If you or more likely, your child, have sensory issues (sensitivity to light, sound, touch, etc.) you’ve no doubt done all the research and have a weighted blanket, sensory table, and fidgets galore to prove it. What you may not have considered, however, is how the very basic elements of home design can be modified to create an environment that is both soothing and functional for the entire family.
Now, I’m not suggesting you go out and spend thousands of dollars to modify all aspects of your living space to suit your sensory-challenged family member. If you happen to be planning a remodel, however, or are up for a little weekend DIY, then these suggestions could end up paying dividends in a calmer, more cohesive home.
1. Sight: To some the flick of a switch can set off sensory alarm bells. Going from darkness to full on light may be overwhelming to some, so an easy trick is to install dimmers….everywhere. When I was growing up, we had precisely one dimmer–on the dining room chandelier. Now, in every house I design I specify Lutron Diva dimmers for every switch except small closets and basement storage rooms both for their high-end look, and ease of use.
2. Sound: The kitchen is by far the noisiest room in the house, what with the whir of appliances, clatter of dishes, and constant chatter that comes from being the family hub. A few low-cost solutions are to use placemats to absorb the sounds of dishes and glasses hitting the table, silicone bumpers on the inside of cabinet doors, flateweave area rugs to soften footsteps and muffle voices, felt or plastic glides to quiet screeching chair legs. If you’re remodeling, now is the time to specify an ultra-quiet garbage disposal, dishwasher, and–most importantly–exhaust fan. If you’re not remodeling, break out the manuals for your existing oven and microwave. Most newer models have mute functions so the kitchen is beep-free!
3. Touch: If you’re buying new furniture make sure the sensitive one in your family gets to feel the fabric first and ideally sit on it with bare legs. Though different touch sensations affect people in different ways, in general scratchy fabrics like tweeds, mohair and sticky fabrics like leather or vinyl could cause issues. Fabrics that generally delight the senses like velvet, microfiber, silk, or viscose are probably safe bets.
4. Smell: I’m a huge fan of essential oil diffusers for their ability to unobtrusively permeate a scent throughout a space. I eschew the tacky plug-in (and light-up) variety in favor of elegant glass and metal versions like this one by Diptique. Though pricey, you’re getting a two-for-one: a fabulous smelling home and a beautiful objet d’art!
What tips do you have for creating a sense of calm at home?
The author’s studio.
You may think that as someone who deals with contractors on an almost daily basis, I am immune to the to the kinds of situations that would necessitate a tricky conversation with a contractor. After all, if I hire a contractor for a job, personally, there’s a good chance we’ve already worked together on another project, and there’s an even better chance–if things go well–that we’ll work together in the future.
Yet, this is real life, and sometimes things still go wrong. Recently, I hired a contractor with whom I’d already done a project to do some repairs and paint my studio, a circa 1870’s brick cottage in historic Old Louisville. Promises were made, prices were quoted, and a deposit was made. Soon after that deposit was made, however, the contractor took on a big commercial job and pushed my project to the back burner. When he did get guys out to work at my studio, they were not the same crew I’d seen on the last project, but new, less professional guys who seemed to be taking full advantage of their boss’s distraction. The long and the short of it is, my project took 6 times longer than expected and the final invoice was more than double the quote. And was I happy with the end result? No, no I was not.
But, what to do? I abhor conflict in any form, but especially when I feel taken advantage of. So first things first, I set a meeting to discuss the invoice with him–a full week later. For the next week, I let myself get angry, then I focused in on what the real issues were, and researched some conflict resolution strategies. When we finally met, I used the outline below to calmly come to an equitable resolution, preserving what had been a good professional relationship.
Step 1: Don’t Point the Finger, Ask Questions
I started by saying, “I really want to discuss this invoice with you, but first I want to get your perspective on a few things.” I then went on to ask if the workers had, indeed, been different than those I’d worked with previously (they had). I asked how long they’d been in the contractor’s employ (not long). I asked how he thought they’d been doing (not bad, he had thought). Then I asked him about the commercial job, and he willingly acknowledged that he had let that job take precedence, apologizing for having done so.
