Posts Tagged ‘Home Improvement’

Renovate Your Kitchen for Long-Lasting Design

July 8th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | 1 Comment

I shouldn’t come as any surprise that kitchens still rank as one of the most desired home renovation projects for homeowners.  Even if you’re not a gourmet chef, odds are you still spend a lot of time in your kitchen throughout the day.  A well-designed kitchen is a natural hub for family members to gather and interact, cook and do homework, and mix drinks and entertain.  A poorly designed kitchen is at best an inefficient eyesore and at worst an uncomfortable or even dangerous room in which to cook.

A luxurious kitchen design is not difficult to achieve.  If a kitchen remodel is at the top of your home improvement list, educate yourself on some of the current kitchen trends.  While you don’t need a “trendy” kitchen design per se,  knowing where the modern kitchen is headed will keep your new kitchen from looking dated– and you’ll definitely get great ideas for features you never knew you wanted!

Here are some current trending features for you to consider:

  • Neutral Colors – Neutral colors are currently trending and is also a wise choice when anchoring this space.  Incorporating varying neutral tones will give your kitchen the longevity and timeless design for years to come.  Introduce your favorite colors and textures in the seating, art, and accessories and rotate your collectables for a fresh update.  The neutrals are best used in high ticket areas of the kitchen, like the cabinets, countertops and flooring.


  • Open Design – Because the kitchen space is often used as a more social area by families, you may want to consider creating an open floor plan. Open plans are easier to navigate, especially if you have more than one cook in the kitchen.  Creating a sense of uncluttered space with varying materials provides a more expansive and integrated architectural feel to your overall home design.


  • Luxurious Appliances – If you’re going to upgrade your appliances –  invest in quality. State of the art cooking appliances such as an induction cooktops, refrigerator drawers and steam ovens may not make you an incredible chef on their own, but they will greatly increase the efficiency and enjoyment of any kitchen.


For additional home renovations and kitchen remodeling advice, be sure to visit me online at Interior Makeovers or give us call us at 310-788-0990.

Photo Credits:

1.) Traditional Home

2.) House Beautiful

3.) Miele

Intricacy in Metal: The Work of Michael Aram

May 27th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

When I was in New York participating in #BlogTourNYC, I had the opportunity to visit the gallery of designer Michael Aram.  This talented artist creates intricate and organic metal creations for the home, merging art and function with the skills and passion he found while visiting India.

Michael Aram

His work brings the natural beauty of plants, feathers, and the ocean into delicately detailed metal pieces.  Much of his work serves a functional purpose in addition to an aesthetic one; his collections include products like picture frames, serving dishes, and candlesticks that can all be used around the home.  The pieces are made with traditional techniques by his own hand, which lends them life and personality even beyond the gorgeous details present in tree bark vases and the soft lines of a feather-inspired tray.

bark vases

Any of the pieces in Michael Aram’s extensive collection of work would make a delightful addition to a home design.  Imagine serving dinner and surprising your guests when the beautiful acorn sculptures nestled on an oxidized bronze leaf turn out to be the salt and pepper shaker.  You bring out honey in a goldplate apple with a clever arrow-shaft spoon, recalling the story of William Tell.  Bread is served in a metal basket made of silvery woven vines and leaves, and candles flicker from branch-inspired candleholders.

Seeing Aram’s work in person is even more incredible than the online images.  His collections were displayed in a renovated Chelsea Carriage House Showroom, which was the perfect location to set off his ornate pieces.  We had the privilege to hear him talk about his work, his inspiration, and the life-changing trip to India that started it all.  The love he has for his work shows in his speaking as well as in the final products, and it’s inspiring to see.

Aram Talking


Aram gift bag

I would love to hear your thoughts on Michael Aram’s work and how you would use his products to add enchantment to your own home!

Stay Inspired!

Streamlined Home Design Ideas for Comfort and Convenience

May 7th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Good design is more than just a pretty face. Combining beauty and function into all your home’s decor and design schemes creates a more cozy and accessible environment for every member of your family. Innovative design features geared towards both comfort and convenience will also increase your home’s overall value. Here are a few tips to consider for your home renovations to ensure daily life more streamlined.

