Why Hire an Interior Designer?? Here are my Top 5 Reasons….


I get this question so frequently, that even though it has been a year since I posted to my website, I felt this was the most important “Design Question” to address after my hiatus. With the popularity of networks like HGTV and DIY, and Reality/Design Stars becoming pseudo celebrities I feel as a trained Interior Designer, its become harder for me to convey the value my profession brings. This isn’t just paint color selection and a few throw pillows….a good Interior Designer brings years of experience, product knowledge and a design aesthetic to each project. 

Here are my Top Five Reasons why you should Hire an Interior Designer: 

1) A trained Interior Designer is educated in Design.  In my case, I have a degree from Purdue University in Interior Design. I have worked under a few high end Designers and a Custom Home Builder to gain my experience and established Abigail Hayden Interior Design, LLC in 2001.  I am not a Decorator….a Decorator is someone who has no formal design education and may have a eye for design, therefore establishing themselves in the Design Industry somehow. I went to school for this and this is not a hobby for me. This is a business. I bring a trained eye and a fresh perspective to every project, and my years of experience and schooling assist me in that. 

2) Interior Designers will save you money. I know it sounds crazy, that by paying someone to do a job you think you can do yourself, will actually save you money, but its proven. As a Design Professional, I can prevent clients from making costly mistakes because of my years of experience. I also have a wide variety of product knowledge and awareness of design trends to help you when selecting Design components. Your home won’t look like it came from a big box store after hiring a good Designer….we know what the market is flooded with. There is nothing worse than spending thousands on a home update that the client did themselves only to find out that the look is no longer current! My job is to steer clients to a tasteful style that reflects their personality and stands the test of time….not to mention, keeping their home value in mind! 

3) A good Interior Designer will save you time. I have a wide range of product knowledge from furniture, paint, fabric, lighting, flooring, building materials etc. It is my job to know what Brands and Materials are out there, where to find them and if they come with in the boundaries of the clients budget.  I also know products that contractors prefer and those they dont so, we dont waste time barking up the wrong tree! Instead of hitting four Tile stores on a your day off, I can bring tile samples geared to your design style right to your home and we can decide in less than an hour. 

4) Your Designer will act as a Liason. Interior Designers act as liaisons between the client and the Architect and/or General Contractor. This can be a huge help for busy clients who can become overwhelmed with lots of decisions during the building or remodeling process. As an Interior Designer who carries various furniture/fabric lines, I also act as a liason between the manufacturer and the client. If something is damaged or a fabric needs a special finish, I have the relationship with the manufacturers to get it resolved. I also can coordinate subcontractors and deliveries to the home for a time stretched client. 

5) Interior Designers have a list of Contacts.  All Interior Designers have a list of  Trim Carpenters, Painters, Drywallers, Plumbers, Electricians etc. We know generally how much construction projects will cost and how long they should take. We have working relationships with all of these Trades and share them with our clients. It’s like Angie’s List but better!

                                               
I think one of my clients has summed up my services best! 

She refers to me as, “Her Insurance Policy”. I ensure that the project will come in on budget, on time and look fabulous! 

Now, I need to work on getting some current projects on here to share….stay tuned!!!

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Making My Ugly Fireplace Pretty….

This morning, before I left for my studio, the sun was shining on my newly renovated fireplace and I took a few quick pics and thought I would update y’all on my latest home improvement DIY.

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When we moved into the house almost five years ago now, the kitchen and the fireplace were the two things I hated the most. The kitchen was torn out in the first 4 months but the fireplace was kind of put on the back burner…yes, it was ugly but we had to remodel the kitchen and master bath and paint and the list went on and on…..I mean there was a whole lotta Hunter Green tile…Ick!!!

So, I worked around it and lived with it (and its green tile)….then this summer we had a stone mason at our house for the exterior job. He inspected this fireplace and really recommended we tear it down. Yikes!!!! We are land locked on that side of the house with our neighbor plus the roof was built around the chimney. HUGE undertaking!!! So we went around and around in our discussion….and finally we were all in agreement we could repair this old guy. I mean it is pretty cool….this old field-stone fireplace does add to the cottage look….so instead of getting a new one and throwing tens of thousands more into this house, we will repair and rework it.

