside your comfort zone can result in some amazing things. This project pushed me as a designer and I am happier for it. 

How about you? Ever had a project that pushed you? I would love to hear about it.

Happy decorating!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Standing Desks

For anyone who works from home, having a dedicated space that looks great, and functions well, is essential. Sure, you can work from your kitchen island (as I have been known to do) but working at a desk that is roomy and comfortable is not only better for your back, but also your mind.

Work spaces should inspire you to stay focus and on task. In addition, it is equally important that it is comfortable since you are likely to be there for many hours of the day. 

One way to be comfortable at your desk is to have one that allows you to stand and sit. These desks can help alleviate some of the harmful physical affects that sitting all day can create. Not to mention, help keep you from getting restless.

$439.00  -  48" Electric Split Top Desk
via Standup Desk Store

Looking to shake up your work routine? Try one of these desks on for size.

Stand up Desks

Stand up Desks by dawn-brazier on Polyvore

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Work your body as well as your mind with an adjustable height desk. Have kids who are restless? Try one of these for homework time. These are also make great craft tables.

Happy decorating!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Double Duty Daybeds

For anyone who finds themselves space challenged in their home (I know I do) it always helps if you can make rooms do double duty. Finding furniture that serve more than one function can help you make the most of the space you have. Daybeds are one of those pieces. Not only can it be a bed when you need it, but it can also serve as extra seating or a sofa. Here are some great ways to incorporate a daybed into your space.

As overflow for guests. Turn an office into a guest bedroom by tucking a daybed against the wall. It can serve as extra seating the rest of the time.  This one is backless so it seamlessly blends into the decor.

Office/Guest Room Combo: Tailored daybed. A backless upholstered daybed like this one is a good choice for spaces where the bed must go in front of a window. Piled high with throw pillows, it looks like a sofa during the day but can easily be called into service for guests at night. A glass-top desk takes up little visual space, making it a smart piece for a compact home office.:
via Pinterest

Turn your living room into a space for guests by using a daybed as a sofa. It also is an economical way to get a cozy sofa and is a perfect space to curl up on movie night.

Guest room idea: Daybed couch that doubles as two full-sized twin beds once the pillows are removed. Description from I searched for this on
via Tumblr

Create more seating and get a built-in bench look by using a daybed instead. Cozing up your table to the wall or an as extension of an island is a great way to utilize your space.

coastal cottage in Cornwall - lovingly repinned by
via Mad About the House

Give your teen a space to sleep and hang out with their friends by utilizing a daybed rather than a traditional bed. It can be pushed against the wall sideways so as to take up less floor space and can be used a lounge space when friends are around.

design dump: ORC finale: a teen bedroom in peach + mustard:
via My Design Dump

Use a daybed in place of a custom window seat in a bay window. Pull up a side table for a great place to have coffee or read a book.

via Linda Mcdougald Design

Have a large master? Think of adding a daybed for a place to unwind at the end of the night or to put on your shoes. No matter how you use one, a daybed is the ultimate in making the most of any space.

Happy decorating!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Trends in Cabinetry

I have been doing a fair amount of kitchens in my design business over the last few months.  In doing so, I have noticed there is a shift happening in colors and design in the cabinet world. Shaker style and flat panel cabinets continue to gain in popularity. Inset cabinets are popular as well. In addition to white and gray, blue and black are gaining traction as popular colors as well as browny-gray.

No matter what the hue, it seems clean and simple are the order of the day. I have rounded up a few kitchens that show the new trends in cabinetry.

A pop of blue on the island pairs beautifully with the chocolate cabinets.

via Omega Cabinetry

Sleek, flat front cabinets are modern but paired with a dark counter and warm wood island, it errs on the side of transitional.

via Charlie & Co. Design Ltd.

Wood cabinets in a browny-gray are all the rage. The color is softer than a flat hue and lends itself to rustic, industrial, modern, transitional and farmhouse design.

via New Home Designs

Gray is the new white. It can be paired with any color and gives a rich and warm feeling to any space.

via Casual Home Furnishings

White perimeter cabinets with bold color islands are starting to pop up. This island in a bold green gives the space personality and offsets the all white perimeter.

Green with Kitchen Envy | Kiki's List.:
via Pinterest

Classic black and white never go out of style and this space shows you why. The brass hardware and lighting give it a modern flair.

black and white kitchen via Aesthetic Oiseau:
via Aesthetic Oiseau

Which one is your favorite?

Happy decorating!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Back to School Organizing

Next week my kids head back to school (a shout of "yay!" just came out of my mouth). While I truly love spending time with my children doing fun things in the summer and having lazy days, the time has come for them to get back to routine and have some separation.

Another reason I am ready for back to school, is to get some organization back into my life. With four people and a dog home every day, the house is in constant chaos. While school comes with it's own type of chaos, backpacks, papers and schedules, it is easier for me to keep on track when I have a few hours of the day to myself. I have rounded up some great ideas to take control of the clutter.

