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 Later having three young boys and two large dogs, their kitchen and dining space became not only outdated in style but also lacked the function needed for their growing family.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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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 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!”
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.
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.
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.
Just 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.
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.
It’s another snowy New England day, and I am stuck home while the white stuff keeps piling up outside my window. Truthfully, I don’t mind the excuse to sit on the couch instead of at my desk while I get caught up on work and caught up my HGTV. Yes, I’ll admit it, like most of you, I love sitting down to binge watch some Love it or List it, Property Brothers, or Income Property (which is what is on right now). I enjoy seeing a concept become a reality, which is why I love my job. However, I find it interesting that HGTV is really the lens through which our clients judge the success of a renovation, forgetting that these shows are not real,but rather are “reality TV,” and like the Kardashians or the Bachelor, are scripted for the drama. There are many differences between a real home improvement and an HGTV reality TV renovation, and one of the big differences is the cost. Yes, those shows can give you a concept of what it costs to do a renovation. However, keep in mind that the labor is discounted as part of the show, often the window treatments are donated by Hunter Douglas for publicity, and the cabinetry is ready made and not semi-custom. Plus, it is not always brought to your attention that the homes are staged, and the furniture is not part of the cost of the remodel. I also always find it interesting that on the shows such as Property Brothers and Love It or List It, the construction crew runs into recurring “surprises” like unexpected bearing wall conditions, hidden duct work, wiring or plumbing that must be moved, and similar such scenarios. I’m not surprised that they run into these issues. Anyone who routinely does home improvement work absolutely expects these conditions and plans and budgets accordingly with contingency for what might be hidden inside the walls. The premise that these “experts” are surprised to find these issues is comical and speaks to the “acting” that is part of the staged show. Second, let’s talk about time-frame. All HGTV renovation projects are completed within 4-5 weeks. To you, that might sound realistic because you see it in every episode, but truthfully, that is not a realistic timeframe. Just ordering cabinetry, counter tops and furniture could have an 8-10 week window for parts to arrive and be ready for installation. A smooth, complete renovation from concept to completion will take months, not weeks. HGTV shows also don’t include time it takes on the front end of home remodeling:
The Reality of Home Improvement
- it takes time to interview & decide on a scope of work,
- it take time to create design plans and the rework them with changes based on client feedback,
- it take time to source materials (& re-source materials to fit into a budget),
- it takes time to order materials & the lead time for materials to be made & delivered can be 8-10 weeks at best,
- you also need to pull permits and have work approved by the city (if needed).
- Plus, let’s not forget that most contractors work within business hours: M-F 7am – 4pm and not around the clock as jobs seems to go on HGTV.
From what I’ve read, most of the homeowners on these shows have already purchased a house, so the concepts have been decided and product has been purchased before the show even begins filming. With the addition of round the clock construction, a large team, and TV magic, the project seems to more along quickly. All-in-all, we still love HGTV. It’s inspiring; it keeps us on trend; it gives us new ideas; and it teaches us about the process of renovating. Just don’t forget when you’re starting a new project that there are distinct differences and the camera magic that HGTV features will not be a part of your project. However, what we can promise you is that just like the end of every show, you too will love your new space and the work of the renovation will be more than worth it.
Inspired by one of these shows to start renovations on your home? We can help.
From creating floor plans and concepts to providing general contracting services, Lisa Scheff Designs’ staff is the home renovation experts.
Call today to book your free in-home consultation. 413-567-8541
Design myth: you can’t mix metals.
Once upon a time, mixing metals in home decor was viewed a bad practice and a decision usually had to be made between silver and gold, or chrome and brass.
We get asked about this supposed faux-pas all the time. Clients either ask, “can I mix metals in the same room?” or they say, “Oh I can’t use that silver table I already have gold in the room. Isn’t that bad?”
But we would like to bust this myth. Yes, you can mix metals! In fact, mixing metallics in a space adds dimension to a room.
Over last few years, mixing metals in jewelry has been a growing trend, and we love it in interior design as well.
Now I’m not telling you to layer ever metal finish you can find in the same room, and I’m also not saying just because you can mix metals that you should. There are ways to mix metals well and ways that make it look haphazard.