Demmo time!!!!

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Can you imagine how happy I was when we tore off that old oak mantle? I was literally jumping for joy and…..surprise! We found photos of the old homeowners from the ’90’s who put it in! How fun is that? I always wanted to find keys to the past in our house….but I was just not thinking it would be in such the recent past. Either way, it was fun! And one of the pics had the father and daughter standing in our great room with all of the walls torn down to the studs….so that’s when the drywall was replaced?!?!?

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Demmo was complete and my stone masons got to work to raise the hearth for me with a bit of limestone. They took off the doors and raised those too so it made a bit more sense. Yes, we lost a few stones and we broke a few in the process, which was sad but luckily, my yard was full of field-stone when we moved in and we still have some left even after the landscapers built retaining walls with most of it. They took a couple from the yard and worked them back into the face of the fireplace.

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After a week, the dust settled and they guys left us with this. The mortar is still wet in this photo and the doors were still off, but it was still an improvement!

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Now, it was our turn to build the mantle. I, of course, came up with the design and my talented husband built me what I wanted. He has become such an amazing carpenter….and I think he loves it as a hobby! I hit the jackpot ladies!!!

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We added Car Siding to a focal wall in our family room and we thought we would repeat it over the fireplace. When my new sectional, chairs and entertainment cabinet get here I will post about that project we completed over Christmas….stay tuned.

I really just wanted to keep the mantle simple. Our dining table sits in front of the fireplace so I wanted the mantle to draw your eye up the wall above the table and also break up the long expanse of wall on that side of the room.

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Here is the finished product as the sun came up over the lake this morning and streamed in the windows. Once my new table arrives you will get the full view. I think we did the right thing by keeping the old stone and altering/repairing the old girl. This fireplace was part of the original structure and hopefully she will be sound enough to last for may years to come.

 

Historic Bath update!

Last summer, I began to transform my Westnedge Hill Project. I was there with the client in the spring when they looked at the home with their realtor initially and I have loved it from the first time I set eyes on it!

The home is a 1914 colonial in Kalamazoo’s Historic Westnedge Hill neighborhood. The house also has historical significance because it was built for the local  prominent Gilmore Family as a honeymoon cottage. The previous owner left the house in pristine condition and really respected the historic features of the house.

My clients absolutely fell in love with the house and how comfortable you feel as soon as you enter. They even moved from a much larger new construction home outside of town where they had a typical Master Suite….This master bedroom did not have an attached bath! Huge issue but they loved the house.

The master bathroom is across the hall and is the only bath on the main floor so it also has to be used for guests. Below is what it looked like the day we looked at the house with the realtors.

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We loved some of the historical elements but the original claw foot tub had been removed and the shower had been remodeled about 20 years prior. Who doesn’t love that sink, though??? I think about how much people pay to get a reproduction like this and here sits this pretty sink with a beautiful crackle aged finish!!

Unfortunately, when the claw foot tub was removed, so was the gorgeous marble hex tile and instead of matching it, they put in this white ceramic hex that did not match up….it sickens me to say this but we had to redo all of the flooring!! And since we had to that….should we rip out the shower as well to open the space?

My wheels were turning…..

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We needed to keep the historical elements that remained in good condition like the built-in with original knobs, sink and original medicine cabinet.

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We knew we wanted to make the bath look like it belonged to the home, so we chose a Carerra hex for the floor, including the shower, and added a matching subway to chair rail on the walls which is very classic 1914. We took the shower wall tile up even with the window to draw the eye up and make the space seem larger. We painted the walls a warm gray for contrast.

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The clients wanted to keep it simple and we really did. We opened the shower with a glass enclosure and my genius contractor came up with a way to attach the shower head to the glass.

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The existing historic faucet on the sink was a bronze and the original plan was to try to match it with antique brass fixtures. Unfortunately, The sink faucet fell apart with age as it was removed from the sink so we had to entirely replace all of the faucets but we special ordered Newport Brass fixtures.

Gorgeous with the marble! Brass is trending and in this house, it is also historically correct!

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We also added a fan light over the shower that looks like a simple can light and appropriate antique brass sconces on either side of the medicine cabinet from Circa Lighting.

