GOGO design group recently transformed a home for a wonderful couple who live in a Chicago North Shore suburb. During the first meeting, my client described the home as functional, but for many years there were many elements that she didn’t like, such as the black and gray color scheme and the lack of warmth. Also, her design style evolved to more traditional rather than the original contemporary home she was living in.
Before we began work together, the home’s color scheme was black, gray and white, void of any additional color, outside of some lovely glass accessories, a painting and family photos. Most of the walls were empty, as well as the front room off of the entry. The fun challenge here was to blend in traditional elements with the existing gray tile flooring, contemporary furnishings and window treatments, while balancing in subtle color from the art and metal finishes to a monochromatic color scheme.
To create warmth, we painted specific walls various warmer taupe colors; mixed warm metal tones such as antique brass and golds with the cooler silver tones of the flooring, built-in wall unit, kitchen appliances and window treatments; installed new lighting in key areas; placed new accessories in strategic areas; purchased lighter toned furnishings for the front room; and created patterned throw pillows with various textured trims. We also installed art that my client discovered she truly loved.
The results were incredible. My client and her husband now love coming Home and spending time relaxing and healing from life’s stresses and pressures. They told me the home feels completely transformed. Honoring the client’s budget, we created the perfect home for this family’s continued life journey, nourishing their design well-being. Mission accomplished.
In order to create a more intimate and warm feeling in the existing kitchen, we installed 3 over sized pendants that combined the silver and gold tones that would be simultaneously experienced in the sitting area adjacent to the kitchen. We also purchased new wood base counter stools upholstered in a textured multi-toned, cream/gold/grey fabric that directly related to the light fixtures.
The Rejuvenation/Restorative Area Transformation
This seating area is where my clients spend most of their leisure time enjoying reading and conversation. I regarded this area as the rejuvenation/restorative area. Working with the existing black lounge chairs and window treatments, we added warm toned pillows, a textured throw, a gold toned tufted ottoman and a gold metal table. We also changed the carpet to reflect the new warmer toned finishes, while still blending with the existing gray tile flooring throughout the kitchen and dining room.
Dining Room Blending
To create the new dining room, we painted the walls a pale shade of gray to serve as a unifying backdrop to the existing drapery, contemporary glass dining table and gray tile floor. In order to serve the client’s desire for a more traditional, warm feeling and blend with the contemporary elements, we purchased French style upholstered wood dining chairs, an organic feeling gold and crystal chandelier and two multi colored landscape paintings. A large antique gold framed mirror was installed on the opposite wall to open the space.
Transitional Interior Design of the Family Room
Working with the existing black sectional and window treatments, we blended in the gold/silver metal finishes now installed throughout the first floor, and broke up the expanse of black color with various sized and patterned throw pillows in gold and taupe fabrics. We also added a round gold/silver base table and coordinating C-table to balance the large sectional and create another zone in the open floor plan where family and friends can congregate and relax.
Formal Living Room
The Formal Living Room serves as the focal point of the house, just off of the foyer. Selecting a tufted sofa with acrylic legs blended the traditional and contemporary elements in the home, as the couple’s existing black benches serve as the perfect “coffee” table. Drama was created by painting the sofa wall a richer taupe color. The bold symmetry of the two black floor lamps and the art that pops off the wall added even more drama.
Custom Designed Banister
The existing banister was original to the house that was built in 2000. Refreshing the home included designing a custom made banister. This banister is comprised of ebony stained wood with a piece of silver metal embedded along the length of it. This detail was a nod to the existing stainless steel finishes in the house.
Interior design projects are quite common in the Springtime – after all, it’s the time of renewal and rebirth. Are you starting an interior design project? Have you considered the color peach? Keri Sanders of HGTV has focused on this bright and cheery color in the Color VS Color section of the HGTV website. There are awesome examples of the use of the color peach from dramatic all-over color to unusual, eye-catching splashes. I love the various snapshots Kari includes in her article and am honored and thrilled that she has included one of my projects.
Here is the interior design project used in the HGTV article. The project in Skokie, Illinois was a simple freshen-up of a few rooms. The client hired us to repurpose, rearrange and edit her furniture, art and accessories and to select a paint color for her living room. She did purchase two new table lamps and the paint and labor to change the color of the room. Proof that with a good designer, you needn’t spend a lot of money. Click for HGTV article.
