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Modern Dining with the Fam

This house has a beautiful and unique layout. The dining room was at the base of a wide set of stairs in the heart of the house that has the feel of an art gallery. (And… that’s how we treated the space — we added beautiful art and it absolutely made the space.)

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Before we move into the dining room, why don’t you pin this post?!

The kitchen table, like most of ours, is where everything happens – from homework to important discussions, from food fights to mom’s famous fettuccine alfredo. So why not make your dining room a well-designed, thoughtful, and art-filled space to set the stage for family activities? That’s exactly what we did at this beautiful home in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

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Let’s check out the original dining room set-up:

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We changed the orientation of the table and decided to honor the modern house with modern elements, warmed up with rustic touches. We designed the table to have a modern shape and feel and selected each of our boards by hand. They came from an old cotton mill in North Georgia. The rustic top will make it perfect for a family with rough boys who would might like to see how far their forks will jam into the top of the table (or maybe that’s just my son? Thanks, Caleb). The molded white chairs are perfect for wiping down spills and give a crisp white modern feel that makes the gorgeous art simply pop. And the light fixture! We were in love with this immediately and because of how it’s made, we were able to manipulate the arms for a great organic feel with the light angled just how we wanted it.

Bright, artful and ready for food fights. Just no red sauce, please!

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Fresh, Blue, and like Kelly Ripa

When my client called, she was knee deep in construction dust. She had her architect draw up plans to open up the house, add a porch with a skylight to the house with gorgeous doors and transom windows to let as much light in as possible. The interior of the house had the fireplace moved and added a banquette window seat for the dining area.

When I arrived to look at the house, construction had already started and my client was nervous. She realized that putting her old furniture in her newly renovated space would simply mean that it looked like her old space, but lighter.

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She decided to make the most of her renovation by letting Gina Sims Designs complete the transformation! (And you can too! Go ahead: hire me.)

We had a blast going through the attic looking for art and hearing stories of pieces she loved but were tucked away in corners or guest rooms instead of where she could look at them everyday. We were able to tweak some of the design to go with the direction we were headed. She gave me a magazine picture of a story done on Kelly Ripa’s house that she loved and a design plan was hatched. She has a teenager and big dogs and loves to entertain, so that was the starting point – that the house should be enjoyed, hard.

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In the kitchen, we painted the cabinets white to lighten everything up and then painted the island blue to create some interesting contrast. We kept the blue moving through the kitchen with a roman shade above the sink, blue glass tile backsplash, a runner and some blue accessories: a tray with a blue pitcher for flowers.

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Given that we wanted the space to be livable and enjoyable, a window seat was added providing storage while pillows keep it comfortable. The cafe curtain and new lanterns provide control lighting and privacy. I love integrating items that my clients already have and love. We kept her original table and chairs, but utilized some amazing plates she scored on a trip to Spain.

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In the living room, we chose upholstery fabrics that could handle rough and tumble activity and defined the space with a textured rug.

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The neutral palette set off the art we chose for the space. Above the piano, I grouped together pieces painted by relatives and those that she picked up traveling for maximum impact.

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We also defined a new reading corner and added shelving.

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In the outdoor area, she wanted it to look more like a living room than a patio. The walls were screened in, so we had to use all-weather finishes in all the furniture and upholstery. The wood is teak, upholstery is Sunbrella and cushions can be remade in a few years when she’s ready. The inexpensive blue chairs were covered in an all weather spray on the fabric and legs. Utilized plants to complete the feel of bringing the outdoors in and making use of all that great light!

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The rug was outdoor and the rest of the furnishings can be easily wiped clean or hosed off but it still feels cozy and fresh. She does yoga on the patio and entertains there on the regular when the weather is nice.

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Urban Farmhouse

If you do not know much about Nashville, Tennessee, let me sum up for you: It’s amazing. You have to go. Everyone in the world is moving there. I lived there for a few years and met my husband there. We go back to visit family on the regular and it holds a very special space in my heart.

You’re going to want to file this away — go ahead and PIN IT before reading on.

