Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Through Door Number Two

You may recall the "two-for-one" bathrooms we worked on earlier this year. Well, here are some pictures of bathroom number two, done simultaneously with the one pictured last week. Same sort of layout...awkward, cramped space with outdated fixtures and finishes. An interior closet, next to a closet opening from the hallway, were taking valuable floor space from this tiny bathroom.

This photo shows the closet from the hallway, once the doors were removed during demolition. This is ultimately where the bathroom entry door will go.

Next week, I'll start to reveal the solutions used to maximize the new bathrooms for function and aesthetics!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Old and Tired

Early last year, two of our friends decided it was finally time to do the bathroom renovations they had been talking about for years. I had done some drawings of what I thought would work in the new spaces, and it was time to get off the mark. Yes, I know it's crazy, but they decided to redo both of the bathrooms at the same time. From financial and logistical standpoints, it made sense...but I'm not sure they knew exactly what would be in store. They did survive it all though, and are still raving about the difference the new bathrooms make in their daily lives!

Here are some before pictures.

This is one of the two bathrooms. In this one, aside from the dated and "scabbed together" tile, the space was cramped to the point that the bathroom door banged into the toilet when it was opened. The challenge was to squeeze every square inch of the space into something more attractive and more functional. We couldn't change the footprint due to the layout of the house, so it took some careful planning to open up their bathroom spaces and still maintain approximately the same amount of storage that they started with.

The solution entailed moving plumbing and electrical, both bathroom doors (one to a different wall, and one just a few inches "to the right".) The demolition uncovered some surprises, and some predicted situations. I can wow you (or scare you!!) with some of the "during" photos in days to come.

By the way...Happiest of Holidays to you all. We'll catch up next week!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Next Challenge

Here is my next challenge at our European Chic home.

The owner has never been happy with the original fireplace detailing. It was pretty much bungalow-standard. He re-built a mantel, and painted the brick, but knows that it is still a project for help.

I actually love the idea of the ornately framed mirror in front of the fire-box opening. But I intend to do a plan that will re-face the entire fireplace, covering the brick, and a new deeper mantel, simply trimmed with mouldings that will add richness and elegance to make the fireplace fit better in this wonderful room. Will keep you in the design loop!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All In A Day's Work...(Well, Maybe A Few Days)

We saw some pictures of this wonderful home last week. Well, this owner is a type-A over-acheaver, and really gets his homework done! We spent some time picking out new paint colors, and a few days later, the first room painting was almost complete! Here are the results.

Here's the before.

And the new paint colors.

These rich, dark colors really bring due attention to the museum-quality furnishings. As we move through the rooms and add new paint colors to the walls, trims and ceilings, we'll work in this same color family, though the other rooms will start to lighten up the pallette.

I have termed the decorating style in this home "European Chic". It makes me think of the Literary Salons I've read about. This is one I'd love to be a part of!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blinded By The Light

A really fun homeowner has asked me to help her and her husband bring some warmth and personality to their master bedroom/ bathroom suite. As you can see from these pictures, they have the luxury of a huge space, with lots of light. You might almost say, too much space, and too much light!

They like the brightness of the room, but currently have no way to bring the light level down during the day. And the light walls and ceiling, and broad, uncovered expanse of flooring aren't helping with the intimate feel they would like for the bedroom.

We started by going over a list of what they would like to change in the rooms...then talked budget. Together, we soon realized that the $$ were going to run out long before the last item on the list was accomplished! But that doesn't mean that we couldn't make significant changes to make the room more warm and relaxing, and still stay within the dollar amount they'd like to spend for now. As they say, "The Way To Do Things Is To Begin", right?

So we pared the list down and came up with priorities that would make immediate and meaningful impact. At the top of our list are mouldings. A heavy crown mould will be added into the junction to the tray ceiling, which will dress the space up and actually bring attention to the fact that there is a detail in the ceiling. We also plan to trim out the arch opening into the master bath, and soften the curve of ths opening at the top.

Once trims have been installed, darker paint colors will go up to make the space feel cozier, and add personality. Here you see paint samples being tested.

