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Keen on Green | by Cara McBroom

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Why do we crave the natural world? How does this relate to the way we decorate our interior environments? I would like to talk about the importance of incorporating plants and flowers in your living spaces.

photo via Bhouse

photo via Bhouse

Ever notice that in almost every staged space you see in design magazines, you can always find a plant or flowers of some kind? I know that any time I finish installing a project, I never feel “finished” until I’ve added some fresh flowers, and maybe some fruit in a bowl. As a final touch, plants and flowers add so much life, happiness and love!

Watch what a difference the final layer of plants make in this gif from House Beautiful. It makes the space feel more inviting and lived-in.

There is some science behind this need for green. Biofilia can be defined as an innate love of that which sustains us (in this case, nature). “We evolved from the natural world…Nature provided shelter, clothing, food, light, heat and water. We have lost touch with the direct effect of nature. We no longer seek these elements from their primary sources…Yet, given the opportunity, we enjoy the sounds of nature—the soft running water, bird-song, the smell of fresh air, the feeling of earth beneath our feet, and the sunshine on our face. We need the nourishment of the living world for our health.” ~Barbara J. Huelat (2007) Healing Environments: Where’s the Proof?

So, basically, our enjoyment of plants, and a fresh bouquet of flowers is more than just an aesthetic preference!  Studies have shown the healing effects of exposure to nature on hospital patients. 

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

More studies have proven an increase in productivity for offices that incorporate live plants into their interior design.

This photo shows beautiful use of a

This photo shows beautiful use of a “live wall” in an office setting.

What an incredible office design! photo credit

What an incredible office design! photo credit

A 32’ x 60’ (1,920 sf) Interior Living Wall in a corporate atrium.

A 32’ x 60’ (1,920 sf) Interior Living Wall in a corporate atrium. This is live art!

Here are some ways to incorporate plants into your home:

Just kidding!!! I was just seeing if you were paying attention!  I’m not suggesting you turn your home into a jungle.  Here are some lovely, tasteful ways to incorporate greenery into your home:

Think about incorporating plants, even BEFORE your house plans are finished! This home has a built-in garden, but it still looks clean and modern. photo credit

Think about incorporating plants, even BEFORE your house plans are finished! This home has a built-in garden, but it still looks clean and modern. photo credit

Don’t have a green thumb?  Sometimes all it takes is a trip to the florist (or a walk through the forest foraging for branches and wildflowers) to lift your spirits and give your home a welcoming feeling.

Try to use unique

Try to use unique “found” objects as vases! photo credit

Use clear containers, and fill the bottom with fresh fruit or berries, for an inventive, gorgeous arrangement! photo credit

Use clear containers, and fill the bottom with fresh fruit or berries, for an inventive, gorgeous arrangement! photo credit

The last time I staged a home for photographs, I was able to bring home a huge bouquet of white hydrangeas, and I was SO HAPPY and excited! They literally made my entire week. So go ahead–feed your biofilia!  Go out and treat yourself to some fresh flowers! Give interior plants a try! Good luck!

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A Seagrove Beach Cottage Design | Interior Design by Cara McBroom

This design takes place in Tre Viste, a 3-unit Condominium in Seagrove, with a secluded beach cottage feel.  This condo was actually beautifully furnished before, but the sellers could not part with all of their goods, so my clients called upon me to fully furnish the entire place in a matter of weeks!  Let me tell you, I had to put on my comfy shoes, for all the shopping up-an-down the Emerald Coast that this required!  Luckily I had the help and companionship of my lovely summer intern, Anna!  She and I had so much fun shopping together, and we were able to see our design come to fruition in a matter of weeks!

This chandelier by Made Goods was the only jewel we were able to keep from the previous design!  I found this beautiful trestle table at Beau Home Interiors, and the buffet from Lovelace Interiors!  The seascape art is an original painting I found across the street at Design Avenue, and the four antique ceiling tiles, with shell/coral motifs are made by local artist, Lisa Dubreuil!

This chandelier by Made Goods was the only jewel we were able to keep from the previous design! I found this beautiful trestle table at Beau Home Interiors, and the buffet from Lovelace Interiors! The seascape art is an original painting I found across the street at Design Avenue, and the four antique ceiling tiles, with shell/coral motifs are made by local artist, Lisa Dubreuil!

I found these upholstered dining chairs at Duh in Pensacola, and the ikat flat weave wool area rug from Nest Interiors in Panama City Beach!  (I told you I shopped everywhere!)

I found these upholstered dining chairs at Duh in Pensacola, and the ikat flat weave wool area rug from Nest Interiors in Panama City Beach! (I told you I shopped everywhere!)

There's a whole lot of stuff that makes me happy in this photo!  Original art, fresh hydrangeas, handmade pottery, natural coral, burlap and bling! (The picture frame has a rhinestone cross holding the burlap bow!)

There’s a whole lot of stuff that makes me happy in this photo! Original art, fresh hydrangeas, handmade pottery, natural coral, burlap and bling! (The picture frame has a rhinestone cross holding the burlap bow!)