Mixing Metals in Home Decor – How to mix metals well:
1) Don’t go over board with the finishes. Two metallic finishes (silver with gold or nickel with oil rubbed bronze) is enough. However, within that color scheme, mix a variety of textures and colors (meaning dark and light golds, weathered silver finished with polished).
2) Make sure to have a variety of pieces: don’t have a single piece in a different finish. If you incorporate a gold lamp, make sure to have gold accents elsewhere in the room. This makes the look purposeful rather than haphazard.
3) Incorporate the mixing of metals into fabrics used in the room as well. This contributes to the cohesive look of the room and warms up the feel.
How do you mix metals in your spaces?
Mistakes people tend to make choosing paint colors!
Mistake # 1: Picking Your Paint Color First
Choosing paint colors should be one of the last things you select for a room. There are infinite paint colors to choose from, but if you pick it first, you will pigeon hole yourself into a color scheme, hoping to find fabrics and furniture that work with it. Find fabrics you love first and then choose a coordinating color, not the other way around!
Correct It: Get the room planned and then select the paint to support all of the other things going on in your space. You can take your color cues from fabrics, whether it’s accent pillows or an occasional chair that has a pattern or print to it. That’s usually my jumping off point for selecting a color for a space.
Mistake #2: Picking a Color That’s Too Bright or Saturated
A bright cobalt blue, which is really trendy right now, can look great as a ceramic lamp, because it has a sheen to it, or as a silk pillow, because it has depth or interest, but when you put that same really bright color on the wall, it’s a whole lot stronger.
Correct It: If the walls are going to scream a bright color, you want to wrap the rest of your furnishings in neutral tones or even white. Decide what your focal point is. If it’s the wall color, then let everything else support it, not fight with it.
Mistake # 3: Not Considering the Home As a Whole
Whether your planning for a small apartment or a large, modern home, transitioning color from one room to the next can be tricky and it doesn’t flow well if you’ve got bright orange in one room and bright pink in another. Keep in mind that when doors are open, you can see the two colors together.
Mistake #4: Losing Sight Of Your Emotional Goal
I hear people say things like, ‘My favorite color is red, I’m going to put that in my bedroom,’ but what they really ultimately wanted was a space that was relaxing and calm, so there’s a disconnect between picking colors and what the space is intended for.
Correct It: When selecting a color, consider the mood of a room. In a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a quieter feeling while stronger colors are for drama. Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance. Do you want kid’s rooms to create an active and exciting energy or an orderly and restful feeling? Be careful not to overstimulate your children with intensely bright hues. You may not know it, but some brighter colors can lead to unrest and irritability.
Mistake # 5: Following Trends
The color of the year is Radiant Orchid, but I wouldn’t paint my walls that color because next year it will be something else.
Correct It: Chances are, you’re not going to paint your home every 2 or 3 years. Choose colors that will work for the long haul and add a pop of trendy colors in pillows, throws and other accessories.
Mistake #6: Not Paying Attention to Lighting
The reason why paint stores have light boxes for you to test paint chips: Natural daylight shows the truest color; Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows; and Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone. So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.
Correct it: Test the color in the room. If you’re unable to get a larger sample, buy a small amount of paint to test on the walls. Test it in different corners of the room to see how it will look in the various lighting.
If this all feels overwhelming, don’t worry. We can help you select paint!
Give us a call today.
Steps to a Complete Remodeling Project
1. Research & Visualize
Visualize how you want your remodeling to look. If it’s a kitchen, where will the appliances go? If it’s a living room, will there be a newly placed picture window? Find inspiration in magazines or online using houzz.com or Pinterest.com. This is a good phase to start working with a designer so you can make concrete design decisions based off your vision.
Decide how much you are willing to spend on your remodel. Figuring out rough estimates can help you get an idea of how much you will have to spend. If you are borrowing, you must find out how much the bank will loan. Major upgrades, such as a bathroom remodel or a family-room addition, can run about $100 to $200 per square foot. Ask around to contractors for general quotes to get an even better idea on what your costs will be.