We've ordered 3" louvered shutters for the windows and French doors, and we have samples of beautiful fabrics to consider for fixed side-panels on the windows. While this is going on, we're gathering bids for a built-in cabinet to surround the flat-screen TV and accommodate the electronics equipment, and furniture shopping has started. With careful consideration and shopping, we're going to end up with a whole new room!

I'll show more as the project develops!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It Is An Honor

Each and every time a new client asks us to help with a design project in their home, it is truly an honor. To place that kind of trust with us-a trust that we can turn their own home into a more comfortable and enjoyable space-is ever reassuring as designers.

I recently received a request to come into a home to help with some design aspects that were stumping the owner. Well, what a pleasure to step into this charming bungalow, and find it filled with exquisite furniture and art...each piece more wonderful than the last. This collection of finery had been accumulated over years, and is continually added to. The stumbling block was "putting it together".

This is exciting to me! We began by talking about what they liked about the space and furnishings, and what they felt wasn't working. That allowed me to lead the design in a direction that I believe will really finish off the space beautifully.

We're starting with some careful editing. (The homeowner loves each and every piece-with good right-and they like the fullness.) For instance, in the first photograph above, you see a fantastic large mirror, and a beautiful console table flanked by the quirky little side chairs. Unfortunately, because they're all spread out on the wall you don't get focus on anything. I suggested hanging the mirror above the table, removing what is on the other side and pushing the two chairs a little closer to the console. The design should be all about creating vignettes. Well, a couple of days later when I went back for color consultation, the moves had been made and it looked great!

I'll be posting more before and after pictures as the work progresses and new color goes up on the walls. You'll enjoy following this project along!

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Holiday Decorating

A few years ago, I watched a Martha Stewart episode where she was making a holiday wreath out of dozens of multi-colored glass balls. Well, let's just say that I am a huge fan of Martha's, but she can still crack me up. (Hey, maybe that's intentional...hmmmm.)

Anyway, she is just hot-gluing more and more of these glass balls on this wreath form, and very casually she looks up. The camera zooms in, and she says, "...and just when you think you've done enough, do a whole lot more!" Geez, it still makes me laugh! (By the way, her wreaths were predictably beautiful!)

Well, we take her advice to heart every year when we decorate our own mantle for the holidays.

This idea at our house sort of grew out of a bunch of extra things we had left after decorating the rest of the house. And of course, as only we know how to do, we began adding to the collection. The great thing is, really none of the items used were expensive. What I think makes it work is that there is a unifying factor...in this case, color and well, glitter! The trick is, when you mass things in this fashion, it really makes an impact.

So this year, why not try something different, pull out some of your neglected holiday trinkets and see what you come up with. We'd love for you to share your pictures and let us show our readers. Email them to info@intspacesinc.com

And just remember, you just can't do enough. Gosh, it just doesn't work the same way when I say it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Spirit

In the true spirit of the holidays, I thought it would be fun to share with you a couple of decorating ideas from our own home. Several years ago we started a "themed" tree in our living room for Christmas. We found a perfect sized tree-no small feat considering the size of our living room!-and decorate the tree in golds, silvers and crystal. We love it, and think it's perfect in the room. But...

Now, what do you do with all the fun, traditional ornaments you've been collecting? We found a great solution! We took a couple of inexpensive artificial wreaths, and started attaching the ornament collection to them. Now, each year we slip the glass shades off of our pendant lights in the kitchen, and gently settle each ornament filled wreath down onto the shade, then carefully reattach the shades to the light hardware.

It's great fun to be able to enjoy these at every meal through the holiday season, and remember where we might have gotten them, or who gave them to us. We add to it each year with an ornament or two from places we travel to.

Here are a few just added this year.

From our favorite vacation spot, Ogunquit, Maine.

We bought this one at Grand Central Station in New York City last New Years.

This hummingbird came from the wonderful gift shop at the New York Botanical Gardens.

When it's time to put these away for the year, we lay each wreath flat on a piece of cardboard, wrap many of the fragile ornaments in tissue paper and wrap the entire wreath and cardboard in stretch wrap. Ready to unwrap and put up again next year!

Hey, send us pictures of your own neat holiday ideas! info@intspacesinc.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

How Does It All Work?

