Occasionally, even a new house can benefit from a makeover. This Buckhead home in Atlanta had some beautiful features already: a classic white kitchen, wide open spaces and a gorgeous wooden front door. Once interior designers Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole of Kandrac Kole got a hold of it, however, this spec house became a thing of beauty — and a great backdrop for the family of four who calls it home.
Sometimes architectural features need a new function. “There were a few challenges from the builder we had to deal with in terms of arched, inset niches that really didn’t serve any purpose,” says Kelly. “In the living room, we took the opportunity to dress them up with pretty gold shelves and knick-knacks. The other one was in the family room, where we ended up fitting an oversized arched vintage mirror in the space to make it attractive.”
The design team has several proven ways to update a space, all evident in this house. One: improve and modernize existing lighting, often called the “jewelry” of a room. “Usually the scale of light fixtures is small and the wattage is low in standard builder lighting, and table lamps are not tall enough and poor quality,” says Joann. Bigger items often read better, which ties into another recommendation of theirs: ditch the dinky pillows. Invest in quality, down-made throw pillows at least 20 inches square on a sofa or chair, they say.
And don’t forget the power of paint. A fresh coat of paint on walls makes an instant impact, but they also love the look of painted furniture. “We like to scour antique markets or take homeowners’ inherited pieces – items that have interesting legs, drawers and shape – and lacquer them in fun colors,” says Kelly. Changing out the hardware can make a big difference also, she says. For this house, they took two brown-wood side tables, had them repainted with green lacquer, and now the tables liven up the basement TV room. “We took something sentimental but beat-up, brown and very blah, and turned them into something special,” she says. Nothing about this house is blah, anymore, thanks to clever upgrades in every room.
Thank you to Lauren Rubinstein Portfolios for the beautiful “after” photos.
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