One of my favorite parts about my job is getting to learn about my clients and their decorating styles. The best is when I get to help them with more than one room in their home. With each room I learn more about them. With each room I can more fully develop their style throughout their home.
I was truly honored to help one client, and reader, with almost an entire home makeover. I affectionately nicknamed the project the “Manhattan Tri-Level”. What a dream, right? To help decorate an entire home, none-the-less a gorgeous tri-level home in Manhattan. The house is an amazing, light-filled, loft-like space with a unique layout.
Today I want to share with you the collection of mood boards I created for this client level by level. I think by seeing them altogether, you can see how a style can be developed over multiple rooms. There is also a unifying color scheme to these rooms, much like how I decorate in my home, for good flow.
The first room you enter on the main floor is sitting room that my client needed to multi-task as a very organized mud room. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my client has SIX kids! We packed a lot into this room.
- The large cube bookshelf will divide the “mud room” space from the sitting area. The idea is to put baskets in the cubbies to hold shoes. Since it is open on both sides it provides better access for all the kids who can grab out their shoe bin from either side.
- In the sitting area, the small love seat is a twin sleeper.
- The “coffee table” is a bench, which gives extra seating for putting shoes on and getting kids out the door.
- The stone-look planter isn’t for plants. I recommended filling it with pebbles and using it for an umbrella stand…how else do you store eight umbrellas?
- The coat tree is for guests. With storage solutions for all the family members, I realized it would be nice to give them an easy access spot for guests to hang their coats.
There is a small, but full bathroom on this floor. It is the main bathroom for the kids and guests. I wanted to make this room a conversation piece. It is youthful and fun just like the family that lives there.
- The striped shower curtain will help the room seem wider.
- I recommended they paint matching stripes on the walls all the way around the room! Striped bathrooms are the best. I might be biased.
- A bath rug is a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be boring. This gorgeous damask rug has texture and a pop of citrus color.
Living Room and Kitchen
The living room and kitchen are one big open space with a two-story wall of windows. My client already purchased a beautiful salvaged fireplace mantel to install along the brick wall.
- The dark teal paint on the board is the recommendation for repainting the brick wall (when they moved in it was already painted a dark red).
- With the big teal focal wall, I recommended keeping the other walls light. A large sectional and a couple extra dining chairs for lots of seating.
- An amazing chandelier will drop from the ceiling. It is a statement piece, but light and airy enough that it won’t block the windows.
The biggest challenge in the kitchen area is seating for 8 at the table, and how to hang a light over the table.
- A large dining table that can extend paired with a mix of chairs and benches solved the seating dilemma.
- Open shelving provides more storage for dry goods, snacks, and dishes.
- How do you drop a light over a table with no overhead support? My suggestion was to use a large sign bracket mounted to the wall and hang a drum shade pendant light from it.
The second floor of the home is one large den with a laundry room at one end. My client planned to use the second level exclusively as a playroom. I think it is amazing to dedicate so much space to the kids!
- We divided the room into two areas. One for dress up and pretend play, the other for toy storage and arts and crafts.
- The play table is actually the height of a normal dining table, so it will grow with the kids. The stools are child-like, but the height of a standard chair, so adults can use them, too.
- Of course, lots of toy storage was a must. My client had already started with the Besta units from Ikea, so we just built upon those.
- In the pretend play area, I recommended a tri-fold mirror for dress up and a simple hanging bar to keep dress up clothes on display. A comfy rug and a few poufs provide seating for impromptu plays.
Stairwells and Hallways
As you can imagine in a tri-level, we had lots of hallway and stairwell space to address. I created a mood board specifically dedicated to the open spaces.
- The sunburst mirror collage was a recommendation to decorate the main level stairwell going up to the second floor.
- The picture frames were a recommendation to create a large gallery wall in the other stairwell.
- Large patterned canvases add a pop of color in dimly lit corners. Most of the hall space and stairwells have no natural light.
- My clients stairs were open with no risers. For safety reasons, she wanted to add risers and do something decorative while she was at it. I recommended covering them in one of the two fun wall papers shown.
- I recommended the curtain panels (#9) to enclose the laundry area, along with the curtain track system. This allows my client to hide the laundry area if she has guests over for a playdate in the playroom.
- The other curtain panels are to hide under the stair storage on the main level. They store their stroller under the stairs and wanted a simple way to cover it up.
- The free-standing linen closet is for the nook at the top of the stairs right next to the master bedroom and master bathroom. Extra storage is great anywhere you can fit it!
The master bedroom in this house is one of the most romantic spaces I have ever seen. Well, it had the potential to be anyway. The room is small and the bed only fits in the corner with a large window on one side. At the end of the bed there is narrow french doors to a tiny balcony. And, it is on the third floor, so it really is like floating on a cloud!
- I played up the cozy factor with an upholstered headboard, luxe bedding, and velvet drapes.
- Without room for bedside lamps, sconces were a must for reading lights.
- A small c-table was the perfect solution for tucking in next to the bed where a traditional nightstand wouldn’t fit.
- At the end of the bed a kitchen cart provides extra storage.
If I had to put a name on the style of this room, I would call it “quirky romantic”. I wanted it to relate to the master bedroom, but also have a fun personality.
Secret Garden Patio
I completed all the above mood boards together as one big package. Then, a couple of weeks ago my client contacted me about doing one more space. A ROOFTOP PATIO! I had no idea this Manhattan Tri-Level could get any cooler! Nestled in among city views, my client has this amazing rooftop patio that she wanted to turn into a secret garden. They try to get out and adventure in the city as much as possible, but when the little ones are napping the older kids need a place to play in the fresh air.
My client already planned to put down artificial turf on half the patio to create a play area for the kids. I recommended a swinging chair and a few stone-like stools to complete the play area.
On the other side of the patio, my client wanted an entertaining space. The goal was to have lots of lounge seating, since there was not enough space to fit a dining table.
- In addition to an outdoor sectional, I recommended using two outdoor stools together as a coffee table. They could easily be split up and used as extra seating. They would be especially handy to pull up to the outdoor fireplace for roasting marshmallows.
- The fireplace will hopefully solve an eyesore from the two fenced in air vents that pop up almost in the middle of the patio. There is just enough space between them for an outdoor fireplace facing towards the seating area. It will also help divide the play space and entertaining area.
- On one side of the patio there is a large blank brick wall. The arched outdoor mirror was my suggestion to add some visual interest to that wall.
- All my client needs to do is add lots of plants!
Oh my gosh, I cannot even explain how fun it was to work on this project! I am on pins and needles waiting for after pictures, but as you can imagine executing these mood boards with six little ones running around might take some time. You can be sure once after pictures start rolling in, I will be sharing them here.
If you have an entire house or a room you would like my help with, please visit my Interiors page to learn more about my services, see a portfolio of my work, and order your mood board. I can’t wait to help you Make It Home, Make It You.
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