My client moved into her home back when everyone wasn’t trying to move there. It was a great home on it’s own, but since then, the neighborhood has boomed and her house value has, well, done well. Here’s what we started with:

A few before pics of the Nashville project

A few before pics of the Nashville project

 

After a recent divorce, as with any significant life change, she wanted her house to reflect the new direction for herself and her kids. There are many beautiful things about my client. Beyond being a wonderful mother and friend, she is adventurous and quirky and has a passion for the earth. It’s her work and her play. She has chicken coops in the back yard and has used her yard to grow gorgeous flowers and crops.

Our design inspiration for the house was her friend’s art. Megan Lightell’s work is nothing short of breathtaking. We visited a gallery in Nashville and selected the painting to place above the mantle and it truly is the center of the home. We selected colors, textures, furniture, fabrics and lighting around this piece and it turned her beautiful home into a serene and lively place to grow a family (and some herbs).

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To enhance the farmhouse feel, we had the beam wrapped in reclaimed wood hung our gorgeous, simple light fixture from it. Table and bench by local artist and builder Heidi Weimer.

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We built a window seat for extra storage and seating, trying to make sense of an oddly shaped window.

Grandma’s pie safe was in a sad room by itself loaded with kids clothes and games. Now it’s in the middle of everything, and a gorgeous place to store linens and dishes (and games!) and the amazing hammered copper plate grandpa made sits atop. Southern Honey Workshop did a great job with this custom color. We think Grandma would approve.

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The orange rug in the living room was picked up on her travels but was too small for the room. We solved that problem by layering it on top of a larger jute and it’s just perfect! #protip #youarewelcome

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In the kitchen, she had this great exposed brick wall behind the stove (don’t we all wish for this?!). I hung a pot rack for storage (and mostly because it looks awesome) and displayed her tomato art collection above it (as well as around the kitchen).

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The TV in the living room was just sticking out of the wall. Initial plans called for a built in, but we reigned in the budget and decided to make a seating area below it. We loaded up our green-thumbed mama with tons of plants inside to bring life and a breath of fresh air, literally.

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French Antiques Go Modern

My dear aunt and uncle have lived in Dallas, Texas for decades and in this beautiful house when two of the kids were still at home. Now that they’ve been out of the house for awhile now, it was time that their home had some love.

They love to entertain and frequently host music clubs and other large groups. The space needed to be functional so that they could move furniture to focus on singers in the piano room or center in the living room or the perfect flow for a dinner party. The floors were replaced, walls moved and the decor was completely reimagined. My aunt is artistic and musical and has a love of antiques. In fact, she was an antiques dealer for years. Many of these precious pieces were the inspiration for our design. They wanted to display their prized pieces they have collected through the years but wanted a dose of modern elements – acrylic, pops of coral, bold patterns, lines and art.

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BEFORE

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Wallpapered in leather, painted white cabinets, added granite, tiny so I added this sunburst mirror. Shelves for often used glasses and a display for the antique crystal decanters.

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Living Room
This formal space was the apex of our design. We had antique chairs reupholstered with bold fabric. The bold elements juxtaposed with the luxury of the blue silk window treatments designed to look like ball gowns. Her daughter, my cousin, is a wonderful painter and we begged and begged her to let us use a couple in the room.

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Kitchen
We painted the cabinets white, papered the walls with this gorgeous blue country toile and added a chocolate tortoise shell backsplash and new granite countertops with copper accents. The brick floors were original, worn down and absolutely perfect for our aesthetic. Country French is the name of the game in this room.

Family Room
We added a new silk rug, chocolate grasscloth walls, motorized shades, accessories and toile pillows to match the kitchen and a fabulous white French sofa.

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Family Bungalow

My dear friends were contemplating a move. To move or stay, that was the question. What wasn’t a question was that their home was no longer working for them. The kids were old enough to keep toys to their designated spaces and the furniture had done it’s time. Hand-me-downs and the pieces from the bachelor days made it feel less than who they had become as a family and it was time for a reset.

While we did not increase their space, we made the space function and feel so much more like them that their love for their current home completely changed. We took the walls to neutral, making the room feel lighter, and played with fabrics and color to make it feel modern and fresh. My friend said, “It feels exactly like how I would decorate it…if I could decorate.” The best compliment! I don’t want to copy a room out of a magazine or off her Pinterest board. I want to create a place that feels like them on their best day. So, friends, welcome home!

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