Category Archives: Before and Afters

The Revealing Truth About Happily Ever After

magic wand So often in design magazines, you see the completed project, a beautifully designed, perfectly styled room – created almost magically.  Most shelter publications wouldn’t dare show a pitiful before photo on the same page as their exquisitely remodeled room.

In my opinion, nothing quite tells a story like side-by-side BEFORE & After photos.  Once upon a time there was a sad and dreary room, that longed to be beautiful – a beautiful room that upon entering,  made people smile with a twinkle in their eyes and a sigh in their heart – and so the story goes – each room, searching for it’s happily ever After.

The REVEALING TRUTH is in the before image – it BEGS to be seen, never to be forgotten, so the true beauty of it’s final tale can be appreciated all the more.

Discover six Happily Ever  After bathroom stories, revealed and DESIGNED by PCL Interiors.


One. My client decided to renovate the basement 2 years after moving in as a much needed multifunctional area for the entire family. (Pictures of the living area remodel will be posted separately).  This shell of a bathroom beckoned to be fanciful yet practical. With dual entries to the bedroom and main area,the design had to couple as a private yet public space.

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BEFORE  –  Basement Bath-Preconstruction-Vanity



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BEFORE – Pre-construction, shower and water closet combination.



Two & Three.  Here are two bathrooms that went from happily ever after to happily ever After After. There wasn’t much wrong with them before I redesigned it except the client wanted a different look that included converting traditional tub and shower combo to just showers. The move in date was quickly approaching, so this was a major rush job (so no time for a photo op.)

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BEFORE – Once upon a time there was a bathtub, which was later converted to a shower. After 
New flooring, wallpaper and shutters were also added.
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New wallpaper, flooring, shower and tile design


Four.  In this next story, notice the difference in the shower curtain length. A quick fun fix, was to purchase another shower curtain with the same measurements, crop the end and attach with Velcro.  The Velcro can be easily removed when its time to drop the white curtain in the wash.

BEFORE – New construction, modern, cherry cabinets, black granite, great design- longing for the finishing touches.




Five & Six.  Commercial spaces spin tales of great abuse and use. With strangers, customers, employees and the like taking, taking and never giving.  All they want is to be loved and fluffed and pampered as well.  This Japanese restaurant Men’s and Ladies room finally received the attention they  so yearned for.


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BEFORE – Totally utilitarian, the client knew it was time to make a statement. The entry door remained.


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BEFORE – Notice only the flooring remained. Not photographed, but the grout lines were later stained dark brown to restore the depth of it’s original color



Also inspired by Japanese design, materials for both restrooms contained strie’d patterns and linear lines.  The earthy tones create a tranquil respite from the dining room hustle and bustle of this express restaurant.  By the way, the food is soooo flavorful! If you are ever in Lancaster, SC give them a try.

Proposed layout


And that’s the story of these bathroom transformations. They all looked and functioned Happily Ever After.

Achitectural Molding – Cosmetic Surgery For Your Home

via Miriam Payne

It’s amazing how a room can completely transform with a little plastic surgery! As evident in the formal dining room above; crown molding, baseboards, chair rails, picture frame molding greatly enhance the appearance of this space. Painting all the trim in a champagne metallic finish created a high end-couture  look. I liken it to implants (and you know where).  A couple of finishing details can upgrade a linear unappealing form to a more shapely, attention grabbing, visually appealing form. Just the right amount of molding in Miriam’s room created an ultra formal dining space.

BEFORE via PCL Interiors

AFTER via PCL Interiors

Keeping it short and sweet with  basic molding additions (surrounding wallpaper in the above image) is often all that’s needed for a fresh modern room.  Painting it white married it to the existing fireplace mantel and surround.  Sometimes keeping it simple is the best enhancement.  Just like Botox injections, basic trim can rejuvenate tired worn areas.

So, are you planning to have a little reconstructive surgery around your home?  Don’t keep it a secret Nibblers! Tell me about it.

Design Tip: Moderation is essential.  We all know what happens when you take it too far.

Get Your House Sold! Tips for Successfully Staging Your Home.

A Design Driven Life – by  Sam

I recently helped newlyweds who’s home had literally been on the market for the past two years.  They felt absolutely HOPELESS!

This couple was fortunate enough to have another home to live in while the one on the market sat empty. But that was the issue. The home was empty!

Have you ever walked into a model home and felt so excited about the possibilities of having something like this? Have you ever gone into another home that left you feeling empty – as a result of the house being empty?  It creates such a change in emotion about that home that you almost disregard the empty one for the model!   That’s exactly what was happening for this couple.  Even though the home was spotless and had even undergone a fresh coat of paint (done very well by the homeowners themselves), it was difficult to see its potential as far as furniture placement and how someone could really live there.

So as a designer, I couldn’t bear to see this bare home!  Knowing the importance of how the interior of a home can evoke different feelings, we went straight to the drawing board, and this is what the results were.

(BEFORE image lower left corner.) This space went from drab to fab by using furniture that fits, proper use of accessories and a good cleaning!

Isn’t this just FABULOUS!?!

This is what you see as soon as you walk in the front door.  As you can see in the before picture, it was a blank slate, not interesting at all.  Here is how you can achieve a transformation like this.

  • Clean like CRAZY! This couple really rolled up their sleeves and did some serious cleaning.  I can’t preach more about how a clean home is necessary to selling your home. Make sure to scrub the carpet and walls as best you can, clean base boards, ceiling fans and get cobs webs out of the corners.  Pull out the fridge and stove and get to cleaning back there too.  By doing this, potential buyers are going to feel comfortable and feel like there isn’t much work they actually have to put in to this home because the previous owners did a great job taking care of it.

