Editor’s note: Beginning today, we’re kicking off a new monthly feature that will focus on local interior designers and their ideas for choosing color schemes, furniture, art and an overall design style or scheme. Today we focus on Kriste Judd, who has been an interior designer on the Central Coast since 1978, working with both residential and commercial clients.
Kriste Judd’s designs have a million-dollar look, but not always the accompanying price tag.
“Very few clients plan to, or have the means to, purchase all new furnishings and finishes,” noted the Shell Beachbased interior designer.
When working with a modest budget, Judd finds ways to use items the homeowner already owns, often in novel or unexpected ways.
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She starts the process by clearing out the room as much as possible. This includes all of the accessories that may be muddling the true character of the room.
“Especially in bookcases, hutches, etcetera, it’s easy to just keep adding one more thing and then we get used to it and don’t notice the clutter,” Judd said.
Once you have the room cleared, it’s a good time to spiff up the space with a thorough cleaning, and take on inexpensive projects such as repairing walls or repainting.
When it’s time to replace items, take the time to examine each piece individually.
“You may need help from a friend or family member with a good eye — or better yet a professional interior designer — to keep you from just putting everything back the way it was,” she said. “You may find that the room or space looks just fine or even better with half of what was originally in it.”
Take this opportunity to reevaluate your window coverings as well. Remove any draperies, cornices and shades that aren’t serving a function like providing privacy or light control.
“You may find that the cleaner, simpler look with no fabrics on the window is a nice change,” said Judd.
Once you’ve weeded out items that are worn, broken or don’t add anything to the look or function of the room, push yourself to let go of more. Some accessories can be put away and rotated seasonally. If you can’t bear to donate meaningful items, like heirlooms, gift them to another family member.
When replacing furniture, take the time to try out new arrangements. Or swap furniture and accents with another room. Both tactics offer a fresh look without any outlay of cash.
If you do need to buy new pieces, consider what is worth splurging on and where to save. Judd believes it is perfectly fine to mix low- and high-end goods — if it’s done carefully.
She suggests spending more on items that are used daily such as sofas and upholstered seating, dining and coffee tables, and beds. Shop for bargains on lighting, accessories, and seldom-used furniture, such as pieces for the guest room.
Where to find those bargains? Judd looks everywhere, including chain stores, vintage stores, furniture stores and online purveyors.
“I’ve actually found window covering solutions at Kmart that, with minor modifications by my drapery workroom, I had installed into a client’s very expensive custom home and they loved it,” she said.
She has mixed custom pillows with ones from Marshalls. She has purchased high-end light fixtures for highly visible areas, such as entryways and dining rooms, then purchased fixtures for less prominent areas, such as hallways, from hardware stores like Home Depot.
Judd also realizes that some of the best pieces are not found in a store. In her own home, she uses repurposed items that have personal meaning. She has given new paint finishes to an old dresser she used when she was a child, her grandmother’s sewing cabinet (now a bedside table), and a piecrust table her dad made in high school woodshop class. She has decorated the living room coffee table with a dried-up shrub that she stripped of its leaves to make a mini tree. Placed in a large glass vase full of rocks, it shimmers with crystals from her late grandmother’s chandelier.
“Using these pieces, whether they are heirloom quality, or not, does mean a lot,” she said. “It makes your house a home that is uniquely yours.”
Kriste Judd Interior Design: 709-3585, http://www.kjuddinteriordesign.com.