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ANNOUNCING New Service!

It’s here! It’s finally here!

I’m so excited to announce a new service for Grace Druecke Interiors:

Long Distance Consulting

If you live outside the Scottsdale area and need help creating the perfect furniture layout or need help shopping for furniture and accessories we can have a long distance relationship! We work via descriptive emails, quick phone calls, and photos and the results are great. Each project is unique and I work with you depending on your needs.

Here are just some of the services I can provide:

Floor plans

Color selection

Shopping lists

Reassurance

Long distance consulting projects are scheduled on a retainer. That means you know the cost upfront, you have the freedom to call or email as much as needed and there are no extra fees.

$75 for a day

$250 for a week

$800 for a month

Call or email me to get your project started!

Thrift Store Tips and Finds

I’m personally not a huge antique store, garage sale or flea market shopper (I have actually never been to a flea market, nor do I know where to find one. Please enlighten me if there is one I should check out in AZ). I do, however, occasionally like thrift stores. The stores give back to the community, everything is tax-free (huge bonus in Scottsdale where sales tax is almost 10%. YIKES!), and, with typical retail hours, they are easy to shop.

HGTV has a new show called Flea Market Flip and they offer some good tips on how to spot the deals. They, however, fix-up the items which is just way too much work for me. When I shop I look for items that are ready to use, and don’t require sanding, painting, re-finishing, or any other crafting project. I don’t like to create “honey-do” lists for myself if I can help it 🙂

Thrift stores can be overwhelming to shop. There is a lot of junk surrounding the treasures but with a little patience and the right approach you can find some great items for your home.

When shopping thrift stores ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I have a place for it? I very much advocate a clutter free house. Clutter causes stress, anxiety and overall discomfort in a space. If you just like the piece, but have nowhere to put it, skip it.
  2. Does it go with my overall style? If you are designing a contemporary room, steer clear of overly ornate (or traditional items). Even if your style is eclectic keep true to your style when deciding if a piece is right for your home.
  3. Is it the right color? size? shape? So you have a place for it, it matches the style of your room, now inspect the details. Will it fit in the space you have? Will it coordinate with the surrounding colors?
  4. Is it “timeless”, “retro” or just “dated”? This is a tough one. I try to stay away from trendy items from the 90s and the 70s. My reasoning? The 90s are too recent to be “back in style” and I once heard 70s architecture referred to as “the dark-ages of design”. I laughed, agreed, and now always think about that when I see 70s style furnishings.

This is definitely not an inclusive list on how to successfully shop at a thrift store but asking yourself these simple questions will steer you in the right direction. I, myself, have made a few thrift store mistakes, but I do also have some treasures in my home. Here are a few of my favorites.

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I found this southwestern vase for only $3.00 and I’m hoping it’s handmade. There are no markings on it, and I’m not an expert on this subject, but it doesn’t seem to be a mass-produced product. Even if it is, I still love that is has a handmade, southwestern look.

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I found this unframed print for $3.00 and fell in love with the stark contrast. I popped it in a simple modern frame and it’s perfect in my guest room!

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I got both the terra-cotta pot and the basket for $1.00. The pot adds a nice finishing touch to my basic Ikea plant.

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I love these! They are placemats that I found for $1.00 each. It’s a cheap way to dress up a large wall.

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The picture came framed and was only $5.00. My husband is the one who found it and it’s a nice addition to our “seating area” (aka the “dirty laundry catcher”) in our bedroom.

There are treasures waiting for you at thrift stores, it just takes a little more work to find them.

What are some of your favorite thrift store items?

T.V. Show Floor Plans – Impressive

One of my favorite shows on T.V. right now is Happy Endings. Six attractive urbanites in their late 20s living in Chicago, living an endlessly entertaining life, referencing the 90s whenever possible. It’s fabulous. As a designer, my favorite part of the show is admiring the character’s unique homes. There’s the single girl’s posh apartment, the guy’s industrial loft and the married couple’s million dollar condo with modern everything (it’s flawless to say the least). The show also includes storylines with the character’s moving to new places (very fitting considering how often young people move) so there continually are new homes to drool over!

Yesterday I stumbled upon the work of interior designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde. He takes famous shows and creates detailed floor plans of the featured homes. So cool! I have included my favorites below but there are more to see on his Etsy page (you can even buy the prints!). There’s not one for Happy Endings quite yet (fingers crossed!) but I’m sure you’ll find some of your own favorites in his collection. Enjoy the inspiration.

