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Comments Off on Friday’s Photo Shoot: A sneak peek

I was so honored to be working with Helen Norman last Friday. She shot my client's family room. Her work has appeared in national publications such as Southern Living and Traditional Home so it truly was a treat to be working with her! She is crazy talented and really knows how to make a room come to life in her photography. Watching her and her assistant Dan work to get it "just right" makes me realize just how critical every little element is in getting that perfect shot.

This is a shot I took while they were working to get the lighting just right. As you can see from this photo and how blurry it is, I'm much better leaving the photography to them!

Here's a quick peek at the final photographs Helen just sent over the other day…

We were so fortunate to have the gorgeous fall colors serve as our backdrop in these photos.

The lighting was also in our favor that day and lighting is everything when it comes to good photography. Helen had a partly sunny day to work with and was able to time the shots to take advantage of the perfect lighting condition. It was actually funny to watch. We'd set up the shot and then wait for a cloud to partially cover the sun at which point they'd have to move quickly and take the shot. If they were just a little bit off, we'd sit and wait for the next cloud to come. At one point, all three of us just sat staring out the window trying to guess how quickly the next cloud would make it over!

I'll share before and after's soon and get into more details about what we did in this space in a future post. I just wanted to get this sneak peek out to you. I'm so excited about this space and just could not wait to share!

Comments Off on Fall Decorating: Pumpkin Topiary

With fall most certainly in the air now, I finally brought myself to take out the geraniums planted in my front porch urns and opted to do something a little different this year. I initially bought the proverbial mums to take the geraniums place but thinking that was just too "expected", I decided to do something more adventurous this year. Build a topiary with pumpkins! I have to give the internet credit for this creative idea.

via Pinterest

I liked the play of the greens with the pumpkins but wasn't quite sure how I'd bring that in.

via Pinterest

I loved the idea of the pumpkin lanterns and stringing lights around it but that little voice in my head said, "Really? You did want to get this done in time for this fall, right?!!" Fortunately I listened to that voice and moved on because honestly pumpkin lanterns were not in the cards this year.

via Pinterest

I loved the white pumpkin with the orange, green and black and decided my topiary would have a white pumpkin for sure.

Using some fall garland seemed liked a great idea to dress it up without getting too complicated so I definitely made a note of that.

I finally had the perfect image in my mind of what I wanted my topiary to look like. Here's the end result:

I also discovered our "pet" groundhog has been nibbling at my pumpkins now so I'm keeping my fingers crossed he doesn't decide to totally take this apart on me. If anyone knows how to keep a groundhog away, please do share! He's definitely gotten the best of my flowers this year.

Here's a quick "how-to" on how I created it. I definitely think next year I'll be ready to take on the pumpkin lanterns ;). Well, I guess I should wait and see what that "little voice" has to say about that. Enjoy and happy decorating!

Step 1:

Pick out pumpkins specifically for your topiary. Think about size and color and how they'll stack. I looked for pumpkins that were flatter to help with stacking.

Step 2:

Remove stem from pumpkins that will serve as base of topiary.

Step 3:

Place Styrofoam block in bottom of container. Use dowel to stack and hold pumpkins in place.

Step 4:

Make sure to step back and adjust the pumpkins such that their "best side" is facing forward.

Step 5:

Add real greenery or autumn garland (pick up at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore) and wrap around base pumpkin and/or in between pumpkin stack. Wind a string of lights around the pumpkin stack to add decorative touch for night time. Think about using carved pumpkins with candles at night, drawing faces or monograms with Sharpies, adding some decorative ribbon or a bow. Be creative and have fun!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on From Trash to Treasure

Hidden treasures. That is how I often like to refer to "expired" furniture that is sitting in your home. Furniture that you think has served its purpose. Furniture that you feel is time to move on from. Depending on its condition and overall construction, the furniture you already have may actually be the least expensive alternative to refreshing your space. I'm working on two projects right now where we are repurposing something from each client's home.

This first piece is a chair that has been in my client's family forever. Her husband tried to refinish the legs but as you can see, didn't get very far. She sheepishly led me to this chair tucked away in the very back room of her basement wondering if there was anything we could do to give it a second life. It has tremendous sentimental value for her and she wasn't ready to let go of it but the springs were totally gone so while decoratively it looked nice, in reality no one could sit in it. This chair has such great "bones". You can't really see it in this picture but the scale and proportion of this chair is somewhat petite, making it a great little accent chair. Typically you see channel chairs that are much larger in scale so right away this chair captures your heart. We recently had it picked up and whisked away to our reupholster to work his magic. We're reupholstering in fabulous linen and doing the legs in a dark walnut stain. I cannot wait to see the finished piece!

