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

Junior League Kitchen Tours – Sneak Peek #1

Hello, my name is Jennifer Steward and I don’t write blogs… Though I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Pam Kennedy, owner of 1235 Brownell, and I became super inspired to write this one. I have to tell you, driving through the adorable suburbs of Glendale, walking up to Pam’s house, I had every intention of walking into a traditional, classic kitchen. However, as soon as I walked in- BOOM! Color everywhere, outside-the-box design, open & inviting all hit me at once. I had an ‘AAaahhhh’ moment- never judge a book by its cover.

In speaking with Pam, I discovered that her contemporary taste started at the young age of 8 when her parents took her to a contemporary subdivision to look at display homes. ‘I knew as soon as I walked into those homes that contemporary was my style. All my life I lived in traditional décor that just simply wasn’t me.’

It took Pam over a year of research, and making sure the last kiddo was out of college before pulling the trigger to make it all come to life. ‘The backsplash is my favorite part! I walked into so many tile shops before finally seeing what I wanted!’

This house is a must-see. Be happy that Junior League is making this opportunity come to life- perhaps you’ll be inspired too!

The Junior League hosts “A Gathering Place” on April 21st.  For more information about the Tour and to purchase tickets, please click here!

Area Rug Inspiration By Victoria Dreste

Thinking of buying an area rug? What will it do for your room?

A rug can define the areas of a large room. It can add definition to a small room.

Color, pattern and texture are important elements in interior design. An area rug can add each of these to a room. A rug. of course is about texture. A beautiful rug over a tile or wood floor adds texture and softness. The texture is also great for acoustics and ambiance.  The texture of the rug will absorb sound and create a more comfortable room.

The color palette for a room can be determined from the colors of a rug you love and purchase. In the rug you will find the colors for walls, furniture, window treatments, lighting and accessories.  If you choose a rug with a strong pattern you can add furniture and fabrics in solids and still have an interesting room.

A rug with a pastel palette enhances the look of this creamy white room.

The deep green of the walls is an accent color found in the Peacock patterned rug.

The classic key pattern is updated for this contemporary rug.

A beautiful blue fretwork pattern adds elegance.

The green leaf pattern with a brown background grounds the room and establishes the color palette.

A monochromatic modern setting is brought to life with a bold, bright area rug.

A traditional Ushak pattern in deep blue is a wonderful contrast to the aged pine table.

A rug with a lovely floral pattern is complimented by deep teal walls and white furnishings.

In this room the rug is there to compliment the beautiful, rich wood of the walls and furniture.  The pattern is interesting but it doesn’t overwhelm the space.

The vibrant swirl pattern adds boldness to an otherwise sedate room.

Modern elements in a traditional setting bring an updated, fresh style.

When adding an area rug find one that you love. You can design your room around your amazing new purchase.

Photos from The Rug Company You can see more from Vicki here.

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.


“Gray’s Anatomy” by Kimberly Reuther

Gray is a significant neutral color that often gets overlooked in favor of the more dramatic black or the happier camel shades.  However, this year, gray is the belle of the ball.  It is enjoying a resurgence in fashion, home design and luxury style.  So, what makes gray such a fabulous color and how do you use it in your home?

The color gray is unique in that the two extremes evoke completely different emotions.  The lightest shade of soft silver is cool, airy and works with fresh color palettes.  Deeper, more intense shades of gray offer new possibilities to a space and provide nurturing comfort.  Another selling point is the color’s ability to play well with others.  Introducing a pop of color (almost any color fits) creates a more dynamic and inviting space.

Another wonderful attribute of this color is it’s ability to transcend defined styles.  Gray can be rustic, masculine, sensual, rich, velvety, casual, contemporary, modern, feminine, traditional, and the list goes on & on.  It is also a wonderful backdrop for colorful artwork as well as a popular choice for candid & architectural photographs.

In light of all these qualities, how can we live without it?

If you are still unconvinced, here a few photos to illustrate my points…stay tuned for Q & A after the images.

Q. What if I don’t want to paint my walls gray?

A.  Painting is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a color, albeit temporarily, into your home.  However, not all of us are up for the task at hand.  These images are examples of ways to add punches of gray without hiring a painter!

Q.  Do I need to stick to a neutral palette if I want to use gray in my home?

A.  Absolutely not.  If you love color, then by all means, infuse your home with color.  Gray elements can provide a balance to your color choices as shown below.

Q.  How much is too much gray?

A.  Partly that is determined by the shade of gray you choose and how much you love the color.  Remember, gray is a neutral so it can serve as the main backdrop with splashes of white or color as accents.  There are no hard and fast rules when determining your color scheme.  Most of it is made up of personal preference.  Get inspired by the photos below.

Previously posted on AT HOME’s website.  View the original post here.  Read more about Kimberly’s work by visiting her website.



Which Roman Shade Are You? – Kimberly Reuther

Roman shades are basically the chameleon of window treatments.  They can conform to almost any decorating style, window size/shape, they have top down/bottom up features, blackout lining, cordless options for child safety, the list goes on and on.  So, how do you determine which one fits your style, home, and personality?

Here, I’ve broken down the basic five types of Roman shades to correspond with specific lifestyle and decorating tastes.  As I stated before, they are a chameleon breed so there is no hard and fast rule to follow.  Just trust your instincts and imagination to select the best choice for your home!