Step 2: Acknowledge, but Don’t Necessarily Agree
I acknowledged to the contractor that I understood why he would let a big commercial job come before my job, but let him know that it was a big problem for me in very specific turns (not being able to work, print, having to push back professional meetings, etc.). He was contrite, easily recognizing the bind he had put me in.
Step 3: Brainstorm Ways to Move Forward
As a show of good faith, I wrote him a check for an amount that was larger than I wanted to based on his original quote, but still far less than the final invoice. This let him know I was not trying to get away with not paying–he had completed most of the work adequately enough–and left me some room to figure out the next steps. He suggested he would make an appropriate adjustment to the final invoice and also do some more small jobs for me so that I felt like I got my money’s worth. I, in turn, said I would think about how much that adjustment would be and make a list of things I wanted done.
Though the situation is not fully resolved, I feel like we are moving towards a fair and equitable solution where everyone is compromising, the relationship is preserved, and I can release the unwelcome stress that this situation has brought to my life. A If you follow these steps the next time you find yourself in a similar spot, you’ll be able to work through the anger, the issues, and hopefully get to an outcome you can feel comfortable with. life free of conflict is impossible–especially when renovations are involved!–but with the right tools, any problem can be solved.
Have you had this kind of experience with a contractor? What did you do to handle it? Let us know!
Finding the right house numbers for your home can be tricky. You want them to stand out (“Hello, emergency responders!”) but also blend seamlessly and elegantly with the style of your home.
I live in an historic preservation district filled with grand Victorian houses from the turn of the last century. You would not believe how many modern Neutra-style numbers I see on these homes! I love the Neutra numbers with a passion, but they look woefully out of place on a Victorian facade. If you lived in a modernist glass house, you wouldn’t have numbers full of fanciful curlicues, would you? It would just make no sense at all.
I searched and searched for the house numbers that would compliment my home’s exterior, which is historic and traditional, but not grand. I also wanted the numbers to hint at my own taste, which–like the interior of my home–leans towards modern. During this exhaustive search, I gained a real empathy for my Neutra-numbered neighbors–it turns out that finding non-fussy, non-modern numbers is a tricky business!
I persevered however, and came up with several good choices. Check out the numbers I ended up with as well as a few standouts I spotted along the way.
Which is your favorite?
(Clockwise, from top left):
1. Montauk Black Slate / Home Depot 2. White Subway Tile / Wayfair 3. Walnut Countertops / Lumber Liquidators 4. Carrara Marble / Amazon
When it comes designing a budget-friendly kitchen or bath, there are loads of articles in DIY magazines and on “design” blogs that purport to give you that “Designer Look for Less.” The advice, to paraphrase, is something like this: Take a luxe material and find cheap impersonation of it–no one will be able to tell but you!
Well, folks, I hate to break it to you, but everyone will be able to tell. Sure, with the right lighting and some clever styling, these spaces may photograph well enough to look convincing, but unless you’ve designed your kitchen for the sole purpose of posting it on Pinterest or Instagram, the in-person experience is going to disappoint.
Don’t despair, though! I have the answer. It may seem counter intuitive, but the best way to fake a luxe look is by designing with natural materials. By natural, I just mean real stone, wood, and metals instead of laminate, engineered anything, ceramic, vinyl or particleboard.
But the real things are expensive, right? Well, sometimes, but some natural materials cost about the same as their faux counterparts (or less!) and look about 100% better. Do your research before jumping on the “faux” bandwagon and you may find the real thing is is a real possibility.
If “real” is still simply not in the budget, I implore you to use those less-expensive materials in their simplest forms. If you must have laminate counters, choose a solid color, like black or white. Ceramic tile can look great on floors–as long as it’s not masquerading as stone or wood. And inexpensive subway tile will never go out of style!
Here are a few of my favorite low-cost, natural materials for a luxe look.
Do you have any tips for where to find the real thing for less? Let our readers know in the comments below!
If you’re embarking on a home renovation project for the first time, you may wonder who
exactly you should hire. You’ll need someone to draw the plans, coordinate with the contractor, help select the materials, and order the window treatments. There are so many contractors, architects, designers and decorators to choose from. How do you know who you need and want to work on your project?