So what do you think?

Just a little transformation…..

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Well, it has been a long time….

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It has been a long time since I had the chance to update my website. Why? It is all good things I promise!! My business has grown tremendously in the last 6 months! I just actually scrolled through all of my old old posts and I cant even believe how far I have come in two years of working full time here in Richland/Kalamazoo! Time has flown by!

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Last spring it was very evident to my husband and I that I needed to move out of my home office. I had taken over the entire study we shared and the garage with fabrics samples, wallpaper books and client furniture that needed to be delivered. My house is not that large….space is a premiuim there as it was, so it was time to start looking for that perfect design studio.

After my friend and realtor took me to go look at some seriously ugly spaces….you know its bad when I look at it and have no idea how to fix it in a reasonable budget, We finally found the right one right here in Richland. Lets just say, my budget is not large…..Contrary to popular opinion, Interior Designers don’t make much so I needed a low rent place to keep the overhead low.

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Yes, folks! This is what my 800 sq. feet looked like the day I got the keys! My kiddo called it Ketchup and Mustard….yuck! But, I saw the potential and it is on a small lake….great view from all of my windows. The building is also filled with female owned small businesses! Love that! And as time has gone on, we seem to support one another….owning your own business can be really lonely, so its nice to have that community to draw advice from.

The space was an old artists studio which would have been fine but she did metal working….total mess! Then, it was a laundry area for the spa next door. The space was neglected to say the least but I got to work on transforming it.

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The first week of construction we had a flood! Yikes!!! But, thank goodness nothing was in here and we had the problem fixed.

As the weeks went on, I had my painter spray the ceiling black, which looks waaaaaay better then a icky drop ceiling plus I gained more height in the space.

Nick and I painted the walls and hung all of the halogen track lighting. I had to remodel the space at my expense so we tried to save everywhere we could.

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My contractor built me a custom unit to hold all of those fabric and wallpaper books. We painted it and he put a black laminate top on it. Then we painted all of the floors a matte black to give it a clean look.

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When all of the signs when up, that is when this dream became official! That was probably the day when after all of this chaos and work, it hit me! I have my own studio!!!

It wasn’t until after Labor day that I officially began working from my office every day….that seems like so long ago! So now here I am in mid November, and I cant imagine my business before it! It’s all mine….it is so nice to meet with clients here! I have all of my resources at my fingertips!

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Today this is what my office looks like (excuse my messy desk area), but it literally changes every day. Inventory rolls in and out which is exactly my intention.

Right now, I am decorating for Christmas….I will be hosting my Holiday Open House and Grand Opening on Dec. 2 from 5-8pm. I can’t wait to show all of my friends and clients who haven’t been here yet what a great space this has become!

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I have to say it was worth all of those days when my poor kiddo had to sit here over the summer and help me or play games on my phone! My Studio has helped her learn about having a job too….after school and on weekends when we are here she does my filing. I pay her in candles….we have a sweet arrangement!

I am so glad I took the leap….this is exactly what my business needed to grow!

 

Preppy on Wild Plum Ridge Master Update

This was a project I actually completed for a client back in December but finally got time to share on my website today. My clients are full of style and love a preppy look! Think Bow Ties, Monograms and Crisp Bright Geometric prints….they are always the most well dressed family! Their toddler son literally does don a bow tie at all social events….He is probably the most adorable toddler in Michigan! So, when my clients were expecting baby #2, it was time to dress up that master bedroom since they knew there would be many sleepless nights in their future again. They wanted to make it a sanctuary and it to really reflect their personality.

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The before picture doesn’t do it justice. It was so plain and boring….not at all like this couple!

 So, I got to work!

We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Van Duesen Blue to match the Jill Rosenwald bedding.

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Unfortunately all of the trim in the home is this buttery cream color so the ceilings, trim and doors all needed to be repainted Benjamin Moore White Dove. Lesson to be learned when buying a builder spec home….make sure you consider the trim color in the house. My clients love crisp white trim and boy, was it expensive for them to change it all in a house that was only 3 years old!

The bedding was a crisp Navy and White. We painted the walls navy to add warmth to this large room and then accented with pops of coral.

