Jan 4, 2018

CARRIE COLLINS - overall plan for home redecorating

Hi Carrie... I just noticed that I hadn't sent this post to you - got caught up in the holidays and guests at my house.... let's catch up on this - look this over with your husband and let me know what you like, what you agree or disagree with and what you want to implement.

Since this is an 'overall' design so that you can implement what you want, when you want - you will need to guide me in what you want help on next.  I know the flooring is a priority and the master bathroom, but there are other things you should consider as well - for example the kitchen - whether you will be changing any of the layout there because that will effect the flooring in that area.
So have a look and please give me your feedback.  I will not be offended if you don't like something I have recommended.  It is all part of getting to know your personal likes and dislikes and will help me in the long run to find the best design for you.  My job is to make things both functional and beautiful and add value to your home - but it needs to be beautiful to you and not just me.  

(#305 would also be a good choice)

These are the floor coverings you chose.  Based on this color palette and the style of the materials, I have explored some other options for updating your home, as requested.

Fortress Gray

The gray tones you have selected will go quite well with any of the oak furniture you wish to keep in the home.  

One thing that I would do for the whole house - which can be done room by room and whenever you choose - is to add the moldings to your rooms that the contractor left off when he built the home.  Most tract homes need this upgrade and it gives them a nice custom and finished look. 

I would add crown molding.

  I would increase the size of the base moldings.

  I would frame the windows and other openings.
This is especially important in rooms such as the living room, family room and master bedroom where the windows are unique

  I would increase the size of the door frame moldings


Recommendations for Overall Plan:

Fortress Gray
You may want to try something a little more unique in the way the floor is laid - maybe a herringbone pattern - as this is a stand-alone area and can be more custom.

I recommend a pale 'hint of color' paint for the walls.
Examples of hint of neutral color for walls.  Walls will still be very light, but you will see a delineation between the white trim and molding and the wall color, and it will look more finished and updated.

I recommend painting the yellow oak doors a medium to charcoal gray.  The paint will give this area an updated look and add to the total color scheme, blending with the wall and floor colors.

Here are some examples of gray entry doors (some are with gray flooring, but most you will have to try to imagine).
(very similar to your front doors)

one with a medium gray door and gray flooring

I recommend carpeting the stairs in the new carpet color.

I recommend painting the stair banister and spindles.  It is the wood itself that dates this area of the house. The yellow/orange oak that is used was discontinued over a decade ago.  The value of our homes is not only due to property and location, it relates to the updates we do as well.  Potential buyers want a home that is kept more current so that they need to do less. It also says to the buyer that the home has been well cared for over the years. So, updating a home actually increases its value - even if there are no plans to sell in the near or distant future.

Here are some examples of paint choices for the staircase.  Please let me know which is more appealing to you. 

This example shows painted all white

In this example the newel posts and bannister are dark and the spindles and base are white.
The black seems a little stark to me, but a medium to dark gray would be nice here.  I like how you can see the before an after here, as the stair color before is very similar to yours.

The color should be more like this...


The current light fixture is outdated and needs replacing.
Any of these styles would work well.  If you like a particular one here, I can give you the information where you can purchase.
Sea Gull Lighting 5124906 Socorro 6-Light Foyer Pendant

I am recommending that the small banister near the front door be removed and a bookshelf style pony wall be installed there.  The railing is very old fashioned, and this option also gives you a little storage/display area and bridges the gap of the two flooring levels.

The table under the mirror in the entry is too small and lightweight for the mirror and I would recommend replacing it with something more substantial and heavier feeling.  Something like this.

I'm recommending a rug in this entry to soften and add texture.  Here are several suggestions - these are subtle and not too colorful or too strongly patterned.  Let me know if any of these appeal.  It would need to blend with the carpeting as well.

I think a 5x7 rug or a 6 foot round rug would work nicely.


Recommendations for Overall Plan:

1. Paint - 
very light hint of color in a gray tone
with white trim.  Whatever color is chosen for the entry should also continue into this area.

2.  Longer sofa table
I recommend a longer sofa table under the window.  The current one is too short and makes the lamps look cramped for space.  Something along these lines would work better.

3.  Rearrange furniture - add accent chairs
Currently the two sofas are spaced a little far apart for easy conversation.  I would recommend moving them closer to the fireplace and closer together.  This may free up some room for more seating in the form of small accent chairs.