Choosing a professional for your home renovation project comes down to a lot of factors like cost, location, and availability. I hope to give you a sense of what each brings to the picture so you can narrow the field.
If you are doing a major remodel (example: relocating walls, plumbing, wiring, or mechanicals) inside of your existing structure, or planning an addition to your home, you definitely need to hire a licensed General Contractor. Some contractors have in-house designers or Architects. If you are the kind of person who has a very specific vision, you may only need to hire a contractor to achieve your goals. If you go this route, you will be the person who is responsible for conveying your intentions to the contractor. You’ll be checking in on the schedule, and possibly providing some fixtures and finishes.
If you are doing a major remodel inside of your existing structure, or planning an addition to your home, you may choose to hire a licensed Architect. The architect draws out plans and works with a contractor to ensure that the plans are completed. Some Architects will help you to select finishes and fixtures, but not all do. Be sure to have a conversation about this with the Architects you are considering if you are expecting this.
If you are doing a minor or major remodel inside of your existing structure or would like to redecorate, you may hire a licensed Interior Designer. An Interior Designer draws up plans then works with a contractor to ensure those plans are carried out. They will help you to select finishes and fixtures, place and track orders, and oversee installation. Interior designers will also help you to choose furnishings, window and wall treatments to decorate your space, if you desire. Note that Interior Designers employ or consult with Architects so that they can do larger, more complex projects. If you are considering hiring an Interior Designer for a home addition, be sure to confirm that a licensed Architect is part of the designer or contractor’s team.
If you are redecorating, you could hire a decorator (not a licensed profession). A decorator will help you to choose furnishings, window and wall treatments to decorate your space. Furthermore, many decorators employ or consult with Interior Designers and Architects so that they can do a larger, more complex home renovation project. In most areas, a decorator alone is not qualified or licensed to do remodels or additions. If you are considering hiring a decorator for a home remodel, be sure to confirm that a licensed design professional will be a part of the decorator’s team.
As an Interior Designer, I’m obviously biased towards my own profession. As you can see, there are very good reasons to hire professional architects and decorators. Just be sure you know who is who on your home renovation team. While it’s a licensed profession in most states, many decorators persist in erroneously calling themselves Interior Designers.
A lack of a Title Act in a state does not remove the differences between a professional who has a degree, a minimum required amount of training under a licensed professional, and has passed a rigorous nationally recognized exam and someone who has only some or none of those things. If you’re not sure if your designer is qualified to perform the work for your project you can look them up on your state’s architectural board website, or the website of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
Who have you hired for home renovation project or design projects? Do you feel like you made the right choice? Let us know in the comments!
I grew up in a small, New England town 150 miles from the nearest big city. We were pretty isolated and it was the 80’s and ’90’s–the overwhelming style was high bangs and lowbrow. There were two florists in town and for every occasion (Valentine’s day, school dance corsages, Easter) they pushed carnations, and they pushed them hard. Usually highlighted by whispy sprigs of baby’s breath and stiff florist’s ferns, these carnations were every color of the rainbow and then some. Blood Red or Pink Carnations? Valentine’s Day of course. Lime green? Must be St. Patrick’s Day! Cobalt Blue? Um…Tuesday? These hideous flowers just would not go away and I, like so many others of my generation, developed a deep and lasting disdain for what I considered to be a paltry, pathetic excuse for a flower.
Cut to a few weeks ago when, while shopping in my local Kroger–of all places!–I spotted a passel of carnations in colors that seemed to be drawn from….nature? Confused, but intrigued, I brought them home and stared at them. Had florists finally figured out how to make these unimportant pom-poms resemble real, live flowers? My early experience with carnations had led me to believe that they all started off as ruffly white puffs and then through some kind of mad-science-floral experiment became the hideous shades I knew so well. This was some twilight zone stuff, so I started googling and was consequently blown away by my findings: Carnations actually come in beautiful, natural colors including the pink carnations I had in my kitchen! And get this–you can buy seeds and plant them in your garden! Mind blown, right?
I think I owe carnations an apology. They’re not bad flowers, they’ve just been badly treated. I can’t hold that against them! So, I’m sorry carnations, please forgive me, and please stop letting people dye you terrible, terrible colors–you deserve better.
