I take a lot of pride in selecting a lot of the finishes and making custom changes to our home. After all, it’s our space and I wanted it to feel ours. However, I could not have gone through this process without our incredible interior designer, Toni of House Sprucing. Before Johnny and I signed the contract for our house, we started compiling a list of interior designers who could help us bring our modern, traditional and contemporary vision to life. It did not take long for House Sprucing to be our final choice. I’m so excited to team up with her in today’s post to share some interior designer insider advice on how to get a luxury home look, sometimes without that luxury price tag!
Toni is an invaluable resource. Before our phone consultation in October, I compiled a Pinterest board to send her with what we liked. It only took her about a minute to narrow down our style, which is New Traditional or Transitional. It’s a blend between modern and contemporary but has classic touches. She helped us choose the perfect white paint for our home exterior and sent us to our new home design center meeting feeling confident.
MAKE CUSTOM CHANGES
Even if you are building a home that isn’t custom, most builders will allow you to make changes here and there that’ll make your home feel more custom. Toni can draw up these plans for you to give to your builder so they can execute exactly what you want. A custom home was way out of our price range, but thanks to Toni, we got more than the “builder basic” and this rings true in our kitchen! Instead of upper cabinetry all along the wall, we removed two sets of cabinets flanking the range. Putting in open shelves here really gives a luxury home look without that price tag.
Another custom change we made in the kitchen is removing the “butler’s area” next to our refrigerator. Toni instantly sold us on having an appliance garage, aka a place for all of our small appliances to live, still be accessible but tucked away. Let’s face it, Vitamix blenders, hot water kettles and most rice cookers are just not cute. Plus, they take up a huge amount of counter space. We created a custom appliance garage with sliding pocket doors. Don’t forget to ask your builder to put in an electrical outlet! When we move in, Johnny will build a custom sliding drawer unit so we can easily slide our rice cooker out when it needs to let out steam. We decided to wait to do this rather than have the builder fabricate it for us because of cost and we wanted the measurements to be exact.
SPEND MONEY ON THE “JEWELRY”
One piece of Toni’s insider advice I quickly took to heart is to invest in the “jewelry” of the home. What does this mean? Let’s take the kitchen for example. A more affordable way to get a luxury home look is to spend more on hardware. We are getting solid brass hardware because you really can’t beat the quality. After going back and forth on whether to go with black or brass, we’re going brass! Getting beautiful hardware, a kitchen faucet and pendant lights can really jazz up a kitchen and make it look so much more expensive. Toni says no one will notice cheaper tile if you spring for these jewelry pieces. “Our eyes go to where they are drawn, so draw people’s eye into the subtle finishes that make ALL the difference,” Toni says.
Also, don’t be afraid of going a little bigger. Toni suggested we get 6-inch pulls for all of our cabinets and drawers, 12-inch pulls for our big drawers and knobs for our ceiling cabinets to mix things up! If you want more of a traditional look, she suggests putting knobs on cabinets, but since we’re more modern, we want the clean lines. I’m putting all of our hardware, faucets and lighting for the kitchen below.
GO WITH A NEUTRAL BASE
You really can’t go wrong with white. Toni says a neutral base will allow you to accessorize and accent with trendier items to get you that luxury home look without costing you a fortune. We put Extra White on the wall and Pure White on the trim by Sherwin Williams and I love how it’s the perfect white without yellow tones, yet doesn’t come across as sterile.
In the kitchen, Toni says white cabinets will always look amazing. Our cabinets are painted Pure White by Sherwin Williams and let me tell you, it’s just perfect. Remember, you can always swap out hardware down the road for a different look or style out your kitchen with different accessories such as cookbooks, mixing bowls or cake stands.
Subway tile was a must for us and according to Toni, it will never get old. We opted for a longer tile that’s 4×12 and love how it adds a sleeker look. There’s also a 4×16 look but we decided that’s where we were going to save our money. There’s also a lot of great-look tiles that aren’t actually marble for a third of the cost for the real deal. Plus, don’t forget marble is porous so it can stain a lot easier than other stones. Our second bathroom tile is marble-look, not marble and still has that look. Also, our island isn’t marble either. We got a gorgeous slab of quartz for our waterfall island and it makes such an impact in the kitchen. We definitely would not have been able to afford that in marble!
I hope this blog post was helpful! Our house is our biggest investment so you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck! I also did a walkthrough IGTV video with Toni over on my Instagram, so be sure to check it out for a little more detail into the thought process behind the design of our home.
Toni is available for big and small projects. She can totally design your whole house for you if that’s what you’re looking for. Or, if you’re like me, help send you recommendations when you are stuck. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t have done the design center meeting without her. She really helped us with decisions when it came to price, including what was worth spending on and what wasn’t. If you are building a house, want to refresh the one you have, or go through a renovation, I highly encourage you to reach out to her! Be sure to tell her I sent you!