Penny's ApartmentTed Mosby's AptCarrie's Apt

Rustic Dining Room

Rustic Dining Room

Verona Wine Rack
williams-sonoma.com

Linea Chrome abstract vase
$38 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Moroccan Carpet
1stdibs.com

Toast Tableware – Medium Bowl
$38 – toast.co.uk

Toast Tableware – Large Mug
$38 – toast.co.uk

Start with a Floor Plan

It’s nearly impossible to determine the correct furniture size and placement for a room simply by looking at the room. An empty room distorts the space and gives zero reference points for furniture layout. Designers use this tool because it is essential to creating a well designed room, and it’s a tool that is accessible to almost everybody! It allows you to try different arrangements and ensures you buy the right size furniture. Sofa sizes range from 70″ to over 100″ (I totally made up those figures but it really is a huge range). Before you shop for furniture (the fun part!) measure out the space and create a floor plan (the not as fun part).

dims

examples of average to large size living room furniture

Many furniture store websites offer a room planner such as Ikea, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, and Lane. There are also more professional programs available such as floorplanner.com (you can make 1 free floor plan and they have a nice gallery for inspiration). If you plan to shop a particular store check their website for a room planner.

Floor Plan

this was done on Icovia Room Planner

So you’ve measured your room, and drawn it on a room planner program. Now what?

How to Make a Better Floor Plan

  1. Decide the correct direction for the room (focal point). For example, in a bedroom, the bed should face toward the door and not be on the same wall as the door.
  2. 3′ is the minimum walk space. Anywhere people will need to walk needs to be at least 3′. No exceptions.
  3. A bed in a master bedroom should have access on both sides, at least 3′. The only time the side of a bed can be pushed against a wall is in kids rooms, college rooms and the occasional small guest room.
  4. Always consider the access to the furniture. Having to walk ALL the way around the sofa, side table, chair and coffee table just to sit down on the sofa will drive you nuts. There should be a clear and logical path to the furniture.
  5. A rug should have at least one piece of furniture sitting on it, unless it’s a runner. Usually it’s the sofa, bed or dining table, but it doesn’t have to be.
  6. Don’t forget about storage. Bookcases, display cases, and shelves are all important pieces to remember.
  7. experiment with different size furniture. Sometimes making a piece a few inches larger or smaller makes a huge difference.

You’ve made the perfect floor plan, now make sure you stick to it. Print out the plan with the furniture dimensions and bring it with you on your shopping trips. The sales team at furniture stores should be able to show you the pieces that match the size you’re looking for. I don’t recommend trying to “make something fit” just because you like it in the store. If it doesn’t fit in your space you’ll end up hating it.

This is definitely not an inclusive list, but these are just some typical questions I get asked. What questions do you have?

10 Steps to Create a Polished Bedroom

Creating a cozy and comfortable bedroom is simple with these 10 steps. Deciding where to start is the hardest part so I made it easy for you. Follow this simple process and you’ll have a cozy bedroom retreat completed in no time.

1. Start with the Rug: Yes, you need a rug. A rug will display the most important part of your bedroom, the bed. I like to start with the rug because it creates the color palate for the entire room. It’s much easier to choose a paint color from a rug than to match a rug to your paint color. Your artwork and accessories will also be influenced by your rug. In general an 8 x 10 rug is the correct size for under a bed. Rugs are expensive, I know. If it’s not in your budget to purchase a large rug, choose runners to lay next to the bed, leading to the nightstands.

Rug

2. Paint Color: Use color samples from the paint store (or your fan deck if you have one. I highly recommend getting a fan deck!) to find a color that matches your rug. Don’t worry too much about “what color you like in general”, focus on what colors you can pull from the rug. If your rug has blues, greys, greens and yellows, stick with one of those colors. Even if you have always wanted a red bedroom, trust me, stick with a color found in your rug.

3. Curtains: Curtains dress up your windows and add warmth to any space. Again, use the colors from your rug to guide you to the right color curtain. Keep in mind the “style” you want for your bedroom when choosing the type of fabric. For example, linen and cotton have a nice casual or rustic feel, silk is more traditional and formal, and sheers are delicate and pretty. Curtains should be hung above the window to add height and slightly puddle on the ground. Choose a curtain rod that matches the current hardware in your room (i.e. door knob). Cheaper fabric can be used on window treatments so this is a good place to save some money. Ikea and Target are great resources for curtains.

