By Shelby Deering | Photo courtesy The Design Coach
It’s springtime — at least it will be soon — which means it’s a great time to re-evaluate your home’s interior. Whether you’re ready to take on a DIY project or just want to change up a look or add a few pieces to your décor, we think you’ll appreciate the tried-and-true solutions offered by five design experts.
Crafting an aesthetic that’s innovative and contemporary yet with a nod to traditionalism, Katherine Wozniak, principal and lead designer of Katherine Elizabeth Designs, creates spaces that feel perfectly luxe. Wozniak knows that a kitchen refresh can hit a variety of price points, so she shares tips around different types of budgets.
If the bottom line is key, Wozniak suggests livening up the insert panels of your cabinets with glass or grass cloth wallpaper. Or you can turn to good, old- fashioned paint. She says, “Paint the walls or cabinets a fresh color. Or perhaps paint just your island in a color that contrasts with your other cabinets.”
For a medium budget, upgrade inset panels with antiqued glass, mirrors or faux leather. You can also install new light fixtures. “New lights make a huge difference,” she says.
Perhaps the sky’s the limit with your kitchen budget. Here, Wozniak advises putting in a new countertop on your island that’s different from the other counters in your kitchen. “We love formed metals, but wood or a different stone is great,” she adds.
Or you could replace your range hood cover. “The hood is a significant visual presence, and a custom hood is beautiful and striking,” Wozniak explains.
LIVING ROOM RECHARGE
With his penchant for vintage, upcycled touches, Philip Sassano, principal at The Design Coach LLC, creates spaces that look as if they’re from another era. But in light of the pandemic and staying at home, he’s seen equal value in incorporating a current need into living spaces — and that’s flexibility.
“This past year, we asked our interiors to both do more and be more than ever before, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon,” he reflects. “That said, my advice to freshen up your living room or any room for that matter, can be described with one word: flexibility. I believe the best interiors should support a multitude of activities as well as possess the ability to dress up or down depending on the occasion and season.”
To create a flexible living room, Sassano recommends accent furniture that serves as quick, additional seating. Small benches can double as ottomans and stackable nesting tables can slide underneath one another to accommodate a computer, coffee or even a cocktail.
Throw pillows and blankets act as flexible décor. Sassano says these can be “changed out seasonally to give rooms a current or classic aesthetic upgrade.”
DINING ROOM REJUVENATION
At Curate Design Group, designer and owner Garrett Cheyne and senior designer Suzanne Augustson are known for their attention-grabbing spaces that artfully mix vintage and modern elements. But they’re also big believers in small changes that make an impact.
In the dining room, the two believe that a fresh coat of paint can do wonders, something that doesn’t require a full-on renovation. They explain that softer tones update [a dining room] into the now, while darker tones keep you in the past. Also, accent walls are a thing of the past. They emphasize that keeping all your walls the same tone visually expands the space and keeps it cohesive.
If repainting your dining room just doesn’t interest you, Cheyne and Auguston suggest a simple centerpiece update. For a traditional look, you can’t go wrong with beautiful candlesticks paired with a fresh floral arrangement in a vase, which always creates a classic touch. If you have more of a modern flair, they suggest trying to cluster unique and interesting objects in the center of the table, thus creating visual interest.
In the spaces she designs, Ann Kottler, principal at Ann Kottler Home, masterfully layers patterns alongside traditional accents. There’s a warmth to her designs, something that’s certainly true of the bedrooms she’s styled.
“We approach a client’s bedroom update with the intention of creating a relaxing sanctuary,” she says. “More so now than ever, it seems a good night’s rest is imperative in our busy lives.”
To turn your own bedroom into a calming sanctuary, Kottler recommends updating accent pieces, “such as a charming chair or ottoman to add warmth and character,” along with new bedding, lamps, artwork, window treatments and mirrors. Even a door refresh with a new color and hardware can add personality.
Kottler recommends focusing on color choices, whether that’s soft and light-hued or vivid and bold. “Color choices can be either vibrant or neutral depending upon our client’s preferences,” she says. “The main premise is to layer colors along with various textures to create a curated, welcoming space.”
“Regarding shopping,” she adds, “we recommend hiring a professional interior designer who can access their firm’s trade resources to provide you with exquisite choices and value engineering pricing.”
Brimming with ideas for custom wood details and Instagram-ready spaces, Adam and Bethany St. Marie, designers and owners of Oat Handmade Interiors are plugged into the latest trends you can integrate into your bath to make it look current.
For example, simply swapping out the towels is a great start. “Fringed, Turkish towels are a trendy way to add some fresh texture and a clean, new feel,” Bethany says.
To update your vanity, Bethany advises, “Change out or add matte black or brushed gold hardware and a faucet. If you’re feeling ambitious, paint it a light, bright color like a warm white or go with a clean black.” She recommends black paint shades “Caviar” and “Tricorn Black” from Sherwin Williams.
One unexpected way to refresh a bath’s ambiance is by changing the light bulbs, or as Adam calls it, “lighting temperatures.” He says, “Take account of how you feel in your space. How do you feel during the morning at first light, the afternoon and at night without any natural light? Do your eyes get heavy or strain to focus? Try choosing different bulbs to see how it changes those elements until you find a lighting brightness and color that is most comfortable.”
DON’T FORGET OUTDOOR SPACES
It won’t be long until we’ll be lounging on our patios and decks, so heed the advice of our experts for sprucing them up.
Philip Sassano: Beyond the traditional outdoor seating combinations is the one piece most people miss — the cushion storage box for exterior throws, pillows and other decorative items that doubles as a beverage or serving station.
Garrett Cheyne and Suzanne Augustson: Freshening up a dull patio set with new cushions, an outdoor rug and layering perennials is always a go-to. Try adding a firepit if you have the room.
Katherine Wozniak: Replace worn and chipped planters or pots.
Swap out the annuals in the pots a couple times as the season progresses. Put new lanterns or hurricane lamps on the tables. String white twinkle lights for a soft light after dark.
Adam and Bethany St. Marie: If you decide to renovate your deck, the natural beauty and durability of exotic hardwood, such as Ipe or Cumuru, are hard to beat.
Make sure your vendor or general contractor is aware of the need for this type of wood to acclimate properly to our colder, drier climate to ensure its durability.
Ann Kottler: It’s all about using what you have if you don’t want to redo everything or buy too many new items. The easiest things are fresh pillows and planters. Or, if you have white furniture that could use an update, simply paint it black with Rustoleum spray paint and change out the cushions.