New Front Door Makes All the Difference

Ever so slowly but surely, I will be recapping the details of the exterior improvements we have been making to our house since the end of 2017.  First up is the new front door, which made a huge difference in our home's curb appeal!

craftsman style black front door exterior home improvements entryway porch board and batten black and white

When we first looked at this house, I knew right away that the original front door had to go.  Its dinged-up condition didn't exactly make a great first impression, and only amplified the fact that, indeed, we were buying a fixer upper.  Well, 4+ years later, we finally replaced the door!

exterior renovation home improvement craftsman style black door transitional

I tried to find a before photo of the door from the exterior view, but could not find one!  Here's an interior photo I dug up to give you an idea of what the original door looked like.

The new door made such a difference both inside and outside!  You can catch an interior glimpse of the new door here.

home improvement black entry door
Craftsman-Style Door (Andersen) / Door Handleset (Emtek) / Sconces / Welcome Mat

Replacing the old door wasn't as straightforward as simply swapping out the actual door.  We needed to expand the opening in order to accommodate the wider frame.  Hence, some real messy construction was required, which included new framing, a new support beam/header, waterproofing, insulation, and all the finish carpentry details.

We also had to demolish an interior closet by the entryway (shown above) to accommodate the new wider opening.  This meant that we also needed to weave in some missing hardwood flooring resulting from the closet demolition (luckily we had some wood leftover), as well as patch up the drywall.  It was a trickle effect when it came to construction, but I would go through the process again to obtain the end result!

Classic Updated Traditional Living Room {Before Photos & Design Plan}

One of my latest e-design projects was a fun one to design!  This client pretty much left the design direction to me, as long as it was "stylish" and on the traditional side.  She did mention that she liked the decor on the television show Suits (I've never seen the show!), so I made sure to do some online research to get a feel for the set design because the reality is I couldn't just design whatever I wanted. 😆

Here are photos of the living room:

CAD Interiors interior design e-design online design decorating

Before I get to the design plan, I thought that I'd mention the following: 1) Although I was given an "open" budget 😁, I provided a reasonably-budgeted plan by mixing high/mid-range products with attainable solutions; 2) The design was not dependent on major construction updates in order to allow the homeowners to readily execute the plan; 3) The client recently relocated due to a job opportunity, so helping them get settled into their new-to-them home was the priority; 4) While the bay window was begging for a built-in bench seat, the piano was relocated to that space since it was the only area where it would fit.


The main goal of the design was to highlight the space's inherent architectural features - which include the fireplace, bay window, and alcove.  I also had to come up with a storage solution for books.

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Note: As a courtesy to this client who paid for design services, product sources are not provided.

CAD Interiors interior design e-design online design decorating space plan furniture layout


The fireplace in the client's living room provided a natural focal point.  In its pre-existing condition, however, it didn't command much positive attention.  So, the solution was to "beef up" the area by applying moldings around the fireplace surround and/or on the entire wall.  Moldings are a great way to add character, depth, and architectural dimension without breaking the bank!

CAD Interiors interior design e-design online design decorating molding architecture trimwork fireplace transitional


Opposite the fireplace wall is an alcove that houses a built-in cabinet.  I wanted to embrace this feature by painting the area in a contrast color.  While the living room would be painted a shade of white, the alcove would be painted a deep shade of gray-blue.  Floating shelves plus some modern cabinet hardware would complete the nook!

CAD Interiors interior design e-design online design decorating built-in nook bar library paint cabinetry transitional


Hints of blue, a color the client is drawn to, adds depth to the otherwise neutral room color scheme.

CAD Interiors interior design e-design online design decorating seating arrangement blue gold brass white cream ivory black marble transitional

Interested in a customized room design?!  Feel free to e-mail me for information on design services.  Nationwide e-design service is available, as well as local full service design/decorating.