4. Bed Frame: The foundation is set, now it’s time to add the bed! So many options! A headboard is a must, a footboard is optional. If you have a small room, pet that jumps up at the foot of your bed, or if you like to sit on the end to put on your socks, a footboard might be in your way. If you use just a headboard with a metal bed frame you will need a bed skirt to hide the metal frame. A platform bed gives the option to have a decorative frame around the bed without needing a footboard. Just remember, if you like to store items under your bed, make sure the side boards allow enough clearance for storage boxes (or invest in a bed with built-in storage drawers).

5. White Bed Linens: Sounds boring, right? Hear me out. You can’t go wrong with white sheets and  a simple white duvet cover. They are easy to clean (i.e. bleach) and easy to dress up with colorful throws and pillows. Quality is important in bed linens and good linens are expensive. You spend a lot of time in bed and comfort is key to a good night’s sleep. It’s much easier to update your bedding with cheaper accessories than to invest in all new bedding.

White Bedding

6. Nightstands/Dresser: These items do not need to match the bed, nor do they need to match each other (see my post The Complete Bedroom). They just need to coordinate. First determine how much storage you need. Do you need large drawers? Do you need open shelf space for books and accessories? This will help guide you to the right furniture. Make sure the night stands are high enough so items set on top can be comfortably reached from bed. Fumbling in the dark for the lamp or glass of water is never fun.

7. Art: Artwork gives character to a room so decide the feeling you want your room to have. Botanical, landscape and abstract art are all great options for a bedroom. Also, the bedroom is the ideal room for family and personal photos. Black and white family photos in simple black frames always look great in a bedroom.

Photos

This site has fantastic ideas for displaying family photos.

8. Lighting: Task lighting is so important in a bedroom. Overhead lighting floods the room with light, which may be inappropriate at times. Lamps next to the bed create relaxing light for reading and lamps set away from the bed create a romantic illumination.

9. Seating Area: If you have enough space I highly recommend adding a seating area. It doesn’t need to be a large space, just somewhere to sit and put your socks on or read a book. A bench at the end of the bed, a chair tucked in the corner with a side table and lamp or a small sofa are great pieces to add. Just make sure they don’t become clothing racks!

Bench

Hampton Pillowtop Bench from Target

10. Plants and Accessories: The easiest way to accessorize is to choose one color to work with (pick one from your rug). Use that color for pillows, throws, vases, sculptures, and other accessories. Mix in green plants (for cleaner air) and add pops of white and black and you will create a relaxing color palate for your new bedroom.

Blue ThrowPlantBlue Pillow

So simple. Now you’re ready to cozy up in your new bedroom! Enjoy!

Clear Out the Clutter

I spent the last few days in my hometown of White Bear Lake, MN enjoying time with friends, family and helping my mom re-design her home. My parents will be taking on a major kitchen renovation, which also includes updating the living room and office, and I was there to help get the process started. Below is one image of inspiration for the new kitchen, so cute!

Kitchen redo

Before we could add new items, we started by donating and selling existing pieces that were no longer needed. This is a tough process for most people because some items we have in our homes hold sentimental value and some just give us a feeling of comfort and familiarity. It’s tough to part with things that bring us comfort but this process of elimination is necessary for a fresh start.

It’s natural to hold on to items with reasoning such as:

“What if I need it in the future?”

“My kids might want it someday”

“It was a gift”

“The chair is just so comfortable”

These reasons are just excuses to avoid change (change is hard!) and unless something truly has deep sentimental value or is linked to family heritage, if it’s not working in your space, it’s time to get rid of it. Clutter causes stress and anxiety, so for your health, remove the clutter. To paraphrase a well-known designer, if it’s not useful or beautiful to you, don’t let it take up valuable space in your home.

So, ready for change and ready to create a welcoming home, my mom and I started the process of elimination. We focused on cleaning out the current living room/office. We brought smaller items to a consignment shop, we sold furniture on Craigslist (which my mom found to be very exciting) and we started a “Goodwill donation” pile.  As we cleaned out items we brought fresh life into the space and the room is now ready for new life to be breathed in to it. With the existing furniture in the room my mom could not visualize how the space could be designed differently and more efficiently to meet my parent’s needs. Now, with the help of a rough floor plan and empty floor space she can start to see her new living room come to life. Bonus, she also has a few extra dollars thanks to selling her old items!

Kitchen Floor Plan

If you have a room in your house that you never use, or just don’t like, it may be that it’s filled with items that just don’t work for you. Freshen your home by eliminating items you don’t need and it just might spark inspiration to re-do the room to suit your needs.

What items do you have that are just taking up space in your home?