The majority of our current projects are actually in the drawing stages right now. Unfortunately, not that interesting for photographs yet. But we are often asked by potential clients, "Just how does the process work?" I thought it would be a great opportunity to explain what's involved in the design process when you work with Interior Spaces on your design project.

Initially, we meet with the clients to find out the scope of the project. Sometimes it's a simple renovation, and often it's a complex scheme to sensitively combine existing rooms into a more beautiful and usable plan. We often work with the homeowner, architect or designer to help use every square inch of space to the absolute maximum benefit. That's our specialty, and what Chip is best known for.

Once we have a sense of the client's desires and dreams for the space, we prepare what is called an "as-built" plan. This is a plan of the space as it exists currently, and is necessary to show us dimensions, wall placements, ceiling heights, etc. Occasionally at this point a contractor is also brought in to confirm the practicality of "removing this wall", for instance. There is seldom a renovation that "can't" be done, but occasionally there may be a structural element that would make a desired plan cost-prohibitive. Better to know that now rather than after a plan is presented!

Then the project hits the drawing table in earnest. Chip starts manipulating the floor plan to make design sense of what may not be working currently, or Missy begins drawing potential exterior treatments to show how to appropriately add an addition to the existing structure. There is much to be considered here, and this is where the years of experience that Interior Spaces brings serves the client well. This part of the process may result in multiple design ideas. We make sure we keep working at this part of the process until the client is thoroughly satisfied that the plan meets their desires and needs.

This is a typical example of a re-designed floor plan for a new kitchen and surrounding rooms.

This is a sketch that Chip likes to produce to "bring the project to life" for the client. The 3-dimensional view gives them a good idea of the finished design aesthetic he hopes to achieve in the new space.

Once all of the above have been reviewed and accepted by the client, elevations for each interior or exterior wall are drawn to show the contractor, cabinet shop, builder, etc. exactly what we want the finished project to look like. This is a sample elevation of one wall from a past project. Notice the signature "Vogel" clock above the sink!

Occasionally, engineering plans are required if major structural changes are to be part of the design. All of these plans are then reviewed with the contractor or builder. Most clients involve us during the building process in order to insure the design goals are met. And we often assist clients in the choosing of flooring, counter tops, appliances, finishes, etc.

All-in-all, it's an exciting process, and as you can see one that should be approached with an educated and prepared team at your side!

Now, what questions can I answer?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lien On Me

Those of you who've been following this blog for a while probably discerned that I wasn't all that happy with our contractor during the construction process of our new studio space. But you know, the project gets finished--or almost finished anyway--you're happy with the new space and you figure you can all part friends.

Well, recently we had a lien put on our property from a company that had supplied building materials to our contractor. Ouch! I mean, come on! I thought it was all over and done with.

I expect that most of you are more knowledgeable than I was about this sort of thing...but there could be some out there that this advice will help.

In our contract it was very clearly spelled out at what stages we would be billed, and for how much. The contract even said that we could request Lien Releases during the process. Stupidly, I didn't know what that meant. I also made the mistake of thinking that since we had worked with our contractor on multiple projects, and we refer clients to him, he would treat us ethically and professionally. Well, the joke is on me, but I don't think it's all that funny!

PLEASE review your construction contract carefully on any renovation project. Be sure it states that you can request Partial Lien Releases (and ultimately Final Lien Releases) from all sub-contractors and suppliers. Watch what materials your contractor is bringing in, and what subs so that you know who and what to request these Lien Releases for. And it's not a bad idea to double-check with the subs to make sure they actually provided the Releases. You should not make the next payment to the contractor until you receive these Releases. They show you that he is actually paying for what he's providing to you. If you have questions or don't understand the language of the contract, ask an attorney to review it with you, or a neighbor or friend who has had experience with that sort of contract.

I hope you won't make the same mistakes we did, and if you know someone considering a remodel, I hope you'll send this advice along. Most contractors are going to do the right things to protect their reputations and licenses, of course. But a little more education on the front-end of the process can go a long way.

