Monday, May 22, 2017

A Client's Living Room Design Plan

Recently, a local client contacted me, after she had already hired a previous designer to help her with her living room.  When she started to implement the design plan, the previous designer suggested, she slowly started to realize that she really didn't love the design and as a result, felt stuck.

That is when she called me to ask for help.

I think this happens more often than not.  People hire designers and many times it isn't a good fit.  The designer perhaps has a style that the client doesn't like OR the client has a style that designer just doesn't like.  It happens.

Below is the current state of her living room (all pieces the previous designer recommended).


When we met, we discussed her likes, dislikes and her budget.  She had already paid a previous designer and spent quite a bit of money on a partially finished room that she didn't love.  So, I had some non-negotiables I had to work with - namely, the contemporary tuxedo sofa, coffee table and abstract artwork.

The first thing I do when I start my decorative process is to focus on the floor plan.  Everything else comes later.

I didn't love how the previous designer used an abbreviated wall for the sofa wall.  You can't tell from the picture above, but there is an entry into the room to the left of the sofa.  Second, the layout felt so 'staged' to me.

You want the floor plan to be functional and natural.  So, I suggested she flip-flop the room to offer more balance and better traffic flow.  See below.

The sofa now sits in front of a window (on a full wall) allowing clear traffic flow from the entry hall into the family room (through french doors).  Moreover, the sofa is now centered utilizing the whole room.  The chest of drawers (with a mirror above it) sits on the opposite wall (where the sofa used to be) and the mirror will reflect light (from the opposite window) making the room brighter.

While my client liked most of my suggestions, she particularly liked the new floor plan.  After I got her buy-in, I then started working on the rest of the design.

Since this is the young couple's first home, I suggested the bulk of their budget go towards quality furniture pieces that are classic and timeless in nature.  They can always save later for the beautiful designer textiles.  I also wanted to keep the room 'fresh' and not too stale.  I tried to mix traditional with modern to help keep the room varied.

Last week I presented the final plan using their non-negotiable pieces.  My client's words were, " I love it.  This is exactly what I was hoping for!"  That made me happy.  I am looking forward to seeing this plan come to real life!

Monday, April 17, 2017

StyleBlueprint Feature and Interview!

Thank you all for the love regarding the StyleBlueprint feature!!  I am very flattered to say the least....

Photo Credit: Nicole Pullen

You can read the interview here!  Thank you Anna for the wonderful was so fun going down memory lane, reminiscing, talking about all things design and Louisville!

Photo Credit: Nicole Pullen

Thursday, February 16, 2017

e-Design: A Young Girl's Bathroom

This has been such a FUN project and I am so excited to share this bathroom with you!  It's girly, it's fun, it's young and fresh!!  Perfect for an eight year old girl!!

The Lowmans, who live in Birmingham, emailed me seven months ago asking if I would be interested in helping them design their 8 year old daughter's bathroom.  Beth, the mom, and I knew of each other through instagram/blogging.   Needless to say,  I was completely flattered that she asked for my help.

She and John sent me pictures of their bathroom mid "tear down" and Beth basically said, "...whatever you think, Fran!"

I remember sending her an inspiration picture of a bathroom I found on pinterest with bright blue hexagonal floor tile and asked her if she liked it.  She wrote back and said her daughter, Elizabeth, loved it!

I knew her daughter, Elizabeth, and I would hit it off!!  And, while I know Beth and John, were a little reticent about the blue tile; in fact, Beth told me later, "we just tore out blue tile and now we're putting blue tile back in!?!?".....I knew it would be the right amount of 'fun' to make this bathroom perfect for a young girl!

Once the tile was selected, everything else just fell into place....

Look at all that beautiful subway tile and the bullnose chair rail!  Good-bye beadboard...hello subway tile!!

The blue hexagonal floor tile was a bit of a risk, but it paid off big time!  

Even subway tile on the top of the bath/shower you guys!!

Beth's husband, John, did ALL the installation himself!  ALL THAT TILE work - completely himself!   And, let me tell you, he did an AMAZING job.  My design was only 50% of this whole project, his execution was the other 50% if not more.   Tiling is so technical and difficult.  He installed everything so seamlessly.  

And, just to give you an idea of the where we started.  These are the pictures Beth and John sent me.  Here is where we started......

