It’s hard to believe, but The Evans Edit blog made it’s debut 2 years ago, this week. Crazy!

My little idea to share my design tips and tricks has blossomed into a real, live thing. Fantastic. So, let’s recap!

 

In the past 2 years we’ve:

-Shared over 100 posts on how to design and style your home

-Connected with over 650,000 design enthusiasts EACH MONTH (!!)

-Won numerous ASID awards for Residential Design of Interior and Exterior spaces

-Have contributed to articles in The Huffington Post

-Brought the latest design trends to the East Coast Builder’s Conference

-Created a series to document the process of building our personal home

-Participated in two House Beautiful magazine’s One Room Challenges

-Helped over 50 families design their spaces, virtually online, in 3 countries

-Been nominated as Best New Blog by Domino Magazine

 

 

All this in just 2 years…and we’re just getting started!

Thanks for sticking with us. Many more exciting things to come in the next year!

Custom home built in Gainesville, Florida by Evans Construction & Design.

 

Gorgeous fireplace? Spacious chef’s Kitchen? Rich hardwood floors? This Dream Home has it all!

Let’s take a look! Links to products below.

Fan | Agreeable Gray Paint with Mega Greige Ceiling Accent

Fan | Agreeable Gray Paint with Mega Greige Ceiling Accent

 Kitchen Faucet | Pot filler | Backsplash | Lighting

Kitchen Faucet | Pot filler | Backsplash | Lighting | Cabinet Bar Pulls

Bathtub  | Tile

HandHeld Showerhead | Bathtub | Basketweave Detail | Tile

Delta HydroRain showerhead | Handheld Showerhead  | Basketweave Detail | Tile

Delta HydroRain Showerhead | Handheld Showerhead | Basketweave Detail | Tile

Pot filler | Backsplash | Cabinet Bar Pulls

Lighting

Pot filler | Backsplash

Cabinet Bar Pulls

Lighting

Bathtub | Tile

 Basketweave Detail

Showerhead | Tile | Basketweave Detail

Faucet | Sink

Faucet | Sink

 

Here’s a handy dandy pin for your Pinterest boards!

Spitting on your finger to hang the perfect artwork? Stuffing pillows that are too big into covers for the perfect fit? Stacks on stacks on stacks of coffee table book? Yes, yes and yes! These finishing touches make the room! Over the past 20+ years, I’ve collected seven of my favorite and today I’m revealing them to you. 

 

1. Buy Coffee Table Books You Love

One of the very best tips I have is to splurge on coffee table books you’re drawn to. They are super useful for adding dimension and height to coffee tables, console tables and bookshelves. Stack them, lean them, even open them and you’ve instantly elevated your design. Using topics you love (gardens, photography, you name it) or places you’ve traveled is the perfect way to inject a bit of personality into your room. Want to really take it up a notch? Have some of your favorite family photos made into a custom coffee table book.

perfect tabletop vignette with books {pursuit of style}

 

beautiful coffee table styling {the zhush}

 

these books help ground smaller brass items {swoonworthy}

 

two books stacks {ceresbr1}

 

the more the merrier {domino}

 

 

2. Create Your Own Paint Color

Can’t settle on the perfect color for your room? Love your sample but fear it’s too dark? Create your own color by having the paint store cut the color you love by half or a third. It will give you the same color, but with less intensity. Bonus, no one else will have it and you can name it whatever you’d like!

benjamin moore “sleigh bells” at 50% {studio mcgee}

 

sleigh bells sample {benjamin moore}

 

sleigh bells at full strength, maybe a little darker than you want {your design nest}

 

 

3. Layer Rugs

Rugs can be expensive, like super expensive. A perfect alternative to breaking your budget is to layer a smaller version of the pricey rug you have your eye on, ON TOP OF a less expensive rug. A basic sisal rug can be found very moderately priced and serves a a rich, textural backdrop for a more “statement” piece. Think large, solid, inexpensive as the base rug and smaller, richer, even trendier as the top layer. The result is stunning and something you don’t see everywhere.

this inexpensive dhurrie rug looks great overtop of an inexpensive sisal {decorpad}

 

a rich zebra painted cow hide stuns overtop of a basic sisal {kate jackson}

 

a natural cowhide livens up this basic seagrass rug {domino}

 

