DR by uglyhousephoto

I did Problem Room I Newsletter in January 2017 and I didn’t blog the details. I have already posted this weeks Beautiful Interiors for Thursday and it’s Problem Rooms II. So I thought I’d better give you the four problems we discussed in January.

  1. Out of Date
  2. Wrong Colors
  3. Storage Issues
  4. Junk Room/Repurposing/Optimization

This dining room has several problems. First comes storage, and then comes the dreary window treatments and then comes the outdated accessories, well even the furniture.

I advise making a list of what is wrong with any problem room. And first things first the irons and the cooler need to be put away. This is true with too much or the wrong stuff of any kind.

Letting the light in would be a big improvement with the window treatment. We don’t know the view, but pretty curtains are always in order. Privacy blinds are great if the neighbors are too close or there is literally no view.


The Solution:

(fig 2) posted by pinterest

This is a very upbeat, formal casual, eclectic dining room. (fig 2) The room is small. It has the one window like our problem room. So replace the dated china cabinet with a settee and a piece of art or a mirror. Even a tiny console would be nice. The reason we used this photo is to emphasize the small factor. But this room does seat four or five. Making wise furniture selections and the importance of a focal point are other solutions to an outdated room.The crisp white walls. The stunning globe lights. The contrast of the wood furniture and floors against the white walls is stunning.

fig 3 posted by pinterest

The Right Furniture:

Here is an example of a narrow console and mirror (fig 3) that would work on most any wall. This table that seats six, is much bigger than the round tables of figure one and two. Remember, not every inch of wall and floor space needs to be covered. Notice the Bare Green Wall? It is perfection. The curtainless window boasts shutters, another option.

The cabinet in figure one might work if it wasn’t crowded with the two chairs. It might work if it was decorated with things more upbeat, more personal. There is nothing making a statement in figure one. There is no focal point. The small art pieces are too small. They could be improved if pictures were added and it became an interesting collage. But basically there is too much is the room. Drawing the curtains would be a huge improvement. Expanding the room visually. Adding a pretty chandelier would ice the cake.

There you have a bit of solution to a problem room. I room that is too small, crowded & outdated can be transformed into a charming, cozy room. And functional. We would love to hear from you. Comments are welcome. Thank you for joining us!


When working virtually you are dependent on good communication. And this can be via the phone, email, texting or skyping. I’m sure there are other methods – but those are the ones I’m current with. So much can be communicated with pictures, but I always find it difficult to help others appreciate the value of an inspiration file. An inspiration file helps you learn what your style is. So let’s say you don’t gather inspiration pictures, a designer needs to know who you are and what you like. What do you love to do? What are your hobbies? What do you do for vacation? What are your favorite restaurants? If you were to collect pictures of your favorite places, favorite things, favorite ties, it would become apparent that you like strong colors, that you are formal or casual. That you are a little bit funky. That you are entirely classic. You would see the ‘threads’ repeat themselves through the pictures you have collected.

This is a picture from this client’s inspiration file. Do you see the similarities? Strong colors? Straight lines. Not casual – not too formal. Architectural details that are a vibrant. The trapezoid windows surrounded by an old brick, the glass half wall at the top of the bannisterless staircase.

Mood Board for Powder Room 2640

It’s difficult in such a small space to add such striking details, but we have done a good job. The five inch base molding. The striking lighting. The large red window shade that shouts ‘hello!’. The diamond floor pattern. The sconces and the oval mirror are the cats meow. I do want to highlight the importance of updating the hardware at renovation times. Toilet paper holders that pivot. Industrial lighting is still very popular. Placing something classic next to something trendy, like the industrial lighting and the mirror add excitement to the mix, ,making this small utilitarian room fun. I usually have options. I did decide on the sconce with the shade. But you always need a back-up.


And last but not least here is the specification for all the pieces that make this bathroom dream come true. I did divide this into a good, better, best affair. Let me know and I will send you a copy! Send me the room you need help with! Make the world beautiful, one room at a time.

Vanity Vignette by Lynda Louden Interiors

Here is a composite of everything at the powder room vanity. Lights, mirror, faucet, backsplash make five necessary elements right here. And remember the paint and floor are already in place. Isn’t there such a delightful array of pretty shapes and sparkles? A red rose might be nice on the counter when you are having a party. Oooh-la-la.

