My husband Michael always jokes that I am never one to back down from a good challenge. If someone tells me something is impossible or simply can’t be done, I can’t help but want to prove them wrong! I think this love for pushing the limits has also translated to our team at Laura U Interior Design. One of our favorite challenges as of late was a home that had fab structural potential, but needed some brightening up to create a cohesive look that was equal parts livable and luxurious.

Our design philosophy at Laura U centers around creating looks that draw inspiration from the past while also considering current trends. This transformation is the perfect example of a space that previously consisted of lots of opulent, dark wood and furniture that created an extremely formal feel throughout. While we think this look can absolutely work for some homes, we knew this home had the potential to really be transformed into an updated, yet timeless design in each room.

I’m particularly proud of this project and am so excited to show off the finished product! Read on to see the process of this timeless transformation unfold.

Dining room designs

Cutting the Clutter

When I first saw the formal living room, I immediately recognized the potential in the space. From the floor to ceiling windows to the patterned hardwood floors, there were so many special parts of this room that I knew we needed to find a way to highlight rather than completely change.

The fireplace mantle and surround already had lovely character so we didn’t touch it. But, we also didn’t make it a focal point. It is a perfectly rich layering element in the room. We kept the palette light throughout and then let the ceiling do the talking. It is painted in a deep minky-gray which pulls out the colorful tones of the rug and fabrics we chose. The majority of the upholstered pieces are in light cream which further brightens the space. With this sophisticated, light, bright, and neutral ground we then injected our bold pattern and color in the accent chairs at the fireplace, the trim on the drapery, and the throw pillows on the chaises and sofa.




Living room designs

Adding space

The home had a lovely dining room in layout and scale, but it felt just a bit small with the original round table, large console and heavy chandelier. The burgundy drapery wasn’t helping our cause either. Our mission: lighten the space, make it feel airy, and tie it perfectly together with the formal living room.

First, we determined that a custom oval dining table suited the room much better. This elongated style made the space instantly feel more open. To create continuity, we used the same minky-gray paint on the ceiling in the dining room and continued our light and bright palette throughout.




Dining room designs

Consistency is Key

When we approached the design of the kitchen, we wanted to work with the layout we had rather than completely rebuilding everything from the ground up. Our first challenge was tackling the cabinets. To me, this was the perfect way to update the space and create a look that the homeowner really wanted.

We decided to paint the perimeter cabinetry and the outer island in a crisp, clean, bright white. The incorporation of glass in the upper cabinetry flanking the cooktop made the space feel lighter and more spacious and introduced a pretty design element into the room. The central “prep” island stands out in a gorgeous deep stained wood that carries the tones from the home’s original doors and mouldings into our new design.

We also played with mixing materials on the countertops and used a different stone on the “prep” island to add interest to the room. We just love the result!




Kitchen Designs

Master Sanctuary

When I finally enter my master suite at the end of a long day, I want to feel like I am going into a tranquil space where I can take a deep breath and fully relax. The original master bedroom was stunning with its high ceilings, but I knew we had an opportunity to create a room with a much more peaceful atmosphere.

We first space planned the room by using furnishings that felt better for the scale of the overall space. The new selections are lighter, lower-slung, and cleaner lined. I can breathe easier already! Our major furniture pieces are in solid colors without busy patterns so, when we began to source our drapery fabric and area rug, we went for a structured pattern and a damask, respectively, to liven up the design. Just as we did in the dining room, we left the existing fireplace mantle and surround in place. I love how the seating area turned out with the fireplace as a textured backdrop. Our last layer is in the deeper jewel tones of the accent pillows, throw blanket, and bench at the foot of the bed. Overall, the room is serene, quiet, and romantic.




Master bedroom designs

I live for renovations and the before-and-after’s that are the result. Our client’s home was an absolute delight to design and I hope it’s given you some good ideas for how you can update your own space. For more design inspiration and tips, check out my Pinterest and Instagram!

  • XO, LU