 

4. Buy Your Pillow Inserts One Size Larger Than Your Cover

No one wants a wimpy pillow. You know the kind; lifeless, pathetic and downright distracting. Purchase the pillow insert the next size up and you’ve instantly given the pillow (and room, really) a makeover. For example, for a 20″ pillow cover, I use a 22″ insert. A 18″ cover gets a 20″ insert and so on. While your at it, splurge on a down or synthetic down fill. Full, down pillows are one of the easiest ways to revive a room!

the proof {domestic imperfection}

 

plump pillow perfection {dimples and tangles}

 

perfect pillows {lynn morgan}

 

 

5. To Hang Artwork, Use Your Eye and Hand Height

It can be scary to hang the piece of artwork you love on big, bare wall.  Hanging it over a fireplace or a piece of furniture you love isn’t any easier. Too high or too low really cheapens the piece and the room overall. My rule of thumb, if hanging on a bare wall, is to hold the piece in front of you so that the CENTER of the art is AROUND your eye level, then go up just a smidge. Scientific, I know, but it works every single time. 🙂 The rule of thumb when hanging over a piece of furniture or fireplace is to use the WIDTH of your HAND(S) for the correct spacing above. Just place your hand sideways, then place the other on top (sideways) and you have the perfect spacing somewhere in-between the first and second hand. No measuring! Once you’ve settled on the height, lick your finger, slide your hand up, feel for the wire behind and tap on the wall where you want the nail to go. Gross, I know, but it saves a whole lot of measuring. Just don’t tell anyone what you did, it’ll be our little secret.

hung at eye level center and looks perfect! {the decorista}

 

another center eye level {better home and gardens}

 

umm, this is too high {social survival}

 

hand width above a fireplace, works for mirrors too {traditional home}

 

tory burch’s home, art hung perfectly above the mantle {tory burch}

 

 

6. Keep High, High and Low, Low

When you’re putting together the perfect tabletop vignette, it’s hard to know what to put where. Stacking items on books and choosing frames to use? It’s overwhelming. Keeping the taller pieces “high” and the shorter pieces “low” will create an interesting, layered display. For example, start with a tall lamp, then keep your books low, add a frame in the middle and you have an interesting flow. If you had chosen a shorter lamp, stacked your books up too high and selected a frame around the same height, you’d end up with one level throughout, which isn’t nearly as interesting.

nice flow, high to the sides and low in the center {the pink clutch}

 

vignette perfection! high to the left, low to the right {mimosa lane}

 

all one height, could look much better with varying heights {vanity fair}

 

 

7. Add Dimmers EVERYWHERE

What’s cheap and will instantly transform your entire home? Dimmers! I don’t want to oversell this, but they are literally life changing. Literally. 🙂 Adding dimmers to your main living areas will completely transform the space, I promise. Harsh, overly lit rooms suddenly become soft, candlelit looking spaces. I actually suggest having them everywhere, like in every single room.  Don’t believe me? Try just one and see what you think. You can go with a basic version, fancy smart versions, or even one made just for lamps. It’s super easy to switch out your current old-school switches for new dimmers. You can get them at Lowes, Home Depot or even order them online and it takes under 10 minutes. Home Depot has a quick tutorial here.

warm ambience in this dining room {ownby design}

 

dimmers allow for softer lighting here {leviton}

 

what a dimmer looks like, in case you didn’t know 😉 {elemental led}

And a handy dandy pin for your Pinterest boards!

 

Well, there you have it. Seven designer secrets that I just had to share. Do you think you might try one? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them, please comment below!

 

 

What’s super hot right now, but also will be forever? Blue! If you know my design, you know I love the color blue. On furniture, walls, or anywhere in between, blue always adds the perfect touch of color to any space. It’s serene and pretty and it doesn’t overwhelm.

But what shade do you choose? Search it on Pinterest and you’ll be overwhelmed with results, some good and some not. THE perfect blue is the goal, but there are just sooooo many to choose from! But, we are in luck! I have combined my very favorite Blue paint colors that are tried and true, with photos showing them in real world applications below. Enjoy and pin the chart at the bottom for future easy access! 🙂

 

Hale Navy

Benjamin Moore HC-154

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source

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Van Courtland Blue

Benjamin Moore HC-145

source

source

source

 

Brittany Blue

Benjamin Moore 1633

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source

source

 

Breath of Fresh Air

Benjamin Moore 806

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source

source

 

Silvermist

Sherwin Williams SW7621

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source

source

 

Bluebird

Graham & Brown

source

source

 

Distance

Sherwin Williams SW6243

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source

source

Do you have a favorite?

