• Dining Room After - 2


Meet our Designer Kelsey Gray!

Kelsey has been with Interior Impressions for 3 years.  We are thrilled to feature Kelsey and one of her current projects in this month’s blog!

Kelsey, where did you grow up?

I was born in St Paul and grew up in Arden Hills

How many siblings do you have?

I have one older sister, Jena

Are you married or single?  Children?

I am single and no children.

What inspired you to pursue a career as an Interior Designer?

I’ve always been interested in interior design. I was always rearranging my bedroom growing up. My parents are both in creative fields, so it’s always been a part of my life. I didn’t really have an “ah ha” moment. I believe it was just sewn into me from the beginning!

What makes you unique or in other words how do you stand out in a room full of interior designers?

Most people don’t fall into one design style. They like a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Often it’s when they’ve gotten frustrated trying to mix styles on their own that they seek our help as designers. I can’t even count how many times I’ve told clients that they are not alone! There is a fine line between hodgepodge and eclectic. I’m here to keep you on the eclectic side of that line! Anyone can go into a furniture store and buy a matching room set. That’s no fun! Who wants to live in a furniture showroom? I ask lots of questions to get to the root of what my clients want both functionally and aesthetically. From there, I put a mix together that tells their story.  I resonate with this quote:

“I see myself as a storyteller. Clients hire me to write their biographies, but instead of words I use fabric, furniture, architectural elements and of course personal items to them.” Meredith Heron, Interior Designer

What is your favorite design style?

Eclectic! I love mixing patterns and textures, antiques with modern lines, glam and rustic. I feel like a room really starts to tell a story then.

Brit (Interior Impressions Designer) and I always laugh that we would have the most adorable matching houses. We like the unexpected mix of dramatic pieces.

Let’s play “What’s Your Favorite”…ready, set, go!

Season: Summer/Fall

Color: Charcoal gray and peacock blue

Wardrobe Staple: LBD and heels

Indulgence: Girls Nights. Wine + Cheese + Chocolate + Heart to Heart conversations with your best friends = time well spent!

Vacation: Ultimate bucket list vacation – shark cage diving off the coast of South Africa

App on your Phone: I just got a new phone and downloaded the Couch to 5k app. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but it’s a step in the right direction, right?!

New Trend: I love that navy blue has made a comeback! I treat it like a classic neutral. Navy goes with everything!

Shade of Lipstick: I rarely wear lipstick, but I always have a mini Origins lip gloss with me

Restaurant: Anywhere with a patio on a sunny summer day

Blog Signature-Kelsey

I’ve been working with a family who purchased a home in the beautiful area of Lake Elmo.   This home was sold by the original owner and had been built following the trends years ago.   The family felt it was time to make some updates that reflected their style. Since this is not their forever home, they didn’t want to take on a drastic remodeling project. They simply wanted to freshen things up. That’s where I came in to help!

We started with the home’s entry. The existing hardwood wood floors were in perfect shape so we kept them as is. We simply added a fresh coat of paint, new artwork and a beautiful rug. The entry way sets the tone for the entire home.

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Before: Entryway

After photo of the entry

After: Simple touches make an impact

The Dining Room had green carpet with an outdated border and burgundy textured walls. This made the space feel heavy and dark. We started with what the owners wanted to keep: the light fixture and built-in hutch stayed in the space.

Dining Room before photo - 2

Before: Dark Dining Room

To lighten up the dining room we installed new carpet in a neutral pattern as well as a fresh, light color paint on the walls. The paint and carpet alone created a spacious, airy feel in the room. To add interest to the room we wallpapered one accent wall. This provides a focal point that is viewable from the entryway.   Custom stationary drapery panels over a sheer panel add a touch of elegance to the more formal space.

Now it was time to add new furnishings – it’s like adding the accessories to your outfit! We chose an open metal base and glass top table to make the smaller space feel larger and open. Upholstered chairs finish the look. To update the existing hutch, we swapped out the existing shiny brass hardware for an updated oil rubbed bronze to coordinate with the furniture. This is an inexpensive update and ties the entire room together.

Dining Room After - 2

After: A much more formal arrangement

I couldn’t wait to refresh the living room! We knew the built-ins and fireplace wall would stay. The rest of the room had to go – tired carpet, old sofas and faux finished walls. The family had recently purchased two upholstered chairs that became our color palette inspiration for the entire living room refresh!

Living Room Before photo

Before: The Living Room

The huge windows are the first thing you notice as you walk into the front door, so we wanted them to be main focal point!   Window treatments are the belle of the ball for this one! It was important to choose coverings that did not distract from the beautiful panoramic views of nature. We looked at the option of simple stationary panels on their own or a valance. These on their own didn’t feel quite right, so why not incorporate both!  We added Hunter Douglas Silhouettes which provide sun control on the lower windows. To break up the long horizontal line of the valance, we incorporated waterfall panels over the cornice board.   Again, not to impede on the view, we went with a more sheer, textured fabric for the panels.

Living Room After photo

After: Living Room Refresh

We installed the same color/style carpet as in the dining room to keep consistency in the main living areas. We also ditched the faux painted walls and added a nice warm neutral to refresh the room. With the floors and walls being neutral, the family decided to choose loveseats in blue! I love when clients are not afraid to do something besides grey or tan for their main upholstery pieces! These blue loveseats give the space a breath of unexpected fresh air! We added a sofa table behind the loveseat. The table coordinates with the dining room set and brings the two rooms together nicely. If you notice the loveseat floats in the middle of the room. Adding a sofa table to the back of the loveseat helps ground everything and provides a point of interest. To finish off the room we added a few new fun accessories, mixed with the client’s existing to fill in the built-ins surrounding the fireplace. Just like we did in the dining room, we replaced the shiny brass hardware with oil rubbed bronze.

Last but certainly not least we tackled the Powder Bathroom.   Powder rooms are traditionally small, but can be incredibly impactful with thoughtful design!   The pink walls had to go! This is a perfect spot to add pattern to all 6 walls to make not only a design impact, but to literally lighten and brighten the space. We chose a classic floral pattern with a light background – the result is stunning!

Powder Room before photo

Before: Powder Room

Powder Bath After photo

After: Powder Bath gets papered

In the end, we Refreshed vs Remodeled with paint, carpet, window treatments and accessories. We kept all existing cabinets and refreshed with new hardware. The results are fresh, light and beautiful!

Stay tuned for phase 2…the sunroom makeover!  I can’t wait!

If you’d like to see additional photos from this Refresh Vs. Remodel Project, please click on this link:


If you’d like to Refresh or Remodel, please contact us at Interior Impressions.  We’d love to assist you!  http://interiorimpressions.orgcontact/