How to Select the Best Combination of Living Room Lighting

If your family is anything like ours, the living room is the hub of the home…that and the kitchen, of course. (But since we have an open concept floor plan, these are basically one and the same.)

Considering so many of us are still working from home, schooling from home, and living at home, this should come as no surprise. In such close quarters, doesn’t it just make sense that everyone would congregate in the comfiest room of the home?! I sure think so.

Which means that now, more than ever, the lighting in your living room is absolutely crucial. If it is too dim, everyone is straining their eyes. If it is too bright, the family is vying for the best seat in the room to avoid glares. And if you don’t have the right combination of lighting, the room simply won’t function as well as it could.

This is where today’s topic comes in:

  • the importance of a variety of lighting in your living room
  • how to select the best combination for your space

Come take a look and prepare for some lightbulb moments, my friends. 😉

Step #1: Determine the Function of Your Living Room

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This might sound like a no-brainer. I mean, isn’t the living room for relaxing? Does it really need a defined purpose?

My response: Yes! Given our current at-home lifestyles, each room of the home plays multiple roles. You most certainly need to define the desired function of your living room.

Relaxation can be one component. But consider these questions as well:

  1. Are your children schooling (even for a portion of the day) from the living room?
  2. Do they do homework in that space?
  3. Are you a prolific nighttime reader, either for leisure or for your job?
  4. Do you plan to entertain in the space (when we’re allowed to do that again)?
  5. Do you ever use the living room as an extension of your dining area?
  6. Are there family hobbies (TV watching, game nights, etc.) that happen in the living room?

Each of these scenarios calls for a different combination of ideal lighting to maximize the enjoyment and utility of your all-important living room (or family room…whatever you want to call it).

Step #2: Begin with Your Available Natural Lighting

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With the purpose of your living room defined, now is the time to get to work layering in the lighting necessary for your space. I always begin with the available natural lighting. Regardless of what direction your living room faces, it is important to factor this in first.

In order to fully understand the amount of natural light available to you, start by washing your windows inside and out. I know, I know…this sounds like an unnecessary pain the butt. But believe me, it makes a huge difference! It is like washing your face at the end of the day when you know you have too much makeup on…a good wash provides a beautiful clean palette.

(And hey, while we’re on the topic, you really should wash the outside of your windows twice a year, and the inside of your windows at least once per year…it’s just best practice. You can thank me later…)

Once you have a clear view (see what I did there?) of the natural lighting available in your living room, the next order of business is arranging your furniture accordingly. You don’t want a high-backed chair to block any of that precious sunlight, or the couch turned away from the freshly-washed windows. I suggest placing your sofa perpendicular to the largest window (like the photo above). This allows indirect natural light to flood and illuminate the space during the daylight hours.

Of course, if you’re not sure how to best rearrange your furniture, you may know a designer who would be happy to help. Hint, hint… 😉

Step #3: Take a Look at Your Overhead Lighting

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There are two types of overhead living room lighting that we encounter time and time again, each with its own quirks and nuances…

Recessed Can Lights in the Living Room

The most common of all overhead living room lighting, recessed can lights aren’t necessarily beautiful, but they are functional and highly recommended. These are just as important when you’re watching television (since you don’t want a glare from table lamps obstructing your view) as they are for entertaining.

No matter the main use of your can lights in the living room, however, you’ll want them on a dimmer. Full light is perfect for schooling hours at home. Ambient (or dimmer) light is great for evenings of relaxation, kiddos optional. (And BTW, the can lighting in the above photo is TOO MANY – we’ll be editing them in the next phase of the design…aim for every 6 – 8′ or so!)

Ceiling Fan Lighting

If you live in Texas, you have a ceiling fan. That is just a non-negotiable for those sweltering summer days. But certain ceiling fan/lighting combos are more practical than others. If you have one of those combination fixtures that look like a fan that wants to be a chandelier (and probably gives off a serious 80s vibe), it’s time to kick that one to the curb.

I recommend a low-profile ceiling fan with a dome light…as unobtrusive as possible, while still functional. Even better if it also has a dimming feature, which again, is helpful when you’re entertaining and want to set the mood, but you still want to see people’s faces. Ha!

Of course we occasionally run into living rooms with pendant lighting (rare) or chandeliers (super rare). But no matter the fixture, the fact remains that overhead lighting is critical to any fully-functional family room space.

I have mentioned this in blog posts before, but I will mention it again, because this is an important thing to remember: keep all of your lighting, whether it’s recessed cans, pendants, chandeliers, or ceiling fans, no more than 6 to 7 feet apart from each other. Otherwise you’ll get shadows, and no one likes those. Trust me!

Step #4: Account for Task Lighting in Your Space

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Nowadays, if you (or any one of your family members) are working from home, homeschooling, reading regularly, or even doing homework in the living room, you’re going to want task lighting.

What is that, you might ask? Well, it is exactly what it sounds like…lighting for one particular task.

If you sit and knit while you’re watching television, obviously you need a light to see your hands, so you might opt for a special floor lamp that comes around so you can see your hands without going blind. (Just be careful with those needles!)

Or, if you’re regularly on the computer while sitting on the couch, maybe you’ll choose table lamps on either side table, or behind you on the sofa table so that the blue light from your screen doesn’t put as much strain on your eyes.