 

Here’s a couple handy dandy images for your Pinterest boards. Pin it for later!

 

If you’ve been in the market for plumbing fixtures lately, you’ve likely seen the newest and most beautiful finish out…”Luxe Gold” by Brizo. It will stop you in your tracks!

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It stands out in a sea of Brushed Nickel, Chrome, Oil Rubbed Bronze and (now) Matte Black. It’s the perfect warm-gold.  It’s not bright brass from the 80s, not even close. They have everything you need for your Kitchen or Bath.

 

Here’s just a very small sampling…

So, let’s say you’ve decided to use this lovely combination in your home. Amazing! But… you need some things to coordinate with it. Knobs…lights…mirrors… What goes with this gorgeous finish? Brizo makes a few things to coordinate but not much….like one light…seriously.

 

What coordinates?

You can MIX the finish with other finishes…maybe matte black? That’s a valid option.  But, let’s look at what will actually coordinate with Luxe Gold from other brands. Here are a few of my favorites. Don’t worry, all the links are down below at the bottom of the post.

But wait…

 

 

Is This The Same As Delta’s Champagne Bronze?

Before we dive into each of these items above( links are below) let’s address a mistake I almost made.

Is Brizo’s “Luxe Gold” finish interchangeable with Delta’s “Champagne Bronze”? I mean Delta OWNS Brizo…they look similar…they’re probably the same right?

No…no they’re not.

Brizo’s Luxe Gold is lighter, less “gold-y”. Delta’s Champagne Bronze is deeper and would mix easily with standard brass options. (Maybe we’ll cover that in the future!) But for now, let’s stick with

 

So let’s breakdown that Cheat Sheet. Scroll down for the all the links below!

 

Mirrors and Accessories

perfectly finished mirror

 

storage for your bath in the perfect finish

 

outlet covers if you want to be extra

 

 

 

Probably the most important item to coordinate…

Hardware

Honey Bronze finish from this line matches PERFECTLY

Lowes even has a matching option

Our favorite finish in a handle mixed with Lucite

Lowes again for the win!

Guess who makes this one?

And this one?

 

 

Lights for the Kitchen, Bath and Common Spaces

Hanging globe for Kitchen Island perfection

Funky wall light for Kitchen or Bath

Another option for the Kitchen Island

Beautiful Bathroom sconce, various sizes

Another beautiful sconce, other sizes too

This sconce has the PERFECT finish and comes in a bunch of sizes

Guess who makes this one? 😉

Perfect ceiling fixture

 

 

Or…Screw it and paint anything you want 😉

Just kidding, please don’t do that!

Cheat Sheet

So now we have a BUNCH of options to coordinate with the amazing Brizo Luxe Gold line. Here is a handy dandy Cheat Sheet for you, with links, along with one perfectly formatted for your Pinterest page.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24

Pin this one to Pinterest!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24

So, what do you think? Will you try this new finish? I am!

“Location, location, location!” You’ve heard it a million times before and it really holds true. Where you build is just as important as what you build.

When we considered rebuilding for ourselves, location was the prime determining factor. We loved the neighborhood we lived in and didn’t want to stray too far from it. Since there were no remaining lots for sale, we decided to stay put. But…one night while out running, a little red FOR SALE BY OWNER sign popped up that wasn’t there the evening before. I called right there, made an offer and took the sign down (shh). I ran home, told my husband and we gave the deposit the next day. Sometimes things just work out! Now we are starting the process of rebuilding just down the road!

If you’re just joining us, this is the third  installment of a year long series documenting the building of our personal dream home. We started off with INSPIRATION ( here), then tackled FLOORPLANS (here). Now let’s dive into LOCATION.

 

Overhead shot of our new property

 

So, if where you build is just as important as what you build, how do you decide? Here are a few tips!

