Blog / Design Ideas

Not Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper

Trends come and go, and if you wait long enough, they often come back around.  As the baby-boom generation begins to retire, and generation X takes the lead, the fads of ’90s home design were bound to come back in vogue, the same way bell bottom jeans made a reappearance in the early 2000’s.

While some 1990 trends like inflatable furniture, stenciled ivy wall designs, and floral sofas, should stay where we left them, other trends like white kitchens and minimalist design were a welcome revisit.

One of the biggest trends we’ve noticed making a come back in the interior design industry is wallpaper.  Now before you start visualizing the cabbage rose paper your mother hung in 1992, let me introduce you to the modern trends in wallpaper that we are loving.

Grasscloth Wallpaper

What is grasscloth wallpaper? It is usually made from natural materials such as hemp, reed, arrowroot or jute and then backed with rice paper.  No two strands of grass are the exact same color, therefore, it is impossible to match one piece of grasscloth to another which is what contributes to the look and beauty of this paper.

Because of the natural material, grasscloth is a less durable wallpaper. It is very absorbent, which means that simply wiping it down with a wet sponge can ruin it.  Because it is fragile and doesn’t hold up well to moisture, we don’t typically advise that it is put in a kitchen or bathroom unless your bathroom is very well ventilated.

Metallic Wallpaper

​Gold and silver metallic papers catch the light and add a little bling to a space. We love that the reflection will not only make your room feel brighter, but also larger.

There are papers where the entire pattern it metallic, and others where the shine is simply an accents.  The feel you want in your space will determine how much metallic finish you want to introduce.

Faux Textures

Wallpaper is a great place to add texture to a space, especially with beautiful options in linen, silk or raffia.  However, in recent trends embossed patterns and faux textures have made an appearance. With print such as faux exposed brick, you can create interest in a space without starting a huge renovation.

Bold Geometrics

Talk about making a statement! For impact try bold patterns in small spaces such as foyers and bathrooms. Or for a more chic look use colors of a single hue to create sophistication in areas such as bedrooms. We love a bold geometric pattern in a powder room.  It is a small space that can really pack a punch.

Not ready to jump on board with a whole room of bold paper? Feature walls make a statement with a bold pattern but not too much of it. It highlights a wall that you want to be a focal point in your room.

Neutral Patterns

A tone on tone paper can provide interest with pattern like this pretty paisley paper with just a touch a blue.  Many paper manufactures are also fabric houses and carry the same patterns for wallpaper and fabric.  While we don’t always like the “matchy-matchy” look, we like how the continuation of the wallpaper print into these drapery panels makes a small wall feel larger rather than cut up.

Ready to put wallpaper in your home?  We’d love to help.  Give us a call today to book your in-home design consultation.

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Glamorous Bedroom Design

Purple and Gold Master BedroomA glamorous bedroom design starts with bold colors and finishes with metallic details.  Deep purple walls ground this space providing contrast to the soft cream carpeting.  

Before and After Master Bedroom

The skinny windows behind the bed did not scream “glamorous,” which is why we employed an optical illusion. We trick the eye by hanging drapery wider than the window, and only covering the window frame to create the illusion that the windows are large and fill the wall.

The showstopper in this room is the gold leaf flower wall art.  A photo doesn’t do this piece justice – gold foiled sculpture mounted on lined boards and placed in acrylic shadow boxes.  Yes please!  Plus the plush and comfy swivel chairs provide a place to sit and enjoy this one of a kind piece.

Gold Leaf Flower Design

No detail was overlooked  in this space.  Using French natural nailheads, a Greek Key pattern adorns the side of the upholstered headboard. We like to think of nailhead as the jewelry of a room.

Greek Key headboard detail

That Greek Key pattern is mimicked in the benches at the foot of the bed.  The gold base of the benches add to the glamorous bedroom design. These benches serve as a functional foot-board where you can sit to put on shoes or your favorite pup can curl up on at night.

Purple and Gold Master Bedroom design

A lighted nightstand highlights the gold decor pieces, and a beautiful gold bedside lamp amps up the glamour. Short drapery rods allowed us to dress the windows without distracting from the upholstered headboard with a rod that spanned the length of the room.

Lighted Nighstand with Gold Accents

Rich fabrics used for the duvet and pillows bring the glamour home.  Gold and grey play beautifully off the deep purple walls.