Make sense now? Task lighting will look different for each family…but is crucial for using your space to its full potential.

Step #5: Layer in Your Beautiful Accent Lighting

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Accent lighting is less about function and more about setting the vibe of the space and providing an added aesthetic for enjoyment.

In the spaces I design, I love adding art lamps over wall art, uplighting for floor plants (which also casts a fun shadow on the ceiling, FYI), and under-cabinet lighting where appropriate. These small details really help set the mood of the room and provide visual interest throughout the space.

Last, But Not Least… Let’s Talk Variety of Living Room Lighting

By this point, you know that you need many different types of lighting in your living room. But you’re probably wondering how to tie it all together. And honestly, this can be the tricky part, because you want everything to coordinate and create interest…but you most certainly don’t want them to be matchy-matchy.

Think of your light fixtures as cousins…not twin sisters. They are related, but not identical. (More on this in our previous post – from entryway to living room, how to coordinate light fixtures.)

Just like your light fixtures are going to have different jobs (overhead lighting prevents glares on the tv…task lighting allows you to read easily…accent lighting adds visual interest…etc.), light fixtures should also have different finishes.

  • Select a variety of metals. Natural black, hand-rubbed bronze, antique copper…you get my drift.
  • Choose a variety of textures. Paper or canvas or fabric lamp shades, frosted glass or art glass globes…the list goes on.
  • Finish them with a variety of light bulbs. Daylight, warm white, cool white…although personally I always think we look better in candlelight…so I tend to opt for the bulbs with a warm glow.

Whatever combination you choose, make sure the fixtures are talking to each other, painting a cohesive picture that is visually interesting.

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Unless the sole function of your living room is for drinking wine (no judgment here), you’ll need a combination of lighting that sets the mood, maximizes functionality, and provides the perfect backdrop for your family’s daily life.

But if you don’t want to tackle the lighting task on your own…you don’t have to! Our team would love to create a lighting design that allows you to work, play, and relax in the hub of your home…the living room! Just give us a call…we can’t wait to curate an interesting yet functional collection of lighting that illuminates your life.

OH – and if you’re looking to upgrade the lighting in your open concept kitchen as well, you can download our Guide to Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel here.

XOXO,
Michelle Lynne

ML Interiors Group’s Luxury Interior Design Process (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I shared Phases 1 and 2 of our luxury interior design process. These cover the Research and Design Development phases of a project. Both are exciting phases for our clients, so if you didn’t read that post yet, go take a look there first!

Today, we’re going to look at the next two steps in the process: the Procurement Phase and the Installation Phase. Come take a look…

 

Phase 3: Procurement

The procurement phase, depending on the project and how custom or semi-custom it is, can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

This phase is really all about serious tracking and lots of confirming. Confirming receipt of the order, confirming the correct dye lot is available, confirming shipping dates…tracking when it is shipped, tracking when it is received at the professional receiver…you get it, right?!

The procurement phase of our luxury interior design process actually warranted its own blog post, but to give you an idea of how complicated this really is, here are the steps for the procure one custom sofa…

Luxury Interior Design Process for Custom Furniture

  • Week 1: You approve the design of the custom sofa.
  • Week 2: We place an order for the sofa with the manufacturer, including all specifications and drawings, and confirming the lead time. You pay 50% of the purchase (or whatever the vendor requires). We place an order for the fabric to be shipped to you. We contact you with the estimated date of installation.
  • Week 3-4: We wait for the Customer’s Own Material (COM) to arrive. We approve the COM or address any concerns (dye lot, color variation, etc.).
  • Week 4-5: If no adjustments with the fabric are needed, we ship the COM to the manufacturer of the sofa.
  • Week 5-6: We confirm receipt of the COM at the manufacturer.
  • Week 6-10: The manufacturer is building the sofa.
  • Week 10: You pay the balance due. We arrange for shipment of the finished sofa to our professional receiver. We notify the receiver of the sofa receipt, side-mark, etc. and arrange for a turnkey installation date. We confirm the installation date with you.
  • Week 11: The sofa ships We arrange receipt of the sofa with the receiver.
  • Week 12-13: The sofa is received at the professional receiver. The sofa is inspected and photos are sent to you for approval. The sofa is cataloged and stored until installation.
  • Week 14: We deliver and install the beautiful, custom sofa!

This is for one sofa. Yes, you read that correctly! So, imagine the workload for an entire household of furniture, art, and accessories! Custom (even semi-custom) doesn’t come quickly, but it does make for a luxury interior design and is well worth the wait.

 

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Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Master Bedroom

Phase 4: Installation

Once we have as many items as possible, generally we do a big installation over the course of a day (or two). We get the entire team to the home to install every item, large and small, and it is a mad dash to the finish, truly transforming the space in a short amount of time.

(Although at this point you know that each phase leading up to the reveal plays a critical role in the installation running smoothly…since no part of the install would happen without all of the detailed research, development, design, and planning that went into the project.)

Occasionally, we do deliver in a couple of different phases, just so that you are not paying for excess storage fees if we’re waiting on a few lingering items. Or, maybe we do one day of big item installation and we do a second phase of accessorizing. Every project is different.