Here is our quaint little living area!  Aqua, chartreuse and taupe blend together beautifully here, I think!  The striped rug is from Design Avenue, the slipcovered sofa and chairs are from Tracery, and the cocktail table and recliner are from Lovelace Interiors!

Here is our quaint little living area! Aqua, chartreuse and taupe blend together beautifully here, I think! The striped rug is from Design Avenue, the slipcovered sofa and chairs are from Tracery, and the cocktail table and recliner are from Lovelace Interiors!

Living Room

want an easy way to accessorize your coastal fireplace mantel?  Find a variety of colored bud vases, some candles (in this case I used some glass hurricanes), and a great piece of coral!  When the client's came to see their design for the first time, I had some bright yellow fresh flowers in each vase!

Want an easy way to accessorize your coastal fireplace mantel? Find a variety of colored bud vases, some candles (in this case I used some glass hurricanes), and a great piece of coral! When the clients came to see their design for the first time, I had some bright yellow fresh flowers in each vase!

Living / Dining

This console can be a desk, or accent table.  I flanked the table with some linen and wood wing chairs, and threw in some color with some custom-made pillows, covered in a bright Manuel Canovas fabric.

This console can be a desk, or accent table. I flanked the table with some linen and wood wing chairs, and threw in some color with some custom-made pillows, covered in a bright Manuel Canovas fabric.

Check out this awesome art I found at Mary Hong's studio! This woman does wonders with glass and wood!

Check out this awesome art I found at Mary Hong’s studio! This woman does wonders with glass and wood!

In the Master Bedroom, I used a solid oak bed by Restoration Hardware, and lightened it up with some light, natural linens and subtle touches of color.

In the Master Bedroom, I used a solid oak bed by Restoration Hardware, and lightened it up with some light, natural linens and subtle touches of color.

This chaise lounge by Lee Industries is sooooo comfortable! Give me a good book, and a fresh latte, and add the sound of the waves when you open the slider, and I'm in heaven!! (a girl can dream!)

This chaise lounge by Lee Industries is sooooo comfortable! Give me a good book, and a fresh latte, and add the sound of the waves when you open the slider, and I’m in heaven!! (a girl can dream!)

This, the Second Master Bedroom, was a favorite of mine! I love the mix of bright white with teal and aqua!  I made some bright, fun euro pillows and a paisley fluffy foot blanket to match the drapes, then happened to find the perfect sealife art while shopping!

This, the Second Master Bedroom, was a favorite of mine! I love the mix of bright white with teal and aqua! I made some bright, fun euro pillows and a paisley fluffy foot blanket to match the drapes, then happened to find the perfect sealife art while shopping!

The bolster pillow is made out of two different fabrics (teal and aqua), and a whimsical jute ball fringe!  The cute little turtle lamps were a must-have!

The bolster pillow is made out of two different fabrics (teal and aqua), and a whimsical jute ball fringe! The cute little turtle lamps were a must-have!

I had to show this great piece of art I found in Lovelace Interior's showroom!  It had the most perfect colors for this room!!!

I had to show this great piece of art I found in Lovelace Interior’s showroom! It had the most perfect colors for this room!!!

In this room, I used this fabulous carved wood headboard that I found at Nest Interiors, and paired it with some jute fringe euros, and some custom pillows.  I absolutely love the aqua, green and periwinkle color combination in this foot blanket!

In this room, I used this fabulous carved wood headboard that I found at Nest Interiors, and paired it with some jute fringe euros, and some custom pillows. I absolutely love the aqua, green and periwinkle color combination in this foot blanket!

Just a simple, clean comfortable design for a guest room!

Just a simple, clean comfortable design for a guest room!

Finally, welcome to the poolside Cabana!!  I went for a brighter, more whimsical design in this room!

Finally, welcome to the poolside Cabana!! I went for a brighter, more whimsical design in this room!

Cabana

That's me, taking pictures!  Anna snuck this photo of me.  I'm not a photographer, but I try!

That’s me, taking pictures! Anna snuck this photo of me. I’m not a photographer, but I try!

Here is my beautiful intern, Anna Laneve!

Here is my beautiful intern, Anna Laneve! I snapped this while shopping for recliners!

We had so much fun putting all this together! Although it was a lot of work, I am up for another challenge like this! I finished just in time for this family to enjoy their new beach residence for the summer!

Most clients want a complete custom design, and are willing to wait, but If anyone is facing time restraints, hire a designer, (hire me!), to make sure you get the look you want, in the right time frame!

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Cozy Beach Cottage in San Destin | Interior Design by Cara McBroom

This quaint little rental house in San Destin was in need of a major facelift!  We wanted the design to be more toned-down.  I love bright colors, but for this project, we thought the house needed to be quiet, relaxing and charming!  I brought in some coastal flair, and some cottage casual, as well as some light French influence.

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

I gave the walls some "love" and attention, by applying beadboard up to 42".  Grassweave Roman shades in the windows added texture, and the long burlap drape panels created some much-needed height and drama!

I gave the walls some “love” and attention, by applying beadboard up to 42″. Grassweave Roman shades in the windows added texture, and the long burlap drape panels created some much-needed height and drama!

