Design Consult · Home Decor · Home-Room Design · interior design · kitchen remodel · remodel

Designing for a Client: Country to Classic


I am a designer.  I always have been!  I can remember back to when I was 12 almost 13 and my dad built a master suite onto my childhood home.  That meant I got to move into their old room!!! Woohoo!!!  Master suite for ME!  (but don’t be too impressed, it was about a 10′ x 10′ space…not big…but it had it’s own bathroom which was super nice for a teenager!) I painted the walls bubble gum pink, had a floral stencil painted along the top border of the room (borders were so popular in the 80’s!) and went with a black and white cow-print theme in my bathroom.  Lucky for YOU, my design eye has matured and is a bit more refined since then.  😉

“You hired a designer!” 

“You hired a designer!”  Doesn’t that sound fancy and WAAAAAY expensive?!!!  For some, for sure! Even getting a new piece of furniture is extremely costly.  But, to tell you the truth, hiring me to consult is not adding on that much more when talking about making design decisions, big OR small.  Think about it this way, do you ask the shoe sales person, “What’s in style right now?”  Or do you ask your hair dresser, “What do you think I should do with my hair?”  Do these people get a tip? or make a commission on your sale?  You bet!  But, these are experts in their field.  They are going to give you their honest, expert opinions.

Whether you are buying a new furniture purchase, or selecting exterior paint for your house, or making the decision to update your kitchen (should I paint my wood cabinets or keep them natural?), these are all very costly decisions.  What a designer does is give you suggestions that are current, timeless, and in my case, most cost effective for the job.  Really, adding 2-3% of your overall budget to go to an expert to ease your mind and confirm you are making the right decision is well worth the investmentvs. making the wrong decision and having to live with it for a really long time.


My nickname in my 20’s was chameleon.  I love all styles!  I really do!  In fact, my dream was to have each room in my house have a different “theme”.  (See…I’ve definitely matured 😉 ) But when you like different styles, it can make it hard when designing your own home, especially if you want your decisions to last the test of time.  My own motto and best advice is buy what you LOVE!  If you love it, it will always find a place in your home.  When you buy things you love and surround yourself with things that make you happy, you have already done yourself the best favor in life.  Is that brown couch really something you LOVE?  or that coffee mug that your Aunt Harriet gave you for Christmas?  Maybe yes! Maybe no. Bottom-line, when your house is filled with things that make you happy, then you will love the space you are living in!

Buy what you LOVE!

The hard part: making it all make sense.  That is where a designer, like ME comes in.  Within a few hours, I can help maximize a living space, give you recommendations on what to keep, what to update, and still have a goal to maintain the aesthetic that already exists in your home.



I am going to share with you my latest consult as an example of the value I offer.  My clients built their beautiful home 15+ years ago.  They chose every detail from the cabinet color to the flooring to the light fixtures and all the furniture on the first floor.  The style is French Country which was pretty popular when they were building.


During the original consult, we discussed all the things!  We discussed what they liked about the space, what they wanted to change, how it functioned, etc.  I then determined ways they could update their space to bring it to current day, but still having the personal touches and the style my clients are drawn to now.  That included:

  • Raising the family room floors (horrible hazard for many years!)
  • Painting the fireplace cabinets and omitting the top two doors the have more shelves to display their family heirlooms.
  • New couches–because their daughter was going off to college and needed couches (perfect time to upgrade!)
  • Rethinking the dramatic drapes and maybe showing more of the window detail
  • Light fixture–they bought the one for over the breakfast nook and it was just too short and too small for the space.
  • Painting the kitchen cabinets (not priority but asthetically…it would change the space tremendously!)
  • New accessories: rugs, lamps, seating, a gallery wall, …all the fun stuff!



After our meeting, I went back and came up with a couple of fresh new layout options for their living space, including:

  1. Reusing as much of the existing woodwork, accent furnishings, etc. as possible. (reupholster, paint, etc. all considered)
  2. Including both female and male wishes 😉  (Her desire for a classic, tight-back couch, vs. a sectional with his chaise dreams)
  3. A priority list: what needed to be done first, second and so on, and what could wait so they didn’t have to spend so much money all at once.  Everyone’s pocketbook likes that approach, right?


In this first layout, I kept most of their accent pieces but reinvented them: reupholster the French chairs in a more contemporary fabric, recover seats on the vintage chairs from her grandmother, move round table to the window for a game table, and repaint standing lamp.



Once I create a nice, flowing floorplan, I mesh together the textures, and shapes and different decor pieces that give the look and feel of a Grand Millennial room.  My client in researching what she wanted in her space, discovered the Grand Millennial style and absolutely fell in love!  Why do they love this style so much?  It combines a love for classic lines, with a contemporary twist.  Lots of fun classic fabrics displayed on clean lines of the furniture pieces.  There is a sense of history and a love for antiques that is also part of the GM style.  It is a style that feels fresh yet lends a big nod to east coast classic.



For the second option, I wanted to pull away from the conservative classic and maybe introduce a more neutral palette of creams, blacks and natural wood which is the hottest trend in new home designs right now.  The trick to this mood board is to still include the antique touches, but bring in clean fabrics and lines with a more contemporary vibe.  And of course, animal print which is ALWAYS IN STYLE! 😉



This mood board is using similar base products: the shelving is styled the same, the simple curtain with the added trim is the same, the side tables are the same.  I wanted to still think about ways we could keep a few of the original pieces: spray-paint the existing metal coffee table, spray the floor lamp to match the coffee table but the rest is all new to the home.  Fun vintage side tables (I love hunting for good solid pieces with history!), matching lamps (HomeGoods always has great lamps–and inexpensive!)  flanking the loveseat, a contemporary sofa with a chaise for two, and a new neutral rug to ground all of the neutrals in this space.



Lastly, we needed to think about how to tie the opposite side of the room to these mood boards I created.  My client is pretty firm on reusing the cabinetry they already have in the space.  And for good reason.  The space is BEAUTIFUL!  My suggestion is to paint the upper cabinets a nice creamy white to lighten up the space and to tie it back to the fireplace wall which we want to paint white.  By painting the upper cabinets, this will also break up the abundance of wood in the whole grand room.  To help them see the possibilities of painting and having a duotone kitchen, I found a few inspiration photos that demonstrate this look.


Gorgeous, right?  You don’t have to “start from scratch”, in fact I prefer NOT to start from scratch!  Waaaaay too many decisions!  AND, you built this home!  You made these every decision in that home.  It has your history stamped all over it!  Give me a few pieces that you LOVE and I will find other things in your home that I LOVE and we can fill in the blanks.  All you need is a tasteful eye (that’s ME!) and some pieces with history from your home, and we can create a space you and your family will LOVE!

XO, melis

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