Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Design Plan is Essential to your Decorating Success

Have you ever been lost? I know I have.  I thought I knew where I was going. I set out, without a map, because, you know, I know where I’m headed. Right until I got myself lost…

No Decorating Plan
 Why didn't I get a map? Oh yeah. I was smart enough to get there. What kind of idiot doesn't know the way to _____? Or, more likely, I was in a hurry and too busy to prepare with a map. I was anxious to get there and skipped my preparation. You can bet that the next time I set out to a new area I got myself some directions, both from the cell phone and a printed version, in case I had no cell coverage. Smarter the second time around.
  Have  a Design Plan
 Decorating without a plan is a lot like setting out without directions. You stop into a furniture store or on a website, maybe just to browse or get ideas. Then you start purchasing blindly. Like going without directions, you’ll end up lost, and with a hodge-podge of stuff that kind-of, sort-of works together. And probably a side helping of disappointment.
  Bad Decoration

We all make mistakes. The key is to learn from them. That’s why you will do better next time you decorate. You need a plan… a map. And the map starts with an honest inventory of your life. Decide what you need and want. Determine your {real} budget and if you can accomplish what you need and want within that budget. It seems so simple, doesn't it? It is. The key is having the patience to do it right the first time.
  Good Decorating Plan

I’ll teach you to be your own client. Listen to yourself and your family and be honest about what works. What’s all this about honesty? Here is an example: I love velvet. It’s rich and luxurious. I have a penchant for glam design in my own home and velvet fits right in. I also have an adorable 60 lb dog, who is allowed all over the furniture. Velvet is an absolute magnet for fur. So, will I change the rules for the dog? No. Do I want to battle the fur on velvet? No. Is a velvet sofa a good choice for me? No. I’ll have to consider another option. Perhaps a velvet ottoman or pillows will be a more practical solution.

Not planning and assessing your life and needs results in spending money on things that don’t work for you, or that you’ll have to replace sooner than you anticipated.

Let’s get started with your own design plan.  Below is a mini version of the design questionnaire I use with my clients before I start designing or decorating their homes.
  • How long do you plan to stay in this home? This helps you determine how much time and money you really want to put into a redesign. Will you be focused on your long-term comfort or resale value?
  • Who lives in your home and what are their ages? Do you have children that will be off to school soon or an elderly parent living with you and need to incorporate Ageing-in-Place principals?
  • Do you have pets? Think about the finishes you want to install in your home and whether they are adequate for those furry friends in your life.
  • Do you entertain quite a bit? Is your home functional for your entertaining needs?
Interior Decorating Tips
  • Write a list of your family’s regular activities. Does Bobby like to do puzzles in the living room, or does Missy like to paint in the kitchen? Defining where you need to make rooms dual purpose or where to relocate these activities help you determine how to best use your space.
  •  Is there enough storage space in your home?
  • What colors do you like? What colors do you dislike? What colors do your family members love and hate?
  • Does everyone in the house have the same design taste? If they are different, have you figured out how you are going to reconcile the differences?
Interior Design for Him and Her
  • What style do you want for furniture and accessories? Modern, traditional, formal, casual… the list goes on.
  • What is the style of your current home? If your house is very Traditional, but you like Modern styles, how will you bridge the gap?
  • Do you have a favorite piece of furniture or artwork you absolutely love? This could be the perfect starting point for your design.
  • How much are you going to invest in this project? Add an extra 20% to that number to cover the incidentals that always pop up. Is this based on real prices or total guesswork? If you haven’t done the homework to see what items really cost, you may be unable to complete this project once you start or you may have to downgrade your selections.
  • Is anyone in your home a handy person? If so, you may be able to save yourself money if you can do things like painting yourself.
This list is not exhaustive. In fact, I have a 7 page questionnaire that I review with new clients. However, it will get you thinking honestly about your needs and wants in your home. This is the important first step before you make a single purchase.Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More Library Inspiration | Unusual Library Spaces

My last Library post was all about Double Duty rooms and how to create a library space within another room. Those were primarily in Family/Living Rooms, Dining Rooms and Bedrooms. In my look at Home Libraries, I've come across even more creative and adventurous types; avid readers who've carved a home library out of rather unusual spaces. Enjoy!


