Sunday, November 29, 2015

Guest Post: Gallery Walls

Inspiration: Gorgeous Gallery Walls
By Mary Sauer

In home decor, creating gallery walls in your home has been trendy for several years now, and it is one trend we don’t expect to say goodbye to any time soon. Sure, the current color and design trends may influence the elements used to create the wall, but in general, we believe gallery walls are here to stay. We can see why this home design trend has held on so tightly for so long. Gallery walls are endlessly customizable—whether you love modern, traditional, or rustic, you can make them work in your home.

Another reason gallery walls seem to be so well loved is because they allow homeowners and apartment dwellers to display everything they love and hold dear in one space. Which brings us to one very important point. Creating a gallery wall is so much more than simply nailing random items onto a wall. If you really want to create a space that captures who you are and the vision for you have for your home, you need a plan in place before you get to work. Continue reading for practical and inspirational tips for creating a gorgeous gallery wall.

Nail Down Your Vision: Before you starting nailing items to the wall, nail down your vision for the space. There are various questions you can ask yourself to help guide your plan.

     Think about the function of the room. Is this a family room meant for casual fun and family time or an office space created for focus and productivity?
     It isn’t uncommon to have a focal point for you gallery wall in mind. Perhaps you have a piece of art in your possession, or you have been eyeing a frame every time you visit a certain shop. If so, allow your focal point to guide your design.
     Consider the color scheme already present in the home, along with the style of any furniture or design elements in the space.
     If you are on a budget, plan out what you intend to spend on each piece before you head out to make purchases. At Modernize, we have a guide to budget friendly places to shop for home decor items which you may find helpful as you begin to shop.

Via Modernize

Have Fun with Different Shapes: Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in the box of square and rectangle frames. Gallery walls have so much versatility. If you find you are gravitating toward one shape or style, set out to find something unique.

Via Modernize

Try a Minimalist’s Gallery Wall: If eclectic and funky is not your thing, consider taking things to the opposite extreme. Instead of experimenting with colors and shapes, create a gallery wall from multiples of the same or similar frames and design elements.

Via Modernize

Incorporate the Furniture and Design Elements Already Present: Creating a gallery wall doesn’t require a clean slate. If you have unique furniture or design elements already present near the wall you have chosen, don’t rehome them—work with them! A unique piece of antique furniture can guide the placement and theme of the rest of the items you have chosen.

Via Modernize

Create a Quirky and Unique Theme: Gallery walls are the perfect way to display items which otherwise might seem out of place if placed alone on a wall. By sticking with a theme, you can create a space for these items and add interest to your home.

Via Modernize

Display the Things You Love Most: A gallery wall is the perfect way to share pictures of family and meaningful friendships with the people who visit your home. Create a wall entirely with photographs of loved ones or incorporate them will other elements.

Never has another design trend allowed for so much flexibility to bring family photos, favorite colors, random flea market finds, trinkets, and art together into one cohesive work of art. With a little creativity, and the inspirational tips provided above, you will soon be on your way to creating your own gorgeous gallery wall.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Before and After: Kitchen Renovation

About a year ago, friends who live in New York asked if I could offer some advice on a kitchen renovation they were planning. The existing space was an oddly shaped galley that notched around the master bath at one end.

The original kitchen was oddly configured and cut off from the rest of the house.
My friends also planned to renovate the master bath at the same time, and hoped to enlarge it into the "notch" of the kitchen.

The existing master bath was cramped.
Fortunately, the answer to the space planning dilemma was fairly obvious: a hallway that led to the master suite could be absorbed into the kitchen, and a new entrance to the master bedroom could be created off of the great room.

This before photo shows the hall we added to the kitchen.
The "after" floor plan. The kitchen absorbed the hall, and the master bath grew into the old "notch" at the end of the  original galley kitchen.  The result is a much more function and space for two of the most used rooms in the house.
The kitchen after the renovation. Bright white cabinetry, carried up to the ceiling and capped with a beautiful, tall crown moulding make this a dramatic transformation.
Another view of the kitchen after the renovation. 
The master bath after renovation. The owners swapped out the double sink I'd originally proposed for a single long vanity and linen cabinet. Tall wainscoting adds detail, and classic hex tile gives the space a timeless appeal.
For more transformations, visit us on Facebook!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ideas From Hilton Head

It was my privilege, for the second year in a row, to be one of the judges of the Hilton Head Homebuilder's Association Lighthouse Awards. There were over 90 entries this year, and four panels of judges tackled them over two days.