Pillows

Would you like to call a room like this home?  Call us today to book a consultation and we will help you bring glamour into your bedroom!

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Master Bedroom Design – Creating Your Oasis

Master Bedroom Design Oasis

Creating Your Oasis

After a long day, every couple needs a place to retreat from the world and recharge.  A well designed master bedroom gives you that escape. See how we took this master bedroom design and turned it into a retreat for this client.

Whether your room is expansive, like the one we are showing here, or only has room for a bed and a two night stands, you can make it your oasis.

Master Bedroom Design - King Bed in front of window with wooden headboard

Master Bedroom Design

To begin, let’s talk about the bed.  Your bedding doesn’t need to be overdone to be beautiful.  Less is more when it comes to pillows in a master bedroom design.  This neutral palette is soothing which adds to our relaxing oasis vibe.

Because this room was long and narrow, we chose to place the bed in front of a window.  To do this effectively, it was important that our headboard had holes in it to allow light to still enter while defining the bed separate from the windows.

Master Bedroom Design - pop of purple lamp on nightstand

Pop that Purple and Gold

For the most part, we focused on neutral colors for this master bedroom design.  We like the adaptability of a neutral palette; you can add a pop of color, and change that pop over time as trends change.

We added a pop of purple and gold in this space – and only in a few key places.

Master Bedroom Design - Sitting area featuring sofa, and swivel chairs

Sitting Area Retreat

This master bedroom’s expansive size allowed us to also introduce a small sitting area.

The tailored sofa and swivel chairs provide a place to unwind at the end of the day with a good book, conversation, or a movie.

Notice the continuation of our pops of gold on the cocktail table and in the lamp tables.

The only thing we’re missing is a piece of art to go over the sofa.  Often client’s choose to search for their own art, or hang family photos after our projects are complete.

 Master Bedroom Design - TV consoleTelevision Console and Dresser

Because this sitting area is in a bedroom, and not the living room, our TV console serves dual purpose.  It is both a dresser and a TV console.  The drawers provide a place to store clothes, but its height allow us to place a TV on it for easy viewing.

Notice the reintroduction of purple and gold tying our pop throughout the space.  

Are you looking to create your own master bedroom retreat.  We would love to help.  Call us today to schedule and in-home consultation.

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Fireplace Design Ideas

A living room just doesn’t feel complete without a fireplace.  It is a focal point in the room that we often center the furniture around. The variety of fireplace design ideas is endless. They can be modern surrounding a gas fireplace insert, they can be traditional complete with red brick and a wooden mantle, and they can be everything in between.

We love refacing a fireplace to alter the look of a room or using the existing fireplace as inspiration for the space.  We’ve complied pictures of a few of the fireplace design ideas we have worked with over the years with different styles and purposes.

fireplace design ideasThis fireplace became a focal wall. with stacked stone and built in benches.  We love the way the pillows and upholstered bench soften the stone and break up the wall a bit.  Its a different take on built-ins flanking either side of a fireplace.  There is no hearth for this fireplace which is a more modern look.

003Look how much more traditional the same stone can look with a different design.  The red tile hearth gives that traditional feel while the stacked stone bring modern elements.  This is a working wood fireplace which is always more traditional than a gas insert. There is room for art above the firebox, but the stone is so pretty that it doesn’t necessarily need the embellishments.

No mantle FireplaceA fireplace does not need to have stone.  This traditional wood fireplace is trimmed quite simply with wood molding.  Because this client very rarely lights a fire, this fireplace is mostly decorative. We chose to put two upholstered swivel chairs in front because they can rotate to face into the room or to move toward the fire depending on how the room is being used at that time.

005_scheffdesigns-8-2015This traditional fireplace and mantle features a slate stone update.  We pulled our color palette for the room right out of the slate.  The slate was used for the hearth and the fireplace surround providing continuity.  The white pillars and mantle finish the look providing nice contrast to the walls.

jester-weldon-living-room-2A grand space requires a grande fireplace.  This traditional living room is the perfect place for conversation for two by a cozy fire.  The sconces and mirror above the mantle dress up the wall and make the space feel finished.

img_3128 Who doesn’t love a limestone fireplace?  This white stone off the dark walls really makes a statement.  It doesn’t require much for decor around it because the stone is so beautiful on its own. We mimicked the curve in the firebox with the limestone ledge softening the cold stone.

img_1744This fireplace features a dark stone contrasting off a light color wall. Its certainly not our best quality photo, so the poor lighting hides the dimension in the stone,but we love the clean look of dark granite with a pop of gold around the firebox.

