Formal and Comfort DO Work

“Good afternoon everyone, my name is Chana, people call me Dr. Design, I’m a designer & I make people feel better about themselves. Join me as I blog my way through Monday.”

(I took the above quote from a mildly well known plastic surgeon whose wife was my client for this lovely job.)

We all love make overs because they’re the best. You get to watch ugly rooms turn into beautiful rooms. You get to watch rooms reach their full potential and it’s magical. I will admit I live vicariously through my rooms. If one of my rooms is living up to its potential, I feel like I am living up to my potential but then I look down and realize I’m wearing leggings & sneakers and haven’t worked out in weeks, oopsy. While I’m sharing with you, I will say when transforming a space for a client I feel like I am breathing new life into their space and as a result into them. They now feel more content about the space they live in and are happier. Some people have called me a savior but I feel like that’s probably a stretch. I would say I’m more like a Messiah, delivering people from internal misery through design. But I don’t like to restrict myself with labels so let’s stick with designer who also provides a spiritual experience, or something like that.

So a while back I posted part of this home and you can find that over here.  Be prepared to gain a lot of knowledge and insight.

So let’s get started

A lot of people think having a formal space in their home is not a real option if you want the space to also feel comfortable and to them I say a big,  trump “wrong.” A beautiful,  more sophisticated room can and should be comfortable as well.  The trick to achieving this is choosing pieces that are durable (leathers,  polyester based fabrics) and more seating less accessories.  When creating a formal room that also needs to function with kids I tell clients to focus their attention on interesting furniture pieces.  For example,  invest in a beautiful floor plant rather than throw pillows. Invest in pretty pictures or art rather than cute vases. Invest in a rug over beautiful table lamps. That way you’re creating a space that feels more “adult” and is still kid friendly, kind of.

My two most important tips are

  • Choose a strong wall color that will make an impression.
  • All fabrics are ok as long as you treat /scotch guard them before any small hands get anywhere near them. And when splurging on velvet- get a polyester based velvet because almost anything can be taken out of a polyester velvet.

Look I gave you three tips , not two. I’m amazing.

This was the starting point, I just want to point out, I’m including “before” pictures to get more compliments on my work and for no other reason.


This space is the official formal living room used mostly over the weekend when entertaining and a room that is only slightly welcoming to kids. It’s welcoming to kids the same way my husband listens to me talking. He’ll nod and say “right” over and over again but hes’s refreshed his phone so many times, his own thumb stopped scrolling, looked at him and said “really man?”

Goals for the room:

  • Add Color
  • Add more seating
  • Update the style- more modern, fresh
  • Find a better way to showcase art
  • New window treatments
  • Area Rug
  • Want the space to feel more welcoming over all



Here’s where I started

Take One-


I loved this color color/ style combination. I wanted the space to feel more alive without being overwhelming. However for the client this felt too edgy, it was in the right direction but the emerald green was a lot riskier than she wanted.

Take Two-


We both loved this one. This felt updated while also being traditional. The client felt like it properly expressed her style and what she wanted, in the end we only made slight changes,


I switched in the emerald green for the mint green. I was in love with the color combination of blues + greens, the client was ok with it (I’m completely kidding, my one and only priority is always the client) – did that sound convincing?

In the end, the dark grey, mint green and pops of blues were the perfect combination and really elevated the whole room.



The plan was originally to put the wallpaper on this wall behind the mirror to  make this wall the one big WOW moment. Once the mirror was up and wallpaper came in, the wallpaper was just way too busy & distracting for this wall so instead we found another solution. Before plastering it all over the wall, we changed our course and found a new spot for this wallpaper.


I am so happy with the way it all turned out. Even though I didn’t plan for it, I am so thrilled with the way it looks combined with the blue gallery wall. Sometimes planning for something, waiting for it to be delivered, seeing that it doesn’t work, calling your husband while having a panic attack, pretending you have it under control in front of the client, and then coming up with a new plan is so awesome.


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