Apartment Makeover: Living & Dining Areas

Well, after sharing my 100th post a little over 2 months ago, I guess it’s time to wipe the dust off my computer keyboard. I’ll just say it was my summer vacation from blogging. Today my oldest child began 1st grade at a new school. Man, how time flies! Since the school year has officially started, what better way is there to come back from a 2 month hiatus than with a new and exciting (for me and hopefully you, too) post? Over the summer, I was blessed with an opportunity to work on an apartment makeover, my 1st client of my very own…ever (outside of lending design assistance/advice to family and friends). The apartment is a little over 1000 square feet. Here’s the floor plan:


And here’s the floor plan with a simple furniture layout.

This makeover will be done is phases; the 1st spaces my client wanted done were the Living and Dining areas. My client moved to Charleston from another state and decided to start fresh and sold  much of her old furniture, art, accessories, etc. prior to the move. As far as design preferences go, she wanted a “comfy cozy” space that wasn’t super modern with earth tones and some red accent pieces. She also wanted a gray sofa similar to this one.  Here are the before pictures I took when I went to go measure the spaces and see what pieces she already had that could be incorporated into the design.

Drawing inspiration from the accessories my client already had and her desire for earth tones and a “World Market” feel, I decided to do a color scheme of gray, red, and yellow with a modern global feel. The black cocktail ottoman was the only furniture piece I used from what she already had. Here are some of the things I found at local stores like At Home (Garden Ridge), Ross, and T.J. Maxx.

Some items were returned/exchanged for others that were more affordable or that better complemented the design. And now cue the drum roll, please…

Here are the newly designed Living and Dining areas!


I absolutely love how everything turned out, and so does my client! Most of all I feel blessed to do what I love doing most, what I feel I’m called to do. The greatest satisfaction any designer can have is witnessing the powerful transformation from before to after and knowing that you made someone smile in the process. My greatest joy is being able to create a great space that a normal, everyday working person can actually afford. I know what it’s like to have champagne wishes and caviar dreams, but your wallet not reflect that. Especially living on one income, I know the importance of shopping smart to achieve a desired look. If you need help in achieving your design goals, I would love to help! I like to think of myself as a designer for everyday people. I offer online consulting as well as personal shopping and installation. (I can even work with you one room at a time.) Please feel free to contact me about design assistance; I would love to hear from you!



Extra $10 Off Home Décor

Until Sunday, June 8, you can use coupon code HELLOJUNE to save an extra $10 on Home Décor products made by Shutterfly. Canvas and metal prints are already marked down by 20%. They have a great selection of personalized items for the home including prints, pillows, wall art, quilts/blankets, table runners, decals, plates/cups, etc. I love my custom photo pillow that’s in my foyer. Take a look at some of their products! You may find something that can add a personal touch to one of your spaces, and Father’s Day is quickly approaching if you’re looking for a gift idea.



If you shop at IKEA, then it’s beneficial to join IKEA FAMILY. It’s free to join and you’ll receive discounts on products and be able to take advantage of other member benefits. You can join here. Right now, there are discounts valid from June 4- July 1 on a few products throughout the store including these.


Louis Ghost Chair: Spot the NOT!

There’s nothing to be frightened over when it comes to this knock off. I’m talking about the iconic Louis Ghost Chair created by Philippe Starck for Kartell. It’s a reinvention of the classic Louis XVI armchair made into a single form of translucent injection-molded polycarbonate. It’s an ingenious mix of history meeting modern style. This chair has been seen everywhere since about 2002.


You can buy a real version from Design Within Reach in the classic crystal color for $450. I absolutely love this chair, but I can just about do a whole room for $450!

Now for the knock off, found in an unexpected place. Staples sells the Flash Furniture Ghost Chair with Arms in the same transparent crystal for $96.69. You can also get free shipping and 5% back if you’re a Staples Rewards Member or free shipping to a local Staples store.  Not bad, Staples! This chair can be used indoor and outdoor like the original version, too. The look and dimensions of this chair are pretty comparable (36 1/2”H x 21 1/8”W x 23”D). Here are the dimensions of the original:

At Home

I posted about this previously here, but many of the Garden Ridge stores have made the transition to At Home. The location in Kennesaw, GA is complete. The At Home stores will offer the same home décor products but now a much bigger selection. Their pieces are unique, stylish, and very affordable. Before, the name “Garden Ridge” may have thrown off potential shoppers, but now there’s no excuse to not check out the re-branded stores. I rely on them for inexpensive art, furniture, art, accessories, and pillows. If you’ve never been, sign up for a 10% off coupon and go check it out!


