Chicago architect Fred Wilson knows smart detailing can enhance a home -- and keep your budget looking pretty darn good, too, by skirting the expense of a to-the-studs remodel. That lesson comes through in Wilson's work on a remodeled 1920 Colonial, where artful architectural touches and easy room changes add to the home's traditional look, yet accommodate the family's contemporary lifestyle.
Moldings and trim add both age and character to the reborn rooms. And other savvy style upgrades make a big impact with small changes. Click ahead to check out 19 ideas taken from this refreshed house that could make a big difference in your home, too.
Widen standard door openings with fixed sidelights to extend sight lines and light from room to room. "They give you the poetry of French doors without their cost -- or the expense of the hardware you'd need to make them operable," Wilson says.
Think about the best use for a room, rather than the room's original purpose. These homeowners chose to make the original dining room into a much-used family room, left, conveniently adjacent to the kitchen. Meanwhile, a too-small den near the front door became the cozy dining room (previous slide).
A built-in family room cabinet offers multiple storage options. A large flat-panel TV hides behind doors, while speakers sit in cabinetry above. Two deep drawers below, detailed to look like eight small drawers, provide the perfect cache for games that come out on family fun nights.
So much of what's stored in a kitchen isn't stuff you want in plain view. Be smart: Dress up existing cabinets with door fronts that include glass display windows only across the tops. They lend old-fashioned charm without revealing everything inside.
An oval window offers an appealing alternative to a standard rectangle. Use divided-light glass doors on display cabinets. Brighten things up even more with lights inside the cabinets. Combined with task lighting below, they make the pantry glow.
A pullout counter, like this one in this pantry, offers function and flexibility. Supported by retractable brackets, the ledge makes a handy spot to assemble drinks or dessert, then slides away when not in use.
These bedroom draperies hung above the window frames create the illusion of taller ceilings. So do vertical-stripe curtains. Create a custom look with a single fabric by adding a ruffle in the same pattern, but turning the stripe on its side.