For more than 3 decades, I’ve had a career doing what I love – creating beautiful, functional spaces in my clients’ homes. I am often asked, “What would you choose for yourself if you were designing for your own home?”

Today’s blog answers that question! Tour the first level my recently remodeled home, which my husband Ed and I purchased as a developer’s model after downsizing. I’ll also share tips that I followed myself in customizing our home for our current lifestyle. Please come in!

Scale and Space in the Kitchen

The square footage of our new, zero-step entry house was smaller than our previous home. For us, both high function and high style were must-haves for the kitchen and dining area. A balance in the size and scale of the furnishings was also essential to creating a workable and beautiful space.

We reconfigured the upper cabinets for lesser-used items, but I still wanted more accessible storage for daily use. The solution: a large island with custom storage. The 30-inch, soft-close drawers keep cooking essentials within easy reach. The bronze-toned mirror tile backsplash is a luxurious touch!

Design Tip: Scale your furnishings and finishes to the space, and don’t be afraid to over-scale your lighting. We scaled the appliances and counters in keeping with the smaller footprint of the kitchen. The two largest features are the island and the stove hood. To balance their size, I selected three, larger-scale pendant lights over the large island.

Dining Area

Ed and I wanted enough dining seating for family and friends to gather. So we selected this beautiful wood table – something I’d wanted after years of owning glass-top tables. I custom-designed the buffet to hold all my crystal and table linens. Together, the carefully thought-out kitchen and dining area storage hold all of my cooking items, china and linens.

Design Tip: In an open concept space with a smaller footprint, consider the flow from space to space. It’s helpful to think about the kitchen and dining areas as one space –  more like a great room experience for you and guests.

Making the Great Room Great

To create flow into the great room space,  I kept the the color tone of the walls and stone treatment on the fireplace neutral. I also wanted to add interest with color and pattern in lime green – one of my favorite accent colors.

The inspiration: A fabric I had used for a client’s chairs in an informal seating area. The fabric looks fantastic as custom drapes and accent pillows in the great room area! Take a second look at the kitchen photos, and you’ll notice the window shade in the same fabric.

Design Tip: If you love a fabric in a vibrant pattern or color, it can be a versatile style accent in drapes, pillows or upholstery. Here’s the fabric I used for my drapes – interpreted on chairs for a client’s home:

Drapery fabric, inspired by seating for a client project

Multi-Use Office and Den

This room is a cozy, sunlit spot for morning coffee, catching up on morning news or working from home for an afternoon. The recliners are scaled for a small room and hug the walls to save space.

Design Tip: Keep accessories pared down in a small space to prevent the room from looking cluttered. Groupings of similar items, like the wall plaques over the chairs, can give a sense of presence to a space without without overcrowding it.

Bedroom Sanctuary

Ed and I wanted the whole house to feel soothing and relaxing – especially the bedroom. We kept the walls and carpet light and airy to make the space look bigger. The scaled-down furniture suits the dimensions of the room. Clear crystal lamps create a feeling of expanded space.

Design Tip: For spa-like elegance in a small bedroom, splurge on fabrics and textiles that look and feel luxurious.

Bathrooms with Personality

I’ve always loved powder rooms – these small spaces are perfect for bold and unique looks! In my powder room, shimmery grass cloth wallpaper reflects the light. A larger-scale, round mirror is an unexpected, space-expanding touch.

The master bath features this beautiful, decorative marble mosaic floor tile. Extending the tile through the shower area lends  spaciousness! The larger-scale mirror and wallpaper with a silvery sheen reflect light and open up the space.

Design Tip: Think beyond a standard 12×24 floor tile and use a smaller pattern or mosaic floor tile for a built-in decorative element.

I love my home! My own experience with the renovation of my house has reinforced my appreciation for my clients, who trust me to beautify their living spaces.

To see more projects, view the Design Connection, Inc. portfolio HERE – and on HOUZZ 

The Design Connection Inc. team hope that all of our clients, suppliers, partners and readers are staying well.

Our best to you all,

Arlene Ladegaard and the Design Connection, Inc. Team

We don’t design for what’s next. We design for what lasts.