Smart Design Changes With Lasting Impact


Article by Taylor Rice

Photography by Meg Rice

Making updates to your home doesn’t have to mean tearing out everything and starting over. In fact, I hope it doesn’t. 

There is a time and place for a full gut renovation,  but it isn’t always necessary. You may have cabinets that are in excellent condition, but maybe they’re tired, dull, or lacking fresh color. Maybe your window treatments are stuck in the nineties, feeling heavy. Or, maybe you tried the ‘all gray everything” trend and realized the lack of charm and the gloom it brought your home. 

I finished a project in 2023 that was a perfect example of this. The home had bounties of natural light, a spacious kitchen and dining space, and a living room sized for plenty. However, it didn’t feel this way when you walked in the front door. 

The kitchen cabinetry was in great shape, and it functioned, but needed new companions. We refreshed the hardware, installed new quartzite countertops, and brought in a beautiful, matte, stone-look backsplash. 

The laminate flooring in the kitchen and carpet in the living room separated the spaces to a point where it didn’t support open flow and conversation, and was missing a feeling of togetherness. The homeowner loves to enjoy time with friends and family and an open concept plan was needed. We replaced all the flooring with a durable, engineered hardwood and the space was already feeling larger and definitely more inviting.

The third impactful change was modifying the fireplace wall. It had a horizontal, drywalled mantle on the whole, entire wall which made the ceiling feel low. We removed that mantle and carried the fireplace stone all the way to the ceiling. What an immediate impact that made. Drawing the eye up creates a space that feels taller. A new, stained mantle was installed over the stone. We had it stain-matched to the existing kitchen cabinetry, and looked meant to be!  

To fully finish the space, we installed new window drapery, lighting, artwork, rugs, and added in new furniture pieces to coordinate with what was already there, and working. And of course, fresh paint. 

Good design isn’t supposed to be forced. At Mysa Design Group, we take pride in honoring original character, good bones, being sustainable, and really understanding what our clients need to function better and to enhance their lives in their homes. 

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