Kitchen Makeover

Thanks for stopping by to learn all about this beautiful, fun and casual kitchen renovation we worked on last winter. 


Our client is a hip young physician who lives in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. She came to us with a cramped, dreary kitchen that was lacking storage, function, style and OMG a dishwasher!! 

Check out the before below.... please take note of the fridge location, electrial work, cabinet hardware and oven placement ??!!?!??!!


You see I would definitely classify this as dated and frankly not user friendly at all. So we sat down with our client to see how we could help solve all of her kitchen woes.

She said she wanted a fresh, bright new kitchen that was functional, comfortable and casual. Nothing too glam or modern.  We agreed to stay true to the age and architecture of the home. It was actually built in the 1940's and when you enter her home the vestibule has the original mosaic tile floor and the staircase has all of the original detailed mill work. Truly amazing (sorry no pics).  

So here's what the kitchen looks like now! An epic improvement.


We selected cabinets painted in Mt. Etna from Sherwin Williams. We added brushed brass hardware and a new porcelain apron sink. The counter tops are quartz and the floor is a pretty gray stone tile.

We added new recessed lighting and sconces above the open shelves. There had only been fluorescent lighting before --eeeek!

My client's contractor and friend fabricated the live edge shelves for her. So cool and right up her alley. Oh and most importantly we switched the layout around and added an 18 inch dishwasher next to the sink.  We moved the fridge to the other side of the room and widened the door casing as well.

There was unused space opposite the oven too narrow to add full size cabinetry so we added 15 inch wide cabinets and our client is using it as a server/buffet/coffee station.  Her contractor had to remove the old radiator that was there and add a smaller one --no small feat. Those things weigh a ton. 

I think something suddenly came up that day and I wasn't there for that.

My client actually had to go to a local salvage yard to find a radiator that would work.

We also added woven blinds for warmth and texture and a fun over-dyed blue rug.


There you have it small but packed with function, style and lots of personality!

Thanks so much NR and KB! Such a fun project!

Flowers are from my client's favorite flower shop in Philadelphia you can find more info on instagram @ashnearth

Photography:Kyle Born Photography

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Before and After: Creating a Cozy and Colorful Library

Fall has arrived! And since the cold air is here to stay I find there are rooms in my home I tend to gravitate to that feel warm and cozy. Do you have one of those spaces in your home? With a fireplace, lots of furry throws and cozy sofas?

Our firm worked on a gorgeous stately old home last winter to create a warm and cozy library space for our clients to entertain and binge watch their favorite netflix series! My new fave series is the Stranger Things btw:)

 If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few sneak peaks of this space last winter. 


Here is the picture of the library before we started.

library before.jpg

It certainly was RED and filled with Gone with the Wind type draperies!

But how about that gorgeous window?? 

The bones of this room are so stunning. So we really wanted to create a cozy space for our owner's young family to relax but also make it fun and infuse lots of color. So here is the finished space...


In this corner of the room we added a camel colored leather chair from LEE industries and draperies with a beautiful leading edge trim from Samuel and Son. The entire room is wrapped  in a textured wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries and the trim and ceiling are painted in a coordinating paint color. We also added gorgeous sconces from the Aerin collection from Visual Comfort and a vintage rug layered over a larger textured area rug.


This cozy swivel chair is covered in this fabulous antelope fabric and is also from LEE industries. 


Here's a great shot of the whole space ... you can get the sense of how cozy and warm this room feels!


Here's a close up of that beautiful vintage rug.


Can you ever have too much texture? I think not!

And across the way we revamped a small vestibule area to coordinate with the library room.


So what do you think? Did we give our clients a warm and cozy space infused with lots of color and personality?

All photography by Kyle Borne Photography, ballet flats provided by our team member Caroline Roberts! Thanks to my team Ashley Bassett and Caroline Roberts for all of your help!

I'd also like to send lots of love to these clients I've designed just about every room in their old home and we are now working our way through their beautiful new home. They're the best clients because they are super kind and trusting. They let us do our thing WHICH always provides the best outcome in design! Thanks for listening!! xo

Thanks for reading! xo


Before and After - A Beach House Refresh in the OC!

Don't fall over ... I'm writing another blog post.

My team and I worked all winter on my good friend and client's beach house to give it a fun, beachy laid-back feel. And by team I mean my clients, my crew of Drexel U interns and Ashley my extremely talented design assistant not sure it would have turned out as fabulous if it weren't for them! Yay team!

The goal for this project was to make our client's home a place where they could escape to on the weekends and hang out with friends, family and loads of cousins! It had to be beautiful and fresh as well as durable and functional for large family get-togethers!