We are also working on refinishing some bedroom furniture for another client, the dresser you see pictured below plus two matching nightstands and chest. The furniture itself is in good shape, however the finish and hardware are making it look somewhat dated. When I saw these pieces, I immediately pictured a gray wash finish and darker hardware – perhaps oil-rubbed bronze. I think all of these pieces have the potential to look absolutely stunning with the help of my friend and totally talented artist, Andie Smarrelli from BoJams Studio. She has actually transformed furniture in several of my projects now and when I say transformed I am completely serious! Check out this earlier blog post I wrote, "Giving Furniture New Life" showcasing what she created for another client to "save" their bedroom furniture.

Anytime you look to refinish furniture you start with inspiration. Here was my inspiration picture that I forwarded to the client yesterday.

                            via Pinterest

While these pieces are very different in shape and form, the finish is what grabbed my attention and I could totally picture something very similar on my client's furniture. It's definitely time to transform this furniture from its early 70's vibe and I think this finish will go a long way to doing just that!

I'll keep you posted and share "after" pictures once we're done. Just remember, don't be so quick to cast off your old furniture, especially if there is a sentimental attachment to it. A new fabric, finish and/or hardware can totally transform any piece into a modern day "gem" in your home!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on Treasure Hunt: Accent Tables

This weekend I was catching up on some magazines when I found this gorgeous little accent table from Urban Outfitters:

Accordian Side Table, Urban Outfitters

Priced at only $78, you really can't beat this! It has so much style and at 14" diameter, it really is the perfect size for any location, be it by lounge chair or sitting beside your sofa. This table actually started me on an internet treasure hunt. You know, you start out doing one thing and then before you know it, you're off in a totally different direction but this was definitely a fun diversion. I was curious to see what other accent tables are out there through retail that are high in style but smartly priced. I limited my search to only those tables that were high on style but priced at $150 or less. It seemed like a tall order but I was so excited with what my treasure hunt turned up. I found some really cute accent tables at unbelievable price points for what they offered in quality and style:

Olivia Mirrored Side Table, Ballard Designs

I love, love, love this Olivia Mirrored Side Table for Ballard Designs. Priced at only $109 and available in two finishes, Antique Black and Antique Brass. This is another table that offers so much for such a great price point! I had been eyeing this table in Ballard Designs for months but questioned the quality based on the price. You know the old adage, "you get what you pay for" but that old adage got "tabled" in this case. I finally broke down and bought it a couple of years ago and have been so happy with it. It's served several functions in my home with its latest resting spot bedside as a night table. The addition of the mirror and black iron finish was just what was needed in that spot in my bedroom to change things up and add a little dimension and character.

Tripod Iron Side Table, Wisteria

Another really cute table is this Tripod Iron Side Table from Wisteria. It's style is simple yet still brings a lot of character. It's simplicity also makes it work with so many styles – it could look equally at home in a traditional or contemporary space. Priced at only $129, this one is definitely a steal!

Flourised Café Table, Wisteria

Here's another cute little accent table from Wisteria, the Flourished Café Table priced at $129. It's very simple in styling but loaded with personality. With the industrial look trending so strongly right now, this table is great way to bring a little of that look into any room.

So there you have it, my "finds" for accent tables. I love what these little tables can do for a room. They remind me of that final piece of jewelry you add to your outfit that pulls it all together and makes it look "just right". I remember one of my design teachers years back saying you never design a place to sit without providing something to rest a drink or book on. That has stayed with me all through these years so I'm always on the hunt for unique accent tables that are full of interest and character that can really bring something to the room. I'm glad I decided to follow this little diversion and now have some great new sources for cute little accent tables!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on The Perpetual Halloween Costume

I am typically not one for spooky tales and haunted houses but my favorite place on earth also happens to be the perfect destination for Halloween haunts year-round. Charleston, SC has a rich history dating back to the colonial era and, as a result, more than a few ghost sightings and unexplainable events have been reported over the years. So I guess you could say, Charleston is perpetually in Halloween costume.