When looking at properties, consider the following:

  • The size of the lot and closeness of neighbors
  • Slope/flatness of land
  • Direction the lot faces (Where will the sun be?)
  • Natural surroundings (forest, field, water, etc.)
  • Trees (Remember – tall, old trees can’t just be planted)
  • The style of other houses in the neighborhood
  • Access to resources (Will you need a well? Septic tank? New power, phone or cable hookups?)
Our new lot

Talk to a Professional! Although it is not necessary, having a professional such as a contractor look at the property you are interested in may save your some headaches down the line.

 

Once you find a lot you are interested in, research the property.

  • Find information on the zoning, wetlands, septic connections, energy code, etc. These all affect what you can do. For example, zoning can affect the required setback distance from the street, the height of your house, and whether or not you can build an in-law suite.
  • Is the lot in a historic district? If so, there may be additional requirements or restrictions on how your home must look and what materials it must be built with.
  • Look into home values in the surrounding neighborhood. You may not want to build a $2 million house in a much less expensive area.
  • Speak to the neighbors. This is one of the best ways to find out if the area is a good fit for your family
  • What is the school district?

Keep all of these things in mind, do your research and enjoy!

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How much does it actually cost to hire a designer? Well, it depends. It depends on what you’re looking for, the size of your project, who you are actually hiring and how pleasant you are to work with (it’s true).

The term “Interior Designer” is often used by decorators, furniture store salespeople, stagers and even stylish friends. Knowing what you’re actually getting can be tricky and you might need to do a bit of research. Searching the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) website for designers in your area is a good place to start.

 

 

So, what are the different types of designers and what do they offer?

 

Straight-up professional Interior Designers you work with directly in your home

The most expensive option, but also the most comprehensive. This scenario has a licensed Interior Designer meet you in your home, work up a plan of action and handle everything. Professional Interior Designers are equipped to handle any design project you have. Furnishing a room, providing new home selections, built-in designs, simple updates, they’ll handle it all. You can (typically) expect an overall budget, allowances, floorpan, concept board, material selections, and final plan before anything is finalized. Know the fancy boards you see in movies with samples attached…you’re getting them, yippee! Once you agree on everything, the designer will typically place the orders, receive the merchandise, coordinate any subcontractors, deliver and install all items, and set the room up completely. Everything is handled and you can enjoy the space! You can expect to pay either a flat fee or an hourly rate, depending on the designer. Speaking for myself, I prefer charging a flat fee, so that everyone knows what the project will cost upfront, but each designer is different.

Depending on the scope of work and size of your project, you can usually expect to spend around 20-25% of the overall budget for the project plus 20% on top of any items ordered and delivered by the designer. It might sound pricey, but ordering, receiving and delivering these items entails a lot of work and liability. This 20-25% range is true for a variety of project types and is a good rule of thumb. When you get into new home selections or remodeling, the fee can go up from there. Plumbing, lighting, paint, cabinetry, etc are very detailed and take time. The fee will reflect that. A typical new home selection will run around $5,000 and remodeling projects will fall back into the 20-25% of the project range.

TIP: Offer to have the items sent directly to you and hold them there until installation day and forgo the upcharge. Personally, I often offer this to my clients and it saves us both! Win-win!

Design by Evans Construction & Design

Design by Evans Construction & Design

 

 

 

Online Interior Designers you work with virtually

New to the game, this is an efficient and cost effective way to design a space. It sounds a little crazy… handling everything online without the designer even seeing your space… but it really isn’t. Trained designers can easily work off a plan, dimensions, photo and a budget. This set up typically goes like this for a room design. You provide the designer with an overall budget, a few inspirational photos, brands you like and a floorpan with photos of the space. The designer comes back to you with a concept board, to make sure you are both on the same page. Once approved, you move into the actual selections for the space and the designer provides a rendering of the room with the items, right where they’ll go. The process typically goes for 10 days or so and you go back and forth until you are completely happy with each and every item. The designer keeps the budget and preferences in mind throughout. In the end you receive a final package with a furniture plan, final design board, a shopping list with direct links to order, and set up instructions.

You can typically plan to pay between $500-$1,000 for a comprehensive room design, which is really a great deal. Personally, I LOVE providing online design to my clients, locally or from a distance. In fact, my first year offering online services, I completed 50+ rooms in 3 countries and loved every minute of it! You can work with a designer directly (me! me! right here!) or through a design website like Laurel & Wolf (me, me, here too!)