Hire a Contractor that can devise a plan for your remodel based on your design that is within your budget. Make sure this is someone you trust. You can rely on him/her to hire subcontractors for the labor that will be required. It is a good idea, but not necessary, to hire an architect as well. If it is within your budget, an architect can translate your vision and create a realistic floor plan.
When implementing your plan, stay a part of the development from start to finish. Even when hiring others to perform the labor, pay attention to detail. Make sure things are not only going according to plan, but that you are happy with it. In addition, be kind and respectful to your remodelers and they will do the same. Especially if you are living in your home throughout the process, remember that everyone who enters is your guest. You’re all in it together!
When it comes time to decorate your new space, it is one option to hire an interior designer to come up with an exciting way to make the room beautiful. However, you want to start working with the designer at the beginning so that the ultimate vision can come together. Details such as placing outlets and lighting should take furniture and art placement into consideration.
When decorating, be sure to:
- Consider the function of the room when piecing it together
- Match furniture to the overall scale of the space
- Create a theme and vibe for the feeling of the room
- Design a creative color pallet and follow it through out
- Make your room unique with interesting pieces
- Utilize light to create aesthetic warmth and color
- Don’t forget the window coverings!
Over the past week, I’ve heard 2 or 3 people say something along the lines of, “wallpaper is out,” and I’d like to step in to it’s defense. There was an era of bad wallpaper. I can see something like this room, born in the 80’s as just wrong. But let’s be honest, there is so much more wrong with this look than just the wallpaper.
Like anything with design, there are right and wrong applications. The wrong proportion of art can leave a wall looking bear, the wrong color paint can cause a room to feel disjointed, a rug that’s too small can throw off the whole scale of a room. In the same sense, the wrong application of wallpaper can be, well, just bad.
Here are some modern uses of wallpaper and some wallpaper ideas that we love.
1: An accent wall.
Don’t over use that pattern. One wall can be enough! Choose a complementary color from the wall paper for the remaining walls. Notice how the accent wall draws your attention in the dining room, yet there is no art, just wallpaper.
You can also layer art over the wallpaper, but make sure that the two pieces do not compete for attention but rather work together to create a cohesive look.
2: Wallpaper as Art
Wallpaper can be gorgeous, but some colors and patterns may feel too strong for an entire wall. Take one or a couple repeats of the pattern and frame it. Presto: art!!!
This look can complement the color palette you have created or introduce a bold pop of color. Either way, it’s relatively inexpensive art that provides a unique and custom look.
3: Provide an interesting background for a bookcase
This pattern provides interest for an otherwise typical bookcase. Let the pattern speak for itself with simple accessories on the shelves and just a few pops of color. This allows you to create a totally custom concept.
Choose a dramatic paper in a bold color to create more far more interest and a bolder look.
4: Add life and interest to an old piece of furniture.
Use wallpaper to line the inside of drawers for a pop of color when you open them. That design element is mostly for you, but then again isn’t all of your home’s decor?
Shower designs have come along way in the past decade. You spend time in the shower every day, so you want it too look nice so you can enjoy it.
You don’t have use a frosted glass on a window in the shower to create privacy. Hunter Douglas shutters can be put inside your shower for privacy and light control. Tilt the louvers to allow natural light into the bathroom, but close them when you’re using the shower. A great solution both for the look and the function.
This shower features mixed tiled to create interest without introducing new colors. Note the use of a shelf instead of a standard niche to hold small bottles, soap, etc.
We love mixing a rain shower head and handheld shower to provide functionality in the shower. This shower head has a lovely curve taking advantage of the high ceilings in the room. We love this look!
Today, let’s look at some new kitchen storage ideas and bathroom ideas. If you follow our blog, you know that we make a distinction between decorators and designers. Interior Design is about a lot more than the look of the finished product. While yes, achieving a certain look and feel in a room is a major goal, but if the room doesn’t function as you need it to, what is the point?
When we are considering what products to specify for your home, we begin by considering the functionality of the room. For that reason, we start with a floor plan and then specify products that fits with the design we have created. By considering everything from the ground up, we ensure that the room first functions for the lifestyle that you lead and how you use the space. We then make choices within that function to make sure that your room is also beautiful.
