June 20, 2013

Our Clients’ Home: Before & After

This past winter, we began working with new clients, a retired couple who was in the process of moving and downsizing.   They heard about us from their daughter, who read my blog (Thank you soooo much Allison!!) and we started out by visiting their old home to take stock of their furnishings and to help them decide what they should keep and what they should give away.  We then visited their new home, which is in the perfect location and still has lots of room for their children and grandchildren to come & visit all the time.   Here’s a quick tour of the house before my clients moved in:



{The Living Room, which is in the front of the house}
{The Dining Room, which is open to the Living Room}
{The Kitchen, which is just past the more formal areas – the living & dining rooms- in the back section of the house}
{The view of the Hearth Room from the kitchen}
{The Master Bathroom}


{The Master Bathroom}
The house had everything my clients needed, but they were really hoping to make it special.  They didn’t love the kitchen & master bath and wanted their home a comfortable, fresh, relaxed vibe.  Almost everything in the furniture plan was new to my clients, and in the areas we redid, we kept only a few things that were important to them, including their family dining table.  They have a beach house and though they didn’t really want to go “Coastal” with this house, they wanted their home to have a bit of the relaxed, effortless feel of a beach house without it feeling completely like one.  We brought in a few natural coastal things and mixed elements like pinch pleated curtains and wing chairs with sisal, seagrass and slipcovers to get just the right amount of casualness & formality, beach & town.  We made sure that there were lots of comfortable places for them to hang, read, eat and entertain family.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re ready for pics…. so here’s the living room before:
And here it is now:
We layered together natural tones and textures with blue & yellow accents to create a neutral backdrop with   bright colors used sparingly.  My clients wanted color but we decided it was best to bring in in through the furnishings & fabrics rather than on the walls.  (I often do color this way for a light & airy feeling in a home.)
I was beyond thrilled when my clients gave me the “ok” on the John Robshaw fabric for the sofa’s slipcover!!!
I’ve dreamed about this sofa I love it so much.  It’s just got such a relaxed cool look to it.  We used my “Fern Star” linen in yellow for the curtains (made by Paul David Design) and they’re so soft & cheerful in there!!
The dining room is open to the living room and we went with a simple unframed oil painting for the wall:
We selected glass lamps to flank the sofa so that they would intrude less than typical opaque lamps would have and make the rooms feel more open to each other.  We used a small pair of slipper chairs in front of the window so that it would be easy to see past them.  Clients often get nervous when we put furniture in front of  windows, but even though it worried them a little, our clients trusted us & let the slipper chairs stay in the plan.

As is often the case, not all of the furnishings arrived as planned yesterday  (so sad!!) and when the dining room sideboard came in, it has been painted the wrong color so we had to send it back to be exchanged, which is why it looks a little empty…  But I think you can still get the idea of where the room’s going:

{ignore the tags still attached to the chairs please 😉 😉
Here’s a close-up of my clients’ parquet table:
To freshen it up, we mixed it with ticking chairs at the heads of the table and black ladder backs for side chairs.
Here’s the kitchen before my clients moved in…
…And here it is now:


We worked with our good friend Mike Carr of CarrMichael Construction to have everything done in the house, including the reworking of the kitchen.  We kept all of the cabinetry and reworked it slightly before having it painted.  We had the two-tiered island  leveled out to a counter-height surface, something I almost always have done in kitchens because not only does it look simpler & prettier, it becomes so much more usable.  We liked the island’s cabinetry and were lucky that the guys were able to salvage the panels and make them shorter so they could fit at the new height.  We added lighting, new countertops and a new refrigerator that was counter-depth so it didn’t intrude into the walkway.


The countertops look very similar to soapstone but are actually a leathered granite called “Virginia Mist.”  I’d never seen slabs like them before and had had my eye on them since last September (when I started my own countertop search) so I was so happy that they’d work for my clients’ kitchen!!  The counters are a very deep solid black with a few heavy white veins, which we had placed prominently on the island to fit around the existing cooktop:

The kitchen has an eating area and we created a built-in desk & wall of cabinetry for for paying bills, using the computer and keeping the house in order.  The kitchen is also open to a small hearth room, which is where the TV is…
The back steps you see here lead to a guest suite.  Here’s a close-up of the kitchen dining area & work station:
It’s hard to see from the photo but the base of the table is a green-gray-blue milk paint, just a bit paler than the kitchen cabinets.  We had the table built by The Lorimer Workshop, who never cease to create the perfect pieces for our projects!  The back of the work station was painted with chalkboard paint & my client had the brilliant idea to do magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard paint, so now they can used it to hang things on too!!  We mounted the sconces right over it.
For the hearth room, we went with four cozy wing chairs.  We had the back of the chairs done in a simple plaid and the fronts in an oatmeal-colored linen.  Because the room is so small, I thought curtains that blended in with the walls would be best.  We had them hung at the ceiling and mounted natural woven roman shades at the ceiling too, to make the room feel taller.  The blue & white dhurrie wanted to jump in my car yesterday it was so pretty…  But I resisted…


We hung a massive John Muir Tree print on the open wall in the hearth room to create another focal point.  It’s truly, MASSIVE.  My clients thought on it a while because but decided to go for it and again, it’s another one of those things I probably did a little happy dance for when I got the OK.  😉 😉  We placed an unobtrusive rolling bar cart in front of it that could be used as both a side table & for book storage.

There is something so incredibly inviting about an arrangement of four chairs in front of a fireplace.  The chairs just seem to call to you and you just want to snuggle in & put your feet up.
We had the powder room papered & added sconces and it was totally transformed from the bright red room it used to be:

I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen of the house so far but I’ve got to run for the day.  (I don’t do this to tantalize- I promise- but I’m the type who only works on a blog post once and post it as it comes.  hahaha which is why you see so many spelling errors & typos!! No proofreading over here.  I’ve always told myself that one day I’d go through the entire blog & fix all of the errors but I think I’ve been lying to myself so that I can hit “publish.”)  Anyway, I’ll be back with the before & after of the master bedroom later!!  Thank you so much to our incredibly kind and trusting clients, who welcomed us into their home.  (And to their daughter who read this blog & made it all happen!! 😉 😉  Getting to know you all has been wonderful and we can’t thank you enough!!
Have a great day!!

If you’d like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

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