I felt that a sectional suited this space much more than a sofa and chair, which was crowding the staircase in the "before" photo.  The large chest I used as a cocktail table actually has hidden drawers in each end!  Nothing says relaxed like a great slipcovered sectional!  With the option to pull the cover off and wash it, it allows my clients to just relax and enjoy their space!

I felt that a sectional suited this space much more than a sofa and chair, which was crowding the staircase in the “before” photo. The large chest I used as a cocktail table actually has hidden drawers in each end! Nothing says relaxed like a great slipcovered sectional! With the option to pull the cover off and wash it, it allows my clients to just relax and enjoy their space!

BEFORE: The triangle valances were distracting, and the armoire was feeling bulky for that corner. The denim, yellow and green color scheme was in need of a change.

BEFORE:
The triangle valances were distracting, and the armoire was feeling bulky for that corner. The denim, yellow and green color scheme was in need of a change.

AFTER: After I took this photo, we mounted a television on the wall above the console.  This opened the space up and allowed for a larger t.v.

AFTER:
After I took this photo, we mounted a television on the wall above the console. This opened the space up and allowed for a larger t.v.

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

 

AFTER:

AFTER:

Although the kitchen was not a separate room, it sure felt closed off from the rest of the space.  I sought to explode this barrier and open this space up, so that the entire room felt larger! We didn’t want to replace all the cabinets, so what I did, is I replaced the upper cabinets only, and painted everything a new, fresh white.  I placed glass cabinets above the bar to allow more light to spill into the kitchen.  I placed some faux doors on the other side of the range hood vent so that we didn’t see a strange patch of drywall, like before.   I replaced all the appliances with stainless, and installed a gorgeous slab of White Ice granite. I tiled the backsplash with ice blue glass tiles, which matched the wall color, and helped to hem the two rooms together.

In the dining area, I chose a small farm table, with some ladder back chairs, and a fabulous rope chandelier!

This key holder/shelf was the only item I kept from the previous design!  I repainted it white, and leaned some art.

This coat rack/shelf was the only item I kept from the previous design! I repainted it white, and leaned some art on it.

Powder Bathroom:

BEFORE:  A very generic bathroom.

BEFORE:
A very generic bathroom.

AFTER:  Now a quaint cottage bath!

AFTER:
Now a quaint cottage bath!

This small bathroom received a minor facelift, with major effect!  Because the walls are blue in the main Living area, I decided to let blue be a small supportive role in this story.  Instead, I painted the walls a rich camel color that blended with the shower drape fabric.  There are hints of blue in the drape fabric that I reinforced with this painted vanity sink.  One way to instantly make your bathroom look more custom is to hang a shower curtain that is taller than the standard 72″.  This one is about 84″ long.  Applying beadboard is another inexpensive way to add a lot of character to a small space.  We replaced the toilet with a more efficient one, added some cute art, and voila! A whole new space!

Master Bedroom:

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

AFTER:

The Master Bedroom received new carpet, new grassweave window treatments, a fresh coat of paint and new furnishing!  I centered the bed between two of the transom windows so that the placement made more sense.  I flanked the bed with matching white twig sconces, and added some plush, inviting bedding.

BEFORE

BEFORE:

 

 

AFTER: I maximized the recessed nook to the left by placing a floor mirror, a comfortable chair and some pretty artwork.

AFTER:
I maximized the recessed nook to the left by placing a floor mirror, a comfortable chair and some pretty artwork.

 

coastal vignette

Master Bathroom:

MASTER BATH BEFORE:

MASTER BATH BEFORE:

AFTER:

The Master Bathroom needed rescued from the 80’s “Florida” look!  I raised the vanity sink on the left to be 36″, like the one on the right.  I installed one solid slab of granite, replaced the pink tile floors with some wood tiles, and polished the look with a nautical riveted mirror, some jute pendants and large art around the tub. New cabinet hardware from Restoration Hardware also did wonders for the new look.  I almost forgot to mention what a difference paint makes!  Bye-bye, pink walls!

AFTER:

AFTER:

3rd Floor Loft:

LOFT BEFORE:

LOFT BEFORE:

AFTER

AFTER

The loft turned out so pretty! The first thing on my list was to paint all the pink-undertoned wood paneling! This paneling covered the walls all throughout the hallways, and all the way up the 3-flight stairwell. The ceiling of the 3rd floor loft even had the same paneling. The wood is pretty, but in order to open things up and feel more coastal, I needed to paint all the boards white. The wood ceiling received Palladian Blue paint, to mimic the sky and draw the eye up. I kept their wooden daybed, and simply painted it an ice blue color! I added a burlap skirt, some new bedding and some navy end tables!

Guest Bedroom:

BEDROOM BEFORE:

BEDROOM BEFORE:

AFTER:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

AFTER:

Wow, where do I start? New everything, that’s where! There are still two twin beds, but I implemented a much more toned-down design. The floor-to-ceiling burlap panels help to dramatize the small windows. The bedding is actually ready-made duvet &  coverlet from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  The bedskirt is from Ballard Designs, and the toss pillow is from the Lovelace Interiors Showroom! The reclaimed wood chests at the foot of the bed are a great place for toys, shoes, bedding, etc.  They also make a great place to sit and put shoes on.

