designing for families

Breakfast Room Makeover

A breakfast room is so much more than a place to eat breakfast.  It can be a place for homework, to play games, to have important family talks or enjoy an early morning cup of coffee.  I recently finished a new breakfast room makeover for a great client and her review on my Houzz profile said it all... Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 8.49.44 AM

My clients were "empty nesters" but having a comfortable place for the family to gather was at the top of their wish list, as well as a new wet bar and a window seat.  We took a very plain space and made it amazing!

Breakfast Room - BEFORE

Breakfast Room - BEFORE

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design - Tallahassee, Florida

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An Easy Secretary Desk Makeover

About a month ago, I posted all the final pictures of my Miller's Bridge family room, but I saved this project detail for its own post.  At the initial design consultation, my client really hoped I could incorporate a secretary desk she had.  Not only did she like it, but it also provided a spot for her son to use the laptop computer out in the main room of the house.  Got to keep an eye on our kids! Once all the furniture was installed, we felt like it could stay in the room and not feel too crowded, but it needed a little "oomph".  My client was open to painting it, but I knew we could do something a little less permanent.  There was a great fabric we really wanted to use in the the room, but because it was a special order through a furniture company we didn't order from, it was really expensive per yard.  We loved the design and the colors, but the price was a little more than the budget allowed.

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Now, this is where hiring a designer brings so much more than new furniture to a space.  I called on my friend and talented artist to help me with the transformation.  After some texts messages back and forth from the craft store and a few emails, this is what we came up with.

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

The best part of this idea is that the design on a thin piece of wood that can be easily removed if needed.  I loved using all my client's treasures to really make it her own.  She was thrilled and so was I!

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Everett {a new project}

I've been working on a new project called {Everett} and presented the design plan to my clients this week.  They loved everything, so I'm excited to share the direction we are going.  The room used to be a garage that the previous owners turned into a large family room.  My clients have two young children and the husband is a triathlete.  This means, he has to train on his bicycle.  Sometimes inside.  In this room.  It sits on a special rack and is used like a stationary bike.  Pretty cool, but not necessarily a great design feature.  I saw it as a challenge and figured out a way we could "make it work" - insert Tim Gunn from Project Runway reference.  Here is a furniture plan we are considering... Plan D

As you can see from the photos, this room is currently being used for lots of different things - watching television, hanging out, playing with toys, paying bills and exercising.  It's also the family's main entrance (the double doors), so we need to create some sort of drop station for backpacks and jackets.  Wait till you see what I have planned for that!

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The flooring is staying, but everything else is changing.  New paint, new window treatments, new furniture and a new light fixture.  Here are a few pieces we are considering, along with the upholstery fabrics for the sofa and chair.  Next week we firm up the selections and get the ordering process going.  If all goes according to plan, this family will have a new room for Christmas!

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A True Family Room

When designing a true family room for my clients, there are many things I take into consideration. Not only does the space have to be a place to relax, but it usually functions as the playroom, home office, media room and sometimes dining room. This is a true statement for me as I'm on my couch with a dog curled up by my legs, listening to the television and writing this on a Sunday afternoon. That is the true definition of multi-functional! Family rooms are filled with fabrics and those fabrics need to be durable, but also pretty. A room filled with brown leather furniture isn't the best choice, in my opinion. A durable fabric, with some color variation and a stain resistant finish is a better choice than leather. Plus, you will never wake up from a nap sticking to fabric! I don't mind a leather piece here or there, but mix it up a little and don't be afraid to add some fabric, even with young children and pets.

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One of the biggest trends out there is the industrial and vintage look. What a blessing this is for today's family rooms. The furniture is already made with a worn or distressed finish, which means less worry if a toy truck is rolled across the top of the coffee table or that wine glass didn't get a coaster. Furniture pieces that serve double duty are also great for family rooms. Coffee tables with baskets underneath or ottomans with a removable top provides clever places to hide toys.

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A challenge most designers face when designing a family room is where to put the television. Mounting them over the fireplace has become very common, but it isn't my favorite location. It's usually too high for comfortable viewing and it's a large, black rectangle most of the time. If you have the space, try placing your television on a media console. Those are almost always made at the correct viewing height and gives you more storage (for toys, electronics or the like).

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When designing your family room, think about function first and make your choices based on how you plan on using the space. Try to find pieces that are multi-functional, especially when you are short on space. Personalize the room with fun fabrics and art. Finally, take the time to really use your family room to create memories for years to come!

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