Design 101: Embracing the Recliner by Kimberly Reuther

Ladies, we are going to discuss a topic today that you are very familiar with yet want to avoid at all costs.  Yes, I am talking about the recliner, a piece of functional furniture that is seemingly a vital organ for the men in our lives.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a “man-cave” in their home where they can relegate such offensive pieces of masculinity.  So, we hope to integrate a piece of furniture that is both comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing into our living rooms.

Gentlemen, you are in luck, as the assembly line of products at our disposal is increasing in style and attractiveness.  Here are a few tips and pieces to inspire you to go shopping!

1. Incognito: For me concealing the recliner is key to integrating it into the space.  The design of the chair should stand on its own with the other pieces in your room.  This one from West Elm is probably my most favorite chair/recliner in recent history.  The wool fabric with baseball stitching is phenomenal.

2.  Leather, leather, leather: This is similar to the phrase “location, location, location”.  Quality leather upholstery will stand the test of time and will always add a level of sophistication to your room.  If you choose wisely, like these classics from Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, you will be able to enjoy your chair for years to come and won’t regret your purchase.

3.  Fit & Function:  Obvious to guys, we must pay attention to how well it fits our physique in relaxation mode.  These 2 options from Room & Board offer different back heights, which is key when reclining and supporting your head comfortably.  Testing out the chair before you purchase is recommended, but not always an option.  However, measuring your room and allowing enough space for the chair to properly recline is essential.

4.  Make a statement:  Instead of an eyesore, the recliner can actually be the most intriguing piece of furniture in the room.  For instance, this recliner from Design Within Reach was modeled after a luxury airline seat.  It reclines to 4 positions and comes in an array of leathers and fabrics.  Not to mention, it looks flawless.

5.  Design is in the details:  When choosing a recliner, just like any other piece of furniture, the details can make all the difference.  Nailhead accents, baseball stitching, bold colors and unique bases/leg options all add a bit of personality to your furniture choices.  These options from Vanguard, Thomasville and Lee Industries are all great examples of stylish recliners.

Hopefully, this ends a few debates in your household!  Happy designing!

This was previously posted on AT HOME’s website.  View the post here.
You can view more of Kimberly’s work at

Here are the links to the above recliners:

Room & Board 
Harper Recliner
Harper Tall Back Recliner

Normandy Recliner
Tate Recliner

Lee Industries

Design Within Reach
Flight Recliner

Pottery Barn
Manhattan Recliner

Hightop Recliner

Restoration Hardware
Lancaster Recliner

West Elm
Sedgwick Recliner

Color Pop: Using Bold Citrus Accents by Kimberly Reuther

Summer is such a fresh time of year!  If you are like me, you may be obsessed with bold citrus hues this time of year.  The vibrant colors are on par with the blazing sun and the days spent poolside.  Why not infuse a bit more of this color into your home?

Here are examples of how to make a bold color statement with aqua, tangerine, apple and lemon.

Tip: using neutral tones around the accent color allow it to make the appropriate statement.  It also lets your eye “rest” when absorbing a strong color.

Tip: It’s not important that the bold color exactly match the other hues in the room.  It works better if the color is much brighter than the other elements in the space.

Happy Designing!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  You can view the original post here.

Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

From White Box to WOW by Kimberly Reuther

Most of us love, or at least appreciate, architectural moldings and finishing touches in our homes.  However, not everyone’s home is “born” with these elements.  I am often asked how to decorate a room that looks like a white box.  Bare walls, no moulding, basically a square.  While seemingly uninspired to some, for designers this is a wonderful challenge.  We get to create!

Here are my ideas to help differentiate your space from every other “white box” on your block!

– First, you could experiment with adding simple elements such as a picture ledge.

These can be installed at various heights depending on it’s desired function.  In this instance, we did the shelf along one wall above the headboard and the pictures and objects are within reach to change out regularly.

