Category Archives: CASE STUDY

THE DOUBLE DUTY ROOM

PROBLEM: The client has recently renovated a room (new floors/walls/lights) that needs to serve double duty. The space will become a cross between a home office, bar, and entertaining space. The requests were as follows:

1. Plenty of storage for books, papers, and various other elements.

2. A desk that doesn’t look like a desk. It should be on the tall side so one could pull a stool up to it and feel like you’re at a bar. Hence no desk chair as one would normally think. This high desk/bar should also allow people, when seated, to look out through the back windows and enjoy the view.

3. The room should easily be able to transition from work space to entertainment space.

So this is what I’ve come up with…

THE BEFORE:

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THE SOLUTION, AFTER:

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A few things to highlight are: The red credenza. This aged deep red cabinet will serve as both an anchor to the room and as easily accessible storage. Adding a large black and white photograph in a gold frame compliments this deep red color instantly adding richness to the room. The two white book cases that flank the cabinet are perfect for storing and displaying just about anything and have tons of space. The two leather club chairs and small red and black cocktail table give this room some comfort and help it feel much more relaxed than any office would ever feel. The gray chevron patterned rug adds a strong contrast to the warm but heavy colored hardwood flooring and immediately brings a sense of lightness to the room. The desk against the back windows is tall and narrow, in fact it would be considered more of a sofa table that I’ve repurposed to serve in this space. The tall height means you can stand and work, or sit in the old-school draftsman stools and have a cocktail or two. The clients already had a vintage wooden refrigerator that was easily incorporated into the space and can serve as additional storage. The two gold starburst mirrors on either side of the desk/bar help to accentuate the warm tones throughout, as well as adding addition reflective light to the room. And finally a pair of dark drapes not only contrast the warm tones of the various woods in the room, but they also serve the practical purpose of blocking out any unwanted light while you are working.

And here is some additional info on some of the pieces used in this redo:

WHITE SHELVING UNIT, from West Elm, $899

RED AND BLACK COCKTAIL TABLE, from Pier One, $80

LEATHER CLUB CHAIRS, from Homeware, $559

CHEVRON RUG, from Pottery Barn Kids, $499

RED CABINET/CONSOLE, from Pottery Barn, $1,099

RUSTIC STORAGE DESK, from West Elm, $499

 

CASE STUDY – MUSIC ROOM

PROBLEM: How do you fit a baby grand piano, two accent chairs, a side table, a floor lamp, an area rug, and accessories all in a 12 X 14 room? I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna figure it out.

The client wants the room to be elegant, but simple, with clean lines. There’s not a lot of space to work with, in fact the room really only has two walls. The third wall is mostly windows and the fourth ‘wall’ is actually the archway to enter the room. Making things even more difficult is the fact that there will be a baby grand piano occupying most of the 168 sq feet.

SOLUTION: So what does one do when space is this limited? The answer is scale down. People have a tendency today to buy oversized furniture far too often. Part of the problem is that when we shop for furniture we usually see it in a giant store the size of a warehouse. Only when the pieces are delivered to our 12 X 14 rooms do we realize our eyes were bigger than our floor plans! We end up with giant sofas and enormous coffee tables that make it so we can’t even walk into the room anymore. So the plan with this room will be to make sure the items we place in it are the right size. Take a look at the sketch below which illustrates what sort of furniture and decor we should be aiming for as a guide. Also, as a bonus all the items you see (except for the Steinway piano and Benjamin Moore paint) are available from Overstock.com. One stop shopping, you can’t beat that!

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Here’s what’s what:

A. Bottoms up! We might as well start with the foundation. There will be hardwood flooring in this room which is a big plus for any room to start with. However, we need to give the room a little softening up, and one of the best ways to do that is with this gold Metropolis area rug. The rug isn’t meant to occupy the whole room, but rather to go under the seating area we are creating. It has a timeless Moroccan pattern and is a steal at $150.

B. The baby grand! Pianos can sometimes be a nightmare to work around, especially if you find yourself having to move it one too many times. On the flip side, they do provide a sense of classicism to a home as well as fill it with wonderful sounds, hopefully. If nothing else pianos can act as big shelves to display your curios!

C. Paint in the Butt. One of the hardest things to figure out in any room is what color to paint the walls. The client said she wanted a white with slate gray scheme. My suggestion is this palette from Benjamin Moore. The lighter gray called silver spring has just enough of that hint of slate blue but still keeps a very neutral tone. Match that with the much lighter steam color and you have a great base to start building your room.

D. Light it up! This Nova Lighting tripod floor lamp will make a great addition to the corner slightly behind the seating area. It should provide enough light for reading or just sitting back and listening to the music. It’s a bit pricier than I would like at $284, but still within reach. You might be able to find a cheaper version that looks very similar, so do your research before you buy.

E and F. Travel in pairs. Here are a couple of somewhat matching black vases that can be added to the room, be it on the side table, or perhaps on a corner shelf. The taller Tung Chi vase is 14″ tall while the shorter Jar is 12″ tall. Both cost $63 each.

G. Have a seat. These accent chairs are a great size for a smaller more crowded space. The Safavieh Noho Lounge Chair is about 30″ high X 30″ wide and 25″ deep and costs only $228 each. Buy two of them to create a nice seating area while saving on space AND money! These chairs have very simple lines. The fact that they are armless will help give the room a sense of having even more space. The white piping and buttons are a great touch that adds some contrast the the gray fabric.

H. Table time. I really like this gold table. Gold is in again so don’t be afraid to use it. This great little side table is also made by Safavieh and sells for only $130. It’s about 20″ high X 17″ wide and 12″ deep. This is a perfect size for a small vase, a cup of coffee, or just a place to rest your book. The top is actually mirrored so it will reflect a lot of light brightening up the room even more. The elegant gold color of the table against the gray side chairs and wall will compliment each other nicely. The lines in this table are as clean and sharp as they come. The straight verticals and horizontals will be a good contrast to the curved line of the side chairs.

I. Soften with Color. While I think the chairs may be great by themselves, you may find that they need a little more cushion. My suggestion is to add a pop of color with this set of two pillows made by Key Lipstick which sell for $70. The rich, deep, red color add a bit of luxury and elegance to the room, while the gold embroidery helps pick up the warmth from the rug and side table.

Case Study

PROBLEM: A living room that gets very little light and is currently occupied with oversized furniture, and walls that are too dark.

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SOLUTION: Start by choosing brighter wall colors. A buttery beige on the two side walls is accented by a cooler, yet still light, slate color on the back wall. A lighter toned bamboo shade is added for some privacy while still letting a fair amount of light in. A smaller and brighter sofa and love seat take over where the oversized green microfiber left off. A retro-modern ottoman serves as both coffee table and storage space and adds a rich aqua color to the center of the room, drawing your eyes in away from the dark corners. Two white side tables that flank the sofa are narrow enough to fit in the tight space, but open enough on the bottom so as not to feel heavy. A black and white photograph on a brighter wall always adds great contrast while the orange chevron pillows add the final pop of color that was needed.

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