4.  New Carpet.
New carpeting has been selected.
5.  Update mantel and fireplace area

The fireplace currently has a niche above it which I would like to remove.  It has no function.  Its awkward and hard to figure out what to do with it.  By removing (or filling) it,

 the fireplace becomes easier to use.  There can be a mirror over the fireplace, or art or photos or an object, whereas now, we have to try to find something that fits the space and doesn't look awkward.  There are many ways to address this area, and I have shown a few here.  I'm recommending we also remove the odd columns on each side, but if that is too difficult an operation, they can be left and incorporated into the new design.  I would also clad the mantle in wood.  The current marble surround would stay, although we could also add a little wood trim around it.  Here are some ideas, let me know which you like best.

Here is another option - no paneling on top - just drywall and paint.

6.  Add curtains
I recommend adding curtains to the lower half of the windows.  Curtains complete a room.  They add softness and texture and raise the eye.  A room without curtains is like a ball gown without jewelry - it feels incomplete.  I would recommend something very close, or as light as, the wall color so that it blends seamlessly - plain instead of patterned.

7.  Table lamps/lighting/accent furniture

I would like to redo the lampshades on the two lamps (you could also replace the lamps if you desired) with a white shade (drum shaped). They can remain behind the sofa on a sofa table. A floor lamp on the other side of the room, and an end table with another lamp would help finish up the rooms lighting.


Recommendations for Overall Plan:

1. Paint
very light hint of color in a gray tone
with white trim - same as or similar to living room and entry area.
The soft gray tones will look really nice with the oak furniture in this room - as this example below shows

2. Reupholster the dining room chairs 
I recommend a lighter color with some texture for the dining room chairs.  Something that complements the gray flooring but remains neutral.  I have a very good upholsterer I use - we can update the furniture you have for this space.

3. Add draperies for texture
Curtains will make this space more warm and inviting and should carry through with the same fabric
and look from the living room, as that room's windows are visible from this room

4. Area rug
I would further define this area with an area rug.  Look at any of the recommendations for the entry way for this area. 

5. Add chandelier
I would add a pretty pendant or chandelier light for this area - it will enhance the featured tray ceiling and can be put into the center without having to change any of the recessed lighting.  This is a very contemporary fixture, and there are so many other options available.  This will be fairly easy to choose once I have a feel for you and your husband's preferences in the entry.


Recommendations for Overall Plan:

1. Paint
 very light hint of color in a gray tone
with white trim (same as living/dining/entry recommendations)

2. Paint cabinet fronts
 white so they will blend with the walls and woodwork

I really want to warm this room up, because I think it is one where your family spends a lot of time.
It is a long room, and because of that and the fact that it opens to the kitchen, its a little awkward.

I think we can make it more efficient - use the space a little better, and make it cozy for the family.

Recommendations for Overall Plan:

1. Paint
same as living room and entry

2. Moldings
As mentioned at the first of this post, I think this room really needs the addition of the window framing trim and crown and base moldings.  It will turn the windows into a beautiful feature.

3. Floor covering - hard surface or carpet?
I don't remember if this room was to have carpet or hard surface planks.  If this were my home, I would run the planks in here so as not to break up the flooring too much from the hall and kitchen, and then add an area rug for softness and comfort.

4.  Fireplace - focal point
It looks like the builder did his best to make the fireplace disappear.  I think it should be a feature, and a beautiful one.  It should be the focal point of this room.  I would add stone to this area, and a big fat mantle.  Here are some inspiration pictures of how I would treat this area.

My first choice would be rock or faux stone all the way up with a mantle beam all the way across.  Something like this.
because it is off center, a more contemporary treatment works best.
I would close up the wood box - its just an awkward hole in the wall, right?
the flat screen can be slightly recessed and all the hook-ups behind it.

alternatively, we could add stone to just the bottom and paint on the top.

or stone on the bottom and some of the flooring plank behind the flat screen...
Anyway, those are some ideas to play with...

5. New sectional
I'm recommending a new sectional because I think a more squared off style works better, and also because I want it to face the other way (maybe the one you have can be moved?) so that it is more open when you walk into this room.  I like the squared off shape because it will be better against the window wall and also because we can add a sofa table to the back, which makes it more functional for the rest of the room.
putting furniture on the other side of the room, like this, to open room up

more squared off sectional (with a 90 degree corner) to fit the room better
and allow us to put a sofa table at the back for better delineation of the room

6.  Window treatments
curtains add softness and coziness to a room, even if they only frame the window.
I would have the curtains in this room be much like the living room curtains - simple panels, but I would like to hang them above the secondary windows so that they read as one unit and draw the eye up.

