I'm Chelsey. Wife. Mama to two. Interior Designer. Passionate about all the details that make life beautiful. Hope you have a nice stay!

XO, Chelsey

Guest Post: Home Remodeling and Lighting

Guest Post: Home Remodeling and Lighting

Marianne Brown

I'm so excited to have a new guest post today from the lovely and talented Marianne of White + Gold Design.  She is an amazingly talented designer from Salt Lake City, Utah who has a knack for remodeling homes and turning them into pieces of beauty.  She is sharing her best remodeling tips today and also talking about one of my favorite items in a home - lighting.  You can visit her blog to see more pictures of all her latest and greatest projects, and be sure to see the beautiful pictures of her own home remodel.

Hello!  Marianne Brown here, with White + Gold Design.  I was really excited when Chelsey asked me to do a guest post on her blog as I am a big fan of hers and knowing she is also an interior designer I was extra flattered!  Today I am sharing with you my two favorite aspects of my design business - Remodeling and Lighting.  I am excited to share tips for anyone who is remodeling or ever wants to remodel their home, as well as my favorite light fixtures right now.  Having gutted and remodeled my own home, as well as about 20 other homes, I am starting to consider myself a seasoned remodeler [is that a word?!].  When we remodeled our own home, we made some costly mistakes that I vowed I would share with others so you don't make the same mistakes we did.  As I've continued to remodel other homes, a lot of them flips for investors, I continue to learn best practices for a smoother and more cost-effective remodel.

Here are my top 5 tips for anyone considering or currently working on a remodel:

white and gold design post


Search through design books and magazines - websites like my two favorites, Pinterest and Houzz, and save all of the images that speak to you.  Make sure to take good notes so you remember why you like certain photos.  Research all of the products you are interested in putting in your home, and always get references and multiple bids with your contractors.

Every project of mine starts with a Pinterest board.  And if you are remodeling with a partner - do your homework TOGETHER.  Many men do not like to spend time looking at photos, but as best you can, force your male partner to sit down for an hour and look through photos and share your ideas.  This process will give you a direction, and with a clear direction, everyone can do their best work and the remodel runs much smoother.



As much as possible, plan every detail BEFORE you start.  If you are using a contractor, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars by preparing well.  If budget allows, hire a designer and someone to help with the floor plan, [that could also be your designer, a draftsman, or an architect].  If you are working on a budget, try some of the free programs online, such as Room Sketcher

When planning consider all of the layers of your remodel:

- the floorplan/where all the walls will be going or not going

-how much lighting you want in each room and where you want it 

-where your existing furniture will be going and/or your new furniture needs

-where you want or need outlets/media hookups/speaker system [such as outlets in the floor for lamps, or where you are placing your TVs]


Even though this is number 3 on my top 5, this might be the most important.  There are so many decisions being made and contractors working on a remodel, it is easy for people to get confused [this happens on EVERY project I work on, no matter how well I plan, but a lot less when I make these lists].

As you can see in the example above, I make lists for all aspects of a remodel - Paint, Appliances, Tile, Lighting, Flooring, Plumbing, Cabinetry.  When I fill these out and give them to everyone involved on the project, not only is it a clear way to give directions as to what you want, it also holds people accountable.  If I had a dollar for every time I've heard "that's not what I remember" I would be able to quit my day job.  And you list doesn't have to be fancy - a word document - just make sure you write all of your final decisions down.

white and gold design post


This mostly applies to those who hire out some or all of the work on their remodels [which I highly recommend, btw].  Even though it can be very inconvenient, and it sometimes feels unnecessary, making sure everyone is there and doing the work correctly is so important.  I know, that's why you hired a contractor, who is paid to supervise, but believe me - only you can really make sure things are looking the way YOU want them.  There have been many times where everyone has a list of the materials, a drawing of the design, and photos as well, and I stop by the project and it's still not being installed correctly!

With the supervision, remember that you are all working together, and not against each other.  If a mistake has been made, be kind and willing to work it out.  Sometimes bringing a treat or drink for your contractors will give them the extra motivation to work with you and do what is needed.

white and gold design post


This is kind of two tips in one, but they go hand-in-hand.  Remodeling is extremely stressful, but it is also very fun.  You are getting to make your home your very own.  This is a chance to express yourself and personalize your home.  It is a luxury and everyone's best work is done when you have a good attitude!  

Not questioning yourself at every decision is also important.  Getting second opinions is always good, but go with your gut.  It's your home!  Let the process be somewhat organic.  Interior Design isn't a science, it's an art.  Be creative and show your personality.  And believe in yourself!  Clients often tell me something they love, then say, "But what do you think?"  and I will be honest, most of the time I agree 100% with their decisions.

And now it's time for my favorite jewelry of the home . . . lighting.

visual comfort morris lantern

MY FAVORITE GO-ANYWHERE LIGHT is Visual Comfort's Morris Lantern.

Why I love this light:  Because it's an updated version of the classic lantern and it looks great in family rooms, hallways, over dining tables, and in entries.  It comes in 3 sizes, and has the option of frosted or clear glass, and 3 metal finishes.  This light has been a designer favorite the last year or so.

MY FAVORITE LIGHT UNDER $100 is the Home Depot's Progress Lighting 1-Light Pendant.

Why I love this light:  It's super versatile, a metal shade, comes in a great green color as well, and works in any home.  For the price you can't beat this light.  Look how cute it would look over a dining table, or over a kitchen island, or in a hallway.

striped schoolhouse light

MY FAVORITE KITCHEN SINK LIGHT is Shades of Light Striped Schoolhouse Light.  I used a very similar light in this kitchen project and I LOVED the way it looked.  It's such a cute addition to any kitchen and adds just the right amount of design and style.

MY FAVORITE KITCHEN PENDANT is Visual Comfort's Garey Pendant [and the 2-light version is on sale now!].  

Why I love this light:  It is a little industrial, but also very classic and traditional.  I think this light would look current for years and years.  And it goes with almost any style of kitchen.  The large size is a really nice scale for bigger kitchens, and the smaller size is perfect for the average kitchen.  I just ordered this light for a project and it's even more beautiful in person.

MY FAVORITE SCONCE is Visual Comfort's Bryant Sconce.  

Why I love this light:  This sconce isn't all that special, in fact it's pretty basic, but it looks great in every room!  It's the perfect bathroom sconce, but it's also great in a family room, reading nook, or wherever a sconce is needed.  It comes in 4 finishes and a couple of shade options.  This lights claim to fame is that it is in the Twilight Movie in Bella and Edwards love cottage.  Actually it's also in Olivia's apartment in Scandal, and I see it from time to time in other TV sets. This sconce is the sure bet - looks great every time!

There are SO many great lights out there, this is just a very select sampling.  Follow my lighting board on Pinterest if you want to keep up on my favorite lighting picks!  Thank you Chelsey for having me on your blog today!!

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