Redesign–What does it mean?

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:

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room BEFORE

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.

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

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.

There are 13 Comments to "Redesign–What does it mean?"

  • Kathia Emery says:

    If you can see this comment, you are in the right place! Thanks

  • Bonnie Messinger says:

    I’m always a fan of rearranging, particularly when the seasons change. This room indeed seemed very cluttered & busy with two lovely rugs. Now the fireplace can be the focal point & the room feels much more open & inviting. Touche, Kathia!

  • This is astonishing and wonderful, Kathia! I love the new-found openness, but also the flexibility to turn the blue chairs couch-ward temporarily to facilitate, for example, conversation with friends who have hearing loss. Cheers for a great solution!!

  • Kathia Emery says:

    Thanks, Bonnie and Holly. What I like best is that you can really see the beautiful hand-knotted rug, and it was more-or-less obscured before with a lot of furniture on it.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Great job, Kathia! You always inspire me to take a fresh approach to my home — even if it’s a small addition like flowers.

  • Judi says:

    A vast improvement! To me, this is not just a lesson in using what you have, but in NOT using what you have. The modified plan allows air, or chi, to flow throughout the space. You can literally breathe, just looking at the new configuration. Sometimes we become so attached to our objects, we don’t realize how they have obstructed the flow of energy. Feng shui is illustrated perfectly here. It inspires me to go home and edit!

  • Kathia Emery says:

    Judi, I completely agree. We all need to “edit” our possessions on a regular basis, myself included! Reminds me of the story of the great interior designer “Sister” Parish, who used to roll a tea cart through her client’s homes, collecting up chotchkes that they had spread around after her perfect work had been completed. One of her clients exclaimed “I’ve been TRAYED!”

  • Shari House says:

    I really like this redesign concept. The rug changeover was really magic and gave the room “breathing room”.

  • These concepts seem so obvious, but we so often forget them as we go along. I love the idea of going through the house with a tea cart picking up flotsam and jetsom (yes, even that Orrefors vase if it doesn’t work!). Once I place something, it seems to “own” the space and occasionally, such a purge is necessary!

    The use of 2 rugs in the first picture was so unnecessary, and the redo was such an improvement. I am a rug freak and love the idea that the gorgeous design can really be appreciated in the redo. Yet, I can see how people get into this mindset without the eagle eye of their friendly local experienced decorator!

    What a great idea this is Kathia…sort of like invite your decorator for tea and toss around some ideas. Not nearly as intimidating to people like me as the idea of making major changes!

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