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Fleshin out some city scene lovin’.

-CMR 2013

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Latest Rendering! Modeled in 3Ds Max, Rendered with Mental Ray, Post-proccessed in Photoshop. Tasya Van Ree photography in the scene…love her!

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Recent Rendering: Restaurant AK

-Crystal Russell 2013-

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Recent Rendering: Industrial Loft Dining Room

-Crystal Russell 2013-

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Photo Journal: Things I did in grad school [Mocca NY]

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As a designer who, personally, has an intense love affair with bold colors, designs that are rich with neutrality are often a bit difficult for me to get obsessed with. No matter the project, I always find myself personally immersed in the design and the client; absolutely dedicated to meeting every need and exceeding every expectation.

I was recently presented with the opportunity to re-design a main living area in a lakefront property. The space, consisting of a sizable living room, dining room, enclosed sun room and kitchen, was in desperate need of a facelift. The 1952 home was holding tight to its vintage roots and, sadly, not showing its age well. The Client requested that a design be created that would allow all of the aforementioned spaces to flow freely into one another. In its original state, the home was relatively walled up and each space expressed an enclosed tightness that did nothing to emphasize the vast stretching of the home’s ranch footprint. Aside from needing to open up, the house’s finishes were worn and lackluster; a depressing mix of aged and exhausted that seemed to drain the home of its charm.

Many of you are all-to-familiar with a sort of sunken disparity in your older home. Often, we know that our spaces could use help but are afraid of the inherent cost associated with an interior remodel or redesign. Fortunately, there is a wide range of options for an exciting interior ‘re-doing’ that won’t cost you an arm, a leg, and another arm. Below are some tips from taking your tired space from dingy to dreamy in no time at all.

1. Paint is Your Bestie

You wouldn’t believe how many people I speak to or work with who are unaware of the brilliant possibilities that a simple paint job can do. Truly, it can transform your space. Often times, the visual improvement is so impressive that it nearly renders spaces unrecognizable at first glance. Think about what you are trying to achieve with your home and see if paint can get you there. If you have a space that feels too tight, too small, or too dark, try a very light (maybe even a nice white like those found in the Yolo Colorhouse Earth Collection) to open up the room. It works! Conversely, if your space feels a bit too large—perhaps your furniture is small in proportion to the room, the ceilings are huge, or any other factor is at play—don’t be afraid to try a deep, bold color. Darker colors not only offer the perception of a lower ceiling and shorter walls, but can be utilized to create warmth and friendliness in design.

Beyond solid colors, there are plenty of options to play with in terms of patterns and shapes. I am known for throwing up a pinstripe pattern on an accent wall for character and enthusiasm in a room. While the stripes aren’t for everyone, the look is fabulous and elegant. Take suggestions like this into consideration and run with them. Find your favorite look or pattern in wallcovering and try to duplicate it with paint. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars.

Paint offers you a lot of control these days as well! Paints like Natura Waterborne by Benjamin Moore are zero VOC options that allow you to keep your health in check while renovating.

2. Change Your Furniture!

Just do it! If you open up to changing out your furniture and giving your room a fresh coat of paint, your space will feel like an entirely new one! Furniture certainly does not need to break your bank account. In fact, you may very well be able to get enough money from your existing furniture to help fund most of your new pieces. Try selling your old items online. Ebay, Craigslist, or even thrift store websites (yes, they exist!) can make you more money than you would expect if you are patient enough to wait for a sale.

Whether you turn your old pieces for profit or not, you’ll want to do a lot of research online and in person to get the biggest bang for your buck with furniture. One of my favorite things to do is to hit thrift stores for things like coffee tables: you can easily refinish or paint these to give them new life and meet your current design needs. A favorite resource for me if I am furniture hunting online is Wayfair: a website with just about every single thing you could ever want for your home. Often, I find wonderful items for incredibly reasonable prices. In this day and age, the internet opens up a plethora of items that we may not be able to find locally. Though I suggest shopping locally and supporting small businesses as much as possible, hunting online will provide you with a sea of design options. A final tip for saving money online: look for sites that offer you free shipping! Shipping costs will add up fast. Avoid items that ask you to pay for this and you’ll be shocked at how much money you save.

3. Do the Work Yourself

Most of the clients I have ever encountered are either A) Terrified to do any sort of renovation work himself/herself or B) Refuse to believe that they can be successful doing said work on his/her own. The truth is, you can do an amazing amount of work by yourself. Keep your renovation simple if you are afraid of tackling the work yourself and look for professional advice online or in stores like Lowes if you are unsure about something. I have worked with plenty of contractors in my day. While I certainly don’t want them to lose any work due to the designer suggestion of completing work independently, it is common knowledge that hiring a contractor can cost a lot of money.

Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. If it helps, do as designers do and set a concept for your design. Give your design a word or phrase that makes sense to you and relates to the look and feel you are hoping for. Use that same word or phrase as a keyword when searching for paint colors, furniture styles, and more.

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Coming Soon!

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michaelswaney:

Fred Tomaselli, Night Music for Raptors, 2010. Photo collage, acrylic and resin on wood panel, 84 x 60 in. (213.4 x 152.4 cm)

Source: michaelswaney
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The hand had its way.

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It’s that sort-of day.

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People have suggested that I take this rendering, print it on canvas, and sell it to the masses. Any takers? Anyone out there interested in making this their next relatively unnecessary art purchase?