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Give Your Tract Home a Custom Look

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Custom built homes are designed according to the clients’ specifications and have a unique style and appearance inside and out. Tract home interiors and exteriors on the other hand are all very similar but can be given a custom look with the help of a design professional, a little imagination and a lot of attention to detail. This can all be done on a modest budget without making major structural changes.

I was recently contacted by a young couple from Virginia, Brittney and Zach Osborne who are purchasing a home in Canyon Hills, Lake Elsinore.  It is very important for me to learn as much as possible about my clients so I can design a home that reflects their taste and lifestyle. I had the couple complete our custom questionnaire so I could learn about their design style, their needs, their likes and dislikes, their vision for the home and very importantly, their budget. Brittney is a Registered Nurse and Zach is a professional motocross racer.  They described their design style as casual and contemporary and wanted to create a custom look for their home that feels inviting and comfortable. They like to entertain and expect to have a lot of out of town guests visit often. They described themselves as outgoing, fairly laid back and enjoy the outdoors. They plan for kids and animals in the future so I had to keep that in mind while selecting fabrics and furnishings for them. They like neutral, timeless, warm colors and modern style furnishings.

We began the design process by choosing the color palette for the entire house. With their lifestyle in mind I decided to give them a “Modern Nature” theme incorporating colors borrowed from nature and natural textures and materials.  After measuring the home I developed a floor plan for each room and selected furnishings, window treatments, lighting and accessories keeping in mind the function, style and mood of each space.

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Watching the house transformation has been exciting for my clients and I was able to make decisions and share the progress with them all via the internet! I will be featuring the finished rooms in their home over the next few months. This month we will look at the Great Room’s design transformation.

The Great Room

The Great Room will be the place where Brittney and Zach do a lot of entertaining. The color palette for this room includes warm beiges, grey, blue and green with black accents. I chose 2 walls to paint in an accent color of Stone Fence (Behr paint). The couple required a lot of seating so I chose a custom sectional sofa in a soft, flannel grey upholstery fabric, which will be durable and easy to clean. A large ottoman in beige ultra suede fabric was chosen instead of a traditional cocktail table and can serve as an ottoman, table or extra seating.  Pillows add color and a nature pattern to the sofa. A wicker side table was chosen and adds another natural element to the space.  A comfy, gorgeous area rug defines the seating area and incorporates all the colors of our palette. Three custom barstools upholstered in beige and grey tweed fabric were chosen for additional seating at the bar. The room had a large open niche where we installed a custom designed Maple entertainment cabinet for TV and components. A rustic console table next to the slider back door provides a drop off spot and can display photos, cookbooks, etc.

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For the windows and French door I chose off-white Roman shades which I love. They are pretty, stylish and provide diffused light and privacy. The slider was treated with a functional grommet top drapery fabricated in a beautiful iridescent blue fabric.  To be sure we had adequate lighting in the room we added six recessed ceiling lights and under cabinet lighting in the kitchen and a modern fan was installed in the center of the room.

The most important finishing touches in any room are accessories. For art we chose a pair of canvas prints which feature soft tree branch images in tones of beiges and greens coordinating with the area rug colors perfectly. A modern clock, silver tree sculpture and inspirational art are featured over the fireplace. Family photos will add a personal touch throughout the room.

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The finished room carries out the “Modern Nature” theme with relaxing colors, natural materials, and nature images. The room offers ample, comfortable seating and plenty of room for entertaining guests.
Remember that details in design, including custom paint colors, custom cabinets, upgraded flooring, lighting, window treatments and furnishings all help to achieve that custom look for any home.

Cynthia Champness Cuellar is the owner and principle designer of Rancho Interior Design.

Contact her at 951-956-0661 or ranchointeriordesign.com

 

 

Entryway Ideas for Your Home

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Dear Cynthia,

My design dilemma is this. My front door always looks a mess and it’s the first thing you see when you come into my home. The kids always drop their stuff-shoes, backpacks, bags, toys right down by the front door when they come home. What can I do about making this space look nicer?

