Limited Time Promotion on E-Design Services

online e-design interior design services special pricing offer promo
If you've been considering interior design services, now is the time to take advantage of the special pricing on e-design services!  All packages include a design board, to-scale floor plan, product sources/shopping list, written plan details, and one round of revisions.

Exceptional customer service and attention to detail are my highest priorities; therefore, projects are serviced on a first-come turnaround basis.  Don't wait to schedule and book your e-design package.  E-design service must be booked by October 28, 2016, to take advantage of this special promotional offer.

Click here for more information on design services, or contact me directly via e-mail.


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Dressing Down a China Cabinet

Do you have a piece of furniture that doesn't quite "fit" into a room, but it has to stay?  You're not alone.  This scenario occurred on this project.  The client had a traditional china cabinet that I had to work around while assisting them with their casual family room space.  The cabinet is formal and traditional - two characteristics that the subject space would NOT be.  The client had previously moved it out of their dining room (to make way for a buffet cabinet), and it has since landed in various spots around their family room.

interior decor design styling tips

We had discussed the possibility of them moving it again elsewhere, or even selling it (and buying something like this); but ultimately, neither has happened.  So, since the cabinet stayed, I suggested the following styling tips:

design tips decorating accessories decor interior design


Rather than having seldom or never used formal china and glassware on display, I suggested "dressing down" the cabinet's interior by incorporating less formal items.  Some suggestions included: framed personal photos, books, photo albums, pottery/jars/vases, art, and modern decorative accents (sculptural brass for instance).


one kings lane greenery plant decorative accessories
Potted greenery, whether a real or faux plant, would inject some "life" and dimension.  Including a couple of woven baskets would also "break up" some of the paned glass while infusing some depth and texture.  Baskets are also great for storage and hiding the not-so-pretty.


While you can't change the general traditionalism of the cabinet, swapping out the handles with something more modern would help minimize the traditional character.

The lesson here is to think outside the box when having to work your way around something not ideal within a space.  Consider alternative uses for the piece.  In this project, the china cabinet was used more as a bookcase instead of its intended purpose.  The best part is that the items I recommended for styling the cabinet were things that she already had on-hand.

Some of you may also be wondering if I would suggest painting the wood.  My response to that would be sure, if it wasn't valuable or made of real wood.  In this case, their cabinet was very expensive and I believe made of glass and solid wood.  I didn't want to compromise the possible value of the piece if they did try to sell it later.  I also typically prefer to keep the original integrity of real wood, especially when it's in great condition.

Coastal Transitional Design Project

Hi everyone!  I'm back today to share another design project.  I've been slowly sharing some details of past design projects here on the blog, but you can see more of my work here.

online interior design e-design services


Client:  A couple with two kids who are approaching the "empty nest" years.  They plan to eventually move/downsize from their very spacious (over 4000sf) Mediterranean-style home, so no hefty "improvements" were factored.

Project:  Decorating assistance was requested for their open-concept family room and casual dining nook - the space where they spend nearly all of their collective time together.  New lighting, rug, pillows, and "wall" styling recommendations were requested.  The existing furniture would remain, but the client was open to suggestions.

Goal:  Replace builder-basic lighting and ceiling fan, and create a casual gathering space with coastal touches.  The client wanted this space to contrast with their formal living and dining room, both of which are furnished with very traditional pieces.  Years ago when they initially furnished their home, they thought that they were supposed to buy "grown up" furniture (her words).  The overall design plan was kept transitional to bridge some of the existing traditional pieces with  more contemporary elements.

Budget:  $3-4k


The project space is located at the rear of the home, with direct access to the backyard.  The space has tall ceilings and gets good natural light via windows and a wall of sliding doors.

The family typically enters the home through the back door shown in the above photo rather than the front door.  As you'll see in the mood board (below), I suggested adding a bench near the door to take shoes on/off, as well as a "family command center" for mail, keys, charging phones, etc.

The family room and dining nook connect to the kitchen, comprising a very large great room - perfect for entertaining!


The main recommendation I made for this particular project was to paint the entire room a cooler tone.  Painting the walls (in the white or soft gray family) would provide the biggest impact for little money, while completely changing the look of the entire space - even if nothing else was done.  The "beige-on-beige-on-beige" (walls/floors/furniture) struck me immediately, and paint is a budget-friendly tool to combat it.

Following is the GENERAL design concept for the space:

family room casual dining room online interior design e-design

She was really drawn to blue and turquoise hues, so I recommended it be incorporated mainly through the fabrics (pillows) and accessories.

accessories home decor accents interior styling design

The art and decorative accessories purchased also infused some color into the space.  The design plan was further detailed by function: Lounging Area and Dining Nook.

online interior design living space e-design

mood board online interior design e-design

The following boards were provided to show alternative options for certain items.  Note: I typically use a private Pinterest board to collaborate with clients, but this client does NOT use Pinterest. :)

interior design styling decor accessories

They ultimately installed the bottom left pendant in the dining area, and the round chandelier in the lounging space.

interior design styling decor accessories

I found a similar, less expensive option to the "Lola" bench at Home Goods, which the client ultimately purchased.

interior design styling decor accessories

Client purchased the Safavieh cafe-style chairs, but in the natural wood tone.

