Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 2
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Design Dilemma: A Bright Idea in Paris

scandinavian living room interiors

We love seeing smart-thinking and good planning applied to even the smallest of spaces. Good ideas lead to good living! That’s evident in this 388-square-foot Parisian studio, which formally was okay, but not as livable and bright as it could be. The owners resolved that problem by taking two relatively large closets and opening them up to become a bedroom set apart from the living room by one large partition of glass.

Below, take a look at the before:

home design interiors

In this before shot, the open kitchen is on the right, and the bathroom is on the left behind the closet. Opposite this view, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the street. Because the old bathroom (below) was disproportionately large for the space with a six-foot tub and large toilet, the owners decided to relinquish some of the space to create a true, very small bedroom.

home design interiors

And here’s the after.

scandinavian kitchen interiors

Here’s a view from inside the bedroom. The new design even allows for storage shelves and a built-in closet in the bedroom.

scandinavian bedroom interiors

The large glass partition is smart design. It brightens up the bedroom, allowing natural light to filter into the small bedroom, while extending the sight-lines from both the bedroom out to the living area, and from the living area to the bathroom.

The smaller bathroom, below, is more functional than the bigger one had been. Eliminating the tub means a walk-in shower takes up less space. A vanity mounted on the wall makes the space appear larger than it would have otherwise. The glass partition in the shower also opens up the space visually. The black tiles in the bathroom match the tiles in the kitchen, helping the small studio to feel cohesive throughout.

scandinavian bathroom interiors

In the old design, below, the kitchen was dark and tight.

home design interiors

The new design, below, removes the small partial wall separating the kitchen from the living space. Sleek cabinetry extending from the kitchen straight to the living room blends the kitchen and living/room functions seamlessly. The enameled cabinets without hardware disappear. There is space for a new flat screen television. Patterned black and white tiles on the floor set the kitchen apart, adding a splash of interest.

scandinavian living room interiors

A large mirror at the entrance seems to double the space.

scandinavian kitchen interiors
scandinavian living room interiors

The studio feels twice as large as before, and it’s more functional, thanks to much more cabinet space.

Bravo to this renovation par excellence!

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Design Dilemma: Three Things to Consider Before You Remodel Your Kitchen

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

So you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen. But before you let that contractor rip out your old cabinets, stop for a second. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How will you use the kitchen?

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice
tropical kitchen how to tips advice

Will it be for entertaining, or mostly solo use? It may sound basic, but think long and hard about how much space you’ll really need, as it will affect every appliance and storage choice you make. If you entertain a lot, your cabinets and appliances will need to handle multiple sets of plates and serving platters. You might think about a bigger refrigerator to hold lots and lots of food, and maybe double ovens and double sinks. Extra counter space, an extra dishwasher, a wine cooler, may also factor into the equation.  The two kitchens above are an example of entertaining kitchens. In the second kitchen in this post, three ovens mean you can cook lots of dishes all at once. The second kitchen opens directly onto an open patio and dining area, allowing guests to wander between kitchen and other areas. The cook doesn’t feel isolated while the party is going on.

And what if you seldom entertain? Enjoy the compact convenience of a smaller galley kitchen with a small footprint, as below.  Small can often be more comfortable and convenient than large, but not if you love entertaining.

eclectic kitchen how to tips advice

2. How much value does a change bring, versus the cost of making the change?

farmhouse kitchen how to tips advice

Some changes may cost a lot, but you think they’re worth it— the extra large farmhouse sink, above, is not only beautiful to look at, but it’s perfect for cleaning the goose you like to prepare each Christmas. Is it worth it for that one-time big event? You decide.  Ask yourself if the change will really improve your everyday life. Will the change improve a problem that bugs you every time you use your kitchen? Then make it! Finally, and lastly, will it improve the value of your home? If you’re only so-so about the need for a change and you think it’s too personal to appeal to too many potential buyers, then your decision is clear — better off saving your money for something else!

