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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Designer Suggestions for How to Incorporate…

Tips for Injecting Your Favorite Color into Your Interior

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured by Design Icons book

Did you know that your favorite color gives experts insight into your personality type? As an interior designer who’s been in over 1200 homes I can get an immediate sense of someone’s personality just by looking at the styles and colors of clothing in their closet or by walking through their home interior when we first meet.

You may be wondering how that’s possible, but all of us experience color in different ways as we progress through life creating an unique color story that’s all our own. Lea Eiseman, the world’s leading color expert and a regular guest on my former design show Living Large, shared why that’s true in one of her renowned color books, “…much of color knowledge is based on instinctive responses, cultural conditioning, and those aspects of color that we seem to absorb without much conscious thought.” Read on to gain insight about your favorite color, what it says about you, and ideas for injecting that color into your home’s interior.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

RED

If you love red like I do you live life to the fullest with a passion and intensity that others don’t possess. You’re exciting, daring, and spontaneous, but also have an inner drive to excel at everything you do. So how does that color translate into an interior design? The color red that we associate with blood, instantly raises your blood pressure and grabs your attention so remember that a little bit goes a long way in a room! 

In this great room orange red pillows and flowers pop against the white sofa creating an exciting tension and bold contrast, while the custom blue draperies we designed introduce a secondary color that’s cooler and more restful.

Alternately, soft pink lovers tend to be charming, peace loving, and romantic types who carry some of the same traits as the red/bright pink.

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Architecture Today Interior Design book

BLUE

An extension of sky and water, blue exudes stability and calm making it a perfect color for bedrooms or other areas where you want to unwind and relax. Lovers of this color tend to be dependable, responsible citizens who do the right thing. No wonder blue still remains the favorite color of men!

In this close up photo of a family room we designed, a watery blue pillow and candle join forces with rustic beach elements – a shell and rope – to create a wonderful ocean vibe in this space. 

YELLOW

Yellow like a ray of sunshine portrays warmth, cheerfulness, and optimism making it a wonderful hue for a cheery kitchen, sunny living area, or any interior lacking sunshine and warmth. Huge fans of yellow are optimistic, warm, and playful, while also being inquisitive and encouraging to others. 

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Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Design Icons book

ORANGE

As an orange enthusiast you share an enthusiastic zest for life, outgoing personality, sense of humor, bright outlook, and longing for adventure. Orange, known as the color of hunger, fits perfectly into a dining room or kitchen eat in area where you need some energy or more life. But that’s not all as you can see in this foyer where we sourced an original Mattini painting and pulled out the orange hue as as the main accent color on our custom designed rug, original ceramic art piece, and flowers, while also repeating a golden hue from the art on the wool rug and and handmade chevron wallpaper to add more interest.

Interior design by Karen Mills featured in Design Icons book

GREEN

Green, the color of nature exudes calmness and warmth, which makes it a great color for bedrooms or spaces where you need a more relaxed feel like a sun room, den, or library.  Enthusiastic fans of green are usually warm, kind, and charitable people who like to give back to their communities. Green fans also bring stability and loyalty as additional attributes.

Here in this stunning foyer we designed that was featured in the international Design Icons book, we repeated the blue green plates with branches overlaid on the white shelves to create a dramatic but also calm entrance into this third floor foyer aptly named The Flat after our client’s London home.

PURPLE

A complex and creative type of individual, purple lovers are fascinating observant individuals who often have a generous spirit and artistic flair. Purple, the favorite color of most children, also has a mysterious air about it making it popular with artists or creatives too. In interiors purple usually works best as a light or a very dark almost neutral hue wall color or as an accent in any shade. 

Interior Design by Karen Mills featured in Architecture Today Interior Design Book

BROWN

Brown personalities tend to be down to earth, stable, and in harmony with life around them, while still appreciating quality. Brown lovers like to keep things simple, secure, and peaceful, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cosmopolitan. Brown hues work great for your interior if you’re looking to create a grounded space that’s also cozy and inviting whether its a living room, dining room, den, or even a bedroom.

Beige, a lighter version of brown speaks of someone who is warm, reliable, and doesn’t often rock the boat. As a light neutral this color can be introduced almost anywhere including combining it with gray for a cool/warm color combination. 

Here in this stunning rustic great room we designed that was featured in the international book Architecture Today Interior Design, warm browns wrap around the room like a big hug, creating a welcoming feel.

