7 Room-Refresh Ideas to Steal for Your Own Home

A conversation room by Christie Fleming of Lennon Nora Interior Design / Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

With clever approaches to unused corners, reimagined spaces and heaps of style, seven local designers offer inspiration for your own Reno dreams.


Design by Eddie Ross / Photo by Ellen McDermott

A triple-threat team of Eddie Ross, designer Jason Thompson of J. Thom, and architecture firm McIntyre Capron transformed a cramped ’70s kitchen in Ross’ Wayne home into an open and more functional one—while upping the wow factor.

Ross can cook for a crowd in his kitchen: it features professional Thermador appliances, and the wooden box above the stove hides a restaurant-quality range hood. Two dishwashers make it easier to clean up after a crowd.

style mantra
Ross had two main goals for his kitchen remodel: “I wanted it to be beautiful but also efficient,” says the Culinary Institute of America graduate. “And I wanted it to feel like furniture and not furniture.”

design twist
This kitchen has some trompe l’oeil elements. These painted cabinets may look fake, but they are real white oak with a brushed grain finish. The mix of classically painted oak cabinets, antique glass, marble and walnut counters and fittings from Ross’ own line for Modern Matter make this kitchen look like it has always been part of the traditional colonial-style center hall in which he lives.

top tip
When it comes to redesigning a kitchen, Ross says it’s best to stick to tried-and-tested styles: “Trends go out of style very quickly.”

dining room

Design by Christina Henck, Henck Design / Photography by Rebecca McAlpin

Christina Henck of Henck Design transformed a colonial garden in suburban Wilmington into a lighter, airier home with a contemporary farmhouse feel. The dining room, like the other rooms in the house, was enlivened by contrasting walls and crown molding, as well as natural wood and metal furniture and lamps.

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Natural wood, plants and brass lighting fixtures combine with plank and batten walls for this study in contrasts of color and texture. “I love the drama” of black ceilings, says Henck, who brings color to the spaces by adding natural wood, like the stained oak beams in the kitchen.

design twist
Henck gave up a dining room staple with this makeover: instead of a chandelier she used sconces and brass table Lamps for a more informal look. Between the two cone-shaped lamps hangs an enlarged photograph of artist Greg Dunn, who creates works derived from images of the brain.

top tip
“If the base of your design scheme has these contrasting colors, find ways to add warmth to your space by adding nature whenever possible,” says Henck.


Design by Betsy Helm, Shophouse / Photo by Rachel McGinn

The move from Bella Vista to Haddonfield brought about a change in lifestyle for this family of four, who previously enjoyed visiting walk-in restaurants. So the Shophouse team brought their favorite places to them. “We wanted to recreate that sense of destination within the home,” says designer Betsy Helm. The new build had an unused living room corner that lent itself to a home bar with a “subtle speakeasy” aesthetic. There is an Adesso Nero Marquina marble countertop and a small Sub-Zero fridge for blenders. The Gabby stools have been reupholstered in a classic Ralph Lauren wool herringbone fabric to create a polo bar-meets-salon vibe.

Another reason to celebrate: “When it’s not in use, the bar offers a beautiful backdrop for the visual axes of the living room, immediately invites conversation and is fun,” says Helm.

conversation room

Design by Christie Fleming, interior design by Lennon Nora / photography by Rebecca McAlpin

Located next to the kitchen in Christie Fleming’s home of Lennon Nora Interior Design in Phoenixville, this room was originally intended as a dining room. But it wasn’t big enough for the designer and her family, so she turned it into a lounge to listen to music, sip wine, and chat before dinner.

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Wanting to create a moody, sultry but approachable ambience, Fleming used the green leather and crosshatched fabric of the two CR Laine chairs as color inspiration.

Fleming’s husband, Jordan, painted the walls and trim in Sherwin-Williams Ripe Olive. “It pulls from the deeper greens on the chairs and is neutral enough that it blends in with the rest of the palette in my home,” she says.

design twist
The significant bench with a zebra pattern and the golden mirror are consignment finds. “One of my favorite tricks is to bring in something unexpected,” says Fleming. The mirror is flanked by Trace Mayer’s unique museum bees, which Fleming has been collecting for years: “They’re always a conversation starter.”

top tip
“Think about how you want the space to feel,” advises Fleming. “When you have a piece you love, think about why: the color? Texture? Shape? Roll with it and don’t play by the rules.

mud room

Design by Heather Safferstone of Safferstone Interiors / Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

As much as it gets overlooked for the more exciting spots in a home, the mud room is one of the most used areas – and should be highly functional. Enter this newly designed mud room in New Hope. Previously narrow and not spacious enough for a family of five (with three children under six plus a dog), the new multi-purpose room is spacious and equipped with clever comforts. “I wanted to create a fun and organized space that wasn’t too serious,” says Heather Safferstone of Safferstone Interiors. She took over a third garage space, then added a linen closet for the GE appliances, a countertop, and storage. Each family member, adult and child, has a locker cabinet. There is a charging station for mobile phones in the upper cupboard. And a toe-kick pullout in the side cabinet hides the pups Peel.

Safferstone had was hoping to fit a sink and discovered during planning that the builder had installed the plumbing in an ideal space. Today, the single basin apron front sink is perfect for washing mud Boots and the dog.


Design by Barette Widell from Widell + Boschetti / Photo by Brian Wetzel

Moorestown-based Widell of Widell + Boschetti wanted to make her nine-year-old son Dillon’s bedroom more functional during the pandemic, so she created a new space for schoolwork and crafts.

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Monochrome. Challenging. Male.
This is how Widell describes her son’s room: “I always say Dillon is a sophisticated old soul, so we went with a very soothing, mature color palette.”

design twist
Although the room was a decent size, it couldn’t fit a desk, so Widell turned one of the two closets into a workspace.

The Widell + Boschetti white oak work station and bookcase offers lots of storage space and shelf space and lots Room for Dillon grow. The playful desk chair from CB2 has a white bouclé upholstery.

top tip
“Visualize how you’re going to use each space,” Widell suggests. “Imagine living in the space and what that feels and looks like.”


Design by Nicole Cole of Vestige Home / Photo by Rebecca McAlpin

Although this was always going to be the master bedroom in the East Falls house Nicole Cole from Vestige Home, it felt like a “wide, open space with no purpose,” she says. (It stretches the width of the stone house.) So she divided it into a separate sleeping area and a reading area with plenty of storage space.

style mantra
Cole strove to design a “warm, layered space that embodies a sense of time and patina as opposed to modern elements”. The walls were finished with Portola Paints & Glazes North Woods Limewash giving “ tThe feeling of being wrapped up in a soft cloud,” says Cole.

design twist
A reproduction of a lamp by Serge Mouille from 1958 functions as a connecting statement between the two zones. “The size of the wide, sweeping arms was just what this space needed.”

Article’s moss green accent chairs beckon at any time of the day. “We have wonderful morning sun and often on the weekend mornings my husband Adam can be found here with a book,” says Cole.

top tip
“Think about how you want a space to feel and base your colors and choices on that place, rather than just what you see in magazines,” advises Cole.

Published as “Room Envy” in the January 2023 issue of Philadelphia Magazine.

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