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Fine Living: Reinvent Your Home’s Interior

Marin Independant Journal

With the holidays over, now might be a good time to refocus any decorating efforts toward a refreshed look inside your home. Many Marin residents are taking their cue from realtors who have learned that professionally staged interiors create a more appealing dwelling. In fact, it often becomes so appealing that the homeowners decide to stay.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone with a good eye could come into your home and, using your belongings, turn it into a more beautiful space all in one day? Here are two design teams who do exactly that.

Transform your decor

“People who live in their homes want the designer look as well as people who are selling their homes,” says designer Yvonne Lowry of Transform Your Decor, who with San Francisco designer Alycia Freeman redesigns Bay Area interiors. Both were trained by and belong to IRIS, a national group of design specialists who focus on applying a designer look to existing furnishing and accessories.

Staging a home for sale was the request of one San Rafael woman four months ago. “We sent about one-quarter of her furniture to storage, reconfigured the remaining furniture, moved artwork, regrouped accessories and the house sold within a few days,” Lowry says.

Then they helped her move into her new Ross home. “We had the whole house set up in two days – the rugs and furnishings were arranged, the artwork hung and the kitchen organized,” Lowry says. “After that, we gave her a list of accessories and other items that would look great in her new home.”

The two designers also arranged a home featured on last year’s Tiburon/Belvedere Valentine’s Day Kitchen Tour. “The owner had just moved in,” Lowry says. “They did a great job on construction and fixtures but all the furnishing came from their last house. We turned the house into a cozy, inviting house by rearranging the dining and living rooms so the energy and flow weren’t blocked and then brought in some accessories.”

That’s what they did for another Tiburon family two years ago after a big renovation. A year later, the family asked Lowry and Freeman to work their magic in the family’s chateau in France. “It’s a beautiful place but it needed some pulling together,” Lowry recalls. “We looked at all of the elements and the architecture and even bought some accessories. Every house can benefit from something new and fresh.”

People become frustrated and give up, Lowry has learned. “They try hard but they just can’t always pull it together,” she says. “Because we do it on a daily basis, we see right away where the sofa should go and which pictures should be grouped together and which accessories would look great.”

By the time someone calls her, Lowry says, “they’re ready to make a change, to let go of things. They want their house to look better but they may not want to work with an interior designer.”

So Lowry and Freeman rearrange furniture, paying attention to scale and traffic flow, finding the right balance so one room flows well into the next, adding beautiful touches and editing accumulated decorations and furnishings for harmony. They might pull in rugs, furnishings, artwork and accessories from closets or other rooms.

“We keep moving and perfect as many rooms as possible, usually the common rooms and a master bedroom,” Lowry says. “We generally redesign the whole house and we work fast, so people are always surprised with the difference they see when they return. We give the house a unique look that sets it apart.”