Ah, Change. I am going to get straight to the point. Change is scary! But change is inevitable, due to life’s natural evolution that includes both milestones and curve balls. Working with a compassionate and skilled interior designer who can empathize with your state of mind eases the process. When I first meet my clients, they are about to, or are in the middle of embarking on a life change, including purchasing a new home or having a desire to transform their existing home without tearing apart their life. The transformational process can feel overwhelming, and I am asked just about every time “where do I begin?”and “what is the most economical way to feel great about my home?”
I break down my answer into three steps for rocking-out your transformation. They are as follows:
The Power of Color
Painting the walls of your home in colors that affect your unique personality and coordinate with existing upholstery and other items will immediately transform and create a world that nourishes your soul. Living with color is a subjective and psychological experience. Each person’s needs are unique to the next. Some people need light and airy color in order to feel safe, secure and peaceful. Others prefer deep saturated color, or a combination of dark and light. Different colors evoke varied emotions, and when all is balanced, based on your emotional reactions and a consistent color scheme, the outcome is sublime.
Nail your flooring down
Your flooring is another key variable in the initial home transformation. Your flooring unifies the entire home, as it creates easy flow and continuity among the rooms and spaces. Flow fosters peace, calm and tranquility, all key nutrients for a sense of wellbeing and positive energy. As an extension of the walls, your flooring is the backdrop for the entire home. If you have existing hardwood floors, then be sure to coordinate the stain with the color scheme of the walls, and install additional wood in areas where the flow is cut off, such as in small entry ways.
Create intimate and warm vignettes
Pulling out existing furniture away from the walls, and arranging it into more intimate settings has a huge impact on your home’s transformation. Purchasing a new area rug that coordinates with the new color scheme and placing indirect light sources in strategic areas creates instant warmth. Decluttering and creating space in your home makes a big difference, but be sure to leave out a few select pieces with deep sentimental value, so as to add a meaningful and more personal touch to your space. Finally, hang art that speaks to you on your newly painted walls as soon as possible. Blank walls tend to feel unfinished and neglected.
There you have it – the first three steps for transforming your home into an oasis for nourishing your soul and wellbeing. I would love to hear your thoughts. What are your desires when it comes to transforming your home? Leave me a comment here!
This article is part of my Luxe For Less series of articles which is written as a means to educate you, the economically savvy and sophisticated homeowner! These articles share how to get the best possible value for your money, while creating an environment that reflects your lifestyle and personal style. I provide you with the basic information to guide you down the path to designing a living space that will make your heart sing for many years to come. Go ahead – transform your interior design!
The process of designing your home becomes the process of designing your life. Each decision you make is inspired by your personal story, lifestyle and aesthetic preferences that bring you joy and peace of mind. As the design experience unfolds, my clients learn about themselves and whether or not they are aware, what nourishes their soul. As a result, the desire to bring art into their lives becomes a need.
Even if your walls are saturated with the colors that make you feel good, blank walls eventually present an uneasy feeling. At this point in your project, selecting art that fits you like a glove is a must, as it sets the tone and energy of your space, while speaking the language of those living in it. Art takes many forms, including paintings, tapestries, photography, faux finishing, murals and ceramics to identify a few, and figuring out what’s best for you and your space is a beautiful discovery process.
Whether you are at the point in your life where you would like to purchase art for your home, or would like to begin the process of discovering what type of art nourishes your soul, the following ideas will help you begin your journey. These include connecting with individual artists, working with an art dealer/consultant or contacting a faux finisher/muralist.
“When I’m feeling something about a particular subject and can convey it in a painting, and then someone looks at the painting and says ‘Yes. That is exactly how I feel!’, then I know I’ve done my job. I feel connecting through art makes the world a less lonely place.” ~Ronit Wiener
The Power of Human Connection
I love speaking to artists directly, and learning about their WHY – why they feel compelled to create and what inspires them. Connecting to individual artists, which you can do over the internet, or in person at local art festivals or galleries allows you to discover if you speak the same language. I often hear the expression “it doesn’t speak to me”, or “it really speaks to me!” In other words the art form is speaking the same language as its viewer. It puts into words an emotion or several emotions that articulate what he/she is feeling in that moment of connection, such as joy, peace, yearning and empowerment.
