Friday, July 27, 2012


Happy Friday everyone.

Today is the day I reveal the project I had been working on in Central Florida for the past several months.

I had met my clients through a mutual friend during their birthday party. She had mentioned her "mancave" home and how she desperately wanted to red update the great room. She knew of me as a writer, illustrator, and artist, but not an interior designer.

She was thrilled when I told her how I would recreate her space. Without even seeing the home, I was hired. I am one of those people that have a sixth sense about what a client wants. It is a gift and I am very thankful to have it.

A few days later I arrived at the lovely riverfront home. Nestled between two rivers on a small barrier island, this brick and timber ranch looked quite polished from the outside. With lush landscaping the "A" framed home welcomed me.

My jaw dropped as I entered. What I had faced was the nightmare my client had described ... only ten times worse. It was like walking into a time warf. Dry cedar, hung diagonally on each EVERY wall. The unfinished cedar-beamed ceiling sparkled with frosted popcorn... YUK! The sunken living room, affectionately know as "THE PIT" was surrounded by cedar fenced railings, with only a small opening to descend the two steps into it.

The heavy stone fireplace LOOMED over restricted space. It seriously looked like something you would see outdoors.

As my eyes glanced around the dark burgundy leather sofa sectional weighed down the room even more. The space was split in two- floor wise- half terra cotta tile, the other half a soft cream colored carpet (the only light thing in the space).

The dining furniture consisted of even more wood... oak this time, ranging from the 1930's to the70's. The crowning jewel was the etched paneled 70's chandelier.

The kitchen had been remodeled about six years prior, but the paper screamed 80's and the very heavy burgundy stools added even more weight to the NINE FOOT breakfast bar. No backsplash had been installed, only more of the dated wall paper.

Now don't get too discouraged. I certainly didn't, the space HAD AMAZING bones and potential. Two eight foot sliders and one six foot slider opened up to a stunning huge patio, pool with birdcage screening, and an AMAZING river view.

The space was open with four different sections. My job was to marry these four disjointed spaces into one stunning cohesive, functional, and modern space.

After my eyes adjusted, we signed the contract and a second later I was on my iPad. First things first ... get rid of the ugly huge leather barstools. Within fifteen minutes I had ordered six fabulous new low-rise contemporary ultra suede and chrome stools.

This was the first of MANY purchases. My clients wanted EVERYTHING new.

Believe it or not it took me some time to convince them to pull the cedar and drywall the space. The next feat was to scrape the popcorn off the ceilings and refinish and seal the beams. That took a while too. After 23 years in this space, they had a hard time finally letting go. But, I knew they were up for it. Once the demo started, their excitement rose.

Well are you ready for the Pics? I guess I have talked enough. Pictures speak louder than words.

I will show you two before and two after. Again the space is huge ... about 2000 sq. ft. I don't really have a good after pic. The kitchen was too cluttered when I was taking my pics. Not too much work was done in their anyway.

Prepare yourselves .... And now .... here they are!

As you can see this is the kitchen and dining area. SO MUCH WOOD....

Now for the afters....

This is my favorite pic ... and yes ... this IS the same house!

This pic is a daytime pic with a glimpse of the kitchen backsplash and new kitchen island stool.

Here you can see the heavy leather sectional and the Danish recliner, which is the ONLY piece of furniture the client insisted on using. 

Here you get a good feeling for the "Pit."

In the "after" pic two things are missing, the window treatments and fireplace glass enclosure. They are installed now, but not at the time I had left.

Now the afters. The pit literally has been transformed with the stone demoed and replaced with drywall and gorgeous glass tile.

Here is a lovely view from the dining area facing the living room and the Pit on the left. Notice the lovely custom railings i had designed specifically for this space.

A close up of the PIT... Isn't the fireplace stunning? I also tied in a LOVELY 19th century Seth Thomas clock in with this new contemporary space. 

Mixing a few choice pieces adds personality and warmth to contemporary spaces.

Well I hoped you enjoyed the shocking remodel. After ten weeks of countless hours I have two very happy clients.

Remember everyone, you too, can change your space. No matter what period your home was build in, you too, can transform your home. With proper planning any transformation can be done, even on a limited budget. Believe it or not, I was able to do this WHOLE remodel, including EVERYTHING including electronics for less than it cost for me to remodel my kitchen four years ago. It's amazing how prices have come down and depending on your geographical region, you can do something major for any budget.

Have a great weekend everyone... I'll be dropping by, still catching up with old and new friends.