  • Easy Reach: Bending, stooping, pulling and pushing — adding these needs to simple tasks like cooking is inefficient and not very ergonomic. Features like pull-out drawers, eye-level shelves and custom closets make things not only more functional, but less cluttered and more visually appealing. Easy accessibility is key.


  • Motion-Sensitive Lights: Stumbling around for a light-switch is a pain, especially when your hands are full. Installing motion-sensitive switches will not only save time looking for a way to turn on the light, but save energy as the lights shut off automatically when the room is empty.
  • Mood lighting: On the topic of lights, replacing traditional toggle switches with more effective mood lighting will also save time and energy. Dimmer switches are easier to control and offer more energy-efficient options when you need a small dose of light. Introducing overlapping pools of light will create the most beautiful atmosphere within a space – large or small.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 1.05.51 PM

  • Bathtub and Shower: Many bathrooms come with standard features that may not be useful to you, like the bathtub and shower combination common in most homes. If you find that you never use your bathtub, consider upgrading to a shower with improved features and controls….from steam to multiple sprays and get the spa feel you’ve been dreaming of.
  • Door Handles: Door handles are a nuisance when your hands are slippery and you need to get in a room. Remove old doorknobs in favor of more elegant handles that offer increased functionality and are more aesthetically pleasing.


Every home presents unique opportunities for streamlined and elegant design tailored to your lifestyle and needs. If you need some tips on how to add comfort and convenience to your home renovations, I’d love to help! Contact me at Interior Makeovers, Inc. for more information.

Stay Inspired! 

Photo Credits:
1.+2.) Houzz
3.) Pinterest

Large Kitchen Islands for Form and Function

February 26th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Home renovations that focus on the kitchen are a favorite among homeowners, and the kitchen is often cited as an area of the home in need of a makeover -both for function and aesthetics.  One way to add style and function to your kitchen is incorporating a large, multi-purpose island to the space. With an endless array of designs and kitchen layouts a large island will instantly improve the overall function of your home’s hub.

  • The Everything Island: I really love large islands that serve as the focal point of the kitchen. You can include the sink, counter space, wine storage or microwave if space allows.  Add a few stools and you have the ideal breakfast bar. It adds a distinctive look to a kitchen and welcomes everyone to join in on the fun.
  • Plan Appliance Locations Thoughtfully: Managing the traffic flow throughout a busy kitchen requires some careful planning. Space the work triangle so that appliances have ample clearance when open, never open into each other and the cooks have enough space to work side by side.
  • Cookbook Storage: If you love to cook like I do, open shelves are a great place to store cookbooks and other kitchen miscellany within easy reach. They will also add some great character and color to the kitchen area.
  • Lighting: For a more elegant touch, add glass doors and recess lighting to your island’s cabinetry. This is the ideal spot to display your favorite dishes and highlight your colorful pottery collection.  Multiple layers of  lights are both functional and mood provoking so add dimmers to those light sources.


When designing your kitchen and the island, think about how you really use this room, and how you can maximize the space – and make your island work for you. Are you contemplating a renovation for your kitchen?  I am always hear to help! Connect with me via Facebook or contact me via Interior Makeovers, Inc.

Stay Inspired!


Photo Credits:
Lori Gilder

Add Drama to Your Bathroom with a Free Standing Tub

February 4th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

If your bathroom is feeling cramped and humdrum, there’s a simple way to add space and style to the area: replace your old tub with an exquisite free standing tub!  I love the drama that free standing tubs bring to a bathroom.  They add an air of  sophistication and elegance and creates an immediate focal point within the room, as if it were a piece of sculpture.


free-standing tubs bathroom renovation

Why Free Standing?
A drop-in or under mount tub built in to a decking is somewhat expected these days, and at times can feel more like a functional fixture than something that is supposed to be comfortable. A free standing tub gives the appearance of a more spacious bathroom and the variety of unique designs available will enhance any style of master bath.


