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Entertain the possibilities
Wanting to redo her kitchen without completely starting from scratch, Kris O’Meara was inspired by two things: painted blue cabinets she had seen in House Beautiful magazine and a dining experience at Eddie Martini’s restaurant.
Divine design
A beautifully decorated space not only functions well, it sets a mood and reflects your style and personality. But homeowners often are unsure how to combine design elements that will result in a room with wow factor. Local experts weigh in on the design rules that are the foundation for any well-planned living area.
Into the fire
When Cindy and Ken Denison stepped into the empty-nester world, they were ready to remodel their home to fit their new lifestyle. The Delafield couple wanted a clean, sleek style incorporated into a kitchen with plenty of space to cook, says Cheri Ware of Ware Design in Delafield.
Start smart
Q. What are critical pieces of information homeowners should have before embarking on a kitchen remodel?
Idea file
For 10 years Mary Ann Thielen had been gathering ideas in a three-ring binder for her dream kitchen, so when it came time to renovate, she was more than prepared. "Our main objective was to give her an updated kitchen and to let her have all the features she had been dreaming about and collecting," her husband, Paul Thielen, says.
Let the sunshine in
If winter is cocoon time, then summer is the time to burst out and show your true colors. You can turn your home from warm and cozy to bright, airy and vibrant. And, it can be easily done with just a few changes.
Kitchen chi
Dream Kitchens Inc. co-owner Terri Schmidt and her team had their work cut out for them in designing a kitchen to rise to the level of the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture of the home. The empty-nester homeowners wanted a kitchen in keeping with the architecture, and one that would accommodate entertaining.
I need space
Whether your home is a small apartment or a 5,000-square-foot house, it can feel crowded if you simply have too much stuff. According to home design experts, the key to living well in a small or crowded space and finding room for the things you want to do is to use your imagination. With the proper strategy, you can reclaim the room you need for a play area, exercise room, office — whatever the purpose.

Trend watch: Going graphic
Designers aren’t mincing words when it comes to one of the fastest growing trends in interiors these days. Letters, numbers, phrases and symbols are everywhere, from the floor on up. Upholstered furniture like chairs and ottomans as well as accessory pieces like pillows, rugs and even coasters are showing up in homes all around town. While you don’t want to overdo it, adding a typographically inspired piece is an unexpected way to add pizzazz to a room.

Go mod!
If you’ve been inspired to go a little mod in your home, join the club. The trend toward clean lines and streamlined spaces in residential interiors has really taken off. Even if you still lean toward the traditional, mixing in a little modern flair can freshen up your home.

Fit for a king
Fine linens, like fine wine, get better with age. "In addition to its luxurious look and feel, with proper laundering and care, fine bedding has longevity and becomes softer with time," says Mark Van Ess, co-owner of Cranston, Milwaukee. Although more expensive up front, treating yourself to fine linens is an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Vanities go luxe
Goodbye boxy faux-wood and Formica. Today’s vanities are luxe pieces of furniture that make a statement.

Say it with 'Ahhh'
A sparkling Manyas white polished marble floor imported from Turkey adds a touch of glamour to the master bath in this condominium at River Renaissance Condos in the Third Ward.

The woo of wood

Cabinets are one of the most important elements of kitchen design. Historically, wood has been the material of choice; today 80 percent of cabinetry sold is made of wood.

Style points
Whenever Ronnie Harris returns from a business trip to her downtown Milwaukee condo and its bright red kitchen, she wonders if she will have tired of it. "I still love it three years later," she says. "I wouldn’t change anything."

Buzz words
Decorating a home can be an intimidating proposition, and if you don’t know the lingo, it can be downright confusing.

Decorate me beautiful
As an interior designer Emily Winters is adept at melding her clients’ tastes with her design know-how.

Holiday face-lift
The holiday season is nearly six weeks long stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. So we asked three area designers for their ideas on how to give your living room a seasonal face-lift that transitions from holiday to holiday and won’t break the bank.

Reflection collection

The design world has fallen in love with mirrors. Look through any home magazine these days and it’s hard to find a room without one. Mirrors aren’t just for the bedroom and foyer anymore — they’re even hanging around in kitchens and laundry areas.

Shine time
Home décor follows fashion," says Michael McKinley, partner at the Milwaukee Design Collection in Milwaukee. "We’ve been seeing gold and silver purses and shoes for some time. Now we’re seeing gilded furniture, even silver and gold leather furnishings."

Geometry lesson

Continuing to dominate the 2010 design landscape, geometrics make a bold statement in any living space. Global influences play out with the use of strong, repetitious patterns and shapes on everything from upholstery to picture frames.

Say it with leather
On the walls, covering the floor and even as pulls on cabinets and drawers, leather is fast becoming a major trend in residential design.

Animal magnetism
Animal prints add a sense of adventure, fun and personality to any space in your home. "Animal prints add texture to a room," says Sarah Steltenpohl, an interior designer at Swan Interiors in Wauwatosa. "There’s an element of surprise; you’re not just playing it safe.