Around the Web

home remodel renovation

I am a huge fan of this interior designer.  Loved her project that was featured in Domino Magazine!

interior design home renovation

So proud of my Insta-friend, Pamela, for the amazing work that she did alongside HGTV's Jonathan Scott on Season 6 of Brother vs. Brother!

interior design remodel

Speaking from our own personal experience, I couldn't agree more with this piece of advice about living through a longer-term home renovation.

exterior design inspiration

This Instagram account is filled with drought-tolerant landscaping inspiration, perfect for Southern California or desert dwellers!

Speaking of landscaping, our front yard has been in a waiting pattern over the past couple weeks.  The "weed germination" process was extended to ensure that all the existing plant matter surfaces before the weed killer is sprayed.  In a nutshell, the landscaper was looking for more weeds to grow (and a lot more did sprout in the last couple weeks)!  It's a counter-intuitive process, but weed germination is a necessary step to ensure that the soil is properly treated and prepared to sustain new growth.  The good news is that we are almost at the finish line!

Lastly, because it is 4th of July week, here's a beautiful feature of the home of another one of my favorite designers...

interior design inspiration

Emily also shared some quick and easy tips for hosting a 4th of July party.  Have a safe 4th of July!

Front Yard Landscaping: Introduction & The "Befores"

After years of rocking a dirt patch of a front yard - five years to be exact - we are putting in new landscaping.  F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!!!  The next phase of the #cadinteriorshomerenovation has kicked off, and we are continuing to turn our attention to the exterior of the house.

before landscaping drought tolerant landscape design home improvement remodel renovation curb appeal stone black and white house board and batten black door pavers modern farmhouse ranch style exterior

As a refresher, we spruced up the facade of the house at the end of 2017.  We replaced all the rotted board and batten throughout the exterior, patched any stucco cracks, added new stone, widened the front doorway, installed a new front door, hung new light fixtures, cased all the windows and openings, put in new gutters, and painted the entire house!  On the backside of the house, we also replaced all the old sliding doors and installed new french sliders.  A few years ago, the old crumbling brick walkways were replaced with new pavers.

Here's a current photo of the front exterior pre-landscape:

before landscaping drought tolerant landscape design home improvement remodel renovation curb appeal stone black and white house board and batten black door pavers modern farmhouse ranch style exterior

Now that the exterior "hard" improvements have been addressed, it's finally time to put in the softscape/landscaping.  Our front yard is not big, but it needs major help to amp up the curb appeal.

before landscaping drought tolerant landscape design home improvement remodel renovation curb appeal stone black and white house board and batten black door pavers modern farmhouse ranch style exterior

We hired a local landscape contractor to help us transform it.  Neither my hubby nor I have a clue about landscaping - especially what plants would thrive in our local climate and terrain - so we hired out.  I'm actually having my hubby handle the landscaping because it's just not my thing.  I just want it done and to look pretty. 😉

We had two primary requirements for the landscape design:

  • Must be low-maintenance (we are not gardeners)
  • Must be drought-tolerant (we live in Southern California, which is considered a desert climate)

The crew already tilled the soil and cleared the above-ground weeds.  The old sprinkler system (likely original or near original to the house) was also replaced with a new irrigation system, which is on a timer!  Putting in a new sprinkler system was a significant portion of the cost, but well worth it in the long run.

before landscaping drought tolerant landscape design home improvement remodel renovation curb appeal stone black and white house board and batten black door pavers modern farmhouse ranch style exterior

Over the past week, our yard was on a timer to be watered daily to allow for weed growth.  This process is essential to preparing the soil for new plantings.  It helps ensure that any old plant matter, specifically the crabgrass and weeds/roots below ground, have died off.  We are now at the end of the "weed germination" phase - which lasted about a week from when the soil was tilled.  Up next... physically plotting out the landscape and installing the plants AND trees!

