Think Like A Designer
In the spirit of our upcoming “5 Day Improve your Room Challenge” this blog post will feature a case study of a beautiful project we recently completed. I’m going to walk you through the first two important steps of any project – Defining the functional requirements and the color palette for the space.
We’ve been busy here at New Perspective Design, working behind the scenes on some new product and service offerings coming soon! We are looking to launch our FREE 5-day Room Challenge next month so keep an eye out for the opt-in in a future blog post as well as on our website. Learn how to think like a designer on your next project!
Interior Design, like any other art form, is based on building a composition. We reference the elements of design in the process which guides each decision, incorporate client wishes and functional requirements, and in this case, work with existing elements and adjacent spaces.
Before we start, I’d like to give a special thank you to our wonderful clients who let us do our thing!
To begin, this home was under construction when we got the opportunity to help with the layout.
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful view.
- Note: Space plan to take advantage of the view in the most used spaces.
The addition was almost complete and the newer areas were flooded with sunlight. A built-in and fireplace were also in place. The kitchen was recently renovated and stretched into a casual eating area. The plan for a TV was incorporated into a small wall in the new sun room area.
- Note: Divide this long narrow space into zones to create good proportion.
- Note: Consider dining table in back area to maximize view and too much repetition of tables near the front of the home.
STEP 1 - Define the functional requirements
What do we want to do in this space? This long room could be divided into 3 distinct areas each with its own function and the room that ran perpendicular in the back had to take advantage of the gorgeous view. We always get input from our clients on what activities they want to do in the space, both on a daily and occasional basis and how they picture the space laying out. We then discuss the pros and cons of different functions in different areas and work to finalizing a plan to layout.
We decided we would use the four zones in the following way:
- The fireplace area would be used for cozy sitting space. Clients have grand-kids visiting often and loved the idea of a place to land and read. We chose a small love seat, grounded the area with a rug and reupholstered a few existing stools to be pulled in for ottomans. You can see this area in the first photo of this week's blog.
- The space next to the fireplace housed a new bookshelf/bar area. With the kitchen table so nearby, it didn’t seem right to be the dining room but yet still spoke as an entertaining space. We decided to turn this into a chat group. 4 small scale swivel chairs flank a round table for great conversation. The swivels can also turn toward the fireplace when more people are there.
3. Enter the view – we put the family room in the back to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors. The placement of the TV was predetermined so the furniture selection was key to make sure the couple had comfortable TV watching but could also accommodate additional guests. We also wanted to keep in mind that visually the room was long so the chaise end of the sofa breaks up the sight line a bit.
4. And finally, the pièce de résistance , the dining room. The best view in the house and access to the outside living space. A long table and colorful chairs make this entertaining spot a definite place to linger.
STEP 2 – Color inspiration for the palette
The very first thought that came to mind for me was “lets bring the outside in”. The abundance of windows made the outside part of the color palette from the get-go as we were not going to cover up the view. So, color number 1…green. Both my client and I loved the idea of working with green tones as she was updating from the darker warmer palette of the early 2000’s. The icing on the cake came when the homeowner showed me her existing collection of art. She had collected watercolor landscape prints from an artist in Michigan that were the perfect color palette to connect with the beautiful view.
Mission accomplished! – we were going to work with soft greens, blues and turquoise and re-position the art in new places to bring your eye through and give the art a fresh look.
- Note: always consider working with what is meaningful to you. Sometimes a new placement in new surroundings can give a meaningful piece a new life.
Your home should tell your story.
Choosing your color palette can be confusing for a lot of homeowners. Will you get sick of the colors? Is it too trendy? Too dark, too warm, too cool, etc?
- Note: look for colors that are there already and can’t be changed.
In this case, our color already present were the greens from outside.
- Note: Look to your closet.
Colors that you and your partner consistently choose to wear in clothing usually transfers well into your interior also. As you do in clothing, choose sophisticated neutral tones to ground the color and keep the feeling of luxury. Add your color in pops, particularly if you think you may want to change accents along the way, for the seasons, etc.
- Note: balance light and dark.
Make sure you take into consideration the elements already present as colors in the rainbow (the floor/walls).
Knowing these tips now, and the inspiration for our project, peek back at the photos and see if you can see these rules in play. Full disclosure here, we finished and photographed this job in the winter – which in Chicago is anything but green, but you can imagine how beautiful the outdoors are in the summer.
We’re heading into fall which means 2 things: football and holidays. Is your home ready for the holidays? Now is the time to start.
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If you’re ready to start a project today and would like our help, feel free to email or give us a call.
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