My group of judges visited all of the renovation projects, and new construction homes priced from $700,000 to over $3 million.

We were impressed by the amount of construction and design talent on the was difficult in some categories to decide which house should win.

Naturally, I took a ton of photos. (So many that I filled the memory of my iPhone, and had to spend an hour clearing it out once I got home!)

Attached are some shots of my favorites...fair warning that there are tons, but they are worth waiting for!

This fitted closet was beautifully lit with concealed tape light inside each glass fronted cabinet. The marble topped island concealed an ironing board, and an automated TV screen dropped down within one of the niches.
These cobalt blue lanterns provided a perfect pop of color in this otherwise sedate kitchen. The finish on the cabinets was stunning...a soft blue gray that changed color depending on the light.
To make the most of a small master bath, this house had a "wet room" that served both showering and bathing. A mix of carrara marble and less expensive porcelain were skillfully combined.
The beds in this kids room appeared to be suspended from the ceiling with rope. There were concealed pedestals in the center to stabilize them, but the floating appearance was a jaw-dropper.
By far my favorite feature was this industrial wall of glass that separated a masculine study from the adjacent gallery.
A pair of vintage doors were used as "backplates" for the sconces in this guest room.
This octagonal master bedroom was punctuated with light from dormers above and highlighted by a sculptural chandelier.
This polished and stained concrete floor provided an easily maintained and striking backdrop in a room awash in neutrals.
This bright modern kitchen was highlighted by a slab of stone and a rusticated mahogany eating counter.
Several of the larger houses had these scullery kitchens...pantries on steroids that served to clear the main kitchens of clutter and provide secondary food prep places.
This house had almost no sheetrock surfaces. Shiplap paneling had been laid over every surface. In some rooms, it ran vertical, and in all cases was grounded by generously sized baseboards and casings.
Many thanks to the Hilton Head Homebuilder's Association for putting on such a wonderful the builders and homeowners who opened their doors...and to all the talented folks who made these gorgeous spaces a reality.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On the Market: A 1980's Time Capsule

I've confessed before that one of my favorite ways to waste time is to browse real estate listings. Every morning I see what new listings have come online in my area, and from time to time will also see what's available in the areas I grew up in and neighborhoods around the country that I know have fantastic houses!

My curiosity was piqued when I saw this listing in my hometown. The listing price of almost $800,000 is virtually unheard of in small town Beckley, WV (even for a large house in a desirable neighborhood.) The first pictures in the listing drew me in:

A pleasant looking French style house, typical of what was being built in the 70s and 80s, right?

What a gorgeous back yard. Obviously a lot of care and updating has been put in there recently.

After browsing a few shots of the backyard, with it's beautiful pool, outdoor kitchen, and lush landscaping, I was really looking forward to seeing the interior. Surely it had been updated with the same attention to detail, right?

I should warn my readers with a delicate decorative sensibility to turn away now. The following pictures may induce seizures, nausea, or an uncontrollable urge to put on shoulder pads and a pair of stirrup pants. If Crockett and Tubbs had a house in West Virginia, this would have been it. I'm just going to let these pictures speak for themselves:
Pink cabinets and black light wallpaper

So many patterns...

Pink and teal and black.

The tamest room in the house.

That bed. It almost distracts from whatever arrangement of funeral flowers occupies the other side of the room.

Interestingly scalloped stairs.

Glass block, black wallpaper, and a strange metal tree highlight the foyer.

more black in the kitchen.

black, purple, red, and mirrors. Reminds me of a 1980s mall store.

Charcoal dining room with a view to the living room beyond.

Pink and purple sun room with 1980s airport art.

A sea of teal.

No 1980s home would be complete without a pink Jacuzzi.

Lower level  rec room or 1980s nightclub?
So, could you embrace the retro style of this house, or would it be a gut job? Can the 80s be cool again?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pre-Designed Plan, The Kingsbridge

The first house built from our "Kingsbridge" plans has hit the market, and that gives us a chance to take a peek inside.

The house has an open living area and a sumptuous master suite on the main floor, and three bedrooms and an activity room on the second, all combined in just under 4,000 square feet.

The front of the house showcases arched windows and a mix of painted brick and stone.
The two story foyer has an elegantly curved stair.
A view of the open great room and dining area.
The spacious kitchen with gourmet island.
The octagonal vestibule leads into the master suite and directs traffic to dual walk in closets, the master bath, and the master bedroom.
Another view of the master vestibule.

The Master bath is spacious and bright.
For more information on the Kingsbridge, email us at
And visit us on Facebook for more project photos!