080_scheffdesigns-8-5-2014This fireplace and built-ins were existing when we entered this space, but the television was on another wall creating the problem of two focal points in a room.  By moving the TV over the fireplace, we create a single focal point allowing the furniture to work around it.

083_scheffdesigns-2-2016

This traditional fireplace existed in this home for many years, and it needed a bit of a facelift.  Adding the gold sconces above it adds to the traditional look but dresses up the wall.  The two toned mirror frame picks up the black from inside the firebox, while also highlighting the gold form the sconces. Since this home has little kids, the fireplace does not get used for a fire, so tall candles fill the void while keeping it safe for the kids to be around.

dscn1809There are so many varieties of stone to use around a fireplace.  This home featured a much more rustic and earthy stone which provides a more casual look for a family room. We chose a brighter blue wall to contrast the stone and brighten the space.

Traditional wood mantleFinally, a traditional  New England hearth and fireplace with red brick and a white mantle becomes more of a background in the orange and blue living room.

Which fireplace would you like to call home?  Do you prefer a modern feel or traditional? Gas or wood fire?

Looking for help to update your fireplace?  We would love to help.

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White Kitchen Renovation in Longmeadow

White Kitchen project with White cabinets and white granite counter tops in expansive kitchen

This island was designed so the whole family could sit and eat breakfast or lunch together.

Ten years ago when this Longmeadow family moved into their home, the kitchen had a dated style that they always hoped to update. Later having three young boys and two large dogs, their kitchen and dining space became not only outdated in style but also lacked the function needed for their growing family. The kitchen had very little counter space and a confined cooking area that was disjointed from the dining room. Because the dining room was removed from the kitchen, the family naturally gathered around the smaller eat-in table which further crowded the kitchen. Lisa Scheff Designs was brought onto the project with the goal of designing a more functional and modern white kitchen within the existing footprint of the home.

The Dining Room is Now Open to the Kitchen

We opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and moved it into the dining room just a bit to allow for the expansive kitchen island.

Lisa first widened the opening by removing most of the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, making an immediate impact on both the feel and the function of the space. The dining room no longer felt disconnected from the kitchen and both the line of sight and the flow of traffic in these areas improved dramatically, causing the space to feel much larger than it had previously.

Round Island Where the Family Can Gather

This round island is the perfect place to gather for meals, but we also made sure to light the space well so that the boys could also gather there to do their homework.

An over-sized island acted as a beautiful statement piece in the center of the kitchen. The island combined a rectangular counter height area for food preparation along with an attached circular island at bar height which serves as a central gathering place to dine in the kitchen. An island of this size is typically impossible to top with one continuous slab of stone. However, using these two connected pieces provided the desired length without any visible seams in the granite. Additionally, the raised circular design of the seating area creates a more intimate gathering space for family and guests.

Now This Space is Much More Open

The open flow of this room with numerous work surfaces allows the family to be together in one space while working on a variety of activities.

“The round eat-in island is perfect for our family,” comments the homeowner. “Instead of all facing the same direction, we are actually able to face each other when we are sitting around the island. And, when I’m drinking my morning coffee at the island, I can now see directly into the living room and dining room and can keep an eye on everything happening in house.”

Plenty of Storage in This Custom Island

Notice the additional breakfast bar overlooking the family room designed specifically so the kids would stop bringing snacks onto the sofa.

To maximize the family’s comfort and efficiency in this space, tile flooring was installed over radiant floor heating. The tile flooring will not only be durable enough to withstand heavy traffic from their family and two dogs, but also will conduct and radiate the heat most efficiently. Lisa Scheff Designs unified the space with a tranquil color palette and natural materials. Neutral colors and classic finishes ensure that this kitchen will be in style regardless of the current trends. As the finishing touch, red accessories and custom bar stools were used to bring in a fun pop of color that reflected the family’s lively personality.

This Kitchen Is Full of Function and Personality

Even the family dogs have something to love about this new space with heated floors below this beautiful wood-look plank tile creating a cozy place to lounge.

“This white kitchen was made for OUR family from top to bottom,” comments the homeowner. “That’s how I know that we will love it for years to come!”