While in Charleston a few years back, my family and I decided to do a ghost tour to learn more about this haunted city. We did the Ghosts & Graveyards Walking Tour through Bulldog Tours and were certainly spooked. While in one of the graveyards, my son took a picture of of a grave our tour guide had just finished telling us about. When he looked at his picture, there appeared to be a ghostly, near-transparent figure perfectly centered in the shot. It appeared as though he was wearing some sort of button-up military uniform that closely resembled something like this:

Charleston takes advantage of it's haunts and hosts an array of events throughout the Halloween season including tours of the Old City Jail that once housed pirates, Civil War POW's, serial killers, and more, Halloween packages at Charleston's most haunted hotels like the Battery Carriage House Inn, and a night of theatrics at the infamously haunted Dock Street Theatre where theatregoers take a peak into the mysterious death and disappearance of Charleston's own Edgar Allen Poe.

The history, the lingering spirits, and the haunting tales make Charleston the ideal destination if you're looking for a true fright this Halloween.  As for me, I'll stick to the pumpkin-carving, candy corn, and adorable trick-or-treaters. It'll be a ghost-free Halloween for me, thank you very much. :)

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on The “Not So New” Eclecticism

It seems like everyone is talking about a new style today called eclecticism. It's gracing the covers of shelter magazines and becoming the tagline for many retailers now. But there is nothing new about eclecticism.

 

 

We've just finally given ourselves the permission to not be so "matchy matchy" in our decorating. I can remember when combining wood finishes was absolutely taboo. I bet many a great-grandmothers turned in their graves as we gave way to combining different wood finishes and realizing it not only worked but looked great. It suddenly brought a sense of depth and dimension.

 

via Pinterest

 

That initial permission that was eventually accepted in the decorating world has now given way to giving ourselves permission to really think about our style, what elements speak most directly to us and yes, it probably will involve combining elements of several different "styles" to ultimately achieve the look we want.

 

via Pinterest

 

One of the best things about the internet is it gives us access to tools that help us really think and dream about our homes from the standpoint of a blank canvas. We're not confined to the images of "perfect" rooms featured in shelter magazines and decorating books telling us how we should put it all together. We see something we like, we "pin" it or save it to our "ideabook" and eventually we start to see a style all our own evolve.

 

via Pinterest

 

Design is truly about peeling back the layers and really getting to the heart of what elements speak most clearly to us and then finding a way to bring it all together so that it's cohesive, tells our unique story and truly works.

 

via Pinterest

 

I can tell you that almost all of my clients today are combining elements from different styles and I absolutely love that. They always tentatively show me inspirational pictures that in their minds have no connection but my role is to see past that and make those connections that ultimately translate into their own personal style. I love that process and the excitement that starts to shine across their face as they realize they can have a space that really is a reflection of them.

 

via Pinterest

 

Yes, I love that we've finally given ourselves permission to decorate the way we like to and not confine ourselves by the boundaries of what we think our rooms should be. It's about creating spaces that are truly eclectic and speak to your soul.

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on Repurposing Mason Jars

This morning I was busy on Pinterest looking for inspiration for my client's vision board. A vision board is when we pull together images of what we think will convey how the client wants their space to look and feel. It's a great way to check in and make sure we're on the same page stylistically and that the design elements that speak strongly to them are understood and captured.

Well, this morning while looking for images, I stumbled upon some great decorative uses for mason jars and of course, before I knew it, I was off creating a new Pinterest board for myself to capture all of the clever decorative uses for mason jars. I love the simplicity of a mason jar. They just exude a sense of "home", crazy that a little glass jar can evoke those emotions. I think it's because mason jars represent all things homemade, that special sauce or jelly that only your grandmother could make, a time when things were slower and we actually did take the time to make things from scratch.

It's nice to see that mason jars have withstood the test of time and while most of us aren't using them as they were traditionally meant to be used, they have made a huge comeback in terms of decorating. Here are some of my favorite pins I found for using mason jars to decorate for the fall:

This is one of my favorites! Floating candles are always so elegant and pretty.

 

Love this! All that's required is a little Mod Podge, a brush and some fall leaves.

 

It doesn't get any simpler than this. Acorns are so plentiful this time of year and look great as a filler!

 

This would be gorgeous as a centerpiece or on a fireplace mantel.

 

I know, technically this is not a mason jar but you get the idea. Love the look of the feathers, especially combined with the birch candleholders.