BATHROOM BEFORE:

BATHROOM BEFORE:

BATHROOM AFTER:

BATHROOM AFTER:

The second floor guest bathroom was a simple redo: new countertop, cabinet hardware, toilet, mirror and sconces! This made a great difference!

I thoroughly enjoyed working on updating this rental!  Call me if you have a rental you would like updated!  Facelifts like this will raise the value of your rental, and pay for itself!

 

 

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Sweet Malachite Dreams | Cara McBroom

A Panama City Beach, FL project.

Guests coming to stay at this guest room might expect chocolates on their pillow, and room service! I had the pleasure of renovating this client’s beachfront condo about five years ago–all except this one room, that is. It was time we gave this room the treatment it deserved!

Queen Bedroom SuiteI utilized the same soft aqua and gray from the rest of the condo, but added in a fresh dash of malachite-inspired emerald green!

Queen Bedroom Vignette

These Zeugma ombre glass lamps I found fit the room perfectly!  The softly flared headboard gives the room a master suite feel, though the bed is a queen.

Pillow Fabrics

The whole room was inspired by this gorgeous malachite Cowtan & Tout fabric (Malachite Emerald)! I accented with Cowtan & Tout’s Tiana Turquoise/Nattier, which resembles geodes.  This green and pale aqua combination evokes a very soothing, cool, relaxing feeling, much the same as water.

Love malachite? I’m not the only one inspired by this beautiful mineral.  Check out this eye candy:

Malachite Roman Shades Elle Decor

Malachite Roman Shades Elle Decor

Some malachite dinnerware by L'Objet

Some malachite dinnerware by L’Objet

Breathtaking Victorian Jewelry

Breathtaking Victorian Jewelry

 

Malachite-inspired sequin dress

Malachite-inspired sequin dress

Gold and malachite side table

Gold and malachite side table

Anyhow, back to my malachite-inspired creation:

Gus, my client's handsome little Bengal kitty approves!

Gus, my client’s handsome little Bengal kitty approves!

…and now, for some shameless efforts for ratings and reposts!  (If commercials and brands can do it, why can’t I?)

Look at these cute, furry design helpers!!!!

Gus and Lilly Belle, "helping" me untie some ribbon

Gus and Lilly Belle, “helping” me untie some ribbon

"Thanks for reading my friend Cara's blog! Au-revoir!"

“Thanks for reading my friend Cara’s blog! Au-revoir!”

My client loved her newly-furnished room so much, that she is ready for me to come back and “refluff” the rest of the condo!  So, stay tuned for before-and-afters of the rest of this beachfront condo!

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Diary of an Install | Cara McBroom

When I tell people that I am an Interior Designer, many people tell me, “Oh, that must be a dream job!”…”That must be so glamorous to get to shop for someone else all day!” The fact is, I DO love my job!!! I thought it might be fun, however, to blog about what it’s REALLY like to be an interior designer–talk about the fact that it can be MESSY, dirty, chaotic, harrowing, grueling, and completely non-glamorous! (and how, out of all that chaos, emerges beauty, along with the vision that we saw possible all along.)

So, I am going to give you a few peaks into a few of my recent installations, with some random photos that I happened to take along the way. There were a lot of photos I wish I’d taken, but was too busy working, such as the wallpaper, drapes, tile & cabinets going up. Or, the bedding and bed sheers being steamed by me (it’s hard to take a photo of yourself–especially when you glance in the mirror and see a bedraggled, barefoot, sweaty mess!)

making design boards

Let’s start with this. This is not an install picture, this is actually what this project looked like in the design stages. I am making design boards on my dining room table at home. It’s Christmas, and my work papers are totally winning the war against my Christmas decorations, wouldn’t you say? My husband wishes I wouldn’t bring my office home with me, but the truth is, an Interior Designer’s office IS her dining room table. HA! As well as her car and smart phone. Once I was finished with my cutting and pasting, all this mess was divided into 1-beautiful project binder, 1-organized client file with fabric samples stapled neatly, and 1-giant trash bag full of scrap paper and clippings!

You can probably guess why I had the theme song from Ghostbusters stuck in my head all day...

You can probably guess why I had the theme song from Ghostbusters stuck in my head all day…

So here we are! This, my friends, was my first day of installation! This is not an ideal situation. In a dream world, construction would be finished on time, and a project site would be pre-cleaned and polished by the time I arrive. As it happens, changes and additions can be made to a project that run it behind, and when everyone has the same deadline, you can end up all stepping over each other on I-day (Installation Day). As with anything, things don’t always happen the way you want them to, so it’s my job to roll with the punches, and handle things in a professional manner (not “Flipping Out”). So, while the cleaners were cleaning up drywall dust and wiping down cabinets, I kept myself busy doing this:

"Oh, pardon the mess..."