So here's the first space we'll chat about...


Here's the before.

franklinbefore 005.PNG

Now they hadn't updated in awhile and they needed new everything. Keep in mind this family doesn't let a lot of grass grow under their feet. They travel all the time to fun and fabulous places. But the OC in the summer is one of their favorite and most special places because it means spending quality time with their family during summer break.

They also knew it was time for a whole house refresh so we started in the kitchen by refacing the cabinetry and updating the eating area with statement lighting, parsons table and new chairs. We also wanted to change out the window treatment so we added this little number with a fringe along the bottom. The fabric and light are a match made in heaven:)


Here are some more detail shots of the dining area...


We updated every corner of this house including the seating and TV-watching areas. This next little nook needed some help. The chair and table were too far from the TV/fireplace and conversation area. We decided to scrap the whole chair and table thing in favor of a swing chair instead and hung it closer to the TV/conversation/seating area.

Here is what it looks like now


We added the swing to give the kids something new to fight over... just kidding!!! But seriously it's super comfortable and the best seat in the whole house. 

Opposite the swing chair we added a sofa and this is where my pics get a little scarce so I'll have to write a part 2 to this post. But here's the spot before.

And here's the progress shot minus the cool teak table we added.

franklinbefore 003.PNG

The sofa is from LEE industries and has a  super fab driftwood base and crypton fabric which is the only fabric I'll specify for a house full of rowdy beach kids. The navy pillow is a custom fabric from Kravet but the fringe pillow is from Target and was bought to tie in the fringe from the window treatment.

Here's a peek at the teak table we sourced.

That's all I have for now! I'll be back with more pictures of this beach house!

Happy Summer!

Thanks for reading xoxox

Details of A Beach Bungalow Before and After

Here's a fun project our firm worked on last summer. It's a beach bungalow that was built in the early 70's.

skdwholehous42nd_street_overview_01 (1).jpg

This is what the kitchen and dining room looked like before.

We decided to remove the center door and take the cabinetry all along the back wall. Now I hate to remove any natural light source from a space but we needed the storage and I knew it would be a great focal point to have open shelving, additional cabinetry and a fabulous dining space as a focal point. Here's what we did....


We removed the soffits, old cabinetry and appliances and purchased new cabinets and appliances. We also removed a wall on the side of the kitchen because it would make the space feel bigger and much brighter.  

We wanted to add more natural light to the space so we replaced this window with a sliding glass door.

We also added new flooring removed the paneling and replaced it with drywall. Now that I think about it... it was a pretty big job. Ha!

Here is the after again!


Here is the entire back wall.


And don't worry area rug and white slip covered chairs are indoor/outdoor. This house was designed and decorated for FUN and summer memories! 

And here is the living area opposite the kitchen with adorable Casey enjoying the dog days of summer!


Thanks for reading! P.S.This whole renovation was designed by moi and was very stressful but lots of fun!!:) All Photography by Kyle Borne Photography.


How To Curate A Fabulous Library For Your Home

So....we are making some serious progress at our Villanova project.

Our goal was to reinvent a rarely used study into a fabulous library for adults to gather, converse and have cocktails.

Here is where our story begins...

We have a Category 5 "redrum" situation to borrow a line from the scary boy in the Shining.

 It's not that I don't like red I LOVE red --- just not this red. I've used red here and loved how it popped the whole entry.

And let's not overlook the Gone With the Wind draperies -- beautifully executed at the time but just outdated for my young hip family.

Here is where we are going...

We have applied a Phillip Jeffries teal grasscloth on the walls and behind the bookcase. We painted all the trim and the ceiling Lakeshore Blue by Sherman Williams. We've added a rich camel leather wing chair from Lee Industries. Excuse the gym clothes here but I was coming from a muddy construction site too and we really needed to contemplate how we're going to approach the carpet (and wait to you see!:)

And WOW!!! How about that window?!!!

They just don't make them like this anymore! We'll be adding beautiful draperies to frame this floor to ceiling window and sconces from the Aerin collection by Visual Comfort on either side of the window.

Next up... this fabulous sleek chair covered in an antelope fabric from Lee Industries.

One more look ----

And take a gander at what's happening across the hall! A gorgeous office space for my beautiful and stylish client.

Come back soon to see the lighting and carpet choices... can't wait to show you!

Design Bits and Pieces

I'm writing this on a foggy, dreary Sunday morning wondering why my ancestors didn't settle somewhere sunny, bright and warm all year round. Have you ever wondered that?

