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Living Room Gallery

Before  
A lot of people might look at this particular before picture and not see a lot wrong with it.  The main problem here is the wall color.  People have a lot of mistaken beliefs about neutrals simply because they cannot identify the undertones. Without identifying the undertone, it is very easy to have a room that clashes. You may even look at it and not know exactly why you don't like it or why it doesn't wow you.  I can tell you.... if it's all neutrals, that means the undertones do not match.  So, there goes the whole Color Theory 101 lesson and that is "there is no such thing as a neutral" unless it is black or white.  Think about how many white paints there are at the paint store and you might just be catching on! Here, the beige is more of a taupe and it has a distinctly pink undertone. You must be able to identify the undertone to have a room where everything harmonizes (as far as color.)  The beige chairs, though have a distinctly greenish-yellow undetone which actually clashes horribly with the paint. Now notice the tile.....another pink undertone and the inlayed carpet.....a distinct yellow undertone. The brown sofa looks bland and boring and the picture on the wall does not fit the space relative to the piece of furniture below it.  The windows need to be the focal point of this room and with the current plastic (outdated!) verticals, they blend too much and do nothing for this room. And before we leave, let's talk more about those recliner chairs.  I guess they expected people to yell across the room to have a conversation! If your furniture is "all spaced out" like this, then you definitely need to rearrange it.  We do scaled furniture diagrams so we're never guessing where something should be moved or properly placed.  If we get a blueprint, we know before walking into a house, during constuction phase, where the furniture is going to be properly placed.  A lot of people think they can rearrange a room but there is really is only one right way to put the furniture into a room.  You have to bisect a room into quadrants and balance the visual weight in each quadrant while lining it up to face the focal point.  So, we always tell people "First find the focal point and the rest will fall into place much more easily."

 

After

When I ask my client "What is your favorite color?" and she replied "Blue" I was delighted!  Of course, something with a slight pink undertone will look great with blue and is perfect for a nautical scheme. Shells and even sand are light pink and the ocean and sky are blue. Mother Nature put that color scheme together.  If we follow nature, ground (or floor) being a medium to deep tone, paint the walls a medium to light tone, and make the ceiling the lightest tone, this mimics nature and your color scheme will feel very natural. The client definitely wanted a nautical theme so together, we scoured all the Goodwill's from Sarasota down to Punta Gorda and found all of what you see on the walls and even that pelican statue by the front door.  The sofa, loveseat and two chairs were purchased on Craigslist for $500 and they were like new, having only been used by realtors to stage houses.  Next, we went to JC Penney's and found perfect matching blue curtains that had a slight irridescent sheen.  This added a little bit of glimmer and reflected light.  In the corner, we found that arrangement at Walmart and the client assited in making it. The ship's wheel coffee table was something the client had inherited and it repeated the nautical theme right down the middle of the room.  The glass table worked very well because glass doesn't take up space visually and it anchored everything.  Remember, undertones are very, very important to identify prior to selecting paint.  Since this was a rental, obviously my client had to work around the pink undertone.  Never mix a anything with a green undertone beside a pink undertone.  That clashes and looks really gross.  Unlike a lot of interior designers, I do like to educate my clients because it's helping people create better spaces and improves the quality of our lives.  

Before

Who would have ever thought white walls, pastel carpet and sofa along with blonde furnishings could actually look gloomy? It's because it's so tired and dated.  It's a like a beach house done way wrong.  Notice how the side table and lamp juts out into the walkway.  If your furniture is anything like this, then it's time to move it. Also, take note of that picture on the very left.  Pictures that have nothing under them belong either in a narrow hallway or in an art gallery.  That coffee table is wrong because it is a totally different color and it stands there in total isolation.  You never want to have one thing in a room that is by itself and is also a totally different color. We call this "contrast isolation."  In easy terms to understand, it means that when everyone goes to sleep at night, that coffee table beats up the sofa (which should have been the focal point in this arrangement) and says "I'm boss....not you!"  This room also lacks a good focal point.So, out goes carpet and we are tiling this whole house.  That way, we can use area rugs to help establish and anchor a good color scheme.  We also have to create some kind of a dramatic focal point because one wall is mirrored, the other has a large picture window (with no view outside) so you only have one wall to create that focal point. Rooms that lack a focal point confuse the eye. You want to automatically know where the focal point is.  This becomes your main "advancing element" and the other furnishings in the room will then become "receding elements" which allows the eye to rest.