Next is the feature wall; it’s the feature wall because that is what you see when you enter the room. The same is true for any room of your house. If you want to provide a surprise, a wow factor, something impressive,
this where you it goes, where it can be most appreciated.

This window shade can be any pattern you love. That is the beauty of fabric and pattern. It could mean a lot of shopping, it could mean you will find what you love immediataley, it’s different every time.



I worked with different options but picked the red because red is the client favorite, it is high energy, the floral pattern adds depth, it’s friendly and brings the outdoors in.

Here were my other options. I usually pick everything I like and then pick what I like best, what works best or what the client likes best.

Selection by Lynda Louden Interiors

The Chandelier I add only because they are wonderful. Not that a powder room needs one. It’s not like it’s the entry hall or the dining room table. And we might decide we don’t need it. But it’s there so you can fall in love with it. Working with a designer is an evolution. Your eye is not working the same way as an artist eye. You may not appreciate the difference between It Works and that’s what makes it beautiful. But over time working with a designer will help you develop a tolerance for beautiful things outside your sphere. You may not ever be up for a huge cow in your bathroom, but really it’s a fantastic opportunity to delight everyone.

by decoist

Room Inspiration and before reality

I’m not kidding when I get up on my soapbox and say functional is not enough. This bathroom is like having to go desperately and this is the only place available. It’s a tiny space. It only has room for the essentials. How can we add prettiness and sparkle to this functional and necessary room?

The powder room is a private space, but it is a room that is often used by friends, family and guests. Quite an assortment of people visiting our home or even our commercial establishment. Shouldn’t this room be spotless and lovely at the very least?

The very first thing we do is paint the walls a crisp white. Well not quite – we will do a demolition first. Getting rid of the vanity and the dated medicine cabinet. If funds allowed we would put in a water efficient toilet. The floor tile has to go as well. Prep the walls. Order the floor tile, backsplash tile, mirror, vanity and window treatment. Sunshine Design has given you vendors and item numbers to make order process a breeze.

If money were no object I might paint the walls BM Poppy Red, but let’s go with crisp white. We have ordered a vanity that has legs. It looks like furniture, making it less of a utility room and more of a spa or wow space.

New tile, it’s a vintage black and white diamond pattern. Sure to delight the eye. The accepted norm for baseboard is 5 1/2″ so that would be included. Such a small room – why not add the extras? Here is the vanity. Doesn’t this cutie pie add so much more interest than the flat Formica of the original?

by Wayfair

Here is the vanity. Raised panels add architectural detailing. The smart legs make it more furniture like. The recessed sink, also contributes to the ‘less bathroom – more spa’ look. I have always preferred single faucets sets, hot and cold water taps rather than the single ‘here fix it somewhere in the middle’ for warm, faucet. I know it takes two hands, but my goodness – not every room in the house warrants leading edge technology. There is quite a lot to be said for old-fashioned charm. The new height vanities are a plus. Thirty five inches makes it a more user-friendly counter top.


by Lowes

by Wayfair

The backsplash tile and floor tile are making a big contribution to the excitement factor and the plush mood of this powder room. The walls are painted in a matte finish. These two components will add a bit of shine to our textural canvas. The red is in the roman shade and the shelves over the commode. Red towels and go!



Ikea shelves painted BM Poppy Red

Macy’s Towels



Wayfair Shade


Saturday we will review more sparkle and more contrasts. I’ll bore you with towel bars etc. so that you know Sunshine Design provides you with a complete product list of what’s necessary to renovate a powder room. Tuesday I’ll even show you the product specification! Betcha you can’t wait.

by evercoolhomes

Empowerment is a strong word. It means you have power. Power to make decisions and implement them. The power to decide what you like and don’t like. To stand out as the unique individual you are. Empowerment is tied closely with self-confidence, with knowing who you are and what you want and then to go about doing and creating what you want.

Like who the hell hangs fishing rods from any wall but the garage wall? This is empowerment personified. This person knows who he is and we know what he loves.

