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And let's not overlook the Gone With the Wind draperies -- beautifully executed at the time but just outdated for my young hip family.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

stephaniekrausdesign

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.

dalleypowderbefore.jpg

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....

foyerbefore

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.

IMG_2949.JPG

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

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

thanks for reading!! xoxo

 

 

#CameraReadyInteriors

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!

Before

After

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

here

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 light...so 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

here

,

here

, and 

here

.

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

After

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.

Before

After






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

BEFORE


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



AFTER



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

Before and After Villanova Residence

Villanova Residence

Before and After

Here is a project that was finished awhile ago but we just got around to photographing. 

I absolutely adore working with this family and I'm so appreciative that they allowed me this opportunity and they trusted my vision!

The first room I helped transform was their cozy family room den

Here is the BEFORE

AFTER

Family Den

A study in neutrals...

Beautiful new built-ins were added to give height and dimension and architectural interest to the room. We also added brass library sconces from Visual Comfort and roman shades with simple greek key trim.

I love the warmth of the worn leather sofa from Restoration Hardware and the coolness of the dark gray walls. It's truly one of my favorite combinations.

We chose chelsea gray walls paired with lots of white for high contrast and to add depth and light to the space.

We also mixed metals and textures in styling the bookshelves... brass, mercury glass, lacquer, driftwood and creamy white objects.

It's all in the details...

We added a pair of mirrors flanking the bar area to make the space feel larger and reflect light from the large picture window.

The bar cabinetry was painted high-gloss white and the hardware was upgraded to a brass faucet and marble counter tops and back splash were added.

did u spy camera? need to photoshop these pics ha!

Loved keeping this space neutral. I think most people like my colorful designs but I do love designing neutral spaces too!

Moving right along ...scenes from  the "before" Dining Room 

Dining Room NOW! WOW!

We kept the window treatments and most of my client's beautiful furniture so we jazzed up the space with green grass cloth from Phillip Jeffries, new host chairs with pillow fabric from Aerin Lauder's line for Lee Jofa  and colorful modern art. The grasscloth has now become the star of the show!!

We also upgraded the lighting with classic yet modern fixtures from Visual Comfort and leopard lamps from Dana Gibson.

Table by oopmh sits next to window seat

And let's not forget this lovely little powder with Scalamandre and a striped roman...

SORRY no before

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY THE MOST FABULOUS

JOANNE POSSE

!!! 

XOXOX

Gardner/Fox was contractor used for family den.

That's all for now!! Thanks for Reading!! xoxo

Dorm and Apartment Decorating



So you have a daughter or son heading off to college or their first apartment this fall.

Remember those days? Just spent last weekend with a college roommate and loved reminiscing about the good ole days. It's probably what inspired this post:)

 But back to the subject at hand...I have many clients and friends who fall into this category and I've  been asked by several for advice on decorating and bedding for college dorms.

Last year I designed a college room and loved how it turned out. 

May have hit the books a bit more if my space looked this.






You can read more about this room here.

So here are some fun items I found for a dorm, first apartment or even a teen's room...

First up check out this website


It's basically a room in a box. Like a bed in a bag but waaaay better.

Here is an example of what comes in the box
And here is what it looks like in the space


Fun, right?  They have several colors and patterns available.

Need art for above the bed or desk?
They have that too

So go check it out!

Some other bedding I found perfect for this group
is from one of my faves Urban Outfitters







And we can't forget IKEA the sweedish king of dorm decor




Have fun decorating!

Design Bits and Pieces

Well I've committed the cardinal sin of blogging... taking a long unexcused break for no reason whatsoever. So, if your reading this thanks for hanging in there with me:).

I've been up to my eyeballs in projects--- so I thought I'd share what I've been up to and divulge a few secrets along the way. 

First let's talk about paint panic... can you relate?

I'm working on a new TOTAL renovation in Bryn Mawr and whenever I work on a total reno that doesn't have a full design plan in place ahead of time I always get that panic, frantic call. "My builder/contractor needs paint colors for the entire house by tomorrow and there are like over 25 rooms in this house!!"


Sneak peek: New ceiling treatment and millwork are happening

Now I always try to avoid this by planning ahead but it's not always possible. Either because I'm brought into the process late or the client understandably doesn't want to make a million decisions all at once like flooring, tile, cabinetry, wallpaper, fixtures, carpet, furniture, etc. you get my drift. Way too overwhelming and I get that!

So after I talk them off the ledge we go room by room and select colors from what we know is going in the room. That could be back splash, counter, bedding, furniture or whatever we have on hand. If we know nothing and trust me this happens... we go neutral. Paint is the cheapest thing to change so let's not panic... am I right?

You can read more about how to select paint here.

Another fun total renovation I'm working on is happening at the beach.

And since we are on the subject of paint. PAINT can cure all ugly!

This is where we started with the reno. It's not finished but I want to demonstrate the power of paint!

Before
Dated 1970's panel entry, vinyl flooring which you can't see



Entry in Progress

Paint color decorators white Benjamin Moore, natural, cypress wood flooring



In progress as you can tell! And yes, I swear this is the same space!



