Archive for Monday, April 9, 2012


Refresh a room: Tips from a pro

April 9, 2012

Editor’s note: In December, Go! asked for participants who wanted a room in their home made over. Wanda Breeden was looking to update her breakfast nook. Trish Van Vliet of Stylish Staging provided her services for the redecorating.


The two-story brick home in Centennial neighborhood, near Lawrence High School, was built in 1863 and is on the Kansas registry of historic homes.

Wanda Breeden loved the face-lift she and her husband gave their circa-1985 kitchen, but the 6-foot-by-10-foot eating nook that is attached was uninviting and unused.

Wanda wrote to us that she wanted the space to be cozy and comfy without being “too cutesy.”

It held a drop-leaf oak table, a family piece she loves, but it was too tight of a squeeze with four chairs, and she couldn’t make it look right with the leaves down. The bench needed repainting, as the decorative painting color didn’t match, and she didn’t know which way to go with the space.

“I would so love to have professional advice on my little space!” Wanda told us.

I talked with Wanda about the flow from the kitchen into the eating nook, the use of colors in both of the spaces, the pieces of furniture and the curtains.

I suggested removing all pink accents as well as most of the furnishings in the space; small spaces are more inviting when they feel roomier. The furniture in the space was pared down to just the table and two chairs.

The hand-painted white and pink bench, the white cabinet and the pink and white curtains were removed.

I also recommended changing the wall color for added contrast and to bring attention to the lovely windows. Sherwin William’s “Hopsack” was selected and provided a darker background, making the painted woodwork “pop.”

Next, I chose a new accent color — black — which was drawn from the kitchen cabinet hardware and countertop. When you have connecting spaces, limit your accent colors to two or three and repeat those colors in the adjoining space. It will add harmony and flow to your rooms.

Wanda purchased two vintage chairs at Locust Street Marketplace and recovered the seats with a beautiful stripe that incorporates the wall, trim and accent colors. The round oak table was a gift from a cousin, so it has sentimental value to the couple. In the near future, Wanda plans to refinish the piece to give it a fresh new look.

A few other accent pieces were purchased to create a vignette for the table top: a glass vase with greenery, silks and twisted branches, purchased from Consign & Design, 925 Iowa; and a decorative black and cream piece, purchased from BeBe’s Cottage, 835 Locust St.

The clock used in the vignette had been purchased a few years back, and the artwork selected for the space is a beautiful watercolor of Plaza fountains painted by Wanda’s husband, Randy, 35 years ago.

Wanda was thrilled with the new paint color, which created a darker background and highlighted the windows in the breakfast nook and the cabinets in the kitchen. My suggestion of black as an accent color brought a new look and feel to the space and helped create the harmony and flow from the kitchen into the eating nook.

Wanda loved how the space was transformed by paint and a few accessories and the addition of a couple of chairs, spending very little money yet achieving her goals for the space.

She said her favorite part of the process was having a professional with a different point of view and fresh eyes helping her create the cozy comfortable spot for her to have her morning coffee.

“I am thrilled with my new space,” she said. “What once was a room that was an eyesore I avoided is now my favorite place to sip coffee and read the news. I am so grateful for Trish’s help — her fresh and professional perspective is just what I needed!”

— Trish Van Vliet can be reached at 856-1200. View her work at


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