free-standing tubs bathroom renovation

What Type of Tub Should You Choose?
Select a tub that has a unique style that fits your taste and design sensibility. For a lighter and more classic environment, consider a claw foot tub which elevates it off the floor slightly. There are no shortage of styles – from traditional, transitional and contemporary, these functional art pieces are available in a variety of different shapes, finishes and sizes.

bathroom tubs

I would love to help you create a unique bathroom design by using a free standing tub. For more interior design inspiration, please contact me at Interior Makeovers, Inc. by calling 310-788-0990.

bathroom tub remodeling design


Photo Credits:
1.) Leslie Fine Interiors
3.) House Beautiful
4.) Architectural Digest

Luxurious Kitchen Trends to Look For in 2013

January 15th, 2013 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

One of my favorite things about starting a new year is the influx of new design ideas and trends that come with it.  It’s refreshing to have a wave of fresh inspiration at the beginning of the year, especially when designing a room as popular and important as the kitchen. Luckily, 2013 promises to be another exciting year for kitchen design trends.


There’s been a shift in cultural priorities toward materials and design elements that stand the test of time, so more neutral colors and tones maintain their popularity in kitchen design – particularly on the big ticket items like cabinetry and countertops.  The blending of these neutral tones with varied woods, laminates, glass, metals, stones, even leather and crystal – gives the homeowner an opportunity to showcase their personal design style.   The kitchen is your family’s core……so when you re-design it – think of it as your canvas in which you build the base, then add these layers one by one.

The practical aspects 2013 kitchen design continue with clean lines and modern styling, but with some added warmth from touches of classic country style design.  Kitchens continue to be a part of the popular open floor plan design of homes – where clean lines and warm neutrals help to emphasize the open feeling.

A touch of luxury returns to the trending kitchen features in the high performance appliance choices among homeowners.  It could be due to the continued surge of interest in healthy living and eating or those Food Network cooking shows that we can’t get enough of.

When it comes to appliances, gourmet cooking features are still topping the list with a focus on technological innovation, speed and efficiency.  From the induction cooktop, steam ovens and refrigerator drawers integrating these appliances seamlessly into the cabinetry is a European trend that has finally made its way here.

This is THE year to give yourself the gourmet kitchen you’ve always dreamed of.  I would love to help you design your new kitchen; just contact me at Interior Makeovers Inc. by calling 310-788-0990.

Stay Inspired!


Photo Credits:
1.) HGTV
2.) Houzz
3.) Houzz

Design Inspiration For Your Thanksgiving Table

November 21st, 2011 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here and the holiday season is about to explode.  Many of us will be hosts – welcoming our family and friends into our homes to share in this American holiday tradition!

As a Canadian transplant I have to confess that it didn’t take me long after moving to LA to acclimate to the spicy flavors, sweet tastes and savory aromas of the Traditional Thanksgiving Feast. This is by far my favorite meal – guaranteed to put my into my annual “food coma”.

So, just like I do every year, I spent some time last week flipping through a few recipe books, gourmet magazines and even tuned in to the Food Network to grab some Thanksgiving recipe inspiration. And last night I made the most delicious “Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves” (I only used 20) which produced the most o-u-t-r-a-g-e-o-u-s gravy!  Try this recipe and see for yourself.  So needless to say that sauce will be making its way back on to our  Thanksgiving table on Thursday.

Watching those celebrity chefs on the Food Network create the most delectable Thanksgiving meals in 30 mins. is beyond intimidating. Yet for me it’s simply a matter of playing “Mr. Potato Head” with these recipes to see how I can attempt to design a menu that I can actually pull off.

Then I’ll drag the kids through the neighborhood to hunt and gather all the twigs, leaves, branches and pinecones we can find in the neighborhood to dress the table in a very chic yet eco-friendly sort of way.

Here are just a few of my favorite Thanksgiving Table Designs.

Image via Country Living Magazine

Image via House Beautiful

Image via Martha Stewart

Image via

Image via Lonny Magazine

Simply Beautiful

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the day with those you love.