Two artists whose work have a strong voice and speak my language are Ronit Wiener and Simon Kenevan. Both Artists describe their Why as a gift to others. For these two artists, painting is a tool for expressing words that don’t exist for deep emotions they are experiencing in moments of time. The result is the gift of connection to the person who may or not be aware of their need to fill a void or nurture themselves. Ronit Wiener describes her self-empowering work as this: “When I’m feeling something about a particular subject and can convey it in a painting, and then someone looks at the painting and says ‘Yes. That is exactly how I feel!’, then I know I’ve done my job. I feel connecting through art makes the world a less lonely place.” Yes! It’s beautiful to realize that we are never alone on our journey, that there is always the power to connect emotionally with others.
Simon Kenevan also gifts the world with paintings that evoke joy, inspiration and comfort. He wrote to me these powerful words that hold so much truth: “Touching souls is most profound, and the most precious of divine gifts. Imagine how it feels to place the missing piece in your home amongst all of the other things you hold dear. To sit with it in private. To feel its love. To stop time for a short while. To share with your loved ones yet keep ‘something’ for yourself…I feel humble to think about it. Art is magic. We need it.” Thank you, Simon for articulating what many of us are feeling but can’t quite figure out how to express!
“Touching souls is most profound, and the most precious of divine gifts. Imagine how it feels to place the missing piece in your home amongst all of the other things you hold dear. To sit with it in private. To feel its love. To stop time for a short while. To share with your loved ones yet keep ‘something’ for yourself…I feel humble to think about it. Art is magic. We need it.” ~Simon Kenevan
Easy Access to What Makes Your Heart Sing is at Your Fingertips
Paintings are just one art form that will nourish your soul. There are so many others, and with the internet there are infinite avenues to discover what speaks to you and your budget. Jayson Lawfer founded The Nevica Project in order to gift the world with easy internet access to discovering art that speaks to you. I couldn’t agree more when Jayson says, “I always say that one should buy the art that makes their heart sing. If something really touches you in a way that you can’t stop thinking about it, then you should buy it.” Jayson is an art dealer and ceramic instructor who owns a cozy gallery in Chicago where, upon entering, you aren’t just greeted with a hello, but a full on conversation is encouraged. Jayson offers a variety of art at all price points. Visiting his gallery and meeting him is a must if you have embarked on your art selection journey. Jayson will guide you through the entire process from creating visual representations of the art in your home, physically bringing it to your home so you can feel if it’s a good fit, and then installing it for you.
Even Your Walls Can Art Speak
Let’s not forget the power of color and texture when considering selecting art for your space. Faux finishing your walls is yet another way for bringing art into your home. Paul Minnihan of Minnihan Painting gifts his clients with his uber talent in creating faux finishes and murals that are created in direct collaboration with you. As a result, you become a part of the process in creating your own, unique dream space. In the thousands of faux finishes Paul has created, he never creates the exact same finish twice. One would say wallpaper feels like art, too. However, the pure and organic beauty of faux finish is that it can be applied to all types of surfaces, it does not show seams and it can be painted over. In addition, with faux finish, on site adjustments in color and technique allow for responding to the specific lighting, energy, and aesthetic needs of a space.
These art selection ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Art is all around us in so many shapes, colors and sizes and the process of discovering the right art for you is a beautiful art form in itself! Please share with me what makes your heart sing and what speaks to you. I can’t wait to hear YOUR story!
Thank you for reading my Luxe for Less Design Story. Please enjoy a 15 minute free phone or Facetime interior design consultation with me so you can start on the right path to your Luxe For Less interior design. At GOGO design group, it’s about getting a luxury design that reflects your unique personality and best fits you and your family’s needs.
Sign up for a free 15 minute session with me by emailing me at Rebecca@GOGOdesigngroup.com or calling 847-679-2073. I can’t wait to get started with you!
This is the third article in a series of interior design articles called Luxe For Less. This article was originally published on August 7, 2015. The Luxe For Less series of articles is written as a means to educate you, the economically savvy and sophisticated homeowner! These articles share how to get the best possible value for your money, while creating an environment that reflects your lifestyle and personal style. I provide you with the basic information to guide you down the path to designing a living space that will make your heart sing for many years to come. If you’d like to receive these articles in proper succession, (1/week), please sign up here.
A good challenge always keeps us on top of our game and Gogo Design Group had the privilege to take on another one recently as part of the Palecek & Kravet Inspiration Chair Contest. We were one of six design firms nominated by CAI Designs to compete.