Hallways are a great space to locate your library, particularly if you've got a wide area, or landing area. The walls of a hallway are an otherwise unused space, which make it a great spot to store your books. But don't force it. If your hallway is too narrow, the library addition will feel cramped. Worse, you may damage the shelves, books or other objects trying to squeeze new furniture or other large items down your hallway library.

  Interior Designer Boulder CO

Stairways and Landings

Stairways and landings make a great library. It's a functional and interesting use of an otherwise empty pass-through space. And it's made even better if you have the luxury of a window and a window seat.
  Creative Interior Design Solutions

I love the two libraries below. It is a creative use of stairwells.

I had a hallway/landing library in my old home. I had photos of this space, from about 7 years ago. I've searched my PC for those photos to share with you and I cannot find them. I think this is what happens when you change computers a few times...

Bathrooms (that's right, I said bathroom libraries)
Perhaps the most unusual library space that I've come across is in the bathroom. What is even more surprising is that I found several of these bathroom libraries!
  Bathroom Designer Colorado

Creative Interior Design

 Double duty interior design spaces

Bathroom Design

If you don't have a bathroom that lends intself to building bookcases into the wall, this bathtub may solve that for you. It's a bathtub with it's own bookcase builit into the side. Clever.

Beautiful Interior Design Products

 Do you have an unusual home library? Have you been inspired to create one?Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design and Decoration

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Beautiful Habitat Wins at NKBA Peak Awards!

Tennille Wood takes home a 2014 Peak Award for Kitchen Design!

The NKBA Peak Award Gala was held last night (June 26, 2014) at the Mile High Station in Denver. Tennille Wood of Beautiful Habitat took home a peak award in the Small to Medium Kitchen category for a design  “Ascending Style and Inspiration.”

Award-winning Kitchen Design

The Winning Design

The winning kitchen design is part of a complete townhome gut and remodel in Boulder, Colorado. This 1300 sqft townhome was built in 1976. It was in “original” condition when purchased by the clients. That equated to a kitchen that was dark and dated, very small and with limited function.  The project goals were to create a light, bright, inviting kitchen and maximize functionality within the small footprint. The primary challenge in this kitchen was the lack of space; both storage and work space.  The original kitchen measured only 80 sqft and lacked flow and efficiency. Tennille set out to overcome these challenges, with a number of creative solutions.

Kitchen Before

Dark, dated kitchen before remodel

Kitchen After

Award Winning Kitchen Design
Award-winning Interior Design

Several foundational changes were made in the new space. The interior wall was moved 4.5 inches to the left. This precious space allowed symmetry along the back wall where the range is located. This created enough space to move the refrigerator away from the range, thereby improving the work triangle and adding prep space between the refrigerator and range.  The soffit was removed, making the kitchen feel more spacious and allowed for taller wall cabinets and increased storage. A peninsula was added, which extends down the hallway to create a beverage area. The result is a kitchen that feels doubled in size. The peninsula creates seating, along with much needed countertop work space. The bar area creates additional storage in base and wall cabinets. The glass fronted cabinets keep the former hallway feeling open and bright.

Interior Design Awards Colorado

Additional space increasing elements were incorporated. Frameless cabinets were chosen, which provide an average of 15% additional storage space over face-framed cabinets. Many of the cabinet dimensions were modified to squeeze every last quarter inch of space from this kitchen.

The Peak Awards

The Peak Awards honor those in Colorado who have achieved excellence in Kitchen & Bath Design. Recognizing talent, creativity, and commitment to design, the Peak Awards is a distinctive opportunity to highlight and acknowledge work that ascends style and inspiration.