Before
Dated 70's dark panel, faux stone fireplace





In progress
Paint color decorators white Benjamin Moore, cypress flooring

(notice I didnt remove remotes, etc. keeping it real here until a real pro takes pictures which I am not!)




New little side table is on its way...

 This home is a temporary space so we're keeping the budget in check until they find a permanent space. So we kept a lot of their own furniture like this coffee table and wine rack but....

I'll share a little secret with you. If you are looking for a great beach house slip-covered white sofa try the Willow sofa by Crate and Barrel. 




Sleek with modern arms, comfortable and reasonably priced but best of all comes in one week! VERY important if you'd like to enjoy your beach house for the season. Custom sofas which I normally spec out can take 8 to 12 weeks. And this sofa? .... won't fade in direct sunlight. A HUGE issue with beach house installations.

Another hint? I LOVE using swivel chairs especially in vacation homes where you have several focal points in a space. In this room you can swivel to see the water and sunset... swivel to talk to your friends and family watching TV to see the weather for the week and swivel to tell your mom, dad, or host in the kitchen what you'd like for dinner or what cocktail you'd like to enjoy!




These Lee Industries chairs are comfortable and small in scale great for a living space that was built with a room designed in the 70's.
You can check out the specs here.

Here's another space where I used these chairs. 
Here is where we started







It's a very awkard small entry hall/living room space with a fireplace in the back corner of the room. Most definitely need to swivel to enjoy the roaring fire in winter!

Here is where we are now...

The Lee chairs are covered in a much more aggressive Quadrille fabric! We are waiting on a pretty gray indoor/outdoor rug and other design elements for this space.






That's all for now. Will share more pictures as we finish all three spaces!
Thanks for reading!! XOXO




One Room Challenge: Week Six - The Reveal!

I made it! Whew. Thanks to Linda at

Calling it Home

for lighting the fire I needed to put this room to bed (so to speak).

The mission for the room?

To make it fun, colorful and a happy place for an 11 year old girl to wake up in!

Fyi - this post will feature mostly the images from my daughter's new space. All links to products and fabrics are at the end of the post.

Let's not forget the closet...

One thing I've learned because I've done a lot of teen/young adult rooms (after doing their parent's spaces) is that when you do it 100% of the way down to the last little detail and take in their input (my daughter chose the wallpaper and it snowballed from there...)

they really tend to keep the space clean and neat. I have walked into spaces I've done 2 years later and the parents will tell me this. Once it's neat and clean and pretty they want it to stay that way!! BONUS!!!  

Thanks to my friend 

Joanne Posse

who took these amazing photos! I just love her and her work!! You can check out her photography 

here

.

And a huge thank you to the 

One Room Challenge

 sponsors for making this room look beautiful!

Loom Décor

Linen fabric for headboard

Fabric and custom fabrication for the draperies and color block bed skirt

Minted

Artwork above desk and above two night stands

Mark and Graham

Striped bed sheets, monogrammed pillow cases

monogrammed paperweight

Wayfair

Desk

SEE BELOW FOR DIRECT LINKS

Now, it's a MUST for you to check out the rooms from these very talented ladies. Everyone worked so hard and did an unbelievable job! Thanks ladies for all of your support!! xo

Jana Bek

Autumn Clemons

Coco+Kelley

The English Room

Vanessa Francis

Greige Design

Hi Sugarplum

I Heart Organizing

Jenna Sue Design

Stephanie Kraus

The Pursuit of Style

Julia Ryan

Savvy Home

Simple Details

Simply Grove

6th Street Design

Jill Sorensen

Swoon Worthy

Waiting on Martha

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

Stephanie Kraus Design's

Sources

Imperial Trellis Wallpaper  

Schumacher

Wall paint custom by Benjamin Moore

 Headboard custom design by SKD. Fabric by

Loom Décor

Bedding and Shams 

Pottery Barn Teen

Striped monogrammed pillowcases 

Mark and Graham

Color block bed skirt custom made by

Loom Décor

Draperies  custom made by

Loom Décor

. Fabric

Loom Décor

Drapery trim  M and J Trimming

Drapery hardware  had forever:)

Desk 

Wayfair

Amethyst Mirror -

Bungalow 5

Monogrammed magenta paper weight

Mark and Graham

Nightstands - had forever:) Paint - Pilgrim Haze by Benjamin Moore

Nightstand hardware

and

Closet hardware

Anthropologie

Brass Sconces 

Visual Comfort

Nightstand

and

desk art

Minted

Pink abstract on large wall  Wendover Art - trade only

Lucite Bench - trade item

Alan Campbell fabric

 (trade only)

FABRIC SEALED BY

Fiber Seal

- Let them know Stephanie Kraus Designs sent you!

http://fiberseal.com/

French desk chair - daughter's own

Fabric on French chair and long bed pillow 

Caitlin Wilson Textiles

Thanks to these local businesses:

Monograms by

Tibbar Tibbar

Blue Desk Lamp - Robert Abbey 

The Blue Octagon

Sunburst brass mirror above bed 

The Blue Octagon

White elephant

The Blue Octagon

Dana Gibson white and gold trash container

The Blue Octagon

Other accessories - my daughter's

Thanks for reading!! xoxo