A Family Room Goes From Tired To Terrific!

Before - back wall.

Before - back wall.

It was time for an update in this beautiful home in Chapel Hill, NC.  The owners are well-traveled art lovers and wanted their home to provide respite in between trips and be an easy place to entertain in.

Before -  side wall.  

Before -  side wall.  

Let's cut to the chase:  here's what we did to maintain the warmth and coziness, but also give it a terrific update that will last for many happy years!

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The walls were painted in a cooler color, the ceiling got a touch of warmth and we headed to Furnitureland South near High Point, NC, to gather up a few new key pieces (the entertainment center and coffee table).  At the same time, we reupholstered sofas and 2 chairs that were lanquishing in the basement.  New window treatments and other accents finished the room off beautifully.  

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There was a lot of furniture in the basement.  The recliner above is the Mr.'s favorite chair. The Mars and Venus war about recliners wages on, but I embrace them--as long as they're not the huge, pillowy version. We decided to surprise him by using it.  But first we gave it a new upholstery.

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I kept those curvaceous arms, the lovely tufting and nailhead trim. Then polished them all up a soft, neutral fabric with leather contrasting welt.  I'm the self-proclaimed queen of contrast welt and I wear that crown with pride.  

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Before nails go into walls to install new arrangements of shelves or art, I "draw" out new arrangements on the computer, usually giving the client both symmetrical and asymmetrical options (I do love asymmetrical arrangements, but they still have to be balanced).   The arrangement shown above was the winner, but then we laid everything out on the floor and tweaked until it was just right. We also added awesome LED recessed cans to properly light what's being displayed.  You can see the resulting wall next:

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The art wall now has a great mix of favorite, meaningful pieces.  There's a pretty sofa table right behind---the sofa!

Beautiful blue paisley fabric was chosen to replace the dark plaid on this chair and it's matching ottoman.  Fabulous upgrade!

Beautiful blue paisley fabric was chosen to replace the dark plaid on this chair and it's matching ottoman.  Fabulous upgrade!

We usually hide the arm covers under the seat cushions, but somehow they were left on during the photo shoot, which is okay.   My upholstery guy makes the most beautiful fitted arm covers.  They've got contrast welt on them too!  See the nailhead trim at the base of the sofa?  Little custom details are everywhere.    Like the lamp?  That came from Home Goods!  It was a score. 

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I wish I had a good photo of the desk we put in the corner--it's a beauty.  We kept the artwork on that wall--it's all paintings of their former homes.  Karen and I love those cushy animal print pillows so much that we had some made for our own sofas!

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Here's a peek at the Ralph Lauren accent lamp in a blue and white chinoiserie pattern.  Can you make out the titles of the books?  I have fun picking those out from my collection for photo shoots.

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The blue and white color combination was so easy to work with.  We kept the window treatments simple, but not boring (never boring!).  See the little buttons on them?  And the lovely blue welt at the top?  Micropiping on the curvy bottom edges, too.  

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I love meeting the pets of every client and this one was no different.  Sweet Riley was always happy to see me and even agreed to pose for the photographer.  Good dog!

Ciao,

Anne

Color Comes To The Workplace!

Boy oh boy, have we been busy bees here at DeCocco Design!  Remember how I introduced you to Karen, my amazing assistant, back in April (click here for that post)?  She's been hard at work keeping the office humming and organized and her herculean efforts have paid off in spades.  No matter how busy we are, nothing piles up, gets forgotten or falls through the cracks. Life (and business) is just better when you have help!

I'm catching you up on some of the projects we've been working on.  Click here if you missed yesterday's post.  Today we'll visit an office project that is ongoing, but started receiving rave reviews from the employees very early on.  

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Every office in this project has two of these comfy chairs for visitors.  They're designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll.  Lovely lines and upholstered in the nubby, neutral, commercial fabric often found on mid century modern furniture.  

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Nubby, neutral fabric.  Can't get much more neutral than this.  The texture is nice, but I wouldn't want to stare at these chairs across from my desk every day.  The client (Ms. D) told me that it was time for a BIG change.  She loves color and isn't afraid to use it!

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Using a rug as a jumping off point, we found commercial grade fabrics that say "Hello Gorgeous!" to everyone walking by.  That makes them smile.  Smiling employees are nice to have.  Good goal.  So we started with 3 chairs.

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Here I am on delivery day with the newly upholstered chairs.  It was so much fun to see how great they looked--the upholsterer I work with is absolutely the best.  I wanted to sneak them back into the elevator and haul them to my own office!  But there's no sneaking bright orange, magenta and yellow. 

Surely you want to see them close up:

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Then we moved on to other offices.  Everyone had chosen colorful desk accessories from Poppin, so we used those to coordinate the colors for their chairs.

