Flashback to a Favorite E-Design Project

Due to the nature of online design services, I usually don't receive any professionally photographed "after" shots of the rooms that I have had the pleasure to work on.  Clients sometimes send me in-progress photos from what they've installed from the design plan, but other than that, there aren't any full-blown reveal photos that capture the before and after room transformations.

In lieu of that, I thought I'd start sharing some projects I work on behind the scenes - with some insight on project scope, budget, and before room shots.


One of my favorite e-design projects to date is one that I ultimately penned "Bohemian Modern California Chic".  It's one of my favorites because I am personally drawn to this design aesthetic and would implement it in my own home!

e-design interior design decorating services

Client:  Family of five who recently located from the east coast to the west coast due to a job transfer.

Project:  The family completed a full interior and exterior renovation of their new west coast home, and requested design assistance for their spacious new living room.  The room has direct sight lines to the dining room, kitchen, and entryway.  New large area rug, additional seating, and decor (throw pillows) were on the priority list.  Client also wanted new furniture, except sofa(s).

Goal:  Previous furnishings and decor were very "east coast" traditional and more formal in look and feel.  Client wanted a more relaxed, family-friendly, semi-modern California vibe with bohemian touches (via accessories).

Budget:  $5,000-$10,000

*Client-provided images*

CAD INTERIORS interior e-design design project

CAD INTERIORS interior e-design project

CAD INTERIORS interior e-design project

CAD INTERIORS interior e-design project

Perspective view of living room looking out towards the dining room and kitchen...

CAD INTERIORS interior e-design project

What a gorgeous home, right?!  These clients have great taste.  You should see the exterior.


For this particular project, I ended up providing the client with two separate living room designs and respective floor plans.  She wanted to reuse one of her two existing sofa options in the space, so I actually designed the room using each option.

California boho chic eclectic transitional e-design decor

California boho chic eclectic transitional e-design decor

*Out of respect to this client who paid for design services, product sources are not shared.*

I thoroughly enjoyed working with this client, and totally wished it was a local project.  The couple has excellent and refined, yet somewhat traditional taste (particularly the husband).  I loved the fact that they were willing to push their design comfort limits and try something different from what they were accustomed to!

In the coming weeks, I will be accepting new projects again.  So if you're interested in design services, without the full-blown cost and commitment of having an onsite interior designer, feel free to e-mail me at cdamasco20@yahoo.com for a quote.

Mixing Different Lighting Styles & Finishes

Similar to mixing metals, you either embrace combining different lighting styles and finishes within a space, or just stick to one.  Neither way is right or wrong, and is a matter of personal preference.

CAD INTERIORS dining room family room renovation makeover interior design decor lighting tips

When I was shopping around for our dining room light fixture, I wanted to find something that differed from, but complimented, the light pendant in the adjacent family room.  I tend to steer away from being "matchy matchy" in interior decor - light fixtures included.

Obviously, the light fixtures do NOT match whatsoever.  Aside from finish, they are not even the same style.  One is brass and mid-century modern, while the other is aged bronze and more transitional.  Yet, despite their distinct differences, I think they pair nicely together. :)

transitional mediterranean spanish lighting fixtures

The general simplicity of each lighting pendant is what makes the combination work.  Both light pendants are "open" and rather streamlined.  Although the aged bronze pendant is "enclosed", it still has the same light and airy feel as the dining room pendant since it is encased in glass.  Both fixtures sport simple lines/shapes - nothing over-the-top ornate, like traditional crystal chandeliers for instance.  Aged bronze and matte brass also tend to work well together since they are complimentary, muted finishes.

crate and barrel ceiling light fixture pendant CAD INTERIORS dining room kitchen renovation makeover interior design decor

I am (still) on the hunt for a set of pendants to go above our kitchen island, which happens to visually connect to the dining room and family room.  That means I have not one, but TWO different lighting styles to consider when coordinating the light fixtures in the kitchen.  Shopping for the "right" kitchen pendants has been a good challenge, especially since my budget isn't big. :)

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Bedding Refresh

There is no shortage of home improvement projects to tackle in our beloved fixer upper, but one of the bigger interior projects still pending is the master bedroom and bathroom renovation.  It will be an extensive undertaking that will require more planning and saving.

Since that project is not in the immediate future, I decided to go ahead and freshen up our bedroom in the interim.  Other than paint and new carpet, the room hasn't gotten any attention since we moved in three years ago.

bed linens white embroidered cotton sheets quilt blanket quilted euro shams tribal pattern lumbar bolster pillow bohemian perfect linens

The focal point of any bedroom is the bed, so it made sense to start with refreshing the bed linens.

summer bedding cotton bed linens quilt blanket euro shams boho bohemian lumbar bolster pillow blue and white perfect linens

The foundation of every well-dressed and comfortable bed starts with GREAT sheets.  So when I came across Perfect Linens, I thought their European-made cotton sheets were worth trying out.