  

After

As previously mentioned, this room lacked a focal point and also wasn't oriented in the right direction.  Before, the sofa faced the windows which had a view of the driveway. Under the windows (which you will see next) there were two Parson's chairs with a table in between and a lamp.  So, no TV because the third wall was mirrored.  Therefore, we had to establish the room's main focal point and arrange the furniture to face it.  Since the view going into the house is much better than the view facing the driveway, it wasn't a hard decision what the right room orientation was.  I found the entertainment center on Craigslist for $100 (made by Ballard's Designs too!) This made the dramatic focal point we needed as it stretched all the way across that wall and fit perfectly.  It also made a great spot for the homeowner to display their personal collectibles which included plants, sculptures, books, pictures, Mexican pottery, rattan storage boxes and sea shells which fit the whole "Boho Chic" theme we were going for.  All of the furniture pieces pictured here were found on Craigslist and in Goodwill Stores except for the heirloom grandfather clock. That mixes well into tropical decor as do the darker pieces of furniture on the sandy beige walls. The mint green carpet was replaced with tile thoughout the house which means we needed some area rugs.  Area rugs make fantastic "leading patterns" from which to pull the entire color scheme for a house so it all flows effortlessly from one room to another.  This rug was $50 on Craigslist and contained the warm beige background, the cranberry reds, greens, and a small hint of blue. It is so much easier to decorate if you go find that "leading pattern" that you really like prior to ever selecting furnishings.  Paint should always be the last thing you pick out because it can be matched to anything.   

Before

This area is the first room you see upon entering the house.  You definitely want to make a good impression and the current furnishings are boring and very blah and remember, you never have a second chance to make a first impression!  This room also doesn't have a TV so I cannot imagine anyone would ever use it.  It's a square room so not conducive for having converations either.  And, what would you talk about with no TV?  The cars passing along the street?  Those mirrors reflect everything so it's important to design a room people actually want to see twice.  Plastic verticals.....they have to go! I plan on replacing those with very full curtains that will be tied back on each side in a "swoop" to soften the hard lines of those square windows. Also, I might not have mentioned it, but this whole house was painted a cool white, which had all the charm of a clinic or operating room.  Since there is no view out of those windows, we will think of a creative way to cover them behind the curtains that will still bring in light but will obstruct the view of the driveway.  The view in this house is of the Myakka River and as soon as you enter, you can see the water (which is fabulous!) so repositioning the furniture to face the new focal point in that direction was a no brainer!   

After

Now that we have the correct room orientation, let's discuss what happened here.  Out went the two (pretty much useless) Parson's chairs that looked like they belonged at a dining table and in went a custom made very comfortable beige sofa, which I found on Craigslist for $80. The curtains, corner palm tree, chairs, and lamps were purchased for less the $300 for all.  That was an incredible find because those are silk dupioni drapes from Pottery Barn that retail for over $300 per panel.  Also, each panel was over 100 inches wide which gave us plenty of fabric to do our Boho Chic "swoop."  The area rug was another Craigslist find at $50 and it was paramount to the success of this room's overall design.  In fact, it was the area rug we found first, before ever selecting another item for this home.  This area rug became the "leading pattern" for the entire house having a great mixture of both warm and cool colors with the deep beige beckground, reds, greens, and that bit of blue which was going to become the wallcolor in the sunroom, which is just past the dining room. I will also use the green (or a lighter variation of it) in another room in this house.  This is how a designer achieves flow and harmony from one space to another.  So remember, find that "leading pattern" you really like and then choose everything else in the house after that for a successful outcome. Other candidates for the all important leading pattern are upholstery, bedspreads, artwork or even a wallpaper pattern.  Ideally, you want to see this pattern upon entering the house. Then, it makes perfect sense why the adjacent rooms might be painted a different wall color......it was pulled off of your leading pattern.  Finally, remember paint can be matched to anything so should be the last thing you select.  People make this mistake often, calling me to help them select paint and I always reply "What is the piant going with?"  Remember this and it will save you time and stress and make paint selections (and therefore your life!) so much easier!