A floor plan is, of course, important in functionality, but so is the design of the product that we specify. When we take trips like the one we just returned from where we attended the Kitchen and Bath show and International Builders show in Las Vegas, we search for products that are successful at the blending of functionality and aesthetic.
We were excited to discover all of the latest trends in cabinetry design that allow you to hide outlets and increase the organizational capabilities of the bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, laundry room or any other room where you choose to install cabinetry. Let me show you some of the features that we loved!!!
Let’s start in the bathroom.
This vanity is designed for a small bathroom. The stool boasts towel storage in the side to create space where otherwise it would simply be wasted.
No one wants to look at wires and plugs! This under the sink cabinet design allows you to store all of your electronics including flat irons, hair dryers and electric toothbrushes under the sink. You simply open the cabinet drawers to access the items which have been charging the whole time. This strip is designed to protect you from electrical fires.
Here’s another option for those bathroom items. This design allows you to store them in an easy-access drawer. The plug, in this case, is behind the drawer and the cords filter through a hole in the back.
Inside the drawers, these cabinets are designed for organization. This particular drawer is really two drawers in one, and within each drawer are lift out organizers to help keep everything in its place.
Moving to the kitchen!
This slide out rack keeps pots, pans and lids organized and easy to access. No more fumbling through stacked pots and pans. This rack keeps them in order.
Corner cabinet? No problem!! We found several solutions for that cabinet we all have that is impossible to reach the items in the back. First, a new take on a traditional lazy-susan. This collapsible corner, makes it easier to access the items in your corner cabinet because the door neatly tucks away while you are inside the cabinet.
If you want to store larger items in that corner, consider this shelf that I think looks like a bean. Look how it pulls out so you can access everything on it. Don’t worry about items sliding around. The shelf is lined with a sort of sticky material. Items don’t slide side to side, but they lift off when pulled up or down.
Is the drawer that hides your trash cans always a mess from dirty hands pulling it open? Here’s your fix. This cabinet opens with the tap of a knee. Completely hands free!!!
Finally, this under the sink cabinet is lined with rubber to protect the wood from any spills. Wet sponges or bottles that leak: all those messes wipe right off the rubber mat that seals up the sides. Its one of those things that you think, “why didn’t I think of that?” So simple, yet a nice touch to a kitchen or bathroom.
If you’re interested in any of these products for your home, contact us to set up a free in-home consultation.
Pantone announced the Pantone Color of 2014 is Radiant Orchid, a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple, as the color of the year for 2014. We love the idea of a bold punch of color in any room, but caution our clients about jumping aboard the color trends too quickly.
Our Advice for the Color of the Year
Never purchase your big-ticket items in the trendy color. Instead, allow the color to pop off an otherwise neutral palette. That way, if you tire of the 2014 color or want to indulge in 2015’s bold punch, you can do so without breaking the bank.
The vibrancy of this color is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid reenergizes almost any color palette.
Choose items such as pillows, ceramic pieces, flowers, art work, throws and other accent pieces to show off the Radiant Orchid. Notice how this bedroom on the left has three pieces in the Orchid that could easily change to blue, yellow, purple, red, etc. in the future.
If a few items in Radiant Orchid is not enough for you, you can also consider painting your walls. Paint is more of a commitment to the color, but relatively inexpensive to change down the road when it’s time to move on to a new color. Plus, you don’t even have to paint the entire room to get the pop. Using an accent wall, painting the ceiling or painting behind cabinetry gives you a magnitude of color for very little money. Notice in this dining room how the purple pops off the white trim, drapery and brown leather dining chairs. There’s no need for more color in the room because wall color makes such a statement. Interest in the rest of the room is created through use of texture and layering various neutrals.
However, you can layer additional colors for an even bolder look. Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows.
Here’s some information about Radient Orchid from Pantone.
“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”
“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”
For more than a decade, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design. Past colors include:
- PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
- PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
- PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
- PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
- PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)
- PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)
- PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)
- PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)
- PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)
- PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)
- PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)
- PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)
- PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)
- PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)