TIP: Find a designer with a large portfolio online that you already like and you’re halfway there!

 

Concept board by Evans Construction & Design

Design board by Evans Construction & Design

 

 

Furniture store designers or decorators

This can really be hit or miss and it totally depends on the store.

Best case scenario is with a great store like Koontz Furniture in Florida. Stores like Koontz have top tier, professional Interior Designers who also work on their sales floor and offer design services as part of the furniture selection process. What? It’s true! If you’re looking for help picking out a room full of new items, this is a great way to go. You can get professional design services and end up not paying anything more than you would have paid for the furniture from their store. Let that sink in for a bit. You end up paying nothing.  Often, you can also hire these designers to help you with more than just the furniture, for an additional fee. They, then , charge a design fee and help you with whatever you need; paint, cabinets, flooring and furniture, too.

Worst case scenario has you working with a “Decorator” in a dark, dingy chain furniture store who’s really just trying to sell you what they have. Is that middle aged man in a short sleeved button up and tie trying to sell you on the hottest trend? Run!  The truth is you don’t know until you do a bit of research. Furniture stores can be an absolute treasure trove of talent, or not.

TIP: Find a store with brands you like, set a budget and see what they can do for you.

 

 

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Your stylish friend who claims to be a decorator

We all have one. She’s well dressed, trendy and “knows” decorating. She just can’t let you spend money on a designer, because she can help you for free! Tread lightly here. If it’s few accessories you’re looking for, by all means go together to TJMaxx and have a fun afternoon. If it’s paint colors, furniture pieces, overall design of a room, please use a trained professional. When she’s in over her head, she probably won’t tell you and your room (and friendship) will suffer. Expect to pay nothing or little to nothing.

Design by Evans Construction & Design

 

As I initially said, it all really depends. If you’re looking to spruce up your space with a few touches with a designer online, it can be $99. If you’re looking for a traditional room design and implementation, I’d say around $2,000+. If you’re looking for a whole home design, $5000+. It all depends and part of it depends on you!

 

Next week, we’ll break down what should you expect from a professional, licensed Interior Designer.

 

What do you think about these fees? Does this fit with your experience? I’d love to here about it below 🙂

Here’s a handy dandy pin for your Pinterest too!

 

HGTV lie to us? No way!

I’m certainly not anti-HGTV, but honestly, they create problems for us on a daily basis! Remodeling a home doesn’t take a week, although I wish it did. How does HGTV deceive you?? Let me count the ways.

 

1 Trends Are Your Friend

Ship lap walls and sliding barn doors are certainly fun, but do you REALLY want them in your house? Like forever? Like forever-ever?  Trends are fun and look great in print, but you might not feel the same way about a sliding barn door in 10 years. The person who buys your home (whenever that is) might not either. My suggestion is have fun with trends via inexpensive, temporary pieces like pillows or artwork. If you love the Farmhouse look that’s hot right now, maybe freshen up your home with a few farmhouse accessories. When you go to sell your house, it won’t scream 2016.

Barn doors are super cool, but will they be dated when you go to sell your house? source

Do you really need this? source

 

2 Granite Is King

People on HGTV love granite. They say it every 5 minutes. If a home on house Hunters doesn’t have granite, well it’s obviously not the choice. Granite is great, but there are so many more options! Other natural materials like marble and soapstone are AMAZING and look great in a home. Much more solid in color, they distract less than granite. Other solid surfaces like quartz (under various names) hold up well and offer a wide variety of colors that granite just can’t. Although HGTV wants to shove granite down our throats, I say resist! Look around and see what other options there are and you might be surprised.

Isn’t this marble nice? source

Soapstone looks amazing! Bonus, your neighbor doesn’t have it. source

Soapstone for the win! source

 

3 Renovations Are Quick and Easy

I can’t tell you how many times this belief causes issues. I wish remodels were like a week long, I really do! Sadly, they’re not. If you want something professionally done, not only does it take time, you might even have to wait to get on the list of projects. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. Remodels (or any home project, really) are labor intensive and messy. They just are. My suggestion is ask for an estimated timeline from your contractor, see if it works for you and then hold them to it.

