Designs to Inspire

Great design brings people home. As a residential Interior Designer I think it's important that you love the home you are in, no matter what kind of budget you are on. This site is to help you start thinking about your home in a new way.

Country French meets Asian… March 13, 2011

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This project is continued from my December 30th posting called “Just in…Custom Asian Inspired Dining Table and More.” We just completed this project on Thursday, where we hung all of my clients existing artwork and installed some custom floral arrangements. We had a slight delay with the custom sofa delivery due to a defect with the original fabric, so it was wonderful to see everything finally put together.

With careful editing and thoughtful planning we were able to create a luxurious space using much of my clients existing furnishings, artwork, and accessories. All of the upholstery we used from her previous home was updated with new fabrics, giving new life to each piece and a modern touch, thus allowing us to create a cohesive space within her two room apartment.

In the living room we developed a plan that divides the kitchen from the rest of the space by installing a custom built-in bookshelf. This not only defines the space, but allows my client to showcase her important treasures. The bookcase adds elegance and a more natural divide, so that when sitting in the living room you don’t focus on the kitchen appliances. The only new furnishings added to this space were the Asian inspired dining table with French chairs, metal and glass cocktail table, the camel back sofa, buit-in bookshelf, and window valance; everything else was brought by my client from her former home, which made the transition from the West Coast to Minnesota much more comfortable for her.

In the Master Bedroom, I designed the full-size headboard and upholstered it in a solid green cotton sateen, which we repeated on the bedskirt. I found the duvet cover at Bloomingdales and had my drapery workroom custom fit it to the bed. The soft creme of the duvet makes the transition from the living room to the bedroom flow smoothly. The creme of the soft valance echos the bedcover and balances the space. We chose a soft green for the walls and continued this same color into the master bath. To pop the bed, we used richly colored pillows, a yellow floral from Lee Jofa on the shams and a green/gold/pink trellis fabric for the center pillow is highlighted with a hot pink silk welt. All of the pillow colors are found in the corner chair fabric, which is a beautiful gold brocade mini floral from Schumacher.


Pink and gray babies room… January 24, 2011

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My wonderful clients were blessed with their 3rd baby girl in December. I had the luxury of helping her prep for the baby by designing the two bedrooms for the three girls. We had determined that the oldest, who is 4, would get her own room, so what had previously been her space was now going to be the room for the new baby and their 1-year-old. That meant the bedroom that was previously the babies/1 year olds room would now go to the 4-year-old!

The 4-year-olds new room-  We decided that the current green walls would be a perfect with the pinks and whites we wanted to add to this space.  This saved us a lot of time and the work of repainting the walls! We added new floral striped bedding in deep and light pinks with white and green. In place of a headboard we found two large tufted floor pillows, one in pink and one in green– we thought this would offer more flexibility as she ages as she can throw the pillows on the floor for reading and hanging with friends. We added new lamps with hot pink shades and fun cut-out designs within the shade. We also found a painted green french chest for the nightstand.

For the new babies room- We chose to repaint all the walls and ceiling using gray for the walls and pink for the ceiling. It was a wonderful choice against our white woodwork where one wall is devoted to a pair of french doors which open into the closet. The room gets a lot of light and most of the fabrics and furnishings going into the space were white or pink, so the gray was a great way to bring color into the space on a sophisticated level. The white cribs from IKEA are even paneled with a gray pin-stripe on the footboards. We used a pink and white toile for the crib bedding, valance and then to accent the rocker. My client found a furry pink rug and added her own pink fuzzy pillows on suggestion.

My client is thrilled! I’ve attached some photos below to give you a quick view of these two spaces.


Just in…Custom Asian inspired dining table and more- December 30, 2010

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The week before Christmas we installed a few custom items into my clients home. She was very pleased with the details of the completed pieces and is looking forward to receiving the rest of her furnishings the first part of this year. A touch of Asian, a touch of French, take a look at the first photos of the custom-built dining table. This Asian inspired table was designed to feel light in the space so we used a glass top and had the base post painted white to match the enameled woodwork in the home. The top was designed with the visually impaired in mind, therefore we needed to have the wooden edge around the glass. The Asian fretwork not only adds design interest to the piece but helps to support the top and hold it to the pedestal base. A very structurally sound and visually pleasing design.

Next we installed some custom window valances and bedding.

-In the living room we designed a flat valance with gathered ends which taper down to soften the window edges and add interest. This design was chosen so we could show off the Asian print fabric used. We finished the bottom edge with a solid banding of fabric similar to the wall color we selected. Two 20″ square pillows in the same fabric will be used on the new camel back sofa not yet installed. We repeated this fabric again on the front of a French chair that is being reupholstered.

-The bedroom valance has a softer feel to the design where we used a solid cream fabric to coordinate with the cream duvet cover. We finished the bottom edge with a decorative tape that pulls in the greens, golds, and pink colors used in the pillows and upholstery. I love the way the fabric swags, very feminine and perfect for a small bedroom window. The walls were painted a soft green found in the floral pillows, which will contrast wonderfully against the dark green headboard we are having made locally by my Upholsterer. The headboard is being upholstered in the same solid green fabric as the bedskirt. The golds in the floral shams will be reflected in the bedroom chair that will tuck in under the window. It’s important to have your colors balance throughout the room. A dark green pillow that has a gold and pink trellis pattern sits in front of the shams and pops with the hot-pink cording. This pillow helps pull the dark greens being used on the skirt and headboard to the center of the room.


Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful… December 9, 2010

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But inside things are delightful!

