What a Difference a Day Makes: The (Almost) Instant Makeover

Marie Bozzi and her husband Peter finally had a comfortable home in New Jersey. They had spent several years finding just the right furniture and, with the help of professional decorators, they felt their home was complete. But then came a move to New Hampshire.

The Bozzis found a 10-year-old home in Windham that was lovely, but needing a bit of TLC. Many of the contractor’s fixtures and paint colors were still in place. It was immediately obvious the house’s potential had yet to be fulfilled.

After the movers left, the Bozzis knew they needed help. The living room had a cramped feeling — it looked like all their lovely furniture wouldn’t fit. Not fit beautifully, anyway.

Marie found Kimberly Merritt of Peterborough, who specializes in “redesign.” After all, they had just transported the makings of a fine home; maybe it just needed to be reconsidered.

Kimberly assessed the situation. Yes, the furniture was fine, and even the old window treatments would fit. All the room needed was a new paint color, although the Bozzis also chose to replace the carpeting with a hardwood floor to showcase a carpet. Kimberly then came in for one day and redesigned the living room, using only pieces already in the home. Whatever Kimberly needed to finish off a corner, Marie was able to find within the four walls of the house.

When Peter Bozzi came home that evening, it was like an episode of TV’s “While You Were Out.”

Yes, the furniture fit, in fact, it was unbelievable — the room looked even better than its previous incarnation in New Jersey. Peter said it exceeded his expectations.

With mission accomplished in the living room, Marie and Kimberly have set out to revitalize the rest of the house. Curtains will be remade, walls will be painted, and there will be some physical alterations in the kitchen, but most of the transformation will involve just redecorating.

“It’s just a matter of finding the right balance,” says Merritt.

Designer’s Notes and 10 Tips for Your Redesign Project

By Kimberly Merritt

Interior redesign is the most talked about, in the know, decorating concept going. Thanks in part to HGTV and the countless decorating magazines that featured this facet of interior decorating, it truly is decorating for today’s times.

Interior redesign (also known as one-day decorating or interior styling) is the process of rearranging the contents of a room with an artful eye and great attention to detail, all without the purchase of a single item. Most people have everything they need to create a beautiful room, but have no idea how to “put it all together.”

Redesigners can correct common decorating mistakes made by homeowners unfamiliar with basic design principles, and can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Today’s interior designers and decorators are beginning to practice “green” design methods — the practice of using or re-using resources wisely. An ever-increasing number of products are being developed from recycled materials, and new materials are being developed without harming the environment — green design just makes sense. How much greener can you get than interior redesign? It’s the ultimate in recycling.

A typical redesign begins with a room evaluation. The space is analyzed as the redesigner gets to know you and your lifestyle. Most redesigns start with a blank canvas — almost everything is removed from the room to get a better sense of space. Then it’s time to check out the rest of the house to see what else can be used to enhance the overall design.

Redesigners prowl attics, basements and garages looking for long-lost treasures. A few hours later, both the homeowner and designer enjoy the instant gratification of completely redecorating a room in less than a day. Once the room is complete, you may receive a list of recommendations to finish off the room just so — the perfect wall color or accessory ideas, perhaps. This list can be tucked away for another day and when your budget allows.

In the Bozzis’ redesign, the homeowners relocated to New Hampshire last year and needed to fit the furnishings from their previous home into their new one. The living room is a typical square-shaped room found in most colonials and lacks any significant focal point. This room is used for entertaining and relaxing — a much-needed adult room and retreat for a business executive dad and busy mother of twin toddlers.

After previewing the room, we decided to replace flooring and add color to the walls. Hardwood flooring was installed in keeping with other hardwood found throughout most the home. After the floors were installed, the walls were painted a rich caramel shade that really brought out the colors and patterns of the furniture.

With no real architectural focal point to guide furniture placement, we needed to create an arrangement that welcomed you into the room. Typically, furniture is lined up along walls, waiting room-style.

Furniture was placed on an angle, instantly creating depth and interest. We used everything already in the room but added a table, two lamps, floor plant, artwork and accessories found throughout the home.

Lamps were strategically placed around the room to illuminate every corner. The artwork was chosen in keeping with the “Old World” feel. The bookcase, the room’s new focal point, now contains a nice mix of books and accessories placed with care to highlight the most important pieces and infuse pockets of color. This living room is now a warm and inviting space that beckons you to come in and sit a while.

A talented redesigner has the ability to relate to many design styles. The goal is to bring out a room’s balance and make the most of what’s there. This service can also be used when reinventing space for a party, to spruce up and de-clutter a home before placing it on the market, and more.

Read on to find basic tips to for redesigning your home.

Place furnishings in relation to the room’s focal point and into one or more conversational groupings, not “screaming distance” apart.

Use rugs to anchor furnishings. Relate the rug to the grouping and don’t “strand” rugs in the center of a room.

Mix things up from room to room. You’ll be surprised how something old can look new again, just by moving it to a new spot.

Create a triangle arrangement when placing lamps. This will insure uniform lighting.

Repeat lines — round with round, square with square, etc.

Use accessories to expand the size of a piece of furniture. A tall, vertical piece can be “widened” by placing artwork on either side.

Keep the eye moving — create a variety of levels so the eye can travel around the room effortlessly. Balance is key.

Artwork should relate to furnishings. Hang pictures 6 to 9 inches over a sofa or large table, and closer to smaller tables. Artwork hung over a sofa should span 2/3 of the space.

Bookshelves should include a mix of horizontal and vertically placed books, mixed in with accessories. Work in a zigzag pattern from left to right and vice versa when arranging books.

If you have more than three of anything — it’s a collection. Group like items together and corral smaller items onto trays. Rotate collections seasonally so you never get tired of the same look.
by Kimberly Merritt, Interior Designer and Redesigner, www.BeautifulLivingOnline.com or www.DecoratingandRedesignTraining.com