When interior designer Traci Connell’s clients moved to Plano, Texas, from California, they brought their modern inclinations with them. “They wanted a soft contemporary look, with clean lines, a serene color palette and a mix of texture,” says Traci. The resale house they purchased first needed to shed its past life: 15 years wearing dark colors, gingham draperies, heavy built-in entertainment centers and traditional wallpaper.

The Dallas designer and her team got to work transforming each room, adding new custom cabinetry with a fresh design, replacing light fixtures and choosing furniture with a common denominator of white/gray/blue. And while this was a dramatic before-and-after evolution, Traci shares everyday tips and updates for homeowners to liven up any house.

First, let’s look at the impressive transformation of this Plano home.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: Heavy window treatments and shades of brown define this spacious family room.

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: A smart sofa and chaise in one — wearing a chic shade of gray — is from Hickory Chair. Geometric nesting tables with a wood and iron mix have a modern companion in the iron-and-leather side chair by Bernhardt.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: The family room fireplace is dark and doesn’t quite fit the scale of the room.

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: “We painted the red brick fireplace a modern, classic white and added a reclaimed-wood mantel,” says Traci. “The shelving on either side was replaced with storefront glass cabinets with black metal for a chic look.” A sculptural wood fan adds warmth to the room without being heavy.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: The Colonial-inspired dining room needed an update.

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: Traci and team replaced the formal chandelier with a glass oval ring version made by Cyan Design to add an element of glam. The table from Redford House has an iron base and white top. To soften the room, the designer chose a modern floral wallcovering by Fabricut.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: The empty and plain living room area.

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: The wow factor of it afterward comes from a perfectly scaled custom built-in and a Taylor King sofa nestled in the space. Traci accessorized with an Eames leather lounge chair, white-and-gray cowhide rug and chandelier by Worlds Away.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: The living room’s heavy stone fireplace didn’t fit the aesthetics of the new homeowner.

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: The design team replaced the whole wall with a porcelain tile for a vibrant refresh of a previously dark space.

Before and After Home Makeover

BEFORE: Before was okay, but after is beautiful!

Before and After Home Makeover

AFTER: Existing bathroom cabinetry gets an update with new paint, countertop and accessories in this redo. Heftier cabinet pulls are an easy makeover upgrade.

BEFORE: This bedroom looked dated and glum.

AFTER: The redesign adds an accent wall covered in navy grass cloth by Phillip Jeffries. A chic upholstered bed from Hickory Chair and hammered-metal nightstand by Noir add to the hard-and-soft dynamic.

Easy Updates Any Homeowner Can Do

When you’re ready to tackle some simple makeovers in your own home, here are Traci’s top tips for maximum impact.

Refresh a room with a coat of white paint.

Many people stress over colors, but our tip of the times is to go white, Traci says. Her favorite colors by Sherwin Williams are Alabaster SW on the walls and Snowbound SW on the trim. White paint allows for a clean appearance and neutral canvas.

Install a low-cost staircase runner.

Adding a bit of texture to an otherwise “plain” wood staircase is one of Traci’s favorite things to do. “We love to use sisal, jute or natural materials to run up a staircase, since they’re very durable but also neutral and versatile,” she says.

Use a patterned tile in a small area.

Small areas such as powder baths or laundry rooms are ideal places to experiment with a bold tile. Using a pattern makes small areas feel bigger and give them purpose and visual pops.

Add new lighting — and larger is always best.

An easy change is to switch out a light fixture, and always choose something large enough for the space to fill the room, says the designer.

Add or update drawer pulls on cabinetry.

“Our favorite types of drawer pulls are simplistic and long,” says Traci. “No dinky pulls for us!” A sleek, straight bar in a bold, black matte finish is the perfect fit for modern kitchens.

Thanks to beautiful photography from Michael Hunter Photography.


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