 

This one is just too clever! A very fun idea for Halloween!!

If you find any clever fall decorating ideas with mason jars, please share!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

All images via Pinterest

Comments Off on Conquering the Beast: Hanging Artwork

What I love about my job is truly no day is the same as the next! Today, I got to play installer. I've always been intimidated when it comes to hanging things. Don't ask me why. You'd think being in the field of work I'm in, it's time to get over it. But such anxiety sets in every time I put that first nail into the wall. Did I measure right? Am I reaaallly sure there is not a pipe or electrical wire behind this spot?

Our junior designer Kelly knows my apprehension and, being so talented in many areas, she has taken the lead on hanging artwork. Of course, for big jobs we call in a professional but for a picture here and there, it's really something we can handle. We were all set to deliver some items to our client in Potomac, MD today and hang artwork and some mirrors when I got the dreaded call from Kelly that she was home sick today. Ugh!! We had other people scheduled around our being up there so we couldn't reschedule. It was time for Plan B which translates to me doing the install. Trust me, it was a scary thought! I quickly called Cheerie, our assistant and she thankfully was available to help out.

Of course, the first piece we hang has those dreaded loops on either end of the frame. If you have ever installed artwork, you know getting this just right can be a true pain in the butt. To further add to the challenge, my tool bag is filled with just the bare minimum – no power tools just your typical hammer, Phillips head screwdriver, etc. Our receiver who was there delivering some other items just looked inside my tool bag and laughed. But I knew somehow people survived without power tools and we'd be able to figure this out. Truth be told, he came to the rescue in hanging the 52 lb mirror for us. So, many thanks to Richard of Easy Movers DC for helping us out!

Cheerie and I measured once, measured twice, measured three times and thankfully measured a fourth time. The fourth time it dawned on me I was using the picture's height as the width and we would have definitely been way off!! As they say, you can never measure too many times! Once measurements were done, screws were mounted to the wall, the moment of truth arrived in being able to hang the artwork. I can't tell you how proud and thrilled we were when we literally nailed it on the measurements. The loops grabbed on to the screws with perfect precision. Success!!

But we still had another challenge; hanging these rope mirrors in their guest bedroom. Kelly made these for our client and they are absolutely gorgeous and perfect for this room! We ended up making them when we couldn't find them anywhere to purchase. So many times I'll have a vision for a space and then can't find it anywhere or I can find it but not with the right dimensions. Kelly is so talented and was able to turn my vision into a reality. We're so lucky to have her pinch hit in so many areas! These rope mirrors, of course, had a difficult mounting piece as well. There were two keyholes on the back that we had to perfectly line up and with three mirrors, we had to get this right not only once, but three times! So, it took a little bit of creativity and ingenuity on Cheerie's and my part but we finally figured out the best way to approach this was to draw out a template and then use that to base where to mount the screws. We both agreed this sounded like a plan but at the same time, both realized this was graduate level picture hanging and prayed it worked in the end. We tentatively installed the screws for the first mirror and then went to hang it, all the while holding our breath. It's one thing to make a mistake and have an extra hole in the wall of your own home but you cannot do this in a client's home. Thankfully, it worked! We both breathed a huge sigh of relief and then were able to install the other two mirrors with ease.

Cheerie and I felt like we had truly conquered the beast today! So today while I wore the hat of installer and gained a little more confidence in being able to hang artwork, tomorrow I will eagerly return to wearing the hat of designer.

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on Industrial Vintage Vibe

The vintage/industrial look is really trending right now. I opened up my latest issue of Traditional Home this weekend and sure enough, there was a feature on "American Vintage". What's interesting about interior design trends is how closely they track with societal values and emotions. How we decorate our interiors and what trends corresponds to how we feel and what we need emotionally to feel grounded and connected again. Probably my favorite class from design school was the history of interior decoration and how it so closely relates to societal values throughout the ages. It was amazing how even going back 1000+ years, we were decorating our interiors to reflect how we felt emotionally. Just look at the Dark Ages and how Gothic architecture and décor had such so strong presence. Our homes are a reflection of our soul and if our soul is heavy and hurting, our interiors will tell that story.