In the second photo, the ledge was installed higher up on all 4 walls as a purely decorative element.  This is great in a contemporary home that doesn’t have crown moulding.  Make sure you allow enough space for a mirror or TV to hang on the wall.

– Another idea is to add really special elements that don’t make you miss the architectural details.  These uniquely beautiful pendants make a statement all on their own.

– Just because you don’t live in a loft doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the look.  This home is in the middle of a brand new development outside of San Jose.  No lofts for thousands of miles.  The brick wall adds a much needed urban element to the space.

– A basement is really an extension of your home and offers much needed entertaining space.  Boring white walls and extra high window sills left this vast lower level feeling lifeless even after the furnishings arrived.  My solution was to add beadboard paneling up to the windows on 2 major walls.  We painted it a rich caramel color which tied into the color scheme and immediately warmed the whole room.  Topped off with a picture ledge full of personal accessories and this room has been transformed into an inviting family space.

– Another area to consider is the coffered ceiling.  More often than not, the builder stops with just the soffits that step up.  Adding in crown moulding and even painting an accent color will make such a finished statement to the room.

Some of these projects you could tackle in a weekend, others require a professional.  With the right amount of imagination, you too can be proud of your home’s unique appeal!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

The Right Stripes by Kimberly Reuther

How do you feel about stripes?  I personally think a room isn’t complete without a stripe fabric, rug, etc.  Stripes are a fundamental part of design. They can change the look of a piece of furniture or a room by being bold or subtle.  Stripes can be edgy, playful, modern or sophisticated depending on the size, color and placement.

So, which ones are right for you?  I’ve compiled a group of beautiful spaces using stripes to their advantage.  See if this helps you narrow down your options!

A well-tailored room gains energy from the striped rug.

This bold cabana stripe awning is the perfect backdrop to the colorful furniture and lush plants.

Wide horizontal stripes along with moulding accents blend beautifully with the baroque elements in this room.

This playroom screams enthusiasm partly due to the varied colorful stripes on the wall.

I love how this traditional room is transformed by a bold color palette and the vibrant striped rug.

This sofa from Crate & Barrel is like a men's suit, handsome and timeless.

This is not your grandmother's sofa. Reupholstering an antique in a modern stripe is the perfect juxtaposition.

Skinny stripes form a soft balancing backdrop for a room that is full of collected pieces.

Another great example of a bold stripe on a traditional piece of furniture.

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

Real Simple: Ideas for Simple Glass Vases by Kimberly Reuther

Ahh, it’s spring, the season of fresh flowers and fresh ideas for your home.  No doubt, you’ve been cleaning out cabinets and getting rid of things to prep for the summer months.  If your cabinets are like mine, you have a multitude of glass vases  from flowers being sent to you.

But that’s where you get stuck.  How do I display these simple vases without shelling out money every week for fresh flowers?

Here are a few examples for spring parties or everyday arrangements for spring.

1.  Ultra simple, white candles and rocks.  White candles come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you should have no problems finding one to fit your vase.  You can add rocks to anchor the candle and the result is an understated addition to your dining table.

2.  Collected works.  Scavenge your home or garage sales for mis-matched vases of a similar color scheme.  No need to add fancy flowers, wild flowers from your garden add a hint of nature while the vases make the statement.

3.  Add pops of color for super cheap!  Plain old food coloring, water and white candles mixed together and voila!  Instant centerpiece!

 4.  Fresh flowers aren’t out of your league.  Buy an inexpensive mixed arrangement and break it up in many different vases.   One flower per vase can look beautiful, it’s all about how you arrange it.

5.  Who says vases are for flowers?  Use what you have around your house or garden to fill the vases and add color to your table.  Lemons and limes are great because they are small and vibrant.  Use your imagination and make it up as you go along!


Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

Spotted: Industrial Chic Barstools by Kimberly Reuther

We are seeking different.  We want to have a conversation starter when friends admire our homes.  We are seeking unexpected touches to add to the mix.