Stay Inspired!




I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2011 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

How Much To Spend On Renovating Your Home

November 7th, 2011 by Lori Gilder | 2 Comments

If you want to spend your money wisely and make your renovation dollars work the best for you – having a home renovation strategy could potentially save you thousands.

When determining how much to spend on your home improvement projects, it requires some research on your part, as there are a few variables that come into play here.







Know Your Neighborhood

  • Setting a realistic budget is very important when renovating your home whether you plan on living there for years or if you’re planning to sell.
  • Research your area and learn what your neighborhood standard will tolerate.
  • This will help you set a realistic budget for your projects and then you can make an informed decision as to where your renovation dollars will be best served.
  • A good rule of thumb in determining how much you should spend on renovating your home is to base it on a percentage of your home’s value.

Learn The Value of Your Own Home

  • You could hire a realtor or appraiser to assess your property and provide you with a current appraisal and how your home relates to the comps in your neighborhood.
  • There is also a great online source where you enter your address and compare your home with others in your neighborhood on an interactive map.
  • It shows you the range of the property values in your community.  Once you have an idea of your home’s current value you could then start budgeting and planning for your remodeling projects.
  • If you’re renovating your home and plan to stay for 10 years then typically a range of 20%-30% of your home’s value is an acceptable amount to invest.
  • If you’re remodeling it to sell – then a more conservative number to invest might be15% – 20% of your home’s value.  Again, it depends on what your neighborhood can bare – and whether you live in a more modest, middle class or affluent community.

For example – If your home is valued at 350, 000 and your plans are to gut your kitchen space (without any structural changes) by replacing all cabinetry, appliances, fixtures, flooring, countertops and supplementing electrical – and your plans are to move in a couple of years then I’d suggest keeping the cost of the project within 20%. (So spending 70K would be a reasonable investment) And typically a kitchen remodel will have a return on investment of anywhere from 75%-100%.

The Cost vs. Value Report

To really take a peak into the renovation market I highly recommend checking out:

  • Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report is a fabulous resource where homeowners can compare national and regional averages for about 33 home remodeling and renovation projects in about 80 cities.
  • It provides you with a description of the average projects in your area of the country – which allows you to gage where your project falls within your area – and what kind of ROI you could expect.   Click on 2011-12 Cost vs. Value report and zero in on your corner of the country.  It will list the renovation trends of both mid-range and upscale projects.
Contact us at 310-788-0990 to discuss your visions for your dream home renovation!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

The Charm of A Home Library

March 31st, 2011 by Lori Gilder | 6 Comments

If you are a voracious reader with a book collection to prove it – then it’s time to create a retreat within your home where you can “unplug” from the daily grind – and decompress and relax among your favorite books.   And what better place to do this than in a home library.

Decorating a room with books never gets old.  It provides warmth and character to the space instantly drawing you in.  Relaxing among books  somehow warms our souls as we surround ourselves with longtime friends and curious adventures.

Whether your home is spacious enough for a dedicated “library”, a mini- library or a transformed  corner of a room– there are a few key elements to keep in mind:

  • Designate a quiet area within your home where traffic is at a minimum.
  • Take inventory of your collection and assess whether the newly designated wall space is able to house them all – if not pick those in the best condition and donate the rest.
  • Make sure that this space is able to tolerate floor to ceiling bookshelves and the excessive weight of the books it will hold.
  • Prevent the shelves from bowing by increasing their thickness to 1 ½” thick.
  • Design the shelving to reflect the style and integrity of the home and have them fastened together and scribed to the wall for greater strength.
  • Select a material and finish that best showcases your collection. (Shelves painted a dark blue or black allows for the books to pop)!
  • Provide a functional floor plan/layout. Have the shelves easily accessible with ample seating to curl up in.  A simple furniture arrangement such as a pair of oversized chairs, sidetables and lamps may be all you’ll need.
  • The proper lighting in your “library” will have a great impact over the space – and highlight your gorgeous collection. The combination of natural, general  (overheads, preferably on dimmers), task  (lamps with tri-light bulbs) and accent lighting (lighting shelves, plants, art etc.) will provide you with the best overall result.