We also brought some gold accents in with lamps, monogram pillows and a new chandelier.

I love that my client did not shy away from gold metallics! I am trying to squeeze it back into clients homes because gold is very trendy right now when used properly. Unfortunately, the brass of the 80’s still lives in everyone’s memory and midwestern clients are always on the conservative side.

Gold is back, people!

Embrace it!!!!

So here is the big reveal…..

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Doesn’t it look great!?!?!

I love how this room turned out….and what I love more is that my clients bring guests upstairs to show it off every chance they get. They even had the newborn family photos taken in this room. The fact they love it that much makes my job all worth it!!

Entire House Paint Palette

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One of the services AHID offers is to provide clients with a paint scheme for their entire home. I love this service because I can do it with my local clients or I can provide it to my E-Design Clients.

Whether you are building a new home, remodeling an existing home or have decided to repaint and just not sure where to start, I can help!

This service is $200 and I will provide you with custom boards for your home as well as oversized paint samples from my preferred vendor, Benjamin Moore.

Lots of Kids spaces lately!!

I have tons of projects in the works for clients this spring and thought I would give a brief update!

It seems like I have been designing lots of kids spaces lately.

My main client base is young families and parents seem to concentrate on the kids rooms before their own….I am guilty of this as well!

I do love a kids space and the creative doors it opens.

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The Mood Board above is a bathroom I am working on for an E-Client.

My client has great taste and an eye for style but has been a little stuck on this space. I have to say I cant blame her….there is not a ton out there in the way of shower curtains for boys that are not super cheesy…..where is all the cute decor for kids?

I can only design so many PB Kids bathrooms before I am bored. Maybe I need to come up with a new line of Trendy Kids Home Decor? Hmmm? Food for thought….stay tuned 😉

Finally The Wall Lake Cottage is done!!

The Wall Lake Cottage is done and open for summer fun for my clients! I have learned so much on this project. The main thing I learned is respect for anyone who is a General Contractor….not that I did not have respect before but, now I know what they go through. When we began this project in the fall, we were naive enough to think we didn’t need one. As the months wore on, we learned a few lessons and the project grew a bit in scope. Its funny because I spent months on construction and just a few short weeks filling it to make it pretty. From now on….I want to stick to the pretty!!

So back in the fall when we began, this is what this place looked like….

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The previous owners looooooved Navy Blue! The trim and cabinets were all navy….yikes!! I like Navy too but this was not done correctly as you can see.

The first thing we did was decide on a color scheme. My client and I chose a soft blue green called Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore for the cabinets and the rest fell into place. Below are the initial concept boards I came up with.

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We decided to accent with Coral because it compliments the blue perfectly and add in warm grays as our neutral because that is the color of driftwood.

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We chose a laminate floor to lay throughout the entire 1200 sq. foot house (except the bathroom) to make the space seem larger….plus it is easy care for a lake cottage.

We painted the entire cottage, besides the cabinets and bathroom, white. It is crisp and clean….and really opens the space!

So, are you ready to see the end result?

Lets start with the Kitchen because this room is in the center of the house and contains the color we began with.

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We kept the 1950’s solid wood cabinets. We also kept the stove but got a new range hood and refrigerator. I did have to shop a bit for the fridge to make sure it fit under the cabinets and when I found this Maytag, I knew we had to have it with the stainless handle. It has an updated vintage vibe.

I bought the wood butcher block from Menards and had my carpenter cut it on site and install it. The sink is from Ikea and the faucet is by Moen. That cutie coral striped rug is by Dash and Albert, which is a must have for any lake cottage.

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The light fixtures are round flush mounts that mimic nautical lighting but not in the cheesy sense….I just bought these from Home Depot. We have low ceilings and wanted to keep them tight to the ceiling to make the space seem more open…..especially since this is the center of the home.

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The knobs are all mixed, as all kitchen should have! There is nothing I hate more that a kitchen with 52 of the same knobs!! The drawers are nickel cup hooks, the doors in the kitchen are glass knobs for the vintage appeal and the doors on both built in units have stainless ship cleats purchased from a marine supply company. Mixing up your hardware just add to the character of the space.