This didn’t take a week. Project by Evans Construction & Design

This didn’t either. source

More than a week, too. source

 

4 Everyone Wants An Open Floor Plan

Big, expansive areas with super large rooms that open into one another is what HGTV assumes everyone wants. It’s definitely what’s popular here, in Florida and many markets around the country. They look great and are perfect for entertaining but they have a few drawbacks to them. Not having a quiet area (besides your bedroom) to sit and read a magazine or scroll through Pinterest may come back to bite you when the volume level rises in the evening. Having your Kitchen completely open to your Family Room requires a certain level of cleanliness you may not want. Not to mention, there’s the noise from the sink or dishwasher while your watching your favorite show a few feet away. I love open floor plans and they’re certainly not going anywhere, but there are more options available. A Den/Living Room/Study with doors might be your new best friend.

This is beautiful, but you might want a little quiet time at some point. source

Look, a Kitchen with a door! Before you say no, consider the possibilities. source

 

5 $1,000 Will Prep Your Home For Resale

You can’t do much for $1,000, there, I said it. Really getting your home ready for resale, for top dollar, requires you to look at the space with a fresh eye. Pretend you don’t live there and see what needs attention. New paint throughout? Trim paint? Landscaping touchup? Actual (costly) repairs of plumbing, electrical, etc? It adds up and takes time. I know HGTV has told us otherwise, but it does.

Not a $1,000 prep for sale. source

 

6 Open Shelving In Kitchens Is Practical

Open shelving looks great, like amazing, really. Stacked up white plates and bowls on a wood beam with a beautiful backdrop really is picturesque. The bad news is that grease and dust want to join the party! No matter how clean your house is, how often you dust, cooking and living create grease and dust that has to go somewhere. Wiping down counters is easy, but pulling down a stack of bowls to individually wipe them down is time consuming. Most people end up using the same few (top) plates and bowls over and over. The ones underneath just collect. If you have your heart set on open shelving in the Kitchen, my suggestion is to keep it small and locate the area away from the cooktop.

This isn’t going to end well. source

Keeping open shelving away from the stovetop gives you a fighting chance. source

 

7 Product Placement? Where?

This one is pretty obvious, but it has to be said. That wood flooring looks great and the designer/host probably does really like it, but the company is paying big bucks to have it on the show. Same with the appliances. Same with the car parked in the driveway. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Just keep it in mind when looking for something for yourself.

I love this floor, but just know the company paid to have it here. source

Subtle! source

Here’s a handy dandy little pin for your Pinterest boards!

 

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your comment below!

 

 

Where do you even begin when you’re considering building your dream home? It can be daunting, so let’s walk through it together.

 

If you’re just joining us, this is the second installment of a year long series documenting the building of our dream home. We started off with INSPIRATION, which you can find here. Now let’s dive into the scary area of FLOORPLANS.

 

1 Start With Something

So, we have our inspiration…cedar shakes…Hamptons look…Americana. Check, check, check. But, what will the house look like, feel like? How will it layout?

You have to start with something. My suggestion is to dive into one of the floor plan sites online. They have millions (literally) of plans to look at. Filter them down to meet your requirements, like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Do you want an open and airy Great Room? A more formal layout with a Living Room and Den? Poke around and see what you find. If you land on the perfect plan for you, stop right there and buy it! Done and done…disregard the rest of this post. 🙂

If you don’t, now it’s time to dig a little further. Save some of the ideas you liked and look at some other places. Your local parade of homes is a good start. Walking through model homes is extremely helpful, too.

I’m certainly not endorsing taking another builder’s plan, I’m talking about gathering ideas to begin with. Find something in line with what you like.

 

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2 Adapt For Your Lifestyle

Now that you have a good starting point, let’s make it yours. How do you REALLY want to live? Not in a Pinterest fantasy world, but how do you REALLY want to live in real life?

 

For me and my family, pretty simply. Our list looks like this:

-Big, open Kitchen with a nice bar area for kids to sit at in the afternoons

-Kitchen open to a huge Family Room, so we can all watch TV together

-Playroom for my teen and toddler that’s close by and I can see into, to keep tabs of what’s going on, while keeping toys out of the way

-A nice outdoor area with pool, fireplace and outdoor kitchen

-A separate, quiet office removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday so I can work in peace

-Lots of windows and light. I grew up in a tiny house with wood paneled walls and have an aversion to dark places.