We love the drama and excitement of a full-team, bustling installation day that leads up to a jaw-dropping reveal for you.

 

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Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Dining Room

Overall Timeline of an ML Interiors Design Project

I know it would be amazing if I could give you a one-size-fits-all timeline for every project, but there are just too many determining factors, the most important of which are the size, scope, style, and your budget.

One of the things that a designer does is to look at the entire room/space/home as a whole and back into the design. What does that mean?!

Example of Luxury Interior Design Process & Timeline

Let’s just say you have an average living room and it’s taking us 2-4 weeks to create the design. But, let’s say we find everything that we want for the room, and then at the last minute, we change the side tables because we find out that you wanted something bigger…

So then we source larger side tables, but then the side table is wobbly because the front two legs are on the rug and the back two legs are off…shoot! (There goes the lamp, there goes the cup of coffee, there goes the glass of wine. Not good!)

So then we need to get a larger rug, but if we get a larger rug, darn it! We just blew the budget. Meaning we need a larger rug, but we have to find a different rug than the original style because we have to make those side tables work.

You see what’s happening here. It’s a decorating domino effect. See how all of those little details can add up to varying timelines? Once we can talk about your project’s details, we’ll be able to nail down a pretty good estimate with time for trouble-shooting built in.

 

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Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Home Office

 

Final Thoughts

No matter the timeline, though, the fact remains that any good designer should be able to provide you with an accurate estimated deliverable time that they will be able to share the design with you. And if you are working with us and our luxury interior design process, we bring you a single solution with a detailed timeline that accounts for the budget, aesthetic, function, family needs, lifestyle, and all that jazz.

So, if you’re ready for our team to design a space that tells the love story of your family…one that is as beautiful as it is functional, blended perfectly into a design of livable luxury – give us a call. We can’t wait to walk you through the ML Experience, transforming your home in a collaborative and exciting way.

And if that space is a kitchen, you can download our Guide to Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel here.

XOXO,
Michelle Lynne

ML Interiors Group’s Luxury Interior Design Process (Part 1)

ML Interiors Group’s Luxury Interior Design Process (Part 1)

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Today I want to share what we like to call “the ML Experience,” the high-end, 4-phase interior design process that every single project we take on is funneled through. This full-service experience will transform your home into a place you love to live. Why?

Because we believe your home should tell a love story about the people who live there. It should bring ease into your life, during the interior design process and every day after.

So… how do we get from where your home is now… outdated, dreary, non-functional to a personalized home that is family-friendly and luxurious??

Let’s talk about it…

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What Factors Influence the Interior Design Process:

Let’s just talk decorating, let’s not talk renovations. (That is it’s own beast for another blog post since there are 999+ details to each construction project…) With each decorating job, there are quite a few factors that we have to consider before moving into our 4-phase interior design process:

  • How many rooms are we designing? (Note: We typically have a minimum of 2 rooms that we work on decorating at any given time.)
  • What is the outcome that you desire? (Is this an interior design overhaul, or are we doing a lighter refresh?)
  • Is minimal construction needed? (You know, like moving a door over slightly, needing to widen a window, etc.)
  • What special adornments are being considered? (Is there a designer wallpaper you’re drooling over? How about special millwork accents?)

Based on the answers to these varying questions, the length of your project from start to finish may vary slightly, but all of our projects will run through the same 4-phase collaborative and stress-free process.

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Phase 1: Research

Onboarding new clients is generally a good 4-week process. Not only are we diving into the specifics of the interior design project, confirming we are a good solution for your needs, but we are also getting to know you in-depth once you have committed to moving forward with ML Interiors Group.

What does that look like?

Well, after an internal kick-off, we go through a variety of different interviews to gather as much information as we can about the desired project outcome, your lifestyle, etc. We call this “frontloading” so that by the time we get to design and development, we’ve already climbed into your mind and generally do not have to do many revisions after the design has been presented. For this reason, the research phase of our interior design process is absolutely crucial!

Additionally, during this phase…

We take extensive measurements of each room. This goes far more in-depth than simply measuring square footage. We measure things like:

  • How far is it from the corner of the room to the window?
  • How wide is the window frame?
  • What are the dimensions of the window itself?
  • What size crown molding is in place?
  • How high are the baseboards?
  • Where are the vents located?
  • What is the placement of the outlets in the room?

And a few dozen other things… (you may have thought interior designers just pick out pretty things – it’s really much more detailed!).

Once we have all of those measurements, we are able to accurately “drop” all of these details into a space planning software so that as we move into the development phase and start making selections, we know that they are 100% accurate in regards to the size and the scale of the furnishings. Details make the design!

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3D Rendering of #ProjectSouthcrest Master Bedroom

Phase 2: Design Development

The actual development of the design concept takes anywhere from 4-8 weeks, maybe a little bit longer, depending on how many rooms are included in the project. A whole house design, on the other hand, is going to take 8-12 weeks. (Although that depends on the size of the house, of course, because we just picked up a project that’s close to 10,000 square feet, and that’s going to take a while!)

What goes into the development is key. It’s not just picking paint colors and fluffing pillows. One of the reasons this phase takes so long is because we are not only working on the aesthetic…we are also ensuring that the design is highly functional and efficient while also being comfortable and stylish.