What do you think about carnations? Florists filler flowers, or legit blooms? We want to hear what you have to say.
In my backyard there is currently a random concrete slab where the previous owners had placed a dilapidated shed. It’s plopped in the middle of the yard, so the question is: tear it out or do something with it? This got me thinking about a little playhouse for our 4-year old daughter and a quick google search (“Italianate playhouse”) turned up an amazing array of houses that–frankly–make my house look like a dumpy pile of bricks. I’m not sure we could ever afford any of these petite outdoor playhouses turned dream homes, but just like Zillow in miniature, it sure is fun to look!
Which of these is your favorite mini-mansion? Let us know in the comments!
First of all, let’s take several deep, cleansing breaths together. Depending on the severity of the pet stain, you may need to go into another room for fresh air. There! Feeling better?
Now, listen to me: it is going to be OK–I promise! I know you spent thousands of dollars on the cowhide rug that your cat/dog/baby used as litter box/fire hydrant/diaper. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that will change your thinking about these fabulous and fabulously expensive rugs: they’re made from animals. Not just any animals–farm animals.
Now, I didn’t grow up on a farm or anything, but my general impression of cows is that they don’t spend a lot of time grooming or avoiding dirt, grime, and barnyard poop. Chances are, this hide has already seen its fair share of yuck. It’s been cleaned with industrial-strength detergents before arriving fresh and new on your doorstep. So, the next time your precious fur baby leaves you a little present on your cowhide (as my kitty, Oscar, did just this morning) follow these cow cleaning tips and get on with your life.
Cow Cleaning Tips
1. Use paper towels to remove what you can of the liquid or solid waste
2. Squirt a little gentle dish soap onto the offending areas
3. Using a stiff bristled cleaning brush dipped in a bucket of hot water, slowly pull the brush through the hide going in the direction of the hair. (Do this several times, rinsing in very hot water between turns.)
4. When you’re satisfied that the hair is clean, blot with a paper towel again to remove any excess moisture
5. As a final step, use a natural enzyme cleaning spray on the area. The enzymes break down the scent that these little accidents leave. Now your pet won’t get confused and think that the rug is their new bathroom.
See how easy that was? A few more tips: always check for colorfastness on a hidden area before you begin the big clean-up and if you have a patchwork-style hide rug, clean each part of the patch individually.
Hopefully there won’t be a next time, but if there is you’ll be prepared because now you know how to clean pet stains out of cowhide. As for me and Oscar, well, it turns out he has a little tummy upset so I’m guessing this will be part of a series. Look for “how to clean pet stains from sisal, sheepskin, and antique rugs” coming soon…
Do you have a tip on how to clean pet stains out of unusual materials? Let us know in the comments below!
A few years ago, I took a course on Green Design during which several of the designers present began discussing how they no longer put microwaves in their client’s kitchens. Microwaves are the worst, terrible for you and the environment, and nobody even uses them! was their gist. Huh?! This was all news to me!
Sure, I lived through the early ’90’s mania about microwaves slowly killing us with radiation. But besides no longer standing directly in front of a microwave as it nuked my left-overs, I hadn’t really changed my microwaving usage or behavior in the last 20 years. Also, at the time of this Green Design class, I had a 3 year old and the thought of living without a microwave seemed outright ridiculous. What would I do without one? Heat up left-overs on the stove, like some sort of cave woman? I don’t think so!
So when the time came to make the microwave decision in my own kitchen remodel last year, it was an easy “yes.” But the times, they are a changing, and now I find myself designing another new kitchen for myself (more on that later) and I can’t get those nagging microwave thoughts out of my head. With that in mind, I embarked an exhaustive “if not a microwave, then what?” and started my search for microwave alternatives. Here are my findings:
1) A Combination Convection/Microwave oven This is the creme de la creme of microwave alternatives if you really can’t live without a microwave, but are also searching for something better, a combi is able to zap your leftover pizza and then crisp up the crust with ease. You can also use one as a second oven, which is great for avid cooks with small kitchens. Available in both built-in and countertop models, these run about the same cost as a microwave.