7.  Area rug
an area rug defines an area - it adds texture, comfort and coziness - and for all these reasons I would add one here, on top of the hard surface plank flooring.

8.  Built-in storage and desk area
The back of the room needs a purpose, and I think that we could add much needed storage for your husbands vast collection of books and dvds, etc., along with a desk for laptop or bill paying.

9.  Occasional seating and accent furniture
 Additional seating, tables, etc. can be added once the sectional size has been determined.

10. Lighting
Lamps for the sofa table and lighting at the desk as well as a couple of floor lamps or table lamps will take care of the lighting needed for this area.

11. Kitchen Opening
This side of the room needs bar stools or counter stools for this area to make it truly functional.  This will work better with the sectional along the window wall and this side more open.  We could open up the kitchen to look more like this.

I'm going to recommend a white kitchen.  
The oak is so dated, and it will feel so much larger and spacious and amazing in white.  
I'm speaking from experience here!  Haha!

You need to decide if you want to reface, repaint, or completely remodel.  
If you like the style of your cabinets and where everything is, a reface or repaint may be all that is needed.  New counter tops, new appliances (if needed), back splash, sink, etc. are obvious upgrades.  I would also recommend:
possibly raising the ceiling and getting rid of the tray effect both here and in the adjacent breakfast nook
getting a counter depth refrigerator or building the cabinet out to enclose it for a more built-in custom look
adding a ventilation hood over the range and moving the microwave to another spot

possibly removing this peninsula so that it doesn't close off the kitchen
making the bar on the other side of the sink a little deeper so that it can be used for snacking or eating
creating a breakfast nook and more cabinets in the alcove area

Recommendations for Overall Plan:
1. Paint
carry the same feel through to this room as the rest of the house

2. Flooring
hard surface plank flooring

3. New Floor plan
Possible removal of this peninsula and adding some storage in the breakfast nook.  This should be determined before the flooring is laid.

4.  New cabinets or re-face/repaint
White kitchen uppers, and lowers can be white or gray - or a combination.

5.  Upgrade appliances where needed
stainless steel

6.  New counter tops
granite or quartz

7.  Create breakfast nook
banquette seating and table
This little nook area is perfect for a built-in banquette and table
and the shape is good to add a little more storage for the kitchen here -
maybe a floor to ceiling cabinet for dishes and serve ware...
These are some examples of the type of seating I'm thinking about here.

add some storage cabinetry

8. Window treatments
Frame out the windows with trim - painted semi-gloss white

9. Backsplash
can be chosen once the counter tops have been selected.

10. Build in fridge
if a counter depth fridge is not selected, here's what I recommend
 build out the cabinet around the fridge so that it looks more built-in

11. Pendant lighting
above the sink area - over the bar
(there are some examples in the other kitchen photos to give you an idea)

13. Range hood
over the cooktop - removing the microwave
 there are many style to choose from, from set in fans
to stand alone hoods
 to hidden in cabinetry

 but all look a lot better than a microwave

14. Resituate microwave
A possible solution is to have it built in above the oven.  Many manufacturers offer these duel units.
Image result for microwave oven built in cabinet

Image result for microwave oven built in cabinet

Image result for microwave oven built in cabinet

If you feel you need two ovens, then it could be moved to the breakfast nook area and put inside a cabinet there
Image result for microwave oven built in cabinet

or in a drawer space
Image result for microwave oven built in cabinet

15. Remove tray ceiling (raise ceiling)
(provided the heating ducts are not in the way)


My goal for this area is to turn it back into a restful retreat.
A beautiful, calm oasis for sleep and relaxation.
This room has the potential to be really beautiful, and as is typical, we often leave the master bedroom dead last in our decorating efforts.  I have only just remodeled my own master bedroom and I am kicking myself for leaving it to the last, as it has become one of my favorite retreats.

The fireplace in this room is an asset and should be made a focal point.

I want to make this wall of windows a beautiful architectural feature

and as there is room for a seating area, I would to create that with an emphasis on cozy.