Floor Plan

Remember that floor plan we mentioned earlier? Now is the time that we are taking an even closer look at that and starting to arrange furniture in the design plan so that it has the best egress and ingress (i.e. coming and going). After all, flow is a huge part of making a space functional.

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3D Rendering of #ProjectSouthcrest Dining Room

Furnishings

Once we are happy with the overall layout, we begin shopping for furniture that will please the aesthetic. This usually means looking through hundreds of fabric samples to narrow the choices down to the dozens that will be needed in any given home.

We are assessing where performance fabrics are needed, like rugs and upholstery so that spills, stains, dirt, muck, etc. don’t end up living in and on the fabrics of the home. And if you ask us to do your accessorizing as well, we start to choose those finishing touches during this development phase. Although, in many cases, we also add a few accessories during installation.

The beauty of working with ML Interiors Group is that it’s “buy 1, get 2 free”…meaning that while you’re given a lead designer, the other 2 interior designers, including myself, will be providing ideas and information to that lead designer throughout all 4 phases. This means you’re guaranteed the best of the best when it comes to the design and development – because 3 minds are certainly better than 1!

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3D Rendering of #ProjectSouthcrest Home Office

 

I still have Phase 3 and 4 to share with you, but let’s not turn this blog post into a novel, right? I’ll share those with you in exactly 2 weeks from now.

In the meantime, if you’re ready for our team to design a space that tells the love story of your family…one that is as beautiful as it is functional, blended perfectly into a design of livable luxury – give us a call. We can’t wait to walk you through the ML Experience, transforming your home in a collaborative and exciting way.

OH – and if that space is a kitchen, you can download our Guide to Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel here.

XOXO,
Michelle Lynne

Kitchen Renovation: From Rainy-Day Gray to Fresh & Fabulous

Kitchen Renovation: From Rainy-Day Gray to Fresh & Fabulous

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If you’ve ever built a new home, or spoken with someone who has, you’ve likely heard one of two things: either the experience was absolutely wonderful (albeit a little exhausting), or it was a total nightmare that led to frustration… and a kitchen renovation.

Our recent clients fell into the latter category. They purchased a spec house a few years back that should have been their dream home (after all, they did have the chance to make many personal selections during the build), but throughout the construction process, a number of concerns arose. Sadly, they struggled to get their punch list items addressed with the builder, and the final product wasn’t even close to what they had hoped for. Ugh!

Fast forward a few years and the homeowners kept discovering additional items that were improperly installed, as well as subpar quality materials that already need replacing. It is no surprise that these clients were disappointed with their purchase. I know I would have been too!

They came to us stressed out, especially unhappy with their kitchen layout, and feeling like they had been taken advantage of. They had spent too much time and money to not love their home…and our team was perfectly suited for the job: to take this imperfect house and turn it into a showcase of livable luxury for a well-deserving family.

Let’s hear the deets…

The Goals for this Kitchen Renovation

1. Tone down the contemporary style.

While the builder succeeded in creating a contemporary look for the home, the outcome turned out to be a little too cold for the homeowners. It simply wasn’t the warm and inviting oasis they envisioned and it definitely didn’t coordinate with their beautiful Mediterranean exterior..

Remedying that in the kitchen meant drawing up a family-friendly plan that would appeal to five kids of varying ages, a petite wife, and a very tall husband — so the design needed to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. A tall task (pun intended), but a challenge we were eager to embrace!

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2. Improve the ease of use.

A ton of square footage doesn’t always mean function. This builder’s spec house had plenty of space for this large family of seven (plus three pups) – but the layout of the kitchen wasn’t conducive to their lifestyle.

The oversized cabinetry in a cellblock gray color palette felt awkward. The pantry was small with a pocket door which, when closed, made the kitchen feel like a dark cave. We needed to open the space and lighten the room. And speaking of use…

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3. Relocate all appliances.

The refrigerator was situated in a way that made the room feel smaller, and the appliances were spaced so far apart that meal preparation was difficult and infuriating. (The only positive is that the homeowners got their daily steps in walking from one appliance to another…I wish I was joking!) We needed to reposition the appliances in a way that made sense for our clients (and didn’t mean running across the kitchen to grab the next ingredient from the refrigerator while a pot boiled over on the stove…)

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Um… would you look at how far apart these appliances are?? Insanity!

4. Address the lighting mistakes.

There were way too many decorative lighting fixtures built into the space… and almost none of them were the right proportion for the grandeur of the home. Many sconces were placed incorrectly, and there was unnecessary excess.

These design mistakes made the whole home feel disjointed and cluttered. We needed to curate the lighting and select fixtures that accentuated the beauty of the kitchen rather than detract from it. Plus we needed to find a way to stream in natural light.

With these goals in mind, we whipped up a plan…

A Unique Design Plan

During our first visit with these clients, we fell in love with their black leather Eames chair, and it ended up serving as our inspiration piece for their kitchen renovation.

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Hello, gorgeous…

We knew that furnishings with organic shapes would soften the strong lines of the contemporary finishes. Meanwhile, neutral tones with lots of texture would complement the new kitchen, and performance finishes would stand up to the daily wear and tear of an active household.