 

Before

I am going try and be "Southern Belle" nice on this Florida room.  Again, gloomy but also it is downright ugly!  Let's start with the focal point.  That TV is the focal point which, on the outside, it has you looking at the side of a neighbor's house which is no good.  This room has a truly amazing view of the Myakka River (which can actually be viewed all the way from the front entrance!)  So now we decide what the true focal point is.  It is the outside! Therefore, we must get the TV on the focal point wall.  That is another thing I want to bring up.  If at all possible, have your room (or the majority of it!) facing your focal point.  I have been in houses where the TV armoire was on one wall and on the opposite wall, was the fireplace.  This is called a "dual axis focal point" and it not ideal.  That is why, in newer homes today, you see a flat screen TV's mounted above fireplaces.  Finding the main focal point in "designer speak" is to find the room's main axis. Just like the world, everything else kind of spins off of that main line so finding it is important for a successful room outcome.  There is a lot of stuff to correct here but "room orientation" is first and foremost.  Not trying to be mean, but what purpose under the sun did those 70's track lights have facing out into this room?  I'll have to get creative there unless I end up removing them altogether. That can be somewhat cost prohibitive because you are dealing with a ceiling, wiring, patching, then repainting the whole thing. Once again, more bland pastel furniture and a weird counter overhang that juts out into this long and narrow room which limits things.  So that has to go but the really good thing is, this room needs no window treatments so we'll save some money there! Privacy is not an issue and the view out of the three windows and sliding door is panoramic of the lanai and pool which overlooks the river, palm trees swaying in the breeze, and glimpses of Florida's amazing wildlife.  We certainly do not want to block the view in this room.  Again, more white walls but remember earlier, I had discussed bringing the blue from that area rug in the front room.  Remember, never paint "sunrooms" that face south or west in warm colors.  I see this mistake made often and all it does is make you actually feel "too warm" in a room with a lot of light.  Cool it off with cooler colors.  Remember on the color wheel, red, orange, and yellow are warm and blue, green and purple are cool.  Of course, we almost always use variations of these (not primary colors) and in this case, I will select a gray blue paint to avoid the look of a little boy's room.  Again, you have to know the undertones in your paint. This is going to be the "party room" so get ready to have some fun.  It's a long, narrow bowling alley kind of space so I need ways to "bisect" the room so that it will appear both shorter and wider. The current arrangement has people facing each other but not the TV so it is awkward.  

After

OK.....here is the fun room I promised.  Though you cannot see it much in this picture, the TV is on the left wall and now all the furniture, with the exception of one chair, faces it and the beautiful view outside.  The two Robb and Stucky chairs were found on Craigslist for $100 each.  They would retail easily for over $500 each so that was quite the find.  I found the tan and brown zebra rug on Craigslist for $40 and I love the way it bisects the room and makes it appear wider.  The chaise was another Robb and Stucky find for $80.  It is like new, and is a bit lighter than I wanted so we are going to have a slipcover made to protect it in a Tommy Bahama tropical blue fabric.  The lamps, though dissimilar were pulled together once again with matching burlap shades. Interestingly, that large ceramic one with the captain and birds used to be pink and seafoam green.  We had a party and some small paint brushes and voila, together we created a one of a kind piece. Lots of lush green foilage helps bring all the beautiful greens and blues from the outside in.  Last, but certainly not least, we found some unique fish made from material that shucks off of Royal palm trees on Craigslist.  I contacted the artist and for $100 each, he made us two Mahi Mahi (a male and a female) and then I yanked the center can light down, turned those others around, added some blue LED's and now we created a unique "fish art display." It creates a very cool ambience at night.  Finally, I found that palm frond fan on Ebay for $60.  It was a store display. Though we did end up adding another fan just like it from Home Depot to the other half of this room, we did end up saving over $75 and now the room is complete with two new ceiling fans.  The other side of the room the clients have their exercise equipment facing the river and lanai.  Very motivating and since the TV is in the center of the space, it can be viewed from the exercise area as well

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Interior Design Port Charlotte
Boho Chic Interiors, LLC.
18210 Petoskey Circle
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
Office: 941-249-4200
Cell: 941-268-5077
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