The bed in any bedroom should be the main feature, so I would want to make this a standout area

I would remove the bookcases to a spare bedroom or the loft and maximize the space around the bed.  This should be the focus of the room and it looks a little crowded with the bookcase. I think a little rearranging of the furniture and paring down would make this room more comfortable and inviting.

Recommendations for Overall Plan:
1. Paint
(same as for living/dining/entry)

a soft soothing lightest of gray tones

2. Flooring
new carpeting

3.  Furniture Update and bring focus back to Bed

Some of the furniture - specifically the bed and nightstands - should be updated.  A new headboard may be all that is needed for the bed, but I would change the nightstands
and either reupholster or replace the chairs so that the fabric blends with the colors of the room.

Adding mirrors above the nightstands will reflect light and bring more distinction to the wall the bed is on.
4.  Enhance fireplace focal point

I like the idea of covering the flat fireplace wall in the bedroom with tile or stone going all the way up.  It is a great way to add some contemporary architectural beauty to this room
and some color and texture.  Here are some ideas of how to do that.

I would keep the oak cabinet that houses the media components but move it a little further from the fireplace and remove the oak bookcase on the other side.  If necessary, we could include built-in shelving - but I like the clean look of the stone much better.

5.  Bedding
Update the bedding to include a more layered look and additional pillows.  I know men hate them, but they keep a bed from looking too flat.

6.  Area rug
A smaller area rug (maybe 5x7?) can define the seating area, so that it doesn't feel like we just stuck a couple of chairs in here randomly.

7. Accent chairs/accent furniture
The chairs you have - if you are very attached to them - can be reupholstered.  Probably for the same amount of $$ you could purchase new chairs that would coordinate with the colors and style of the room.  In addition, a small table between them could be added, and a bench at the end of the bed would be a good defining structure and a good place to put on shoes or fold back extra covers.  I always like to have a bench if there is room.   More substantial matching bedside lamps (current ones seem a little undersized for the bed) are something I would also add.

8.  Move bookcases to an extra bedroom
I already mentioned this, but I think we need to remove some of the furniture from this room, I know you have a full house right now, but hopefully we will find room in one of the other bedrooms.

9. Add attractive artwork
An art or photograph installation over the bed will bring more prominence to that area.

10.  Curtains
The blinds are functional, but the windows need some fabric to soften the edges and draw the eye.  As with the living room and family room areas, these should be simple, light and textured rather than patterned.

11. Decorative window trim
The wall of windows in this room can be trimmed out to create a very beautiful feature.
Nice wide trim on the windows, painted with white semi-gloss, will create an outstanding architectural feature.


Recommendations for Overall Plan:

1. Paint
(same as master bedroom)

2. Flooring
new hard surface plank flooring

3. Vanity
If the unit is in good condition and you want to keep it, I would recommend painting the oak to update and redoing the counter-top and back-splash.  In addition, I would replace the mirror with individual mirrors over the sinks and add hardware to the drawers and cabinet doors.
 The sinks will also need to be replaced and new faucets added.

Behind the mirrors I would take the back-splash tile up to the windows and fill the space from wall to wall.   Sconces can be added here to throw more light onto the face - and they would add beauty and light to the sink area.

 The paint for the actual vanity should be light - a white or off-white - or light gray would look especially nice with the new flooring.

4. New tile
5.  Frame-less glass shower enclosure
I'm combining these because the pictures speak to both areas.  The tile should be complimentary to the backsplash tile - and I would completely open up the shower area and add the frameless glass enclosure.  The effect that has is making the shower and tub area feel much bigger and open, and also it allows you to see all that beautiful new tile with no barriers.

6. New fixtures
As our homes age there are often problems going on behind the walls in the plumbing that can cause nightmares down the road.
Since we are ripping out tile anyway, its the perfect time to check those pipes and make sure everything is looking good - and replace the shower fixtures and the tub faucet, etc.

7.  New toilet
self explanatory

8.  Storage over toilet
A storage cabinet, with less depth and doors to contain clutter for this toilet area.
Same finish/color as the vanity.

I will be excited to hear what you think of the recommendations thus far.  I will add more detail and help you with specific choices on paint color, tile, fixtures, etc. as you move forward.  Let me know what you want to tackle first, and what things you may want to change or revisit in the recommendations.

Best wishes,
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