Once a design direction had been established (that would help us reach some of those goals), creating balance was the next order of business. The original layout lacked both beauty and livability. So we set about designing a space that would open up the large kitchen to make it functional without overloading it with heavy cabinetry and unnecessary appliances.

Living La Vida Lokar Kitchen Renovation: The Joyful Reveal

Remember that sad, rainy-day gray kitchen our clients used to have? Well, here it is now…

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So much better, right?! We relocated the column built-in refrigeration towers to the back left wall and balanced them with cabinet-style pantry storage on the right side, flanking the cooktop and adding symmetry to the space. We didn’t want the left and right sides of the kitchen to be matchy-matchy, but they needed to be aesthetically balanced.

By using drawers for the lower cabinets instead of traditional door cabinets, all kitchen tools stay organized and easy to find for these busy homeowners (and their band of kiddos).

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We chose not to add pendant lighting over the large island, even though that would have been the standard design route. By keeping so much headspace unencumbered, the kitchen feels even more spacious and airy, don’t you think?

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We demolished that uninspired, awkward closet of a pantry, opened up the space by adding a large window (which brings in natural light AND doubles as a passthrough to the outdoor kitchen!), and turned this cozy nook into a personalized coffee bar. (Who’s up for a coffee break?!) Safe to say this coffee station quickly became a family favorite.

We widened the entry, removed the door, and added storage. The pantry was relocated to some well-designed cabinetry on the opposite side of the room.

All new professional appliances and a huge apron sink makes cooking for this large family a breeze. After all, as designers, we don’t just create beauty… we solve problems!

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Our team also added shelving on the side walls of the kitchen, eliminating the upper cabinetry to open up the space. This was key in making this kitchen feel more inviting. All of the open shelving was illuminated with undermount lighting, giving the space added utility and charm.

By using rift cut white oak panels instead of a tiled backsplash, we found a way to balance the weight of the cabinet pantry and panel front refrigerator/freezer combination without making the kitchen feel claustrophobic.

The panels are low profile, laying close enough to the walls to prevent the space from feeling smaller, but far enough away to allow us to backlight them as well…unique, contemporary, and welcoming!

ML-Interiors-Group_Dallas-Texas_Interior-Design_Transformation-of-a-Fresh-and-Functional-Kitchen_Luxury-Kitchen_Wine-Chiller_Custom-Steel-Cabinet_Contemporary-Design

Last but not least, our team commissioned a custom steel frame upper cabinet that sits on the quartz countertop. Since it’s mostly glass, it doesn’t look overly heavy in this otherwise light kitchen. Plus, it adds visual interest. I know my eyes are drawn to that unique piece…are yours?!

Pair that with a wine chiller, additional storage, and more chunky open shelves, and this end of the kitchen is both fresh and functional. Remember it’s not all about aesthetics… a space needs to operate just as beautifully as it looks.⁣

And what do you know… that cold contemporary look is a distant memory! Hello, warm, inviting, stylish space. 🙂

Living La Vida Lokar

These clients began the kitchen renovation process at their wits’ end living in a spec house with a terrible kitchen. They were tired of dealing with the countless issues that the builder chose to ignore, and they couldn’t handle the stress any longer.

As our team took the kitchen down to the studs and started from scratch, a weight was lifted off our clients’ shoulders and they were finally able to see the potential in their home.

Thanks to this kitchen renovation, our clients now have a space where they can all be together without getting in each other’s way. The cold lonely space that we were called to refresh has become the warm and welcoming heart of this home. And they couldn’t be happier! No matter what style you love, that is always our goal — your happiest, dreamiest home.

If you’re ready for our team to design a space that reflects you, your personality, your lifestyle, and what’s closest to your heart – give us a call. We can’t wait to transform your home into a place you love again.

OH – and if that space is a kitchen, you can download our Guide to Prepping for a Kitchen Renovation here. 😉

Help! The Pandemic Hijacked My Vacation!

Help! The Pandemic Hijacked My Vacation!

Can you believe that it is almost the end of August? Many of us are finally free from “life on hold” a little bit, then you were told that your summer vacation plans were officially canceled. UGH, now what? Staring at all of the home improvement ideas you’ve put off for years (and didn’t really tackle during quarantine), they can now take center stage.

If you can’t vacate, then renovate!

We consider every detail when designing the space of your dreams.

If thinking about renovation makes you anxious or decorating is not in your DNA, it’s time to bring in the professionals to tackle those projects that you’ve put on the back burner for years. Need a kitchen update? We can help. Renderings, elevations, construction documents, you name it and we can do it for you!

As interior designers, we know that the hubs doesn’t understand why you don’t think his “perfectly good” couch from college no longer works in your house?  We can help!

Create a relaxing oasis in your own living room.

Make Your Outdoor Haven Your Permanent Vacation Spot

Could we reimagine your outdoor living areas for a permanent vacation spot? Of course, we can help with that! The fall weather is right around the corner (or that is what we keep telling ourselves) and you can finally have that dream patio you always wanted…

Patio lifestyle includes loveseat, swinging chair and concrete coffee table | Dallas designer | ML Interiors Group

Create an outdoor space worthy of a staycation.

Working With A Professional Interior Design Firm

With our extensive research process and investigative techniques, we can help you discover what style you love, and how your space needs to function for your lifestyle, and maybe not miss that lost vacation so much.