Egyptian cotton pure combed bed sheets bedding embroidery white and blue

We've been using the "Second Skin" Egyptian all-cotton sheets for the past month, and I must say, they are SUPERIOR quality!  The sheets are soft, yet have "structure" to them.

bohemian lumbar bolster pillow quilt blanket perfect linens bedding cotton sheets

In the warmer summer months, I prefer dressing the bed with a quilt instead of a duvet.

bed linens sheets perfect linens neutral

I love the quilted texture of this blanket and pillow sham ensemble against the cotton sheets.

quilted comforter and shams quilt bedding bed linens bohemian boho eclectic

I've been searching for a lumbar bolster for back support when I'm reading in bed.  I luckily stumbled upon one for a great price - $15 for both the insert and cover!   It added a fun pop of blue and teal to the neutral bedding.  The pattern also loosely mimics the diamond pattern of the quilt.

white bedding bed linens all-cotton perfect linens blue and white perfect linens embroidery
This is real life... I don't iron sheets! :)

That being said, all we've been sleeping under lately are the sheets.  What has impressed me is that these sheets don't "cling" to your body whatsoever.  They are super comfortable, and don't make you feel hot, cold, or muggy.  The sheets are made of 400-thread count pure-combed cotton, and seem perfectly suited to use year-round.

white cotton bed linens bedding perfect linens embroidery king-sized

The flat sheet is SO generously oversized.  Look how far it folds down over our king-sized bed!  The proportion of the fitted sheet is extremely deep too.  You won't have a problem stretching it over the mattress.

perfect linens bedding bed linens sheets
white cotton bed linens sheets bedding perfect linens

Both the pillowcases and flat sheet include a color-fast, stitched embroidery design.  We have the "double blue stripe", but it is also available in other patterns.

white cotton sheets bed linens bedding perfect linens

We washed these sheets several times to test how they would hold up, and they look and feel like new each time.  That's because Perfect Linens uses a special natural enzyme treatment process that ensures the sheets will remain permanently soft.  These sheets are truly the "perfect linens"!

You can get your own set of sheets and take advantage of a special 15% DISCOUNT that Perfect Linens is kindly offering my readers.  Follow this link, then use CAD15 at checkout to take 15% off your entire purchase!

double blue stripe embroidery European 100% all-cotton sheets

This post is in collaboration with Perfect Linens, but all opinions expressed are completely my own.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this blog.

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How We Filled Narrow Kitchen Cabinet Space

Once the measurements were finalized for our new kitchen, we knew there would be a narrow gap to fill between the range and lower corner cabinet by the sink.  Rather than having a standard-but-narrow cabinet, it became an opportunity to incorporate a practical storage solution.  What did we do?

CAD INTERIORS kitchen renovation remodel cabinet storage ideas interior design pull out cabinet

We added a pull-out "spice rack" for seasonings and cooking oils - plus a small drawer above for "odds and ends".

kitchen storage solutions ideas built in pull out interior design remodel CAD INTERIORS kitchen renovation

A built-in spice rack that completely pulls out is a neat little thing to have in the kitchen!  I don't think I would have optimally used the space if I had left it as a regular cabinet.  Having the oils and seasonings right next to the cook-top has been convenient and practical.  It is so handy to just reach for what I need as I'm cooking!  I also really like the fact that everything is tucked away and not cluttering the countertop.

In case you missed it, I also talked about the storage solutions that we configured into our kitchen island.

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Kitchen Island Storage Details & Cabinetry Choice

When I designed our kitchen, it was vital that it function and endure for the long haul - which was just as important to me as aesthetics.  Storage was a big part of addressing the functional aspect, and was a high priority in the renovation.  Common with homes built in previous decades, we not only lacked cabinets, but the ones that did exist were squatty in height and shallow in depth not to mention falling apart.

I have received several questions about our kitchen cabinets since the kitchen reveal.  I thought I'd address the specifics here.

transitional modern classic farmhouse kitchen interior design

First off, let me address the type of cabinetry we selected.  After evaluating various options, we determined that custom-fabricated wood cabinets were best FOR US and worth the long-term investment.  Doing so gave us increased flexibility with the cabinet design and storage configuration, which in turn allowed for maximum function.  Our kitchen is a combination of save and splurge elements, and since storage and material durability were top priorities, we allocated a significant amount of the renovation budget to custom wood cabinets.

kitchen cabinetry transitional modern farmhouse classic traditional interior design

All of the cabinet doors are solid maple wood.  The white perimeter cabinets have a simple shaker profile, while a complimentary, more traditional raised profile is on the island cabinetry.  I think the juxtaposition of traditional and modern is interesting, and provides a classic, timeless yet contemporary design.

