Real Estate and Design Tips
Formal dining rooms. A waste of space or must have? The answer seems to vary from person to person, family to family. The open concept is so popular in new homes and among families with young children, that the formal dining room is considered wasted space. An extra room is never wasted space to me. An office, a game room, cocktail space or... a way to completely go bold with your dining room design. Let me convince you of the later!
The best part of the dining room is that large wall. To some it seems daunting but there are so many possibilities, a bold wallpaper, wainscoting, or a wood patterned wall. If you are going to do an 'accent wall' this design is the best. See the picture below of the wall I designed for a client. The home is in the historic district and has a long formal living and dining room. A patterned wood accent wall was the perfect way to draw the eye to the end of the room and make a great statement.
I designed the pattern, and my carpenter/painter did a fabulous job executing it. He did a very detailed job going around the light switch and the vent. We picked out a great dark green that would coordinate well with the lighter color in the room, Sherwin Williams, Sea Salt. The feature wall color is Sherwin Williams, Jasper Stone. It has come to be my favorite gray-green. We also painted the front door this same color. It creates a great flow throughout the space.
The design boards below include an inspiration photo with this type of feature wall. From farmhouse modern to mid-century design they all include a bold color. Who wouldn't want to have great weekly gatherings in a dining room that is designed to suite their personality and styled to impress.
A great mid century design is not complete unless there is a great sputnik light fixture! This one is from West Elm, which is a great place to find mid-century modern elements. A large round table is a great compliment to the square lines of the walls. Etsy is a great place to find unique wall decor and art at all prices. Downloading prints of orginal art and getting them framed is a great cost effective way to bring in unique pieces.
Modern farmhouse is still a popular look, the classic wood pieces that are used in the style is always appealing. Adding muted colors to farmhouse style gives the style a unique personality. Wainscoting is always a great feature in farmhouse design. A bench is a great alternative to an array of chairs around the table, not to mention it can fit lots of little bodies. I would stay away from fabric benches with lots of little ones though.
A common style we use with staging homes is transitional. It is a combination of traditional and modern style. It appeals to most people and can be a great compromise when you are combining individual styles. If adding bold color to the walls is not ideal, you can start with a neutral palette and bring in bold color with rugs and upholstery.
After all the time we have spent social distancing, I feel the dining room will make a great comeback once we can gather around the table again. Who will you have around your table?
gather transform gain - gtg
It's the reason you purchased your house. The potential of the space for entertaining, dream of a pool, or the fenced in yard for the kids and dog to roam free. Whatever the reason or dream for your backyard space, the best way to fulfill your dreams is to tackle it like any other room in the house. I am sure there will be a lot more sweat equity with an outdoor project by the overall outcome still needs to start with a plan.
Who will be using the space? Having kids and or pets using your backyard is key in deciding how to layout or plan your outdoor space. Small children will need to have areas they can play and be safe for them to use. A pool will most likely need a separate fence just for the pool itself when small children live in the house. Avoiding large change in the levels of the backyard, like sunken fireplaces and concrete steps. If you have large dogs they could ruin flowers and plants, and will need a lawn or area to run and do their business.
How will you use the space? What do you or your family like to do outside? Not everyone has the space for a pool or the time to maintain it. Do you like to play sports? What type of sports or activities does your family like? Horseshoes, bouche ball, putting green, batting cage are all possibilities but all require lots of space. Do you envision BBQ parties and happy hour? An outdoor kitchen and place to eat will be key to host those activities. Like to sit around the fire pit and roast marshmallows? Need places to sit and lay by the pool, and do you want shade options.
Layout: So now that you have a list of what you want in the space, time to layout the areas in the yard. Pool and an outdoor kitchen. Fire pit and eating area. Putting green and outdoor bar. Or all the above. Walking out the space to see how everything will fit within the limits of your property is key, not to mention if your HOA will allow it. Eating area close to the outdoor kitchen. Fire pit on the opposite side of the yard away from the play set. Pergola attached to the house or stand alone.
Let's start with the area right outside your house. A pergola or patio roof will help with shade and keeping area from weather conditions. Outdoor rugs and furniture for the lounge area. Removable cushions or plastic covers are key to making them last long and always ready for use. A cool swing chair is always a nice touch. Dining area for backyard parties with lighting and an area to keep your drinks cold and accessible.
Walking further into the yard leaves room for one or many options. Putting green, badminton, play set, or fire pit are some great areas to add beside or instead of the pool. If you do have a pool, lounge furniture comes in all different options. Live the resort life with a cabana or swing bed. This design coordinates all areas of the yard with the same color scheme and style, the same as you would in any interior space. So when you're ready to tackle the backyard, take the time to plan and design your space so it truly becomes apart of your home.