After we really get to know you and discover what will make your house a better home, we dive and design. How will I know if I like it, you ask? This is where the fun starts. We can provide as much detail as you need.

We can literally recreate what your home will look like after we create a space (or, two) to meet your unique needs and style. We describe it as taking a drink out of a firehose of detail. With 3-D renderings, material samples, fabric samples, hardware samples, and so on during your design presentation. Then, we box it all up (and a bottle of our signature bubbly) and you can take it home with you to see how it all works together in those spaces.

We’re pretty good at getting the design of your dreams, but we do have room for revisions. After all, this is your home and your style; we don’t push our personal style on our clients.

Just take a look at our diverse portfolio and you’ll see a wide variety of designs because our “look” is what our clients want. We handle all the details till completion for you!

Outdoor Patio Decor | Highland Park Home | ML Interiors Group | Dallas Interior Design

Outdoor living year ’round can be yours.

The Ultimate Vacation Renovation

Did we mention the presents? We like to pamper our clients. After all, Interior Design is a luxury service.

Imagine it as a Spa Day for your house. If a massage doesn’t make your feel good during and after the experience, was it worth it? Probably not. It’s not just about the end result, although we’re really good at that part, we want you to enjoy working with us from meeting us and discussing your project, all the way through putting the last accessory in place.

We are here to serve. So if your vacation was hijacked and you’re stuck at home without a break, let us help make your home your luxury destination.

Call today, we’re already booking into late September!

972-248-4733

 

How To Select The Best Paint Finish | A Designer’s Guide

A Designer’s Guide To Selecting The Best Paint Finish

You have been stuck in your home for MONTHS now (which feels like YEARS). Are you looking to do a minor upgrade while saving money? Are you looking for a little POP of color? Meet my best friend – PAINT.

I wanted to share a quick guide to choosing the perfect finish for your home. The product you put on your walls can make all the difference in how your space feels!

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Dallas interior design includes custom folding shelf and hand painted wall | ML Interiors Group | Midway Hollow Neighborhood

 

Selecting The Best Paint Finish

In my years running my successful interior design business, I have seen quite a few good AND bad paint jobs. And surprisingly, it is not just color selection that can make your hair stand up and yell OUCH – it is often that the wrong finish that was applied.

The gloss applied on the wall makes a huge difference in how the color is perceived by the human eye. It also affects how durable the paint is, clean-ability, and how easily it can mask imperfections in the wall. More often than not, we collaborate with the professional painter on selecting the sheen, but I have created a quick reference guide for you below.

 

Selecting The Best Gloss

Some other things to consider when selecting your sheen:

  • The texture of the walls. The flatter the finish you select, the more the product will hide the imperfections of the wall’s texture.
  • How will the room be used? The easiest sheen to clean is the shiniest.
  • The size of the room and lighting. A higher gloss will reflect natural light better and bounce off of the walls, making the room feel a little larger.

You can always ask your painter or the people at the paint desk at your local paint supply store. It’s much easier to get it right the first time! Of course, you can call us to schedule an in-home consultation to discuss paint colors, finishes, and anything else you would care to get a professional opinion on!

 

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Selecting the best paint finish

 

Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel

Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel | ML Interiors Ultimate Guide

Do you have a kitchen remodel coming up? Have you been thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Our team at ML Interiors Group has created the ultimate guide for how to prep for upcoming construction in arguably the MOST important room of the house!

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Lakewood neighborhood new construction kitchen with reclaimed beams, antique lanterns and custom hood | Interior Design Dallas | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group

Here’s a little sneak peek…

Start Packing Early!

Start packing your kitchen earlier than you think you’ll need to. REALLY. I’m serious! As soon as you start selecting materials such as your countertops and backsplash, you should be packing your least-used items from the kitchen. This is a MANDATORY first step for your kitchen remodel process.

Purchase plastic bins from a big box store. Get mostly the medium size- you’ll need a few of the larger sizes too, but those get heavy quickly.

Determine where you’ll stack these bins when they are packed. Whether a spare bedroom or the garage, locate a place that you don’t have to see them every day. This renovation may take a while, and you want the rest of your living areas to be disrupted as little as possible!

Pack a cabinet or two each week until you only have the necessities in your cupboards and drawers. Only when they are about to begin demolition should these final items be packed.

Want to learn more?

Download our full kitchen remodeling guide here!

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Tips to organize your kitchen | kitchen design | Dallas Designer | ML Interiors Group

Starting A Kitchen Remodel

If you are at the beginning of the kitchen remodel process and you don’t even know where to start, check out our new quiz, “What’s Your Design Style?” to help you find the interior design style that works for you!

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/5d52a9b2713f3700146dbe76″ text=”Take The Quiz” ]

 

Getting Ready For Guests | Bathroom Edition

Getting Ready For Guests | Bathroom Edition

Depending on your home, you may have a dedicated guest bath that is off the main path, OR the guest bath may be used by individuals others than those just staying with you. Therefore, when you are expecting guests, it is very important to keep the bathroom tidy, organized, and looking great.

 

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://mlinteriorsgroup.com/getting-ready-for-guests/” text=”DOWNLOAD NOW: Your Guide for Getting Ready For Guests” ]

 

With basic necessities in plain sight, your guests will not have to rummage through your cabinets in order to find what they are looking for or request you make multiple trips to fetch anything they may need. Here are a few tips on how to do this simply and easily.