2) Warming Drawer Ok, so this won’t heat cold food up, but it will keep hot food warm for up to 4 hours. If you often find yourself reheating an otherwise fresh dinner because someone is working late, or your kids have practice, or all of the above, then a warming drawer could be just the thing you need to keep your home-cooked meals fresh and ready to serve. Pricier than most microwaves, these also need to be built-in to your cabinets, which is an added cost to consider.
3) Combination Convection/Steam Oven Purported to reheat leftovers that taste as good as they did the first time around, these pricey mini-ovens are microwave alternatives that are packed with features. Besides the obvious steam and bake, some models also have slow-cooking, food dehydrating, sterilizing, bread proofing, keep-warm, and sous-vide functions. Though they are expensive and can usually only be built-in, you get quite a lot of bang for your buck.
As for me, after a lot of hemming and some hawing, I’ve decided to go with the Miele Convection/Steam Oven, because I have a real weakness for good-looking, multi-functional products. I know there will be a learning curve, but I’m excited to try something new! Oh, and I’m hiding a cheap counter top microwave in the pantry–don’t tell the green designers!
What is your “can’t live without it” appliance?
Every once in a while I like to unwind by taking a few moments and casually perusing my favorite vintage design websites like 1stDibs, Chairish, and EBTH. Ok, that was a total lie. I spend at least an hour every day obsessively combing through these online treasure troves! Since I’m a designer, in theory you may think I was searching for that special something for a particular client, but I have to admit I’m usually looking through pages of random furnishings and tschochkes with no real end goal in mind. I just love the feeling of being hit by wave after wave of wonderous, random, and oftentimes confusing home decor. If I find something that may work for a client, all the better!
Though I have a degree in Interior Design, and loads of experience, sometimes I feel like the vast majority of my decor knowledge has come from trolling these sites over the last 10 years. It happens like this: I’ll be lazily perusing my fave site, fall in love with something I’ve never seen before, dig a little deeper and then realize there’s an entire world of collectors and enthusiasts who know all about that exact piece of vintage design furniture or designer or what-have-you upon which I have only just laid my eyes. What could be demoralizing (am I the only one in the world who had never heard of this thing?!) is, instead, invigorating because now I know about it too!
With that in mind, I’ve decided to begin a regular round-up of my favorite “who knew this was a thing?” finds. I’d love to hear from you, too. Are you a collector or enthusiast of vintage design pieces? Can you tell me more about a certain designer or furniture style? Let’s learn from each other!
(Clockwise, from left):
Gentleman’s Gray 2062-20, Titanium OC-49, Sea Life 2118-40, Healing Aloe 1562
As a designer, when I walk into a client’s home I have an almost immediate sense of what I want the rooms to look like. No, I don’t have some supernatural skill set, I’m just paying very close attention to the many clues a house can provide.
For example, if I’m being hired to design a kitchen, chances are I’ve passed the entry, living room, and dining room on the way there. In this brief passage from room to room, I’ve soaked up a sense of my new client’s personal taste, the home’s architecture, and sources of natural light. By the time I get to the space I’m being hired to design, I can feel whether it wants to be light and bright, mellow and natural, or dark and moody. Don’t get me wrong–it can still take a lot of work to choose the exact hue for a room, but finding the direction is pretty straight-forward.
When choosing a new paint color in your own home, I encourage you to follow my approach. It may not come as naturally to you, but I’ve broken it down into some easy steps to help you arrive at your perfect palette.
- Take a stroll through the rooms adjoining the one you’re about to paint. What colors are they? How do those colors make you feel? Do you like the colors in these rooms?
- When you get to your destination (the room you’re painting), notice how the existing color makes you feel. For example, does it feel bright and happy, or bright and antiseptic? Dark and cozy, or dark like a pit of despair? See where I’m going with this?
- As you walk around, take a look at your personal belongings. Are you all about those Wegner chairs and macrame wall-hangings? Do you have tons of colorful textiles from your many world travels? Do friends regularly comment on how “pretty” your things are?
By now you should have a sense of your own taste, whether it leans towards the bright and modern, the warm and bohemian, or the refined and elegant. With this in mind, go back to the room you want to paint–do you want to feel invigorated in this room? Go for a brighter shade of white or gray. Do you want to feel cozy and enveloped? A rich, dark shade is for you. Do you want to feel relaxed and serene? Go for a pretty neutral.