I once took a trip to Ellis Island with my son's school and found the ship's manifest of my great grandfather (Umberto) who was the FIRST passenger listed on the ships beautifully hand-written manifest (I picture him aggressively elbowing his way to the front of the line:). It said he was 17 years of age and had $11 in his pocket. It also stated he was coming to America to visit his cousins in Philadelphia.  

And there he stayed.

So here I am..

I've lived in Florida and it was such a great outdoor life (LOVED IT) but friends and family keep us here so we'll mange through these dreary winter months knowing spring is right around the corner and so is my trip down south next month:))

So back to biz my friends.

We just received delivery of this gorgeous table which the whole entrance to a beach house will be based on.


It really speaks to the old saying buy what you love and it will always work. This is the perfect example of that. We love selecting pieces like this and then building an entire room around it. It's our job to select the star of the room and know what to pair it with. That's where clients get stuck and where we can really help them. We're always striving for our rooms to feel unique to the family and not feel like the retail chain, big box store or boutique store. We love picking pieces that reflect client's taste in this case it's a young vibrant and super fun couple.

Ashley, Taylor (my new team) and I are getting ready to photograph this room.

It's a large dining room with a custom marble table, Robert Abbey bling chandelier, Phillip Jeffries wall covering and upholstered chairs.

Here's a tip -- if you want to make your dining room more functional use upholstered chairs in a contract fabric like we did here. Make sure they're comfortable and durable if you have kids. I find if your chairs are comfortable to sit in you will use the dining room more for homework, work, paying bills, etc. I like my rooms usable and not museum-like! I hate having rooms no one uses don't you?  Love these chairs by the way they are Italian and they are vintage (Umberto would be proud). 

Moving on..

When clients sign on to work with my firm we have them send inspiration pictures and images. In this client's case, there was one common thread throughout all of their images which was --high contrast elements. Black and white/navy and white, etc. so we incorporated high contrast elements in our design plan.  Here's an example of that ... white cabinetry paired with back tile.


We're adding custom mirrors in a black frame to tie in the floor. And super cool sconces  in aged iron from Currey and Co. We're debating on shutters  vs. woven blinds (my fave- they will add texture and a hint of color) So stay tuned.

A great exercise before beginning any design/decorating plan is to look at items you have pinned or rooms you love and see if there is a common theme... I bet there is:) So when your purchasing items for your space keep those common elements top of mind.

That's it for now!

Thanks for reading!! xoxox





A look back and a PEEK into the future

Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays! I'm just coming out of my Christmas fog and getting ready for a fun New Year's Eve. 2016 was a crazy busy and fun year. We expanded our design team by hiring Ashley my super talented design assistant and two amazing interior design interns Taylor and Madeline both from Drexel University. 

They've been brought on board to help me manage the business side and the many details that go along with running a  business so I can focus more on the big picture of designing beautiful spaces and less time on the paperwork. Yay for me! They've also brought their unique take on interiors and design aesthetic which I love to nurture and see grow.

Looking back to summer --here's a little slice of a fun beach project we worked on... not the best pictures (iphone) but we tried!

 Wallpaper Schumacher, Sink from Ferguson, Kohler faucet

Wallpaper Schumacher, Sink from Ferguson, Kohler faucet

Another view so you can see the black penny tile.

BEFORE ---This is where we started. Definitely a MAJOR improvement. Major.


We moved the commode over to the left so when you open the door you see the fabulous sink, crazy good schumacher wallpaper, mirror and light. It's the cutest little powder room. My client and I decided we need to keep the door open all the time so we can enjoy the view. When doing a renovation or decorating project always keep in mind the focal wall or visual when you open the door or first walk into a room -- that space or area you first lay your eyes on should have the most impact!

We also worked on this home's family room, laundry room, master bedroom and master bath which I'll share at some point now that I'm able to blog more thanks to my top-notch design staff:) So keep checking back!

Next up is a large renovation we have been working on for over six months. It's a peek into what you'll see from us in 2017.  Here's the before of the home's kitchen.


Not good or functional.

Here is where we are now-- obviously a total gut on the kitchen and custom kitchen was designed.

Another view

Beautiful banquette

This is where we are so far-- the lighting still needs to be installed and finishing details will be coming soon. Loved working on this project from beginning to end and watching it unfold over the last few months. Every site visit was more amazing than the last. And take a close look at these floors ...a dark walnut stain was applied to white oak character grade hardwoods. Stunning! And the best part of this project? These clients could not be nicer and the architect and builder on this project are the best around. Extremely talented, hard working and respectful.

That's it for now --- keep coming back for more before and after pictures of projects my team and I are working on!