Hey, for those who knew all this, where were you when I needed you 7 months ago? Oh well...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just When You Think It Can't Get Better

These are some exterior photos of our recent project. You saw the gardens in previous postings, so here are pictures of the upstairs and downstairs porches that view and lead into the rear garden. Just enough color to bring the design to life, without wearing you out.

I really love this! There are a pair of these beautiful sconces that hold a series of votive candles behind the metal leaves. The way they were hung really brings your eye to the great arch treatment in the brickwork surrounding the French doors and lights above.

These are two upstairs views. Designer Connie DeGood did a terrific job here, both in doing inviting furniture placement, and delightful vignettes to keep it interesting!

Fully finished kitchen photos will follow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Don't You Call?

We realize that many of you might not be ready to tackle the kind of extensive renovation projects that we've been looking at. But I also expect that many of you have questions about specific areas of your homes that you would like help with. Things like:

Would a different color give this room the feeling we're trying for?
How could I rearrange this furniture to give the room a better traffic pattern?
Is there a way to add trim to my existing windows and doors to make them look better?
Are there any "quick-fixes" that I can do in my garden to spruce it up?

Well, Interior Spaces doesn't just do major renovation design. We also offer design consultation on an hourly rate.

We can meet you in your home and offer advice on color, trim, furnishings...almost anything in the design realm! We can often give lots of tips and suggestions in as little as one hour.

Call us to schedule an appointment. (813) 251-8862
This could make a terrific Holiday gift!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It Just Gets Better

This week we'll look at more completed pictures of one of our recent projects. As you move through the house from front door, through the large open hallway to the rear of the house, the feeling goes from slightly more formal to relaxed and comfortable. But believe me, I could be pretty comfortable in any room of this home!

This is the view when you walk in the side door from the porte-cochere. A beautiful view to walk into!

More pictures-including finished kitchen-to come.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Can We Help

Don't forget, if you have a question about a design challenge you're facing, please email it to us along with some information about the problem. We'll see if we can offer any advice that might help you over the hump.

You know the drill...operators are standing by! Sorta...
Send to: info@intspacesinc.com

Friday, November 13, 2009

And Then There Were...Part II

More photos of our recently completed project. Did I mention a wonderful art collection?

These homeowners have put together an eclectic collection of art through the years...pieces that are by well-known artists as well as pieces that may have been done by artist-acquaintances, and therefore hold an extra-special meaning for them. I remember walking through the home when it was all put together, and each piece of art just made me feel so happy! That is a great reason to hang wonderful things in your home.
Don't worry...there's more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And Then There Were Furnishings

We've watched this project through the reconstruction phases, and now it's time to take a look at the end results!

You'll remember from past postings about this project that the renovation here was done by "remote". The homeowners were up north during the process, making the occasional visit to check on progress. When work was almost complete, they had a truck loaded with their furniture and accessories, loaded up the dogs in their car, and made their way to Tampa. Their wonderful designer, Connie DeGood of Chagrin Falls, Ohio flew down to help make it all happen. Connie has worked with these homeowners for years on several other homes, and knows their furnishings--and taste--well. I happened to see the house one Friday, empty, and was invited to a dinner party there the following Friday. Well, this is what I had the great opportunity to walk into!

These are the views just inside the front door! Inviting entry hallway, formal dining room and living room. And this is just a taste of their wonderful art collection.

I see this home as a tribute to many things, but especially a good design and build team. Yes, I know...you're worried that I may have broken an arm patting myself on the back. (And after that rotator cuff surgery, believe me it could happen!!) But seriously, we hope that this project is an indicator of why designers are important in a renovation project. (And besides, I'm administrative here. I'm really patting the team on the back!)

A good designer starts by working very closely with the homeowners to discern their desires, their tastes and needs. An even better designer will also anticipate needs that the homeowner may not mention, and design accordingly. That comes from experience. A good builder then takes the project through the next phases, and an even better builder will consult with the designer to make sure that the design is executed precisely according to the plans.

Then, with the aid of a wonderful designer like Connie, the final layer is applied to bring the space to life. Furnishings, lighting, art...these are what make a house a home, in my opinion. So, welcome to your new home!

Have I whet your appetite? More pictures to follow.