Another inquiry I often get relates to the island's design/storage.  So, let's take a look at the kitchen island, the "command center" of our kitchen!

transitional classic modern farmhouse kitchen interior design raised panel cabinet doors espresso black brown
The search for island lighting has narrowed, but I'm obviously in no rush...! :)

To start, one of the ways that we gained storage - despite staying within the modest original kitchen footprint - was by installing an island.  It measures 3-1/2 ft wide x 6-3/4 ft long.  It was positioned just over 3-1/2 feet away from the perimeter cabinets to provide ample clearance for passing (or to open the oven, dishwasher, refrigerator).

The old kitchen had a peninsula with upper cabinets, which was obstructive and closed the kitchen in.  The island really opened up the traffic pattern within the kitchen, and the visual flow to the rest of the great room.

open concept layout floor plan great room interior design
The kitchen opens directly to the dining room and family room.

Here is a look at the key storage elements that we incorporated into the island and how it's been working out:
kitchen storage ideas home improvement renovation remodel

Two large, deep drawers hold everyday dishes, while utensils are stored in the top drawer.  This puts everything within easy reach for my kids to set the table!  This has been the most practical use of storage in the island.  Drawers allow us to easily access everything too.  (Note: If you have toddler-aged kids or younger children, you can add safety latches to prevent access to ALL cabinets.  We are passed that stage, but I can definitely relate to it!)

The location of the dishwasher directly across the island makes putting away clean dishes very convenient too...

professional stainless steel appliances home improvement kitchen renovation remodel wide plank wood floors

The trash bins (recycling and waste) also have a place in the island...

home improvement kitchen renovation remodel built-in storage

We originally envisioned the trash bins being placed under the kitchen sink or adjacent to it (but limited space prevented it).  It ended up being for the best.  We have found that having the trash bins in the island has actually been efficient in terms of cleaning up after prepping or eating meals.  It is also out of the way if someone wants to throw away trash while we're using the sink.

I also spec'd the island to accommodate a built-in beverage center.  There is an electrical box inside the cabinet if/when we do install a refrigeration unit.  For now, it houses the microwave and miscellaneous items.  All we would have to do is remove the shelf and door.

home improvement kitchen renovation remodel ideas storage solutions

We kept the other side of the island open for leg room/counter stools...

home improvement trim molding renovation remodel kitchen cabinet ideas interior design

interior kitchen design trim cabinets

So there you have it... all about our kitchen island storage and cabinetry choice!  Hope this provides some inspiration if you happen to be considering a kitchen update or renovation of your own.  Keep in mind... We lived with our old kitchen for two years before embarking on the renovation.  The time allowed us to evaluate how we truly used the space, what worked/what didn't, and what was important (priorities can differ between households) to make our kitchen work for us long-term.  I highly recommend not rushing into a major kitchen renovation if you can help it.  It is a huge investment, so you want to "get it right" as much as possible!

Design Trends: Pineapples & Flamingos

Colorful?  Sure.  Tropical?  Certainly.  Trendy?  Definitely!  Pineapples and flamingos have been popping up everywhere in home decor and fashion.  The cool yellow-green and warm coral-pink hues of these trendy motifs make them spot-on for the spring and summer seasons.  So, here is how I honestly feel about these design trends...

real pineapple apple orchid lei fresh fruit tray edible decoration

When it comes to pineapples, I'd rather have the "real" thing serving double-duty as home decor AND edible food.  We love eating pineapples when they're in season, so you are likely to find the real fruit in our home this time of year.

edible food home decor

While I'd personally incorporate the actual fruit into my own home, I'm also drawn to pineapple-themed decor in a brass finish.

Flamingos?!  Sorry, but these birds just don't speak to me.  I will go out on a controversial limb and say that I am not a flamingo fan.  Maybe I've been marred by all those zoo trips where I've seen, heard, and SMELLED the real thing?!


BUT like many others, I do find their coral-pink hue to be fresh and beautiful - their color probably being the reason for their recent surge in popularity.
CAD DESIGN TIP: If you're thinking about injecting flamingo-themed elements in your home decor, I'd recommend it be done in inexpensive ways and used as an accent.  Flamingos may be more of a fleeting and trite trend.  Try framing a flamingo watercolor or postcard, or even gift wrap, and use it as art decor.  You can also download a printable, or casually draw/paint a flamingo yourself!  Decorative accessory pillows or a seasonal welcome mat are also great ways to bring in some flamingo.

How do you feel about pineapples and flamingos?  Have you incorporated these trends into your home decor?!

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