Thanks to all of the wonderful clients I worked with this year allowing me to share their beautiful homes! xoxo

Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Charming entry makeover

Hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving with friends and family:)

I had a few minutes to look back at some of the photos on my phone and thought it might be fun to share some of the projects I've been working on. I've been up to my eyeballs in full renovation projects but I've had so many fun decorating projects I worked on over the past few months.

As I was looking through my pictures one thing struck me --- every photo I took represents hundreds of details, decisions and man hours behind the scenes to achieve a specific look--no matter the size or scope of the project or room.  For every pretty picture you see remember it can take a village of people, an army of tradesman and hours of contemplating by a designer to get the room to look just right.  An effortless look does not come without lots of effort! Anyway here are a few little gems I found on my phone!

First up is a cute little entry in a beautiful old stone colonial home. Some of the older, charming homes I work on don't have over the top, cavernous foyers. But rather quaint, purposeful entries. Here is the before....


This  client has a very busy family life both working physicians with 3 small children and they wanted a fun, bright entry.   I knew it was going to be a little out of their comfort zone but I recommended a durable vinyl wallpaper (just imagining the kids running their hands along the wall as they run up and down the stairs).

Here is the after!

Fun, bright and cheery wouldn't you say? We installed a bold wallpaper and kept the stair runner as a quiet back drop to the wallcovering.

As I mentioned my team and I have  been crazy busy here but I thought I'd share a few cool pictures from some of the renovations we've  been working on...

Here's a peek of a kitchen renovation... gray and white cabinetry with brass hardware and a beautiful marble counter top happening over in Bryn Mawr.


oh and one more .... radiant heat flooring with the coolest black tile

Awesome, right? and yep....I need new sneakers!

thanks for reading!! xoxo




I'm thrilled to have been invited to participate in #CameraReadyInteriors along with 23 other talented designers including some of my favorites like Studio Mcgee, House of Jade Interiors, Decor Happy, Design Manifest, and the list goes on and on (see full list below). This blogging event was created by the lovely and talented Jana Bek of Jana Bek Designs to highlight all of the fabulous photographers who are essential to sharing our creative vision with the world.

Photo by Kyle Born

Last summer I realized that the time had come to pull my portfolio together and revamp my website– gulp. I knew that finding the right photographer who understood my style and vision would be key. When I came across Kyle Born's work on Houzz, I knew immediately that she would be a great fit. With degrees from Brown & RISD and fresh off a stint shooting for the web studio at Anthropologie, she was more than up to the task.

Photos by Kyle Born

Every photo shoot with Kyle is a real team effort. The days leading up are frenzied with emails and text messages about who is bringing what.  A few items we always make sure to have on hand include: plenty of art and design books with appropriately colored spines to correspond with the room (obviously), fresh flowers, trays, serving bowls in various sizes that can be filled with fresh fruit, and macarons. Oh, um the macarons are for us:) And she loves an adorable puppy or two. See my Casey below. Did I mention she also designed my new website?

Photo by Kyle Born

By the way let me assure you these shoots are anything but glamorous. In fact I would go as far as to say the entire room (possibly the entire house)  looks like a complete disaster except for the scene we are shooting. 

Photo by Kyle Born

Another fabulous photographer i work with is Joanne Posse. I first met Joanne when she shot my sister-in-law's wedding in Stone Harbor, NJ over 10 years ago.  She's an incredible interiors, weddings, product, lifestyle, and head shot photographer. Joanne can do it all and she's been doing it for over 20 years! Joanne's product shots have appeared in InStyle Magazine, People magazine and Art Basel -- so impressive right?

 Photo by  Joanne Posse

The first project we collaborated on was my One Room Challenge. We had to shoot, style and edit the pictures all in one day. It was a total whirlwind and I can't imagine partnering with anyone else. This is where her 20 years of experience certainly came in handy. She was able to size up my space, evaluate the light and shoot it just perfectly!

 Photo by  Joanne Posse

Photo by Joanne Posse

I feel so lucky to have worked with and continue to work with these two dynamic, talented and amazing photographers.

They say every picture tells a thousand words but it's the photographer who tells the complete story:)

Thanks Kyle and Joanne xo!

 Photo by  Joanne Posse

Photo by Joanne Posse

Fun and Fabulous Family Room Room ... Before and After

I think this is the first time I'm sharing these pictures with you. This room was completed awhile back. 

I don't have any "before" pictures of this space but I do have  progress shots I'll share below. This family room is in an old, stately stone Tudor house located in a gorgeous main line neighborhood.

Our mission for the room was to make it fun, colorful and comfortable for a family of six. They're huge sports fans (hockey is their fave) and there is a ginormous TV to host family and friends and watch all kinds of sporting events.