Home libraries can be implemented anywhere.  So take a good look around your house – and see if any of these locations work for you.

  • Beneath the stairs
  • In a hallway
  • Around doorways and windows
  • Within the living room
  • An unused corner of a room
  • Loft or upper mezzanine landing
  • Bedroom
  • Family room
  • Home Office
  • Dedicated library retreat (its own space)

These deep dark shelves highlight the colorful collection – and the table and chairs vignette functions perfectly!

Photo: Cote de Texas

Incorporating window seats and bookshelves into this hallway immediately transforms it into a highly functional and beautiful space.

Photo via Patricia Gray Blog

This ideal home library nestled directly beneath the stairs fits in seamlessly with the overall design of the home – creating a multi-functional living space.

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Here is a clever use of space in a very quaint room.  The shelving wrapping around the entrance frames the doorway, highlights the neighboring space and creates a focal point within the room.

Photo via House Beautiful

I just love the dark cabinetry offset with rich bursts of red.  The lower base cabinets visually anchor the tall shelving unit.

Photo via Southern Accents

A stunning two-story library showcases the owner’s extensive book collection and the home’s spectacular architectural styling as well.

So where is the best place for your library space?

Stay Inspired!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2011 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

Beautiful Space Saving Details

March 22nd, 2011 by Lori Gilder | 2 Comments

Space can be at a premium these days and maximizing every square inch can really make a big difference.

I love to incorporate “niches” of all kinds into my design projects. These recessed nooks, crannies, cubbies and alcoves (or whatever else you’d like to call them) can be integrated anywhere in your home and instantly adds a charming detail and focal point in whichever room it occupies.  A niche simply defined – could be a recess within a wall (which is ideal for extra storage and/or highlighting your collections) – or a recess, angle or obscure nook within the architecture of a room itself.

So take a look around your home to see how you can make the most of your space by creating that ideal niche or nook to fit into the favorite room of your house.

  • Could you utilize the space beneath your stairs for display shelving, a bar area or reading nook?
  • Is there ample wall space in your foyer or hallways to create that niche to showcase or highlight your favorite object or piece of art?
  • Do you have a window alcove (a projected bay or bow window) in your living room, dining room, kitchen or bedroom for that ideal banquette or window seat? If so make sure to provide large storage drawers below the seat for easy access to your supplies.
  • Is there sufficient space within your living room or family room walls to recess bookshelves?
  • If you’re renovating your kitchen have you considered incorporating a recessed niche with shelves over your stainless stove to create a unique focal point?
  • How about some beautiful display niches within the decking of your bath tub or vertically within the walls located at the head and foot of the bath?
  • Does your laundry room/mudroom provide you with enough storage?  This would be the ideal area to introduce niches and cubbies for sports equipment, backpacks, heavy outerwear and dog supplies.

Here are some fabulous ideas in all design styles to inspire you!

Photo: via Southern Living Magazine

The crisp white walls enveloping this reading nook clad in bead board – and the simple molding of the seat’s base compliments this cottage’s casual and style.

Photo: via Cococozy                Designer: Vanessa de Vargas

This integrated wall niche becomes more of an architectural element in this modern home and simply showcases the pure elegance of the glass vase.

Photo: via House Beautiful

This very charming window seat/banquette spans wall to wall and is tucked into the recess of the gorgeous garden window.

Photo: via Elle Décor                           Photographer: Simon Upton

Here the formal living room maintains its sophistication and elegance by keeping it simple.  Painting the interior of the display niches a deeper color – provides instant drama and allows the objects to pop – which ultimately creates a striking focal point within the space.

Photo via Remodelista

Here a series of uniform niches to store various sundries is both practical and attractive in this pristine bathroom.

The design possibilities are endless – so next time you’re looking for a little extra space, include a niche into your room or better utilize those nooks and crannies!

Stay Inspired!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2011 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.