Monthly Archives: August 2009


A sneak peek!  I'll show you the finished product as soon as it's complete!

A sneak peek! I'll show you the finished product as soon as it's complete!

For those of you following the saga of my bathroom wall project, I wanted to post pics of the progress I have made this weekend. The paint is now complete! The paint I used is Vast Sky from Sherwin Williams. Except for the inevitable touch-up needed when I pull off the tape, that part of the project is finished! Good riddance, I say! Next on the agenda is sewing a new curtain for the window with some amazing fabric I found at Greenhouse Design – see it here.   As soon as I get that part of the project complete, I’ll post more pics! I think you will be amazed at the transformation from such a simple (if not time consuming) project.


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Filed under Interior Design News, New Projects

Not So Big Remodeling

I just finished perusing a copy of Sarah Susanka’s book Not So Big Remodeling.  What a fantastic resource for anyone considering a home remodeling project!  Sarah and I share many of the same ideas when it comes to home remodeling – bigger is not always better.

Not So Big Remodeling
Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live

Clients are often concerned that they don’t have enough space to make their kitchen, bathroom, (insert room here), the room the REALLY want.  This belief stifles them into doing nothing.  I feel, however, that you truly can create an amazing space – even if it’s small!  In fact, it’s often even more accessible for clients to get that “magazine cover” look in a smaller space.  With fewer square feet to cover, upgrading your finishes isn’t quite so daunting.  For example, that $25/sq. ft. backsplash tile takes a big bite out of a budget when you need 60 square feet to complete your kitchen.  However, when the backsplash only requires 20 sq. ft. of tile, it becomes much more affordable to add that custom touch.

I also think builders and remodelers (and, yes, even architects sometimes!) too often add space just to add space.  Adding square footage to a room simply for the purpose of making it bigger isn’t enough.  That extra space needs to be useful!  Adding an extra 2 feet to the width of a living room may mean that you can now fit your grandmother’s antique chair in the corner.  Or, it could mean you have a really big walkway through the room!  More isn’t always better when it comes down to function.

A better way to approach a remodeling project is to really analyze your space needs.  Do you really need to add on to your kitchen?  Perhaps your current cabinet space is just fine, but the configuration is all wrong, creating traffic flow problems with more than one cook in the space.  Or, maybe your appliances aren’t conveniently located.  Or, the lighting is bad.  It’s amazing what good design, good lighting, good color choices, can do in a space.  More space isn’t automatically the answer; it may be the best choice, but there are other ideas to explore as well.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Sarah’s book and take a peek.  If any of you have read it, and would like to offer your opinions here, I would love to hear from you!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Interior Design News

When to Reupholster?

I am often asked about reupholstering furniture.  Especially in this time of budget-concious and green living, clients (and potential clients) are curious about having their existing furniture reupholstered, instead of replaced.  But, does reupholstering always make sense?

I have found that reupholstery is not always the most cost effective option for redecorating a room.  Labor costs and fabric quantities add up, and clients aren’t always prepared for the final costs involved with reupholstery!  For example, the “average” sofa costs about $2000 to reupholster.  This price can vary dramatically, based on the style of the sofa, whether cushions need to be replaced, the repeat of the fabric, etc.  Obviously, one can buy a new sofa for less than $2000.  However, one can also find many sofas that cost well over $2000!

There are three main reasons I recommend reupholstery of furniture.  First,  if your furniture piece has sentimental value, or is a precious antique, it is almost always worth reupholstering the piece.  These types of pieces cannot be easily replaced, so the costs are easily outweighed by the sentiment and memories attached to the piece.  Image014

Likewise, if your furniture piece is of amazing quality, it is almost always worth reupholstering.  For example, a sofa which originally cost you $5000 15 years ago, is well worth reupholstering for $2000.  To replace that $5000 sofa today with a piece of comparable value, would probably cost you more than 3 times the cost of reupholstering your existing piece!

Third, if your existing furniture fits just perfectly in your space, it often makes sense to reupholster the piece, rather than to find something new.  If you have been furniture shopping recently, you have noticed that furniture has gotten really LARGE overall.  Overstuffed sofas, chairs-and-a-half and ottomans are all huge, and often not scaled to most family homes.  If you have a small-scale sofa that fits perfectly under your living room window, you may not be able to replace it easily with a new sofa that fits as well.  So, even pieces of less quality may be worth reupholstering, rather than beating your head against the wall trying to find an equally perfect piece for your room!

If you are unsure about whether your particular furniture pieces are worth reupholstering, and you wonder about the costs involved, contact an interior designer.  A designer can help you figure out the best options for you, help you select fabrics that will enhance your spaces, and arrange to have the entire project taken care of for you.  The fun thing about reupholstery, is that you can select several fabrics to be used on one piece, add fringe or other trims, add nail heads – the options are endless.  It’s definitely worth the investment.

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Will It EVER End??

The wallpaper-removal project is STILL in the works!  You may remember my last wallpaper saga, when I posted about the hope it brought out in me.  Check it out for a refresher.  I had to; I need hope that this project will end sometime this millenium!  Granted, I took a week and a half off when I had family coming to visit – a quick cleaning of the shredded wallpaper, and I was good to go.  But, boy, was it hard to get motivated to finish the project!  I knew the next part of the project was going to get nasty…

I began sanding the areas of the walls that I had filled almost 2 weeks ago with joint compound.  I was hoping to avoid this filling step, but the wallpaper didn’t come off as easily as I had dreamed it would.  Yes, I was delusional.  I completely underestimated the mess of white dust this would create.  It covered me and everything within breathing distance of the bathroom.  To compound matters, I tried vacuuming up the dust with a shop vac.  It was missing its filter, unbeknownst to me, and shot fine, white dust throughout the main level of my house!  So, now not only is the bathroom a wreck, but a lovely layer of dust has settled on every surface and in every nook and cranny of my living room, kitchen and dining room.  Nice.

