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How to Use Light and Space to Transform Your Home ...

Enjoy a brighter, tidier, more functional home using these tips from a Nashville designer Pamela Standish of Usable Space Interiors

In her own words: “When clients are looking for a designer, not only do they need to search for a designer who is able to translate their design dilemmas into solutions, but I believe they need to look for a designer who embodies both strong creative and analytical skills, so their project goals can be executed both creatively and financially”.

"Because there are so many talented and amazing designers in the market place, clients also need to consider aligning personalities. Most projects are a mini-marriage because they will be working with the designer for a finite period of time, so it is prudent to ensure you like your designer and can see yourself working well with her for an extended period of time". 

"I recognize projects can be stressful and overwhelming for many clients, that's why my goal is to help reduce the design decision stressors from the client, while executing the plan and trying to make the process fun... because it IS fun!"  

Music Room!!!
Heres a closer angle of the kitchen only.  Details such as schoolhouse pendants, an industrial faucet and distressed brick subway tile creates a simple yet strong farmhouse statement.

Imagine a fresh, airy room with beautiful flow and where everything has its proper place. This is home bliss for many. A well-designed room can affect your comfort level, mood and efficiency, says Pamela Standish, who owns Usable Space Interiors, LLC in Nashville, TN. She helps clients create gorgeous, functional spaces that fit their lifestyle and budget. 

Design DNA. Standish grew up in a family that was focused on design. Her mother was a hair salon owner & stylist, and her father, a commercial printer who analyzed color and balance. “As a young girl, I was obsessed with color, style, comfort and order. I think because my family embraced creativity, I was open and able to develop into the designer I am today. As a young girl, it was not unusual for me to rearrange my furniture, organize and color coordinate my closet from light to dark and even space plan the family pantry. Looking back, it is almost funny how obsessed I was with creating comfortable, functional spaces at such a young age and that I still enjoy it as much today." Standish says.


Solving the puzzle. Standish compares home design to a puzzle where all your elements, including budget, have to fit together. “If you have an Ann Taylor suit but pair it with a Target shirt... you can still create a beautiful ensemble while keeping the budget under control. You just need to think outside the box to find different options and solutions, because it's really about how you put it together".


Another part of the puzzle is deciding on how your future remodeled room will tie in with the rest of your home. “I don’t recommend spending your whole budget on one area,” Standish says. “I recommend anticipating approximately 20 percent of the budget will need to be allocated for small updates in the adjoining rooms for such items as paint or furnishings, to allow for more cohesive transition between rooms, which allows everything to tie together.”

Below, Standish shares some of her tips for a successful home update.

1. Get Space From the Garage

 Looking for a way to expand your kitchen? Standish suggests taking a good look at adjoining finished spaces, such as a garage. “It’s much easier and far less expensive to expand into an existing structure than to add onto your home,” she says. “You’ll save on wall materials and you already have electricity, and possibly gas and plumbing, in place.”


The link below is an example of an original kitchen in this Fairview farmhouse that repurposed the space from the adjoining garage. “My client wanted a large kitchen where she could be part of the living-room conversation,” Standish says. “We created a sizable open kitchen with two islands and a walk-in pantry. One island, marble topped, is dedicated to baking and the other, concrete topped, is used for eating. By utilizing the adjacent space, we were able to give her the extra large kitchen she desired."

Click here to see Fairview Farmhouse Reno

2. Streamline With Storage

 "If you are in constant battle with clutter, better storage could be the key in beautifying your home. The smaller cabinets and cramped closets are commonly found in older houses, which makes renovations a necessity for a modern lifestyle," Standish says.


She provided design solutions in this 15-room renovation home in Green Hills, making sure to focus on storage improvements and usable space maximization was achieved. Though the house was large, angled walls in many key areas such as the kitchen and baths cut off valuable space. Her team opened these spaces by squaring off these areas using 2-by-4s (long, thin wood boards) and drywall, as well as,  by adding taller, deeper cabinetry. They also transformed a side entrance into a family organization center, seen here, with coat hooks, a charging station and a message board. Click the below link to see more in this project.

Click here to see Green Hills Reno
This second entry/vestibule to the home, was originally just an open hallway. By designing and incorporating  a customized cubby system for each family member, USI was able to create a space that enco
Large transitional medium tone wood floor and brown floor open concept kitchen photo in Nashville with an undermount sink, shaker cabinets, white cabinets, quartzite countertops, white backsplash, cer

3. Balance Light and Dark

 To brighten an interior room that lacks natural light, use plenty of illumination and mix light and dark elements. “Can lights in the ceiling, with dimmers for control, are the most effective way to add light,” Standish says.


She lightened up this kitchen in Cool Springs using white cabinetry, white intricate tile for interest AND a light colored island countertop. This multi-layering approach of using elements that are paired with other mediums (darker floors, metallic pendant lights and a darker island base) allows for the eye to travel and receive tons of contrast around the room, which results in aiding the light concentration to be more pronounced where you want it. “In this project, if you focus on both the forest and the tree, you can see how the peppercorn gray paint in the adjoining room, coordinates with the pendants’ metallic finish which not only helps connect the spaces, but it allows for light to stay brighter in the areas that are needed, like the prep station.” Standish adds.

Click here to see Cool Spring Reno

More: For more information on Pamela Standish and examples of her work, visit Usable Space Interiors’ Houzz profile.