Enter industrial chic barstools!  They are popping up everywhere!

But how do you know which one is right for you?  They can be used in both modern and traditional settings and these images are great examples to help you decide!

barstool from West Elm

barstool from Wisteria

barstool from Restoration Hardware

barstools from Crate & Barrel


Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

Style Defined: Modern Glamour by Kimberly Reuther

If you are like me, you’ve become accustomed to a certain amount of “bling” in your life.  From sparkly cocktail rings to sequined pumps, the dazzling effect gets us through the dreary winter days.  As is the cycle with fashion and design, this has spawned the return of a pre-depression era design trend.  Glamour and luxurious goods were mainstays of the post-war 20’s both in fashion and homes.  This time around, we are opting for glamour with a modern twist.  This is such a beautiful design style and done right can look timeless, not trendy.  I could talk for hours but I will entice you with a few photos instead!

1.  Texture: First and foremost to achieve modern glamour, you have to pay attention to textures.  Luxurious velvets, satin, silk, fur all play an important role in evoking the glamourous feeling.  However, be sure you are balancing these appropriately.  You wouldn’t go out dressed head to toe in satin and sequins…well maybe you would but only on New Year’s Eve!


Bedroom Inspiration

Notice the warmth of the floors compared to all the velvet, satin and gilded textures in this room from Traditional Home.

2.  Pattern & Contrast: Bold patterns can contrast off solid pieces to add interest.  You can also use intense color accents or the combination of black and white which is always pleasing and equally dramatic.

Bathroom Inspiration

Here is a bathroom from House Beautiful which demonstrates this contrast nicely; also note the metallic square pouf!

3.  Sparkle:  A lady needs plenty of mirrors to reflect her best self!  Glamour wouldn’t exist without reflective surfaces, shiny objects and shimmery fabrics.  Pick wisely, know when to say when.  It is often advised to eliminate one piece of jewelry before leaving the house.  Use this as a guide when adding “bling” in your home.


Dining Room Inspiration

This photo from a design blog is a great example of the appropriate amount of sparkle; keep your focus on one main element and you can’t go wrong.

4.  Balance:  Glamour begs for over the top tufting, ruffles, curves and modern prefers sleek lines, understated textures.  Keeping them in balance will ensure a timeless look to your space.

Living Room Inspiration

The different lines and textures complement each other in this photo from Horchow.

5.  Expect the unexpected: Make sure you are incorporating interesting elements throughout the space.  Use white patent leather on a traditional wing chair, add in a pop of bold color or show off your collections of diamond studded skulls.  Whatever makes you happy and defies convention is sure to be a conversation starter.


Living Room Inspiration

This image from Les Choses de Marie illustrates my point.

6.  Final touches:  Indulge in your fantasy of lounging in a beautiful robe while your husband mixes you the perfect dry martini.  Include a chaise lounge and/or a mobile bar to remind yourself to relax and enjoy life even as chaos surrounds you…maybe this is just my fantasy!

Chaise Lounge

This sleek yet comfortable chaise lounge from Williams Sonoma Home fits the bill perfectly!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  View the post here. To see more of Kimberly’s work, visit her residential design website here.

Tips on Achieving Balance by Kimberly Reuther

Who doesn’t need more balance in their lives?  We are all seeking the right combination of work and life, income and expenses, needs versus wants.  In design, we are striving for a balance of scale, proportion, and textures in the rooms we create.  In addition, there is an increasing desire to balance aesthetic appeal with function, especially in the case of technology.

Here are a few photos and tips on achieving balance in design.


Tablescape at Pottery Barn

This dining room tablescape illustrates asymmetrical balance of shapes and textures.  The cream and silver color scheme is punctuated with pops of green.  The slender tapers add height without being overpowering and their form is complemented by the spheres below.


Art collage in stairwell

An art collage of this scale is balanced by the larger photo in the center.  The variation of frame colors and mat choices combined with the lack of color in the photographs creates a cohesive grouping.