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So whats next? Lets reveal that living room…..

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It made a pretty cute transformation! We had a white blank canvas to work with. I ordered this slip-covered sleeper sofa from Pottery Barn in Textured Linen for a comfortable relaxed look. The rug is a chenille and jute from one of my rug lines that is super soft on the toes.

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The tables and pillows also came from a few scattered lines I carry at AHID. The reclaimed map of the Great Lake was done by a local artist in Kalamazoo. My client was the one who found him….and this is my favorite thing in the room!! I just ordered one for myself too! What a talent!

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The sconces were replaced with new nickel outdoor lighting from Home Depot. I love these sconces and why not use exterior wall lights inside a lake house?

The fireplace and mantle made the biggest creative transformations.

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The old fireplace was two different kinds of brick that by no means matched. We had to paint it or cover it. I chose to paint it and keep the budget down. I tried to explain to the painter what I wanted and she wasnt getting it, so to keep this project on track, I just dove in and painted it myself! I got on Pinterest, found the look I wanted and followed a bloggers tutorial. I wish I remembered who because I would totally give her credit! It turned out great! It was just white-washing with the right amount of wall paint (which we already had) mixed with water and a rag technique.

The mantle was just a solid piece of wood….kind of non-descriptive. My decorative painter was at the cottage one day dropping off a table and suggested I put barn wood up there.

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Months later, we bought a few 100 year old barn boards and my carpenter showed us how talented he is.

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He skinned the old mantle and it turned out beautiful….like it was here all along!

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Right off the Living Room is this cute little porch addition. The windows face the lake and this small space leads you right to the water. I guarantee that this is going to be my clients favorite spot in the house.

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We decided to put another sleeper sofa in here for overflow guests as well. This little 1200 sq. feet can sleep 10 if you can believe it!! This sleeper sofa is also from Pottery Barn and slip-covered in Texture Twill Metal Gray.

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The ottoman actually belongs with a PB chair we are still waiting for. Both are covered in Pottery Barns new Performance Awning Stripe, which is actually an indoor outdoor fabric. Dont you want to curl up on this sofa with a beer and relax?

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I also added a sideboard with board game storage on the opposite wall. The sideboard and all weather wicker arm chair are from World Market. A couple more pops of coral in the lamps and accessories to tie all the rooms together.

Off the living room is a tiny hallway that leads to the master bedroom and only bathroom.

Look at this hot mess….

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I just found the before photo of the bedroom and need to share it!

Yikes!!!!

It is a tiny bedroom, but we kept it simple.

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I kept the same color scheme in here as the living room, kitchen and sun porch. Just pops of coral but I went a bit further with the dresser and artwork to add some fun. The Client needed to have a queen bed in here for comfort sake, so we were very limited on space. The bed is from Ikea and so is the floor lamp. The bedding is Pottery Barn.  wall lake 9

My decorative painter found me this cute antique dresser and painted it coral….she thought I was nuts when called her and told her the color, but loved it all when she came to deliver it. I am so glad I took a chance and went with my gut. wall lake 36

I think this room made quite a transformation, don’t you?

Across the hall is the only bathroom in the cottage. This room was in terrible shape and had to be gutted. Lets look at the before again…..it actually looks better in pictures then it did in person!

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We put up new drywall and replaced the 3 foot shower stall with a 6 foot tub. I kept the decor very simple and just painted the walls Rockport Gray from Benjamin Moore. The shower curtain is a basic white. We had extra space left over in the corner after the shower was installed. My carpenter built me floor to ceiling shelves and skinned them with white laminate for easy cleaning.

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The vanity is from Home Depot. It is all white with a white marble top to add a bit of luxury at the lake. The light fixture is Murray Feiss and the faucets are all American Standard. The anchor towels and rug are all from West Elm.

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I kept the flooring very simple with standard white hexagonal tile sheets from Home Depot. I used a darker grout to match the warm gray in the driftwood flooring throughout the house. I did this for two reasons…I hate white grout (who wants to keep that clean?) and I wanted the tile pattern to stand out and add interest to this tiny bathroom.

On the other side of the house, just beyond the kitchen, are a few other rooms.