White

Did you know that white is the sum of all other colors combined? Isn’t that amazing? As an interior designer I love that white can do so much in a room’s interior design from creating more contrast and bouncing light around a room to visually expanding it. But white also signifies innocence, cleanliness, and purity so you may notice that white hue lovers sometimes have the same characteristics in their neatly organized and well kept homes or crave the innocence of their youth.   

In this hearth area renovation we darkened the floors to contrast against the white walls and trim we introduced. Then we continued the white theme by slip covering dining chairs, upholstering arm chairs, layering in pillows with white backgrounds, putting in white/gray marble tile, and adding a table we had white washed that was formerly a door.

Gray

The gray personalities that I’ve experienced are content to be calm, cool, and collected. They prefer to stay out of the limelight, opting instead for safety, security, and practicality. That’s why I believe as an interior designer that gray color schemes have become so popular at home for years because this color creates a calm respite from the outside world and works well in almost every room.

In this gorgeous high rise master bathroom we designed, gray from the Italian marble style tile repeats again on the custom designed vanity and walls. White quartz counters, square knobs and a tiled wall enhance the look of this small but stunning space.

BLACK

Don’t know if you aware of this little known fact, but black is completely void of color, the opposite of white. Of course we all know that the black suit signifies sophistication and status in the business world, but black color hue aficionados are also confident in their ability to hold a conversation, clever in their communication abilities, and make security a top priority in their lives. Black is a wonderful color for interiors, especially when combined with white and can used throughout your interior from living, dining, and powder rooms to home theaters, or on doors/trim to create a dramatic look.

So what if your favorite color is a combination of two colors. If that’s the case, simply combine the traits associated with each color for a picture of your personality.

To summarize, colors whether worn or used in your interior reveal insight into your personality and life story. And when you utilize your favorite color in your home it can bring back wonderful memories that cradle you in comfort whether its on the walls, ceilings, floors or furnishings. 

For more great interior design ideas, sign up for our design blog here!

plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook  and Instagram now!

If you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, pass it on by clicking this link to City Lifestyle magazine where I originally posted this article, and then share or like it.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Selecting the Right Size…

A Designer’s Secrets to Picking the Right Rug for Your Room

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Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Best Living Room Rug Size – When calculating the ideal size for an area rug for your living room, try to find a rug that lays underneath ALL of your furniture in the room. But if you want to show off more floor or save money, you can also buy an area rug where only the front feet of your upholstered furniture sits on top of the area rug like shown here.
Karen Mills' rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen Mills

The last option and definitely least preferred by the interior design and rug community is to place a smaller rug in front of your sofa but not under the feet. Please note however, that this example is a larger rug that would actually work under the feet of the sofa and chairs nearby (not shown).

3 Tips for Getting Cozy with Area Rugs

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior design by Karen Mills

2. Best Bedroom Rug Size – Interior design clients often have a difficult time understanding this concept but a bedroom area rug should be large enough that it can be laid perpendicular under your bed just up to the edge of the nightstands without sliding under them and still have a few feet showing at the bottom of the bed like shown.

Karen Mills' blog rug example
Interior Design by Karen Mills

3. Best Dining Room Rug Size – As an interior designer I often see rugs that are just too small under the dining room table. Calculating this rug size can be tricky because you want two feet on each side of the table for room to slide back the chairs, but also need to ensure the final rug size fits into your space like the one shown here.

For more design ideas and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook  and Instagram now!

If you feel someone you know could benefit from this helpful information, pass it on.

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Biggest Bloopers Made with Basement Remodels

An Interior Designer’s Insight on How to Make Your Basement Live Large

One of the first things I normally see when entering a finished basement are the obvious signs that I’m in a basement. But that’s not what you want. You need to think of your finished basement as professional finished main level living space instead to create the ideal interior design. Read on for my 3 ways to improve the visual appeal of your remodeled basement.

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Interior design by Karen Mills

1. Not taking advantage of natural daylight – In this basement design we situated the bar area in a spot surrounded by natural light to make the space feel more like a main floor level interior. To further enhance the light airy feel we also designed the bar with white counter tops, used lighter paint colors and flooring to bounce more light around the room along with adding ample lighting.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior finishes by Karen Mills

2. Not hiding the telltale signs of a basement living space. –When finishing your basement ensure that you hide all horizontal ledges behind dry wall, disguise obvious duct work in the ceiling design, and cover all concrete wall niches or anything else that screams basement.