1. Declutter. Declutter. Declutter!

Start by removing all non-essentials from your bathroom countertops. Photos, knick-knacks, decorative soaps, and so forth only create clutter when guests need a place to put their items. To clear the space, store your stuff away in a closet or drawer that won’t be needed.

What to consider when remodeling your master bathroom | dallas interior designer | bathroom renovation

2. Condense and Consolidate.

Consolidate bath products in a nice basket or on a tray that matches the decor of the bathroom; sample sizes and hotel collections are ideal. (A fave: Aveda’s travel line of products.)

If your bathroom is large, you can leave the items on the countertop, otherwise, place it on the ledge of the bathtub or tuck it in a corner that is obvious for your guests to find and utilize.

 

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home.

3. Utilize Those Decorative Containers!

If space is tight, use the top of the toilet tank as a resting spot for a narrow container filled with lotion, mouthwash, cotton swabs, lip balm, antibacterial hand gel, travel size toothpaste, and a (new) toothbrush.

Again, hotel samples or travel size products are ideal.

When guests leave, slide the container under the sink and bring it back out when getting ready for the next guests! If you replenish the supply immediately, you will be ready for even unexpected guests!

Remodeled Bathroom Design | Gold Hardware | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | Dallas Interior Design

 

4. Splurge a Little (It’s for your guests!)

Yes, I am giving you explicit permission – SPLURGE. You have guests coming – it’s time to impress!!

Set a luxurious hand towel by each sink and be sure your soap is full. I really like a more neutral container that adds an extra layer of decor, while also being functional.

Master Bathroom Decor | MLIG | Dallas Interior Decorator

#projectyellowrock

 

5. Paper Storage

Paper products: a large hurricane or wicker basket is a great way to store an extra roll or two in a decorative manner.

6. Label, Label, Label

You can also label any additional items in your cabinet space so your guests can easily find a hairdryer, extra towels, air freshener, first aid supplies, etc. Handwrite what items they will find when they open that space so they are not having to hunt!

Master Bathroom Remodel | Master Bathroom Design | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | Dallas Interior Designer

Your Guide For Getting Ready For Guests | Bathroom Edition

For the full guide – click below to download!

 

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Quick and Inexpensive Updates for Your Dream Kitchen

Quick and Inexpensive Updates for Your Dream Kitchen

As we all spend more time at home, I’d be willing to bet the kitchen has seen a pretty big share of all that family time. If (between homeschooling at the island, feeding your new sourdough starter, and baking the latest social media craze) you’re realizing your kitchen could use some love, this blog is for you! We know a full kitchen renovation can be daunting (and maybe not in the budget right now), but here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to give your space a facelift (and to get closer to your dream kitchen)…

Kitchen Remodel | Kitchen Design | MLIG | Dallas Interior Decorator

Swap out the Hardware

Don’t let the term ‘hardware’ fool you. This update is the opposite of ‘hard’. Can you use a screwdriver? If so, you’re all set to swap out those dated cabinets pulls for something more modern.

Try a warm brass tone to be on-trend without worrying about your investment going out of style. Or go for a modern farmhouse look with a matte black finish – this one is great if you’re mixing metals – it goes with everything!

Double island kitchen design | ML Interiors Group | Kitchen interior design Dallas

Paint the Cabinets

This one might seem scary, but it’s completely doable with the right tools and preparation! If your space is looking a little blah, try a splash of color – blues, greens, and blacks are the new neutrals. And if that feels like too much of a commitment (we know! It can seem like a lot!) try only painting the lowers. This two-tone look grounds the space and gives it an edge without being overwhelming.

As for the right tools – Did you know they make paint specially made for cabinets? This miracle product can save you the time and headache of hiring professional painters. It’s self-leveling so you can say goodbye to those pesky brushstrokes.

Colleyville area kitchen design and renovation | ML Interiors Group | waterfall quartz countertops, white backsplash, wood shelves, black range hood, double island

Double Island Kitchen Design

Open Things Up

No, we’re not talking about taking out any walls! Removing the doors on some of your upper cabinets can give you the open display storage of your dreams, without the hassle of hanging floating shelves.

Just make sure you patch and paint the screw holes from the hinges, so it looks intentional! Love the look, but not up for the extra dusting? Replace some of your upper cabinet doors with glass panel doors for the visibility without the maintenance. Most cabinet doors are standard sizes, so you should be able to find some in the size/style you need.

Style & Stage

Sure, the kitchen is a functional space, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful too. Set a colorful KitchenAid mixer out on the counter – even if you don’t bake all the time. Who knows, maybe it’ll encourage a new hobby? Or plant some small herbs in a windowsill planter for a splash of green and a fresh scent…and maybe another new hobby?

And if you’re reading this thinking “Yes! I want to do all those things and more, but I just don’t have the time/energy/vision!” then give us a call! We’re pros at creating beautiful spaces, without losing sight of your budget. The kitchen of your dreams could be right around the corner…or just in front of you…or downstairs. We don’t know where you are right now. 🙂

Are you looking for some kitchen inspiration?