One good way to figure out how much to spend on a given project is to prioritize your desires by analyzing the frequency and duration of the cooking tasks you must perform. Tasks you do frequently or spend more time on should get more weight than those you seldom do, or don’t mind doing. If you use, for instance, your cooktop 80 percent of the time and your oven only 20 percent, prioritize a great cooktop over a wall oven. Below, a splurge to remove the upper cabinets on one side of the kitchen and to build a storage cabinet in one corner, lends the kitchen a feeling of spaciousness and makes shelves easier to reach. It was worth it to the homeowner.

industrial kitchen how to tips advice

3. Is it functional or aesthetic? And which is more important to you?

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

Aesthetics refers to high-end finishes, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom tile backsplashes. These things are beautiful but not necessary to make your kitchen function well. Function refers to layout, among other things. Do refrigerator and kitchen doors open easily, or do they block doors? Is there enough space to allow two people to attend to kitchen tasks at the same time? Some people may decide to put their money into aesthetics, particularly if they seldom use the kitchen, so it’s more about look than functionality. In many cases, these homeowners may choose countertops that are beautiful but easily damaged, and it’s no problem. Those who love cooking, however, may never cede on functionality. They are the types who may spend lots of money to change the plumbing to allow for two sinks, but don’t care about extra fancy stainless steel appliances. It’s a change that means a lot to them, but that remains virtually unseen. So it all boils down to, what’s your priority?

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Design Dilemma: 5 Ways to Redecorate Lite

midcentury bathroom how to tips advice

Recently, I wanted to redo the bathroom. Completely. My thought was to change every surface — new tile in the shower, new tile floor, new vanity, new bathroom fixtures, minor repainting. It was a tiny bathroom, so I figured our budget could handle it. Until, that is, we had a contractor take a look at the job. The estimate for redoing our simple little bathroom rang up at a staggering $18,000. And I just couldn’t figure out where the money was going, since we were not planning on doing anything to the actual plumbing.

Knowing that an $18,000 remodeling job was totally out of our budget, we downsized the scale of our project and decided to do something I’m calling “redecorating lite.” Instead of changing out the tiles and the floors, the shower kit and the toilet, we opted to focus our hard-earned dollars on the areas that were most in need of some help, and that would provide the biggest bang for the buck. This meant reducing the reining in the work to simply replacing the vanity and faucet, and giving the bathroom a fresh coat of paint. Final cost of the project: about $1,000. On this much smaller sum, the bathroom looked fresh and revitalized and we were happy and relieved that we had chosen the simpler path.

Moral of the story is this: sometimes a lite remodel is all you really need. If you want to redo the kitchen, you may not need to totally revise the floor plan and go for all new appliances. Maybe you just need a new backsplash. If you want to redo your living room, maybe you only need to change the wall color. Wondering what a “lite” remodel might mean? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Rearrange the furniture.

 

transitional family room how to tips advice

It’s the simplest and easiest way of all to get a totally different look without spending a dime: Play around with your room’s configuration for dramatic results. In the picture above, a fainting couch is the type of unique piece that has immense flexibility. While here it’s placed in the middle of the room, it could just as easily be placed near the window, or moved onto a diagonal in a corner of the room.

2.Re-upholster.

transitional dining room how to tips advice

Can’t afford new furniture? Reupholster what you have! While reupholstering can sometimes cost as much or more than buying new furniture, there are certain changes you can make to textiles and fabrics that are pretty inexpensive. In the photo above, for example, putting a fresh, vibrant fabric on each chair seat could be a simple Saturday afternoon do-it-yourself project. So, too, with the patterned drapes that lend this dining area a youthful, punchy vibrancy.

3. Rearrange your art.

transitional living room how to tips advice

Here’s another free way to dramatically change any room’s look in record time. You can switch out multiple pieces of artwork and create a gallery wall, which can make any room feel “curated.” Or you can do the opposite, you can move one dramatic piece of art you may own — a painting or sculpture, from one room or location to another. If you don’t have much art to work with, you can create really nice pieces by framing magazine covers, botanical prints or old photos. If you are looking for larger scale, original art, check out numerous online sources for original art.
4. Repurpose.

southwestern bedroom how to tips advice

Chances are, you’ve got items floating around in your garage, basement or storage room that aren’t living their best life. Why not drag them out into the sunshine and find new uses? Clever and innovative ways of using old items can revitalize a space. For example, in the bedroom above, an old milk crate has been turned into a fun and funky bedside stand — a bedside table with character.

5. Swap out or invest in a new area rug.

eclectic dining room how to tips advice

In my opinion, this is the number one change you can make for the biggest, most dramatic change of atmosphere. Area rugs define spaces in one powerful punch. Through color and pattern, they can breathe new life into a room.

So the takeaway is simple: you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars if you are looking to revitalize your home — repurpose, reuse, rearrange, and you may be surprised at how fresh and new your home feels!