Here in this space we added wood flooring, artificial light, and and accent lighting to give this basement a first floor feel.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Lack of adequate artificial light – As an interior designer I can’t emphasize enough the importance of artificial lighting. Here we started with general can lights, added task lighting over the island, and then topped it off with accent lighting inside the shelves and under the cabinets to create a real wow factor.

Remember lighting is a major key to success when creating a basement interior design because lighting draws you into the rooms along with a professional finished look.

For more great ideas and photos on basement interior design or remodels, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating: 3 Tips for Picking the Perfect Paint…

A Designer’s Suggestions for Selecting Paint Colors for Your Interior

Paint color, one of the biggest issue faced by homeowners starting an interior design or interior decorating project is often an overwhelming task so today I’ve broken it down into three manageable steps for you to implement. 3 Reasons Why White Kitchens Stand the Test of Time

  1. View color swatches on a white background – When you’re ready to select paint colors for your interior, start by placing the color swatches on a solid white background to get a true reflection of the color before painting a large sample of the paint on your wall in the room where you want to paint. While making selections, ensure you’re wearing neutral clothing and don’t have bold colors nearby on walls or furniture that could reflect on your paint sample.
Karen Mills' blog
Photo courtesy of Kravet

2. Make your color selection during daylight light hours. And if its a cloudy day, look at the paint sample again on a sunny day to get the full range of changes that color will make as you transition from sunlight to cloudy to dark.  3 Color Scheme Options for Your Living Room

When selecting trim and ceiling paint colors, look to the lightest end of your paint strip for options along with whites. 

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. Paint large swatches of your paint selection on a backed poster board – All too often I walk in as an interior designer and see clients who’ve painted a light neutral over another color on the wall and the original color is bleeding through or distorting the new color. Once you have the board painted, place it against a neutral white background so you can view it during both daylight and after dark.

 But what if you don’t even know where to start with paint colors. Then pull inspiration from your closet, artwork, or a rug, for example. Then let the fun begin!


For more great tips on color and how to use it become of fan of our weekly interior design blog here


plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of Living Large, Karen Mills on Facebookhere!

or instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

A Kitchen Reimagined: Before & After

An Interior Designer’s Insightful Steps to Transforming a High-Rise Kitchen

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Interior design by Karen Mills

Because of a background in television I see everything through the lens of a TV camera. developing the story plot as I go to create a design that reflects both the architecture and the taste of the homeowners. But stepping into this early 1900s high rise for the first time I knew this interior design remodel project would be much more of a challenge, not only because of the tiny warren of rooms that revealed themselves as they zigzagged back and forth, but also because of the the challenges of redesigning this entire apartment within the confines of a brick building with limited access to the upper floors.

Entering the kitchen initially, I was immediately struck by how small, unappealing, and closed in I felt in the space, so I knew our team would need to remove some walls after reimagining the layout of the entire apartment for both function and aesthetics.                                                          

As we passed through the kitchen, we noticed a tiny maid’s room tucked beyond the kitchen with a window that would be perfect for enlarging the kitchen, while also bringing in more natural light. So our team began by tearing down the wall between the two rooms, while I determined how to best resize the disparate windows that would ultimately reside side by side in the kitchen.

Next, it was time to open up the kitchen to visually expand the space even more by tearing down a wall. The living room wouldn’t work because the wood-burning fireplace that was in the middle of that wall. That meant the only option left was the wall between the dining room and the kitchen.

But I didn’t like the idea of the kitchen just opening into a formal dining room without a place to relax, so we decided to move the dining room to the large living room where ample space existed for both functions. And then we made the former dining room a new hearth room.

Now we were ready to space plan the layout of the kitchen to ensure it would function well for our client, while also being inviting.

Interior design by Karen Mills

When space planning the kitchen, we made sure to include not only a functioning work zone, but also an island for entertaining guests with a mitered (chunkier) island and small chandeliers to add more emphasis.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills/Photography by 29Pixel Studios, LLC

In the main cooking zone, we added pegged drawers under the stove top for lids and pots, while also adding lit glass upper cabinets, a custom designed hood, and ran backsplash tile up to the ceiling to create a more dramatic look.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

At the far end of the kitchen was the former maid’s room with a slanted wall that couldn’t be removed for functional reasons. To resolve this issue, I designed a coffee bar cabinet and storage that hid the slanted wall complete with tuck back doors that opened to reveal the coffee area. Lit upper cabinets and large pulls complete the look.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

On the opposite side of the stove hood, we created a wine bar area replete with a wine fridge, a bar sink and lit glass front cabinets for wine glass storage.

For more great ideas sign up for our weekly interior design blog here!