The original trim throughout the home was stained oak. You can see the original trim below to the left. 

I suggested we paint all the trim, fireplace, windows and interior doors of this room a high gloss black to keep it sophisticated and the walls white for a beautiful neutral back drop. 

Here are the french doors painted high gloss. This was back in 2014 now its most definitely on trend as I told my client we were way ahead of our time:) 

There are two gorgeous large windows in this room that were also painted a rich black.

It was a STUNNING transformation.

 Loved it. 

It also helped make the TV disappear in between the two large freshly painted windows. 

The color scheme we chose was black, blue and white and pops of orange and pink. My client wanted FUN, not stuffy for her kids so that was what we went for!

There is a TON of seating in this space which I love. You can have a large group in here and there are so many places to sit you would never have to run to another room to grab a chair (those with large family parties know exactly what I'm talking about).

We chose a sectional and two chairs by CR Laine , a pair of x- benches, two ottomans and two chippendale chairs flanking a console table. All pieces had to have durable fabrics. The sectional is covered in a gray sunbrella and the other pieces in very durable fabrics as well. 

Here's a good look at the room

sectional and chairs by CR Laine

coffee table by oomph

side table Noir

sconces Visual Comfort

console table society social

cache pot Dana Gibson

There you have it!

Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Before and After-- A Teenage Boy's Bedroom

Here I go again with another before and after ... no matter how hard I try to blog about all these awesome decorating ideas I have in my head I just never get around to writing about them... someday. 

So I hope you enjoy these little before and after updates! Here's a quick refresh of a teenage boy's room.

I have a client who I adore working with and when she asked me to refresh her son's room I was pretty excited. I'm rarely asked to do a guy's room...I think boys are typically too sloppy or just don't care even the slightest about their surroundings. 

I can relate I have a few of those living in my house:)

Anyway -- here is the before of this teen's

 room. Classic boy.

Here is the after

So... what did we do? We repainted the whole room london fog by Benjamin Moore and added a wall of Thibaut wallpaper to add a little texture/industrial feel to the space. I actually wanted to purchase the faux wood stick on pieces from West Elm but they don't sell them any longer. I know where to source them but frankly I was going to get the same look with this wallpaper -- and it was much easier to apply:) ha!

We took down the loft bed and created a custom navy headboard with a gray linen welt (that fit perfectly) to coordinate with this fabulous West Elm bedding and custom pillows. 

We also placed the bed close to the wall so we could leave some open space in the middle of the room for his friends to hang out on the floor and play xbox.

We removed the posters and sporadic artwork and added a few new fresh art pieces to give it a bit of a coastal feel. We added under the bed storage for his collections, a new desk with hutch and black floating shelves ----which for some reason I did not take pictures of:(

We combined both gray walls and wallpaper with the current beige carpet (which will be changed out at a later date) and beige/white washed modern furniture. The overall feel of the room is kind of beachy/"west-elmy" I purchased a lot of items excluding the furniture from them... we have to get our inspiration from somewhere, right?

We didn't spend a whole lot of money yet created a fresh new look for this young teen!



Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Blue and White Kitchen - Before and After

Last time we met I shared a living room transformation with you if you missed it you can go


We also renovated this client's kitchen. 

I wanted to share the official before 

and afters with you.

It was so fun to work on and I love how it all turned out.

Here is how the kitchen looks today 

Here is where we started

It was a pretty simple layout change. We removed the peninsula and added a free standing island in the center of the room. 

We knocked down the wall across from the sink and relocated the refrigerator to the cabinet wall across from the oven.

 Instead of removing the window on the left side of the kitchen we decided to keep it so we could have the natural light and added a  window seat with storage below. I just love window seats in a kitchen.

The counter tops were replaced with carrara marble and white shaker style cabinets and subway tile were selected for a timeless look. 

Here it is again.

What do you think??

Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Blue and White Living Room -- A before and waaaaay after!

So I worked on this house many, many moons ago but just went back to photograph the home and work on a few more updates. I've posted about this space before but it was so long ago I'm not sure where to even find it on this blog:)

To make a long story short we re-configured a living room, dining room and kitchen... knocking walls down and making the first floor feel more open and spacious for a family of four kids.

Here is the before of the living room

I know its not a good shot. 

It has some over-sized furniture and yellow walls but fabulous windows letting in lots of natural my thought was to really draw the eye to the beautiful floor to ceiling windows (they are actually sliders but they have so many doors in the back of the house they don't ever use these). 

Good thing for us. 