Had to bring out the heavy artillery for this dusty job!  And, although I have plenty of gray hair, what you see here is dust...

Had to bring out the heavy artillery for this dusty job! And, although I have plenty of gray hair, what you see here is dust...

But, all this mess has given me new motivation to get this project done!  I can’t handle the dust anymore; I dislike moving the shower curtain in and out of the room so I can take a shower between sanding sessions.  I do think I’m nearing the end.  I have one more round of sanding to do, then (HOPEFULLY) I can start washing the dust from the walls.  Have any of you had the pleasure of taking on a project like this?  Leave your comments – it’s always nice to know that I am not the only one in history to have this much fun!!  Next step – priming!  Check back for the next update…

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Filed under Interior Design News, Just for Fun

Art Along the River

Are you searching for the perfect piece of art to grace your mantle?  Waiting to run into a vase the exact size and color you need to fill that huge void above your entertainment center?  Look no further!  The Hudson area has some fantastic art resources to take advantage of.

Seasons on St. Croix is located on Second Street in Downtown Hudson, and represents dozens of local and regional artists in all media.  From textiles to pottery, glass to paintings, you will find it here.  They have a brand new gallery, and an artist reception event on the first Friday of every month.  Visit their website at for more information.

Kelley Galleries and Framing is located a little further down Second Street in Hudson.  They offer a gorgeous array of original works, as well as reproductions, furniture and home accessories.  To finish off your art selection, they offer framing services, as well.  Check their website at for more information on their upcoming events, new artists and more.

Bonnie Rubinstein, of River Falls, is a fused glass artist.  She is amazing, and works on a very large scale.  Sinks, countertops, tiles, light fixtures, window panels – she can do it all!  View her portfolio and contact her to discuss your custom project:

Another local glass artist, Laurie Wilson, offers works in both stained and fused glass.  She is well-known for her custom architectural window panels, as she has worked with many builders in the area.  See her work at  I have had the pleasure of working with her on several past projects, and my clients have been thrilled with the results!

For a little something old, check out Abigail Page Antiques, also on Second Street in Hudson.  You never know what you may find; that perfect piece for your home may be hiding in the corner!

A wonderful array of home accessories, furniture, artwork and more awaits you at Etcetera on Second Street in Hudson.  I love browsing through their beautiful displays looking for a gift for someone special.

If you want to take an afternoon drive, head east to Roberts.  Color Crossing specializes in fiber arts.  Whether you weave, knit, crochet, felt or spin, they will have just the yarn, fiber or supplies you need.  They also just added a gallery, featuring pottery, rugs and more from local artists.  Check out this fun little shop at

Just another few minutes east, you will find a little gem of a gallery.  Stone Soup in Hammond is a great resource of local artwork.  Owner Jane Nicol features different artists than you will find in Hudson, making her shop well worth the drive.  I have found so many inspiring pieces there – check it out at

Whether you are looking for an original piece of art, or a more affordable print, or something small or large to decorate your home, the Hudson area has everything you need!  You don’t need to cross the river to find high-quality, affordable gifts and artwork.  And, of course, stay for something to eat – it’s hard to beat the restaurants in Downtown Hudson!  See for more information on Hudson, WI and the surrounding area.  Come and see us!  And when you do, be sure to stop back here to tell us your favorite spot – we would love to hear from you!

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Filed under Interior Design News, Product Specials and Great Finds

Open for Business!

The opening of my new interior design business was featured in the New Richmond News about a week ago.  I think they did a fantastic article, and I’m so grateful for the exposure!  Check it out, and let me know what you think –

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Filed under Announcements and Accolades

Beautiful Countertops on a Budget

Countertops are one of the easiest, and most common, changes that are made in kitchen update projects.  Clients are often interested in upgrading their current countertops to quartz, granite or another solid product.  (Check out my earlier post on the differences between granite and quartz countertops for details on those options.)  However, what if your budget does not allow for a complete upgrade to stone?  Well, you have a couple different options to consider.

First, you could use stone on an accent area only, with a lower-priced counterpart on the remaining portions of the kitchen.  For example, put granite on your island, as that area is most easily seen by guests, and most often used by the homeowners for tasks such as meal prep, homework and conversation.  Likewise, quartz could be installed only on the raised portion of the kitchen island or peninsula – your “snack bar” area.  Again, this offers a punch of color, pattern and “upgrade” without requiring the budget for installing a stone product throughout your entire kitchen.  Generally, I try to find a coordinating laminate that is different from the stone; trying to match a real stone with a laminate is not a great idea – the imposter will always be detected when put up against the real thing.

A second option is to use plastic laminate on all your countertops.  Laminate is beautiful in its own right, with thousands of patterns available.  New finishes now make it look even more like real stone, but without the “cool” feel and the extra-hard surface that stone offers.  Again, with the amazing laminate patterns out there, I don’t often feel the need to use laminate to replicate real stone; let laminate be laminate, I always say.

I just found a new laminate, however, with an amazing look!  Formica just came out with a new laminate option called 180fx.  With a HUGE pattern repeat, and the swirls of real granite, this is a fantastic option for a kitchen upgrade on a budget!  If you select the right edge profile detail, I think the average person would be hard-pressed to determine whether this is laminate or real granite.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Upgrades and updates can be made on any budget, with the right products!

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Filed under Interior Design News, Product Specials and Great Finds