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Questions to Ask a Remodeler Before…

Things to Consider When Procuring a Remodeler Besides Cost

Unfortunately as an interior designer I’ve heard countless stories from homeowners who’ve selected a contractor based on lowest price that resulted in shoddy work, an unfinished project, or even thousands of dollars of un reimbursable damage to their home because the contractor lacked liability insurance or they didn’t ask. Read on for my tips on what to ask a contractor before hiring.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen MIlls
  1. What qualifications/experience do you have with my type of project and can you provide references? For example ask if the contractor belongs to NARI, National Association of Remodelers or HBA, Home Building Association.
Lenexa interior design
Lenexa interior designer Karen MIlls

2. Can your insurance company mail a current copy of your insurance policy(s) before we sign the contract? Contractors should have liability insurance to cover any damage to your property and workman’s comp for anyone working on your home to protect you if they get hurt on the job so you’re not liable.

3. How do you charge? Normally remodelers give a bid/estimate of total amount for project minus any unseen issues or simply charge for time (hourly) and materials (products). If you want to buy materials yourself and just pay the contractor for your time, make sure they offer that option and that you can put a limit on the hours billed so project doesn’t get out of hand.

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Kansas City Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Can you complete work within my time requirements and may I have a written timeline/schedule of construction beforehand?

5. Will you provide a signed contract with scope of work to be done that includes a warranty? Warranties are critical because they provide a guarantee and help ensure the remodel is done correctly the first time.

Karen Mills' blog
Kansas City Interior design by Karen MIlls

Now that you’ve hired a contractor ensure you have a professional interior designer also for your project to avoid costly design mistakes. And if you need guidance in that area, give us a call at 913.764.5915 to find out how we can help.

For more great ideas on remodeling or interior design sign up for our interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

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Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 3 Reasons Why White Kitchens Are Timeless

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design and remodel by Karen Mills

White kitchens remind me of grandmother’s house that was nestled in the middle of beautiful flower garden where she taught me how to bake and make pie crusts as a 5 years old. That’s why I will always love white kitchens and I’m sure it might be why you do too because they are often warm, inviting, casual, and smell oh so delicious. Read on for the three other reasons I believe we secretly love white kitchens.

  1. Reflects light and makes us look better – As an interior designer who specializes in kitchen remodels I believe we secretly crave light airy kitchens because they not only feel clean and fresh but also bounce the natural light from outside around our room, enhancing the way we look and feel when we are in there. 3 Big Kitchen Trends for 2020

In addition they make us look younger by reflecting light back onto our face in contrast to darker kitchens that can make you look more haggard..

                                     Interior design by Karen Mills 

2. More Timeless – White kitchens have always stood the test of time as the most popular kitchen cabinet color so if you don’t get too crazy with your design or finishes your white kitchen remodel will likely feel more in style than a darker ktichen over time, especially when it comes time for resale.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

3. More Versatile – White kitchens can be paired with almost any colors and changed up when you tire of the color scheme. And if you’re like the majority of homeowners, you love the ethereal feel of white kitchens, especially one with warm inviting layers of texture like this existing kitchen was refreshed with a can of paint, new back splash, and dining table fixtures. Here the wood tabletop was repainted in a rustic gray finish and existing leather chairs slip slip covered in a washable fabric to finish the look. 5 Big Mistakes We Make In The Kitchen

For more great ideas and photos on kitchen design and kitchen remodels sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Decorating Tips to Make Your Living…

Read on for how to make your room feel bigger without remodeling

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Overland Park interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Unify Your Wall Color – When our interior design clients ask how to the visually expand their living spaces I always recommend starting with painting the walls all one color – usually lighter . In this hearth room we painted the dark dated walls Sherwin William’s Shoji White to lighten up the room and make it appear larger.

2Bring in More Daylight – Begin by removing dark furnishings and window coverings to bounce more light around. Introducing mirrors also brings more natural daylight into your space. Here we recovered a dark sofa and chairs to to a light neutral palette plus replaced light fixtures to bring in more light, making the space expand. 3 Tips for Refreshing Living Room for Less

Karen Mills' blog
Overland Park interior design by Karen Mills

3. Place furniture on an angle – By placing all your furniture on an angle away from the walls like this living room, you visually expand the size of your room.  3 Tips for Coordinating Mismatched Furniture in Your Living Room

4. Introduce Round Furnishings By bringing in a round ottoman like this space we visually expanded the room but you can create the same effect with a round rug or circular furniture.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Lighten up Your Floors – When I’m talking about interior decorating I don’t mean that you should re stain wood floors light, but go with lighter area rugs or carpet to bounce more light throughout to make it larger. Here our client opted for a plush rug that would feel good with bare feet while enlarging this smaller room.