We were going for a casual, relaxed California vibe but with a bit of color and east coast symmetry:)

Here is the here and now.

 To be honest I'm SHOCKED everything looks this fabulous ... it's been over three years. 

If this were my house??? Forget about it. My dog and my five year old --- Total wrecking machines. 

For the photographs we moved some things around and her oomph coffee table is actually on order. I used mine for the pictures.

The beautiful Serena and Lily chairs were placed in front of the windows to allow as much natural light in as possible and because of the high contrast of the navy stripe on the white chairs your eye just goes to it.

Next time I'll share the kitchen pictures...

Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Beach House Master Bedroom/Bath and Guest Room Before and Afters

Happy holidays! 

If you missed my previous beach house posts you can go




, and 



To jog your memory this house was decorated on a VERY TIGHT budget so my goal with the bedrooms was to include one item with impact in each space that would make it special and specific to each family member.

First up is the master bedroom. My clients wanted something un-cluttered, simple, modern and fresh.

Here is the Master Bedroom before

Here is the after

Throw by lemlem

The art was the main element in this space. I loved my clients piece that we hung next to the modern canopy bed. We kept everything else simple and clean.

Here's the master bath before


We glazed over the red marble-meat colored tile by glazing it all white and replaced the cabinetry, painted the walls a light gray and accented with navy. Done. Simple and clean.

Guest Bedroom Before

The After

Bold banana leaf fabric by Bassett McNabb

Robert Abbey table lamp

pillows and headboard designed custom by SKDesigns

As you could probably guess the main design element in this space was this fabulous headboard and pillows designed in this bold, large scale pattern.

To recap

Rooms that are simple, clean yet fun and kind to the wallet:)

One last thought...

Thanks so much for reading my blog this year! and

Before and After Beach House Part 3

Back to the beach... I know, I know Christmas is around the corner and winter is settling in but I'm still thinking beach:). 

So i thought I'd continue the tour of the Avalon house. 
If you missed the previous beach house posts you can go here and here.

Let's head upstairs to the family room/dining room. This is how the owners found the space.

Family Room/Dining Room Before

Below are the sofas we re-purposed here for this space.

Family Room/Dining Room Now

table lamps Regina Andrews
pillows Quadrille in kazak

swivel chairs by Lee Industries

Large abstract by Baltimore artist Janine McGuire

 Pillows Quadrille in kazak

light fixture Anthropologie
table custom

So how did we approach this space? First we repainted all of the dark paneling decorators white and added new cypress hardwood floors. We also removed the stone fireplace. This was not in the original plan due to budget constraints but we discovered it was unstable and unable to hold the TV so we removed the stone and added new dry wall. For a little pop we painted the interior of the fireplace box a bright blue. 

We kept my client's coffee table and just styled it. We also added new slip-covered sofas and linen swivel chairs from Lee industries. 

To add just the right amount of color and pattern, we added custom made Quadrille pillows with a bright blue contrast welt. The pillows you see on the swivel chairs I bought retail and added the perfect color trim to the plain white pillows. And we hung a large colorful abstract in between the sliders. 

The cool light fixture above the table is from Anthropologie and the dining table was custom made by the owner.

One last look.



Thanks for reading!! xoxo

Teenage Bedroom Refresh Before and After

So one more mini-makeover before I share the rest of the beach house before and afters. If you missed the previous beach house posts you can go here and here.

But first, here's a quick teen bedroom makeover for a client's daughter. It was her Halloween/Birthday surprise. 

I have worked fast before but this one REALLY takes the cake. 

We only had two weeks to complete this. Yikes! I had to buy everything on the spot practically right there on sight after I took measurements. We could only purchase items that would arrive in one week. Challenging yet so fun!

Here is the before
(It was used as a storage space)

My client's daughter wanted a more sophisticated color palate and uncluttered space so we painted the walls classic gray and all the trim super white by benjamin moore.  The room was given a clean, fresh start. She also loves black and white and loves sailing in the summer. So we incorporated that into her room as well. 

Here is the after

(not the best pictures it was POURING down rain that day)

Table lamps and nightstands from Pottery Barn Teen
Chair custom Stephanie Kraus Designs

leopard pillow Etsy, lambswool pillow West Elm

I just love pairing leopard with black and white!

Bedding Bloomingdales

The shoes were a gift from here mom.... LUCKY gal!

Bath Before

Just some navy paint after

Simple, clean uncluttered and perfect for a teen!

Want to see more teenage bedroom before and afters go here and here.

That's all for now....

Thanks for reading!!

