So what exactly happens at a design consultation? We offer a variety of services tailored to different needs - from full service design to long distance design consultations via email. One of the services we offer locally is a consultation “house call”. This is best suited to the homeowner who is DIYing their design but is stuck, or needs some guidance as to how to proceed and what changes will have the biggest impact, or has a smattering of design questions about different areas throughout the house. An in-home consultation can cover anything from selecting paint colors to advice on potential renovations. We’ve been doing this for over 25 years and we LOVE to share what we’ve learned so you can get it right the first time saving both time and money!
Today we are taking a peek at part of an in-home design consultation from earlier this year. We were called because the homeowner was stuck and wondering what to do and how to pull everything together. She wanted some new paint colors and rugs for several spaces, and had some specific questions about issues and items in several rooms.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on one of the spaces where a few changes would make a huge difference. We always ask our clients to email photos ahead of time, if possible, so we can make the most of our consultation time together. Here are the photos she sent of her family room:
This family room is just off the kitchen and separated by a half wall and a step down. She wanted to keep the tile floor, but needed a new rug and she was unsure how to handle the fireplace wall which felt crowded and contained a door to the garage which is the main entry used by the family. She wanted to keep the leather furniture and coffee table, but everything else was negotiable. She has a lot of really interesting art and sculptural pieces from around the world, as well as military memorabilia that she would like to keep on display - though maybe in a safer location. She had some great iron lamps and pretty iron and textured brass nesting tables to serve the seating pieces.
The existing family room had a LOT of stuff that had accumulated over the years, a lot of different wood finishes, a lot of hard surfaces, and dark or muted colors in the paint, stain, and textiles. The liveliest piece was the area rug which was worn out and needed replacing.
Editing the contents of the room to showcase the important pieces and give them some space to shine would be critical to avoid the overwhelm of too much visual clutter. Textiles to soften the hard surfaces, some color to add vibrancy, and some plants to bring the outdoors in and echo the absolutely stunning gardens outside would be the finishing touches.
My first suggestion was to relocate the bossy armoire that dominated the space and impeded the traffic flow. It had housed the television back when TV’s were the size of the QE2 and was no longer necessary. I suggested replacing it with a lower, shallow media center in a wood and iron finish similar to the coffee table flanked by either the existing bookcases painted, or new wrought iron etageres.
The rough sketch below, right shows what I mean.
Selecting a larger rug to fill the majority of the room would soften the tile floor. Paint colors should be chosen last after all the textiles, so the rug would drive the wall color, but we were looking for paint to be in a gray/blue/green that would work well with the adjacent spaces. Accents in a honey/orange tone would complement the wall color and reference the adjacent cherry cabinetry in the kitchen. Window casing and mantle would be painted in a white trim color to match the painted trim in the rest of the house and help the fireplace stand out as a feature. The garage door would be painted the wall color to visually disappear.
I always prefer wool for rugs as it tends to wear well, looks and feels great, and is quite easy to maintain. Please don’t dismiss wool as “too expensive”. There are many factors (which you can read about HERE) that go into the cost of a rug, and wool does not necessarily always equal expensive. Here are a few wool rug options with great value pricing (click on each image for details):
The new shelves could showcase a curated collection of sculpture, plants, and books and the television would be mounted on the wall between them and topped with the shadowbox framed military memorabilia - a much safer choice than the door wall which is constantly vibrating when the door is opened and closed!
The fireplace with its newly painted mantle would have more prominence and could showcase colorful layered art and a trio of chunky brass candlesticks.
Editing the upholstered furniture to the leather sofa and club chair and a pair of ottomans to pull up to the coffee table as extra seating or act as comfy footstools would leave room for a tree size plant in the corner. New larger throw pillows that echo the colors in the artwork would would soften the expanse of leather. See THIS post for more info on how many pillow, what size works best, and other criteria for choosing well.
Windows could be treated with honey colored woven wood blinds for texture and light control , and topped with a pair of ivory linen pleated panels hung from black iron rods with simple finials and rings, the iron hardware echoing the iron in the case pieces.
If this had been a long distance e-design project, it would have included scaled room layouts, sketches, mood boards like the ones shone below, a shopping list of furnishings and accessories, and detailed installation instructions.
Here are mood boards for two different looks for this room using the same basic furnishings and window treatments:
If we can help you jump start your project with an in-home consultation, long distance consultation, or full service project, please contact us - we would love to hear from you!
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