Here are my top picks of new paint colors
(all Benjamin Moore):
Bright New Paint Colors
Dark New Paint Colors
Neutral New Paint Colors
Still need help choosing a shade? Visit my Pinterest pages by color for some Pinspiration!
Do you have a favorite room? What color is it? Let us know in the comments!
As both the designer and homeowner of my last project, I made it a point to be on site for every possible second of our home renovation. Still, some things managed to slip past me. For example, the little snafu pictured at left which happened while I was out of town. So, how do you avoid these mistakes, which can be frustrating, inconvenient and costly? I’m sorry to say, that on any project a few hiccups are inevitable. But there are steps you can take to minimize the risk.
Hire a qualified professional (like a certified interior designer!) who will not only design your dream project, but make sure that the finished product actually reflects the design. While no one is superwoman and can be everywhere at at all times (again, see above), a certified and experienced designer will know how to fix the little mistakes that pop up on every job, saving you time, money, and peace of mind.
Master the “pop-in”. Some homeowners are so overwhelmed by the construction process that they stay away until the project is completed. While this might be an excellent way of preserving your sanity, it may open the door to some small things slipping past. Notice the excellent tile job in the bathroom picture above? Me too! I was so focused on how beautiful the grout lines were that it was a few days before I thought to myself, “Hey, wait a minute…” Popping in unexpectedly and asking questions–even if you’re sure they are “stupid”–will keep everyone accountable and on their toes. You’re the homeowner, which means it’s your way, or the highway!
Withhold, withhold, withhold. Hold back 10% of the final payment to your contractor until the punch-list items are complete. This is standard practice, so if your contractor gives you any guff about it, refer him to the last sentence of step 2. Step 3 comes with an important caveat which is: Pay your designer when their job is complete. Unless you’ve hired a design/ build firm, your designer and contractor are two separate people performing two separate functions. Refusing to pay your designer for a contractor’s unsatisfactory work is like refusing to pay your manicurist because you got a bad haircut in the same salon. The end goal may be your overall beautification, but the manicurist is no more responsible for your new shag, than your designer is for the contractor not following the plans.
Remember, the end goal for everyone is a happy homeowner. Designers, contractors, and clients need to work together and stay alert to make that happen. With these tips in mind, a stress-free home renovation is possible!
Did you have a home renovation gaff like mine? Let us know! Everything is funnier in hindsight. 😉
I am thrilled with online art sellers like Minted started offering us art for sale online. By offering prints from artists all over the world art has consequently become much more accessible. But there is something about owning real, hand-painted art that is that much more special. Even better is to own art that is painted locally. It ties you to a place or a region in a way no mass-produced, zillion-pinned, instagrammed, pop print ever could. That is why I was happy to hear about a new site curated by art broker Mollie Creason of Louisville.
Well & Wonder
Offering Local Art For Sale Online
The beautifully designed site is called Well & Wonder and features a range of painting styles and color palettes from which to choose. Well & Wonder aims to bring real art from regional artists to a larger audience by offering local art for sale online. Also, Louisville is now my new hometown, so I’m very excited to have this treat available! I just purchased my first piece–a 16″ x 20″ acrylic and ink on paper. At $125, I definitely feel like I got an amazing piece of art at an amazing price. I encourage you to check out the site and let me know what you think!
Original Source: Insider Louisville
Well, we closed on our new house just over a week ago, so I guess it’s time to start planning. Just kidding! I’ve spent the last 6 weeks measuring, drawing new home plans, drawing more new home plans, measuring, visiting stone-yards, measuring, drawing plans, pricing out 6 different kitchen cabinet lines, drawing plans, and – oh, did I mention measuring?
Where to Start with New Home Plans
First off, let me tell you that the house–like most fixer-uppers–was an absolute steal. However, the fact that it needs all new systems, a new porch roof, major landscaping, exterior painting, new rear siding, etc. means that we’re on a very tight budget both inside and out. That being said, I started this project like I do all projects: by letting my imagination run wild. I draw the house like it could be if I had an unlimited budget. I don’t bother with pesky things like plumbing chases, and HVAC duct work.