You can follow me on Instagram to see the behind-the-scenes evolution of the front yard transformation.  (Note: I saved the related stories under "Front Makeover")

Design Element I'm Really Into

Hello, hello everyone!  I can't believe it's been months since my last blog post.  Thank you to those of you who regularly check in, and welcome to those of you who happen to be new here. 😊  If you're interested in more current behind-the-scene snippets of what I'm working on, come visit me over on Instagram.  I try to post to my stories fairly regularly.

interior design decorating inspiration bedroom

I have been working on several projects lately where I have proposed wallpaper, which is a design element that I am really into!  Wallpaper has made a huge comeback in interior design over the last few years, and I love it.  It's hard to beat the impact, texture, and dimension it can bring to a space.

My favorite place to apply wallpaper is in the powder bathroom.  It's a great way to add drama and design flair in smaller doses...and your guests are sure to notice!

cole and sons bathroom interior design

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Here's a peek into a powder bathroom project I'm working on - which shows the room before and after the wallpaper installation.  Kindly ignore the cell phone quality...

CAD Interiors design powder bathroom york wallcoverings

See what a difference wallpaper can make?!  I'm so glad the homeowners were willing to go bolder with the wallpaper selection.  It definitely made a huge statement!  This paper is high-quality and really beautiful and textural in person.  We're replacing the canned overhead light with a simple pendant, but other than that and a couple accessories, this bathroom requires nothing else.

How do you feel about wallpaper?  Yay or nay?!

Life Lately {Home Renovation & Design Projects}

Well, hello there!  It's been a long while since I've popped in, so I thought I'd say hello and give you a glimpse of life lately on the home renovation and design front.


Until I get around to "officially" documenting all the details and photos from the latest round of improvements we recently completed 😖, here are some random snaps:

black belgian french style sliding doors center opening

Love our new french sliders!  The view outside this door will soon evolve since the backyard/courtyard patio makeover is what we're tackling next.  That's the wish anyway...💰😉

emtek door hardware andersen shaker profile mid century modern entry door transitional wall lantern sconces pavers board and batten

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caption (Sorry for the grainy photo!)

The new front door and stone work really made a difference to our home's curb appeal.  Painting the entire house and repairing all the board and batten also went a long way towards freshening up the exterior.  Landscaping will bring it all together!


I am in different stages on a couple local residential projects.  Here are some in-progress cell phone shots of what's been happening at one of the projects...

CAD Interiors residential interior design decorating services brick tile

CAD Interiors residential interior design decorating services black paint

CAD Interiors residential interior design decorating services

The space above is actually almost complete.  I snapped this photo right after the accent wall was installed, but haven't taken another photo. :)

These rooms are currently in progress too, and wallpaper is in the spotlight!

CAD Interiors residential interior design decorating services

Another residential project (a remodel) is in between construction completion/early interior design phase.  I'm excited to see it come together!

At this time, I am also currently accepting E-DESIGN (only) clients if you are looking for assistance with your interior projects.  Please e-mail for information.

What's On Tap for 2018 {CAD Interiors Home Renovation}

Wow, 2018 is off to a speedy start...  Hello February!  The last few months were especially hectic around here, having gone through another round of home renovations.  In recent weeks, I was able to regroup and start prioritizing the home improvements for the year ahead.

home improvement renovation remodel sayings

Today, I am sharing home renovation projects we have in mind for 2018.  We are hiring out the work to the professionals, so we need to get creative on how to stretch our modest budget dollars! 😅


For those who have followed this blog, you're probably tired of seeing this on my annual home renovation goals list. 😉 It makes a yearly repeat appearance because we decided we like the dirt (currently mossy) patch that is our front yard!  Umm, no...

home improvement remodel
A peek at the front exterior in progress... with the non-existent landscaping!

We had been putting off the front landscaping until we addressed the exterior facade of the house.  We didn't want to risk having plants get destroyed by construction.  Let me tell you - that was a wise decision.  The contractors took full advantage of our "un-landscaped" front yard and dumped all sorts of construction debris out there...

front exterior demo

With the exterior facade work "done", the yard is now ready for planting.  We're looking to have a more drought-tolerant landscape put in place, which is quite necessary since we live in Southern California.