Even if you don't have a mudroom, you don't have to let the kids gear take over. Create your own drop zone on a small section of wall near the door.

via Downright Simple

Or turn a hallway into an organized space. Double hooks hang coats and backpacks. Framed bulletin boards keep track of individual schedules and reminders.

Kid's Chore Boards w/backpack hooks! Entry way organization for multiple kids!:
via Setting for Four

You could also convert a closet into a mini mudroom.

This DIY closet-turned-mudroom is the perfect organized drop zone space for a busy family.  Use hooks plus a variety of colorful baskets and bins to organize bags, backpacks, coats, sporting goods, pet supplies, even the recycling!  {Sponsored by HomeGoods}:
via 11 Magnolia Lane

Need to control all that paper? Hang an organizer on the wall with separate folders for each person or activity.

via The Sunny Side Up Blog

Limited on wall space? Make some space on the counter or side of your fridge.

washi tape command center
via Tater Tots & Jello

If you are like me and have a lot of activities to juggle, you may want to add a command center. A simple one like this is small but packs a big punch.

Keep your family organized & up-to-date with an on-trend command center.:
via Hobby Lobby

 Need more? Utilize a corner and create loads of space to schedule and organize.

command center wide
via Cirurbanity

If you are lucky enough to have the room, convert a small closet into a command center that and a space to pay bills or sign permission slips.

20 Fabulous Command Centers:
via The Happy House

Fend off homework excuses by providing them everything they need right within reach. Create a homework station and keep it on their desk or where they do their homework.

Back to School mini Homework Station - Krylon Mystery Box Challenge -
via The House of Smiths

Need a space for them to do their homework? What about this clever desk that folds up when not in use and stores their supplies as well.

via Scrapbook Update
via Scrapbook Update

With a little clever planning you can take control of back to school chaos. Not only will you be able to corral the mess but you are less likely to miss a practice or dentist appointment!

Happy organizing!


Friday, August 19, 2016

Give Your Tile Some Kick

For anyone who has a standard ceramic kitchen backsplash or shower tile, your space can feel like it is lacking some personality. Although it may be something you want to change, you may not have the budget or skills to do so. 

I have discovered a product that can give you the look you want, in a fraction of the time it takes to install tile and doesn't break the budget. What is this miracle product you ask? A vinyl decal specifically designed for kitchens and bathrooms. You simply peel and stick. They are waterproof and can be removed without damaging the surface. They come in a variety of colors, sizes and styles. Some are even three dimensional. 

This mimics the look of expensive encaustic tiles.

Tile Sticker for Kitchen, bath, floor, wall Waterproof & Removable Peel n Stick: W006Q Sand
via Snazzy Decal

Like the look of patchwork tiles? Try this on for size.

Kitchen bathroom Tile Decals Vinyl Sticker :  Comtemporary Mix Fmix001
via Snazzy Decal

Want a more modern approach?

Tile Decals - Tiles for Kitchen/Bathroom Back splash - Floor decals - Mexican Dot to Dot Vinyl Tile Sticker Pack color Black
via Quadrostyle

How about a mosaic look that is also textured?

Wall Tile Decals Vinyl Sticker WATERPROOF Tile or Wallpaper for Kitchen Bath :  Mosaic MS011
via Snazzy Decal

Do a whole wall or just an accent like this.

4 Vinyl Tile/Wall Decal Stickers - DIY Removable Stickers, Modern Design Home Decor - for Any Room/Door/Mirror - 10 cm / 4"
via Tile Art Decals

Soften the edges with circles.

Breton Taupe StickPretty Decals
via Stick Pretty

Get a quick update that is easy on the eyes and on the budget. Vinyl decals are great for renters or for anyone who is afraid to commit to a style.

Happy decorating!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Trend Alert - Textured Tile

There is a new trend in the tile world and it is all about texture. Tiles that have dimension are all the rage. From subtle texture to obvious beveled edges, tiles with character are everywhere.

Textured tiles are pretty enough to use as wall features in living rooms and kitchens. Even fireplaces are getting a facelift with three dimensional tiles that add another element to your space. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Check out these amazing spaces.

Geode, a polished/unpolished concrete tile, is one of the new tile and stone options from Ann Sacks. More on the blog:
Ann Sacks

Romantic bathroom features an accent wall clad in wavy tiles alongside a crystal chandelier hanging over a corner freestanding tub and floor mount tub filler as well as a marble Saarinen Side Table.:
via Christopher Patrick Interiors

Heath tiles in the kitchen. Such fantastic colors, patterns & textures!:
via Sarah Wert

via Artistic Tile

Fireplace | Raised and beautiful tile:
via Pinterest

Fireplace surrounds have become more elaborate over the years and what better place to use 3d tile than around your fireplace? Whether you use it in a small quantity around the firebox opening or you decide to tile all the way up to the ceiling a sculptural addition to your living or family room will be welcomed.:
via Tile Bar

via Red Rock Tile Works

Add the "wow" factor to your space with beautiful textured tiles. I know I would have a problem picking just one.

Happy decorating!