lighting

Creating a library, sitting room AND music room: multi-function with "Wow!"

Today's families aren't interested in having rooms that get used once a year to eat a turkey. Multi-function rooms are great to have - and I don't mean a guest room that also holds unfinished projects, unused furniture and the laundry before it's put away.  In this post, multi-function means that the room can be used as a library, a sitting room and a music room.  In a guest room scenario, it could mean that the space is also used as a place to practice yoga, do a little creative writing and bunk those lovely weekend guests.  All things you would want to do on a regular basis.  

Sorry it's not all sharp and perfect, but this is a Before picture. It's a beautiful Dining Room that I had a hand in a number of years ago. Now the family in this home needs to use the space differently. And they want some Wow!

Sorry it's not all sharp and perfect, but this is a Before picture. It's a beautiful Dining Room that I had a hand in a number of years ago. Now the family in this home needs to use the space differently. And they want some Wow!

 

Decorating a room so that it's pretty to look at...as you walk by--is just not my style, and I don't think it's your style either.  It sure wasn't the style of this family of five.  They called me with a request to change the way they use their Dining Room and asked that I add some "Wow!" to the end result.  

Here's what we did:

 

This Dining Room was never used - and that's just NOT good. So we made some big changes and now it's a favorite destination for this busy family!

 

Same room.  Now it's a multi-functional room they use every day.  Beloved books, the piano and people are the star attractions here.  It's right off the entry to the home and everyone says "Wow!" when they see it.  Mission accomplished!

 

In an open floor plan, the Foyer really sets the tone for the adjoining rooms.

 

 

Here's the foyer.  Look carefully to see a bit of the draperies way over on the left.  You can tell that it's now a dramatic, but family friendly entrance.  Did I hear you say "Wow!?"

 

Obviously the use of color was important in this transformation.  The homeowners had to have some trust in me.  Their favorite colors are beige and brown so I reassured them that my design concept of adding strong color on custom built-ins and wallpaper (for both walls and ceiling) wasn't going to make it a scary space, but a warm, inviting space that enhanced that multi-functional vibe they were after.  They trusted and here we are.

 

deep-blue-grass-cloth-york.jpg

 

This deep teal grasscloth from York Wallpaper creates a subtle texture in a not-so-subtle color (Wow! is not a subtle word).  Another fab paper is on the ceiling:

 

wallpaper-ceiling-sitting-room-design.jpg

 

Lighting was another important element.  We used classic fixtures that had some sparkle.

 

hudson-valley-lighting-living-room-design.jpg

 

This Hudson Valley adjustable library sconce lets us highlight those fabulous shelves that will soon be filled with books.

 

currey-winkworth-lamp-interior-design-nc.jpg

 

This handsome hunk of a table lamp by Currey & Co. is a wonder.

 

living-room-chandelier.jpg

 

A closer shot of the Robert Abbey pendant in the center of the room.  Those brass details are just enough.

 

blue-builtins-walnut-shelves.jpg

Instead of painting every inch of the custom built-in bookshelves Peacock, I asked the carpenter to stain the shelves walnut to add a little dimension.  He did a great job.  And take a look at the gorgeous Robert Allen Design fabric we used on the new custom drapery panels!  The pattern is embroidered on a linen blend background.

 

music-room-multi-function-raleigh-interior-design.jpg

 

Now the kids are playing the piano...

 

library-multi-function-rooms-interiors.jpg

 

...everyone is reading and Mom has a very nice spot to relax over a bottle of wine when friends come to visit.  Don't worry about Dad--I did another room in the house where the really big kids (men) like to hang out.  I'll show you that one soon!

Ciao,

Anne

 

A kitchen update that shows personal style and looks great!

white-kitchen-counters-before.jpeg

 

A Kitchen update doesn't have to include tearing out cabinets and replacing appliances.  Let's look at this recent project.

Above is the "Before" of Jody's kitchen.  She wanted to make it feel fresh and a little artsy and she didn't want to rip out the wood cabinets nor take down the coppery mosaic tile backsplash.  Jody does want to replace the white formica countertop with butcher block and she would love to see a piece of stone at the end of the counter.  She saw that idea online and thought it was pretty cool.  Her designer (that would be me) was worried that adding a detail to the end of the counter in a small kitchen would stop the eye and make it appear even smaller.  Jody persisted, won me over and we got it done.

 

white-raleigh-kitchen-update.jpg

 

Here's the "After!"  Isn't the Carrera marble at the end of the counter some kind of wonderful?  Jody was right!  It's a cool idea!

