Mary Moffitt and Craig Crotteau's living room used to look like an-unfinished museum.
Collectables from traveling abroad with the U.S. Army were on the floor or cluttered on the mantle.
The room - overlooking her family's seven-acre property in the Stafford area - lacked cohesiveness, balance and comfort. But, it had potential.
A retired Colonel, Moffitt needed an enjoyable place for her family of four - and her guests - to spend time.
Preparing for her aunt to visit was 'the inspiration' that got Moffitt motivated to redesign her living room, she said.
'Before the room was functional enough, we could sit and watch TV,' Moffitt said. 'But it was kind of embarrassing to have friends over.'
So she called Angela Todd with Angela Todd Designs who specialized in one-day room transformations.
With $500 for the redesign budget - and a modest budget for lighting and accessories - Todd took Moffitt's blue and red color scheme and allowed her collections to take center stage.
'After I understood her desires, my goal was to make a sophisticated but inviting space that featured the family collections and honored the homes arts and crafts style and Mary's eclectic taste,' Todd said.
Todd said her company brought in texture to give the room a more casual flair.
'We also varied the height of the room for visual appeal,' she said of the room that was once very boxy in appearance. 'We finished the look by introducing pattern for interest and color for balance.'
Switching it up
Moffitt's living room features a large fireplace with a minimalist mantle hugging the exterior wall.
An upright piano sits near a window seat. The walls are a shade of white. The lines are crisp.
Without altering the furniture arrangement - a couch and chair angled toward the fireplace - Todd focused on creating 'casual flair,' she said, by updating some fabric and lighting choices.
'I used careful consideration while paring down and creating color balance,' Todd said.
The additional budget allowed for new lighting, accessories, pillows and a window seat cushion. All other changes were completed using Moffitt's existing décor. And Todd pulled pieces from around the home for the living room.
Pillows were recovered in a vivid red color, pulled from the detailed rug in the center of the room. The rug - with deep blues and reds - was the starting place for colors and style.
'It helps to start with an inspiration piece; it's not always a rug. Sometimes it's a piece of artwork, sometimes it's pillows, sometimes it's a pattern on a sofa,' Todd said. 'And sometimes the inspiration piece isn't something in the room. I've designed a room around ballet slippers before.'
A more than seven-foot window seat to the left of the fireplace was fitted with a cushy, custom-made pillow.
'I love sitting here,' Moffitt said of her refreshed reading nook.
Moffitt traveled the world with the military and along her journey collected vases, books and artwork, all of which wasn't displayed to her liking beforehand.
Lamps on end tables and the piano were too short to accentuate artwork.
Book collectables were forgotten in the family's downstairs storage area.
And vases were lined up on the mantle in a row like little soldiers, not accent pieces.
'When accessories are over used they stop being noticed,' Todd said, noting that decorating in an arts and crafts style requires spare ornamentation. 'If you want your things to seem special you have to pare down.'
And so the tiny, blue vase collection on the fireplace shrunk in number of pieces but grew in scale to incorporate different items of varying heights and colors.
Now, a large round clock, small stack of books, tall and short vases and a peacock feather add rustic spice to the space.
'She loves, loves, loves peacocks,' Todd said of Moffitt, 'so we incorporated that into the room.'
A peacock design in the rug is now reflected in a few subtle peacock feathers and a metal peacock figurine, which was originally perched outside in the yard.
'This was just finding a great accent piece and dusting it off,' Todd said.
A new, large circular mirror was hung above the sofa, reflecting the outdoors and creating harmony with the round clock directly across the room. The new circular pieces add feminine elements to what felt like a 'masculine room,' Todd said.
'In most cases, well-designed rooms add both feminine and masculine lines.
Too much of one or the other isn't generally desirable,' she said.
A pair of Moffitt's black and white rice paper paintings from Thailand replaced a single Japanese watercolor painting that was hung too high above the piano. This brought down the scale of this area.
Its muted colors from the 1940s didn't compliment the 'deep jewel tones in the room,' Todd said.
It was moved to the dining room where it blends with the colors in the rug under the table.
'It's so much more comfortable,' said Moffitt's daughter, Jane, 15.
A similar piece of art now sits on an easel near the fireplace.
The corner of the room - once a holding area for artwork the homeowner wasn't sure how to incorporate into the room - now features a new black five-foot tiered candle holder with subtle curves.
This created a simple lighting solution and balanced the angular lines in the furnishings and architecture of the room.
The tops of two plush ottomans in front of the couch were flipped to reveal wood and serve as small coffee tables. They can be extra seating with the flip of the lid.
'You notice the ottomans more,' Todd said, 'and your eye is pulled to the area rug.'
Todd said that completing the transformation without the client in the room is essential. And Moffitt said she liked, 'the surprise.'
'When we worked on Mary's fireplace, for example, it didn't look great until it was done,' Todd said.
Typically, Todd's redesigns take about four hours.
'They see it one way in the morning and then the room is transformed when they get home from work,' Todd said. 'Fifty percent of them cry. What's a better job than seeing people cry because they are so happy? They're not crying because the room looks good, they're crying because the things they love look great in their home.'
Todd said the transformation process includes a 'pre-meeting' with the client to view the room, talk about what they like and get a feel for items in the house that can be re-purposed and incorporated into the new design. When a budget is settled, Todd begins shopping for any items that are needed to enhance the homeowner's decor.
Then the transformation day is scheduled.
'It's not like an HGTV (TV show) where a designer comes in and says, 'this is what we're going to do,'' Moffitt said.
'I had European, Middle Eastern and Oriental stuff and (Todd) made it all work together.'
Making the items 'work together' for the homeowner is the whole point.
Todd said that she completes all kinds of interior design work, but one-day transformations are where her heart is, because it's where her clients' hearts are - their personal items.
'Any designer can come into a space and make it look good, buying all new furnishings, artwork and accessories,' Todd said. 'I don't impose my taste on her redesign because it's about their pieces.'
Todd said that she works with what people have and love. Moffitt was 90 percent there, she said.
'The 10 percent that included mostly accessorizing made the most impact,' Todd said.
'It's like music,' Todd said. 'Imagine a great band, but the vocalist is missing - or the vocalist's timing isn't good. I addressed balance, scale and texture and the room came to life.'
To contact Angela Todd with Angela Todd Designs, call 503-887-1552 or visit her Web site at www.nwinteriordesigner.com .