Alice, Murrieta

Dear Alice,

Keeping your front or back entry neat is always a challenge when you have kids and husbands! Back East a lot of homes are built with what is called a mud room that is off the back entry. The concept of a mud room was to have a room where you could come inside and remove your muddy, wet boots and coats and not dirty the living spaces. Most of us here in California don’t have the luxury of a mud room so we have to come up with other ways to organize the clutter. First look at your entryway and determine what kind of space you have where you could create a storage area. Analyze the types of items that you need to organize. Do you need containers, boxes, and hanging space?  Design the area in an attractive cohesive way that complements the rest of your room/home.  If there is room for a piece of furniture consider purchasing an entry storage bench. Pottery Barn has a nice one. Their Brady 4-piece double bench entryway system is perfect for organizing the entryway. The unit has room for hanging jackets, drawers for toys, shoes, etc., bins for storing school supplies and a bench where you can sit and remove your shoes. They offer several different options and different sizes of units. You can add more hooks for additional directly on the wall. Decorate the space around the unit with wall art and framed photos and add interesting pendant lights for style and adequate light. Now the space is organized and attractive not just a mound of clutter. If space is limited you can still achieve an organized area incorporating shelves, using large baskets and decorative hooks that can be found at any hardware store. You might even search for vintage pieces at local antique shops.  Just be sure to decorate the space so it blends in with your home décor and becomes an attractive area that complements your home.

 

Planning a Multi-Functional Space

Quite often clients come to me wondering how they can make the most use of their space, especially when they are dealing with a small space and need their space to perform many functions.

Small spaces can be challenging, however even small spaces can be designed to function for you in order to take full advantage of the space you have. The first thing you should do is assess the space and determine what is working for you and what is not working for you. Determine your needs so you can include them in your plan. Many small spaces can be designed to serve several purposes. For example, you may require office or work space and do not have an extra room to house a desk, files, and other materials. This is a common problem for more and more people who are working from home. Don’t worry; there probably is a solution to your dilemma. The first thing you want to do is look at your current floor plan and determine how it can be changed to accomplish this multi-tasking space.  Can you rearrange the main pieces of furniture to open up a space for the new office and still keep the floor plan open and functional?  There may be a corner or wall that is not being used to its maximum advantage that you can incorporate into your plan. Keep your options open. Draw your plan on graph paper before moving anything to be sure it works. Remember your traffic patterns and minimum allowances for walkways. Ideally you should leave a minimum opening of 36 inches. With smart planning you won’t require a lot of room for your new space. Be sure you design your office space to flow nicely with the rest of the room using the same style and colors and giving it a residential feel. Avoid industrial, office furniture. Instead choose similar style woods and materials for your office furniture that complement the rest of the room. Choose an upholstered Parsons side chair instead of a standard office desk chair.  Take advantage of vertical space and install shelving or cabinetry up the walls.  Use the shelving for your files to get them up and out of the way to free up maximum desk space. Keep magazines, notes and clippings in a uniform collection using magazine files which will look neat on the shelves and keep you organized. You can also use attractive baskets to store supplies. Complete the space by adding artwork, accessories, an interesting area rug and another comfy chair if space allows.

This same concept can apply to any room.  An extra bedroom can double as a guest bedroom and office using the same principles. Keep the furnishings non-industrial and choose pieces that complement the style of the bedroom.  If space is really at a premium, consider a Murphy bed which folds up onto the wall when not in use to give you the full use of space in the room for other activities.

When space is limited and you need your rooms to be multi-functional a little planning can go a long way. Just remember to tie the areas together by having the same feel for the spaces rather than making them look distinctly different. The result will be an attractive, functional space.  As always when in doubt consult a professional Interior Designer for ideas and inspiration.

 

Christmas Decorating Ideas

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Christmas is right around the corner so it’s time to get started decorating your home for the Holidays. The next few weeks I’ll be sharing some inexpensive, easy DIY decorating ideas with my Rancho Interior Design clients. If you have ideas, please send them to me and I will share them on my blog.

1. I love using natural elements in my decorating. Gather natural branches or find them at your local craft or floral supply store and spray paint them silver or gold. Place them in different size and shape vases for an elegant display. You can add ribbon or ornaments for an even more festive look.

2. Decorate with ornaments in a sophisticated way. Gather clear glass tumbler vases in different heights and sizes. Purchase glass ornaments in 1 or 2 colors. Fill the glass vases with the ornaments and arrange the vases as a collection. Use an odd number of vases which is most appealing visually. You can add candles in glass vases or small votive candles to the display for even more impact. The display will be beautiful when the light reflects off all the glass vases.

3. A fun idea is to wrap some sofa throw pillows with fabric and ribbon. Toss them on your sofa for a festive look.

4. Find or purchase some cute frames and frame pretty gift wrap paper or Christmas cards. Place the frames on a mantel or table or group them on a wall.

5. Fill holiday plates or chargers with ornaments, pinecones, berries and branches. Add candles in hurricane lamp vases and use as a centerpiece.

Try some of these ideas to add a festive look to your home this Holiday Season.