The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has been the premier association for kitchen and bath professionals working in North America since its founding in 1963. The Association has over 40,000 members in 11 industry segments throughout the U.S. and CanadaBeautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Double Duty |Creating a Home Library in Another Room

I recently posted an article about the future of home libraries in our digital age. This was sparked by my work on a home library interior design project. Much of the feedback I received was that the Beautiful Habitat readers wished they had a home library. You can have a library, even if your home wasn't built with a dedicated library space.
Make space for your home library in another room. One of the easiest transformations is in the formal living room. As the formal living room is becoming a less used and less desired space in the modern American home, this is a great opportunity to create a home library. I did just that for a client recently.  My clients are not formal people, so a formal living room would have been an unused space. My clients were also downsizing. Wasting space in their new, smaller home, was not an option. They are avid readers and had a large book collection. A library was a far better use of the living room for the clients in this home.

We started with beautiful bookcases. Next came comfortable seating, arranged to take full advantage of the books and the cozy fireplace.
Interior Designer Boulder, CO

The room is a soaring two-story space. Adding colorful artwork not only adds more interest, but also helps to fill the tall space above the bookcases.

Bold Interior Decorating in Colorado

A window seat offers another comfortable nook for reading.

Interior Decorator Denver CO

While this living room was redesigned to be a dedicated library, you certainly don't have to go that far with it. You can add a library into a living room  or family room space with the addition of some lovely built-in bookcases. If you have a fireplace centered in the room, this is an easy addition. Now the room is dual purpose.
  If you don't have a formal living room to convert, there are still many opportunities for a library space. One clever option is to convert wall space in another frequently used room. The family room is a great option - you already spend quite a bit of time there and the seating is usually comfortable and inviting.
  Colorful Design Solutions Colorado

Beautiful and Functional Home Design Denver

Dining Rooms are another opportunity to create a home library. Like formal living rooms, dining rooms aren't used as often as they once were. Going double duty by using the dining room as a library makes the space more functional and maximizes the square footage and purpose in your home.

Your dining room library can be one wall, or the whole room, depending your book collections to display.

Interior Decorator Boulder Colorado

Bedrooms are another opportunity for a home library. Bedrooms, particularly the Master Suite, are far more used than a formal living room or dining room. This option is less about adding value to unused rooms in your home. Most people like to read in bed. Turning your bedroom into a double duty bedroom library adds an interesting feature, while also creating convenience in nighttime reading.

Adding a window seat and bookcases to an otherwise blank wall is always a nice touch. The window seat becomes a beautiful architectural feature. It also gives you a place to read other than the bed.

Custom built-ins Designed in Denver

The bed is already the focal point of a bedroom, but why not really emphasize it with a bookcase surround? This makes a dramatic statement, while also being functional.

Unique Home Decor Ideas
Have you carved out a home library space for yourself? Has this post inspired you to create one?
Form more library inspiration: Libraries

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Love it or Leave it | Lacquered Wood Paneling in Bold Hues

I'm seeing lacquered walls and wood paneling everywhere these days. The beauty of lacquered walls is that they fit equally well in modern and traditional room decor. Lacquering a serious library in a not-so-serious color can modernize and relax a space, making it more inviting a family friendly. On the other hand, lacquered rooms can create a traditional and sophisticated design. Lacquered walls are definitley on trend right now and I want to know - do you love it or leave it? While all lacquered spaces are hot right now, I'm seeing these rooms primarily in blue tones. Blue is hot, lacquer is hot... makes perfect sense to meld the two together.

  Professional Interior Design Advice

Interior Decorating Denver CO
via HGTV

Bold Interior Decorating

Interior Designer Boulder CO
via Veranda

Best Decorating Advice

Interior Decorator Colorado

While blue seems to be popular everywhere, and especially in lacquered walls, I am also seeing lacquer in other bold colors with stunning results. Blue is a little more serious. The following rooms, however, and bold, relaxed and FUN.
  Colorful Interior Design Plans

Bold Professional Decorating

Bold Interior Decorating Boulder

  And finally a gray tone is a bit more calm, but still equally breathtaking in result.
  Traditional Interior Decorating Denver

 What do you think of lacquered paneling in place of stained wood? Do you love it or would you leave it? Do you have wood paneling that you would lacquer? What color would you do?
 I'll admit, I absolutely love this look. We have a library space in our new home and I would love to lacquer the whole room. I'm not sure if I can squeeze that out of my remodel budget... Stay tuned for more on that. 