The following recommendations were also made in case the client decided it would be worthwhile:  Add crown/window molding or wood ceiling beams for architectural depth.  Consider layering the woven roman shades with drapery panels for softness.  While the kitchen was not in the project scope, I suggested spraying the cabinets a different color (or two-tone) and installing some pendants.

Catch up on other design projects I've shared thus far:

Please feel free to contact me if you're interested in design services.

Life Lately

My plans to work on a DIY project over the weekend got a bit derailed when something unexpected happened - a visit to the emergency room.  My youngest son accidentally face-planted on cement pavement while trying to hurdle something.  Sigh.

He had quite a contusion on his forehead.  The swelling is nearly gone, but it was a very scary sight as you can imagine.  The facial abrasions he suffered will likely cause scarring - and will give him/us a continual reminder of the accident.  Considering it was a head injury, we are extremely grateful that he seems to be doing okay.

Life can certainly throw some curve balls.

On the home front...  Hints of fall have made its way into the house:

fall home interior decorating design autumn touches

I'll try to shoot the house and give you guys a mini fall tour of the recently "zhushed" family room.  I have been itching (for two years!) to buy a new sofa for the room, but other priorities always take precedence - so I re-arrange to achieve a FREE fresh change. :)

Elsewhere around here, I gave up my old workspace to my new middle schooler, and temporarily relocated my "office" to the kitchen island for the time being.  The new home workspace can't get done quickly enough!  Click here to see the plans that are in the works.

Size Matters: Counter vs. Bar Height

Over the summer, a friend swapped out the old bar stools at her kitchen peninsula with new counter-height stools.  She never realized that her family had been sitting on taller-than-necessary stools for years, and was surprised by the difference when she replaced her old bar stools.  So, what is the difference between bar and counter-height stools, you may ask?  I'll tell you.

The difference has to do with seating height relative to surface height.  Surface height is the height of your table/island/peninsula as measured from the floor to the top of the counter surface.  Standard counter height is 36", but can range between 35"-39".  Kitchen counters, islands, and peninsulas are usually 36" in height.  The range in counter (and bar) heights is dependent on the thickness of the countertop and the height of the base.

counter height island cabinets quartz modern farmhouse kitchen interior design
Our kitchen island and perimeter counters are 36" tall, which includes 2" thick solid quartz stone.  The 2" thick stone (the minimum thickness I knew I wanted) was accounted for when our custom cabinets were built.

Bar height is 42", but can range between 41"-43".  Restaurants and actual bars typically have bar height surfaces.  But I've also seen "dual level" peninsulas/islands in the home, where the "prep" surface is counter-height and the "eating" surface is bar height (or vice versa).
Just as you would for a dining table (which is standard table height of 30"), the seating you choose for your specific "bar" needs should be suited to the height of the surface.  Have you ever felt "too high" when sitting at an island?  Perhaps your knees/thighs are skimming the underside of the countertop?!  Stool height matters.

kitchen dining island peninsula counter bar stools general height rules

Side note:  I decided to wait and see everything come together with the kitchen wall before finalizing the purchase of our new counter stools.  I am now undecided between having seat backs (my initial preference for comfort) or go backless!

Sharing with: Home Stories A to Z

Etsy Finds

Etsy is one of my top resources for sourcing unique products for the home.  I especially love that you can support independent small businesses through this online global marketplace.  Take a look at some of the Etsy finds I've spotted lately...

drawn company etsy window treatments

I've always been drawn to this Alpine Blue fabric.  They make great roman shades or drapery panels.  This company, in general, is a good resource for custom-made roman shades or other window treatments, in case you happen to be looking for fabricators.

teal blue orange mid century modern mcm wall decor etsy

I love the colors in this modern wall canvas.  It would make an especially terrific color scheme for a boy's nursery or bedroom (but would work anywhere in the house).

gold silver rimmed agate coasters etsy

This agate coaster set would make a great hostess or housewarming gift.  Great price too!

mud cloth pillow covers etsy

I have spoken about my love for mud cloth textiles in the past.  This seller retails these mud cloth pillow covers, along with other designer fabric pillows, at reasonable prices.

mcm lighting pendant chandelier etsy

The antique copper hardware of this mid-century modern sputnik gives it more unique flair!

*Affiliate links used.

Feature Friday: DIY Outdoor Spaces

I am constantly amazed by all the DIY talent in the blogging community.  Today, I wanted to share two particular outdoor home improvement projects where some serious DIY skills got put to work.

home improvement exterior diy projects

Lisa's latest home improvement project takes her DIY handiness to another level.  She tackled a big-time project and it turned out amazing!  Go check out the fire pit AND gravel patio that she built with her own two hands!!!

exterior home improvement diy projects chris loves julia outdoor deck

Apparently, outdoor fire features were the thing to build this summer.  I loved the fireplace that Chris and Julia installed in their new outdoor deck area.  The whole deck space turned out beautifully, so go check it out!

By this time next year, I'm hoping our backyard has its own outdoor fire feature. :)  Have a great Labor Day weekend!  We will be spending some time here.