Some of the Poppin colors.  Aren't they great?   Such an awesome change from the typical black stuff (that most of us have--why?  why?!).

Some of the Poppin colors.  Aren't they great?   Such an awesome change from the typical black stuff (that most of us have--why?  why?!).

When we're done, 27 chairs will have been reupholstered.  Let me show you the original again--then I'll show you how fantastic they look now:

The Before.  

The Before.  

Okay!

Okay!

Look at me!

Look at me!

Come on in!

Come on in!

It boggles the mind (well, the Work Order did anyway)!  We've got 6 more coming.  Every office has wonderful natural light, so walking down the hall is a real treat--it's one sassy, happy combination after another.  With smiling employees, which is the real treat.

I'll show you the rest when they come.

Ciao;

Anne

 

Advice from a design pro: Get the right lighting, ditch clutter, be happy!

I haven't posted in such a long time.  It was a whirlwind summer with lots of great projects and family time (the beach was awesome, but remind me to tell you about our visit to Chicago later).  I'm working on getting you caught up with some yummy photos by the end of the week, but for now here's a post that somehow never got published back in May!  

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It's always fun to be featured in print and digital media. The News & Observer here in Raleigh, NC, published this article in May - if you would rather see their page,  Here's the link to the article,   Most of the photos here were taken by the talented Marilyn of Style House Photography.

My design signature: I lean toward clean lines and calm interiors. I urge clients to pare down the “stuff” and focus on small details that build continued interest in the room. Contrast welt on upholstery, interesting lampshades and mixing antiques with new furnishings are always present in my work.

Biggest design mistake you see in homes: Nothing is more important than the right lighting, whether it’s for mood, safety or function, yet it’s often completely overlooked.

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Easy ways to address that mistake in three quick tips:

1. Replace the big incandescent or CFL bulbs in your recessed cans with Cree’s TW Series LED replacement bulbs for recessed cans. They’re sold at Home Depot and cost about $10. 65-watt equivalents are usually bright enough. Cree is a local company and those bulbs are fantastic (and dimmable).

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

2. If you’re lucky enough to have 9-foot ceilings or higher in your kitchen plus an island, hang some pretty pendants over it. This will bring light down closer to the surface where meals are being prepared, homework is being done and conversations are happening. A hanging height rule of thumb is for the bottom of your fixture to be 32 to 36 inches from the surface.

3. Scatter light fixtures around the room. Ceiling lights are for navigation, accent light provides a welcoming glow and task lighting lets you read comfortably in your favorite chair. All three need to be in almost every room.

Best design advice you can give: Enjoy your home. Your goal is not to impress anyone with Instagram-worthy décor. Your goal is to smile every time you walk through the door at the end of the day. Add attractive storage to hold stuff that wants to pile up on the counters, put colorful artwork on those neutral walls and display grandma’s treasured china in an old plate rack you find at the Flea Market, SuzAnna’s Antiques or Market Imports.

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Best advice for window treatments: Big, high windows in many Triangle homes are beautiful, but they also make the room feel kind of cold and exposed. Frame your windows – and their lovely views – with drapery panels. They soften the lines, polish up the room and instantly add a note of luxury.

Go-to trim color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster is my favorite white for beautiful moldings – and use a high gloss finish. Light sneaks in from different sources and the lovely sheen of high gloss paint on your trim is a little bit of magic.

Best decorating bang for the buck: Invest in a couple of hours of time with an experienced interior designer. Designers are happy to do consultations and you will get lots of ideas to implement as time and budget allow. The average hourly rate for local designers seems to run between $100 and $175, and many offer a consultation package (2 hours plus some follow-up resources, for example) in the ballpark of $365. Designers can cover a lot of details in one or two rooms in that amount of time and it can easily save homeowners that much in avoided mistakes.

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

How to buy the right things when shopping: I always ask my clients to come up with three or four words that describe how they want their rooms to look when they’re finished decorating. The words cannot be “warm, comfortable and inviting” – too generic. Dig a little deeper to find words that are more meaningful and personal. We all like so many things that we see in magazines, in the stores and on TV, so those three words can really drive the bus when deciding what to buy. Does the item match up with your three words? If not, put it down. You can admire it without having to buy it. This works for everything from sofas to accessories.

Do you have a current design challenge in your own home? I just bought two gold candle sconces from Vintage Vault in Durham. They’ve got big faceted glass prisms hanging from every possible point. Quite fussy, fun and fabulous. However, my house is rather tailored – not fussy at all. But I promise I will soon find a place to showcase those two sparkly sconces.

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!

Ciao,

Anne