We specified White Oak counters with a clear, catalyzed conversion finish.  Signature Custom Woodworking in King, North Carolina made and installed them and they're absolutely gorgeous!  We removed the old formica backsplash, replacing it with very affordable brick tile (64 cents per piece!) and a not-so-affordable copper pencil tile on top to transition nicely with the older mosaic tile.  A very successful transition!

 

kitchen-upgrade-wood-counters-raleigh.jpeg

 

Another photo of the "After." Jody had the painter give the white cabinets a fresh coat after everything was in.  Now this kitchen reflects her personal style which is warm, interesting and fun.

 

undermount_blanco_sink.jpg

 

We wanted to use a farmhouse sink in this project, but they weigh A LOT more than other sinks and would have required adding serious support in the existing base cabinet.  Jody didn't want to lose that much storage space, so we switched gears and chose this fabulous Blanco Granit sink.  It's a great choice.  It doesn't have a shiny white finish like porcelain.  It's faintly speckled.  

 

marble-wood-counter.jpeg

 

We took down the heavy woven woods valance over the kitchen sink and replaced the dated track light with a pretty multi-colored glass pendant that adds some nice sparkle. A new oil rubbed bronze faucet and soap dispenser add more warm tones.  And isn't that sweet pig painting by local artist Ana Peralta an awesome addition to this kitchen?  I'm calling him Wilbur (not very original, but it fits).

 

inset-carrera-marble-white-kitchen-raleigh.jpeg

 

Sean, our super duper handyman did the demolition work on the old counter and sink.  It was his idea to router out the space for the marble piece so it could sit level with the counter.  Genius!  We were all very excited by that idea.

 

kitchen-renovation-color.jpg

 

Wanting to keep the artsy vibe going with splashes of color, we added this sassy little rug by Company C at the sink.  Isn't this kitchen SO pretty now?  Nice update, right?

 

dining_table_lighting_update.jpeg

 

 

The kitchen table is right next to the new counters and in a lovely bay window, overlooking a spectacular back yard (think trees, flowers, fire pit, eating and grilling space).  All we needed to do here was to replace the light fixture.  

 

dining_table_chandelier.jpg

 

The new fixture is by Dailey and blends oil rubbed bronze with mercury glass lamps brilliantly.  Sparkle and texture baby!

 

beams_on_ceiling.jpg

 

THEN, we moved into the next space, adding two wood beams to the ceiling and updating the ceiling fan.  The world is filled with bulky old ceiling fans and I'm making it my personal duty to draw attention to them and replace them with new ones that are more modern and visually lighter!

 

beams_bamboo_blinds.jpg

 

The way these rustic beams from AZ Faux Beams work with Jody's woven wood blinds is simply awesome.  I didn't get a very clear picture of the beams.  Let's try another one:

 

beams_on_ceiling_add_character.jpeg

 

The beams are stained Fall Leaf Brown.  They add so much character to a room and you would never know that they're made out of high density polystyrene!  Sean has installed beams on several projects now and he says they cut like butter.  He always does a fantastic job.  Attention to detail makes all the difference.

 

easy_kitchen_updates.jpg

 

Not every project has a huge budget - this one probably cost less than $10,000, with the biggest chunk going to the wood counters (and worth every penny).  However, every project has a homeowner with a personality and a desire to create a beautiful home that makes walking in the door at the end of the day a pleasure.  Jody didn't want a space like everyone else has.  She wanted to update her kitchen and end up with a space that looks like Jody lives there. 

Now we're moving on to the front of the house to make some changes there.  I'll show you what we do when it's done!

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!  

home_decor_raleigh_home_office

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.

accent-lighting-residential-interior-design-raleigh.JPG

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

Lamps to love

  I was wandering through Target this morning, trying to get through my pre-Easter list--but failing because, as I said, I was wandering through Target...

 

jadite, light fixtures, table lamp, interior design, cottage decor

 

Because I'm a lighting freak, I always have to check out the lamps and shades.  Look at this cutie!  The base looks like jadeite and the shade has a caned overlay on white.  Loved it, want it, don't need it, still thinking 'bout it, where would I put it?

 

mustard, yellow, lamps for kids,  kitchen lamp, foyer light, interior design services Raleigh

 

And look at it in saffron!  It's a deep, saturated yellow.  Target is a great place to keep your eyes peeled for lamps.  Very hit or miss, but when you hit, you hit.

 

Easter eggs

 

Tomorrow my family celebrates Easter - a happy day for sure.  I wish you Peace!

 

Ciao,

Anne