Classic Roman Shades – relaxed americana style, painted, weathered furniture, twill slipcovered upholstery, casual, whimsical accessories, kid-friendly spaces, crisp color palettes, cottage stripes, farmer’s market, coastal indulgences

Flat Roman Shades – sophisticated decor, understated elegance, clean lines, tailored furniture, rich wood finishes, neutral palettes, drum shades, contrast banding, semi-formal entertaining style, cocktail hour, natural light, low-pile wool carpets

Relaxed Roman Shades – shabby chic feel, subtle toile patterns, feminine lines, relaxed refinement, antiques, soft, natural linens, abundance of pillows, billowy fabrics, fresh flowers, fragrant candles, Parisian influences

Soft Fold Roman Shades – classic, traditional style, opulent silks, velvets, and damasks, leather sofas, warm wood paneling, nailhead details, turned legs, formal entertaining, masculine environments, architectural features

Solar Roman Shades – modern power couple, minimalist accessories, sleek furnishings, art displayed like galleries, linear forms, bold accent colors against neutral backdrops, lively dinner parties, open floor plans, cutting-edge technology

If you get stuck, consult with one of our talented team of designers!

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

Style Defined: Modern vs. Contemporary by Kimberly Reuther

You see a cocktail table and fall in love. You wonder if it would work in your home. You try to describe your home to the salesperson. He/she asks “Is your style modern or contemporary?” Your mind scrambles. Am I modern or contemporary? How do I know? How do I define my style?

This scenario probably plays out in your head every time you head out furniture shopping or when you are browsing through magazines. When shown a photo, chances are you know if you like the design aesthetic right away. But if you are asked to describe it, you are stumped. I’m not a designer, you think…how would a designer describe my style?

Relax, design is very hard to define, especially in the context of your personal style. The beauty of style is just that, it’s all yours to define. That being said, there are some basic design principles to help differentiate the elements of each style.

Let’s start with two that are often used interchangeably but, I believe, are in fact very different: modern & contemporary.

Contemporary design gained popularity in the 80’s and is usually characterized by unusual color palettes, graphic patterns, slick surfaces, asymmetrical designs and rounded forms. Lots of stainless steel, lucite and polished marble details abound in this style. You also will be hard-pressed to find a straight line with a multitude of curves and irregular shapes dominating the scene.

living room

living room

glass doors



Modern design elements, on the other hand, have been around since the mid-century and go in and out of fashion as design trends evolve. Modern fundamentals are often represented by clean lines, grounded color palettes, warm wood tones, symmetry and balance in the space. Striped area rugs, linear patterns and natural elements contribute to an overall uncluttered aesthetic.



dining room

living room


Modern design has most recently become incorporated into the mainstream by way of the hospitality industry. Think crisp, clean “hotel” bedding and spa-like suites that leave you craving the same style in your own home. Who doesn’t want to feel like they are on vacation 24/7?

hotel room

As I mentioned before, the great thing about your style is that it is all yours to define. You can pull elements from both contemporary & modern design and have a cohesive home.

But we will leave that for a future discussion. Right now, I’m heading off to my “hotel” bed!

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

DIY – Chevron Pattern Dresser – Kimberly Reuther

Those who know me best are well aware of my ability to envision possibilities in almost any space and are always pleased with the finished product. However, knowing my visionary ability means they are also cognizant of my low tolerance for detail work and executing these visions myself.

Therefore, when I conceptualized transforming this drab dresser into a modern classic a mere 2 weeks before my Habitat for Humanity deadline, I received a lot of eyebrow raises and not a lot of paintbrushes raised. Which is not quite what I had hoped, as I am also acutely aware of my shortcomings. But alas, I couldn’t let my weakness (nor sleep) stand in the way of my imagination.

See before shots of the dresser and a pillow which provided inspiration (and most of the eyebrow raises, I confess).

before shot


inspiration photo

Luckily, my dad was willing to help with the basecoat of paint and then turned it over, in his words “you’re on your own, kid”. He didn’t want to touch that chevon pattern with a ten foot pole. Neither did my aunt, the queen of DIY projects, who I thought would surely have some sage advice.

So, I guess it really was up to me…hmmm, where to begin? On top of my habitat project, I had quite a few other things on my plate and didn’t have a lot of time to devote to getting this completed. The first few evenings were spent trying to get the dimensions of the chevron pattern down and figure out a template to apply the contrasting color. I painted the drawers white and was using the orange as the contratst. I would give you pointers but I honestly don’t know how I figured it out and I threw away the paint-crusted template as soon as I was done. I got so frustrated at one point that I almost gave up. The template moved while I tried to apply the orange paint which required 6 hours of touching up the white and creating “edges” where there were none. My dad came back on the project to apply the clear coats and the handles since I had run out of time & energy!


chocolate paint coat applied

chevron pattern on drawers!

After all the work, I am very happy with how the dresser turned out. The homeowner is extremely pleased as well. I don’t know that I would attempt it again but I feel proud that I was able to execute my vision on my own. I now have a much greater respect for other DIY-ers and especially my dad. Thank you for the help!

finished product - voila!

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

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