Curb Appeal for Less

In the June 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, there’s an article featuring tips on how to do a quick curb appeal makeover. I love all the tips, but I’m wondering if this look can be achieved for less than the items they’re suggesting.


You can take the curb appeal quiz here.

  • Sherwin Williams does offer great paint choices, but instead of paying full price, you can use a coupon like this one found here.
  • Always check the clearance plant section at Lowe’s and Home Depot before paying full price on plants.
  • Garden Ridge and Big Lots are good sources for inexpensive plant pots


This light from Lowe’s  for $97.90 is a decent knock-off for the one from Shades of Light.

Kohl’s sells this trellis coir doormat on sale for $19.79, which saves almost $10 compared to the Kendra Trellis Doormat by Pottery Barn.

Kohl’s also sells this chevron one that costs $19.79.

Paint Inspiration for the Week

This is a little late, but Sherwin Williams declared the week of April 7-April 13 as National Painting Week. Although this week has passed; the color inspiration, project ideas and tips can be used any week of the year.


Sunday: Luxurious Gray

Monday: Bask in Blues

Tuesday: Go for Green

Wednesday: Red Hot

Thursday: Passionately Pink

Friday: Vibrant Violet

Saturday: Hello Yellow

What’s your favorite paint day of the week? Looking to buy some paint on sale? Sherwin Williams is having a 30% off sale now through June 16 with this coupon!

A Designed Laundry Room

Laundry rooms are often forgotten in a normal person’s home (model homes always make them look so nice with staging). Whether it’s a small closet behind louver doors or a large space/mudroom, there can still be an element of design incorporated. Here are some laundry rooms featured on Ballard Designs website that are creative, inspiring and practical.


Just adding a little art and accessories like glass jars with items you probably already use (powder detergent, clothes pins, fabric softener sheets) can make the laundry room feel like a nice place to be. I absolutely love the iron safety pins!

Nice woven baskets can replace the typical plastic laundry basket. A beadboard drying rack mounted to the wall saves floor space and serves as art, too.

If your laundry room is large enough, you can add a small table and chair to serve as a folding area.

If your laundry room is lacking storage, you can add a small furniture piece with baskets and/or wall ledges.

A nice bench can turn an average laundry room into a mudroom and provide a place to take off shoes.

Elle Decor’s 2014 Design Trends

Although the year is about half-way over, it’s never too late to share some emerging design trends. Here are a few that Elle Decor deems important for defining 2014.


1. Bejeweled Kitchens

Cabinetry painted in rich gemstone colors with brass or chrome accents and surfaces that mimic semi-precious stones.

Cameron Diaz's Manhattan Apartment Kitchen designed by Kelly Wearstler

Cameron Diaz’s Manhattan Apartment Kitchen designed by Kelly Wearstler


Brown Agate Surface by Caesarstone

Brown Agate Surface by Caesarstone


2. Honey-Tone Woods

Walnut, oak, and cherry finishes rather than dark, which are used more often.


Collection Desk by Ralph Lauren Home

Collection Desk by Ralph Lauren Home


3. Turquoise

Popular at High Point, rich turquoise is being used in upholstery, wall coverings, and on furniture.



Photo taken by Simon Upton

Photo taken by Simon Upton


4. Hair on Hide

Instead of just using hide rugs; sofas, chairs, tables, and consoles are now adorned in fur.

Lee Industries chairs in short and long fur

Lee Industries chairs in short and long fur


5. The End of the Distinction Between Indoor and Out

Companies are making outdoor furniture and outdoor fabrics more stylish, so now your outdoor space can look just as great as the ones inside.


Dansk dinning stacking chair, designed by Philip Behrens for Gloster

Dansk dinning stacking chair, designed by Philip Behrens for Gloster


What do you think about these trends? Have you used any in your own home?

American Dream Builders Winner

Congrats to Lukas Machnik, winner of the 1st season of American Dream Builders on NBC! Born in Krakow, Poland, he is a rising design star based in Chicago. His work has been featured in publications including Elle Decor, AD France, Chicago Home & Garden and the Chicago Tribune. On the show, he is known for his signature minimalist style. Take a look at his Beach House that earned him the title of winner.