Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Kristine Kennedy

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Kennedy began her career as a hard news newspaper reporter, covering events such as the LA riots and California’s wildfires. After a few years she discovered she could combine her hidden interior design talents with journalism. In addition to her work for Better Homes and Gardens, Kennedy co-wrote New York Times bestseller “Trading Spaces: Behind the Scenes” and has written for publications such as Traditional Home, Decorating, Quick & Easy Decorating, Window & Wall Ideas, Bedroom & Bath Ideas and Do It Yourself. A native of Portland, Oregon, Kennedy recently moved from New York’s Hudson Valley to suburban Boston with her husband, two children, Great Dane, two cats, sewing machine, pile of paint decks and about 340 linear feet of books.

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  • Photo Credit: Reed David
  • Yesterday I introduced you to our latest design challenge -- The Ellen Dream House -- and the process leading up to presenting the inspiring Lisa Jarmon with her newly furnished spaces. Today I want to share some before and after pictures illustrating the decorating strategies we used on the Houston, Texas house.
  • Here are our five top design ideas you can steal for your own home...

    1. Be bold with color. In Lisa's house we made color the star with a bronzed-coral accent wall in the dining room, an au courant aqua sofa in the living room, and a classic red TV cabinet in the family room. Each room has a main color theme but incorporates hues from adjacent spaces for good flow throughout the house. If you're shy about going bold, start with small accessories, such as pillows, vases, bowls, and dinnerware.
  • 2. Sneak fabulousness into unexpected places. We wallpapered the laundry room walls, the backs of bookcases, the petite powder room, and even inside drawers. I love having that unexpected pop of pattern and color in functional areas I see every day. Metallic accents are another way to elevate a space. In the master bedroom, we used mirrors,artwork, trays, and a metal table to create sparkle.
  • 3. Create snuggle spaces. I always say, "Pretty isn't good enough." A space has to work well and above all be comfortable. With four growing kids, Lisa doesn't want to miss a single moment. We created cuddle-worthy seating in the family room with a charcoal gray sectional facing a large TV -- great for family movie night. In the living room, equally deep upholstered seating invites the kids the lounge nearby while Lisa fixes dinner.
  • 4. Storage, storage, storage. Pullout drawers added to kitchen cabinets make for easy cooking, and cute bins in the kids' rooms make cleanup seem like less of a chore. In the garage, sports lockers double as sturdy storage solutions, while the linen closet is organized to the hilt with each room assigned its own shelf and enough baskets to go around.
  • 5. Bring indoors out. The back patio (complete with a picnic table and lounge seating area) is sure to be the setting for many birthday parties to come. The TV, secretly stored in a cabinet, can be mom's own private movie theater or a suburban cinema for the neighborhood kids.
  • We love to see before and after photos. Please share yours!


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