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Crypton Washable and Stain-Resistant Fabrics

WLA1e love a white a sofa.  It’s a clean, inviting look, and with shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper featuring white sofas nearly every week, it has really become a trend.  But practically, who can own a white sofa, at least not ones that they use? White is not a forgiving color for stains, especially chocolate finger prints, wine spills, or a coffee splash.

But we found a solution so you can have it all: a white sofa and a clean sofa.

Technology has come a long way in the fabric industry, and stain resistance and washable fabrics are a prime example.  Enter Crypton washable and stain-resistant fabrics.  Take a look at this Crypton fabric we tested by pouring red wine.  The fabric resists the stain, allowing us to wipe away the wine before it stains the sample.

We are currently working on a project where our client wants a white or linen color sofa, but has a young son (read: we’re afraid of it getting stained).  We sent her three fabrics samples in the right colorways, and asked her to do her worst – try to stain them and then try to wash them.  She did, and she was amazed by the durability of these washable fabrics.

Crypton Stain resistant fabricsHere is what she wrote after testing the Crypton washable and stain-resistant fabrics and washable Subrella fabric:

“I have tested all of the couch fabrics.  I started with Cranberry juice, then rubbed chocolate bar onto them, then scribbled all over with red felt tip pen and then rubbed it with this morning’s coffee.  Here’s how they stood up:

Sunbrella (middle fabric)- beaded up beautifully with the cranberry juice, but still has a stain on it from the chocolate, so it was a fast out.

Crypton washable and stain-resistant fabrics: (1st and 3rd fabric)   They both did well with all of the stains.  However, when I used the method that Crypton suggested- using a brush to gently take out the stains- the Wisdom Creme (3rd fabric) pulled really easily.  The fabric just couldn’t handle any scratching at all.  Plus, the coffee isn’t 100% out.  The Intuition Sand (1st fabric), however, handled the brushing much better- very little sign of pulling.  And, there is no staining at all!”

If you would like to learn more about Crypton washable and stain-resistant fabrics, give us a call.  We would love to show you this amazing technology.

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Small Bathroom Remodel

We all know that bathroom, the one that no one has touched except for a little paint since 1920.  Not only are old bathrooms often unattractive, but they are also usually entirely nonfunctional. This is the story of a recent small bathroom remodel.

This original bathroom down to the white tile on the wall, left much to be desired in functionality.  While the soaking tub can be nice once in a while, it is not the ideal place to take your daily shower.  The sink mounted to the wall, provided nearly no space to place even a toothbrush. Small bathroom remodel - before and after

Enter the Lisa Scheff Designs’ design team with a plan to make this small and outdated master bathroom a modern and sophisticated retreat.

One of the most important changes in this space was to replace the outdated sink with a modern and functional vanity.  Think small bathroom needed to gain as much storage as possible, so we introduced a medicine cabinet behind the mirror, and drawer and cabinet storage below the sink.

Small Bathroom VanitySmall Bathroom cabinet - linen closet

Beyond the function, we aimed to make the most design impact that we could with a small space.  Notice the full wall of tile, behind the mirror and sconces.  We love how the tile and granite bring texture to the tone-on-tone color palette. The valance provides a pop of blue, that we also introduced in the soap dispenser.

Custom shower faucet and handheldWe also introduced a floor to ceiling cabinet that serves as a linen closet and additional toiletry storage in this space.We matched the cabinet to the sink vanity.  The dark wood provides a great contrast to the softer tones of the tile.  The oil-rubbed bronze hardware was selected to disappear into the dark wood.

Notice the art over the toilet brings us back to our pop of blue.  This piece served as an inspiration for the color scheme and design of this space. 

Custom shower nicheBringing this bathroom into the 21st century, we replaced the claw-foot tub with a custom-built shower.  Not a single detail was over-looked for function and design.

Notice that we reintroduced the back-splash tile as the shower floor, created a small shelf for a foot to rest on when shaving, and even measured the niche to ensure that the client’s shampoo bottles would fit comfortably with room to pump.

To book your small bathroom design consultation contact us.

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Sometimes home decorating is about maximizing the view.

Often the most beautiful rooms are stunning because of what’s outside!

home decoratingDo you live in a house with a beautiful view – of the rolling hills in Somers, the Connecticut River, Mount Tom, or the landscaping on your own property? If so, part of your home decorating strategy can be to maximize the view from inside your home!