Older House Renovation Before and After

I thought we'd take a break from the beach house update and give you a sneak peek into another renovation I worked on this past year. This was an old house built in the early 1900's that was rehabbed beautifully by a local builder. The house was taken down to the studs and completely gutted.

You can read more about this home here and here.

The client and I worked together on the finishes, lighting, flooring,  paint colors and interior furnishings. The entire house is not "decorated" yet. They have two small children so they're taking their time and decorating in stages.

But I thought it would be fun to share where we are so far.

Living Room/Entry

I don't have any real "before" pictures but I do have where we started the design process... an empty room which is both a living room/entry for the home. This client loves lots of pattern and color. So this project was right up my alley!

Living Room/Entry Before
(these are bad pictures of a pretty space- cloudy day)

As you can see this room will be an entry point and needs to have appropriate flow from the entry door to the stairs and to the rest of the home. It also needed to be bright, open and spacious.

We chose to use four swivel chairs instead of a sofa and two chairs so the room would not appear blocked off or have any weird dead spaces in the back. 

For additional seating we added two cubes under the console in the back of the room. 

With this configuration the room looks beautiful no matter how you enter.

Living Room/Entry After

Window Treatment fabric by Kravet in riad indigo
Lee Industries swivel chairs custom upholstered in Quadrille fabric
Little table by oomph
Paint color nimbus benjamin moore

Lamps Robert Abbey
Console Society Social
Bright orange cubes s private label Stephanie Kraus Designs, LLC.

Here's a peek into the kitchen 

Beautiful white cabinetry and gray subway tile.

And a quick look at the master bath

Modern, fresh and serene.

Hope you enjoyed this mini tour.
Thanks for reading xoxo!!

Before and After Beach House Part 2

Here's Part 2 of the beach house tour. If you missed Part 1 you can go here

Now here's where we get really creative and I mean REALLY REALLY creative. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, the owners were on a very tight budget because they weren't sure if they would be here for just a season or maybe two. So naturally no major work was performed just a cosmetic update.

I'll share the before and after pictures first, then I'll explain the creativity behind the scenes. It was both a challenge and fun working within the these budget parameters.

 So stick around you'll want to hear what we did:)

This is the before picture of the lower level family room


Family Room After

Before I go into detail about this space you'll  want to see the before of the lower level guest bath

Guest Bath After

Let's talk about the family room first.

The dark paneling was kept and painted white. How did we stay on budget with this project? None of this furniture is new. Nothing. This furniture was the previous owners and it was cleaned, painted and recovered. It totally has that beachy, palm beach feel doesn't it?

Why keep the furniture? 

1) The owner really thought this was going to be a temporary fix  and this room is so awkward if we purchased new upholstery for this room we couldn't be sure if it would fit or would work in a new space. 2) We had a vision that if we re-purposed the furniture it would give it a cool vibe and make the space interesting, unique and so fun! 3) Budget. That's the real reason:)

So the table. A table, magazine rack and lamp all in one.
Gotta love the practicality and the throw back, right?

We painted it bold blue by benjamin moore so it would pop off the white walls. I purchased a new shade and trimmed it in blue.

The rattan sofas
The frames were painted bold blue too and reconfigured to help with the flow of the room. Here is what they looked like before.

 The sofa cushions were re-covered in an indoor/outdoor fabric from Trina Turk for Schumacher. Since it wasn't a complete re-upholstery job it was inexpensive to re-purpose these pieces. And I designed the throw pillows to break up the mod pattern on the sofas.

The table. It weighs a ton and it has that beachy, palm-beach vibe. Why mess with it?

Here is the family room again.

Moving onto the Guest Bath

All we did was re-glaze all of that beige tile. If you need an inexpensive way to update a bathroom with crazy colored tile re-glazing is the way to go. A new basic shower enclosure was also added. 

One last look.

Paint color palladian blue by Benjamin Moore
Little table - oomph

More to come so stay tuned. Thanks for reading! xoxo

Beach House Before and After Part 1

I know it's fall and winter is upon us but I thought I would share a project I worked on this summer. It was a beach house built in the early 70's and I don't think much changed in this house until my clients and current owners purchased the home last year. 

So, a little background on this house-- the owners hired me for a temporary fix. Yep. Temporary.

Just to get it up and running and functional for a season or two because they weren't sure if they were going to sell it or tear it down and build new.  So as you can imagine it was a VERY tight budget knowing it may not be there next year.

And NO new kitchen, NO new bathrooms, NO new window treatments or major renovations of any kind were done and happy to say it turned out so pretty they may keep it longer than expected.