Photo via Traci Connell Interiors Blog

What started out as the industrial look I think evolved out of our desire to get back to basics. Technology is moving us at such a fast pace that we want to step back and remember a simpler time. Industrial design is just that – no bells and whistles, no glamour, nothing over the top. Just a basic piece that is entirely functional at its core. But I think we started to realize the pure industrial look felt a little cold and we craved something to allow that look to feel more grounded. Vintage pieces and found objects started trending, showing up in magazines and catalogs and we responded, realizing that was the missing piece to bring warmth to that industrial look and a sense of history and place to our interiors. Vintage has soul and tells a story. No wonder it works so well with the industrial look. The simplicity of the industrial look provides a perfect backdrop to showcase vintage pieces allowing them to create the storyline for our space.

Restoration Hardware-blend of industrial with vintage

I love bringing in a subtle sense of vintage when I design. It gives the room a more collected look which in turn gives it more depth and warmth. Vintage can be as simple as framing your grandparents wedding photo, refinishing a piece of furniture or showcasing a family heirloom. Adding that vintage element means bringing some object or group of objects in that create a sense of past and suggest that your home and your family is the continuation of a story that began generations ago.


Before and after pictures of family heirloom piece we refinished for a client with the help of BoJams Studio

If you feel like your home is lacking a sense of warmth and depth, go shopping in your attic or in your basement. When our lives feel like we're running all out and time is passing way too quickly, bring in a little something to your décor that speaks to where you've been and the history of your family. You'll be amazed how it will help you feel more grounded and overall more at peace!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Off on Vendor Crushing: Made Goods

There's a certain excitement that comes anytime a new catalog or fabric book arrives. It's so hard to control yourself from stopping what you're doing and immediately dive in! Truth be told, that's usually what happens. I just received an updated catalog from one of my favorite vendors for lighting and accessories, Made Goods.

I first discovered Made Goods at the High Point Market a couple of years ago and it was absolutely love at first sight! I could feel my brain struggling to keep up with everything that my eyes were taking in. They have such beautiful pieces with unique applications of finishes and detailing. I was so excited when I was able to specify them in a recent project and the client was equally in love! Pictured below are the Emery Tray Set in Copper, Hudson Balinese Brass Ball on Metal Base and the Cici Obelisks that we used to accessorize a mirrored chest in my client's living room. The play of the finishes and textures balanced perfectly against the mirrored finish of the chest helping to anchor it the room, giving it added depth and dimension.

 

 

So, here are some of the things that caught my eye in their new catalog.

Alexander Mirror

Love the gold-leaf rope detail with the antiqued mirror.

 

Made Goods continues to expand their furniture line as well. Check out their new Kenneth bookcase:

Kenneth shown in Gold Finish Base with Cool Gray Shagreen Shelves

You can select your base finish, silver or gold and then your shelf finish available in five faux-shagreen colors. The shagreen finish adds lots of dimension and texture to this piece.

They never disappoint on lighting either. They are one of my go-to sources when looking for something unique with lots of character.

Sarea Chandelier in Silver Finish

The Sarea Chandelier available in silver and gold, has such a unique look, playing off that vintage industrial look that's really trending right now but finish and detailing gives this piece a sense of elegance as well.

They are now offering the trays I specified above for my client in a zinc finish which I know when I see these in person at the October High Point Market, I will probably have heart palpitations.

Herkus Tray

I love the richness and heaviness of zinc. I think I may find myself obsessing over these come October!

And finally, I am loving these metal geometric shapes. Made Goods can take the simplest forms and objects and really make them unique and appealing. These metal objects, Wright, are finished in either brass or nickel and would be a perfect finishing touch on a coffee or console table or on a bookshelf.

Wright in Nickel Finish

Just about three weeks and counting until High Point Market and you know the Made Goods showroom will be at the top of my 'visit list'!!

Hugs,
Karen

P.S. – If you'd like help creating a space that is uniquely yours, contact me about our design services and setting up an inquiry call to learn more.  You can also follow KMD Interiors on  Facebook and Twitter.

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Karen Dunlap

For me, design is a second career but a first love. I walk into a space and immediately start noticing all of the details and get so excited when I discover something new, different or fun. It's especially exciting when I find a space that just feels right and speaks to me. My kids will laugh and of course roll their eyes when they see that excitement - I start talking a mile a minute while my mind is busy snapping “pictures” to remember it all. This blog is my way of sharing that passion. I hope that in sharing my love and journey with you, that you will find inspiration for your home as well. Enjoy!


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