Not everybody works this way, so I’m not necessarily recommending this practice. I know some architects and designers find the inevitable return to reality to be much too crushing to proceed with anything but absolute caution. I, however, find that the liberation of the exercise usually leads to some exciting design possibilities that I probably wouldn’t have found if I had reined myself in early on.
After imagining the best scenario for the house, I went back – measuring tape in hand – and looked at the space. I looked at where the plumbing and duct-work ran. Then I looked at the view from each window and noted exactly where the electrical outlets were. I made honest assessments of what could change, and what really couldn’t and then went back and edited my drawings. I did this probably 20 times and the result is a plan that makes sense for my family. The new home plans also make sense for the architecture of the house. It also makes sense for our budget, which, in the end, is probably the most important consideration.
I’ll be unveiling the final plans shortly, so check back soon!
I am excited to announce that my husband and I have just bought our very first house! As you can probably tell from the picture, it is over 100 years old and could use some work. A big home renovation project is not everyone’s idea of a dream come true, but it is certainly mine. In the coming weeks I’ll share everything about my design process with you from my unique perspective of being both the Interior Designer and client. (Spoiler alert–I’m already my favorite client ever!)
Since all of my design experience is in high end residential design with budgets in the six or seven figure range, the challenge for me will be to create the same luxe look on a home renovation budget that contains significantly fewer zeros.
I’ve got lots of ideas already and I’d love to hear some of your tips for me!
Stay tuned for more and check out my Pinterest inspiration boards!
For my first Virtual House Tour I thought I would start at home. To be more precise, my last home. I moved with my family to Louisville, Kentucky from Chicago six months ago. (Stay tuned for an updated virtual house tour of my new place!) Back in 2012, I had my Chicago home featured on Apartment Therapy by my pal and AT contributor, Carolyn Purnell. A few of her pictures are below, but I encourage you to check out her original post on Apartment Therapy.
As a professional interior designer I get to work on projects with a clear “start” and “end” date. In my own home, however, the process is more of an evolution. There is always an aspect of the situational (the sofa I’d like to replace, but can’t afford to just yet) and the aspirational (like the aged brass etageres that don’t really work in my living room but would be fabulous in my imaginary, future home’s entry!). The only room in my home that I have ever designed from start to finish was my daughter’s nursery. Everything else has been the result of the long process of replacing each hand-me-down or IKEA piece with “real” furniture that I have selected and purchased over many years.
This is all to say that while there are some corners of my current and previous homes that I feel 100% satisfied with, there are others that fall short of my desires and expectations. And as we all know, when you live in a place for a long time (as I did in Chicago) eventually even the things that you once loved will seem tired and ready for an update. But that’s half the fun of design, isn’t it? We change and evolve as people and our homes should reflect the different stages of our lives.
With that in mind, please enjoy these photos of my last home–a lakeside condo in Chicago–and look forward to seeing how I utilize all the same pieces in my new rental apartment in Louisville! –Bethany
As a general rule, I do not care for daybeds. The typical daybed design is usually too high and deep to be comfortable as a sofa (their supposed alternate purpose), but are very rarely used as beds. Unless you are well over 6′ tall, when sitting on a daybed you will be left with your legs dangling like Lily Tomlin’s Edith Ann and feeling not only uncomfortable, but also completely ridiculous. If you want a twin bed, then just buy a twin bed!
Like all rules, however, there are exceptions. The following are daybed design options I can actually imagine both sitting on and/or reclining in varying degrees of comfort. The key, of course, to daybed comfort is copious amounts of firm pillows to push you to the fore, or adopting a permanent perch just on the edge. A small table in front of a daybed is ideal. Then you don’t have to lunge off to the side in order to deposit a drink.
Though I will pick a real sofa over a daybed every time, I will grudgingly admit that a daybed can be a useful complement in many rooms.
Check out my top picks below and let me know how you feel about daybeds! -Bethany
1. Tufted Daybed / West Elm 2. Fold-Out Sleeper Daybed / CB2 3. Silhouette Daybed / Land of Nod 4. Barcelona Couch / Design Within Reach 5. New Canaan Daybed / Ballard Designs 6. Lampert Lounger / Jonathan Adler