We sat down for a Q&A with local interior designer Larina Kase where she shared tips on designing family friendly rooms. She also created a “room look” for us! This could work as either a family room or living room. As a mother of three small children I am always looking for ways to hide “stuff” so I asked Larina to focus on storage solutions for the room look. Feel free to replicate her living room look because you’ll find a link to all the products below.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for creating a space that looks good and also functions well?
There’s a perennial debate in architecture and interior design of form versus function. First, I prioritize the function of a space. I’m a very practical person. If I buy gorgeous shoes, but they aren’t comfortable, I won’t wear them. And having three boys…practical always wins! Of course, I also want the space to be beautiful. There are beautiful pieces out there for any type of use. For example, a family may not want a glass coffee table, but there are wonderful wood or upholstered ottoman options.
How can we have a space function well and also have a good design?
Once you’ve determined the functional needs of a space, it’s time to make everything look great. The biggest ways to influence the overall feel of a space are wall color, flooring, and window treatments. You can get creative in making your designs interesting as well as practical. For example, take an old toy chest and paint it a fun color! Consider getting furniture with fabrics that are durable and stain resistant such as Sunbrella. I like to incorporate patterns and textures to make the space warm and inviting; also, by doing so it can hide little spills.
What are the key elements to create organization and functionality for your space?
The first step is to prioritize what needs to be organized in the space. If we can reduce the amount of items to what is really needed, that is wonderful! For a family room that has a toy chest, I often recommend to have a secondary storage. By storing a plastic bin in a closet this will allow the toys to rotate that don’t fit into the toy chest. It makes the space cleaner and easier to straighten up. Also, it keeps the toys interesting and exciting to kids when they don’t see them all the time.
What is one piece of advice you would give a client who is trying to have a space function better?
Your first goal is to figure out what’s working and what’s not working. I ask clients to take photos of their home. If they have an entryway with shoes everywhere, that is a clue that we need an organization system for the shoes. If the bookcases are cluttered, I recommend storage bins on the shelves to keep the overall look clean and simple.
What is the best part of helping clients design their home?
I absolutely love making clients happy! Our surroundings have a significant impact on our mood and lifestyle. Waking up in the morning to a room you love can start the day on a great note. It’s important to me to listen to my clients and figure out what design features make them happy. I want to be sure to include those elements that they mention in the design. I’m a very sentimental person and love the idea of creating homes for children to grow up in and make memories.
What is the first step if someone wants to redesign a space?
The key is to begin with a functional analysis of how the space will be used and then begin to design. Next, I move to the overall vibe of the living space. Will the space be more casual, modern, rustic, or elegant? Also, I look at the space layout and begin the selections for the furnishings of the space.
Any current trends that you are loving right now?
I just love how interior design is about breaking the rules right now! Just like in fashion you can wear white after Labor Day, interior design is bucking old mandates. These results in design are eclectic, fresh, and interesting. You can mix metals, mix woods (just keep the tones similar), and mix patterns. It’s a lot of fun being a designer right now. Also, I find it important to look to the past and ground my designs in historical classics that have stood the test of time.
Want to follow or get in touch with Larina?
Larina Kase is an interior designer on the Main Line and Western Suburbs of Philadelphia. Named one of the Best Interior Designers in Philadelphia in 2016 by Freshome. Larina enjoys creating spaces that are comfortable, practical and beautiful. Being a mom of three boys, Larina knows how important it is to have spaces that work for everyone in the family. She prides herself on her collaborative style and making clients happy. Larina comes from a family of artists and enjoys creating spaces that are unique, creative and meaningful to her clients.
You can find Larina:
Thanks Larina for sharing such great insights with us! More to come with Larina Kase on the Main Line Haven blog!