How does your office, whether a home office or your work place office, fit into this description? Don’t you think you would be more creative, productive and happy with such prominent reminders of what makes you happy?

by bocodolobo design

This office has a strong personality and exudes intent. You don’t color your walls in charcoal gray and then add a pale blue sofa and a cobalt blue chair. The desk is ebony or Wenge, a strong, dark color. There isn’t anything personal in this room, but don’t you think these selections say a great deal about the person who works here?

by bryn olsen

In Hartford’s study of offices, lean – enriched – empowered – and the unempowered office that’s the four variations. The empowered is like the enriched except you get to decide if you want the plant and the art. You decide if you would prefer fishing rods on your feature wall. The unempowered is when after you arrange things the way like them, the boss comes in puts them back the way they were. The boss could be a parent, a teacher, a room mate. You can really feel the punch in the gut can’t you? There is so much at stake. Taking away our ability to personalize our space is reason, good cause for resentment and certain stifling of any creativity.

In the way of lean design the blue sofa/chair combination would fill that description but only in a physical way. It’s not lean emotionally or mentally. The elements are strong, the colors are strong – not one item in that room is strictly utilitarian, but rather each is a piece of art. Our third office is just as personal as the first two. The desk is custom, even home-made. The fresh blooms indicate thoughtful updates. The side shelves indicate a serious, efficient worker.

I do believe we have covered this office discussion nicely. We are all rootin’ for the empowered office! What can you do to make your office more your style? A reflection of who you are? Let me know!


This is a very enriched office. Very comfortable for the boss and his guests. There is nothing here that defines the individual, to make it personal, unique. And we are assuming that you love blue, cushy lounge chairs. Enhanced according to Harford is pictures and plants. Adding personal touches makes it go a lot further. What kind of connection can we make with the office we are in? Do you love the blue, as much as you love the pictures of your wife and kids? Complete package. I love how Harford realizes the connection between things and our propserity. Well he is not the only one. Alain De de Bottom does too. Remember his great line about bedspreads? “People have disdained any interest in decoration and design equating contentment with discarnate and invisible matters. Taking architecture (design and decoration) seriously means conceding that we are inconveniently vulnerable to the color of the wallpaper and our sense of purpose may be derailed by an unfortunate bedspread.” Our day is divided into the wonderful number of three. Eight hours working – eight hours asleep – eight hours playing/working. Make everyone of those spaces beautiful.

by Jessica Helgerson

Here is another enriched office. Quite the ticket isn’t it? Remember both of these pictures of actual rooms have been ‘arranged’ so they are photo ready. But you do get the point don’t you? Surrounding yourself with things you love. Even if you are in a cube – you can still decorate with your trolls. The kids art work. Enriched means it is better, and if it going to be better it needs to be better for the occupant.


The below office is a great example. We can even imagine it cubified. Different chair preferences and different lighting preferences. Different art. The pocketbook hung over the chair looks very relaxed and casual, homey. It would never pass the 5S system. Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. How does your workplace office measure up? What about your home office? Great opportunities for pretty and function. Personal and Business. We are all of the pieces. Stay tuned for Empowered Spaces on Tuesday.

by myscandinvianhome

by EverCoolHomes

It’s difficult to find the lean office. Without coming up with a multitude of cubes, empty except for a shelf and chair. The thought prior to collaborative design was no distractions equals more creativity. The other great philosophy of current office design is the idea of options. You might want to be in your cube to concentrate, you might want a change of scenery to get a fresh approach. This is what Tim Hartford’s Messy talks about in his workplace chapter.

The year is 2010 and two psychologists set up a four offices. Lean, enriched and empowered. I won’t tell you the fourth – you will have go get that information yourself.

The lean office is stark. It has a desk and a chair and a lamp. Anything personal is considered a distraction.
The 5S System likes the lean office. (1.sort 2. straighten 3. Shine 4. Standardize. 5.Sustain)

The enriched office has pictures and plants. The nude I noticed as I posted this. I’m not removing it.

posted by pinterest

The productivity soars by 17% with plants and pictures. Let’s hear it for pretty! Really what would you rather? Lean or enriched? Lean seems to be easier to maintain, everyone fits the same mold – so there is predictability. Lean seems to be a control factor. It puts everyone in a constrained form.  Stay tuned for Enriched and Empowered!




by Julie Kliener HB

A darling windowscape has been provided in this bedroom by Julie Kliener. Entirely neutral and entirely riveting. The curtain trim is a knock-out. It’s a very simple drape but the trim adds the sumptuous bang. It’s like the simple desk and the 3-D patterned lamp. An excellent repetition ho & Hummm. The comfortable chair is also making a strong contribution to this vignette. The tiny repeat is a constant. The curtain fringe, the scrolled desk front, the throw fringe, the mini-repeat in the carpet and chair. It’s quite amazing what a design professional can accomplish isn’t it? I haven’t found one drapery that is 1/4″ off the floor. So – I’m happy one of MY three rooms has it right!