Small spaces, big ideas
Bathrooms today are simple and sleek, spa-like and calming, says Molly Madsen, vice president of AB&K, Greenfield and Mequon. The easiest way to ruin the mood is by loading up counters with toothbrushes, hair dryers, makeup and more of life’s daily essentials. Madsen and interior designer Karen Kempf of Karen Kempf Interiors, Waukesha, offer some tips on how to reduce clutter and keep your Zen.

Shower Power
Showers are one of the most important elements in bathroom design today. "A number of our clients are replacing their whirlpool tubs with showers. People are looking for a total shower experience," says Sandra Bernacchi, general manager and designer at Colleen Horner in the Third Ward and Pewaukee.

Dream baths
The Schuettes wanted to create a master bath in their home on Nagawicka Lake that would provide the privacy and space they desired. Dream Kitchens of Delafield found the answer by decreasing the size of an upstairs patio and using the space for a new master suite.

The future of design
With Americans spending more than 90 percent of their time indoors, a greater portion of that time is being spent at home as technology allows us to do our jobs away from the office in increasing numbers.

Sweet dreams
For many of us, bedrooms are more than just places to sleep. They are personal, rejuvenating retreats in which to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day. And not surprisingly, the use of color has a big impact on how we view this special space.

Fired up
When it comes right down to it, fireplaces are a matter of taste. Homeowners now have options — and plenty of them — when it comes to adding ambiance and warmth on a cold evening. Some want the traditional wood burning kind while others prefer to flip a switch on a gas unit.

Frugal and fabulous
Pointless. It’s another way to say uninteresting, and that’s the last thing we want when it comes to our décor. The creative Frugalitarian knows that in every room it’s essential to have a point — a focal point. No matter what atmosphere you’re trying to create — a little serenity or a sensation — the first place you look when you enter a room should be stunning.

Dollar decisions

You love your home, but lately it seems so … well, drab and boring. Redecorating can add a new look and feel, but how should you spend your money? Local design experts give their advice about the best places to spend — and when it makes more sense to save — if you’re considering making some changes.

Color my world
Mad for plaid? Gaga for geometrics? Nothing says you can’t paint your walls with a mix of hues that would have gotten you bounced out of a traditional art class. It just takes a supportive designer and a willingness to take a risk and go against the grain. So throw away the color wheel, think outside the box and let your imagination — and paint choices — run wild like the clients of these two designers.

Wall art

Wallpaper has gotten a bad wrap over the years. The mini florals, tacky prints and cringe-worthy colors that made their way onto the home design scene in the ’70s and ’80s have most homeowners frightened to even say the word "wallpaper." Can you blame them?

Counter Intelligence
The owner of this Whitefish Bay Colonial did his due diligence before he bought his house in April 2008, looking at dozens of properties with the help of his Realtor, Shorewest’s Kate Kenlay. "I wasn’t sold on it right away because the kitchen and baths were so outdated," the homeowner says.

Set a swanky table

The "good china." Isn’t "good" really code for the expensive, unused china? If it’s safely tucked away for special occasions only and it cost a fortune, then technically, it’s a wasted resource. The Frugalitarian says all china is good china and there’s no need to spend a fortune on it.

See the light
Taking a relaxing soak has a whole new meaning when it comes to using a chromatherapy tub.

Small spaces, big ideas
Believe or not, it can take more creativity to plan a small room than a large one. That’s obvious when you look at some of the big mistakes people make when they attempt to design their small spaces, according to local experts.

Hot stuff
M asked Milwaukee-NARI members to make their picks for home design trends gaining in popularity and proving to be more than just a passing fancy.

Rethink your style
Andrew and Laura Brusky took one look at their unfinished Wauwatosa basement and knew exactly what they wanted to do. The couple called Jim Grote at Cream City Construction and turned the "storage" space into a valuable living area.

Bedroom sets
Master baths help couples carve out private spaces at home.

Rate your space
If your home or room desperately needs a face-lift, you don’t have to break the bank — and it doesn’t have to be a big production. The first step? Organization and decluttering, the old "less is more" mentality. 

Adaptable abode
Though there will be no photos of living room accessories with black bars across them to shamefully mark as erroneous don’ts, the passionate responses from top local designers on what accessories can completely make a living room may be just as dramatic. Here’s what they had to say on the subject of accessorizing your living space.

Interior chi
In the case of this Whitefish Bay remodeling project, familiarity breeds harmony, not contempt, as the old saying goes.

Hot topics
Lately homeowners are returning to the hearth to spend quality time with family and friends. Ensure your abode is making a (positive) lasting impression with tips from local experts on the hottest trends in dwellings.

Haven sent
Molly Fay enjoys the art of conversation and practices it every weekday as co-host of WTMJ-TV’s "Morning Blend" talk show.

Design star
When supermodel Cindy Crawford launched Cindy Crawford Home, her signature furniture line, in 2005, she relied on more than two decades of experiences around the world for her inspiration. 

Meeting in the middle
The thought of custom cabinetry — the oohs, the ahhs, the envy — is often regretfully followed by a more common and sobering reaction: The sticker shock.


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