Here are some tips to focus attention on the view:

  • Use colors that mimic the colors outside your windows.
  • Consider a minimalist look for furnishings near the windows.
  • Think about the landscaping in your garden just outside your windows; this becomes part of the look of your home.
  • Use potted plants inside your home to mirror the landscape outside.
  • If you’re up for a remodeling project, think about replacing your windows to make them larger or to minimize mullions that interrupt the view.

During a home decorating project, we love using Silhouette Window Shadings in a home that has a view (or one that doesn’t for that matter).  When the louvers are open, the sheer fabric allows you to enjoy the view while still giving your home insulation and UV protection.  We often forget that the strong UV rays of the sun can cause fading and wear on our furniture and flooring inside the home.  Silhouette Window Shadings are a great way to protect those pieces that you invested in without sacrificing your view.

Want to learn more about how to create a floor plan and design that will maximize your view?  Call us today to schedule a design consultation

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Grey and Cream Guest Bathroom

We know that gray is the new beige, that trend is nothing new, but grey doesn’t have to be used in a completely modern space.  We love this guest bathroom where modern meets traditional style.  Our vision was high end hotel feel with a simple clean look.

 guest bathroom

Here is a closer looks at the vanity wall vignette.  We chose a dark stain for the cabinetry to complement the white stone-top.  The square shades on the vanity sconces add to the modern appeal, while the dark wood on the vanity provides a bit of traditional style.  A pop of greenery by the sink provides an organic, fresh vibe that we love in any space.  Our favorite piece is the watercolor of a proud schnauzer.  We love to see the client’s personality come through in the accessories, and this family is a dog family. Plus, the warm colors in the painting complement our color palette.
guest bathroom

We didn’t ignore any details in this guest bathroom space.  The pebble tiles that we chose for the shower floor add to the organic feel, and are so interesting to look at.  Because this tile is busy, we limited its use to the shower floor, using a much more subdued large rectangular tile for the shower walls.

006_ScheffDesigns-2-2016Just because we limited the pebble tile to the shower floor doesn’t mean we limited the unique design elements to the shower floor.  While we kept the shower walls and ceiling monochromatic, we broke up the large rectangles with small square tiles made of the same material. We divided those tiles with a pencil molding to define the change.  Not pictured at this angle is the niche to house shampoo, soap, razors, etc.  Because we chose a glass shower door, we made sure to locate the niche in a somewhat hidden spot, to keep the room feeling clean.
guest bathroom

Would you like to have a guest bathroom like this in your home?  Call us today to schedule a design consultation to make your remodel dreams a reality.

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Color of the year 2015 – Marsala

IColor of the Yeart’s official: The Pantone Color of the Year of 2015 is… Marsala. “This earthy red has wine and a very warm brown underneath, which gives the feeling of groundedness, strength, and confidence,” says Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute.

This creamy wine hue is quite a bit different than last year’s Radiant Orchid, but it seems more versatile. Not as dramatic as oxblood or even burgundy, but a gorgeous terracotta red shade. While the Color of the Year can be applied to just about anything – from makeup to fashion – we focus our attention on where this color shows up in interior design. 

Color of the Year 2015 “It has a richness that lends sophistication. When you wear it, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy—you’ll find you get positive reactions form others and it builds up your confidence.” Eisman explains that we’ve seen glimpses of marsala in the late ‘60s into the ‘70s and a touch in the ‘80s, but it’s a very modern hue that totally suits the times.You may not have heard of Pantone, but the color authorities have been used as an industry resource for decades. After announcing the color of the millennium in 1999 there was so much public interest that Pantone decided to name a color every year based on their extensive research.

Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.  Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

 The Versatility of Marsala

  • interiors-in-tones-of-marsala Equally appealing to men and women, Marsala is a stirring and flavorful shade for apparel and accessories, one that encourages color creativity and experimentation
  • Flattering against many skin tones, sultry and subtle Marsala is a great go-to color for beauty, providing enormous highlight for the cheek, and a captivating pop of color for nails, shadows lips and hair.
  • Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors
  • An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury

Because of the brown undertones in marsala, it can be used both as a pop of color in a room or as the grounding “neutral.”

Generally, we suggest with the color of the year that you keep it to inexpensive pieces that are easy to change, but the neutral feel to this color will allow it last longer in a space than radiant orchard or emerald did.  This color can work well on upholstery, in rugs, as paint or in your accessories, but make sure to choose classic patterns and silhouettes to pair it with.

best-design-projects-marsala-2015-Pantone-Color-of-the-Year-rugs

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