A Chevron patterned drape is always dynamite. And here there is no puddle and no break. But they do touch the floor. So this isn’t sumptuous or simple. It’s dynamite, making a strong statement. Have you decided which way you lean? Which mood copies your own? Of course we have lots of room and even more windows, so there is good opportunity to try a few styles.

by Thayer Allyson Gowdy HB

All the primaries have been used in this room. Red, blue and yellow. They each have the same intensity which is why it works. This room is a bit about color blocking as well which has come into it’s own these last few years. Color blocking is using big squares of color, here it’s the red, yellow, blue and green. Quite a fantastic look. It’s not Zen, it’s not neutral. It’s dynamic, it has a lot of energy. It’s not a quiet room. The chevron patterned drape is the focal point. The dark wood floor and the bright white trim are the counterbalance to this colorful room. Fabric can be expensive, well it usually is. When something is expensive we call it an investment. Surely these two beautifully dressed windows are worth every penny.

by Zim Loy

Sheers are always a good window option. In this pretty bedroom they have been layered with a patterned roman shade. Sheers are wonderful for their softness, the filmy gauzy texture they add to a room. You could easily forget the roman shade is there, for it looks like foliage just as it would be outside a pretty window. Sheers allow light to come in, as you see here the ever so soft ‘aura’ that is floating around the window. The shade is adding strong color and great pattern to this room, but remember it’s primary purpose is the privacy factor. Form and Function are always tied together. Sometimes you forget whose first.

The green and white window treatment is repeated throughout the room, the bedding, the pillows, the love seat. The pink walls are the complimentary color for the touches of green.

The layered look of the windows below is a contrast to the ones above. The sheers take up more space in the room above than the room below. The chaotic patterned drape is holding power in this room and doing a great job! The frame outside of  framed art goes along with the ‘chaos’ theme. Delightful.


by Ann Pyne HB

Nothing simple about this abstract patterned drape! The repetition of this ‘crazy’ pattern is in the irregular outline of the  dresser drawers. This is a beautiful example of Bazaar style. Something so welcoming, so inviting, so ‘have a look around’. It’s difficult to say what the design starting point was for this room. Was is the drapes, the bureau or the purple chair or pale lavender carpet? But notice the wallpaper and the carpet are a perfect match? The jewel tone of the chair is repeated in the orange and green pattern of the drapery. The drape has a very small ‘break’. It touches the floor and causes a bend or a kink in the drape. A very satisfactory look.

by Ruthie Sommers HB

Ruthie Sommers HB

From Simple to Sumptuous. Window treatments can be handled any which way.
Depending on your style and depending on your budget. These are linen drapes.
They are somewhere between simple and sumptuous. The harlequin patterned floor
ands to the grandeur of the room. The sleight puddle the drape makes on the floor indicates bounty.

This is really a serious ‘break’ not a serious puddle. The peachy-salmony drapery color brings a sense of humor,
a lightness to this otherwise serious foyer. The same with the little pillow. The serious floor pattern, the traditional pedestal, the large room and window are grand. The designer has really made a lovely balance between these two extremes. Making the room completely comfortable and welcoming. It’s important to remember that all the elements in the room are important, the window, the drape, the floor pattern, accessories, pattern – all together make a room that is compelling, or moody, romantic, whatever style you are aiming for.

by Lou Marotta

This is quite a different window treatment. It’s important and smart to dress your windows depending on the style of your home and even the location should be a factor. By the beach or in the city. This is probably a cottage in New England. And this simple swing-arm curtain is entirely appropriate. The room gets it’s power from the unusual swing arm rod and the very presence of four windows all in a row dressed this way! The draped bust is whimsical and the plump pillows say dive in. The swing arm light adds a punch and I’m sure is vital when curled up with a good book. Speaking of mood, do you see the difference between these two rooms. Very different, both beautiful.