Lets start with the small dining area. Its so hard to imagine that a few months ago, this is what it looked like….seriously only in my nightmares!

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We started with a white blank canvas again.

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Then, I found this cute table and chairs from my super talented decorative painter, Becky at Urban Revival. The chandelier is from Pottery Barn. The table accessories are World Market. The rug is still on order and is just a simple braided jute.

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Off the dining room is the clients boys Bunk Room. Above is what it looked like before. Man, did these people love an oak ceiling fan too!

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The room has two sets of bunks decorated in more primary red and blues. The sheets and bedding are Tommy Hilfiger. This room got closet doors, which were in the attic? and we carried the driftwood flooring in here as well.

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Becky painted these cute side chairs as well….this room is so close to the dining area, that I made sure there were extra scattered for visitors. If we can sleep 10, then we need to seat 10 to eat, inside and out!

The last room has made the biggest transformation. This is the laundry room, and also how you enter the house from the garage. Check out that before….

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Yes….that is a stack-able washer and dryer in the middle of the floor. Yes, they are draining into that hideous sink. What are people thinking????

We ditched the sink and my awesome carpenter from CE Squared Construction came up with a solution. What do you think of this????

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While he was solving my laundry problems, he also made this useless coat closet into a mudroom directly across the room!!! So talented!! I love how this turned out.

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Check out the Before compared to the After….

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The seat opens up for storage and the coat hooks are boat cleats straight from the local marina.

I think these clients are officially ready for summer in Michigan!!

Thanks for visiting my latest project. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

An Entire Floor for Little Boys!!!

Today I worked on the preliminary design for the second floor of an upcoming project.

I can not tell you how excited I am to be part of this remodel!

This home is part of Kalamazoo’s history….and its the cutest 1920’s colonial ever!!

In the best shape too!

The previous owner took great care of this house and now we are going to tweak it a bit for my clients before they move in.Unfortunately, it has to be rewired first due to knob and tube wiring.It’s a total budget killer….and I am not looking forward to the weeks of plaster work that will follow before we can get inside to start the design transformation.

The entire second floor of this colonial belongs to two little boys….are they lucky or what?

Here is what we have in store for them!

First Up….The Play-space they share at the top of the stairs. This is the perfect little space to hang out and play video games or watch TV.I even had a request for a mini-fridge from a four year old!! Too Funny!

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There is a room off to the left of the playroom that is the ultimate boys room. The previous homeowner sold us his two antique brass twin beds from Europe, which are so fabulous!! The room has a built in desk area and small sitting porch, which will make a great place to play toys. We went with a fun “Bug Theme” that can be easily changed as this oldest sibling grows up.

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The other bedroom is a bit smaller for the youngest boy in the family. I think his bed is by far the coolest though….lets hope there is no sibling rivalry over the beds!!!

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Kids spaces are the most fun part of my job for sure!

Stay tuned….next is the first floor and master bath!

So proud of this little DIY!

I met with my “Terrier Trail” Clients today. We have been working on a Whole House Color Palette for paint plus some rugs, furniture and accessories coming down the road. We have only been working together for only a few weeks and are in the early stages of design. One of the priorities for the couple is to complete The Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar in the basement. When they first moved in they had some cabinets installed to form the bar area but that is as far as they had gotten.

After my initial consult, I went home and looked for ideas to complete the bar shelving.

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I pinned this idea and it was exactly what they were looking for!

Thanks so much 7th House on the Left !!!

I was in the basement, finalizing the paint scheme when I noticed that they were up and just what I had pictured….I love that this couple tackled the project before I could even blink!

It all only cost $125!!

Good thing he saved on the shelving because he has plans to fill them up….and he is obviously using them because Jack is down on the counter with a glass….even better!

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge DIY’er….and I love it when others take on projects. Large or small, there is so much gratification in building something from scratch.

We still need to paint this basement Man Cave/ Whiskey Bar and for the other side of the sink we are thinking a few Wine Barrel Racks like these to also display their wine collection.

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I just wanted to share a little Pinterest DIY Success!!

For all of you out there that Pin and never do it (I am guilty too), tackle a little project this weekend!!

It will be worth it!