Wouldn't it be pure bliss to have an unlimited budget to make your home lovely. No regard for the bottom line or being reduced to look at price tags? Oh joy. As a Chicago home decorator, interior stylist and stager there is no fun in that scenario!
I love the thrill of the hunt, find euphoria in using what you already have and get giddy using my creativity and cunning ability to reach the same end. Now that's pure bliss.
My job with clients is to know when to spend it and when not to - getting that right mix. A beautiful home should have a rich collectiveness - A mix of rich with poor, old with new - A recipe that in the end defines the legacy and personality of the homeowner. My business signature is using what you have, and then moving on from that. For most of my clients, shopping is not an issue, nor is what they already own - It's the mêlée of pulling it collectively together to distinguish their space and define their style. Whether they're puzzled on how to make their living room inviting or launching into a remodeling project - Most struggle with knowing how to mix that perfect recipe.
My secret formula is to know when to use it, when to spend it, and how to get the look for less. The total package has to fit together with your personal taste, style of your home and most importantly - Your Budget! It doesn't matter if I'm staging your home, helping you decorate for a party or holiday, or consulting on a major renovation - The formula is the same.
So what's my formula? How you obtain that perfect recipe? Here are the three ingredients:
USE IT: Most of us over the years have accumulated things, whether bought, inherited, or found, we have stuff. If you take a hard look at your stuff; I guarantee there is treasure galore within your inventory. Can you repaint, reupholster, and update it? In another room, would it look better or have better use? Your old stuff is your legacy, it defines who you are, and if it doesn't, I'll let you know. As an educated professional, my talent is to be able to identify what can be used or not when it comes to making your spaces beautiful. Although, most would not cast me to appear on "Antiques Road Show," I'm pretty good at knowing what's worthy, and really good at using it if it fits into the grand plan.
Whether it's a couch, painting or lamp, I'll let you know if it will work, or if it's an undiscovered treasure that we can use "as is," or is worthy of a reinvention. I did a staging recently and came upon a signed Leroy Neiman print that the homeowner had picked up at a garage sale. They were going to toss it because the matting was ragged and damaged and the print was falling out of its frame. After a quick look over and a suggested run to a framing store for a re-mat & tune-up - They'll have a pretty snazzy "real" piece of showcase art!
SPEND IT: O.K., even though I'm supposed to be the budget decorator, sometimes you have to spend a bit. Love that vintage French one-of-a-kind-kind piece, knowing it will be perfect for your awkwardly sized foyer- Entry Table. Go get it! It will become the showcase to your home. You'll love looking at it every day and it will define the style of your place. There has to be expensive in the mix - and there will be a times that spending the big bucks is a worthwhile or part of the grand plan. That stuff may be pricey, but you can fill in the blanks with less expensive or fabulous finds.
The other piece of SPEND IT has to do with the quality of things. Sometimes you can't get it for less; sometimes the workmanship upstages the price point. Your inherited Grandma's dining room set may need repair and is a perfect example of the SPEND IT choice you make. Pair her set with off-the-rack Target window treatments and rods and her set is reduced to a "tired pass-down." Pair her set with custom one-of-kind window treatments and the set is now upgraded to "antique heirloom."
LOOK FOR LESS: Getting the LOOK FOR LESS is a two- fold feat. The 1st feat is to see if you can find the expensive, SPEND IT item for less (you still have to pay a bit of cash.) And the 2nd feat is to have the knack for eyeing that inexpensive item that has the look of expensive. Shopping expensive is easy; anyone can walk into the Chicago Designer Mart and find fabulous stuff, expensively priced. Finding its identical twin or a knock-off for a fraction of the price takes talent and an eye. Getting that look for less, filling in those blanks, makes for that perfect "mix."
Say you've got a few lovely Sterling silver pieces. Pair those with a few more you have found at a discount retailer in silver-plate and the plate becomes instantly "Sterling" by association.
The end result is a beautiful home that has the perfect mix...