“Oh, pardon the mess…”

This is also not ideal. Back to that dream world, where the delivery site is on the first floor, and the truck has ample space to park and unload goods. IN OUR CASE, our condo was on the 12th floor. My guys had to park outside the parking garage entrance, then physically carry or roll (thank goodness for dollies) the goods 50 yards into the garage, into the elevator vestibule, where they finagled the items onto the elevator, then down the hall and into the unit! Because of this harrowing trek, they decided to unbox a lot of it INSIDE the unit to avoid any unnecessary damages. Back to my mess:

boxes

My job, at this point, is to unbox all of this! After hours of opening, unpacking and searching for my box cutter about a gazillion times, this is what I wind up with:

...A tiny handful of accessories!

…A tiny handful of accessories!

Haha! Ok, so I am exaggerating a TAD, but it is true that a room full of boxes can break down into a handful of accessories, but a CONDO FULL of trash!

Opening all these boxes is tedious on one hand, but like opening a bunch of presents on Christmas morning on the other hand!  I was able to unbox treasures, like this organic silver leaf console, then set it in the middle of my chaotic box mess and drool over it!  Opening jewels like this fills me with renewed delight and excitement, encouraging me to keep going.

Opening all these boxes is tedious on one hand, but like opening a bunch of presents on Christmas morning on the other hand! I was able to unbox treasures, like this organic silver leaf console, then set it in the middle of my chaotic box mess and drool over it! Opening jewels like this fills me with renewed delight and excitement, encouraging me to keep going.

"Hello, James!" (Spencer wouldn't let me take his picture)

“Hello, James!” (Spencer wouldn’t let me take his picture)

Here my delivery guys are, on one of their many trips off the elevator and down the hall!

Dave is getting ready to put the feet on this sectional piece.

Dave is getting ready to put the feet on this sectional piece.

Part of Day 1 is to roll all the furniture into the unit (placement is not necessary yet). Also part of Day 1 is me discarding my shoes somewhere in the first 1-2 hours of being there!

You'd think that after years of doing this, I'd learn my lesson and choose flats over something cute on the first day!

You’d think that after years of doing this, I’d learn my lesson and choose flats over something cute on the first day!

So, things are moving along today! Things like column installation and electrical are still happening!

Mark, with MB Construction is taking matters into his own hands.

Mark, with MB Construction is taking matters into his own hands.

…More cleaning…

Cleaning up caulk and grout.

Cleaning up caulk and grout.

…More overseeing the final details…

The guys were working on all the settings for the steam shower and plumbing, if I'm remembering correctly.  This room also had heated floors!

The guys were working on all the settings for the steam shower and plumbing, if I’m remembering correctly. This room also had heated floors!

…more direction from me on placement and height of EVERYTHING (bath hardware, lighting, cabinet hardware, art, furniture, t.v.’s, etc.)

"RIGHT THERE!  Wait, go up...too far, go down...left...back right 1/2"...Ok, back left & down again...hmm...Perfect!  WAIT! Go up 1/16 of an inch!!!" hahaha! This type of install humor normally happens around Day 2 or 3 when delirium has set in!

“RIGHT THERE! Wait, go up…too far, go down…left…back right 1/2″…Ok, back left & down again…hmm…Perfect! WAIT! Go up 1/16 of an inch!!!” hahaha! This type of install humor normally happens around Day 2 or 3 when delirium has set in!

beach photo

While my crew goes to lunch, I munch on my packed lunch and envy those below me, who are currently enjoying the beach, and not just it’s view. When the day is “done,” I rarely go home. I normally go reload my car with anything else I can fit, then make a giant trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond for random items, like shower curtain liners, sheets, mattress covers, duvet fillers, pillow fillers, towels, etc. (My receipt is normally about 36″ long, and the ladies all know me when I walk in.) It’s not unusual for me to keep shopping for things afterwards, then dragging myself home around 9:30pm.

This was just one of 3 buggies this day...

This was just one of 3 buggies this day…

This is a typical car load, by the way... This was from another recent install, but I had to take a picture of my accessory tetris.  It looked much fuller in person!  I am looking at it now & thinking, "shoot, I could fit a bunch more in there!"

This is a typical car load, by the way… This was from another recent install, but I had to take a picture of my accessory tetris. It looked much fuller in person! I am looking at it now & thinking, “shoot, I could fit a bunch more in there!”

Now, all this stuff I’m buying and loading, I am also UNloading, and hauling that same 50-yard trek up to the unit, in the heat. Sometimes I just ask one of my delivery guys to do it, but most of the time I’m too impatient to wait on that. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

living room coming together

So, on Day 2, we are able to start laying out rugs and setting up furniture!

media room

I always bring painter’s tape to an install. Why? It’s an easy way to make notes on a wall, without messing up the paint! Whether it’s to point out areas that need paint touch-up, or to mark heights for sconces, it is always removable and clean. Sometimes I use it to tape off hyphothetical furniture, in order to plan t.v. placement, as in the picture below!!

taped off wall

By doing this, I discovered that the television outlet was installed too far to the left and needed moved! Time to call the electrician and drywaller! Just a minor bump in the road.

Oh, goody! The mirror has arrived!  Notice I've planned accessories for the hypothetical console, which didn't get delivered until Day 3.

Oh, goody! The mirror has arrived! Notice I’ve planned accessories for the hypothetical console, which didn’t get delivered until Day 3.