It’s that time of year where I decide to tackle home improvement projects of my own. Yes, 2 years ago we added a plate rack above my kitchen sink along with a wood valance above my window and patio door spanning the width of my entire house. Last year we added a built-in “bookshelf” which holds a flat panel TV and replaced a tired iron banister that overlooked our split entry. Also, stripped wallpaper and painted the powder room. (Amazing how quickly things get done when you are expecting a baby!) This year I am having the basement wallpaper stripped, then painted, along with some new lighting to brighten up the place a bit. The big office re-do! And I do this along with the tree trimming, the treat making, the baking, and gift gathering. It’s a great way to complete the year and begin new I guess! Out with the old in with the new! Plus a wonderful gift my husband and I can share–no wrapping paper needed!

What are your interior projects? Do you have a New Years wish to get one started? Whatever the project, big or small, may you be blessed with those who can help you through it all! Many blessings to you this season…


Just in…Custom drapery panels and tiled backsplash- November 16, 2010

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These custom drapery panels were installed at my clients home yesterday and finish off her kitchen dinette space. My workroom was kind enough to send the photos as I wasn’t able to be there. I’ll be sure to post more photos of this space once I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the new changes in person. You can find some before photos of this project on my blog post Custom Furnishings Installed, Sept 20, 2010. On Friday we finished installing the tile backsplash in their kitchen. I’ve included images from my contractor during this install as well.

Changes we made to the kitchen include: -Adding a mosaic tile backsplash with colored-glass tile accents. -Adding under cabinet lighting. -Painting out the center island to coordinate with the new tiled backsplash and new drapery panels. -Painting the refrigerator wall Pratt & Lambert’s Manchester Red to pull in the colors from the floral drapery and family room furnishings. – Painting the existing kitchen dining chairs black to coordinate with the black granite countertops and painting the dining table base Manchester Red. -Replacing the patio door vertical blinds with a decorative stationary contemporary floral drapery panel on a double rod with full closing sheer panel. These are hung on a back metal rod to work with the black accents throughout the kitchen. The sheer panel tucks behind the floral panel when fully open.


Staying home… October 30, 2010

Staying home means more today then it did years prior. We not only are spending more time at home, but are thinking of staying in our current homes for the long-term. With that in mind, more and more of my clients are updating important rooms in their homes. Kitchen and bath renovations are helping clients feel more comfortable in their current space as this is where the majority of our everyday happens. Wouldn’t getting ready for work and school be much easier if you had a better functioning bath? Night-time meals could be simpler if your kitchen work area functioned for your style of cooking.

We are not always doing major renovations in these important spaces. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing out fixtures: In a bath–it may be a mirror, light fixture or vanity top that needs some updating. In the kitchen–It could be changing out old appliances, adding a backsplash, or updating that boring center island. So, don’t be afraid to make a change. Interior Designers are great at helping you discover where to best put your money so that even the tightest budgets can make improvements.

Check out these island updates recently completed by my contractor. While both are similar in color and design, it’s interesting to see how one clients existing kitchen is complemented by the new furnishing–more modern approach. The others kitchen takes on  a total facelift with the new island furnishing and the perimeter of the existing kitchen having been painted out– an old world approach. 

Special details to add to these spaces:  -lighting in toe-kicks, crown mouldings, and under cabinets -contrast countertops from the perimeter of the room with the island counter -add decorative features to an island or cabinet such as corbels, step moulding, roping or bead mouldings to give the piece personality not present in the rest of the room which will make the piece more special decorative hardware is a great way to change the feeling of cabinetry -changing or adding tile to a backsplash that pulls in the colors from the countertop and/or island -eat-in kitchens are great for families on the go–I’m currently working with a client on taking out her small island and dining table and creating one large eat-in island which she’ll entertain on.


Custom furnishings installed… September 20, 2010

One of the joys of designing is you get to see your vision come to life. I’ve been working with my clients on their family room re-design since October of last year. Seeing the room evolve to what it is today has been a wonderful process. One of the original design elements and the color inspiration for the room is the beautiful hand-knotted wool rug they picked up while living in Belgium. Together we have created a space that is very inviting with its rich warm colors and various wood tones. I thought it would be fun to post some photos of this project as we just installed some custom wood furnishings that I designed and had made locally by my wonderful woodworking team from Southern, MN. This project is still in progress–we have lamps on order and accessorizing and art hunting to tackle, tile and painting to be done in the kitchen along with draperies to be ordered and hung, but it will give you a good since of the ever evolving room.

Below are some before photos, and various shots along the way. Stay tuned as I’ll be adding more photos once the project has been completed with lamps, artwork, and proper accessories. Enjoy!

The design…

The floor plan of this family room stayed similar to the original plan with a few new elements. Instead of a loveseat under the window we put a chaise. Across from the fireplace we placed the sofa and to the left of the sofa a comfortable yet smaller proportioned chair. We used the existing rug as our color guide, pulling out the eggplant in our sofa and chaise fabric, and the reds, taupe, and eggplant in our chair/ottoman fabric and pillow accents. The camel colored leather chair was reused and placed on the left side of the fireplace where the TV once sat. To help blend this in with our new furnishings we added a kidney pillow and ottoman that match the new chair. The new placement for the TV is along the short kitchen wall where it now hangs by an articulating arm over the custom TV Console. All of the TV components and speakers were thought of when building this cabinet. A cord management system was designed so that cords are out of sight yet accessible when needed. The window valances were removed as they shortened the room by drawing your eye down–not ideal when you have high vaulted ceilings and low windows. We left the wood blinds on for function and a more architectural approach.