Loft Display by Kimberly

Balance in this room is achieved via color and texture.  The rough composition of the brick walls combined with the warm wood ceilings is contrasted by the sleek white furniture and lighting.  The butter and putty color scheme enhances the existing concrete and natural maple woods.  To avoid an overly stark, minimalist space, we added the playful circular themes in the art and bedding.


Modern Living Room by Kimberly

This client had a unique affinity for clean lines and brocade design elements.  We incorporated solid, modern furniture pieces with a few touches of the French-inspired elements to constitute harmony in the space.  The damask wallpapered panels take the place of art and balance nicely with the scale of the walls and the furniture.

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME magazine. View it here. View more of Kimberly’s work here.


“Come & Knock on Our Door” by Kimberly Reuther

Holiday Tips for Your Front Entrance

There’s a quote, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Never is that statement more true than at the holidays as you prepare to welcome dozens of guests and proudly showcase your home in all its festive splendor.  By now, you’ve brought out box after box of ornaments and garland for the tree, you’ve traded your first born child for the dining room centerpiece, and you’ve tucked beautifully wrapped packages in every nook of your home.  But don’t forget your front door & walkway as this is truly the first impression of your home.

Here are some tips and photos to help you make it just as stunning as your interiors:

1.  Think outside the circle.  Yes, the typical circular wreath can be beautiful on your front door and there are so many varieties.  But why not do something more unique?  I love this idea of using stockings on the door; it adds so much personality.  I’m also always a big fan of the coned swag which complements the shape of your front door.


Twigs & Moss Swag


Front Door Inspiration

Williams Sonoma Tree Wreath

2.  Make a statement.  Again, this their first impression so don’t be afraid to go overboard with ribbons, garland, lanterns, hanging ornaments, oh my!  Add details to your existing architectural features or just make it up as you go along!  Incorporating elements into you walkway makes a cold walk to your door much more inviting!

Make a Statement


Twigs & Moss Inspiration

Extend Your Entrance

3. Be organic.  It’s outside so it doesn’t need to look like a staged holiday card.  Make it asymmetrical, add a few branches and functional elements.  Forge a ribbon out of tree bark, or add feathers for a bit of unexpected whimsy.  As long as it reflects your personality, you can’t go wrong!

Feathered Wreath Idea

Twigs & Moss Bark Wreath

Rustic Inspiration

by Kimberly Reuther, Interior Designer & Founder of DesignSpeak (previously posted on AT HOME’s website).  Read more of Kimberly’s blog posts here.

Photos courtesy of Twigs & Moss and Pottery Barn


Bottom Line: White Kitchen Countertops by Kimberly Reuther

You’ve seen them everywhere lately, it seems.  No, I’m not talking about holiday decorations (although that is true, too).  I’m talking about white countertops, mainly marble.  They are in design magazines, on TV shows, in hotels & restaurants and even your neighbor’s newly renovated kitchen.  They are beautiful and alluring yet you are wondering if they are right for your home with 3 kids, 2 pets and a less than tidy husband.  But mainly you are asking yourself, “what’s the bottom line?”.

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Here is some insight into the more popular choices and how they work with your lifestyle and your budget.

White Marble: Marble is a very porous natural stone and is less durable than granite, which is why it is isn’t commonly used in American kitchens.  It is prone to scratching, staining and chipping.  While it is very beautiful, there is a good amount of maintenance that keeps it looking that way.

All natural stone needs to be sealed (and re-sealed periodically) to keep out moisture and resist staining but it is not an impenetrable shield.  You have to be more careful with marble and acidic liquids (lemon juice, red wine) which will stain or etch the marble.  Also, some bath products, like sugar scrubs will etch marble.  It is a good idea to always use a cutting board, both to protect the sealer and your knives as well as guard against bacteria.  Lastly, use hot pads or trivets to protect the stone from heated cookware.  Of note: most marble is available polished or honed (matte) and has a variety of edge options.