In summary by removing dark furnishings, painting your walls lighter, and layering back in lighter furnishings you can visually expand your living room. 3 Ways to Make Your Living Space Bloom for Spring

If you would like to have help with decorating your living spaces click our services link above for more information.

If you’re just looking for more custom interior design, decorating, or remodeling inspiration, ideas, and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: How to Refresh Your Living Space

Tips for Giving Your Living Room a One Day Makeover While You’re Nesting at Home

I’ve noticed that as clients have been working from home more the past year they’ve become more aware of their surroundings and are ready for change. So today I’m sharing my top 3 tips as an interior designer for refreshing your space!

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

1.  Create a floor plan that emphasizes your focal point like we did in this great room by placing furniture arranged around the fireplace. If you don’t have an obvious focal point, then design one yourself by grouping items together such as a sofa table/chest with a piece of artwork overhead and a buffet lamp with tabletop decor on your surface.

Before you start I recommend emptying your living room of all furnishings so you can have a fresh perspective on your room’s possibilities without the distraction of furnishings and decor. For more tips check out our blog post 3 Big Design Mistakes We Make in the Living Room

In this great room we introduced a new custom designed sofa and rug before layering in existing wing back chairs we had upholstered in two different designer fabrics along with an existing coffee table, sofa table, and end table.

Decor arrangement by Karen M

2. Shop your entire house for furniture/furnishings you can use in your room.  Keep those items you discover in mind as you start to put together your room, bringing ones you think might work to a staging area nearby.  

Here in this room our interior design client didn’t have anything appropriate for this coffee table or sofa table so we purchased decor for them to enhance the overall look of their space.

Interior design by Karen Mills

Karen Mills' blog

3. Add a pop of color with accents throughout your room with pillows, art, drapes, decor or an area rug.   Remember, you can repaint or re purpose items to use in your room too.  In this great room our interior design client had asked us to use an existing family heirloom piece they had so we placed on the wall with a painting we found in another room. Then we topped the chest off with a newly purchased lamp and vase to complete the look. Click here for 3 Tips for Creating a Relaxing Living Area

If you would like to refresh your living space right now but know that’s beyond your capabilities, check out our virtual design options that we have for interior design clients whether its for remodel/new home builds, a design dilemma, or just decorating.

Looking for more great budget friendly decorating ideas that you can implement this summer?  Sign up for our weekly interior design blog here

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on Facebook here!

or instagram here!

Interior Design/Interior Decorating

Interior Design: 5 Tips for Decorating Your Living Room

An Interior Designer’s Tips for Creating a Living Space That’s Both Attractive and Functional

Interior design by Karen Mills
  1. Introduce a neutral color palette of furnishings in varying textures and colors instead of opting for all matching furniture. In this great room design we designed custom furniture in varying shades of warm grays to contrast nicely against existing antiques the homeowners wanted to keep to create interest. A mix of textures, color, and cozy seating enhance the look.
Karen Mills' blog rug sizing example
Interior design by Karen MIlls

2. Create a little drama by contrasting light finishes with darker ones. In this great room design we opted for lighter upholstered custom furniture and rug to create a noticeable contrast between the furniture and hard finishes like flooring, tile, and stone. An interesting combination of styles, finishes, and shapes add to this interior designed living room.

3. Layer in texture. Texture can be achieved with fabrics, plants, flowers, and/or a variety of finishes such as wood or metal. In this living space, we introduced different textures through pillow fabrics, an accessory made of rope, metal tray, glass vase/bowl, and wood tables to create an interesting mix that looks collected instead of staged.

Karen Mills' blog
Interior design by Karen Mills

4. Space plan your room to create cozy conversational areas. In this living room we designed a conversational grouping of seating around a fireplace to draw visitors in to sit down and relax.

Interior design by Karen Mills

5. Add pops of color. In this outdoor living room we introduced pops of color to this space with blue and orange to create more interest and drama. A variety of textures – wicker, metal, wood, stone, and fabric also add to this beautifully designed porch.

If you’re looking for more custom interior design, decorating, or remodeling inspiration, ideas, and photos, sign up for our weekly interior design blog here or contact us now at 913.764.5915.

Plus become a fan of Kansas City’s interior designer and former host of the Living Large design show, Karen Mills, on 
INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK here!