Thank you to Beth Hontzas who did an amazing job photographing the bathroom and was so much fun!!  If you live in Birmingham, she does excellent work.  And, a huge THANK YOU to the Lowman family.  You guys are a beautiful family and I'm so happy to call you friends!  I'm happy Elizabeth loves her bathroom!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Decorating around a Piano

This past weekend, I moved our piano to the opposite (and smaller) wall in our living room.  It makes more sense and felt like a huge breath of fresh air to finally have it moved.  This is how I quickly styled it (using everything I already had).....

sorry for the bad iPhone pic!

In my opinion, you can choose different approaches to decorating around a piano depending on your personal preference, style or need.

Since my piano sits in our living room, I wanted a simple and formal look.  However, if our piano sat in our family room, I might consider something like this using family photos:

If you want more of a casual approach, I would do a gallery wall.  Adding a gallery wall helps soften the rather large piano and also helps to fill the blank walls around it.

If you want a casual look, but are not up to the task of hanging a gallery wall, consider a layered look.  I really love this look too....

Have a piano, but you don't want to make it the focal point?  Consider painting the room a bold color....

OR add an oversized mirror or an oversized piece of art....

(BTW, love how this piano is a matte black!)

And, if by chance, you happen to be renovating and want to include your piano in the design, I really like this idea of adding a built-in or molding details to distract your view from the piano, but add a great display of accessories!  

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Traditional

What better way to get inspired for the new year than by a new project designed by Studio McGee? This is (by far) my favorite project they've showcased.  I like to call it the 'new traditional'.  

In a square room like this one, a round table is a smart design choice.  Helps make the room easy to navigate.  

Mixing in modern elements, like this lamp, helps keep the room feeling young and fresh.   Like the lamp, but not the price tag?  

Here is a similar one half the cost.  

The dining room is a show stopper, no?  The Hollyhock wallpaper!  I'm in love.   The mix of the light wood furnishings with the dark wood stained floors helps keep the room feeling fresh and airy.  

Like floor color?  Mix one half Ebony and one half Jacobean from Minwax to achieve a similar wood stain.

Such good flow. 

If you are like me and love everything about the look of this project, don't hesitate to contact me and I'll help you create this look for your home!!  And, if you love the dining room wallpaper, it was meant to be, because we are then soul sisters! ;)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016.  
Merry Christmas to all!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

My Kitchen Command Central

I know everyone's mind is on Thanksgiving, but I'm excited to finally share pictures of my 'little' kitchen command central.  This space has been a life saver and it functions perfectly.

When you enter from the garage, you directly walk into the kitchen (with no mudroom) and you might remember one of the first things I did was to create a mini mudroom by converting a hanging closet into a mini mudroom.  See original post here.

We lived with this for about a year, before I decided I need more function.  I basically needed places to put things - artwork, mail, magazines, etc.  I had to think vertically and use only wall space because there was no floor/desk or counter space to use.  You can see my original inspiration here.

First, I needed a large bulletin board to hang the kid's artwork, etc.

When they come home from school, I open up their backpacks and up goes their artwork.  Here is how I made the bulletin board.  The kids (mostly E) love seeing their artwork hung up.

I hung 3 simple hooks under the bulletin board to hang my purse (instead of plopping it on the floor or on the kitchen counter), her backpack (it's small and light) or the kids jackets, etc.

These three simple hooks have made things so much easier!  In the above picture, you can see the garage door to the right.

When you walk directly into the kitchen from the garage, this is your view!  I used this wall to put all my paper 'stuff' - think all the mail, catalogs, magazines, coupons, forms, flyers.......basically, EVERYTHING!!  Before, I was dumping it all in a basket that sat on the ktichen counter and it was so disorganized.

I bought Martha Stewart's magazine/file storage on sale in canary yellow for half off and spray painted it white.  Since the wall space could accommodate one more thing, I got Martha Stewart's cork board (perfect size) to sit next to the magazine/file storage.  It holds the important numbers, reminders and basically anything that mom wants to put on the board.   This wall works double duty!

Well, there you have it - my two wall kitchen command central!!  I absolutely LOVE it and it makes me so happy to walk into the kitchen and not to see a huge mess.  Now, there is a place for everything!  No excuses!