On the third day, I was able to make beds, make final placements for accessories, which I’ve shuffled around dozens of times, and polish off any other details.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

It's coming together!

It’s coming together!

Look, my hypothetical custom-built television console has arrived!  Currently floating out from the wall for a bit of final drywall repair and paint touch-up.

Look, my hypothetical custom-built television console has arrived! Currently floating out from the wall for a bit of final drywall repair and paint touch-up.

living dining

This room turned out so beautiful!  Loving my barn doors, which were faux finished the same as my custom t.v. console.

This room turned out so beautiful! Loving my barn doors, which were faux finished the same as my custom t.v. console.

Bathroom lacking some cabinet hardware, but looking amazing! (I can still see you, Mark!)

Bathroom lacking some cabinet hardware, but looking amazing! (I can still see you, Mark!)

Calgon, take me away!!!  What do you think of our water droplets chandelier?

Calgon, take me away!!! What do you think of our water droplets chandelier?

Here is a detail that I had to share!  Look how seamless and genius this schluter corner strip is!  They were going to use a shiny metal one, and I almost fainted.  I didn't want anything to visually stunt the horizontal flow of my band of accent tiles. This one blends in perfectly!

Here is a detail that I had to share! Look how seamless and genius this schluter corner strip is! They were going to use a shiny metal one, and I almost fainted. I didn’t want anything to visually stunt the horizontal flow of my band of accent tiles. This one blends in perfectly!

The daughter's room!

The daughter’s room!

...and finally, a finished kitchen!  Polished, clean and sparkling!  I had ya worried, with those Day 1 pictures, didn't I?

…and finally, a finished kitchen! Polished, clean and sparkling! I had ya worried, with those Day 1 pictures, didn’t I?

After three days of hard work, my clients were able to come and see their finished, completely renovated condo for the first time! Thankfully, they completely loved everything! They said they felt like they were staying at their favorite high-end hotel, except it was better, because it was all THEM! They sent me this picture at 8:30 in the evening to show me how much they were enjoying their new condo! This was all I needed–to know they were able to come in and relax, and LIVE. The fact that they love everything and were so blown away, is why I love being an Interior Designer! All messes, stresses and bumps in the road forgotten!

My clients dining on their balcony, the evening of their arrival!

My clients dining on their balcony, the evening of their arrival!

Want to see a few other photos of random installation work? Here’s a few things we never imagined ourselves doing at an install:

Try realizing you have to hand-wash 800 glass chandelier pieces before you hang them, because they're all cloudy and dirty!  I'm taking a break from our 3-man assembly line to take a picture.  That's my son trying to lure Krista into not helping! In photo: Krista Vind & Joey LaSalle

Try realizing you have to hand-wash 800 glass chandelier pieces before you hang them, because they’re all cloudy and dirty! I’m taking a break from our 3-man assembly line to take a picture. That’s my son trying to lure Krista into not helping!
In photo: Krista Vind & Joey LaSalle

Wash, Rinse, Dry!

Whadya do when you need to get some trim pieces up 10 stories, and they don't fit in the elevator?  (and your contractor has a broken, booted foot?) You make your own elevator out of rope and bucket!  Here, my contractor Brad Armbruster is lowering the bucket...

Whadya do when you need to get some trim pieces up 10 stories, and they don’t fit in the elevator? (and your contractor has a broken, booted foot?) You make your own elevator out of rope and bucket! Here, my contractor Brad Armbruster is lowering the bucket…

There's our bucket!  10 stories down!  I could think of a million ways this could have gone wrong, but it worked!!!

There’s our bucket! 10 stories down! I could think of a million ways this could have gone wrong, but it worked!!!

Stay tuned to my blog for some professional photos of both of these installations, and thank you for visiting!!!

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Signature Beach Remodel II | Interior Design by Cara McBroom

If you follow my blog, you might realize that this is my second remodel project in the contemporary-style condominium building, Signature Beach, which is right next to The Back Porch in Destin. This unit had the same footprint, but we implemented different furniture layouts, colors and furniture!

Inviting layers of texture help to define this space as the "Lounge".  Grasscloth and linen bring a natural element, while a plush area rug, layered with a cowhide add softness.  The dropped ceiling was texturized with a venetian plaster, which resembled shiny concrete. Inviting layers of texture help to define this space as the “Lounge”. Grasscloth and linen bring a natural element, while a plush area rug, layered with a cowhide add softness. The dropped ceiling was texturized with a venetian plaster, which resembled shiny concrete.

It is just as important to think about your ceiling in a design, as it is to dress your walls and floors.  Instead of an expected flush mount light, try what I call a ceiling-crawler, like this fabulous star fixture by Global Views!

It is just as important to think about your ceiling in a design, as it is to dress your walls and floors. Instead of an expected flush mount light, try what I call a ceiling-crawler, like this fabulous star fixture by Global Views!

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Sectionals are not always the blunt, stagnant, non-versatile giants that some designers make them out to be! Although not all rooms can handle one, there are ways of making sure they will work in your space.  You can make sure you choose the proper scale for your room, choose a shallow depth if needed, use lighter fabrics and brighten things up with multiple toss pillows! Always make sure they give you brackets to attach the segments, and more importantly, that the pieces will fit inside your elevator/doorways! In our case, we chose a lower back that allows an uninterrupted panoramic view of the beach, as well as an open communication to the other spaces in the room.