A smaller accent chair, an ottoman from the owners bedroom and a table lamp create a cozy reading nook. Couldn't you just see yourself reading a book here?

  • Get creative with existing furniture.  Most of the pieces of furniture in this home were things that the couple had in storage. We decided that less is more and chose the best pieces that fit the space.  Be sure to get rid of the over sized stuff, it makes your home smaller!!  A glass table gives the illusion of more space because you can see through it.  For a living room, don’t revert back to the “furniture set” way of thinking.  If you do have a “set” and it feels crowded, remove the sofa and arrange the love seat and chair. This will open your space up!  Another thing to think about, most model homes don’t have TVs. So if you can, remove the TV or make sure it is NOT a focal point.

In this home, the TV is not the first thing you see. By placing the TV on a small wall and on top of a dark console, the TV appears to fade away.

  • Accessorize. Okay, there’s obviously a huge debate on how much or how little you should accessorize.  And I totally agree that you can over do it; however, it is so necessary.  For instance, once they were really getting into it, this client was ready to hang something on every wall!  This is a no no.  In this home, we hung art to define spaces.  One in the dining area and one in the living room, that’s it!  We added a couple of pillows that they already had and purchased a small shag rug to add a punch of color and texture.  These types of things keep the buyers eyes moving around your entire space (and that’s a good thing!).

To create and atmosphere of tranquility in this bedroom - I combined fresh linens, light and airy sheer curtains and some strategically placed accessories.

Since this couples home was empty, they sort of bypassed the basic rules of staging.

Now, if you still live in your home here is a crash course to guide you on staging your home to sell :

  1. Get rid of the clutter, throw out anything not needed and use storage baskets and bins to create a more organized look.
  2. Clear all counters and put away all small appliances for showings (even the unattached microwave!).
  3. Take down all of your family photos, nothing personal, but potential buyers can’t imagine their family there if they keep seeing yours.
  4. If you have colorful walls in your home, you should probably re paint to a neutral pallet (stay in the soft beige’s, creamy whites or even warm grays).
  5. Stay on your toes, keep your home clean and tidy at all times, you never want to turn down a showing because you don’t have enough time to straighten up.

So to wrap it up, when combining all of these tips, you will create an environment worthy of a model home, where buyers can walk right in and imagine their future. As for my clients, they just put their home back on the market and are excited to see the outcome of their new staging, so if you have a moment, check out – Charlotte Homes for Sale!

Basement Remodel: Stairway

From design conception to the  flooring selection, this post discusses the stairway transformation which leads into a newly remodeled basement.   Thanks  for letting me share, once again, one of my latest projects.

As you see, the stairway was close to completion before the remodel. A few drywall touches here and there and it was ready for a make over.

The clients wanted to reuse what they already owned as often as possible in this remodel.

So, the credenza was dusted off from being in storage for over a year and placed against the wall of stairway landing

Next, we needed to mix this modern piece effortlessly with the overall natural design of the space.

What are the two simple, affordable ways I achieved this?

1- I added a silver metal bowl on the table top to balance the silver legs on the console.

2- I then filled the bowl with pine cones.  The natural texture of the pine cones add to the overall relaxed atmosphere of the space.

Yes, these are simple tricks – but they work!

Read Vincent Wolfs interview on how he mixed modern and primitive pieces in a House Beautiful article.

More fun stair way images that successfully combines different styles:

Foyer eclectic entry

KitchenLab eclectic staircase

Heathers Foyer Ideabook eclectic entry

Kelly Scanlon Interior Design traditional entry

Top 3 points to remember when mixing styles:
  1. Know which style will dominate.  You don’t want the mix to fight with one another for equal attention.  Let that style lead the way and pepper it with a contrasting style.
  2. Blend different styles by using similar colors, textures and materials.
  3. Rules are often made to be broken.  You just have to have the _ _ _ _ _ to do it!  Follow your instinct and make the space unique to YOU!

Basement Remodel: Flooring options

AFTER: The beautifully etched stained concrete in a large diamond pattern added interest to the floor.

BEFORE: SAME space, BIG difference!!!

Although finishing the floors in my clients basement remodel happened closer to the end of the project, the design was determined early on to ensure the style was consist with the room.  If you recall, the rustic and natural finish of the entertainment center and bookcase set the tone.

We first considered Flor carpet tiles, as opposed to regular carpet, because they are easy to maintain, install and replace as necessary. But, this was a HUGE space and would that be too much of a good thing? Yes!  So, I was pleased when the homeowners really liked the idea of staining the concrete.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of stained concrete!  It played right into the rustic vibe I envisioned.  The floors were going to make the space, I could just feel it.

The original stain colors looked NOTHING like the samples on the card.  Based on the sample card, I wanted Carmel but it was too green so we selected Amber.

Since a portion of the concrete was destructed to link plumbing lines for the bathroom,  the  contractor had to get creative with the floor design to conceal it.

The solution was to place textured moss green looped carpet at the entry of the stairs.  As well as concealing the plumbing lines, it added a touch of softness to that area.  Notice the etching pattern in the concrete?  The grout lines follow the angle of the carpet lines.

The 36 inch diamond pattern has a border 6 inches away from the baseboard   because the etching equipment could not butt up to the baseboard; hence, a border was created for another great design solution.

See future post for more images on this basement remodel.

Interested in what it takes to stain a concrete floor?  Check out

E-How:  How To Stain a Concrete Floor

Young House Love: How To Stain a Concrete Floor

Our Cool House:  They have some fabulous pics of acid etched concrete floors complete with products and how-to instructions