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.
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.
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.
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.
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.