Before you get discouraged, keep in mind that Europeans have been using marble for sculptures, building facades and of course countertops for centuries.  It has proven that it will stand the test of time, it just won’t look the same as the day it was installed.  Here are two of my favorites:

Carrera Marble: This is a more readily available white marble with a slight grey cast.  Slabs will very greatly from light grey to a mid tone grey.  There is a lot of soft movement in the dark grey veining; some slabs maybe more “busy” than others.  It is very important to hand-select your slabs to your personal taste.  Carrera marble looks beautiful with polished nickel fixtures and is available in a range of coordinating tiles to complete the space.

Price Range: approx. $70 – $80/sq. ft.*

Close-up of Carrera Marble

Carrera Marble Bathroom Countertop

Calacata Marble:  If you are looking for a creamier white marble with warmer, taupe or camel colored veins, this is it.  These marble slabs are more exotic and therefore come with a much higher price tag and possibly longer lead times.  You also want to hand-select this stone as it has a lot of variation.  Nonetheless, from a designer’s perspective, Calacata marble has such an exquisite aesthetic that it almost doesn’t compare.

Price Range: approx. $120 – $150/sq. ft*

Close-up of Calacata Marble

Calacata Marble Kitchen Countertop

Quartzstone:  Manufactured quartz has become an increasingly popular choice in recent years, for both commercial and residential projects.  It is more durable than granite, does not have to be sealed, requires little or no maintenance, is anti-bacterial, has multiple edge options and some colors even include recycled content.

Manufacturing stone to give it the best possible features & benefits is a little like gene mutation to me.  However, once I saw slabs of this installed, I was very impressed.  I do think the granite-looking color choices need a bit more work but they have really excelled at the marble and limestone alternatives.  In fact, they keep getting better at it.  I often refer clients to explore these options as alternatives to white marble if maintenance is a major concern.

Price Range: approx. $65 – $95/sq. ft.*

Caesarstone Misty Carrera: One of the first of its kind and still a favorite.  It’s soft grey background with darker grey veins has a subtle movement that fools the eye into thinking it may be marble.  It is available in both honed and polished finishes.

Close-up of Caesarstone Misty Carrera

Caesarstone Countertop

Zodiaq Bianco Carrera: I love this because they have succeeded in adding large scale movement to a manufactured product.  It is also of the creamy white family which is rare to find and is equally stunning in traditional or contemporary applications.

Close-up of Zodiaq Bianca Carrera

Zodiaq Countertop

Concrete:  Want something more modern & less busy? I have to mention this because I am also a fan of this material for several reasons.  I own a white concrete countertop (2 years & counting) and it is beautiful and durable.  It was manufactured by a St. Louis company and it is made of concrete in the form of a powder.  They are able to make any color out of a paint fan deck, can make integral sinks, and have several unique edge options.  They mix it together, mold it, put a sealer on it and deliver it just like a regular countertop, no on-site pouring.  It is not porous so it doesn’t need to be resealed as often as natural stone, it is stronger than granite, has recycled content and is made here locally so it is very good for the environment.   I had them do a custom “pure white” for me and I love how the color turned out.  Of note: different finishes are available but there is no movement or veining in this product.

Price Range: approx. $70 – $80/sq. ft.*

My white concrete countertop

Bottom Line:  Americans tend to base their selections on how well things “age” and we are inclined to replace things without letting them age “gracefully”.  Keeping longevity and your budget in mind will help you make the best selection for your lifestyle.

*Note: pricing by square feet is for general use and is best for budgeting purposes.  Actual pricing for your project depends on a lot of variables including size, cutouts, edge options, color, etc.  Pricing estimates provided by CK Concrete, Hallmark Stone & ISC Surfaces

Originally written by Kimberly for AT HOME’s website.  View the post here.  You can see more of Kimberly’s work here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...