Sectionals are not always the blunt, stagnant, non-versatile giants that some designers make them out to be! Although not all rooms can handle one, there are ways of making sure they will work in your space. You can make sure you choose the proper scale for your room, choose a shallow depth if needed, use lighter fabrics and brighten things up with multiple toss pillows! Always make sure they give you brackets to attach the segments, and more importantly, that the pieces will fit inside your elevator/doorways! In our case, we chose a lower back that allows an uninterrupted panoramic view of the beach, as well as an open communication to the other spaces in the room

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We positioned the Dining area behind the sectional, for a perfect beachside dining experience!

We positioned the Dining area behind the sectional, for a perfect beachside dining experience!

The entry was given a rich, inviting, wall finish that gave the impression  of abstract beach sand.  The handmade oyster lamp, however,  gave this entry some literal coastal flair.

The entry was given a rich, inviting, wall finish that gave the impression of abstract beach sand. The handmade oyster lamp, however, gave this entry some literal coastal flair.

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In this kitchen makeover, we provided new countertops, finished the cabinets in a distressed warm gray, added some paneling to the bar front and livened the backsplash with new tile.

In this kitchen makeover, we provided new countertops, finished the cabinets in a distressed warm gray, added some paneling to the bar front and livened the backsplash with new tile.

We did a partial demo of the Wet Bar to remove the generic upper cabinets.  We designed this contemporary wine glass and bottle storage system at alternating heights, then added some up-and down-lighting that accents the sleek glass tile.

We did a partial demo of the Wet Bar to remove the generic upper cabinets. We designed this contemporary wine glass and bottle storage system at alternating heights, then added some up-and down-lighting that accents the sleek glass tile.

We adorned the Master in soft, warm taupe hues, with vibrant turquoise accents.

We adorned the Master in soft, warm taupe hues, with vibrant turquoise accents.

We added plushness with this fabulous new carpeting, new fabric roman shades, and a Kravet wallcovering that I fell in love with! The shape of the headboard works well with all the curvaceous lines in the wall print.

We added plushness with this fabulous new carpeting, new fabric roman shades, and a Kravet wallcovering that I fell in love with! The shape of the headboard works well with all the curvaceous lines in the wall print.”

This Kravet wallcovering  (W3078-11) is actually a beautiful line drawing of a large damask pattern.  Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in person!!  What a great way to give pizazz to your bed wall, without being too busy or bold.  Even the faux finishers admitted a fascination for this paper!

This Kravet wallcovering (W3078-11) is actually a beautiful line drawing of a large damask pattern. Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in person!! What a great way to give pizazz to your bed wall, without being too busy or bold. Even the faux finishers admitted a fascination for this paper!

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taupe and turquoise master bedroom

The Master Bathroom was given a makeover, with new cabinets and countertops, a faux finish wide stripe gracsscloth texture on the walls, and some eye-catching new lighting.

The Master Bathroom was given a makeover, with new cabinets and countertops, a faux finish wide stripe gracsscloth texture on the walls, and some eye-catching new lighting.

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Meanwhile, on the other end of the condo, exists the girls' room! This fun, whimsical wallcovering was the inspiration for the room!  We gave them a King bed and a couple of nice seating areas.  We complemented the wallcovering with pops of orange, chartreuse and aqua in our pillows, bedding and accessories.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the condo, exists the girls’ room! This fun, whimsical wallcovering was the inspiration for the room! We gave them a King bed and a couple of nice seating areas. We complemented the wallcovering with pops of orange, chartreuse and aqua in our pillows, bedding and accessories.

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fun seating area

Fun Girls' room!

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This Second Master we made lighter and more coastal, with its white linen duvet, linen headboard, and softer accents.

This Second Master we made lighter and more coastal, with its white linen duvet, linen headboard, and softer accents.

This photo portrays the color slightly better.

This photo portrays the color slightly better. We used soft greens and aquas.

We had some fun with this room! This off-white geometric wallpaper served as an off-white patterned backdrop to some bright splashes of turquoise.

We had some fun with this room! This off-white geometric wallpaper served as an off-white patterned backdrop to some bright splashes of turquoise.

The turquoise Chandelier left subtle shadows that radiated out in a sunburst pattern. This is not always a desired effect--to reduce shadows made by your lamp harp or chandelier, try using frosted bulbs, versus clear.

The turquoise Chandelier left subtle shadows that radiated out in a sunburst pattern. This is not always a desired effect–to reduce shadows made by your lamp harp or chandelier, try using frosted bulbs, versus clear.

I had the pleasure of working on this fun remodel with fellow designer, Joey LaSalle. We were allowed to use some bright, vibrant colors, which is always refreshing. I even had a handly little helper during the installation!

My son, Case, "helping" me install!  He is currently almost 3 years old!!  Yes, I am a little behind posting this!

My son, Case, “helping” me install! He is currently almost 3 years old!! Yes, I am a little behind posting this!

