Decatur is known for its distinct, historic neighborhoods, eclectic food, and vibrant downtown: it is not known for log cabins. My clients are the owners of this unlikely urban retreat and wanted to design a space that provided a TV-free zone to read, relax, eat, and play games as a family. Red chairs were the pop that this space needed. The table was custom made and can expand for guests. We lined store-bought curtains to make them look higher end and put a roman shade of the same material over the large kitchen sink. It pulls it all together. It's a cabin, yes, but that does not mean every detail needs to be rustic!
Designer Sarah Richardson makes setting a formal table look easy. For her signature collected-over-time look, she pulls together vintage china, silverware and linens. If you weren't lucky enough to inherit the makings of a stunning table, you can pick them up for bargain-basement prices at thrift stores, flea markets and estate sales.
Light, light and more light! The designer's talent shows through here in ability to make a space that's both formal and relaxed — with aid from those amazing floor-to-ceiling windows. Soothing tones of blue and cream and a flowering branch placed just so echo the great outdoors. A flokati pillow and a zebra print pillow add some modern funk, and simple accessories bring personality without clutter.
Keep your decor in proportion. In this designer model home, everything in the bathroom is grand, from the oversized spa shower and clawfoot tub to the picture window and adjacent wall. When you have a sizeable wall in a prominent spot, fill it with a massive canvas painting or framed artwork. Whether it’s your own original art, an affordable painting from an undiscovered artist at a local arts festival or a piece found at a thrift shop, flea market or home decor store, you can find large artwork for all budgets.
Use lanterns (with their glass panels removed) and hanging candleholders to show off vining plants, suggests floral designer Angela Darrah. This 'Neon Pothos' Epipremnum aureum thrives in low light conditions and pops against the red accent wall. When hanging plants, weight is a concern, so Darrah suggests using a decorative moss sheet to disguise a plain plastic container.
For the bathroom of a longtime customer-turned-friend, designer Katie Gagnon created a unique storage unit for the space between a pair of pedestal sinks. “This was a long-term project, and we spent a lot of time curating the perfect pieces for her ever-evolving space,” says Gagnon. “This storage cabinet was one we had custom made by an artisan we work with. The door is a vintage salvaged piece that had the original paint sanded off and we added an iron cremone bolt for some contrast and visual interest.”
This former plumber’s ingenuity is on display in her kitchen. The exposed copper pipes and plumbing fixtures are a cool personal touch and a fun example of upcycling at its best. Designer and builder Robin Hayes left no pipe “unfitted.” Everything from the cup hooks to the temperature gauge is a clever nod to her former profession.
As seen on season 1 of Sarah Sees Potential, designer Sarah Richardson transformed this once drafty, dated space into a warm and inviting modern living room with plenty of room to relax and entertain. The textured stucco walls were skim-coated for a smooth appearance and a red brick wall was updated with a fresh coat of white paint. Sarah filled the space with chic, mid-century modern furnishings and replaced old carpet with neutral wood flooring for a warm, inviting look.
The existing landscape provided a challenge, but also the opportunity to design outdoor living spaces on several levels. The flat-roofed family room needed a pitched roof to blend with the existing house, but the roof, along with the turret, couldn’t block existing windows. To accomplish the homeowners’ vision, interior walls had to be removed, but they were constructed of clay blocks, which supported two-story block walls above. We continued the 16:12 pitched roof over the existing family room, but shifted it back to allow light into the third-story window. The same pitched roof covers the garage addition, but a reverse gable with paneled accents provides interest and a carriage house feel.
“Lighting is so important,” says designer Diane Foreman of Neil Kelly Company. She mentions that undercabinet lighting, faucet lighting and other ambient lighting can boost the overall appearance of a space, like it does in this 2016 National Kitchen + Bath Association Competition winner. “I use lighting to my advantage in any space to create drama,” she says. The pendants and undercabinet lighting were from Tech Lighting. These pendants were about $300, but beehive-shaped pendants for task lighting above a bar can be found for about $100 from online and home improvement retailers.
In open floorplans, use the island to separate the kitchen area from the living area. Then if you already have a mid-sized appliance or bookshelf, take a cue from designer Diane Forman. A 24-by-15-inch Sub-Zero wine fridge makes up the end of this bar in her 2016 National Kitchen + Bath Association Competition winner. It creates a raised divider that hides the bustle of the kitchen from the living area while keeping kitchen utensils at hand.
Commit to the black and gold scheme in a major way with artwork, wallpaper or a quick update to your wall color. Then look for color-coordinated straws, like these black and gold ones that interior designer Jade Joyner, co-owner of Metal + Petal in Athens, Ga., used on her bar cart. Even with a black and gold palette, you can incorporate other colors. Joyner says she loves how refreshments have an element of style to them.
A wood-toned island warms up this cozy, cottage kitchen by designer Tobi Fairley. Rather than paint it white to match the rest of the cabinets, Fairley chose a chocolate stain to show off the wood's rich grain.Brilliant white floor-to-ceiling cabinetry not only brightens up the space, but it also adds essential storage. Glass doors at the top of the cabinetry create interest and provide a spot for displaying favorite dishware. A clever, shallow recess allows a pair of barstools to tuck neatly under the island when not in use.
As seen on season one of Sarah Sees Potential, this once plain living room got a much needed modern makeover. Designer Sarah Richardson chose vintage furniture and decor in muted blues and greens to fill the neutral space and framed the large window with a custom-built cornice and sheer retractable curtains. Cozy knit poufs provide extra seating or a spot to kick up your feet.
Art on canvas, instead of framed masterpieces, can be a lower-cost option to personalize a room. Designer Robin LaMonte says many of her clients hang artwork by their children prominently in their home. To start with, you can find a blank white canvas packs sold at arts and crafts stores.
Vintage trophies for toothbrushes and other grooming supplies sit on a custom concrete sink in this bathroom filled with clever details. Designer Dana Lynch used hide-covered milking stools and antlers for ball caps to add to the whimsical, charmingly retro feel of this boys' bath.
While white lights are often a designer’s first choice for a sophisticated adult tree, colored lights are excellent for kids’ trees. To create a solid color scheme, choose lights in the dominant tone of your tabletop tree’s decor. Here, violet lights were used to coordinate with the purple tones seen in the ornaments and garland.
Designer Amy Elbaum carefully selected accent furnishings for this living room renovation with an eye on simple lines and quiet sophistication. The beautiful round mirror that hangs above a simple marble console table makes a strong statement, yet both pieces blend effortlessly together for a unified look. The touch of blue in the glass lamps is another graceful expression here.