  1. Wow, it hardly looks like the same house! So much lighter and more spacious now. You do excellent work, Michael.

  2. I am so impressed! I'm not a visual person at all, but I love looking at before-after pics like this. It really doesn't look like the same space! Amazing job!

  3. No wonder you were in Florida for so long. The changes are incredible.

  4. Wow! What a stunning change! It looks so beautiful and so open!!

    Diagonal cedar boards on all the walls ... somebody invent time travel so we can go back and slap that designer upside the head ...

  5. Lite, airy, spacious. I like the changes. I'm sure your clients are thrilled.

  6. Your clients must have felt oppressed in that dark, closed-in home. You have opened it up for them with the bright, airy change-over. You have every right to be proud!

  7. Gorgeous! LOVE the updates. So glad that panelling and popcorn ceiling are gone!! Nicely done!

  8. Eeeeh! I'm squeeing because it looks so gorgeous. What a lucky client you have. Do they just love it?!?

  9. You have a taste for the elegant, much better than the man-cave.

    I like a lot of white, it opens up the spaces.

  10. Looks like I chose the perfect day to stop by your blog! LOVE the photos. It all looks amazing. You did really well!

  11. Wow, Michael. You're amazing! :)

  12. Wonderful, Michael! Thank you for sharing this with us!


  13. Wow! You did an absolutely phenomenal job. I so want to live there!

  14. That is absolutely beautiful. When I get a home it will most likely be dated. I'm going to plan on a 100,000 dollar remodel because I want something that looks like this. I want modern. I cannot believe how bad some people's taste is. It's absolutely crazy.

  15. What a change! It looks wonderful, I'm not surprised your client was thrilled!

  16. It looks so different. What an amazing interior design job!

  17. I love seeing before and after photos like these. Such a breath of fresh air after all that wood. It looks like a resort space, now! Congratulations, Michael!

  18. WOW Michael! You are talented - that's absolutely amazing. What a massive difference! You must be so proud. I hope you are!

  19. wow. Massive improvement. It does look like a whole new place! What a fabulous job you did and I'll bet your clients are thrilled with their new decor. I would be :)

  20. now, about that kitchen of yours ...I don't suppose you have any before and afters?

  21. Oh wow Michael! Impressive! Awesome!
    I'd love to know what your sixth sense would tell you about what I would want interior design wise compared to my hubby. It sounds like a great gift.

  22. Great remodel! I have those same wood beams throughout my house. In one room I painted the beams the same color as the wall to make that room brighter and it came out great.

    The fireplace looks amazing! Great job!

  23. “Well I hoped you enjoyed the shocking remodel. After ten weeks of countless hours I have two very happy clients.” Wow, Michael, shocking is most definitely the right word! And it’s no wonder your clients were thrilled!

    I tried to pick out a favorite part of the transformation but the whole thing is too incredible for me to narrow things down.

    Bravo. Truly beautiful work. :D

  24. Gorgeous, Michael! If I owned a home & could get you to fly out to Western Australia, I'd totally hire you too :)

  25. So fantastic Bro! Such clean lines and welcoming space. It must have been so fun to be able to do this! You are lucky to have been blessed with an eye to see beauty everywhere.

  26. That was awesome Michael :) I have been looking forward to seeing your design work. You have so much talent.

    What a bright, inviting space you've created. I'm so glad your clients agreed with the choices.

    Have a great weekend Hon.


  27. omg, Michael! LOL! Those before shots are AWFUL!!! UGH! But look how gorgeous you made the place! I'm literally breath-taken. You're so good at your job! Super congrats on a job well done~ :o) <3

  28. Stunning and oh so elegant! I love it and only wish you lived closer to me so I could have you design my house!

  29. The transformation is unreal! I can see why this project consumed you, so beautiful - they are going to be thanking you for the rest of their lives. Bravo. We need to get you your own TV show.

  30. Wow- that is a beautiful space now you've finished with it! You are one talented guy! Congrats on a stunning job
    Laura x

  31. OMGoodness, Micheal! You did an amazing job! You made it so much lighter and fresher.

    The house we had before this one had wallpaper (80's) in almost every room. If it didn't have wallpaper it had a border. It was so much work removing it, but it was well worth the effort. I doubt I will ever buy a house with wallpaper in it or put wallpaper up in a house. Paint is so much better.

  32. You are an interior decorating GENIUS!!! I am soooo impressed. Love the "afters"!!! Your color sense and style are great. :)

  33. very nice transformation! from being woody themed down to a modernized theme... I love the difference it became more cozy...

  34. woohoo... our dear Candice would be so proud of you, Mickey :)