I hope you enjoyed touring this project! To see another Signature Beach remodel we designed, CLICK HERE!

Call or email me if you would like any help with your design!

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Color Conundrums | By Cara McBroom

Colors can be deceiving! They can take on many personalities, and play all sorts of tricks on the eye.  Here are just a few quick interesting facts and lessons about color that I’ve learned throughout the years:

Everything is Relative:

In my profession, I often come across situations where people can get caught up on whether a teal potato is actually a peacock blue po-TAH-to, or whether red tomato is actually a crimson to-MAH-to.  It brings to mind my elementary school art teacher, who always insisted that “there is no purple—it’s called violet!” (Ironically, her name was Mrs. Brown). Don’t get me wrong; knowing the difference is our job!  Patronizing clients and correcting them is not a good idea, however, which is why we all usually keep a fan deck of paint colors readily on hand, for reference, at new client appointments.

It is easy to deduce that, because people are all different, they are likely to name things differently—More importantly, however, people can SEE things differently! It could be that Mother Nature made some people slightly color blind, or it could just be that everything is relative.

palladian and seafoam green

Here is a color (on the left) that I use all the time.  Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue.  Next to Seafoam Green, it probably looks blue to most people.  In the color story below, however, you can see that Palladian Blue looks decidedly green next to Fantasy Blue, Paradiso & Ocean City Blue.

palladian comparison

Palladian Blue actually lends itself either way, which is why I use it a lot!  I actually would call it a gray-green, as I tend to think that blue is blue, and if it has a perceivable amount of green, then it’s in the green family.  SEE?  We all have our own perceptions, and trying to label them can be just semantics.  That’s why it’s best to not rely on semantics and rely on that paint deck for reference!

Light-changing experiences:

Sometimes, in our profession, we also find ourselves trying to solve color mysteries for clients.  Maybe they chose what they thought was the perfect basket beige color, but when they painted their walls, it looked pink! It could be that it’s time to change out their bulbs from incandescent to L.E.D.

Here you can see how certain light bulbs give off different colors.  Fluorescents give off cool, or blue light; Incandescents give off a golden, or warm light; and L.E.D. bulbs give off a cool white light.

Here you can see how certain light bulbs give off different colors. Fluorescents give off cool, or blue light; Incandescents give off a golden, or warm light; and L.E.D. bulbs give off a cool white light.

The pink walls in the above analogy could also mean, for instance, that they have a red vase in the window, or a red accent wall that’s casting off a pink glow.  Sometimes it’s the little things. Here’s a common illustration that shows how a SETTING can change our perception of a color:

In this diagram created by Edward H. Adelson, the two yellow dots are actually the same color.  The gray squares they are centered in are also the same value! Because the surroundings are different, they are perceived differently.

In this diagram created by Edward H. Adelson, the two yellow dots are actually the same color. The gray squares they are centered in are also the same value! Because the surroundings are different, they are perceived differently.

The lesson to be learned from this category is to always pick out paint colors IN the room you will be painting, so that all lighting and environmental factors come into play.  If you are still skeptical, try painting color patches onto the wall (preferably a white one—remember the lesson we just learned!), and always remember to use a good primer!

Follow the Yellow-Bright rule:

(Ok, so I was “reaching” for a clever title for this category). “Yellow is psychologically the happiest color in the color spectrum”  The last thing you want, however, is a room that is SOOO happy, that you need a mental nap every time you leave the room.  The color yellow, for some reason, gets brighter and brighter, the more you use it.  So, what looks like a subtle, pastel yellow on a small sample, can turn into a Bananarama “Cruel Summer” very fast. There are other colors that can have this effect, too, such as primary red and electric green.  I am picking on yellow, because you would think that yellow is mellow, so its effect can be unexpected.  Stick to yellows that have been tamed down with some gray, or only use it in small amounts. If a bold statement is what you want, then plan it very carefully, so that the brightness is balanced by enough white, gray or other neutral.  Here are some examples of what I think are tasteful uses of yellow:

Via Ligne Roset USA

Via Ligne Roset USA

Via Marcus Design

Via Marcus Design

Via Evermotion

Via Evermotion

I like this use of yellow, because of the way they balanced it with a lot of white, and shortened the wall with wainscoting.

A Dark myth:

Want to know a cool trick for making your room feel taller and more spacious? Try painting your ceilings a darker color—Yes, I said dark!  Fellow interior designer, and dear friend, Joey LaSalle says, “…you may have heard that painting a ceiling a dark color will make the ceiling feel much lower. That is actually a myth. In fact, dark colors recede. Therefore a darker ceiling would actually give the illusion that the ceiling is receded or higher than it actually is. On the other hand, bright colors jump forward, which would give the perception that the intensely painted wall or ceiling is closer than it actually is.”  I have also found that painting your crown the same color as your walls help to extend the length of your walls, which aids in the perception of height.

4myths-dark-ceiling

gray ceiling kitchen

boys room

There are many more points I could go over, but I will save you from a lesson on color theory, and leave my color wheel in my pocket for now. I will leave you with this: even though colors can be tricky, I still urge everyone to not be afraid of color! Embrace it smartly, and use it to your advantage!

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