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Cleaning to Spring Decorating | Changing Your Energy

I started this post before Spring was officially upon us. Now that Spring is here, it's all the more relevant. Enjoy! I've been feeling the pull of spring... and of spring cleaning. I've recently cleaned out my closet and the basement. I've started a new to do list with the many areas I'd like to tackle around the new home.
  Interior Decorating Tips
This all got me thinking. What is it about spring that sparks this in us? Why do we feel called to "spring clean"? It's all about changing our energy. Decluttering, cleaning, organizing, refreshing; it all breathes new energy into our homes and we feel better for it. So dive into your spring cleaning and boost the energy level around your home. You may even be inspired to take your spring cleaning a step further with some spring decorating. Here are quick and easy ways to add spring to your decorating and change your home's energy.

Add a New Color of Accessories

The two bedrooms below would've looked fine before, but the addition of a pillow in a bright complimentary color (yellow and orange respectively) works to change the energy of the spaces.
  Interior Styling Tips from an Expert

How to Accessorize your Home

In living rooms designs , you can make a new color work by adding it in at least 3 places. In the room below, we see emerald green evenly added throughout the room. To make your space look really polished, find a coordinating item the pulls in the old color and new color.

Move Things Around

Try a piece that you bought for the bedroom in the dining room or living room. Sometimes we are too stuck in a rut. Just moving things around can spruce up a space. If that item  doesn't work in a different room, the change should at least get your creative juice flowing; changing your energy.

Try a New Lamp Shade

And if you really want to boost the energy, paint the lamp a new color inspired by bright spring tones.
Interior Designer Boulder, CO

Those are easy an inexpensive tips to help add a Spring Time Energy to your home this month. If you are ready to change the energy more permanently, Beautiful Habitat can help you create a design plan. Contact Us today.

For more Spring Design and Decorating inspiration, check out the following posts:

Happy Spring!!!
Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Open Plan Kitchens

The majority of kitchens in America are "open plan", meaning the kitchen opens onto at least one other room in the home - dining room, family room, etc. Some home designs are very open, where the main living space is nearly one continuous open room. Others have more boundaries between spaces. We are each comfortable with a certain level of this openness and certain boundaries.

 I had not given Open Plan Kitchens a lot of thought until I moved to London nearly 10 years ago. I was used to Colorado and the American West - big open spaces and big open floor plans. Most English homes and apartments have a very different way of living - each room is it's own separate box with 4 walls and a door. This is often because the buildings are older and were originally built this way. However, even newer buildings follow this plan, primarily because it is a comfort level for the British. Just as I am more comfortable in wide open spaces, they are often more comfortable in enclosed, cozy spaces. It's what we've always known. But I didn't know this when we first moved. Let's just say my first hour of house hunting was quite an eye opener! And I learned a lot about myself and how much I crave open spaces in my home. We did find a beautiful flat with an open Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room. It was perfect. We were happy!

Many in England have started to embrace more open floor plans, particularly around the kitchen, but they are still a smaller percentage of the housing market. There is a possibility that my family and Beautiful Habitat will find ourselves back in London again, so I'm dreaming of open, open, open kitchens. Here are some inspirational interiors featuring very open kitchen designs and ways to include features from each to create your masterpiece.

Kitchen Design Denver CO

Kitchen Design Boulder COvia Homedit

Professional Interior Design Denver

Modern Interior Design Colorado

Get the Look : 1. Wooden bar stools from Cymax 2. Chalkboard Paint DIY Tutorial on The Handmade Home 3. Metal Basket (Set of 4) from Wayfair 4. Hanging Lamps from Shades of Light 5. Pull Down Faucet from Home Depot 6. Iron Wall Clock from Lamps Plus 7. Le Creuset Cookery in Dune can be found at Cutlery and More 8. Wooden Countertops and Islands from John Boos

Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration


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