-A big closet with an island. I just want it. 🙂

 

The rest of the stuff doesn’t matter too much to me. Laundry room…whatever, I’ll make it work. Master Bedroom…it will look great however it works out. Dining Room…same.

Once you have your priorities in order, it makes the decision making process much easier. Start with what’s important, then make concessions elsewhere.

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3 Work Backwards

Visualize what you actually want the room to look like… how you want it to function, then work back from that. For example, I want a big family room focused around the fireplace and TV. So I start with that particular visual and work backwards. I don’t make my vision work with the space in front of me, I make the space work with my vision.

Kitchen Inspiration

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Entry Inspiration

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Master Bath Inspiration

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Pool Area Inspiration

 

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4 Insert Some Real World Measurements

Do a little research. Measure a few areas around your current home. Does your family room feel cramped? Dining room tight? Find out what would actually work well and start plugging that into the plan. A good way to start inserting measurements is with a simple rug size. A 9×12 rug is a good base for a furniture grouping, give or take. Plop that measurement into the space you’re considering and see how it feels. Icovia is a great furniture floorpan resource online. There are many, many more, just poke around a bit. Go on there and create a few little nuggets to pop into your plan. Here are a few I did for this upcoming house, just to make sure I have my sizes down. Also, I am planning to use a world mural in the Playroom, so I am designing the room to be the exact size to accommodate it (13’9).

Family Room Layout

Design by Evans Construction and Design

Office Layout

Design by Evans Construction and Design

Playroom Wall

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5 Take It To A Professional

This is not the time to try and become an expert on drawing house plans. Furniture groupings…no problem, but not house plans. Let someone who lives, eats and breathes this stuff guide you. Trust me, they know what you don’t. I’ve been creating floorpans for over 20 years and wouldn’t even think to try and draw mine myself. You don’t have to go to an architect. I’d actually suggest you not, if you have a good idea of what you want. Ask around and find a certified engineer and CAD operator that does this. They will save you in the long run, I pinky promise.

 

 

6 Edit, Edit, Edit

Meet with your new best friend and give them all you homework from above. Let them come back with a first draft. Start editing and going back and forth until you get everything just right. I typically have 5-10 back and forth until I am 100% happy. Don’t rush it.

Here are some progress shots of our floorplan. We took 6 rounds to get to the final product.

Version 1

Version 3

Version 5 (with options!)

 

 

7 Pat Yourself On The Back and Enjoy!

Here is our FINAL, FINAL plan with elevation. I couldn’t be happier. It meets all of our requirements and looks exactly how I imagined. We’ve never built anything similar to this, so it’s extra exciting!

What do you think?

It’s that time of year. Yippee. Whether you decorate your whole house or just a room, holiday decorations should be fun and no stress. If you’re stressed out, you’re doing it wrong. 😉

Follow these 3 easy steps and sit back and enjoy.

 

1. Pick a Theme

I love traditional Christmas plaid and tartan decorations. Think Ralph Lauren in Connecticut on Christmas morning. Having this base to refer to makes shopping easy. Do you like all white? Modern? Country? Pick a theme and go with it.

Here are my favorite picks for this year.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

 

 

2. Vary It Slightly

Now that you have a signature look, vary it slightly from room to room. I mix different tartans and plaids in different areas. More formal rooms get silver champagne buckets holding mini trees with tartan ribbon. Kids areas get buckets holding trees, tartan blankets and shams. Keeping the same thread running throughout keeps everything working together.

 

3. When In Doubt, Add More!

This is not the time for subtlety. Your house is only going to be decorated for a month, max. Pull out all the stops and enjoy. It will be gone before you know it.

 

Now that we have a few guidelines, let’s see some inspiration images in my favorite look. Several are from my home. Enjoy! Sources and buying info at the bottom.

 

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Evans Construction and Design

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Here’s a couple handy graphics for your Pinterest boards with links below!

1 Blue pillow

2 White pillow

3 Red pillow

4 Stocking

5 Square wreath

6 Tartan throw

7 Blackwatch plate

8 White tartan plate

9 Red tartan plate

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