Emery & Associates did a major remodel of a client’s living room fireplace several years ago (see my previous post “Hot New Looks for Old Fireplaces,” February 24, 2011). The clients liked the remodeled fireplace so much that this year they rearranged their furniture so that the sofa faces the fireplace, which has become the focal point of the room. There was just one hitch–something wasn’t right about the arrangement of the furnishings. They called me to come over and figure out what wasn’t working. What I did took less than an hour, and illustrates the concept of “redesign,” which means an inexpensive way to create a fresh, harmonious look without purchasing anything new. Redesigning is taking the homeowner’s own furnishings, and moving, rearranging and remixing them in a short amount of time for a fixed fee.
Here’s the renovated fireplace, which triggered the homeowner’s furniture rearrangement:
The first thing I do when beginning any job is ask the client what they think is the problem. In this case, the wife said “I’m not sure it’s good because it’s all the same colors over there (on the sofa wall).” These clients have lovely furnishings, so I knew they didn’t need to add anything. After walking around a bit, I said “Let’s take a photo of the room. That’s always a good place to start.” So here is what the living room looked like from the entry:
As you can see from this “BEFORE” shot, to get to the sofa, you almost had to walk through an occasional chair next to a table with a lamp on it, and the torchiere lamp behind the sofa seemed oddly placed. I told my clients that I thought we could fix this problem, just the three of us, in about 20 minutes. I also asked the wife if she minded if we turned one of the beautiful Oriental rugs the opposite way, and put the other rug into another room. She agreed, and after a bit of huffing and puffing, the husband, wife, and I pushed and shoved and rearranged so that the sofa now has a lamp table plus lamp on each end, which allowed us to move the torchiere lamp to the adjacent wall, next to a piece of art. The wing chairs are at right angles to the sofa, which facilitates conversation, and the room feels much more open and inviting. The chair that you see the back of in the “before” photo was moved to a spot next to the fireplace, so it’s still in the room, but not visible from this view. It can be pulled up near the wing chair if need be when guests are present.
Sometimes “redesign” is referred to as “Use What You Have Decorating,” and I think there is an interior designer out there somewhere who may have even trademarked that name. It helps if you already own beautiful things, as these clients did, but we do redesign on most jobs, since nobody gets rid of everything when they begin a design project.
If you’re not sure whether you need a remodel, a major redecoration or a “redesign,” please give Emery & Associates a call. We would be happy to meet with you for one hour at no charge to assess your design needs.