Setting out to the Kravet Showroom, I had my vision and chomping at the bit dove into the fabrics. Thinking color and texture are what’s going to make my chair sing, I selected a creamy and soft faux fur fabric for the seat and back and a red and yellow Ikat fabric. But to my disappointment, these fabrics were not in stock and this would disqualify me from the contest.
I dove in again and since I wanted a contrast between color and texture – my daily approach to breathing energy and personality into inanimate objects – I found an in-stock Ikat pale turquoise and yellow fabric for the inside back of the chair to coordinate with a silver/taupe metallic and striated fabric for the seat and back. The welting around the seat and inside back was created with velvet muted turquoise, and I selected antique bronze nail-heads to pick up the gray/taupe tones in the fabric. Finally, I selected a distressed yellow chair frame to connect all of the design elements of the chair together. The result – The GoGo Chair!
It’s so great to seize opportunities and squeeze the most out of them. This was one such opportunity. You can go to CAI Designs Facebook page and vote for my chair for the next week. The chair with the most “likes” will be the winner! Winners will be announced on October 8 at the CAI Design showroom at the Merchandise Mart, as part of Design Chicago Week. Gogo Design Group would like to shout out a huge thank you to Kyle Blevins of CAI Designs for nominating us for the Contest. It’s such a blast working with Kyle on our various projects, and this one was especially fun!
Recently a couple came to me and expressed the urge to make a change and increase the warm energy in their home. I say increase because their home already feels incredibly warm. As soon as you enter you are washed with warmth and positive energy. All is orderly, each item and piece of furniture placed thoughtfully throughout and reflective of their lifestyle and personal aesthetic. The color palette does exactly as it should – envelop you with comfort. One of the owners is an artist in his spare time and his engaging work is displayed in certain areas. His other half is a professional organizer so the accessories she has carefully chosen and placed don’t create clutter, they tell the story of her family’s life. I love the kitchen, too. The design of the kitchen is a result of its daily use. Steel shelving, a butcher block island and a large chalkboard with colorfully written daily thoughts and to-do lists join forces that are so pleasing to the eye you want to pull up a stool and hang out in there.
So, on a tight budget, and not wanting to paint the entire house where could they make a change? The solution was a frequently ignored area in everyone’s home – the stairwell. How many times a day does a family run or walk up and down the stairs? Here was the spot to infuse a burst of energy and light into their home. I noticed some great photography on the walls walking up the stairs and an opportune built- in shelf on the landing wall where some lovely framed photos and knick-knacks perched, and immediately felt something sacred about this space. The home’s color palette was muted and relatively neutral. The landing was the perfect spot to be bold and create movement in a relatively static space. When we painted the wall lime green, and washed the once white walls with a warm neutral, the space immediately came alive and a once ignored spot in the house became an equally experienced happy place.
The next time you feel like you need a change but don’t know why or how, think out-of-the box and look to areas in your home that you don’t usually give a second thought to. You never know the magic you can create!
When I decided to rebrand last year, I searched for inspiration for my firm’s new identity. I figured that if I focused my awareness towards visuals in my every day life like clothing, food, and the outdoors something might speak to me. And while processing the message I wanted to convey with my new brand, I found myself mulling over childhood memories that infused me with energy and excitement. And there it was — my treasured red patent leather raincoat. This raincoat was “the bomb”. It had wide lapels and a wide belt with a big buckle. I was a shy and soft spoken child, but when I put on that coat, I felt powerful and courageous. It was like I had put on my warrior princess armor. It represented the fiery and bold girl I truly felt on the inside.
That wonderful raincoat inspired me to look outside-of-the box and create GOGO design group. GOGO conveys energy, verve, and moving forward. And with that said, the red patent leather boot was the obvious choice for the core of our identity. Just like the red raincoat gave my life a little kick when I put it on, the red boot represents interior design with a kick! Trying on those red gogo boots after they arrived in the mail reinforced where my journey had taken me as a bold, confident, courageous and most of all transformed woman.
The next time you would like to reinvent or recreate a living space and need inspiration, look to the world around you in the present and the past. What objects around you speak to you and trigger memories and feelings of comfort and joy? Was it an awesome pair of shoes that seemed too wild at the time to purchase? Was it a turquoise cashmere pashmina that you considered buying for your friend, but were afraid the color was too bold? Or those red gogo boots that seemed a little too sexy for a networking dinner you had scheduled that day. Listen to your inner voice and see what happens next!