AND I think it's a great example of how you don't have to tear these old houses down just spruce them up a bit and they can be so charming! One more interesting fact is the owner grew up coming here as a boy. He knew the family and knew that the house was filled with love and special memories and he wanted to re-create that same feeling for his family.

Without further ado, I'll share the before pictures of the entry as my clients found it

Entry Before

Entry Now

The wall-to-wall carpet was removed. New cypress flooring was bleached to keep it from yellowing and then installed. The dark wood paneling was kept just painted decorators white  and all of the trim was painted super white by Benjamin Moore. The red console is from Host Interiors Ardmore, PA and is by Mitchell Gold  and Bob Williams. I love this console for tight spaces and trust me it's a great red.

 The owners weren't sure what to do with the iron railing but I wanted to keep it as is. I love the lines of this railing. They just don't make'em like this anymore.  Look how fresh and clean the space looks now.

At the end of the entry we had this BEFORE


This was sort of an awkward space because to the left of this bench is the entrance to a bedroom. But we added a bench and a few custom pillows. 

In every project I  try to use fabrics and pieces that I've never seen/used before and that have personal meaning to my clients.  I usually get tired of seeing the same fabrics and furniture pieces used over again and I don't want my clients house to feel like a furniture showroom, RH or PB or whatever their favorite furniture/accessory store may be. It has less meaning and it would feel like they've seen this before... right? 

In addition, I always try to include something custom and original in every room to make it special and specific to each homeowner. So as an ode to the owner who is an avid fisherman and boater we added the red Manuel Canovas calypso pillow in red and the navy and white "flagish" looking pillow on the bench. Just enough (I hope) without being too "theme-y"

I also added a large mirror to open the hallway and reflect light from the new door the client added. You can also see the modern flush mount lighting we added in the reflection of this mirror. The new design of this space turned this dark entry into a light-filled fabulous space. 

The goal was to turn this 70's house into a clean, modern fresh space with clean lines yet keeping it a bit traditional in line with the client's taste. 

Stay tuned each week as I share the before and after's of this fun, yet budget-minded beach abode!

oh and if you want more mind-blowing before and afters on the web check out Calling it Home's One Room Challenge here. This is where talented designers transform one room in six weeks. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!! xoxo

A Teen Room Mini-Makeover and tips on how to get the look!

Hello again! I know it's been awhile. I've been designing and installing the first floor of a n old farmhouse in Bluebell over the past year or so. 
It's turning out beautifully and will share professional pictures with you once it's complete. But here's a sneak peek... with  really lame iphone pictures.

original stone wall

Thibaut wall-coverings, draperies and chair pads.

Since the designing and installing of an entire first floor can take a while I'm usually asked to spruce up the children's spaces at the same time. Typically it's their daughter's room so that's what I'm going to share with you today from this home... so fun!! 
And I'll include some tips on how to do it yourself!

Here are some before pictures.

I don't have any before, before pictures showing the furniture before it was painted this pretty shade of gray and turquoise.

How did we start the project? 

With a jumping off wallpaper. This stylish young girl fell in love with this wallpaper from Osborne and Little. And I always love a bold wallpaper so it was a go!

Now we have a color scheme.

 We kept all of the furniture and bedding (just cleaned it up a bit)  And remarkably the background of the wallpaper matched the color of the walls perfectly so no need to paint (that never happens). 

I would have liked to have placed the wallpaper on the ceiling instead of an accent wall but as you can see the room has the original beams and we loved the rustic touch it adds to the space.

Now we just did a little sprucing up to her space since we are using most of the budget to renovate and decorate the first floor.

I always like to include at least one custom piece in a room and in this case it was these beautiful cornices designed by me and beautifully executed by my work room.

I've also found teens just love the iconic ghost chair and no matter how hard i try to persuade them to go in a different direction they always stand firm in their conviction so I customize the chairs for them.

So now we have two originally totally custom pieces designed specifically for this young girl.

Here is how the rest of the space is coming along...

Bedding by PB teen and pom-pom throw from West Elm.

Pink lamp, leopard print pillow and multi-colored plate all from Dana Gibson.

And the art... I just love the modern art mixed in with these traditional pieces!!

Still waiting on..

This custom chair from Society Social in pink with white welt

Bookshelves, accessories, new hardware, new rug? and a bathroom redo!
P.S. If you want to see more of what I'm up to follow me on instagram.  I don't have much time to blog these days! I share what I can on insta from clients who give me permission ... not all clients allow sharing and i respect everyone's wishes!

P.S.S. Want to see more behind the scenes makeovers? Head over to the One Room Challenge from Calling it Home.... I'm not participating but I am following along for sure!!

Thanks for reading!! xoxo