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Black Lives Matter. Today. And Everyday.

Black Lives Matter. Today. And Everyday.

Y’all. What the hell just happened?

My White Privilege just showed itself.

I had NO IDEA that things were still SO BAD for our black brothers and sisters.

I say brothers and sisters because we are all HUMAN KIND. We are all children of God. We are all on this earth together, sharing her resources.

I am still reeling from the events that have recently unfolded…and have yet to find my words or my position…other that IT HAS TO STOP. And in order for it to change, we have to be the change.  It sounds so small. And like a bumper sticker. But it literally has to stick this time. These stories we have of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown…and the list goes on.

What strikes me deeply, is that these individuals have been brutalized – killed – by the police. BUT that isn’t the only problem our black brothers and sisters have…there is a systematic injustice that is built into our country’s infrastructure. Last week, I watched “13th“…this is a documentary about the 13th Amendment and how we have FAILED to honor this Amendment…how we have skirted around it and done such a disservice to the black members of our community, members of our faith, members of our country by criminalizing them in such a way that you & I (whites) can never understand. You don’t have to have Netflix, you can watch it HERE – I highly recommend it. It’s eye opening. Well, it’s a start anyway.

BUT in reflection, when I’m not making excuses for myself, this isn’t the first I’ve “heard” about the unfairness of our system. I read a book called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson a few years ago and it is about the broken system of justice we have for our black community. What did I DO after reading it? I cried.

But then I went on my merry, white privileged way. And did nothing. Because it didn’t affect me. (If you’re not into reading, you can watch the movie for free HERE. I haven’t seen it, but it’s on my list.)

I hid behind the fact that this didn’t affect me.

My dad is a cop.

My dad (technically stepdad, but he’s been around for us forever) is in law enforcement and has been a police officer since we met him. He’s now a Police Chief in a suburb of Albuquerque, NM. And he is a good man. He stands up for what is right and has honor and integrity and leads his team by example. So I was an advocate for Blue Lives Matter because it was closer to home for me.

However, these beasts wearing the uniform who kill black people are NOT police officers; they are hiding behind a badge, but are not law enforcement officers…they are cowards.

Having family in law enforcement is not an excuse to hide behind either.

I’ve intentionally looked black people in the eye and spoke TO them. I acknowledged their presence with respect. I complimented them when I saw something beautiful in them, just like I would a person who wasn’t black. But what does that really do? Nothing. Except make me feel better about myself because I was being “inclusive”. It’s the basic dignity everybody deserves.  In retrospect, it was a shitty ass form of racism that I was practicing. Reverse racism? I don’t what you’d call it. But it wasn’t ANTI-RACISM, which is what we need now.

So. What am I going to do to be a part of the change?

I cannot just hide behind my white skin anymore. And wow. Just saying that hits home. It is exactly what I’ve been doing. But I’m DONE with that.

Because, you know what? I am brokenhearted along with most of the rest of the country. (Sadly, I still can’t say the “entire” country.) There have been days in the past week or so where I just wept. I wept for the loss of lives, yes, but I also wept because my eyes were finally opened and I’m seeing what I turned my eyes away from.

And I wept, because I have a daughter who is black. So now, this situation got real close to home. It’s a shame that it took bringing home a mixed race baby to get my attention, but it has. And I’m ashamed that I didn’t pay attention earlier.

This post is not about me and my guilt and my shame…it’s about acknowledging my ignorance, and moving on to make a difference.

I don’t know WHAT I am going to do. But I’m going to lead by example. I’m going to be a force for change. I’m going to be a force for good. I’m going to be a force for God.

Jesus calls believers to pursue peace and oneness, so that is what I’m going to do. Love my neighbor includes ensuring they have justice.

IN ADDITION TO THE 99 BOOKS I’M GOING TO ORDER ON AMAZON TONIGHT, HERE ARE A FEW RESOURCES THAT I HAVE GATHERED IN ORDER TO START TO RESEARCHING WHAT RESONATES WITH ME TO GET PLUGGED IN TO.  I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT FIND THIS INFORMATION USEFUL TOO:

Campaign Zero Campaign Zero’s data-informed platform presents comprehensive solutions to end police violence in America. joincampaignzero.org

Color of Change Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, which helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. (https://colorofchange.org/)

Community Change Community Change is a national organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive. communitychange.org

Equal Justice Initiative (IF I RECALL CORRECTLY, THIS IS THE ORGANIZATION THE AUTHOR / ATTORNEY BRYAN STEVENSON STARTED) The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. eji.org.

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. civilrights.org

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.showingupforracialjustice.org

I was watching an interview the other day on Right Now Media…that if you’re at Niagra Falls and see a baby in the water you scoop it out. And another baby comes down the water, and you scoop it out and save it too…but then there is another baby, so you rescue it too…THAT IS CHARITY. Instead of just “saving babies”…it’s our job to go upstream and STOP whomever is tossing these babes into the water and THAT IS JUSTICE. I probably just butchered that example, but you can watch the short video HERE. … it’s not what you’d expect. And definitely worth your time, I promise. And VERY relevant to today. Watch until the end…the conversation around the fire at the lake is key.

So, my dearest black friends, family, brothers and sisters I have never met. I stand with you and will stand for you.

 

XOXO,