Our next stop on our room design tour is the Sunroom or Florida room is what we like to call it. It is the space that lets in the most light. Has tons of windows and usually steps off the living room to the side or back of the house. If you don't have one you want one!
It that place that lets you hang outside without the heat. A place where you drink iced tea and read a book or watch the kids play in the sprinklers. Some use their Florida room as their exercise room, office or painting studio. For our purposes we are doing a relaxing, entertaining space that is airy, sophist aced but functional.
Here we go.
1. Neutral base. The best place to start in designing an airy, sunny room is to keep the large areas neutral. The feature of the space is the large windows and views outside. Large furniture pieces like the sofa and chairs need to be a neutral fade and stain resistant fabric. There are some great furniture showrooms that have the Sunbrella fabric or other indoor/outdoor fabric. Ask to see the under side of the fabric, it should have a layer of waterproof protection between fabric and cushion.
Sheer curtains add to the airy feeling. Can you just picture them blowing in the wind, Shades are a practical choice also as long as they can be raised out of site.
2. Bold design. A sunroom is a chance to step out of the box and get bold! A great bold floor tile is ideal for a small space with lots of light. A great patterned tile or simple brick lay or herringbone layout are all great options. I chose a large hexagon tile with a bold color for this design. Lighting is also a great chance to bring in bold accents. A unique fixture like these basket lights add to the outdoor look.
3. Functional design. A sunroom usually leads to the outdoors, so functional areas and storage is key to keep that relaxed nice look. Closed storage, like a storage table or ottoman can conceal board games and puzzles. A bench near the door outside can hide shoes underneath. Having a counter height table or bar area, is great for entertaining and keeping the food and wine away from the sofa. The drop zone and eating combined area can be separate from the living area.
The added whimsical touch to any sunroom is a unique sitting feature. Papasan chair, standing swing or a hanging chair is a great statement piece, not to mention comfy place to read. All the items in our mood board are available online and local furniture stores at reasonable price ranges. See our home page if you are interested in getting concept boards you can shop from. I am loving the navy and blush color palette but there are plenty of directions you can take your Florida or Sun room. What color palette would you choose?
First Impression is everything! In a previous blog we discovered that improvements to curb appeal added the most return on your investment. Read what curb appeal projects got the most return here.
The next step is right inside the door. Entryway, foyer, main hall, whatever word you use for the area, it sets the tone for the rest of your home. What does your entry say about your home, shoe graveyard, mail center or blank slate?
Let's tackle that entryway with a few easy steps.
Move the mail to the kitchen, the trash can is there for the junk mail and you are not going to stand in the hallway looking at mail. Also you don't want the kids stopping inside the door and dropping book bags and shoes etc. The Drop zone is near the garage or further down the hall in a closet or room. The Entryway is for the guests and for you to have a kid-free or junk-free pretty area;)
2. Space Planning.
Is it a grand foyer or small galley? It may not fit a table or a bench, you may just have room for a shelf and a mirror. So measuring the area and determining what can functional fit in the space is key.
This area is the first introduction to your home, your style starts here and is reflected throughout the other rooms. My entryway is the only space that shows my style and is completed, because it doesn't require a big budget and I don't have to decorate around paperwork and a TV;)'
A great way to discover your style preferences is to look at photos of similar entryways. You can do old school with magazine pictures or you can search Pinterest for entryway designs you love. Once you find that dream look you can build your own design based on that photo.
I have created a mood board around an inspiration photo I found on Pinterest from House of Turquoise. A mood board is a way to place your style with furniture, structure and textiles that create the mood you want for the space. A concept board is what designers will use once your style is defined and create a 2D or 3D layout of how the space will look with shop-able items. The boards I create are somewhere in between. I create design boards of actual items I find in stores or online that blend the clients style and that will fit the space.
Wayfair and Overstock are great online resources for most things from rugs to lighting. West Elm is great for a mid century modern look. Which is my favorite style. You can see other style design boards below I put together.
An inspiration photo is a great place to start when you're looking at redesigning a space. Pick one item, like a rug and pull colors from the rug into accessories and paint color. Painting the inside of your front door gives character to the entry and a pop of color. Lighting is the final touch, the bling. I love a good stand out entryway light fixture!
Enjoy the other style design boards below, and if you need a designer touch with your space. you can schedule an E-Design Consultation. See my home page for more information. Which design board do you like the most?
gina t graham
Home Staging and Redesign for Jacksonville, FL.
"Sometimes excellent is not a good enough word. I recommend Gina to everyone who is selling their home and for setting up the next home they buy." -Kit, staging client.