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image via Pinterest / original source unknown

Several rooms in our house - great room (kitchen/dining/family rooms), living room, master bedroom - wrap around a central courtyard patio that opens up to the backyard.  It's a quaint space that has not been touched since other projects have taken precedence.  However, now that the new french sliders are in, we'd like to spruce up the courtyard and start using it.  We are fortunate to have great year-round weather in Southern California, so we definitely want to extend our living/entertaining space to the exterior.


Our property backs up to a horse and walking trail.  It's private in the sense that there are no homes behind us, but it does lack privacy to the occasional hiker or horseback rider.  If I catch someone looking towards the house, I wave! 😜  That being said, we'd like to plant some tall tree hedges along the wooden fence that sits at our property border.  It should provide a natural privacy barrier between the trail and our property.


Along with planting some hedges, the entire backyard needs an overhaul.  It is essentially a blank slate just waiting to be transformed.  We're hoping to break it up into zones - dining, lounging, games/sports, etc.  I don't know the difference between a landscape designer and landscape architect, but I'm looking to hire someone to help design our backyard (and front yard).  If you're in Southern California (LA/OC) and interested in working together, feel free to send me a private message. 😊


This room is the one I am most anxious to start working on.  A fireplace redo and some millwork should take the room's "bones" to the finish line.  The interior decor and furnishings will come together over time, but it's the "bones" of the room that I want to see come together asap!

home improvement remodel

2017 Home Improvements

Hello and happy 2018!  I hope you all enjoyed some meaningful time with your loved ones during the holiday season.  We hosted our annual family Christmas celebration (an overnight affair!), which was joyously filled with eating, singing, laughter, and games.  My kids especially loved waking up on Christmas morning to a home filled with cousins/family. 😍  Lots of special memories made for sure!

With 2018 in full swing, I'm anxious to buckle down on the next phase of home improvement projects.  We still have a few major renovation projects to tackle at our beloved fixer upper.  But before I share what we'd like to do in 2018, I thought I'd recap what we accomplished last year relative to our home improvement goals (here, here, here, here).

Annual home renovation remodeling summary update


DONE! 😄 We replaced all five sets of sliding doors that surround our courtyard patio.  I have yet to officially "reveal" them on the blog #badblogger, but here's a peek:

home improvement renovation remodeling cad interiors black french doors

Sidenote: The great room part of our home (to the left) is painted white, while the walls in the rest of the house, including the living room (to the right), is painted a gray-ish color.

I also shared a mini tour of our new french sliders on Instagram (See my "French doors" story under my profile @cadinteriors}


The main goals in this room are to replace the sliding door ✅, redo the fireplace facade 😣, and add some architectural character (via millwork) 😣.  With the exception of the new french sliding doors that were installed in the room, the space remains unfinished.  To avoid contractors being on top of each other (timing issue), I decided to delay the carpentry work and fireplace redo to 2018 since we prioritized some other overlapping renovations (see below).  I'm hoping to get the "bones" of the living room done soon.


In a nutshell, we need to come up with a "Plan B" on how to execute this in a way that best maximizes our budget.  The original conceptual plan included adding direct access into the house from the garage by converting the boys' existing shared bedroom into a mudroom (the spaces adjoin).  The boys' bedroom would have been relocated/built as part of our plan to convert and incorporate the shed to the main house.  However, doing this would require major structural work that would pretty much wipe out a significant part of the renovation budget.  Hence, we are re-considering our approach.  Spoiler:  We will likely just convert the shed into a guest house/home office/extra entertaining space.  It will maintain its own separate entrance from the main house.


Although not an official goal for 2017, we spent the last few months of the year getting some much-needed improvements done to the exterior of the house.  For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you've seen snippets of the work that we did!  Stay tuned for future posts where I'll detail the exterior improvements.  In the meantime, here's one of the main changes to the front exterior...

andersen door emtek hardware sidelites ranch home improvement renovation remodeling cad interiors

I'll be back soon to share about our renovations and what we have planned for this year.  Thanks for following our renovation journey!